Monday, October 16, 2006
Building From Within
There has been alot of sniping going on about The New Owners of Our Washington Nationals, The Lerners, and also at Team President, Stan Kasten. Many wanting the Nats to spend heavily in the free agent market, to make the playoffs right away. I am not going to rehash all of that again, but one thing about them, is making me happy: I am sure, The WASHINGTON NATIONALS, under this ownership, will not turn the franchise into the sorry, difficult to love and appreciate--Washington Redskins.
At one time, I was as passionate for The Washington Redskins as I am for Our Nationals. Growing up in the DC Area, The Redskins have dominated the headlines and sporting interest of just about everyone here, for my entire life. And, I was hooked on them. Hooked on them, until "The Squire", Jack Kent Cooke, passed away.
Moving The Redskins from RFK Stadium to that terrible montrosity in Landover, all Cooke's doing, was the beginning of my downfall on the team. But, since Daniel Snyder took over, each and every subsequent year, I have been turned off by just about everything this owner has done.
Snyder is all about MONEY and nothing else, trying to squeeze each and every dollar out of, what many will say, is the FINEST FANBASE in the country. Yet, what has turned me off the most, is Mr. Snyder's continuing penchant for Fantasy Football. Always overpaying for talent, giving up top draft picks, putting a team on the field that has no chemistry. Never building from within. Always changing his mind on the teams direction. The Redskins may make more trades than any team in the NFL. Trading players is not a regular thing in Pro football. Then, once Snyder trades for new players, immediately has to resign those players to some MONSTER CONTRACTS--killing any chance of building in future years. Joe Gibbs is also to blame for some of this, but, Mr. Snyder is the linchpin to the operation. As I have always said--Its better to win with your own players, than finish 2nd or 3rd with someone else's players. The Redskins are always pushing the panic button--making them unenjoyable to watch.
The Redskins under Snyder always finish out of the money. They are the GREATEST OFF SEASON team in the sport--making huge Headline Splashes--Trading, Signing Players, throwing the Money around. For the entire 2006 Season, I have yet to watch a complete game. In fact, did not even watch any of the past 3 games. Yesterday, I was grocery shopping. The African Queen stunned by my reversal. There was a time where she could not even speak to me during the games.
Snyder has put so much pressure on WINNING NOW and nothing else, that anything short of a decisive victory is never enough. I want to see the Redskins win too, go to the Super Bowl, win the Lombardi Trophy!! But, not through the reckless, never thinking to the future way this team is run, today. The Washington Redskins have very few players that seem, well, human. They are like clones, nothing different about anyone.
The Redskins are the New York Yankees of Football. Look at the Yankee teams of the past 11 season under Joe Torre. When George Steinbrenner actually took a back seat, allowing the baseball folks to make the decisions, The Yankees won 4 World Series in five seasons. Those Yankee teams of the late 90's had a nice grouping of homegrown players, skillful trades and just the right amount of free agents to plug any holes. The Yankees had Chemistry, and it showed. They were FUN TO WATCH--never out of any game. You may hate the Yankees, many do, but true baseball fans had to appreciate those teams from 1995 to 2000. Professional in every aspect.
Once the Yankees started to pay for Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield, Johnny Damon, etc.--the building of an ALL Star Lineup, without building a team, they have faltered. No World Series Championship since 2000. Its not a coincidence.
What I like about the Lerners and Stan Kasten, so far, is their unwillingness to discuss their business publicly. They may be moving at a Snails Pace, to us, but they are making a once moribund and putrid franchise PROFESSIONAL again. I like that alot.
The Nationals need pitching, badly, but we don't need the Nats to OVERPAY for a bunch of free agents, players just looking for a payday, and not necessarily winning. As much as I love Alfonso Soriano, if he really has turned down that $70 Million ($14 Million to year) 5 year contract, that's OK with me. Not many of the MLB's best players make above that amount. And, only Albert Pujols is worth anything above $15 million to me. That $70 Million could be better spent.
As SenatorNat emailed me:(Without Alfonso) "Nationals much better served to have Dontrelle Willis type pitcher for next five years, and a 35-35 hitter
with excellent defensive skills for the same or less money (healthy Escobar, and improved everyday Church gets you there with no money virtually - but, this may be dreaming...)".
Of course, there will rarely be a Dontrelle Willis type player available on the free agent market. Those type pitchers always come from within your organization, homegrown. The Expos, for many seasons, until their death after the 2004 season, would always let their homegrown players walk, in their free agent years--avoiding paying the Big Dollars. I don't see the Lerner's/Kasten acting this way. Zimmerman will play here for 10 or more years, and, someday, hopefully soon, we will have a few quality pitchers, developed in our own system, to be cherished by Washington Fans for years to come.
At RFK Stadium, right now, Our Washington Nationals have some solid players, players with personality, players you can actually cheer for: Chad Cordero, Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, Soriano (If he does come back), Brian Schneider, John Patterson, Alex Escobar (When he's not reinjuring himself, walking to the breakfast table) and even Ryan Church. They may not be even average players, but the speed of Bernie Castro and Nook Logan is fun to watch. Not many surly, selfish players on the Nationals--Jimbo finally showed--Mr. Personality, Damian Jackson the door. Baseball is a team game, like Football. But, our Washington Nationals, are building team chemistry. The Washington Redskins have no chemistry, will not be a team again, until they start rebuilding from within. And, I will not be watching until that day. I have found some other very nice alternatives to better use that football time on beautiful, cool, crisp, autumn days.