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As Long as We Remember...

January 24, 2006

D.C. and Major League Baseball

Edward Lulie III

Places exist around the globe where the local governments have the idea that the rule of law is really just a license to steal. Sadly we don't have to travel thousands of miles to experience this. Just a short hop from Frederick, only 40 miles away in the socialist paradise known as the District of Columbia, is a government whose avarice and greed is only limited by the federal government's oversight and their own limited sense of morality.

The left, dreaming while awake, still waxes poetic over the prospect of giving themselves a permanent two senator and two representative advantage in Congress by allowing D.C. to have elected representatives. This shouldn't ever happen and for excellent reasons.

The District of Columbia was always supposed to be a place where local politics could never impinge on the nation's center of government. Imagine the abuses that could follow if one of the most corrupt local governments on earth ever gets the power to rule unchecked by Congress. The mind boggles at the schemes that the radical left would dream up to influence our center of government.

Couldn't happen, you say? Sadly I disagree; where the rule of law is just a phrase, you can not count on anything, except endless unchecked greed.

I won't bore you by listing the fraud and theft that continues even today as the D.C. government "empowers" its own elected and appointed co-conspirators to redirect funds intended for fixing the schools, streets and buildings into their own pockets.

Let's consider the parking, red light and speeding ticket schemes that ignore rules and simply exist as a method to tax visitors, residents and commuters. Broken machines, errors, and mistakes are the rule, not the exception. If you understand the simple concept that "they just want the money," then you will realize that this is just a more polite way to collect it than having armed bandits rob you as you travel through the nation's Capitol.

Speaking of greed, let's consider the D.C. City Council. They seem to think that they can extort money from Major League Baseball (MLB) by renegotiating the stadium deal. For reasons that escape me they seem to feel that they hold all the cards to force MLB to give them the money.

Okay! For a moment consider that MLB was stupid enough to believe they could trust D.C.'s elected officials to keep their word when the deal was made. That was a huge mistake.

Just maybe they will be moronic enough to lock themselves into a position where the D.C. government can always come back for a little more extortion in the future. Just think, if MLB stays, they can expect a wildly imaginative future of new taxes, fees and inspection costs coming their way. Install a brigade of ticket writers to greet incoming fans and maybe add some new tow-away zones as well just to brighten things up.

Perhaps Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads is now secretly courting MLB to move the team out of D.C., while the deal remains undone. MLB might just be happily plotting to move out and hoping that D.C. will run true to form and renege on their "deal." Now that the Nationals are up and running, a move to Virginia would not be that difficult to manage. You can already hear the outraged howls of protest from the D.C. Council members if MLB acts.

Meanwhile we can expect that greed will rule the day. In law school we learned a simple concept to help understand the reasoning behind many complicated cases, "the bank always wins." That meant that as a rule of thumb the courts in general would bend over backwards and do full twisting flips to find a way to let the bank win in cases where the law should have been against them.

I think that there is a parallel here, that "greed will find a way." It isn' t just the D.C. government, but MLB as well. Let's face it, "hardball" was invented by MLB. They have never been known for their overwhelming compassion or selflessness.

MLB will soon discover, if they stay in D.C., that agreements and binding contracts mean nothing in a city where the rule of law is just an empty phrase. The dictate that the bank "always wins" would indicate that MLB, and its money, will run, not walk, away from D.C. at the first opportunity that presents itself.

Right now seems to be a likely moment.

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