Whoever reads this should take my comments with a grain of salt. I’ve worked in DC on multiple occasions, but I’ve never been a resident.
Local sportstalk radio yesterday was full of opinions on the last-minute requirement of the DC Council (more specifically, its chairwoman Linda Cropp) that at least half of the new stadium be privately financed. The calls I heard were surprising balanced between for and against her actions. The comment I found most interesting was one by a caller who compared the DC Council to the Palestinians because they “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.
Based on what some of people on the council are saying, it seems as if some of them have forgotten who they’re negotiating with. This is the same group of owners that helped to kill the MLB playoffs in 1994. They have the right to unilaterally contract two franchises in 2006. The owners claim to have lost $50 million running the Expos collectively–and chose to do this rather than sell the team earlier. So to any of those councilmen who think baseball “doesn’t have a choice”, just look at the evidence. MLB owners have already demonstrated an ability and a willingness to cut off their nose to spite their own face. So trying to get a better deal at the last minute had to mean you were telling baseball to take a hike.
If this article is any indication, a team might not even play here in 2005 and then find another home. They might just go somewhere else entirely. There were five other suitors for this team besides Washington, and I’m certain they’re just waiting for another chance.