Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tim Tolman

Its amazing how things can come back to haunt you. Tonight, while driving home from work, Charlie Slowes was interviewing new Washington Nationals 3rd Base Coach, Tim Tolman. Charlie was asking Tim about his role as Spring Training Coordinator and how things have changed since the original 72 some odd players showed up for the first day of Full Squad Workouts six weeks ago.

The interview was typical until, at the very end, Slowes gets off a terrific question, asking Tolman: "Alot of people talk about the inexperience of the youth and prospects in camp with The Washington Nationals, but you are sort of in the same boat. This is your first assignment as 3rd Base Coach, what have you been doing to get prepared for the new season?"

Tolman responded: "Yes, that's right. I need to study not only our players, but those on the other teams, especially the outfielders. Everyone knows what (Jeff) Francouer (Atlanta) can do with his arm. But, I need to study alot. Fortunately, Manny (Acta) knows the league and has been guiding and assisting to improve my knowledge. I got alot to learn."

It was a good question and honest answer. Then, I get home, turning the TV on MASN which is broadcasting the game. Lo and behold, in the bottom of the third inning, Dimitri Young is on first base with NO OUTS. Brian Schneider slams an opposite field gap shot past The New York Mets, Beltran Perez. Young can easily stop at 3rd, Schneider can cruise into second with Ryan Church up next. Amazingly, Tolman tests Beltran--who fires a liner to Jose Reyes at short, who EASILY tosses out the lumbering Dimitri Young.

I actually started laughing. Already considering writing about the Pre-Game Interview--now, I had too. Tolman's sending of Young brought back memories of Tony Beasley, and some of his head shaking decisions last season as Our 3rd Base Coach. I'll give Tim a pass this time, its still Spring Training. But, come Monday, please do not send a slow moving runner in a tie game, in the third inning, with no body out, runners set on 2nd & 3rd, and a potential power hitter coming to the plate. PLEASE!!

Base Running 101.


JayB said...

You are too kind so always.....why is he coaching Third if he does not know the players....I should know this but where was he last year and why did Manny hand pick him?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Jayb: I actually posted about Tolman and Aponte (Bullpen Coach) before. Both are men that were influential in his younger career as a player and coach. Mentors. So, he has rewarded them. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

Glum said...

I am so bummed. Less than 30 thousand tickets sold for opening day 2007. What has to happen to turn this around? Since '05 attendance and season tickets sales have dwindled. I hope we're not heading for a repeat of Senators I and Senators II.

SenatorNat said...

Great game last night on MASN - they are doing a nice job, both on the broadcast and the ubiquitous one Johnny Holiday and Ray Knight: now where is Marge S.'s poodle, and we would have the whole gang reunited!

Since this was an exhibition game, forcing the Lard-Man to run an extra 90 feet was genuis on the part of Tolman. And, Ask Not who The Tolman Toils For - He Toils for Acta....or something like that.

There will be games where Guzman, Lopes, and Young manage to not connect repeatedly in Keystone Cops mode, it would appear. And, there will be days when the fielding is unbelievable. Do Guzman, Young, and J. Williams share a nutritionalist from McDonalds or Popeyes?

About attendence - at the moment, the Nationals have a hard core base of fans comparable to the Capitals: with walk-ups, should produce about 1.9 million this year. The fact is that the Lerners have taken Soriano's and the total of $20 million they could and should have expended to keep him and add one starting pitcher and devoted it to the scoreboard and other new-fangled "contributions" to the new park.

Indeed, EVERYTHING is geared to making coin based on the new park. Our tour yesterday revealed that part of the model for its unique characteristics emanates from KC baseball - not suprising since this is where HOK cut its teeth,so all the new stadia are somewhat derived from this prototype with variations on the theme.

The problem is that the current Nats are modeled after the KC Royals - lots of earnest All-American looking guys with marginal overall talent compared to the rosters of competitive teams. Recall that in the inaugural year, Nats stayed in the pennant race until second week of September!!

Look for 3.1 million fans in 2008. Then, as Boswell writes, team's competitiveness key to keeping the 3 million attendance base which Lerners are counting on to make money. And making money is what they are about, evidenced by the fact that their building is the first one to blight the sight line to the U.S. Capitol for most fans in the lower portions of the bowl...

And the ads for the team - "Pledge Allegiance" put the onus on the fans to pursue loyalty based on the low-paid ushers, etc.

This violated the Golden Rule of Advertising: We Work for You - As, You Have No Obligation to Work for Us...Imagine Lexus: "Pledge Your Loyalty to Lexus"!!!

"Just Win Baby!" Al Davis sums up the only sure-fire way to generate the right "fan experience." That, and a hot dog which is, along with a beer, which is not...

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Screech's Best Friend said...

The Nationals have a solid fan base. What they have lost over the past two seasons are the casual and family fans that go to be involved with the EXCITEMENT of something special or different. The BUZZ. Unfortunately, there is little excitement about the team right now. That will change. And, then we shall all hear the complaints about the casual fans that come to the games, yak all night long, not pay one seconds attention to the game, and take away the enjoyment of the solid fan base. I can just see it happening.

JW said...

SBF - I don't begrudge the casual fan chatting all night as long as they don't bug me, or as long as I don't let them bug me. You know, I think Boswell said it in Ken Burns film - and if it wasn't Boswell or the Ken Burns film, apologies - "Baseball is a visiting game, where fans can go and have a chat while watching a ballgame."

SenatorNat said...

It could be, too, that the incessant chanting and resounding clatter of plastic empty beer bottles on seats by those in that Section 320 at RFK has made it intolerable for both casual and family fans alike!

The last thing in the world we "diehards" want is some screaming little kid for his Dad who has gone to the bathroom and abandoned him when we are researching important statistics on the minor league career of a utility infielder for the Brewers...

Check out ad in Special Baseball Section in W. Post today, bottom of H2: "They'll Be Pulling For the Nats on Opening Day" depicting three members of the groundscrew dusting off the basepaths in front of completely EMPTY Stadium in foreground of dullest gray background imaginable. Did Peter Angelos get to select Nationals advertising firm this year?

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Screech's Best Friend said...

JW--I agree with you. I should have phrased the comment better. My point was that the folks that complain about not many fans and less attendance, will be the same that complain about the non fans who will show just to be there, when the tickets get hot. thanks.