Friday, November 19, 2004

Nats Tickets, Relocation, and signings

Well...since MLB has decided to tentatively rename the team the 'Washington Nationals' (from what the Post says, that announcement will come at a ceremony on Monday, along with the redesign of the team logo and uniforms, using the red-white-blue color scheme that the Expos had) least until the team is sold and new ownership can decide on the team name...I might as well call them that too. Personally, I'm on the record as favoring 'Senators' as their name, but...let's face it...Mayor Williams doesn't want that name (for his own byzantine reasons which I understand, but seem rather lame), and MLB knows that it owes him for all the hard work he's done to bring the team here. So...for now...I might as well start calling them the Nats, since that's what they'll be for the immediate future...

(Note: As with my abandoning the use of 'El Presidente,' just because I'm submitting doesn't mean that I have to like it.)


There's been plenty of Nats news this week as the team continues to gear up for next year, their first in Washington. Ownership yesterday delayed the official vote on the relocation of the Montreal franchise, which was something of a surprise since it was supposed to happen in that meeting. Bud and company claim that it was that they're just waiting for a bit of extra information and there wasn't time to do that - and that they should be able to take care of it on December 3rd. However...I find it interesting that the 3rd is, by "coincidence" three days after the long delayed "first vote" in the DC City Council on the stadium construction plan. I'm guessing they decided to play "wait and see" regarding that vote...careful not to give up their sword hanging over the city's head...just in case somebody decides to change their mind.

From all looks, the Mayor's stadium plan will pass on the 30th with an ammendment which allows the council until June to explore options for some amount of private financing for the park. That won't thrill MLB, guess is that most of the private financing arrangements aren't going to come to much - Krupp has played her hand and now she's forced to come to terms with what can actually be done and what can't. My guess is that a week from Tuesday, the deal passes. MLB would officially relocate the team on the 3rd and then we should be off and away. Nothing would become official until the 14th of December, that point, it should be all square.

That said, 10,000 of my fellow new Nats fans have joined me in putting down deposits for season tickets - in just two days, despite all the uncertainty. Hey baseball! THIS is what you've been missing in Montreal.

That's right...I put down a deposit on Wednesday morning. And while I've been holding off on buying a new ballcap to wear...looks like I might be able to do that next week. Needless to say, I continue to be excited. How long until pitchers and catchers???

In other Nats news...the team announced that Frank Robinson's contract as manager was extended for another season. No surprise there - he wanted to continue and he's done an admirable job with a hard luck team that hasn't been able to retain it's players. I'm not certain that he's the best longterm solution at manager for the club, but he deserves at least one season in Washington - a reward for his hard work in a job nobody wanted.

Also, earlier this week the Nats signed two free-agents to fill some of the many gaps in the roster - Vinny Castilla and Christian Guzman. I'm not in love with the Castilla singing at 3B, since his numbers away from Coors Field in Denver have always been a little suspect. He's no spring chicken, either. But, with Tony Batista declining offers by the Expos to return at third, Bowden needed to do something with his somewhat limited budget. If new ownership had been in place, we might have been able to make a run at Troy Glaus...but, we'll have to settle for what we can do. Guzman, on the other hand, should solidify SS pretty nicely - he's relatively young and could be our option at shortstop for a number of years. His hitting has always been just average (probably slots in 7th or 8th in the batting order at this point), but...his defensive ability is why he'll fit well. Bowden would like to make some additional moves with his somewhat limited budget. As has been clear for awhile...the 2005 Nats are going to be a "work in progress" on the field. A 100 loss season probably isn't completely out of the question, particularly with a rough interleague schedule against the AL West and tough competition in their own division with the perenially underachieving Phillies, Mets and the up-and-down Marlins.

And yet...I'm still excited. Only a few more months to go...


At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cropp. The woman's name is Cropp. Unless that's some weird coffee joke. Kt.


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