Sunday, December 04, 2005

Habemus Leasum

The thugs with MLB and the DC SEC have essentially agreed on the terms of the stadium lease. Our long Nationals nightmare is (not quite) over.

The two key holdups: Guaranteed rent, and money for construction have been resolved to both parties' satsifaction.

On the rent guarantee, MLB has agree to secure one or two years of rent. The city, as a proxy for their Wall Street bond-issuing overlords, had asked for four years. MLB has agreed to renew their promise should the situation warrant. If this is on the up and up with the capitalist pigs in NY (The Wall Street ones, not the MLB ones), then the city should be able to have the bonds issued and sold by the end of the year.

With respect to the construction costs, MLB has agreed to pay $20 million towards construction costs in "return for a small concession." Neither the Times nor WaPo can squeeze their sources for what this concession is, but it's safe to say it's not going to involve Linda Cropps' first born, simply because no normal person could stomach the thought of her procreating.

Originally, the $20 million was budgeted for VIP parking adjacent to the stadium to keep the fat cat Johnny Jaguars from having to mingle with the common riffraff. When the costs of the stadium exploded, parking was dropped from the blueprints. Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to assume that this is the concession. Gee, thanks for nothing.

If the parking IS the concession, and I admit I'm going out on a little bit of a limb (but when have you read this blog for factual accuracy anyway?), it's just another sop to the mostly ignorant DC voters. The stadium lease has five votes for passage in the Council. It will need seven eventually. The notion of MLB chipping in an extra $20 million will help to serve as political cover for those politicians on the council. They can puff out their chests, run to their constituents, and tell them how they brought baseball to its collective knees. The fine print of their campaign brochures won't note how the $20 million won't actually reduce the costs paid out by the district. Details just confuse people.

It's much the same way that Linda Cropp can strut around talking about what a friend she is to Washington baseball, and still go to her constituents and talk about how her private financing plan saved DC money. Nevermind that she's giving away $540 million in assets in return for an up-front payment of $246 million.


That's enough cynicism and negativity from me now. I should be happy. The lease is essentially done. The process moves forward. And now we should have an owner on the way, right? Right? [Crickets Chirp]


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