I draw everyone's attention to this morning's (Friday, 26 Sept. 2008), Tom Boswell's Washington Post column in the Sports section. Tom, one of the most respected sports writers in the nation, especially for baseball, finally tells it like it is. However, in his skilled matter, he does it very gently and politely. Tom is still being nice to the Nats because he knows what is going on behind the closed doors. He knows Stan Kasten, and Manny Acta are extremely talented individuals who know what they are doing, but are being micromanaged by inexperienced and cheap owners. It will be a darn shame if we see either leave the Nats organization by 2010. I'm undecided on Bowden as GM. He made a couple of good moves, but made many bad moves and reminds me of the typical low budget, perennial last place, general manager.
Then there are the owners, the Lerner family. The Lerner's are worth about 4 times as much as the Yankees' Steinbrenners, yet act as if they are running some shopping mall in a low budget, ghetto area. The present state of this team is directly the fault of this quiet, yet openly, supposedly, totally in love with baseball. But behind closed doors, the Lerners appear to be tight wad, micro-managing, short term for profit, owners. The whole organization below the Lerners is in a deep morose. Under this type of management in any business, the owners might make a short term profit, but at what cost to the morale of those below them. Why did the team have so many injuries this season?. Yes, we had a lot of injury prone players, but I believe that when one is depressed and plays with little enthusiasm you tend to get hurt. And this team played overall like a depressed with little enthusiasm. This was not the manager's fault, the President's fault, or even the GM's fault. This attitude started at the top, the cheap and micro-managing Lerners. To quote Boswell,.."Does a cheap suit unravel?"
The warning signs started with the failure to sign Soriano last fall. It proceeded to the lack of signing or even pursuing any free agent in the winter. Then the treatment of Cordero with his injuries. The trading away of very average, but very popular players, Church and Schneider (Did they ever realize how popular these guys were with the young fans?). No trades of significance in July. No resigning of the franchise player, Zimmerman, or contract extension for the great, young manager, Acta. The season long battle over paying rent to the city because, ".. the stadium was not complete on time", just to squeeze a few more bucks into the Lerner coffers. The arrogance about the failure to sign their top draft pick (Do you think any top player will play with Nats as long as the Lerners are the owners? The word is obviously out on the street.).
I thought they really wanted a winning team, but now I realize who owns and is developing the land around the new stadium, the Lerner's. You wonder why there is no parking? The Nats to the Lerner's are a means to an end, the development of their real estate assets. The Nats, are in no way, the center of their attention. I still feel you will see the Lerner's sell the Nats in 5 years or so. They will make a huge profit. The new owners will move the team to Las Vegas. It has happened before in DC, and I see no one in Selig's MLB or Orioles organization praying like I am, that a new, white knight with deep pockets and willingness to risk his money for the love of the game, coming to the rescue. The Nats need a Brooks Brothers suit, not a JC Penny's special!