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So . . . Lerner

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But this time the Post is reporting it, so I suppose we can take the story seriously:

Major League Baseball is likely to award ownership of the Washington Nationals to a group led by Bethesda developer Theodore N. Lerner, after efforts by District politicians and others to steer the selection to competing bidders apparently backfired, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who will decide who gets the franchise, was angered by accusations that Lerner's group was unacceptable because it had included minorities only as tokens rather than genuine partners, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the negotiations.

D.C. Council members Marion Barry and Vincent B. Orange Sr. held a news conference yesterday to accuse Lerner's family of "renting blacks" in its effort to win the right to buy the team from Major League Baseball.

. . . When Selig and other baseball officials learned about the comments late yesterday, they were incensed and strengthened their resolve to back Lerner, according to the sources.

Well, that makes sense: decide on the guys that will inspire the most vocal opposition, and when that opposition becomes even more vocal, strengthen your resolve in the teeth of that opposition.

At this point, I suppose I do not care, as long as an owner is named quickly (or, given MLB's history here, at all), and---in an ideal world---the name chosen does not rhyme with Clef Boolean. I favor the Lerners, mainly on the strength of their partnership with Stan Kasten, who represents the best chance to instill some professionalism and administrative discipline into this franchise. However, if the Lerner/Kasten bid is truly going to be dogged by charges of "tokenism," then it might be advisable for the Seligulans to select a group that will not inspire such outlandish measures as ceremonial DC Council resolutions. There is still a stadium to build, after all.

Anyway, I think we can all agree on principle that Bud Selig deserves a heavy, long-term dose of Ryan Church's flu virus.

* * * *

I am not African-American. I am not of Western European descent, but I am not considered a minority. Consequently, I can't really speak intelligently or empathically concerning African-American- or otherwise minority-owned professional sports franchises, except to say I'm obviously in favor of them. This is 2006, after all.

That said, speaking as a Greek-American, sometimes it's better to be able to mock or complain about people of other ethnic stripes, rather than your own. The obvious example is Peter Angelos, who is not only the most disgusting, festering piece of skata this side of your stopped-up toilet, but he's also, and in fact, Emperor Palpatine.

Oh, but it doesn't stop with Angelos.

There's also that guy who used to own the Buffalo Sabres, that John Rigas fellow from Adelphia Communications, he of the "strong jaw line and bushy eyebrows reflect[ing] his proud Greek heritage." Hell of a guy---he was convicted of bank, wire, and securities fraud, and is currently serving a fifteen-year sentence. (For good measure, a junior Rigas, Timothy, was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment.) Then there's Alex Spanos---a very philanthropic man (and no, not just to Republican causes), but regarded as something of a tightwad as owner of the San Diego Chargers. And do I even have to mention George Argyros, such a hip owner of the Seattle Mariners back in the 1980s that he was dubbed "the James Watt of baseball"? This was the man who cut every player's salary, and then ordered them all to attend positive-thinking seminars.

Oh---one more thing: when he sold out, Argyros ushered a young executive into the Owners' Lodge. Yes, it was none other than Jeff Smulyan.

Coincidentally, that comparison is one of the few ways in which Smulyan looks like a good choice fo r the Nats.