Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I Hear Dead People

Walking around like regular people. They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead.

Proponents of bringing Major League Baseball to Virginia have backed away from plans for a 450-acre ballpark development in Loudoun County and are instead pushing a dramatically scaled-back version of their Diamond Lake project on a fraction of the land and without the proposed lake.
So, while the Zombie Virginia Baseball Club desperately tries to convince everyone that they're not shambling revenants, Jack "Effing" Evans starts shooting silver bullets (pardon my mixed monster metaphors).

"The entire political leadership in this city has stood behind this project and committed as such to Major League Baseball," Evans said. "In Virginia, the governor can't get away from this fast enough."
DC even came up with its own poll to counteract the one I talked about last time.

District officials yesterday released the results of a city-commissioned poll showing 82 percent support among area residents for a proposed ballpark in Washington compared to one in Loudoun County.
Just to show fair-minded I am, there are some serious flaws in this one as well. For one thing, they're asking a different question. The Service Employees International Union poll asked if DC should pay for the park. This asks if the park should be in DC or the middle of nowhere. They didn't poll Loudoun residents - neither one of them *rimshot*. It doesn't matter; I don't think that last poll needed much counteracting. It doesn't seem to have gained traction except with anti-DC diehards, and its flaws are obvious. If they're not, scroll down and I'll tell you about them.

Evans also revealed some details of the mysterious funding plan, which turned out to be not so mysterious.
The exact numbers have not been released, in part because the city has not decided among its four remaining site candidates — the RFK Stadium property, Benjamin Banneker Park in Southwest, M Street Southeast and New York Avenue Northwest — or determined final building costs for any of them. But borrowing $300 million would require about $25 million in yearly debt service, and going up to $400 million would require about $30 million annually.
About $10 million of that debt service bill would be paid by ballpark-related sales taxes. Between $3 million and $5 million, would derive from the team owner lease payments. The rest would be paid in gross receipts taxes by large District businesses, most likely those with a minimum of $2 million in annual revenues.
We already knew that, right?
Evans — in part responding to a recent poll commissioned by the Service Employees International Union showing skepticism for the city's funding plan for baseball — insisted money would not be siphoned from the city's general fund.
"There is no pot of money that is sitting under the mayor's desk to pay for this. There isn't one dime anywhere," Evans said. "This happens because of the revenues you create at the venue, and as for the businesses, they're in because they asked to be. I wouldn't do it otherwise."
I like this Jack Evans - he's got moxie. He reiterated the threat to make RFK unavailable the Cabal, but I don't see it happening. If by some miracle they get the team, that's just too much money for the SEC to turn down. Still, moxie.

Other stuff. Portland is still plugging away, sort of. Check out Field of Schemes on their just-revealed plan.
If the plan somehow has legs, it's less likely to be used for the Expos than to lure another disgruntled franchise like the Oakland A's, Minnesota Twins, or Florida Marlins. Or more likely, given Portland's smallish media market, as a bludgeon to convince those teams' present homes to cough up some gruntlement.

Bob and Jerry's bitchin' end of summer roadtrip apparently won't take them to Vegas. That whole bid's a joke, and not a very funny one. A Sinbad joke.

Eric Fisher of the Times was on Baseball Roundup this morning (10 am Saturday on 980 AM), and he said the Relocation Committee makes their recommendation next week. I'm becoming less skeptical by the day that we'll finally get an announcement.

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