Monday, July 23, 2007

D.C. United No More?

If Benjamin Franklin were still alive today he would say that there are three things in life that are certain, death, taxes, and the D.C. Government screwing things up.

This Saturday we were treated to the bombshell of the D.C. Government backing out on the deal to build D.C. United a new Stadium. Of the 13 MLS Franchises, United is one of four teams still playing in NFL sized stadiums. New York is in the process of building smaller soccer only facility as is Salt Lake City (though Real Salt Lake plays in a college football stadium).

Because of the D.C. Government being ...well... the D.C. Government, United is now exploring all options including moving to Bhawlmuher. William Yurasko points out that Philadelphia is looking to build a soccer stadium and I don't think it would be entirely out of the question for United to end up there. (Which of course means that United will never get close to another MLS Cup should they move to Philly...) After almost blowing the relocation of the Expos, it is mind boggling to me to see the D.C. Government foul up once again negotiations with D.C. United. Do you realize that this was supposed to be the last year RFK Stadium was used for sporting events? The Nats and United were supposed to be playing in new stadiums in 2008 but now United is stuck in RFK for the foreseeable future.

Does anybody honestly think that Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins will put up with the D.C. Government for a single minute? Forget for a second that D.C. United is hands down the most successful franchise in the history of the MLS and the only D.C. Pro Sports team capable of winning a title recently; if it wasn't for D.C. United, RFK Stadium would have been in much worse shape and needed even more work to bring it up to speed for the Nationals when they arrived in 2005. Hades, RFK may have not even been around for the Nationals in 2005 if it hadn't been for D.C. United. While United draws decent crowds, they aren't big enough to warrant playing in a stadium built to hold 56,000+.

And the really sad part is that United wanted to build the Stadium themselves. The amount of $$$$$ out of the District Treasury would have been nothing. Here they are building a baseball stadium with public funds (albeit with $$$$$ raised from ticket and souvenir sales) and they can't bring themselves to let somebody build something within the city limits. Doesn't this sound familiar?

While I would hate to lose D.C. United, I wouldn't blame them one bit for abandoning D.C. and moving to Bhawlmuher or Philly. Once again the D.C. Government shows itself to be completely incompetent and utterly clueless. For those of you who are tireless advocates for D.C. Statehood, episodes such as this show exactly why D.C. shouldn't even have home rule. Bring back the City Commissioners appointed by Congress and let this city become something to be proud of.

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