Ratto: 49ers' stadium drive stalls short of end zone

June 8, 2011, 9:28 pm
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So maybe, in light of the fact that the stadium cost overruns have begun and the 49ers still dont have half the money they need to make this Santa Clara thing happen, we need to tell them this:

If you aint got it, kids, move on. Either start sucking up to San Francisco again, find the other 500 large on your own, or just stop talking about it.

We bring this up because the 49ers, without anyone asking them, trumpeted the one-year anniversary of the vote from about 62 citizens from the City of Santa Clara that said they would be welcomed with open arms and turned-out pockets. And whats happened in that year?

The stadium costs another 50 million, no doubt for the platinum-inlaid urinals on the suite level. The financing from the 49ers and the NFL went, in the charming words of the San Jose Mercury News, from 493 million to unclear. The new governor of our state -- who is the same as the old governor of our state, only without the extraneous family -- is casting a covetous eye on the states development money. And there is a pending lockout by the owners of the players, of which John C. and John E. York clearly approve.

In short, the gap between can-do and theyre-screwed is growing, and all this inertia is allowing us to worry about the million billion other things that tend to intrude upon our lives.

Like the largely absurd Camp Alex, in which players who have been told by their boss not to come to work are working on the side, for free, so that theyll be ready to work harder when they are allowed back inside the compound.

Theres a name for this kind of labor-without-recompense philosophy: Student-Athlete.

But lets get back to the stadium that isnt, and may never be, shall we? Because there is nothing quite like perpetually undeveloped real estate to make the blood run hot.

The 49ers have talked this stadium to death and beyond, when it is painfully clear to anyone who can read a Forbes Magazine that they cant do this themselves. They keep saying they have good financing, but nobody gets to see it. They say theyre ready, and there is neer a shovel on the site.

This means one thing. They havent got the money yet, and they dont know where to find it. They may even think that investing half the family worth in a football stadium is a less than prudent investment, an idea whose time is beginning to come for a lot of teams and a lot of cities.

So why are we celebrating the first birthday of this stuff and nonsense? So that people will say, Hey, we forgot! Wheres the stadium?

I mean, since they forgot about it and need a press release reminding them, one can only conclude that it clearly is not an idea that resonates in their minds. I mean, what with trying to find schools for their kids that can afford pencils, jobs that dont evaporate and cost of living rises that shame Paraguay and all.

Thus, to the 49ers, heres an anniversary to celebrate and trumpet. The one when you say, in a press release as gaudy as the one you just put out:

Hi kids. Yorks here.

Listen, we still want the stadium, we still think its a good idea and all, but were not ready, and apparently neither are you. Its called re-bar fatigue, and we dont even have any re-bar yet.

So heres the deal. The Santa Clara thing is what we in the construction business call dead in the water, which means we have no hole in the ground to show you, and no bankbook to show how close we are to making the hole. Hey, it happens.

This then is our pledge to you. Were not going to say another word about it until burly men and burlier women with shovels and back hoes and cement mixers show up and start making that hole. Well get the money, well do the work, and we promise above all to shut up about it until the work has at least gone past the standing around and scratching our heads stage. Dont think another thing about it. Honest.

And if it doesnt get done, we wont blame anyone. Sometimes stuff just happens, and part of being a good citizen in these perilous times is in knowing when not to whine about it. So were not going to whine. Well either do, or we wont, and either way, were at your service.

People would applaud that rare bit of candor. Plus, theyd be able to return to their daily lives and say in a moment of tavern-inspired reverie, Remember that Camp Alex thing? I wonder why it never caught on in any other line of work.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.