MLB + FBI = DC ‘Civic Pride?’

MLB + FBI = DC Civic Pride

Jim Bowden has resigned as General Manager of the Washington Nationals, but not over the dismal record of the  purportedly professional team he allegedly managed for four years. The FBI suspects Bowden and  José Rijo, his Special Assistant, of skimming  bonus money from Latino rookies, according to league sources quoted by ESPN and AP. The financial irregularities may have started fourteen years ago, when Bowden and Rijo recruited highly-paid young Dominican players for the Cincinnati Reds.

The media first became aware of  the FBI investigation back in July, while the Nationals were struggling to maintain their historic four-year record as the absolutely worst team in Major League Baseball. Public interest in the corruption investigation revived recently when swindlers cheated the alleged crooks by switching an unknown for a celebrated  young  player in a multi-million-dollar contract deal.

The government of the District of Columbia borrowed $800 million to build the Nationals a stadium; team owners showed their appreciation by stiffing the city on the rent. DC helped developers level Southwest Washington near Nationals Park; once full of grubby but useful light industries, the quadrant will likely be a ghost town through the economic downturn.

Why do DC taxpayers subsidize the wealthy deadbeat owners of thIS MLB monopoly franchise, and enable immigrant-exploiting managers?

Civic pride.

 … baseball is about civic pride. Think about walking past the U.S. Capitol, arriving at a brand-new stadium, and watching your home team play with our national monuments in the background.

Baseball is good for our city. It’s good for our communities. It will support schools, streets and social services. And it will generate civic pride. — Mayor Anthony A. Williams,  June 9, 2003

Baseball creates a lasting sense of civic pride, and transcends social barriers to unify cities around their home team. Few events rally a community and create shared memories more than Opening Day, a September pennant race or a Game Seven.

Washington, DC is our nation’s capital. Baseball is our national pastime. It is time to bring the two together again. —Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development

MLB was looking for a city that valued a professional sports franchise and would add to that value through careful cultivation and attention. A well-managed team could raise the city’s profile nationally while also sparking a local renaissance. It could invigorate a community, building civic pride. —  “National Pride: Baseball Returns to Washington,” Sarah Kellogg, DC Bar, November 2006


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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