September 29, 2004

Play Ball, Senators!

An announcement is expected later today (Wednesday) that Major League Baseball will move les Expos to Washington for the 2005 season.

While I can't say that having the city raise $400 million for a new stadium south of the Capitol is a great idea in a town that has as many pressing issues as DC, if the stadium does as half as much for the Anacostia basin as Petco Park did for San Diego, the policy wonk in me will be satisfied.

As DC has waited 33 long years for this, and I've been pining for it ever since the Orioles started on their slide into over-priced mediocrity in 1997, the baseball fan in me is nothing short of ecstatic. DC has a long, if odd, history of baseball: President Taft left a Nationals game early on opening day, 1910; everyone else getting up out of respect for the President began the tradition of the seventh-inning stretch.

Posted by Mike at 06:02 AM GMT

I remember when I lived in DC how achingly bad many residents wanted a baseball team again. I think the new team will find an enthusiastic support base, if not quite on the manic level of Redskins fans. But I think as a policy going forward, the club should accept even mediocre pitchers hailing from crisis-torn nations. Consider it a national service. We all know what happened the last time the Senators spurned a would-be ball player.

I'm happy for Washingtonians but it's a pity that Puerto Rico didn't get the Expos. Talk about an ecstatic fan base. Baseball could really benefit by moving south of the border.

Posted by: Jame on September 29, 2004 06:39 AM

Washington has always been and will always be a Redskins town. The only piece of team gear I've ever purchased is the Redskins cap I'm wearing right now. But, yeah, it's good to have baseball in the District.

I think the lesson learned from having the Expos play a third of their season in PR (as they've done for the past two years), is that there's a lot of passion, but not a lot of money. San Juan is a much smaller market than DC. One of the other places they were looking at was Monterrey, Mexico. As Mexico has a solid baseball league, and Monterrey is it's most affluent city, I imagine baseball would go there first in the Spanish-speaking world.

And I always thought that Castro rumor was with the Giants, not the Senators. Either way, I think it's an urban legend, unfortunately.

Posted by: mike on September 29, 2004 06:45 AM

What should they call the team? "Senators" - eh. Maybe "Belters" after the Beltway? Alternatively they could be the "Washington Monuments" or the "Anacostia Anacondas".

Posted by: Sterling on September 29, 2004 01:40 PM

We could call them the Washington "Budget Busters." As they'd be in the National League, we could look forward to several "Phillies-Busters" sessions a season... like we do now.

Posted by: mike on September 29, 2004 02:11 PM

The DC Wonks?

The Pork Barrels?

Posted by: Stefam on September 29, 2004 03:22 PM

DCist and WTOP are playing this game, as well.

WTOP points out that the Rangers own the rights to the "Senator" name, so this might not be idle speculation.

Posted by: mike on September 29, 2004 03:34 PM

Okay, looks like Iím going to be the sourpuss here: THE LAST THING DC NEEDS IS A BASEBALL TEAM!!!

The District needs so many other IMPORTANT things - its resources are shit, its (city) planners are shit, the whole damn city is shit ñ except, of course, the NW district where all the rich, white-folk politicians live.

Whenís the last time you guys drove to a Redskins game? Anybody remember the hours of traffic to get to the stadium? And has anyone figured out how to get from I-395 to 50 without turning around on Penn? Connect the damn highways, please! Whenís the last time you drove through the SE without getting mugged or offered drugs or sex? Whenís the last time you dialed 9-1-1 outside of the NW area and actually got a police car? Whenís the last time you took the metro during rush hour without taking out a tourist or two with your laptop? When's the last time you walked 30 feet down Connecticut w/o running into a homeless person?

And you want baseball? Trade your firstborn in for Redskins tix. Drive up to Baltimore like weíve done for ages. Or, support the Wizards. God knows they need it.

Team name: "ROAD RAGE RANGERS" or "Mixing Bowl Survivors"

Posted by: michelle on September 29, 2004 04:41 PM

Surely the LAST THING DC needs is M. Barry back in local politics.

Posted by: Charles on September 29, 2004 05:17 PM

Okay, good point.

Posted by: michelle on September 29, 2004 05:35 PM

The Maids Marion?

The Barry Boys?

Posted by: Stefan Geens on September 29, 2004 06:23 PM

Poor Hampton Roads. As soon as someone can find where that is to tell them they lost, I'm sure they'll be disappointed.

Posted by: Mr. 99th Percentile on September 29, 2004 07:48 PM

99: Hampton Roads is right next to Norfolk, and along with Norfolk, Newport News and Portsmouth is effectively the home of the Navy's Atlantic operations. It's a big Navy town - right where the James River meets the Chesapeake Bay. Lots of government funds and lots of government workers find a home there.

Posted by: Sterling on September 29, 2004 08:57 PM

Uh, Sterling, I don't think 99 was asking for directions; nevertheless, I'm sure someone will eventually be compelled to truck on down to that neck of dí woods, puttin' your facts to use...

Posted by: michelle on September 29, 2004 09:25 PM

By way of explaining its location and demographic profile I was endeavoring to indicate that it is hardly the rustic backwater he suggests.

Posted by: Sterling on September 30, 2004 12:31 AM

The Washington Gerrymanders

The Washington Drive-Bys

The Washington Vetoes

Posted by: Jame on September 30, 2004 02:08 AM

Nothing you provided would dissuade me from such a conclusion, were I to hold it (or, rather, that I consider it any more of a backwater than Richmond, or Philadelphia). When the ham folks put up a $1,000 to secure their bid and said they were largest 'metropolitan area' lacking a sports franchise, perhaps you can grant me a little skepticism that such an agglomeration of regional cities constitutes a 'metropolitan area'. The Census folk and their CMSA fetish are idiots. Akron is now in Cleveland's CMSA, and Atlantic City is in Philadelphia's. Using the radius of the latter puts Philadelphia inside of New York's. If they want to be recognized as a legitimately large city, go ahead and do the stupid thing Jacksonville did and annex the hell out of your suburbs. And, note, it worked for them.

Posted by: Mr. 99th Percentile on September 30, 2004 02:47 AM

And they have a good NFL franchise as a result.

Posted by: Jame on September 30, 2004 08:19 AM