We didn't have to build a $674,000,000+ stadium and give it to the Lerner family. But we did. It was awfully generous of us. So you'd think that the Lerners would be grateful that the city picked up the tab on the most expensive baseball stadium in American history.
Instead, and I can't believe this is just now being disclosed, the Lerners are threatening to sue the city for $100,000 a day for every day that the stadium has been open. Their reason? The stadium wasn't completed in time.
As Marc Fisher so eloquently points out, "I somehow recall spending $5 on a hot chocolate at the ballpark that night -- and watching a breathtaking walk-off Ryan Zimmerman home run sail out of the stadium."
Mr. Fisher, I too remember spending $25 on ludicrously overpriced beer and $8 on a heaping pile of chili nachos.
Alas, the team's offices weren't ready in time. It's a small detail, but an important one nevertheless. The city has allowed the Nationals to keep their old offices in RFK rent free until the new offices are completed. This is not good enough for the Lerners.
Now, I understand that a deal is a deal. It's not the Lerners' fault that Mayor Anthony Williams signed one of the most lopsided agreements since Manhattan was purchased for some pocket change. But, for Christ's sake, cut us a friggin' break, Lerner family. We gave you almost seven hundred million dollars. The most important parts of the stadium were ready on time.
Some city officials are so angry at the Lerners that they don't want to talk to the family anymore. "It just turns my stomach that they would take all the goodwill we had and risk it on petty little technicalities," says one D.C. official, who declined to be named, saying he doesn't want to become the focus of the owners' wrath.
City attorneys accused the Lerners of "finger-pointing and windfall-seeking." It's hard not to reach that conclusion myself. It's good to know that no matter how much you give someone, it's still not always good enough. It took less than two months for the city and the Lerners to be at each other's throats. The Nationals symbolize total incompetence both on the field and off it.