Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Congrats to Jason Bergmann, for an extraordinary effort at RFK, Monday night. His command was incredible. The Braves' hitters were totally overmatched, as Bergmann took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. I was against giving the Lerners any of my money this year, since they were also determined, this year, to spend as little as possible of their money. Still, when there are performances like Shawn Hill's on Friday night, the 9th inning rally that began after 1:30 in the morning to win Saturday night, and Bergmann's near perfect outing on Monday, it's a real shame that there aren't more people in the stands. If Bergmann had completed his no-no, it would have been a little embarrassing to see shots of a stadium that was two-thirds empty.

I'm still angry at the contempt and disregard the Lerners have shown the Nats' fans by not spending on a new centerfielder, and at least one starting pitcher. I don't buy into the canard they are peddling to the Washington Post that you can save the money until next year, and expect to see great results on the field next year, and great support in the stands. I don't even believe they are being honest in holding out the prospect of going after top free agents, to fill seats in the new stadium.

Right now, I don't expect that the Nats will spend much money in the free agent market, after this season, or any other. The evidence is that the Lerners have no interest in spending on players' salaries. They might want to win, but they intend to do it on the cheap. Until I see any evidence otherwise, I expect that the Nats will try to win the way the Cleveland Indians did in the early 90s, with young talent from their own system. If that's the model, it's not a good one. The Indians did make the World Series once, but they came up short. They lacked all the pieces they needed to win, and the great core eventually moved on.

This year's Nationals' team seems to have real potential, and a good core to build around. "Build around" -- that means bringing in top players to fill the gaps that the farm system can't fill. I'm not optimistic that the Lerners will spend the money it will take to build a consistent winner, and a championship team, although I hope that I am pleasantly surprised in years to come.

Even though I buy my tickets from scalpers outside the stadium, I don't feel good about paying for beer and hot dog. Still, I think the Nats' players deserve support from the Nats' fans. They're playing their hearts out, and creating some memorable moments. We should show our appreciation by turning up for the games.

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