Let this be today's teachable moment. Perhaps Stan and I need to sit down and have a beer summit. Although given the ways of the Lerners, I'm sure they'd charge me $7.50 per.
Today's WaPo has a story
from everyone's favorite Hong Kong correspondent, Chico. Reading it on the face, it's terrific. It tells the story of how the Nats have ramped up their scouting department in an attempt to, well, push "The PLAN!" along further. Good stuff.
Perhaps if you just woke up from a coma.
If you've been paying attention for more than the last six months (WE SIGNED PUDGE!!!!), then it should piss the living crap out of you. It's the same goddamn story that Barry Svrulga wrote THREE YEARS AGO
"There's nothing more important than what our scouts are doing right now," General Manager Mike Rizzo said earlier this spring. "We've built an all-star team of these guys, the best there are in baseball, and we're going to compete with every single team. There's nothing we won't do to find and get the best players there are."
OK, I cheated. That wasn't Rizzo. That was Bowden way back in Spring '07.
"I'm thoroughly impressed with the scouting and development departments, and I'm hard to impress," said Jay Sartori, one of the dozen new front-office employees the Nationals hired. "I don't say that because I'm new on board. We are going about it the right way, and we are going to succeed."
OK, I cheated. That wasn't Sartori. That was Chuck Lamar way back in Spring '07.
From Svrulga on Moose Stubing, a respected scout: ""They gave me the title," he said at the time. "And they made it hard to resist." Translation: They paid a more-than-competitive rate. "They just flat-out bought a lot of these people," said one source."
From Chico on Jay Robertson, a respected scout: "When Rizzo got into the finer points -- talking money, car allowance -- Robertson raised his hand. "Mike, stop right there," Robertson said. "I'm on board."
Rizzo in '07: ""There's nowhere we won't go," Rizzo said. "This is a competition. We need to beat other teams at it. We need to be the best, and we will be."
So why today's article then? Great. They're doing what they should be doing per Rizzo. But it's the same damn crap they told us they were doing three years ago. Were they lying to us then? Yep. Looks like it.
Sure, it's easy to blame it all on Bowden. Haha... he's a fool. But Rizzo himself is quoted extensively in the old piece, and there wasn't any criticism -- anonymously, of course -- about the way they were doing things. Should all the stink of the last three years' failures (what today's article is all but admitting) completely rub off the guy?
Isn't today's article confirmation that none of us should give anyone associated this team, particularly the cheapass Lerners the benefit of the doubt? They've shown that they'll lie and spin, and that they're all too infrequently willing to put their money where their mouth is -- or at least beyond the meager expectations this fanbase has.
Today's article shows that they were running a tightwad organization. Their new scout says that that's what all the other scouts talked about. Yet they assured us that they had a first-rate operation? Screw them.
So not only are they cheap, they lie and spin about it. Charming. Even the Lerners' biggest detractors (raises hand) couldn't have written a more thorough treatise on their incompetence as owners.
But the article also shows another problem with this franchise: the coverage of the team. God bless Chico, and may he someday bring us to a higher plane of journalism when he somehow manages to combine the DNA of Joe Gould and Andrew Zimmern, but for God' sake, where's the institutional knowledge on this one? What an embarrassment.
I know that beat writing is a goddamn thankless job, and if you're over about age 25 and you think it's a good job, you're probably a moron (or have had head trauma), but part of the problem with the Post's churning through all these beat writers is that they end up missing things like this. That there's no look to the past or attempt to put today's story into the context of what's come before is a problem; it's incomplete coverage of what should be a key issue critical to the success of the franchise.
Now that's not on Chico, per se, but you can't tell me that anyone who semi pays attention to the team, and who has done it for more than 2 seasons, could read that without some alarm bells blaring. (Note: does not apply if you've ingested some of Uncle Stan's Flavor Ade) The paper deserves as much scorn for that. And if they're really contemplating hiring someone from outside of sports -- as their initial memo indicated they might -- then they'll just bury even more institutional knowledge in the backyard of Tom Boswell's bayside mansion.
Yeah, I'm a cynical bastard most of the time, but these guys -- everyone! -- keep doing absolutely nothing to dissuade me. Nobody associated with this team deserves the benefit of the doubt; words obviously mean nothing to them. Show us something, guys.