November 5, 2009

Dave & Nate Take On: The Post-Post Season

In this episode, Dave and Nate take on… Fan fatigue, the vindication of Manny Acta and why Dan Snyder is the best thing never to happen to the Nats.

Nate: If it’s November, it must be time to drag ourselves out of a blogging coma.

Dave: So I’ve been rather quiet this year. I’ve been so quiet I can’t even really remember the last time I blogged. Nate has pretty much done the bulk of the writing here, and even he couldn’t pull something out for September or October… making the blog much like the team. (rimshot) It’s been incredibly hard to work up enthusiasm this year. Thanks to MLB’s text messaging service I’ve felt the pain of 103 text messages on my phone telling me of another loss, and only 59 times did that “bing” mean there was a win. Let’s recap:

We couldn’t bring ourselves to buy season tickets this year, which turned out to be the best non-investment of the year.

Nate: Second best, to me not renewing my ‘Skins tix, but more on that later.

Dave: Fair enough. Point is, there wasn’t a game we wanted to see that we couldn’t just buy tickets for, and usually we ended up with better seats to boot. This also meant we went to a lot LESS games, because we weren’t obligated to be there two or three times a week. Frankly, I don’t see us renewing next year either - Nats season tickets are nobody’s idea of a good deal right now.

The gameday experience at Nats Park is still a great time, but now even more for the stadium than the game. I do love getting a Half Smoke All The Way, and we had a pretty great rainout night just watching the rain fall and stuffing our faces with food and beer. Funny, the best night there was a night they didn’t play….

Nate: Because just like the lottery, you can’t lose when you don’t play. But let’s put the past in the past and never speak of the 2009 season ever again. Certainly one of the key figures from that forgettable period in Nationals history is doing a good job of moving on… new Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta. Am I crazy for eagerly anticipating Major League 4? I’m not going to harp on how Manny got a raw deal in DC, but the Indians sure snapped him up quick, didn’t they?

Dave: They did. My back of the napkin analysis was that Manny got a bum deal. Trader Jim left Manny with a collection of pieces that weren’t designed to fit, and it shouldn’t be a surprise they didn’t work well together. (I’ll leave the comparisons to Jim Zorn to Nate.) Removing Manny didn’t make the team noticeably better. I’m a fan of Manny’s, and will do a little of the harping for Nate. As for Major League 4, I didn’t even know there was a version three.

Speaking of Zorn, I think the Lerner family is clearly benefiting from the fact that Dan Snyder is taking all the heat for being the worst owner in Washington, much less in all of sports. Being cheap isn’t half the crime that being evil is. Watching the Skins implode has taken the pressure off the Nats for being the worst team around. Both stink, but the Redskins have managed to take the smell to the national stage and come off looking absolutely ridiculous. At least the Lerners aren’t using security to take down fans with signs or suing their ticket holders. But maybe it was smart to drop those Nats tickets before they got any ideas.

Nate: Uncle Ted and the boys may be indifferent to the product on the field, but at least they aren’t actively undermining the coaches and antagonizing the fans on a daily basis, all while wringing every last nickel out of 40 years of accumulated goodwill. One thing the Lerners seem to have figured out, albeit belatedly, is that the business of sports is different from the business of business. Stan Kasten and Mike Rizzo appear to have been given more latitude to run the baseball side of the franchise. It’s the Kasten & Rizzo Show now, and from here on the results will speak for themselves. Contrast the Redskins, where accountability seems entirely absent, and the Nationals almost look like a competent organization. Dan Snyder, the gift that keeps on giving.

(I reserve the right to take everything I just wrote back if Jim Riggleman gets the permanent managerial gig for 2010.)


dcdingo said...

Your post raises some issues I'm dealing with now, as members of our season tickets group drop out. Does canceling send a message to the Lerners? Does an eroding fan base just make them even more careful with their money, ensuring few FA signings this winter. Or will loyalty be rewarded? I'm really torn.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

I like baseball good or bad (I had a 30 games plan with the Senators that went to Texas), so I will renew. If you did not see an improvement of the team with Riggleman, you all were not paying attention. Indeed, they had a long shot at 99 losses if Tony Plush had not gone down.

Nate said...

Dingo - for us it was more a preference for sampling bad baseball a la carte rather than purchasing in bulk. Your tolerance level may vary.

Sec 204 - three words, good sir... "small sample size."