Thursday, August 14, 2008

Death Of A Salesman's Grasp Of Reality

There's an old joke that goes something like "How can you tell when a salesperson is lying? His lips are moving." Suffice it to say, salesmen aren't generally known for their honesty (and it's not just the guys peddling used cars).

For example, you probably wouldn't expect an open and honest assessment of his product's value from a guy trying to sell tickets to see the worst team in baseball. Still, I can't let this line from Washington Nationals Account Executive for Group Ticket Sales Michael Benko go without comment:
"Here, in Washington, D.C., I’d bet we’re about to lock in at No. 2 of the four spots here," Benko said. "We’re behind the Redskins (of the NFL), but we’re more exciting and promising than the Wizards (NBA) and the Capitals (NHL)."
Uh huh.

"More exciting" than a pair of winning teams that boast the NHL's eighth-best offense and the NBA's fourteenth-best offense (with its best offensive threat suiting up only 13 times all season)... despite scoring fewer runs than any team in basebal, having the worst team batting average in the Majors and losing more than seven out of every eleven games.

"More ... promising" than a playoff team that has the reigning NHL MVP and has had rookie of the year finalists in two of the past three seasons and an NBA team that has made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons... but hey, Ryan Zimmerman is pretty good.

Yes, the Nats should be locking in that No. 2 spot any day now (just ask these guys), considering that they're filling their brand spankin' new ballpark to just over 70% capacity... which is only double digits less than their NHL and NBA counterparts. Hell, why stop at No. 2? I bet the Redskins are checking their proverbial rear-view mirrors at this very moment and seeing Dmitri Young and friends coming at 'em with a head of steam (frightening visual of a world class athlete, I know).

But let's cut the ticket rep some slack - he's only repeating the company line, which is probably to be expected from a guy who fondly recalls his mother telling him he "should get a Master’s degree because, as she said, 'that’s what it seems everyone is doing these days.'"

You know what else everyone is doing these days? Not going to Nationals games. They're No. 2, alright... but it's probably not how Benko meant it.


Hooks Orpik said...

Baghdad Bob approves of Michael Benko.

The Nats have the worst home record in the major leagues, the worst record overall, and their run differential is dead last with -149 (the next closest being San Fran with -109).

If the Nationals didn't have a new stadium (and didn't have Philly and the Mets in their division) they'd probably have attendance that would make the Florida Marlins look like they were playing in Yankee Stadium.


1) We always thought that joke was "how do you know when a LAWYER is lying". ; )
2) DC has a baseball team?

Anonymous said...

As Hooks said, the run differential is truly amazing. Its not as if they are a competitive below .500 team like the Caps were in the rebuilding years. As a long time Orioles fan, i can't say it bothers me much though.

tim :) said...

It's kind of depressing how this area (mostly the media) actually follows the Nationals with attention and some strange sense of importance. Obviously any new team in the area is going to be given coverage, but heck, it's a losing team. Let's not forget the Nats (I despise that nickname) and their roots - the Expos:
2004: 67-95 (.414)
2003: 83-79 (.512)
2002: 83-79 (.512)
2001: 68-94 (.420)
2000: 67-95 (.414)
1999: 68-94 (.420)
1998: 65-97 (.401)
1997: 78-84 (.481)

Annual losers, and yet they are hyped by media as much as the Redskins sometimes. I think it's important to face facts: baseball as a sport is dying in the US, the "Nation's" team is the worst in the country, and yet they still get premium coverage.

Beats me.

Anonymous said...

What about DC United? They seem to have a pretty good following, and you know people arn't coming to see the visiting team (see Mets, Phillies). The ultimate irony being they still play in RFK, and seem to be doing fine.

Anonymous said...

I think he's spot on. The Nats are playing now aren't they? So I'd agree they'll have a shot at the #2 spot now that the Redskins are in pre-season the Caps and Wiz are totally off. They just need to catch the United before any more training camps open.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, baseball is real exciting. That's why they have to wake the fans up and make them strech. Go back to Holland and shove your finger in the dyke, your crappy town is flooding you tool!

DMG said...


A large part of why the Expos were perennial losers was the fact that they were in the worst baseball market in North America: small and disinterested in the game. Plus, the financial structure of the major leagues is a joke: the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox can afford payrolls of more then 150 million dollars, more than six times what the lowest team payroll is. There's a luxury tax but no hard cap and not enough revenue sharing.

As a result of this, and Jeffrey Loria just being a general douchebag, the Expos/Nationals were owned by MLB for about five years which meant the team couldn't spend much in the way of payroll and was spending nothing on scouting and signing players in Latin America. By the time the team arrived in Washington (five or six years after it should have been moved) it was in such a state of disrepair that it was probably worse off than an expansion team.

As for now, management seems to be doing well in building up their system and the Nationals are terrible because they're doing it the hard way, like the Capitals did. But the team will come around both in terms of on the field performance and attendance (and TV ratings). As for being number two, I doubt that. My guess is that the Skins will always be number one and the 2-5 pecking order will depend on team performance and star power. With one of the best team in the league and the best player in the sports, I think the Capitals are poised to be number two for the next couple years.

wittcap79 said...

As a STH for both teams I'll never understand all the bitterness. Every team's fans thinks their media coverage is sub-standard. Mr. Benko is clearly drinking the mgmt Kool-Aid and towing the company line, and that's fine, it's his job. Hockey has it's excellent qualities, and to many of us baseball does as well. (Especially when you play it for the first 20 years of your life.) BTW, if revenues the last 5 years are any indication I don't think baseball is "dying in the US".

Caps Nut said...

Did I just click onto On Frozen Idiots???

I can't because I'm reading and posting here and I was banned from there...

Allen Popels said...

When are the Nats moving to Vegas??

And good job signing your #1 pick this year, oh wait they didn't.

And really, that stadium sucks. When you build a new stadium it should blow you away in terms of the atmosphere. But Nats stadium has no personality at all. Camden Yards it is not.

Anonymous said...

You crack me up JP. Nats suck!