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Bills’ bidders should make peace, team up

If you can’t beat them, join them. A perfect solution for the ‘80s rocker Jon Bon Jovi and Terry Pegula is to join forces. Bon Jovi desperately wants to be part of sport’s most exclusive country club, but the dues fees have become an obstacle and the next seat at the owners table will for certain be more costly and years away. Pegula, on the other hand, has no problem with the greens fees, but prefers to play his game on ice. What they do have in common is a love for the music business.

With part of the $4 billion Pegula received when he sold East Resources, he started a recording label. A business partner who could lend credibility and expertise, I assume, would be welcomed. Bon Jovi would not be a majority stakeholder in the Buffalo Bills, but the face of the franchise making real decisions while carrying an NFL owner’s shield. Pegula could then reign over his sports empire, a legitimate savior for the WNY sports fans. But, together, the newfound duet could produce gold records in Nashville (the headquarters for Black River Entertainment). Maybe Bon Jovi, like so many of his fellow rockers, would even go a little bit more country.

The sale of the Bills has become an absolute nightmare and probably a pipe dream for Bon Jovi, but Terry Pegula is a billionaire for being a businessman, not a sports fan. This partnership sounds like a match made in heaven, or maybe just in Pegulaville.

William J. Grogan

Hamburg

Exit strategy wasn’t good enough

Before we build a statue of Ralph Wilson, let’s look back over the past 53 years that Wilson owned the club.

He was successful in getting hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars with the stated or implied threat that if the franchise was not profitable he may have to move the team.

And yes, Ralph gave generously to local charities. But when you do the math, Ralph gave back about a dime for every dollar he got in our tax money.

Ralph also stated after his passing he’d like the team to stay in Buffalo. But other than rhetoric he did nothing to ensure the team stay right here for the long term.

He could have left the team to his wife Mary with instructions to keep it here. Incidentally, that would have deferred estate taxes too.

Or he could have left instructions in his will to require the successful bidder to pay back all public funds received during, say, a 20-year period, if the team was moved. I’m sure there were other lockdown ideas Ralph could have added to his will.

Herb Bertram

Orchard Park

Let’s not stage a rush to judgment

Just not sure about Terry Pegula becoming the new Bills owner as the local sports media seems to be promoting.

The two-year delay and ultimate waste of valuable time in the Darcy Regier saga combined with the Pat LaFontaine mystery resignation makes me wonder if he is the right person to own the Bills. He obviously was indecisive and overly loyal to Regier and the apparent bizarre treatment of one of our most beloved Sabres makes me concerned about his sports management abilities and that of his team executives.

Jerry Jones is a great businessman and Ralph Wilson was a great businessman and fan of the Bills but neither could be considered successful football team owners in the sense of wins, losses, and playoff participation. Of course all of the preceding is trumped if Pegula is the only suitor willing to commit the Bills to Buffalo. Its’ going to be a very interesting next three months for Bills fans.

Lou Speranza

Hamburg

Where are the fans going to come from?

Some statistics I stumbled across in, of all places, the Buffalo Business First Guide to Western New York Schools inserted a new factor into the debate regarding the future of the Buffalo Bills in Western New York.

A bar graph illustrates the nearly 10 percent drop in enrollment in schools over the last five years in the eight-county area covered by the guide. Two reasons are cited for this. One is declining birth rates. The other is the continuing out-migration of adults. What does this mean for the Bills? The fans needed for support are leaving Western New York in search of greener pastures in other states, especially the young well-educated professionals. If these trends continue, and the Bills remain in Western New York, they could wake up one day to find they represent a ghost town.

It’ll sadden me as much as anybody else to see the team leave if they do, but they’ve got to go where the fans are.

Joe Kwiatkowski

Cheektowaga

Cashman whiffed by trading O’Brien

Yankees GM Brian Cashman did it again. For years he has been trading away his young prospects for older and more expensive players. At this week’s trade deadline he traded minor league slugger Pete O’Brien for 30-year-old Martin Prado. O’Brien has hit 33 homers and driven in 70 RBIs this year and did even better in Double-A than he did in Single-A. During spring training the Yankee announcers said that when the 23-year-old O’Brien took batting practice, the rest of the team would stand around the cage to watch his mammoth Mickey Mantle-type drives. He was being used at third base and outfield because the Yankees have a lot of catchers in their system. The Yankees could certainly use some power at third or in the outfield.

The Yankees sorely need hitters and youth so why would they trade such an exciting prospect for a 30-year-old infielder? Prado is an OK player (that makes over $10 million a year) but he will never lead them to the promised land.

East Aurora

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