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Baseball Just Whitewashes Mayor's Image

The second Senators moved for financial gain, but their departure has been viewed by black Washington as just one more symbol of 1970s baseball -- a sport that turned its back on center cities to build suburban stadiums.

Parks and Aiken are people who could well be baseball boosters. But they see too much alienation in Washington. "People want to see that you are down to earth," Parks says. "They don't relate to grand plans for a waterfront with sailing and promenades."

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Even if he is homeless, Aiken buys part of the mayor's vision: He believes baseball will bring in revenue and development. "But they got to put in new shelters, do something for the people on the street," he says.

Baseball -- and the nation -- have changed their attitudes toward cities. It's the downtown stadiums that draw the big crowds now.

But before the District starts counting its future tax receipts, the mayor has to make some connections. "Maybe we'll get the pennant," Aiken told me. "I wish I could see it."

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