Outside the entrance of the Washington Post building on 15th Street NW, there are copies of some of the newspaper's most famous front pages. The headlines shout out history-making stories:
'The Eagle Has Landed' --
Two Men Walk on the Moon
Allies Land in France,
Yet tucked among such world-changing events as Apollo 11 and D-Day is another, much older front page:
Johnson Is Hero as Nationals Win
Decisive Game of World Series, 4-3;
City in Carnival, Celebrates Victory
That's right, one of the biggest stories in the history of Washington was when the great pitcher Walter Johnson led the Senators (also known as the Nationals) to baseball's World Series championship in 1924.
That's why I want major league baseball to come back to Washington. As that long-ago Post headline shows, pro sports teams are a big part of any city. And baseball teams, because they play so many games over such a long season, become a daily part of summer in a big-league city.
For those of you who say we already have a team, in Baltimore, I say: "Sorry, the Baltimore Orioles don't count." Baltimore is 40 miles away and it just isn't Washington. Sure, the Orioles are a fun team and play in a beautiful ballpark. But an O's World Series win (as amazing as that would be) would not get as big a headline in The Washington Post as a win by a Washington team.
Major League Baseball is trying to decide where to move the Montreal Expos. The baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, says that the Expos will definitely play in another city next year. Groups of business people from the District and Northern Virginia have been trying to get a team to move to this area for years. Groups from Las Vegas, Nevada; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Portland, Oregon; and even Monterrey, Mexico, are also trying to get a team.
So what are the chances that kids and fans around Washington will be able to root, root, root for a home team next year? Washington should be a shoo-in for a team. Washington has more people, more money and more name recognition than any other place on the list. The city has been without a team since the Senators left for good after the 1971 season.
There's one big hurdle for getting a team: Baltimore. Commissioner Selig and Orioles owner Peter Angelos think that a team in Washington might keep fans from going to see the Orioles. So even though Washington would be a great place for a team, the nation's capital may lose the big game of getting the Expos.
Still, keep your fingers crossed if you are a baseball fan. Washington could turn out to be the biggest winner of all this season. And if Washington does get its own team, you can bet The Post will have a banner headline:
Baseball is Back
Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's Friday sports column and is the author of sports novels for kids.