Monday, December 15, 2008
A New Vision
Buster Olney over at ESPN writes today that Our Washington Nationals, and even The Baltimore Orioles, should not be involved in The Mark Teixeira Sweepstakes. In fact, he describes Washington's offer as "LUNACY".
Well, Why Not Make An Offer?
Olney says that Washington should call up Super Agent Scott Boras and tell him that their Winter Meetings offer for his client was a mistake. And that they and Baltimore should not be in the running for ANY TOP PLAYER on the market, as long as both teams are struggling. Besides, Washington is a mid-market franchise, like Minnesota.
Mid-Market Franchise-what in the world is he talking about?
Buster also goes on to say that any big free agent signing will not attract many more fans. No, not now, or anytime before Washington begins to consistently win. So, The Lerners, Mr. Kasten and JimBo are wasting The Boston Red Sox Time and Money. Yes, The BoSox are the writer's choice for a Championship Lineup, if Teixeira signs with anyone. And Olney backs his assumptions by claiming how well he understands the Baltimore Market, since he covered The Orioles for a number of years as a beat writer in Maryland.
Well that's a pretty simple why of looking at it. And the last time I checked, no one has ever won a championship on paper. Everyone still has to play the games first.
Unquestionably, winning breeds success in attendance--just look at The Tampa Bay Rays. But, how is any team going to gain respect in the game, other than by winning, if they are not players at the so-called poker table of Free Agency. At some point in time, EVERY TEAM has to take a stand and find their own comfort zone in the market. Washington's finding their way right now. Yeah, Mark Teixeira may well not sign with Our Washington Nationals, may not even be considering their offer seriously. But, at least Our Franchise is getting the word out--and slowly becoming viable in the hunt for marketable talent.
You have got to be a player.
Nothing wrong with that because one of these days Washington is GOING TO LAND THE BIG HAUL--if not Teixeira over the next couple of weeks. So, who is Buster Olney to say The Red Sox or New York Yankees or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim should have the sole negotiating rights to Mark Teixeira--and none of the remaining 27 teams in Major League Baseball?
Is that not why it is called a "FREE" Market?
Olney should look at the very team he covered for so many years in Baltimore.
Remember, Camden Yards packed fans in night after night to see a barely above .500 but interesting team in the early to mid-1990's. All because The Ballpark itself was the attraction. But even then, The O's needed more to be competitive on the field and when Baltimore was still far, far away from truly contending--The Orioles went out and purchased on the open market, two of THE PREMIER Free Agents of the mid-90's, Rafael Palmeiro and Roberto Alomar.
Palmeiro and Alomar received HUGE Contracts for those times--both averaging over $5 Million per year. Baltimore had the money, and they spent the money.
Did anyone laugh at The Orioles then? Did Buster Olney, covering The Orioles at that time, write Baltimore had made a couple of poor financial decisions because they were not close to contending? Palmeiro came to Charm City in 1994 when he was 29 Years Old to play alongside Cal Ripken, Jr. Alomar in 1996, when he was 28 Years Old. Don't you believe that Palmeiro's signing raised the profile of The Orioles and eventually led to Roberto following in Rafael's footsteps (and a few other key lesser signings like B.J. Surhoff)?
I'd bet Olney didn't complain then, and by 1997, The Baltimore Orioles were arguably the best team in baseball, alongside The Atlanta Braves. Sidetracked only by two awful playoff appearances by their young and immature reliever Armando Benitez--who blew two games in American League Championship series that season. Yes, even then, The Two Best Teams in Baseball did not meet in The 1997 World Series. The Florida Marlins won their first championship over The Cleveland Indians.
The only "LUNACY" about Our Washington Nationals involvement in The Mark Teixeira Sweepstakes would be NOT PLAYING AT ALL. Palmeiro signed a five year deal with Baltimore and didn't play on a contender until he was 32 Years Old--but he was worth every single penny--when you looked at the complete package he brought to the ballpark every single day (and yeah I know he will be forever soiled by his career ending steroids usage investigation).
Now today, we find Washington Showing The Big Money, stepping up and letting everyone know they are seriously interested in a 28 Year Old slugging first baseman to play alongside Ryan Zimmerman. No, Teixeira's not the final answer, more parts are still needed to build Our First Real Contender--but you have to start somewhere by getting the word out that The Nation's Capital wants to become a perennial Winner in games of Major League Baseball--and that doesn't happen overnight.
You see, these Winter Meetings of 2008/2009 are opening up a new Vision of Our Washington Nationals, even if that view hasn't reached the foresight of Buster Olney.