Most fans like Busch Stadium just as it is and don't share the team's view that it's near obsolescence at the tender age of 34. Plus, the facility is owned outright by the team, so why would it give it up?

The answer is simple: If the public would just give the team a nice little $250 million facility, the revenue streams from luxury suites and enhanced concession opportunities and all the other trappings of the new-age stadium would vastly improve the cash flow -- and thus (and most significantly) the franchise's value -- so much so as to offset the benefit of actual ownership of an older facility.

This is about greed of our city's sports monopolists, nothing more or less, and the fact that it's no different than the greed of other cities' sports monopolists doesn't make it right. If Busch Stadium needs to be replaced, let its owners do what owners do in any other business: put up or borrow the needed capital-improvement funds themselves.

Need help? As suggested in this space last fall, a creative approach (either to renovate Busch or build a new stadium) might be to sell personal-seat licenses to fans in exchange for the right to purchase those seats and a piece of the stadium ownership and cash flow. It would be something like the Rams' PSL deal, but with a semblance of self-respect for the buyers.

If we baseball fans need to buck up to keep our team competitive and prosperous -- a debatable proposition but one that can be debated another time -- then we baseball fans should make the investment, for better or worse.

Leave the public out of this. The Cardinal owners may be playing in the state Capitol better than their team does on a baseball diamond.

But this is a bad game.

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