Ed Hardin speaks the truth

Well, finally, First Horizon Stadium publicist (aka N&R Sports columnist) Ed Hardin acknowledged a couple of truths about why certain members of our community fought so hard to keep minor-league baseball as the main tenant for a renovated War Memorial Stadium (WMS).

In today’s front page column heralding the new stadium’s 260,341st visitor, Hardin gives a nod to the true underlying reason why many of the ‘new stadium naysayers’ opposed the abandonment of the old place: history and preservation.  When first time stadium-goer Jim Brown triggered one of the stadium’s gleaming turnstiles, the old attendance record for a minor league baseball season in Greensboro was broken with 25 or so additional home games still to go.  That record was set in 1981, and according to Hardin…

“…That was the year of Don Mattingly and the Hornets, the year some consider the greatest in Greensboro baseball history. A history that people fought long and hard to preserve in a contentious fight between those who wanted to build a downtown baseball stadium and those who wanted to preserve history and a decaying ballpark that had been the home of Greensboro baseball since the Great Depression.”

Funny how some people will acknowledge the importance of preservation and history only when such quaint notions fit their agendas or after in-the-way-of-progress historic structures have been abandoned or bulldozed.  But thanks anyway, Ed.

The second truth Hardin acknowledges may have been a Freudian slip, but hey, Freudian slips happen all the time in journalism…  don’t they?

“There were those who said it was wrong to build it and those who said it would be wrong not to. After public debate and outcries from groups organized to stop the construction of the new park, after a referendum vote and interference from people inside and outside Greensboro, the park was built with public money with the express purpose of revitalizing downtown.”

Well now, in all fairness, it would have been more accurate for him to have said “…the park was built with a combination of private and public money…” but, who knows, Ed might have been giving a nod to another little-publicized argument that was made during the baseball stadium contentiousness:  Even though much of the money for the stadium came from private foundations, such money is considered by the IRS as being quasi-public due to its tax-exempt status. 

Either way, for both of these truths, I am grateful, Ed.

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