Wednesday, December 14, 2005

We're Doomed

The Post and Times each have their cracks at yesterday's hearing. It doesn't look good for passage.

From the Times:
Mr. Brown said he likely would vote against the lease agreement unless something changes before Tuesday.

"We asked the private developers if they would contribute, and they all said no," Mr. Brown said. "So that leaves us with one other option, and that's the District of Columbia. I have an obligation to the residents of the District of Columbia to vote no. I don't know what would change my mind."

A vote against the lease by Mr. Brown could give victory to ballpark opponents on the council.

If the lease is rejected next Tuesday, who knows what would happen? Friend to bloggers, T(h)om Loverro writes that the council feels emboldened because of that uncertainty. He suggests that MLB is going to need to play tough now, but that their position is weakened because of the attractiveness of the DC market. He's right.

The Council finds itself in a position of strength because MLB has overplayed its hand. It's clear that MLB is going to have to give the city some sort of real concession to ram the lease through -- and I'm not talking about the $20 million upfront for $50 million worth of assets kind of concession either!

Would the council consider RFK? I can't see that even being the compromise solution at this point, because of the environmental costs, and the marginal cost savings compared to the southeast site.

One interesting note from the Post's account:
[T]he city earned $37.5 million in tax revenue during the Nationals' first season -- from a gross receipts tax on businesses, a utilities tax on businesses and federal buildings, and a stadium concessions tax.

There was a time that the city's revenues were considered disappointing. Nearly $40 million can't be a disappointment, and you'd think that the pro-stadium side would be emphasizing this.

We're not quite back to square one, but we're definitely in uncharted waters. The bonds are supposed to be in place by the end of the year, but there aren't any real penalties for that for at least two years -- and even then, it's not clear that there's any recourse for MLB other than to move the team, which is highly unlikely anyway.

Wake me up when it's over.


  • Wouldn't $37.5M/yr times 30 years of the lease go a long way to paying for the cost of even a $700M stadium plus inflation across 30 years?

    By Blogger Scott M. Collins, at 12/14/2005 10:35 AM  

  • Hey, you're pretty good with that math stuff! :P

    The argument they'd make, I suppose, is that they're generating that much already without laying out a bazillion dollars for the stadium. Why not just reap the benefits and apply it to the children. They are our future, afterall. ;)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/14/2005 10:39 AM  

  • What a mess. Is contraction (Marlins and Nationals) right around the corner?? The no contraction deal with the union expires at the end of the 2006 season. No way does Williams have the seven votes he needs, he has five and that's it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/14/2005 10:40 AM  

  • "I'm actually hoping that DCCC rejects the lease and tells MLB that they'll only negotiate a new one with an owner."

    If the council does that, the team might still play here for a while, but I guarantee you that they will NEVER be sold to an independent owner and it'll be a team with no real chance to compete at the high levels of the game.

    And in all likelihood, the team will eventually go away somehow or another, and MLB will tell the city of Washington "don't you dare even think of darkening our doors even again."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/14/2005 1:45 PM  

  • MLB will tell the city of Washington "don't you dare even think of darkening our doors even again."

    That's hilarious.

    If MLB walks over the lease after having been guaranteed $535 million for nothing more than merely EXISTING (after 30 years of using DC to the extent that the Nats are now the O's TV b****es, then I heartily recommend DC baseball fans follow the Potomac/Prince William team or take up a hobby.

    Not even the greatest game in the world is worth this. Better put, these guys aren't worth the greatest game in the world.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/15/2005 11:30 AM  

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