A Washington Nationals Blog

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Schedule Released!!

Well, only sort of. The tentative schedule for next season has been released and is posted on the Nationals Journal, courtesy of Barry and the Post. Among the most obvious and shocking items are what seem to be missing from this particular schedule.

No "true" Home Opener
Away game on July 4th
No Memorial Day
No Labor Day
Finish the season on the road

So that means that assuming that this schedule isn't changed in some fairly fundamental way, a number of Nationals traditions are going the way of the dodo as of this year. Now, I don't count opening the season at home among these, since it never happens, though it would be nice to start the new park in such a manner. But the 4th of July baseball in the Nations Capital and the new Nationals Park seems like a fairly good tradition to build on. So, if I were king of baseball for a day, this is what I would change in the ol' schedule.

First, baseball in DC on July 4, 2008. And every July 4 from now until the end of time. This is the way it should be and there is simply nothing else to say.

Second, if we can't open at home, at least let us close at home. In the case of this year, give the Nats their ESPN game at home against the Metropolitons and let us be happy. We can finish on the road if we have to.

Third, why is there no baseball on Labor Day?! I mean, if not at home, then fine, but just not playing? That isn't American, its something unholy that should not be allowed to happen. So change it.

No, I understand that these things are difficult and complex, blah, blah, blah. But we should at least get something from the league as opposed to a schedule that is, at best, lacking. I hope that when the "Tentative" is removed there is something to show for it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Season Ticket Blues

I got an email today in the account that I get my junk mail sent to. It was from the Nationals and had a subject that mentioned both season tickets and a "Special Bonus". Needless to say, my interest was peaked. I opened the email and to my surprise I found that the Nationals were going to try and hock season tickets at a special Postseason get-together at the ESPN Zone. Everyond would be there: Stan, Jim, ummm did I mention Stan? Anyway, that isn't all, all new season ticket holders that sign up and pay a deposit during a special hour either online or at the ESPN Zone get a goodie bag from the Nats! It includes:

• A Nationals game-used baseball

• An MP3 player

• A Teddy Roosevelt bobblehead

• A red curly W New Era hat

So aparently the answer to the often asked question, "How are season ticket sales going?" is "anemic to poor". That would be the only reason that the Nats are dumping a whole bag of trinkets on someone, anyone who will sign up. And you don't even have to go anywhere; do it online and you still get the goodies!!

This means that sales are going poorly, and so, for the sake of the team, I hope that a little stunt like this results in a bump in season ticket sales. I want them to do well, I want the park to be full, I want a big, happy long-lasting season ticket holder base for the Nats.

Which brings me to my next question: What about all of us that ARE season ticket holders? I understand that gimmicks exist and are used to put people over the top, but I also seem to remember a lot of talk from Stan about how important the season ticket holders are, "life-blood of the franchise" and all that. So Stan, where is my game-used ball? You have had my deposit for months and the only thing that I get is the possibility of a slightly better seat, but even that doesn't seem like such a big deal if you are pulling this to get more folks to sign up. So I ask again: Where is my game used ball? We didn't see many of those neat little things in the outfield seats at RFK where baseballs were the Holy Grail and I once saw a man dive over three rows of seats for the solitary t-shirt that "Clint" managed to actually fire to the rabble and masses in the cheap seats.

I would have bought my tickets with or without a gimmick, but I feel like the "perks" that were promised to season ticket holders have been slow in coming, or non-existent. There was no picnic this year, there were no benefits, there were no cheaper to purchase ticket deals. Where was it all? I don't want much Stan, and in fact, if you hadn't brought it up I wouldn't care at all! But since you did, I think it needs to be addressed: I want my game-used ball.

New Ballpark thoughts

As I watched the Discovery Channel's inside look at our new Park, I got to thinking. So why is it that I had to stumble onto this program. I mean, I read the blogs regularly, I check the website daily, I get emails, I have season tickets, and yet I didn't hear a thing about this. The only thing that showed up was an ex post facto mention on the Journal. Though for those that are interested, Screech's Best Friend does have some info on the statues at the new park. In fact a brief review of the Natosphere found NOTHING regarding the show.

While this isn't the end of the universe, I do find it strange and depressing that the team made little to no effort to advertise this show to the fans on any level. And there is no excuse for it. The team produced a bunch of footage and access for the program (Build it Bigger), and even gave Schneider a cameo on it at old RFK.

The utter lack of any communication about a free and fairly good program regarding the Nats on national TV only goes to reinforce the concept that the Nationals do not have an actual, living, breathing, marketing department.

For those of you that are interested and didn't follow the above links to either the show's site, or the Journal, here are the dates that the program will be replayed. Watch. Revel. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Case for Cordero

With the season now over and the playoffs more than underway, I finally decided that now would be the time to post on a topic that has been under consideration among Nats fans for as long as there have been Nats fans: Chad "the Chief" Cordero's durability and longevity as a closer.

This last season, Chad recorded 37 saves, while blowing 9. Now, 9 is a lot, and arguably too many, but it isn't the kind of numbers that should have a closer considered "done" and have people calling for his replacement or trade. So before everyone gets all up in arms over how Chad is done and he never could get a 1-2-3 inning so lets get rid of him, stop and look at the number of blown saves among the other Top 10 closers:
7, 8, 7, 7, 6, 2, 6, 4, 6

Now I was lazy and didn't include names, but sufficed to say that some of the gods of NL closers are on that list. And they aren't the guy who only blew 2.

So what does this show us? It shows that Chad, who admitted to struggling during his grandmother's passing, still recorded a huge number of saves on a losing club and only blew 2 more saves than 40% of the Top 10. He only blew 3 more than 70%. That is simply astounding. While Chad has not been nearly as overpowering in his relatively short career, it should be remembered that he has and continues to get the job done with numbers that are comparable to the best in the Senior Circuit. So what does this mean?

It means that the Nats really do need to stick to their guns. Chad is a closer, plain and simple. He should only be traded for closer type levels, nothing less.