Expos players were told this week that a decision on their 2005 home is near, that it won't be Montreal and that there is a strong likelihood they will be living in the Washington, D.C., area.But wait, it gets better.
The player reps were informed by the union that there is now an overwhelming probability that they will wind up in either Washington or Northern Virginia -- although there is still a small chance that baseball could opt for Las Vegas.This is big stuff; it confirms what we've all been sensing for a while now. The Expos will almost certainly be somewhere 'round here next year. Now it's down to DC or NoVa.
The players now believe Washington is the favorite, with Northern Virginia looming as a compromise choice if Orioles owner Peter Angelos attempts to block Washington's bid. Either way, the players were told that the union is very confident this is, finally, their last year in Montreal.
They also came away with the impression that San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the Expos have been playing some home games, and Monterrey, Mexico, also are no longer being seriously considered.I feel bad for Norfolk. They had sorta funny commercials and everything, but were thwarted by simply not being a major league city. That's not stopping the Loudoun Cabal, but still.
Relocation candidates such as Portland, Ore., and Norfolk, Va., were pictured as being extremely unlikely.
If I may backtrack, and I certainly may, let's have a closer look at this bit:
The players now believe Washington is the favorite, with Northern Virginia looming as a compromise choice if Orioles owner Peter Angelos attempts to block Washington's bid.Peter Angelos cannot block the Expos moving to DC. His territorial rights allow him to lord over this whole area in the American League only. If he does try to block the Senators/Grays/whatever, it will have to be with under-the-table shenanigans (that being the technical legal term), and I find it hard to believe that MLB would allow DC relocation to get this far while Angelos still has a leg to stand on.
Furthermore, and I know I say this all the time, there is still no reason to believe that Angelos will support the NoVa bid. Angelos paid for some studies that say the Senators would cost the O's about 1,000 fans a game. He knows just as well as I do that he could have those fans back in a snap via the simple solution of fielding an above-.500 team. What he can't get back by not sucking is the television monopoly he now wields. Hence, he's all about Puerto Rico, making him the only person outside Puerto Rico of whom this is true.
Stop the Presses! I must give props to DCFan01 over at the message board, even if he is wrong about everything. He's all over this business like the Cards on LaTroy Hawkins, coming up with this response from MLB:
Major League Baseball players' union officials today denied reports on ESPN that they told some Montreal Expos players during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that they will likely be playing in the Washington, D.C., area next year.So now the question is, whom do we believe? The short answer is "not DuPuy," but Fehr's presence makes this rebuttal a little harder to dismiss. Whatever actually transpired, Brad Wilkerson or somebody thinks they're going to DC.
"What we essentially told them is that we have reason to expect Major League Baseball will make a decision, hopefully by the owners' meeting in a few weeks . . . and that a number of places are on the list," said MLB Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr. "Nobody gave them assurances that they will be going to any location as opposed to anyplace else. People can make their own judgments on that, but we didn't make it for them." . . . MLB President Bob DuPuy called the report that the Expos will be playing on the Washington area next year "preposterous, not true."
"Apparently, union representatives offered their opinion of what might happen," said DuPuy in an e-mail. "It carries no imprimatur. No decision has been made and no recommendation has been made to the commissioner. Uninformed comments like this do not move the process along."
Developing . . .