October 27, 2005

Time to Go

OK, the World Series is over. Congrats to the White Sox, they earned it, but I still haven't decided whether Game 4 was 9 innings of good pitching or 9 innings of bad hitting. Jerry Reinsdorf should be in a good mood; maybe now he'll drag himself down to DC and finish negotiating the stadium lease. And now that the World Series ban on major baseball announcements has expired, we can get serious about anticipating an ownership group.

On the home front, an announcement regarding Jim Bowden's six-month contract extension is expected in the next few days. There is some concern in the blogosphere that Bowden's retention spells the end of Cap'n Hook's tenure as manager. A decision on the future of the coaching staff is expected in mid-November (concurrent with an ownership decision?) Certainly Tavares/Bowden and Robinson have repeatedly been identified as warring camps, but with everyone essentially working on month-to-month contracts I don't see drastic change as all that likely.

The other possibility though, is that these personnel moves can be interpreted as clues to the identity of the Nats eventual owners. There have been suggestions that one or more ownership groups have pledged to retain Bowden (and possibly Tavares). If that's true, Bowden's extension and Robinson's dismissal could foreshadow MLB's decision. But deciphering all that involves the extensive reading of chicken entrails, and I'm not prepared to go there.

Federal Baseball and The Curly W take on a topic I have more or less ignored: Tony Tavares musing about messing around with single game ticket pricing for next year. Of course, the reason I didn't pay much attention is that the NTP crew are season ticket holders (Thanks Dave!) so individual game price fluctuations don't affect us.

While variable pricing and its bastard child package purchasing aren't new or unique, applying these policies to the Nats does come with some risk. One of the joys of the inaugural season was strolling up to the box office and purchasing a $7 outfield ticket to see the Nats play just about anyone. If those tickets suddenly become $10 when the Mets or Phillies are in town and $15 when the Yankees come to RFK you risk alienating Nats fans. Sure, visiting team fans will probably pay the premium, but do we really want to turn RFK into Camden Yards South, where visiting fans outnumber home fans at almost every game? The Nats don't have the kind of established fan base that will tolerate this kind of money-grubbing BS from a team that made $25 million last year playing in an dank hole of a stadium.

Brendan & Basil explore the subject in much greater detail, check them out.

Finally, the numerical whiz kids at Baseball Prospectus have identified the key to the Nats 2006 campaign. Everyone needs to stay healthy. Hope they didn't burn out their slide rules on that complex statistical analysis.


Basil said...

Well, Will Carroll does propose that health is a skill . . . ;-)

Nate said...

Health is 1 part nature and 1 part luck. The ability to play hungover, now that's a skill.

Watson said...

Playing hungover is not a skill, it's a gift. I can teach you to play left handed but I can't teach you how to ignore that pounding headache and the urge to vomit on your own shoes.

Dave said...

Hey, season tickets is one of my favorite indulgences... and I believe paid for themselves in customer committment and references. :)