Friday, September 15, 2006

Two for One Nationals Rant
Rant 1 - There's a big Comcast ad on the back of the Washington Post sports section trumpeting how "Comcast now carries MASN and all the Nationals games." Gee, thanks. It's September 15. They have 15 more games, and five of them were already scheduled to be on Channel 20 or Fox. So what they're doing is giving us these ten crummy games at the end of the season, which will allow them to charge subscribers $2 more a month throughout the off-season, when who knows what will be on MASN. Even when Comcast does something that you've been begging them to do, they manage to do it in an infuriating way. Please, Verizon, do whatever you have to do so that crappy apartments in Arlington can get FiOs.

Rant 2 - So Barry Svrluga has an article in the Post this morning headlined Free Agent Compensation Could Be in Jeopardy. This, of course, is alarming, because the bright side of the Nationals possibly (some would say probably) not re-signing Alphonso Soriano is that they will get two compensatory picks. I've always thought it was a better move to risk losing Soriano and getting two high picks that the Nationals could actually make themselves, than to trade him for another teams' formerly highly regarded picks that have been reduced to trade fodder. Especially once we saw what the market was, and nobody was giving away their prospects. Most writers, including Svrluga, disagree. They all remember the time the Mariners traded Randy Johnson for Carlos Guillen and Freddy Garcia, and they think that deals like that are still out there. They're not. The Astros wouldn't have even made that deal again, and, in the short-term, it worked out for them.

Anyway, now Svrluga claims that the collective bargaining agreement could be modified in December in a way that would cause the Nationals not to get compensatory picks. Why would such a change be made, you might ask. Well, you might ask that, but Barry doesn't explain it. Here's what he says: Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expires Dec. 19, and one element of the agreement that could be on the table is the system by which teams are rewarded compensatory draft picks when they lose free agents. He then says that MLB and Stan Kasten have refused to comment on this. Can't say that I blame them.

I don't get it, because the current system seems completely reasonable, and I'm not just saying that because of my allegiance to the Nationals. If compensatory picks were eliminated it would just make it even easier for teams like the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox to pick off prospects from lower revenue teams. And they can keep their own prospects. That's not fair.

I would ask Barry, is there a particular reason this system is in jeopardy, or is it just part of the collective bargaining agreement, all of which is in jeopardy, which means he could just as easily have written an article about any other element of the agreement, and I'm sure there are many. Maybe they'll eliminate the DH. Maybe they'll contract, and they'll shutdown the Nationals totally, which would have been even more alarmist, I'm surprised Barry didn't think of that. Maybe they'll start using orange balls, to honor Charlie Finley.

I just kind of expect more from the Post, and it's hard enough being a Nationals fan without these out of left field Chicken Little-isms.

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