Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More Potential Redemption Acquired

Somehow it doesn’t seem to be the moment for intricately dissecting the Redskins and all the reasons for positivity in their admittedly disappointing 17-16 loss to the Bills. Besides, it’s so obvious they’re going to go 9-7 and make the playoffs that it’s useless talking about it anyway. The stunning 4-0 run starts with the Bears on Thursday.

It is the moment, however, to celebrate the Nationals’ continuing transition from MLB-destroyed rebuilding team to fabulous-braintrust-restored team. Budding contender, even? The bringing in of huge-upside-laden Elijah Dukes (or "Troubled Outfielder Elijah Dukes" as the popular descriptor reads) shows that the Nats are, more than ever, interested in a team that can produce now and well into the future (as opposed to the building of a team that could maybe produce in the future only).

Of Dukes, Premiere Stan Kasten said, “"I would feel really good if we could make this a success story." In that vein, he brought last year’s stunning success story, Dmitri Young, along with Font of Optimism Manny Acta, to meet with Dukes. The same message that worked with Young (don’t screw up) was given to Dukes. With newly found depth in the outfield, the Nats are in a can’t-lose position here. If Dukes works out, increased productivity was acquired for nothing (player to be named later). If he regresses, he’s out and Milledge and/or Pena steps in for extra playing time. Win-win.

Speaking of winning, it’s amazing that there seems to be no lesson learned from last season, when the team won far more than they were “supposed” to, as the Nats may yet again be written off by the rest of baseball – well before the season begins and even before the meaty part of the off-season. Perhaps overly desperate and eager to atone for his and his fellow expert cronies’ bafflingly wrong prognostications about the Nats last year, Yahoo!’s Tim Brown writes “…it appears the Nats' lone option is to overachieve. Again” This snarky little quip after he almost embraced the ‘tism in the preceding paragraph. You disappoint us, Tim. Again.

So here we are, set to see yet another success story blossom in DC. Just as some cities/teams are burdened with the moniker “where careers go to die”, (Tampa Bay Rays?) the Nationals are well further on their way to becoming the place “where teams go to revive”. The list is growing: Belliard, Young, Redding, Milledge, Pena, Dukes. What other reclamation/imminent-success projects will come along this winter? We should know more after the big Meeting

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