Monday, December 15, 2008

A New Vision

Buster Olney over at ESPN writes today that Our Washington Nationals, and even The Baltimore Orioles, should not be involved in The Mark Teixeira Sweepstakes. In fact, he describes Washington's offer as "LUNACY".

Well, Why Not Make An Offer?

Olney says that Washington should call up Super Agent Scott Boras and tell him that their Winter Meetings offer for his client was a mistake. And that they and Baltimore should not be in the running for ANY TOP PLAYER on the market, as long as both teams are struggling. Besides, Washington is a mid-market franchise, like Minnesota.

Mid-Market Franchise-what in the world is he talking about?

Buster also goes on to say that any big free agent signing will not attract many more fans. No, not now, or anytime before Washington begins to consistently win. So, The Lerners, Mr. Kasten and JimBo are wasting The Boston Red Sox Time and Money. Yes, The BoSox are the writer's choice for a Championship Lineup, if Teixeira signs with anyone. And Olney backs his assumptions by claiming how well he understands the Baltimore Market, since he covered The Orioles for a number of years as a beat writer in Maryland.

Well that's a pretty simple why of looking at it. And the last time I checked, no one has ever won a championship on paper. Everyone still has to play the games first.

Unquestionably, winning breeds success in attendance--just look at The Tampa Bay Rays. But, how is any team going to gain respect in the game, other than by winning, if they are not players at the so-called poker table of Free Agency. At some point in time, EVERY TEAM has to take a stand and find their own comfort zone in the market. Washington's finding their way right now. Yeah, Mark Teixeira may well not sign with Our Washington Nationals, may not even be considering their offer seriously. But, at least Our Franchise is getting the word out--and slowly becoming viable in the hunt for marketable talent.

You have got to be a player.

Nothing wrong with that because one of these days Washington is GOING TO LAND THE BIG HAUL--if not Teixeira over the next couple of weeks. So, who is Buster Olney to say The Red Sox or New York Yankees or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim should have the sole negotiating rights to Mark Teixeira--and none of the remaining 27 teams in Major League Baseball?

Is that not why it is called a "FREE" Market?

Olney should look at the very team he covered for so many years in Baltimore.

Remember, Camden Yards packed fans in night after night to see a barely above .500 but interesting team in the early to mid-1990's. All because The Ballpark itself was the attraction. But even then, The O's needed more to be competitive on the field and when Baltimore was still far, far away from truly contending--The Orioles went out and purchased on the open market, two of THE PREMIER Free Agents of the mid-90's, Rafael Palmeiro and Roberto Alomar.

Palmeiro and Alomar received HUGE Contracts for those times--both averaging over $5 Million per year. Baltimore had the money, and they spent the money.

Did anyone laugh at The Orioles then? Did Buster Olney, covering The Orioles at that time, write Baltimore had made a couple of poor financial decisions because they were not close to contending? Palmeiro came to Charm City in 1994 when he was 29 Years Old to play alongside Cal Ripken, Jr. Alomar in 1996, when he was 28 Years Old. Don't you believe that Palmeiro's signing raised the profile of The Orioles and eventually led to Roberto following in Rafael's footsteps (and a few other key lesser signings like B.J. Surhoff)?

I'd bet Olney didn't complain then, and by 1997, The Baltimore Orioles were arguably the best team in baseball, alongside The Atlanta Braves. Sidetracked only by two awful playoff appearances by their young and immature reliever Armando Benitez--who blew two games in American League Championship series that season. Yes, even then, The Two Best Teams in Baseball did not meet in The 1997 World Series. The Florida Marlins won their first championship over The Cleveland Indians.

The only "LUNACY" about Our Washington Nationals involvement in The Mark Teixeira Sweepstakes would be NOT PLAYING AT ALL. Palmeiro signed a five year deal with Baltimore and didn't play on a contender until he was 32 Years Old--but he was worth every single penny--when you looked at the complete package he brought to the ballpark every single day (and yeah I know he will be forever soiled by his career ending steroids usage investigation).

Now today, we find Washington Showing The Big Money, stepping up and letting everyone know they are seriously interested in a 28 Year Old slugging first baseman to play alongside Ryan Zimmerman. No, Teixeira's not the final answer, more parts are still needed to build Our First Real Contender--but you have to start somewhere by getting the word out that The Nation's Capital wants to become a perennial Winner in games of Major League Baseball--and that doesn't happen overnight.

You see, these Winter Meetings of 2008/2009 are opening up a new Vision of Our Washington Nationals, even if that view hasn't reached the foresight of Buster Olney.


Anonymous said...

Let Buster Olney know that every team has to start from some where.

The Yankees are free spenders and haven't been to a World Series since 2003.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Andrew: So very true. Everyone starts somewhere and you have to play wisely--something The Yankees don't always do. Hopefully one day, Washington will be a destination spot for ALL PLAYERS.
And when that day comes, Our Washington Nationals have arrived and so has Our Franchise.

WFY said...

I don't disagree that Washington is a mid-market. It might even be a small market in practice actually. Most of this the work of two cowards, Peter Angelo$ and Bud Selig. The former, fearing competition within 50 miles (or 90 minutes on weeknights), tried to stop a team from coming here. When Angelo$ could not do that, he bullied Selig into surrendering the Nats TV rights days before the first pitch of the 2005 season. Angelo$ then kept the Nats off most cable systems for almost two whole years. So, that held back the franchise. Additionally, the Nats marketing efforts are very poor. Quick, name the official supermarket, gas station, fast food and car of the Washington Nationals? I cannot. The only thing they have ever marketed well is "don't drive to the new ballpark."

Olney is entitled to his opinion and frankly, if Teixeira was from Arkansas it would not make as much sense for the Nats. Since T is a local product, the efforts to sign him are defensible.

Anonymous said...

Great comments SBF.

I think the people in MLB are waking up to the fact that the Lerners did not buy a team to entertain, then bought at team to WIN.

I believe Teixeira signing for the Nats will be the first of many surprises the Lerners have in store for the baseball elite.

Anonymous said...

As we're seeing now with the Capitals, Washington is mid-market or better once the team it supports starts to win and give its fans a sense of hope. And once that happens and the winning is sustained (see Redskins 1969 - 1992), Washingtonians will support that team forever (see Redskins 1993 - Present).

Anonymous said...

The very threat of any of the big free agents going to anyone other than the Bosox, Yanks, Cubbies or Dodgers irritates the ESPNers to no end.

Anonymous said...

I agree. many of the sporrtswriters are in love with the Red Sox and Cubbies. Many went to Northwestern in Chicago, or to school in Boston.

Let's face it, and infield of Zimmerman, Guzman, Texeira and Hernandez(or Orlando Hudson) is probably the best in the Majors It would make our Nats contenders right away!!

Anonymous said...

The great debate that it's a mid market or even a small market? Well, if conditions don't improve it won't be a market at all. Team will be in Raleigh, NC within five years...So to all the folks in Raleigh, NC - Get your Red On!!!

Another round of Kool-Aid for the folks that don't see the light.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12:24:

Dream on. The only red they'll be seeing in Raleigh is for the Wolfpack and the Hurricanes (er, Whalers).

What enterprises that the Lerners or Stan Kasten been involved with have failed long term?

Anonymous said...

Baltimore "packed in the fans" until Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record. The Orioles attendance has dropped steadily since then. I don't see any once in a lifetime event like Ripken's streak happening anywhere in baseball, let alone Washington, DC anytime soon.
PS I was fortunate to be at the end of the streak on a week night in September 1999 against the Yankees in a half full Oriole Park. (No Yankee fans.)

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Anomynous 12:24, one of the conditions added to the Nats lease by MLB is that Washington, D.C. is guaranteed a franchise for at least 40 years if the District fullfilled its requirements in building the stadium on time. It's in writing. So although the Nats could be in last place for the next ten years or so, and Nats ballpark half-filled with Phillies, Mets, and Braves fans during that period, there will be a team here.

As far as Raliegh goes, it's far more likely that MLB would contract small cities like Kansas City or Minnesota than move franchises to places with even smaller fan bases like Raliegh, North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Are we giving up on Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young? Maybe they'll be healthy again next year. It seems like this move would be so out of character for this team's management. It's putting all of your eggs in one basket and we already decided not to do that when we failed to re-sign Alfonso Soriano.

The Orioles also signed free agent Miguel Tejada a few years ago, and he still played well for them but the team was still not very good. And Tejada was an American League MVP. Texeira has had some good years, but never has dominated the league, so I would hate to pay him so much guaranteed money. One player is not enough to create a winning team. I'd rather we keep building slowly with the farm system.