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Washington Baseball

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Expos franchise was awarded to the city of Washington DC on Wednesday, September 29, 2004. The team currently does not have a name, although the Washington Senators is probably a strong contender. On the other hand, this being the 3rd franchise to play in Washington, I would support a different name. (The current Minnesota Twins were the Washington Senators from 1901-1960, and the current Texas Rangers were the Washington Senators from 1961-1971.)

So far, Major League Baseball has only decided to move the team to Washington. It hasn't sold the team. As a result the franchise is still the Expos, although undoubtably the new owners will select a new team name.

Washington's Mayor Anthony Williams has gone on record as wanting the team to be called the "Grays." While I wouldn't mind that name (referring to the old negro league team), I want to suggest something new.

I believe the new team should be called the "Washington Justice." I think the name would be cool, would give the team a fresh start, and would have fantastic marketing potential. (Just think about the potential: The gavel chop... fans sitting on "the bench"... senior citizens discounts, etc.

OK, moving on to the actual reason for this post: I believe that MLB would be well advised to have the Expos and Devil Rays switch leagues. First, Washington has traditionally been an American League city. Switching the Expos/Senators/Grays/Justice to the AL would create an instant rivalry with the Baltimore Orioles, that would actually help both teams. Similar to moving the Milwaukee club to the National League, the Orioles and Washington club would sell additional tickets when they play each other. And they could play each other about 18 times a season if both teams were in the AL East. Furthermore, Washington's proximity to New York, and Boston, and the rest of the AL East (in comparison to Tampa Bay) would foster some additional rivalries.

Moving the Devil Rays to the National League would give a failed franchise with no hope, a fighting chance. The D-Rays are decidedly poor and have no hope of ever competing in a division with the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, and Blue Jays.

Below is a table showing the Devil Ray's annual payroll for each year since they were an expansion franchise in 1998. In every year, except 2000, the Devil Rays have had the smallest payroll by at least $10 million. Furthermore, when comparing them to the average payroll of the other four teams, the D-Rays have only come within $30 million of the rest of the division once.

Tampa Payroll
Non- Tampa AL East Avg Payroll
Next Highest Payroll

All of this is to say, by moving the Washington Expos into the American League, and the Devil Rays into the National League, you would create two natural rivalries where none currently exist (Expos and Orioles, and Marlins and Devil Rays). MLB could strengthen 4 franchises, and help a team which is quickly turning into MLB's version of the Los Angeles Clippers.

ESPN.com also had a good article about the Expos move to Washington.

I'm apparently turning into a regular Cub Chronicler. Some news and notes from around the Bigs.

That's why they're the Brewers.
From: Despite Fat Wallet, no Trophy again" by Phil Rogers
Chicago Tribune, Oct. 24, 2004

To call the roof at Miller Park "retractable" has become debatable. Because of ongoing problems that cannot be repaired until after the 2005 season, the Milwaukee Brewers will have to limit the number of times they open and close the roof next year.

Engineering experts say the flawed system risks becoming inoperable every time it is opened or closed. "We have a patient on life support," said Mike Duckett, executive director of the Miller Park stadium district. "We will keep the patient alive until we get a transplant."

After next season, the two-wheel system that was installed during construction will be replaced with a four-wheel system at a cost of more than $10 million.

Steve Ethier, the stadium operations manager for the Brewers, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the team will be "creative" to limit the number of times the roof is opened and closed.

"I don't think we will get to the point where we will have to keep it open all of the time or closed all of the time," he said.

The stadium district has filed a claim with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America seeking $44 million in damages. Mitsubishi countered with a claim arguing that construction of the roof cost the company $133 million, $87 million more than the initial $46 million deal. That case is scheduled to go to trial in January.

Posted by Byron at October 29, 2004 8:10 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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Hello folks nice blog youre running

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