Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

When Steinbrenner wanted baseball in Washington

The outpouring of George Steinbrenner obituaries will naturally focus on his contributions to baseball in New York. Me, I was curious about his thoughts on baseball in D.C.

I didn't live here during the dark years without a team, so I don't know the full history of Steinbrenner's role. I'm sure Thomas Boswell will chime in on this matter at some point. But it didn't take much looking to find a strong endorsement from Steinbrenner for baseball in the District.

This quote came from a Post story in 1978, just seven years after the Senators left, and nearly three two decades before the Nats arrived. The story painted a rosy picture of the emerging D.C. market, writing that:

Since that last [Senators] game, Washington and its image have changed. Club owners and executives seem to be aware of the changing - from the new subway to the spiraling affluence reflected in the real estate and retail markets. No long do they talk about crime, as many did a few years ago. But, there still are reservations about what kind of a baseball town Washington is.

Many of the reservations focused around finding an ownership group, which Steinbrenner also mentioned. But he was still in favor.

George M. Steinbrenner, principal owner of the New York Yankees, said "economic feasibility" is the key to another club in Washington.

"To my knowledge, I don't know of any group which is ready with the money and prepared to live through the building years which are required, and the losses which are inherent in those year," Steinbrenner said. "No other reasons [for not having a team in D.C.] make sense.

"I've been for having a franchise in Washington since I've been in baseball. I told (AL President) Lee MacPhail I'd be ready to bring the Yankees down there for some games - to test the waters if some people weren't sure how it would go."

Steinbrenner thinks the RFK Stadium-area and the city have been, unfairly labeled as crime-ridden. "The New York Yankees play in the Bronx and they say the same things about us and we don't have any incidents. I'd put our record up against any major city in the nation."

Of course, D.C. was in consideration for a team in 1994, when MLB was again considering expansion. Tom Davis, the future congressman who was then chairman of Fairfax County's Board of Supervisors, and George Barton, then Loudoun's board chairman, touted the possibility of a stadium near Dulles to a group of baseball execs. Then there was silence, as The Post reported:

"George Steinbrenner decided to fill the void," Barton said. The Yankees owner "looked Tom and me in the eye and said, 'Why don't you just build a stadium and give it to us? That's what everybody else does.' "
So Washington didn't get a team that time around.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 13, 2010; 10:46 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Leonsis: LeBron hype has been "over the top"
Next: The Steinbrenner-Snyder comparisons


The recent expansion years were actually 1993 and 1998.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | July 13, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

and it was nearly three decades before the Nats arrived ('78-'05 = 27 years).

Posted by: jmorrisa | July 13, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Please, spare me any notion that Steinbrenner ever cared about baseball in D.C. In the mid-late 70's, the Orioles were experiencing some of their peak years as a franchise. He saw a potential way to draw some fans and revenue away from them and tried exploit it. And then when they weren't quite as relavent in 94, he couldn't care less, just another owner he'd have to conquer over.

There will be many stories about what a great man he was by many media members. He wasn't a great man, he was an SOB and a tyrant to say the least. He was great for Yankees fans and not so great for the rest of the league (except for MLB overall because the Yankees bring in the most revenue).

He was a shrewd business man, but very few people have the legacy he has and few in life become as successful without being somewhat of a bastard.

Posted by: mtorioles | July 13, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

mtorioles is 100% correct. I shed no tear for Steinbrenner. I'm glad that I'm boycotting ESPN over the LeBron situation, because I won't be able to stand their gushing over the man for the next several weeks. He was Snyder before Snyder became Snyder.

Posted by: RojoJohnson | July 13, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Are we sure big stein had a heart attack and didn't catch "that nerve disease?" i hear it's contagious.

Posted by: briffy | July 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

It seems that not getting Cliff Lee really was the death of him.

Posted by: mtorioles | July 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank god we don't have a stadium in Dulles. How much would that suck, we probably would have lost another baseball team by now if we had done that.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 13, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Wanting a D.C. team to hurt the Orioles raises my opinion of Steinbrenner.

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | July 13, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

George S. was the same sort of creep Danny Snyder is, except of course, George WON. Nasty to the organization people, the fans, his coaches, everyone. When Snyder goes on to HIS reward he won't be missed one bit more than George, except the celebrations will be louder and happier.

Posted by: JamesChristian | July 13, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company