Les Expos move to D.C.
September 29, 2004 10:14 PM   Subscribe

The Montreal Expos are moving. Writer Jonah Keri says goodbye. Though questions remain about whether the deal will be done (Injunctions have been filed, and a RICO lawsuit still looms), it appears that the cronies will again have their way.
posted by trharlan (26 comments total)
Selig's an asshole, Angelos is a bigger asshole, but the end result is all good. DC needs a team. There were very few Orioles fans around when I lived and worked near the Beltway. Everyone rooted instead for their hometown team, wherever that might have been. Hell, there were only a couple of minor league teams in the entire metro region (Frederick and Bowie).

The planned site of the stadium is currently a very underdeveloped area of southeast DC; obviously this will change. It will also be accessible by Metro. I think it was critical that the team stay within the DC limits, rather than move to the burbs. This was an excellent lobbying job by Tony Williams and, to Selig's credit, a nice leap of faith for the generally conservative and recalcitrant MLB empire.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:36 PM on September 29, 2004

The Washington Senators, Statesmen, Neocons. Called it first.
posted by Zoyd Wheeler at 12:46 AM on September 30, 2004

OK, as probably the only Expos fan who will actually post to this, I have to say, it's going to be hard not having a favourite baseball team anymore. Any Brooklyn Dodgers fans out there wanna give some coping tips?

Anyway, as sad as it is, and with all the crap that the team has gone through, Montreal just isn't a sports town, it's an event town. There's too much going on all through the summer, and the idea of going all the way to where the Big O is to sit in a cold, dank stadium and watch the team get pounded, though probably having to leave before it's over so you don't miss the last train, isn't even something I can bring myself to do every time I'm there.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:00 AM on September 30, 2004

So what should the name of the new team be? I like the Washington Nationals or the Washington Grays.
posted by sohcahtoa at 3:22 AM on September 30, 2004

Subtle irony would be one advantage of keeping the Senators name. It would be a subversive way (along with the license plates) of calling attention to the fact that DC doesn't have voting representation in Congress.
posted by PrinceValium at 3:34 AM on September 30, 2004

I don't like this deal. 3rd time they are going to try to put a team in the dc area...with +81 Home games this is not football. It's only going to hurt the orioles. What really should be done is to disband the expos and then go right to Tampa and get rid of that team. Expansion killed baseball...oh and that DH thing sucks too.
posted by Cool Alex at 4:43 AM on September 30, 2004

I wonder what's going to happen when the new DC council is sworn in. Most of them are against the deal, they may kill the new stadium. If they do, what happens to the baseball deal?
posted by unreason at 5:59 AM on September 30, 2004

For a team name, I'd like to see the Washington Lobbyists.
posted by alumshubby at 6:43 AM on September 30, 2004

Space Coyote, and I say this as one whose entire school cut class during the 1981 pennant race, it's clear that Montreal hasn't been interested in baseball since great teams of the early nineties. Whether it was the strike, the owner or the tanking economy, baseball is done in Montreal, at least for now.

I think actually it was Buck Rodgers who called it right: when all the big financial offices left for TO in the eighties, there was nobody who could afford to buy the expensive seats in big blocks anymore which is the bread and butter of any sports franchise. So, just to be provocative, I'm blaming the Expos leaving on René Lévesque.
posted by bonehead at 6:52 AM on September 30, 2004

I was about to blame the fans because I'd heard attendance wasn't very hot, but after looking over the actual numbers, I'm not quite so certain.

And bonehead, while ticket blocks make up a large share of seat sales, the real revenue in MLB comes from licensing rights to TV stations. This is primarily the reason the Yankees and Red Sox have such big budgets to work with. Particularly the 'Sox, since Fenway doesn't hold that many people to begin with.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:07 AM on September 30, 2004

Ahh, fond memories of heading to Radio Shack in grade 6 (1982?) and buying a small radio, then me and a buddy listening to snippets of Expos' games during class.

Val-de-ree, Val-de-ra! Adieu nos Expos
posted by smcniven at 7:07 AM on September 30, 2004

>the real revenue in MLB comes from licensing rights to TV stations.
Yes. Some people argue that the Montreal market has double the production costs from having to broadcast in French and English, extra costs chipping into profit.

bonehead admits to being provacative, but Tony Tavares - he was on RDI this morning, blaming the Expos' demise, in part, on the separatists. "I don't know anything about the politics... I don't know who's right and who's wrong." Then why bring it up? Unbelievable. They followed up chatting with Gilles Duceppe. He called Tavares an imbecile. Heh.
posted by philfromhavelock at 7:31 AM on September 30, 2004

bonehead, I pretty much agree, in between my bitching about the stadium, i repeat that Montreal just isn't a baseball town. Which is too bad because a lot of the players really seem to love the city.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:36 AM on September 30, 2004

Three weeks ago I drove from DC to Camden Yards. I left Dupont Circle at 4:50pm and arrived at my seat (without food or drink) at 7:01pm for a 7:05 start. The (nine-inning) game ended at 10:35pm. I got home at 12:10am.

Peter Angelos can go eat a bag of dicks.
posted by mookieproof at 7:43 AM on September 30, 2004

What PrinceValium said. But call them the Senators -- I want my Senators back! (I guess Harmon Killebrew is a little past his prime, but look at Satchel Paige: he kept playing till he was 120 or so!) If they're not going to be the Senators, both Nationals (they were always the "Nats" in headlines) and Grays are acceptable alternatives -- good call, sohcahtoa!

What I'd really like is for them to rebuild Griffith Stadium. Oh well.
posted by languagehat at 7:53 AM on September 30, 2004

How about The Washington Ethics?

Also, what mookieproof said.
posted by JanetLand at 8:02 AM on September 30, 2004

I like the Lobbyists, or maybe the Spinners?

They'll have to build hundreds of skyboxes tho, so Senators and Lobbyists can each have one to use as a perk.
posted by amberglow at 8:08 AM on September 30, 2004

PrinceValium: In terms of minor league teams in the DC area, there's also the Potomac Cannons in Prince William, VA.

Washington isn't quite the perfect place for a baseball team, but I do think it's better now than it was when the Senators last left. The VA suburbs have grown a lot and there's now the Metro system. Part of the reason, however, baseball picked Washington is that the other possible locations were a lot, lot worse.
posted by skynxnex at 8:16 AM on September 30, 2004

Montreal was damn sure a baseball town back in 1946 , when Jackie Robinson broke the colour bar with the Montreal Royals at the old de Lorimier baseball grounds. Even if the Expos had never existed, the city would have a place in baseball history for that moment.

But I admit it: at heart it's a hockey town (and, more and more, a soccer town).
posted by zadcat at 8:20 AM on September 30, 2004

It's soooo going to be the Washington Reagans., failing that the Washington Gippers.

It just fits the zeitgeist.
posted by drezdn at 8:21 AM on September 30, 2004

Of course the national networks didn't help as they decided that we only needed to watch Blue Jays games. (Partly why I think the Vancouver Grizzlies had to move, with so much less coverage than the Raptors got...)
posted by Space Coyote at 8:26 AM on September 30, 2004

I'm with languagehat, call 'em the Senators, for tradition's sake if nothing else.
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on September 30, 2004

Montreal's a hell of a city with or without the 'Spos. MLB never gave that team a shot, and it was to the entire sport's detriment that they allowed the situation to play out as slowly as it did.

Like others have said -- call the new team The Grays. It be a great way to honor the Negro Leagues (Josh Gibson was once a Gray, I think) while staying within DC's history.
posted by herc at 9:47 AM on September 30, 2004

I actually don't like that idea if only for the fact that the Yankees vs. the Grays sounds like a Civil War re-enactment.

They're moving from Montreal; I say call the team "Great North Veterans for Baseball."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:40 AM on September 30, 2004

Any Brooklyn Dodgers fans out there wanna give some coping tips?

Or perhaps former Senators' fans as DC's team was the last to be moved. ;)

Sorry, but I am with Mayor Williams. It is ridiculous to name the team the Senators when DC has no voting representation in Congress, and no senators whatsoever.
posted by terrapin at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2004

Tavarez yesterday illustrated fully well one of the problems with the Expos organization of late -- it's been headed largely by Americans who knew nothing of Montreal and were just counting down to the moment they could take the team states-side. With that sort of "leadership" you'll never go far, especially when you have to overcome other obstacles as they did.

The team never recovered from 94, the one year when they were kicking ass and taking names. That strike was rather like the first nail in the coffin. Then came the increasing inability to hold on to the star players, then the disastrous reign of terror of Jeff Loria (a bigger douchebag you'll not find anywhere), and eventually this sort of receivership-like management structure which left Frank Robinson napping during game time (how else can one explain Frank's actions this year?).

I could suggest a name for the new team -- The Washington Crack Hoe's. They can get Marion Barry to run radio and TV spots that way.
posted by clevershark at 12:37 PM on September 30, 2004

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