Setting The Scene...
If the 2008 Washington Nationals are to avoid losing 100 games they will have to go 5-1 in the last six games remaining on their 2008 schedule...Three games against the Florida Marlins starting tonight in DC, against whom the Nationals are 2-13 in 2008, and three games with Philadelphia this weekend in Citizens Bank, with the Nationals trailing 6-9 in the season series with the Phillies, and threatening to once again decide the NL East in the last three games of the last weekend of what could soon be a 100-loss '08 season for DC.
A 100-Loss Season? What They're Saying?...
AP sports writer Howard Fendrich has an article up at yahoosports.com entitled, "Washington Nationals nearing 100 losses", which he starts with two lines that will, at their conclusion, simultaneously amuse and infuriate any true Nationals' fan:
"Nationals president Stan Kasten, GM Jim Bowden and manager Manny Acta all love to throw around the word “progress.”
They love to talk optimistically about the team’s 'plan.'”
The Plan! What Nationals' fan hasn't heard enough about the Plan? When did that Plan start again? With the new ownership group buying the team or when the new stadium was built? I was just wondering so that I can know when to expect the team to start winning more than they lose...According to Mr. Fendrich's article, DC GM Jim Bowden, (as he's quoted in the article looking befuddled in print), isn't quite sure when all the work behind the scenes will pay off in success on the field, or as Mr. Bowden himself puts it:
"'I can’t put the timetable on it, because I don’t know, you know, what trades you make, what signings you do,' he said. 'There’s too many intangibles you can’t jump into.'”
As I've mentioned a few times before, I've been a Montreal Expos' fan as far back as I can recall, and still have one of the old powder blue away uniforms hanging in my study to prove it, with a time-worn Expos pinwheel cap resting nearby, right next to my '05 Nationals Wilkerson home white...So, having been a fan of the Expos my whole life, and then the Nationals after the move to DC, I've developed an ability to enjoy other things about baseball, outside of all the winning...and the losing of individual games...for example: 1) The endless succession of top draft picks and prospects, 2) The grooming of talent for the free agent pool, 3) Spoiling the seasons of nonplussed teams and their heartbroken fans, 4) Wondering how an MLB-owned team was allowed to trade away prospects to teams owned by the same owners with whom they were dealing?...But through it all I've remained optimistic...That was...until I read this paragraph in Mr. Fendrich's article:
"As bad as the Montreal Expos were—so bad that Major League Baseball was ready to fold the franchise before moving it to the nation’s capital, remember? — they played their final quarter-century in Canada without once losing as many games in a season as the 2008 Washington Nationals will."
That's when it really hit home...even without owners, without being allowed to make September call-ups, even while playing a portion of their home games in Puerto Rico's Hiram Bithorn Stadium...the Expos/Nationals' franchise hasn't lost 100 games since 1976 when they dropped 107, and before that 1969, in Montreal's inaugural campaign which saw them lose 110 of 162. Those were the only two times. Where is the "progress"? Was a 100-loss season part of the Plan? (ed. note - "Where is the Progress?: Possible answers...1) On the field with Zim, Dukes, Lasto, Lannan, Mock, etc...? 2) In The System? 3) In Next Year's #1 or #2 and 9A pick?")