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D.C.'s team to be the Nationals11/22/2004 12:00 PM ET
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- City and team officials announced at a Monday press conference at the Main Hall in Union Station that Washington, D.C.'s baseball team would be named the Nationals.
The name change comes almost two months after Major League Baseball announced that the team was relocating from Montreal to Washington, D.C. The team will play its home games at RFK Stadium during the 2005 season.
With team president Tony Tavares, interim general manager Jim Bowden and Mayor Anthony Williams in attendance, the Nationals also revealed a new logo, which is red, white, blue and gold, and the team cap, which is red and has the pretzel-like W, which is similar to the Washington Senators hat of the late 1960s and early '70s.
The Nationals are expected to reveal their uniform color scheme on Dec. 2. The uniform will have a D.C. patch on the sleeve as a tribute to Williams and his staff, which played a role in getting the team. According to person close to the situation, the home uniform is expected to be red, while the road uniform is still up for debate. The team is leaning toward blue.
Before the press conference started, Adam Eidinger, a member of the D.C. Statehood Green Party, went on the stage to protest the mayor's plan to finance a ballpark for team.
Before he could finish his speech, the microphone was turned off and Charlie Brotman, who was a longtime public address announcer for the Washington Senators, and several security guards removed Eidinger from the stage.
The Nationals were competing against such names as the Senators and Grays. Senators was the name of the previous two Major League Baseball franchises in Washington, and Grays was a Negro League team based in Pittsburgh.
According to Tavares, Major League Baseball and Williams had input in the name of the team. Williams did not want the Expos to be renamed the Senators, pointing out that the District of Columbia does not having voting representation in the U.S. Senate.
"It's a question of taste," Tavares said. "In this case, I think Nationals gives us a fresh start. For example, in our media guide, we're talking about having a page of records from the old Senators, a page of records from the Expos and a blank page writing our own records in Washington. This is a new team. The record is going forward here. We'll start with that."
Williams received the loudest ovation when he was introduced to the crowd of about 200. Williams praised councilmen Harold Brazil and Jack Evans.
"We would not be at the point we are, and we are not going to be successful in bringing baseball back to D.C. if not for the leadership and the support of these two council members," Williams said.
A couple of the Nationals players who were with the club in Montreal said they liked the team's new name.
"I'm glad they finally decided to give us a name. I think it sounds patriotic, because we are going to D.C.," said infielder Jamey Carroll. "They wanted to do something right and it's pretty exciting."
Said closer Chad Cordero, "I think it's cool being that we are in the nation's capital. I'm looking forward to playing in Washington D.C. It's a new city."
The team's players association representative, catcher Brian Schneider, said while he was pleased with the name change, he is thankful the Nationals will have a fan base and one city they will call home. The last two years, the team split its home games in Montreal and Puerto Rico.
"I'm happy with any name they give the team," Schneider said. "The biggest thing is we are going to have a home, a fan base. There will be a lot of people at the stadium every night and cheering for us. I know a lot of us are excited for that."
This will be will be the fourth time the name Washington Nationals will be associated with professional baseball. In 1884, the Nationals played in the American Association. That same season, there was another team called the Washington Nationals in the Union Association.
The Nationals of the American Association were disbanded on Aug. 3 of that year, while the Nationals transferred to the National League the following season. They lasted four more years.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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