We here at NationalsFanboyLooser are honored to have a guest contributor who needs no introduction:
Despite appearances to the contrary, I am not a trained seal. Still, when I read the latest batch of softballs lobbed in the general direction of my ol' pal, Stan Kasten, I couldn't resist. I reached back into my closet and dug out the StanSpeak translator.
For those of you new to this, it's a fantastic piece of machinery handed down to me by some dude at the NSA. If you put the words of Stan Kasten in one end, it parses it out, deconstruction all the conditional statements, unwrapping the logic, and picking up the hidden subtexts behind the things he's saying, giving us an unfiltered look at what he's reallllly thinking and feeling instead of what's actually spewing out of his mouth.
With that out of the way, let's a-get to it.
On his thoughts with the stadium:
The park itself (though nothing on the field) has been fantastic. We've given our fans hundreds of places to buy overpriced beer, and they've responded admirably. We still have many things to finish, such as paying our rent, but we are so pleased with what we have been able to do so far in terms of being deadbeats. I think the reaction of the fans has been overwhelmingly positive, but that's probably related to their drunkenness and explains why we had to build a second bar, and we hope to build on that, adding more places to get drunk and avoid watching this team. Oh, and not paying rent either -- we've got bars that are unfinished!
On what else needs to be finished at the park:
I'm not going to point things out to you that you haven't noticed, little man, but I noticed them because I'm smart and, well, because my bosses' lawyers (oh, their many, many, many, many lawyers) reminded me that I had to say that. And there are many, many things like that, but I think the things that are complete, like the bars, are wonderful and have been enjoyed by all of our fans, increasing the amount of revenue that goes into our pockets.
I think the attendance has been great ::bites inside of cheek, drawing slow trickle of blood::. I think it's very strong considering -- let's be honest [WAIT? Did I just say that?]-- where we are in our cycle of building [I wonder if he'll put scare quotes there?]this team. And still, we have had very strong fan support from the sheep -- and big-spending sheep at that! We always knew the market (read: revenues)would be great for our team. As we , or if we ever,get better, I think that [attendance] will continue to grow, in the aggregate.
On Attendance Expectations:
I don't do things like that. Even though I'm running a half-billion dollar business that's generating over a hundred million in revenue per year, I can't be bothered to even begin to estimate such trivial matters as attendance! (This guy's not really believing this, is he? He is? Holy crap! These guys are bigger yokels than those in Atlanta. Man, I can get away with anything!) You heard me say before, "We get the attendance we deserve," and I think that takes into a lot of things: Performance [HAHAHAHA]on the field is one of them, but the stadium experience [Have you tried the Playstation? One of our 3 varieties of Miller beer?]is another one, ease of getting here is another one and thanks to our lousy performance, and our inability to properly estimate traffic flow, we killed that golden goose. Given that we have had some extraneous problems, such as the bizarre first-half season of weather going into the mix, I'm pleased with where we are and the millions of profit we're making anyway,so far.
On a name change for the stadium:
In time, it will. I don't know when. We are not in a rush to slap a name on at the price these ungrateful SOBs are offering. We are waiting for the right partner with the right mix of dollars and the right deal that will enrich us grossly... (or grossly enrich us?). That could be soon or it could be quite a ways in the distance. I just don't know. But we are not in any particular rush. There's not a need to do it. We're making enough freaking money as it is.
On the success of premium seating and suites:
They are OK. In case you can't tell from the acres of blue seats or the luxury boxes that are as dark and shuttered as some of those rowhouses our parkers walk past, We are not sold out in our premium areas, but we have healthy attendance in those areas that are not sold out on a yearly basis. It has been a brisk business in nightly rentals. That has been an important part of our plan as well, even though that wasn't really our intent. We just underestimated the market and the demand for these kinds of boxes, as well as the price. Even know, we're just acknowledging that we overrated the market, and we're finally selling Diamond Club seats without food privilege at a discounted rate. Frankly, it's something we should've been doing from the beginning, but I've got people in my shop who used to work for the WNBA and the Nashville Predators, and we really don't have the first clue. Make the play today! [ed: I don't know what happened there. I must've toggled the trigger to 'humorless'?]
On the TV ratings:
I don't know what to make of it. It's odd, and I've asked for the report. I'll be looking into it, and I'll be able to tell you more. (does he realize this is code for "leave me alone?") I use to live and die by ratings [while affiliated with TBS in Atlanta]. It used to be an important thing in my life, because I was in the sales of TV. Here, we are just not. So it's not just something we pay a lot of attention to. Why would I be bothered to care about such trifles? I mean, if nobody's watching, it doesn't affect me one bit, right? And, besides, it's not my doing. ::passes buck::
On how he feels about the performance of the team:
Which team? The team that is on the field now? Yeah, they blow. It's very different from the team we penciled in to start the year with luminaries like Paul Lo Duca. If the team we penciled in to start the year had this record, I would be very surprised. I'd peg them for 3-5 more wins, at least. I can't be surprised at the record given what we have available thanks to the wonderful job of depth-building our horse's ass of a GM performed.
Golly, Stan, you worked wonders in Atlanta, how do you do you transfer your greatness to DC?
First of all, we have pieces on the Major League side that when (if?) they all come together, we are going to have more success than what we are having, but that's a realllllly low standard. Let me remind you that it's only two years Nyeah nyeah! It's not my fault! [since the Lerner Group took over the club] and, yet, we now have a pipeline that will fill the needs that we have up here, even though -- as I indicated in my answer to the last question -- we don't have any good players to fill in. The pieces that we have here when healthy, in conjunction with the pipeline that is starting to produce players such as Chuck Manning, Steven Shell, Ryan Langerhans, Wil Nieves, Ryan Langerhans again, Kory Casto, Ryan Langerhans yet again, in the Major Leagues, I think we will only have a few holes (at second, short, first, setup man, front of the rotation and center) left to fill to make us truly competitive in a down year. Did I mention that Langerhans kid yet? Try a beer! Make the play today! It's the premier sports and entertainment expe... umm... no, it's the premier entertainment experience in DC! (as long as you're rooting for the other team!) How soon til I can cash out? Working for these cheap bastards and having to defend our schmuck of a GM is killing me! I wonder if the Thrashers would take me back? REDRUM REDRUM!!!