IT'S LERNER! WELL, MAYBE
[April 26th] -- Update: Now Major League Baseball and Jeff Smulyan are saying that Channel 9's report about the Lerners getting the team are false. Don't bet on it. MLB likes to control it's own news reporting, and probably will now wait a few before announcing that the Lerners are the owners. Don't fret; it's just politics.
Channel 9 seems to be the first with the announcement: Major League Baseball will "allow" the Lerner group to purchase the Washington Nationals for $450 million dollars.
It's my guess that it was the Lerner's all along. All the love and attention given to the other groups was Bud Selig's way of forcing the Lerner's to do what he wanted; that is, to name Stan Kasten as president and increase his minority investment.
I believe that Jeff Smulyan, a close friend to White Sox owner Jerry Reisendorf, went through this process with an eye to being the "the guy" when the next team comes available. Can't you just see Bud calling a current owner with a desire to sell and saying, "I've got this guy, Smulyan, who almost got the Nationals. He's been vetted and he's ready to be an owner. Talk to him." As to Malek, I think he was always a distant second to Lerner.
Now what? MLB officials said that they would try to get the Lerner's on board in just a matter of a few weeks. This spells the end of Tony Taveres' reign as president, which is no big deal since Taveres has repeatedly said he wanted to go home. Just how long with Kasten keep Bowden? Hours? Days? Weeks? That will be the interesting question throughout the summer.
So, the Nationals now have an owner, they now have a new stadium, and they still have a season to complete before big changes are made.
Or do they? Stay tuned.
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