Washington Metropolitan Baseball, the group seeking a National League expansion franchise for the city, will be sending questionnaires next week to people who opened savings accounts as part of the D.C. Baseball Commission's 1986 season ticket drive, the group's consultant, Tom Hipp, said.
The mailing is part of the group's preparation for a season ticket campaign that Hipp said will begin in April.
In addition, Hipp said the group is forming a volunteer organization that will be asked to assist with the season ticket drive and other activities designed to generate interest and support in the community.
D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon is preparing to take a more active role in the quest for one of the two teams that will begin play in 1993. Washington is one of six cities still in the running for the two franchises to be awarded this year. The others are Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami, Orlando, Buffalo and Denver.
She is hoping to meet with Commissioner Fay Vincent within the next couple of months, and she has written a letter to the general manager of each of the area's television and radio stations, asking them for their support. Also, the mayor; Washington Metropolitan Baseball's leader, John Akridge; and Hipp will be meeting Tuesday to discuss their efforts. On Wednesday the mayor and Akridge will be meeting with radio and television station general managers to try to get them behind the campaign.
"She's ready to roll," said her sports liaison, Henry Hubschman. "She's not just talking about helping. She wants to get involved. She wants to put this thing in the front of the public's mind."
Hipp said he had a "very good" meeting last week with representatives from about 10 major banks in the area, and one of the group's organizers, Sovran Bank President Robert Pincus, will be heading efforts to finalize arrangements for the season ticket drive.
In 1986 people were asked to deposit an amount equivalent to a full season ticket, one-third season ticket or a 10-game plan. Councilman Frank Smith, who chaired the D.C. Baseball Commission, has said more than 4,200 accounts were opened and about $9 million, representing commitments to purchase the equivalent of about 15,000 season tickets, was deposited.
But Hipp said a mailing list that the baseball commission turned over to the ownership group has about 6,400 names, many of whom presumably opened accounts at some point. Assuming their addresses are current, those people will receive a form asking them whether they still have an account, the name of the bank at which they opened it, how much money was deposited, and the number and type of ticket plans that were requested.
Hipp said account numbers will not be requested for privacy reasons, but he added that the group "will be able to verify" whether accounts exist. Those with existing accounts will be given priority status in the new season ticket drive, he said.
The volunteer organization will be directed by Washington Senators Fan Club President Pat Malone, former baseball commission member Richard Danker, Senators Fan Club co-founder Bob Smith and former baseball commission volunteer Jim Roche. Hipp said it is being formed because the ownership group has only two full-time staff people, and it has been swamped with a variety of inquiries.
He said more than 300 people have contacted the group about helping on a volunteer basis, and 500 to 600 people not on the baseball commission's mailing list have requested information about purchasing season tickets.