- - Thursday, July 20, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In the midst of all the Kirk Cousins contract angst, a bit of more bad news emerged last week.

Plans for a new ballpark for the Potomac Nationals have fallen through.

You likely may wonder what a Class A minor league ballpark in Woodbridge, Virginia, has to do with the football team.

Here’s how they’re connected: Someone in the Commonwealth said “no” once again. In Virginia, it’s always “no.”

A new minor league ballpark? No.

A new football stadium for the Washington Redskins? Are you serious?

The Potomac club has been waiting for years for a new ballpark, and time after time has been rebuffed by local government officials. This deal was for a $35 million, 6,000 seat ballpark, but while a deal appeared to be in place, it fell through last week for reasons yet to be revealed.

In Loudon County, plans have been discussed for a new Redskins stadium that will cost somebody more than $1 billion.

For all the bravado exhibited by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe about luring the Redskins from Maryland to Virginia, he will be a spectator, out of office, by the time any such battle would take place for funding the proposed stadium.

And while the candidates seeking office have not ruled out supporting a new stadium, for a new governor just starting his term, new facilities are a tough sell. A sell that, in Virginia, traditionally falls flat on its face.

Virginia may be the NIMBY (not in my back yard) capital of America.

See the Potomac Nationals, who have been in Woodbridge’s backyard for 33 years and still can’t get the political or popular support for a new ballpark.

See the Redskins, beloved owner Jack Kent Cooke and then-Gov. Doug Wilder 25 years ago, when they were rebuffed in their efforts to put a new stadium in Potomac Yards, with local officials and residents mounting a campaign to stop them. “Citizens Against the Stadium,” a community group that led the fight, said the plan’s failure “is a powerful example of ordinary citizens prevailing over the powerful and greedy,” according to the Washington Post.

See Disney America’s plans for a $650 million Civil War theme park in Haymarket two years later — quashed by citizen opposition and local and state elected officials.

See a major league baseball stadium in northern Virginia — first in Arlington, where again, despite the backing of Gov. George Allen, local residents and elected officials stopped those plans, and then, on the brink the Montreal Expos’ relocation, in Loudon County when Gov. Mark Warner — once an investor in the group seeking to bring major league baseball to northern Virginia — refused to back the bonds necessary for ballpark construction.

See several years later, when plans for a minor league ballpark in Loudon County also fell apart. And down Interstate 95 in Fredericksburg, where, two years ago, a move by the Hagerstown Suns met with local opposition to a taxpayer-funded ballpark.

No. No. No. No. No.

Politicians did say yes to the Redskins before — in Richmond for the Bon Secours Training Center, where camp is scheduled to open Thursday. That public-financing partnership is proving to be debacle for the city, as payments to the team are going up and revenues are going down.

Good luck selling a new football stadium in northern Virginia to the politicians in and around Richmond.

I’ve always believed the new stadium will wind up back in Maryland, near National Harbor. Redskins fans in Virginia have been traveling across the river since the team moved here from Boston in 1937 to see them play.

I’m not sure that Maryland Redskins fans will show the same commitment to cross the Potomac to see their team play — especially out in Loudon County. If the Redskins play in Virginia, they might as well raise the white flag to the Baltimore Ravens in the state of Maryland.

But it won’t come to that. They will say no in Virginia.

It’s what they do. Virginia may be for lovers, but only if it doesn’t cost anything.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.

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