Sports Opinion & Analysis

Are The D-backs Trying To Muscle The Coyotes Out Of Phoenix?

In MLB, NHL on June 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

Barry Goldwater, the late Arizona Senator and 1964 GOP Presidential Nominee whose name is synonymous with Libertarian values, is now being considered more a”Debbie-downer,” and “hockey-hater,” than the “Godfather of Conservative Politics.”

“Early on, I suggested using tactical nuclear weapons to deforest the jungles of Vietnam. Later in my career, I was one of the first Republicans to speak in favor of a woman’s right to choose, and gays being allowed in the military. Also, screw the Coyotes. Vote for me in ’64.”

Barry Goldwater himself is not leading the charge to null-and-void the lease the city of Glendale approved for the team, which would allow potential buyer, Greg Jamison, to go ahead and purchase them. Goldwater died in 1998, of course.

But the organization that is his namesake, the right-wing Goldwater Institute, is stopping at no end in their self-appointed role as “Champions for Who Gives a Crap,” to ensure the team, fresh off an appearance in the Western Conference Finals (where they lost to the eventual champions, the L.A. Kings) is boxed-up and on a truck to either Quebec City or Seattle by summer’s end.

Every time the city or the league have a prospective buyer for the team, the Goldwater Institute files another “frivolous” (we’ll get to the merits of that comment later) lawsuit if the first words spoken by said prospective buyer aren’t, “Don’t worry, I’m moving the team to Canada as fast as I can.”

Why would anyone care so much about a city trying to keep a resident they already have, in an arena that is already built? Wouldn’t it be better for the city and the arena and the small businesses in the surrounding areas to do everything possible to keep the team where it’s at, in order to act as an epicenter of potential commerce? Of course it was a mistake to build the stadium in Glendale in the first place, because Glendale is on the far west-side of the city and the location isolates the attending fan-base to roughly half of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. But wouldn’t a bigger mistake be letting the team walk and having nobody to fill their place, especially after the season they just had?

Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t think butts are going to be in the seats next year, after being so close to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup appearance? Come on, tell me that. Oh, that’s right, you can’t, can you?

So why then would the Goldwater Institute work so hard, time-after-time, to do everything they possibly can to kick the team out of the state?

My suspicions are because of the bottom line. Particularly, the bottom line for Managing General Partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ken Kendrick.

“I think the purple behind me is stupid, so I’m changing it.”

Ken Kendrick is the man who more-or-less ousted Phoenix sports icon, Jerry Colangelo, from the team’s ownership. Upon taking control, Kendrick changed the team’s colors after they recently won a World Series wearing them (purple and teal were not great, and in fact a little horrible, but come on, you can’t change that much after winning a ring), made a series of poor-to-awful choices (Wally Backman, A.J. Hinch, Josh Byrnes, trading Carlos Gonzalez, etc, etc, etc), then pretty much blamed it all, right-or-wrong, on Colangelo’s wild spending habits (when Colangelo was ousted, the team still had $150 million dollars in deferred salaries for the World Series they bought won. It was actually so bad, the team was on the verge of bankruptcy).

So after all the years of struggle and basement baseball, with two surprise NL West titles thrown in, the team is finally looking up, and are only a few more deferred checks away from being done with paying for the past (although Bernard Gilkey will still be getting a million dollars a year until 2017). So what’s the problem? The Diamondbacks are the only show in Phoenix during the summer, especially when there’s nothing else to do but sit in your pool and sweat to death. They shouldn’t have any problem getting people to the games, right? Heck, even the stadium has a pool, so they got that covered.

Even if you’re in the water, chances are you’re still sweating.

The issue is while the D-backs have the summers to themselves, they still have to share the beginning of their season with their next door neighbor and the city’s favorite son (although they’re reeeeeeaaaallly going to stink when Nash leaves), the Phoenix Suns, as well as the Coyotes, as well has having to to give up every Sunday in the later part of the season, once the Cardinals start playing. There’s no way the team can get rid of the Suns, and ever since 2007, getting people to Chase Field in September on a Sunday is practically impossible. So instead, why not do everything they can to kill a little bit of the competition, and free up the days for the 9,000-to-12,000 people who attend Coyotes games on the same nights the Diamondbacks play?

This would all sound like the ramblings of a crazy conspiracy nutcase, if it wasn’t for the fact that Randy Kendrick, Ken Kendrick’s wife, serves on the Goldwater Institute’s Board of Directors. She consistently maintains that she has no interaction with Goldwater’s lawyers, and has nothing to do with whether or not the institute gets involved with the Coyotes deal, but come on. People aren’t stupid. You’re the wife of a highly powerful businessman, and are a director for a highly powerful political advocacy group which happens to be challenging a rival business venture, which more or less is seeking to receive the same public funding your husband more-or-less already receives.

And you want to tell everyone that’s only because your institute isn’t interested in investigating pre-exsisting deals, even if they are continuously on-going?

“Come on man!”

That’s why the Goldwater lawsuits are ‘frivolous.’ Goldwater picks-and-chooses which targets they want to go after, and in this case, are specifically targeting a company which rivals the business dealings of one of their directors. And they do so over and over and over again.

While I disagree with the idea of the Institute going after the D-Backs, Suns or Cardinals for receiving similar benefits, I would at least respect the organization for actually standing up for something, besides the wallets of people associated with the group. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way or go away. Which is more or less what I suggest the Goldwater Institute do. They are doing no one any favors with their consistent interference in the Coyotes/Glendale situation, except themselves.

For all his faults, Barry Goldwater was no hypocrite. While I can’t speak for him, I believe he would probably be disgusted an organization using his name would conduct themselves in actions that are in complete conflict-of-interest with one another. As the saying goes, who watches the watchmen, because someone needs to be throwing a wrench in Goldwater’s intentions, as much as they are doing so to hockey fans in Arizona.

  1. I would caution against calling Jerry Colangelo a Phoenix “icon.” “Lightening rod” might be more appropriate, as he was pretty consistently controversial. Remember how the Diamondbacks’ stadium got built (back when it was good ol’ BoB)? Special interest groups were a part of that, too. Maybe what I’m really saying is that the Diamondbacks are evil. Or at least their ownership has a consistent track record.

    • Despite all his faults, Colangelo saved the Suns from bankruptcy following a huge drug scandal, brought baseball to the Valley, and facilitated the relocation of the Jets to the state. While everyone has a tendency to look back at his tenure with rose-colored glasses, and inflate his achievements, he is still an influential and iconic figure in Arizona sports history. If it wasn’t for him, Phoenix would be just like Albuquerque in regards to professional sports. And what I mean be that is-and no slight to Alburqurerge-without Colangelo, Phoenix would just another South-Western town with nothing.

    • I would also caution against calling an entire sports franchise ‘evil.’

  2. Just the ownership!

  3. The incidental few fans that would not attend a Diamondbacks game overlapping the Coyotes schedule IS NOT THE REASON the Goldwater Institute is relentlessly attacking the City of Glendale and any attempt at the Coyotes sale.

    Take a look at CityScape and the investment by Goldwater Institute boards members, donors, supporters and benefactors.
    That is why they economically destroyed City North. It was to be a relatively upscale urban-style living / dining / shopping experience. In North Phoenix. In DIRECT COMPETITION with the slow to get started / slow to be finished CityScape.

    And Westgate, while not a competing living experience, is a competing entertainment district, pulling events away from USAC in downtown PHX. If the Coyotes got a solid owner the likes of Jamison, with partner investors that would build the other 75% of Westgate and the surrounding area up, it would easily compete, and out-do, the entertainment aspect of CityScape.

    That Kendricks is a MAJOR INVESTOR in the new CityScape hotel, boasting to the Arizona Republics Dan Bickley in an early June article that his hotel has 170 rooms booked for a visiting NFL Cardinals opponent tells you EVERYTHING you need to know.

    If in the next year or two, if Jamison is successful, similar hotel experiences were constructed or in the planning stages, CityScape withers and dies.

    And what of the Cubs Mesa ballpark fiasco? Goldwater was adamantly against that as having violated the AZ Gift Clause. Yet, it seemingly passed by voter approval, despite Goldwater Institute’s Carrie Ann Sitren declaring it in violation of the Arizona Constitution, with supporting opinion by GI’s Clint Bolick.
    However, US Representative Jeff Flake’s district is where the ballpark is located.
    Make that, United States Senate Candidate Jeff Flake.
    Make that, Goldwater Institute employee and claimant for putting them on the map Jeff Flake.
    Make that CANDIDATE SUPPORTED BY THE KENDRICKS’ (as in Ma AND Pa), Jerry Moyes, and Jerry Colangelo supported CANDIDATE JEFF FLAKE.

    All one needs to do is follow the money…not that from the City of Glendale to Greg Jamison who is giving in return services equal to the money a city can legally designate be appropriated to him, but the money flowing to the Goldwater Institute from the cast of
    characters that give the “SICK ‘EM” orders.
    Oh wait, you can’t REALLY see who is giving them money, as they are deftly hiding behind their 501(c)3 moniker (though their sister attack dog, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club through legal chicanery, are a 501(c)”4″ – which allows them to LEGALLY LOBBY yet remain tax-exempt.
    Oh – and be careful to note that Kendricks (the Mrs.) is on the board of AFEC as well.

    Stinks, eh?

    Where is the investigative reporting in this cowtown?

    Maybe The New Times should peel this onion back a few layers….I’m sure they would find it STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN.

    Or to CityScape…the financial HEAVEN of these crooks.

  4. @azschumi Great points and thanks for posting. You posted your comment twice, so I accepted the most recent comment. I hope this is what you were intending. I think we both can agree that there are larger powers in Arizona trying to force the Coyotes out of the state, and none of them have anything to do with “a fan base that can’t support them.” Keep spreading the word, and making people aware why “the state can’t support hockey.”

    Thanks for reading.

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