Saturday, January 09, 2016

Enter Eugene Trani

This time columnist Mark Holmberg is right -- whether Eugene Trani's train station becomes a part of what happens, or not, for several sound reasons baseball should stay on the Boulevard.
Enter Eugene Trani, the grizzled warrior who has saved Richmond before. He is revered by many and reviled by others, so his 76-year-old voice carries across the battle lines. This week, his opinion piece on the matter — published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch — got lots of attention. He proposed renovating The Diamond on the Boulevard, but make it a state-of-the-art multiuse facility so we can have concerts and other events there.
Click here to read the entire piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (and as painful as it might be, glance over the comments under it).

The train station component sounds interesting, but I'll have to see more information about it before I hop aboard the bandwagon for that aspect of Trani's proposal. However, the notion of making that neighborhood into a transportation hub makes sense to me.

Beyond its apt commentary, Holmberg's column (online) offers a chance for all of us to see an aspect of why this debate has gone on for over 10 years. Take a look at the blustery comments section. Yes, it's typical, in that much of what appears under the article amounts to useless venting by people who post the same sort of guff under any article. However, one comment, in particular, stands out as a perfect example of why many of the people in Richmond who agree with Trani about where to play baseball haven't been able to build a consensus, to work in concert to settle this controversy.

Please note: the writer of the aforementioned comment under Holmberg's piece couldn't resist bashing Eugene Trani (pictured above), even if the commenter basically agrees with the thrust of Trani's proposal to keep baseball on the Boulevard. The commenter says Trani's support for keeping baseball on the Boulevard is late in coming. Problem is, that's simply not true. Beyond that false charge, this commenter is suffering because Trani didn't give activists – like him! – credit for opposing baseball in The Bottom; then the sufferer digresses into pure character assassination.

This sort of pettiness poisons the debate. And, it's been going on for most of the 10 years this brouhaha has been underway. If this particular commenter were the only one dwelling on his own personal grudges, under the guise of community activism, it wouldn't matter all that much.

Unfortunately, the baseball stadium issue has drawn so many vociferous poisoners to it – on all sides of the issue – that the Save The Diamond movement has been somewhat tainted by the splatter of poison. Likewise, the movement to build a museum devoted to telling the story of Richmond's slave market has been slowed by that same sort of poisonous splatter.

In no way should my observations here be construed to be anti-activist. What I'm against is hurling poison into debates, based on one's personal grudges. Calling such mean-spirited mischief "activism," sometimes puts a bad face on the sincere efforts of a lot of good people who are working in earnest to solve problems, rather than perpetuate them.   

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