May 3, 2006 [LINK]

Lerner is the owner- [designate]

From the number of news reports and editorial comments in today's Washington Post, there is no longer even a shred of doubt that MLB has awarded the Washington Nationals franchise to Theodore Lerner and family. The formal announcement may come as soon as today, or else at the new stadium groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for tomorrow. At the ripe old age of 80, the patriarch real estate tycoon may not have much energy to take an active role in rebuilding the bare-bones franchise and whipping the team into shape. Presumably, his son Mark will be the guiding force. Well, at least MLB is not guilty of age discrimination.

With regard to the accusations that the Lerner franchise partnership is "renting" black men to pretend to be more diverse, Post Business columnist Stephen Pearlstein criticizes Marion Barry's "old school" race-baiting approach to politics, which is out of step in a city that is increasingly diverse. He notes that when Barry was mayor, he himself encouraged awarding government contracts to firms whose minority participation was largely token.

UPDATE: Late this afternoon, word spread that there would be an official announcement, and at a press conference this evening, it was indeed confirmed that the Nationals will be sold to the Lerners. See Bud Selig explained:

In the end, I determined that family ownership and major investment by a central person has served baseball well in the past and will continue to serve the game well in the future.

"Traditional family values," eh? I will leave it to others to ponder the occult processes by which such monumental decisions are made by the overlords of Our National Pastime. I wonder how high the bidding would have escalated if MLB hadn't set $450 million as the fixed sales price?

TV wars: D.C. vs. Comcast

The D.C. Council passed a bill last night that would force all cable television companies operating in the District to include all Washington Nationals games. In essence, they are taking sides in the legal dispute between Comcast and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (a.k.a. Mr. Angelos Screws the Nationals ), which ran yet another full-page ad in yesterday's Washington Post. To anyone who really knows what has been going on, the message of "Vote to put the games on television" was extremely ironic. It's always worth a chuckle when one monopoly enterprise accuses another enterprise of unfair monopoly practices. (DISCLAIMER: Comcast acquired bankrupt cable TV provider Adelphia last year, and will soon become my cable TV provider.)

Nats beat Mets

Apparently, the Nationals are at their best when some unknown rookie takes the mound as starting pitcher. Last night they defeated the Mets 6-2, as Mike O'Connor struck out six batters and allowed only two hits in seven innings. Not too shabby! See Two weeks ago Billy Traber did likewise, after being called up from the minors on emergency duty, helping the Nationals trounce the Phillies.

Relocation: hel-lo-o?!

I've noticed that the sports scores at the bottom of the screen on Harrisonburg's WHSV TV-3 still show the initials "MON" referring to the Washington Nationals, more than a year and a half after Montreal lost the team. How lame is that? Somebody needs to fire their database administrator.