Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sitting Here Beside Myself

According to the Associated Press, Major League Baseball will announce today that the Montreal Expos will be moved to Washington, DC beginning in 2005. Inasmuch as this is the right move and long overdue, and that common sense and MLB have long been bitter enemies, you could knock me over with a feather. As a resident of the D.C. metropolitan area (Whitney might argue that), I'm pumped and jacked. As a baseball fan who has seen MLB in action, I'm not quite ready to buy my season tickets just yet. And as a Red Sox fan, this is great, because of the terms of the deal.

Apparently Oriole owner Peter Angelos is willing to stand aside graciously on 2 conditions:

1. The Orioles be guaranteed a minimum revenue stream each year - if they fail to reach such revenue stream, MLB will make up the difference.

2. Angelos be guaranteed a minimum sale price when he decides to give the fans of Charm City a real owner and divest himself of the team. If he cannot find a prospective owner willing to meet the minimum, MLB will subsidize the difference.

Forget for a moment that Angelos' rabid-dog personality and predeliction for legal bullying is the only leg he's got to stand upon, and that he holds no legal claim to the Washington, D.C. market. Even if he had iron-clad territorial rights, the conditions listed above are laughably generous. Angelos has shown no inclination to put a good team on the field in his tenure as Oriole owner. The notion of a guaranteed revenue stream will allow him to drastically cut costs in all areas, including player development and salaries, and field a team of bargain-basement castoffs and misfits, knowing that the lower he can drive costs, the higher his profit margin. MLB is asking for a disaster here, and even though I want baseball in Washington, and even though the new-look wOe's would be great for the Sox to play 19 times each season, this deal is bad for baseball.

Which, of course, guarantees that it'll get done.

No comments: