Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bodley Blow

Our old friend Hal Bodley of USA Today (the official rag of the Loudoun Cabal) was at it again today.  I have proven conclusively that Bodley is biased toward NoVa, ignorant, or both, but, in the absence of news, it can't hurt to revisit some old themes.

Professor Bodley held a chat this afternoon, and here are a couple of the bits that pertain to us, repeated out of order for dramatic effect:

StevenJB Olney, MD: Thank you for taking my question, Hal. I'm starting to worry that Washington's inability to enact stadium financing is really an indicator that they are bluffing MLB and that they don't have the financial wherewithal to finance 100% of the cost of a stadium in DC. Do you feel the same way?

Hal Bodley: I think the relocation committee believes the financing in Washington is sound. I might be wrong, but that's what I'm hearing. In fact, the committee is split on whether the site should be downtown or at Dulles.

If even Hammerin' Hal is admitting that DC's finances are good, we must be in fine shape.  Particularly if there's any truth to that Post story saying that the Loudounites are, in the words of Redman, Champagne hos with Kool-Aid money.

Arlington, VA: How strong a case do you think D.C. baseball needs to make to convince owners that it is in MLB's best interest to award the Expos to them? It seems to me that a D.C. team would make more money than a Loudoun County team since it would be accessible to many more people. Do you expect the owners to be convinced that outweighs the concerns of Angelos?

Hal Bodley: No. My guess is Loudoun County is No. 1 on the list because putting the Expos there is a compromise for Angelos. Like it or not, Commissioner Bud Selig doesn't want to get into a battle with Angelos. Selig has a lot of problems with weakening the Orioles by putting a team in Washington. Believe it or not, that's the way he feels. He'll probably try to convince Angelos the site near Dulles is far enough away. But, as we know, the Expos will have to play in RFK for three years.....

Here we go again.  Look, Peter Angelos has not been reticent in this matter.  He's had ample opportunity to beg Selig in public to put the Expos in NoVa, and there's no reason to think he wouldn't; he's not exactly known for keeping his mouth shut.  To my knowledge, Angelos has never drawn any distinction between the goal of the Washington Baseball Club and that of the Evil Virginia Baseball Club.  Both cost him his massive broadcasting monopoly, worth far more money than the fans he gets to drive to Balitmore to watch the O's lose.  In fact, Angelos DID come out in favor of a bid: San Juan's.  But the Loudounites are so desperate for some advantage over DC that they're clinging to the non-existent whim of the Baltimore Rat-Creature.  Good luck with that, fellas.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I Got Nothing

Seriously.  There's nothing going on.  Nothing on how the Loudoun Cabal (artist's conception) has downgraded from "Scenic Diamond Lake Stadium" to "Scenic Diamond Gravel Pit Stadium."  Nothing about the Expos' MLBPA reps being told to pack for Washington.  I've already talked about Angelos' bitter rantings (a good sign!).  Here's some scrounging:

I'm so confident that I'm paying a little attention to the Expos again.  Peter Gammons says that they're not going to trade Brad Wilkerson or Luis Ayala, but Orlando Cabrera is on his way out.  I approve.

There's a show on 1450 WOL here in the DC area that occasionally discusses the DC baseball issue.  Sports Groove, hosted by Mark Gray, is on from 7-10 pm on weekdays, and the host is proponent of remembering the Grays.

Why I Hate DC is as annoyed with Angelos as the rest of us.

Like I said, nothing.

UPDATE! I totally forgot about this one thing I was saving for a rainy day when I had nothing to talk about (i.e., today).  Bisnow.com, responsible for some of talk radio's most annoying ads, has an with interview William L. Collins of the Evil Virginia Baseball Club (EVBC).  Get out your BS detectors and check out the summary.
> new names for the team could be the Virginia Senators, Nationals, Presidents, Generals, Graysox, or Stallions
Ripoff, Ripoff, Lame, You Idiots Really Miss the Confederacy Don't You?, Lame, Gay.
> it won't be so hard to get to a Dulles stadium on weeknights, because games would start at 730 PM, at the tail end of rush hour when people have already left work in DC to homes that are closer to the stadium
Uh-huh.  It would be even easier if the stadium were in a city.  You know, like all the rest of them.
> there are two million residents within a 20 mile radius of the Dulles site, including the fastest growing area in the country
And if every single one of them goes to a game, you might outdraw the Brewers.
> fans will come in "droves" from D.C., Montgomery County, Virginia, and West Virginia
I haven't listened to the interview, so I don't know if he giggled when he said this.  I do like the skeptical quotation marks around "droves."  Your bid might be in trouble if you're relying on West Virginia.
> the Dulles site will satisfy concerns of Peter Angelos because it is a two-hour drive from Baltimore
Utter bullcrap.  The Loudounites just love to bring this up in spite of the fact that it makes no sense.

I dearly hope this is the same spiel he gave MLB.  If it is, we have nothing to worry about.

Monday, July 26, 2004

I'm Not Bothering with a "Friend" Joke

My shot at ESPN yesterday was perhaps premature, because they really deserve it today.  Check out this piece o' jackassery from Tom Friend of ESPN the Magazine (like SI, but with more "Boo-yas!").

I yield to very few in the loathing Peter Angelos category.  I think at one point I called him a "rat-creature," in fact.  But Friend, in damning the man trying to keep the Expos from their proper home, manages to insult an entire city.

When I was growing up in Washington, D.C. during the late '60s-early '70s, my folks would drive us through Baltimore on our way to New York City.

And I'd hold my nose.

I don't know if it was the factories or the smoke stacks or the Chesapeake Bay, but Baltimore literally smelled back then. And, based on what I'm hearing now, it still smells.

I've been to Baltimore many a time, and the only smell I've ever noticed is that of Old Bay, which they put on everything.  Seriously, this is just childish.

Any time now, Major League Baseball will announce the fate of the Montreal Expos, and more and more it looks like they'll be coming to my hometown ... unless Baltimore throws a hissy fit.
He's quite right here, except that he misses one vital distinction.  Baltimore is not trying to keep out the Expos.  Angelos is.  Hell, the mayor of Baltimore came out in favor of a DC team, for which he was personally insulted by Angelos.

Friend goes on to snipe about powerhouse O's teams of the 70s not drawing well, the Bullets leaving, and the Colts sneaking out.  All of this is completely irrelevant and shamefully inflammatory.

Baltimore can't support one team.
Trust me, Baltimore is not a great sports town, never has been.
This is obviously nonsense.A quick breeze through Baseball Reference's yearly league summaries shows that Baltimore is, in fact, an absolutely first-class baseball town.  From 1995 to 1998, the Orioles led the American League in attendance each year.  In '95, they came in third in their division with an uninspiring 71-73 record, but still drew over 3 million fans.  In fact, in those four years, they came in first place only once but still outdrew all competition.

1998 was the first of the Orioles' six (and counting) fourth-place finishes, yet the O's managed to sell over 3.6 million tickets.  The next two years featured crappy teams and in excess of 3 million through the turnstiles, good for second in the AL both years.  It wasn't until 2002 that attendance dipped below 3 million, but the Orioles since 1995 have never been worse than fifth in a league of 14 teams.  Considering the kind of teams they've been fielding in that time, this is a remarkable accomplishment and a testament to the enthusiam and loyalty of Baltimore baseball fans.

There is nothing to be gained from insulting Baltimore and her inhabitants, and I'm not just saying that because I'm something less than a year from becoming a Baltimorean-in-law.  The fine people of Charm City hate Angelos just as much as we do, so why is Friend going out of his way to make enemies?  This column is emblematic of an aspect of sports journalism I find particularly distasteful: controversy generates interest, so above all generate controversy. I'm sure Friend knows full well that the O's are a well-supported team, but that didn't fit his insulting thesis, so he chose to focus on the 1970s.  This makes him no better than the lowest message board troll, and ESPN should be ashamed of itself for running this piece of brainless vitriol.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Hey ESPN!

There are teams other than the Yankees and Red Sox, you bastards.

Peter Angelos has given up, if this interview is any indication.
"There are no real baseball fans in D.C." Angelos says the fans are mainly in the Maryland suburbs, and those pushing for a D.C. or Northern Virginia team are trying to steal Orioles' fans (emphases mine).
At this point, he's done trying to convince and is now just bitching.  I'd love to hear a response from Mayor Williams.

I'm the first to admit that this kind of thing is over my head, but the Post has a story today that questions the Loudoun Cabal's (artist's conception) ability to build that little Stepford town around the proposed ballpark.
The problem is, the baseball backers don't own most of the land. Tax records and interviews with owners who control the majority of the property indicate that the developers have agreements to buy, at most, only about a third of it.
It appears that they have enough land to build the park, but perhaps not enough for the Bed, Bath, & Beyond and the Romano's Macaroni Grill that were to surround it.
Such an eventuality would mark a stunning rollback from the vision Paul and his fellow baseball boosters offered Major League Baseball executives in May.
Not that the DC plan is all beer and Skittles, either.
The District, too, faces challenges in putting together the real estate for a stadium. Although the city controls Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and a second site is owned by the National Park Service, the remaining two sites are privately owned.
Anyway, read the whole thing if you're interested.  I started dozing off halfway through.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story about the effort to the name a DC team the Grays.  Christopher Rehling, the huge throbbing brain behind Remember the Grays, continues his takeover of the print media.  Go read the story and get yourselves some historical perspective, suckers.
 
Sunday's when all the papers do their "Around the League" thing, so why shouldn't I?  Huh?  I'll even bold all the names, so it looks professional.
  • Barry Bonds is going to get screwed out the MVP this year, no diggity.  Scott Rolen is about to find himself in the right place at the right time, Miggy T style.
  • Jason Schmidt is a pretty good candidate for the Cy Young.  If he wins, Bonds proves me wrong and takes the MVP, and the Giants miss the playoffs, would that be the first time that had happened?  Prolly.
  • If MLB is serious about speeding up the game, they should have a lockerroom attendant plant some betting slips in Steve Trachsel's stuff.
  • Josh Towers is putting a little something together in Toronto.  He came up with the Orioles in 2001, when they were fielding Cal Ripken and the AAA All-Stars, and started out pretty hot.  Then he started getting shelled and injured, but I always rooted for him.  I was watching a spring training game once and the announcers were talking to him about wrestling.  He was relieved that Hulk Hogan had recently become a good guy again.
  • The Yankees of Baseball are up 10 on the Cubs again.

Enjoy the four hours left of your weekend (eastern time zone only).



Saturday, July 24, 2004

Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana

No news on the Stark story since MLB said it wasn't true.  I figure Stark got a mixture of what the MLB guys actually said and lockerroom scuttlebutt (Nick Johnson is the father of lies!).

The Mayor said something that could might the situation pretty interesting.  In this story in the Times, he is quoted as saying
"[A lease] has to be negotiated, but you can't just presume," Williams said on WMAL (AM-630). "I don't know why everybody ... you know, this is how everybody just runs around, runs over the District. How could Northern Virginia just presume that they're going to play in RFK?"
Wow, that's spiteful.  I like it.  If I could vote for this guy, I totally would, in spite of the bowties.

Angelos has been taking to the airwaves of late, whining that a team in DC (or NoVa, so don't get any ideas) would doom the Orioles to mediocrity.  I don't know how he can say that with a straight face.  Fourth place SIX TIMES IN A ROW!  But no, the Senators would put them in fifth.

Let me make this clear, though: There is no doubt in my mind that the Grays (equal time!) would hurt the Orioles.  The attendance is not a problem; Baltimore is a good baseball town, and a good team would have no trouble selling out Camden night after night.  The loss of the broadcast monopoly really would cost Angelos, though.  But what right does he have to that monopoly to begin with?  If my employer accidentally gives me two paychecks every two weeks, I can't complain when they figure it out and start paying me my actual salary.  The Orioles get two cities because of an historical accident - DC and Baltimore are not Dallas and Ft. Worth or Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Back in the day, before baseball teams wised up and started moving, the Cardinals, carried on the mighty KMOX, had a broadcast monopoly that encompassed pretty much everything west and south of St. Louis.  However, this fact didn't stop a team from coming to Kansas City, let alone California and Texas.  In the same way, the fact that DC happens to lack a baseball team at the moment does not mean that we're a permanent part of Angelos' fief.

Moving on, Remember the Grays has updated, and you should go gaze upon it.  Especially the news section, in which I am flattered beyond anything I deserve.  There's also a list of ten things you can do to help the cause.  I have been informed that the RTG team of highly-trained operatives will be at Screen on the Green this Monday spreading the word, so look out if you're there.

The Washington Baseball Club hasn't had anything new for a while with the exception of the opportunity to sign up for season tickets.  I haven't filled out the form, so I don't know if they want any money yet.  Go ahead and check it out if you feel lucky.

I threw up a link to the baseball team of my beloved alma mater, Baylor University (motto: "The Wake Forest of Central Texas").  There's no real reason for it; I don't follow Baylor baseball, although I do root for Kip Wells and Jason Jennings.  I don't expect you, my dear reader(s), to be amused or enlightened by following the link.  I guess I just feel the need to represent.  SIC 'EM, BEARS!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I Feel Like the Drudge Report!

I was scrambling all day to come up with some half-assed miscellany, then this pops up:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Relocation candidates such as Portland, Ore., and Norfolk, Va., were pictured as being extremely unlikely.
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.

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.
"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."
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.

Developing . . .


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I Have Resorted To Bermanisms

There's nothing going on, but that's not going to stop me from bringing the content.  I want to assure each and every one (both) of you who read this thing that you get what you pay for.
 
Go take a look at this article by Dick "What the" Heller in the Washington Times.  Heller hates Sports Illustrated because they dissed the District.  I hate SI because of Rick Reilly, but as long as we come to the same conclusion, right?  Anyway, Heller contends that DC's finest sports moment was the 1924 World Series, as opposed to some Redskins crap I can't be bothered with.  Don't read the article unless you want to have the Post's daily feature on the '24 Nats spoiled for you.
 
Speaking of the 1924 Senators, there's a rather amusing post right here from the relentless blast of positivity that is Why I Hate DC.
 
I don't mention it often because I try to keep things on point around here, but I am a Cardinals fan (here's a picture of me).  I shall continue to be one until the Expos move to DC.  In the event that they move to Herndon or whatever, I'll be a Cardinals fan as well as a Braves/Mets/Marlins/Phillies fan.  Anyway, anyone who thought the Cards would have the best record in baseball at this point, raise your hand. 
 
Now put your hands down, you damn liars.  I highly recommend checking in with Redbird Nation to keep up with a team I've started calling the Yankees of Baseball.
 
Finally, reader Vincent has a suggestion for Fred Malek and the DC ownership group:
Saw in the Post today that WUSA declined to renew Frank Herzog's contract. (Not a good year for him, alas.) But since Herzog is synonymous with Washington sports -- voice of the Redskins' three Super Bowl champions, plus the radio voice of the Bullets when they won the NBA title in 1977-78 -- I think Fred Malek would score huge PR points if he announced he will hire Herzog on the broadcast team in some capacity if the D.C. group gets the Expos.

What do you think?
 
Well, it was only one Bermanism.  Count yourself lucky.


Sunday, July 18, 2004

Can You Feel It?

That's the feeling of momentum, dear reader(s).  Something's about to happen, and there's a decent chance that it's going to be good.  In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict right here that the Expos will wind up in DC or Northern Virginia.  The problem is that from my standpoint, that's the difference between being patted on the head and clocked with a shovel.  
 
Sunday saw two columns, both by guys named Fisher, in the local papers.  It's more of the usual conjecture, but I aim for thoroughness.  From the Times' Fisher:

One high-ranking MLB executive was overheard during the All-Star break saying residents in Herndon would need to start preparing for noise from a nearby ballpark. But MLB sources say at least one key member of the relocation committee is dead set against Northern Virginia's plan to build a ballpark near Dulles International Airport, believing the site is far too remote from central Washington to support a team during competitively lean years.

The second guy's right.  The Virginia Monologues are not going to be a very good team upon their theoretical arrival.  What happens when the novelty wears off, the Metro isn't extended, and the ownership has managed to stir up enough ill-will among non-Virginians to make us all Orioles fans?  Gabe Paul's smug assertion that they'd be happy with a million fans would look amazingly prescient, that's what.  
 
And I forgot to mention that before the Expos have the honor of becoming just another attraction in the stripmall (between the Barnes and Noble and the paint-your-own-mug place), they have to spend a few years at RFK Stadium.  Now, the Loudounites have made it clear that they have no interest in journeying to our nation's capital to see a game, so I'm sure not too many of them will be checking out the action at RFK.  We DC and suburban MD residents may be starved for baseball, but the prospect of having the team stolen from us in three years would have to serve as a damper on attendance.  So we have team ownership with poor attendance in a sub-optimal stadium, a new stadium to build, and probably a big ol' payment to get Angelos to finally shut the hell up.  Put all those things together and you get a team that's not going to spend any money for a good long time.  Have fun in last place, Loudoun.  
 
The Post's Fisher has an even-handed DC vs. Loudoun analysis, as he's more interested in arguing for the area against Norfolk or Vegas or wherever.  There's some pretty interesting demographic data in there, in case you run into anyone making some kind of asinine argument about how DC shouldn't get a team because the Senators left thirty years ago.  Fisher also talks to my man Christopher Rehling, the mysterious genius behind Remember the Grays, so go check out the Post article and the Grays site, which even got itself a link on the Primer.
 
Rehling also hipped me to this message board, where the elite meet to take VA vs. DC cheapshots at one another.  So get over there and start yelling at some Loudounites.



Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Montgomery County Comes Out

. . . in favor of moving the Expos to DC.
Citing historic, sentimental and cultural ties to baseball in the nation's capital, the Montgomery County Council threw its symbolic support behind Northern Virginia's rival and unanimously called on major league executives to return a team to the District. They faxed their resolution to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who was in Houston for last night's All-Star Game.
And here's an interesting fact I actually did know:
Council member Howard A. Denis (R-Potomac-Bethesda), who sponsored the measure, cited the memory of Washington Senators Hall of Fame pitcher Walter "Big Train" Johnson, who served two terms on the Montgomery County Commission, the forerunner of the council, as an example of the area's kinship to the game.
Any time you can call on the memory of the Big Train, you score points with me. Kudos, Howard A. Denis. Anyway, here's where it starts getting snippy.
"There seemed to be an undercurrent of negative feeling towards the nation's capital," said Denis, who said he could not recall any examples. "They seemed to feel that they didn't want us and didn't want us to come there. That hit me the wrong way."
I'll give you an example, Howie. Remember this?
At a press conference, prospective team owner William Collins was bold in assessing how a team at the Dulles site would be marketed. And in a slight nod to the remoteness of the site, Collins said he didn't plan to market the team extensively to fans in the District, Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Southern Maryland.
"We've always looked south and west of the [Potomac]," Collins said. "Nothing has really changed there. In this area, you do not want to cross any bridges."
And the Cabal, speaking from its bunker deep beneath Dulles International Airport, defends itself.
Virginia backers bristled at that characterization.

"We don't want anybody to get the impression that any resident of the national capital area isn't going to be a welcome fan of the Expos franchise," said Brian Hannigan, a spokesman for the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority . . .
Hannigan failed to add, "As long as they have a damn helicopter to get to the games. Ha ha ha!" Seriously, though, it's really big of Hannigan to allow us to be a fan of the Virginia Monologues. And if we want to nitpick, I suppose Denis isn't exactly correct - it's not that they don't want us ("us" meaning denizens of DC and Montgomery and Prince George's Counties) to come to the games, it's just that they don't give a rat's ass if we don't.
"I think people are looking at the facts and making them personal, and I think that's unfortunate," added Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Bruce E. Tulloch (R-Potomac).
You're darn tooting people are making facts personal, and expect it to get worse. You think the Post and Times aren't going to take sides on this? Frankly, I'm surprised the Post hasn't already assigned a columnist to slam down the race card like it's a Wild Draw Four. They will. If Tulloch thinks this is bad, he might as well go follow Pop-Tarts Presents American Idols Live around Deadhead style, because it's going to get ugly over the next couple months.
Virginia boosters said efforts to locate the team in the suburbs 20 miles west of the District were intended not as a snub to closer-in communities, but part of a strategy to counter Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who has argued that a team in the Washington region would sap his revenue.
The Loudounites seem to be leaning really hard on this, and I'm not sure it's a good strategy. Publicly, at least, Angelos ain't interested; he supports the San Juan bid. The real problem for Angelos is not attendance but broadcast rights, and Loudoun isn't any better than DC in that respect. Plus they're lying:
At a rally last month, Virginia supporters handed out maps showing that most of the District and Maryland were more than an hour's drive from a Dulles ballpark at rush hour . . .

Within days of making a case that seemed to dismiss much of the region, Northern Virginia retooled its message a bit. Supporters released a new map showing that most of the District and a wide swath of affluent Montgomery was within an hour's drive of their stadium at rush hour, and thus in their market area.

The difference? The earlier map showed a commute from 5 to 6 p.m. The second analysis covered 6 to 7 p.m.
Ouch. The Post is already taking sides.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Mike Piazza Comes Out

. . . in favor of moving the Expos to DC.
"I really hope the Expos move to Washington. I feel a little bad for Mr. Angelos. But I was in Washington and it's just a huge city and a great city. And it's an hour from Baltimore. It's time to bring the national pastime back to the nation's capital," said Piazza. "I've heard that a team in Washington would hurt the Orioles. But it would also add another rivalry like the Yankees and us. D.C. is worthy of a team. There's a lot of politics involved, but it's definitely time to move the Expos to Washington."

It's the All-Star Break, and there's more news and less happening than ever before. DC, Loudoun, and Norfolk have all sent lobbyists to Houston to . . . I don't know, get lied to in person, I guess.

MLB President Bob DuPuy announced that the next delay will be announced at the August 18-19 owners' meeting. That's not how he put it, but I'm sure he winked when he said
"I think that owners meeting is a good working goal," DuPuy said. "The sooner the better. I know we've said this before. But it's time to get this done. I do not believe we won't have a decision this summer. Not a day goes by when we're not talking to the various [bid] cities."

Dave Sheinin conducted a chat on the Post site, and he seemed rather confused. Or maybe he had an intern do part of it. At one point, he says
In fact, if anything, I'd say the atmosphere has never been more encouraging for DC/northern Virginia.
But his last contribution is
Yes, the contraction scenario is still hanging out there -- the owners can revisit contraction after the 2006 season. However, I believe there will be a resolution to the Expos' siutation this summer. I just don't know if it will be the decision Washington-area fans want to hear.
Is he predicting a Loudoun victory? If so, his first comment is odd indeed. I'm sticking by my intern story.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Holding Pattern

The papers are churning out more and more Whither the Expos pieces, but that doesn't mean there's news. Anthony Williams getting pissy with the Virginians and Peter Angelos calling the mayor of Baltimore a two-bit punk are certainly entertaining, but very little has changed since the announcement of the Loudoun plan. My problem is that there isn't any news and that I don't feel the urge to cover the Expos if they're not going to wind up in DC. That leaves me with very little to blog about.

Anyway, the Post had an article on Sunday rehashing the DC vs Loudoun argument. There's also a letter from two DC council members who have reservations about Williams' financing plan. Meanwhile, the Times has a Thom Loverro piece with no new information. The column starts by saying:
The prevalent feeling among baseball insiders is that after 32 years the issue of baseball returning to the Washington area is on the verge of being resolved.
That feeling is based purely on a sense of momentum rather than facts.
One wonders why he bothered to write it, then.

Also worth checking it out is this feature in the Post. They're recapping the 1924 season day by day, which is kind of nifty. I won't spoil the ending for you.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Some News!

Just wanted to get this up early today:
Major League Baseball's relocation committee will meet with District officials later this month in Washington to discuss financing options and construction schedules for a proposed ballpark, marking perhaps the most detailed session in the city's long quest for baseball.
. . .
Nonetheless, expectations are high within the District that a long-delayed decision on the future home of the Expos will arrive within a matter of weeks. Several of the other bidders for the Expos do not expect such a quick timetable, but most do think a choice will be made by the fall.
"We're very optimistic, and expect this to be settled in the next three, four weeks," said Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission.
It sounds pretty encouraging, but it could all be BS. I've noticed that a good way to gauge my optimism is to see how closely I'm following the Expos. And at the moment, it's not very closely.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

No News Is . . .

I was expecting all kinds of stuff to have happened while I was out of the loop. Other than the coffee maker at work breaking, nothing. Nothing in the Post, nothing in the Times other than some guy saying it would be tough to get from Bethesda to Dulles.

The best I can do is point out this column from Gammons. Amid the non sequiturs and run-on sentences, Gammons says "So MLB should work out an extension for Minaya and assure that he moves on to D.C. . . ." As I mentioned earlier, I'm not sure Gammons is making the distinction between DC and Loudoun, so maybe this isn't reassuring at all.

Friday, July 02, 2004

The Sound of the Sand

I'm off to lovely Ocean City for the Fourth. Sun, sand, and the Delmarva Shorebirds - what could be better? I'll try to take some time off from Expo-speculation and Selig/Angelos-hatred, too.

Reader Ivan was kind enough to send a link to Remember the Grays, who ask you to sign their petition to get a DC team called the Grays. I've discussed this matter here and here, in case you missed it. Those posts were before I got all pissed off - it's a side of me I'd forgotten all about.

Anyway, enjoy the holiday, keep it real, etc., and I'll be back on Wednesday.