One has to wonder about the relationship of JS Sports Editor and Peoria Baseball President "Rocky" Vonachen after reading today's front page and then looking at the boxscore on page D6.
If you missed it, here is the JS front page headline, "Opening Night a Hit" with a by-line reading "Whether arriving early or late, Chiefs fans PACK O'Brien Field for home opener. Now go to the sports page on on page D6 is says. "Attendance 3273" in a $23,000,000.00 stadium, where a PACKED house is 8,000 fans.
Packed my eye. A short 5 months ago, 12/22/2011, the JS front page showed that the Chiefs lost $488,000.00 in 2010, $438,000.00 in 2007, $464,000.00 in 2008 with no results published for 2011 but the lost was large because my personal loss in 2011 was $3,399.00 and I own probably less than one share.
As previous articles in the JS, I questioned the move from Meinen Field, rent about $30,000.00 as year to a new stadium being built with a majority of borrowed money. (The City of Peoria contributed somewhere around $5 million depending on what figure the city wishes to give out and $2 million from Ex-Governor and someday ex-con, Illinois First Funds.)
At the time the stadium was being considered, the JSEB wrote "Why should city risk millions on stadium"? Here is part of what they said, "Do not dismiss Merle Widmer's concern so easily. The former Peria businessman spent months of his retirement being a thorn in the side of the Peoria Park District and District #150 and those who want a four-lane highway to Chicago, etc. And a good thing too. He challenges conventional thinking. A community needs that.
And so he asks a good question: Why should the city risk potentially millions of dollars on a new stadium for a team that has already about 0ne-tenth the rent and isn't making a profit, that has yet to produce the private investment promised beyond a vague commitment fro Caterpillar?"
Unfortunately 2-3 members of the JSEB never forgot my election win over their heavy favorite, Zan Ransburg. Fortunately, two of my tormentors are gone from the JS and the JS is under heavy pressure from the corporation that owns them. The paper is a shell of it's former self.
Few people like someone who thinks is right and then is proven right. But popularity was never a major goal of mine in life. Neither was money. But I am a stickler on facts because facts seldom lie.
Packed house? My eye. Just trying to help out a struggling highly questionable investment? O'Brien Field? Only by default for the third straight year as the Chiefs apparently have not been able to find a paying name sponsor.