Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stan Kasten Failed

Not to put too fine a point on it, but is there any other conclusion that can be reached?

On Monday, the Nationals drew an announced paid attendance of 10,999 to Nationals Park, the team's smallest since baseball returned to DC in 2005. Then, fewer than 12,000 showed up Tuesday, and fewer than 13,000 were at Wednesday's game. That's the end result of the Kasten era, and there's no other way around it.

Make excuses if you like. I am certainly on record that Jim Bowden was a bigger problem for this team than Stan Kasten. The team was in bad shape when he got here. Tom Boswell would have us believe that Kasten had the answers all along, but the Lerners just wouldn't listen.

Whatever. The Nationals also had some great opportunities when he got here.
A brand-new stadium. High draft picks. A near-MVP caliber third baseman. The most recession-proof market in baseball. Tremendous enthusiasm for the return to baseball, at least back when he first came in (dang, does that seem like a long time ago).

In fairness, if we could get a look at the Nationals' books, we would probably see a team that's doing just fine in terms of short-term profit. But cashing in on a new stadium and revenue sharing while fielding a crappy team and squandering the fan base isn't a recipe for long-term success. That's called strip-mining.

This franchise has dark days ahead. Nevermind Stan's happy talk and's silly cheerleading. The decisions made under Kasten's watch will keep the team in the cellar for the foreseeable future. And for that reason Stan Kasten's regime in Washington should be regarded as nothing but a failure. It's time for new blood, and Nationals fans shouldn't be sad to see him go.

As for what Stan does next, I'd guess he's going to be working for MLB, probably working on the CBA in some capacity. He always seemed to be running the Nationals as if he was applying for a job in Selig's office, rather than helping the Nationals win.


Roberto said...

While I'm not sure that that the future is as bleak as you say it is, I'm closer to your position than I was at the start of the season, that's for usre.

The saddest part is that this team had an opportunity to become a really important part of the DC sports scene and even beyond that. The Redskins were mired in mediocrity and had turned off their fans. The Wizards were just plain awful and the Caps, well it's hockey and this is Washington, not Ottawa.

Now, Redskin fans are beginning to hope again; the Wizards could get better; and the Caps have arguably the best player in the sport and an exciting young team.

The Nats? Nothing. Zimmerman and an elusive promise of better things ahead, a promise I no longer care to invest money in. They are an afterthought.

I've been a partial season-ticket holder since 2005. I never went to all the games I held tickets for but that was okay. They are not getting my money in advance anymore.

Was Kasten to blame? I don't care.

23 said...

To me, the obvious failure was Kasten not convincing the Lerners to Fire Jim Bowden IMMEDIATELY after the Lerners assumed control of the team. Kasten's job was to build a professional baseball operation. He should have identified Jim Bowden's presence as the most significant roadblock on the path to baseball success. It was then incumbent upon him to convince the Lerners that Bowden was not the right man for the job. His failure to do so has left the Nats in the position they are in now; two years away from contending. If Kasten's legacy doesn't take a hit because of this, then people simply haven't been paying attention.

Steven said...

Kasten's job was to run the team. If the Lerners didn't want to spend or fire Bowden, it was his job to convince them. Now, if they were just totally obstinate and refused to listen to the guy they hired to run the team, then he's in a bad spot. But Kasten is part-owner with tremendous pull in the commissioners office. AND he took the job in the first place, knowing full well who he'd be working for.

Kasten doesn't get all the blame, nor are the Lerners or (I can't believe I of all people have to say this) but nor does Jim Bowden.

But Kasten's job was to fill the stands, build a winning team and a long-term valuable property. He failed by most any measure. There's no use making excuses or sugar-coating. This isn't little league. He doesn't get a participation trophy.