Last week was last week. It was a busy week for the Washington Nationals, on-and-off the field. On Saturday, the team announced their international signings which was highlighted by the long-awaited signing of phenom Cristhian Vaquero. Shortly afterwards, the team announced 21 new hires and several other key moves in their player development system. News broke on Wednesday that the team signed former top prospect, Rusney Castillo, to a minor league deal. On Thursday morning, the Nats published game times for the 2022 schedule. Not to be finished, the Nats and MASN jointly announced early the hiring of former Nats’ player, Kevin Frandsen, as the new color commentator for the Nationals on the MASN network. On Friday morning, we got word that the Nats added reliever Ronald Herrera on a minor league deal.
Since then, it has been crickets. A quiet weekend. The Mets published their coaching staff and that seemed to be the biggest baseball news. Baseball is still in a lock-out which put the kibosh for the on-the-field major league transactions.
Okay, MLB and the MLBPA are supposed to meet in-person on Monday. But don’t expect a deal to be done on the spot. This lock-out has really put baseball into a deep freeze in many cities. Some teams have had no news in weeks. The challenge for MLB and the teams will be to keep fans engaged in any positive news they can put forward during the lock-out.
We are just a week plus one day from the calendar turning from January to February. We are about three weeks from what should have been the time that Spring Training camps were to open.
Baseball can still be saved from itself. But while owners and players are arguing over money, you hope they don’t alienate too many fans in the process.
How does the Nats newest hire, Frandsen, feel about baseball as America’s pastime?
“Because to me, there’s no defined way of describing baseball,” Frandsen said. “Baseball is an evolving sport. Baseball is an evolving way that we look at things. And if you get close-minded and think like, ‘Oh, well, I like my baseball one way,’ then you’re gonna get passed up. And I feel like I’m in a world of wanting to be a part of the trend that gets the ‘Get off my lawn’ people out of here and understands that it’s America’s pastime because it’s been in the past, and we’re stuck in the past. It needs to be America’s passion. And football is always gonna be America’s passion, I get that. But why can’t we make baseball and try to get it there again? Because it used to be America’s passion.”
And there you go. Baseball used to be. Used to be’s don’t count anymore, they just lay on the floor ’til you sweep them away, as Neil Diamond once sang.
For now, football, hockey, and basketball are all being played. Sure, baseball was supposed to be in their annual off-season at this time of year, however, all teams cancelled their Fanfests, and we would at least had free agent signings. Instead there is little fan engagement.
Opening Day is scheduled for 67 days from today. Will it happen?