Sure, Washington has lost two baseball teams in the last 25 years. But in light of our attempts to obtain a baseball franchise in the city, we must consider the fundamental changes that have taken place in the metropolitan area since 1971, the time when the former major-league team, the Washington Senators, left town for Texas.
The bustling metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 3.4 million people, ranks seventh in the nation. It covers 4,000 square miles and has expanded into the counties of Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland over the past 15 years. Between 1980 and 1985, the region has increased by 210,00 people, a substantial gain whose growth rate is highly competitive among the 12 cities that are in the race for a major- league baseball expansion team. In terms of populatio the city of Denver, which is one of our prime competitors, has roughly half of the metropolitan area's population.
Other new additions to the city include the Metrorail system and four interstate highways connecting suburban Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District to RFK Stadium. This offers baseball fans a variety of transportation outlets to the park. Currently, Metrorail, which stops one block from RFK Stadium, carries an average of 12,500 passengers to see the Redskins.
As a result of obtaining a baseball franchise for the District of Columbia, the D.C. Commission on Baseball anticipates two major gains for the city:
The employment of 500-700 persons in new entry-level jobs at the stadium as well as other employment opportunities throughout the area.
A $40 million economic impact for corporations such as hotels, restaurants, beverages and allied industries. The D.C. government alone expects to gain over $2.5million in taxes.
These and other factors are in the main reasons why the D.C. Commission on Baseball is in existence and would be the reasons why baseball owners looking for a lucrative market will choose Washington as a site for an expansion team for baseball in 1987.
So far, 11,000 baseball fans in the region have placed over $6 million in area banks to purchase season tickets. This show of community support is proof that Washington, thirsty after a 15-year absence of the Senators, can sustain a baseball club.
At least two leading area business groups have indicated their willingness to raise the more than $30 million necessary to purchase a baseball franchise. This is additional proof that Washington businessmen are willing to risk their money for a team.
We are set for baseball to return to the Washington of 1985. All we need is baseball to make the nation's No. 1 city the All-American City in every respect.