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Parasiliti: We have to hand it to you, Fredericksburg

June 09, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

Dear Fredericksburg,

I’d like to take this opportunity to say I’m sorry.

I noticed that you had at least one representative from your fair city visiting ours on Tuesday and I didn’t say hello.

I noticed you at the Hagerstown Suns game at Municipal Stadium, preparing what could be called a business version of a scouting report. It is well documented that F-Burg is considering an offer to move this team from H-town.

Albeit, it wasn’t an official visit — since it was a media representative measuring up the scene to see how vulnerable we are to be overthrown — but I should have been courteous enough to come over and offer my hand.

There’s room for gentlemen, even in war.

And besides, Hagerstown’s government officials would have never done that.

It’s not because they’re rude. They just can’t use their hands … they are sitting on them. They’ve been that way for years.

I feel like I encountered an alien. I look at you with such wonder because you are so different. No, you don’t have three eyes, but the two you have seem to have unobstructed vision.

I don’t know from what planet or country you hail, but you are able to consider that a baseball team with a new stadium could be an asset to a city.

Here’s the Cliffs Notes version of our history.

The Suns have been here since 1981, in one form or another. Three different leagues and five affiliations — starting with the Orioles and ending with the Nationals — have called 83-year-old Municipal Stadium home.

For much of that stay, owners have asked for a new, updated facility.

Our officials have had hearing problems to go with their occupied hands.

This “dialogue” has been going for about 30 years. Past owners made overtures, but government ignored the music. When a new season started, the lobbying for a new stadium passed.

Until the last two years, when the present ownership group asked for a stadium. And when the officials began their “Hear No Evil” act, Suns owners went to Plan “B.” They looked for areas that were interested in having the team.

That’s where you came in. And suddenly, our officials are scrambling in a hasty — and sometimes half-hearted — attempt to prevent the move.

When you appeared on Tuesday, things started to get really interesting.

You are reality.

You are scary. F-burg comes off as proactive. In Hagerstown, proactive is just expensive acne medicine.

For years, the officials viewed this issue with a “Cry Wolf” mentality. Now the wolf is in the hen house.

If you were a cat burglar, this would be your meow. The vault is open.

That makes me wonder about your faraway land. You don’t seem to be human.

Do you have some Rosetta Stone language program that allows your people to understand political rhetoric?

I’ve read that Suns ownership is offering money to a stadium project in return for a 30-year lease and an agreement to share profits to help revitalize a part of your community.

It sounds strangely similar to what was being offered here. Yet, our officials keep saying that they are unsure of the Suns’ intentions of staying here.

Hmmmm. A 30-year lease … they are willing to sign something that took just as long to get?

Our officials wrestle with the idea of rebuilding our downtown area and aren’t sure if a multiuse stadium is the answer.

These are the same people who couldn’t convince a governmental office — the Board of Education — to move its offices downtown.

Meanwhile, many shops and businesses have left downtown. It’s so bad, there’s a rumor that Mayflower wants to put its headquarters in Hagerstown.

Some people have expressed the desire to let you have the Suns and invest money in Maryland Theater to create downtown foot traffic. The new version of that facility is about as old as the Suns and has the same impact. (You want that facility, too, in a package deal?)

Really, there hasn’t been that much foot traffic downtown since the Union Army trudged through on its way to the Battle of Antietam.

The truth is, people here — including elected officials — don’t want to spend money on anything. That’s what turns subsidized cheese and bread distributions into massive social events.

There comes a time when economic risk needs to be weighed against municipal vitality. F-burg, you seem to understand that.

H-town seems happy to let the Maryland Symphony fiddle while the city continues to burn.

You can see that with or without the stadium, there is a lot that has to be repaired — both mentally and physically.

So, I hope you understand. There were no hard feelings on Tuesday.

Don’t take personally our officials inability to extend their arms to make you feel welcome.

You’ll get over it soon enough, especially since they are about to hand our baseball team to you as a souvenir of your visit.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reach at 301-791-7358 or at bobp@herald-mail.com.

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