December 22, 2004 [LINK]

The "Nats" become a reality

Washington Nationals logo The Washington Nationals' team jerseys went on sale this morning, one week after they were supposed to be put on display for the first time. I have to say, I really admire the artwork. Regular visitor Steven Poppe suggests that the new owners go back to using the "Senators" name after the franchise is sold, but I think that would be a bit awkward. Besides, as he mentions, the Texas Rangers apparently retain residual rights to that name since they used to be the Senators! Weird.

In the Washington Post, Thomas Boswell interprets the strange way the relocation deal has come about:

Washington and baseball are now locked in a bizarre marriage of inconvenience. The sport finds itself in the novel position of bestowing a team on a town that has responded with a distrustful, lukewarm embrace and a demand for prenuptial agreements.

While the District wonders whether baseball is worth all the expense, baseball wonders if Washington is worth such a headache.

Looking ahead, he casts doubt on the three-year construction timetable that is generally assumed for the new stadium:

... according to one of the people most involved in researching the timeline for building the District's new ballpark, "Getting the stadium done for '08 is already out of the question. It can't be done and it won't be close. I'd put a ballpark opening in '09 at 50-50." If that pessimistic view proves true, Cropp may save the District $15 to $30 million.

Trades and near-trades

Back in the real world of baseball, the Yankees welcomed ex-Marlins pitcher Carl Pavano to their roster but failed to acquire Randy Johnson from the Diamondbacks. This was part of a three-way deal in which Dodger Shawn Green would have gone to Phoenix, but it apparently fell through because Yankee Javier Vazquez refused to go play for Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have picked up David Wells, Matt Clement, and Edgar Renteria, gaining an advantage on the Yanks during the winter trades, according to Finally, Orlando Hernandez -- who I saw pitch a shutout in the Bronx last July -- is about to sign with with White Sox.