Thursday, June 25, 2009
Stan Kasten National Press Club
Team President Stan Kasten headed into my neck the woods today. A lunchtime appearance at The National Press Club in downtown Washington, DC. A 90 Minute appearance over lunch with The Washington Press Corp--including a 30 minute speech and 25 minutes of questions and answers. A more complete transcript coming, but here were three points worth getting out before The African Queen and I head out to Nationals Park for the final game of the three game set with The Boston Red Sox this evening.
On Manny Acta reportedly being potentially fired?
"In Manny's case, I happen to be a big fan of his. I think he has the demeanor to be a long-term solution as a manager. The demeanor of Bobby Cox (Atlanta Braves), who has obviously been so successful. I had a great conversation around the batting cage last night with Terry Francona (Red Sox Manager). The young, possibly genius manager of The Boston Red Sox. We were talking and I said: 'Terry, I remember when you were a dunce as a manager of The Phillies.' And he said: 'Stan, I promise you, I am still a dunce, it's just that I have better players.'"
"It's just so true. It's so true--and I have always been in support of Manny. I can't predict whether it's going to work here? But, I think it will. And I think he is going, he certainly has the potential, to be the long term manager here. And that is what I am hoping for."
On the international development front in finding talent:
"We still haven't developed the pipeline we need. I have to tell you that on the player development point this has been my biggest disappointment so far."
"We need to step up our efforts. We have certainly been set back (by the Esmailyn Gonzalez revelation) by the mis-steps of the first couple of years. We know it is still a critical part of the success in baseball, players just not from The Dominican Republic, but all through Latin America and increasingly The Pacific Rim. It's of critical importance to us because this year we are so heavily in the draft--and the draft expenses are going to be (high) that we know we WILL NOT be able make an international push until 2010. But, It's a job that remains to be done and very important."
"Food. I will tell you. Last year, we opened up a ballpark with alot more in terms of alternatives, alot more variety, alot more quality than we provided at RFK (Stadium). And yet it still wasn't good enough for us. It wasn't good enough for me. It wasn't good enough for The Lerner Family. We needed to do better. And so this year, we replaced our former concessionaire with The Levy Company out of Chicago. Who is renowned across the world for doing good things. And again we've expanded and improved our food offerings--both in quality and in variety. We have many different cool things. We have budget items. We have health items. And we have the good old basics, as many kinds of hot dogs as you can imagine. We have it all at the ballpark."
"One thing has disappointed me frankly. We are still not fast enough, not smooth enough, not good enough for our transactions across the counter. I think we are good. We have gotten better than last year. We have many, many, many excellent employees. But too many of them are not yet excellent. And that is what we are working on. We are still searching for the exact right crowd. We work very hard in looking at who we hire. It's a tricky process. We've replaced alot of them already this year because we have to get to the mix where ALL of our people are excellent. We are not there yet, but I assure you, it is our goal and we will keep working on that."
A more complete write up coming soon.