July 13, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Stadium structure completed

The last major structural beam in the Washington Nationals' new stadium was put in place on Wednesday. Progress is on schedule, and there should be no problems getting it finished before Opening Day next April. City and team officials had planned a ceremony in which various dignitaries and workers would sign that last beam, but the event was "rained out." One worker, evidently not from the D.C. area, wrote "Go Pirates!" on the final beam. See Washington Post.

This landmark comes just as the Washington Nationals begin the second half of a daunting but not hopeless season. In Thursday's Post, Barry Svrluga paid tribute to manager Manny Acta's "relentless positivity," which is leavened by realistic expectations about the short term. Acta does seem to have the ideal leadership personality for a team in the Nationals' position, and it reminds me of one of my favorite inspirational quotations, from Samuel Johnson: "Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance."

The mail bag

Mike Zurawski came across a news story in the Palm Beach Post: Commissioner Bud Selig "is very upset" that the state of Florida hasn't offered funding to help build a new stadium for the Marlins. The delay stems from indecision on the part of the University of Miami as to where the Hurricanes will play in future years. Some might call looking out for taxpayers' interests by the legislators as simple hard bargaining. Once again, MLB owners are exhibiting the same "entitlement" mentality that other clients of the government have come to expect -- like pigs feeding at the trough. (I was amused that MLB President Bob DuPuy is using astrological lingo again, as he did during the negotiations with D.C. three years ago: "We thought the stars were aligned.") It's ironic that this issue is being raised during the week when the All-Star game was played at the one recently-built stadium that was mostly paid for by the franchise itself: AT&T Park.