- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 13, 2009

Maybe Scott Boras thinks he is going to get a figure approaching $50 million from the Washington Nationals for No. 1 draft choice Stephen Strasburg. And maybe he thinks the streets here in the District are paved with gold, fans fill the ballpark every night and Nationals Park has become an international destination spot.

In November 2004, after Major League Baseball announced that the Montreal Expos would relocate to the District, Boras seemed to believe all of these things lay ahead for baseball in the nation’s capital.

“Look, the most valued football franchise is the Redskins,” Boras said. “Why? Because they have become almost an international team. They are someone the city stops for when they play. It is almost diplomacy through sports. Having a baseball team in there, we may have detente.

“In Los Angeles, we get Hugh Hefner and Pamela Anderson and people who know nothing about baseball who come to the games. The fans get to see two things: the game and the stars. It could be the same thing for Washington.

“You are going to get international figureheads going to the games. You will have a monstrous television outlet that will go from Maryland all the way down to Georgia, a huge amount of people. The team will have an international element to it, and it will be a raving success. I think it will be the darling of the National League. Players and families will want to come to that city.

“It will be a big destination spot. When you think of the millions of school kids who make Washington trips, all of those will be drawn in.”

Oh my, where to begin?

Nationals Park hasn’t exactly turned into United Nations south, and the organization has been as much of an international incident as it has an international team with the scandal involving prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez.

There hasn’t been any detente taking place that I know of. There has been devastation, despair and desolation, but no detente.

Boras was right, though, about the Los Angeles comparison. People who know nothing about baseball come to the games, and the fans get to see stars like Dick Cheney and David Gregory.

You might think he was off just a little bit about the “monstrous television outlet,” but MASN does have a wide reach. He just didn’t say that anyone would be watching.

Now this is really where the predictions fall off the track: a “raving success” and “the darling of the National League.” There is a lot of raving going on at Nationals Park but hardly about success. And by “darling of the National League,” if he meant in the context of easy road wins, the Nationals are a regular belle of the ball.

Finally, it has been a big destination spot - for Phillies, Cubs and, coming soon, Red Sox fans.

So on first glance, it appears Boras might have been a little off - OK, off-the-charts off - in his predictions about the future of baseball in the District. That is, unless he is so brilliant that nearly five years ago he saw a 16-year-old in San Diego and said to himself, “That is the future of baseball in Washington, D.C.”

Maybe Scott Boras, when he predicted “a raving success,” forgot to throw in a qualifier - when they sign Strasburg.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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