I got the inspiration for this blog a couple days ago. I saw it on television. I forget which channel; it might have been on all of them.
This Base For Rent’s State of the Nationals Address
My Fellow Nationals Fans,
This is the third year of Major League Baseball’s return to our nation’s capital, a fact that gives all Nationals fans a reason to be thankful.
The year 2006 saw the Nationals make great progress off the field. After several years of Major League Baseball’s ownership, the Lerner Group was awarded ownership of the Nationals. The fans received some much-needed food and entertainment options not seen during the team’s inaugural season. The Racing Presidents made their debut and were a hit with the fans. RFK Stadium got a powerwashing and an overall touch-up. Now if they can only something about those seats (laughter from the crowd).
Also in 2006, Team President Stan Kasten came on board and quickly became the face of the organization. Jim Bowden continues as general manager to make the deals in the best interest of the Nationals organization. Or so we hope.
In 2006, Nationals fans witnessed Alfonso Soriano’s 40-40-40 season. I want to thank Soriano for his great season. He helped me win my fantasy baseball league. I wish him the best of luck in Chicago. Ryan Zimmerman became a fan favorite in 2006 with his late-inning heroics and just missed out on NL Rookie of the Year.
The Nationals organization said farewell to manager Frank Robinson, who guided the team through the difficult transition of relocation from Montreal. The franchise should be forever thankful for Robinson’s efforts. While I am disappointed Frank will not be part of the Nationals organization in the immediate future, I am pleased to see him join ESPN as a baseball analyst especially for the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major league debut.
(long standing ovation)
Washington selected a new manager in November. Manny Acta has proven to be quite the popular guy around the Washington DC area. A veteran baseball man, Acta brings enthusiasm and a fresh spirit to the organization. He is a hero in his native Dominican Republic. Acta and the Nationals will grow together into a competitive team before too long.
Washington’s minor league system continued to improve in 2006 through wise draft selections and trades. While the minor league system still has a ways to go to before it can be compared to some of the league’s top minor league systems, I am confident in the strides made at this juncture. Kory Casto, Zech Zinicola, Kory Casto and Colton Wilhelms are just some of the names that should grace Nationals rosters in the coming years.
The year 2007 will see the Nationals continue to grow. There are a couple of starting positions up for grabs going into spring training and the competition should be interesting. The wins and losses may not truly reflect the strides Washington will make during the 2007 season. The end goal has not changed. The Nationals will stay the course and follow The Plan set forth. If they do, victory will be at hand in due time. If not, the fans will let the Nationals brass know their displeasure. There will be accountability.
During these times, the Nationals must not forget the fans. Fan experience should not be sacrificed for any reason. Less than sterling customer service is unacceptable (standing ovation).
In today’s age, there is a lot of pressure to win now. The free agent market is a minefield in which the Nationals must be careful not to pay too much or offer too little, as either avenue is unwise. The Nationals should invest in free agents wisely. I believe this can be done. In the coming years, I look forward to the Nationals joining the free agent market as a fiscally wise team.
The next year will bring a truly long-awaited treasure with the opening of the Nationals new stadium. All indications are the stadium is on schedule for April, 2008. Each day, more progress is made on the stadium which will be a tribute to all those who worked day and night into making the stadium a jewel of our Nation’s Capital. (applause, no standing ovation)
I am confident in the Nationals long-term plans. Its presence in the Dominican and Venezuela will show Major League Baseball and Nationals fans the Nationals are serious about establishing a long-term baseball outside the United States. The new stadium will bring in more fans as the team continues down a road of rebuilding followed by success. Ryan Zimmerman will certainly be a cornerstone of this organization not only on the field but in the community.
In conclusion, Nationals fans, we must continue to support our squad through these growing pains because the benefits that await us at the end of this road will be worth it. Thank you very much! (standing ovation).