Public Will Soon Be Able To Voice Opinion On Olympic Bid

By Pat O’Rourke

Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics — which was submitted to the US Olympic Committee on Monday — has been one of the most polarizing stories to hit the region in recent memory.

The city is one of four American finalists up for the bid, along with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The host city will be rewarded in 2017. The proposal has been met with opposition. Worries include the costs, resources and whether the city can handle the games, among other issues.

Another major issue — transparency. The heavy opposition had little voice in the plans. No public meetings. No public forum for the opposition to voice their opinion. Yet plenty of issues at hand to be discussed. Plenty of questions to be asked. Plenty of answers to be given.

Well, now Bostonians planning an extended vacation for mid-summer 2024 will have their chance to be heard. According to the Boston Herald, the Boston Olympic committee is putting together a website in which the public will be able to offer up thoughts on the bid.

The website, 2024boston.org, will offer a forum for those to offer questions, comments and concerns on the plan. People will be able to take to social media as well, as the site will utilize Facebook and Twitter. Public meetings will also be held on a monthly basis beginning in January.

Initial plans for the games call for the construction of a 60,000-seat stadium in South Boston while utilizing athletic facilities at colleges around Boston — BU’s Nickerson Field and Agganis Arena included — for the games. The UMass-Boston campus has been looked into for Olympic village plans. Much-needed infrastructure and public transit improvements would come with the games.

Opponents worry about the budget. The region is still footing the bill for the Big Dig — the most expensive highway project in U.S. history — with a cost a nearly $15 billion and counting. Bringing the Olympics to Boston would carry a cost that could run 11-figures. There’s also general safety and security concerns. And of course, many simply don’t want it — the ‘not in my backyard’ mindset.

The thought initially seemed outlandish. As pieces have fallen into place in recent months, the idea has looked more feasible. Where it goes will be compelling.

Lester to the Yankees?

On the subject of ideas that initially came off as a dream sequence…the prospect of Jon Lester returning to Boston has grown as the news that came out regardng negotiations between the free agent pitcher and the Red Sox created reason for optimism.

The Red Sox have reportedly made an offer of six years and $130 million to the 30-year-old, whose pitched all but two months of his MLB career in Boston. The offer was just $8 million lower than the Chicago Cubs. Lester expressed interest in taking a ‘hometown discount’ to remain in Boston. Provided he has the same mindset, there’s reason to believe Lester could return to the Red Sox.

That’s until reports surface that the money-is-no-option New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers swoop in. Lester would address and area of need for both teams. The Dodgers need rotation depth, a pitcher who can provide a postseason-ace alternative to Clayton Kershaw, who turns into a pumpkin in October (no pun intended), as well as an insurance policy in case No. 2-man Zack Greinke opts out of his contract following the 2015 season to chase a fatter paycheck than the three years and $77 million that would remain on his deal.

The Yankees need a big lefty to anchor the staff, the one constant of the storied history of the franchise that has won 27 world championships, the most among the Big Four North American sports. Whether it was Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte or C.C. Sabathia, the Yanks have always had the southpaw. Lester would add to that list, while complimenting Masahiro Tanaka. Imagine that 1-2 punch? All of a sudden the rotation in the Bronx is as scary as we’ve seen in some time.

Above all, these two teams bury fiscal concerns on the agenda. If they have a need, they get it. And pay top dollar for it. The Dodgers and Yankees will go to a level the Red Sox haven’t shown they’ve been willing to go with Lester.

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Posted by: Patrick O'Rourke on