Home Run or Third Strike?

Lerner Expected To Get Nationals
Barry, Orange Say Developer Lacks Real Minority Input
By Thomas Heath and David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 2, 2006; Page A01

Major League Baseball is likely to award ownership of the Washington Nationals to a group led by Bethesda developer Theodore N. Lerner, after efforts by District politicians and others to steer the selection to competing bidders apparently backfired, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who will decide who gets the franchise, was angered by accusations that Lerner's group was unacceptable because it had included minorities only as tokens rather than genuine partners, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the negotiations.
This is certainly something people need to look at. How segregated is the Owners' Club?

It's just that I hate how spurious this stuff can get. This is a Big Money game where salary levels and ticket receipts are the main concerns of ownership. Whoever has the most $$$ is most likely the best option for the people in the team's home City. Most cities contribute a mighty chunk o' change to their sports' franchises these days. The citizens of those towns deserve a fighting chance at a Championship, and all the benefits that go with one.

Baseball officials closely monitored the session at the John A. Wilson Building. There, Barry (D-Ward 8) and Orange (D-Ward 5) suggested that the Lerners recently added several high-profile African American investors to their group solely to answer MLB's call for racial diversity. Those investors won't have any significant authority or input if the Lerner family is named team owner, the council members said.

"We can't have blacks being rented for a day," Barry said. "We want real participation. We need to do better than [teams] have done around the country.

"If you name the Lerners, you're five steps backward and five years backward."
I really want to know what the new minority elements of Lerner's group think about their "rental" status. Maybe it's just Barry's ineloquence that makes me cringe and sneer when reading that, but I really think he's gratuitously abusing the Race Card by exagerating some legitimate concerns.

I've not followed the fight for the Nationals closely, so I don't know (since this story doesn't say) what is the ethnic makeup of either of the competing groups. It may indeed be more impressive and beneficial to Baseball if a
slightly less wealthy minority ownership group could be assembled, as long as they also have the resources to field a competitive MLB team.

If that group isn't present now, and they've been workin' on this for at least 2 years already, then it just makes sense to go with a group which has shown some accurate understanding of the minority requirement and can definitely afford to field a major league contender.

The silliest thing of it is, when the Nationals finally win a Championship (most likely
looong before the Indians manage to get their next one under current white ownership [low relevance in winning]) few of either the fans or the players are gonna be caring what racial stereotypes helped get it. Some always do, and some never will.

As long as they're not lockin' folks outta of legitimate opportunities, I think it's just interesting watchin' the money flow...


  1. Consider Marion Barry's background. Sneering seems like a mild reaction. The man's an example of the worst kind of black politician, as Lester Maddux and the pre-enlightened George Wallace were examples of the worst kind of white ones.


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