The Pirates Of The Nations Capital
[January 13th] -- "The Pirates of the Caribbean" is one of my favorite movies. As the "undead" pirates of the Black Pearl swarm the island of Jamaica in search of the last of the cursed pieces of gold, they find young Elizabeth Swann hiding in her father's mansion and are about to do the unspeakable to her. She suddenly shouts, "Parlez!," pirate-talk that means roughly, "safely-speak." She was given safe passage to discuss with Captain Barbossa their "disagreement."
After making an agreement with the captain, Elizabeth hands over the gold piece, and is immediately taken prisoner by the crew of the Black Pearl. "You can't do this!" she shouted, "We were under the flag of "parlez. We had an agreement!" Captain Barbossa stopped in his tracks and turned back towards Elizabeth. He leaned in towards the young woman, and with one eyebrow slightly raised, said, "Well Missy, 'Parlez' isn't exactly a set of rules that be ironclad. It's more what you'd call 'guidelines.'" Barbossa went back on his word and Jack Sparrow and young Will Turner then spent the rest of the movie trying to save the govenor's daughter from the crew of the Black Pearl.
Fast forward a few hundred years. Deep within the bowels of the world's most powerful city, politicians, representatives from Major League Baseball and a gaggle of lawyers from both sides hammered out a lease agreement that would protect both the new owner of the Nationals' and the interests of the citizens of Washington. Papers were signed and agreements were reached. Now, all that had to happen was for the city council to approve it by December 31st for it to take effect. It never happened. The politicians didn't like the agreement and so they've been trying to get out of it. Bud Selig and the boys climbed on board the S.S. Washington and asked Captain Linda Cropp why the city wouldn't honor their contract that the city signed in good faith. Linda Cropp stopped, and slowly turned around. She walked back towards Selig, and, leaning in, with one eyebrow raised slightly higher than the other, said, "Well, Buddy, a contract isn't exactly an ironclad agreement that has to be followed. It's more like what you'd call 'guidelines."
Since the agreement was signed, the city council has been trying to find a way, any way, of honoring it. They don't think it's "fair" so that makes it "null and void."
Now, they have ammunition. They have hired a Chicago sports law firm that has dealt with the construction of many sports facilities, including FedEx Field here in Washington. They say, their words now, that the agreement is "is probably the most generous in the history of organized sports."
I could care less. If their was concern that the agreement was one-sided, then it should never have been signed. Each step of the way, the city council veers from standard business practices and creates their own "me - me - me" way of running the city. Don't get me wrong. A pox on both their houses. Sure, the baseball boys tried to screw the city, and they succeeded. Whose fault is that? Just as it wasn't Alex Rodriguez' fault when the Rangers signed him to that bloated $255 million dollar contract, neither is it baseball's fault that the city agreed to their excessive demands.
There is now talk that the city might be willing to throw money at Major League Baseball, and let them build their own park the way they want it (Thanks to DCBB for this nugget). All of the city's machinations won't change the fact that they have an agreement with MLB and that the agreement should be honored.
It's becoming clearer now how the city lost two baseball teams, two basketball teams, and had two franchises build new facilities outside of the city limits. Why deal with the pain?
It's not worth it.