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Friday, December 17, 2004

Nationals Emergency

For the sake of throwing in my two pence on the DC baseball stadium hijinks, I'll briefly note that I think this is a bad thing. Matt Yglesias, I think, misses the point. Yes, publicly financed stadiums have screwed over plenty of places in the past. But that was an argument that should have been pressed before the city made a deal with Major Leage Baseball. Allow me to reference Michael Wilbon in yesterday's Post, who makes exactly this point.

Now we learn that Cropp blindsided Anthony Williams with her eleventh-hour amendment to the stadium financing plan (I'm looking forward to the revelation that she was paid off by Peter Angelos). MLB is on the verge of declaring the plan for long-term relocation in DC dead as of the new year, and the leaders of the city are going to look like a bunch of incompetent fools for this.

The only similar situation that comes to mind is Connecticut Governor John Rowland holding a press conference to celebrate how he had wooed the New England Patriots to come play in his state when it looked like plans for a new football venue in Foxboro were dead. Those plans were revived, we have lovely Gillette Stadium today, and John Rowland resigned his job in disgrace last year. Good company the DC leadership is keeping.

I have to admit that I find the surreality of this story appealing in a strange way:

Caps in pink, red and blue and other Nationals merchandise accounted for an above-average take of about $3,000 at City Sports, where customers hedged their bets over whether their haul might someday be valuable.

"I think it's a good souvenir in case the team goes the way of the Edsel," said Brent Miller of Arlington, Va., who bought two hats bearing the team's curly "W" insignia.

This will just be too much of a freak show for me not to crack a smile if Washington becomes the first place I know of to sell merchandise yet lose the team before a game is ever played there. I wrote last month that it might be kind of premature to be selling caps without the ownership situation nailed down.

My transitory amusement from the rare idiocy on display, however, would be outweighed by the disappointment of not having a baseball team nearby following this extended tease. I'm also afraid that the disappointment might be the end for poor old George Michael.