November 16, 2004 [LINK]

Field(s) of Dreams

UPDATE: The front office of the amorphous entity formerly known as the Expos, currently in transit from Montreal to Washington, has agreed to a four-year contract with 26-year old shortstop Cristian Guzman (who played a big part in the Twins' pennant chase this year) and a two-year contract with Vinny Castilla (the veteran Rockies third baseman). It is not certain whether this means the "Ex-Expos" are not interested in former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, though he might become a first baseman. You put those three top-notch infielders together with Jose Vidro at second, and you've got a team in serious contention for the pennant! Also, Frank Robinson made a verbal agreement to serve as manager for another year. This was also reassuring news for a team in flux that is vulnerable to an identity crisis. I wonder if this flurry of activity is an indication of MLB's confidence that the D.C. City Council will approve the stadium package as originally agreed to by the Mayor? Obviously, whoever puts in the winning bid to buy the Expos must have deep enough pockets to follow through on those commitments.

New! Field of Dreams, imaginary home of the Chicago Black Sox. "If you build it, he will come." -- (Yeah, but who's gonna pay for it???) Note the special effects on the cornfield photo on that page.

Meanwhile, the dream of bringing baseball back to Washington is coming ever closer to becoming a reality. D.C. City Council Chairperson Linda Cropp has agreed to fully fund a new stadium at the South Capitol Street site if it's the only way to consummate the Expos relocation deal. Nearly everyone agrees that her alternative plan was just a shady tax-dodging scheme. It is rumored that 40-something veteran player Barry Larkin, who was let go by the Reds, is very interested in finishing his career in Washington. Orlando Cabrera, who was traded to the Red Sox in July, might even be induced to rejoin his Expos teammates under the right conditions. Finally, the former minority partners of the Montreal Expos just lost their racketeering lawsuit against former principal owner Jeffrey Loria and MLB officials, thus removing one of the last potential obstacles in the way of that franchise being relocated to Washington Next year. It's hard to know what the plaintiffs were hoping to gain from that suit, aside from getting a small cash payoff, and perhaps the fact that their claim that they wanted to keep the Expos in Montreal was so far-fetched was what undermined their legal case. (See Yahoo Sports; Thanks to Steven Poppe for the tip.)