"The Last Cartel"
The Washington Post just published a splendid three-part series of articles written by Steve Fainaru, entitled "Baseball: The Last Cartel." It exposes in gory detail many of the dirty dealings in which MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has been associated, raising the distinct possibility that an honest resolution of the issue of relocating a baseball team to the Washington area may not be possible. PART ONE details how Selig contrived to get Wisconsin taxpayers to pay for most of Miller Park, which ended up causing great political damage to former Governor Tommy Thompson (a Republican). PART TWO chronicles the disgraceful saga of the Expos franchise, which could easily have been relocated to the Washington area five or more years ago, but which has been kept in money-losing limbo for the sake of one of the 29 major league franchise owners: Baltimore's Peter Angelos (a Democrat). PART THREE probes into the nature of the alliance between Angelos and Selig, detailing the composition and operations of MLB's Relocation Committee, which seems heavily stacked against Washington-area interests. The upshot is that the custodians of our national pastime are flagrantly abusing the antitrust exemption they have enjoyed since 1922 on behalf of purely parochial interests. It's a reminder that if Selig once again goes back on his word to finally resolve the issue this year, the only recourse may be in the halls of Congress.
It was quite a coincidence that these articles ran just as I returned to take some photos at RFK Stadium for the first time since the exhibition game I saw there in 1999; there are two new photos on that page, which will soon be updated with a dynamic diagram, revised text, and another photo or two.