- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2003

Let's not allow the holidays to escape without offering a few suggestions (and prayers?) for things we'd like to see happen this new year in the increasingly unjolly world of the games people play. (Note to readers: This has absolutely nothing to do with last week's predictions of things that will happen, sort of.)
Need you guess at our first choice? Major League Baseball announces that the Montreal Expos will move to the Washington area, starting with the 2004 season.
The franchise-seeking groups headed by Fred Malek, William Collins and Dan Snyder join forces and finances, guaranteeing that the new Washington Nationals will be able to compete on equal terms with existing franchises.
The new owners and D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams reach agreement on the site and financing of a baseball-only ballpark in the Mount Vernon Square area and due to open for the 2007 season. Williams says the new facility will be named Walter Johnson Park "because it is high time the District paid homage to the greatest player in its history."
Owners of the new club sign Pat Gillick as general manager, Davey Johnson as manager and Jon Miller as principal radio broadcaster as remaining fans of the Baltimore Orioles curse Peter Angelos anew for allowing them to get away.
Joining Miller behind the microphone is Phil Wood, the city's most knowledgeable baseball historian, thus giving the Nats a play-by-play team that ranks with the best in baseball.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig resigns after admitting that "I'm much too beholden to the owners to protect the best interests of the game and its fans."
In a universally popular and totally unexpected move, major league owners elect Cal Ripken Jr. as commissioner, making him the first ex-player to fill that role.
In his first news conference, Ripken promises to devote himself to establishing a salary cap, reducing ticket prices and speeding up games by penalizing pitchers and batters who dilly and/or dally.
Discouraged by the appearance of a baseball rival for the attention of fans, Dan Snyder sells the Redskins to a group headed by ex-player Darrell Green. The former cornerback announces that Ron Wolf, the GM who built the Green Bay Packers into a power in the 1990s, will come out of retirement to fill that role with the Redskins.
Green also says the team will change its name to Warriors, "because the growing number of persons who consider the name of Redskins offensive can no longer be ignored and besides, its time for a lot of changes after a decade of failure."
Coach Steve Spurrier agrees to let the team run the ball at least 45 percent of the time in 2003 and vows never again to sign a former Florida quarterback. He also promises that Patrick Ramsey will be the starting quarterback all season and that new offensive linemen and receivers will be brought in to support him.
Resuming his role as head of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards, Michael Jordan vows to stay in town and work for the entire year, bypassing visits to Chicago, North Carolina and golf courses hither, thither and yon.
Ted Leonsis takes active control of the Wizards from Abe Pollin and tells reporters, "Wes Unseld isn't anything like a son to me." Two days later, Unseld leaves the Wizards' front office to become CEO of Weight Watchers Inc.
Although the young Maryland Terrapins do not repeat as national champions, they reach the Elite Eight, further boosting Gary Williams' reputation as one of college basketball's finest coaches.
Behind super power forward Mike Sweetney, Georgetown gains the Final Four for the first time since 1985.
After winning her first tournament, Anna Kournikova announces her retirement from tennis to fill Jennifer Aniston's old role in the new television series "Friends II." Also joining the cast is John McEnroe in the traditional sitcom role of wacky neighbor.
Augusta National admits its first female member and boots out Hootie Johnson for being grossly out of touch with the times.
Commissioner David Stern announces that the NBA, reversing an earlier policy, once again will allow no player to compete until his college class has graduated.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says any player caught punching an opponent will be suspended for five games. A second such offense will bring suspension for the rest of the season.
Mike Tyson retires from boxing and says he will move to Africa to serve humanity, "especially them foxy chicks."
Evander Holyfield retires from boxing, period.
And finally, Major League Baseball announces that the Montreal Expos will move to the Washington area, starting with the 2004 season. (Hey, this one is worth wishing and praying for twice.)


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