1. Who is the Beacon Center, where are they located and who is Mark Cunningham?
2. Who owns the Lookouts AT&T Field at present? Is it with full, free and clear title, or other?
3. When originally built as Bell South Field on the former Kirkman School site, what was the ownership/lease agreement structured with the City of Chattanooga at that time? Did that agreement include ownership changes which would take place at a later date under certain conditions? If so, what were those possible changes and have they been met or exercised per the original agreement?
4. What horse does Beacon Center have in this race? Why might they be raising these questions at this time? To whom was this Op-Ed sent or aimed?
As always, it is interesting to know more, and what might it mean.
Thanks for reading and the feedback.
1. A policy group/think tank in Nashville. Cunningham is their spokesman.
2. The Hardball Capital group owns the team and stadium, outright, free and clear. The city owns the land and leases it for a dollar a year.
3. No original agreement beyond the locked in golden rent. Frank Burke built AT&T with private funds but only pledged to do that on that specific site. There was no "if the team gets
sold..." contingency, at least none that we have ever heard of.
4. That's an interesting question, if Beacon has something invested beyond just direct political principals. As far as the timing, we believe this will be addressed and discussed much more next week when the Southside Planning committee gets together on Thursday. It was sent to several of us at the TFP.
Thanks again for the question.
For the bag, you sound very open to the use of city tax dollars going to help fund a new Lookouts stadium. But you were against Atlanta using city tax dollars for the new Falcons stadium.
How would the Lookouts' situation be any different ideologically? Maybe you see the idea of a megaplex as a game changer, but wouldn't that just move money from one part of town to another and not generate much real gain in the end for the city?
Great question, Stewwie.
I am open, and in some ways, I have have changed my opinion at least in perspective.
I originally warned against the M.O. of the group that bought the Lookouts from Frank Burke. In each of their previous stops, they have asked for a stadium with the knowledge that no new stadium almost assuredly means no team sooner rather than later.
And I'm still of the thought that building just a new home just for baseball and the Lookouts would not be a wise venture for the city. But these ballparks as the linchpin of the this metroplexes like a SunTrust Park and some of the others should be examined.
Quick aside: Not sure we were ever against the new Falcons Stadium as much as we were puzzled by the announcement of closing the two stadiums in Atlanta that were less than 20 and 25 years old respectively.
And if we were ever against one, it would have been SunTrust, but having been there, we understand it. We understand Cobb County luring the Braves out of downtown and the Braves wanting that. Does it work financially for the folks in Cobb County? We'll see, but it looks better than I ever believed.
NFL stadiums are a different beast, though, even in Atlanta where they closed a fine facility that was barely old enough to buy a beer. And the reason the NFL facilities are different is the following discourse:
If Atlanta did not, someone would.
Atlanta did, and in the coming four years, Mercedes Benz will host the college football national championship, the Final Four and the Super Bowl. The tourism money on those events alone will come close to covering the city's investment.
Then look at the alternative. If the Falcons leave, how much longer is the Dome kept up, meaning the Peach Bowl loses luster, the big events fade and certainly never another Super Bowl. Fair point about moving money the city in reference in regard to the Lookouts, but the difference there hinges on the land available on Hawk Hill where AT&T is now. That land could become any number of things, you know?
Also of note, and we used two questions on this topic for this reason: Two of the main things we want to be clear about on why we wrote about the Beacon Center and the talks of the new stadium this week on A2:
First, you phrased it perfectly. We are open to the talks. It may not be a good deal in the end, but shutting something down without hearing the options is part of the division that partisan politics has cut into our country's soul.
Secondly, the last think we want is some think tank — be them two hours or two time zones away — preemptively trying to turn a conversation that really doesn't affect them in the least.
Great question as always.
With the news that 13 at Augusta National may be lengthened an additional 50-60 yards from 510 yards, why not consider making it a long par 4 and leave it at 510? I realize there's a lot of tradition at AN, but an old boss taught me the phrase "Change or Die". I've been to the Masters twice and it's definitely awesome in it's awesomeness, but why not reduce par, narrow the fairways with rough or more trees? With golf technology today, buying more real estate seems like a short term solution. If I was in charge at AN, I'd franchise the pimento cheese sandwich recipe to pay for every future course upgrade.
Augusta was kind of the first frontrunner of the "Tiger-proofing" that has come with the growing technology and strength and length of the game's best players.
(Side note: From the Members tees, Augusta National plays about 6,200 yards and is completely manageable and allows for scoring because the conditions are so pristine. Have we mentioned lately that we've played it twice? Just checking.)
As for your suggestion, well, while we agree that the "Change or die" approach is a mantra a lot of us in almost every industry should be comfortable with in this day and age. But not there.
Not at the Sistine Chapel. Not at the world's golf shrine.
And not at Augusta National.
Moving it back a 50-or-60 yards would make eagle more rewarding, since you're still going to have to carry the tributary from Rae's Creek but now you are going to have to do it with a longer iron than a 7. As for changing par, it will never happen for a number of reasons.
One, the Masters embraces tradition like no other.
Two, the Masters has always been the major that the greats went out and won on the back nine on Sunday. Eagles at 13 are part of that. Let the greats battle for par at The Open. Let them battle the weather at The Open Championship. Not at Augusta.
Finally, the draw of Augusta is that unlike every other major it is played at the same venue and we all know it inside and out.
Changing the core scoring of the final part of Amen Corner would seem blasphemous and change everyone's favorite course that we all feel like we know backward and forward. (Whether you've played it twice or not.)
You doin' a PGA contest?
If you remember, NBC was going to broadcast the first game under lights at Wrigley. Because of the rainout, it went to WGN and Harry Caray to do the first game. Kinda more fitting anyway, you know?
Stat of the day for SEC East haters - the four bottom offenses in the SEC last year were all East teams. Of those four, the highest-ranked offense was at 77 (Georgia). Two were ranked in the 100s (Florida and South Carolina). Because they are in the East, they're not playing LSU and Alabama every year (unless the SEC scheduling gods hate them and make them their West rotation).
So is it good SEC defense or just bad offense?
Top-ranked offense in the SEC East last year was Mizzou. Didn't see how they did in conference play. Could have fattened up against whoever they played. It is Missouri football and does anybody there care anymore about it?
The answer is obviously no on the PGA contest. Major in name only, and since we had Phil — plus-8 — Mickelson among our picks, well, you get the idea.
Side question: Does Mickelson have one more major in him? His finishes this year are less than Phil-like. Masters T-22; The Players T-41; U.S. Open did not play; British Open MC; PGA, well, not a good start. Dude is 47.
As for the stats, you bring up a good point about the offenses, and last year it was about the challenges East teams had at quarterback. It was a league-wide dilemma outside of Knoxville and Tuscaloosa for most folks. (Yes, Bentley at South Carolina came together at the end, but you get the idea.)
Paschall brought this up earlier this week, and quite possibly the most important position battle in the SEC is the quarterback tug of war in Gainesville. If the Gators can get good quarterback play — something they have not consistently had since Will Grier went to the GNC — they could be very good.
As for Mizzou's offensive numbers that was two-fold: Yes, the scheduled allowed for some quick feasts on lesser foes. It also helped the Missouri offense that the Missouri defense was simply dreadful and the offense needed to score every time out to have a chance.
From Shawn W.
Did you watch the SNL news spinoff (Thursday)? I liked it.
It also made me wonder if you had a Rushmore of SNL skits that could have become a TV spinoff what are you going with?
Thanks, and love the 5-at-10.
Shawn W. —
Thanks for the kind words. Not sure how many of the reoccurring skits could hold a 30-minute show. Most are designed for quick jokes or in some cases an extended storyline that covers 90 minutes like the number of films that have been done on SNL characters.
But if we were pressed on characters that could — and could is the key word here — we think it would be the following:
We'll start with Ed Grimley, the great Martin Short character who was a super-dorky Seinfeld in some ways with a great love for Pat Sajak.
The comedy short of Milton, from Mike Judge that became the basis of the movie "Office Space."
Matt Foley with Chris Farley.
And of course, anything that Eddie Murphy wanted to do. (And the fact that the guys from "The Midas Touch" Barber shop from "Coming to America" didn't get their own spin-off is a travesty.
This week's Rushmore and today's date
Rushmore of TV/movie schools: We'll split this into TV and movies. Movies, we'll go Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Adams College — home of the Atoms in Revenge of the Nerds — Rydell High (Grease) and Ridgemont High over Sheerer High (Breakfast Club).
TV: Springfield Elementary, where Bart has been in the fourth grade for 25-plus years, Carver High (White Shadow), Beverly Hills High (90210) and Bayside (Saved by the Bell).
Rushmore of board games — Chess, checkers, Monopoly, Scrabble
Rushmore of Dustin Hoffman movies — Graduate, Tootsie, Rain Man, All the President's Men (personal choice).
Rushmore of TV network news anchors — Cronkite, Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters, David Brinkley
On Aug. 11 in history: In 1929, Babe Ruth becomes the first baseball player to hit 500 homers. Considering the all-time record was like 120 when the Babe got going, 500 must have seemed like a million back then.
Alex Haley would have been 96 today. Steve Wozniak — one of the Godfathers of Apple — is 67. Hulk Hogan is 64.
Robin Williams died on this day in 2014. (Hard to believe it was three years ago.)
Peter Cushing died on this day in 1994. He was Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, and was computer-generated in Rogue One, which has to be pretty weird for Cushing's family, right?
Along those Star Wars lines, Ian McDiarmid, who played Emperor Palpatine.
Less-than Fan mail
"I'm still waiting for that column on Trump's vacations and golfing vs Obama's. Your a hypocrite huckleberry."