Before the First Pitch

Yesterday, by a vote of 7 to 6, the D.C. Council approved a stadium financing package that limits the city's liability and allows private financing options to be pursued.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What's Next

• Major League Baseball is taking bids on the Washington Nationals from prospective ownership groups. More than 20 have filed preliminary paperwork.

• Baseball officials are negotiating a deal to satisfy concerns of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, who wants money and control of a regional sports network to make up for a possible loss of Washington area fans.

• Nationals pitchers and catchers report to sprint training in Viera, Fla., in mid-February.

• The first game is April 4 in Philadelphia against the Phillies. The first home game is at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium on April 14 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

RFK Stadium

• The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission will spend at least $13 million to renovate the stadium, including preparing the field, rewiring the press box and painting the locker rooms.

• Contractors have been doing preliminary design work at the direction of Allen Y. Lew, chief executive of the commission.

• D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi has estimated that the work could cost as much as $24 million because of overtime and other contingencies.

New Stadium

• Gandhi will perform a second cost analysis of the stadium project by May 15. If his new estimate is $50 million more than his first one, of $535 million, the city must find a cheaper location.

• The city will begin the process of purchasing 21 acres and awarding construction contracts. Construction work should begin by early 2006.

• The stadium should be completed by March 1, 2008. The city and Major League Baseball will purchase insurance to limit the liability if the deadline for completion is not met.

The Washington Post

© 2004 The Washington Post Company