Baseball in Washington

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Major league baseball has returned to Washington, D.C., with a team nicknamed the “Nationals.” From 1901 to 1960, the Washington team was called the “Senators,” perhaps in recognition of Congress’ supposed preeminent position in the constitutional scheme of things. The powers of the legislative branch were spelled out in Article I, indicating – as my former professor on constitutional history, William Crosskey, emphasized – the intentions of the framers for Congress to be the dominant branch of government. But all of that has changed. Congress has retired to the bleachers, and Washington baseball fans could not be expected to show enthusiasm for a team named for idle spectators. What name would suffice in this post-constitutional era of realpolitik? What about the “Washington Regulators” or the “Washington Bureaucrats?” Such names have pejorative rings to them, and would be too offensive even for the beltway crowd. The “Nationals” is too wimpy a name for a city whose ambitions stretch worldwide. It might have sufficed in FDR’s time, but is now outmoded. For the sake of honesty in packaging, let me suggest a name that reflects the “new world order” being orchestrated in that town: the “Washington Emperors.”

12:11 pm on April 15, 2005