- We are one step closer, according to the Associated Press: Major League Baseball's ownership committee and executive council have unanimously endorsed the Lerner/Kasten ownership bid. The transaction comes up for a full vote from MLB's
thirtytwenty-nine owners tomorrow.
An interesting wrinkle:Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said after Wednesday's committee meetings that he expects the Nationals will be transferred to the group headed by Theodore Lerner and Stan Kasten between June 15 and the All-Star break in July.
Okay, that's just frustrating; I seem to recall that the word was "by mid-June" before. The interesting part is noted in a Washington Times article from last April:[MLB's central office] will pay the first $37.5 million of the [$75 million] fee [for the Nationals' feloniously insignificant share in MASN,] due June 30, according to sources familiar with the agreement that MLB struck with Mr. Angelos in March. . . .
[S]ome groups seeking to buy the Nationals fear that MLB, which owns the Nationals, will seek to indirectly recoup the money when it auctions off the team this year.
Who will make the second payment of $37.5 million, due June 30, 2006, is not clear. Some sources think the Nationals' new owners ultimately will be responsible for the full $75 million.
1. Who will make that payment?
2. Does the timing of the ownership transfer affect who makes the payment?
3. Did the Lerners ensure an "indirect recoup" of this payment, if they are stuck with it?
Inquiring minds want to know.
- Speaking of MASN, the Post reports that the warring sides in the MASN/Comcast dispute met with DuPuy on Friday (which we knew) and it doesn't appear that the parties are any closer to a deal (which we suspected). According to the reporter, a MASN source "reiterated [its] willingness to allow an arbitrator to rule whether Comcast should carry Nationals games, and Comcast declined." This isn't the first time I've heard this, for what it's worth.
- Dave Appelman of the fascinating Fan Graphs website has apparently landed a gig at SI.com. I mention this because, in a column on charting various hitters' hot- and-cold zones, Appelman hit on a truth of which most Nats' fans are painfully aware: Royce Clayton has pretty much no hot-zones. Want visual evidence? Here you go.
- On the heels of a stunningly decent outing by our former hero, ¡Livan!, Zach Day takes the hill at Wrigley Field, trying for a third straight solid performance. He is opposed by Sean Marshall, who I previously notedis from my hometown. Marshall, is coming off a FUBAR-invoking performance last Thursday in San Francisco: 3.2 innings, nine runs on nine hits, with five walks thrown in. Otherwise, he's been quite effective, with four solid appearances in his first six (pre-San Fran) turns through the rotation, with three consecutive super-quality starts (a total of two runs in 20.1 innings).
Marshall, a 6'6" lefty, entered the season as the Cubs' number six prospect, according to Baseball America. The scouting report:Marshall picks up plenty of groundballs and strikeouts thanks to an 88-92 mph sinker that can reach 95. He keeps batters off balance with his curveball, a sharp downer he can change speeds with. He commands both pitches well. . . . He'll have to improve his changeup to remain a starter, and he's working on a slider.
Let us hope that slider isn't operational yet; sliders get us every time!
- The Darrell Rasner Express rolled through Richmond last night, and I was at The Diamond to see what has become of our long-lost farmhand. I was going to bring my camera to the game, but I figured, who really wants to see pictures of Darrell Rasner's pitching motion?
For what it's worth, Rasner pitched with Amtrak-like efficiency: 4.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 0 SO. Brutal. So, for last night at least, score one for Jim Bowden. If last night was any indication, he wasn't worth keeping around, though I'll note that getting absolutely nothing for him might have been a bit . . . well, not much.
Of course, last night wasn't an indication of how Rasner had been pitching for Columbus. Prior to the game, he had pitched 35.2 innings and allowed 33 hits and two homers with a 34/6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His ERA rose from 2.27 to 3.15.
One note on the game itself: ugh. Seemingly every count went full. By the third inning, my buddy Mike and I were so disinterested we started dreaming up non sequitur conclusions to dramatic movies---like Gladiator ending with a bunch of monkeys on roller skates engaging in lightsaber duels, or a pack of wolves tearing apart E.T.