WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The Washington Nationals closed down their business and promotional offices Wednesday after their long-term status in the city became questionable.
On Tuesday, the District of Columbia Council decreed that half the cost for any new stadium would have to be privately funded.
When Major League Baseball settled on Washington as the new home for the Montreal Expos, the agreement did not include such a demand.
With baseball's status in Washington suddenly in doubt, the team closed down a portion of its offices.
"Because our stadium agreement provides for a Dec. 31, 2004 deadline, we will not entertain offers for permanent relocation of the club until that deadline passes," said MLB President Bob DuPuy.
"In the meantime, the club's baseball operations will proceed, but its business and promotional activities will cease until further notice."
The Nationals could play one season in Washington at RFK Stadium and then move to one of the cities that originally bid on the team -- a list that includes Portland and Las Vegas.