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Gender: Male
Hometown: Arizona
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed Jul 16, 2008, 08:35 PM
Number of posts: 29,322

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I'd like to recommend Distant Land of My Father

I believe this is Bo Caldwell's first novel and it is up there as the best fiction book I ever read.

It starts out at pre-World War II Shanghai. It is written from the perspective of the daughter and is first person - I'm not sure if that is the correct word. The narrator is the daughter rather than a story from one character's perspective but told through the lens of the narrator. If you didn't know it was fiction, you'd swear it was non-fiction. Anyways, this American father absolutely loves Shanghai and loves to tell his 7-year-old daughter about the city as often as he can.

Japan then moves into China, discusses the Marco Polo incident. He is a successful businessman who refuses to shut things down and leave before a war breaks out. He is certain Japan won't get far and Shanghai will pretty much be out of harm's way. When Japan does arrive in Shanghai he still refuses to leave even when wife and daughter move into the daughter's grandmother's house in LA.

Eventually he is imprisoned in harsh conditions, is released to the USA and he is anxious to return back. After the War he does but Shanghai isn't the same, nothing is the same. Then a civil war breaks out between the Nationalists and Communists. I won't give out any more than that.

I almost non-stop cried through that book. It reminds you of a time in your personal life when everything was perfect or better than ever and it reminds you that you can't go back to that time. I never really thought about World War II from China's perspective before but it made me so incredibly sad that the War changed this father-daughter relationship forever (tears are coming now as I type this) and the life that they had in a wonderful place that was never really the same as it was in the 1930's according to the book.

Even though this is her first novel, I don't believe I've read an author that is as skilled at using analogies as she is. She was very effective at writing the first part of the book from a child's perspective - how they took silly things literally (like when I was a kid, whenever my mom expressed worry that she was going to be fired, I thought her employer threw people in a fireplace). How the daughter looked at her parents, especially her father as Superheros and the first time she learned that they can be wrong.

After reading, I've been very interested in researching about Shanghai during the 1930's and two wars that followed and I found that that the book has things down to a T. That it was a huge international city where there was quite successful British and American businessmen. The locations. The streets and buildings are all there. The Bund is mentioned an awful lot in the book. Chinese City to the Southeast. The part of the city where foreigners lived. The road to the northeast where the father was imprisoned by the Japanese.

This looks really bad me writing this post

considering my avatar so what I say appears to be biased but I agree with your sentiment.

Your issue should be with the major sports leagues in the US and the political & economic realities(not referring to the BS excuses owners use) that exist that allow this to happen. If a team with the baseball history such as NY Yankees or Boston Rox moved and that caused anyone to quit supporting baseball, they should stop right now because it will happen and has happened. It would be a shock not because they choose to leave the city but because the city/state didn't approve a grossly unfair stadium construction/renovation deal with equally unfair lease agreements that often include escape clauses that allow teams to skip town before the stadium's costs are paid for so you don't have situations where the Jets/Giants are playing next door to a stadium the city is still paying for. Now the Yankees/Red Sox are safe short-term because the Yankees got theirs and Red Sox had some recent renovations I believe. Cubs are more likely but like I said, a shock if the city doesn't approve, Ricketts is currently in negotiations with Rahm for renovations. Immediately when he took over he threatened the city of Mesa, AZ a move to Florida to a successful vote for a new spring training ballpark that I foolishly and stupidly voted for but actually would of the made the problem worse which I'll explain.

One of the economic realities is that since leagues control entry of teams (often for honest reasons such as competitive balance, scheduling, etc) there is excessive demand for teams and little supply which gives teams/leagues unbelievable bargaining power over the city/state it plays for as there is always another city/state more than willing to meet the team's demands. Known as the all-or-nothing approach when it is presented as agree these set of demands that are great for us or you have no team. A higher profile example in sports is the Olympics or World Cup. Instead of purchasing an event or a couple World Cup games, it is presented as one package and these countries go absolutely crazy offering to incur all these costs and some countries end up having several Astrodomes w/ no use years after the event is gone. A city actually refusing to stadium construction/renovations ends up strengthening these threats because it sends messages to other cities legitimizing them. The Seattle Sonics were probably the best example in recent history to other cities legitimizing this threat as they had history, fan support, factors that normally generate support from general sports fans for teams to relocate. Also the city bent over backwards in that settlement primarily so that the NBA would be nice to them and hopefully in the future, consider the city for a team. A clear reason why Stern was so heavily involved in making it happen when the ownership group had no intention of keeping them in Seattle no whatsoever to keeping them. Why all the NBA owners (maybe except for a few that have a general belief to not get in the way of another franchise making their own decisions) but 2 approved of the move because it made their case strongly if they ever felt the need to pull the relocation card. Guess who one of the 2 was? Cuban is one of the most hated owners by sports fan but he is actually one of the very few that isn't completely trumped by maximizing profits, he was sued by a smaller partner Ross Perot Jr. for running deficits and general mismanagement. It wasn't a secret that Dallas incurred yearly losses and Cuban(I can't find quote) said something after one successful season with a playoff run that it was the "Best (whatever amount) I ever lost". The case was dismissed when Cuban filed a brief with Nowitzki holding a Finals trophy which led to the judge dismissing and stating that Perot Jr's claims were ridiculous. Interesting that unlike typical businesses, owners are not judged by profits, revenue generated but by the success of the team's play. That is another topic for different thread.

Long history of this and other strategies, NFL probably wants the city of Los Angeles to remain without a team so teams can continue using them as a threat until as many teams get a stadium and Goddell keeps using the Super Bowl extortion in Atlanta, San Diego, for bonus points. The Browns going to Baltimore probably has the greatest effect of increasing the value of the relocating threat of all time. Browns had history and fan support but ownership decided to move before their stadium demand was voted on and actually approved even after that lower than usual blow by the owner. Not long after Cardinals, Seahawks, Broncos, Steelers, Patriots, Colts, Lions, Bengals, Buccaneers, and Eagles received new stadiums. I did not look at each and every individual case but I guarantee every single of them used a threat of relocation(including implied ones such as all the options and don't want to be forced to make a option they have "no choice"--even the Steelers and Broncos. I believe the Gillette Stadium's construction was privately financed but usually there are tax breaks, sale of land for extremely low costs, etc that factor into in but need to look at them in-detail. There is a strong reason I believe that.

There is no sense in demanding a new stadium and publicly stating and without a hint otherwise that you have no desire to relocate the team. Wilf has done that for several years until recent years and in 2006 had a favorable proposal compared to vast majority of teams in terms of costs the owner is willing to put up (95%+ times it is a bad deal for the city). As far as stadiums go the Vikings have the best case of any team depending a stadium, they generate one of the lowest if not lowest incomes from the stadium and they sell out every game. It immediately gives the city more bargaining power because why offer to cover costs of construction when there is no threat of a team leaving? While overall this is pretty scummy behavior, the "nice guys" of asking governments to fund stadiums don't get rewarded. Yes, there are exceptions to this relocating thing, sometimes a team is really not viable to continue in the same city but there are also profit maximum strategies involved. Primary reason the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis was stop a rapidly growing and increasingly popular AFL from placing a team there. The Dodgers in a larger media market moved to the second largest media market because then they would it have it to themselves. Next NFL team that moves to LA will likely have the reason of capturing that market before another team chooses to do so.

OK--political realities and I'll keep it shorter than I wanted to. Basically, there is nothing judiciously that can be done about this. Several rulings, one when the Raiders successfully sued the NFL on the basis of the Sherman Antitrust Act(long history of this affecting the impact of the top leagues and the way they operate today), which made it easier to relocate especially since the league rarely protested relocations(the one case LA Rams-STL was clearly for financial reasons for the league but backed down after lawsuit from Rams) . The Noerr-Pennington doctrine is what kills successful anti-trust challenges because you basically can't make anti-competitive challenges when a legislative body is involved in the transaction on First Amendment grounds using the term political injury. You could argue that it harms taxpayers but taxpayers are not legally considered consumers.

Also us. Knowing all this, I'd probably vote to keep a team if I liked the team, it wouldn't do anything to discourage(actually encourage) future threats or relocations. Often the city will spend even more money trying to attract a team further down the line (Kansas City actually built a state-of-the-art arena 5 years ago to attract a NBA/NHL team and there are increasing discussions with cities discussing building these facilities even though no one said we'll give you a team). The only thing that would discourage leaving is if every single backup plan voted no which would leave a no vote on a team staying up to highly unlikely certainty. Like arguing voting for a third party is wasted when they can't win based on mathematically probability.

The problem I stated is the way the league limits entry is what leads to these problems. The Premier League is far superior in avoiding this ridiculous skyrocketing requests for new buildings with relegation/promotion. The threat to leave is almost non-existed so teams are playing in stadiums far older than ours that are often renovated the by the club(which is the sensible thing to do instead of tearing it down and building another fucking stadium that is so stupid I can't comprehend). That isn't saying Europe is far superior in every way, just their soccer leagues compared to our sports leagues. As evidence by Murdoch scandal he himself had an extraordinary amount of control of British politics and had their hear which lead to rent control measures that enabled Murdoch to engage in this type of unethical largely undetected and increasingly more often with help from police.

It would take an act of Congress to force leagues to have relegation/promotion and it wouldn't be supported because, too much government involvement, plenty of people don't like when politics/sports mix but this is situation that is already out of control and won't stop until there is a crash and there will be a crash when majority of cities are paying for 2-3 venues for the same sport. There are already reasonable arguments to pay for a team such as civic pride, identity, but I believe the costs clearly outweigh benefits and this argument will get tired soon. Even people that hate supporting stadiums would hate this, people don't think logically. I remember one writer for the LA Times suggested that group of LA businessmen should ask the NFL to be like the Green Bay Packers. I couldn't but help laugh so hard that the author would believe they would even entertain the thought. One of the argument he used was the Packers have 12 Championships. One comment in the section to counter started countering with success of private franchises such as the 49ers & Steelers so like with anything, regular folks defend businesses that screw people over to death.

Plus with fans used to the way things are they would resist change like crazy and imagine very few if any sports forumites would support this but I believe it is the only way to stop this craziness and the leagues sure aren't going to do it themselves. Yes it would be hard at first, MLB should be easy to set-up at first but like a competitive market cities/teams will develop and attract talent and in the long run make things exciting. The teams facing relegation would generate exciting contests near the end of the season where the Colts playing their final 2 games don't generate any exciting(unless rooting hard for the other team to win to get best pick). But I'd bet it will never happen.

Sorry for the long rant, I hope I highlighted the true enemies and that almost all franchises are as guilty as teams that did in fact relocate because they would have if the city failed to comply and for taking advantage of teams that do, for their own benefit. About the dump the sport now, if you would if team a,b, or c moved and wonder why don't I. I long ago accepted the business realities as it is, I find it mind boggling it takes strikes (when they are true displays of how businesses should be run) for fans to quit supporting the game when the league and it's teams make decisions on eliminating competition, raising prices when there are no competitors, and employ all sorts of tactics that takes the fan support for granted when they agree irrationally as do I to what they ask for.

-source for many claims and where I developed some more opinions about this topic, while helping me with most of the opinions I already had.

League Structure & Stadium Rent Seeking
—the Role of Antitrust Revisited
David Haddock, Tonja Jacobi & Matthew Sag*

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