Thursday, September 30, 2004

MLB Deal Favorable To Orioles' Angelos

Guarantees, TV Deal Sweeten Pot
By Thomas Heath and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 1, 2004; Page A01

Peter G. Angelos could sell the Baltimore Orioles for almost $200 million more than he paid for the team 11 years ago under terms of a deal he is negotiating with Major League Baseball to compensate him for the Montreal Expos moving to Washington, sources said.

Angelos would also receive 60 percent of the revenues from a regional sports network and MLB would guarantee that the Orioles' revenues would never fall below an average of what they earned before the Expos moved here, sources said.

Neither Angelos nor baseball officials would comment publicly on the talks, which are close to being completed.

The value of the deal being discussed is difficult to calculate but it appears to guarantee that the team will always be financially sound under Angelos. The Baltimore attorney led a group that bought the team for $173 million in 1993, and Forbes magazine last April estimated the Orioles' worth at $296 million and local revenues at $129 million in 2003. The regional sports network, which would televise both Orioles and Expos games, has yet to be formed.

The negotiations reflect baseball's desire to make peace with Angelos, who has threatened to block a transfer of a team to Washington. While some legal experts doubt he could prevail in court, baseball is seeking an amicable settlement that would remove all obstacles.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

MLB will call shots for club in offseason

By Thom Loverro
Sept. 29, 2004

MONTREAL — Major League Baseball, which has operated the Montreal Expos the past three seasons, likely still will make the personnel and roster decisions for the team that will play at RFK Stadium in 2005, the president of the Expos said last night.

Tony Tavares, the former president of the Anaheim Angels who was hired by baseball to run the Expos after the 29 existing owners bought the team from Jeffrey Loria three years ago, said he doubts the franchise will be sold to new owners in time to make personnel decisions, such as signing free agents, that are often made in November and December to shape next year's roster.

In fact, Tavares said it is possible that a new ownership group might not take over operation of the Expos until May or June, two to three months into the season.

"I think, realistically, it is not likely that you will see an ownership group in place certainly before the end of the year," Tavares said. "I don't know how you do that. You have background checks to do, you have to set up parameters, do due diligence. ... It is unrealistic to think it will happen before the end of the year. My own personal guess is somewhere between February at the very best, to May or June."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Bodley: Expos have some fond memories of Montreal

By Hal Bodley
USA Today
Sept. 28, 2004

The lights go out on baseball at Montreal's decrepit Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night and even though the last rites for the Expos are long overdue, there's sadness.

They'll play the Florida Marlins in their final game at the cold, egg-shaped monstrosity, then limp into New York for three against the Mets and become extinct.

Barring unforeseen events, the team will have a new name next year, a temporary home in Washington's RFK Stadium and mostly unhappy memories about Olympic Stadium and Montreal....

(article continues)

Orza likes D.C.: Gene Orza, players union chief operating officer, was in Montreal last week, briefing the Expos on what to expect in their new city. Orza speaks from experience because he lived in Washington for 12 years beginning in 1972.

The Senators left for Texas the year before, but Orza believes Washington can easily support a major league franchise: "The city has certain characteristics that lend itself to having a successful franchise. There's a large TV market, there's easy access (to RFK Stadium) and certainly a baseball knowledge because fans come from all over the country to work there. There are a lot of good things about Washington from a baseball standpoint."

Orza anticipates good-faith bargaining with management after Major League Baseball announces the Expos are being moved to Washington. The union must bargain the effects of the move.

"These are not simply players moving from one U.S. city to another; they're moving from a foreign country to the United States," he says. "Plus, it's to a city where there isn't a current franchise. A lot of the infrastructure that's normally in place in regards to the transfer of a player isn't."

He says one issue might be what benefits the players are entitled to when they're asked to move from Montreal to Washington: "There are real estate holdings, there are transfer taxes — a variety of issues."

Read the entire article here on the USA Today website.

Brewers accept offer from L.A. investor

Mark Attanasio to pay more than $180 million
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: Sept. 27, 2004

The Milwaukee Brewers have accepted an offer from Mark L. Attanasio, a Los Angeles investor, to buy the franchise for more than $180 million, baseball sources said Monday.

The sources said the offer to purchase was accepted at last Thursday's board of directors meeting.

Sources with knowledge of the board's decision said the sale price was well above $180 million and closer to $200 million.

When the team was put up for sale in January, Major League Baseball officials had said they thought the team was worth between $180 million and $200 million. However, sports finance analysts consulted by the Journal Sentinel had said the sale price was too high, especially for a market as small as Milwaukee. The Anaheim Angels, playing in a larger market, sold for $182 million.

Attanasio, 46, is a senior partner with Trust Company of the West, a Los Angeles money management firm. His spokesman, Bill Mendel, has described him as a lifelong baseball fan who grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium.

Mendel declined to comment on the report. "The Brewers control this process," he said.

Brewers officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Read the entire article here on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website.

Warner: D.C. Pitched a Better Baseball Deal

Updated: Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2004 - 11:47 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Virginia Gov. Mark Warner says Major League Baseball is apparently bound for Washington, not Loudoun County.

But Warner says Virginia did have a sound financing package, just not one sweet enough for the MLB.

"The state was going to pick about a third, the localities were going to pick up about a third and the team ownership was going to pick up about a third, which we thought was a fair approach -- a good solid business deal," Warner said on WTOP's Ask the Governor program Tuesday. "The District approach was much, much more generous to baseball."

For example, Virginia wanted twice the rent on a stadium.

"We had team rent proposals that were ranging, starting at $9 million and running up to $12 million, in terms of the team paying part of the cost," Warner said.

Virginia balked at state financing of a new stadium, with key legislators saying they objected to moral obligation bonds. Washington was much more willing to use tax money to build the stadium.

Read the entire article here on the WTOP News website. No timetable for Expos move

Relocation announcement not set, says DuPuy
By Barry M. Bloom
Sept. 28, 2004

Despite reports to the contrary, Major League Baseball has yet to set up a timetable for a decision on the future of the Montreal Expos and a possible move to Washington, D.C., baseball's No. 2 official said on Tuesday.

The Associated Press reported, in a story released on Monday night, that "the most likely day for an announcement Washington, D.C., has been selected for the future home of the team is Thursday, although there was a slight chance the timetable could be moved up." AP cited several unnamed baseball officials.

But Bob DuPuy, MLB's president, chief operation officer, and a member of the relocation committee that has spent two years exploring the move, countered that speculation on Tuesday.

"No schedule has been set for any announcement," DuPuy said in an e-mail response to the AP story.

After the relocation committee reported to the executive council and Commissioner Bud Selig this past Thursday in Milwaukee, DuPuy said that a decision on the Expos was still possible by Sunday's end of the regular season.

Read the entire article here on

Expos announcement might come Thursday

AP Sports Writer
Monday, September 27, 2004

(09-27) 18:06 PDT NEW YORK (AP) --

Exactly 33 years after the Washington Senators played their final game, the nation's capital might learn on Thursday that major league baseball plans to return next season.

Several baseball officials said Monday that the most likely day for an announcement that Washington, D.C., has been selected for the future home of the team is Thursday, although there was a slight chance the timetable could be moved up.

After a meeting of the sport's executive council last Thursday, a high-ranking baseball official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said major league baseball would attempt to finalize negotiations with Washington within a week. It would be the first franchise relocation in the major leagues since the expansion Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers after the 1971 season.

The deal to move the Expos to Washington would be subject to government approval of funding for both a $13 million refurbishment of RFK Stadium and a new ballpark costing slightly over $400 million, which would be built along the Anacostia River in the southeast section of the city.

Read the entire article here on the San Francisco Chronicle website.

Angelos reveals conditions for a team in D.C.

Orioles owner indicates he might drop opposition; Meeting with DuPuy due Tuesday; Terms include protecting value of his team, stadium
By Jon Morgan and Ed Waldman
Baltimore Sun Staff
Originally published September 27, 2004, 10:03 PM EDT

Signaling for the first time publicly that he might be persuaded to drop his opposition to a team in Washington, Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos said Monday that he could go along if a deal were struck to protect his franchise and, in turn, the state's investment in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

"If those two goals can be accomplished, and I feel the franchise would be secure and the revenue stream is protected and the asset value is secure, it might be possible to make a deal," Angelos said in a telephone interview with The Sun yesterday.

Major League Baseball President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy, the point man for the effort to find a new home for the Montreal Expos, will return to Baltimore Tuesday to meet with Angelos, according to two sources familiar with his plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

DuPuy met for several hours with Angelos in his downtown law office Friday, but no progress was reported.

Negotiations between Major League Baseball and officials in the District of Columbia to move the Expos to a $400 million stadium proposed for the Anacostia waterfront in southeast Washington are nearing completion.

A deal appears imminent.

Read the entire article here on the Baltimore Sun website.

N.Va. Blew Chance to Get A Baseball Team

By Marc Fisher
Washington Post Columnist
Tuesday, September 28, 2004; Page B01

When the history of the third Washington Senators is written, the author will be tempted to start with the tale of how the team came this close to playing in a place called Pentagon City.

As Major League Baseball puts the finishing touches on a deal to move the Montreal Expos to the District, those involved in the years-long relocation soap opera say that Northern Virginia would have won this cross-Potomac competition -- if it had held firm to the Pentagon City stadium site.

Instead, the Arlington County Board and a well-organized opposition snuffed that proposal, eliminating Virginia's central, transit-friendly site.

Yes, folks, the stories about how we got the team are bubbling up.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Williams Details Stadium Funding

Free Tickets Included For Low-Income Kids
By Debbi Wilgoren and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 28, 2004; Page B01

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams said yesterday that he will try to build public support for a $440 million, city-financed baseball stadium project by stressing the economic and community benefits that a major league team could bring to Washington and assuring residents that businesses would be taxed to pay for it.

The District would pay all upfront capital costs for a stadium on the Anacostia waterfront. But Williams (D) and his aides said that they fought successfully to include free tickets for low-income children, to have the team owners pay millions in rent each year and to ensure that D.C. residents and minority contractors get priority consideration for jobs.

Williams said he was convinced that Major League Baseball officials, who have said they are very close to a decision on whether to move the Montreal Expos here, would have rejected a deal that did not include full financing.

"Do I think it's the ideal, optimal way to do business? No. . . . Of course, I would like some owner to come in and pay," Williams told a group of Washington Post reporters and editors. "But that's the reality of the sports world."

In a 90-minute briefing, Williams and his aides also shared details of the plan they are negotiating with MLB. The 41,000-seat stadium would be built just off South Capitol Street, a block from the Navy Yard Metro station. It would include 2,000 club seats, 74 luxury boxes and a 1,100-vehicle parking garage.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

MLB, Angelos Continue Talks On Financial Deal for Orioles

By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 28, 2004; Page D01

Major League Baseball President Robert A. DuPuy is expected to continue negotiations today with Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos on a financial package for the Orioles that could clear a path for baseball to move the Montreal Expos to RFK Stadium in time for Opening Day next April.

Baseball wants to make the Expos announcement by the end of the week in order to give the D.C. Council enough time to approve the legislation for a publicly financed, $440 million package to renovate RFK and build a new stadium on the Anacostia waterfront. The council must act on the legislation soon in order to have the money for the RFK renovation, which city officials said will take at least three months.

DuPuy and Angelos, who met for several hours on Friday, are expected to discuss a regional sports network that would televise both the Orioles and the Washington team's games and be owned by both franchises. Under the proposed discussions, the Orioles would receive the greater share of revenue, according to baseball sources familiar with the proposed package.

Baseball also is believed to be proposing that it will guarantee the amount of annual revenue that the Orioles earn, as well as the team's value, according to two sources familiar with the talks. Under the proposal, Major League Baseball would make up any shortfall if the Orioles' annual revenue fall below an agreed upon threshold, according to sources.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Expos likely to come to District

By Eric Fisher
Sept. 28, 4004

Major League Baseball is expected to announce tomorrow that the Montreal Expos will move to the District, and anticipation yesterday surged in Washington that the city's 33-year baseball drought is finally at an end.

Major League Baseball (MLB) executives have not provided word to city officials of its decision on the fate of the Expos. However, several D.C. and baseball sources said MLB is targeting tomorrow for an announcement, although complications could push it to Thursday.

The framework is in place for a deal that would move the Expos to Washington, have them play temporarily at RFK Stadium and provide for the construction of a $440 million ballpark in Southeast. That deal depends upon the passage of a stadium-financing package by the D.C. Council and the approval of MLB owners.

Expectations of an imminent announcement of an Expos move are so high that D.C. officials are developing plans to stage a major public celebration this week, likely at RFK Stadium.

"From our perspective, everything's done, and we're ready to go," said Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Au revoir to Montreal?

The Miami-Herald

ATLANTA - There are strong indications that the upcoming series between the Marlins and Expos at Olympic Stadium could be Major League Baseball's swan song in Montreal.

''That'll be a good trivia question,'' said Marlins first-base coach Perry Hill, who spent two years as a coach for the Expos. ``Who was the last team to play in Montreal?''

Though the league has not yet rendered a verdict on the fate of the Expos, one could be delivered by the end of the week, with the franchise possibly moving to the Washington, D.C., area in time for the 2005 season.

''I've made other trips into Montreal when I thought it was going to be the last trip,'' said Marlins radio broadcaster Dave Van Horn, who was the voice of the Expos for 32 seasons, including the franchise's first in 1969. ``But I think everybody recognizes this is it.''

Read the entire article here on the Miami Herald website.

Bodley: "Expos' move to D.C. nears announcement"

By Hal Bodley,
Sept. 27, 2004

If Major League Baseball can negotiate a settlement with Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, it could announce this week the Montreal Expos' new home is Washington, D.C.

Bob DuPuy, the MLB president who has been overseeing the relocation process, met with Angelos on Friday.

Commissioner Bug Selig repeatedly has said he doesn't want to make a move that will hurt Angelos, a friend and member of the Executive Council.

"Our goal is to move this process to a conclusion as rapidly as possible," DuPuy said. "We're still trying to get it done before the end of the season (Oct. 3)."

On Thursday in Milwaukee, the relocation committee presented its findings to baseball's Executive Council but made no recommendation as to where the Expos should be moved in 2005.

Two executives who attended the session told USA TODAY there was strong sentiment that the Expos be relocated to Washington, 35 miles from Baltimore's Camden Yards.

Read the entire article here on the USA Today website.

Loverro: "Will Baltimore icon help run D.C. team?"

By Thom Loverro
The Washington Times
Sept. 27, 2004


One by one they emerged from the Baltimore Orioles dugout: Boog Powell, Ken Singleton, Al Bumbry, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer.

The Orioles yesterday at Camden Yards celebrated the 50th anniversary of the St. Louis Browns' move to Baltimore by presenting the 50 all-time favorite Orioles.

They were all there: Rick Dempsey, Mike Flanagan, Gregg Olson, Jim Gentile — and, oh, yes, Cal Ripken Jr., perhaps the greatest Oriole of them all and quite possibly the man who will shape the future of baseball not in Baltimore, but Washington.

If the notion of a team in Washington upsets Orioles owner Peter Angelos, imagine how upset he would be to find the icon of his franchise running the competition down the road. It is the very definition of insult to injury.

Maybe Angelos can make Ripken a bargaining chip in the talks with baseball about an indemnification payoff to relocate the Montreal Expos to Washington. You know: Give me a regional sports network, pay me $50 million and, by the way, ban Cal Ripken from running the team.

Of course, Angelos could have avoided this embarrassment. He could have embraced Ripken. He could have put Ripken in charge of baseball operations, allowing him to be the face of the franchise.

But Angelos wouldn't. Angelos would be made crazy if the Orioles succeeded under Ripken. Ripken, you see, would have gotten all the credit.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Ballpark dream vs. the American Dream

Washington Times Editorial
Sept. 27, 2004

The push to remake the Anacostia River waterfront with a ballpark is steeped in the well-meaning spirit of revitalization.

The proposed ballpark is the carrot that is galvanizing the social engineers of change: the politicians, developers and assorted attorneys. This urban cocktail is an old favorite, ready to intoxicate the masses, except those being sentenced to lose their stake in the American Dream.

This is the fundamental flaw in the ballyhooed proposition, no small impingement if you believe in the Fifth Amendment and the vision of our Founders who wrote the right to property into the Constitution.

Their intent was clear. No property owner should be bound to the demands of the majority.

The majority, this space included, wants a baseball team. We deserve a baseball team.

Yet we do not deserve the right to tell the various little people who hold the deeds to the proposed 20-acre site to turn over their properties so we can hear the crack of the bat again.

Read the entire editorial here on the Washington Times website.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

MLB Still Aims for Deal With Angelos

Expos' Move to D.C. Tied to Agreement
By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 27, 2004; Page D01

Major League Baseball officials are expected to resume negotiations with Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos this week in an attempt to reach an agreement that will open the door for baseball to move the Montreal Expos to Washington's RFK Stadium in time for Opening Day in April.

Baseball all but decided on Washington as the future home of the Expos at a meeting of the league's Executive Council in Milwaukee last week. Sources with intimate knowledge of the proceedings there said the District's bid to build the stadium overwhelmed the other competitors, which include Northern Virginia, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Portland, Ore., and Monterrey, Mexico.

If baseball is going to move the Expos to Washington next year, it must officially notify the D.C. City Council by Friday so lawmakers can pass before the end of the year the necessary financing legislation for a $400 million, publicly funded stadium. A new slate of lawmakers takes over in January, and some council members have expressed reservations about taxpayers footing the bill for a stadium for wealthy owners and players.

Baseball officials have said the deadline to announce a decision on the Expos is the end of the regular season, which is next Sunday. If a decision isn't made by then, it's likely baseball will wait until late October to announce the Expos' fate because it doesn't like to make announcements during the playoffs and World Series. But delaying a decision past this week would jeopardize the chances that stadium legislation would pass the D.C. City Council before the end of the year.

Before moving the team, Commissioner Bud Selig would need the approval of three-fourths of the league's 29 owners; the Expos presently are owned by MLB. Selig could hold a vote by conference call, which is usually preceded by 24 hours notice.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

City Would Pay for Stadium Land

Mayor Promises 'Just Compensation,' Defends Financing
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 27, 2004; Page B02

Mayor Anthony A. Williams vowed yesterday to provide "just compensation" to any property owners who would lose their land if a publicly funded stadium were built in Southeast Washington to lure a Major League Baseball team.

"I don't take lightly the loss of someone's home," said Williams (D). But he said the economic development spurred by a new stadium would justify taking over the land, by eminent domain if necessary. The 20-acre site on the banks of the Anacostia River is dominated by vacant lots and warehouses."

Anyone driving down M Street [near the proposed stadium site] and saying, 'This is what we want' [to keep] . . . I'm not sure what they're thinking," he said.

Williams spoke to reporters yesterday as he prepared to begin a round of meetings this week with community groups, clergy, business owners and others to promote his plan for a $440 million waterfront ballpark to attract the Montreal Expos. Major League Baseball is expected to announce its decision on the team soon.

The stadium plan must go before the D.C. Council.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Christensen: "D.C. puts crimp in winter budget"

Orioles Focus
By Joe Christensen
Baltimore Sun Staff
Originally published September 26, 2004

The thought of having the Montreal Expos set up shop 35 miles down the road was starting to settle in as a new reality at the B&O warehouse last week, and Orioles officials weren't too happy about it.

Vice president Mike Flanagan said he couldn't be sure how an Expos move to Washington would affect next year's payroll, but it's probably safe to assume it will take a hit.

Flanagan said such a move by the Expos would trim 30 percent from the Orioles' revenues. So it's no wonder club officials described their collective mood as uneasy, as Major League Baseball entered the final stages of its relocation process.

A year ago, the Orioles were one of the biggest players in the free-agent market, when they nabbed Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez, Sidney Ponson and Rafael Palmeiro for a combined $121 million.

When Peter Angelos made those commitments, he did so trusting that commissioner Bud Selig and his fellow owners wouldn't move a team into an area where it could steal from the Orioles' fan base.

Read the entire article here on the Baltimore Sun website.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

With Angelos standing in way, eminent domain might not be imminent

By Peter Schmuck
The Baltimore Sun
Originally published Sep 26, 2004

IF YOU BELIEVE everything that you read, it's time to start putting a few bucks aside each week to pay for your PSL at Citizens Don't Want To Bank This Ballpark in Washington.

The Battle of Anacostia is over, and Peter Angelos might as well sue for peace, because he has no chance if he tries to sue for anything else.

If you believe everything you read.

Now, if you know anything about Peter Angelos, you probably know the folly of underestimating him. If not, you can contact the bankrupt asbestos industry, Big Tobacco or the Maryland Stadium Authority - all of whom have tangled with him and lost.

No one thought he had a chance to defeat the combined might of the asbestos manufacturers, but they have been nice enough to buy him a city block in downtown Baltimore and a baseball team (among other things).

There was a time when no one had much stomach for battling the tobacco industry, but Angelos signed up to wage Maryland's fight to recoup health care costs associated with tobacco-related illnesses. The state ended up getting $4 billion in a huge federal tobacco settlement that happened so quickly that state officials refused to pay Angelos the whole contingency fee.

Read the entire article here on the Baltimore Sun website.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Boswell: "With MLB, The Code Is Clear"

By Thomas Boswell
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Friday, September 24, 2004; Page D01

Baseball communicates in code. If you don't know the tribal customs, it's all mysterious. If you do, it's usually clear. On Thursday in Milwaukee, nothing official happened. That's the news, but in code. No news means good news for Washington.

To prevent the Expos from coming to Washington, Peter Angelos had to make something spectacular happen in Bud Selig's office on Thursday. This was his one desperate chance to plead his woefully weak case to the game's Executive Council. He had to do something loud or transformative. Something so legally scary or rhetorically brilliant that the sport would stop in its tracks and, after an excruciating, exhaustive multi-year march toward Washington, reverse its course of action completely.

Instead, nothing happened in Milwaukee. No explosion. Angelos shot blanks. Otherwise, baseball would be in internal turmoil now. Bud's applecart would be upset. Jerry Reinsdorf would be breathing fire. The game's grapevine would be on fire.

Now, all is quiet. Have a nice weekend. See you next week when, pick a day, baseball chooses Washington for the Expos.

That is, if the game even waits that long. According to one source, D.C. officials may receive the confirmation that they desperately want to hear this morning, not long after you read this column. Never has a "we haven't decided yet" from baseball been received with such near euphoria by those on the other end of the drama.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Panel backs D.C. bid; owners' vote due soon

By Eric Fisher
Fri. Sept. 24, 2004

MILWAUKEE — Major League Baseball's relocation committee yesterday made a strong case before the game's executive council to move the Montreal Expos to the District, setting up a decisive vote among the owners next week.

During a three-hour meeting here, a final decision on the beleaguered Expos' new home was not made, and the committee did not issue a formal recommendation. But several sources familiar with the proceedings say the word unquestionably will arrive before the regular season ends Oct. 3 and that the District's bid retains a strong, if not insurmountable lead for the Expos.

The Expos file has now been handed off to MLB commissioner Bud Selig and the eight-owner executive council, which most likely will convene a conference call vote of all owners. Twenty-one of the other 29 owners must approve a relocation.

"We're down to the short strokes now," said one MLB executive present in the meetings.

Said Drayton McLane, Houston Astros owner and a member of the executive council, "I think we're awfully close to making a decision."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Businesses Receptive to D.C. Stadium Tax

Biggest Would Pay $28,000 a Year
By Monte Reel and Karlyn Barker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 24, 2004; Page A13

Many of the D.C. businesses that would be taxed to help pay for a new baseball stadium said yesterday that they support the preliminary details of the proposal, which as currently envisioned would cost the city's largest companies up to $28,000 a year.

The proposed tax would apply to District-based businesses that take in at least $3 million a year in gross receipts -- nearly 2,000 businesses in all, city officials said. They said the smallest of those businesses probably would pay about $2,500 a year and the largest about $28,000.

Bob Peck, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, said most members of his group responded favorably to the proposal after city officials laid out preliminary details for them during a flurry of hastily scheduled briefings over the past two days.

"We're talking numbers that for a lot of the larger members, at least, are not going to break the bank," Peck said.

Jamie Williams, president of the D.C. Building Industry Association, said his members also generally supported the plan after being briefed by Deputy Mayor Eric W. Price last night.

"While in general no one is in favor of new taxes, it seems in this case that the benefits certainly outweigh the burdens," he said. "The hope, of course, is that the numbers might change and be less than that, but I think we need to have faith in both the executive branch and the council that the details will be worked out in a fair and timely manner."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

DC Baseball: Disaster Coming

Washington is a good move for baseball, but last minute rush likely to doom business success.
A weekly column by Chris Isidore
September 23, 2004: 5:04 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Major League Baseball appears to be on the verge of moving a team back to the nation's capital. But it's likely to be sending the team up the plate with two strikes already on it, at least from a business perspective.

A last-minute move into RFK Stadium will cause problems for the team and its business.

The decision to do so has been overdue since July's All-Star game. But even though Major League Baseball's executive council is set to meet in Milwaukee Thursday to discuss the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington, a definitive outcome is not expected at that meeting.

So by the time the issue is finally resolved, ticket sales, marketing, and preparing RFK Stadium to host baseball will be far behind schedule for next year's season.

The quickest a move to Washington will likely be announced is in the last days of the regular season, which ends Oct. 3. But even if the announcement comes before then, baseball would still have to conclude negotiations with D.C. and the new potential owners on such tricky but important issues as a new $465 million stadium and a sales price for the team.

The timing is going to put the team in a serious hole, one that it may take years to climb out of [and] recover from on a business basis.

"You never get a second chance to sell your first tickets," said Marc Ganis, a sports consultant who has worked on a number of last-minute franchise relocations. "How you price them, and how fans feel about transaction with the team, are absolutely vital."

Blame for the delays falls mostly on Commissioner Bud Selig.

"One thing Bud Selig will do is not jump out until he has a full consensus," said Maury Brown, chairman of the business of baseball committee at the baseball research group SABR and one of those trying to bring baseball to Portland, Ore.

Read the entire article here on the CNN/Money website.

Selig Might Portray Move as Temporary news services

According to two baseball officials involved in the discussions, the most likely resolution of the Expos' situation would have Bud Selig announcing that the team will move to Washington next year, pending the approval of funds to renovate RFK Stadium,'s Jayson Stark has learned.

However, Selig may portray the decision as a temporary solution, which would be dependent on Washington finalizing plans to build a new ballpark. By describing the decision as temporary, the sources said, Selig would have more time to make some sort of deal with Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

Baseball had hoped it could satisfy Angelos by giving the Orioles a portion of the purchase price when the Expos are finally sold, and by helping to create a second regional sports network that would allow the Orioles to continue to televise their games in Washington and Virginia.

However, one baseball official says Angelos continues to adamantly oppose any and all solutions that have been tossed his way.

"Bud hasn't come close to finding a way to satisfy him," the official said. "I'm not saying he won't find a way. But if he does, it won't be with money. He's saying there's no number in the world that would be acceptable. You wouldn't believe the (dollars) that have been thrown around, as recently as this week. And he's had absolutely no interest."

A high-ranking baseball official told The Associated Press that Major League Baseball will attempt to finalize negotiations within a week to move the Expos to Washington next year.

Read the entire article here on

Thursday, September 23, 2004

MLB Deciding the Fate of the Expos

By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 23, 2004; 3:41 PM

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 23 -- A panel of Major League Baseball owners met in Commissioner Bud Selig's office here today to discuss the fate of the Montreal Expos and the franchise's possible move to Washington.

On his way into the meeting, Kansas City Royals owner David Glass said he expected to hear a presentation from baseball's relocation committee, which has been seeking a new home for the financially troubled Expos.

"I would hope we get something decided," Glass said. "It's been hanging a long time."

Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane said he wasn't sure what to expect.

"We've got to see what all the facts are," McLane said. "Baseball is not always the swiftest at making decisions."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Warner Balks at Stadium Financing Plan

Baseball Execs To Discuss Angelos Compensation
The Associated Press
Thursday September 23, 2004 3:04pm

McLean, Va. (AP) - Gov. Mark R. Warner will not support a plan to build a northern Virginia baseball stadium using bonds backed by the "moral obligation" of the state and is instead looking for alternative methods to finance ballpark construction.

Stadium backers have said the use of low-interest moral obligation bonds is a key component of the proposal to build a $442 million stadium near Dulles International Airport to lure Major League Baseball's Montreal Expos franchise. The decision by Warner, a baseball supporter, to seek alternative financing as baseball nears a final decision deals another blow to northern Virginia's dwindling hopes of landing the franchise.

Baseball's executive committee met Thursday in Milwaukee to discuss the Expos relocation. Washington, D.C., which is proposing a $400 million stadium south of the U.S. Capitol, has emerged as a favorite. Las Vegas and Norfolk are also under consideration.

Warner's spokeswoman, Ellen Qualls, said Thursday that the governor's own concerns about the use of moral obligation bonds, as well as opposition from key legislators, forced him to look for other alternatives.

"He's pushing for a different financing mechanism," Qualls said.

Read the entire article here on the WJLA website.

Rivals start taking swings in roof battle

Stadium district, Mitsubishi filings pour in before hearing

Posted: Sept. 22, 2004

Like two combatants trying to soften each other up before the real battle begins, lawyers for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America and the Miller Park stadium district are lobbing legal hand grenades in the high-stakes fight over the work and payout for the stadium's troubled roof.

Attorneys for both sides are maneuvering ahead of an Oct. 25 court date in which Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Kitty Brennan is expected to rule on motions connected to the highly publicized and complex case.

The lawyers' filings, which court clerks say pile up nearly every day in the nearly 3-year-old case, are unsparing in their criticism of the stadium district and its contractors, and of Mitsubishi and its team.

The district first took action against Mitsubishi in January 2002, seeking $5 million in damages for Mitsubishi's alleged mismanagement and negligence in the construction of the roof. That damage claim has now ballooned to $44 million.

Mitsubishi filed a counterclaim, arguing that construction of the roof cost the company millions more than the initial $46 million deal it agreed to sign.

Read the entire article here on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website.

Boswell: "In a Pinch, Reinsdorf Is Ready to Be Selig's Hit Man"

By Thomas Boswell
The Washington Post
Thursday, September 23, 2004; Page D01

When baseball has a first-rate brawl, Jerry Reinsdorf is usually in the middle of it. Bud Selig sees to that. If the commissioner is headed into one of the game's periodic gangland rumbles, he wants his toughest Chicago consigliore to cover his back. Bud's the velvet glove. Jerry's the knuckles. "I can tell when George Steinbrenner is lying," Reinsdorf once said. "His lips move."

So today, when Orioles owner Peter Angelos gets to Milwaukee for baseball's Executive Council meeting, he can play nice or he can play rough. But if he wants it rough, he's going to get a full dose of Reinsdorf because the White Sox' owner is the key player on the relocation committee that, after years of study, has finally decided the Expos belong in the District.

When Angelos hears "Washington" he can have a fit, if he wants. But the guy with all the answers, all the research, the owner who searched for over two years to find an Expos site that was not near Baltimore was Reinsdorf.

What Reinsdorf will almost certainly tell the Executive Council -- every one of the eight owners thinking, "Jerry is speaking, but it's Bud talking" -- is that baseball ended up with a bunch of crummy or half-baked relocation options. With one exception. There is a solitary, gold-plated $440 million deal that he, Reinsdorf, negotiated with the nation's capital in order to save the day. Imagine it: No other serious bidders left for leverage yet the District agreed to grab the whole tab!

That's when things will get interesting. What will Angelos do? Scream, threaten, reason, stall or negotiate a payoff?

Several matters are clear. It's almost inconceivable that Selig would let the relocation committee make a report, which amounts to a recommendation, unless he agrees with it.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Expos' fate rests with committee

Relocation of franchise to Washington will be recommended, report says
BASEBALL REPORTER; With files from Canadian Press
UPDATED AT 11:37 AM EDT Thursday, Sep 23, 2004

TORONTO -- The Expos will play the Florida Marlins next Wednesday in what the Montreal team president believes will be the baseball club's final home game.

So Tony Tavares will be carefully watching events these next two days, and wondering how the crowds will react during the three-game series against the Marlins.

The Florida team is owned by Jeffrey Loria, the former general partner of the Expos, who is involved in an arbitration case with his former limited partners in the team as well as a stayed racketeering lawsuit.

"Any added security would be because we would be expecting a big crowd for what could be the last game, not because it's the Florida Marlins," Tavares said yesterday after the Washington Post reported two high-level baseball sources said Major League Baseball's relocation committee is leaning toward recommending the game's executive council move the Expos franchise to Washington, D.C., when it meets today in Milwaukee.

"Let's see what comes out in the papers the next two days. But we've played Florida so many times, I would think that any lingering anger would be gone by now," Tavares said.

Formal approval of a move or sale of a MLB team requires a three-quarters majority of the 30 owners.

And while no meeting has been scheduled to deal with the sale, a high-ranking baseball source says there has been preliminary discussions on a settlement for Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos. Possibly involving payments from future television money generated by a new franchise located in Washington and money from a discretionary fund operated by commissioner Bud Selig.

Read the entire article here on the Globe & Mail website.

Decision due soon on Expos

By Hal Bodley,
Thurs. Sept. 23, 2004

Thirty floors above downtown Milwaukee in a conference room overlooking Lake Michigan, the fate of the Montreal Expos could be decided today. Then again, it may not.

Baseball's executive council will hear reports from the relocation committee as to where the Expos could be permanently located.

Washington, D.C., has been the leading choice for the last six weeks since a proposal by Northern Virginia began to fall apart.

But the wild card in this process, which has lasted nearly three seasons since Major League Baseball took over the Expos, is Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos. He has vowed to fight moving the team to Washington, just 35 miles from Camden Yards.

Commissioner Bud Selig will turn today's meeting, expected to last several hours, into an intense discussion. Three people familiar with how the session is expected to proceed told USA TODAY on Wednesday the meeting could evolve like this:

MLB President Bob DuPuy, who's headed the relocation process, will make a presentation, though no recommendation is planned. The committee's consensus is the only choice is Washington, where RFK Stadium, former home of the Washington Senators, will be used until a new park is built.

Selig is certain to urge council members to question the committee to see if that evolves into a resolution.

A key is how the council reacts to Angelos, one its eight members, when he voices his opposition.

If he weren't a factor, the council likely would OK a move to Washington and make an announcement next week.

Read the entire article here on the USA Today website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

New site no walk in the ballpark

By Eric Fisher and Tim Lemke
Thurs. Sept 23, 2004

The District's proposed ballpark on the Anacostia River waterfront comes with 20 acres' worth of land-acquisition headaches.

City officials identified a site near M and South Capitol streets in Southeast as their preferred location for a baseball stadium Tuesday if the city lands the relocated Montreal Expos. However, the District owns none of the land necessary to build the ballpark. The area is a haphazard mixture of vacant land, gas stations, storage facilities and industrial businesses.

The financing plan for the ballpark provides $65 million to purchase the necessary land. However, the $440 million total cost for the stadium will be much higher than what was projected in the spring, and it likely would rise further before the ballpark would be completed.

"There are still a lot of questions to be asked, and there is much to be learned yet about the financing. But this has a lot of promise, much more so than any of the other sites," said D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat. "And I do think there is an opportunity to create more of the sort of things that MCI Center did. This also gets us much closer to the waterfront. Who thinks of D.C. as a waterfront town? There's the sliver [of the Potomac River] in Georgetown everyone focuses on, but there's all this frontage of the Anacostia we want to develop."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Baseball for D.C. all set or is it?

By Thom Loverro
The Washington Times
Thurs. Sept. 23, 2004

It's all over but the printing of the tickets, right?

Major League Baseball's relocation committee, after nearly two years of meetings and research, is expected to recommend to the owners' executive council today that the Montreal Expos be moved to the District. The council then is expected to give its approval.

Baseball soon would announce the decision, and all of this would be done over the objections of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a member of the executive council.

This is what it comes down to, isn't it? The team would be relocated to the District, and the proximity of the Orioles to Washington would not be a deciding factor.

Baseball needed two years to come up with this?

Read all of Thom Loverro's column here on the Washington times website.

Orioles see Expos' move to D.C. as likely

Decision expected in week to 10 days; Angelos’ opposition among several hurdles
By Joe Christensen and Ed Waldman
Baltimore Sun Staff
Originally published September 22, 2004, 9:46 PM EDT

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has become increasingly resigned to seeing the Montreal Expos play in Washington next year, based on the information he has gathered from ownership circles, Orioles officials said yesterday.

Club sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said there was an uneasy feeling at the B&O warehouse yesterday, one day before what could be a landmark in the long, grueling relocation process.

Commissioner Bud Selig has called for the owners' Executive Council to meet today at his downtown Milwaukee office to discuss the Expos' future.

A high-ranking major league official said a final decision on the Expos -- who have been run by MLB since early 2002 -- will come in the next week to 10 days. Though many hurdles could prevent a team from moving to Washington even after MLB makes its decision, the picture still looks ominous for the Orioles.

"We're waiting on what happens, but it will definitely impact what we do," Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan said. "We believe that there will be a 30 percent loss of revenues [if the Expos move to Washington], whether it's TV, attendance and all those factors."

Read the entire article here on the Baltimore Sun website.

D.C. Makes Baseball Pitch to Business Leaders

Owners' Panel Meets Today to Consider Moving Expos Next Year
By Lori Montgomery and Serge F. Kovaleski
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 23, 2004; Page A01

District officials yesterday began selling their plan to build a waterfront ballpark to business leaders who would end up paying the bulk of the cost, as a panel of Major League Baseball owners prepared for a meeting that could spur the return of the national pastime to the nation's capital.

The stadium, which would be located on the shores of the Anacostia River less than a mile south of the U.S. Capitol, is expected to cost more than $400 million. About $65 million would be set aside to acquire the 20-acre site. The collection of vacant lots, industrial sites, brick rowhouses and clubs is controlled by 27 private owners.

The sales pitch to business leaders, which will continue today, was another sign that negotiations over wooing baseball to Washington had entered a new, if still uncertain, stage.

Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, who is expected to attend today's meeting in Milwaukee, has so far rebuffed overtures by Major League Baseball and remains adamantly opposed to moving the Montreal Expos to Washington, one baseball official said yesterday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject, said informal discussions about possible compensation for Angelos have gone nowhere.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

M Street site for ballpark

By Eric Fisher
Weds. Sept. 22, 2004

District officials have chosen a site near M Street and South Capitol Street in Southeast as their preferred spot for a ballpark as negotiations intensified to bring the Montreal Expos to the city.

The M Street choice was a surprise, beating out two more heralded sites north of the Mall as well as the RFK Stadium property. The highly industrialized area was scoffed at when it was named one of five initial site finalists two years ago. But the aim of a ballpark there, slated to cost more than $400 million, is to piggyback on massive redevelopment efforts along the nearby Anacostia River, as well as provide an important lure to bring more tourist and development activity south of the Mall.

D.C. Council members were briefed on the proposal yesterday by the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission and staffers from the city Department of Planning and Economic Development.

"Yeah, that's the choice," said one city official closely tied to the baseball effort. "The sports commission will have the final selection, but that's where it's going."

In recent months, baseball boosters spent considerable energy reviewing proposed sites at both New York Avenue Northeast and Benjamin Banneker Park in Southwest. The New York Avenue site, while attractive to many, did not have the desired waterfront nearby. The Banneker site, a particular focus of city efforts since last winter, was found to be far too expensive and cumbersome to select. The site would have required decking part of the ballpark over Interstate 395.

The selection of M Street as the city's preferred ballpark site also arrives during an overwhelming state of anticipation over Major League Baseball's relocation deliberations on the Montreal Expos. City officials have been in intense negotiations with MLB's relocation committee for weeks, most recently holding an 11-hour session last week in Georgetown.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Executive council to weigh fate of Expos, bidding groups

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Weds. Sept. 22, 2004

MILWAUKEE - (KRT) - Major League Baseball's executive council will meet Thursday at the downtown Milwaukee office of Commissioner Bud Selig, with the primary topic of discussion expected to be the relocation of the Montreal Expos.

Baseball's relocation committee, which includes Selig's daughter, Milwaukee Brewers board chairman Wendy Selig-Prieb, is expected to make its final report to the council, which consists of eight team owners. Then it will be up to the council to make a selection and present it to full ownership at a future date.

Washington, D.C., remains the overwhelming favorite to emerge as the new home of the Expos, who have been operated by MLB for two seasons. One of the executive council members is Baltimore owner Peter Angelos, who is adamantly opposed to placing a team so close to the Orioles.

Selig has promised on several occasions to name a winner in the relocation derby before the end of the season. The regular season ends in a week and a half, providing precious little time unless Selig plans to make the announcement during the playoffs.

"We're running out of time," said MLB President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy, the head of the relocation committee."

The council will review the options and then it's up to them to make a decision. But I certainly don't expect an announcement on Thursday. It has to go to ownership."

Read the entire article here on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website.

Boswell: "The District's Play at the Plate Is Going to Be Very Close"

By Thomas Boswell
The Washington Post
Wednesday, September 22, 2004; Page D01

This is definitely not the closest that Washington has come to getting a major league team to return to the District. In early 1974, Topps ran off baseball cards of 15 San Diego Padres, including Willie McCovey and Glenn Beckert, with their team designation as "Washington Nat'l Lea." Now that's close.

Also, things seemed pretty serious the day the late Jack Kent Cooke told his secretary to get the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates on the phone. "So, how much do you want for that team?" bellowed Cooke as I listened.

Once upon a time, the Houston Astros looked like a near-lock, too.

Nevertheless, the Expos are so close to coming to the District right now that, if you were Charlie Brown, you'd be absolutely, positively certain that, this time, you were going to kick that miserable football before Lucy could pull it away.At the moment, the Expos buzz is so loud you're lucky not to get knocked over by the volume.

"We believe we're down to the last inch in getting the [baseball] relocation committee to recommend the District as the home for the Expos in '05 [at Thursday's Executive Council meeting]," District Deputy Major Eric Price said yesterday.

"An 'inch' might be too close," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's second-highest-ranking official, "but discussions have been very productive [recently]."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

D.C. Eyes Waterfront Baseball Stadium

Sources Say Owners Will Back Moving Expos to Washington
By Serge F. Kovaleski and Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 22, 2004; Page A01

District officials disclosed plans yesterday to build a publicly financed stadium costing more than $400 million on the Anacostia waterfront near South Capitol Street, amid growing signs that Major League Baseball will attempt to move the Montreal Expos to Washington.

Two high-level baseball sources said the owners' relocation committee is leaning toward recommending at an executive council meeting tomorrow in Milwaukee that the Expos be moved to Washington, triggering what figures to be delicate negotiations with Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos.

"Everyone recognizes that we are running out of time, and we hope a decision can be made by October 1," said baseball President Robert DuPuy.

Angelos reiterated yesterday his willingness to fight an Expos move to the District, saying it would drain away fans, financially damage his franchise and hinder its ability to compete. "My position remains unchanged for the reasons I have repeatedly articulated," Angelos said. "The facts don't alter that position." He declined to comment further.

Although yesterday's developments signaled that the District's 31-year wait for the return of baseball could be nearing an end, baseball officials cautioned that no deal has been reached and that several obstacles remain.

A high-ranking baseball source said that besides Angelos, possible impediments are a lawsuit filed in Miami by former Expos owners, the need to get approval for the District's financing plan from the D.C. Council and any unforeseen problems with the renovation of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, which would be the team's temporary home.

To read the Washington Post article click here

Selig's choice is clear: Expos belong in D.C.

by Hal Bodley
USA Today
posted 9/20/04

Ten years ago Bud Selig cancelled the World Series. Without a labor agreement, he had no other choice.

The commissioner now must make another difficult decision. He has no other option this time either. He must move the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C., and not linger in making the announcement.

When baseball's executive council meets Thursday in Milwaukee, it will be told what just about every owner now knows. Downtown Washington, temporarily at RFK Stadium, is really the only location the Expos can be placed.

There's a strong possibility the relocation committee will make its long-awaited recommendation at that session. But first it must be certain the proposal from the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission is finalized.

"We continue to refine the offers and believe we're getting close to a final decision on the location for next season," says Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball president and chief operating officer who heads the relocation process. He reiterated he hopes to have it done by the end of the season.

This will be a difficult decision for Selig because he's repeatedly said he doesn't want to weaken the Baltimore Orioles franchise by putting a team in its backyard. Camden Yards is 35 miles from RFK Stadium.

But I believe Selig has come to the conclusion there's no other place to locate the Expos.

Read the entire article here on the USA Today website.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Another hurdle to land Expos?

By Eric Fisher
Tues. Sept. 21, 2004

The Washington area's pursuit of the Montreal Expos, now at a breathless stage of expectation, faces yet another complication from a group of 14 former limited partners of the team threatening to seek a legal injunction blocking any relocation.

The 2-year-old racketeering lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami against Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and current Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, long has been a nuisance to baseball. The suit claims Selig and Loria conspired to destroy the Expos' market value and reduce the partners' equity in the club.

MLB executives have claimed the lawsuit is baseless since it was filed and insist it will not interfere with efforts to relocate the Expos. Attorneys for the plaintiffs, in turn, have promised to pursue the injunction preventing any permanent move out of Quebec pending a trial.

Now the issue is fast approaching a potentially nasty period, particularly as local officials expect MLB to render its long-awaited decision on the Expos in a matter of days. A preliminary ruling in the suit requires MLB to provide 90 days formal notice before moving or selling the club, something it did Sept. 14. But Jeffrey Kessler, the partners' New York-based attorney, said any lease deal involving the Expos with another city that arrives before mid-December likely will violate that notice.

"I would think anything that enjoins or formally binds baseball to a new city is going to be a problem," Kessler said.

Last week's filing from baseball did not specify a relocation target date or destination for the Expos. But MLB officials are just as eager to resolve one of their biggest headaches as local officials are to get the team.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.