April 26, 2006
According to Washington's WUSA TV 9*, MLB has decided to sell the Nationals franchise to the family of Theodore Lerner, and an announcement will be made on Friday. This is not a big surprise, as the Lerners had been rumored to be in the lead for several weeks. Bud Selig's office denies that any decision has been made. Today's Washington Post reported that Fred Malek and Jeffrey Zients met with MLB officials in Milwaukee on Tuesday. The main obstacle, according to some Post articles, was the lack of minority participation in the Lerner group, which has been partly rectified. Former Braves President Stan Kasten recently agreed to join the Lerners as a major equity partner, which may have tipped the balance in their favor. I would have preferred that Fred Malek's group would have won, since he has been an ardent promoter of baseball in Washington for many years. Mayor Anthony Williams has been on friendly terms with Malek, and noted that the Lerners have been nowhere to be seen during all the controversies over building the new stadium in Washington. Well, at least the out-of-town group led by Jeffrey Smulyan (former Mariners owner) didn't win; that would have made it difficult for the Nationals go maintain good relations with the local community.
* I heard about this from Skip Caray on the TBS broadcast of today's Braves game in Milwaukee.
Corolyn Johnson alerted me to an excellent recent batch of photos of Fenway Park, taken by Tom Carmody at pbase.com.