The announcement today that baseball would return in the spring to Washington prompted excitement among some fans. Here's a sampling of the reactions found by Washington Post staff writers around the region.
At the Vienna Inn, a place known for its hotdogs and cold beer, many of the baseball fans among the lunch time crowd were happy that Washington finally had its own baseball team, relieved that they wouldn't have to make any more trips to Baltimore and willing to give the Expos and whoever their new owners are a honeymoon period of a year or two to become a top-flight team.
"How good the team will be all depends on the ownership," said Martin Holmes, 48, of Chantilly, a senior systems engineer. "I hope we get a good owner. I think for the first year fans will go to the games because it is new. After that it depends on the product they put out on the field. I'm not going to watch a National League team that isn't very good just because it they are in my backyard."
Eden Butler, a 34-year-old paralegal from Oakton who is a self-described "football gal," was sitting across a booth from her friend, Bob Wilson, who is from Baltimore but now lives in Arlington and has no intention of switching his allegiance from the Orioles.
Butler was happy about the news that baseball was returning to the District, and said she planned to go to a few games each year, but was not yet ready to celebrate the Expos move.
"I'll wait until they are actually here," she laughed. "You never know, things could change at the last minute."
-- Timothy Dwyer
Planning a Route to the Game
Standing next to a display of baseball caps and tee-shirts at Modell's Sporting Goods in Manassas today, David Busch, 26, of Warren County, said he was happy to finally have a hometown team, although he favored a competing effort to move the Expos to Northern Virginia.
"I'm not an Orioles fan, I was an Oakland A's fan," he said. "Now I'm going to switch."
A firefighter and paramedic for Fairfax City, Busch said it takes two-and-a-half hours to get from his home to Camden Yards. The plan for a stadium in Loudoun would have made the commute easier to get to than the District, he said.
"D.C. is a very congested and confusing place to navigate," he said. "A lot of [my colleagues] wished it would have been in Loudoun . . . [but] I know that a lot of people are excited."
In fact, in a paramedic training class this morning, Busch said he and his buddies were already planning Metro routes to see games next year at RFK Stadium.
His only concern? Ticket prices.
But until we see them, nobody will complain, Busch said. "Right now, we're still in the excitement [phase]," he said.
"I have mixed emotions," said Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert). "I think it's a good thing, but I recognize that fully one-quarter to one-third of the fan base for the Baltimore Orioles comes from the Washington area. . . . I'm going to keep my seats at the Orioles games but hope to be a fan of the Washington team as well."
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) declined through a spokesman to comment on the announcement.
Revitalizing a Neighborhood
In downtown Rockville, former District resident Norman Greenbaum, 55, who now lives in Mt. Airy, folded up the napkins from the lunch he and his son had eaten outside and said, "I'll go!"
While Mt. Airy is a relatively quick jaunt east on I-70 to see the Baltimore Orioles play, "I just felt like it wasn't my team," he said, and already he's eager to buy "a 14-game plan, or whatever they have" for the District team.
A few steps away, John Schwarz, 47, who grew up in Baltimore and now lives in Silver Spring, said he might attend a Washington game here and there -- to "go see Barry Bonds come, or my son likes the Phillies" -- but he's sticking with the 13-game ticket plan he buys for O's games.
Even so, Schwarz said he thinks the team and the new stadium would bring good changes for the Southeast neighborhood where the stadium is scheduled to be built.
"You saw what the MCI Center did for the neighborhood," Schwarz said. "The revitalization really made a difference."