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Marion Barry's taking charge... watch out
Published on December 21, 2005 By singrdave In Baseball
The Washington DC Council rejected the bid for a new stadium for their team, the Washington Nationals yesterday.

From MLB.com:
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.

Comments (Page 1)
on Dec 21, 2005

It drives me nuts when a city/state won't invest in such an obvious asset as a stadium.

Washington, Miami, and Minneapolis don't deserve the economic, and quality-of-life benefits that they get from their sports teams.

on Dec 21, 2005
Miami as in the Marlins? Yep I agree that Miami shouldn't have a MLB team, but that is a crap team.

Minneapolis won't build a new stadium 'cause they're still complaining about building the Humpty-Dome back in 1982.
on Dec 21, 2005
WHile San Antonio and LV might be shy about it, I know a lot of other cities that will be happy to jump in and provide them a place to play while they build one.  You are right, DC is just being stupid.
on Dec 21, 2005
They can't even build a stadium for the DC Nats out in Northern Virginia, since the only affordable land is out past Dulles by Leesburg. And thanks to traffic, it takes more than a day to get there and back from Arlington. ::
on Dec 21, 2005

They can't even build a stadium for the DC Nats out in Northern Virginia, since the only affordable land is out past Dulles by Leesburg. And thanks to traffic, it takes more than a day to get there and back from Arlington. ::

There is always Richmond.

on Dec 21, 2005
Richmond is a weekend trip from Arlington! Last time I drove I-95 it took thirty minutes just on the cloverleaf from 95 North to the westbound Beltway.
There's no way DC people could support their Nationals if they had to drive clear to Richmond for every game.
on Dec 21, 2005
---Miami as in the Marlins? Yep I agree that Miami shouldn't have a MLB team, but that is a crap team.---

I don't think they're a crap team. They have won the World Series in 1997 and 2003. That's 2 more than a lot of other teams in the same time span who have gotten new stadiums, and they didn't even sell out one World Series game. I don't blame the owners at all for tearing down their teams and starting over. You are right Miami does NOT deserve a team. Not because their team is crap but because their fans are.

Which is the complete opposite in Washington. The fans in DC have been very great at supporting the Nationals. I actually thought that if they would have gotten a new stadium they would have attracted a owner willingly to help (with the fan support and with the luxury boxes in the new stadium) build a franchise the envy of others, and hopefuilly end the Braves stranglehold in the NL East.
on Dec 21, 2005
This article might be a companion piece to this one: D.C. about to ruin it's own (legal) commuter tax On D.C., MLB and a stadium lease.

I echoed many of these same points when it became clear that D.C. just doesn't seem smart enough to complete this deal.

I heard the bits on the Marion Barry stunt this a.m., which were included in the article in the Post, along with same apparently great quotes from him in the Washington Times.

Please do read my article referenced above (not trying to steal Dave's thunder here, just wanted to make sure the points I raised were seen by a different audience and vice versa).


I hate to say it, as I really did love seeing baseball back in D.C., but given the idiots on the city council in D.C., they don't deserve baseball at all. As my article spoke of, the MLB was the District of Columbia's last best chance at getting themselves the equivalent of a commuter tax. One that they wouldn't have to fight Congress to get approval for. One that was already in place for them, and was 100% legal. And they are proceeding to let their own racism, anti-elitism and other prejudices blind them as they try to ruin what was a great thing for our nation's capital and for MLB alike.
on Dec 21, 2005

Richmond is a weekend trip from Arlington! Last time I drove I-95 it took thirty minutes just on the cloverleaf from 95 North to the westbound Beltway.
There's no way DC people could support their Nationals if they had to drive clear to Richmond for every game.

Sure they would!  As soon as the bypass is built!  WHo would not love to get out of DC for a day?

on Dec 21, 2005
Sorry, Terp... I didn't do my due diligence. I'm gonna try to address your issues and my own...
The team could possibly be moved out of the District, though it may take a year for that to happen.

I don't see that happening, since other cities are not ready for the 2006 season or even 2007. As I said in my article, no other potential city is equipped or willing to host the homeless Expos.
Now, thanks to the racist stupidity of idiots on the D.C. council like David Catania... because of his absolute refusal of support for baseball. He apparently believes MLB is a "white person's sport" and isn't something that most of the districts (majority Black/African American/Negro, whatever label wishes to be used) residents care about.

Which is an absolutely untenable position for anyone to claim! It's so easy to see that beisbol is more an international sport than a white American sport! Where do all the good players come from? Down in the Caribbean and South America! What color is Sammy Sosa's or Pedro Martinez's skin?

Yeah, this whole DC stadium issue has blown completely out of proportion, out of control. Without a true brain in DC government, this is all gonna go down the toilet. Collect all the Washington Nationals souvenirs and apparel that you can - it'll be a collector's item soon!
on Dec 21, 2005
From Terpfan1980:
At some point the team will hopefully stand on it's own, with new ownership, and hopefully with a new ballpark in Anacostia.


You know, the MLB and the DC Council are scaring away potential buyers with their petty and money-grubbing antics.
on Dec 21, 2005
when the Nationals were the Expos and they played in puerto rico, they sold out every game. I think puerto rico would be a great place to consider.
on Dec 21, 2005

when the Nationals were the Expos and they played in puerto rico, they sold out every game.


Got numbers to back up those claims?

And if so, just how big are those numbers?

In all seriousness, the average attendance figures for the Expos when they were carpetbagging were not good. I know that the games in Montreal would drag down attendance in PR when averaged out, but there's another problem you seem to be ignoring -- the stadium in PR was smaller and couldn't hold as many fans, so a sell out there would be the equivalent of say selling out a AAA minor league ballpark. Nice, but not anywhere near what a major league team sells if they are getting even moderate levels of support.

Check the article here: Link for the real, hard numbers.

Average attendance in Puerto Rico of 16 - 18,000 fans. That sounds fine until you realize that most MLB teams draw more in the range of 25 - 28,000 fans, and many more for the big "rivalry" games.

With the Nationals in D.C. last year they drew in the 40,000 range for the Cubs when they came to town. They drew huge for opening day. And they drew very well for other games. And when I saw drew well, I mean regularly drawing twice the number of fans they could draw at at the stadium in PR.

If PR built an MLB park and could guarantee selling 40,000 tickets for it on a regular basis, they'd get a team. Heck, if they could build one that would fill 30,000 seats on a regular basis, they might get a team. But truthfully they can't, or if they do it will be with reduced price tickets so that the fans there can afford to go to the game. Meaning that the team would make less money on ticket sales, have less to spend to be competitive, etc.


D.C. has a lot going for it in attempting to keep the Nationals. They have a natural rival right up the interstate. For those games this coming season there already a surcharge planned on the ticket sales. Same for Cubs games, and same for Opening day games. All of which are still selling out without problems. The regular ticket prices also were slightly raised with no slowdown in ticket sales. Which all means that there's a very healthy market in D.C. that does want to support the team, and will keep it financially viable unless whatever ownership group gets the team has to go so badly in debt to buy the team that they'll never have money to pay any players.
on Dec 22, 2005
Remember when I said that MLB and the DC Council are scaring away potential buyers? From what I read today, they're ACTIVELY turning them away in droves. Now for some more bad news for Nationals baseball. From this morning's Washington Post:

Major League Baseball has ordered bidders for the Washington Nationals not to promise D.C. government leaders money for a new stadium because their involvement could disrupt negotiations, angering some city officials who believe the bidders could help solve their cost concerns.
Despite what some bidders have called a "gag order" issued by baseball, at least two of the eight groups have offered to cover cost overruns for the stadium project, with one brandishing a $100 million check in the halls of the city's John A. Wilson Building, according to a council member.
Baseball officials are concerned that if bidders offer to pay for some of the stadium construction, the city will try to drive up the future contribution of whichever group gets the team. That, in turn, could force the bidders to try to lower their bids for the franchise, some baseball officials have said. Baseball also has stressed that the stadium agreement with the city specifies that the city will pay for all cost overruns.


So now MLB, the current owner of the Nats, is asking everyone interested in buying the team to not contact the duplicitous DC Council, or else it might jeopardize negotiations for a new stadium.

D.C. has a lot going for it in attempting to keep the Nationals.

Obviously SOMEONE wants a team in DC. Fans, potential buyers, MLB, everyone. Just not the DC Council!
on Dec 22, 2005
Average attendance in Puerto Rico of 16 - 18,000 fans. That sounds fine until you realize that most MLB teams draw more in the range of 25 - 28,000 fans, and many more for the big "rivalry" games.


I read somewhere yesterday that MLBs average is 25,500 per game and that the Nats had less than that only once this year. It's not a matter of getting fans--they are already there.

Here's the thing though--doesn't the agreement that we have with MLB state that if we fall through on our end, MLB gets to walk away with about 60-80 million? That's a nice chuck of change for baseball--and a lot of money for the district to lose.

The DC City Council is just once again demonstrating how inept they truly are!
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