Bostic, Baldwin and Wilder
Regular readers of SLANTblog know that I raised more than a few objections.
Well, it has turned out all that drumming was just a noisy distraction. Some of the people who tried to pass themselves off as experts, or in-the-know, were just amateurish spin doctors. It says here the noisiest proponents of baseball in Shockoe Bottom must have known they never had the general public behind the Highwoods Properties plan, so they just beat their drums harder.
At times the debate online was sidetracked by the absurdity of anonymous supporters of the Highwoods scheme striking angry poses, ostensibly because they weren't getting the respect they said they deserved.
At a public forum on where to play baseball opponents of the Highwoods/RBC plan were characterized as being too old and set in their ways to matter; they were called "selfish." Online they were frequently called worse.
All along, one of the biggest problems the Shockoe Bottom stadium concept had was that it really wasn't all that much about baseball. It was about real estate. The plan was to lure baseball fans to the Shockoe Center, where they would spend lots of money on whatever retail opportunities would be adjacent to the stadium.
Of course, if the baseball games didn't draw as well as Richmond Baseball Club's Bryan Bostic promised they would, anybody could see there might be a problem with tilting a huge development on the success of a Double A baseball team affiliated with the San Francisco Giants.
Then there was the matter of many Richmonders thinking that Shockoe Botoom is better suited to development to do with its unique history and transportation improvements.
Over the last five years Mr. Bostic has probably done more to injure baseball fans in Richmond than anyone else, in spite of what he has said were his intentions. Hopefully, from now on we will hear much less from him about how much he loves baseball.
Bruce Baldwin, the last general manager for the Richmond Braves, also deserves to be mentioned on any list of those who injured local baseball lovers. Throw in former Richmond mayor Doug Wilder, and there you have it -- the three guys who deserve the most credit for driving the International League out of Richmond.
It isn't known how this will turn out. Today I won't make any predictions about how long it's going to take to fix it. But at least Richmond has dodged the Shockoe Bottom Center bullet.