Arrow-right Camera


Lowry Pitch To Taxpayers Is Way High

Sun., Oct. 15, 1995, midnight

Washington’s Gov. Groundout thinks he can save his greasy political bacon by sliding home on Mariner Fever.

Mike Lowry has made a lot of bonehead plays during his first term:

Our Democratic governor signed a bill giving grass growers freer rein to choke our skies with their demented field burning. He’s paying off a former staff member who claims the guv tried to get to second base with her.

Now good ol’ Lowry wants the public to step up to the plate and help build the poor Mariners a new stadium. A $320 million ballpark, he says, will keep them happy and in Seattle.

At first, conservative-minded Republicans and Democrats wisely called strike three on Gov. Groundout’s costly hysteria.

Then they folded like a cheap card table. It looks like this sorry business is a done deal.

If we’re going to pass the hat for the Mariners, I say let it be for a far worthier cause: better middle-relief pitching.

Last time I checked, however, this ballclub was a privately owned enterprise. Not some welfare mother in need of a handout.

Most Washington taxpayers will realize little, if any, direct benefit from Lowry’s lame-brained bailout.

Mariner fans, of course, will cry foul on my heretical words.

They march lock-step with Gov. Groundout because they are infected with Mariner Fever. Their brains swim in a stew of confusion.

They can’t think much beyond Edgar and Tino or whether Blowers will stand dumbly and watch another third strike float by his knees.

The giveaway is terrific, they rationalize, because the Mariners are, well, such an immeasurable source of pride for the state and the nation and humanity.

Right. As long as Randy’s elbow and Junior’s wrist hold up.

Does anybody actually think Gov. Groundout and his lemmings would go to bat for the M’s had they bobbled their division race to the Angels?

Not on your Louisville Slugger.

If the Mariners need a new stadium, let the team’s parent company - the billion-dollar Nintendo Corp. - build away. Let the King County business owners and residents chip in if they want. They have a vested interest in keeping the Mariners around.

Of course, some of us aren’t convinced the Mariners need a spiffier home.

“It is worth considering that the facility in which the Mariners perform may actually have nothing to do with the team’s long-term profitability,” wrote Olympia resident W.J. Engelhardt in a letter that appeared in the Seattle P-I.

“Apparently, the secret of a successful franchise has something to do with fielding a winning product. After 19 unmercifully painful seasons of languishing in baseball’s backwaters, the Mariners have a winning team and, not unpredictably, unprecedented fan support.”

The Kingdome, for all its squat gray homeliness, can be one rockin’ joint.

I’m speaking as a taxpayer who has gone the extra mile to keep the Mariners in Seattle. That’s 573 miles, to be precise.

The other day I yanked my beloved son, Ben, out of high school. We gassed up the Toyota and made a father-son pilgrimage west to Mocha - the latte lover’s holy land.

We paid 15 bucks to a grinning, larcenous parking attendant.

I bought a couple of micro beers at an outrageous $4.75 per micro cup. A bag of 17 peanuts cost me over a dime a peanut.

One souvenir program: six bucks, thank you very much, sir. After the game, I dropped $50 for a fine meal at one of Seattle’s waterfront eating establishments.

And you know what? I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Watching the Mariners play such excellent baseball in Seattle’s dense, deafening dome was worth every nickel.

Send Gov. Groundout and his team to the showers.

The Mariners shouldn’t hit up taxpayers for a new stadium. They should keep hitting the ball.

If they swat it, we will come.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

Tags: column

Click here to comment on this story »