Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So Phil Wood and Jim Bowden Walk Into a Bar

The always diplomatic and patient JayBeeeee went after Phil Wood yesterday with a rant somewhat related to my post from yesterday. His question isn't important, but Phil's answer is. But Phil's answer is really two answers/observations that he blends into one, which sort of makes a muddle of the discussion.

The first part is good ol' gossip. He throws out the idea that Stan Kasten is a brilliant mastermind: He wanted to fire Bowden, but Bowden's first-class ass-kissery to Cousin Mark made him an untouchable. So StanK played politics, giving ol' Leatherpants enough rope that he could hang himself.

Interesting idea, and I can definitely see parts of it. Question though: if the Smiley thing hadn't surfaced, would StanK still be sitting on the sideline waiting for Bodes to trip up? That explanation seems awfully convenient, in some respects, even if there's probably a grain of truth to it.

Anyway, where Phil goes off the rails is in the second part:
[L]et me ask you this: Have you ever heard any big league executive in any sport come out and say, "Hey, we got nothing. No hope here." Of course you haven't. No one has. If painting a pretty picture is lying to the fans, then everyone's guilty. And "the plan" wasn't a sham. It's exactly what they're doing now. No plan will work if the guy in charge doesn't follow it, and that was happening until last March. And, while I'm occasionally semi-conscious, I have a clear conscience. As for indirectly working for the Lerners, their share of MASN is pretty tiny, and if you want to work as a baseball broadcaster in this market, you have no other options. I can say this, they take well thought out criticism very well. It's the shoot-from-the-hip kind that falls flat.

There's a difference between painting a pretty picture for the fans and the outright kinds of lies they made. They didn't say "We have an improving scouting operation." They didn't say "We're light-years ahead of where we were when MLB ran the club." They didn't say "we're well on our way to having a first-rate scouting operation."

They said they had EVERYTHING THEY NEEDED. They said that they ALREADY were in tip-top shape.

Those first examples are examples of how to spin something without it being a lie. What they said, instead, were lies. How to rectify Chico's story saying that they've been running on the cheap with Svrulga's old story about how they were already doing it first-rate? You can't.

Yes, every team needs to spin. The team, ownership in particular, has been far too tone deaf and inattentive to these things. But there's a difference between trying to influence the debate, even via propaganda, and obfuscation and spinning.

He says that "The PLAN!" wasn't a sham. But how can he say that? The team's current scouts admit it was. The key there is the past tense. "The PLAN!" might not currently be a sham, but it almost certainly HAS been.

He says that "The PLAN!" didn't work because of the guy in charge. Certainly true to an extent, but that's making the assumption that Bowden had all the financial resources he needed, just that he chose not to use them. Maybe that's true. I don't know. But I look at a situation like with Aaron Crow and JP Ramirez, where the latter's signing happened only because the former didn't, and wonder how much of a financial backing the guy had. Did the Nats run a bare-bones scouting operation (the words of one of their current, recently hired scouts) because Bowden didn't want to or because he had to?


One last point... It might've got lost in yesterday's disjointed rant, but that wasn't meant to be so much of a criticism at what Rizzo's doing now. For all we know, they're on the right track -- although their continued lip service to an international and not just Dominican presence is disappointing.

The point I tried to make was that, even if they ARE doing the right thing, none of us can possibly know that now, by virtue of the lying (or spinning, as Phil would say) they did before. They don't deserve the benefit of the doubt; they're going to have to earn it.


  • Just so you know, it's REALLY good having you back.

    By Anonymous Gus, at 1/27/2010 11:04 PM  

  • don't get used to it!

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 1/27/2010 11:19 PM  

  • Wow. Ben Goessling, Phil Wood and The Once and Future Legend That Is Chris Needham all respond to that mouthbreather JayBeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee's crazed rants in a single day. Dude'll be down in his basement with his pants around his ankles for an entire week!

    By Anonymous eggplant parmigiana guy, at 1/28/2010 8:51 AM  

  • They don't deserve the benefit of the doubt; they're going to have to earn it.

    Funny, Chris, I don't recall you or any of your ilk ever granting the Lerners/Kasten the benefit of the doubt even back in early 2007 when Svrluga wrote his first articles about FO moves, The Plan, etc, etc. You guys were all over their asses with your skepticism and cynicism from Day One. So your high-minded pronouncement that this time they're going to have to earn it strikes me as just so much more gas passing on your part. After a while, it really does start to stink. This time you're going to have to earn your credibility.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 1/28/2010 9:04 AM  

  • ABM hits a home run here. Of course the dirty little secret is that Chris's incessant bashing of the franchise let to the paying gig he has now, so why let the facts (Rizzo regime may have nothing in common with the Bowden disaster) get in the way of a good cynical rant? And honestly does Mike Rizzo or Mr. Lerner have to earn anything here? So arrogant.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/28/2010 3:08 PM  

  • Not all Anonymouses line up behind ABM's thoughts. ABM is, of course, an acronym for A Bowel Movement

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/28/2010 4:04 PM  

  • Hey anonymous, Needham doesn't appear to have that blogging gig at NBC any more. He hasn't posted anything there since Bruce Allen got hired, and that was over a month ago. So either NBC pulled the plug on him or he gets even more vacation than Chico Harlan does. (Or maybe he got run out of town along with Vinny Cerrato. Hmmm...)

    And hey, other anonymous: Lick my taint. Then you'll know what a bowel movement is.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 1/28/2010 4:51 PM  

  • I can understand if someone wants to comment with a reasonable counter-argument or the beginning of a polite discussion. But I do not understand people who wait around for years watching an inactive blog and post vile and inappropriate crap. If you don't like Chris's blog, there are other places you can go.

    By Anonymous cass, at 1/28/2010 6:56 PM  

  • I enjoy the full range of Nats blogs, and this one was stellar in quality for entertainment and ability to keep current. Did Chris have a cynical bent? Yeah, damn straight! It was part of the spectrum we needed, and continue to need.

    So, when you say, "don't get used to it!" Chris, you can kiss ny ass! Perform! Deliver!

    OK, fine, that won't work- at least post periodically pal, because it was always fun.

    As for the content of the post and responses? I swear I don't look for the truth. I was raised on NY media and the Mets, and we could stand to have a constant noise of various opinions which eventually force out the facts. The whole game is entertainment, and Chris, JayBee, CiL, ABM, Steven and the long list of less consistently negative posters (natsbisquit, Nats320, BinM, JohninMPLS,many other valued etc etc) keep it brewing.

    Look at Look at the number of comments on Nats items compared to those for other teams. I'm not asking you to be more civil. If anything, I am asking you to bring more voices into the fray.

    The stinking Wizards aren't getting attention for winning, but for something incredibly stupid. It wouldn't matter if there weren't enough fans to sustain it. If you don't believe me, think about how the Dominican scandal went away. If it were the Redskins, we would have read about the same thing for months and months.

    Build the conversation.

    By Blogger Positively Half St., at 1/28/2010 8:44 PM  

  • The Nats both suck and blow. Discuss.

    By Anonymous Coffee Talk, at 1/28/2010 9:14 PM  

  • Coffee Talk-

    I don't know if you were being sarcastic or just plain mean, but since I laughed, I don't really care.

    Good work. Thanks.

    By Blogger Positively Half St., at 1/28/2010 9:20 PM  

  • Blow in baseball is so '80s. I doubt the Nats have done it, since they've only been in existence since 2005.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 1/28/2010 10:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home