December 15, 2004

Nationals may only be in DC one year

Thanks to an eleventh hour amendment to the stadium financing provision, the Washington Nationals (formerly Montreal Expos) may be forced to leave the Nation's Capitol after next season.

DC City Council Chair Linda Cropp put a last-minute provision into play at a council meeting last night which would force the previously agreed-to publicly financed stadium be partially paid for with private financing.

Jack Evans, baseball's most passionate advocate on the council, said the provision could be a deal breaker.

"This gives baseball an out," he said. "Changing the agreement will then negate the agreement, and then Major League Baseball will go somewhere else."

Council Chair Linda Cropp offered the private-financing provision, saying it would be crucial for her support. She was considered the swing vote on the 13-member council.

Cropp said she was not satisfied with concessions offered by baseball that would have made the deal more financially palatable for the city. When the council gave its initial approval to the law on Nov. 30, it called for the city to issue $531 million in bonds to finance the plan.

"I have not seen the movement from Major League Baseball that I would have liked in the past two weeks," Cropp said. "My dream of dreams is that we will get enough private financing that the costs of building the stadium will be eliminated."

Cropp, rumored by some to be considering a run for Washington mayor, then entered the amendment, and then gave her vote to pass the bill, 7-6.

Of the various city proposals for the Nationals-used-to-be-Expos, Washington's proposal, which centered around a publicly financed stadium, appeared to be the best fit for the team.

Cropp's last minute Machiavellian tactics have put the other potential cities (Las Vegas, Portland, Norfolk, Monterrey, San Juan and Northern Virginia) back into play, not for this season, but for any future seasons.

I'm sure Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, the most vocal critic of the Nationals being allowed to play in Washington, is pretty happy with this development. Angelos insisted that a team playing in DC would siphon money away from his team and his own revenues.

As things stand today, the Nationals are expected to begin play April 4 in Philadelphia against the Phillies, and have a home opener scheduled for April 14 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

UPDATE: The uniform unveiling set for 2:00 this afternoon has been cancelled. Could be a sign of things to come, or in DC's case, NOT to come, thanks to Cropps.

According to WTOP Radio, an announcement of the reason for the cancellation will come later today.

That's too bad. 33 years fans have been waiting for major league baseball in Washington, and thanks to one knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing moonbat, the hopes'll probably head down the drain.

(More coverage from Outside the Beltway & others)

Posted by mhking at December 15, 2004 10:30 AM

With the problems that D.C. has, is it wise that D.C. pay for a stadium that gives away naming rights and incoming coming from that, taxes small and medium local business while sparing "big business," and only "allows" D.C. to use the tax payer funded stadium about 5 times a year?

Posted by: DarkStar at December 15, 2004 08:44 PM

At least Maryland payed for its stadiums by taxing lottery suckers, uhhh, players.

Posted by: DarkStar at December 15, 2004 08:45 PM
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