- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2004

Peter Angelos is the 900-pound lawyer looking to block the move of the Expos to the nation’s capital.

He is as persistent and agile as the tank man of Tiananmen Square, all too committed to standing before a moving van with Quebec license plates.

Angelos is the shrill voice in the wedding party who is speaking against the perfect marriage of the Expos and Washington. He is the land surveyor clutching a redrawn map of the Baltimore area that stretches to Petersburg, Va.

Angelos is “The Last of the Mohicans” in spirit, fighting to the end, trying to preserve the ever-expanding sacred grounds of the Birds of Baltimore.

Baseball’s inertia is about Angelos. It is always about Angelos.

He is our Col. Kurtz, ensconced in the concrete jungle of Baltimore who sees “the horror, the horror” of a baseball team in D.C.

The rest of this relocation ordeal is so much background noise, so much elevator music intended to calm the anxiety of the principals.

Baseball belongs in the nation’s capital. This is a self-evident truth. There is nothing to discuss other than Angelos, nothing to consider. There is D.C., and all the rest, each reduced to trying to reprise Kevin Costner’s cornfield.

If they build a ballpark in Upperville, they will come.

They will fight the rush-hour traffic from the city, they will blow off their family time in the evenings, they will not mow their lawns, they will beat their addiction to youth league sports, and they never will step inside another Home Depot. Instead, they will drive to the ballpark in Bluemont 81 times a season.

Those are the options before Bob DuPuy and the rest of deep thinkers in baseball, which is to say there are no options at all. There is only the specter of Angelos to resolve.

He is the person standing behind the curtain at the end of the yellow brick road, remaining ever true to his conviction that the nation’s capital is a glorified version of Catonsville. He has the studies, charts and mathematical equations to confirm it. He has signed depositions from O’s fans in Charlottesville.

He has the authority to erect concrete barriers on the arteries leading from Maryland into the city. He would be the first to turn away the Expos seeking baseball asylum from Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

Angelos is stuck with peddling the notion that what is good for the O’s is good for baseball. He might as well be claiming he was in Cambodia, the event “seared — seared” in his mind.

“Norfolk probably would be quite favorable to us,” he says. “I think that’s a great area.”

Of course, Angelos thinks Norfolk is a great area. He probably likes Emporia, Va., too. He also could live with Bristol, Va., or Bristol, Tenn., if not both.

It has come down to this: Angelos vs. Washington, with baseball in the prone position, unable to make the obvious decision.

Angelos took the temperature of the land that baseball has forgotten since 1971 by passing out free hot dogs this week.

We acted like Renee Zellweger. He got us on the mustard.

We should have held out for free crab cakes.

This is where we are: We have a free hot dog pointed at our head but no team.

Mayor Williams has given baseball everything it wants, and DuPuy says, “There’s nothing we can tie a ribbon around and sign.”

That is code for baseball needing a long-term financial sweetener to placate Angelos.

DuPuy and the rest of the deep thinkers in baseball are on pace to delay the decision on the Expos yet again, possibly until November. They have delayed the decision so many times that only Bill James has been able to maintain track of the count.

The nation’s capital, touting robust demographics and a ballpark proposal that puts all the other candidates to shame, remains under an Angelos-inspired quarantine.

It is he. He is it.

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