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Protester decries '$614 million giveaway'

11/24/2004 - Montreal Expos

WASHINGTON -- The 73-year-old former Washington Senators public address announcer was not about to let a protester ruin another big baseball day in the nation's capital. Charlie Brotman wrestled the intruder out of the way, clearing the stage for the Montreal Expos to be rechristened the Washington Nationals.

With approval by baseball owners and a ballpark funding package still pending, the franchise in flux forged ahead Monday with a splashy ceremony before hundreds of fans in the grand hall at Union
Station, unveiling a new name, logo, cap and plenty of new
merchandise for sale on the spot.

"Baseball is about our way of life," Mayor Anthony Williams
said. "It's about opportunity. And now with the Nationals, it's
about our nation's capital."

Selling his baseball plan to Washington residents has not been
easy for Williams, and the opposition made itself known just before
the news conference began when a member of the D.C. Statehood Green Party jumped on stage with a sign reading "Stop the $614 million stadium giveaway."

The protester, Adam Eidinger, managed to say, "This is a bad
deal, people" before Brotman engaged him in a tussle that nearly
knocked over the lectern. Others joined the fray, and Eidinger was
eventually led away by security to cheers from the crowd. He was
detained for about 15 minutes and released.

Team president Tony Tavares later announced that Brotman "will become our head of homeland security."

Eidinger and a few other protesters scattered in the hall oppose Williams' plan for public financing to build a new ballpark, a
concern that has delayed approval by the District of Columbia
Council. Estimates put the cost well above the original price tag
of $435 million. Recent compromises appear to have the legislation
on track for city approval before the Dec. 31 deadline set in an
agreement with Major League Baseball.

The team unveiled a red, white and blue logo with "Washington" on a red ribbon, "Nationals" on a blue field, and a baseball nested in a semicircle of stars. Red caps with a script "W" are nearly identical to those worn by the old Senators. There is also
to be a secondary logo featuring an interlocking "DC."

"Nationals" was the official name of the longtime American
League franchise more popularly known as the Senators. The team
played in Washington from 1901-60, with both names used for several decades. Owner Calvin Griffith officially changed the name to Senators in 1957. That team moved to Minnesota and became the
Twins.

The name Senators was also used for the expansion American
League team that played here from 1961-71. That team moved to Texas and became the Rangers.