In July, we reported on bankrupt Detroit’s request for $444 million from taxpayers for a new stadium for the Red Wings even though the team was fine where it was and was turning a profit. Now taxpayers in Houston are being asked to pay almost that much to pay for a stadium of great memories (see Nolan Ryan’s photo above) that inspired even Ron Paul to wear a crazy uniform – but that no pro team will ever use again.
I was die-hard Astros fan who used to love watching opposing teams try to score in the mammoth park against JR Richard (100-mph fastball), Joe Niekro (60-mph knuckle ball) and Nolan Ryan (100-mph fastball) on successive nights in 1980 before Richard’s tragic stroke. Richard had a 1.90 ERA late in the season when he had the stroke, and Joe Morgan said he had the best stuff of any pitcher he had ever seen, meaning it would have been quite a combo the next season when Niekro had a 2.82 ERA and Ryan had a 1.69 ERA and was not even close in Cy Young voting, which inspired the invention of Value Add Baseball.
The Astrodome was labelled as the 8th Wonder of the World by many, until New Orleans decided to build a dome big enough that the Astrodome would have fit inside it.
However, the AP reported that a 26-foot-long truck known as the “Dome Mobile” was traveling around Houston to try to win support for a YES vote on November 5 to commit the public funds.
Is the Astrodome worth saving? That question is along the lines of the question that always bothered Bill Buckley, “Do the ends justify the means?” You can answer both questions yes if you do not go any deeper. Yes, it would be better to still have the Astrodome. Yes, the ends often justify the means.
The correct rhetorical question Buckley would always not is, “Do the ends justify ANY means?”
By the same token, does saving the Astrodome justify ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY, or is $217 million simply too much when it seems the return on investment is very low from a fiscal standpoint? Voters will decide on November 5.