Ben Dover Stadium
The shovels are singing and the horseshit flying as the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox have begun their pitch to the Capital City and Little Rhody in earnest. (Well, at least to-date the state, leaving the Providence City Council not amused by being blown off by the PawSox honchos.)
The team pushing for the new baseball stadium on the newly created I-195 land parcel have surprisingly already shown many of their cards. Led by local snake oil salesman and attorney (sorry, redundant) Jim Skeffington, who is what passes for a white shoe lawyer in La Prov, the new hierarchy of the beloved PawSox have made it known they will expect tax breaks and financial favors from the city and state to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, which means the taxpayers will be on the hook for funding this toy for the rich white boys who will reap the profits. For that reason, P&J understand the proposed venue will be named the Ben Dover Stadium for the public’s role in this hummer.
Fortunately, Our Gina has already made it clear that this dog won’t hunt, but it doesn’t mean that Skeffington — whose made-for-media cameras grin makes you think of what Dracula may have looked like if he owned a PR firm — and his gang won’t keep the pressure on. Their recent announcement that they would be prepared to buy the land, rather than lease it, hasn’t let the other shoe drop about what kind of a discount they would be demanding on the market price per acre.
At first blush, the obvious question is how this will meet the often and loudly espoused aim that the I-195 land becomes a Little Rhody economic development booster rocket, focusing on high-end technology, biotech and research. Knowledge District, indeed. As we have said here before, promoting the fact that a hotel may be built next to the stadium expecting Ohioan fans of the visiting Toledo Mud Hens to flock to Providence for a weekend series with the PawSox seems, to put it gently, insane bullshit.
Conspicuous by its absence in the debate is Brown University, which owns a bit of the land required by the Ben Dover Stadium proposal. Is the idea of selling off a piece of valuable land ticketed for their medical and research pursuits in lieu of a minor league ballpark really part of the school’s high-minded vision? We think not, President Paxson, so let’s get it together up on College Hill and just say no now, and not try to hide behind the ivy.
And if Skeffington thinks that his partner in this deal, Larry Lucchino, brings a special Boston Red Sox big-time, major league cachet to the wheeling and dealing to sway officials and the BoSox-loving public, we have two words for you: Curt Schilling.
While the negotiations continue and the analogy of this process being a nine-inning game has been beaten into a coma already, P&J have already warned you that the PawSox execs have a flame-throwing relief pitcher ready to come in late in the game named Moveto Mass. The new owners may have tipped their hand a bit already, but you can be sure that the call will go out to the bullpen for the Mass element as soon as they see the game starting to slip away.
Stick to the fastball, Little Rhody. The only thing Skeffington & Co. will be throwing is curves. (P&J promise this will be the last baseball analogy we will use in describing this badly thought-out deal, and urge other state and city officials to also take the pledge. Especially you, Councilman Zurier. This is serious stuff, and your tortured metaphors would be laughable if they weren’t so annoying.)
Who the hell do the folks at the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority think they are? These arrogant rebels seem hell-bent on crushing the culture of state construction in The Biggest Little.
Phillipe and Jorge refer to the recent work done on the Newport Bridge to install a controversial median barrier, which many felt rather unnecessary, but which was spurred by a few horrific head-on crashes, death resulting, in the past few years.
How did RITBA violate nearly every rule in the Vo Dilun construction project handbook? Get this: 1) they finished the median work on budget; 2) they finished the job ahead of the deadline; and 3) they failed to disrupt any major events that contribute to community spirit and/or provide a boost to local merchants through visitor and tourist dollars.
This is an absolute affront to Little Rhody tradition, carefully nurtured and maintained for decades, which requires massive cost overruns with a nod and a wink exchanged between state officials and construction companies, a deadline that prompts absolute behind-the-scene guffaws from all parties when it is announced, and massive traffic tie-ups that have visitors swearing that they will never set foot or wheel in the state for the rest of their lives, as they turn back and avoid even attempting to make it to a major tourist attraction like the Volvo ocean race series that is due to arrive in the City by the Sea on May 6, has been ballyhooed for months and figures to fill Newport’s hotels, restaurants and shops for a week-plus.
P&J will have our eye on you, RITBA, because it is this sort of thing that may become contagious for road and bridge projects statewide, possibly smearing Vo Dilun’s reputation for total incompetence and corruption.
Me Gotta Go
If there was ever a rock ‘n’ roll anthem before the Beatles, Dylan and the Stones came along, it was “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen. It was perfect: three chords, terrible sound recording and words that were so garbled that the FBI once spent countless hours investigating whether the song was obscene. In a report (over 100 pages long), the FBI determined that the song was “unintelligible at any speed.” What was actually obscene was the FBI wasting all that time and money. It was hard to hear the lyrics because the singer, Jack Ely, was standing on his toes with his head tilted back at a 45-degree angle, screaming the song upward because the microphone was dangling several feet above his head.
The song was subsequently recorded by over 1,700 bands, every garage and teenage band in the country played it and, at one point, there were “Louie, Louie” parades where marching bands would play the song over and over (the Rice University Marching Owl Band had a nice recorded version on Rhino Records). You can’t make this stuff up.
Jack Ely, the man who sang “Louie, Louie” for the Kingsmen, passed away in his home state of Oregon on Tues, April 28. Since no one could ever understand the words to the Kingsmen’s hit version, the garage bands of the era made up their own (“dirty”) words when covering the song. (Phillipe & Jorge’s visual image is of Eddie Haskell doing the twist to “Louie, Louie.”) But, the fact is that there are actual non-dirty words to the song. It was written and originally recorded by Richard Berry in 1956. As a public service, Cool, Cool World presents the actual lyrics to “Louie, Louie.”
Louie Louie, oh no
Me gotta go
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louie Louie, oh baby
Me gotta go
Fine little girl waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know if I make it home
Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl, constantly
On that ship, I dream she’s there
I smell the rose in her hair.
See Jamaica, the moon above
It won’t be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
Tell her I’ll never leave again