WASHINGTON -- The Montreal Expos are about to get their new
name: the Washington Nationals.
A city official and a baseball official, both speaking on
condition of anonymity, said Friday that the team will reveal its
new name, cap and red-white-and-blue color scheme during a news
The search for a new name began Sept. 29, when Major League
Baseball announced it planned to relocate the team for the 2005
season. Initially, the plan was to wait until the team was sold to
select the name, but the sale process is expected to take months --
and the team needs to start marketing itself in its new home city
The top contenders were Nationals, Senators and Grays, with
Senators the sentimental favorite. The original American League
Senators played in the nation's capital from 1901-60 before moving
to Minnesota to become the Twins. The expansion Senators called
Washington home from 1961-71 before moving to Texas to become the
Rangers. Senators was also the preference of commissioner Bud
Selig, even though the Rangers still hold the rights to the name.
But Mayor Anthony Williams objected, saying the name isn't
appropriate, given the District of Columbia's lack of
representation in the U.S. Senate.
"We don't have senators here," the mayor said in September.
"Give us two senators, and I'll be happy to call them the
Williams preferred the Grays, a tribute to the Homestead Grays,
a Negro League team that played many of its games in Washington in
the 1930s and 1940s. Historians, however, noted that the Grays'
real home was Pittsburgh.
The compromise was Nationals. The Nationals, or Nats, was
considered the original official nickname of the 1901-60 team. But
fans instead adopted Senators, which was the name of two National
League teams in Washington in the late 1800s.
Baseball owners still must approve the move. They delayed a vote
when they met Thursday but said one will take place by Dec. 6. The
relocation is also contingent on the D.C. government enacting
legislation by Dec. 31 to finance a new ballpark.