What the !@#$%&, Doug?
I thought I was just dreaming. I woke up in a bit of a stupor having falling asleep before 11 p.m. the other night and in my disorientation thought I heard the Channel 12 newscaster say that Mayor Doug Wilder had hinted that if talks between Richmond and the Braves fell through, it would be easy enough to find another team to come to Richmond. Nah, I couldn't have heard that. The next day, the paper had no story on the ongoing saga, so surely I had dreamt it. Today, of course, that very story, minus any comment from The Emperor Himself. "Wilder did not return two phone calls beginning yesterday afternoon, and his press secretary did not return four beginning yesterday morning."
The one comment attributed to Wilder was from earlier in the week when he apparently said he will not accept the blame if the Braves leave Richmond. But it has been the city, and Wilder in particular, who have fumbled things more times Marcus Vick in the Miami game.
First, to offer up the Fulton Gas Works site as the best available site when it is fraught with problems. Then, to accuse the Braves of reneging on the deal when no such thing had occurred. Then, to hint at inquiries from new suitors (a clear violation of the league rules, according to the president of the International League). And now to avoid comment better than Michelle Mitchell could ever dream of doing, and in so doing, avoid having to answer from the press the very questions the Braves deserve answers to:
What about the traffic flow and access issues?So how is it that a man who possesses such a gigantic brain and a vat o' political savvy can seem so thick? This is the eternal mystery, the unsolvable conundrum that is Doug Wilder. Does his recalcitrance and ego cause him to make critical missteps -- or are they missteps at all? Are these tactics a calculated part of his plan so that he can point back after the deal falls through and avoid blame? Is he setting up the Braves organization to take the fall for a bad deal he already knows is doomed?
What about the drainage and flooding problems?
What about possible toxic waste at the site?
How will the stadium construction be funded?
So if Wilder refuses to take the blame, who is to blame? Oh, that's right! The media! The paper said this morning that Wilder "accused the local media of reporting that the Braves were leaving because of him." Well, if the mayor can just decide he is not blame, then I can decide on behalf of all Richmond media that we are not to blame. Your move, Emperor ...
(As a postscript, let me just say the revelation that there may be other site proposals in the mix is intriguing. Perhaps the counties are involved? The proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame site? And what about Chesterfield with all that expanse of land off of 288 sitting there? Maybe Lane Ramsey should charter himself a plane to Atlanta...)