Ralph Nader & the sports reform project League of Fans call for Bud Selig & Jerry Reinsdorf to stop trying to intimidate DC Council into withdrawing amendment

Allan H. Selig
Commissioner, Major League Baseball

Jerry Reinsdorf
Chairman, Major League Baseball Relocation Committee

Dear Mr. Selig and Mr. Reinsdorf:

Finally, someone has stood up to your merciless bullying of the District of Columbia for this atrocious corporate welfare stadium deal.

DC Council Chair Linda Cropp sent a clear message on November 30th that she had concerns with the stadium bill but would let it pass through the first reading with expectations of something better. Cropp expressed that she would need some reasonable “concessions” from Major League Baseball before the second reading.

What was your answer to the Council? No concessions on sharing cost overruns. No concessions on the compensatory payment by the District to the team if the stadium is not completed on time. And no charitable fund commitment beyond devoting “net proceeds” from one exhibition game. That is simply offensive. No paltry concessions from you in exchange for a $584 million publicly-funded stadium project? No longer surprised by your level of avarice, we must express amazement at your unrelenting arrogance.

Major League Baseball is lucky that this sweetheart stadium deal was approved at all. Despite the modest amendment to the bill that you consider “wholly unacceptable,” this remains an awful deal for District residents with what would still amount to a 76 percent publicly-funded project and a $442 million subsidy to Major League Baseball. You wouldn’t require such a windfall if you were truly capitalists rather than corporate freeloaders on the taxpayers.

Don’t blame Ms. Cropp for this dissolving stadium deal. It would have self-destructed on its own given: the subordination of priorities for the necessities of many District residents and their children; the overwhelming opposition of an aroused and determined citizenry; and the numerous forthcoming challenges, legal and otherwise for the site you desire. Already, the costs for this debacle have gone through the roof.

Do yourselves a favor and spare the District and the nation’s capital your disrespectful intimidation tactics. The RFK Stadium site is still available and ready for Major League Baseball to attract and invest its own capital to renovate or build anew.


Ralph Nader

Shawn McCarthy
League of Fans


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