Thursday, September 30, 2004

The morning after...(aka..."You Gotta Have Heart")

First...I know they're still the Expos (technically). And I know that the new team name is yet tbd. However, from this point out, they're the Senators until such a time as a new name is determined. If that name is Grays, Nationals, or whatever...I'll change at that point. But in my heart, this team is the new Washington Senators until someone else tells me different (and because I'm not going to call them the Expos/Senators/Grays/Nationals). And its my blog...so...



ANYWAY...there is a veritible flood of Senators stuff out on the net today (no surprise). My personal highlights include:

- Tom Boswell's column in today's copy of the Washington Post ("At Last, A Team to Call Out Own"). Listen...just about everyone associated with sportswriting today will tell you that Thomas Boswell is the "dean" of American baseball writers. I've read a number of his collections of essays and columns and the man has a gift for writing about baseball. For all of the five plus years I've spent in Washington, he has led what some have called a "fools crusade" and drive to return baseball to the area. The happiness and joy in today's column is almost infectous:
"Don't tell me what you're going to write, Boz," said ex-Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson, just speaking as one D.C. kid who grew up loving the Senators to another. "Tell me what you feel."

I couldn't then. Maybe I can now. Generations of Washington area children will now get to feel some contemporary version of what captivated me from 1956 to 1971, when I took the streetcar to Griffith Stadium to root for Roy Sievers or rode my bike to RFK Stadium to watch Frank Howard's homers or took my dad to the last Nats' game 33 years ago today.
And towards the end...
When a city's baseball fate is in the hands of a man who still says "my goodness gracious" -- and means it -- maybe sometimes it takes 33 years to fix an obvious problem. What's a third of a century? At least for those who live to see it.

"Let joy be unconfined. No sleep 'til morn," Lord Byron said.

What superb advice. Anybody got a National Bohemian, circa 1971?

Yes, the Washington Senators are coming back! We are finally getting exactly what we wished for so long. But we no longer need to be careful -- fearful -- about what the consequences of that deep desire will be. Selig senses this sea change from a distance. We should feel it, too.

Far from being some perverse trick, the announcement that the Expos are coming to Washington is exactly the joyous event we should desire and the outcome that we deserve.

Well said.

- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN baseball commentator/writer and former Bethesda resident and Senators fan, has a column today for ESPN.com ("Back in the Bigs") that rings with the same sort of joy (even if he tries to mask it a bit more than Boswell) but also includes a bit of the history that surrounds the Senators and why baseball never exactly 'failed' here so much as ownership did.

- Wilbon (big surprise) comes out in favor of naming the team the Washington Grays. I've explained my thoughts on this to some folks so I'll expand on them here. First, I don't particularly care for Wilbon (or Kornheiser for that matter - both are blowhards) so I'm predisposed to opposing anything he's in favor of. Second, while I will acknowledge the proud history of a great Negro League team like the Homestead Grays, I have a few problems with adopting that name for the new Washington team. For starters, while the Grays are a historic name, the more historic name for teams here has always been the Washington Senators/Nationals (technically, the team was the Nationals for a long time but was called the Senators by everyone else). Which brings up point #2 against the Grays: No matter what you name the team, for a very large number of us...this team will be called the Senators no matter what. Why not just simply call them what people are going to call them anyways? Third, the arguments that you shouldn't call them the Senators because of either past failure (most of it misunderstood or misinterpreted) or because the District "has no Senators" (as the mayor likes to point out) are simply ridiculous - almost too much for words. Let's not make this some sort of idiotic protest. Plus, while there is something to be said for honoring the Homestead Grays, that team was only here a limited period of time, and reminds me a bit of an era best forgotten in baseball...I'm not sure that naming the team that is the best way to commemorate them. Finally...look how good that uniform looks. Shouldn't the local colors for our baseball team be red, white and blue (as the Caps and Bullets once were)?

Listen...I don't oppose the name "Grays." In fact...it would probably be my third choice (after Senators or Nationals). And whatever the name ends up being...I'll accept it and move on. I'm just happy that we're getting a team at last. But...for the record, I like Senators for the name. I mean...how many teams have a musical about them?

- on a both serious and humorous side, Jason Stark (also of ESPN.com) has a column on what's next for the Senators with best case/worst case scenarios, as well as what this means for other "troubled" franchises that could possibily move in the future, as well as the losers in the relocation sweepstakes and what to do with the Expos old mascot.

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