Friday, June 22, 2007

It's a Monster Problem Called Monster Park

After a recent series of meetings between the NFL and San Francisco 49er officials, it looks like wherever the Niners finally decide to move, it’s going to be at least a decade before a new stadium is a reality. Whether it’s in Santa Clara or at Hunters Point, the team’s fans are going to have to be satisfied with clunky, unappealing Monster Park for a long, long time.

The whole affair is a travesty and a disgrace. Monster Park is old and should be put out of its misery. The bathrooms stink with flooding toilets, the seats are uncomfortable and the entire place looks like a mall from the '70s. They should put a dome over it and make it into a prison. The Giants were smart and got out of there a long time ago. They've been playing better ever since.

San Francisco is the only city in the NFL with a sub-par facility. Ten years ago, former 49er owner Eddie DeBartolo and General Manager Carmen Policy had a very workable plan for a new stadium. Then, DeBartolo got caught up in a Louisiana gambling scandal and was forced to sell his share in the team. Policy saw the writing on the wall and fled to Cleveland to become part owner of the Browns.

Everything has gone downhill for the Niners since then. Eddie DeBartolo won a ton of Super Bowls and built a legendary dynasty. He ran a first-class operation and his players loved playing for him. Now the team is owned by Eddie’s sister Denise and run by her husband, John York.

The Niners have spent the last decade being less than mediocre and the fans are getting antsy. With a new coach and a young promising quarterback, last season was a positive one for the team and the future looks fairly bright -- except for the stadium situation, which is looking bleaker all the time.

The major dilemma here is that it’s basically impossible to get public money for a sports facility in California. We have 15 professional teams in this state and not one of them plays in a stadium or arena that was built using state money. California can’t even build proper roads, so how the heck is it going to come up with the cash to build a stadium?

Cities aren’t any better. After three unsuccessful ballot measures, the SF Giants finally built a park with their own money. AT&T Park is the only new stadium in the Bay Areas since the Oakland Coliseum opened in 1966.

So, it’s pretty evident that any new stadium for the 49ers is going to have to be funded with private money. Anyone who knows Denise DeBartolo and John York is convinced that they’re way too cheap to kick down.

So, until the planets line up perfectly, the fans will have to sit in the cold and wind – stuck with a stadium that is outdated and unacceptable by NFL standards.

It’s a monster problem and it’s called Monster Park.

1 comment:

Meathead said...

Nice article, Ed. Even the Giants and Jets are moving out of their dinosaur of a stadium in the Jersey swamp and getting a brand-new facility in a couple of years. Hard to imagine that an upper-crust area like the Bay Area, where the average house is probably well over half a million bucks, can't show its football teams a little more love.