Inside the Nationals’ clubhouse, players and management—including the Lerner family owners—toasted the moment in a subdued celebration, knowing that all they secured at this point was a chance to play in the one-game wild-card playoff.
They should toast Kasten as well because with his arms tied behind his back by the Lerner family, the successful sports executive still managed to make the move that changed the direction of the franchise and led to its current playoff success.
Kasten couldn’t replace general manager Jim Bowden once he and the Lerners—who had pretty much adopted Bowden—took over the team in mid-2006. So Kasten did the next best thing—hired Bowden’s future replacement.
...Why? Because like Kasten and others, the expectation was that the Lerners’ golden boy, Bowden, would self destruct at some point. And he did, first in 2008 with his failure to sign first-round draft pick Aaron Crow, and then the following spring with the Smiley Gonzalez scandal—when the shortstop faked his age and identity before receiving a $1.4 million signing bonus.
Bowden was forced out, and Kasten handed Rizzo a shovel and told him to dig. He did, digging the franchise out of that mess and making the moves that have led them to this point—postseason baseball in Washington for the first time since 1933.
You can thank Stan Kasten for that.
Posted: September 24, 2012 at 01:26 PM | 11 comment(s)
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