Sep 24, 2010, 1:25 AM EDT
Word of Stan Kasten's resignation as team president began circulating around Nationals Park at 1:30 this afternoon. Players who were heading out to the field for batting practice were summoned back to the clubhouse for an impromptu team meeting. Reaction was swift and generally featured some element of surprise.
In hindsight, though, there really was nothing surprising about this announcement. If you had been reading between the lines for the last year, you probably saw this coming.
Kasten's presence, which at times from 2006-09 was so prevalent it became suffocating, dissipated drastically this season. You just didn't see him around as much as in previous years. Once the public face of the Nationals, he had regressed to the background, opening the door for Mike Rizzo to speak for the organization on all baseball matters.
Sure, Stan would emerge from the shadows every once in a while for something big. He couldn't resist participating in the post-midnight Bryce Harper signing press conference. Even then, his inclusion was less about offering information and more about setting Rizzo up to get a whipped cream pie in the face.
The fact of the matter is that the natural progression of the Nationals franchise over the last five years left Kasten more and more marginalized within the front office. The team simply didn't need a
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