The baseball bash hosted by DC Baseball PAC at Herb and Patrice Miller’s Georgetown manse the other evening was heavy on testosterone. Wannabe team owners from seven different groups cheered Mayor Williams and former City Council Member Harold Brazil for bringing baseball back to the city. A grand-slam gala netting more than $50,000 for Better Learning Through Baseball drew more than 600 guests – including Olympic gymnast Jair Lynch, former Washington Redskin George Starke, former Washington Senators player Jim Hannan, ex-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, Councilwoman Sandy Allen, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., Nationals President Tony Tavares, D.C. Sports Commission Chair Mark Tuohey, banker B. Doyle Mitchell and D.C. Baseball PAC Chairman Neil Alpert.
Hopeful owners of the newest boys of summer buzzed about broadcast rights, which will largely dictate the price of the team. Within the more-than-stately mansion, a member of the Bill Collins baseball group employed an appropriate real estate analogy to discuss the deal: “If you buy a house, whether or not it’s been renovated will affect the price, just as what is included in the broadcast rights. That’s why the process of selecting an owner is moving so slowly.”
Brave amongst the Nationals
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson was spotted among the Nationals fans. When asked, he said his favorite team is the Atlanta Braves.
No party is complete without at least one round of boasting, and Vincent Orange did the one-upping honors by introducing himself to guests as the city’s next mayor. Of course, today in the District, politics plays ball at any Nationals event, as evidenced by council reps from all eight wards and practically everyone with an inkling of a dream of being the next mayor. Noticeable absentee: Council Member Adrian Fenty. But Nationals baseball also touches national politics, as FEMA head Mike Brown’s motorcade was longer than the mayor’s, but between the two, it was enough to shut down Q Street.
Traditional stadium food – peanuts and hot dogs – was nowhere to be found. Instead, the menu of brisket and shrimp was a hit. Perhaps that’s because restaurateurs vying for a presence in the new stadium – including Clyde’s, Chef Geoff’s, Georgia Brown’s and Red Sage – were in there making a subtle pitch, as were contractors and vendors in all areas.
WETA’s tin ear
Arts aficionados are lamenting WETA’s decision to pull the plug on classical music and are wondering who really orchestrated the move to change WETA’s programming to an all-news format. The Buzz hears that it was Executive Vice President Joe Bruns’ decision, and that WETA’s Board of Trustees, chaired by John Hechinger Jr. – the greatest single supporter of the new news format – rubber-stamped it. Bruns convinced the board that the programming switch would win the public radio station a bigger share of listeners. But will it lose them a big share of donors? While arts patrons have been extremely generous to WETA in the past, sources say that those patrons may not be so forthcoming with donations in the future. Remarking on WETA’s decision, musician and critic Peter Fay says, “They don’t know their responsibility to the community as a whole or they never would have made the decision.”
Puttin’ off the Ritz
Bad-boy actor Robert Downey Jr. and his entourage might be sleeping at the Ritz-Carlton, but they’re dining at Cafe Milano in Georgetown. The other night, Downey et al bided their time at the Ritz – whose food Downey hates, sources tell me – until they could claim their dinner reservation at Cafe Milano. Because of a private party earlier in the evening, CM was closed to normal business and Downey had to settle for a later time slot. Ironically, the private party was for yours truly – making Cafe Milano buzz central.
Wishing for Uncle Oscar
Local producer and director Gerardine Wurzburg will be in L.A. Sunday evening, hoping to bring home her second Oscar, this time for her short documentary, “Autism is a World.” Her friends will gather at Tracy and Adam Bernstein’s (his dad, Stuart, was U.S. ambassador to Denmark) home to cheer Gerry on, and at the same time raise money for autism research. Expected guests include Mayor Williams, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.
From courtroom to Justice
Tasia Scolinos, the public affairs director, who recently moved from Homeland Security to the Justice Department, has an unusual background. No stranger to media frenzy, she was a law clerk for the controversial Judge Lance Ito during the O.J. trial. Now, The Buzz wonders will the excitement of the upcoming Michael Jackson trial make her long for her days behind the scenes in a California courtroom.
Chief Justice Rehnquist, 82, may be ailing but he’s determined to finish his book. We hear he’s in his office working with his editor a few hours every day. No writer’s block there!