For what it's Werth
Now, I love Charlie Pierce. I really do. He’s one of my favorite writers, and I’ve never been able to read Bill Simmons in the same fashion since Charlie took on and destroyed The Big Book of Basketball.
But as much as I enjoy him, from time to time I disagree with him vehemently. Case in point, his blog post on the Nats’ acquisition of Jayson Werth.
For some reason, Charlie hates the Nationals, or rather, the idea of baseball in Washington. His main point seems to be that because baseball has failed twice here, which had as much to do with the urban decay going around the country in the 1960s and 70s as much as anything else, that the city shouldn’t have been given another chance. That District doesn’t really exist any more. Perhaps Charlie still thinks it’s the early 1970s, when post-riots D.C. was having so much trouble attracting businesses, or the late 1980s in the throes of the Barry regime? This region has changed completely from the 1971-era D.C. that the Bob Short Senators fled from (thanks in large part to smart urban investments like Verizon Center), and I think that’s the problem around the country. People outside of the District still think the city is deep in the throes of massive urban neglect, when quite the opposite is true. And frankly, bringing up the idea that two franchises have moved from here is a little unfair (didn’t stop New York from getting the Mets), especially considering at the time the Nationals moved here, the Senators had been gone for over thirty years.
I also don’t understand his point about moving the Expos to Cuba. I can’t tell if he’s being facetious or not, but has he ever heard of a little piece of legislation called the Helms-Burton Act? Or another little something known as El Bloqueo? I can’t imagine those things would have been very easy obstacles to overcome -- not to mention, at the end of the 2004 season, there were no other viable markets to which the Expos could have been moved. Portland? No stadium. Puerto Rico? Had already proved to be a disaster. Washington, D.C., was the only place MLB could have moved the team. It had a stadium ready to go (RFK), a fanbase that was starved for baseball, and was wealthy and populous enough to support two in the same region.
The team hasn’t been drawing well because it hasn’t been very good, and for the most part, it’s been an expansion franchise. It didn’t even have an owner until mid-2006. As seen with the reaction to Strasburg, I have no doubt that if the franchise starts winning, the fans will come out in droves. I can only hope if they win a World Series one of these years, they’ll beat the Red Sox.
| December 6, 2010; 5:32 PM ET
Categories: Nationals, Ryan Cooper | Tags: Nationals, Ryan Cooper
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Posted by: adhardwick | December 7, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse