Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Monday, August 09, 2004

Bob and Jerry's Excellent Adventure

I meant to have a review of Beyond the Shadow of the Senators, but I don't have anything insightful to add. I strongly recommend it. It's well-written, well-researched, and even-handed. Like Moneyball, it's an interesting narrative rather than a mere catalog of events. So go read it.

There was one bit that seemed particularly interesting in light of current events. Calvin Griffith, the nephew and successor of long-time Senators' owner Clark Griffith, recalled:
Clark Griffith used to say, "If I could draw 350,000 people, I can make money." He made money 25 consecutive years there. The money that he made, though, was $1,000, $2,000, or $3,000, sometimes $10,000 or $15,000.
In other words, enough to stay afloat, but not enough to improve the team. Sounds like Gabe Paul's "one million fans is plenty!" plan. The Griffiths would have approved of ignoring fans from DC and PG County, as well.

Much has been made since last week of a visit members of the relocation committee made to the area. The Times summary is here.
The trip, led by MLB president Bob DuPuy and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, centered on both the commonwealth's financing plan and land acquisition for a proposed stadium in Loudoun County. MLB officials did not meet with any leaders from the District, which has its own bid for the Expos.
But don't despair:
"There's nothing to read into that," said a industry source familiar with the session. "The Northern Virginia bid has more moving parts, the inclusion of the developers. There's more things that need to be clarified."
So this trip may be a good or bad thing for the DC bid. It seems to depend on what you already think; if you're pro-DC, you see this trip reflecting the "Oops! We don't actually own the land!" difficulties that the Cabal is having. If you're wrong, you see it as an expression of interest in NoVa.

This next part is problematic, and I don't know if I should chalk it up to dumb owners or bad journalism. Neither baseball owners nor sportswriters are on my good list, so I'm kind of torn. Anyway, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has another article on Bob and Jerry's road trip.
Commissioner Bud Selig repeatedly has said he does not want to harm the Baltimore Orioles, who play about 40 miles from the capital, and the team executives said those statements have put renewed focus for some owners on the bid by Northern Virginia, which has proposed building a stadium in Loudoun County near Dulles International Airport, about 60 miles from the Orioles' Camden Yards ballpark.
Oh crap! It's my worst nightmare! I'd better keep reading, though. There may be more information!

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has opposed moving the Expos to either area, saying in June that "another major-league baseball franchise in close proximity would result in two mediocre franchises from a competitive standpoint." [Orioles-themed empases mine]

So, here's the question: are owners so dumb that they would move the team to NoVa to help Angelos even though Angelos thinks it won't help Angelos? Or is Angelos actually lobbying for Dulles without letting us know about it for some reason? Or is this just a crappy article? I think the last of these is most likely.

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