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Exponential Each time I hear
2002-09-22 02:53
by Mike Carminati


Each time I hear about the Expos 2003 season, the more variegated their future seems. Just the other day Jayson Stark wrote that there were five options to consider for next season: stay in Montreal, move to Washington, play temporarily in a minor-league city (like Buffalo), playing as orphaned team as Rob Neyer earlier suggested, or make them a traveling team on the moon or some such nonsense. And then there are the myriad other cities wooing the franchise (Portland, Charlotte, Las Vegas).

The one insurmountable issue with these plans is than Washington is the only location with a stadium currently capable of supporting major-league baseball in 2003. RFK is very old (40 years) but has supported MLB in the past. Much has been said about playing temporarily elsewhere-Stark offers Buffalo.

The one problem with this is a facility. The largest minor-league facility in organized ball is in Omaha, Nebraska, off the major-league radar screen, with a seating capacity of 24,000. Buffalo's is the next largest at 21,050. But there are no others over 15K.

MLB cannot seriously think that any of these minor-league facilities could support baseball at the major-league level in their current configurations. Some could possibly be expanded to support the larger crowds. It has been done in past relocations/expansions. But it is not practical for a temporary host for the Expos. It is even less practical should multiple cities be involved. Besides, these cities support minor-league teams that would also have to be relocated in a domino-like fashion should the Expos move into town.

It's becoming obvious that Washington is the only practical home for this club, and MLB should recognize this and move to ensure that all is made ready for next season. They should canvass responsible ownership, buy off Orioles owner Peter Angelos, refurbish RFK, and market the heck out of the new Washingtonians. Then they will prepare to finagle usurial expansion fees from the Montreal locals when they become baseball hungry in 5-10 years.

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