Baseball in District Is Long Past Due

The following is in response to Michael Wilbon's Aug. 10 column, and reflects the views of MLB's Len Coleman quoted in the editions of Aug. 11:

So ya wanna fight?

Wilbon's column on the District's failure to fight for a baseball team is on point -- but it also misses the point. Yes, it is time for D.C. to stop pussyfooting around and fight for a baseball team, no holds barred. But there is another factor in D.C.'s battle that makes it a national issue, and a Major League Baseball embarrassment -- or opportunity. The bald fact is that Major League Baseball has the chance right now to do two things of national significance: Resurrect baseball, the national pastime (or is "past-time"?), in the nation's capital -- how appropriate, as Mr. Wilbon argues -- and to establish the first baseball franchise with real minority participation in a city that is 75 percent African American.

Fred Malek has established a well-heeled group to fight for a D.C. franchise, as reported on the same pages as Mr. Wilbon's column. Importantly, there is a second group, which preceded Mr. Malek's, and could complement it and establish irrefutable credentials for making this 50-plus anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier for breaking the color barrier for owners. Bert Lee, former owner -- African American owner -- of the Denver Nuggets, whose father fittingly owned a Negro League baseball team, initiated the Washington Baseball Group to acquire a team for the District. Coupled with the Malek group's deep pockets and political connections, this unified D.C. force would make Bud Selig's decision much easier -- and Peter Angelos's opposition much weaker.

The strength of a group representing not only the nation's capital, but truly representing minority ownership involvement, could well change those D.C. "longshot" odds to odds-on favorite. Neither Charlotte's web nor Angelos's bedevilment could blind Bud Selig to what would become the right thing to do, the political thing to do, and, in fact, the only thing to do: return baseball, with genuine minority ownership, to the District of Columbia.

-- Arthur Bernstein

Washington

Nowhere Near Camden Yards

Here I am, Washington Post! There's one left. I am apparently the last Washingtonian who refuses to put body to turnstile at Camden Yards and thus be counted as another reason for not returning baseball to the nation's capital. The amount of space that you waste on your coverage of the team that plays at Camden Yards continues to sicken me as it has for the last 22 years. I am hoping that my John Kinsella-like passion for baseball will one day have a reason to be rekindled -- your efforts to the contrary notwithstanding.

-- Charles Sparacino

Bethesda

Rose Should Be in Hall

After viewing the induction ceremonies at Coopertown and viewing Tony Gwynn's marvelous feat, that magnificent slogan over the entrance of the Supreme Court, namely, Equal Justice Over Law, brings to mind the Pete Rose injustice.

Presidents, acknowledged crimimals and other lawbreakers are, in many cases, forgiven. Pete Rose had 4,256 hits, the second-longest hitting streak, he played in 2,562 games and led the National League as its most valuable player in 1973.

Is Commissioner [Bud] Selig unaware of real greatness? Pete Rose should be placed in the Hall of Fame next to Ruth, Cobb, Aaron and classified as either the top player of all time, or within the first five.

-- Herb Becker

Rockville

An Honor Beyond Money

How refreshing is it to read about the professional golfers who consider it an honor to represent their country in the Ryder Cup without getting paid, some of whom consider it such an honor that they would even pay to participate (Corey Pavin, Payne Stewart, Tom Watson to name a few).

How disgusting to read about those multi-millionaire golfers who can't even give up one four-day weekend to the country that provided them the opportunity to earn more money in one year than most of us earn in a lifetime.

Let those greedy golfers stay home and bask in the disrespect that they have so richly earned.

Give this opportunity only to those who consider it a privilege and honor.

Many of us have now changed our opinions about who our real role models on the tour are.

-- Rudy Winternitz

Chevy Chase

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