Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Gammons on Expos/DC

From an ESPN online chat with Peter Gammons last week, its time to bring up one of my favorite subjects...les Expos:
Steve (DC): Obligatory Expos question: What are the chances that this is your last chat where we don't know next year's home? Does the past week of trouble for the N. Va. bid leave D.C. as the Last Bid Standing?

Peter Gammons: D.C. is the last bid standing, but it still will take a long time. First, the politicians are hardballing baseball b/c they know they have no where else to go. Second, MLB still has too high a price for the D.C. group. Third, Orioles owner Peter Angelos claims Bud Selig promised him their wouldn't be a team in Washington and if there is one thing that Angelos is good at, it's threatening and executing legal action.
Okay...my comments to the above.

a.) What exactly are we talking about regarding a "past week of trouble" for the NVa bid? This was news to me. I did a check of some articles online and the best I can figure out is three-fold: 1.) financing for the stadium in NVa appears not to be entirely set in stone, since the state legislature wouldn't be able to meet for it until January and MLB wants things set in place when they make a decision; 2.) the NVa group has been forced to scale back its development plans after it became public knowledge that they didn't exactly own all the land they claimed they owned - thus...its basically just a stadium and parking lot now, not some vast development with shopping and restaurants, etc.; and 3.) DC's city councilmen are gumbling about the NVa group assuming they could play in RFK (this one is a real non-starter).

If true that NVa has fallen by the side, then DC would pretty much be the last one left with a reasonable shot at landing the Expos. This ties in directly with:

b.) The price tag for the Expos. This could be the last 'real' hurdle left to overcome. If MLB has set a pricetag that's a bit higher (based on commitments to the 29 clubs who currently own/operate them) than the market would bear, and the DC group is playing hardball because they know that MLB has almost nowhere else to put them, that might explain the lack of a decision at the last owner's meetings in August - trying to work out all the details. If so, we'd basically be down to issues of cash - and let's face it...eventually things like that can be worked out.

c.) re: Angelos. Boo freakin hoo! We didn't threaten the Browns with legal action when they moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. We didn't threaten the Ravens with legal action when they moved from Cleveland. Grow up, Peter. Your sorry low-budget excuse for a team has become a joke throughout the league and whether Selig made you a promise or not, the league gets to make that decision...not you, and not Bud. Why don't you work on making the Orioles competitive instead of trying to make life difficult for people to the south?

I'm hopeful. Probably overconfident, but...there you go.

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