THE SUSPENSE has broken. A major league baseball committee recommends that Miami and Denver be awarded National League teams, leaving the four other finalists -- Buffalo, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Washington -- in despair.
The decision was unromantically commercial. Both winning cities brought financial resources to bear when it counted. Denver, more than 600 miles from the nearest team (Kansas City), will be the only draw in mountain time and hold a captive multi-state audience.
Miami is similarly well situated: Gateway to the baseball-crazed Caribbean, its team should easily fill a baseball stadium -- steamy heat, hurricanes and all.
The heart might have been tempted to take the leap with St. Petersburg, which built the Suncoast Dome in a wildly expensive effort to attract the big time.
The heart went out to Washington, too, that teamless capital of this baseball nation that has only politics to divert its citizens until the Redskins start preseason games.
And it ached for dark-horse Buffalo, Queen City of the Great Lakes, which so loves the sport that the minor league Bisons draw fans as heavily as teams in the majors.
But this was a task for money men, not romantics. The romance now will have to come from the field, once the owners ratify the choice of Denver and Miami (or Miami and Denver) as the 27th and 28th teams in major league baseball. One way or another, baseball will be richer.