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Nats' Letter to Fans

E-mailed at 11:30 am:

TO: Fans of the Washington Nationals

No one is more dissatisfied in the first half of the 2009 Washington Nationals season than we are. Like you, we had hoped that some of our younger players would have matured faster and that the addition of some of our new veterans would have significantly improved our record from a season ago. Our hope was that a solid club leadership would emerge on and off the field and that some intangible combinations would begin to click resulting in many winning streaks.

We definitely do see significant pieces materializing for the future, and there have been many close, exciting games and optimistic bright spots: Strong outings by John Lannan, the home run and RBI production of Adam Dunn, the All-Star selection and 30 game hitting streak of Ryan Zimmerman, and the recent addition of speedster Nyjer Morgan. Much of the season, however, has been defined by weak relief pitching, poor defense, and youthful inconsistency. We have tried to work through this period with patience and focus but now we are faced with mounting losses which are beginning to take a toll on our entire roster. Clearly, some changes are required as we prepare for the second half of the 2009 season and, more importantly, build for a competitive future.

Today, we announced that manager Manny Acta is being replaced on an interim basis by Jim Riggleman, veteran manager, and currently the Nats bench coach. Both the Ownership and the entire Washington Nationals organization have the highest respect for Manny Acta and the role he has played in the short history of the Nationals. However, it is our belief that a fresh attitude and approach is necessary as we set out to improve our performance for the remainder of the year. We want to send a strong message to our clubhouse and our fans that the status quo is unacceptable. We believe that more is expected of everyone in the organization.

Baseball operations will be reevaluating all our players and our options for improvement over the next several months. We hope to sign our 2009 draft choices by the August deadline. We hope these new additions will join an already exciting Nationals youth movement headed by the likes of Lannan, Jesus Flores, Alberto Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Craig Stammen on our current roster, and the likes of promising minor league stars like Chris Marrero, Michael Burgess, Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris and Drew Storen, among many others. But, we also will be determining the viability of trades or roster upgrades that can be made without doing damage to the farm system or the developing talent we expect to blossom within the next two years.

When we bought the Washington Nationals in the middle of the 2006 season - just under three years ago - we committed to a patient, long term approach, building a strong farm system and core foundation that would deliver a perennial and consistent contender; to provide a second-to-none family entertainment value at Nationals Park; and to investment and involvement in the metropolitan Washington DC community. Today we remain steadfastly committed to each component of that mission. We are proud to represent the National Pastime in the Nation's Capital, and we are proud to call the Capital area home.

We know we have a way to go, but the end result will be all the richer for the early days we've spent together at Nationals Park. We are getting better. We want you to be with us as the pieces of the puzzle come together. Your support is powerful to the Nationals and baseball in Washington. Thank you for your continuing patience and your commitment to a shared dream.


Washington Nationals Baseball Club

By Alexa Steele  |  July 13, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
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Next: Acta Statement


What is Riggleman's managerial history? Do you think he will be a better fit?

Posted by: mharman1 | July 13, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse


Do you really think Kasten is a "slimeball"? Please.

It's not like the Lerners are begging Kasten to let them invest in team-building. And then Kasten rebukes the owners for wanting to spend on legit talent money when low-cost rejects and minor league talent will do just fine. None of that has been happening.

Stan knows how to build a team. The owners should listen to him.

Posted by: EdDC | July 13, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Unless we get better players the next manager will be a scapegoat too.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 13, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

i think kasten is probably an incredibly intelligent and driven guy, knows exactly what he's doing. but please, for the love of gawd, stop letting him speak.

I actually wouldn't want anyone else but Kasten in his position, but when he opens his mouth, he most definitely comes across as a cliche-speaking, used car-selling slimeball.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 13, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like an anonymous statement when accountability is called for.

Posted by: paulkp | July 13, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"Nothing like an anonymous statement when accountability is called for."

Anonymous personifies the Nationals organization as a whole.

Posted by: thisismydcsportsopinion | July 13, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm going to get personal here. That was the most unprofessional press conference I have ever heard! You are in the Nation's Capital, fellas. Press conferences are an hourly affair.

Where was the new/interim guy, the "bench coach"--how come you didn't introduce him, have him get up there and spout a few cliches? Don't you own a suit jacket? If you don't have a better amplification system, can you repeat the question? (cf., the lady from NTSB). Speaking of questions--how about answering some of them.

Y'know, I wouldn't blame Strasborg for preferring Japan to working for these clowns.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 13, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I encourage anyone who received this emailed letter from the Nats, as I did, to respond back, respectfully, and let them know what you expect.

This cheap, rag tag operation must improve or the losing will last a long, long time.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

505203: Got the email. It came into my "junk mail." In my mail system, in order to reply to it, I have to declare that it's NOT junk. Gonna take me a while to work up to making that declaration.

Am going to work now. Maybe tonight I will be able to get into a more positive mood--no, wait! That would be too much like Manny's modus.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 13, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Ed, I really do consider him to be a slimeball. I think he is an enabler for the Lerners, which in my view is worse than the scenario you put forth. If your scenario was true, the Lerners would just replace him, rather than use him, his track record and his used-car salesman schtick to legitimize their penny-pinching ways.

Also, by all accounts, the responsibility for the Crow debacle lay at Kasten's feet more than anyone else's on the Nats' side of things. He is an incredibly arrogant man, and in that case he let his personal principles get in the way of good decision-making.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 13, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"to provide a second-to-none family entertainment value at Nationals Park;"

argh, no, this is exactly what's *wrong* with Nationals Park.

We don't want 'family entertainment', we want baseball. If that isn't what entertains your family, fine, but then don't bring them to a ballgame.

There's too much shtick and too many amusement park-like features. The video arcade must go (maybe replace it with a batting cage or two and a radar gun), and if they're going to do a 'guess the year' trivia question between innings, would it really kill them to have one or two of the items actually be baseball related?

I want to see more baseball, not less baseball, and not more extraneous stuff. Show us some highlights from around the league between innings, instead of having Clint give some freebie to people who have already paid hundreds of dollars for their seats; ask some baseball trivia; have a 'you be the ump' question or something; hell, even show some bloopers. That's an '80s ballpark fad that's just dying to come back.

It's great that there's a real organist now - it definitely helps with the feel of the park. Now let's just get rid of all the other garbage that's more suited to minor league baseball than the big leagues.

Posted by: zaph | July 13, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey on, Zaph! Me and Greggo the Cop and all my other baseball friends all agree wholeheartedly.....ex number 3 (or was it just a girlfriend?) couldn't understand my getting ticked off at people wandering up and down the aisles with the ball in play and blocking my view."It's just a game", she'd point out. And I'd reply "Exactly! That's what I'm here for!The GAME!"
Go Nats.....

Posted by: zendo | July 13, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Kasten is nothing but a mouthpiece for the Lerner's to hide behind as they avoid being accountable for (a) not spending money to upgrade the team and (b)trying to convince what remains of the fan base to keep coming to Nationals Park. As bad an owner as Peter Angelos has proven to be for the O's, the Lerner family appears to have surpassed him. Once Kasten hires a GM or they take the 'acting' off of Rizzo's title, it will only be a matter of time before Stan leaves and says the Lerners wouldn't give him a chance to the build the team the way he wanted.

The Lerners should have signed the letter to show that they actually owned and stood behind the team. I've never seen that out of them except the first couple of weeks after they actually purchased the team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 13, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Buried within the minutiae "We are getting better." Really? 102 injury-plagued losses last year, 114 injury-free loss pace this year? I have a feeling the second half will actually be worse than the first. The ’62 Mets may yet be displaced (120 losses).

If I were Strasburg, I’d play in Japan and come back next year. He’ll be #1 again next year but can block a Nats effort to pick him (See Adam Crow).

Yes Nats front office, it can get worse.


Posted by: DCSec112 | July 13, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Ownership says:

"We know we have a way to go"

Oh piss off with that crap. The finish line gets farther and farther away. I only read this hoping for an apology. Alas, these scumbags dont have it in them. Aside from the inclusion of specific names, this letter was copy-pasted from two years ago.

Nice try losers

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 13, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I came across an online community for individual seeking interracial love. It is --Mixedmingle dot com--- All singles there are seeking interracial relationships and sports friends. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | July 13, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

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