They Will Build It, And We Will Come
[November 29th] -- If the relationship between Major League Baseball and the D.C. City Council were a movie, it would be "The Odd Couple" and not "Runaway Bride." Too much is at stake for either side to "pick up their marbles" and go home.
In the last 24 hours, we've heard that Selig was going to pay the city for the $20 million worth of upgrades for their VIP parking lot. Then we heard that baseball had made no such agreement. Then one of the D.C. councilman said that unless baseball was ready to "ante up" additional funds, the stadium deal was pretty much "dead." later in the day, another councilman said that "a deal is a deal," and that the city had no choice but to go ahead with what they committed to. Bud Selig says that without a stadium agreement in place, baseball won't name an owner. The City Council says that they want an owner named before finalizing the stadium agreement.
Doesn't all this sound very familiar?
Following the announcement that the Expos were moving to Washington last fall, both sides began a process of "oneupsmanship" where each group flexed their muscles and made threats they had no intention of following through on. Linda Cropp was going to demand that 50% of the stadium be paid for with private funds. In response, Selig halted all D.C. marketing and ticket sales, and began talking to other cities about taking in the Expos. Ultimately, the spitting contest ended where it began, with D.C. paying for the ballpark.
I expect that when this latest round of chest-pounding ends, both sides will be back where they were at the beginning. The city will pay for most of the stadium, and baseball will cover a little bit of this and a wee bit of that. Each side will claim victory, and sooner or later, probably, later, the stadium will be built. Oh sure, it's now likely that it'll be built "on the cheap," like Cincinnati's new park which had to deal with similar cost over-runs. But it will be built.
And all of this will be a faint memory, long ago forgotten and forgiven. Go Nats.