Snyder at his most amusing self with interest in theme park business

September 22, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

JOE GIBBS IS safe for now.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is too busy trying to acquire a controlling interest in the Six Flags theme park chain to get all worked up about one disheartening loss - even if it was to the lowly New York Giants, who are believed to be storing Kurt Warner's arm in liquid nitrogen between games.

But two disheartening losses - especially if the second comes Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field - and the boy owner just might designate the team's next home game "Joe Gibbs Appreciation Day" and send the old coach back to the dirt track circuit.

It ought to tell you something that Snyder has owned the Redskins for five years and now he's decided to get into the amusement business. If he succeeds in buying Six Flags, it will be six more than he has been able to buy in the NFL.

There has been all sorts of speculation about his new business venture. Some think that he wants to get control of the huge parking lots that surround the former Adventure World, which is just a long shuttle bus ride from FedEx. Most just assume that he sees the underperforming national theme park company as a new business challenge.

I think there is a far more deep-seated motivation behind his attempt to take over Six Flags. It all dates back to Grad Night and that sign that said, "If you want to ride the Mind Eraser, you must be at least this tall."

Young Danny watched his friends shriek in delight and spin over and over in mid-air, and you know he was thinking only one thing as he scrambled to pick up all their loose pocket change:

"Someday, I'm going to buy this place and fire everybody over 5 feet 6."

Of course, he had to wait until after he built a huge business empire and bought the Redskins and realized it is much easier to entertain kids than adults, especially adults who have waited 12 years to get to the top of the season-ticket waiting list and have to park at Adventure World four hours before game time if they want to get to their 400-level seats in time for kickoff.

I'm just happy he didn't try to buy Disneyland, because the thought of Mickey Mouse on the unemployment line is just too much to bear.

Major League Baseball will hold an Executive Council meeting in Milwaukee tomorrow, presumably to go over the long-awaited recommendation of the sport's relocation committee and discuss whether to plant the Montreal Expos in Washington, Northern Virginia or an alternative market more acceptable to Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig kept the time and location of the meeting a secret to dampen speculation about a possible decision, which might be a signal that no decision will be reached until the owners have a better idea of their standing in the lawsuit that has been brought by the disenfranchised former minority partners of the Expos.

We already knew that Japanese baseball players were more polite than their American counterparts, but the proof is in their current labor dispute. The players' union went on strike over the weekend to protest the proposed merger of two teams - and may continue weekend work stoppages for the remainder of the season - but the players have agreed to continue playing on weekdays.

Former Phillies first baseman John Kruk delivered a cautionary tale to the locked-out NHL players in his ESPN.com column this week, and took a shot at the Major League Baseball Players Association in the process.

Kruk said that he was never asked to vote on the strike in 1994 and was barely kept informed of the progress of negotiations during baseball's most damaging labor dispute. He warned NHL players not to blindly follow union leadership to the brink of self-destruction.

Interesting take.

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

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