Reality is all the rage these days.
It seems that most everyone wants to “keep it real,” … maybe that’s how we arrived at the concept of reality TV.
Be it a creation of society’s lack of creativity or a “you can’t make this stuff up” attitude, just plopping a camera in a room full of people is all the entertainment most people seem to need these days.
Outside of television, we have one other place where you can find drama, comedy, challenge, anxiety, trepidation, amazing real-life characters and the “man vs. whatever” situations.
It’s called government.
Lately, that front was both maddening and intriguing as we tiptoed along the edge of a fiscal cliff only to have our elected officials swoop in like superheroes at the 11th hour with a solution.
In little old Hagerstown, our officials have their own reality saga in progress. It would surpass Gunsmoke and Law and Order for longest running show honors.
It’s called the stadium issue.
That’s a political baseball has been smacked around the yard for the better part of a quarter of a century. These episodes could be titled “Pass the Buck,” “Cry Wolf,” “Wait and See if Anyone Notices,” and — a personal favorite — “If You Leave It, They Will Still Come.”
It has outlasted a handful of mayors and numbers of city, county and state representatives, none of whom have come up with a decisive answer — one way or another — on whether Hagerstown needs a facility to replace Municipal Stadium.
It’s treated like a New Year’s Day Polar Bear swim: Stick a toe in to see if the water is warm enough.
The latest twist came Tuesday when it was suggested that Hagerstown City Council members should stop acting like “there is only one baseball team in the world,” and that the city “should immediately put out an RFP (request for proposals)” to anyone who would like to foot the majority of the bill for building a stadium and/or bring a team in to play here.
The Hagerstown Suns, who have been here since 1981 — which happens to be nearly half of Municipal Stadium’s shelf life — have become a champagne expense in a beer economy.
In the 32 years since the Suns took residence here, they too have gone through a handful of owners and numbers of front office, managing and player personnel. They, too, have been looking for a decisive answer — one way or another — to decide if they should stay or leave.
And after a year’s worth of drama, which began with a proposed move to Winchester, Va., a heated battle over a downtown stadium project and another elected changing of the guard, everything is sitting at Square One on the game board.
So, here’s a little more reality to consider.
* Looking for a new affiliate isn’t going to happen. In minor league baseball, teams can only reshape their farm system yearly and a town can’t be shopped until the current team leaves.
* The Washington Nationals are the best affiliation Hagerstown can hope for. Like the Baltimore Orioles of the 1980s — who pulled out of town in the ’90s because of the stadium — players who play here could eventually play just 80 miles down the road where local fans can still see them every day. Remember Bryce Harper?
* If the Suns leave town, Hagerstown will never, ever have an affiliated team play here again. There are little things called blackout areas — or eminent domain — which prevent an affiliated team to move in close proximity to another.
Parasiliti: Reality is last thing considered in stadium issue
Bob Parasiliti (Joe Crocetta / April 15, 2012)