Nationals earn $10 million
After losing a total of $80 million during the last three seasons as the Montreal Expos, the Washington Nationals franchise made an after-tax profit of $10 million in 2005. Not too shabby for a rookie season in an old, worn-out stadium. It kinda makes you wonder why they didn't move earlier. Oh, yeah. Does all that squandered potential profit get figured into the compensation formula for the Baltimore Orioles? Are the rest of the MLB franchise owners such big suckers that they were willing to absorb such big losses for the sole benefit of one franchise? Ordinarily, baseball franchise profits are kept secret, but the unusual circumstances of the jointly-owned franchise in Washington allow for more openness. See Washington Post.
D.C. council balks, again
Sadly, there is more melancholy news about foot-dragging on the D.C. Council with regard to building the new baseball stadium. Several council members demand that MLB assume the risk for any cost overruns on the project, and Chairwoman Linda Cropp warns that she may put the issue to a vote, even though the matter was supposedly settled last year, when sentiment on the council was more favorable toward baseball. See Washington Post. Since there inevitably will be cost overruns, this is a major stumbling block, and may further delay the process of selling the Nationals franchise. That, in turn, would mean their prospects for acquiring enough talent to compete in the NL East Division next year are fading fast. The possibility of a prolonged impasse also raises the minute possibility that the franchise will ultimately move to another city, so I've raised Washington's relocation likelihood from 0% to 5%. I hope Bud Selig gets the message that it's time to cut a deal.
Few options for Marlins
According to the Palm Beach Post, the Florida Marlins don't have many viable alternative home cities if they are really serious about leaving Miami. Portland, and possibly Las Vegas, are the only real options. Here's a scary image: "a $420 million retractable-roof stadium by the Orange Bowl has collapsed." (quote deliberately taken out of context ) Also, Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga has discussed building a stadium for the Marlins (which he used to own) next to Dolphins stadium. (hat tip to Mike Zurawski)
[corrected] CORRECTION: Mike tells me that the artist's conception of a sliding roof (which I mentioned on Nov. 21) [was only for the proposed Miami baseball stadium]; the Orange Bowl would remain uncovered under the plans for the Marlins' hoped-for stadium. My apologies for the mistaken impression. Coincidentally, I got to see a televised game at the Orange Bowl this afternoon, as the U.Va. Cavaliers blew a lead, losing to the Miami Hurricanes.
The governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, has admitted that he was never drafted by the Kansas City Athletics in 1966, as he had long claimed. Why is it that so many people think they can get away with such preposterous resume-inflating empty boasts? Well, we can all dream, I suppose. For the record, my baseball career ended in my early teens, as I devoted my athletic efforts to golf (!). I did play quite a bit of softball during the 1980s, however.