OK, so I might be taking this a bit far, but I've been watching the video of the Osceola County Meeting from Monday:http://www.osceola.org/meetingsportal/265-10013-0/county_meetings/MeetingDetail/3107.cfm
After a short intro from the Council, Fuccillo spoke first representing the Nats. It was painful to watch, reminded my of a bad wedding speech by a best man who is clearly not used to public speaking. He just read directly from his notes and while thanking a bunch of people from Osceola and introducing Mark Lerner he said absolutely nothing of interest. The worst part was that it came off as a self congratulatory acceptance speech as he took for granted that funding was going to be approved.
Then Mark Lerner stepped up to the podium. He also relied heavily on his notes, although he was a better speaker than Fuccillo. He did make a few interesting comments: 1) that the Nats were dead last in MLB when they bought the team, not true; 2) that they have built the deepest farm system in MLB, true last year for a blink of the eye, not close to true today; 3) that the Nats were honest with the fans up front about their long term plan for rebuilding, my head about exploded, Kasten hyped the team every year; and 4) that the Nats are ahead of schedule in their rebuilding, ahead of schedule in their eighth year of owning the team. Three false statements and a mystifying claim.
It turns out that he was mis-quoted in his statement about the 200% in spring training attendance, he actually claimed that Nats fans travelling to Florida is up 200%, which is plausible, but still very hard to believe based on the modest increase in total attendance.
So Mark went on and on and on about his family history, about all the great things about DC, about the youth baseball facility, meanwhile the people behind him are shifting in their seats, yawning, and staring off into space. This was the core problem with the presentation, it was all about what they are doing in DC, not a hint of any knowledge or insight into the issues and concerns of the people he's asking to gift him $100 million. Just completely oblivious.
The one mention of Kissimmee was prefaced by stuttering and halted statements as he said that the Lerners are "interested to find out" about opportunities for local investment "if we believe we can contribute". Caveats and weasel words.
Next came a video the Nats had prepared. Starting with a montage of DC monuments, how is this relevant? Segueing into a bit about the great sport of baseball, which was fine. Then a bunch of we are so great stuff about the Dream Foundation and the support for our troops. Followed by a Natitude sequence with lots of images from last season's playoff run, which of course is a complete different atmosphere from what they are selling for a spring training venue, once again missing their target audience. The one single mention of Kissimmee or Osceola in all of this was the final card shown for about five seconds with the Nats logo along side of the Experience Kissimmee logo.
I paused it as the rep from HKS, the architect, began to speak. He's pretty good, able to talk in a conversant manner without reading from his notes. I'll watch his full speech later.
So the Nats blew it. They walked in there and demonstrated no interest whatsoever in the local area and spent their allotted time bragging about their irrelevant accomplishments up here in DC. No concept of basic sales, assuring the mark that they have a full understanding of their problems and how the proposed solutions are the ideal resolution for their issues. We'll see if the guy from HKS is any better.