12/16/2004

so DC council chair Linda Cropp appears to have killed the deal bringing baseball to DC, which makes me furious. After saying all along she was in favor of the deal, she added an amendment yesterday to the financing package requiring 50% private financing, which was not part of the original deal with baseball. Baseball replied that this was not part of the deal, and it's wholly unacceptable, and stopped all sales and publicity for the team. The deal the city made with baseball wasn't the best deal, but I think it's the best we're going to get, and none of the money comes out of DC citizens' pockets anyway, it's all paid for by big companies, the owners of the stadium, and by taxes on stuff bought at the stadium (2/3 of which will be bought by people from Virginia and Maryland.) Meaning over the long run, it's adding money to DC coffers. It's ridiculous, because the city and baseball had a deal, and then Linda Cropp kept adding things and saying "add this too, and this, or else there is no deal." I've heard her maneuvers called an "ambush," "bait-and-switch," a "poison pill", etc etc. There are some good points in the Post today, Michael Wilbon says that Cropp is right to bring up objections, but she should have done so months ago, before the deal was agreed to by both sides. Instead, months ago she was sitting on the dais with the Mayor and baseball officials, saying how happy she was to get the team. Then all of a sudden she changes her mind, which is pretty obviously to try to get votes for her upcoming mayoral run. And Thomas Boswell makes the point "what if baseball commissioner Bud Selig did the same thing?" What if after we signed the deal, he kept adding other requirements? Obviously, DC residents would be furious. So how must baseball feel now? In short, it's ridiculous. Unless something huge happens, like Linda Cropp backing off her schemes or a private financier coming forward, we won't have baseball here next year, and probably not for a long, long time.

Linda Cropp's email address is lcropp@dccouncil.us, and her office phone is (202) 724-8032. Please call her, as she said today that her phone was ringing off the hook, but most opposition was coming from outside DC, that "her constituents oppose baseball."

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