Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I Like Winning!

Peruse some other Nats sites, especially the fan boards, and you’ll come across an attitude that drives me crazy -- an attitude that justifies ineptness and that implies that we should be kowtowing to our great servant lords from the great central office on Park Avenue.

We should just be happy that we have a team!

Wrong!

Yes, it’s great that the lords have decried from their royal thrones that us poor peasants deserve a team. But, wasn’t it those same miserly lords who prevented us all these years from having a team? It’s Stockholm Syndrome!

While I’m happy that I’m going to be able to spend many a summer night at good ol’ RFK, or firmly embedded on my couch watching this team, I want to win! And we’ve got a chance to do just that.

Sitting back and saying “Oh well, at least we’ve got a team,” is loser language. That’s rationalizing defeat. It should be unacceptable. We should expect to be competitive, and accordingly, it’s perfectly acceptable to rip on the team when they louse something up, just as it is to feel joy when Brian Schneider rips a liner into the gap to win the game.

And that attitude misses one other point -- and it’s an important one. Being critical of a team, its management, or its ground-ball-hitting middle infielder does not mean I’m not a fan. All it means is that I try to take a detached view and look at reality from time to time. I was pulling for Cristian Guzman to come through last night, but that doesn’t mean I think he’s a great player or that I need to come to his defenses when someone attacks him. I can cheer for mediocrity.

That’s nothing more than the old “He’s a bum, but he’s our bum” attitude.

And besides, isn’t bitching about your team what being a fan is really about?

14 Comments:

  • Wait, you keep making posts like this and "Love Them Signings" Boswell might come after you.

    Every fan should be critical from day one because even if you're the type that doesn't care if the team is a winner this year, you want them to win eventually. If you let a couple years go by with signings and trades for like "proven winners" Tino Martinez and Darin Erstad (next years Castilla and Guzman), soon you'll have a bad team with years of work to get competative.

    Enjoy year #1. Hope the team remains competitive and provides good basebal to go along with the good vibes. And bitch out the front office for every move that doesn't make the team better.

    By Blogger El Gran Color Naranja, at 4/13/2005 10:46 AM  

  • If Erstad is available, I wouldn't mind having him in center field.

    He's a singles hitter, sure, but dude can cover the meadow out there.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/13/2005 11:12 AM  

  • Erstad's salary is probably prohibitive. And doesn't he just about kill himself any time he plays center?

    By Blogger Basil, at 4/13/2005 11:13 AM  

  • I'm holding off the most severe judgement until the Nationals have an owner who has assembled their own staff (GM and manager specifically) to enact their own plan. This MLB ownership is an anomaly. I want the Nationals to win but I fully understand this is a transition year.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/13/2005 11:14 AM  

  • I understand Chris's sentiment. It's one thing if you "passively" root for a team. But if you're going to watch/listen to most of the games and (sort of) live and die with every result, it's defeatist and kind of stupid not to want to see the team press on.

    By Blogger Basil, at 4/13/2005 11:19 AM  

  • He had a tough year with the injuries in 2003, managing a mere 66 starts in center, but before that he was good for 600 PAs a year pretty much every year, and he rebounded to be fairly healthy last season.

    The question is, are his hamstrings shot such that he's limited to first base now, or could he play 130 games in center with spaced-out rest?

    That said, this is probably all a moot point; the Angels aren't about to get rid of him, even if he is what Endy Chavez aspires to be.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/13/2005 11:19 AM  

  • A transition year is definitely right.

    I don't want to leave the impression that I think the team should constantly be pushing to win at all costs. I realize that sometimes you need to take a step back and that signing the hottest free agents (or not so hottest in our case!) isn't the best course for many of MLB's teams.

    I don't want to turn into a franchise like the Pirates, who seem to constantly be in rebuilding mode, or the Mets, who replace one middle-aged expensive mediocrity with another, while treading water.

    But, this team is going to need to be smart with its choices. There are NO upper-level minor league prospects, just some low-level players who could bloom, or who could never see the light of day. We're going to be like the Yankees, in that we're going to have to replenish, in the short term, with free agents. And hopefully, we'll make the right decisions, instead of bringing in Tony Womack -- or Cristian Guzman, I suppose.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/13/2005 11:40 AM  

  • Guzman is a waste at the plate, but if his defense is as good as last year's implied, we could do worse than to have him behind our assorted young pitchers.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/13/2005 12:04 PM  

  • My mind's open on Guzman. I haven't seen him make any spectacular plays yet, but there also haven't been any plays that he's failed to make either. He seems to have a strong, decently accurate arm too.

    I don't think the Guzman signing was outrageous. But, I do wish it had been a year shorter. But really, it's only $4MM. If that's hamstringing this team in four years, we've got bigger problems.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/13/2005 12:06 PM  

  • Erstad is not available, he's signed through 2006. Just used him as an example of a players whose probably on the downside who'd be overpaid if we got him. (his lack of walks and power do fit right into the Nats though)

    Guzman...eh. The only real problem is that our pockets probably won't be deep enough to have a 4 million dollar bench player. The Nats will probably play Guzman throughout the four years leaving a nice hole in the lineup for the time being. But we can build around him.

    By Blogger El Gran Color Naranja, at 4/13/2005 12:14 PM  

  • There is one concern I have with Guzman. He has played his entire career predominately on artifical turf (clearly more than 50% of the time). In Monday's game, he made an artificial turf throw to first base (i.e. on a bounce). He needs to understand there are very few artificial turf stadiums in the NL and adjust his positioning and throwing justly.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/13/2005 12:30 PM  

  • Actually, I don't think there's any turf stadiums left in the NL -- wasn't Stade Olympique the last one?

    The Vet is gone, Three Rivers is gone, Riverfront is gone, Astrodome is gone, Busch has grass now...

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/13/2005 12:48 PM  

  • You are correct. Turf is gone!

    I think the Blue Jays installed Field Turf this year, meaning there isn't any of the old stuff kicking around in the other league either.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/13/2005 12:49 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/13/2005 12:52 PM  

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