Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 15, 2004
BASEBALL: Pray They Donít Alter It Any Further

The D.C. Council has pretty much rewritten the cityís agreement with Major League Baseball, leaving the future of the former Montreal Expos once again in doubt.

Iím sympathetic to the argument that D.C. taxpayers shouldnít get stuck with the whole tab for a new stadium, but the City Council should honor the cityís original agreement with MLB. Doing otherwise only gives baseball an excuse to look elsewhere for a less inept city government that wonít renege on its deals.

UPDATE: David Pinto has a different take, which I agree with in principle, except to say that, if D.C. wanted to draw a line about demanding private financing, the time to do that was when it first made a deal. With baseball already committed to moving and renaming the team and local baseball fans prepared to support it, I think itís wrong to reverse course like this. Hopefully, an owner or investor will ride in to pony up the money, but the track record of D.C.ís local government canít be much of an incentive.

SECOND UPDATE (from the Crank): I like the image of Bud Selig as Lando . . . Eric McErlain has been all over this story, and has links aplenty here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Chris Lawrence makes a valid point.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:02 PM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I thought that the whole deal was still contingent on the DC council passing a funding bill. Did the council actually pass one funding bill, and now has basically ripped it up and replaced it with another?

Posted by: Robert at December 15, 2004 3:01 PM

We'll give ya partial credit. :)

DC, for some reason, requires financing bills like this to be approved twice. The earlier vote was simply the first of two--and the multiple abstentions from that were a definite warning sign.

This, however, has taken us aback.

Posted by: Chris at December 15, 2004 6:29 PM

This whole situation is an absolute disgrace, and there is plenty of blame to go around. This whole sitatuion was created by Bud Selig and his band of cronies (READ: MLB owners) who let Jeffrey Loria destroy Montreal baseball and then skip town for sunnier pastures in Miami (another sink hole waiting to happen). They buy the team and basically run it like a low rent high school athletic program. MLB wanted out of Montreal in the worst way because of the horrible exchange rate on the Canadian dollar. They knew that the value of the franchise was going to skyrocket just based on time (simple real dollar valuation) and the fact that the new owner was going to move the team into the States, thus automatically increasing the value of the franchise by getting rid of the exchange rate. What MLB should do is push the stadium funding on the new owner, but that would require accepting less money for the franchise. I guess $5 million rather than $5.5 million in free money per team is not enough.
The other joke is the politicians in Washington DC. As Eric McErlain points out, this is nothing more than political jockeying amongst the Washington pols. But all anyone needs to know about DC politics is that the people re-elected Marion Barry as mayor (I can't resist...the gave him another crack at it) after his run-in with the law and have now elected him to the City Council.
If MLB truly wants the team in DC they need to start calling in their favors in Congress. A quick search will reveal a lot of money dontated from MLB owners to different PACs and pols during this election cycle. However I still think Selig and his closest group of confidants (Bob Dupuy and Bill Giles to name two) are still looking at contraction as a viable option and problems in DC and Miami only further their cause on this front.

Posted by: Jersey Matt at December 16, 2004 8:46 AM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg