A Maricopa County supervisor told the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks to “take your stupid baseball team and get out” in response to requests for $65 million from the team for renovations.
According to an investigation by the Arizona Republic, County Supervisor Andy Kunasek told Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick to go back to “f–king West Virginia.” The 73-year-old was born in Princeton, West Virginia, and graduated from WVU.
The insults, which occurred in April, came to light after a records request by the newspaper.
The harsh words came atop a letter by Kunasek to Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall accusing the baseball team of “evolving into a parasitic enterprise.” He says the team peddles a “false narrative” in shaking down the team for money and does “irreparable harm” to taxpayer confidence in government.
The county paid $238 million of the $364 million tab to build Chase Field, then Bank One Ballpark, in the late 1990s. This funding gave the team MLB’s first retractable-roof park in the United States, a swimming pool just beyond the right-center wall, and an air conditioning system that brings the desert heat to comfortably cool through a system potent enough to power 2,500 homes.
But the team wants new scoreboards, upgraded party lounges, and other improvements costing $64 million just 18 years after opening their new park. The county board, which witnessed a member shot after voting to heavily subsidize the stadium in the 1990s without the consent of voters, sees more important priorities in its jurisdiction.
The team’s lease runs out in 2027. A provision within the contract between the franchise and the county allows Phoenix to take over ownership should the county fail to fulfill obligations.