Jon Heyman reports that Washington Nationals President Stan Kastan has resigned. He’ll stay on until the end of the season for whatever that’s worth. Jon Paul Morosi reports that he’s leaving “for personal reasons,” but you know and I know that’s usually code for “I gotta get out of this monkeyhouse.”
Tom Boswell of the Washington Post wrote a column foreshadowing this just this morning. The real reason for the resignation — if you believe Boswell — bodes ill for the Nationals. Kastan has been lobbying the Lerners for years to raise the payroll and act less frugally when it comes to promotions and just about any other aspect of team operations. Boswell says that Kastan is tired of fighting — and losing — that fight. Noted Nats blogger Chris Needham — no Kastan fan by any stretch of the imagination — worries about Kastan leaving, as he may very well have been the bulwark preventing the Lerners from going with their instincts and nickel-and-diming the club to death.
This makes sense to me, as Kastan was perhaps the most important figure in Atlanta as the Braves were transitioning from the joke they were for much of the 70s and 80s into the highly professional organization they’ve been for the past 20 years. Ted Turner’s money, sure, but he always had money. Kastan knew how to spend it wisely and who to let spend it wisely.
There are always two sides to every story, so it’s premature to bury the Lerners over this or to assume that, with Kastan out of the picture, they’ll turn the Nats into the Florida Marlins North. But it’s certainly not a good sign when a guy who is as respected in professional sports feels it necessary to leave like Kastan is.
Yesterday it was reported that someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey, which had been hanging in the Alsonso High School dugout in Tampa for a vigil. That was pretty vile stuff indeed.
Thankfully, however, someone’s conscience got the best of them: the jersey has been returned. School officials say that a family found a large envelope outside of the high school with the words “Jose’s jersey” written on it. They took the envelope into to the school this morning and the jersey was found inside.
Bad form taking it, whoever you are, but in most cases it’s never too late to make a better decision and fix your mistakes.
In late August, when everyone started looking at the schedule in an effort to see who had the easiest road ahead of them to the playoffs, the Tigers stood out as particularly blessed. The end of their season featured several games against the lonely Twins and, if things were tight heading into the final weekend, a three-game series against the lowly Braves.
Problem: the Braves have not been very lowly lately, and that could cause the Tigers all kinds of grief.
Atlanta has won 10 of 11 games. They’ve scored 66 runs in those games and their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.28 over that span. Oh, and remember how, earlier in the season, the Braves were hitting like a deadball era team, being outhomered by multiple individual players? Well, they’ve hit ten during this neat little run. Really, though, the run isn’t that little. They’ve won 19 of 30 and have been a solid team, offensively speaking, since late July. They’re hot as heck now and haven’t been pushovers for some time.
So enter the Tigers, who have been seesawing through August and September and who have to play in Atlanta this weekend without their DH, Victor Martinez. Oh, and who stand a halfway decent chance of having to fly out of Atlanta Sunday evening for a makeup game in Detroit that could then cause them to play a tiebreaker game in Toronto or Baltimore which could then have them travel to the other city for a Wild Card game. And that’s if things break decently.
If they break poorly? It’ll be a long, season-closing flight home from Atlanta. A city that was supposed to provide respite for them when it first appeared on the schedule.