On the question of baseball in D.C., I've learned over the years to be highly skeptical about rumors of glad tidings, but this time I think they're really serious. According to the the Washington Post, Relocation Committee Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and other MLB officials have spent 12 hours in meetings with D.C. officials to iron out details on getting RFK Stadium ready for the Expos to play in next year. All signs point to an announcement about the Relocation Committee's recommendation in the next few days. The Virginia option seems to be fading away, as Governor Warner seems to have been caught flat-footed by the recent turns of events. At the same time, the virtual election of the roguish Marion Barry to the D.C. City Council has jolted the MLB into accelerating the process and finalizing the deal once and for all. Barry, who will take office in January, said public funding for a new baseball stadium will come "Over my dead body." Would he go as far as trying to retroactively nullify the kind of targeted stadium tax package that Mayor Anthony Williams has been pushing? In any event, the idea that such funding would come at the cost of education or vital public services is highly dubious, Ralph Nader notwithstanding. If Barry's threat prods Mr. Selig into a decision this month, it will at least have served the purpose of giving the long-suffering fans in Montreal enough advanced warning so that they will have a fair chance to bid a fond farewell to their team. I've criticized Selig's heel-dragging many times, but it is very important that this process be carried out 100% above board, with due deliberation. I wouldn't wish the feeling of abrupt betrayal as endured by Brooklynites (1957) and Washingtonians (1971) on anyone.
700 Club! After a few days stuck at #699, Barry Bonds just hit his 700th career home run before the friendly Frisco fans at SBC Park. Not a bad performance, considering he had been hit by a pitch earlier in the game. Early next season he'll no doubt catch up to The Babe, and a year after that probably Hammerin' Hank himself. Unlike some other famed long-ball hitters, however, Bonds has maintained an awesome batting average throughout his career, yielding a stratospheric slugging percentage when you factor in all the walks. Simply put, no one has dominated the game like him in my lifetime.
On the other coast, meanwhile, the Red Sox came from behind in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Yanks in the first game of the Clash of Titans. The often-slack Manny Ramirez actually jumped into the left-field stands in Yankee Stadium to rob Miguel Cairo of a homer, helping to pull his team to within 2 1/2 games of first place. Once again, Mariano Rivera failed to live up to his huge reputation as a closer, as the Bosox used some commendable "small ball" tactics to tie and then take the lead in the ninth. I wonder how high FOX's TV ratings will be for tomorrow's Game of the Week? The e-mail seems to be working again. Note that I've split the scrolling baseball stadium menu into separate "Current" and "Past" sections, which I think should speed up access a little bit. Please let me know if this format is less than satisfactory.