Tuesday, December 16, 2003

It all makes sense now, doesn't it

Check out what Jack uncovered.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Some fans are giving up

In his most recent "Sports People" column, Dick Heller of The Washington Times tells the story of Pat Malone, the co-founder of the Washington Senators Fan Club who's been one of the local drum beaters to get a team back in The District since 1977.

Heller writes:

"Major League Baseball has done us a great disservice by stringing us along all these years," Malone said last week. "Well, I'm not gonna let MLB screw with me anymore."
In a recent letter to the editor, Malone wrote, "Message to D.C. baseball fans: give up. Major league baseball is not coming back next year or possibly ever. ... For 28 years, I have represented baseball fans in this region. ... I have gone from being president of the fan club to being president of the Bucknell Little League in Alexandria. My focus now is on teaching children the joy of baseball."

Read the veteran sports columnist's entire take here.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Bye-bye Bobby

It may not register on a lot of average fans' radar screens, but Bobby Goldwater's departure in Washington D.C. could have quite an impact on The District's hunt for a baseball team.

As reported in today's Washington Times, Goldwater, the director of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, will leave his job of three years in a month when his contract runs out. Bobby was pulling in a nice $275,000 annual check, by the way.

The Commission lost a lot of cash while he was in charge, but the city brought him here to get basically to get the Olympics and get a baseball team, and so far he's 0-for-2. But I think he was in so deep with the baseball movement, it'll be tough for someone else to come in and have the same kind of impact right off the bat, which is what The District needs.

Which I suppose means I agree with D.C. Council member Harold Brazil (*shudder*):

"I think he is a first-class professional, but he got maligned a bit and I hate to see him go because we don't have anybody to replace him. This is still a tight period for us with baseball. We have a good plan ... and we will find a way to get [a team] if it's humanly possible, but we'll have to get it done without Bobby."

And keep this in mind: If The District never again has a baseball team, blame Jack Evans. He's the one trying to play hardball with MLB on the stadium issue. And he wanted Goldwater out; last week, he tried to slash Goldwater's salary by more than half.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Who knows what might happen in a year

By the time the Expos land in The District -- if it ever happens -- a whole new line of leadership may have formed. And, based on the returns this struggling franchise has had over the last two years, that would be unfortunate.

Frank Robinson, the hall of fame player and former Orioles skipper, is going to manage the Team USA Olympic qualifying group next summer. What happens next for him? Does he retire? Does he manage the team in the summer of 2005, which could and SHOULD be the first summer in Washington, D.C.?

Story here.

Meanwhile, the man who helped Robinson assemble this scrappy bunch of Expos is the hottest general manager candidate in Major League Baseball.

Omar Minaya, appointed by baseball to run the Expos sinking ship, has done a masterful job of keeping it afloat -- though the farm system has been stripped of most of its best prospects.

This has caught the eye of the Cincinnati Reds, who fired Jim Bowden midway through another disappointing season. They've all but named Minaya the top candidate to step into that role next season.

It would be a shame if the team lost these two key figures, sale or no sale, wherever the Expos land.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Chasing our tail

It's been a long time with no update, and we apologize for that.

A few reasons:

1) For a while, there was so much news, it was hard to keep up with it all and still lead a somewhat normal life

2) Mass hysteria and confusion that even District Baseball couldn't noodle through. Damn, Oregon. One day they were done, gone, poof. . . . only to ressurect with a stadium bill in hand 24 hours later.

And that's where we stand.

Now, one of the idea we though dead and ridiculous (see our last post) has again found life thanks to Fearless Leader Bud and his minions. That's right: The Expos could play the ever-so-silly split schedule again next year.

Eric Fisher had more over the weekend in The Washington Times:

The Washington area's hopes for major league baseball in the near future suffered yet another setback yesterday when the MLB Players Association said it would be open to considering another split home schedule for the Montreal Expos.
That reversal of position, six weeks after the union bitterly said it would not approve such a slate, was followed by Expos president Tony Tavares saying, "you're either looking at Monterrey [Mexico], Puerto Rico and Montreal" as the team's home or homes in 2004.

Hmmm. I sense arm-twisting. Why else would you want to continue having all of your owners support a flailing franchise that plays in a dump with no fans most of the time and some poor island or city (pick one) the rest of the time?

Another interesting note from The Oregonian:

"You're either looking at Monterrey (Mexico), Puerto Rico and Montreal," Expos president Tony Tavares told reporters before Friday's opener of the team's final San Juan homestand.

Portland officials said Thursday they are still trying to decide whether to submit a provisional bid for the Expos in 2004. Portland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., are vying for the team's permanent relocation.

Commissioner Bud Selig could announce the Expos' 2004 fate Tuesday at San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

And around and round and round we go . . . .

Monday, August 18, 2003

Real news and solid speculation

Baseball columnist Tracy Ringolsby dropped an interesting bomb in his latest column from the Rocky Mountain News.

Apparently, he's gotten a sneak peek at the preliminary schedule for the 2004 Major League Baseball schedule, and made this note:

What makes it appear that baseball will keep the Expos in Montreal for another year or move to Washington is that the preliminary schedules are out, and trips involving games against the Expos include cities in the Northeast such as New York.

In other words, there's no Puerto Rico or Mexico in MLB's thinking right now. They're grouping the Expos with East Coast teams on other teams' road trips. If there were plans to play in Mexico or Puerto Rico, the Expos series would be grouped with Florida teams or Texas teams.

Interesting, no?

It doesn't mean Baseball in D.C. is a sure thing, but it means the ridiculous notions of playing in Puerto Rico or Mexico full time have been shelved.

That, needless to say, bodes well for the District bid.

Read Ringolsby's whole note here.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

September 1

Mark that date on your calendars, District Baseball fans.

Major Leage Baseball President Bob DuPuy (that would be Bud's right hand man / henchman) said on Wednesday that the Expos situation for next season should be noodled through and announced by Sept. 1.

Now granted, MLB has given us dates before. But the pressure, from people inside and out of baseball and even from the MLB folks running the Montreal Expos, has picked up quite a bit. Maybe baseball means it this time.

DuPuy told reporters: "There are schedule issues, stadium issues, people issues that all have to be dealt with. Our No. 1 priority with this is still to get a permanent deal done."

And then he fell down the steps and had to be taken away by ambulence. No joke.

Read about all of the latest in Eric Fisher's story form The Washington Times.

Meanwhile, DC Baseball's Winston Lord doesn't think it can happen by next season. Even though, according to Bobby Goldwater in Fisher's story, The District still has enough time to get the facilities ready to host games next year.

Glad everyone's on the same page.

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