Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Read this... No, Actually Don't--It's Too Friggin' Depressing

I just can't remain anything more than the most casual Nationals fan and accept this story in the Washington Times 100% at face value. How credible is that paper anyway? Have you ever seen them accurately report any story about anything ever?

I admit it. I'm in denial. Just fire Jim and everything will be ok. Just fire Jim and everything will be ok. Just fire Jim and everything will be ok.

Actually, I suppose it's good that the team is being taken to task by the press. Unless of course the criticism causes them to dig in further. But they need to understand that if 'The Plan' is what we're supposed to be subscribing to, that they need to show us more. But the international signings aren't there. The spending on draft signing bonuses was at the bottom of MLB.

And the back-breaker of Aaron Crow. Truly, if the Nationals had signed Crow, I don't think this story gets written. The whole narrative changes to how for the second year in a row the team exceeded expectations on the signings and how committed they are to The Plan.

Do you know that just to spite Stan and the Lerners last weekend I purposely bought a $10 ticket from a scalper and then sat behind the dugout on the first base side? And then I went out of my way to buy a Nationals t-shirt for my 10-month-old at MLB.com instead of the team store because the team gets a smaller cut of the sale if I buy it on the website. This is what it's come to?

My tummy hurts. I think that's what it feels like when the bottom falls out of hope.
Sorry for being such a total downer. And for the meandering nature of this post. I don't know what else to say.


Bob L. Head said...

Depressing indeed. I think the story, at the end of the day, is that we had a budget for the draft. Signing Crow would have exceeded it. We underestimated the market and then, when the agents finally came within screaming distance at the last minute, Kasten and Bowden didn't have the authority to go above $3.5 million. We ran out of time. You may need to work on firing the Lerners as well, Steven.

Steven said...

You may need to work on firing the Lerners as well

Maybe so, maybe so. But I sure hope not. A bad GM means a bad decade. A bad owner could mean a bad lifetime.

ckstevenson said...

I know it's hard to prove outright plagiarism, but that article sure does look like a lot of the material has been taken from this and a few other Nationals blogs...

I think a good article also would have mentioned your blog and readership as proof people are pissed, as well as Nationals Enquirer which (half jokingly) is rooting for the Nats to lose to get the 1st pick.

El Rey said...

What makes you think the Washington Post with its cheerleading for Obama or the New York Times with its we think McCain had an affair, but we have no evidence but let's slime him anyway is anymore credible than the Washington Times? I salute the Washington Time's coverage of the Nationals since it is far more critical than the Washington Post's coverage. Tom Boswell - aka The Nationals Minister of Propaganda - has become a joke with his sycophantic coverage of the team. He went into hibernation for the Summer covering the Nats until he found an easy target to attack - Elijah Dukes. He should have saved his self-righteousness for his follow up piece. Instead, he threw softball questions to Ted Lerner and was only mildly critical of ownership and the direction of the team.

I love your blog! Yes, Fire Jim Bowden! However, I'm afraid the Lerners are not serious about fielding a competitive team. I believe their business model is to keep expenses low by fielding a AAA team while catering to the fans of other teams like the Mets and Phillies who attend games in large numbers at Nationals Park. This is a very profitable business model for the Lerners.

I attended the Nationals Season Ticket Holders Picnic on Saturday. I was disturbed by the large number of cool aid drinkers in attendance who believe in the "Plan" and believe the Lerners were right in not paying their rent to the city. I walked away shaking my head in disbelief at the sheep. Yes, someone like Hitler could come into power in today's dumbed down America. To me, the Lerner's view the Nationals as nothing more than a cash cow to be used in financing their other investments in their business portfolio. Baseball is an after thought. There is one positive in all of this - your Blog will be still be in business in 2009!

Jim said...

Your slam on the Times says more about your politics than it does about the accuracy of the article. (And I say this as a Post subscriber). What the Times article implies about the Lerners is EXACTLY what could have been expected of them- based on commentary about their business acumen and ruthless behavior at the time of the sale of the team and shortly thereafter-- including in the Post.


I think this is the most depressing thing I've read about the Nats all year. It's one thing to slam the General Manager, and cling to the hope that he is the source of all the problems, and that he clings to his job by bootlicking his clueless bosses, who will inevitably wise up some day.

No, rather it appears we now have an Angelos problem, only worse. We have Peter Angelos-like meddling of owners in decisions COUPLED with Carh Pohlad and Calvin-Griffith like cheap-ness.

I grew up in MN, and watched my Twins teams hemohorrage one good player after another when their price tag got too high. Sure, every small-market team has to do that to some degree, but Griffith was so cheap that when the Metrodome first opened with no air conditioning, and miserable fans complained (yes it gets hot in MN in July), Griffith had the staff put streamers up at the air vents to give the illusion of cooling.

I agree that the Lerners can use this team to make $30-40 mil a year to provide the Washington Generals to the Globetrotters. It's not consistent with building a winning team, but they'll make money. The alternative is to come up with a $100+ mil payroll and make less dough.

This is what we get. Thanks Bud for your astute choice in ownership.

I had such high hopes for this team.

Anonymous said...

C'mon. Caving to Crow's demands would have been insane. I am frankly amazed they raised their offer as high as they did.

As for delaying payment to the city, we don't know all the details, but if the punch list is anywhere close to the size I've heard it is, I'd be holding back payment too. Make the last payment and the city will disappear.

I do agree that the team's marketing has been piss poor, and am glad to hear that heads are rolling there.

As for moves this season, some have worked, some haven't, but I'm not going to criticize the team for taking risks with some relatively small amounts of money in short term contracts (as opposed to trading away the future). Rauch is the one move I'm worried we'll regret.

I'd love to have seen a few more victories at home this year, but won't mind getting the #1 draft pick either.

Steven said...

@El Rey, et. al--You don't have to be a progressive politically to recognize the weakness of the Times's journalism, but that was a joke. See the punch line was "I admit I'm in denial...." And I totally agree that their nationals coverage has been superior to the Post's.

@jim--I am moving in your direction, though McGeary, Smiley Gonzalez, Nieto, and DEstin Hood are all data points on the other side. I'm not ready to lump them in wiht Pohlad... yet.

@blog--I've written ad nauseum about why paying Crow a $4.4m bonus isn't "insane." You can read that post here if you're interested: http://firejimbowden.blogspot.com/2008/08/no-matter-what-crow-will-not-be.html

On the "delayed payments," even if you're right that there's some huge list of unacceptable problems with the stadium (and I don't think you are), it's still a PR blunder. There are lots of people in my neighborhood (Lincoln Park) who prefer not to go to Nationals games because they resent the Lerners so much. Disinterest in a loser is one thing. This team is actively alienating people.

And as for the individual moves, we could argue about whether this move or that move was good or bad, but it's undeniable that the team is bad and getting worse. I don't think you can lose 100 games in your 4th year as a GM or run up 7-8 straight non-winning seasons and be deemed a success. No excuse explains that much losing.

Will said...

I think this will be a very telling offseason. I've been surprised to hear Stan and others hint at pursuing some big name free agents this winter. We'll soon realize if they're serious about spending money or just saying it so every season ticket holder doesn't cancel their plans.

Will the Lerner's hold anyone accountable for this miserable season? Won't be much longer until we find out.

I'm hoping desperately we don't have another Angelos on our hands, but the pessimist in me says we do.

Finally, it's funny you question the Times' integrity. I just (no more than 20 min ago) finished reading an article in the Times based on a completely false premise. (An electoral tie would be decided by the newly elected House, which negates the whole point of the article, and it would take a very unscholarly "scholar" to argue otherwise.)

Steven said...

Gotta say I wasn't expecting the Moonie paper joke to rally a response from defenders. I mean, intelligent conservative thought is an important part of our public debate, but c'mon. The Times is just silly.

Kenny Gartner said...

firing jim bowden will be the start of changes for the better. ive been one of the few in the "lets see what he can do" camp, but after seeing your fight with bowden, it's time for him to go.

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