Kasten to Fans: Don't Worry About the Big Picture
Stan Kasten was a guest on Versus's $ports Take with Rick Horrow Tuesday night before the Caps game. This was a night featuring Twins-Tigers, Wiz-Grizzlies, Caps-Flyers, and fantasy football waiver wires, so it's possible you missed the segment.
The biggest disappointment was the word-association game they played included Ted Turner, Sid Bream, Dominique Wilkins, Hank Aaron and Bobby Cox, but not Jim Bowden or Thomas Boswell or Lastings Milledge. The happiest part was that he revealed he likes dealing with media members who have a sense of humor. That must be why he loves me so much! The oddest part was that he said fans don't have to worry about the big picture, they just have to pay attention to the score. If you say the big picture is great, and the scores are terrible, and yet fans should just pay attention to the scores and not the big picture, then you're pretty much advising your fans to go sit in the corner and stare at the moldy wall and just wait until snack time. Or whatever.
What is the level of your disappointment about the team's first two years performance in this stadium?
We know that the record on the field is deplorable. And every night that you lose, no matter how many years I've been doing this, I still can't sleep after a loss. So that's hard. But it's easier for me in some respects because I don't have to focus just on the standings or just on the score, like fans do. That's all that we need to ask them to do. They don't have to pay attention to the other things. It's not, you know, their job.
It's our job to focus on the big picture. That's made it easier for me, though, because our big picture IS so good, and we are moving in the right track, according to the plan we put in place and enunciated very clearly on our first day in the job. It's similar, not just to what happened in Atlanta, but what has happened in city after city after city that has had success. But not just success, sustained success, which is what we're after.
Do you ever resent the media?
Uh, no. I realize that I need them a lot more than they need me, and I've been beaten around pretty good. But on balance, when I look at other cities and other colleagues of mine, I think the media's been extraordinarily generous to me. I get it. The guys who understand taking sarcasm as well as giving it, I do better with those guys than the guys without any senses of humor, because I am a guy who doesn't believe I'm here just to be kicked around. I think it's fair to kick back. And some media guys have a problem with that. The ones who don't, I get along great with.
Do you consider yourself a big market team or a small market team?
Well, I never use those designations. I always talk about big revenue, small revenue, because you can be a big market like Miami but still be small revenue. I think right now we are a big market with medium revenue. I think when we do our job on the field, we're gonna be a big big market with big revenue. Two bigs in the market, only one big in revenue, because we're never gonna be L.A. or New York, but we don't have to be to win consistently.
Here's a big one, a big expense. Talk about Stephen Strasburg. Was that the most unique negotiation you've been in, and what was it like?
Because of the three teams, I've thought about this one, I've been involved in more player negotiations than anyone in the history of sports, so I don't know if it was the most unique. But it WAS different. It was trying to set a whole new paradigm for how players are paid, and his agent wanted to use this as a way to step forward. That's what the agent's supposed to do. We weren't buying the fundamental premise.
But we were early adopters of the idea that this was a unique, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime player, and we paid a lot to get him. Perhaps not as much as the agent wanted, but we set a record. So the agent did a terrific job, and the player came out really well, but we wound up with what we wanted, what our fans wanted, what our market needed, so I think this was a win-win all around.
You refer to Scott Boras as The Agent. Do you feel like you could sit down anywhere and do business with him?
I do have a good relationship with him. I think he and I see everything in life opposite. I'm not a fan of the things he does and the way he does them, but as I said before, I'm a huge fan of his success.
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