Wooden's World of Baseball

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Loudon County Ballpark Update

What seemed like a chimera months ago, continues to gather steam as the talk of a new ballpark in Loudoun County has progressed to the "Name The Team" phase (Dulles Destroyers, if you're wondering). I've seen this before in Danbury, CT and Plymouth, MA, but what makes me wonder now is that there appears to be something of a race this time.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that there is no way that two ballparks are going to be built in the same county at the same time. So it appears to be a race to see who can break ground first. While I don't have a dog in the fight per se, my preference is that somebody "wins" else everybody loses.

While I'd like to think that this might put the necessary pressure on Prince William County to hold onto the Potomac Nationals, I wouldn't put much faith in the Board of Supervisors (need some copper wire? drop a penny between two of them). Would it be great if they can successfully lure the P-Nats? Of course it would. But so would a new stadium on the same spot.

On the very last home game of the regular season, I got a chance to talk to Art Silber and he said there are some plans to rebuild onto the Pfitz. Could he have been just snowing us? Absolutely. Team owners are politicians at heart, and they have to be. But rent there is cheap and it's hell of a lot easier to renovate than to secure a new parcel of land. And it's been done successfully before, albeit in better times - but not that much better; Massachusetts was in a recession then just as Virginia (and everywhere else) is in one now.

But as I've said before and I'll say again, if the PNats leave the Pfitz, nothing will take its place.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities, Offseason Edition

Probably the most amusing thing I've noticed throughout my travels through the blogosphere is the presumed correlation between a team's spending or the moves made thus far and its commitment to winning. Put more simply, if you're not signing expensive free agents or making trades for big-name players, you (the team) aren't trying.

What's a little surprising is that, as a fan of both a big-time contender (Boston) and a fan of the worst team in the majors (Washington) at least as viewed through the simple lens of wins and losses, is that the whining is remarkably similar.

Of course, it's bullshit.

How much a team spends has nothing to do with its commitment. Sure, the Yankees have a near-unlimited budget, though they intend to spend less in 2010, but they've always spent the most — even when they were a losing ballclub in the early 1990s. The difference now is they're spending smarter.

Of course, as a parent, this mindset is all-too-familiar: A child suddenly thinks you hate him because you won't buy him something when he demands it.

With Boston, it annoys the crap out of me because of two things: (1) the complainers are invariably under 30 (2) they have no idea that they're becoming what they hate. Okay, maybe there's a third thing: They sound like those college football boosters that boast "We don't rebuild, we reload," with a drawl that makes you think two words: sidewalk alumni.

With Washington, it's that the people bitching the most complain about "waiting for a winner."

Really. I'm not making that up.

I've tried reasoning with them, explaining that the team is, in essence, an expansion team without the advantages as the team was treated like the Pennsylvania Road Warriors by MLB, dealing away good players without regard to the long term and drafting with a short-term focus for five years (2002-2006) before new ownership was fully in place.

Nope. It's been an entire five years without a .500+ team. Don't bother pointing out that Pittsburgh hasn't had one in 17 years. Or Baltimore in 12. Or Kansas City in six. Oh no, we're Washington — we're special, we deserve a winner (OK, that one I'm kind of making up, but it sure as hell is implied).

But, as I've posted elsewhere: Well, if that's how you feel, then you have exactly the team you've earned.