MLB rejects D.C. stadium terms
MLB President Bob DuPuy has rejected the request by the D.C. government that MLB contribute $20 million toward the construction of the new stadium, putting the whole process into major uncertainty once again. He said they might file for arbitration if a lease agreement is not reached with the city by the end of December. See Washington Post. It's not that much money, relatively speaking, but it was not in the terms of the original contract, so I think DuPuy has solid legal grounds, if not moral grounds. Can we just split the difference and get on with it?? D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission Chairman mark Tuohey is in charge of negotiating, and is trying mightily to achieve a delicate balance between the business aspects, financial realities, engineering practicalities, and politics. He urges the interested parties to accept "value engineering," i.e., cutting back on design elements to offset cost increases. Council chairperson Linda Cropp has revived her senseless proposal to build a new stadium next to the existing one; the money it would save would be far exceeded by the squandered investment spinoffs expected in the Southeast D.C. neighborhood.
RFK: long-term home?
One fall-back option for the Nationals is simply sticking with the status quo: RFK for the long term! It's not very likely, of course, but it's not totally out of the question, either. The problem is that building a new stadium was an explicit, central element of the deal that brought the former Expos to Washington, and there is a non-negligible chance that MLB would rather cut off their nose to spite their face, pulling the franchise out of Washington even though everyone knows they couldn't earn nearly as much money anywhere else as they could in D.C. -- even if they do stay in RFK Stadium! As I've said before, I almost wish they could stay in RFK Stadium for at least four or five years. Structurally, RFK could probably be maintained for at least another 20 or 30 years, if not longer. Is it worth the cost of rebuilding, refitting, and renovating all the ancient plumbing and wiring? A discussion on this topic can be found at: DCist.com.
Loaiza to Oakland
As another consequence of the interminable process of nailing down stadium construction terms and selling the franchise, the Washington Nationals' reliable starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza just signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Athletics. I admired the way he kept a compeptitive attitude and splendid performance after several disappointing losses in May and June when the team's batters let him down in close game. He will be sorely missed. See MLB.com
Mike Zurawski brought to my attention some facts regarding the prospects of various older stadiums. For one, construction on the new Yankee Stadium is expected to begin next year, and it should be ready by 2009. I'd rather not face up to that sad eventuality, but I've updated the Stadium prospects table anyway. Other revisions of that table are pending...
A few days ago I made a minor update to the Arlington Stadium page without announcing it, just to see if anyone would notice. Sure enough, Steven Poppe saw it and responded right away.
I have added a new blog archives page: Peter Angelos rants.