By any other name ...
D.C.-bound Expos choose 'Nationals' as new moniker
Posted: Monday November 22, 2004 1:02PM; Updated: Monday November 22, 2004 5:57PM
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With a new name, a new logo and a new generation of baseball fans, the nation's capital now has a new baseball team, the Nationals.
The city lost professional baseball in 1971 with the end of the Washington Senators.
In a ceremony Monday at Union Station, Mayor Anthony Williams and team officials announced the name of the team, which is moving from Montreal, where it was known as the Expos.
Team president Tony Tavares announced that more than 13,000 season tickets have already been sold. Mayor Williams declared, "Baseball is our way of life!"
Minutes before the naming ceremony began, a man in the crowd rushed on stage and shouted into the public address system, "This is a bad deal, people!" He was carrying a sign saying "Stop the Stadium Giveaway."
The protester, later identified as Adam Eidinger, was quickly grabbed by baseball officials and former Washington Senators' game announcer Charlie Brotman. Security at Union Station took the struggling man away.
Some groups have questioned the cost to taxpayers of bringing baseball back to Washington. There were several protesters among the spectators, including John Capozzi, who told CNN the new team owners should pay more of the cost for a new stadium.
Capozzi's group and Web site, NoDCTaxesForBaseball.org, said it is not fair to city taxpayers that the owners would pay only an annual lease now proposed at $5.5 million a year.
Capozzi said he did not know Eidinger, who later told CNN, "We already have a baseball stadium. RFK Stadium. To raise taxes to pay for a stadium, when economists say it won't pay for itself, is immoral."
He called the team's backers "a billionaires' club, milking us for new taxes to the tune of half a billion dollars. Schools needs attention, human needs, not corporate greed."
He said he loves baseball and is looking forward to going to games in Washington, but added, "We gotta stop giving away the whole store to a monopoly."
The Nationals is a name revived from the city's first baseball teams. Various teams played as the Washington Nationals from 1875 to 1899. The American League team that started play in 1901 was officially named the Nationals, but from their early years they were popularly referred to as the Senators, a name that became official in 1957.
The Senators franchise was moved to Minnesota in 1961, but was immediately replaced by a new Washington Senators team. That team became the Texas Rangers in 1972.