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Feasibility studies don't require a committee of consultants, just a Magic 8-ball

April 17, 2013

For 18 grand, I’ll do the study.

No wait, if you call now, I’ll do it for $16,000.

But wait, there’s more.

If the City of Fredericksburg, Va., calls within the next half hour I will send it two studies for the price of one. Just pay separate shipping and processing.

If none of this is making sense to you, allow me to back up and say that Fredericksburg is considering a “multiuse stadium” (where have we heard that term before) in order to attract some sort of sporting entity, perhaps a baseball-like team of some type that some people believe might turn out to be our own Hagerstown Suns.

But you can’t just rush into these things, so the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority has commissioned an $18,000 study to determine the viability of an entertainment-based, spectator-sporting product — maybe one where, you know, like nine guys would be on each side and they could throw a ball and try to hit it with a stick and catch it and throw it around some more ... stuff like that.

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But it’s important to remember that they’re just in the talking stages at this time, so nothing is written in stone.

However, back to my original proposal. I feel qualified to write my own stadium feasibility study because I reckon by this time I’ve read about five or 10 of them, and have a pretty good feel for what passes as sound analyses in these matters.

The fundamental question is this: Can Fredericksburg, Va., support a Minor League baseball team?

I am strapping on my Kreskin goggles and gazing into the future, and I see that the answer will be — “Y-E-S.”

Amazing, you say. How can I know this, even though I really know nothing about Fredericksburg at all?

Because, in my meticulous research, I have discovered that Fredericksburg is a “city” that is comprised of “people,” with a “highway” running through it, that could be accessed by drivers with “cars.”

Plugging this detailed information into my Baseball Feasibility Study software program, I can extrapolate that a baseball stadium in Fredericksburg could expect to attract 4,372 fans a night, who will each pump an average of $83.30 into the local economy.

Further, I can tell that the stadium will create 300 immediate and 1,000 long-term jobs (counting spinoffs) and contribute $7 million — no, $7 million sounds too plausible, let’s make it $250 million — annually to the greater Fredericksburg economic health.

The stadium will create “synergism” with the Fredericksburg National Battlefield, to attract visitors to the area who are interested in both baseball, and field-tent surgeries conducted with unsanitized wool shears.

A new stadium also will cure cancer, although readers of the report are cautioned that this might not be realized until 10 or 12 weeks after its completion.

Not all the news is good, however. Area restaurants will be forced to go out and buy extra plates to serve all the new customers who will want to eat before the game so they don’t have to fill up on all that ugly, high-calorie baseball food such as hot dogs and beer.

So is a minor league baseball team a realistic goal for Fredericksburg? You bet. Just as it is a realistic goal for any small city in the United States.

I’d bet my last synergy on it.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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