Monday, January 14, 2008

The Spectrum and Scott Rolen

Quick: How can you tell the difference between Scott Rolen and the Spectrum?

Answer: One is solid, somewhat overrated, oft-injured, and high-maintenance and was, at one time, loved by the fans here in Philly. Economic realities and increased expectations forced things in a different direction causing a unsatisfying breakup at the end.

The other is the Spectrum.

Both are in the news, but I'll start first with the Spectrum.

It is possible that the Spectrum has seen it's last days. The scuttlebutt is that the Spectrum is going to be knocked down and the property on which it sits will be used for commerical development. While this is sad on some levels, I actually think it's a good idea. The area down in South Philly absolutely needs more in terms of things to do after the game. There are bars that are within reasonable driving distance, but that's just the problem; you have to drive to get there. No one wants to drive to these places after the game. It's much better to simply spill out of the arena or stadium and fall into a spot. However, there are two issues I have with the plan as currently laid out:

1.) The name "Philly Live!" reminds me of "Market Street Live!", which some of you may remember as the entertainment complex near the Galleria (4th and Market, I think?). It ultimately failed.

2.) I am worried about the chain type establishments that might spring up in this scenario. Any bar or restaurant that goes into this "entertainment center" should only be local businesses. The world does not need another fucking Chilis. They put a Chili's in downtown State College, and frankly, it looks fucking ridiculous.

Usually I'm the nostalgic sort about sports buildings, but I don't see another way to create things to do in South Philly after the game without levelling the Spectrum that don't involve the locals in the neighborhood down there, who might carp if something in the way of development occurred close to residential areas. And let's face, the Spectrum is a relic of another time, with respect to hosting 17,000 people. Sure, I went to a ton of events there and have some great memories. But the concourses are like the trench on the surface of the Death Star. It was to the point where you can potentially violate your marital vows as you negotiated past all of the other people just going to buy a beer. The bathrooms were a terrible joke. The lines were always long and I can recall numerous incidents of flooding in some bathrooms. I can remember being at some events where the seats were just broken and you had to call an usher, who would move you, which was undesirable if you came with a group of people. The place was just a dump at the end and we should be a bit more thankful for the Wachovia Center.

Interesting dilemma here, though. What will be done with the Phantoms? They still draw good crowds and Philly is considered a real good market for the AHL. My long term suggestion? Build the rink across the river in Pennsauken, NJ on the site of the old Pennsauken Mart.

Now, when last we left the site of the old Pennsauken Mart, it was going to have condos and such developed on that land. But that decision was done within the past 18 months or so. Now, the housing market is not what it was a couple of years ago.

I don't claim to know how that project is going, but I can't imagine this is a great economic environment to build a condo development, where the condos are going to go for $250,000 a pop in a not-so-trendy part of South Jersey.

A hockey arena, on the hand, built for about 10,000 or so people, makes sense. In addition to being the home of the Phantoms and Kixx, it can be alternate site for concerts and smaller conventions. It is located near most large South Jersey thorofares (notably, Rt. 73 and 130) and is right across the Tacony/Palmyra bridge.

This story is to be continued.....

As for the other part of my intro, there is Scott Rolen. You may recall Rolen as the diva who wanted out of Philly, because, well, for a number of reasons, probably not the least of which was he just didn't like the area (although I admit that is conjecture, but most people kind of affirmatively nod when you mention it). I also will admit that management was asleep at the wheel at that time and did not do the right things to get talent in here, which was one of Rolen's beefs, but it's a beef that I believe Rolen did not have the clout to use (unlike, say, Curt Schilling, was already an accomplished pitcher by that point).
To quickly review, Scotty got his wish and got shipped to St. Louis for 10 shiny rocks and future AL All-Star Placido Polanco (don't get me started). All was supposed to be "baseball heaven" for Rolen in St. Louis. The corn-fed midwesterner seemed to find his niche and get away from the evil denizens of nasty ole' Philthadelphia, who seemed to want more out of dear Scott than he could reasonably provide.

Well, it seems Rolen is at it again. He has worn out his welcome in baseball heaven as he diva'd his way right out of baseball heaven and was traded to cold-ass Toronto for Troy Glaus. The arrogant bastard was essentially battling with one of the most accomplished managers in the game, in the organization he called "baseball heaven", basically because they wanted Scott to play better. Fuck you, Scott. Time to grow up.

Wait till Rolen sees what Toronto is like. Nice city with nice people, but with weather witchtit cold and the very definition of "non-traditional baseball market". Toronto is 18th in average attendance, sandwiched between Texas and Colorado; the very definitions of non-descript baseball markets. I hear they have turf in that dome they play in. That will wreck havoc on Rolen's back, knees, and shoulders. Ouch. Also, the dome they play in? Not a hitter's park, apparently. Also, last I checked, Albert Pujols does not play there to buttress Rolen's offensive numbers. Sound like baseball heaven to you, Scott?

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