Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Last Time I Checked

I have been away for the holidays, so I apologize for not posting during the past week. When I returned last night, I noticed over at Oleanders & Morning Glories that the author decided to take me to task as his example over someone who supports The Lerners and Stan Kasten's plan to build this weak franchise from the ground up. The author, Harper, does not like the way the new owners are working The Nationals.

That's fine and I appreciated being mentioned, and read. Unfortunately, he also read into my post from last week
that I was giving a "false impression" when it comes to the so called "Pro Plan" and "Anti-Plan" supporters. And, I was stating everyone against my opinion, according to Oleander's, "was anti building the Washington Nationals from the ground up, first with young developing talent. Of course that's insane, but I've read similar things elsewhere." His words, used with mine.

His post went on to comment that, even though The Lerners are pumping, at least, $30 Million, back into the stadium for a better HDTV Scoreboard, Club Suite Amenities and Centerfield Restaurant Upgrades, including outfield seating during games for patrons--this effort is not worthy of any praise, because all this goes directly towards the owners pocket in the long run.

Well--doesn't everything involved with The Nationals go directly toward the owners coffers?

I responded in this manner on the Oleanders Site:

"Glad to see that I just got back in town from The Holiday and got someone fired up!! Thanks for mentioning me."

"Obviously, I am behind "The Plan", but I have also clearly stated that this team needs starting pitching badly, to field a competitive team today--and still build from the ground up. As Brian over a Nationals Farm Authority wrote very nicely a few weeks back, its actually helpful, in building this franchise, to pick up some Type B Free Agent Pitchers, for a short term use, and then reap the benefit of a Draft Choice once those pitchers move on to GREENER Pastures."

"That being said, many, many others I have read on the blogs have blasted this ownership group for months, without giving them a real chance to prove themselves. These same people want instant gratification, now--nothing else will do. I find that unfair, being that The Lerners have only been in charge for 6 months. So many of these folks complained about The Lerners pocketing the extra savings from a reduced 2007 estimated team player payroll. Now, since they are putting $30 Million back into the stadium (and yes, they are for upgrades to areas that will bring them extra dollars down the line--and I almost wrote that in the original post, but left it out figuring someone would mention it) you really do have to give them credit. They did not have to do it."

"Your points are very well stated. But, what do you really want The Lerners and Mr. Kasten to do, right now, if they are willing to spend that $30 Million in payroll savings for Major League Caliber players to help in 2007? I would bet, you, like me, want pitching, mostly. What is it that is going to get you into a seat at RFK in 2007 and feel happy to have The Nationals playing here? What do you want to see on the field this season---that will help the Nationals in being competitive, and build for the future. Specifics?"

"I am 47 years old, OLD SCHOOL in many ways. You obviously have read my Longings for my Long Gone Washington Senators and Frank Howard. I learned alot from those experiences. Patience is a virtue. Many today don't have that same patience, and they are always unsatisfied."

"Mr.Kasten and The Lerners should be judged on the entire picture--that will not be fully realized for a year or two. I am willing to give them a chance."

"Thanks again for mentioning me and getting a good debate moving forward."

End Of My Commments On Oleanders.

The last time I checked, The Lerner Family was a very successful business operation, very respected, by most all accounts everywhere they have done business in the DC area over the past 40 years. Hard nosed, yes, but honest, with everything done by the books. The last time I checked, Mr. Kasten was a very successful Sports Team President from 3 different Atlanta Franchises, for years. Knowledeable, Talented and Respected by everyone in the games. And, in the short time in Washington, has proven to be a single minded caretaker for all things Nationals--including, most importantly, listening to fans. At the same time, Mr. Kasten has reigned in a very, over the top, General Manager, in Jim Bowden, that if left to his own premonitions, Bowden would trade/give away just about every serviceable talent on the roster, for "his boys".

Its great that there is such a avid interest for Washington Nationals Baseball and it shows each and every day in the various blogs out there. But, many want to flex their muscles, deflate all those other various opinions, and assume they know more than The Lerners and Mr. Kasten. I don't claim to be all knowing. I am a baseball fan first and love talking about the game, to no end. I love all the varying opinions that everyone brings to the table, especially the debates over what is healthy or not for Our Washington Nationals. Those differing views I enjoy the most. But, it bothers me when some be-little my comments to make me feel small. I would never do that to anyone, especially you.

The last time I checked--The Lerners were paying the bills, and as fans, you can decide whether you wish to participate as a fan, or not. I don't agree with everything they are doing,and I have let them know, not only through this forum, but, in face, in person. They have shown, they will listen to me, as a season ticket holder, in a professional manner, and work with me on my points. Management has shown me respect, and I will respect them as they move forward building Our Washington Nationals.


Farid Rushdi said...

Huzzah, my friend. Huzzah. I respect all viewpoints regarding the Nationals, but for some reason, some on both sides are taking the whole thing so personally.

I don't get it.

I like the part about the flexing muscles / deflating others. Who ever said that must really be smart.


Anonymous said...

I am inclined to agree with Harper. The Lerners did not open their pocket books until they could spend on things that enhanced the bottom line. As I have said many times, they didn't pony up a dime to bring baseball here and then they announced they wouldn't spend any money on enhancing the beauty of the new stadium exterior. While I agree that rebuilding the farms system is a priority, these owners still have plenty of money to field a competitive team in the meantime. (Weren't we told they had deep pockets??) The Nats do not have a seasoned fan base so their approach is very risky. I, for one, will not spend another season going to games that are over by the third inning. The farm system might take five years or more to develop. The newness of the stadium will wear off long before that. Then we might be back to hearing about what a terrible baseball town DC is. The Lerners need to hit the ground running and and forget their obsession with the bottom line.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Phil: No doubt, the timeline for fielding a competitive team is far shorther than The Lerners may realize. Living off the so called "NEW BALLPARK" revenue and doing little else would be shortsighted--and kill the fan base. And, I, like you, would love to see them also invest in the Exterior of the new stadium. If done correctly with glass, as originally stated, would be great. On the field, Stan Kasten has stated, publicly, many times, the Nationals can be a winner in a far shorter time frame than he first envisioned, as soon as 2008. And, when the time comes, Ownership will jump into the Free Agent fray to fill in those needed players.

I think The Lerners will pony up that money, but as their business past has proven, only when the timing is right to move ahead in the game, not, just to stay stagnant.

Many of the their upcoming business moves, we really don't know. But, I truly feel that over the past 6 months, The Nationals Franchise has moved forward by leaps and bounds. And, I am hoping they will continue to do so. I am enjoying the ride.

And Farid: Yes, you are very smart--my friend.

Brandon said...

I really can't understand why people are so wrapped around the axle about the 2007 season. The Lerners spent $450 million to buy this team with the intention of running it profitably for years to come. I am not at all suprised, nor disappointed, to see them re-allocating some short term payroll dollars to the stadium and other items that will pay off for the bottom line rather than top line expenses like payroll.

I understand what the anti-plan folks are saying; that the team doesn't need to forsake the 2007 season in the process of building for the future. I would argue that the team is in a critical window in the next 18 months that will make or break the fan experience for years to come. We just have this one shot to make the stadium great, for example. Once it's built, it's built, and after-the-fact upgrades and overhauls are expensive and disruptive.

We can argue the merits of relative competitiveness all winter, but the fact is that this current franchise could plow all available resources into payroll and still finish no better than third in the N.L. East. It's just not our time. But the time to get the whole franchise off to a good start, including the stadium, the scouts and other back-office operations that you and I don't even hear about, is now.

As for any alleged ad hominem attacks, let's all remember that we're doing this for fun, and we all want to see this new team that we love flourish for years to come.

Happy New Year. I'll be back blogging at Curly W after the holidays.


Anonymous said...

Brandon, Why are people so wrapped up about 2007? Because everyone likes a winner or at least a chance of winning and because, like it or not, we live in an instant gratification world. Losing translates into empty seats, and there were lots of them at RFK last year. If fans didn't care about winning, they would have been at the ball park.

Harper said...

I didn't mean to single you out, or be-little you in any way. I am sorry if you felt that I did.

I think 95% of Nats fans are in agreement -This team has a deep long-term need for repair in the minors. This team has an immediate desperate need for some pitching. But somehow, when we discuss what is really our feelings about whether we should give Nats management the benefit of the doubt in fixing these two problems based on what we've seen so far, it comes across as something else.

I think to some degree there is some frustration in these debates because we aren't arguing the same points. The "Pro" sides are generally arguing that the Lerners and Katsen's need our patience. The "Anti" side is arguing the fixing the minors and maintaining payrolls are not 100% dependent on eachother financially. Those arguments are related but not directly opposed. So we are, as I think Farid once said, arguing in circles past eachother.

Of course, we're discussing this so much because frankly - there isn't anything else to discuss. Which is a good thing. The team is generally set in all other areas. The stadium is apparently coming along swimmingly. We all agree on the long term plan for the minors. All we have to discuss is the pitching problem for 2007.

Screech's Best Friend said...

El Gran Color Naranja: My post today had nothing to do with anything you have said. I appreciate everything that you, Phil Dunn and many others has posted here. And, its true what you said about so much looking brighter for this Franchise that we are focusing on a narrow aspect of what we all know we can give opinions on.

Thanks again for your comments. You do have the best user name on the blogs.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm with the plan. What I want to know is how to get the home replica Nats jersey Santa gave me customized, and when do individual game tickets get sold so I can buy tickets to Opening Day 2007?

Anonymous said...

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