from all the crap that is being stuffed down our throats.
I'm not knocking Mark Zuckerman for this article in today's Washington Times. He's a reporter, not a columnist. Now and then you check in with the brass and throw what they say out there for public consumption. At which point, we hope, the public gives a collective Bronx cheer.
Just once, I'd like to see a Nats official man up and say, "We suck worse than we should, something is wrong and we need to fix it. We didn't think we'd have a contender this year but we didn't think it would be THIS bad and we can't use injuries as our crutch. If it is me, I need to go. If it is him, he needs to go. We needed to be much better than this in the year we moved into our new stadium." I'd also love them to add, "We feel so bad we're offering refunds," but I won't hold my breath on that.
So many prospects in this system? Well, get a couple of them up here then and let them learn on the big league level. And, as long as injuries keep coming up, why are so many of them hurt in the minors, too? Look at this list from Zuckerman's article: Collin Balester, Garrett Mock, Jordan Zimmermann, Adrian Alaniz, Cory VanAllen, Chris Marrero, Justin Maxwell and Michael Burgess. Guys in bold are injured.
If the Nats are 3-4 years away from being really good, that means it took 7-8 years from the time the team landed in Washington. Too long. The Marlins went from non-existent to world champions in five. It can be done if the people in charge know what they're doing.
I need to get Chris Needham, my blogging mentor, to send down the Stanspeak translator now that Chris has retired. Be interesting to see some of what comes out. I've offered Chris a guest spot here any time he likes and I'm sure he'd have some fun with this article as well.
And while I'm all over some articles - how about this gem from Nationals.com. Robert Fick? What is he smoking? He keeps guys on their toes? Yeah, let's use a roster spot for a player who contributes nothing beyond that. Why don't you keep them on their toes Dmitri? They ain't paying you that $5 million for your defense.
Since I'm hitting everything else, peruse this one from Chico (the writer) in the Post. Glad he got in this quote from FLop: "There's a lot of uptight people in here," he said. Or maybe there's a lot of people who don't like lackadasical play from a guy making $4.9 million.
I really do have faith in Uncle Stan. He's smart (just ask him). He surely has to know even if he isn't going to say it. Something is wrong. Fix it.
UPDATE - Mr. Needham fired up the machine for me this a.m., I'm not experienced enough to handle it myself just yet (and may never be). NationalsFanboyLooser thanks him for his contributions.
When I gave up the keys to my blog, I didn't give up the keys to the StanSpeak Translator. It's a complicated piece of machinery whose quality erodes the more it's used. Thankfully, Mr. Kasten limits his self-serving statements, especially lately as he's had to hide in his underground concrete lair at the stadium lest an angry mob rip him limb from limb for the gross incompetence he's displayed, which has brought us legions of overpriced empty seats, Paul Lo Duca in left field, and Bob Carpenter in the broadcast booth.
I ran his latest quotes through the ol' translator, and after a few minutes of humming, it spit out this: the thoughts behind his words. (I apologize, in advance, to the most generous Mike.)
"There's no question that the day-to-day performance, for the last month especially, has been very disappointing. We (Uncle Teddy and our bankers) feel it more than any fan or person in the media could possibly feel it, since our lousiness is losing us untold millions of dollars that we'd otherwise be able to pocket."
"Obviously, it's disappointing, all the things that have happened, but we continue to focus on the big picture and our big profits. And big picture, I'm still as optimistic as I've ever been because I'm making money hand over fist with all those gullible yahoos paying $7.50 for beer. Brilliant strategy, if I do say so myself. Put a product so lousy on the field that people are forced to get hammered to drink. Then charge them the price of a quality six-pack for swill to drown their sorrows, diverting their attention from the field."
Kasten said this because of the organization's ever-improving farm system, which was devoid of top-tier prospects when he and the Lerner family were awarded the franchise in May 2006 but has since been restocked with their own terrible players, a bunch of so-so prospects who have been terribly over-hyped by fans hungry for something other than the crap they're watching in Washington, and a few decent prospects who've either sucked or gotten injured.
But Kasten, while touting the revamped farm system, said "improvement in the minor leagues is not the goal. It's a milepost on the road to the goal. The goal is to be a championship team up here, since I had such a hard time in Atlanta. Also, it'll bring in champion-level revenues, retiring our team debt, making us even richer."
As for the job statuses of Acta and Bowden, Kasten quashed any idle speculation about changes on that level: "I think they both have done very well, and they're both absolutely big parts of our future, at least until we're closer to their contracts running out. We've already got enough people sitting idly on the payroll, thanks to Jimmy's brilliance."
"Let's face it. We should have had a better record right now than we've had, but none of us wanted to spend the money to bring in players with real talent or a hitting coach without his head up his ass. But there's nothing that's happened this year which is a kink to us long term -- if you ignore the injuries to Zimmerman, Hill, Kearns, Johnson and the terrible performance of our top pitching prospect or the injury to our defensively challenged top hitting prospect. We don't have a big $75 million contract that has backfired. We don't have a $125 million pitcher that has backfired. We've avoided those kind of mistakes. Take solace in that Nats fans. We didn't make mistakes with big contracts. We made mistakes with lots of tiny little deals like LoDuca's. But the way, you can call 202.675.NATS to order season tickets. Pro-rated plans are STILL available (can you believe it?). Come not watch exciting Nationals baseball while drinking yourself into oblivion in our expanded beer pen.
"That [Screwing up the small stuff] was so important for us to do. Because we don't want to be a team that rebuilds every year. We don't want to tear down and start over every year. Instead, we'll pretend we're improving every season and continue to hype our pseudo prospects. Hey, how 'bout that Matty Chico? Oh, sorry. I mean, Garrett Mock! He's the best! We want to get it right this most important first time and rake in all the profits we can while the stadium honeymoon is ongoing, so that we (Uncle Teddy and his bankers) can be good for the long haul. I don't think that we have made any long-term mistakes -- our inability to read the market and price tickets accordingly was only temporary. We've avoided those. And that's what's most important to getting long-term success (defined as profits)."