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Norfolk, Virginia Throws its Hat into the Ring

The Marlins have another possible suitor in the relocation dance and Norfolk wants a spot on the dance card.

The man who tried to bring Major League Baseball to downtown Norfolk in 2004 is trying again, but acknowledges the odds are against him.

William Somerindyke Jr., whose effort to lure the Montreal Expos to Norfolk failed, said he has been in contact with the Florida Marlins.

The good people of Norfolk think they have a shot, seeing as there aren't a large number of season ticket holders to the Nationals in the city, MLB would be less likely to block their bid.

Since it all gets down to the stadium deal, what do they have to offer?

Somerindyke and city officials had a handshake deal in 2004 to finance a new stadium adjacent to where Harbor Park is located. It would have been built largely with rebates of state and local taxes generated on site and also with revenue streams - a portion of the city's meals and hotel taxes - already dedicated for a major sports facility. Taxes would not have been increased to build a stadium, city officials said.

Mayor Paul Fraim reacted cautiously after speaking with Somerindyke.

"If Major League Baseball wants to come to Norfolk, the welcome mat is out," Fraim said. "But we are not going to get in a position where we are bidding against other communities for this team."

A handshake deal?!?  Isn't that sweet.  Politicians never go back on those.  According to Baseball Prospectus that deal has evaporated.

Northern Virginia, has let its stadium authorizing legislation lapse, and would have to be starting from square one.

Honestly, I'm not sure that Baseball Prospectus is referring to Norfolk - who I wouldn't characterize as being in Northern Virginia but it's the only city in the state I can remember that was actively seeking the Expos.

Norfolk already has a leg up on its potential competition, in that, it has a Mermaid Store.

Speaking of Virginia and if you happen to be in Danville this coming Saturday there is an event you might want to catch.

The George Washington High School baseball card show will be Saturday at the school's cafeteria in Danville, Va. from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Jack McKeon, an Elon alumnus who managed the Florida Marlins to a World Series title, and Jim Coates, a nine-year major league veteran who pitched in three World Series for the New York Yankees in the 1960-'62 seasons will be on hand.

Proceeds benefit the school's boys varsity and junior varsity baseball programs. Information: Bill Setliff, 434-793-5879, or Jennifer Whitey, 434-799-3973.

If you are in town, go say hi to Jack.  No doubt, he will be happy to see you.