September 30, 2004

Still on Top of the World

Today's Musical Selection: "Centerfield" by John Fogerty

Hi again, everyone! I'm still coming down from yesterday's celebration. One of the things that really struck me about our barroom gathering last night was the diversity of our band of merry revelers. We had a couple lawyers, a delivery-truck driver, a retired politician, a couple office workers. We had older guys who remember the team's departure in '71, and younger guys who grew up without a home team. We came from Maryland, Virginia and the District. And giving the lie to baseball's lily-white reputation, we had a mixed-race gathering. (All we lacked was women, alas.) We had a cross-section of the Fedroplex giving toasts and talking baseball in that bar last night. This baseball team has the potential to bring this town together.

I got a couple comments on last night's post. My man Frinklin had this to say:

While I'm less than thrilled about what happened to Montreal, I'm happy for you Fred. Will these guys replace the Brewers for you? And how did you become a Brewer fan for that matter?

I can understand the sentiment, Frinklin, and I feel terrible for the people of Montreal. If given a choice, I would absolutely have opted for an expansion team over taking someone else's team away. But honestly, I feel like this is the only way we'd have gotten a team. I don't think MLB wanted to come here, because of the Angelos situation. That's a fight they'd have preferred to avoid. But the Montreal situation had become intolerable; they couldn't go on another year with the split-schedule fiasco. And Washington was the only city with a major-league-ready facility and the political will to fully fund a new stadium. Las Vegas and Portland will probably have teams some day, but right now, they're just not ready. Especially not for a team starting play next year.

I wish things had worked out better in Montreal. I wish the '94 strike hadn't wiped out their best season. I wish Loria hadn't run them into the ground. I wish MLB hadn't turned them into a punchline. The fans there deserved better. (Even if the Expos haven't finished in the top half of league attendance standings since 1983.) Maybe in the next life.

I'm still pondering what to do about the Brewers. As for the story of how a D.C. born-and-bred boy became hooked on the Brewers.... well, I'll tell that story tomorrow.

More from Frinklin:

Lastly.. if they do go ahead and name the team after the Homestead Grays, I might even have to pick up a jersey.

Loyal reader Carl is a step ahead of Frinklin here:

I already have a Homestead Grays jersey, albeit an NLBM updated-logo one, not particularly authentic. Got a Montreal jersey too. I am READY.

I saw somebody wearing one of those updated-logo jerseys on NewsChannel 8 today, and I have to say I was impressed. I was kind of down on the Grays name until I saw that jersey. It looks very sharp. I'd be able to get behind jerseys like those.

I have no Expos garb, but I do have a Senators cap (1960 issue, red "W" on a navy cap), and a Senators T-shirt I had when I was a kid. I used to have another Senators cap - a navy "W" on a cap with a navy bill - which I lost in DC during the '92 inauguration. I wish I still had that one... it's a pretty rare bird.

Carl also asked, "Did you toast Peter Angelos?" You know, we did toast Peter Angelos at some point (details are a tad hazy). In wasn't a toast in his honor, though. It involved his name, and some words I'd rather not repeat. You get the picture, I'm sure.

You know, it's hard for people outside of DC to really appreciate what this means. Other cities have lost teams, and other cities have gotten teams. But no other city has endured a 33-year interregnum. Milwaukee lost the Braves, but got the Brewers five years later. Kansas City lost the A's, but got the Royals after only one fallow season. Seattle lost the Pilots, but got the Mariners eight years afterward. Other cities that lost teams, like Boston, Philadelphia and St. Louis, had other teams to console them. Washington's wait has been unique and special.

We know that outsiders see two failed teams and wonder why this will be different. In Washington, we know why, and we've long since grown tired of trying to explain it to people who don't really believe us anyway. We know what a glorious opportunity we have now -- a knowledge we've bought at a dear cost -- and we know what people will say if we fail. That's why we're not going to let it fail.

That's all for today. See you tomorrow!

Posted by Fred at September 30, 2004 11:16 PM

Wow, that's fabulous news!

Posted by: Ginevra at October 1, 2004 07:45 PM

Thanks, Ginevra! I'm still floating on air. I've been waiting my whole life for this!

Posted by: Mediocre Fred at October 1, 2004 11:21 PM
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