<
>

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

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.