Kasten says Nats have "25 Faces of the Franchise"
Who is the face of the Nats? Well, it's probably not All-Star Matt Capps, though congrats to him, etc. etc.
But obviously, there are only two real choices, not counting Giant Teddy and Screech. If you talk to fans about the team's biggest star, or if you look at jerseys in the crowd, or if you ask little kids or middle-aged dads about their favorite player, there are only two plausible first-place answers: Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg. Maybe neither of them particularly wanted such a role, but they happen to be the team's best hitter and best pitcher, so their faces get linked with the franchise.
Stan Kasten, though, says the Nats have 25 faces of the franchise, presumably including Miguel Batista. Kasten's appearance on the Mike Wise Show is weeks old, but it's new to me, and it's kind of interesting, especially when Kasten was asked whether Zimmerman would have trouble sharing the FoF title with Strasburg
"Zim has never wanted to be the so called face of the franchise, and I've kind of resisted that," Kasten said. "We have 25 faces of the franchise. It's not fair to Zim to put that burden on him, it's not fair to the other 24 guys to not share in any of the acclaim. That's never been a problem with Zim, because for a superstar, for a gold glove All-Star, Zim has as low an ego as you can imagine, but it also has to do with who this kid Stephen Strasburg is....
"His teammates uniformly love this kid, because he is humble, because he is respectful, because he does honor baseball first before all of the other things, so they couldn't be happier for him as a kid. And of course they're thrilled for themselves because of the contribution he makes to the team."
You know, as a clubhouse chemistry thing, I guess this sounds fine enough. As a marketing slogan, I'll take two faces of the franchise over 25, thanks very much. I love Luis Atilano's hairstyle, but nobody better market him to me as one of 25 faces of that franchise.
Kasten also said the team's very specific Strasburg media strategy, sharply limiting his availability to the press, has actually increased his allure.
"I do think the necessity of limiting the access to him - because the requests for access were insane - so having to limit it just multiplied the mystique, just multiplied the appeal," Kasten said. "And it's an ironic thing, but limiting that access made him more popular than ever."
Maybe. My only guess is that striking out 28 batters a game did more to multiply the appeal than limiting the number of awesome Dave Sheinin WaPo profiles, but it's an unknowable question, I suppose.
One more Strasburg note I've been meaning to include; during his recent start in Atlanta, MASN's Debbi Taylor talked to Mark Lerner, who apparently has seen every Strasburg start dating back to Spring Training.
"I enjoy every pitch," Lerner said. "He's an awesome athlete and he's only gonna get better....I don't' thin anybody expected him to do what he's done so far. I mean, the opening game was something none of us will ever forget. I only can imagine what he is capable of over the years."
July 6, 2010; 12:33 PM ET
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