Manny Acta Gets a New Jacket
Towards the end of the autograph session at the Bowie Town Center Safeway, a fan came through the line with great quantities of Nats gear: hats, shirts, a jacket, etc. Now, somehow at the end of this Caravan event, the fan in question disappeared before I could interview her, so I don't even know her name, which makes this item completely invalid for a newspaper and mostly invalid for a blog item. But not that much else is going on at the Safeway right now, so I'll forge on.
The point is, we'll call the fan Ms. Nat, and the jacket was (I believe) too big for anyone in Ms. Nat's family, and so Manny Acta jokingly tried it on. It fit perfectly. Nice jacket, too. He looked very classy. Perfect for a Caravan; for example, for a trip to the Nationals Team Store at White Flint Mall from 5-7 tonight.
"If it doesn't fit, I don't know why you keep it," Acta said. "I'll buy it from you."
I left them for a while to tag along with Giant Abe. When I came back, the jacket negotiations had heated up. I swear, despite the fact that I don't know the name of a crucial participant in this conversation, what follows is all exact dialogue.
Acta: Thirty dollars. Thirty dollars? Deal?
Ms. Nat: Go ahead.
VP of Communications Chartese Burnett: Are you serious?
Ms.Nat: Ok, 50.
Acta: I won't go 50.
Ms. Nat: It just looks good on him.
Acta: Thirty? Cash, no check.
Ns. Nat: Go ahead. It looks great on you. It looks good on you. Keep it. But when I see you, you have to give me another jacket.
Acta: Ah, see? No deal.
Ms. Nat: Oh, keep it. It looks so good on you, just keep it. I have no use for it, that's been sitting in my closet.
[Ms. Nat begins asking pitcher Mike O'Connor whether this was ok.]
O'Connor: He can do whatever he wants.
Ms. Nat: There's no rules?
O'Connor: There's no rules.
Acta [handing her $40]: Give me 10 back.
Nook Logan [to me]: Tell her to ask for some tickets. That's a $200 jacket.
Anyhow, Ms. Nat only had a 5, so the jacket wound up going for $35. They hugged to confirm the deal. It was not something I've ever seen before, a Major League Baseball manager buying a jacket from a fan at a Safeway. I have no idea whether Nook was right about the jacket's value. And I'm not going to be the first one to make a joke about how the Nationals' search for bargains even extends to outerwear, or how maybe they can use the jacket savings on a starting pitcher, or anything like that. Although I'd like to point out that even though it wasn't a winter jacket, someone might have gotten fleeced.
And in all seriousness, as I keep saying, Manny Acta is going to be a megasuperduperstar in this town if he can get this team to win a few games. He appears equally comfortable schmoozing media members in offices, elementary school kids in Southeast and Safeway shoppers in Bowie. Plus he's obviously a great negotiator.
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