November 8, 2004 [LINK]

Late-inning $tadium $ite $nag

D.C. City Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp admits that her plan to build the new baseball stadium near RFK Stadium doesn't have enough votes to win passage, according to the Washington Post. As things stand, however, Mayor Williams' plan doesn't have enough votes either, and tomorrow evening's Council meeting will decide whether a compromise is possible. The Saturday edition of the Post was full of news and comments that cast extremely negative light on Mrs. Cropp's alternative. I had initially hypothesized that her ploy was aimed at getting better terms from MLB, but I may have overestimated her political astuteness...

Winston Lord, of the propsective D.C. baseball franchise ownership group, just sent out an e-mail message to folks like me who are signed up for ticket info on the new Washington baseball team. Their site has link for sending an e-mail message to the D.C. City Council: with a pre-written message, which I rewrote almost from scratch; see below. That link didn't work for me, so you might want to just click on the following link to send a message to

Dear Members of the D.C. City Council:

I am a resident of Virginia and a former resident of the District who has long been a serious fan of baseball. I am writing to express to you my strong support for the Anacostia Waterfront as the right location for a new ballpark in Washington DC. Anything else would be an unmitigated disaster.

I once lived within a block of the proposed site on South Capitol Street, and I can testify how deep is the need for a renewed urban development effort in that part of the city. It is the gateway to D.C. from the south, and a new stadium / entertainment complex there would be a tremendous enhancement to Washington's image. Giving up on the Anacostia Waterfront will mean missing a historic opportunity to revitalize an entire section of the City. A new ballpark could do for the Waterfront what the MCI Center did for the 7th Street area. What's more, by drawing in many millions of dollars from Virginia every year, it would serve as the "commuter tax" on suburbanites that the D.C. government has always wanted.

Building a new ballpark near RFK Stadium as Chairwoman Linda Cropp has proposed, in contrast, would NOT generate any significant development, and it would attract far fewer fans from Virginia. (I would probably attend at least ten additional games per year at a South Capitol Street ballpark compared to a ballpark built next to RFK.) Even worse, it would be more likely to encroach upon the Baltimore Orioles' fan base in Maryland, and their owner Peter Angelos would almost certainly require additional monetary compensation. In short, the RFK site would be a colossal mistake: penny wise but pound foolish.

The deal that Mayor Washington made with Major League Baseball specified the site on South Capitol Street. The radical change of plan this late in the game will jeopardize the return of baseball entirely. After waiting so long for baseball to our area, we can't afford such a risk. Please do not break the signed agreement with Major League Baseball.

Thank you very much for your attention.


Andrew G. Clem