The baseball stadium proposed for Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom may not have adequate protection against the many failed experiments of wacky inventor Wayne Szalinski, opponents of the project said today.
Concerns range from whether the ballfield could withstand an attack from a toddler the size of a 10-story building, or whether there would be emergency shelter for baseball players and fans who could be shrunk by a misaligned ray shot from Szalinski’s proprietary shrinking machine.
“There are a number of anxieties surrounding the placement of a ballpark in historic Shockoe Bottom,” said Aidan Chanting, chairman of a group that opposes baseball in downtown, “not the least of which is whether the complex could deflect a blast from Szalinski’s Goo-Ballizer Gun, which would turn the whole place into a glop of jelly within seconds.”
Added Chanting: “Many questions about this project such as that one have yet to be answered.”
Still, supporters of the ballpark maintain that Szalinski-proofing the stadium is unnecessary, as the inventor hasn’t had a mishap since a June 2005 incident when he accidentally turned Richmond’s prominent Federal Reserve building into a 263-foot-tall leather suitcase.
Despite the objections, Raleigh, N.C.-based developers Highwoods Properties are moving forward with plans for the $60 million open-air ballpark, details of which include no retractable roof even though Szalinski has a history of transforming rain droplets into bowling balls.
“Building this park is an opportunity for our city that deserves our full attention and consideration,” said Ron Newman, one of the project’s most well-known supporters.
Newman notes that in addition to baseball, the facility would host various festivals and concerts, and attract more retail and office space to a region still struggling to bounce back from Szalinski’s 2004 accident with his Insta-Weather Remote Control, which caused a hurricane to blow through the area and cause more than $100 million in flood damages.
Still, Newman said, a few of the inventor’s contraptions have been used to do good.
“As a city,” he said, “we must consider the prospect that Mr. Szalinski’s experimentations could be of benefit to the Shockoe Bottom area, such as his Parking Lot Creator Device, the Drunken Skankerator, or the Sketchy Nightclub Remover-er.”