- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 22, 2001

A few years ago when Larry Lucchino was telling me the story behind the development of Camden Yards, he recounted a conversation he had with his mentor, Baltimore Orioles owner Edward Bennett Williams.
Lucchino was trying to convince Williams that the team should push for a baseball-only facility not the multi-purpose ballpark the Maryland Stadium Authority wanted to build.
"I told Ed that we looked around at all the best baseball teams in the country, and the ones that have been the most stable, the most storied, the most competitive and prosperous have one thing in common they play in a baseball-only park," Lucchino recalled. "I cited the Red Sox, and he had a real weakness for the Red Sox. If he could own one franchise, he wanted to own the Red Sox."
Somewhere, Edward Bennett Williams is smiling, because Larry Lucchino now owns the Boston Red Sox.
Granted, he is a minority owner. The big money in the deal comes from Florida Marlins owner John Henry and former San Diego Padres owner Tom Werner. But it was Lucchino who put the $700million deal together, and it will be Lucchino who runs EBW's beloved franchise as team president and also oversees the future of the storied ballpark that Williams loved, Fenway Park.
The late famed trial lawyer may be smiling in the great courtroom in the sky, but they weren't smiling in Boston yesterday about Lucchino's group getting the nod over the local favorites, developers Joe O'Donnell and Steve Karp. Boston writers were blasting the choice by the Red Sox limited partners, led by chief executive officer John Harrington, claiming that Lucchino's group got the team primarily because Cadillac Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major Bankrupt Baseball, favored them.
"So the fix was really in on the Red Sox sale … John Harrington. He's the puppet to Bud Selig's puppeteer," wrote Boston Herald columnist Cosmo Macero Jr.
"Joe O'Donnell and Steve Karp should be the new owners of the Boston Red Sox. … they love New England. They grew up as Red Sox fans and share the blood type that flows through the veins of Red Sox Nation," wrote Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy.
Welcome to Boston, Larry.
And it was Shaughnessy's paper's group that won the bid. The New York Times, owners of the Globe, is part of John Henry's ownership group. How does that sit with Yankees fans the New York Times owning the Boston Red Sox. Any Yankees fan worth his salt should never buy a copy of the New York Times again.
Critics claim Cadillac Bud engineered this whole deal, favoring Lucchino, a respected baseball insider who got the stadium deal done in his last stop as president of the San Diego Padres and who has been one of Cadillac Bud's biggest supporters of contraction, and Henry, the well-liked owner of the Marlins. If that is the case if this was part of a scheme by Cadillac Bud there is more to come.
Now we get to see what he has in mind for the Montreal Expos, and what he really has in mind for baseball in Washington or Northern Virginia.
Though no one in baseball has said so on the record, the plan is now for Jeffrey Loria, the owner of the Expos, to buy the Marlins from Henry. Let's face it, that has to happen, because Henry can't own two baseball franchises. If that were allowed, Orioles owner Peter Angelos would buy the Expos just to keep them in Montreal.
Cadillac Bud was hoping to then fold up the Expos, along with the Minnesota Twins, but it appears unlikely he will be able to do that in time for the 2002 season, with a court case in Minnesota tying up plans to contract the Twins. So unless they could somehow contract just one team (highly unlikely), the Expos will live for at least one more year. But how? And where?
Supposedly, the plan is for Major Bankrupt Baseball to take over operation of the Expos for one year, then put the franchise up for sale to the highest bidder. But sources close to management said the players union is adamantly against baseball taking over the team, yet one more stumbling block in the dispute between owners and players for a new labor agreement.
Also, another source close to the Expos franchise said he believed it would be "nearly impossible" for the franchise to exist next year in Montreal with such a lame-duck status. That would seem to favor another idea floated out there, to move the team to Washington for the 2002 season. But sources close to management said it's unlikely Cadillac Bud will do battle with Angelos over baseball in Washington until a new labor deal is approved.
What we have learned in Boston is that what Cadillac Bud wants, he usually gets. There are strong doubts in some circles that he will ever back baseball in the Washington area. That means he will have to likely be forced into it. Cadillac Bud may not be pulling all the strings on this deal.

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