Calling it "a lifelong dream," Theodore Lerner sat in front of the media on Wednesday prepared to be the owner of the Washington Nationals. The decision was reached after two years of negotiations and shifts in the makeup of the Lerner's ownership group.
Commissioner Bud Selig called the process the most difficult of his reign and felt that the Lerner group was the best of the eight bidding groups for the team.
Stan Kasten, who was one of the newcomers to the group, ran the Atlanta Braves for 17 years and will be appointed president of the Nationals when the group officially takes over the team. That should come in early June when all of the paperwork is completed. The next step will be getting the other 29 owners to vote on the sale, which is expected to happen at the owners' meetings in just under two weeks.
Both Lerner and Kasten emphasized rebuilding the team from the bottom up, placing a priority on building the minor league system from the doldrums that it's been in for the past few seasons. They must also deal with tweaking a plan for stadium construction and getting Nationals games on television in the D.C. area. Currently, Comcast Cable is refusing to put the games on their system, blocking most fans in Washington from seeing a majority of the games.
With Kasten set to come on board, current president Tony Taveras is on his way out. Neither Lerner or Kasten would comment on the status of other front office executives like GM Jim Bowden or on manager Frank Robinson's future with the club.
Lerner's son Mark will be most involved in the day-to-day operation of the team and his two sons-in-law will also be a part of the active group of participants running the club.