With the Lerner group tapped as owner of the Nationals, baseball in Washington is solidly set. Here are the winners, losers, and too-soon-to-tells:
Mark Tuohey: He pulled it off: The Nationals are in Washington, ground has been broken on a new stadium, and we have local owners. The rest is just noise.
The Lerners: Keeping quiet and playing behind the scenes ended up being a winning move—as was bringing Stan Kasten and Rodney Slater on board.
Robert Tanenbaum and Ed Cohen: These Lerner sons-in-law married into a fine family and got baseball, too.
Channel 9 News: WUSA-TV’s scoop on the Lerners’ getting the team proved correct—a week after it was reported by Brett Haber.
Winston Lord: As executive director of the Washington Baseball Club, he had the job of helping the Malek/Zients group win the ownership game.
Marion Barry: Looking more and more like an aging, punch-drunk prizefighter, Barry tried to play the race card by accusing the Lerners of “renting blacks.” His race-baiting went nowhere.
DC power players: Lots of lawyers and business leaders expected front-row tickets from the Malek/Zients team. Now they have to make friends with Mark and Ted. Fast.
Jonathan Ledecky: The Washington financial operator cobbled together an ownership group with financier George Soros. Ledecky got some press but no points with MLB.
Jim Bowden: Talk about bad timing: With the Nationals losing game after game and Bud Selig about to name a new owner, Bowden made headlines by getting busted in Florida for drunk driving.
Peter Angelos: As he predicted, Washington fans are abandoning his Orioles at Camden Yards to see the Nats play at RFK. Will anyone drive north once the new DC stadium is up?
The fans: The good news is MLB made a smart decision by picking local owners, and the real-estate savvy of the Lerner family will help ensure a successful new stadium. Now the fans have to hope the Lerners have learned from all of Dan Snyder’s mistakes.
Fred Malek: He didn’t get the team, and he got trashed by the Washington Post for trying, but we wouldn’t have baseball without him.
Bud Selig: He managed to turn a struggling Canadian team into a $330-million profit for baseball’s owners. Except now everyone in Washington is sick of him.