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Baseball back in DC

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
NY Times

September 29, 2004

Baseball Returns to Washington as Expos Move From Montreal


ASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 29 — Major League Baseball will return to the nation's capital for the first time in more than three decades next season when the Montreal Expos will relocate to Washington, D.C.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced the decision at a news conference at the City Museum, where he discussed the city's winning bid over over several other candidates, including Northern Virginia and Monterrey, Mexico.

"After 30 years of waiting and waiting and waiting and lots of hard work and more than a few prayers, there will be baseball in Washington in 2005!" Mr. Williams said as he showed off a new Washington baseball cap.

The plan is for the new team to play in R.F.K. Stadium the next three seasons then move into a proposed new ballpark that would be part of a $400 million project for the Anacostia River waterfront in the southeastern part of the city.

The local government in Washington needed baseball to decide this week in order to introduce legislation that would pass by Dec. 31 to finance the renovations to R.F.K. Stadium and the new ballpark project. Washington's city council still needs to approve the project.

"Washington, D.C., as our nation's capital, is one of the world's most important cities and Major League Baseball is gratified at the skill and perseverance shown by Mayor Williams throughout this long process," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement released by the league. "There has been tremendous growth in the Washington, D.C. area over the last 33 years and we in Major League Baseball believe that baseball will be welcomed there and will be a great success."

This will be the third major league team for Washington. The original Senators played in Washington from 1901 to 1960 before moving to Minnesota to become the Twins. An expansion team called the Senators played there from 1961 to 1971 before moving to Texas and becoming the Rangers. That move was also the last time a major league team relocated.

No name for the team has been chosen yet, though there is some sentiment to go with the Senators for a third time.

Now that a new home has been chosen for the Expos, the next step is to find a new owner. Major League Baseball will conduct an auction to designate an owner, as it did when it selected a group led by John Henry to buy the Boston Red Sox.

Shifting the Expos to a more vibrant area, to play in the type of new ballpark that eluded the previous Expos owners, would make them far more valuable. They could sell for $200 million or more.

Among the potential ownership groups in Washington are the Washington Baseball Club, a group that has pursued a team for a decade, and one led by Mark Broxmeyer, a real estate developer based in Commack, N.Y. They were not available for comment yesterday.

The Expos have been a faltering enterprise for several years and were once earmarked by Selig for elimination. They were acquired from their owner, Jeffrey Loria, by the other 29 clubs before the 2002 season for $120 million, and, ever since, Major League Baseball has been considering where to move them. The Expos have averaged 8,761 fans in 56 games at moribund Olympic Stadium this season and an average of 10,343 to 21 other games played as "home games" in Puerto Rico.

As the decision neared, Washington emerged as the front-runner over Northern Virginia, which has sought a team for a decade. Portland, Ore.; Las Vegas; and Monterrey, Mexico, had also expressed interest in the Expos.

The final concern was apparently reaching agreement with Peter Angelos, the owner of the Orioles, for potential losses associated with relocating a team 35 miles from Camden Yards in Baltimore.

The compensation proposed to Angelos includes a large cash payment or a stake in a new regional sports network that would televise the Orioles and the Washington team, according to The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun.

The need to compensate Angelos is not a legal requirement because, sports business experts said, he may not have the standing to demand any. But he has a close ally in Commissioner Bud Selig.

"If anything, it's an effort in good will," John Moag, a Baltimore investment banker who lured the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, said earlier this week. "I think there is sympathy from the commissioner and fellow owners that, in reality, this would hurt the Orioles, and there is a desire to alleviate the hurt."

Jerry Burkot, the executive director of the Virginia Baseball Club, a group seeking the Expos, had held out hope to the end, and said he felt Virginia had a better financing plan, better demographics and a location — albeit not in a downtown area that baseball favors — that would have considerably less impact on Angelos.
post #2 of 14
Wow, it's been a long time. I went to the last Senators game. It was a real emotional evening. I remember a young woman in halter top, hot pants and with tear streaked mascara carrying a sign with pictures of her favorite players. A huge banner maybe 100x100ft was unfurled from the centerfield bleachers. F... YOU SHORT. Short was the owner who moved the team. There was a 9 minute standing ovation when beloved slugger Frank Howard homered. The Senators were actually leading when rioting ended the game. Not a full on riot, nothing got burned or wantonly destroyed. People took the field, literally, tearing up sod for souveniers and anything else they could carry off down to the light bulbs from the scoreboard.
post #3 of 14
So, we got one of the baseball teams back from Canada. Shouldn't we give them back one of their hockey teams?
post #4 of 14
They have to play some home games in the Czech republic first.
post #5 of 14
Not only is baseball back in DC, but ....THE YANKEES WIN, THE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E YANKEES WIN! (2 from the Twinkies). Sox lose to mighty Tampa Bay.
post #6 of 14
So I read a thread elsewhere about team names that don't fit the home town. Of course everyone recognizes Utah as a mecca for Jazz. :

I don't know anything about the rules and regulations that govern a team move like this; but, would it be too much to ask/hope that the team would resurrect the Senators moniker?

Washington Expos?

Washington Senators?
post #7 of 14
The Expos name will definitely go away. The leading choices for new name are Washington Senators or Greys. Both have interesting connotations. The Senators would resurrect the past history of our old major league baseball team. Our mayor is strongly against this name because it is counter to a real life complaint the city has long held - DC has no voting representation in the U. S. House or Senate. The Greys comes from the very successful old negro league team based in DC back in the '40s and '50s called the Homestead Greys. It was probably a better club than many teams fielded by the old Senators.
Neat story telerod15. My dad used to take me to one or two Senators games each season back in the decade before they moved, but I was not at the last game. One strong reason for resurrecting the Senators name is that it would reenergize the history around the old team. Mostly forgotten old players like Frank Howard and Chuck Hinton would suddenly gain a measure of relevance and respect like that afforded old Redskins.
PS: I have old baseball cards for most of the '60s Senators. I bet they just went up in value, not that I'm that interested in selling them.
post #8 of 14
Originally Posted by Inspector Gadget
Washington Senators?
That's my hope too IG, but there is a catch. When the former Senators moved and became the Texas Rangers, the naming right to the "Senators" moved with them. The Rangers will have to either "give up" or sell this right back to DC's new owners (when there is one) before this can come.

It is true the DC's mayor (Williams) is not supporting the Senators name. Only in DC is the leadership dumb enough to make a political issue of a team they waited 30+ years to get, before the team has even stepped into the town.

For my $.02, I'm glad baseball is back in this area, but I think baseball made the wrong choice on location. I think Northern VA would have provided a more realistic chance for a financially successful team.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

c'mon now...

y'all're 'jackin' rul's 'jack.
post #10 of 14
Washington Nationals is a historic name that is being mentioned as a possible choice. The official name of Washington's team in the 1880's, they were still called "Nats" up to the end, in newspaper headlines such as "Nationals Clinch Washington's First Pennant" -Washington Post 9/29/24 (Washington 4, Boston 2).

I'd like the name to be Senators or Nationals. Greys is a pretty cool choice too, kinda odd name but a good one for a majority black city which was among the last to integrate it's team.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

how 'bout

The Washington Marion Barrys? Dude's done a lot for the city.

post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by ryan
The Washington Marion Barrys? Dude's done a lot for the city.

With all the team rubbin' their noses you'll never know who's giving the signs.
post #13 of 14
Nice link, Barry is right on about not spending tax dollars on a stadium and on where it should be located. He has done a lot for this city.
post #14 of 14
Ah telerod15- you're bringing wonderful memories of that final Washington Senators game and my early years. I too was there for that final day and it was special. That banner was classic. Think I still have a bit of the infield dirt somewhere.

RFK still holds a lot of memories; the old Knothole Club sponsored by the Washington Star (free admission for kids to select Senators games sponsored by a local paper-got thrown out of a couple of them), the Skins, a high school championship football game that unfortunately erupted into a riot (was there for that debacle too) and a Beach Boys concert, where in my former corporate life a number of us got to drive the band out onto the field and their stage in Corvettes followed by a convoy to the White House compelete with full blown police escort where they did another concert.

Hopefully the D.C. area will provide the support the team needs to survive.
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