Saturday, December 23, 2006
Give 'Em Credit Now
After six months of constant debate about the leadership quality of The Lerners as owners of The Washington Nationals--both in the media and, especially, among Nat Bloggers--The Washington Post Reports today that Management has stepped up BIG TIME to contribute cash improvements to the New Stadium being built on South Capitol Street.
Tom Boswell reports that Managing Principal Owner, Ted Lerner, will authorize "at least $30 Million" in improvements to the currently under construction stadium. And, after the ballpark opens, in 2008--Ted's son, Principal Owner, Mark Lerner, tells Boz that the family expects to spend "millions more each season to develop the park's personality."
Is this not, exactly, what so many have been complaining about the new owners for so many months? That the Lerners were tightwads, cheap and unwilling to spend one extra dollar toward making the city financed park the "Crown Jewel" we all want it to be. You have to, finally, give them credit. Its clear, The Lerners DO HAVE a business plan--just not yours, or mine.
Many complained about "THE PLAN", which essentially has gutted the team of major league caliber players, and focused on building the Washington Nationals from the ground up, first with young developing talent, was a bad idea. Critiques complained that the cost savings for dumping payroll was not being put back into the franchise, but pocketed by ownership. Since day one, I have backed the plan, as this franchise needs a total overhaul, badly.
Then, others bitched, that as a gesture of goodwill, The Lerners should willingly pay for all cost overruns and improvements to the stadium--this all before, they even had the opportunity to, as businessman, look thoroughly at ALL THE PLANS. Building Plans worked out, well before they even knew ownership of The Washington Nationals was coming in their direction. Would you jump in blindly?
Now--six months into their reign, its CRYSTAL CLEAR that Our Washington Nationals are going to be what I have believed for some time--A GLAMOUR FRANCHISE--and The Lerner Group, along with Team President, Stan Kasten are leading the charge. Over the past few weeks, everything seems to be finally coming together, at the Holidays (Oh Yeah, I am still pissed, though, about the $15 Parking Fee at RFK for 2007).
Included in the Stadium upgrades by the Lerners will be an HDTV quality scoreboard, larger restaurant in centerfield with a special LED Sign for Advertising, greater amenities for the Club Level Suites. And, those red seats that I was very interested in that showed up in the latest stadium renditions in left centerfield--THEY WILL BE TABLES that you can buy food from the restaurant, while still watching the game. I love that concept.
The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission estimates these improvement may be greater than $35 million. And, Mark Lerner stated that this will not be all for improvements. Once the stadium opens, Management will constantly look at opportunities to enhance the total baseball experience.
We, as fans, are seeing our child, Our Washington Nationals, slowly grow up. Before you know it, The Nats will be out of adolescents and into adulthood. Believe it or not, you are going to miss some of these growing pains. Its a GREAT TIME to be a Washington Nationals Fan.
The Lerners have, publicly, stepped it up, and hopefully quelled some of the angst that has existed out there for some time. For me, Christmas has come two days earlier this year.
Again--Happy Holidays to ALL OF YOU!!