D.C. playoff cost estimate: $65k a game

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Local,DC,Nationals,Alan Blinder

The District confirmed Wednesday that the city will foot the bill for more than 130 D.C. employees to provide security and other services around the Washington Nationals' home playoff games -- an expense of at least $65,000 for each matchup, though the figure could climb considerably.

For an average of $33,319 a game, Mayor Vincent Gray's administration said it would deploy approximately 55 police officers to Nationals Park, nearly three times the number of cops who typically provide security for games.

And that's just counting the officers who will be at the 41,888-seat ballpark. The Washington Examiner first reported in September that more than 400 officers who specialize in civil disturbances would be available during high-profile games to provide additional security.

Kristopher Baumann, the leader of the city's police union, warned Wednesday that parts of the District could end up with a shortage of police officers during the playoffs, a contention D.C. leaders disputed.

Team effort
Although the Metropolitan Police Department will incur most of the District's costs in staging playoff baseball games, other agencies will pay, too.
-- Department of Transportation: about $25,502 per game
-- Taxicab Commission: approximately $3,988 per game
-- Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: approximately $1,899 per game
The Department of Public Works will also spend about $6,000 for every game, but that isn't different from its usual expenses for baseball events.

"They have mobilized, changed the shifts and depleted resources," Baumann said. "The neighborhoods are going to be less safe."

But mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro countered that the city would have the "exact same level of policing effort" and said the District had an obligation to prepare.

"To not plan for every eventuality would be malpractice on our part, so we plan for everything from the best to the worst," Ribeiro said.

Deputy Mayor Paul Quander said the city had laid out its emergency plan to comply with its labor agreement.

"We had to put notice into place so we could have enough members to respond if needed," Quander said.

If the city ends up needing the additional officers, the District's costs for the playoffs would soar. An Examiner analysis showed that if D.C. deployed the maximum number of officers it has said it could use for each playoff game, the tab would easily cross $1 million for the full post-season.

"The officers at the ballpark are the officers that we're counting [for the current estimate]," Ribeiro said.

The Nationals, who claimed the National League East crown on Monday, will begin post-season play on the road Sunday in Atlanta or St. Louis. D.C. will host its first playoff game on Oct. 10.

Along with the police officers, the city also said it would assign about 60 officials from the District Department of Transportation to handle baseball issues, especially traffic.

D.C. will also detail Department of Public Works staffers to clean the streets and handle towing after each game. Additionally, eight taxi inspectors and eight vending enforcement officials will be working in the ballpark's vicinity.

Ribeiro predicted the city will easily recoup what it spends to host playoff games, though he declined to give a specific estimate.

"Even a back-of-the-napkin estimate puts us clearly over," Ribeiro said.

Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans has estimated the city could make $1 million off every World Series game should the team advance that far.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner