Saturday, November 11, 2006
They Are Professional
I keep reading on and on about, especially in the main stream media, that The Washington Nationals do not know what they are doing. "The Nats are unwilling to spend money". "Washington has no plan". "The Nationals fired a popular but mediocre manager, and have no clue what to do to replace him". "We need to win now". "Tom Paciorek should be re-hired as TV Color Announcer". "Our Nats have no talent"--on and on it goes. And, so many of us have got caught up in the frenzy.
After all the speculation, wishing, and flat out bitching--Team President Stan Kasten seems to be, ever so slowly, putting together a Professional Lineup--both, on and off the field.
Over the past 10 days, Mr. Kasten, along with General Manager, Jim Bowden have, through diligent work, signed 21 minor league free agents to fill up the fairly woesome Farm System, and, hopefully, found a gold nugget or two to help the Major League Roster. Together, they announced the hiring of 10 Major Scouting Department hires--all qualified and educated on FINDING TALENT--Talent Our Washington Nationals need badly. Our Nats, now on par with every other team in the Majors, when it comes to scouting. We are EQUALS.
Then--after so much heartache and pain, for some--The Nats will hire the one Manager, to replace Frank Robinson--so many figured was the best fit for the job all along--Current New York Mets Third Base Coach--Manny Acta. Manny will sign a Two Year Contract Agreement. Yeah, he's the HOT NAME--Yeah he may well flame out like Norv Turner did, under a similar situation with Our Washington Redskins--but its clear, Acta WANTED THE JOB. Openly talked about what a great situation it would be. Understands that Our Washington Nationals may well become a GLAMOUR FRANCHISE. Manny is 37 years old-looking for that first BIG BREAK--like all of us in our job careers--at one time, or still today. Acta is so perfect for a growing team-to me. A team that will make mistakes over the next few seasons, but under the right guidance--may well surprise--a year of two sooner than expected.
I am sure most folks out there realize, I am a bit more optimistic than most. Just having a team in MY HOMETOWN, after losing MY WASHINGTON SENATORS in 1971 has been a BIG THRILL for me. I love our team--openly. And, make no mistake about it--The Washington Nationals are OUR TEAM!!
Mr. Kasten is building a PROFESSIONAL FRANCHISE. And, even during that building and, the potential growing pains, The Nats announced yesterday a DECREASE, or No Change, in all but the VERY BEST SEATS in the house at RFK. When someone can have a Season Ticket at RFK for just $405 in 2007-$5 per game--(In 1971, the final year of the Senators at RFK, the cheapest seat in the house were those same Yellow Outfield Seats, at $10 per game--1971 Dollars), you can not complain about it. That's a steal today--and an effort to build a fan base. A Fan Base that will, willingly, come to the new park on South Capitol Street in 2008.
For 34 years, so many of us rooted for THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES--and enjoyed so much of their success--until the Devil of Modern Baseball--Peter Angelos, ruined one of Baseball's GLAMOUR FRANCHISES with his short sightedness. Then, Angelos attempted to hijack the Welcoming of our very own team. Time and Time again, Peter The Great tried to block the move of The Montreal Expos to Washington. MLB allowing the move anyway--although paying a Ransom for the decision--including Our Nationals TV Rights.
But, despite it all--Poor Management by MLB, Stadium Problems, No Owners, Delay after Delay---The Washington Nationals are FLOURISHING. Would you rather root for a floundering Orioles Team, or an Up and Coming Nationals Franchise? Our Nats drew an equal amount of rabid fans to so called--archaic, RFK Stadium, in 2006. Camden Yards is a FABULOUS Ballpark. Yet, no one is Boycotting the Nats, like Baltimore Fans did late in the 2006 season.
We have HOPE. Hope brought by A NEW OWNER, The Lerner's--and a quality President, leading the Baseball effort--Mr. Stan Kasten. Despite everyone, including my concerns--The Nationals are becoming a Quality, Professional Franchise. A Franchise that all of us, will be proud of for years to come. I could not overstate how much, I believe, that will be true.
10 years from now, I expect to sit back and, fondly recall, all the growing pains of OUR WASHINGTON NATIONALS.