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Five Questions For Curly W

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Brandon Kriner over at the Nationals' blog Curly W asked me to do a question exchange for our series starting tonight, which I happily agreed to. If you want to see my answers to his questions, follow this link over there.

As for what I was dying to know about the Nationals, here are the questions I asked him:

1. Do you ever get feelings of guilt for stealing Les Expos from  fans in Montreal? I mean, the Quebecois were totally played by  Jeffrey Loria and Major League Baseball and DC seems to be the  biggest beneficiary of that, does that ever enter your conciousness  or have you coldly closed yourself off to feeling for your fellow  baseball fan?

No way.  I mean, isn't that what Americans are supposed to do, steal  from the Canadians?  But seriously, it's 2006 and pro sports is about  making money in a large TV market.  Montreal has a tiny market and a  ridiculously small fan base.  While I agree that MLB and Loria  mistreated them, that franchise definitely needed out of Montreal.   And hey, it's not like MLB didn't abuse DC for 18 months.  MLB is an  Equal Opportunity Abuser.
   
2. What's the deal with Alfonso Soriano, anyway? Is he staying or is he going?

He's gotta be going.  He's the hottest free agent on the market this  winter and there's no way that the Nats will be able to spend what it  takes to keep him.  Nor should they...the team needs to spread the  money around to fill out huge holes in the lineup.

3. What have you heard about the new stadium? I heard they wanted  to get away from the whole retro-yard trend that Coors was a part  of and go another direction. Is this a good direction they're going?


The new stadium is being built in a previously blighted part of town  with the hope of "re-vitalizing" (read: gentrifying) the area.  The  plan is for an ultramodern, steel and glass structure that gets away  from the retro thing.  I think this is a good idea.  The retro thing  has been done well but is sort of played out at this point.  Besides,  we're right down the road from the granddaddy of all retro parks,  Camden Yards in Baltimore.  The last thing we want is to be like  those losers.

4. How long does it look like you'll have to wait for a playoff  appearance? The franchise was pretty well gutted before it was  moved and while it was in limbo, the farm system was left to  decompose and it looks like the new owners have a lot of work to  do. What's the prognosis?

I think the Nats will arrive on the playoff scene in the 2010  season.  While this may seem a long way off, it will take that long  to rebuild the gutting that you've accurately described.  The new  stadium is scheduled to open for the 2008 season, so the revenue  boost we'll get from that should allow us to spend what it takes to  win in today's MLB.

5. When the President or other prominent national politicians come  to watch games at RFK, do you wonder what it would be like to have  Secret Service agents go get your nachos? I mean, that would be  pretty cool if you asked me.

I haven't been to a game where this has happened, but from what I've  heard it sucks to be at RFK when GWB or Cheney is there.  They go all  crazy with the security and it's a huge hassle to get in or out of  the place.  Bush tossed out the opening pitch in 2005 and to my  knowledge has attended only one other time.  Cheney threw out the  opening pitch this year to a chorus of boos from hunting jacket-clad  Nats fans.  The nachos are already barely fit for human consumption;  I'd hate to see what they'd do to Cheney's ticker.

Other national pols don't come 'round too much anymore either since  Jack Abramoff took away the ol' bribe-the-Congressman-in-the-luxury- box thing.  However, the annual Congressional baseball game, where  Reps and Senators square off in a GOP vs. Dems matchup, has been  moved to RFK since last season.  We also have president races (think  Milwaukee sausage races but with former presidents) between innings.   Other than that it's just the normal drunken fans you'd expect to see  at a game.

Thanks to Brandon for his answers and insights into all things DC Baseball!