A colleague, who grew up in Baltimore, takes a dim view of the proposal for a new sports arena on the outskirts of the city. Man, this guy is negative:

So negative! And so old school. So yesterday!

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He completely missed the point of today's column -- all this yapping about Baltimore not being able to support an indoor sports franchise (other than the Blast) is seen through the yellowing prism of First Mariner Arena (nee Civic Center). What we need is a new and better arena, a fresh start and a new vision. It will make all the difference. Put a state-of-the-art arena in a place that is safe and accessible for fans from the suburbs, market your teams correctly, set them up to succeed by wisely and fairly managing the home schedules, and we will see a huge difference. Even hockey will succeed.

Here's comment from a reader a little more upbeat about the prospects:

You're right on with regards to needing a new arena and now. But the thing that we need to do is avoid thinking small and with short- sightedness. Based on my understanding, Ed Hale is planning on building a "smallish" arena similar to the size that we have now. We need a venue that will attract major league sports and events. We as a region always take the low road when it comes to such things. The original arena was too small from the beginning and poorly designed. The convention center has always been too small even after the expansion that was done several years ago. The light rail was originally built with sections that only had one rail line. If M&T Bank Stadium had been built with a dome then we could have attracted more events like the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and larger conventions instead of it being under-utilized. Who knows? If we had done all these things and had a more visionary mindset, we might have even won the summer Olympics bid a few years ago. It seems that we are doomed to be a mid-market area and we have no one to blame but ourselves.   

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