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Nationals Letter to Fans

The Nationals sent out this e-mail a few minutes ago.

TO: Fans of the Washington Nationals

No one is more dissatisfied in the first half of the 2009 Washington Nationals season than we are. Like you, we had hoped that some of our younger players would have matured faster and that the addition of some of our new veterans would have significantly improved our record from a season ago. Our hope was that a solid club leadership would emerge on and off the field and that some intangible combinations would begin to click resulting in many winning streaks.

We definitely do see significant pieces materializing for the future, and there have been many close, exciting games and optimistic bright spots: Strong outings by John Lannan, the home run and RBI production of Adam Dunn, the All-Star selection and 30 game hitting streak of Ryan Zimmerman, and the recent addition of speedster Nyjer Morgan. Much of the season, however, has been defined by weak relief pitching, poor defense, and youthful inconsistency. We have tried to work through this period with patience and focus but now we are faced with mounting losses which are beginning to take a toll on our entire roster. Clearly, some changes are required as we prepare for the second half of the 2009 season and, more importantly, build for a competitive future.

Today, we announced that manager Manny Acta is being replaced on an interim basis by Jim Riggleman, veteran manager, and currently the Nats bench coach. Both the Ownership and the entire Washington Nationals organization have the highest respect for Manny Acta and the role he has played in the short history of the Nationals. However, it is our belief that a fresh attitude and approach is necessary as we set out to improve our performance for the remainder of the year. We want to send a strong message to our clubhouse and our fans that the status quo is unacceptable. We believe that more is expected of everyone in the organization.

Baseball operations will be reevaluating all our players and our options for improvement over the next several months. We hope to sign our 2009 draft choices by the August deadline. We hope these new additions will join an already exciting Nationals youth movement headed by the likes of Lannan, Jesus Flores, Alberto Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Craig Stammen on our current roster, and the likes of promising minor league stars like Chris Marrero, Michael Burgess, Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris and Drew Storen, among many others. But, we also will be determining the viability of trades or roster upgrades that can be made without doing damage to the farm system or the developing talent we expect to blossom within the next two years.

When we bought the Washington Nationals in the middle of the 2006 season - just under three years ago - we committed to a patient, long term approach, building a strong farm system and core foundation that would deliver a perennial and consistent contender; to provide a second-to-none family entertainment value at Nationals Park; and to investment and involvement in the metropolitan Washington DC community. Today we remain steadfastly committed to each component of that mission. We are proud to represent the National Pastime in the Nation's Capital, and we are proud to call the Capital area home.

We know we have a way to go, but the end result will be all the richer for the early days we've spent together at Nationals Park. We are getting better. We want you to be with us as the pieces of the puzzle come together. Your support is powerful to the Nationals and baseball in Washington. Thank you for your continuing patience and your commitment to a shared dream.


Washington Nationals Baseball Club

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 13, 2009; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: The Mike Gazda Rizzo Press Conference


The fact that it's signed "Washington Nationals Baseball Club" is kind of sadly fitting and sums up the big problem. Couldn't get a Stan Kasten or Mark Lerner or an actual person to sign their name? No, no one would actually take personal responsibility for this mess.

Posted by: TheFingerman | July 13, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

blah blah blah blah blah. I'll believe there is actual commitment to building a winning team when I actually see some evidence of it. And, no, firing Manny Acta as a scapegoat for the repeated failures of the front office and ownership do not constitute "commitment to building a winning team."

Posted by: RedBirdie | July 13, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

TheFindgerman is spot on. Faceless letter from a faceless organization...

Posted by: BT23 | July 13, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

as i was reading this letter i was midly encourage as it sounded like it would be signed by the lerners. then i see it was signed w/ the sterile washington nationals baseball club...weak. would it hurt to put a name on it? they should review their PR department and fire them too. they are epically bad.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 13, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I wish JB could go from being a minority owner of this team to a majority owner. He would own up to this mess.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 13, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Where do replies to this email wind up?

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I just wrote this response to the Nats:
"Good luck. I was proud to take our son to the opening game in the new stadium last year, and I certainly join the many who wish the Nationals well.
"If you will allow a comment, my reaction to this letter is that its tone does not express enough humility by those who are at the top, who should accept more responsibility for their own actions and decisions. Blaming others is not attractive. I am surprised that someone did not correct this aspect of the letter: what it says to me is that you have not fixed your problems -- they remain in you."

Posted by: bullenemusic | July 13, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Paragraph 1: Everything after "We had hoped..." is either self-indulgent, wishful thinking, or just very, very bad baseball judgment. None of it is inspiring me to renew my season tickets. Paragraph 2: they list things that began to happen since Opening Day, and say that these developments need time and focus, and thus our patience. So why fire a manager known for his patience and focus?
Paragraph 3: Status quo is unacceptable, yet they replace a nonwinning manager with a proven nonwinning manager. This is a fresh approach?
Paragraph 4: "We hope..." Everything after that is either self-indulgent, wishful thinking, or very, very bad baseball judgment.
Paragraphs 5 and 6: "patient, long-term approach" as represented by three managers in less than three years, no general manager, and a general unwillingness from the front office to field a respectable team. "We are getting better..." except as represented by the won-lost record. "We are proud to represent..." but whoever "we" are have failed to sign this eyewash.

Posted by: 24thStNE | July 13, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least things are finally changing. Who knows, by the end of the year, we may have managed to trade and/or dump some more Bowden leftovers. With some of the large contracts off the books (*cough Kearns *cough), maybe the Lerners will be more enthusiastic about opening up their coin purses and pursuing some more proven Major League talent.

Posted by: futbolclif | July 13, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Credibility fail

Posted by: bryc3 | July 13, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Washington Capitals 50-24-8 winning %: .659
Washington Redskins 8-8 winning %: .500
Washington Nationals 26-61 winning %: .299
Washington Wizards Record 19-63 winning %: .232

At least the Nats are not the worst team in DC.

And no United fans I don't really care anymore. but to be nice your at 5-3-9 which has so many ties in it I don't think you can get an accurate winning %, which is also why soccer is lame, because you are tied in over 50% of your games.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 13, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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