Monday, February 23, 2009
Stan Kasten Media Availability On Federal Investigation
At high noon--the media that covers Our Washington Nationals went into hyper-drive this Monday. Team President Stan Kasten let it be known that he would address their questions as to an ongoing Federal Investigation concerning skimming money off signing bonuses in Latin American Baseball. A probe that has now publicly included Our General Manager Jim Bowden.
Just the sight of every media member running into and around the training complex to head over to Field Number 3 was quite the sight. Then after everyone showed up--Mr. Kasten sat down in the first base dugout to comment and give answers. Here is the complete transcript--including some serious needling of the media by Our Team President.
Question: Can you comment on the Sports Illustrated story?
“Obviously, I don’t know anything that I can discuss with any of you guys. As I understand it, this is the same thing that was referred to last summer. And that is a whole different thing than the whole Esmailyn Gonzalez thing. The Esmailyn Gonzalez thing is a discreet piece that involved just us. This (S.I story) is obviously more wide ranging than that. This has already taken a hold on a number of teams. Several teams have let people go--while others did not let people go. It is a wide ranging investigation and there is nothing more I can say about that.”
“I am obviously DYING TO TELL YOU GUYS!! But I can’t yet, but as I committed to you guys last week, I am working as hard as I can on many different fronts—behind the scenes—to bring everything forward as quickly as I can. And I hope to be as open as I can—when I can. I can’t do that now.”
Question: Is there any concern about the cumulative effect on the organization?
“I am just not going to talk about things directly.”
Question: Do you think Stan that any of this has hindered the team’s preparation?
“That, I can unequivocally, and you can be the honest observer—this is a fantastic camp. It’s positive and upbeat camp as I can recall in my career in terms of athletic talent, atmosphere and the attitude of the players. It certainly has not affected them in their preparation and if you don’t believe it, ask them. First of all, I can’t tell if all the guys read all your publications as CAREFULLY AS I DO!! Ok, now that’s as politely as I could put it. Even yours Bill (looking over at Bill Ladson from Nationals.com).”
Ladson responds: Even mine?
“Yeah you too.” (chuckles and laughter from the assembled media).
“So it's clearly not at all a distraction to the work which you all came down here to cover—so let's remember that. And it’s happening with your backs turned to the field at the moment. I would hope you are not happy about that. Something could be going on right now. We could be having Adam Dunn at 3rd base at the moment and YOU WOULDN”T KNOW ABOUT IT!!—Because you are all wasting your time talking to me.”
Question: Stan—how much do you support Jim (Bowden)?
“Listen, I support everyone who works for The Washington Nationals—all the time—Period. But we are not going to talk about things that are going on away from here that I have no control of. I told you, I am going to allow the process to play out. We are going to let the chips fall where they may. We are going to look at things honestly and deal with them as is appropriate. Having said that, I am doing all the things that I can to speed the process up. There are many things going on that I cannot talk about. I hope to very soon.”
Question: Do you worry at all about how the rest of the baseball world might perceive you as an organization?
“Look like I said—that’s why it was important to help you remember that this Federal Investigation is quite wide ranging so far, covering a lot of teams and they are still working on that. You need to put that in a separate category to Esmailyn Gonzalez. And I will talk more about that later. There is a lot of revisionist history going on here (with the S.I. Story). There were teams, who apparently don’t remember this—teams who were fined for this. We were not. We DIDN'T BREAK ANY RULES or violated any rules. Other teams did and were fined. People everywhere seem to have forgotten that. But that’s just the facts.”
Question: Can you tell us the teams that were fined?
Question: Has there been a timetable at all to complete the investigation?
“Nothing I am going to discuss with all of you today. Like I said—when we have something more to say, and you heard me last week. As much as I can tell you about this, I will when I can—just not now."
With that final comment--the press availability ended.