June 2, 2005 [LINK]

Soros joins bidding war

Hungarian-born global financier George Soros has joined Jonathan Ledecky's partnership that is bidding to purchase the Washington Nationals. Soros, who has played a high-profile controversial role in global and domestic politics, is worth $7.2 billion. See Washington Post. I'm betting that MLB officials would rather not have to let a loose cannon like him into their chummy, ultra-deferential ranks -- even if he outbids Malek, Kasten, and others on the "inside track." Remember, this is not an open, competitive bid with business profit as the primary objective. It is, rather, an inscrutable, elaborate courtship and initiation ritual through which the trusted guardians of our National Pastime maintain their power. It is rumored that the Walentas family failed to make the cut in submitting initial bid applications.

NL East in slump

The fact that the Washington Nationals came within a game of taking first place in their division really isn't saying much, frankly. For the past two weeks, the Braves and Marlins have both been in a slump, while the Phillies and Mets have slowly crawled their way back toward contention. It's still a tight race, but it's a race that has become a somewhat less important. So much for the erstwhile dominance of the Eastern Division over the rest of the league! The two teams to watch right now in the National League are the ones with over .600 winning percentage: St. Louis, which has overcome the loss of Edgar Renteria and other big stars from last year, and San Diego, which seemingly came out of nowhere.

"For the children"

At the game in Washington on Tuesday evening, three young lads spotted the All Star ballot I was carrying and asked with a tone of deep awe if that was a ticket to the All Star game. I smiled and explained that it was just a ballot to choose each league's lineup. Their intense interest really left an impression on me, and serves as a reminder of what baseball is all about. While it is a truly wonderful thing for the many thousands of kids in the D.C. area who now get to see real big league baseball on a regular basis for the first time in their lives, we should also think about all the kids over the last generation who grew up without that character-building experience...

More graphical chores: The diagrams on the Kauffman Stadium page have been tweaked to conform to the new standard, with a common location for home plate. A revamping of the Yankee Stadium diagrams is "on deck"!!!