Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Kasten Reconsidered

Federal Baseball examines "The PLAN!" and Stan Kasten's role in its development with the Braves. We know all about the highs, but what about the lows? Not everything that Kasten touched turned to gold (insert Thrashers joke here), and Basil tries to examine some of the moves that didn't work out and some of the strategies they tried before ultimately getting the results they got. Sometimes it's as instructive to examine the misses.

Check out the whole stinkin' thing. It's worth it.

How to apply this knowledge to the Nats? Well, they must develop young talent, obviously. And other than that? That requires whatever other secrets the Braves employed, which aren't really forthcoming, which is why the loyal fanbase has embraced the concept of "The Plan." When I read Nats320's great interview series with Kasten, I imagined Stan the Man chuckling a bit at the mention of "The Plan." Not because no such plan exists, but because it cannot be as fundamental, principled, and Sinai-esque as some fans out there on the message boards make it out to be. It's a slogan. It's a catchphrase. It's political. There is no book lying around bearing the title "The Plan." To the extent there is one, I'd imagine it is Branch Rickey's "Little Blue Book," a book Kasten (as well as most baseball executives, I'd imagine) attests he keeps close to his heart.

This was the same Branch Rickey, of course, who famously wrote that "luck is the residue of design." Sometimes, you just have to be willing to be lucky---which means you need to be prepared to be unlucky, and then learn from that unluckiness. It's not Kasten's past successes that interest me; we know all about them. It's what he's learned from the Braves' disappointments that interests me more.