May 23, 2008
Contrary to the expectations of skeptics who (like me) are all too familiar with how Washington works (or doesn't), the new baseball stadium was built on time and on budget -- or so we thought. Now we learn that the Lerner ownership group is demanding $100,000 per day in damages, citing the contract provisions under which the city would pay penalties for failure to finish the stadium on time. On Opening Night, lead owner Ted Lerner was praising the "wonderful job" that had been done on Nationals Park, but now he has changed his tune. What was not done on time? The office suites, which make up less than three percent of the total project cost. No leather chairs, no oak paneling, no plush carpeting? Poor babies! Apparently, getting a $600-billion subsidy from the local government in getting the stadium built wasn't enough. Now, that's what I call chutzpah! (Is Mr. Lerner being influenced by the super-greedy Peter Angelos, by any chance?) In yesterday's Washington Post, Marc Fisher warned that if the owners go ahead with this legal move, the team risks losing the precious goodwill that the new ballpark has brought to the urban community.
If I was going to pick one night out of the whole season not to watch the Nationals on TV, I think Wednesday night would have been it: starting pitcher Matt Chico (0-6) and reliever Jesus Colome gave up a total of eight (8) runs in the sixth inning alone. Colome threw 30 pitches and only got one out before he was replaced. Jesús! Final score: 12-2. Did the fact that the Philadelphia football team is named "the Eagles" have anything to do with the coincidence of the concert I just saw and the disaster in Washington? More likely, it was bad karma from wasting another fine pitching performance by Jason Bergmann the night before, losing 1-0. This weekend the D.C. Nine will host the Brew Crew from Milwaukee in Nationals Park, and if all goes well, I'll be there...
I've had several e-mail inquiries in the last few days, just as I'm struggling to get caught up with Web site maintenance. As always, I appreciate the interest, and your patience. I will get to them shortly.