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Mediation Quietly Begins

[January 19th] -- An article on the Nationals' official website, kind of a baseball version of Tass, indicated that non-binding mediation between Major League Baseball and the D.C. City Council began sometime Wednesday morning. Forget to tell us, did you?

Former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer, picked to lead the mediation only two days ago, was in place and in charge when both parties sat down to discuss their problems.

I've been through a mediation, and it's quite an unusual process. Both sides remain in separate rooms, with the mediator carrying proposals, counter-proposals and insults between the two sides. I'll say this, though: it sure beats sitting in a courtroom in front of a judge.

The folks on the city council side have repeated many times that this is a "non-binding' action, that they (the city) can't be forced into acting in a manner not in the city's best interest. However, the process does allow for binding arbitration at a later date if no agreement can be reached.

It's my guess that both sides are slinging arrows with a zeal not seen in D.C. in years. But in the end, the bluster and bad words will give way to an agreement that will finally build that ballpark. For now, though, they'll have their fun.

I think this is all a stage-play, designed to garner sympathy for major league baseball.
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