Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The Baseball Gods must be crazy

This just came over the AP Wire.

Expos could play 81 games in Puerto Rico next year
CHICAGO (AP) – The Montreal Expos could play their entire home schedule in Puerto Rico next season under a plan being considered by major league baseball.
To raise revenue, the commissioner's office moved 22 of the team's 81 home games this season to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. Baseball still hasn't come up with a permanent solution for the Expos, who were bought by the other 29 teams before the 2002 season.
While baseball's goal is to have a decision by September, the sport's top officials say they don't feel bound by any deadline.
"Puerto Rico has made a proposal to play all 81 home games in Puerto Rico, and it has not been rejected," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said before the All-Star game Tuesday night.
Northern Virginia; Portland, Ore.; and Washington, D.C., are all trying to land the Expos on a permanent basis, but baseball owners want to have a complete financing plan for a new ballpark in place before making a decision.
DuPuy said no particular plan was a front-runner at this point, either for a long-term solution or for 2004.
"They could play 81 games in any one of a number of locations," he said.
Montreal players have complained of their constant travel this season. They were 32-18 on May 25, then went 8-14 on a trip that ended June 19. They entered the All-Star break 49-45, four games behind Florida, the NL wild-card leader.
"It's been very hard," said second baseman Jose Vidro, the NL starter in the All-Star game. "Me being Puerto Rican, I would love it to be in Puerto Rico, but to tell you the truth, I don't care where we play next season as long as we play 81 games in the same place"
Approval of the players was necessary for baseball to move the 22 home games, and it may be more difficult for management to gain consent for two different home sites next year. Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the players' association, declined comment.
The Expos are averaging 12,206 for home games, the lowest in the major leagues. They are averaging 11,133 in Montreal and 14,216 in Puerto Rico, where they have played 16 games.

I couldn't agree more with this angry fellow

At least as far as Portland is concerned.

Good to hear they have their own nay-sayers out West, too.

The letter


I don't know if you give Major League Baseball president Bob DuPay credit for creativity for this one or just slap him.

From Eric Fisher's story in The Washington Times:

CHICAGO — Major League Baseball executives said yesterday they will hold on to the Montreal Expos as long as necessary rather than make a hasty decision in the hope of moving the franchise before the 2004 season.

"When the moon, the stars, the sun and the dollars are all aligned, we'll do this [relocation]," MLB president Bob DuPuy said.

It's all coming down to money, it seems, and Bud Selig & Co. appear willing to sit on the Expos until they can get back more than the $120 million they paid for it. And that means, potentially, waiting for the economy to rebound and to get a fully-funded stadium deal from the lucky city MLB chooses.

Fisher's story from Chicago is here.

Bud speaks, we listen (but only 'cause we have to)

Baseball's fearless leader, Bud Selig, talked to the fans and media on Tuesday and had nothing new to say about the Expos, according to the story at MLB.com. Shocker. But the good news is they're going to keep talking about it for the rest of the summer.

The important blurb:

Regarding the Expos' future and D.C.'s chances of getting the team, Selig said, "We have a relocation committee studying all the aspects of the Montreal club. It's the last residue of contraction. The Puerto Rican experiment [with the Expos playing 22 games in San Juan this season] has been a wonderful experiment. [Expos manager] Frank Robinson has told me that the players enjoyed it and that he's enjoyed it. We feel very good about that experiment.

"But we need to seriously consider what we do with the Montreal club. The relocation committee has been involved in a lot of work. It will continue to be. We haven't set a timetable. I'm sure we'll be discussing the matter a lot during the rest of this summer."

Selig did say he expected the Expos to remain in the NL no matter where the team moves.

So at least, if we get baseball, it will be real baseball.

You have a few options for getting info about Bud's chat:

1. The complete, hard to read transcript

2. The MLB.com "news" story about the event

3. Listen to it yourself and form your own opinions. But you need a RealOne Player.

4. Read USA Today's recap

There are two people to blame

Peter Angelos and Mayor For Life Marion Barry , if you buy Thom Loverro's line of thought from Monday's column.

He makes a point; Angelos is the easy and eternal scapegoat -- in fact, the old man would rather a team land in New Jersey than in D.C. But the Barry theory makes sense too. I'm sure many outside the area do still think he's the mayor. And I'm sure some in baseball fear he could be re-elected any day now. You know plenty of D.C. types would vote for him again.

Scary thought, baseball or no baseball.

Loverro also offers this gem on councilmember Jack Evans:

Evans' bravado may have made everyone in D.C. feel good, but one owner kindly referred to it as "counterproductive." And before anyone pins a medal on Evans for his moral outrage against baseball's hardball tactics with the District, let's remember this is the city councilman who once declared it "Don King Day" in Washington.

Only in D.C.

Let's get back to work

Sorry for the lack of updates over the last couple days. Class reunion, fun in the sun and work all went back-to-back-to-back. Kind of like those Pujols homers during the home run contest.

Did we get our team yet? Hmmm. . . . . lets check.

Nope, nothing yet.

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