- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2003

Cadillac Bud Selig came out of the baseball owners' meeting Thursday in Arizona and, when asked if the Montreal Expos would be relocated in time for next season, said the following:
"I'm saying, that Trucoat, you don't get it, you get oxidation problems. It will cost you a lot more than $500. I'll talk to my boss. They install that Trucoat at the factory. There's nothing we can do. But I'll talk to my boss."
Actually, what Cadillac Bud really said when asked about the Expos moving in time for 2004 was, "Ask me later this year."
All that was, though, was Cadillac Bud's version of the sales pitch Jerry Lundegaard gave to customers in his showroom in the movie "Fargo."
They are two car salesman cut from the same polyester.
When should we ask you again, Bud? When the Expos' losses reach $20 million?
How about $30 million? Whatever gains you may make with the 22 games you will play in San Juan this year will be more than offset by the new low reached for the other 59 games the Expos will have to play in Montreal. Fans there who have been dumped on for several seasons now have been told by baseball that they are not even good enough anymore to have the Expos for an entire season. Heck they may not even get the players' families to show up to watch there this year.
Meanwhile, Cadillac Bud is employing another sales technique to drum up interest in bidding on the Expos other than by the three groups in the Washington area: the Washington Baseball Club, Virginia Baseball and the Robert Johnson-Dan Snyder partnership. He is using telemarketers.
Really, it is such a pathetic charade that they are actually making cold calls begging for communities to feign some interest in building a stadium and bringing in major league baseball. In San Antonio, Judge Nelson Wolff, the former mayor who led the effort to get a minor league stadium built, got a call to make a pitch for the Expos out of the blue from baseball, according to the San Antonio Express News. "It was this guy's job to call people around the country," Nelson said.
So the next time you get one of those telemarketer calls, don't be so quick to hang up. They might be selling a baseball team.
The sales job is to attract localities, not owners. So far, out of all of the illusionary prospective places to move the Expos, Washington is the only place where there are declared interested owners, and that scene is getting strange.
There have been reports out of Boston that a favorite son of Washington, Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, has had a falling out with his partners after one season and is looking to jump into the bid to bring baseball back to Washington.
But at the owners' meeting, Lucchino adamantly denied that he was looking to leave Boston. "I'll be in Boston as long as they'll have me," he said.
It is, however, the shape of things to come. More names will soon be surfacing to bid on baseball in Washington, either by hooking up with one of the existing groups or going it on their own. Baseball won't have to make any cold calls looking for people to put millions of dollars into major league baseball in Washington. A line has formed, and it will get longer.
But they won't wait forever, and if somehow baseball does engineer some bizarre scenario for the Expos to move someplace else, their telemarketers can lose Washington's phone number.


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