September 29, 2004
FURTHER UPDATE (6:20 PM): Mayor Anthony Williams announced at 5:00 this afternoon that Major League Baseball will be coming to Washington, D.C. next year. Two hours before, he had received a telephone call from the Commissioner's office confirming that the transfer will be approved. (A 3/4 vote of the 29 franchise owners is required, but that is a 100% certainty. If the broadcasting package is as generous as is rumored, Peter Angelos himself may vote "yes.") The 15-minute ceremony featured seven city council members who have [either] agreed to vote for the necessary funding [or are leaning that way]. Mayor Williams made it clear that D.C. residents would not bear any tax burden for the new stadium, that a large number of free or low-cost tickets would be set aside for underprivileged youth, and that one dollar for each ticket sold after 2.5 million attendance is reached each year would be allocated to community recreation projects. In short, the Mayor gets it. Baseball is about building communities and restoring hope. For details, see WTOP Web site. Much more to come.
Mayor Williams was particularly gracious in paying respects to Virginia Governor Mark Warner and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, whose welcoming attitude so angered Mr. Angelos back in July. So what's next? I'll be buying myself a Senators (or Nationals or Grays) cap as soon as the franchise is sold and the team's new name is announced. Come next spring, George W. Bush or John W. Kerry will revive the long-forgotten spring ritual by which the President used to throw out the first pitch at the season opening game in The Nation's Capital. PLAY BALL!!! I really look forward to finally seeing a game at Camden Yards, now that my boycott is over.
As in previous years, I've added a table at the bottom of the Baseball page showing the scores of postseason games. A few the championship series slots are still unfilled, so I may have to alter the teams listed. Cincinnati just beat the Cubs 4-3 in 12 innings, meaning the Cubs are in grave danger of losing the wild card race.
FURTHER UPDATE (noon): Steven Poppe referred me to a Canadian blogger Colby Cosh, who insists that the lawsuit by former minority partners in the Expos franchise will stop this deal dead in its tracks. It is, of course, remotely possible that lawyers could still sabotage this deal, even though no serious person on Earth believes that there is sufficient support for the Expos in Montreal to keep the franchise alive. True, MLB may just going through the motions with this relocation process, but the economic reasons for moving the team to the D.C. area are simply overwhelming. The lawsuit, and the threat of an injunction, is nothing more than a ploy to cash in -- one of the "$nag$" I referred to yesterday.
UPDATE: Here's the Post story from the Wednesday edition, and here's the latest press release from MLB.com. No official confirmation just yet. My take on this is that Mayor Williams is jumping the gun just a bit to make sure that the necessary funding legislation gets introduced at the City Council this week. Friday is the deadline.