Selig delay game may leave contraction as Expos' possible future home

August 08, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

IT IS BECOMING more and more likely that the Montreal Expos are going to play their home games in Montreal again next year, which could reveal a lot about what's really going on inside Major League Baseball's relocation soap opera.

The next sound you'll probably hear is commissioner Bud Selig explaining at the mid-August owners meeting that the relocation committee is making steady progress and that he hopes to have a decision by the end of the season.

Of course, everyone knows that the relocation committee already has determined that the Washington/Northern Virginia area is the only prospective relocation site that can accommodate the Expos next season (because of the availability of RFK Stadium as a transitional home), so the next delay should be proof that Selig is determined to wait as long as it takes to come up with a better alternative.

He insists that contraction after the 2006 season is not an option, but it's hard to believe that - if this thing drags on another year - the owners would turn their noses up at such a huge collective bargaining chip after the threat of contraction helped them gain major concessions from the players union in 2002.

That's my conspiracy theory and I'm sticking to it. It's just as likely that Selig is simply stalling in the hope something will happen to save him from a no-win decision that will make him Public Enemy No. 1 in either Washington or Baltimore.

The Orioles are scheduled to hold their D.C. FanFest on Aug. 18, but I don't think it's a very good idea.

The event is just going to draw fans away from the Baltimore FanFest in January and leave both cities poorly equipped to put on successful FanFests in the future. If Orioles fans in the nation's capital want to have a fest, they should be willing to drive to Baltimore from Washington.

The deal that just sent Gary Payton and Rick Fox to Boston makes perfect sense for the Los Angeles Lakers, since it frees up another 20 shots a game for team president Kobe Bryant, but it's hard to figure out what the Celtics were thinking.

They gave up some decent young talent for a guy who's better known as Vanessa Williams' husband and an overpriced guard who has spent the past six weeks wandering outside the Staples Center asking people where Chauncey Billups went.

Great to hear that Roger Clemens has been cleared in the Great Colorado Little League Seed-Spitting Controversy. Never believed for a second that he would propel a foreign object at another human being, but the alleged incident provided the perfect vehicle to tell my own embarrassing Little League dad story in Thursday's paper. So I'm glad it did or didn't happen.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are going so bad that they fired the owner. Jerry Colangelo announced Friday that he is stepping down and will be replaced as chief executive officer of the franchise by longtime player agent Jeffrey Moorad.

Moorad, who was recently dumped by obnoxious Redskins rookie Sean Taylor, apparently just figured out that it is better to have a job where you get to fire the players instead of vice versa.

Game Face is no more. The Dundalk Eagle contacted The Sun recently to point out that it already had laid claim to that name for one of its columns, so it was only polite to drop the catchy moniker and go with just my name - which rolls off the tongue better anyway.

My bad. I did an Internet search on "Game Face" last week and did not find a single reference to any local publication. Took a look at the Dundalk weekly's Web site yesterday and found that its main sports column is titled "Bleacher Bum," which I'm guessing the Eagle wasn't the first to use, either, since the paper dates only to 1969.

Final thought: Don't know about you, but I'm glad that Terrell Owens isn't afraid of Ray Lewis. That means Ray won't have to chase him before he removes his spleen.

Readers can contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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