Plans to place a stadium near Washington Dulles International Airport [Metro, June 24] would fail to bring Major League Baseball to our nation's capital.
The trek to Dulles during rush hour would be just as inconvenient and miserable as a trip to Baltimore. Many baseball fans who live in the Northern Virginia suburbs work in the city and would have to endure the trip out Interstate 66 or the Dulles Toll Road. For the area's young families and the twenty- and thirty-something population, heading from work to a Metro-accessible downtown stadium, perhaps grabbing dinner in a restaurant beforehand, would be easy. A drive of at least an hour in stop-and-go traffic to arrive during the third inning is a recipe for keeping fans away.
I would have thought that the hassles of getting to FedEx Field, which has no Metro access, would have made the need for Metro access obvious. A year ago the Virginia group certainly felt that a Metro-accessible site in Arlington was the route to success.
The Virginia baseball group's kowtowing to Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos only rewards an owner who drove his team into mediocrity instead of putting a competitive product on the field.
Major League Baseball has several strong choices nationally to rebuild the Expos franchise. Among the Washington-area proposals, Loudoun County is second best.
Marc Fisher's June 10 Metro column highlighted the importance of relocating the Montreal Expos to our area.
As an ardent baseball fan, a former University of Virginia pitcher, an area business leader and a long-time resident of the District and now McLean, I appreciate his passion.
However, I have two compelling reasons for locating the Expos near Dulles Airport: Corporate support for baseball is widespread outside the Beltway, and more people live and work in Northern Virginia than in the District. More than 2 million live or work within 10 miles of the proposed Dulles ballpark. Northern Virginia also has the highest disposable income in the nation.
Mr. Fisher portrayed the Dulles area as a desolate swath of forest adjacent to a quarry. Business executives at MCI and AOL obviously recognized the area's potential and constructed massive facilities less than two miles from our stadium site. Jack Nicklaus has attached his name and design to a premier golf club soon opening adjacent to AOL. Just as Reston Town Center has flourished and continues to experience considerable development, so too would this proposed site.
Northern Virginia has an approved plan to pay for our ballpark. Construction would be financed by revenues at the ballpark and its ancillary businesses, in addition to a contribution by the ownership group. No other jurisdiction has completed its ballpark financing plan. We do not seek to build this ballpark on the backs of taxpayers and local businesses.
The writer is the managing director for Claris Holdings, a financial advisor for the Virginia Baseball Club.