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Nationals Might Not Stay in D.C.?

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Postby StlSluggers » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:32 am

ESPN.com wrote:WASHINGTON -- Baseball fans in the nation's capital might not have long to cheer their new team.

The District of Columbia Council voted 7-6 Tuesday night to approve legislation that would finance construction of a ballpark. But it contained a provision that could cause the baseball commissioner's office to reopen the search for a long-term home for the franchise.

The legislation was amended to require private financing for at least half the stadium construction costs, a provision not contained in the September agreement between baseball and Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

"We will review the amendments and the legislation as passed and have a response tomorrow," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.

One response came almost immediately: The team postponed a news conference scheduled for Wednesday to unveil its new uniforms. No explanation was given.

"I am not trying to kill the deal," said council chair Linda W. Cropp, who introduced the private financing measure. "I'm putting some teeth in it because I'm really disappointed with what I got from Major League Baseball." - Good for her.

The amendment passed on a 10-3 vote after Cropp threatened to withhold support from the overall package if the provision wasn't approved. Cropp said she didn't think the change violated the city's agreement with baseball, but would pressure Williams to find a private financier.

Williams refused to answer questions after the vote.

"We'll have to see how baseball reacts," said Councilman Jack Evans, a baseball proponent. But he said he expects the council will have to change the legislation to keep the deal alive.

"We'll have until the end of the year to change this," Evans said.

City Administrator Robert Bobb said city negotiators were talking with baseball officials, but he didn't expect the owners to accept the change.

If the law stands, baseball's likely response would be to have the team play the 2005 season at Washington's RFK Stadium, where it would be known as the Nationals, while baseball's search committee resumes negotiations with cities that desire the team.

One option could be Las Vegas, which was among the cities competing for the Expos and is still lobbying for a team. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman campaigned at last week's winter meetings, arriving accompanied by showgirls wearing feathered headdresses.

Baseball opponents in Washington said the change makes the deal more equitable.

"All we're asking for is private financing for half the stadium," said Councilman Adrian Fenty, who voted against the final legislation. "That shouldn't be a problem."

The Montreal Expos became the first major league team outside the United States when they started play in 1969, but attendance at Olympic Stadium slumped over the past decade and the franchise was bought by the other 29 teams before the 2002 season. In 2003 and 2004, some of the team's home games were moved to Puerto Rico to raise revenue.

From the start, baseball owners insisted a publicly financed stadium for the team be a component of any move.

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. Baseball owners approved the Expos' move Dec. 2. on the condition that financing be put in place consistent with the deal, and that arrangements to prepare RFK Stadium for use in 2005 satisfied baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

Washington's new team would start play April 4 at Philadelphia and play its home opener April 14 against Arizona at RFK Stadium.

Monterrey, Mexico; Norfolk, Va.; Northern Virginia; Portland, Ore.; and San Juan, Puerto Rico, also tried to land the Expos.
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Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:33 am

TheYanks04 wrote:Which again begs the question, if the people are generally poor, and baseball has failed there miserably in the past, then why are they moving a franchise there? Who is going to support this team? How are they going to generate gate or TV revenues in a largely poor, urban area?


DC is an interesting area. They will not lack fan support, but those fans will probably not be actual, tax paying, DC residents. The majority of people in DC are made up of people who reside outside the city but commute to it. While the actual residents of the city are mostly poor. You also have a huge tourist draw there obviously - and these people dont pay much other than sales tax.
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Postby TheYanks04 » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:40 am

I doubt that you will see much gate from tourists going to see monuments and historical sites and the Smithsonian who want to catch a Nationals' game.
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Postby acsguitar » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:58 am

Cornbread Maxwell wrote:What a joke of a display. Completely inept politicians playing games.
I can completely understand why the DC council voted not to give a team prime land and a stadium - simple fiscal responsibility. Having a private partner to shoulder half the cost is smart, especially in DC where the citizens of that city arent very well off and cant really afford that type of tax hike. It was a wise decision by the council.
On the other hand, you have a Mayor who obviously overstepped his authority by courting this team and promising something he had no right to promise - the stadium. Who here thinks he ran his campaign to get elected on the promise of bringing MLB to DC? Id bet my shirt on it.
DC is one of the most ineptly run districts(cities) in America today, so to see this sort of shennanigans happening here again should come as no suprise. Its actually quite sad that these type of liars and thieves are elected and reelected (Barry) there over and over again. When will the residents learn?

If baseball wants a new stadium for the team, send it to Vegas - Im sure they would have absolutely no problem coming up with either private or public financing for it there.



DC council is idiotic...I lived there for 18 years and they can't make a decision on anything...Send them to NOVA or Vegas....
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Postby stumpak » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:03 pm

Poor? DC is one of the wealthiest areas in the country by any measure--average salary, housing prices, etc. Sure there is a ghetto, but would you say that New York is an impoverished city just becasue the Bronx is craphole, or that LA is a poor city just becasue of South Central?

Basically, MLB has no other alternatives, so they will make the DC situation work. The DC metro area is several times larger than Vegas and Charlotte, the only two alternatives. The Nationals will be a fat and rich here, they have alrerady maxed out their initial block of 10,000 season tickets and I am sure luxury box sales will be through the roof. It will be a cash cow for MLB; if the Nationals play a year here at RFK the stadium situation will be resolved and they will be here forever.
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Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:08 pm

stumpak wrote:Poor? DC is one of the wealthiest areas in the country by any measure--average salary, housing prices, etc. Sure there is a ghetto, but would you say that New York is an impoverished city just becasue the Bronx is craphole, or that LA is a poor city just becasue of South Central?


I disagree. Take out all the commuters and tourists and what are you left with?
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Postby slomo007 » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:14 pm

Cornbread Maxwell wrote:What a joke of a display. Completely inept politicians playing games.
I can completely understand why the DC council voted not to give a team prime land and a stadium - simple fiscal responsibility. Having a private partner to shoulder half the cost is smart, especially in DC where the citizens of that city arent very well off and cant really afford that type of tax hike. It was a wise decision by the council.
On the other hand, you have a Mayor who obviously overstepped his authority by courting this team and promising something he had no right to promise - the stadium. Who here thinks he ran his campaign to get elected on the promise of bringing MLB to DC? Id bet my shirt on it.
DC is one of the most ineptly run districts(cities) in America today, so to see this sort of shennanigans happening here again should come as no suprise. Its actually quite sad that these type of liars and thieves are elected and reelected (Barry) there over and over again. When will the residents learn?

If baseball wants a new stadium for the team, send it to Vegas - Im sure they would have absolutely no problem coming up with either private or public financing for it there.



Why don't you tell us how you really feel CBM? :*)
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Postby Pogotheostrich » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:26 pm

Cornbread Maxwell wrote:
stumpak wrote:Poor? DC is one of the wealthiest areas in the country by any measure--average salary, housing prices, etc. Sure there is a ghetto, but would you say that New York is an impoverished city just becasue the Bronx is craphole, or that LA is a poor city just becasue of South Central?


I disagree. Take out all the commuters and tourists and what are you left with?
Why would you take out the commuters? Just because they don't officially live in D.C. doesn't mean they won't go to games. Look at the Metro area, there are some of the wealthiest areas in the country as stumpak said.

St. Louis City has some of the poorest neighborhoods in my area but I would bet most people that go to Cardinals games come from suburbs.
Last edited by Pogotheostrich on Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Transmogrifier » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:29 pm

I have mixed feelings. I don't want the Nats to leave, but I would like to see a city stick it to the MLB's bullying of the taxpayers.
I'm back. Sorta.

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Postby stumpak » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:39 pm

"I disagree. Take out all the commuters and tourists and what are you left with?"

What can I say, I live here you don't. I'm right and you are wrong.
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