D.C. OKs revised lease; MLB yet to examine changes

Updated: February 8, 2006, 7:00 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Major League Baseball responded skeptically to a revised lease for the Washington Nationals that was approved early Wednesday by the District of Columbia Council, which rejected an earlier proposal just hours before.

During a series of sessions that began Tuesday and lasted more than 14 hours, council members rejected the lease 8-5, then approved it 9-4 after capping the city's spending at just under $611 million.

"Major League Baseball has not yet been provided with the filings made by the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission with the City Council last Friday, nor the text of the legislation passed by the Council last night," baseball spokesman Rich Levin said in a statement. "We are very concerned about what we heard during the debate, and we need to read the materials and the legislative language so we can determine whether they are consistent with the agreements between Major League Baseball and the city."

The District of Columbia and baseball reached an agreement in 2004 that led to the Montreal Expos moving to Washington and becoming the Nationals. It called for a lease to be in place by Dec. 31, 2005, and when that deadline wasn't met, baseball filed for mediation.

After the initial rejection Tuesday, baseball's chief operating officer, Bob DuPuy, said the sport would proceed to arbitration in an effort to enforce its 2004 agreement.

Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams said he expected baseball will soon sign the lease.

"It wasn't a pretty landing, but we brought the thing in," Williams said at his weekly news briefing.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press