Sacto mayor Johnson big hat, no cattle again

July 9, 2012, 11:23 pm
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I believe Kevin Johnson is serious when he says he wants a major league baseball team in Sacramento. I believe he is sincere. And I definitely believe he is nuts.
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But not nuts in that wouldnt this be an idea to kick around the back yard with a few folks? way. Just nuts in that why would you say this out loud to strangers? way. Johnson has done this kind of thing before announcing he had a deal with the peripatetic Maloof boys on an arena without having their signatures scrawled under duress on so much as a cocktail napkin. We know how that turned out by the powder burns on Johnsons shirt collar.
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But now hes aiming higher, and more erratically, at a team, in an industry whose franchise values have essentially doubled in a year, and whose easiest team to buy is worth maybe three times as much as it was. In short, he is presumably trying to schmooze John Fisher with essentially the same line he used on the Oofs, namely, We sure would like you to do what we want here where we live. That, and 400 million would get you the As, and another 300 million would get you the ballpark theyd need to play in. In short, hes gone big hat no cattle yet again.At least with the Kings, they were already in town, and he could paint the Oofs as disingenuous because they were. With baseball, he has no leverage, an insufficient corporate base, and nobody interested in buying a club with values freshly inflated by the Dodgers and Padres (pending) deals. Johnson says Sacramento is a major league city, whatever that means. Yes, it still has the Kings and Monarchs and Capitals and River Cats, but major league means a lot of things. Good schools, good roads, good hospitals and health care facilities and fire fighting, parks and neighborhoods, well-stocked and fair-minded police thats pretty damned major league, and you dont need a team for any of that.But its not our place to lecture Sacramento, because all the places we will in have issues and stages of suck-y-osity. Everybody tries to do the best they can with what they have.And hey, maybe Johnson knows something we dont about a team for sale, an eager buyer, and a love affair with the state capital we have not yet discerned. Its how Gregg Luginbill brought the Kings from Kansas City via Omaha all those years ago. But on the 99.3783 percent chance that hes blowing smoke here in blind hope, lets just say that wishful thinking works even less well the second time around, and if this is just a blind bluff, its chances are zero.And having missed out on keeping the Kings because he was dealing with guys in a financial freefall, he cant convincingly sell anyone on hooking a ball team. Not enough money, no ready-to-go venue, not enough corporate support in what is essentially a government town . . . it is as close to inconceivable as conceivable can be. But were always ready to listen to a line if hes actually got one to throw. This just wasnt it.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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