With his college age son sitting beside him on the top ledge of the Washington Nationals dugout, curly W's adorning the wall, Nats President Stan Kasten confirmed to the media that he would be resigning, effective at the end of this season.
He said at the beginning of his statements that he would talk today about his experiences with the team, and how and why his resignation came about, but preferred not to discuss his future plans, or go into any details about where he sees the team today or the progress in the organization, outside of very broad ideas.
He promised that he would talk about those things in more detail when the season was over, but for now, he wanted to confirm the news of his resignation and then "get back to baseball."
"When I came here...in 2006, I made a commitment to stay for five years, through the end of the 2010 season. About a year ago or so, I went to the family and told them I would not be staying beyond that five year commitment. So what I'm here to tell you today is that I'll be leaving the Nats at the end of the season."
"Let me assure you: This is just about me. This has nothing to do with anybody else, or anything else, this is just about me. What's good for me, for my family, and my own personal expectations, goals, aspirations. Purely that, and nothing else."
"Leaving here is going to be hard. But the decision to leave was not hard. It was just the right thing to do now."
He stressed several times that any rumors or reports that there was a rift with ownership regarding financial support for the organization were absolutely inaccurate.
"I have a great relationship with the Lerners. We had really good talks, but at the end this was clearly what I wanted to do. They have been great. Yes, I think they would have been really happy for me to stay, but this is the right thing."
Kasten expressed a strong feeling that he really felt ingrained in the community, and cited several prominent D.C. officials as friends.
"There's going to so much that I'm going to miss. First of all, I love DC. I truly do. I love living here, I love working here. The people that I have met here along the way have been exceptional."
"The fans have been so great to me, I interact with them every night, I walk the concourses as you know for every game. and I want to thank them for their generosity in offering advice and help -- especially when you're a guy running a team that loses as much as we have."
Kasten spoke a couple times about the idea of commitment. "I made a commitment here, and it was really important to fulfill that commitment. Commitments are important. To me, I expect others to honor their commitment and I expect it of myself."
But now that he's fulfilled that commitment, "I'm mostly just excited about stuff that's going to happen in the future," though he declined several times to discuss any plans he may have for that future.
He declined to discuss whether he was relinquishing his ownership stake, but did mention that if he were to take another job in Major League Baseball it would be something that would have to be dealt with.
He also declined to answer -- for now -- if he saw himself getting back into baseball after his exit from the Nationals.
Kasten referred questions about a replacement or strategy to the Lerner family.
When asked if things were harder than he thought they would be when he took his role with the Nats, he replied, "It's not easy, ever, to build a championship team. You're competing against 29 other groups of really hard-working, smart, talented individuals. That makes it hard. But we put ourselves on a track, we continue on a real positive path, and the future is exceptionally bright."
"I feel that we accomplished some things that were real important to accomplish."
Asked what he considered his greatest accomplishment in his five-year tenure, he said, "Until we win it all we don't have any crowning achievements." He then went on to point out the emerging minor league system, the strong front office staff, and Nationals Park as significant achievements under his watch.
On whether he thought D.C. was a "baseball town", Kasten was emphatic. "No question about it."
"We had 1.8 million people come to watch a team that's losing 95-105 games a year. That's extraordinary support for a team that hasen't earned it yet. When we get our job done, we're going to have great support."
The team distributed a statement from Managing Principal Owner Ted Lerner:
"Stan Kasten will always be an important part of the history of the Washington Nationals. He was vital to ownership winning its bid from Major League Baseball and his agreement to serve as the team’s chief executive for the last five years has been critical to building the Washington Nationals franchise.
Over his tenure he has positioned the Nationals to become one of the most exciting franchises in baseball and we thank him for all that he has accomplished.
We certainly respect his decision to pursue other interests at the end of the regular season, but will continue to call upon him for his vast knowledge of the game, the league and the franchise. He will remain a friend and valued partner of the team and ownership group."