Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Contraction’ Don’t

CHIN MUSIC Contraction? Don’t

Last season, the Expos drew an average of 7,648 fans to each home game. Translation: most major Texas high school football teams made more money off ticket sales than Montreal’s front office. Something had to be done.

That something was decided upon earlier this week, when Major League Baseball’s owners voted collectively to get rid of two franchises. The owners made the right decision, for professional sports primarily are a business venture, and too many teams are currently hurting the league by failing to produce significant profits. While more than two teams could probably stand to be cut for this reason, eliminating more would have had the players union, which is already up in arms about all of this, attempting to assassinate Commisioner Bud Selig.

The first city to lose its team will surely be Montreal, where almost nobody, including most of the city’s residents, will miss a professional baseball franchise. The second team that will be chosen for contraction, however, is not as clear. The names currently being thrown around are the Minnesota Twins and the Florida Marlins, which is largely the fault of two slimeball owners and one incredibly dumb city council.

Everyone should remember the sad story of the 1997 Florida arlins: the team owner Wayne Huizenga bought to win him a World Series. Huizenga, who made a fortune founding Blockbuster Video and then decided it would be fun to buy a sports team, knows less about the game of baseball than Redskins owner Daniel Snyder knows about football. He also apparently has no moral character, for he auctioned off the team shortly after they became the world champs, embittering thousands of new Marlins fans in the process. As a result, South Florida residents are not too keen on going to the ballpark right now, and their team hasn’t appeared in the playoffs since, either. Even though the team plays in what is considered a lucrative and growing market, it brought in the third-worst revenue numbers this season. It seems obvious that this franchise will not be going anywhere but backward in the near future, so why not shut it down right now?

Well, it won’t happen if Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad whines loudly enough. Pohlad blames his franchise’s poor attendance numbers on the fact that the team plays in the etrodome, the worst place to play baseball in the American League. He has been telling the powers that be in the Twin Cities for years now that people don’t want to see a baseball game inside on a beautiful July day, and they certainly don’t want to see one inside and on Astroturf, which is like playing basketball outside on a frozen pond. The city council should have enacted a plan to appease the irritated owner and Twins fans long ago, and now its decision not to do anything is coming back to bite it. Pohlad has now taken the position that he’ll simply fold the team, provided Selig and the rest of the owners can put together a ton of cash to deposit straight into his pocket. This simultaneously sends the message that the size of his Swiss bank account, not the pleasure of baseball fans, is his real goal in having a new stadium constructed.

This is particularly disappointing because, unlike the Marlins, the Twins actually have a shot at winning their division next season. After a terrible post-All-Star break meltdown combined with one horrific trade, the pitching staff regained its confidence and the offense started producing again by the end of August, and the team finished well over .500. However, the word on the street is that Pohlad will get his big payment, and the team will be broken up, which has to be disappointing for the players.

The way I see it, the simplest solution to this dilemma would be to fold the Marlins and Expos, then move the Twins to the D.C. area. Northern Virginia has been begging to get a team for years now, and it’s a high-capital area willing to build a stadium, so it fits Pohlad’s business needs to a T. Not many people will cry about seeing Huizenga and the Marlins leave town, and the Expos certainly won’t be missed by the wine-drinking, pea-soup-eating hockey lovers in Montreal. Plus, you and I would get to go to professional baseball games every Saturday evening without having to make the mega-trek out to Baltimore, even though Camden Yards is probably the best stadium on the planet. Hopefully, before the decision on which teams will be eliminated occurs, local representatives will be able to score us a team, because we sure won’t be getting a new one anytime soon.

Chin Music While Fans Just Got Started, Hoyas’ Season Began Long Ago -Nov. 6, 2001 Students’ Team Shouldn’t Take Students’ Money Too -Nov. 2, 2001 2001 Season Of iller, Monday Night Football Lack Laughs, Value -Oct. 19, 2001 Full Archive

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