Major League Baseball: No Democrats Allowed

George Soros wants to buy the Washington Nationals (which is enough to make at least one reader of this blog salivate). But, Soros is public enemy #1 amongst Republicans, and so they are trying to block Soros' bid.

While the Soros-Ledecky group is not seen as the frontrunner to win the bidding for the Nationals, who should be awarded to their new owner at the end of the 2005 season, the very prospect that Soros could have a stake in the team is enough to irritate Congressional Republicans.

"I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes," said Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R), the Northern Virginia lawmaker who recently convened high-profile steroid hearings. "I don't think they want to get involved in a political fight."

Davis, whose panel also oversees District of Columbia issues, said that if a Soros sale went through, "I don't think it's the Nats that get hurt. I think it's Major League Baseball that gets hurt. They enjoy all sorts of exemptions" from anti-trust laws.

Indeed, Hill Republicans could potentially make life difficult for MLB in a variety of ways. In addition to being exempt from anti-trust rules, baseball is still under scrutiny over the steroid issue. The Nats, meanwhile, hope to have a publicly-funded stadium built soon, though money for that venture is expected to come through the sale of bonds rather than a federal outlay.

Still, Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that covers the District of Columbia budget, said if Soros buys the team and seeks public funding for the new stadium or anything else, the GOP attitude would be, "Let him pay for it."

"We're not going to interfere with [the sale], but from a fan's perspective, who needs the politics?" Sweeney said.

Another senior Republican lawmaker who requested anonymity said that the league should be aware of the perception problem that might be associated with selling the Nats to Soros.
"Why would Major League Baseball want to get involved with George Soros?" said the lawmaker. "It's about more than just the sale price."

So the bottom line is... if a liberal wants to buy the Nats, Republicans will punish all of baseball.

This isn't about getting baseball and politics mixed up. After all, I seem to recall another partisan figure who used to be heavily involved with the Texas Rangers. And do Nats fans (besides political geeks like ourselves) really care about the political persuasion of one of their team's owners? Or do they care about seeing that owner put a quality team on the field? Furthermore, threatening to withhold funding for the Nats new stadium for political reasons is a direct affront to every Nats fan and resident of the DC area. This is an attempt to get revenge against Soros and the Democrats, pure and simple.

I am able to look past the fact that my favorite team is in a red state and that some of my favorite players (John Smoltz, et. al.) are Republicans. I'm sure most Sox fans overlook the fact that Curt Schilling is a Republican. Baseball is the national pasttime, shared by all of us, and it is something that should be far above politics.


Post a Comment

<< Home