May 4, 2006
The blessed (if purely ceremonial) event took place at about 11:00 this morning, attended by the Lerner family, some junior franchise partners, Mayor Williams, and several members of the D.C. Council -- including Mrs. Cropp! Apparently the hurt feelings by Council members Barry and Orange over the selection of the Lerners to become franchise owners have been all patched up. As is noted at washingtonpost.com, the Lerners' experience in mega-development projects offers real hope that the entire stadium can be finished prior to the 2008 season. At this point, I'm guessing mid-2008 as the most likely completion date. In any case, I think it's safe to say that the probability of relocation by the Nationals has dropped to zero. I also reduced the estimated relocation probabilities of the Florida and Minnesota, based on recent developments. As far as today's "groundbreaking" in D.C., how can they even begin the excavation when the demolition of the existing structures won't be completed for several weeks?
I have to admit, die-hard stadium opponent Adrian Fenty made a good point at the last D.C. Council meeting: Why should Council members have expected anyone to take seriously their opinions (about preferred franchise groups) when they essentially gave away $600+ million to Major League Baseball without anyone from MLB so much as showing up to argue for the stadium funding bill?
In today's Post, Thomas Boswell explains why the Nationals might not get a substantial payroll boost for the second half of the season, even though they finally have an owner of their own: Theodore Lerner is determined to rebuild the franchise from the bottom up for the long-term future, concentrating on developing coaches, scouts, and a strong farm club system. Well, there's no question that must be done, but I was kind of hoping we might be in another divisional race this year. Seeing the photo Theodore Lerner's face rang a familiar bell in my memory, and I finally figured out who he looks like: Don Rickles!
The Marlins built up a five-run lead last night, and then the Nationals slowly closed the gap, leaving the game tied in the late innings. In the top of the ninth, Chad Cordero gave up a clutch RBI single, losing the game, 6-5.