The open letter sent out this morning by the Washington Nationals is reprinted below in its entirety (and also available via D.C. Sports Bog). This opus would choke the StanSpeak Translator, but we here at Nats Triple Play feel ourselves equal to the task.
To Fans of the Washington Nationals, (Fans... plural. Love the optimism.)
No one is more dissatisfied in the first half of the 2009 Washington Nationals season than we are. (Thank God we get paid to be here.) Like you, we had hoped that some of our younger players would have matured faster (once we dumped them in AAA after 7 games,) and that the addition of some of our new veterans would have significantly improved our record from a season ago (without improving our pitching or defense). Our hope was that a solid club leadership would emerge on and off the field (we blame Dmitri for the lack of leadership) and that some intangible combinations (magic beans) would begin to click resulting in many winning streaks (two games is a streak, right?).
We definitely do see significant pieces materializing for the future (once Scotty gets the transporter working), and there have been many close, exciting games and optimistic bright spots (predictably ruined by the bullpen): Strong outings by John Lannan, the home run and RBI production of Adam Dunn, the All-Star selection and 30 game hitting streak of Ryan Zimmerman, and the recent addition of speedster Nyjer Morgan. (Yes folks, Nyjer Morgan is 4th on your list of season highlights.) Much (All) of the season, however, has been defined by weak relief pitching, poor defense, and youthful inconsistency (from 10-year veterans). We have tried to work through this period with patience and focus but now we are faced with mounting losses which (could actually threaten our jobs, and) are beginning to take a toll on our entire roster. Clearly, some changes are required as we prepare for the second half of the 2009 season and, more importantly, build for a competitive future (but rest assured those changes won't happen anytime soon).
Today, we announced that manager Manny Acta is being replaced on an interim basis by Jim Riggleman, (bad) veteran manager, (sacrificial goat) and currently the Nats bench coach. Both the Ownership and the entire Washington Nationals organization have the highest respect for Manny Acta and the role he has played in the short history of the Nationals. However, it is our belief that a fresh attitude and approach (more screaming) is necessary as we set out to improve our performance for the remainder of the year. We want to send a strong message to our clubhouse and our fans that the status quo is unacceptable (all of a sudden). We believe (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding) that more is expected of everyone in the organization.
Baseball operations will be reevaluating all our players and our options for improvement over the next several months (and we have begun the process of legally changing Austin Kearns's name to Jason Bay). We hope to sign our 2009 draft choices by the August deadline (without actually spending any money, so don't hold your breath). We hope these new additions will join an already exciting Nationals youth movement headed by the likes of Lannan, Jesus Flores (may he rest in peace), Alberto Gonzalez (author of the memo conclusively demonstrating that Nationals baseball is not torture), Jordan Zimmermann and Craig Stammen on our current roster, and the likes of promising minor league stars like Chris Marrero, Michael Burgess, Danny (0-3, 2K) Espinosa, Derek Norris and Drew Storen, among many others. But, we also will be determining the viability of trades or roster upgrades that can be made without doing damage to the farm system (now DDT-free!) or the developing talent we expect to blossom within the next two years.
When we bought the Washington Nationals in the middle of the 2006 season - just under three years ago - we committed to a patient, long term approach (marked by indifference to the major league squad), building a strong farm system (compared to the dirt farm bequeathed us by Omar Minaya) and core foundation that would deliver a perennial and consistent contender (to Potomac); to provide a second-to-none family entertainment value at Nationals Park; and to investment and involvement in the metropolitan Washington DC community. Today we remain steadfastly committed to each component of that mission. We are proud to represent the National Pastime in the Nation's Capital, and we are proud to call the Capital area home (except for those of us with no ties to the area who live elsewhere).
We know we have a way to go, but the end result will be all the richer (f0r us) for the early days we've spent together at Nationals Park (siphoning your cash while fielding a AAAA team). We are getting better (at lying to you). We want you to be with us as the pieces of the puzzle come together. Your support is powerful to the Nationals and baseball in Washington (not as powerful as the support of Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Braves and Cardinals fans, but still, you guys are swell). Thank you for your continuing patience and your commitment to a shared dream.
Washington Nationals Baseball Club (What, you expected someone to actually sign their name to this horse pucky? Such a kidder, you are.)