Selig Pushes Sale Back To January At The Earliest
Selig announced Tuesday that the sale of the Nationals won't be finalized until January at the earliest. Why? He didn't say.
Hmmm ... let's think about this for a moment. Earlier today, the D.C. City Council announced that new stadium requirements made by baseball would cost an additional $20 million dollars. These upgrades were not part of the original agreement, and if baseball really wants them, they would have to pay for them. Baseball responded by pushing back the team's sale another two months. This has become a power struggle. The city council makes a demand and Selig pushes back the sale. The council learns their lessons and "asks" and then "suggests," and Selig pushes the sale back even further. The message is clear: don't mess with Bud Selig. The commissioner won't finalize the sale until the D.C. City Council capitulates completely on all fronts and at all forums.
For the past three weeks, major league teams were able to sign their own free-agents without having to try to match or beat offers from the other teams. Not the Nationals. Starting last Friday, the free agent signing period began, giving all major league teams the hope of improving themselves for 2006. All except the Nationals, of course. During the general manager's meeting this past week, every team began laying the foundations for upcoming trades that will take place over the next couple of months. Not the Nationals, however, as their general manager spent the better part of the week preparing for and then interviewing for his "dream job." Now comes the owner's meeting in Milwaukee this week. Washington won't be represented.
Selig's minions haven't even told Jim Bowden how much money he has to spend on players next season, not that is matters much anymore. Of all the transactions that involve players on the major league roster, 93% occur between the end of the season and February 1st. All of the other teams will head to spring training with their rosters virtually set. By then, the Nationals will have an owner, money to spend, and no players to acquire. If the team wants a speedy leadoff hitter, it's going to have to be Brandon Watson. The only 4th starter available will be a guy currently in the Nats' bullpen.
It's not the Nationals that Bud Selig is trying to hurt. It's the political structure in Washington. He is attempting to show the political world that baseball is too strong and he is too "bad" to be threatened any more. The city council had darn well better build the stadium to his specifications ... or else. Politicians had better not threaten to take baseball's anti-trust exemption away from them again ... or else. And the hardest part of all this is that he's not trying to hide his intentions. His excuses for postponing the sale have been so lame that no one believes them. He's taunting us; he is saying to us, "catch me if you can." All that there is left for us to do is to stop supporting the team. No problem. He'll simply take the $30 million in profits baseball earned last year and move the team somewhere else. No. He knows we'll never do that. After thirty-four years, we'd walk bare-footed on broken glass so that we could be first at the ticket window. The only person with the power to stop Bud's antics is those very people he's thumbing his nose at: Washington politicans.
Do they have the temerity to take him down? I doubt it.