12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 30, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) - It was more pep rally
than news conference, with the mayor and city
officials wearing red Washington Senators caps,
the ones with the curly "W" on the front.
"After 30 years of waiting and waiting and
waiting," said Mayor Anthony Williams, adding
dramatic pauses for emphasis, "and lots of hard
work and more than a few prayers, there will be
baseball in Washington in 2005!"
Baseball returned to the nation's capital for the
first time in 33 years yesterday, with an announce-
ment from Major League Baseball that the Montre-
al Expos will move to Washington next season.
The announcement came one day before the
anniversary of the Senators' final game. The team
moved to Texas after the 1971 season, the last time
a major league team moved.
"It's a day when the sun is setting in Montreal,
but it's rising in Washington," Expos president
Tony Tavares told a news conference in Montreal.
More than 30,000 fans attended the Expos' last
game at Olympic Stadium - about four times the
normal number on a given night - and at least
one person was unhappy with the move. The game
against the Florida Marlins was delayed 10 min-
utes after someone threw a golf ball that landed
near second base and players were pulled off the
Relocation of the Expos is subject to certain
contingencies, including a vote by team owners
in November and passage of legislation by the
Washington's City Council to build a ballpark
on the Anacostia River waterfront, south of the
"There has been tremendous growth in the
Washington, D.C., area over the last 33 years, and
we in Major League Baseball believe that baseball
will be welcomed there and will be a great suc-
cess," commissioner Bud Selig said.
The team will play for three seasons at RFK
Stadium while a new ballpark is built. The first
home game will be April 15 against the Arizo-
na Diamondbacks, according to the draft 2005
schedule that has been circulated to major league
teams. The team opens the season April 4 at Phil-
Eager fans arrived early for the announcement
at Washington's City Museum. A petition was cir-
culated to name the team the "Washington Grays"
in tribute to the Homestead Grays, a Negro League
team that played in Washington in the 1930s and
1940s. Despite his cap, Williams said he doesn't
want to recycle the Senators name for political
reasons - Washington doesn't have voting repre-
sentation in the U.S. Senate.
Baseball has been looking for a new home for
the Expos since the financially troubled team was
bought by the other 29 major league owners in
paces Ritt's team.
By Sara Livingston
For The Daily
The Michigan women's tennis
team is already out on the courts
getting ready for what its players
hope will be an electrifying spring
season, beginning with the ITA
All-American Championships next
Senior captain Michelle DaCosta
and her junior doubles partner Kara
Delicata ended last season ranked
27th in the nation and head into this
year ranked No. 8.
This duo has the best chance to
bring home some hardware this
year for the Wolverines, enjoyed a
breakout season last year and made
the NCAA Tournament.
"There is no guarantee we can
stay at eight, and we definitely have
to keep up the level of play," DaCos-
to said. "We had a great year last
AP PHOTO year and we are looking to repeat
that, for sure.
of 34th in the nation and can't wait
for this upcoming tournament to set
a positive tone for the season.
On the courts, this nine-person
squad collectively lets out a sym-
phony of grunts that make listening
to Serena Williams comparable to a
night at the opera. Under the inces-
sant roars, lies a well-oiled machine
led by DaCosta (affectionately
referred to by her teammates as "D")
and senior Leanne Rutherford.
"Leadership will be important to
our success and I think we have two
outstanding leaders in Michelle and
Leanne," coach Bitsy Ritt said.
Aside from the grunts dur-
ing practice, there were words of
encouragement, usually directed at
first-year standouts Monica Sly and
Allie Shafner. The two are eager to
jump into the season and build on
the team's past accomplishments.
"We lost three seniors last year
and it's going to be a tough adjust-
ment, but I feel like we have great
incoming freshmen and I'm really
excited about the upcoming sea-
son," said DaCosta.
Montreal Expos fans get autographs for the final time at Olympic Stadium.
Las Vegas; Norfolk, Va.; Monterrey, Mexico;
Portland, Ore.; and Northern Virginia also made
bids, but Washington clearly took the lead during
negotiations over recent weeks, strengthened by
its wealthy population base and a financial pack-
age that would build a new stadium primarily with
A crucial hurdle was cleared this week when
baseball reached an understanding with Baltimore
Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who had previously
objected to having a team move just 40 miles from
his Camden Yards stadium.
"Our negotiations with Major League Baseball
are continuing," Angelos said in a statement issued
last night. "We have made substantial progress but
have not yet reached an agreement. Our aim has
been to protect and preserve the Orioles franchise
and the economic benefits it has generated for
Baltimore for the past 50 years. Equally impor-
tant have been our efforts to protect Maryland's
investment in Camden Yards."
Selig, in a conference call with reporters, declined
to give specifics on the talks with Angelos.
"There is equity on all sides, and Peter has been
treated fairly," Selig said.
Under the deal baseball is negotiating with
Angelos, an appraiser would value the Orioles
franchise, and the commissioner's office would
guarantee its value for a period of time, a baseball
official said last night on the condition of ano-
The commissioner's office also would guar-
antee Baltimore's locally generated revenue for
a period of time and assist in the creation of a
regional sports network, the official said.
Selig called the relocation an "arduous, very,
very difficult" process.
"We don't want to hurt existing franchises," the
commissioner said. "On the other hand, we want
to go to the best place we can go to."
With the announcement made, the process of
selling the Expos starts. A group that includes for-
mer Rangers partner Fred Malek has been seeking
a Washington franchise for five years, but several
other bidders are expected to show interest.
"The sooner we have a new owner, the better
off we'll all be," said Selig, adding the new owner
will decide on the team's name, uniforms and
spring training site.
Hearings will begin soon on the city's $440
million package that would include the new
ballpark and $13 million for refurbishment of
RFK. The money will come from a new tax on
the city's largest businesses, a tax on baseball-
related income and lease payments by the team's
Anticipating critics from those who say city
funds shouldn't be used for baseball, Williams
went on the offensive to promote the team's eco-
"It's the team owners, business owners, the sta-
dium users who are paying for this - and not one
dime of a D.C. resident is covering this important
investment in our city," he said.
Washington needed confirmation from base-
ball this week because the ballpark legislation
has to be introduced in the City Council by
tomorrow in order for it to be passed by Dec. 31,
when terms expire for several pro-baseball coun-
Even now, some members of the council think
the deal might not pass because it is perceived as
too generous to baseball in a city that struggles to
fund adequate schools and city services.
DaCosta, who never plays without
a maize and blue bandana or hat,
holds a preseason singles ranking
Michigan senior Michelle DaCosta is part of the nation's No. 8 doubles team.
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