Dedicated to the constructive criticism of the Washington Nationals.


E-mail us at:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Meet The (Pseudo) Press

Today was the big day: GM Jim Bowden and Assistant GM Mike Rizzo took a Q&A from Nats fans at the ESPNZone downtown. I'll have some transcript highlights later after tonight's game, but wanted to offer some initial reaction to the Q&A and overall general impressions of the performance of the Nationals front office.

The very first question came from a season ticket holder from day one, and was to the effect of: Why should I pay my money to see this product when it's steadily gotten worse every year? THAT'S the type of day it was. There were some softballs lobbed up, and some casual fan questions like: What would the team's record have been without all the injuries (Bowden's response: 82-80!), but for the most part, the fan (and blogger) questions were direct, informed and pointed.

Bowden was Bowden. His answers were what we've come accustomed to hearing, and we really didn't learn much new from him. Of the Crow fiasco, he said that the team was disappointed, but the team needed to be responsible and eventually let the player go. There was more blame shifted to Mr. Hendricks, Crow's agent, and how the player was hurt more walking away because of the relatively small financial difference than the team was. He touted all three recent middle infield acquisitions as contributors on the major league level despite less-than-stellar minor league numbers.

He defended how the team has operated in the media, stating how the team has been up-front about how they were going to re-build. He defended their selective approach to free agency, going after the Tim Redding/Odalis Perez/Willie Harris types, saying that if you miss with one of them you're only costing the team $850K-$2MM, as opposed to big ticket busts like Barry Zito or Carlos Silva. He also said, in response to a question about signing LoDuca and Estrada, that the team doesn't want to rush any of it's top talent before it's ready and risk doing the player harm instead of good, which is why he signed those two guys in the off-season.

Rizzo performed well in the select questions that were directed to him. He was pretty blunt about Crow being the player they wanted. He explained how in Arizona, where he was previously, they had a specific way of scouting and drafting, and that he was trying to instill that here. He thinks the Nats are way ahead of where Arizona was when he started there. He thinks the team is going about things "the right way" and some of the talent they have stock-piled will be ready soon, and hopefully at the same time.

Then, when things were done, Steven from Fire Jim Bowden and I had a chance to speak with Mr. Rizzo first, then Mr. Bowden and eventually Team President Stan Kasten, who did not take Q&A during the main part. The conversations were all particularly interesting and intriguing on many levels. There was not much new information exchanged necessarily, but insight into each man's thought process about the game, the team, the fans, the main-stream media, and the functions and responsibilies of fan bloggers.

I will have transcript excerpts and commentary posted late after tonight's game.

One baseball related item: Jake Peavy has been scratched from tonight's start. The Padres offer Dirk Hayhurst, a right-hander from Canton, Ohio, in his place. Hayhurst has been up since late August and is 0-2 with a 8.49 ERA in 11.2 innings.

1 comment:

Hendo said...

How did Bowden justify the Cordero fiasco... that's what I wanna know.

Will be looking forward to your next post.