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Stan Kasten: "I'll Take the Hit For All of It"

With just days to go before the Safeway Circular starts taking shots at the Nats, today brings a Q&A with Stan Kasten from GQ, which calls the Nats "the only organization in D.C. more disastrously mismanaged than the federal government."

And now, suddenly, I'm getting sick of national publications lobbing cheap shots in this direction. Is the federal government really disastrously mismanaged? Can anyone think of any fancy-pants corporations from faraway cities hosting glossy magazines that have shown a slight lack of top-notch management in recent years? Isn't it particularly disrespectful to link one of our touchstones of normalcy (we have a baseball team, just like other real cities!) with the age-old slur that we're all faceless soulless incompetent government bureaucrats trying to steal the money of hard-working Missourians?

Anyhow, the highlight of the Q&A was Stan Kasten taking responsibility for everything that has gone wrong with the franchise. "I'll take the hit for all of it," he said, which was quite a generous offer. See, that's what we do in D.C.: take responsibility for mistakes. He also said the team is "much, much closer than people realize." Much of the rest of the Q&A didn't really go so well, at least judging from the text. Kasten apparently didn't appreciate some of the questions. A few highlights.

About the Natinals jerseys: "That's happened before. There have been uniform mistakes before. I think it was piling on on when everything for us was going bad. It was clearly a manufacturer's error. It was corrected after three innings. End of story."

About the new GM: "I'm not gonna comment on anything relating to former or future. You and the world of bloggers have all the time in the world you need to do that kind of stuff. I know how we're proceeding. I think we have a plan that is having pieces fall into place and I'm not gonna bother characterizing it."

On what would happen if they passed on Strasburg: "You want to ask me something different. You'd like me to negotiate this [in GQ], which I'm not gonna do."

Also, GQ phone interviewers haven't been Kasten's only target recently. Here was what he recently said to the AP about Strasburg:

"The hyperbole and mythology that the media has built up about him, I think has been a disservice to that one particular player because it's been so extreme that it's raised expectations to a highly unrealistic level. No one could possibly live up to the mythology that's being built up."

So I'm sure Strasburg won't be featured in any ticket-selling or team marketing materials next year. Also, I'll forever resent the media for forcing Strasburg to stop allowing runs and to amass a 195-19 strikeouts-to-walks-ratio.

[The Really, God Awful, Bad News Bears, GQ]

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 8, 2009; 2:37 PM ET
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"Isn't it particularly disrespectful to link one of our touchstones of normalcy (we have a baseball team, just like other real cities!) with the age-old slur that we're all faceless soulless incompetent government bureaucrats trying to steal the money of hard-working Missourians?"

You tell 'em, Dan! (no, seriously, I agree. Why is it that those [insert state here] think that I, someone who doesn't even have a vote, is somehow directly responsible for the things that happen in the government? Maybe they should, just maybe, ask themselves why they keep electing people who obviously cannot be trusted to do much of anything except pander to the least common denominator, blow lots of hot air, and blame everything on "Washington.")

ok, so back to the latest "Nationals: FAIL!" story....

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 8, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

It's really easy for the sports world to glance over here, see the stories on the "Natinals" and Bowden and Smiley, see the horrible record and say "everything's ruined." I've mostly seen nothing but that from ESPN, SI, etc.

Rotoworld's profile of Nick Johnson said he's doing all these great things despite being "on a weak offensive team." Except they're not weak offensively, it's just easier to not do the 30 seconds of research and assume things.

Tim Kurkjian did do a story a few weeks ago saying that the Nats had more of a future than people realize. Of course, he lives in North Potomac...

Posted by: CharlieF | June 8, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"a farm system that has produced just one everyday player and zero starting pitchers since 2001"

Correct me if I am wrong, but the 5 guys in our starting rotation all came up through our farm system.

Nice research.

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 8, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

If Stan truly wants to "take the hit for all of it", then he should hang himself as a piñata in front of the busiest entrance to Natinals Park and let each fan coming in to the game take a good, solid whack at him.

Posted by: BoteMan | June 8, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

...with a baseball bat.

Posted by: BoteMan | June 8, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, the people that complain about the Nationals are the reason sports suck now. It can not be expected that a team go from nothing to a playoff contender in one year. The team was practically an expansion team. MLB managed them into the gutter. When they came to DC they had a team of overpriced re-treads and absolutely NO farm system. Now they have a handful of serviceable to possibly really good starting pitching and a good offense that is pretty much all under 30. Their farm system is at least avg. and they have a great new ballpark and with good food, great views, FREE parking, and even though they've been losing, entertaining games. Give them a chance people!! And maybe go to a game or two before you let the media convince you how worthless they are. Lemmings!!

Posted by: mprhoades | June 8, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else concerned the Nats are now backing off of Strasberg due to his alarming price tag? Rizzo refused to confirm that Strasberg will be our #1 pick for Harlan's story this weekend. Now Kasten is saying that, "We know what #1 picks get; we expect to sign our guy. The system isn’t going to change for any one circumstance, for any one situation. We know how players get drafted, how they get paid..." in GQ. Does that sound like the Nats might be looking for the "best talent" who will sign at or around the slot number, and not the best talent PERIOD?

Otherwise, this article was pretty ridiculous. Lazy, sensationalist muck-raking at its worst.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | June 8, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

That was a waste of 2/3 minutes of my time. The article/interveiw was garbage

Posted by: JDB1 | June 8, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"And now, suddenly, I'm getting sick of national publications lobbing cheap shots in this direction."

Which reminds me of that exchange from Animal House:

"They can't do that to our pledges."
"Yeah, only WE can do that to our pledges."

Posted by: jfoust | June 8, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I didn't read the article, but since when is GQ an arbiter of the sports world? Okay, I'll give them the uni design maybe, but after that? Really? GQ? ummm...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 8, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

And the federal government question was rhetorical, right? Right?

Disclaimer: I am neither a lawyer nor a politician, nor have I played one on tv.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Was thinking the same thing about sports and GQ and the farm producing... Plus, he described Manny as an "overzealous" manager citing that one benching of Dukes. Yet, "overzealous" is certainly not the adjective I hear the most when describing the manager...

Posted by: misschatter | June 8, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I do respect Stan for not dumping on Bowden--maybe that was part of the "resignation" agreement, but it's still sort of admirable.

And, yeah, this GQ guy doesn't know what he's talking about. No pitchers from the farm system since 2001? The entire starting rotation comes from the farm system.

And while it's fair to blame the Lerners and Kasten for lots of things, the fact that MLB left the team in terrible shape isn't one of them. Really, going back to the draft of 2001 when Kasten wasn't involved with the team until 2006? That's a little ridiculous.

Posted by: TheFingerman | June 8, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

mprhoades, where are you finding "free parking"?

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 8, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

You can park at RFK for free and take a free shuttle to the new stadium. It takes a few minutes but it's stress free and easy. I've been to 30 stadiums and the only one I ever found with free parking was Olympic in Montreal and that's because I was the only guy there.

Posted by: mprhoades | June 9, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

You can park at RFK for free and take a free shuttle to the new stadium.

Posted by: mprhoades | June 9, 2009 8:55 AM

Shhh - don't tell people that Nationals games are relatively cheap and easy to attend. The word might get out to people, ruining their schadenfreude! Also, you can bring in your own food and water - making it even cheaper.

And a national media positive - (paraphrasing) Peter Gammons on Baseball Tonight - "they [Nationals] could be about two years away from being good". In reference to the developing pitching staff adding Strasburg and another in the top 10 tonight.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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