Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"We're going to get rid of Montreal"

The owners are all saying that Bud Selig's a great commissioner because of his consensus-building skills and Midas touch. Statements like this make me think that his greatest strength is tact.

The owners meetings are here, and suddenly the media are interested in the Expos. Well, the relocation of the Expos; I don't see USA Today running profiles of Rocky Biddle and Endy Chavez. The last two days have seen a proliferation of relocation articles, with few of them offering anything you didn't already know. I'll discuss a few of them in some detail, then provide a round-up of the also-rans (and cub reporter Hal Bodley's scribblings).

The Washington Post had an editorial that totally stole my line of reasoning, which I stole from Marc Fisher, who works for the Post, so what am I complaining about?
THE BEST ARGUMENT for bringing major league baseball back to the nation's capital lies on the other side of the continent, in the San Francisco Bay area. There the San Francisco Giants, playing in a glamorous new stadium, are on a pace to draw 3.2 million fans this year. Meanwhile, the Oakland Athletics, in an old stadium not well suited to baseball, can expect to bring in more than 2 million for home games. And keep in mind that these two stadiums are only about 17 miles apart, not 35 or 40 or whatever distance would separate a Washington area team from the Baltimore Orioles.
This is an important point to make; Selig often says that the A's being allowed to move to Oakland was a mistake on MLB's part, and he sees parallels in relocation to DC.
One reason both clubs can do well in the same area is that both play good baseball. That could have something to do with a stimulant not currently available in the vast market where Peter Angelos would like to maintain his monopoly (a market containing over a half-million more people than the Bay area). The stimulating factor is called competition, and the Orioles might benefit from a bit more of it -- as would Washington's new team and all of baseball, for that matter.
Yeah! Both Bay area teams have a good shot to make the playoffs this year. The Giants made it in three of the last four years, and the A's in four of the last four. The O's face a greater threat from their own management than from outside competition. Previous iterations of this argument can be found in this Marc Fisher chat and in this post by me, Ryan.

Major League Baseball's website had a handy overview of relocation as it stands today.
DuPuy said that MLB owning and operating the Expos again next year for the fourth consecutive season, either in Montreal or elsewhere, is not an option.
We'll see. I remain unconvinced.
The Virginia bids -- Northern Virginia and Norfolk/Hampton Roads -- are now up against a 3 1/2-month deadline because state funds set aside to help build a ballpark in any part of the Commonwealth go away at the end of the year. At that point, both bids would evaporate.

"Vegas will be a great market for baseball someday," [Rangers owner Tom Hicks] said. "It's not quite large enough yet and it's one of the fastest growing cities in the country. I can see that in the next five to 10 years, there is a chance baseball could be in Vegas."

Take THAT, Vegas! We can definitely cross Monterrey and San Juan off the list. Portland is done and Norfolk is unlikely. Hicks just put a stake in Vegas' heart, so that leaves us with DC and NoVa, and NoVa is just silly.

The Washington Times reports on what's going on behind the scenes.
With little fanfare or publicity, both Washington-area camps are negotiating term sheets with baseball that outline plans to build a new ballpark and lease it to the Expos. Whether and when MLB will sign either set of documents remains a mystery. But it is clear from both sides of the Potomac River that talks with baseball have advanced much further than at any previous point.
I've done enough block-quoting, but Eric Fisher goes on to report on the problems facing both bids (e.g., one has yet to release a financing plan, the other is backed by a bunch of incompetent liars).

Here's some other stuff, quick-like:
  • Norfolk is getting desperate while remaining delusional.
  • Cub reporter Hal Bodley thinks they should go ahead and move the Expos. He's getting paid for this!
  • The Baltimore Sun has another run-down of who'd vote against relocation to DC/NoVa. I already talked about Ringolsby's, and then Ray Ratto of SF had one. They're all a little bit different, so I think they're guessing.
  • The Post ran a profile of the Washington Baseball Club yesterday and one of the Evil Virginia Baseball Club today. I might have some thoughts on these in the next couple of days. Short version: we win.

Discussion question: would Bud Selig have such a bad reputation if he didn't look so rumpled and awkward all the time?

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