It's probably not news to you that 19 year old Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez, recipient of a $1.4 million bonus, turns out to be 23 year old Carlos Lugo Something Something (does it matter?) and not quite the prospect we knew. Some very important people messed up very, very badly, and it didn't take me long to get sick of the ass-covering. So sick, in fact, that I'm pleased to announce the long-awaited return of swears to this space.
Kasten - and, according to some books I skimmed at Kinko's, this is the mark of a good executive - could not wait to blame his underlings [scapegoats bolded].
Let me give you some background on all of this... We were awarded the team in early May , and really soon thereafter, within maybe two weeks or three weeks, right in the early stage of the transition, we did not yet own the team, Jim [Bowden] came to me and said his staff had seen this kid, they thought he was special, they thought he would command a premier bonus, and what was our appetite for that. And, obviously none of us had ever seen the kid or heard of the kid. But he described him, the staff described him, and we said, 'Yeah, we want to be aggressive, we'd back you on something like that if that's what everyone feels like.' So we did support their recommendation, and we went ahead and signed him on the first day we were able to, which was July 2.It's not my fault! The people who work for me are retards! I mean sure, I cut the dude a $1.4 million check, but it's not my fault! Unhappily for this overrated hack, the Post has what he was crowing about at the time:
It is quite possible the Nationals overpaid for Alvarez/Gonzalez, even if he had been 16 at the time, and the original Sports Illustrated report said the next-highest bid was $700,000. (The Nats paid $1.4 million.) But even the point at the time - one pushed by the Nationals, and one that makes sense - is that they had to overpay to make a statement about their intention to be players in Latin America. ..."This lets other teams know we are a player," Stan Kasten told me on July 2, 2006 - the day they signed Alvarez/Gonzalez. "We will take a back seat to no one - repeat: no one - when it comes to pursuing talent."I have to disagree with Barry Svrluga here: paying double does not make sense. It does not let "other teams know we are a player." It lets other teams know that you are a dipshit, and the difference between the two is important. At best, Stan Kasten is a chump, a sucker, a pigeon - his bragging about dropping one and a half mil on a half a mil player makes that all too clear.
Kasten wants to cover his ass, and this isn't getting it done. This organization has since Day 1 been very publicly drooling all over itself, and the flow didn't stop when Kasten and the Lerners came on board. Hell, the only thing that changed at that point was the Nats went from incompetent to evil and incompetent. The New England Patriots have shown us that if you're evil and really, really effective, no one will care. But there's no Bill Belichick in this crowd of short bus riders.
This is more than a mere Dominican lying about his age case (doesn't it seem like this time-honored trick should have a name? The Dominican Passport Tapdance? The Hispaniola Hula? The San Pedro de Macarena?). Do you remember the signing? It was kind of a big deal. We heard rumors about the super-secret teenager who was going to prove the Nationals weren't cheap and had could develop talent. They had a press conference for this "kid" and everything. No one seemed to notice him talking about how rough he had it under Trujillo and showing reporters pictures of his grandkids, but hell - we were excited. Finally a real team with real owners and management that doesn't spend more time trying on bicycle helmets and thinking about McNuggets than it does trying to win games!
And it was all bullshit. Not only did we fall for the classic Dominican Passport Tapdance, check this out:
1. When teams were bidding for Gonzalez, everyone dealt with his agent. Everyone except the Nats, who went straight to his sleazy-ass buscon (a Spanish term meaning "like an agent, but sleazier. If you can imagine that").
2. The Nats offered double what anyone else was willing to come up with (we're players!).
3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the organization's role in skimming money from bonus payments to Dominican prospects.
You don't have to be Elliot Ness to put 2 and 2 and 1.4 million together. When management is so incompetent and/or crooked that they're getting phone calls from the damn FBfuckingI, heads need to roll.
I'm sick of it. I've dealt with my favorite team being a laughingstock since before they were even my favorite team. Every moment as a Nationals fan is a further humiliation, and I'm tired of it. This goes out to Jim Bowden, Stan Kasten, and each and every Lerner: GO TO HELL. My only consolation is that some people are going to be fired and that maybe some of those people could go to jail. That's nice, but it doesn't address the root cause of this problem: the dumb assholes who call the shots.
Am I the only one who misses the days when Major League Baseball owned the team? At least then you could that something better would come along.
This just in: Smiley's agent posits a new victim.
I don't know where the origins of this thing are. It seems to me this thing is much too complicated and involved for a 19- or 20-year-old from an impoverished neighborhood to pull off... He may have been duped as much as anyone.Bullshit. A 20-year-old from a bad neighborhood can't figure out that when he's being instructed to tell everyone a fake name and age, he might be doing something a bit shady? Honestly, isn't this more offensive than blaming him for it? He's pretty much saying, "He doesn't know any better - poor people from the Dominican are animals. They can't help it." Sports agent Stanley King: shut the fuck up.