Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Morning Reading

A number of people here, yesterday, expressed interest in sending condolences to Stan Kasten, whose mother, Sylvia, passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's. I'm trying to get information about the funeral and donations; once I get it, I'll post here. In the meantime, we're gonna start the morning reading material with an excerpt from a USA Today story (Dec. 20, 1999), written by Jill Lieber. I can't find the story in any archive, and I'm probably breaking a few copyright laws just by posting an bit of it here, but the story of Nathan and Sylvia Kasten deserves to be told. So...

HEADLINE: Man for all seasons Three-team president on the move in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- One cold, blustery night back in 1962, 10-year-old Stan Kasten trudged from his family's living quarters at their roadside motel in Farmingdale, N.J., to an adjacent restaurant, which was also family-owned.

Suddenly, some 40 feet behind him, the wicked wind lifted up a garbage can, spilling its contents across the parking lot. The future president of three of Atlanta's pro sports teams turned to see what all the racket was about. Unfazed, he continued onward.

From the restaurant window, Nathan Kasten watched his eldest son in disgust. A Polish immigrant and Holocaust survivor, Nathan worked tirelessly to give himself, his wife, Sylvia, and their three children better lives.

Of course, anything would be better than what he'd already endured. At 19, Hitler's soldiers hauled Nathan off to Czechoslovakia, where he was ordered to help build a concentration camp called Theresienstadt. For the next six years, Nathan lived in the camps, the last of which was Auschwitz. And the Nazis forced him to perform the most heinous task of all -- carrying bodies to the incinerator. In 1945, when the war ended, Nathan learned the horrifying truth: Of the 53 Kastens taken to the camps, he was the sole survivor. After two years in a Displaced Persons camp, Nathan joined an uncle who had fled to New York. There, he worked as a tailor, a truck driver and a waiter, while Sylvia, an Auschwitz survivor he'd met in the DP camp, toiled as a seamstress.

Nathan and Sylvia saved enough money to buy 16 acres in Farmingdale. They started a chicken farm that went great guns until Cowboy City, a western theme park, sprouted up next door. The staged gunfights scared the chickens to death, causing them to keel over
from heart attacks.

With a $ 10,000 settlement from the park, Nathan built the motel, and Sylvia used her own hammer and saw to erect the restaurant. Needless to say, Nathan knew a thing or two about hard work, dedication and commitment. He wasn't about to allow Stan to ignore the mess created by that garbage can.

"You're the laziest thing I've ever seen," Nathan bellowed.

Stan froze.

"Dad never used strong language," recalls Stan, as he talked about life lessons. "But the way he said 'the laziest thing' was the strongest language he could have used."

Some other daily items. Boz says of Acta, Rizzo and Kasten: "Seldom have three men been so at peace with a colleague blowing up." ... Melissa Segura, whose good work on the Esmailyn Gonzalez story helped Segway Jim Bowden out of town, takes a more featurized look at the perils of signing Dominican prospects. ... Fire Jim Bowden demonstrates a bipartisan spirit by listing the GM's top 10 moves in Washington. ... Mike Henderson, at, notes the hopeful signs that rise out of the bleak circumstances. ... The high in Lakeland, spring training home of the Tigers, is 79. It's just less than a two-hour drive. I'm taking off in a few minutes. ... Jason Isbell's new album gets a spin in the Prius CD player.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 5, 2009; 6:54 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Young Day-To-Day With Back Issues
Next: Washington = Cincinnati East


Chico, Paul Harvey you ain't. Where's the rest of the Kasten story?

And wasn't Fire Jim Bowden's fifteen minutes of fame over about three days ago? He didn't even call it right, after all. If he'd titled his website Resign in Order Not to Get Fired Jim Bowden I might say he's worth an extension, but he didn't. He's last week's news. Move on.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 5, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I would imagine there are copyright issues to posting the whole thing.

If you happen to have LexisNexis (or other news database) access, you can find and read the whole story. Here is the title "Kasten: Man for all seasons Three-team president on the move in Atlanta"

Posted by: Brian_ | March 5, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

>Order Not to Get Fired Jim Bowden I might say he's worth an extension, but he didn't. He's last week's news. Move on.

Trashing a self-centered sociopath like Bowden never gets old. After all, he'd do the same thing to us. In fact, he already trashed the media on his way out. Statistically, only 1 sociopath in 200 actually commits murder. The rest of them roam the streets...looking for a job!!!

Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the shout out and for the NP link on the blogroll. The steady rise in interlinking of the Natmosphere, and its resultant increased visibility, are additional hopeful signs.

Posted by: Hendo1 | March 5, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I am with you on the moving on from Fire Jim Bowden. It's over.

Boz is losing his grip when it comes to Bowden too. That whole "seldom have three men been so at peace with a colleague blowing up" line was a cheap shot and at alll 4 of those guys to boot.

Posted by: dfh123 | March 5, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the morning read on the Kasten family. Amazing story to find that his parents were Holocaust survivors which probably is the clue to why Stan is so driven and passionate about everything he does.

My respect level on Stan has increased exponentially as sometimes we have to walk a mile in other's shoes. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the Kasten family.

With typical Stan style, I sent him a condolence email yesterday, and late late last night he has already responded.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 5, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tidbit, Chico, and for the database suggestion, Brian.

Geez, I'll third the call for moving on from FJB. We all know how to find him should we wish to do so (which, speaking for myself, I don't).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

So just to clarify, GGG, that's the Kasten family's suggested donation recipient? Thanks.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

You can also search the ProQuest database for USA Today articles. I was able to log on to my local library's site and get the full text version of the piece.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Lakeland! Tiger Town is one cool spring-training site! Have fun, Chico!

Thanks for pointing us to that amazing story about the Kasten family. My own condolences to Stan.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | March 5, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

A very enlightning story this morning. It goes to show the depth of Mr. Kasten and why the steps he takes are carefully thought out and not overly reactionary. I have hope for this franchise with him at the wheel.

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 5, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

It's not a matter of moving on from FJB or any other blog. This is what blogs do. They link to each other. Chico throws a bone to FJB or other Nats blogs, none of which get much readership, and the bloggers play nice with Chico.

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | March 5, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

If I start a blog called Put Boswell Out Of Our Misery, will the Washington Post link to it?

Posted by: nunof1 | March 5, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

So Boz maintains that Kasten, Rizzo and Acta are all glad Bowden is gone, that Jimbo was responsible for spreading the rumor that Stan might leave for greener pastures (pun intended), and that Bowden wanted to spend on free agent pitchers and on a long-term contract for Ryan Zimmerman but was quashed by Stan and his spreadsheets.

If all of that is true, it's pretty interesting. It implies that Stan is the architect of The Plan, and that Trader Jim was operating in restricted airspace. Perhaps that led him to acquire the very high-upside but "halfway house" players that reportedly caused Manny some angst.

Overall, if Boz is to be believed, the front office with Bowden there was pretty dysfunctional. Bowden may have wanted Kasten gone so that he could remove the shackles of The Plan via his direct line to Mark Lerner and resume wheeling and dealing. Kasten may have tired of Bowden's relentless pursuit of questionable deals, much in the way that other MLB executives reportedly have. Rizzo may have wanted Bowden gone so that he could take over as GM. And Manny may have struggled to maintain his desired clubhouse chemistry amidst the malcontents foisted on him by Jimbo.

Amidst such a whirlwind, the current stance amounts to saying "Let's all take a deep breath and see where everything lands after Tornado Jim abates, we'll make decisions after that."

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm with nunof1 on this, the party's over for SoCH and his firejim nonsense. Let's move on.

I have a new found respect for Stan Kasten, over the last few weeks, he has represented the Nats and himself very well in the face of adversity.

God Bless him and his family as they deal with the loss of his mother.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 5, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I am fully capable of enjoying Fire Jim Bowden and the output of the great folks who post here, as well. Of course, I enjoyed SoCH's missives here in previous years, although a few topics were beaten to death. I guess I am in the "more the merrier" camp, and want the profile of the Constituency (all of us Nats fans) to rise across the country.

That said, I think Chico's gracious connection of this blog to all the others helps, as does his now obvious writing talent. I also second directing everybody to the tremendous Nationals Pride- Hendo and the gang make up for some of the loss of Capitol Punishment as a regular blog.

OK, enough kudos for now. Except for J. Zimm. OK, now enough kudos.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 5, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I've also been really impressed with the way that Kasten has handled this situation. It's interesting to me that coverage seems to continue to focus more on what's wrong with JimBow than on what's right with how Kasten and the organization have dealt with the situation.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Just in time for the new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

So just to clarify, GGG, that's the Kasten family's suggested donation recipient? Thanks.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 9:15 AM

Nothing official on donation suggestions but that is where I decided to send a donation so it stays in the Washington DC area.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 5, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

>If I start a blog called Put Boswell Out Of Our Misery, will the Washington Post link to it?

Same could be said of you and your serial postings.

Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, GoingGoing.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@nunof1 . . . ??

Posted by: dfh123 | March 5, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the updates and I will make a donation there as well which is the least we can do for Stan to show our support at this difficult time.

Chico, thanks for the updates!

Posted by: dmacman88 | March 5, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I simply do not get the hatred for FJB. If you think the blog was only about firing JB, you haven't read it in a long, long time. SOCH does interesting statistical analysis and works really hard to provide informed commentary on the Nats' play and the business side of the game. I don't agree with everything he says, but it's always interesting. I do think he should change the name of the blog to mark the beginning of the post-JB era, but I sure hope he keeps blogging and I definitely appreciate NJ's encouragement of other inhabitants of the Natosphere.

Posted by: Section222 | March 5, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

No hatred here. But definitely not a fan.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

just to clarify, Kasten's farm was surely in Howell Township, NJ, rather than the little village of Farmingdale (probably had a Farmingdale P.O.)

Posted by: nats24 | March 5, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse


Great minds think alike. I too upon hearing about Stan's mother wrote him a note of condolences. I asked if there was a charity that in lieu of flowers, that I could make a contribution. He said whatever charity I support would be fine with him.

I was going to give to the NATIONALS FOUNDATION. Upon further reading, when I found out his Mom died and had Alzheimers, I gave to the Alzheimers Association too in his Mom's memory. I listed the ballpark as his address to send notification.

RIP Sylvia you've raised fine children!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | March 5, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

A better link until something official comes along:

Posted by: dmacman88 | March 5, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I went to Cheryl Stevens to get the official word from Stan.

From Cheryl: Stan would like people to give donations to the Alzheimer’s association in their local area or in Atlanta GA.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 5, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the donation links and info, folks.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company