…and now, Major League Baseball now has to cope with a story far more embarrassing than BALCO. From David Nakamura and Thomas Heath of the Washington Post.
The president of Major League Baseball last night called the District’s legislation for a new stadium “wholly unacceptable” and halted all business and promotional activities for the Washington Nationals until further notice.
Baseball’s aggressive posture came at the end of a day in which Mayor Anthony A. Williams, other city leaders and fans sought to understand the implications of the D.C. Council’s action and wondered how badly it could jeopardize the team’s future.
At the John A. Wilson Building, mayoral aides huddled with council allies. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D) and Williams did not speak with one another but had news conferences within an hour of one another. And top baseball executives called the mayor’s office to discuss strategy.
Although Williams and baseball officials negotiated an agreement for a publicly financed stadium, the council approved legislation Tuesday night that requires half the cost of a stadium to be funded with private money.
In a two-paragraph statement, Major League Baseball President Robert A. DuPuy said the council’s action “does not reflect the agreement we signed and relied upon after being invited by District leaders to consider Washington as a home for Major League Baseball. . . . Given the present uncertainty, any ticket purchaser who entrusted us with a deposit may request a refund through the club’s ticket office.”
A top Major League Baseball official, who spoke on the condition he not be identified, said that “there is sentiment in baseball that we’ve reached the end of the line in D.C. and given them enough rope.”
Asked if it was likely the team would play in RFK next season no matter what, the source said: “I wouldn’t say likely. We have lots of backup plans.”
Yeah, I’m sure they have dozens of places they could set up shop on a few weeks’ notice. After all, how hard could it be? Other than picking a name, finding a suitable venue, getting approval from the MLBPA, re-arranging the schedule, setting fire to all of the Washington Senators overstock caps at Kaplan’s Sporting Goods and telling Jose Guillen that he can’t room with Don Smith anymore, what’s the big deal?
This is probably the best thing to happen to Peter Angelos since the day a nutritionist/personal trainer introduced a syringe to Brady Anderson’s ass.