Maury Brown, the business of baseball co-chair for the Society for American Baseball Research ("SABR"), scored a nice catch recently, interviewing Nats' co-owner-designee and future team president Stan Kasten. As one might expect, Kasten didn't precisely bear his soul during the interview; he and the Lerners still must bevoted in by the Lords, of course, and announcing you're going to hold orgies or run guns or repudiate television rights deals isn't exactly the safe, conservative way to go. Nevertheless, it's an interesting interview.
Among the highlights:
Kasten: My list of items that have to be done as my "first order of business" is now twelve pages long. We have a lot of things to do and we're working on all of them simultaneously. I can't say that any (single) one stands out, but obviously there are many, many big things. We have to invest a lot of money in rebuilding the franchise, we have to really look at our customer experience in our current stadium, we have to delve into the plans for our new stadium, we have to begin the initiative to helps us reach out to all of our community, we have the MASN issue to confront to where we can get our games on all television areas in the region. Is this enough of a top line to be concerned right away? I think it is.
Sounds like Kasten will be, as Commodus might say, a busy, busy bee.
Other notable features of the interview:
1. Lerner/Kasten relationship goes back several years.
2. Once Kasten realized his bid alone wasn't a serious contender for the Nats, he "almost was encouraged by baseball to consider staying available for the possibility of joining another group."
3. The notion that Bud Selig manipulates such marriages is born of "mythology." Instead, Selig allows these relationships to form "organically."
4. The Lerners are mindful their stewardship of the team "will reflect on them in the community." 5. Transition from MLB ownership "won't be an issue," as "Tony Tavares has been so professional from the start." No specific timetable for transfer at this point, but the process will start in earnest once Lerner/Kasten get MLB approval.
6. "[L]ong-time friends" of Tavares, Bowden, and Robinson.
7. Kasten hasn't actually looked at the ballpark plans yet.
Anyway, seven points are enough. Read the rest and tack on an extra point.
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Speaking of Kasten, Jeff Schultz, a columnist the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, thinks Kasten deserves more credit:
But you know what? The Washington Nationals are a better franchise today because Stan Kasten is running them.
Hold on a sec . . . Jon Koncak? Ew, no wonder all the mouthbreathers in the comments seem to despise Kasten. [editor's note, by Basil] Our resident NBA hater, Chris, reminds me that not everybody might know who Jon Koncak is. So, a primer: Click here; scroll to "per game"; scroll to "salaries"; compare; then remember this is the early 90s we're talking about.
(First comment: "Congratulations Washington! You just acquired the most despicable figure in Atlanta sports history.")
To his credit, Kasten provides Schultz with one of the most hilariously coy "I'm gonna be rich, rich, RICH!" quotes of recent memory: Kasten wouldn't provide details but admitted: "It's a cool thing economically."