Saturday, July 01, 2006

Zephyrs Larry Broadway Ignored by New Owners

The Washington Nationals refusal to call up prospect Larry Broadway from New Orleans sets a dubious tone for the team's new ownership, despite its big talk about "doing things right" and commitment to winning. By recent count Broadway, a power-hitting first baseman, was hitting .308 with nine homers, after hitting .339 in the Arizona Fall League, and was well on pace toward reaching close to the 100 RBI plateau by the end of the Zephyrs season. Moreover, Broadway has been named to the Triple A All-Star team in which the top players in the International League will face off against the best in the Pacific Coast League. Yet when Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson missed several games with injury, and even when the team needed a DH during interleague play, Broadway was left to languish in the steamy Mississippi Delta. It's still very early in the Lerner Group's tenure as new owners of the Nationals, but with GM Jim Bowden staying on without interruption, excuses wear thin for the team's failure to call up Broadway and put the best possible team on the field. With the Kansas City Royals and Florida Marlins, major league baseball already has two too many teams that rank bean counting ahead of achievement. At 25, Broadway has earned the chance to familiarize himself with major league play and its commensurate pressure. For the sake of Broadway's development, the National's should disregard his rendezvous with salary arbitration and let him play as often and as soon as possible.