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Nats to Fans: "Expect It"

By Dan Steinberg


Within the past week, many Nationals season-ticket holders began receiving their renewal packets in the mail. One of the most prominent features of the package was this new phrase: "Expect It." That's the equivalent of the Redskins announcing "The Future Is Now" on their own mailings.

The letter, signed by COO Andrew Feffer, says the team believes it's long-term strategy "is beginning to show returns," and that "we are determined to continue to do what it takes to elevate the franchise to the next level."

It notes that for two years in a row the Nats have led the majors in spending on the draft, that "in 2010, we had a productive stable of veterans and stars in the lineup," and that "we now have a solid and exciting pipeline of pitchers including Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen, Yunesky Maya, Luis Atilano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett and Stephen Strasburg (returning soon!)." It also says that the franchise's "improved Minor League system is now regularly producing a steady stream of Major League talent," although four of the seven names listed -- Strasburg, Storen, Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper -- haven't spent much time in the Minor League system, truth be told.

There is also an offer of an elegant crystal baseball bat, laser etched with a Curly W, for season-tickets paid in full by Dec. 10.

And then there's the story of Washington baseball, seen here in full. Expect It, Nats fans, Expect It.

(The discoloration and weirdness of these images is due to my own technological failings, nothing from the Nats. The actual package is very slick.)




By Dan Steinberg  | November 8, 2010; 10:34 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Comments

Expect 100 losses. Also can't believe they are advertising Strasburg. Expect waiting one year to see him.

Posted by: amorris525 | November 8, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Are we sure it's not Expect @*it?

Posted by: Brian_ | November 8, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah notice it doesn't say to "expect" wins or to be competitive. The only thing it says to "expect" is for the players to leave it all on the field. Thanks. And here I thought that was kind of implied with the purchase of a ticket.

"Expect" next year to be our year... every year. Guh.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 8, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Expect 100 losses because they don't resign Dunn? Give me a break.

This team won 10 more games in 2010 than it did the year before and that was WHILE they were transitioning Desmond, Espinosa, Storen, Strasburg, etc. to the major league roster and BEFORE the Nationals get the expected bump from Wilson Ramos, Jordan Zimmermann coming back 100% and Roger Bernadina playing full-time in the OF.

What this team needs in the field is obtainable - a first baseman with a blend of some power and the ability to field his position and a corner outfielder with some speed and capability of getting on base.

On the staff, the club needs a leader.

If the Nationals acquire a pitcher capable of winning 14-15 games and have Marquis healthy for an entire season where puts up a usual 13-12 type record and gives you innings, then Washington could be in position to win 81 or 82 games.

And I think the goal for this team is to go .500.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | November 8, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

As long as Riggleman is manager they will have no shot at finishing 500.

Posted by: amorris525 | November 8, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Still focusing on the upcoming uniform changes, it's interesting that the jersey in the photo and the "laser etched bat" both show the curly-W logo. That's staying. The red remains prominent as well, so I'm not expecting a huge shift to blue as the primary color.

Posted by: jcj5y | November 8, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Also can't believe they are advertising Strasburg.

Posted by: amorris525 | November 8, 2010 10:55 AM

Listing him last among a list of ten pitchers in the organization - in a letter to previous season ticket holders = advertising? Maybe in the most pedantic definition of the word. It's not like they have him on highway billboards telling people to come see him in April.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 8, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of Negative Nancy's. What a group of Whining Willy's. The neagtive posts on this site are baffling. They were the worst team in baseball for 2 straight years, and then improved by 10 games. With young players maturing and the team willing to sign free agents that can help them win or get us young prospects in return (see Matt Capps), the future is bright!
Does anyone remember the 34 years with no team? I do. I am willing to be patient. So should you.

Posted by: jmurray019 | November 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals remind me of the under-sized, athletically-challenged Little League coach's son coming to bat only to hear the pitcher yelling for the outfield to move in closer.

Until the runt hits one over the outfielders, this team will be an NL East afterthought.

The Nationals better "bring it" before asking fans to "expect it."

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | November 8, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me?!?! John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen, Luis Atilano, Tyler Clippard <== These 5 in paritcular were HORRIBLE!

The Nats must think the fans are blind and stupid and whose to say whats kind of pitcher Strasburg is going to be when he gets back. It makes me sick to see Washington Teams slap fans in the face with the SMOKE and MIRRORS routine every year!

Posted by: MDZ28driver | November 8, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

What a joke.

"A highly ranked farm system".
Sez who? Nats farm system is a mess.
Is there is single player on our AAA roster that could be a regular MLB player?

"the team with great young players that baseball insiders want to watch".
Garbage.

"a franchise that could compete at the highest level".
"could" being the key word here. Not "will" or "should". "could".
And yes, we "could", but not with our current roster, not with our current farm system.

Posted by: Sunderland | November 8, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

We already got "it" several times.

Posted by: mitlen | November 8, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

A rank bad PR job! What were they thinking when they decided to mail this crap..

Posted by: KarK | November 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of cr*p! Expect it? Expect what? A season just like the last two? Any player that brings bodies into the seats - other than Ryan Zimmerman - to be traded away or let go? To spend a large amount of money on food and drink to get the experience of a Nats lose at the stadium instead of watching for practically nothing at home? Such high expectations!

Posted by: burnie4241 | November 8, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Also can't believe they are advertising Strasburg.

Posted by: amorris525 | November 8, 2010 10:55 AM

Listing him last among a list of ten pitchers in the organization - in a letter to previous season ticket holders = advertising? Maybe in the most pedantic definition of the word. It's not like they have him on highway billboards telling people to come see him in April.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 8, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"You've got the most exciting new superstars in the game, like Strasburg, Zimmerman, and Pudge."

Where is he in the middle of 10 pitchers?

Posted by: amorris525 | November 8, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the "delivered" signs.

Posted by: cokedispatch | November 8, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Dan-

The Nats sold their suites and the premium seats behind the plate (Prez and Diamond clubs) with 3-year contracts when they opened up the ballpark. So contracts on the vast majority of them are now up for (non-)renewal.

We Nats fans already know what to expect for next season. But what are the Nats expecting as far as premium ticket sales are concerned? I'd love to see you look into this, even in an anecdotal way. It could be brutal.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 8, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Been following baseball in DC since 1956. I'm tired of hearing about how long other teams have waited to return and/or win the World Series. I just want to be able to say before I die that my team was in contention after the All Star break. Oh boy, now we're trying to get Brandon Webb, another pitcher who has't pitched in over a year and has a damaged arm. You come the Nats when nobody else wants you.

Posted by: bosco3 | November 8, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Judging by the total inattention paid to the game in front of them by folks sitting in the premium seats (As Seen on TV - TM) those are the ticket holders who care the least about the state of the product on the field. Also, judging from the amount of food and beverage consumed by those same fans (Hey, it's the seventh inning. Time for ICE CREAM!) it would seem that customer service is the only criterion they use when deciding to come to games. Given that there have been absolutely no complaints about the all-you-can-eat buffet and other amenities surfacing from people in the premium seats and suites (not surprising, since they are waited on hand and foot) and also given that the prices have actually been lowered and amenities increased in those seating sections going forward, I for one would expect that the greater percentile of those seats will be renewed. Indeed, the lowered prices and additional benefits may actually attract more people to those areas of the ballpark. The only thing brutal about those seats will probably be the sun beating down on them at day games.

Posted by: FeelWood | November 8, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

blah blah blah owners are cheap blah blah blah no prospects blah blah blah 100 losses blah blah blah farm is a mess. I'm tired of it! I bet these some of these folks would be unhappy after a world series win, soley for the reason that there is a next season with more opportunity for dissapointment. If anyone here truly knows how to follow baseball, you would recognize that momentum in the right direction is clearly with this team.

Posted by: bsdman | November 8, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Been following baseball in DC since 1956. I'm tired of hearing about how long other teams have waited to return and/or win the World Series. I just want to be able to say before I die that my team was in contention after the All Star break."

Why, did the cat have your tongue in 2005?

Posted by: FeelWood | November 8, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Cat got my tongue? (don't understand the usage here) No I got to see them go straight down the toilet after the all star break, maybe you missed it, were you out of town?

Posted by: bosco3 | November 8, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

blah blah blah owners are cheap blah blah blah no prospects blah blah blah 100 losses blah blah blah farm is a mess. I'm tired of it! I bet these some of these folks would be unhappy after a world series win, soley for the reason that there is a next season with more opportunity for dissapointment. If anyone here truly knows how to follow baseball, you would recognize that momentum in the right direction is clearly with this team.

Posted by: bsdman | November 8, 2010 2:24 PM

I don't really care to criticize this marketing campaign too much - it's just white noise as far as I'm concerned. People know what to expect with this team based on what they've seen for the last 5 years. A catchy slogan from the marketing department doesn't matter.

But criticism of poor ownership IS what being a real fan is all about. Are we supposed to blindly love and support the Lerners when they trot out a team with the 23rd "highest" payroll in Major League Baseball? When they piss off their core constituency with a public rent battle against the city?

Part of sticking with this team and baseball in DC is being able to hold the owners accountable. Redskins fans learned this over time with Snyder - and I think their criticism of the Danny has woken him up a little bit.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 8, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The 2005 team was in contention after the All Star Break. They weren't mathematically eliminated until mid to late September. Why did you choose to say nothing then?

Posted by: FeelWood | November 8, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

OK excuuuuuse me, I have had ONE year out of 60 when I could root for a contending team past the all star break. Who should I have spoken to in 2005? The Ghost of Calvin Griffith?

Posted by: bosco3 | November 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

ABM, the people/entities that buy those suites and seats are predominantly companies and business owners, buying them for business reasons. At this point, and in this economic environment, the tickets are not a good investment for them. Their clients and customers don't want to go Nats games. Again, it could be brutal. I hope for the Nats' sake that you're right on this one, but I doubt that you will be.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats want to be serious, they can start signing ACTUAL GOOD STARTING PITCHING

Sign Lee, Trade for Grienke, etc....BRING IT GREAT TALENT

Posted by: Bious | November 8, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

This is really sad. It shows that this ownership really doesn't have a clue of what its dealing with. This isn't Mayberry. This is Washington D.C. and if you want to get our attenion, you had better start putting more than "great" prospects on the field. We don't care about the "potential" upside of a whole team of stars. We want to see the results of a stadium (which isn't even in the top 20 in the league) built with tax payer money and the results of 6 years of mediocrity. Sign Dunn, get some solid pitching, and imporve defense. That's what we should expect!

Posted by: poeticfire | November 8, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Lannan,Maya and Jordan Zimmermann I can see as potential solid starters. Stammen, Atilano and Detwiler probably are never going to be good MLB quality starters too much nibbling and seem afraid to pitch inside or challenge hitters.Strasburg may come back and reconstruct himself as a pitcher and fall out of love with the radar gun and concentrate on fooling hitters or he may just flame out. The big plan looks like moving Michael Morse to 1B and having Josh Willingham, Nyger Morgan and Bernadina as regular outfielders. The problem with that plan is that Bernadina and Morse will be exposed too much and the holes in their swings will be revealed so I see their productivity plummeting as they reach 500 to 550 plate appearances.
Good relief core but we need a true closer. Ballester is not and neither is Storen with that stiff legged delivery making his pitches go high in the zone.
Maybe in 3 to 4 years when Marrero, Harper possibly Michael Burgess and some others are truly ready we will see a move to the upper level of the NL East.Next year will be another 70 to 74 winn season. And don't think that we have a shot at any top of the line free agent starters. Cliff Lee is getting to the age where he wants to win the big one and that is at least a decade away for this franchise. Keep drafting good talent and slowly purge AAA of the has beens and never was players that clog the roster.

Posted by: rightlock | November 8, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I got that package. Wanted to respond that what I EXPECTed was for them to sign their top slugger and go after some SP that were not walking wounded. However, last August they emailed me asking for me to take a moment to fill out their ST holder survey and I did. In the comments section I said that I was very disappointed in their failure to sign Dunn and that I thought their unwillingness to spend kept them from fielding a competitive team. I got a computer generated response saying my comments were very important to the Nats and that they would respond shortly. I am still waiting. Expect it.

Posted by: NatsFly | November 8, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

More like "expectorate it" -- cuz what we've seen the last few years makes me want to spit the foul taste out of my mouth...

Posted by: gr8day4bsbll | November 8, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

My god people, what are the Nats supposed to tell current and former season-ticket holders? Are they supposed to say, "Expect To Lose?" "Expect a half-empty stadium (expect when we play Philly, and half the crowd is rooting against you)?" Or "Expect More Errors?"

At least "Expect It" is open to interpretation.

Me? I'll expect to have a good time at the park and watch a team struggling but seemingly headed to a brighter future. And I'll expect to have much of the park to myself, and I've got to imagine the Nats expect it too.

Posted by: rodeorob | November 8, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The Kool-aid sure is flowing. Of course the Nationals played at a 100 loss clip since their big start. But who am I to let facts get in the way of promotion. Yeah this team is muuuuch improved. Here's hoping to be underwhelmed ... again ... expect it!

Posted by: lpatashn | November 8, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I was at the last Senators(2.0) game in RFK when we forfeited to the Yankees. Any fair weather "fans" who are whining about the Nats should be forced to sit thru a heartbreak like that, maybe then you'd appreciate baseball - win, lose, or draw. There's a reason cities like Cleveland and Detroit have kept their teams for over 100 years. And yes, the Nats' future does look brighter than the past.

Posted by: dfoster1 | November 8, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

dfoster1: As a kid I too attended Senators games (although I was away at college for that last one). I too have waited 3 decades for a team. That is why the Lerner's excessive frugality, which I think is really hurting the team, is so maddening to me. I think they had a golden opportunity to reintroduce this wonderful game to DC and capture the interest of the town, and I fear they have squandered it. Instead of capitalizing on the buzz which existed when they got the team, then when they moved to the new stadium, they focused on paying off their own debt while fielding a low budget AAAA team. I appreciate baseball. I did not appreciate Bob Short and I can't say Ted Lerner is a great improvement.

Posted by: NatsFly | November 8, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Expect whoever came up with that slogan for the Nationals to get fired is more like it. We all know next year is going to suck. I ditched my partial game plan 2 seasons ago, and I haven't had any regrets. Expect more of that Nationals unless you actually try and sign good players and not spare parts/retreads.

Posted by: futbolclif | November 9, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

>Cat got my tongue? (don't understand the usage here) No I got to see them go straight down the toilet after the all star break, maybe you missed it, were you out of town?

Posted by: bosco3

Ah yes, I remember 2005 like it was yesterday. Green grass, reconfigured RFK stadium just like it was when I was 10, hot dogs, beer, friends had season tickets in 446 on the railing. Good lower bowl tickets 'weren't available'. Ah yes. Started out like 52-30, dropped like a lead balloon, although still only a couple of games out at the trade deadline, but then blind-sided by the announcement by Tony T. that Bud Selig and MLB wouldn't give them a penny more to take on some salary for a hitter that might have gotten them a wildcard spot. Ah yes. I thought that was the low point. And then we got Teddy Ballgame. For those of you old enough, I ain't talking about the .400-hitting Teddy Ballgame. Let's see - Jim Riggleman - Ted Williams, Jim Riggleman - Ted Williams. Senators went from 65-98 in '68 to 86-76 in '69 just because he showed up. At least Bob Short had enough sense to hire someone the players would respect. Williams got a four year deal for about $250,000/year. Riggleman gets a one year deal at $500,000 with a team option. Ain't no blah blah blah there. No shame in my game.

Posted by: Brue | November 9, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

And then we got Teddy Ballgame. For those of you old enough, I ain't talking about the .400-hitting Teddy Ballgame. Let's see - Jim Riggleman - Ted Williams, Jim Riggleman - Ted Williams. Senators went from 65-98 in '68 to 86-76 in '69 just because he showed up. At least Bob Short had enough sense to hire someone the players would respect. Williams got a four year deal for about $250,000/year. Riggleman gets a one year deal at $500

I agree with you on Riggleman, Just another example of penny-pinching; one of the biggest errors made was letting Frank R go. Maybe my grandchildren will get to see a playoff team (if the team stays in town).

Posted by: bosco3 | November 9, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I was at the last Senators(2.0) game in RFK when we forfeited to the Yankees. Any fair weather "fans" who are whining about the Nats should be forced to sit thru a heartbreak like that, maybe then you'd appreciate baseball - win, lose, or draw. There's a reason cities like Cleveland and Detroit have kept their teams for over 100 years. And yes, the Nats' future does look brighter than the past.

Posted by: dfoster1

You want a medal or something? Crybaby. I listened to the last game on the radio with Ron Menchine (RIP) ripping the hell out of Short. Am I a real fan? Menchine gets a call from the owner's box to stop his tirade and he says, 'what are you gonna do, fire me?'.

Well, what are you gonna do?

Posted by: Brue | November 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

maybe then you'd appreciate baseball - win, lose, or draw. There's a reason cities like Cleveland and Detroit have kept their teams for over 100 years. And yes, the Nats' future does look brighter than the past.

How do you appreceaite losing baseball? And there are no draws in baseball, only extra innings. Yeah, the reason Cleveland and Detroit et al have kept their teams is because every once in a millenium their teams get to the playoffs and fans get to wave sticks and towels. Not hard to have a "brighter" future when the past is the tenth layer of hell.

Posted by: bosco3 | November 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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