Rooting for the Senators

December 25, 1990

It has been almost 20 years since the Washington area could root for its own baseball team. That's when the American League Senators were carted off to Texas, much like Robert Irsay's despicable Mayflower move of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis. Finally, there is a realistic possibility that major league baseball could be returning to RFK Stadium for the 1993 season. It's about time.

Washington, D.C., as the nation's capital, deserves a ball club. It has a rich baseball history. Its affluent and large metropolitan region in Maryland and Virginia could easily support a franchise. And a National League club would complement Baltimore's American League Orioles.

Though the Orioles draw one-fifth of their fans from the Washington area, team officials say they will not oppose a National League team playing at RFK. Baltimore could well receive financial compensation for possible attendance losses, but that should not prove a barrier to winning a franchise.

Many Oriole fans in suburban Washington will remain loyal to their favorite team, though they are likely to take in a few National League games. Baltimore baseball fans are likely to show up at RFK, too, when popular teams and players visit Washington. But this megalopolis is plenty big enough to support two baseball teams and two professional football teams. Greater interest in professional sports teams will help all sports franchises in the Baltimore-Washington area.

We're rooting for developer John Akridge and the other D.C. investors still in the hunt for one of two National League expansion franchises. The price is steep -- $95 million -- and the competition, especially from three booming and populous cities in Florida, is intense. But Washington is now on the "short list" of six expansion cities.

It is No. 1 on our list.

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