The Pentagon Solution to a Baseball Stadium Dilemma

by MARK HAND

Baseball boosters in the Washington, D.C., area are conducting an agonizing search for the perfect location to build a new baseball stadium. The metropolitan area doesn’t have a major league baseball team yet, but some local officials are betting that leaders of Major League Baseball will decide to relocate slugger Vladimir Guerrero and his Montreal Expos franchise to the D.C. region. Having a stadium deal completed or in the works typically serves as a strong incentive for a city trying to lure a professional sports franchise. But NIMBY and public funding issues always seem to get in the way of major construction projects in urban areas.

In case anyone from the D.C.-area baseball groups is reading this, I have the perfect stadium solution.

Build the new baseball stadium on the site of the Pentagon facility in Arlington, Va. The stadium could be sited on the east side of the Pentagon, with an opening beyond the outfield wall that would give fans with a seat behind home plate magnificent views of the Potomac River and the Washington Monument and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. If you have season tickets in the stadium’s nosebleed section, you could feel a patriotic rush each game with a sightline to the ultimate symbol of representative democracy, the Capitol building, at the opposite end of the Mall.

Building a stadium at the Pentagon also could unite the business groups competing to site the stadium in either northern Virginia or within D.C.’s city limits. It would be a win-win situation for the two groups, especially if the groups can agree to pool their resources, thereby making it unnecessary for a single penny of taxpayers’ money to be spent on the stadium. Since most people around the country automatically assume the Pentagon is in D.C., the team of business leaders from D.C. could claim victory in bringing a team to the nation’s capital, while the business group from Virginia could legitimately say they succeeded in attracting the only major league sports franchise to the Old Dominion.

The plan would not involve demolishing the Pentagon building; the new stadium could abut the existing Pentagon building, similar to how the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards stadium is located next to the old B&O Warehouse. One major condition in the plan would involve forcing the Pentagon’s current Defense Department tenants to vacate the premises. Despite what former Republican Party operative and current head of the Baseball of Hall Fame Dale Petrosky might think, baseball and warmongering just don’t mix.

I’m sure most Arlingtonians would be thrilled to exorcise the world headquarters for USA murder and mayhem from within their county’s borders. Having such an obvious symbol of the malevolent side of the American Empire located within Arlington makes most Arlingtonians nervous that they could be hit with an even deadlier terrorist strike than occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to its eviction from the Pentagon, the Defense Department and its contractor partners-in-crime could be forced to depart the premises of all other office buildings they occupy in Arlington. If another central location cannot be located in the D.C. metro area in which to consolidate the military-industrial apparatus, I have another recommendation.

Relocate the war department’s headquarters to Iraq, where the Bush administration apparently has its heart set on setting up military bases in the recently liberated country in order to serve as the launching pad for waging what James Woolsey has dubbed World War IV.

With its invasion of Iraq, it appears that the U.S. government’s primary goal is the defense of oil, Israel and the Arab feudal monarchies in the Middle East. So why not build a replica of the Pentagon on the banks of Euphrates in Nasiriyah or farther north along the banks of the Tigris in Baghdad? Defense Department officials would feel right at home working in a gigantic office building on the banks of a famous river. The drier climate would be more favorable than the terribly humid summers current DoD employees must suffer through by commuting to the swampland along the Potomac River.

Relocating the Defense Department’s headquarters also would give military leaders easier access to meet face-to-face with the empire’s foot soldiers during the expected 100-year crusade against militant Islam. Nothing lowers morale among the rank-and-file than military superiors who bark orders while lounging in the plush confines of the empire’s capital. With military leaders and their civilian administrative support staff roughing it in the outposts of the empire, the foot soldiers will be less inclined to grow disgruntled with their assignments far away from home.

By moving DoD abroad, the U.S. government would once again be following the lead of Corporate America, which has successfully grown profits by exporting jobs overseas. DoD could save taxpayers’ money by setting aside a large percentage of jobs and a few contracts for the indigenous population, who surely would be content in making a fraction of the money of their American counterparts.

Relocating the military headquarters overseas also would give U.S. corporate leaders the opportunity to meet with military officials out of the media spotlight. As the empire expands in the region, the military’s corporate masters will be able to have direct input on the best strategies for boosting their profit margins and pacifying the local populations in the conquered lands in order to create large pools of cheap labor to meet the demands of their shareholders back home.

Given the U.S. public’s inclination to support all overseas military adventures, placing the U.S. military headquarters in one of America’s colonies would provide the U.S. military with virtual unanimous support for its endeavors. All Americans would be cajoled by the dominant U.S media to back the military’s activities, especially when its headquarters is situated in the middle of the war zone. There would be no excuse for any American to oppose the military leadership or its foot soldiers, given how we have learned that expressing dissent at home jeopardizes the mission of the military abroad.

Once the war makers at the Pentagon building leave the premises, work could begin on the building of the new baseball stadium, which, once completed, could be dubbed Peace Park at Pentagon City.

The old Pentagon building itself could be transformed into a social services headquarters for the Washington, D.C., area. Given the miserable condition of the public health system in the D.C. area, part of the building could serve as a free hospital for the uninsured. Another portion of the building could serve as a temporary homeless shelter for individuals and families that fallen on hard times. If Dennis Kucinich wins the presidency in 2004, perhaps he’d be interested in housing his proposed Department of Peace in the old Pentagon building.

Local authorities would not have to worry about traffic problems. The mass transit and road and parking systems currently in place at the Pentagon already do a wonderful job ferrying the Pentagon’s 25,000 workers back and forth to work each day. A new stadium in the Pentagon area easily could handle 30,000 to 40,000 fans traveling to 81 home games between March and October. More than a quarter of the games would occur on weekends, which means the baseball traffic would not compete with weekday rush hour traffic.

Instead of needlessly disrupting old neighborhoods in D.C. or the other areas of Arlington targeted for a possible stadium, boosters for baseball in the D.C. area should immediately present the Pentagon stadium proposal to the federal government, given that Major League Baseball officials say they will make a decision this summer on the location of the new home for the Montreal Expos. Imagine how the U.S. government could promote peace here at home and around the world by the symbolic removal of the war machine’s headquarters from the banks of the Potomac.

Baseball is rapidly becoming an international sport. A large percentage of major league players were born outside of the United States. By giving Major League Baseball’s D.C. franchise a home at Peace Park at Pentagon City, baseball’s top brass would be instantly tapping into this international fan base intrigued by America’s move toward helping non-Americans by exporting its military services and administration to foreign countries.

MARK HAND, an Arlington, Va., resident, is editor of Press Action.

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