After I went to press yesterday evening, I noticed the first installment of a multi-part interview series the Nats320 blog conducted with none other than Stan Kasten (and with Jim Bowden, Manny Acta, Dana Brown, and Bob Boone on hand, no less). The second installment is now up. This is good stuff, and it must have taken a whole lot of initiative by Screech's Best Friend (the unfortunately-pseudonymed blogger) to propose the idea and follow through on it so passionately. I think this also speaks well of Kasten and his front office team. It's gestures like these that create a perception that an organization is approachable and cares about its fanbase. I'm certain I've said my share of cynical things in recent months, but I definitely applaud Kasten here.
Now, with one exception (see below), I don't think Kasten has said much of anything, but this shouldn't reflect at all on the effort put forth by Screech's Best Friend. Kasten tends to speak deliberately and appears a master of a coy sort of rhetoric that makes all things seem possible while revealing next to nothing.
Nevertheless, Screech's Best Friend asks the right questions, the ones that fans would want asked, and gets some relatively candid answers. At one point in Part 2, Kasten seemed to agree with SBF's assertion that Chad Cordero is a "scar[y] closer," noting a high-wire act "can get old pretty quick." At another point, Kasten opined that the original ballpark design was "pretty bland." (Kasten then said the Lerners had pumped in lots of money to make it more interesting.)
But that all pales in comparison to the big scoop: SCREECH IS DEAD.
Well, not dead. But according to Kasten's comments in Part 2, Screech (the mascot) will be downplayed, while the President's Race (a big hit) will be brought more to the forefront of the team's mascot marketing. Good choice---although probably a discomfiting one when the interviewer calls himself Screech's Best Friend.
At any rate, check out this interview series, and continue to check it out as it unfolds. If the goal of all of this is to enhance all of our experiences as fans (maybe it is, maybe it isn't; I don't know), then Nats320 has really furthered that cause.
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In other news, an old buddy of mine named Robert Mang has started a Baltimore/DC regional sports website called The Water Cooler. This is a huge endeavor, because it provides original content on a number of teams on a daily basis. The WC has several writers, and features sections on clubs ranging from the Redskins to the United. Here's the Nats page.
I commend you to check out The Watercooler.
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In response to yesterday evening's post on "Southwesterners," loyal reader (by which I mean blogger) Harper wants to know where the other free agent pitching possibilities stack up on Lederer's graph. Well, we already know about Ortiz and Armas---Southwesterners, not good. Jorge Sosa and Jerome Williams didn't qualify under Lederer's criteria. Just for the heck of it, neither did Ryan Franklin. That leaves Steve Trachsel.
There's a reason why these guys are cheap.