Marion Barry's taking charge... watch out
The Washington DC Council rejected the bid for a new stadium for their team, the Washington Nationals yesterday.
Major League Baseball told the head of Washington, D.C.'s City Council in a letter on Monday that the sport was nearing "a crossroads" in its relationship with the city.
The letter was sent by Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer on Monday shortly after District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams pulled an item off Tuesday's City Council meeting agenda that called for a vote on the terms of a 30-year lease for the team to play at a newly constructed ballpark paid largely by publicly generated funds.
"We used our best efforts to reach closure with the Council to ensure the future of the Washington Nationals in the District of Columbia," DuPuy said in a letter addressed to Council Chairman Linda Cropp. "If the Council fails to approve the lease, we would be at a crossroads."
"Crossroads" means what? Moving the team, again? The team just moved from Montreal to Washington. No other host city is ready for an MLB franchise: Las Vegas says their town ain't ready until 2010 at the earliest. San Antonio won't approve a stadium either, whcih is the main reason the Minnesota Vikings aren't there already. The MLB Association, which owns the team outright, could just contract the team out of existence... but that would take a team worth $450 million on paper to $0. Even MLB won't take a $450 million hit.
Leading the anti-stadium charge was Marion "Peanut Butter and Crack Sandwich" Barry.
Barry (D-Ward 8) said he had been negotiating his own deal late last week that would have ensured the council's support of the lease, but that plan fell through after the mayor's office botched it. Barry said, he then recruited a council majority to vote against the ballpark lease agreement.
The Washington Post called his antics "leadership". I call it grandstanding and negativism. He's trying to work out his own deal, which puts the district's deal in jeopardy. He's trying to be the Ray Nagin of DC Baseball.
So what to do, what to do. Should the District go ahead and approve the ballpark? Yes. If they don't, you're going to have disgruntled fans who won't buy tickets, irritated players who won't want to sign with the team, and an ownership who won't be happy with their choice of DC as the savior for the Expos.