The Nats-Syracuse extension from the other side

The Nats-Syracuse extension from the other side
December 22, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Why Doug Fister?

The Washington Nationals announced a four-year contract extension with the Syracuse Chiefs this past week, the team’s Triple-A affiliate for the last five years. It’s a great fit for the Nats  - despite the distance – with many of their best players making successful stops with the Chiefs.

But what about Syracuse? From the Nationals’ perspective, and from the viewpoint of their fans, Syracuse is simply a development stage for the team’s best prospects. Sometimes it’s a rehab stop for ailing veterans. The other side of the equation is rarely considered.

The extension between the two parties has a much different slant from Syracuse’s perspective, and a recent article from Syracuse.com gives light into their side of the situation. They want to win, as the Chiefs have missed the playoffs every since 1998, and they want to fill NBT Bank Stadium. Both wins and financial stability have been hard to come by in recent years.

The four-year extension was evidently a message to Syracuse that the Nats are very committed to remaining in the community. Teams have the option to sign deals as short as two years and Mike Rizzo doesn’t usually like to sign on longer. He called the move “historic” and called the relationship between Washington and Syracuse “firm.” A four-year deal was proof of that, he says.

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The Chiefs are under new management now and the next few years could be big for them and the team’s future in Syracuse. In a press conference on Wednesday, Rizzo and team officials stated their commitment to the partnership. They were adamant the situation will improve as soon as next year.

Among the promises are having the team back on the radio and paying their overdue rent to Onondaga County. This is summed up with a bit of skepticism by Syracuse.com writer Brent Axe who says “we’ll see how long the honeymoon lasts.”

The story is very extensive and definitely worth checking out. It tells a story we rarely hear when following minor league affiliates from the big league team’s perspective.