- The Washington Times - Monday, August 9, 2004

Enough, baseball, with this foot-dragging, throat-clearing exercise.

Just stop it.

Make a decision on where the Expos will be next season and be done with it. Send them to a sandlot in High Point, N.C., and see whether Washington survives. The relocation process has descended into the company of a Greg Maddux press conference.

Your eyes are glazed over, your extremities have gone numb and your brain is shutting down.

Now Washington knows how Haley Joel Osment felt. Washington sees dead people, too.

Baseball remains too inert to resolve the folly of the Expos.

Seriously, what is baseball doing with the Expos — reinventing the wheel?

Free the Expos, baseball.

Come down from your mountaintop and articulate your vision.

No more tea leaves. No more smoke signals. No more dead people. Just say it. The Expos will play in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next season. Halifax is fine. Honest. At this point, any place would be fine, so long as the team’s new home is announced in unambiguous language. Have you ever been around a more laborious group of thinkers than the relocation committee?

They should have solicited the help of Stephen Hawking to push along the process.

Now, in desperation, they ought to flip a coin.

Heads, Washington.

Tails, Taos, N.M.

The last word from baseball is that a decision on the Expos could be reached late this month or early next month or whenever.

Here is what we have been conditioned to know: There is always another delay to the decision. There is always another loosely defined date. There is always a new twist, a new candidate, national-security considerations, something. The Expos are burning out at 35,000 feet, while Bud Selig fiddles.

Baseball has plummeted to a parody with the Expos.

At this pace, Breezewood, Pa., eventually will be able to secure the necessary financing to earn a visit from the members of the relocation committee. This is not to criticize Breezewood, by the way. It has a number of qualities, starting with a bunch of two-star hotels, fast-food restaurants and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Bob DuPuy, president of Major League Baseball, talked of progress after making the pilgrimage to Northern Virginia last week. “We continue to make significant progress and are receiving and analyzing information from the interested parties,” he said.

What is this, cold fusion?

There is Washington, and then there is all the rest.

D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams has done everything but grovel at the altar of baseball to secure the Expos. He can grovel, too, if necessary. Until then, baseball is still thinking, forever lost in the labyrinth of the “interested parties.” Baseball is “analyzing information,” however obvious the information is.

Washington is a demographic home run. Portland, Maine, for instance, is a couple of people up from being a small-town speed trap. Portland, Maine, is one of the candidates, right?

For now, the ubiquitous signs point to either Washington or a suburb of Aldie, Va., landing the Expos in the next couple of seasons.

If baseball awards the Expos to the Purcellville/Hamilton group, Mayor Williams warns the Virginia bigwigs of a difficult negotiation in using RFK Stadium as a temporary home.

That just goes to show you what it means to a facility to have Freddie Adu as the principal tenant. It can afford to play rough.

Anyway, that is what the ever-changing signs suggest at the moment.

The nation’s capital is up against Hillsboro, although Monterey Park, Calif., is closing hard.

Baseball is trying to digest the information, which leaves everyone else with indigestion.

All we have are the signs to get us through the monotony.

The signs, alas, have lost their power to placate.

Baseball can take their signs and move them to International Falls, Minn., along with the Expos.

Washington deserves a whole lot better from a game that used to be the national pastime.

But that is baseball. Even an obvious choice requires a ponderous amount of hot air.

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