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More from Stan Kasten on his departure and the Nationals

Stan Kasten met with media today in the Nationals dugout. He sat on the bench and leaned against the wall. "I need the wall because I do not trust Rizzo to be behind me with a shaving cream pie," Kasten said. "So I wasn't going to take that chance."

Kasten, of course, had nailed Rizzo with a pie on the night they signed Bryce Harper. This afternoon, Rizzo was sitting near Kasten when he made the pie joke. "It will be a whipped cream pie," Rizzo said. "And it will happen."

"I really thought today might have been that day," Kasten said.

It wasn't. Kasten did spend nearly 20 minutes with reporters. Several questions he did not answer in detail or, really, at all, but he promised he will delve further into his legacy and his future at a later date. For now, here are some of the most important snippets from his talk:

On if he'll keep his ownership stake:
Is that really something you guys need to know? I don't know yet. I do know if the day ever comes that I'm involved with another baseball team, I couldn't do that. So it's a little early. But I also don't know why you need to know that.

On his crowning achievement:
Listen, until we win it all, I don't have any crowing achievements. I do know that this team finally has a terrific pipeline. You know the kids our system produced this season. You know the kids that they're about to produce the next season, the season after that, the season after and the season after that. Nothing good happens after that. We finally have that. We finally have a baseball operations front office that is as good as can be to produce that on an ongoing basis. Those are the two most important things on that side. On the business side, we've got a glorious, magnificent stadium with a spectacular game experience. No matter what the score that night, you have a good time when you come to Nationals Park. That's what's most important.

On his future:
You know, last time I thought I might retire. I really didn't know if I'd ever do this again. And who knows? These jobs are precious and rare. So I can't know that I'll ever do this again. But this time my mind is 'You know what, I don't feel like retiring.' So I'm going to do something. I don't think you'll lose track of me. But there's nothing I want to talk about today. I truly haven't decided anything, committed to anything. I really haven't and it'll be a while before I do, really.

On wanting to send a message he has no issues with ownership:
All of those things bother me when I read it. Like I said, it's about one thing. What I want to do, what's good to do, what's good for my family. Period. And there's a lot out there. I don't want to talk about anything today. But that's really it.

On his confidence in Washington becoming a baseball town:
No question about it. No question about it. This is a big market both in size, an enormous market in terms of wealth and demographics to succeed with a venue that really relates well across all demographics, very versatile. When the product - listen, we had 1.8 million people come to watch a team that's losing 95 to 105 games a year. That extraordinary support for a team that hasn't earned it yet. And so when it does earn it, when we get our job done, as I always say, we're going to have great support. I've never backed away from 'We get the attendance we deserve.' I got to tell you, we probably over-indexed in the last couple of years and that's a really good. Sign. I'll also say this. This year we had a drop-off in season tickets. The number doesn't matter. But we're still going to match last year's attendance. You know why? Because people bought tickets over the course of the year. Yeah, some were Strasburg. A much smaller number than any of you guessed. But they were buying because they're finally sensing that this is turning around and getting on the bandwagon. We're going to be at last year's attendance even with a significant season-ticket drop. That's the most positive sign because that does not happen. If you have a season-ticket drop you're going to have an attendance drop. That didn't happen. Fans came out. Fans made up that gap because they are sensing all the good that's happening.

By Adam Kilgore  | September 23, 2010; 6:13 PM ET
 
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Next: With Stan Kasten's resignation, the Nationals are at a crossroads

Comments

Dude's smoking better weed than what I get out here in Cali if he really believes 95% of what he said.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 23, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Mark Lerner in the front row today, enjoying one of his unsold $300 seats. With some d1ckbag in a Phillies hat sitting behind him. Somehow appropriate...

Posted by: Kev29 | September 23, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I guess there was no game thread today, but was anyone watching? (We won, and there was some decent defense...)

Posted by: skidge | September 23, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I was watching and loving it, skidge. Good pitching, good defense, and some timely hitting today.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 23, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

The real story of Kasten with the Nationals is largely untold - Maybe part of it comes out in the post-season presser, but I'd bet against that being a big reveal.

Boswell is probably too antagonistic to get it, and the only consistent beat writer over the period has been Zuckerman, so we may never get to see 'the big picture', but I bet it would make for a good read.

Posted by: BinM | September 23, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I just hope that all this homerun hitting by Espinosa and Morse doesn't lead some poor stupid slobs to think that they can hit in the major leagues. Morse can only hit certain types of relief pitchers with the bases loaded and one hand tied behind their back, while Espinosa drives another nail into his pathetic career with each extra base hit.

Posted by: markfromark | September 23, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

markfromSNARK :-)

Posted by: Kev29 | September 23, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

With regard to Stan's statement about the drop in season's ticket holders but attendance, staying the same that is disingenuous. All season's ticketholders got the equivalent of another season's ticket under the Red Carpet Rewards program. Lots of us gave those tickets away to friends or sold them. So wouldn't that account for the attendance holding steady? A liar to the bitter end!

Posted by: HistoryBoy | September 23, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Very fun game to watch. And there was real honest to God defense being played! The AAAA lineup did a bang up job.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 23, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Sad news! Boswell did a nice job noting differences between the Lerners and Kasten, an old pro with a proven track record of building championship teems. From what I've gathered, Kasten got the importance of timing, whereas the Lerners seemed utterly clueless and unwilling to spend the money necessary to attract and retain a fan base when they needed to. If the Nats bolt from DC, I'll view Kasten's departure the initial tremor before the "big one." One factor that may account for the Lerner's reticence when it comes to supporting a "major league" payroll may be the sad state of the real estate industry. Isn't that where most of the Lerner's wealth is invested? Stan was always the man with the plan. Boswell's reporting strongly suggests that the Lerners were never fully on board, and are not committed to building a champion. Bummer.

Posted by: dannykurland1 | September 23, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

First of all, the Nats aren't leaving town, no matter what the doomsayers say. This team has drawn reasonably well considering the shoddy project and obnoxious game experience Kasten foisted on us, plus there's 27 years left on that lease. If the team can't draw when they become a contender, the detractors might have a point -- but Washington hasn't seen a pennant winner since 1933, or even a contender since 1945, so that's the X-factor no one can really ascertain.

I want to see who replaces Kasten as team president; I hope it will be someone with either a genuine baseball background, to help Rizzo build this franchise, or a person with local ties who understands the vagaries of the Washington market (and the battered mindset of the D.C. baseball fan) better than Kasten did.

Posted by: VPaterno | September 23, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

If the rumors are true, I am glad that Stan is leaving if he is going to take over for Bud Selig, who has really screwed up baseball.

Go Stan

Posted by: Golfersal | September 23, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of looking on the bright side, I like how the Nats are spreading around the pop.

If Willie Harris hits one more jack this year, the Nats will have seven players with 10 or more home runs:

Dunn, Zimm, Willingham, Morse, Bernadina, Desmond and Harris.

Espinosa and Ramos seem sure to join the group next year.

Posted by: Drew8 | September 23, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

As ambivalent as I am about Kasten (and I will never forgive him for Opening Day 2010), I do believe he is right with respect to the Nats attendance.

Look at Atlanta. Look at Tampa Bay. Those are contending teams--among the best in baseball. And there have been plenty of nights when their crowds have been as sparse as recent Nats crowds.

When the team starts winning, Nats Park will be rocking. If you don't believe that, you haven't been watching the games in other cities.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | September 23, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Shepdave,

If I understand you correctly, because good teams don't always draw, the Nats will?

And BTW, count me as someone who is not happy after being at the ballpark when the team loses. June of 2005 in stinky old RFK may be the apex of Nat happiness in our lifetimes. . . .

Posted by: paulkp | September 23, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

One word for a team with a vision on how to get it done....TWINS....I hope the Nats can somehow catch that type of lightning at some point...I want to like this team, a lot.

Posted by: cokedispatch | September 23, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

@paulkp: No, you don't quite understand me.

The Nats already draw more than some good teams. Not this week, to be sure, but this summer. For 2010, they currently rank just behind a team that might go to the World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Nats have been a very bad team for a very long time, but people still come to see them. I'm quite confident that they'll fill the park when they're good.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | September 24, 2010 5:51 AM | Report abuse

He told the Lerners at the end of 2009, but the "Nationals have not decided how to replace Kasten, or even if they will replace him with someone in a similar role."

This may not have anything to do with philosophical differences, but the above quote doesn't support the notion that they've know about it since December.

Posted by: chiefwj | September 24, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

The other lesson from Tampa is that a very well run team can win even without big attendance. If you'd said four years ago that the AL East would become a cage match between the Yankees and the Rays, with the Red Sox the third best team, I think people would have been skeptical. And we're talking about a franchise that Lou Pinella left because it was so utterly hopeless. So let's stop complaining about Omar and MLB.

Posted by: markfromark | September 24, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Just fine, thanks. A fine day of baseball at the park. One of the redeeming factors of fielding a AAAA lineup is, as Detwiler said after the game, there were 4 shortstops in the infield. Each of them shined. The 5-4-3 DP was a thing of beauty, Espinosa made one of his patented diving stops and throws at 2B, and Gonzo robbed Carlos Lee of a double down the LF line on as good a play as you'll see a 3rd baseman make.
Offensively, another impressive performance by Morse the Force: takes an outside pitch over the RF fence and delivers the big hit of the game in the 6th: a 2-run double down the LF line.
Speaking of the fan experience, one improvement: TV monitor with sound now installed outside Johnny and Phil's tent, so that you can actually hear their postgame show and see the highlights as you're leaving the ballpark.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 24, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Kasten thinks its still the late 80s, and that you have to be defensive with the press, sad how MacPhail honorably apologized to fans for the O's bad start, and all we got from Kasten was hard-to-believe spin

good riddance Stan

Posted by: tgt111 | September 24, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Overrated. Stan's performance was iffy. And now we'll have a change in leadership as another reason for the Lerners to stink it up for another year or two.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 24, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

>On if he'll keep his ownership stake:
Is that really something you guys need to know? I don't know yet. I do know if the day ever comes that I'm involved with another baseball team, I couldn't do that. So it's a little early. But I also don't know why you need to know that.

Thank god we won't have to listen to this garbage anymore. Not only does he never give any answers, he's got the balls to chastise writers who have given him a free ride. He can't get out of here soon enough.

Posted by: Brue | September 24, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

"On if he'll keep his ownership stake:
Is that really something you guys need to know? I don't know yet. I do know if the day ever comes that I'm involved with another baseball team, I couldn't do that. So it's a little early. But I also don't know why you need to know that."

Yes, no question, this decision to step down was made a year ago, and Kasten's well-prepared remarks show the kind of careful attention to detail one would expect from someone who's had 12 months to prepare his valedictory remarks.

Can't wait to see who replaces him. Also can't wait to see what next years' payroll will be, possibly the lowest in the major leagues.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 24, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Knight made the same point during the game.

---

One of the redeeming factors of fielding a AAAA lineup is, as Detwiler said after the game, there were 4 shortstops in the infield.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 24, 2010 7:12 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 24, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

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