Kast away - Nats president throws it back
By Evan Bliss
Stan Kasten resigned as President of the Washington Nationals. I’d be elated or depressed if I had any clue what that meant. It’s tough to tell who deserves more credit or blame for where the Nationals sit because it’s tough to tell if things are better or worse for DC’s Nats since Kasten arrived four years ago.
The Nats record improved, Stephen Strasburg briefly electrified a sport in a popularity slump, and the signing of phenom faux-hawker Bryce Harper even heightened national attention on the waterfront. On a lesser scale, Zimmerman’s become a quasi-local hero and .300 hitter, Adam Dunn’s Babe Ruth approach to fence swinging keeps opposing pitchers sweating profusely yet licking their chops, and there have been noticeable improvements in the bullpen. But they still sit at the bottom of the NL East, and still suffer in attendance when the talk of the town isn’t pitching or LeBron’s favorite teams aren’t in town. (I know the King hearts the Bronx Bombers, but it’s more of a bandwagon reference and was intended to include the Bo Sox and Phils “fans”, even if factually exaggerated).
I suppose the signings of Strasburg and Harper alone tell the tale of Kasten’s brief stint in DC. Both are considered the best prospects at their positions to come out of the draft in eons. However, to sign them both the Nats had to produce the worst record in baseball. Twice in a row. I doubt Kasten’s goal was “lose now, win later”, but the Nats were on a “lose now, lose later” path before he got there anyhow.
The timing of his departure is a bit odd considering that these two boys that could define his time in DC are still boys, and if he could spend 20 plus years with dynamite TNT tycoon Ted Turner what’s 2 or 3 more with the Lerners? Then again, he is leaving as part owner of the Nats so Kasten is still technically involved in the organization, even if it’s reduced to collecting paychecks.
My best guesstimate is that Kasten wasn’t brought here to build the Washington Braves. In retrospect it seems more logical that Lerner brought him in as a Tom Hagan to his Don Corleone, a Hollywood for his Iceman, or a Pauly D for his The Situation for all you pimple poppers. Kasten was the guy behind the guy, teaching the guy and his guys the ropes, which earned him a place at the table with all the other bread-winning guys. Not a bad deal for a guy.
If anything, it’s safe to state that Kasten helped provide some stability for a fledgling franchise that desired to be competitive sooner rather than later. Whether or not the Lerners will take his advice and run with it remains to be seen. If they’re successful, I’m sure Kasten will come up in conversations of praise. If not, well they were unsuccessful before he got there. Not a bad deal for a guy.
Box Seats blogger
| September 24, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories: Evan Bliss, Nationals | Tags: Evan Bliss, Nationals
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