Saturday, November 11, 2006

They Are Professional

I keep reading on and on about, especially in the main stream media, that The Washington Nationals do not know what they are doing. "The Nats are unwilling to spend money". "Washington has no plan". "The Nationals fired a popular but mediocre manager, and have no clue what to do to replace him". "We need to win now". "Tom Paciorek should be re-hired as TV Color Announcer". "Our Nats have no talent"--on and on it goes. And, so many of us have got caught up in the frenzy.

After all the speculation, wishing, and flat out bitching--Team President Stan Kasten seems to be, ever so slowly, putting together a Professional Lineup--both, on and off the field.

Over the past 10 days, Mr. Kasten, along with General Manager, Jim Bowden have, through diligent work, signed 21 minor league free agents to fill up the fairly woesome Farm System, and, hopefully, found a gold nugget or two to help the Major League Roster. Together, they announced the hiring of 10 Major Scouting Department hires--all qualified and educated on FINDING TALENT--Talent Our Washington Nationals need badly. Our Nats, now on par with every other team in the Majors, when it comes to scouting. We are EQUALS.

Then--after so much heartache and pain, for some--The Nats will hire the one Manager, to replace Frank Robinson--so many figured was the best fit for the job all along--Current New York Mets Third Base Coach--Manny Acta. Manny will sign a Two Year Contract Agreement. Yeah, he's the HOT NAME--Yeah he may well flame out like Norv Turner did, under a similar situation with Our Washington Redskins--but its clear, Acta WANTED THE JOB. Openly talked about what a great situation it would be. Understands that Our Washington Nationals may well become a GLAMOUR FRANCHISE. Manny is 37 years old-looking for that first BIG BREAK--like all of us in our job careers--at one time, or still today. Acta is so perfect for a growing team-to me. A team that will make mistakes over the next few seasons, but under the right guidance--may well surprise--a year of two sooner than expected.

I am sure most folks out there realize, I am a bit more optimistic than most. Just having a team in MY HOMETOWN, after losing MY WASHINGTON SENATORS in 1971 has been a BIG THRILL for me. I love our team--openly. And, make no mistake about it--The Washington Nationals are OUR TEAM!!

Mr. Kasten is building a PROFESSIONAL FRANCHISE. And, even during that building and, the potential growing pains, The Nats announced yesterday a DECREASE, or No Change, in all but the VERY BEST SEATS in the house at RFK. When someone can have a Season Ticket at RFK for just $405 in 2007-$5 per game--(In 1971, the final year of the Senators at RFK, the cheapest seat in the house were those same Yellow Outfield Seats, at $10 per game--1971 Dollars), you can not complain about it. That's a steal today--and an effort to build a fan base. A Fan Base that will, willingly, come to the new park on South Capitol Street in 2008.

For 34 years, so many of us rooted for THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES--and enjoyed so much of their success--until the Devil of Modern Baseball--Peter Angelos, ruined one of Baseball's GLAMOUR FRANCHISES with his short sightedness. Then, Angelos attempted to hijack the Welcoming of our very own team. Time and Time again, Peter The Great tried to block the move of The Montreal Expos to Washington. MLB allowing the move anyway--although paying a Ransom for the decision--including Our Nationals TV Rights.

But, despite it all--Poor Management by MLB, Stadium Problems, No Owners, Delay after Delay---The Washington Nationals are FLOURISHING. Would you rather root for a floundering Orioles Team, or an Up and Coming Nationals Franchise? Our Nats drew an equal amount of rabid fans to so called--archaic, RFK Stadium, in 2006. Camden Yards is a FABULOUS Ballpark. Yet, no one is Boycotting the Nats, like Baltimore Fans did late in the 2006 season.

We have HOPE. Hope brought by A NEW OWNER, The Lerner's--and a quality President, leading the Baseball effort--Mr. Stan Kasten. Despite everyone, including my concerns--The Nationals are becoming a Quality, Professional Franchise. A Franchise that all of us, will be proud of for years to come. I could not overstate how much, I believe, that will be true.

10 years from now, I expect to sit back and, fondly recall, all the growing pains of OUR WASHINGTON NATIONALS.


Jim H said...

I'm with you. There's no reason not to be optimistic at this point. It's funny when the media decides someone is incompetent or that things are going badly simply because nobody is talking to them. A story in the post last week described how pathetic Daniel Snyder is because he won't talk to the media.

I'm not comparing the two from a competency standpoint - just illustrating how the media will steer a story based on whether someone has the audacity to not speak until there is something worthy of discussion.

I'm looking forward to next year. We've been in the same section as you folks, sharing in the joint cheering. Row 9, seats 1-4. See you on opening day, '07!

Farid Rushdi said...

Add me to the list of "optimistic bloggers." Don't get me wrong, I'll torch the team when they do something stupid, but it's been two years now, and I've only had to do that twice (and that's not bad at all).

As you know, reporting good news doesn't bring as many readers as complaining or magnifying the bad stuff. I would be a hypocrite for complaining about the Times or Post slanting it's political news for additional readership if I do the same at my site. the Nats blog-o-sphere is divided into three camps: 1)report the news that is being reproted elsewhere, 2)highlight the things that aren't rosy and 3)report what's really happening while giving the team the benefit of the doubt.

I had the opportunity to work for a few years for the Idaho Falls Braves (short season - Atlanta Braves) and saw first hand how the media knowingly and maliciously reported their version of the truth. I was in the press box one night (I was the public address announcer) when a reporter for the Idaho Fall Post Register interviewed Rai Haniger, the team's general manager. They were both sitting right next to me, and I heard every word both men said. I was dumfounded the next day when I read what the reporter wrote in the paper. It was less than 60% accurate, and portrayed both Rai and the team in a bad light.

And that's the problem. If a reporter tells a negative story, they see themselves as an investigative journalist, breaking news no one else has. Thats because, of course, they made it up.

From October '71 through September '04, I doubt there was a day that went by when I didn't think of the Washington Senators. Now that baseball is back in D.C., I'm not going to attack it for a few more readers.

I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to see a Nats' game, and that hurts more than I can ever express. I still have a year of school left, so I can't come up with the funds now to make a trip back home, and when I start teaching ... well ... starting teachers in Idaho make $27,500 per year. Add in the expenses of a 17 year old handicapped child and a disabled foster son and I'm just going to have to make's radio broadcasts as my link with the team.

Oh, how I envy your being able to go to any game you choose. Don't ever take it for granted.


Screech's Best Friend said...

Thanks Farid and Jim: The whole point of the matter is that I LOVE BASEBALL and Baseball with my very own home team. Its great to be able to attend every single home game. The African Queen and I have a tremendous amount of fun at RFK, not only with watching baseball, but with all our friends we have met there. I can criticize players for their mistakes, to no end--I am sure over the past 2 seasons I have yelled out "COME ON FRANK!!!!!!--at least 1000 times, just ask NatsDelNegro, SeyHeyKlib, RallyTimeRichard and MickNats --I can be incrediibly brutal (its amazing that Guzman would WANT to come back after all the things I said about him at RFK STADIUM in 2005--LOUDLY!!).

I find its OK to be critical--as long as you can back it up. I do it all the time, openly. I work at the top level of Network Broadcast News--with all the cynicism--I know all too well how the media loves to find some BAD in just about EVERYTHING. Bad News sells--good news is boring.

But, despite my complaints about some things Nats, my eyes see a GOOD PRODUCT being slowly put together and Stan Kasten is leading the charge--You have to be happy about it, if you really want to see the Franchise Succeed. I believe the Nats will be a Top 5 Franchise, sooner, rather than later.

Its like watching your baby grow up, right before your eyes. And, years later, despite all the turmoil and problems that child gave you reaching adulthood, you look back on, all of it, fondly. That's how I view Our Washington Nationals.

And--Farid--if you ever make it out here, I would be more than honored to treat you to a game or two in SECTION 320. You probably would not believe EVERYTHING that goes on in that part of RFK. The NEXUS of the RFK Stadium Experience--to many.

Anonymous said...

Although I have been discouraged at the fickleness of SOME Washington sports fans, I am encouraged by what I see from the Nats. Yes, the Nats lost a lot of games last year and finished last in the NL East. But I remember what Earl Weaver said about baseball---the best team in baseball loses about sixty games and the worst team wins sixty. We got eleven more wins than that. There were a lot of good memories from RFK in 2006 and I am looking forward to more in 2007 which will be their last full year there.

(I say "full year" because there is a chance part of the 2008 season will be played there if construction of the new stadium falls behind schedule.)

It takes a lot of courage to build up a team the way the Nats are doing. Part of the reason why the Yankees, Mets, and Knicks spend so much money on free agents is that they honestly believe New Yorkers do not have the patience for rebuilding. Edward Bennett Williams tried to patch up the Orioles after '83 by getting a free agent or two each year, but it didn't work. I think this approach by the Nats will not only ultimately result in a playoff-bound team in a few years (hopefully a world champion) but a team that will STAY good longer than most.

At the very least, it looks like we are getting a manager who wants to be here and doesn't think Washington is the Siberia of MLB. Let's see what happens during the rest of the "hot stove" season...