Saturday, March 26, 2011

Uptown's villain: Should he be out of the game?

The most reviled man in uptown arrives just in time for the special meeting of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. He slides into the second row of public seating, hardly noticed by the commissioners and others who will soon speak of him, although not by name.

It’s Tuesday afternoon, and the board is here for a presentation called “Urban Parks and AAA Baseball.” It’s a pep rally of sorts, new life for an old idea – bringing minor league baseball to an uptown stadium.

Five years ago, the board approved a land deal that would make that idea happen, a complicated swap of property vetted and approved by city and county officials, as well as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.

Then one man, Jerry Reese, delayed it all.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in all my time serving in public,” says Dumont Clarke, a five-term commissioner.

“One individual, through abuse of process,” said Michael Smith, president of Charlotte Center City Partners.

Privately, officials are less careful with their words, including the former City Council member who recently asked me: “Is he crazy?”

No, says Reese.

But he is the most formidable kind of foe – a man with a calling and a law degree.

He is 59 years old, a Charlotte commercial real estate attorney. He is motivated, both philosophically and financially, to want something different for Charlotte than minor league baseball. He is driven, he says, by a belief that Charlotte should think bigger – a perspective this city has long embraced.

And yet, fingers point his way at the YMCA. People at his Myers Park church have been less than friendly. “It hasn’t been fun to be ostracized,” he says. “None of this is easy.”

But he believes he’s right.

And he’s not going away.

Dreams and lawsuits

“A smart lawyer,” Dumont Clarke says about Jerry Reese, although not by name. The board meeting is more than an hour old. The commissioners have heard from the Knights, who still covet an uptown address. But it’s not close to happening, and Clarke is trying to explain why, diplomatically.

Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, put it this way later: “The one thing I hear people say more than anything is ‘That son of a gun kept us from building a minor league baseball stadium when we could have got it done.’ ”

Except they don’t say “son of a gun.”

The battle began in 2006, when Reese unveiled a site development plan that he said could bring a major league baseball team to Second Ward, on the southeast edge of uptown. Specifically, that team was the Florida Marlins, who had contacted him and expressed an interest in being someplace other than Florida.

Reese, a Catawba County native and UNC Chapel Hill law grad, had been part of Charlotte’s public conversation once before, when he proposed in 2002 an arena on top of an expanded Convention Center. That idea went nowhere, and Charlotte officials were similarly cool to his Second Ward plan.

Charlotte, they said, wasn’t ready for major league baseball, so they turned to another ballpark idea – a privately built stadium that would house the Knights. A spurned Reese did what lawyers do – he sued. Five times.

And he lost. Five times.

But the lawsuits held up stadium progress enough for the recession to deliver a gut punch to any hopes the Knights had of selling luxury suites and sponsorship for a $50-$60 million stadium.

“I’ve saved the city from a major mistake,” says Reese.

That error, he believes, is not thinking grandly. “Demographically, economically, we’re a major city,” he says. “We have a man’s body but an adolescent mind.”

Reese still has an alternative – a $4 billion plan called Brooklyn Renaissance that boasts 100-plus acres of retail, office, housing and a major league baseball stadium.

“I think he’s a visionary,” says Duncan Morton, a Charlotte surgeon and former Reese client. “There are visionaries who are made fun of, criticized, ridiculed – and lo and behold some of them turn out to be right.”

For the plan to happen, however, the city and county would have to sell Reese land in Second Ward, a prospect that’s hard to imagine given how folks in power feel about him at the moment. Reese shoos that notion away. “Frankly, I don’t feel that I’ve burned that many bridges,” he says, and he points to the visitor’s authority as a relationship he’s kept “cordial.”

True, says Newman: “My rule is to always have an open ear to things – no matter how preposterous they sound – if they are well-meaning. I felt Jerry was well-meaning.”

Correcting an error?

At Tuesday’s county commissioners’ meeting, speakers also mention Reese in the past tense. His five lawsuits are dead. The uptown parks and baseball live on, so long as the board extends a lease agreement that would allow the Knights time to put financing and plans together. Commissioners, who must decide before the fall, seem to favor the idea.

If it happens? “I will challenge the resolution extending the lease,” Reese says later.

Challenge it how?

“Sue them.”

That would add to the $750,000, not to mention his time, that Reese estimates he’s spent on this issue. He insists he’s not litigious, but that the courts are the only way he can correct a public error. That’s what he saw again at the meeting. “That was a conversation that should go on in Greensboro, not a major city,” he says.

It’s an attitude long celebrated here – that Charlotte should strive to be better than it is, better than our sibling cities, and that to do so we have to push on past others’ reluctance.

But sometimes, we also admire someone who realizes when he’s reached his final out.


Larry said...

Jerry, The Observer is in bed with the Center City and anything to do with promoting uptown Charlotte.

We average people appreciate what you have done.

Anonymous said...

The most reviled man in town? That's a bit harsh, don't you think?

And look at some of the people throwing nasty remarks at Reese. Dumont Clarke. Tim Newman. Michael Smith. There's a nice little confederacy of dunces if I ever saw one.

Charlotte leaders said we weren't ready for major league baseball, but they're more than willing to throw our money away by going halfway with a ball park that seats only 10,000 people.

"Reached his final out"? Don't bet your ballpark on it.

Anonymous said...

If CCCP partners is for it then it should not be done.

Wiley Coyote said...

“I’ve never seen anything like it in all my time serving in public,” says Dumont Clarke, a five-term commissioner.

Dumont, it depends on what your perspective is.

I remember not long ago that a few people not far from where I live basically told you, Parks Helms and the rest of the County Commission to shove it, when the County's arrogance and that of the Whitewater Center felt they could run roughshod over a road.

They were called crazy and the Whitewater Center still is a joke and owes the County money.

I remember voters voting down a new upton arena yet the arrogance of elites in the City built it anyway.

The voters against the arena were called crazy yet the City will spend millioms revamping it to accomodate the DNC.

One former school board member railed against the status quo religiously and many of the things he fought agaainst have become a sad reality with school closings and budget gaps.

They called him crazy.

Many people did not want the NASCAR Museum and about as many felt it should be in Concord near the speedway.

Those people were called crazy yet the Hall still isn't getting the visitors it needs.

Dumont, I'll tell you what I've never seen anything like it in my life and that is the fact you have been re-elected four times along with the rest of your tax and spend for the greater good Parks Helms types.

Anonymous said...

Assuming this major league ballpark idea of his is legit and just not a front for some other motive, I certainly can't fault the guy for thinking big. I just haven't seen the logic behind why he thinks Charlotte can support a major league team. If admitted, Charlotte would be the smallest market in the league by far. In a city that is heavily populated with transplants with allegiances to other teams, I can't see how this would be a good business decision.

pstonge said...

Thanks all for the early comments.

Anon, 9:43: He's the most reviled man in uptown. I haven't heard disdain for anyone from folks uptown that rivals the disdain I've heard for him.

But I agree. I don't think he's reached his final out. He has invested too much financially and otherwise to bow out now.



Anonymous said...

Charlotte is ready for and in need of MAJOT league baseball. The one's who say otherwise are peed off becasue they weren't contacted by The Marlins. Jerry, go for it, let's put together a drive and bring in MLB to uptown Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Peter, you are in a dream world. Baseball in uptown is needed about as much as a $40,000,000 trolley that runs a mile and a half and has operating losses of $1,500,000 for as long as anyone can see.

Do you realize we do not have money for police and teachers. Get a clue. I guess baseball and trolleys are more important.

If you can start name calling with this gentleman, calling him a villain. Then I assume we can refer to you as a free thinking dreamer void of any real substance or any real contribution to society other than living off the tax payers which I assume by your profession you contribute little to.

It is easy to spend other people's money isn't it Peter. Why don't you write come personal checks if you believe in it so much. I am sick of paying for your dreams while you name call and label anyone who disagrees with you names. Cheap trash reporting of opinion is part of the reason your paper is nearly bankrupt.

Name calling and labels are not very nice are they?

pstonge said...

Anon, 11:37: I'm sorry it's not clear that "villain" is describing how others feel about Jerry Reese. He knows this and says so in the story.

I think it's interesting that the kind of vision we celebrate in others is scorned with him. But I also understand the frustration some feel that he does not accept a rejection of his plan.

Is minor league baseball a bad idea economically at this point? It's a great question. Thoughts out there?


Anonymous said...

I live in Concord. As much as I love baseball, with the Knights playing in Fort Mill, there's little incentive to drive 45 minutes to watch minor league baseball. I suspect that there may be similar attitudes in northern Mecklenburg County as well. It would be great if the team could move to Uptown and be more centrally located in the metro area. Probably a pipe dream to hope for private funding, though.

Anonymous said...

It's truly amazing that our city leaders (and I use that expression with a heavy dose of sarcasm), fail to see the importance of providing a high level of BASIC city/county services like police, fire, jails, roads and education. All the other perfunctory aspects of a city like our illustrious whitewater center, arena, NASCAR HOF, Imaginon, trolley lines, light rail, etc. should be WAY, WAY down the totem pole and only after all of the ESSENTIAL services are exemplary.

To try and vilify Jerry Reese because he stood up against the uptown crowd in hopes of something better (and at reduced taxpayer expense), is simply asinine Peter.

Why don't you do us all a favor and join Tim Newman or Michael Smith's posse. From the articles I read here, it's apparent most of the staff at the Observer are there and waiting for you.

Jay said...

I think it's great that Reese has such great aspirations for the city of Charlotte! I applaud his effort and the fact that he's willing to spend his own money to fight for his project. I would much rather see a major league stadium in Uptown than a minor league one, or at least a minor league stadium with the ability to convert it into a major league stadium. I believe Charlotte could support major league baseball, as the Carolina Panthers have done an awesome job. Maybe PSLs could be a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who thinks Charlotte can support major league baseball should go to a Bobcats game. Tickets are readily available for $2.00 on StubHub.

Anonymous said...

We could have a great little stadium now close to uptown, where the closed Eastland Mall stands vacant, and at a bargain price, what a few million? Centrally located to uptown,the University Area, South Park Cotswold, Matthews, Mint Hill, etc, etc. Wait it out for "the Big League" We've got The Panthers and The Bobczats stuffing uptown with traffic and heavy parking fess. The only people with easy trips to them now are the light rail folks. Think about widening center city. Eastland is only a few miles out. Ready for summer baseball here!

Komodoman said...

Charlotte lacks the corporate base to support an MLB franchise. That's a major reason why he's never been able to find an owner to even consider his narcissistic fantasy.

A successful MLB stadium will drive the bulk of it's profit through the leasing of suites. There are not enough companies in the area to fill out the 3rd base line.

Anonymous said...

The Bobcats don't draw because people in Charlotte are loyal to college basketball. While Charlotte has many transplants including me a die hard NYY fan, they would support a summer sport that has little overlap with the Panthers or Bobcats. I have attended a few Knights games and the reality is the brand of baseball is boring. The Knights do not draw even just over the border so why with very few people living in Uptown itself would they draw better in Charlotte. The Checkers draw reasonably well now mostly because you have a built in fan base of Carolina Hurricane fans and hockey fans from the Northeast. The only way a minor league baseball team might draw in Charlotte is if the team were associated with the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies or Braves. How many White Sox fans exist in Charlotte. Jerry is doing the smart thing by holding out against the short sided Center City. We don't need another empty NASAR hall of fame.

Anonymous said...

Is this NYC or LA? Wheres the large ocean or mountain range? Why pack everything in a small circle like a can of sardines?

What about a subway system if you gonna lure a million people downtown like NYC so they can walk to everything? Fantazy.

They built Clark Griffith Stadium way out in the Dilworth suburb 100 yrs for 1A baseball.

They built Douglas airport way out Wilkinson on the westside in the

They built the new coliseum way out E Independence Blvd in the mid 50s.

The large speedway was built way out N29 in the 50s.

They built UNCC way out N 49 in the early to mid 60s.

the list goes on ...

Its the geography or lack thereof stupid.

Anonymous said...

Even little ol Winston Salem, with the support of BB&T as a corporate sponsor, moved forward, built an awesome new ballpark in UPTOWN, creating an interesting and an affordable venue for the enjoyment and benefit of their citizens.

In my opinion, Charlotte is 10 years away from a being a viable market for major league baseball. In the meantime, the viewing public and the franchise suffers.

Life is short, and there would be great fun and great value added to the uptown experience by moving forward on the Knights stadium now.

Bring in some Philadelphia or NY big gun law talent, steamroll Reese, bang the gavel, call the next case!

Anonymous said...

Charlotte's uptown, for those of us who do not have to live & work there, is a MESS. Parking is dismal, and the one-way streets can frustrate. It's a collection of Concrete Canyons that does not need more high-volume visitors being added simply because the elite like to play house. We often skip going into the city, preferring less crowded venues, and so do our friends.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE a a major league baseball stadium downtown, but Charlotte is NOT big enough. I wish it was, but we simply don't have the population density to be able to support it. Way back when the Marlins were talking about moving, Charlotte was thrown out there, the crunched numbers (based on the very long history of baseball) showed that Charlotte wasn't big enough.

To the person that said because we have football and basketball it can hold baseball - a major league stadium has more seats, and they play almost twice as many games as basketball. it does have less seats than football, but they play 9 times the homes games. Add to that, the fact that baseball home stands can run 7-9 straight days, you need a very highly populated area to actually support a team, and while I wish Charlotte was, and is ready to be there, we just aren't, and major league baseball will not come here. Even if a team wants to, the league has to agree to it, and it just won't happen.

as for the uptown traffic (anon @ 6:45). Getting into uptown is one of the easiest places to get into in Charlotte. There are many main roads that flow straight into town, with tons of parking ($5-$20 event parking is pretty standard for other venues across the country that AREN'T in a downtown) Eastland mall on the other hand doesn't have as many options for getting to it, and would result in a disaster, the roads aren't built or designed to handle a full event traffic.

Joe said...

The smallest MLB stadium is 35,067 which houses the Oakland A's.

Can anyone that is posting here honestly believe that a MLB team in Charlotte could fill a stadium of at least that size for 81 nights a season?

The Bobcats play basically half that many home games (41) a season; and Charlotte cannot even fill the TWC Arena, which only seats 19,077 for those games.

A 10,000 seat ballpark for the Knights would do the same thing for Charlotte that the new Durham Bulls Athletic Park did for will help revitalize an area of the city that needs to be fixed up, and would give the city a team that it could be proud of.

Reese is a complete moron if he really thinks that a MLB team is viable in Charlotte. We cannot support a team for that many games through a season.

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate Reese thinking big for the city of Charlotte in bringing a big league team here. However, there is the problem of getting a team to come. The Marlins are getting their stadium now, and it doesn't seem like there is any realistic talk of any team moving. It seems like Charlotte has always been a pawn for other teams to get a stadium in their current location.

Charlotte is a see and be seen type of town. Panther games are like a social event for many people. Only 8, or 10 including preseason, games to support. People go for the tailgate, then leave by the third quarter. The Bobcats only play 40 games at home and they're having trouble attracting fans. How would Charlotte support a re-tread that plays 80 games at home? Gone are the early days of the Charlotte Hornets. The fan support then seemed like some of the best in the league.

Like I said before, it would be nice to go big, but at this point it doesn't seem like that's really much of a possibility.

Anonymous said...

You all seem to be missing the point, Reece is not trying to save the taxpayers money by stopping the minor league stadium. He trying to get the county to spend more of the taxpayers money on his "grand" vision.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Jerry Reese is not his grand dreams for Charlotte, but his likely grand dreams for himself at the cost of Charlotte.

I've yet to see Reese provide any legitimate proof of his abilities to develop the "Brooklyn Renaissance" let alone sign a MLB franchise.

All reports of interactions with him requesting details are usually met with a reply along the lines of just wait and see.

If Reese were truly not schilling a false front for a missguiuuded dream for his own opportunities versus those for the city of Charlotte it is now time for him to show the details of how he would actually pull this off.

If he can show all financial backing and MLB franchise intent to move then I say let him do it. If not, it is time for the people to point out to the (self-appointed) baseball emperor the issue with his new suit.

Anonymous said...

I think you're fooling yourselves if you think Charlotte can support an MLB team. Sure, they'd sell out at first, but once the pixie dust settled, the charm would wear off and the seats would be empty. Think about it, Bobcats - seats always available. Panthers - seats always available and stadium usually filled with anywhere from 40-60% visiting fans! Right down the road in Atlanta - Braves won NL East for 13 or 14 years straight, could barely sell out NLDS and NLCS games. Charlotte is a great little city, but it is little, and no doubt would fail an MLB experiment. You think privately funded minor league baseball would be a mistake, but publicly funded - and destined to fail - MLB is a good idea? Yep, you think it's great until the tax bill comes in, then you're all on here whining about that!!!

Can't have it both ways people.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how every crazy idea that comes out of the mouth of the uptown crowd is termed visionary. We have needless things shoved down our throats due to their passion for everything shinny and new. Dumont couldn't scratch his arse with both hands. Is Parks' nose a little more normal since he is no longer a member of the ABC board. We do not need baseball uptown.

Larry said...

Anon at 8:39 what is the difference in spending tax money on his grand vision like drunk sailors than on Center City Partners, Elected Officials or who ever else just happens to wander into Charlotte and opens their wagon with a fancy idea?

We have been doing that like it was the only route Charlotte had to go, and now that they had a touch with reality, all of sudden all the little self made Kings Downtown realized they did not have on Clothes after all.

So we need some advocates at the Observer to write about guys like this who will go against these people and make them actually stop doing the Wizard of Oz act.

I will be be happy to do if for free Observer.

Anonymous said...

Why waste our money, in this economy especially, on a new minor-league ball park? We have a perfectly fine ball park in Ft. Mill that will take us to the time when Charlotte IS ready to support a major league team. It is not that far down the road.
Wake up City Center Partners!! Do we have to do all of the thinking for you?

gjd1231 said...

Jerry is right we don't need minor league ball downtown. we are big enough for a pro team. keep the fight going Jerry!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Larry and anonymous 3/36/11 9:43 P.M. Mr. Reese, I'd shake your hand at the YMCA and am at Harris every morning after 7:30 if that's where you go.

Come on Pravda, I wish you could do better, but we all know where you butter your bread.

Wiley Coyote said...

The problem with the CCCP is that we as tax payers have no control over them.

They are the front men for the uptown crowd, a buffer if you will.

What makes it worse is that those who live within the special tax district downtown area pay for these whims of the uptown crowd.

Here's a good take on Smith and his involvement in the baseball scheme:

Where does Charlotte City Center Partners CEO Michael Smith get the nerve to tout importance of urban parks?

February 17th, 2011 by John Grooms in Boomer with Attitude

Yesterday, Charlotte City Center Partners CEO Michael Smith served up a hot, steaming dish of galling irony that should not go unreported and unremarked upon. Smith’s group, among other ideas, wants the county to spend $10 million to build Romare Bearden Park in Third Ward in time for the Democratic convention in 2012. Never mind that this comes a mere two weeks after the Uptown wowsers said local taxpayers would not pay a dime for the DNC coming to town. What I’m getting at is Smith, who is quoted in today’s Observer as saying the park is needed because “Urban parks are the building blocks of great urban places.” I agree 100 percent with that view of the importance of urban parks. But it’s really too bad Smith didn’t think that way in 2005. This is the same Michael Smith who effectively wrecked the county’s original, voter-approved plans for a large, approximately 8-acre park in Third Ward when he came up with a complicated land swap deal to bring the Knights minor league baseball team to Uptown — a deal that has floundered for six years and obviously isn’t going to happen. Now, thanks to Smith’s plan, it’s too late to build the original, larger park; Smith’s fabulous 2005 brainstorm called for Romare Bearden Park to take up only 4.5 acres, with the rest of the original park acreage sacrificed to some developer’s profits. Now that Smith is wetting his pants over the DemCon, however, he’s suddenly in a hurry to build a half-sized version of the large park that we would probably already be enjoying if his 2005 “vision” hadn’t ruined it.

JoeTarheel said...

Why is it that the only people who refer to charlotte, nc as a 'major city' are people from charlotte?

Anonymous said...

I think both Major and Minor League Baseball brings nothing more than a yawn to the vast majority of locals. If there was great want for either there would have been more movement on it already. This discussion is dominated by people wanting to make money on it. When the subject comes up at neighborhood parties or at the office there is very little interest.

Anonymous said...

Delusional, and what experience does Reese have to even be considered serious. Has anyone noticed the economy, and inability to raise the capital needed for any form of project at this scale. Reese certainly doesn't have the money.

Wiley Coyote said...

To Anon March 27, 2011 10:05 AM

Why don't you ask that same question to Mayor Fixxit and Jennifer "tax & spend" Roberts?

Oh, wait. They're Democrats, control both local governments and are salivating at the thought of "being someone" in front of the party's leading spender, Obama in 2012.

Anonymous said...

Another attorney who thinks he's a real estate mogul. He should be presented with a lawsuit by us taxpayers for what he has cost the city to defeat.

Anonymous said...

Keep it up Jerry! I love that one individual has the courage to stand up to the state. The elistist hate when someone screws up their plans.

Anonymous said...

Why is this article even written, does Peter have something in common with Reese....this is not news worthy, this issue is dead.

Anonymous said...

More like Reese are needed.

Had these same uptownie idiots been in charge the airport would be uptown as would UNC Charlotte and there would be 200 story high rise condos to house all the hundred of thousands of suburb population. Crazy.

They tore down a great 23k Tyvola colisiem icon for a loser NBA situation that cost 1/10th the smaller new one and wonder where all the money went for schools librarys etc. How much longer will the Bobcats sold and moved?
The only reason the Panthers NFL are still in business is because Richardson and his PSLs. When he dies the Panthers will be sold and moved.

It is unknown how these morons would have squeezed CDI Airport inside I277 but they would have found a way.

Thank you ole great wise city forefathers for your insight and expanionism of the past. Fathers forgive these current idiots for they knoweth not what they do...

Anonymous said...

I remember in the late 90's going to a Knights game when Darryl Strawberry was playing for a visiting time. He was sent down to the minors while he recovered from an injury.
The place was packed just to see him.
People would come to see stars play.
Let's face it: NBA Basketball is boring and not good until the playoffs. It's not what it was in the mid 80's and it will never be. It's just a different game and boring.

Anonymous said...

We are big enough for MLB, I live in Denver and it isn't much bigger around 2.5 million in the metro during the last census, more importantly Milwakuee is only like 1.8 million which is exactly around the size of the Charlotte metro. Someone mentions its a city full of transplants? That is wonderful that will help fill the stadium when crappy teams like baltimore come to town. If we build it THEY WILL COME

Matt said...

You can do it Jerry we need MLB!!!!! Let's do it

Anonymous said...

Whatever we do we need to make sure that it is quiet. We do not want to offend Patsy Kinsey.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Jerry wants this is so he can build his $4B realestate complex. He is after all a real estate lawyer (with lawyer being the disgusting word). He is using the court system for personal gain - pure and simple. The baseball stadium was going to be build by the team and it would provide low cost entertainment to families in a centralized location. Having been to the Fort Mill stadium, it draws families with kids because it is affordable and fan friendly. However, it is a pain for anyone who doesn't live in Southwest Charlotte. Reese is not doing this from the goodness of his heart of for the welfare of Charlotte. We just got unluck enough to have this greed "Lawyer" living in Charlotte. Sorry kids, Jerry wants to have it his way or he will go to the courts and play with is dollies. How much do you cost conscious Republicans (see notes below) think the city is spending defending themselves over Jerry's frivilous lawsuites.

KMAL said...

We are not a Major League Baseball sized city, plus the Marlins are moving into a new stadium in Miami, so where is this "team" going to come from? Minor league bb is perfect for Charlotte. I'm glad I live in Cabarrus County, so I won't have to pay for the construction of either stadium!

Anonymous said...

We do not need another stadium uptown. And specifically we do not need to pitch in for a minor league stadium. I know the knights are supposed to build it themselves but in all reality we are giving them the land for nothing and we will be building some low income housing with the project as well. How about we give the land to a company for establishing a center in charlotte. Why even throw in some tax breaks then we could have more jobs.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that some people are incapable of navigating the scary, confusing roads of uptown Charlotte, what with those tricky, one-way roads and parking garages! Gimme a break. If you're intentionally staying from Uptown, you're not taking advantage of a lot of great places. I hope they put the stadium uptown. It's long overdue imo.

Anonymous said...

Go Jerry...The only reason the CCCP and democrats are against you is your facility will render the arena uptown useless. What I want to know is who the heck is Romare Bearden? And why honor him? He chose not to live in his hometown.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte will be able to support an MLB team and its 81 home games in approximately 250 years. We are a small market city and need winning teams for sellouts. Whatever MLB team he wants will never be the Green Bay Packers. Sorry.

The Braves can't sell out and ATL is something like 6 times bigger than Charlotte.

I for one, love Checkers games just as much as Panthers & Bobcats. This guy loves baseball so much he is going to keep blocking it? Puhlease.

Anonymous said...

This guy gives 'lawyers' a bad name. He's full of it. Says he wants the best for Charlotte, but he's really only looking out for his best interests. I wish he could just be run out of town !!!

What a jerk!

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and build a minor league baseball park in "downtown" Charlotte. Charlotte IS a minor league city. When MLB comes to North Carolina it isn't coming to Charlotte, it's coming to the triad area. Then Charlotte can play second fiddle to the triad with the AAA minor league team of the MLB team in the triad, like Atlanta and Gwinnett.

Anonymous said...

Didn't everyone see the report last week regarding fan loyalty of the Bobcats and Panthers is lowest in both leagues. But, someone think's enthusiasm is there for MLB baseball.....

Robert said...

I think Mr. Reese is absolutely right, why waste money and time, which you know is not gonna make money for Charlotte on a triple A baseball team when you can make money on a major league baseball team. Which is gonna bring more people in town and spend ten times more money than on a minor league triple A team. I wish Mr. Reese luck, I would be the first in line to get MAJOR LEAGUE season tickets, I love major league baseball and would love to see one finally come to town. They should be called, The Charlotte Shiners, and the naming right could be sold as Vodka field. Would that not be awesome!!!!!!

Jay said...

It's quite sad seeing all of these comments people are making saying that Charlotte is a small, minor league city. Are you kidding me? The city of Charlotte is bigger than the city of Atlanta, and Charlotte is still growing by leaps and bounds. The only reason Bobcats games don't sell out on a regular basis is because they are still a relatively new franchise in town, and people are still mad about the way the Hornets left town. I strongly believe MJ will turn the franchise around and attendence will go up. I also believe that Charlotte can support a major league baseball team, even if they are at first rooting for the opposing teams like at some of the Bobcats games. The people that continuously say Charlotte is a small city clearly don't know what they're talking about. Charlotte is the 18th largest city in the country, and one of the fastest-growing. Yes, Charlotte isn't the size of NYC, Chicago, or LA...but not many cities are. Just because we're not one of those cities doesn't mean it's some small town. Come up with some intelligent comments before slamming Charlotte. If Charlotte is so small and can't support anything, then why does it continuously attract new people and sporting events? I'm not originally from Charlotte, but I am from what I would call a small city and Charlotte is definitely not that. I've been to NYC and Chicago, and still like Charlotte much better. And I know plenty of people that would love to live in the Charlotte area. At least Jerry Reese is trying to help Charlotte realize it's full potential. I wouldn't mind seeing a minor league stadium built in Uptown, as long as it's built to be able to convert it to a major league stadium in the future if a team is able to be lured to the area. I would gladly support major league baseball, along with the Panthers and Bobcats already in place.

Anonymous said...

I for one would prefer minor league ball to MLB. MLB is too expensive for a family outing. The best sports activity in town now is a Charlotte Checker's hockey game. Their facility is centrally located and the games are affordable and you don't have to deal with the personalities of overpaid athletes.

Anonymous said...

Reese is a perfect example of wny people hate lawyers. He is gaming the system. His motivation is not to improve the city of Charlotte but to line his own pockets. He has a vested interest in his project getting done and is using his bully pulpit to enrich his own bank account.

Matt L. said...

If Reese could lure a MLB team to Charlotte AND put a viable plan for a stadium on the table in the short term, I might consider supporting his otherwise purely self-interested lawsuits. Because he has not given any indication he can do so, uptown Charlotte is left with NO baseball. Life is too short-- get the Knights uptown now. IF MLB is possible in 10 or 15 years, fantastic! Bring it! If not, we will have been enjoying affordable sports entertainment in a central location IN OUR CITY on summer evenings for many years.

Anonymous said...

Is there ANY uptown boondoggle Eyebrow Boy won't pimp for?

pstonge said...

Eyebrow Boy is on record as not being in love with the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Anonymous said...

Unless someone like Hugh McColl takes complete leave of his senses and decides to devote all his fortune to having a championship team, even IF Charlotte managed to get a major league team, the best we could hope for would be a mediocre season. A AAA team in Charlotte would be great. Tickets would be cheap enough that it could be a real family outing. Instead, Reese has managed to kill any kind of baseball for a long time in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

If the Marlins or any other MLB team is interested in Charlotte let's here from them. I would love triple-A uptown, but make sure it's on a sight that's expandable to MLB size in case 10 years from now a team would be interested in coming here. I like Jerry Reese's idea and I remember his blueprint and artist's rendering and wishing it would happen. How about printing those renderings again Observer.

relsis said...

I believe Charlotte needs Major League baseball. Minor League baseball is for minor cities and Charlotte is not a minor city. Growing up around Baltimore baseball is a part of the community. It could become that way here. Invovative thinking like and a few fully connected conference rooms or rooms set up for presentations facing the field would be a good start for enticing corporate businesses to buy in. I always felt the Charlotte missed a great opportunity when the Marlins came calling. Now with several markets in flux maybe we will get a shot at the Majors again.

Anonymous said...

Unless the economy does a 180 forget uptown baseball and perhaps the bobcats. I sure hope the economy is better when the Dems comes to town or we may have riots.

Stanky Jackson said...

Charlotte won't dream big unless the uptown hush-hush crowd tells them to...why build for minor league only?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see Charlotte get MLB, but this market is already maxed out with what it has. Not to mention as some others have mentioned, the number of transplants that live here. Ask Tampa Bay how well the whole Rays thing is working out with them. There are more people that attend Bobcats games on a Monday night than would go to an MLB game here on a consistent basis. Quit wasting your money Jerry.

Anonymous said...

@ Jay. It's so "sad" to see posters pull the "larger than Atlanta" card, when all intelligent people understand city limit limitations and annexation laws. Teams are supported by AREAS, hence, the 'Carolina' Panthers, and not the simple factor of how many people live in the city limits - which in Charlotte's case, include HUNDREDS of square miles. The Atlanta Metro is 4 million residents larger than Metro Charlotte, and regional support is what carries the major leagues. Metro Atlanta is also one of the Largest ten in the nation. Metro Charlotte? Exactly.

pstonge said...

Thanks for all the good thoughts and discussion today. A reminder: No name calling or nastiness. Thanks...


Anonymous said...

Both sides are nuts.
1. Charlotte isn't ready for big league baseball...look at Panthers and look at Bobcats...ESPECIALLY Bobcats...attendance for this major league team is a joke.

2. Look at the record of the Uptown Partners an the City powers that be:
Whitewater Center is a loser
Nascar Museum is a loser
now they want to put a Farmer's Market in the former Reid's downtown and waste mroe money
Uptown arena: Voters were against it and it was forced down people's throats.
Decisions these people ahve made have all been losers.
Neither side has a case. Waste of money for loser ideas all around. BOth sides are fools.

Anonymous said...

Minor league ball is worthless. Have you been to a knight's game? One can go and have a few beers maybe, and take the kids to burn some time. But the baseball? Please. REAL sports fans need REAL sports in order to become "engaged" and in order to "root" for something.
Btw, the Knight's would do as well downtown as the trolley, the Bobcats, and the NASCAR museum.

Anonymous said...

What a total waste of skin this guy is. More interested in getting his name in the paper than doing something good for Charlotte. Downtown would be the perfect place to go see a Knights game and this crazy SOB keeps stopping it from happening. Jerry please go away so I can be watching baseball downtown in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Can we trade the Bobcats for a MLB team?

Anonymous said...

Charlotte does not need a baseball team anymore than it needs other stuff uptown, which is not that affordable. Mr. Clarke should pay more attention to the East Side who elected him or "Little Detroit"/ "Dead Zone" as we refer to it.

Anonymous said...

I don't care why J. Reese blocked the minor league stadium, I'm just glad we don't have one downtown! I hate going downtown! The old Eastland Mall area is PERFECT! I'm sure the people with homes in the area would welcome the increase in property values. Share the wealth Charlotte and share the entertainment throughout the city.

Anonymous said...

The only reason there is 700k in the city is ANNEXATION ANNEXATION ANNEXATION.

NC has the most misused abused liberal annexation laws in the world and every city in the state has abused them costing double the taxes plus the higher re-value appraisal rigs since figure dont lie but liars can figure.

What there is much less of in Mecklenburg and NC is other newly created additional smaller cities and towns.

There should have been at least 5 new cities alone formed instead of all this gobbling up land grab going on by the city lawyers making millions in fees.

Where is the city of Lake Norman? City of Lake Wylie? University City? City of Ballantyne? City of Providence?

No no no. They have been eaten up in advance by BIG MAMA HOG or the smaller piglets.

Its the same all over the state. PIGS HOGS GLUTTONS sloppin at the trough. More taxes. More waste.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why the Knights get the short end of the stick. Minor league baseball has been more loyal to this city then Reeses dream of an MLB team will ever be. Why can't Reese pull a George Shinn and go force his dreams on someone esle?

Anonymous said...

Pigeon hole this city's uptown with minor league baseball and remain a minor league city for a very long time. If not ready to play major league, don't play at all. I oppose the minor league idea. Can we please stop pretending we are a big city, while striving for less than best in class type opportunities. Leave the knights in fort mill. Keep the land as park until the city can support major league baseball so we can be proud of one more indication that charlotte is truly a major player in this country through its accomplishments, not through marketing driven (Michael Smith) over rated false sense of greatness. After all can someone tell me where to have a quality dinner after 9:00 pm on a Sunday evening? Really!!

Anonymous said...

It is a little deceiving the numbers that the nay sayers are using to downplay Jerry Resse's bid to take Charlotte to the big leagues in baseball.The city's metro area and surrounding population is larger that cities that have MLB and 3 sport teams. Alot of cities populations are based on their combined statistical(CSA) and not just MSA. Charlotte's CSA is wellover 2million people near 2.6 million. This is in the ball park of Pittsburgh, Cleveland and larger than Cincinatti, Kansas City and Milwaukee.If we do not build a major league stadium at least build one that can be expanded and not just for the minor which cannot be expanded