- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 20, 2002

Starved for a hometown team, Washington baseball fans were delighted Friday to hear they just might get one.
Steve Bernstein was 28 when the Washington Senators skipped town in 1970. A lifelong resident of the District, he can't wait for a Major League Baseball (MLB) team to relocate to the city. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's announcement that the capital is a "prime candidate" for such a move "totally convinced" Mr. Bernstein it would happen.
He is sick, he said, of seeing Redskins fans wearing Orioles hats. "They take it for granted that the Orioles are our baseball team, but it's something I will never accept."
Mr. Bernstein said he has never been to Orioles Park at Baltimore's Camden Yards and does not plan to ever go there.
"I was born [in the District], and I'm very proud of my city," he said. "Don't shove your Orioles down my throat."
Mr. Bernstein doesn't think the District will have a team in 2003 because they're going to get one this spring.
"It's reached a point where MLB needs Washington now more than Washington needs MLB," he said, giving one of the many reasons for his confident stance.
"We're going to have a new rebirth when that ball team gets here," he said. "I want this city redeemed."
Dave Lanham, 38, frequently corresponds with Mr. Bernstein over the Internet to discuss baseball in Washington. The two are part of a group of about 15 persons who read voraciously and constantly post messages on a board devoted to the subject.
Mr. Lanham has been a Washingtonian since grade school. He also reacted with enthusiasm to Mr. Selig's announcement.
"I'm ecstatic, and there was a time when I was really skeptical," he said. "This is proof-positive. Obviously things are moving, and [MLB] realizes D.C. is the place to be."
Mr. Lanham was not quite as optimistic as Mr. Bernstein about the timing. "2002 is a stretch, but I think 2003 is a lock."
Either way, Mr. Lanham can't wait.
"I hope they call the team the Senators and we pick up where we left off."
"I'm going to love it," said Mr. Bernstein. "Any team who comes here is going to do very well."
Bob Goldwater, of the D.C. Sports and Exhibition Commission, agreed. "D.C. is the ideal location for MLB," he said, adding that the grass at RFK Stadium, where a team would play until a new stadium is built, looked beautiful.
D.C. Mayor Tony Williams was "elated" about Mr. Selig's statement, said his spokesman Tony Bullock.
"That's huge news for the region," said Mr. Bullock. "Our job now is to land that fish in the District. The mayor couldn't think of a better economic engine for the District than a MLB team."
Mr. Lanham and Mr. Bernstein have no doubts about whether a relocating team should go to the District or Virginia. The former, they say, is the only logical choice.

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