Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Off Season Coach Potato

Good omens all around. Manny Acta pulled new coaches from the Astros, Braves, and all in all, his past experiences. This shows he's smart enough to surround himself with people with more experience than him. It also shows that the front office is going to let Manny make decisions (St. Claire aside).

New Bench Coach, Pat Corrales

New First Base Coach, Jerry Morales

New Third Base Coach, Tim Tolman

New Bullpen Coach, Rick Aponte (Curse you, Google Images!)

Back from the minors, Hitting Coach, Mitchell Page

Titanic survivor, Randy St. Claire

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


A Nats sales rep tells me season ticket renewals for the 2007 season will happen soon. "Look for your renewal around the end of this month," he said. It will be interesting to see if Soriano's departure has a Michael Jordon affect on season ticket renewals and ticket sales overall next year.

Even if the seats are largely empty, the club will likely show increased revenues. TV viewership has nowhere to go but up, and it most likely will with Comcast and other outlets now committed to airing the games. While that alone will mostly benefit the beloved owner of the O's, the Nats' 10% take in revenue is nothing to scoff at.

For two full seasons now, sportswriters have been speculating about the nature of this new animal; the Washington Nationals Fan. The 2005 season gave a few good indications of what the new fan looked like, but it wasn't terribly accurate. That inaugural season, the stands were filled with people excited to have something to be excited about. Looking at the 2005 season Nats fan was like looking at a Glamour Shot. Last season, things were a little different. It looked less like a ribbon cutting ceremony and more like a baseball stadium. Squatting your way into the more pricey seats became a bit easier. And while still rare, the 2006 Nats Fan learned how to boo their own team. But even as the team made a steady trudge to the basement of the NL East, the stands were mostly filled with people happy to be there.

2007 will be different.

At the final game of 2006, a lone sign in the crowd got no TV time and was largely ignored. But it was there. Mets fans watched to make certain that their team would indeed enter the post season, even though the only thing that would keep them out would be a meteorite slamming into their dugout. Fans on the left field side busied themselves by imploring Soriano to stay in Washington.

Everybody was saying thank you and goodbye to Frank Robinson. But the lone sign was there, a bellwether to the 2007 season and the look of real Nationals fan. The sign read: LAST DAY FOR EXCUSES.

The 2007 season, for which I eagerly await notice of ticket sales, will be the year Nats Fans get to claim some credibility. Some war wounds. A unique personality. Aside from Brian Schneider and Nick Johnson, the team will be a DC team - not a leftover Expos team playing in another city. Very young players will take the field. Some will show signs of great potential. Others - many others, probably - will stink up the joint. Through it all, I hope that we remain hopeful. The hope has been palpable over the past two years. Maybe it was borne of the impossible first half of 2005. Maybe DC is a town so filled with cynicism that we need a place to be purely hopeful. I really don't know. I'm too close to it to know, I think. Any picture is made up of tiny bits of information. To give you, dear imaginary reader, the most detailed picture of the 2007 Nationals Fan, I make this naive, premature, and overreaching vow; I will blog every day of the 2007 season. You decide what we look like.