Showing posts with label nAtPATHY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nAtPATHY. Show all posts

July 14, 2008

Piling On - More Nats Abuse

Norman Chad (a writer between his annual stints killing what's left of the poker craze) has a comical though scathing column in the Washington Post this week about Nationals Park. He's not a fan.

July 9, 2008

Potential Naming Rights Suitors for Nationals Park

Ok, so the television ratings are on par with the 2 a.m. showing of Cheaters on WDCA. Attendance figures, while not dismal, are disappointing and partly inflated by a season ticket base that might not be so motivated to re-up next year. Other indicators of interest, such as internet traffic and's ability to identify which league the Nats play in are embarrassing.

Clearly, this isn't such a good time to be selling the stadium's naming rights...or is it? The price might have come down just enough to let some more intriguing players into the bidding.

1) Easterns Motors - Easterns Motors has achieved local notoriety for their use of local sports celebrities in their commercials. I assume they have used a Nat or two, though I, of course, have no idea what any Nats look like. Perhaps they could jump in with a bid.

2) Kim's Karate - "Nobody bothers me! Nobody bothers me, either!" It's the perfect sentiment for those lonely nights at Kim's Karate Park when you're the only fan in your section.

3) Saiontz, Kirk and Miles - "When you have a phone, you have a reliever." This is perfect for the many, many calls to the bullpen Manny Acta will be making for the foreseeable future. Or at least for the season or so he has left.

4) Senate Insurance - These commercials are a local legend, thanks to the catchphrase "Kiss my bumper! Just kiss it!" There are multiple in-game tie-ins with this sponsorship. If the Nats ever win a game before their last out, announcers could call it the Senate Insurance Run. On the rare occasions the Nats homer, the announcers could do a little "Kiss it goodbye! Just kiss it!". I like the options here.

5) Six Flags - This is too easy to resist. Redskins owner Danny Boy Snyder, when not paying wrongful decapitation and wrongful de-foot-itation damages, owns Six Flags also. If you click the play button below, you'll see that awful We Like to Party/Venga Boys commercial with the creepy old dancing guy.

6) Koons Ford/Toyota/Etc. - Ok, I've always been strangely attracted to Crystal Koons.

Any other ideas?

July 7, 2008

CDC Celebrates - Nats' Fever Eradicated

Really, Washington, you don't have to honor the Expos' legacy this much...

According to the SportsBusiness Journal (as reported by, television ratings for the Nats on MASN and MASN2 are down 43.5% since last year, drawing only a 0.39 share of television viewing (despite now being available on all cable providers). This is the lowest in Major League Baseball ("by a lot" according to the Post's Dan Steinberg), and means that an average of only 9,000 households are watching the Nats.

Steinberg puts the problem in perspective. Boston, St. Louis and Minnesota enjoy 9.75, 8.04 and 6.92 shares respectively. The worst ratings, other than the Nats, are in L.A. (understandably) with the Angels at 1.24 and the Dodgers at 1.57 and in Dallas (1.49). The "average household" numbers are more staggering, with the Nats at 9,000 looking way up at small market teams like the Royals (28,000), Orioles (33,000) and Pirates (34,000).

Steinberg is also privy to the Post's web numbers on Nats-based traffic, but he cannot divulge them. He only says that the traffic is "very disappointing".

That's not a good sign that the Nats are building a fan base. To make matters worse, attendance figures are still middling, defusing the excuse that people would rather watch the game in person than on television. As of tonight the Nats are averaging 29,754 tickets sold per game in the inaugural season at Nationals Park (naming rights dropping in price daily!), corresponding to 72.5% of stated capacity.

There are two arguments I've made on this blog that have been ridiculed. The first arose when the Orioles were beaten by the Texas Rangers by the score of 30-3 last August. I argued that at least the humiliating defeat made the Orioles relevant, and that the Nats couldn't buy a headline. Watch SportsCenter and tell me how many Nats highlights you see, and you'll start to see it my way. The second argument was that the Nats wouldn't last a decade in Washington. I'm still sticking by that one.

Overall, I think Steinberg sums it up best: "Why do we have a baseball team?" Read the following to see our thoughts on the same question.

April 21, 2008

Time for a few Changes

So the Washington Nationals sit at 5-14, way down in the cellar of the NL East. Good for... oh... how about worst in the majors. All this month I've been telling J-Red that last year at the same time they were worse and look how well the team turned it around. That seemed to accomplish two things: (1) give me peace of mind, and; (2) shut J-Red up.

Well now, we've moved beyond the point of being better than we were at the same time last year when we got off to a god-awful start to the season. This Nats team just keeps finding new ways to lose. There are a few promising signs such as Odalis Perez having a really good outing yesterday, Austin Kearns finally starting to hit the ball a little bit, Shawn Hill having a great first start of the season. But the troubling signs are many and often. Attendance at the new park is way below where I thought it would be and where it should be. It's clear that DC is just not a market that is going to be swept off its feet by a new stadium. They want to see a winning product on the field to justify paying ticket prices, especially in a recessed economy. Kasten and Lerner et al. were swept into the misbelief that a new ballpark alone would draw the flocks out to the game. Don't get me wrong... the ballpark is a gem. But in this day and age, the new park alone just isn't enough.

But I digress from my main point. I understand that this team has, I believe the fifth-lowest payroll in baseball. I understand that this was not a team that was expected to "contend." But what is inexcusable is the total crap that I saw on the field from these guys over the past week.

We saw Cristian Guzman taking off at warp speed from second base on a foul pop just behind third base. Only problem... there was only one out. Easy doubleplay.

We saw Lastings Milledge lose a ball in the sun that instead of an easy out, turned into a double and subsequently a run scored.

We saw a pitch sail so far over the catcher's head that not one, but two runs scored on a wild pitch. That shouldn't happen except on Playstation.

We saw Austin Kearns badly misplay a ball out in rightfield that turned an out into a double.

We saw Ryan Zimmerman fire a ball well beyond first base, a play that we hoped Zimm would grow out of, but that we're still seeing just a little too often at the start of his third full big-league season. This was the first one that went wild, thankfully, but there have been a lot of throws that aren't exactly on target.

We saw Ronnie Belliard (who admittedly was playing a little out of position at first base when he came in to sub for Nick Johnson) not run out a foul ball into first base foul territory.

Ladies and gentlemen, what we're seeing from these Nats is a total lack of fundamentals, of heads-up baseball, and generally, to the casual observer, a lack of giving a shit. Manny Acta has been quoted of late saying that he looks at all of this as a learning experience for younger players and he's not going to lose his patience and he's never going to stop teaching. Well I agree with the learning experience and I agree with the teaching part. But Manny, enough is enough. It's time to start making an example out of people. This is where I miss the Frank Robinson school of managing. You don't hustle a ball out. You're benched. If not immediately, then the very next inning. You make a boneheaded play like running pedal-to-the-medal on an infield pop with one out because you forgot the basic little league rule of always knowing how many men are out? You're benched. You're the base coach who doesn't remind the player how many outs there are? Fuck it. You're benched. You think you're not replaceable, Mr. Washed-Up Major Leaguer who still has to struggle to fit into a uniform and who now looks even funnier wearing a batting helmet to prevent your brains from being splattered all over the base line like that Tulsa Drillers base coach.

Do I sound bitter? I am. I did not expect this bullshit product from the Nationals. I never expect to be so disgusted watching a team that I root for. And I get the most disgusted when the mistakes that I see being made are the result of a total carelessness.

So Manny, it's time to man up and start making some changes. You've got a stable full of guys in Columbus who would KILL to wear the major league uniform. And hell, the product that they give us on the field can't be much worse than what we're seeing now. You want to send a message to a guy with a big-league ego like Cristian Guzman? Send him down to double-A for a week and make him ride the bus and earn his way back to the big leagues.

Enough is enough. We may be low payroll, but we do have talent. The guys just need to be ready, willing, and able to utilize it.

April 17, 2008

Nationals Park Gets Second Sellout

After struggling with attendance woes through the first few weeks of the season, Nationals Park finally saw its second sellout of the year, a standing-room-only crowd of 46,000. Unfortunately the Nats weren't playing, and the crowd was there to see the Pope.

Not an empty seat in the house.

Maybe the Kasten should see if he can get BXVI to toss out the first pitch at a game. I bet he wouldn't have trouble selling the "President's Club" seats for that game.

Let's have all the Nats fans break out their spin machines in the comments and try to show how baseball in Washington is more popular than the Pope, and that the discrepancy in attendance is due to the weather/basketball/time of day/free communion wine.

April 8, 2008

Nationals Park Half Full for New Stadium's SECOND GAME

I never imagined it would be THIS bad. The Lerners must be thankful they only paid a tiny percentage of the bill for the new stadium. According to the official box score, Nationals Park was 49.7% sold for the second game in its history. What should have been one of the biggest tickets in the history of the District instead barely caused a blip. Assuming not everyone showed up for the game, the Capitals' first round playoff game Friday will draw more people, and the Verizon Center only holds 18,277 for hockey.

ESPN has more: "[A Nats error drew] resounding boos from an announced paid attendance of 20,487 for Game 2 at the team's 41,888-capacity stadium. There were more than 39,000 at the opener March 30. Also, the stadium's scoreboards malfunctioned through most of the first inning."

blahblahhblah Amazingly prescient photo, or Nationals Park circa 2015?

What is the excuse? It was 50 degrees tonight, which isn't ideal but certainly isn't stay home from the game weather. I know April is the lowest month for MLB attendance, but that usually doesn't apply when a team opens a brand new stadium. Worse, does this mean the Nats have sold fewer than 20,000 season ticket packages? (It does. According to the Washington Post, the new stadium has a base of just over 18,000, down from the 21,000 for the first season at RFK.) Even though the Marlins lack star power, they're a team the Nats should beat. That should encourage some people to come and see a win.

As I've said before, the Nats are in a very difficult position. Washington is not a good baseball city to begin with, and it will take a winner in any sport other than football to draw the crowds out. What's more, Orioles' owner Peter Angelos basically owns and controls the income stream that should have come from television, as Nats' TV revenue was his compensation for MLB forcing a competitor into his backyard. Without TV, the Nats' revenue must come from revenue sharing, merchandising and ticket sales/concessions. If you take away ticket sales and concessions, you don't have enough revenue to build a champion. If you don't build a contender, a new stadium won't be enough to keep people coming. Just ask the Pirates, and Pittsburgh is a great sports city.

It won't get much better this week. According to Nats' Team President Stan Kasten (routinely and incorrectly referred to as the owner by Washington's--and possibly the nation's--premiere news radio station WTOP), crowds in the 20,000s are expected for the remainder of the homestand against Florida and Atlanta. According to Kasten, "It's also good for us. It's the right size crowd for us to keep learning things." I hope that includes learning how to market to a transplant city that just doesn't care much about the home team.

Everyone thinks I'm exaggerating when I give the Nationals a ten year run in Washington, but so far they haven't proven me wrong.

January 23, 2008

Nats Fever: Get Vaccinated

After reading a nice article about the new Nats stadium, I thought I'd go to their website to get a little more info.

There was a great video about the history of baseball in Washington, including a Walt Whitman quote about it being our national pastime.

Who narrated and later appeared? Tim Russert.

Tim Russert, most prolific Buffalo native of our time. The biggest Buffalo Bills fan ever born. The least Washingtonian of the Washingtonians (which is how he got the Meet the Press job). Yeah, he's a Nats ticket holder.

Does that make you feel better about the future of the franchise? He'll go when a great team comes to town. Otherwise, you can farm crickets in those seats or hope that he gives the tix away.

They couldn't even find a damned D.C. native to talk up their boring stadium. Where were Lewis Black and Dave Chappelle and Wanda Sykes?

January 19, 2008

MLB Still Thinks It Owns Nats

Check out this post by Paul Lukas, better known as Mr. Uni Watch. It seems that Major League Baseball still thinks it owns the Nats, as it has asked 20,000 fans for feedback on the Nationals' uniform.

Of course, my favorite part is where Lukas points out that they've had dismal merchandise sales (though they did very well in 2005, sales have badly slowed since). I'm still not sure whether they'll be in Portland or Norfolk in 2012, but poor merchandise sales point to the problem with Washington's first two failed franchises. It's a transplant town, and transplants will come see their favorite team when they come to down. The novelty of baseball is already wearing off, and the Nats will have the smallest hardcore fanbase of any MLB team within a couple years, if they don't already. The new stadium will infuse some life this year, but that's another novelty. Bringing in a marketable player would also help.

Plus, lobbying rules are already tightening and are likely to tighten further if a Democrat is sworn in on January 20, 2009. If free tickets become a no-no for law firms and businesses as well as lobbying firms, they're going to really struggle to sell their luxury boxes. In baseball, with 81 home games, selling luxury boxes is crucial.

August 6, 2007

Advice for the Nats

The Washington Nationals open a series in San Francisco tonight, with Barry Bonds on the verge of passing Hank Aaron for the all-time home run record. Here's my advice to tonight's Nats' starter, rookie John Lannan. Dish it up for Bonds. Not only are you a rookie, which means there is no guarantee that you will be remembered throughout history, you play for the Nats, which pretty much need all the attention they can get. So few people are paying attention to the Nats, including those in and around Washington, that no one realizes they are exceeding what miniscule expectations there were for them.

Plus, 10 years from now, the video clip of Bonds breaking the record will be useful for children who don't remember the Nationals.

blahblblahblahblahbh Will John Lannan be remembered?

"Daddy, who were the Nationals?"

"Before the Portland Beavers moved in 2013, they played briefly in Washington."

Everybody wins!

In other news, people think Bud Selig went back home to Milwaukee instead of staying with the home run chase as a silent protest of Bonds breaking the record. In reality, he just knew he couldn't sit through a Nats series.

August 2, 2007

nAtPATHY Continues

Even if you can't find a guy on the street who cares about the Nationals, at least you can rely on the local newspaper, right?


May 21, 2007

Baltimore v. Washington Battle Royale!!!!

I thought I had defused any possible Baltimore v. Washington pissing match by stating that a Washington fan bragging about a late-inning comeback against human piece-of-shit Danys Baez would have as much intergrity as a grown man bragging about beating a four-year-old girl who only uses the Redskins at Madden. I guess I was wrong.

To be fair, I'll repost East Coast Bias contributor Jeremy's comment here:
[Side note, "to be fair" is a phrase we lawyers use to indicate that we are about to give a semblance of fairness before absolutely distorting the argument in our favor. It's an uh-oh phrase like "just so I understand". If you ever hear a lawyer say "just so I understand", they are about to ask you about something they entirely understand, but they hope you don't know how badly you've painted yourself in a corner. I've already learned too much about my profession. I think I'm going to go find a cinder block, some rope, and a swimming pool.]
FILLERFILLERFyupILLJanus was not a lawyer....allegedly

Without further adieu, Jeremy's comment:

I'm guessing neither of you guys were at RFK for any of the three games this weekend? Believe me... the people who were there cared a whole hell of a lot. And nothing gives us Nats fans more pleasure than being the ones to finally flip the switch and cause the Baltimore Sun to write their series of articles on whether Perlozzo should go. Jesus, you guys couldn't sweep a team that started three guys who would struggle to make most teams' AAA squads? That's rich. And there weren't nearly as many O's fans as you think or as I expected. I'd guess in the 31,000 crowd on Saturday, maybe 5,000 MAX. I can't wait to go to Baltimore next month for two of the games. And hey, Camden Yards and Pickles is half of the fun. Seeing the O's lose to a team that all O's fans think is hapless and a joke is way more fun. Fear the Nook.

And no, Jeremy isn't dumb. He's not referring to Nuke LaLoosh, the Tim Robbins character from Bull Durham. He's referring to Nook Logan (7 for 23 for .304 with 2BB and 3SB), a speedy leadoff guy with skills precisely the same as those of Tony Womack. He's a big star in Washington this week. Kind of like Tom DeLay and Karl Rove were.....yeah..... Womack, by the way, is currently a free agent after being released by the Nationals after Spring Training.......yeah.....lerfillerfiller

Brien's wife will have a human child any day now. He'll have to explain to that kid how Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were both once considered sexy. Use contraception.

Anyway, this was my response:

I took some time to think about my actual reply to Jeremy's comment. I was just talking earlier today to my SoCal friend about my mastery of anti-D.C. rhetoric. I explained to him that between Baltimore v. Washington/Boston/NYC and Maryland v. Duke/UNC, I had more inferiority complex experience than even a Bostonite.

Now I see comments from Jeremy that make me wonder if Nats fans aren't actually the ones with the complex. It would be understandable, to be sure. That organization is being run pretty much like a minor league team, Bill Simmons' assertion that the NL is AAAA to begin with aside. In this, the first year of full MASN coverage, Angelos has tipped his hand and used the Orioles broadcast team to cover the game. In addition, if Jeremy's estimation of only 5,000 Orioles fans at the game is correct, MASN is predominately only focusing on Orioles fans at the Really Freaking Krappy Stadium.

The common thread is overcompensation
Perhaps more concerning is that Jeremy took pleasure in the Nationals "flipping the switch", causing the Baltimore media to comment on their own managerial shortcomings. Doesn't that presuppose that the Baltimore media ever cared about or commented on the Nats' organizational flaws? I can't believe Jeremy would be referring to Rick Maese's column from April, which was basically a "cheer up Charlie" to Baltimore, reminding the city that they could have had the run of sports luck endured by D.C. That certainly does not amount to wasted space criticizing their sorry ass team.

Perhaps he meant the switch was flipped in that the D.C. media was not criticizing the Nats' manager. Nah, that couldn't be the case. The only person on the Post's staff who gives half a shit is Thomas Boswell, and his rah-rah article in today's Post completely ignores reality in the new era of baseball in both Beltways.

Boswell, like most Nats' fans, ignores the one obvious flaw in the whole "can't we all get along" dreamworld. This isn't like Dallas and Ft. Worth having two teams. No Orioles fan will support EITHER team when things are bad and no real Nationals fan (if one exists) will support EITHER team when things are bad. These two cities do not like one another. Washington relies on its status as the second most powerful city in the world for its identity, even though no one who derives benefit from that actually has anything to do with it. Baltimore derives its identity from deciding that it's cool to be in Baltimore, even if there is no logical way to justify that (which is pretty much the same as Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc). That's why days like Preakness are so important.
The funniest illustration of the two cities is that both are predominately liberal, but one city has white residents who hide from black people as much as possible and the other city has white residents who are say "Fuck it. Crack and the Clap aren't that bad." (For the sake of argument, we'll assume that no white person voted for Marion Barry in D.C.)

And now it appears that the Nats actually "flipped the switch". Their fans are making asinine comments like "You couldn't even sweep us!" To me, it sounds a lot like my fellow Terps fans who care more about beating Duke in the regular season than even making the NCAA Tournament. How did that happen?

[And, yes, I considered that Jeremy is so Madden-incompetent that he might not have realized that one REALLY SHOULD NOT brag about beating a four-year-old girl who only plays with the Redskins.]

Your move my friend.

May 9, 2007

Stan Kasten Bets on Baseball (and he's using your money)

If you live in Washington, D.C., Stan Kasten is betting on baseball with your money. In his column today, Thomas Boswell outlines the Kasten/Bowden plan for the Washington Nationals. Conserve money now, get into the new stadium, and count on a winning team in the next five years to keep the fans coming.
Boswell's argument is primarily based upon the theory that D.C. has done without baseball for so long that it isn't ingrained in the fan consciousness. I would add that, except for the Redskins, D.C. fans are extremely fickle anyway. I don't mean to say Redskins fans aren't bandwagoners, as they did officially invent the term, but they still BUY tickets no matter how badly the team is run.

blahbfellatioblahheblah "Wait, what was the plan again?"

But Boswell makes another good point. The Nats, including President Kasten, GM Bowden, and the Lerner ownership group are making a bet. They're betting $611M in public money (read: D.C. resident money) and $400M in private money that they can put together a winning team prior to 2013. That's six years from now, and 5 years into the life of the new stadium.

Here's some food for thought: Since 2000, which spans 7 different playoffs totalling 56 playoff spots, 11 teams have not made a postseason appearance. Oh, sure, they all had rebuilding plans too. They all conserved money and waited to make that big splash, but Baltimore, the Cubs, Cincy, Colorado, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Philly, Pitt, Texas, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Washington/Montreal have all failed. Stan Kasten is banking that he won't be in that bottom third of the league.
Brendan Haywood has man-titties
You know what Stan Kasten's job was before he was the Messiah of the Braves? GM for the Atlanta Hawks. He didn't exactly work attendance miracles in either job.

April 3, 2007

O's and Nats

Ummm, well, the O's average score over two games is 3-5, and the Nats' average score is 2.5 to 9. Plus, the Nats are at "home" and the O's are on the road. This might well be the last time I post about baseball this year.

I will say this. At least the O's broadcast team (Buck Martinez and Gary Thorne) and post-game team (Rick Dempsey) beats the hell out of the Nats broadcast team, Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton. What, you couldn't get Ivan Calderon and Gary Carter? Perhaps they had "visa issues", like MASN's first choice Elliot Price. For a Canadian, getting a visa to work in America is REALLY hard.

Symbolic of my feelings about baseball.