Saturday, June 09, 2007

What Will Please You?


No matter what our Washington Nationals do, you complain. Why is it that nearly one year after The Lerner Group took control of Our Washington Nationals, you are still not pleased? What will make you happy?

Each and every day I immerse myself is as much Washington Nationals information as I can digest--Keeping informed, questioning, commenting--many times I disagree and make my points--but still while enjoying all the fun. No doubt--you do too. Yet, so many of you continue to be bitter. Why?

You complained about the poor Minor League System they inherited. In less than one year--improvement has been drastic. We actually have some good prospects. Money has been poured into it. Yet, you are still not pleased.

Whenever Our Washington Nationals Lose you rail away on everything that has to do with Our Team.
Whenever Our Washington Nationals Win you rail away on everything that has to do with Our Team, also.
Why are you not pleased?

If a player makes a mistake in the field--Our Manager is incompetent. You want Manny Acta fired? If ANYONE in The Front Office says ANYTHING--you immediately declare that person is lying. Stating, that management official is using you and every one else following Our Washington Nationals. Nothing Our Nats do on the field and, unquestionably, in the Front Office--will make you happy. Yet, clearly, Our Washington Nationals are building a quality organization.

You complained about not signing Free Agents over the winter--declaring Our Washington Nationals would be a laughingstock and a disgrace to this great game. They are NOT. How did you feel when Ramon Ortiz trotted out in a MOP UP Role last night in Minneapolis for The Twins? Many of you wanted Our Team to possibly spend up to $6 million in arbitration for him, as a STARTER. How much better have we done with our piecemeal starting pitching? Very well, actually. Yet, you are still not pleased.

You complained that Our Washington Nationals should have resigned Alfonso Soriano to a ridciulous contract just so The Owners were worthy of your support. And, now you complain because those same Owners will not let you sit right behind Home Plate for $5 at New Nationals Park. You are not pleased-because you want it both ways. Why?

The African Queen and I enjoy attending each and every Washington Nationals Home Game. Willingly, we spend the dollars, support the team, in good or bad. Fortunately, we've been able to cultivate some fine friendships among many other fellow Season Ticket Holders, Fans, and of course--SCREECH. Section 320 is a special place for us. It provides a closeness that helps take the sting out of a bad Nats loss. Having fun is what its all about to us. Major League Baseball is the draw for us. Those relationships make us happy.

What will make you happy?

I am not here to claim Sohna and I are The Best Fans, The Number 1 Fans, or anything of that sort. And, it doesn't matter how much or how little you can or will spend on tickets to see Our Washington Nationals. Passion is Passion, whether you watch from your seat at the Stadium or, from your more comfortable sofa in front of your television set at home.

Our Washington Nationals are a struggling, evolving, team. But, they are growing. Its a direction well advertised, not a sole following this team was not given notice. Yet, you complain. You still want more. You are unhappy. You still want it all right now.

This is a serious question--because I really want to know what drives you to be passionate about Our Washington Nationals. A spirit wrapped in being negative. Its very fascinating to me and everyone's opinion is valued and respected. But, I really want to know.

What will Please YOU!!!

This post driven by some fabulous commentary on The Nats320 blog during the past two days.


Positively Half St. said...

As much as I enjoy the insight of everyone in the blogosphere. I have to admit I am with you on this one. The responsibility of building a fan base is not only on the owners, but on the fans who really care. I rooted for some hideous Mets teams as a kid, yet derived pleasure from individual accomplishments, or the attempt to reach .500.

It is hard to come up with a move in the off-season that went horribly wrong. Soriano is a great player, but if they use his salary to get draftees like McGeary to sign instead of go to college, it seems money spent as advertised. None of the scrap heap pitchers they could have had has turned out well. Heck, Tomo Okha is on waivers right now- we could have him next week.

Harper said...

This season, I admit, is tainted forme by a belief that I hold. I believe fully that the organization (I'm not sure who and I don't hold any single individual responsible but the organization as a whole) CHOSE not to put money into this season that they could have. Not only with the team on the field, but in almost every aspect of the organization this year. Hence all the legitimite gripes early in the year when things were seemingly worse than last season. I think this was a perfectly reasonable business decision, as I don't think the fan base is going to be adversely affected by a poor performance the year before a new park opens, but I think it was a lousy thing to do for the fans, who remained.

I know what they say that the money is all going to the minors or the new park, but based on nearly all relations fans have had with owners in every sport, it is difficult to take what they say on face value. Would the team definitely be better by spending more money this season? Of course not. But it would have shown me a dedication to the fan that I don't feel yet (but I DO believe is coming). I'm upset that I feel they have shorted the Nationals fan for the 2007 season and they are going to get away with it because they AREN'T going to do the same in the future. Like getting punched in the face before an hour long massage. Right now my jaw is still hurting.

I am happy with the direction the team is going, happy with the focus on the minors, happy with the manager (except his continuance of our revolving OF), happy with the luck the Nats have had this year with pitchers and the occasional pick up like Dmitri Young. I'm hesitantly happy though, because of how I feel they treated the fan this season. I still want to see them put the money into the major league squad to field a competitive squad before I say that I am pleased.

An Briosca Mor said...

SBF, thanks for the compliment on the other thread. Might I suggest that you print out this current post on nice letterhead and mail it directly to The Washington Post, attn: everyone there except for Barry Svrluga? They are as guilty of this as anyone, and have done nothing but fan the flames of discontent. No one is asking them to be '"homers" or to be anything other than completely objective, yet they bend as far the other way as they possibly can, each and every time.

Send a separate laminated copy to Tom Boswell, the ringleader. He of all people should know better. I think he's just bitter because he's no longer considered the Chronicler of Record as he once was, back in the glory days of Earl Weaver and Cal.

Positively Half St. said...

So, there you go. Harper is easily one of the commentators I enjoy most, and very clearly a devoted fan. Even still, I wish he and others would reconcile themselves to the idea that many of the band-aid moves they could have done to get one or two "established" pitchers or hitters might not have been worth the money, based on how these players have performed this year.

I agree the ownership has taken the chance of taking us for granted this season, but I am not as angry as Tom Boswell was the other day about posting higher prices for tickets after the low-rent product this year. However, I also have my limits- the Nats got high marks all around for this year's draft, but it means nothing if they don't shell out the cash "above slot" to nail down players who were thought hard to sign.

Anonymous said...

I blame all the complaining on two problems:
1) This is Washington. A town of complainers. If you can think of one thing in this town people don't voraciously complain about, I'll eat my interlocking DC cap.
2) The Redskins. Specifically, the Dan Synder, win the offseason Redskins. This is first and formost a football town, so most fans are likely to also be Redskin fans, and they're used to seeing their team throw money at free agents. But if 'The Plan' works, it could change the mentality around here, thereby forcing the Redskins to change how they do business.

I think if the Nationals really want to engender some fan goodwill, they will do everything they can to sign John McGeary, no matter the cost. Prove to the fans you meant what you said when you started scouting and the farm system, and developing players from within are the most important. Spend some of the unspent free agent money to sign this guy, even if he wants first round money.

Anonymous said...

An Briosca Mor, I don't believe the "ringleader" of the naysayers at the Post is not Tom Boswell, because at times he can STILL be as starry-eyed as our very own SBF. I think the "ringleader"--if there is one---is none other than George Solomon. Solomon seems to be equally upset the Lerners are not bidding up on free agents as he is that fair-weather fans are bailing on the team. Everything he writes is negative, negative, negative...

Anonymous said...

One more thing I'd like to say to the naysayers. I get the impression some of them want the Lerners to imitate Jerry Colangelo of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But as quickly as that team won the World Series, it also tanked after the Series was over and eventually lost all their star players.

Nobody can win forever---however much the Yankees think otherwise---but if the Plan works out, the Nats should end up more like the Indians than the D'Backs. No, the Tribe hasn't won a World Series yet, but they have stayed in contention and this year they may just make the playoffs again.

Besides, even the worst team in baseball wins at least sixty games. I intend to see as many of those sixty games as possible.

JayB said...

Where to start

I love the Nats and will always have seasons tickets but....

#1 Hustle and good fundaments are the most important aspect of baseball. It is the only way I made it to college baseball. I grew up emulating the play and work ethic of Pete Rose. So Lopez and Church are just the tip of the iceberg. I want a team that runs out everything....yes even the pop foul balls.

#2 Call the ball on pop ups....we are over 1/3 into the season. SBF is correct this is the major leagues, come on Manny

#3 If the plan is to improve the farm system then draft the best players and sign them all. Do not go on TV during the game the night before the draft and talk about how this year is great because if you do not sign your picks you can get a replacement pick the next year, not what I want to hear. Sign every single one of them and make sure they are the best, not just the signable ones.

#4 Never start a season with Wilson, Casto, Jimmerez, Snelling, and Fick all on the same team at the same time. What a white flag!

#5 Follow through on improved fan experience....this is clearly lip service in 2007....we all go to the games...they are not even trying to improve this anymore.

#6 Do not raise parking prices when you plan to cut product quality and payroll....Dumb!

paul said...

On another subject . . . have you noticed the ushers suddenly becoming incredibly vigilant in ousting poachers? Even during the ninth inning of the Pirates game the other night, with acres of room available downstairs. I would think toward the end of the game the ushers could use some discretion, but apparently some season ticket holders have been complaining. It's really a distraction. I say, let them come on down at the end of the game! They know more than the planholders anyway, present company excepted.

What would please me? Other than the above, if fans would stop getting up and leaving just as a 3-2 pitch is being delivered, that would be nice. Perhaps the Nats could ask the fans, as the Caps do, to not do this. Perhaps the Nats could make an instructional video of Teddy blocking Screech's view of the game. Maybe SBF could play Teddy nd be the cameraman!

Anonymous said...

The DC Sports Commission, not the Nats, raised the stupid parking rates.

Anonymous said...


Harper echoed a lot of my sentiments.

I am not bitter. I am not eternally complaining. I am proud of the Nats' play and enjoy seeing them grow each night, mistakes and all.

I just want the owners to convince me that they care about me TODAY. Don't just line your pockets. Be generous towards me TODAY. Then I have no problem shelling out my hard earned money and putting my heart on the line for the Nats.

Today, in professional sports, we root for the uniform, since players change constantly. The only constant is ownership.

Seeing is believing. I need to see proof, repeatedly, that they care about me as much as I care about the Nats.

My biggest fear is that the ownership does not understand how slim their margin for error is in this market. MLB has treated Washington like crap through 2006.
We can't take much more abuse. That's why I am so sensitive to their wrongs and skeptical about their committment.

I want this region, from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas, to be Nats crazy. I want this truly be "Baseball Town USA." But ownership has to make that happen.

SBF, I don't want you and me to be the only Nats' fans to truly appreciate these words one day:

"The Washington Nationals have won the pennant."

Anonymous said...

It will please me if all these idiots would just shut up and enjoy baseball...or would they rather go back to having no team at all?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Paul: I have inquired about folks getting up and leaving during action. Its a real problem. Its my understanding, during action in the new stadium--no one will be able to walk down from the concourse level to their seats. And, fans will be discouraged from the get go from getting up unless there is a stop in the action. Nothing could Please The African Queen More!! We deal with this ALL THE TIME!! Its a pain and shows how little respect many have for others. Just this past thursday afternoon, Sohna lit into a couple of folks for just that reason.

Brianh--we are not going to be the only fans. The Fan Base is far greater than many realize. This franchise will be a Proud One. I am sure.

Fav61--I couldn't agree with you more.

Eddie--Solomon is one of the most negative people I have read. Loverro at The Times, second.

Anonymous said...

Brianh, it won't happen this quickly and it won't happen while Nick Johnson is with our team (indeed I fear his career may be over) but were he not injured, I'd love to see the Washington Post run this headline---again:


An Briosca Mor said...

I agree with you guys about Solomon and Loverro being the most negative guys out there. But Solomon is a crotchety old man who took a buyout from the Post, and is under a year-to-year contract to write his little column once a week. He devotes at most a paragraph to the Nats, usually just a one-liner, albeit always negative. But he's a bit player. Likewise, no one I repeat no one reads the Washington Times. It's a Moonie paper, and would have gone bankrupt years ago except for the Rev Moon pouring money into it. It may have some influence in conservative Republican circles, but as far as sports, no. No one pays any attention to what Loverro says.

Boswell, OTOH, has always been the great apologist for baseball both here and nationwide. Now, after years of beating the drum for baseball in DC, he's stepped back. He doesn't write much any more, and when he does it's alternate good cop/bad cop. The good cop columns are, I'm convinced, just him making sure to cover all his bases so that when the Nats start winning he can jump on the Bandwagon a la Tony Kornheiser and pretend he was there all along. Meanwhile, he should be the proven veteran leadership in the Post newsroom, steering the rest of the paper toward fairness and objectivity about the Nats. Clearly, he's not doing that at all. The Post rarely writes anything positive about the Nats, save for Barry Svrluga. I blame them all for that, but I blame Boswell the most.

Anonymous said...

Our biggest obstacle is that many baseball fans in the area---particularly in Montgomery and Prince George's County---still see the Orioles as their team. They root for the Redskins, Bullets, and Capitals, but when Peter Angelos publicly states there are no "real baseball fans" in the Washington area, they don't realize he's talking about THEM! If Peter Angelos' words, and his incompetence in running his major league baseball team does not convince them to switch allegiances, I don't know what will.

Still, I can report progress. I remember last year when I went to T.G. Bentley's in College Park, all the TVs were tuned to the Orioles game and the manager refused my request to switch one of the TVs to the Nats game. Now, last week, I walk in and not only is a Nats game showing, but it's on the main TV! (Granted the Orioles were on the West Coast, but...) Since another TV was tuned to the other MASN station, it shows that bars are willing to accomodate local Nats fans and they are starting to realize we exist!

Screech's Best Friend said...

An Briosca Mor: Boswell is interesting. His flip/flop as you describe is puzzling. He appears to be covering himself, something he would have NEVER DONE earlier in his career when HE WAS A PREMIERE BASEBALL CORRESPONDENT. At the same time, I feel alot more of The Post's negativity also comes from their Sports Editor--Emilio Garcia Ruiz. On WTWP each morning at 6:50AM while I am heading to the Health Club, this guy NEVER SAYS ANYTHING GOOD during the Nationals Report. He railed to no end over the Ticket Prices for Nationals Park--"A Stadium Shutting Out the very people building it."-- for the rich, as he described the situation. No doubt--he is leading this charge, as he has the final say.

The Post, outside of Svrluga--who is an EXCELLENT REPORTER--is all about destroying the product. It's sad. Really is. Nice comments again. Thanks

Anonymous said...

eddie cunningham -- I'm glad you see progress regarding interest in the Nats. Angelos drove me away in 1997 and I was only 20 years old (The 1994 strike didn't help). The Nats arrival in 2005 gave me a baseball team again.

an briosca mor -- Thom Loverro is a straight shooter. He holds management accountable.

fav61 -- When the ump says, "play ball," it's great. Nothing like a game of "27 outs." But, we've been told to be very aware/hopeful of the future.

Where the heck is the AFLAC duck?...

Edward J. Cunningham said...

An Briosca Mor, you're missing some good sport reporting in the Times. Say what you will about Thom Loverro's negativity toward the Nats---he's just as harsh--if not more against the Orioles. When Loverro goes off on a roll in an anti-Angelos column, it's worth buying the entire paper for. (Try hunting his column on "The Nats are drunk. The Orioles are ugly." It's a play on Winston Churchill's famous put-down.)

Also, I should not that unlike the Post, the Times printed a detailed diagram of the Nats' new stadium with ticket prices. I think the Times overall are more favorable to the Nats than the Post.

Anonymous said...

eddie cunningham said "Our biggest obstacle is that many baseball fans in the area---particularly in Montgomery and Prince George's County---still see the Orioles as their team."

I won't speak for PG County - not sure if they follow baseball there - but this couldn't be farther from the truth in MoCo. MoCo is Nat's territory. I will go a step further to say that Howard County, which seems to be made up of Suburban sprawl from both DC and Baltimore, is evenly divided. I had lunch today at the Red Robin in Columbia. 5 Nats hats, 3 Orioles hats, and 1 Red Sox cap.

Anonymous said...

"The Post, outside of Svrluga--who is an EXCELLENT REPORTER--is all about destroying the product."

Simply not true -- Svrluga IS all about destroying the product. He said so in his blog last week.

What will please me is if I'll still be able to walk up and buy a $5 ticket in the new ballpark, sit in the equivalent of the worst seat in RFK for a few innings (right now I prefer it up in 540, top row, in front of the ladder), watch an inning, then creep down and sit in the $4000 seats. Although I read somewhere, probably on some blog (maybe Svrluga's), that they'll be arming the ushers with tazers next season, so it'll be a little more dangerous.

How 'bout that Levale Speigner?

Unknown said...

SBF - I appreciate your passion in this issue, and the new ballpark will probably be something to behold.

A lot of us here are die-hards, and very savvy about the sport; however, I do see a split between the haves and have nots in the new ballpark, but that is the reality now in big time sports.

I do wish the team would have made more seats available in the lower deck in the $20-25 range or so.

There's no point repeating what has been said, but let's wait to see what develops with the team along with the ballpark in 2008 and beyond.

I wished the organization would have gotten some MLB-tenured veterans, etc; however, I'll say I'm satisfied as to how "the Plan" is going.

So much for the doomsday predictions from the media, eh?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

maryland orioles fan---If you follow my posts on the internet, you will see me rail against O's fans in the Washington area, even though I used to be one. When I really get worked up, I start throwing the "t" word around. Then I see a decent Orioles fan and I feel ashamed of myself.

Anyway, please don't mind me, and welcome to Nats320. SBF won't say it himself, but I will---he is certainly the most passionate Nats fan around, one of the most knowledgable fans, and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

I'd like to see how the naysayers spin tonight's game. We beat one of the best pitchers in baseball, and the Chief is one save away from 100 career saves at a very young age. This team not only will win 30 games by the All-Star break, we have an outside shot at 40---which means this team is a LOT better than the critics said it was...

Unknown said...

Ed - SBF and his wife are great fans and even better people from meeting them in person.

I know how you feel about some O's fans, but from seeing things in the city to the north, I don't blame you and they have enough problems up there.

I openly root and report on both teams, and I'll say for sure the Nats' have a bright future to look forward to.

The only thing I fear is that everything does not blow up the Nats' faces if things don't go as well as expected with the new ballpark and the team.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

If I could say I'm mad at so-and-so because he's a boorish, obnoxious Orioles fan, it's one thing. I simply get mad at somebody for living in the area and rooting for the Orioles---even though I've done it myself most of my life as a baseball fan. THAT'S why I feel ashamed.

At least we have (from what I understand) is an ironclad 30-year lease so I don't think the Nats CAN skip town. That's why Tampa Bay will have the Devil Rays there forever even though putting a team there was one of the worst decisions baseball ever made. (Give credit to the Rays' owners---they DO make a profit from the team, so they don't HAVE to move!) From what I see, the Lerners are not callous or stupid owners. They are methodical and very careful. The worst you can say about them is that they will not spend $3 if they can only have to spend $2. But I've seen owners from Steinbrenner to Edward Bennett Williams to Peter Angelos throwing money around like a drunken sailor and getting nothing in return, so maybe being a little cheap isn't too bad?

An Briosca Mor said...

SBF, you are right that Garcia-Ruiz is the one who is really driving it all at the Post. IIRC, he comes from Miami, where he probably picked up a strong prejudice against baseball ownership, which probably was not all that out of bounds given what Miami's owners have done to their fans by fire-selling not one but two World series championship teams. Garcia-Ruiz's predecessor here as sports editor was, of course, Solomon - who we know is doing nothing to disabuse Garcia-Ruiz against letting his prejudices play out negatively against the Nats. Boswell isn't either, and he should be. A seasoned, knowledgeable veteran should always be able to manipulate his younger boss, rather than rolling over and giving in. The good news about Garcia-Ruiz's slamming the team on WTWP is that outside of game broadcasts, no one (except you, apparently) listens to WTWP. Their ratings are an embarrassment. More people probably read the Washington Times than listen to WTWP. :->

maryland o's fan: The only seats in the lower bowl of RFK in the $20-$25 range are in the Terrace, and although those seats are fairly close to the field, they really are obstructed view seats what with the overhang from above. So why would you expect the upgrade to the great sightlines everywhere in New Nats Park to result in $20-$25 seats in the lower bowl?

National Enquirer: Re moving down from the cheap seats to sneak into the expensive lower bowl seats and watch the game, have you seen the blog by Marc Fisher of the Post the other day where he talks about the grand concourse in the new park? You will be able to stand at the railing of that concourse, right behind the most expensive seats in the park, and have the same view as they do. For as long as you want. The ushers will not chase you away, either. This concourse and the views from it are one of the big selling points in all the promos about the new park.

One other thing: I was watching a bit of the Tigers-Mets game on Fox today, in the new Detroit ballpark. That park has the outfield terrace seats under the scoreboard that will also be a feature in our new park. Those seats were packed and those fans were TOTALLY into the game. I think we will all need to adjust ourselves to a ballpark paradigm that is radically different than RFK, where admittedly the seats behind the infield are the only ones that matter. In the new park, every seat will be right in the game, no matter where in the park it is. It will be a paradigm shift, but I think once people get into it they will soon wonder what all this current fuss was really about. Except for the Post - they'll still be bitchin' about something.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to my why anyone still gets excited about Redskin football in July? When was the last time they played above .500 consistantly? Does anyone really think they will this year? Or next year?
So football sells papers and fills the sports radio 24/7 365. WPL would rather talk football everyday at 5:45 if they could.
By the way the radio coverage of the team is so limited. I can't think of a local radio host who is very baseball knowledgable. Danny's network only cares about promoting the Redskins. And even after being shunned by the Redskins 980 worhships at the alter of the Redskins.
Which sport offers the most hope for the Washington fan? Washington Redskin Football or Washington National Baseball or for that matter even the Wizards or Capitals. I'd say all three offer more hope than the Redskins.
But, football is King. Long live the King.
Bottom line it is not just the Post.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

There's one thing that everybody here has overlooked. In the face of negativity, there has been ONE writer at the Post who has been more supportive of the Nats than anybody else, and I'm including Tom Boswell!

The very day the "outrageous" ticket prices were announced, this writer pointed out it will be possible for fans in the nosebleed seats to watch the game unobstructed from the concourse above the infield, and that the Nats WANT fans to linger there as they buy food and beer. This writer also gave detailed information about the fight in the City Council over the new stadium legislation.

Who is this guy? Marc Fisher, of course!

Anonymous said...

An Briosca Mor said: "the new park, every seat will be right in the game, no matter where in the park it is."

I sure hope you're right. I spent 6 years living in Atlanta, and Stan Kasten keeps bragging about how wonderful the park there was. Well, if you sat in the $5 seats there up the lines, you could not see anything (you needed to turn 45 degrees in your seat to see the field and you were still faaaarrrr) Hopefully the $5 seats in the new park here, also up the lines, will be closer...much closer.

An Briosca Mor said...

Anonymous, I'm totally basing my comment on what I've seen by using the panoramic view tool on the Nats' relocation page to check out the view from every section of the park. Have you checked out that tool? It's pretty cool. Could be that the tool is lying to us, of course, but if not the views do look good from everywhere in the park. And even the furthest away of them are not nearly as far away as the upper upper deck in RFK.

The problem you're describing in Atlanta sounds similar to a problem I've experienced at OPCY in one of my few visits there. I think HOK (the architects who've designed most all of the new baseball fields over the past 15-20 years) have found a solution to that problem in their latest designs. In the Nats Park schematics, note how each section is oriented so that facing straight ahead in the seats will point you at the center of the playing field. This is not the case in all sections in OPCY, or in Turner Field. So I don't think we will experience this problem in the new park, although I guess we'll have to wait and see to be sure...