December 17, 2004 [LINK]

Utter disgrace: aftershocks in D.C.

The ugly repercussions of the D.C. Council's vote on Tuesday continue. (I would have posted baseball updates yesterday had I not been busy with War of the Worlds.) Since unleashing her little cataclysm three days ago, Linda Cropp has alternated between posturing as a tough negotiator and a meek conciliator. At a news conference, she asked MLB officials to

"give us a few months." ...

"I want baseball here, but not at any cost," Cropp said, and not by giving "a blank check" to Major League Baseball.

Cropp said she would not put the stadium deal on the agenda for next Tuesday's D.C. Council meeting "if there is no resolution" of the current impasse, and she called the Dec. 31 deadline "artificial." Three new council members opposed to Williams's stadium financing deal are scheduled to take office Jan. 3. (SOURCE:

Such chilling words are not what one would expect to hear from a political leader who is tuned into reality, and it raises the awful possibility of doom. (Steven Poppe, you may be right after all.) If Mrs. Cropp does not believe that it really is now or never for baseball in D.C., she is either deceiving herself, her constituents, or both. Seldom has my standard of maintaining a respectful, dignified tone in Web discourse been tested as sorely as now. I would like to think she is just mistaken in judgment on this matter, but I fear she has deliberately taken a crowd-pleasing position that puts herself in a hole from which she cannot crawl out without ruining her political reputation, thereby forfeiting her probable mayoral aspirations. On WTOP Radio's morning call-in show today, she admitted that Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin gets huge (implicit) public subsidies from the District via the special tax breaks on the MCI Center. So why not the same treatment for baseball, Linda?? Let her know how you feel by calling (202) 724-8032, or sending e-mail at As Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote, it is perfectly acceptable to vote yes or no on a given issue, as I myself have said. But

What is utterly and absolutely not acceptable is the current behavior of Council Chairman Linda Cropp and nine of her colleagues who want to bait-and-switch baseball into a radically altered deal than the one which Williams negotiated exhaustively -- as his city's official representative -- over a two-year period.

In business, a deal is a deal, something Cropp refuses to understand. For her any deals, those made by others or even ones she has agreed to herself in recent days, are not deals at all. They are just a starting point for her next demand.

Note that I have redone the "countdown" at the top left of the Baseball page to reflect the increased uncertainty, which will fluctuate from day to day. Likewise, I have also changed the title of the RFK Stadium page, but have left the Anomalous stadiums page untouched for the time being, since it includes the caveat phrase "barring some unforeseeable catastrophe," which would seem to be a fitting description of Mrs. Cropp.