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Kasten says Nats have "25 Faces of the Franchise"

Capps, Zimmerman. (By Greg Fiume - Getty)

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."

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 6, 2010; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Capps didn't know about his all-star bonus


Sadly, with the Nats' run support, it's kind of likely that Strasburg will K 27 in a row, go into the 10th inning in a 0-0 tie, sit one more down, and then give up a homer to record the loss.

Posted by: tomsing | July 6, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I would say the Faces of the Franchise right now are

Morgan (for now)

Thats not a bad list. But I am a bit short of 25...

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

If the Lerners hadn't been so cheap in 2007 and 2008, there would be a more natural "face of the franchise" here. They should have bid up to $20 million a year for Torii Hunter in the offseason prior to Nats Park opening. A superstar center fielder who not only would have been the face of the franchise, but an African-American one as well. Nope, we got Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge and Wily Mo Pena instead.

Then again, that atrocious 2008 team led us to Jesus. And that's the point for DC sports owners nowadays, right... suck so horribly till they land a first overall pick or two? Oh and make a lot of money.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 6, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they could have a Face of the Franchise, and a Face of the Frontrunners? Just a thought... ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 6, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Nothing against SS, of course. I like that he seems to respect the game and stay humble in the face of over-the-top hoopla and hype.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 6, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

When will Teddy win? On that day, HE will be the face of the franchise!

Posted by: luv2bikva | July 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone REALLY want to be the Face of a Losing Franchise ("FoLF")? I can't picture that designation as a compliment, can you?

Posted by: blufre | July 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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