We're down to what seems like weekly visits from Major League Baseball's Relocation Committee, dueling polls in Washington and sniping news conferences between competing D.C. and Virginia agencies. All for the privilege of obtaining the Montreal Expos (55-74), and to give them a place to play next year, a new stadium in the near future and a community to love them.
This painful, foot-dragging three-year process seems to be drawing to a conclusion, with the Jerry Reinsforf-led Relocation Committee apparently prepared in the next few weeks to recommend Washington to Commissioner Bud Selig. Selig must then decide whether to accept this recommendation and thereby tell Orioles owner Peter Angelos to accept his indemnification and move on.
That Angelos believes Washington belongs to the Baltimore Orioles goes against MLB's own territorial guidelines, offsets any goodwill the O's built up here over the years and tests the limits and legalities of the game's antitrust exemption. His single-mindedness stands between Selig, his contract now extended to 2009, and doing what's best for the game and the nation's capital, which despite a population of more than 4 million people has been deprived of a team for the past 33 years.
Meantime, District officials held a news conference Friday to announce a poll by the Glover Park Group that showed overwhelming support among Washingtonians, close-to-D.C. Northern Virginians and suburban Marylanders for baseball in Washington over a suburban Virginia site. This countered a poll by Service Employees International Union that showed 70 percent opposition to using public funding for a new stadium.
"We will not pay for this stadium from money that goes to police and schools," said city administrator Robert Bobb. Councilman Jack Evans said construction costs and debt for building the stadium will be covered by taxes from items sold at the stadium, rental of the ballpark and taxes on big business.
"This is not about stadium versus schools," councilman Harold Brazil said.
Proponents of a team in Northern Virginia are scaling back their proposed 450-acre ballpark development to a more modest plan near Dulles Airport that still has MLB's interest, if not mine, because it would have less impact on the Orioles. But Angelos doesn't like that idea, either.
Mark Tuohey, the precocious head of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, stuck out his neck Friday, predicting, "We're going to get this team."
"If the decision is made on the merits, we win," Tuohey said.
What better way to spend a Saturday night than watching and listening to the Redskins while trying to keep up with the Olympics?
The new WJFK broadcast team of Larry Michael, Sonny and Sam is off to respectable start, if you can find the guys on the dial (106 . . . 7, I think) and don't try to watch the game off a satellite dish; the signal is a full second behind real time and radio for reasons beyond me.
Meantime, WUSA-9 televised the game, with former radio play-by-play voice Frank Herzog at the mike, along with onetime Hog Jeff Bostic. Herzog, who will be leaving Channel 9, was informative if lacking the high energy he brought to the radio booth.
Michael gets good marks from his new partners for preparation and seems to know what he's talking about. But he needs to take more control, allowing Jurgensen and Huff to complement his game account with analysis and commentary.
The Redskins' 17-0 domination of the Dolphins had all the voices coming out of south Florida at a happy pitch. WJFK's postgame locker room report was solid, as was WTEM's, although WJFK postgamer Charles Mann is going to have sharpen his blade some to compete with former teammate, WTEM's Joe Jacoby.
Until Friday night's 28-3 loss to the Rams, the Redskins had looked better every week and right now everyone in town loves Coach Joe Gibbs. Name another coach in the NFL who can provide victories, intelligent and interesting postgame television and radio analysis, plus an in-depth look at the previous day's NASCAR race? What's next? His ushering fans to some of the new, obstructed-view seats at FedEx Field with the suggestion, "Don't look up."
* I watched the Olympics for two weeks, but never could figure out what was on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Telemundo and HDTV. I was always remote surfing, and only when Tim Russert and the Swift Boats were on did I know I was in non-Olympic territory. HDTV Olympic channel is a rip-off: a day behind on events, showing beach after beach.
* I won't knock the bronze medal-winning NBA players who showed up in Athens this month. The selection of players by USA Basketball (or the NBA) was poor; the NBA style doesn't relate to the international game; and Larry Brown, one of the best coaches, had no answers. Former Olympian Grant Hill of Reston, who played in 1996 but has been trying to recover from ankle problems the last several years, was in town promoting his book of African art.
"The guys were trying to play the right way, but they were tentative," Hill said. "Makes you want to take a look at the AAU system that teaches the game from spectacular highlights whereas other countries teach fundamentals.''
Suggestion for Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld: Sign Sarunas Jasikevicius.
* If you didn't get a lump in your throat watching the U.S. women's soccer team beat Brazil, 2-1, behind former Washington Freedom stars Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach, in overtime for the gold medal, you have no pulse. Also, salutes to the U.S. softball and women's basketball teams and men's and women's track squads, and farewell to Bethesda paddler Joe Jacobi.
* Asking Paul Hamm to give up his gold medal to the South Korean runner-up is as absurd as suggesting that Sugar Ray Leonard should have returned the middleweight title belt to "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler because maybe Leonard got a break in winning a split decision. Please.
* How come no one asked Baltimore's Michael Phelps how he feels about baseball in D.C.?
* Why synchronized diving? What's next, the diving horse from the Atlantic City pier? What's to say about beach volleyball? Everyone seemed so tall and thin; and U.S. star Misty May said after winning gold, "People had doubts about us." Who had doubts?
* Why were the Greek fans so angry at gymnastics and track? I thought the Games were being held in Philly.
Have a question or comment, reach me at Talkback@washpost.com. Donations to compensate O's not accepted.