If you watched, listened to, or read any of the various accounts of Stan Kasten's Farewell/Victory Tour through the Washington D.C. media on Wednesday, you'll notice that Stan expresses love and much thanks to many people. But there's one glaring omission -- evident within the first minute or so of the above interview between Stan and CSN Washington's Russ Thaler. And we quote:
"I'll always be a friend to this franchise. I love the players, I love the front office, I love the owners, and uh, that will continue. And most importantly, I love this city. I've had such a blast living here, working here, and I'll continue to spend lots and lots of time here. In the meantime, I'm also going to remain an owner at least for the forseeable future so yes, I will continue to be pulling for the Washington Nationals."
(Stan Kasten, via CSN Washington, 10/6/2010)
MASN's Ben Goessling posted a complete transcript of Kasten's Wednesday afternoon press conference at the President's Club at Nationals Park. Interestingly, unless we missed it: not once does Stan offer even a scintilla of a gesture of thanks to Nationals fans. Instead, Stan keeps his razor focus on a vague concept of fans who will eventually be there in the future; fans who don't actually exist in the here-and-now. Take this Q & A snippet, via Goessling's transcript:
When the team came here, you had 22,000 season ticketholders. Now, it might be half that, based on estimates of some of the late-season crowds. Do you think you have squandered goodwill with the fans?
I think squandered is probably too strong of a word. Clearly, some of it has dissipated. But let me tell you, I've lived through this before and I've seen it many, many times before. It's going to come back if you have the right market, and this is the right market. A huge fan base. A good mix. A diverse fan base with good demographics. And much better in terms of the economy and disposable income that most other markets. As soon as we get our product to where we've always wanted it to be but haven't gotten it yet, this is going to be great. And there will be a day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future when we shoot past 22,000 season tickets. But first we have to get our jobs done. The fans will come if we do that.
Build it and they will come. Until then, you get the attendance you deserve. Right, Stan?
Best of all, Kasten implied that Nationals fans (current and future?) should be thankful that the team essentially tanked the 2008 and 2009 seasons, allowing the organization to land a pair of once-in-a-generation prospects in Strasburg and Harper. Indeed, the Nationals tanked it. And we should all be thankful that they got lucky. More from Kasten, via Goessling's transcript
Is the reason for not having success quicker because of farm system not producing or because didn't spend to add?
I think both of those, and probably other reasons, are behind it also. What I tell people, because I think it's a fair question and a fair criticism, but the past is the past, and I tell people this. Yes, it might have been done quicker. But then the finished product would not have had a Strasburg in it, and would not have had a Harper in it. And remember, when they get here, not only will we be a good team, a winning team. We'll also have something teams go decades without having, and that's real marquee star power. In addition to quality product on the field that can really help make this the marquee franchise we thought it should be. So don't minimize the importance of that. Yeah, it might have been successful, but it would have had a different look and a different feel. And I think you're all going to be really happy about a successful team that also has that star quality.
It's seems like that's always been the way with Stan Kasten -- the grass will always be greener at some vague, to be determined point in the future. And when that time comes, NatsTown will be eternally grateful, Stan. And we will remember to thank you.