Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sayonara, Soriano - Adios, Alfonso. The Cubs must have a lot of money. They're giving Alfonso Soriano one of the richest contracts in baseball history, exceeded only by the madness of the Alex Rodriguez deal with Texas some years back, and Derek Jeter's and Manny Ramirez's deals with their current teams (Soriano's deal is roughly equal to Carlos Beltran's deal with the Mets sidned two years ago). In a deal that will pay Soriano an average of over $17 million a year, Alfonso will take his big wood to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. This means that the Nationals had one nice season with the best player who may ever wear their uniform.

Losing Soriano means the Nationals can take his money and get two or three top players -- or several middling players. One wonders how much the Nats will actually spend. The team has gotten an enormous subsidy from the District (over $600 million for the new stadium), and couldn't be a decent enough civic-minded resident to allow the District to take the time to put the parking garages underground. That would have allowed the District to develop what would have suddenly become one of the most potentially lucrative, desirable, commercial locations in the city. Instead, the land north of the stadium (land between the Metro station and the stadium) will be occupied by two multi-story garages -- garages that will go unused for 280 days or more every year.

As a final slap in the face, the Nationals have allowed the best player most of will ever see here just walk away. Instead of building the team around this prodigious talent, the Nats will wallow in the cellar for years. Thanks, Nats.

A couple of days ago, I got a Nats t-shirt with Soriano's name on the back. I plan to wear it to the stadium. Not as a protest -- the Cubs offer to Soriano was ridiculous. I can't protest the Nats' not matching it. I'll wear it as a tribute to the Nats' best. If the Nats don't put that saved money to good use, and do what it takes to put a winning team on the field, my protest will be to stay away.

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