Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Dark Clouds

The Dark Clouds began to gather moments after the word began to spread. The Storm building over Space Coast Stadium perfectly represented the day ahead. A weather change was coming and Our General Manager Jim Bowden had lost his job. Officially resigning his position as Vice-President and General Manager of Our Washington Nationals. 84 Degrees in Viera, Florida yesterday. 54 Degrees today. A chilling reminder that threatening clouds can whisk away the past, while refreshing the days ahead.

Never is it a happy day to see someone lose their job. Especially a person that displayed the passion for the game of baseball as Jim Bowden. JimBo may not have been the best General Manager out there. Yeah, he has his enemies, but Bowden has put Our Washington Nationals in a better position for 2009 and beyond. All the while directing a resurrection of Our Farm System depleted from the terrible Orphan Ownership of Major League Baseball.

No, we haven't won anything yet. We have too many Ex-Reds within Our Organization. Our Franchise was embarrassed over the Esmailyn Gonzalez revelation. And we still do not have enough talent on the Major League Roster. But rebuilding is a well long thought out process--not one completed overnight by signing every free agent out there. Ask The Washington Redskins how well they have done working just that angle?

Whether real or perceived (and life is seldom fair), The FBI Investigation of Jim Bowden on money skimming in Latin America had become a distraction to Our Washington Nationals Team--on the field. The swirling rumors polarizing the moving forward of Our 2009 Team. There is no doubt in our minds a deal was struck-saving face for both DC's Team and Mr. Bowden. And that's the way it should have been done.

Today's decision marks a major turning point in Our Washington Nationals. Over the past two weeks, Team President Stan Kasten has navigated this billowing storm with a professional insight and decision making prowess like no other. In fact, he proved how important he is to Washington's Baseball Club. Never one to play his cards publicly, he deftly waited, watched, observed and took action ONLY WHEN TIME WARRANTED. Playing Point Man for Ownership--Mr. Kasten took all the heat and warmed to its touch. Living in Washington, DC--Stan Kasten played the role of High Level Diplomat.

No one deserves to be let go from a job they love. And it's saddening to see Jim Bowden leave in such a disheartening way. But hopefully, JimBo now walks away with his head up high and with the respect of many of those now left behind to toil in his wake. We are hoping that Jim Bowden is eventually cleared of all alleged transgressions insinuated against him--those rumors advanced for some time by those that have no inside knowledge of the actual situation. And that in the end, Mr Bowden comes out clean and returns to the game he loves.

Late this afternoon those Dark Clouds lifted as Our Washington Nationals fell to The Baltimore Orioles in exhibition play 7-5 at Space Coast Stadium. The threatening storm had not brought rain--had not in fact--cancelled today's game, nor did it affect the upcoming season for Our Washington Nationals. Because at the end of the day there was no Storm, just the use of some seasoned diplomatic maneuvering to move Our Franchise forward.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Keith said...

Oh there's a storm alright. It's not hanging over the Nats anymore, but a lot of people are going to get drenched.

DJ82 said...

I'm amused by the tone you've taken towards Bowden lately. Especially considering that I have been reading this blog almost since its inception, I would imagine you to be very happy that the Nationals have moved on from Bowden.

Back then there was no Frowny. There was no FBI. No DR. No insinuations from the press. No 102 loss seasons. You didn't even know that guys like Armando Gallaraga would be wildly successful when they matured or that Jamie Carroll would get the game winning at bat in game 7 of the NLCS.

You clearly and convincingly highlighted Bowden's failings and bonehead moves. He has made many since. That is why he needed to be gone. As you said, he is "not the creative person needed to lead this franchise to the promised land."

So why the measured take? Why the change in attitude? I have seen you and the AQ recoil when some don't appreciate that it is all about the fun, and believe me, I get that. But I get the sense that you may be filtering out of fear of ruining the fun.

If there is one thing I hope Jim Bowden doesn't take with him, its the fiery outspokenness, and the segway inspired jovial attitude.

Anonymous said...

SBF...what's done is done, and I appreciate you not beating this saga to death over the last few days, as MANY other blogs have done. I hate to see anyone lose their job, but I'm sure he'll be fine. JimBo stepping down was the best for him and for the team. Yeah, he had his faults, but, with the limited resources he had available, he pulled off some decent moves. I think we will be a better team this year, and hopefully we can move on and be even better in years ahead. Let's play ball!

Screech's Best Friend said...

DJ82--and you can bet that we were very unhappy over the way in which Jim Bowden publicly "non-tendered" Chad Cordero last Summer, that was inexecusable. But we've come to understand better how things operate with any Major League Team over the past three years. Unlike others, Sohna and I don't believe that everyone working for The Nationals is incompetent at their jobs. If you read others takes, that all they harp over. They say that JimBo is the devil. Despite everything that has gone on-- there are some good things about this GM's efforts. Ryan Zimmerman, Jesus Flores, John Lannan, Ellijah Dukes, Jordan Zimmerman, Jack McGeary, The Trade for Alfonso Soriano--and his free agency leading directly to Jordan Zimmermann. The Trade for Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham. Certainly there are others. Reminder--Two weeks ago--everyone seemed to be raving about Adam Dunn's signing, rather cheaply, and the fact that JimBo had everything to do with that. Not going by allegations. Not going by rumor and innuendo, Jim Bowden wasn't perfect, but he did a decent job under MLB Baseball's tight reign and was able to find some quality prospects and sign or trade for a handful of decent major league players at limited expense to the franchise. In fact, no long term debt. And the very fact that Aaron Crow's agents didn't attempt a real negotiation until the final hours, maybe minutes, last summer--is not JimBo's fault. That lies with The Hendrick Brothers, Crow's agents. Bowden deserves some credit for his work, not just the constant reminder this team lost 102 games in 2008. A healthy lineup may have responded with a .500 record last season. That's what many fans were expecting. Instead they collapsed under it all and Washington now finds itself with the 1st and 10th choices (thanks to Crow not signing) in 2009. Washington did sign all their top picks over the past two years (save Crow) since The Lerner's officially took over. People can nitpick and decide whatever they want on whether those draft choices will pan out. But those choices were made and ownership stuck with him. At least until The Esmailyn Gonzalez Revelation and The FBI Investigation brought him down. His reign has not been a total failure. Our Washington Nationals are a better team in 2009, and hopefully they will surprise many. And if they do, Jim Bowden should get some credit. If others think JimBo is the devil, then sometimes even The Devil Gets His Due.

Andrew Lang said...

DJ82 - It isn't SBF's nature to kick a man when he is down, and I don't see him backtracking on previous comments rather he just isn't piling on at this time.

Unfortunately for JimBo, he couldn't survive something unrelated to the on the field MLB team. 2009 was his best off-season and could have been a year to bring back fan support for DON'TFIREJIM, but Frowneygate buried him.

GM's and Managers are always under the microscope, and it has always amazes me on who gets by each year. I had always said JimBo had 9 lives.

I was always 50/50 on Jim on any given day as I could count many good things and unfortunately as many bad things. I know what some agents think of him, but what was impressive was what the players thought of him. I would hear "He knows his stuff", "A great baseball mind", "A fair man", and "You always know where you stand with Jim".

So many of Jim's detractors would say other GM's won't deal with him, but he still got trades done as was witnessed again this past 12 months with Bonifacio-Rauch and Bonifacio-Willingham/Olsen and my favorite trade was getting Alfonso Soriano in 2006 which yielded 2 great draft picks. He had other good trades too.

His biggest problem with the fans of course was his loyalty to some former Reds players along with some horrific FA signings, and his personality rubbed many the wrong way. In his defense, it is hard to make everyone happy, but his job as well as the managers are so many times judged by public opinion.

paul said...

It's ironic that what could have been Bowden's greatest success, his pipeline into the DR, brought him down.

We definitely now need a GM who won't act like he is playing fantasy baseball, putting a lot of individuals with seemingly great or possibly great stats. It is a team game, and we need to put pieces together to create a coherent whole.