LITTLE NEWS DAY
Until then, we're stuck with the stuff that falls under the radar screen.
The Nationals announced that a bunch of guys whose names I don't recognize have been added / moved / promoted within the scouting department. The names are unimportant; that the Nationals continue to work diligently to upgrade all facets of the organization is. Boo-yah to Stan Kasten.
Jim Bowden said the team would announce the status of the Nationals' coaching staff on the last day of the season. Three weeks later, we now know that all of the coaches are returning. Good. A few of the guys, Tim Tolman and Lenny Harris especially, showed that they were either unprepared or too rusty to do their jobs effectively. But rather than cast them adrift and bring in new faces who may, or may not, be better, the team is going to let them grow into their jobs. Were the Nationals a pennant contender, then sure, fire their sorry butts and bring in someone who is ready now. But Tolman's mistakes and third and Harris' naivete regarding the amount of work required of a hitting coach didn't hurt the Nationals to any great extent. Hopefully, by the time the Nationals are contenders, the coaching staff will be ready for the challenge of a pennant race.
Will Bob Carpenter swallow his pride and return to Washington for a third season? Not if he can find a two-year deal somewhere else. My guess is Kasten's offer for him to return for one year is a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Unless someone - especially in the Midwest where he's from - really wants him (unlike the Nationals, who simply aren't going to fire him), he'll be back. He's invested too much into the team's future and the new ballpark to walk away from next year's historic season.
The team announced that the Nationals will stay on 3WT for another three years, but didn't mention Charlie and Dave's future (though to be fair, all of the inside whispers insist they are staying). I was very upset when the Nats fired Dave Shea after the team's inaugural season, but I must admit that Dave-2 did a much better job than Dave-1. Shea was an announcer while Jaegler seems more like family.
Memo to Nationals: your fans crave continuity. Everywhere.
Did you get the chance to watch "Build it Bigger" on Discovery? I enjoyed the program, but thought there was too much emphasis on the Lego - how it's put together aspect and not enough on the process of how the park came to be, including all the silliness that was the D.C. City Council. Now, before you say it, yes, I know it's a show about building stuff. It would have been great to see other competing designs or ideas that HOK decided not to use, however.
It was announced earlier this week that the team would be playing fewer day games in 2008, but no one with the team said why this was. I would have thought that a few day games, especially early on, would have eased the possible traffic problems during rush hour. Perhaps it's because the team doesn't think it can find enough empty parking spaces during business hours, or maybe the team's day games last year didn't draw enough fans to make more of them financially viable. Either way, it's too bad; baseball should be played in daylight.
Speaking of announcing but not explaining, Stan Kasten also said that besides a new commemoration patch on the sleeve, the team will not be wearing new togs at the new field. Why? The home white and road grey uniforms were created in a motel room in Boston during the 2004 World Series by a guy who was told by Bud Selig to design something fast. It's not that the uniform is bad but rather it has no connection to the city or the team's owner and management.
I'll never forget the Pirates first game at Three Rivers Stadium. The Pirates, whose uniform really hadn't changed since the early 1950's, came out with not only new colors but a whole new concept in uniform design. Gone was the trouser belt in favor of that triple striped, double knit design. New stadiums smack of new looks and new technology and I wish the Nationals had taken advantage of all the free publicity to display uniforms.
I guess that "continuity" theme cuts both ways, doesn't it?
Well, at least we won't have to endure somthing new like "sliding paths," something first seen at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. Carpet the entire infield? Man, what were they thinking?
To me, having such a young franchise trade in its clothes already would make it look that much more like a new expansion team; as though we're only JUST NOW getting started building up the Nats into the great team they're going to be. Like the first three seasons were just some kind of waiting room. I don't like the symbolism I see in that. Let's own the short history we've built already and show it by sticking with the threads that came with us this far.
As far as the "hurry-up" design back in -04, well, I often find that my best work is stuff that I had to produce in what felt like way too little time on a tight deadline. Sometimes having "too little" time helps focus the mind and crowds out the chance for over-thinking and second-guessing that can too often leave a work product seeming rather over-engineered.
I think the relative simplicity of the Nats' uniforms is good. I'm a little afraid if we gave a high-priced designer too much time to think about it, we might end up with one of those unfortunate results that come from an "expert" trying to make a "bold statement." (Am I "over-using" "quotation marks" yet?)
Anyway, I have no doubt that the day will come, perhaps in a few years, when it will feel like the time to update the uniform design. It just doesn't feel like that time to me yet. And when it does come, I hope the change isn't to chuck out everything and start from a clean sheet, but rather to tweak and adjust in a way that makes the new threads look like they descend authentically from the basic "look" we've already got.
Anyway, that's my take. But as I said, I kinda like 'em to begin with. If I recall correctly, you were perhaps rather underwhelmed from day one, no?
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