Cupboard needs re-stocking

Originally Published: January 11, 2005
By Aaron Fitt | Baseball America
For the first time since Major League Baseball assumed ownership of the Expos in 2002, the franchise appeared to have some certainty about its future. After years of dragging its feet, MLB announced in September that it was moving the team to Washington, D.C., for the 2005 season. The renamed Nationals finally had a home after two years of splitting home games between Montreal and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Not so fast. The deal between MLB and Washington, which called for a publicly funded stadium, began to unravel in December. The D.C. council reneged on that agreement, amending the financing plan to call for at least half the money to come from a private source. MLB abruptly shut down the Nationals' business and promotional operations. But hold on again. A week later the council, the mayor's office and MLB reached a compromise, and a divided council narrowly approved it. The new deal allows the city to pay for the ballpark with tax money while searching for private financing, and splits the liability for cost overruns and missed deadlines evenly between the city and MLB.