Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Enter Boswell

The Post's main baseball columnist finally decides to weigh in on the Nats, firing a reasoned, well-argued shot across the '07 version of Stan Kasten's "PLAN!"

Tasty excerpts:
"If you're rebuilding, it helps to lose 90. Worse than that serves no purpose. And, once you've made your peace with such losing, it's hard to calibrate how low you'll fall. It's a dangerous game."

"The Nats' new owners may not fully appreciate the risk they are taking. Baseball has many levels of "bad." How lousy can a Nats team be, and for how long, before the potential fan base, which seemed huge when 33,708-a-game turned out in '05, starts to dwindle? Can that shrinkage become permanent? For that matter, does Kasten understand the depth of ill-will that Washington harbors toward baseball after 33 years of being played for suckers?"

"But what if he's [Kasten and his plan] wrong? The proper analysis of any plan includes focus on worst-case possibilities."

"the Nats are playing a high-stakes game in which they bet that Washington fans are sophisticated or patient enough -- or gullible enough -- to embrace a horrible team that didn't have to be bad. The Nats have a respectable everyday lineup and a solid bullpen. If the Nats go 56-106, it was a war of choice."

"The Nationals should rethink what now appears to be their plan for radical inactivity in '07. You don't damage a team's fundamental morale or ruin your relationship with your fans by losing 91 games. But there is some number of defeats -- and it's a lot less than 119 -- that may cause the Nats far more damage than they imagine possible. When you're building -- long-term or short -- penny wise is almost always pound foolish."

Well said, Mr. Boswell.

Though I suspect they'll take this under about as much advisement as they took your $5 million plan to revitalize RFK or your request for them to chip in for a limestone facade at the new stadium.


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