Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Ring of Fame at Nationals Park featuring...

As most of you know by now, the Washington Nationals will have a massive celebration of Strasmas in his return from the DL and unveiling the franchise... Washington... Montreal... I'm sort of confused... ring of fame.  Tonight, the Nationals will induct Andre Dawson into the ring in a supposedly large "spectacle", even though no one else has been officially inducted into the ring until it appeared in Nats Park during the road trip and the Nats are struggling to sell tickets, even with Strasburg pitching.

So currently in the "ring," the Nats feature 18 names, with room for about 8 more according to Nationals Daily News.  So that means more than half of the names in the ring will not be part of the Nationals/Expos franchise and more than 2/3 will have never donned a Washington Nationals uniform.  The only two from the franchise will be Gary Carter and Andre Dawson after tonight.

I understand that the Nationals have no one to put in the ring yet, and it takes time for an organization to build a group of people worthy enough to have defined the team for a number of years.  It seems that I may be somewhat alone in this feeling, but I have a problem with a ring that references no Washington Nationals players (and again, it shouldn't, because they're a young team), there just shouldn't be a ring yet.  The Nats are honoring Dawson, who was a great baseball player, but he never played for the Nationals.

Don't get me wrong, I support the Nats acknowledging Dawson in a pre-game ceremony.  He's a Hall of Famer that played for the franchise.  It's to be expected.  What's more, I love that the Nationals are wearing Montreal Expos hats during today's batting practice.  One can only hope that they'll wear it during today's game.  However, the Nationals are working very hard to create a legacy that simply doesn't exist.  Not many Nats fans feel a strong connection to Montreal and the Expos; they became fans in 2005.  Most of them never traveled to Olympic Stadium for a game.  Most of them never bought an Expos jersey, and if they did, it was once they found out the franchise would be coming to DC.

It seems to me that creating a ring of fame of baseball players that never played at Nationals Park, and in some cases, never played for the franchise, doesn't make a lot of sense.  (The Senators became the Minnesota Twins then the Texas Rangers in the 1960s/1970s)  I can only hope that the Nationals are able make this ring a success, so it doesn't become a ring of players that never played for the Washington Nationals.

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