If Congress wanted to sneak some potentially controversial language into law, there's probably no better place to hide it than amid the stupefying array of figures and bureaucratese that makes up the D.C. appropriations bill.
Realistically, how many people are going to plough through discussions on the District's general fund accumulated deficit and short-term borrowings?
Unfortunately for the House D.C. Appropriations subcommittee though, someone did. And there, between operating expenses and "improvements on justifications" for FY 1986 were three paragraphs inserted by the subcommittee that officials from Colorado can only characterize as unconscionable: Praise, enthusiastic, glowing praise, for D.C.'s efforts to attract a professional baseball team.
Denver and the District are locked in a head-to-head battle these days over an expansion baseball team and, as an aide to Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) sees it, a pat on the back for D.C. is a kick in the pants for Denver.
It's "advertising a congressional preference," said David Dreyer, Hart's legislative director. An "expression of favoritism."
"I do think it's inappropriate . . . ," said Steve Katich, executive director of the Denver Baseball Commission.
In the face of this congressional foul ball, Denverphiles say they cannot be content simply to sit on the bench.
Dreyer said Hart is inclined to offer an amendment when the bill comes up on the Senate floor next month that will clearly state that "Congress is neutral" on the issue of which city could best support a baseball team.