February 12, 2005 [LINK]

Development schemes in D.C.

The legislation authorizing funding for a new stadium on the Anacostia waterfront in D.C. stipulated that alternative private sources of capital be explored. One such proposal has come from Washington developer Herbert S. Miller, who wants to build a $1.4 billion retail-residential complex anchored by a Wal-Mart or Costco mega-store. Seven other private financing schemes were submitted to the District government in January. "You need something to make this part of town come alive," Miller said. "This can be more than just building a baseball stadium. We can create a real sense of place." See the Washington Post. Yes, but will such a project welcome existing residents of that neighborhood and help rebuild a genuine community, or will it run roughshod over them?

Also in Friday's Washington Post, Thomas Boswell waxed poetic about the imminent start of spring training for the Washington Nationals, and the team's impact on the psyche of Our Nation's Capital: "It's the Start Of a Beautiful Friendship." As he writes, "Countless people in this area have no clue what's about to arrive in their life." Boy, are they in for a a new experience!

Odds 'n Ends

At a press conference next to Yankee Stadium yesterday, a leaner and "cleaner" Jason Giambi apologized to his team and fans for the "distraction" he has caused. For obvious legal reasons, he didn't get into specifics. See mlb.com. Unlike other fallen sports heroes, including some with literary pretensions, Jason's contrition seems sincere and unreserved. He deserves a second chance. Speaking of which, I saw the movie Eight Men Out for the first time yesterday, and it really dramatizes the enormous toll on human lives when athletes cut ethical corners. "Say it ain't so, Joe!" From the arches that were visible behind the lower deck, it appeared to have been filmed in old Comiskey Park, but the movie credits did not say so. It's too bad the outfield scenes were not as realistic as they could have been. The Minnesota Twins are still pushing for public support to build a new retractable-roof stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Since the state legislature remains very reluctant, some are suggesting tapping into gambling revenues from Indian reservation. (But I thought baseball and gambling don't mix...) See mlb.com for details. I have ranked the books listed in the Sources section of the Baseball page, on a scale of one ball (fair) to four balls (excellent).