[May 23rd] -- I awoke yesterday morning to this post left on my blog by my old friend, Mr. Anonymous:
"I have been reading your blog for some time, but as the Nats have gotten worse in the standings, you have become a bitter, bitter fan. And its difficult to read your stuff. Teams that need to rebuild, don't necessarily have to trade off every single veteran player they have to rebound. Good Veteran players provide STABILITY to younger players and in the long run make the team better as a whole.Schneider, Johnson and Cordero are CHEAP by any standards. There is no reason to trade them for prospects. You would have NO TEAM. Guillen is trading himself. Soriano is making himself a "MUST HAVE" Power Hitter for any contender. This team has some good players, just not enough of them. Bowden messed up the flexibility of the bench by selling off Jamey Carroll and brought in too many similar skilled journeymen. This will be worked out by new management. Pitching injuries have killed the starting pitching and Ayala's loss has taken the bullpen 2 months to work it way out. Rauch to Stanton to Majewski to Chief is coming together. We have new PROFESSIONAL OWNERS. A NEW STADIUM ON THE WAY. WE HAVE DIRECTION!! Not at the hands of Bud Selig. Calm down. I have been to every home game this year. This team has had a terrible start. Give it 2 months to straighen out. Its baseball, its in our Nation's Capital. The Nats are going to be a GLAMOUR FRANCHISE. And finally, at saturday nights 8-3 win over the Orioles, RFK STADIUM ROCKED in a way not seen since late in the 2005 season. Fans had something to cheer about, they were letting out their frustrations over the bad start, no TV, some clutch hitting and fielding,and The ANGELOS ORIOLES being in town. IT WAS FANTASTIC. Something you could not understand from your distant view. You need to enjoy the game more.
Let me first say that this reader's viewpoint is valued, and appreciated. That said, I am bitter, and I am angry. Oh, not at the Nationals' record, or their poor play, or even the punch-drunk manner in which the team is being run. The pain of the past year and a half will be forgotten with the team's first 90 win season. No, I'm bitter that Major League Baseball, the D.C. City Council, and now even the new owners don't understand that their attitudes, their lack of empathy and their general disconnected ways has brought back some very painful memories for those of us old enough to remember baseball's seven decade debacle in D.C. I'd like to tell you all about the Senators' glory days, but, save three pennants in seventy years (the last in 1933), there aren't any. There never has been any. And that's the problem. After three decades of silence on the basepaths, baseball returned to Washington in 2005. But there was no surgery performed to remove the tortured soul or the broken heart of those of us over 45. No. We were given a Vicodin and a band aid and told to "Play Ball!" Instead of mesmerizing us with a summer of love last season, we were instead forced to witness a debacle more unbelievable than if the Republicans and Democrats had held their conventions in the same building at the same time. Hundreds of participants, not a single idea based in common sense.
Sure, we have new ownership, and a stadium; that's true. But instead of promising an end to the pain, they have almost guaranteed Nats' fans that the next winning club will take the field after Brian Schneider's and Nick Johnson's contracts run their course.
Sure I'm bitter. There have been countless players who could have "stepped to the plate" and become a hero by doing the right thing. Instead, they all chose the easy way.
Like Calvin Griffith and Bob Short did before them.
Less than 19,000 fans attending the Nats' 10-3 loss to Houston last night. The players are going through the motions. The fans deserve so much more, and they show their anger by not showing up at the ballpark, which in turn further underscores the belief of many that Washington isn't a baseball town. Now, new ownership says that they're likely to dump payroll in the not too distant future. So, the first act of the new ownership is to dump payroll?
C'mon. The Nats are lucky that all I am is bitter.
Part of the reason that I created the Beltway Boys was to amplify the joy I felt in seeing a baseball team playing once again at RFK. There was always hope for the future, regardless of how bad (or good) the team was playing. But where is the hope now? I truly believed that Mr. Lerner was going to present us with several free agents this off season, his way of saying he was sorry for all we've had to endure. Now we're hearing words like "patience."
I don't have patience any more, and based on the attendance figures at RFK, I'm not the only one. It's not about winning anymore. It's about offering us hope that the Nationals are not going to be the Kansas City Royals of the East.
We'll just have to wait and see.