One of the most enjoyable parts of writing NatsGM is that I am fortunate to receive numerous emails each day from fans that want me to answer their questions and discuss baseball. Occasionally I like to answer their questions in a segment creatively named “Dear NatsGM”, so without further ado, here is the latest edition.
Lenny M. via Lewes, DE -> “Dear NatsGM, what are your thoughts on the decision by Bud Selig to not allow the NY Mets to wear FDNY and NYPD hats to commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11th?”
Thank you for the question and great to see NatsTown spreading to the Delaware beaches. Before I begin, I would like to give credit to Tim Kurkjian, who wrote a fantastic piece about the Mets decision to wear these hats 10 seasons ago. Here is the link http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/6957532/new-york-mets-symbolic-gesture-united-people-sept-11 ), I highly recommend you read this piece and all of his work as he is a gifted writer.
As for me, I do not understand the rationale behind Commission Selig’s decision to not allow the Mets and every MLB team and player, if they decided to do so, to wear a hat in remembrance of September 11th, 2001. I understand the importance of wearing a uniform in baseball, along with the definition of uniform, but this tragic day will likely be to my generation what the assassination of JFK is to my parent’s generation, in that, you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news because of the magnitude of the event.
While watching NFL games on 9/11 and seeing the coaches and players on the sidelines wearing the NYPD/FDNY/Pentagon Police caps, I took pride in seeing them show support for the United States and reminding us of the resiliency of our people. I think the Commissioner and Major League Baseball were short-sighted in this decision, as making an exception would have given the sport some nice publicity on opening weekend of the NFL season no less and would have been overwhelmingly popular with the fans. Hopefully we will see the decision reversed sometime in the future, preferably next year.
Joseph from Alexandria, VA -> “What do you think of the move by the Marlins to make Ozzie Guillen to Florida?”
Timely question, though as of right now it is not official that Ozzie will take over as manager of the Marlins after the retirement of Jack McKeon. But all signs point to this, so I will go ahead and assume Guillen signs with Florida: I think it is fantastic for all parties involved that Ozzie move on from Chicago and head to the Marlins. He was tremendously successful in his eight seasons in Chicago with an overall record of 678-617, including winning the 2005 World Series but he did not have the best relationship with Chicago GM Kenny Williams, he has an extensive history of controversial actions, and with the White Sox struggles this season, the thought is that a fresh voice in that clubhouse is the best move for the organization going forward.
As for the Marlins, I think Ozzie’s track record as a manager speaks for itself, and I think he can and will capably fill the shoes of Jack McKeon, while also bringing some publicity to the organization as they move into a new stadium in 2012. Perhaps Ozzie’s presence will even help sell some additional tickets in the new ballpark.
Finally, I could see Ozzie and his abrasive managerial style rubbing the Nationals and their fans the wrong way (similarly to a “heel” wrestler in the WWE) as the teams play 19 times per season and I envision Guillen fueling the fire in this rivalry in future seasons. Increased intensity to these divisional games can only help draw stronger interest in these contests, along with additional fans, and selfishly, should give me and Nationals fans more entertaining games to watch. I am looking forward to the Ozzie Guillen era in Florida, thanks for the question.
Natty Ice, Washington D.C. -> “Dear NatsGM, you mention fairly often in your work that the Nationals top two needs are a leadoff hitting centerfielder and a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher: will you name a few of the players the Nats might look to acquire?”
Great question and fantastic nickname (lousy-tasting beer and painful accompanying hangover, however) thank you for writing! The Nationals have mentioned publicly in recent days that the top priorities this off-season will be to find a leadoff hitting outfielder, likely a center-fielder, and a strong #2 or #3 starting pitcher. The names of potentially available center-fielders will be similar to the names we heard at the trade deadline last July including BJ Upton Tampa Bay Rays, Matt Kemp LA Dodgers, Denard Span Minnesota Twins, Angel Pagan NY Mets, and Grady Sizemore Cleveland Indians. Some of the pitchers that the Nationals will probably inquire about include Ricky Nolasco RHP Florida Marlins, Wade Davis RHP Tampa Bay Rays, Wandy Rodriguez LHP Houston Astros, CJ Wilson LHP Texas Rangers and Roy Oswalt RHP Philadelphia Phillies.
I will be discussing these roster situations at length in the coming weeks, and I fully expect GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals to upgrade these positions on the 2012 roster this off-season.
Anonymous via Twitter -> “What did you think of the movie, Moneyball?”
I have not seen a movie in a theatre since The Perfect Storm and Moneyball will be my first in over a decade. I am planning to see it this week and review it here on NatsGM soon thereafter. In general, the reviews have been positive, though I fear that the baseball scouts will be depicted as “dopey” in the movie when my contention has long been that the Oakland scouts discovered and drafted Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson and the possession of three legitimate #1 starters was more crucial to the Athletics success than the usage of sabermetrics to sign Scott Hatteberg and other undervalued players.
As many of us did, I read the book Moneyball many years ago, and I am looking forward to seeing how it is shaped into a movie. I will give you my full opinion in a few days, thanks for the question.
*** Note: I will be Live Blogging the Nationals game Wednesday (tomorrow) afternoon, September 28th at 4pm, here at NatsGM to celebrate and commemorate the last game of the 2011 season. Please join me for some commentary, jokes, and general baseball talk. Thanks! ***
This “Tip of the Fedora” goes out to Lenny, Joseph, Natty Ice, and Anonymous for sending in their questions. Each of you will receive a set of NatsGM Mardi Gras beads, along with my sincere thanks. If you wish to participate in “Dear NatsGM” in the future, please send me your questions, each “winner” will receive a NatsGM prize!
I encourage you to follow me on Twitter @NatsGMdotcom, email me your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, and “Like” me on Facebook search NatsGM.