February 2, 2007
Austin Kearns was not a happy camper when the Reds traded him to the Nationals last July, since he had been quite content to play in a city (Cincinnati) that is not far from his home town of Lexington, Kentucky. Consquently, many people expected him to look elsewhere for employment during the off season. Nevertheless, he agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $16.5 million, with a sharply escalating pay scale: $3.5 million in 2007, $5 million in 2008 and $8 million in 2009. Beyond that the Nationals have a one-year option. Kearns said the strong fan support he found in Washington was what led to his change of heart. (Yay team! ) So now there are only two arbitration-eligible Nationals players left: John Patterson and Chad Cordero. See MLB.com. With the recent bargain hunting and short-term contracts sought by the Nats' front office, the deal with Kearns comes as a pleasant surprise. It's nice to be able to look forward to a stable lineup of solid players.
UPDATE: Bruce Orser came across an interesting newspaper story from 2001 about Braves Field and its later incarnation as Nickerson Field at dailyfreepress.com. It contains new details, but the author Dave D'Onofrio doesn't seem to understand the "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" slogan. It was the Boston fans who prayed for rain!