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Monday, June 30, 2008

The Chief

Sad news about The Chief but is anybody really surprised? He never looked comfortable to me this season and Ray Knight nailed it in the booth during Cordero's final appearance. You could tell looking at him something was seriously wrong.

I'm often pessimistic and I can't shake the feeling we've seen Cordero pitch in a Nationals uniform for the last time. I think the Nats are OK with a closer, maybe even better with Rauch. That still doesn't make the news any better. I like The Chief. I hope he recovers.

The High Life

What a weekend. You Seinfeld fans will remember the episode where Jerry was in first class and Elaine was in coach? Or the commercials where first class is so soothing and coach is back between two guffawing clowns (that's my son on the right, laughing and slapping his thigh)?

Welcome to my weekend.

We'll start with Saturday. I had my season ticket package seats. I bought two more in the 400-level for my son and his girlfriend. I figured I'd exchange or upgrade for four together. My wife remains hung over from our trip to Seattle, so she opted out. OK, now I only need three together.

A brief aside to give a plug for Mike Ogunwumi in the ticket office. What a pro. Every time I've been in there, and it has been many, he has shown great patience and he always delivers. Whatever Uncle Stan is paying him, it isn't enough.

Mike can't do much for me Saturday, though. No three together in the 400s. No three together in the 300s. But wait - he finds three together on the club level if I don't mind paying 60 per. What the hell, let's do it.

I'm such an idiot. I figure club level was what they called seats on the same level as those suites. I had no clue there was an actual club and it would allow the likes of me. So I'm like a rube wandering around trying to find section 206 and my son says, "Dad, I think it is in there!" Into the hallowed ground. I showed our tickets to the guard, figuring he'd toss me on my fat ass. Instead, he said welcome and held the door.

Wow. What a place. Tile in the bathrooms. Lots of concession stands and bars. TABLES! LEDGES! What a concept. A Martini bar. Wine tasting (free, though I don't think it is an every night thing). Padded seats. Guards at the doors to keep the riffraff out (except when this riffraff scores a ticket).

Of course, the game sucked royally and the rain delay killed the movie. My son says to me, "LoDuca in left?" Yep. Milledge gets hurt and the night goes downhill from there. But we were at a table eating some very good nachos when the rain hit so we held our ground and rode out the delay in style. Other than some brief period of too much noise when Screech showed up to do something, it was about as good a way as you can wait out some rain.

Not sure if I'm up for 60 a seat every time but I highly recommend trying it at least once. The kid says to me, "You really need to do this with Mom once." She has a bad back and the padded seats will be perfect for her. But I also know her well and she'll be spoiled. She'll bring her book and her needlepoint and spend the entire game at a table by the martini bar. Afterward, I'll get hit with a crooked needlepoint, a bill for $250 and a wife I have to carry back to the car.

Style don't come cheap.

Sunday, I had tickets in section 230. I bought them before the season. 10 bucks each, the best available at the time. What the hell? I AM the great unwashed so I might as well sit with my peeps. My son and I did find it odd that they use a 200 number for those seats. Just a tad misleading.

They actually weren't too bad, if you can live without seeing right field or the scoreboard. Eight-man baseball, my son said. He also wasn't happy he couldn't keep up with the Braves but that's why he spent the big bucks on a fancy phone that gets the Internet. It was interesting seeing balls hit into right and suddenly being directed back to the infield without seeing an actual body.

I'd sit there again, even with a load of loud Orioles fans one section over. Doing that O-R-I-O-L-E-S thing that is nowhere near as effective as Wild Bill or whatever his name is who started it. They left quietly, which is the important thing. Thank you again, Mr. Belliard.

My spoiled ass handled the concrete bathroom floors OK. Easy to get to food joints, too, though the lines were too long for me. I gave the kids some money and sent them to Five Guys fearful that I may never see them again. They only missed two innings. Hell, you could miss innings 2-11 yesterday and not miss a thing.

All in all, a great weekend even with the rain and the horsecrap baseball on display on Saturday. Any time I can spend two days with my kids and their friends and watch ball I'll be OK. And those game-winners never get old, as I said last night. They ease a lot of pain.

My guess is they partied like crazy in the club - cue up the 50 Cent - after that one but I wouldn't know. My pass expired Saturday.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Just got home, will post more about my very interesting weekend later.
But I wanted to note - it's like playing golf when you're really bad like I am and you birdie the 18th hole. You are miserable all afternoon, wondering what you're doing out there. Suddenly, you are on top of the world and can't wait to get back out there.
I've seen 16 games. Nats are 8-8. I've seen three game-winning home runs now. It never gets old.
Particularly when it is against the Orioles.

Take time to watch the video on if you haven't. Belliard's reaction is priceless and the brief flash of an Orioles fan in left, right at the end of the clip, is worth watching. My son just called from his girlfriend's in Silver Spring. They watched the clip. He said, "Hey, did you see that O's fan at the end?"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Questions from the minor league report

Doing my morning reading before heading to D.C. and Nationals Journal (see cool new links off to the right, it takes me a while to learn how to do things) has a tidbit or two of interest.

1. COLLIN'S MAULIN': RHP Collin Balester is 8-1 in 10 starts beginning May 2...the 22-year-old has allowed 2 earned runs or less in his last 5 starting assignments, going 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA (9 ER/28.1 IP) in that span...Balester, selected in the 4th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is 9-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 15 starts overall...his win total is tied for 2nd in the International League...per Baseball America, the Huntington Beach, CA native entered the season rated as the No. 3 prospect in the Washington system.

The question - so why not Balester instead of Clippard? It is long-term. We won't see Hill for a while.

2. ALL SMILES: Including a 2-for-4 game with a 3-run triple yesterday at GCL Cardinals, INF Smiley Gonzalez has posted multi-hit and multi-RBI efforts in 3 of 4 games to begin the season...overall, he is batting .444 with 2 doubles a triple and a team-leading 7 RBI...the 18-year-old signed with the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent July 2, 2006.

The question - is this dude really 18?

Come say hello tonight and tomorrow. I'm the big, bald guy covering his eyes when a ball is hit to Dmitri.

Friday, June 27, 2008

FLop to Orioles?

That's what is being discussed on the pregame right now. For a prospect.

I'll take it.

I'm gagging

from all the crap that is being stuffed down our throats.

I'm not knocking Mark Zuckerman for this article in today's Washington Times. He's a reporter, not a columnist. Now and then you check in with the brass and throw what they say out there for public consumption. At which point, we hope, the public gives a collective Bronx cheer.

Just once, I'd like to see a Nats official man up and say, "We suck worse than we should, something is wrong and we need to fix it. We didn't think we'd have a contender this year but we didn't think it would be THIS bad and we can't use injuries as our crutch. If it is me, I need to go. If it is him, he needs to go. We needed to be much better than this in the year we moved into our new stadium." I'd also love them to add, "We feel so bad we're offering refunds," but I won't hold my breath on that.

So many prospects in this system? Well, get a couple of them up here then and let them learn on the big league level. And, as long as injuries keep coming up, why are so many of them hurt in the minors, too? Look at this list from Zuckerman's article: Collin Balester, Garrett Mock, Jordan Zimmermann, Adrian Alaniz, Cory VanAllen, Chris Marrero, Justin Maxwell and Michael Burgess. Guys in bold are injured.

If the Nats are 3-4 years away from being really good, that means it took 7-8 years from the time the team landed in Washington. Too long. The Marlins went from non-existent to world champions in five. It can be done if the people in charge know what they're doing.

I need to get Chris Needham, my blogging mentor, to send down the Stanspeak translator now that Chris has retired. Be interesting to see some of what comes out. I've offered Chris a guest spot here any time he likes and I'm sure he'd have some fun with this article as well.

And while I'm all over some articles - how about this gem from Robert Fick? What is he smoking? He keeps guys on their toes? Yeah, let's use a roster spot for a player who contributes nothing beyond that. Why don't you keep them on their toes Dmitri? They ain't paying you that $5 million for your defense.

Since I'm hitting everything else, peruse this one from Chico (the writer) in the Post. Glad he got in this quote from FLop: "There's a lot of uptight people in here," he said. Or maybe there's a lot of people who don't like lackadasical play from a guy making $4.9 million.

I really do have faith in Uncle Stan. He's smart (just ask him). He surely has to know even if he isn't going to say it. Something is wrong. Fix it.

UPDATE - Mr. Needham fired up the machine for me this a.m., I'm not experienced enough to handle it myself just yet (and may never be). NationalsFanboyLooser thanks him for his contributions.

When I gave up the keys to my blog, I didn't give up the keys to the StanSpeak Translator. It's a complicated piece of machinery whose quality erodes the more it's used. Thankfully, Mr. Kasten limits his self-serving statements, especially lately as he's had to hide in his underground concrete lair at the stadium lest an angry mob rip him limb from limb for the gross incompetence he's displayed, which has brought us legions of overpriced empty seats, Paul Lo Duca in left field, and Bob Carpenter in the broadcast booth.

I ran his latest quotes through the ol' translator, and after a few minutes of humming, it spit out this: the thoughts behind his words. (I apologize, in advance, to the most generous Mike.)

"There's no question that the day-to-day performance, for the last month especially, has been very disappointing. We (Uncle Teddy and our bankers) feel it more than any fan or person in the media could possibly feel it, since our lousiness is losing us untold millions of dollars that we'd otherwise be able to pocket."

"Obviously, it's disappointing, all the things that have happened, but we continue to focus on the big picture and our big profits. And big picture, I'm still as optimistic as I've ever been because I'm making money hand over fist with all those gullible yahoos paying $7.50 for beer. Brilliant strategy, if I do say so myself. Put a product so lousy on the field that people are forced to get hammered to drink. Then charge them the price of a quality six-pack for swill to drown their sorrows, diverting their attention from the field."

Kasten said this because of the organization's ever-improving farm system, which was devoid of top-tier prospects when he and the Lerner family were awarded the franchise in May 2006 but has since been restocked with their own terrible players, a bunch of so-so prospects who have been terribly over-hyped by fans hungry for something other than the crap they're watching in Washington, and a few decent prospects who've either sucked or gotten injured.

But Kasten, while touting the revamped farm system, said "improvement in the minor leagues is not the goal. It's a milepost on the road to the goal. The goal is to be a championship team up here, since I had such a hard time in Atlanta. Also, it'll bring in champion-level revenues, retiring our team debt, making us even richer."

As for the job statuses of Acta and Bowden, Kasten quashed any idle speculation about changes on that level: "I think they both have done very well, and they're both absolutely big parts of our future, at least until we're closer to their contracts running out. We've already got enough people sitting idly on the payroll, thanks to Jimmy's brilliance."

"Let's face it. We should have had a better record right now than we've had, but none of us wanted to spend the money to bring in players with real talent or a hitting coach without his head up his ass. But there's nothing that's happened this year which is a kink to us long term -- if you ignore the injuries to Zimmerman, Hill, Kearns, Johnson and the terrible performance of our top pitching prospect or the injury to our defensively challenged top hitting prospect. We don't have a big $75 million contract that has backfired. We don't have a $125 million pitcher that has backfired. We've avoided those kind of mistakes. Take solace in that Nats fans. We didn't make mistakes with big contracts. We made mistakes with lots of tiny little deals like LoDuca's. But the way, you can call 202.675.NATS to order season tickets. Pro-rated plans are STILL available (can you believe it?). Come not watch exciting Nationals baseball while drinking yourself into oblivion in our expanded beer pen.

"That [Screwing up the small stuff] was so important for us to do. Because we don't want to be a team that rebuilds every year. We don't want to tear down and start over every year. Instead, we'll pretend we're improving every season and continue to hype our pseudo prospects. Hey, how 'bout that Matty Chico? Oh, sorry. I mean, Garrett Mock! He's the best! We want to get it right this most important first time and rake in all the profits we can while the stadium honeymoon is ongoing, so that we (Uncle Teddy and his bankers) can be good for the long haul. I don't think that we have made any long-term mistakes -- our inability to read the market and price tickets accordingly was only temporary. We've avoided those. And that's what's most important to getting long-term success (defined as profits)."

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Yes, I'm a sicko. No Nats on tonight so I'm watching the Harrisburg game on MASN.
Montz is playing first base. I haven't looked but I assume he's done that before. I don't think NationalsFanboyLooser has that much influence just yet.
Whatever. I'll be watching closely.

UPDATE - he's already made a pick on a throw that would have been by Dmitri for sure. Also, the sideline reporter is AA level now but she will be in the majors one day. Trust me, I know how these things work.

Some scoopage for

I didn't see this about Cristian Guzman in the Post or the Times today. Two year offer, money not specified.
I'm fine with that, as long as the money isn't ridiculous. What qualifies as that? Good question. Two years in the 14-16 million range would be OK by me. Someone else will pay him more than that, just the way things work. Shortstop is a worry position. Get this done now and move on to the million other worry spots.

Love my man Flores, who is slumping a bit but still delivers. I figured the Nats were doomed when they didn't score with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Also, Hill goes on DL to make room for Perez. Buys a weekend for someone. Does Orr go out Monday when Clippard starts in place of Hill? Or someone else?

Curious to see what the off day brings. A friend thinks it will bring the end of FLop. I guess we'll see soon enough.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who's on first?

Years and years ago, I did one of the few projects that won an award in my sports writing career. It was about knees and the many things that can go wrong with them. Part of the project was a look at two football teammates. They were essentially the same guy in terms of size, etc. They suffered identical knee injuries and had identical surgeries.

One came back to the same level he was before the injury. The other never played again. No logical explanation, the doctor said. Bodies are different. Some react well to injury/surgery. Some don't.

Nick Johnson would be the guy who never played again. There's no logical explanation. He just gets hurt a lot. In 2005, he missed a month when he hurt his heel stepping on the plate. The 2006 leg thing was brutal and would have felled anyone for a long period. But his "jinx" has reared its head again with a wrist injury that will keep him out the rest of this year.

Love the guy and I hope he gets well. But it should be obvious by now that the Nationals are setting themselves up for disappointment if they keep counting on Johnson as their 1b.

Marrero is clearly the guy they've pegged for the future. After seeing him earlier this year, I put his arrival date at 2011 and that's being optimistic. He's only 19. He has a ways to go. With his current injury, I now put 2012 down as an optimistic arrival date. Which leaves the Nats with 09, 10 and 11 to worry about a first baseman.

Next year, since they're both under contract, I'm sure the Nats will try the Johnson-Young thing again. Which means Young because Johnson will get hurt at some point, guaranteed. And, as I've noted before, it leaves the Nats in bad shape because Young is an awful defensive first baseman. Just awful. Can't move. Can't save errors like Johnson can. Can't get to balls that Johnson gets to with ease. And clogs up the bases when he does get on. I'm sure he's a fine guy and his story is inspirational. But I don't want him out there.

What's the alternative? Wily Mo is Dmitri without the hitting. I don't see Casto as a first baseman and Boone isn't an everyday guy either. Belliard? No thanks. Great bench guy. Broadway? He'd be there by now if that was a real option.

You know where I'm going with this because I've said it before. Why not give Luke Montz a look there? He's not the catcher of the future. The catcher of the future is already playing. If Montz is indeed for real as a hitter, he has to be out there somewhere. So let's try first and see how it works out. If it doesn't, what's lost?

If there's a better alternative, please share. I'm open to just about anything. As much as I'd love to be able to count on Nick Johnson, I just can't do it anymore.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Get Someone Who Can Move At First

Now. PLEASE. I don't care who it is, just about anyone else is an upgrade. Dmitri's inability to move is a killer, on offense and defense.

Wonder what's wrong with LoDuca? Besides being past his prime and overpaid.

Looks like no one is there to watch this disaster. I'd be 1,000 kinds of pissed if I'd made the drive to see that. My daughter is using my tickets tomorrow. I may tell her just to head across the street from her place and watch the P-Nats, if they're home. Even if they're not, it's liable to be more entertaining.

I'm sorry. Do I sound bitter?

Am I crazy?

I don't mean in general. We know the answer to that is yes.
I mean about that error on the stolen base last night.
My love for Flores and my lack of love for FLop clouds my judgment. I'm well aware the error had to be charged to Flores. The throw did bounce before it got to Lopez.
However *** watching the replay, it looked to me like it should have been caught. And, if it had, Figgins is out.

Also, is anyone surprised by the "news" that Nick Johnson is likely done for the year? UPDATE - done for the year says the latest Nationals Journal. Sad but not surprising.

To come later: Another look at the trade with the Reds and a bet you would have taken in the spring (and lost your ass on).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dmitri's antics - yes or no?

Very interesting discussion on the pregame, which some of you may be watching.
They're interviewing Willie Harris after his home run yesterday and Dmitri is in the background just cutting up to beat the band.
They come back to the studio and Ray Knight pretty much takes him to task for it. Well, he comes down as hard as Ray comes down. I'm sitting here agreeing. You just got your asses kicked. Again. Act like it bothers you.
Then they go to Debbi Taylor and she explains that Dmitri's attitude is you have to forget it once the uniform is off. I don't necessarily agree but I can see that side of it.
Which side do you come down on?

Off topic - George Carlin

What sad news to wake up to this morning. I wish I was funny enough to do a George Carlin-style rip on the Nats. I'm not and I won't even try.
You youngsters, go ask your folks to find their old copy of Toledo Windowbox, fire up a joint and let you laugh hard for a while. OK, forget the joint but at least listen to some Carlin today.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A revelation

Here is something that I'm sure will shock the few faithful readers of this blog: The Nats are a very frustrating team to watch.

My wife didn't go last night so I was solo and I upgraded to the good seats, for a grand view of a head-smacker of an evening starting with the game's second pitch. Wily Mo own-goaled what would have been an out with Langerhans in left into a home run. That kind of night. Nats load the bases and get one run on a double play. Rangers load the bases and score at will. I was seated near a group of fans who made me sound downright cheery and they were all over everything - JimBow, Manny, Uncle Stan, you name it. One said he wanted to see Mock get beat so bad he never pitched in the majors again. Wow. That's a little harsh. A real left fielder gets him out of the inning with no runs scored.
My great seat help me realize just how much we miss a great third baseman. The answer will surprise no one. We miss him badly. And Dmitri Young may be a wonderful guy and a wonderful story and he sure is a professional hitter but he kills the Nats by not being able to move. Just kills them, in the field and on the bases.

On the drive home, I witnessed an awful auto wreck that has me a little shook up. I'm still trying to find out what happened. That put it all in perspective for me and none of the following really matters when you think about it. Some family somewhere today is probably dealing with the death of a loved one.

Still, a collection of dreary tidbits greeted me as I combed the papers and other sites online.

*Setback for Johnson. Nooooo? Really. My bet - we don't see him again this year.
*Two out (Mock, Sanches), two in (Orr, Shell). Will either make any difference? Doubtful.
*Marrero suffers what sounds like a gruesome leg injury to end his season. JimBow says it will "slow" his path to the majors. You think? Torn ligaments and a broken bone in a leg. Yes, that will slow things down a little.

The highlight of my evening was a long chat with the cool 13-year-old seated right behind me. Kid knew his stuff so we played a game I like to play: In three years, when this team is good, who is still here? We didn't come up with too many names beyond Flores, Zimmerman and maybe Milledge and Dukes.

His mom, however, was the star of the night with one simple question - "Do you really think the team will be good in three years?"

I'm not sure anymore. I'm less optimistic than I was when the season started.
Do you?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thinking out loud

before running some errands and heading back to Nationals Park (which is lovely but no Safeco):

*I kind of bookmarked this Texas series all along to see if Patterson came back and pitched against the Nats. Of course, he's been an ex-Ranger for a while now, released in May after experiencing soreness in the forearm. Shocker. Far as I can tell with minimal research, no one has picked him up. Is Shawn Hill just a Patterson who at least sacks up and pitches? I sense the two are very different mentally.

*Mock in, Langerhans out. Too bad. I wish Langerhans could hit just a smidge. I think I've posted before the story that made the rounds in Atlanta - Schuerholz finally traded Langerhans because that was the only way to get Cox to stop playing him. Great guy, great teammate, great defensive player - can't hit.

*Is this lineup realistic after the All-Star break: Guzman (6), Dukes (7), Zimmerman (5), Johnson (3), Milledge (8), Flores (2), Kearns (9), Lopez/Belliard (4), pitcher? Probably not. A guy can still hope, right? I don't see Zimmerman and Johnson back that soon if at all. Until all is well health wise, I'm still very much in favor of Daniel in left and Montz at first.

*Who is your all-star? Guzman is my guess but Rauch has to get some love. I said early in June he'd be tough to ignore with 20 saves but this team doesn't win enough to get him to 20. I wouldn't rule out Flores, either, if that average stays above the .300 mark but that is clearly just the Fanboy Looser in me talking.

*Dukes is really growing on me as a player and I'm really trying - honest - to get past all that other stuff. We're not there yet. We are trying.

*Heard a rumor in my town yesterday that I find interesting though totally unsubstantiated thus far. The Nats' Class A team could be here instead of Woodbridge next season. I'd like that. I'm not a AAA snob. I'd be perfectly happy with any Nats affiliate including rookie ball. I'd not heard that there's any dissatisfaction with Potomac, so this rumor could well be just a bunch of hooey. Lots of rumors round here as the Braves prepare to take their asses out of town.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I don't know about you

but I am willing to give this guy a good look.
This is a cut-and-paste straight from the Nationals Journal's cut-and-paste of the minor league report.

HE'S SMOOTHER THAN JACK DANIELS: OF Mike Daniel , 23, is batting at a .341 clip (28-for-82) with 4 home runs and 13 RBI over his last 21 games...Daniel, a 7th-round selection from the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, is 18-for-50 (.345) with 2 doubles, a triple, 3 home runs and 12 RBI in 15 June his first season at the Double-A level, he is hitting .320 with 7 home runs, 31 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 64 games.

Me again - I think Wily Mo got banged up running into the wall yesterday and needs some time on the DL. Bring this kid up, stick him out there and let's see what he can do.
Must check Nationals Farm Authority. Is Maxwell still hurt?

I'm also willing to bring this guy up and stick him at first base for a while (also a cut-and-paste from the cut-and-paste):

LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER: C Luke Montz ranks 2nd in the Eastern League with 49 RBI and a .571 slugging percentage, and is tied for 2nd in the league with 13 home runs... Montz, selected in the 17th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, paces EL catchers in extra-base hits (11 doubles, 13 homers), home runs and RBI...the 24-year-old is hitting .358 (24-for-67) with 9 home runs and 42 RBI with RISP.

Shake some stuff up. Now.

ps - any guesses on how they make room for Mock? Is Hill's forearm hurting enough for a trip to the DL? Is Mock really the best choice?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I should have stayed in Seattle

I just called my wife to be sure: We DID see the Nationals win three times in Seattle, didn't we?

Who the hell are these guys who showed up in Minnesota?

Oh well. I can always remember the spectacular view from my Seattle seats on Friday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eastward Ho!

Back home today, back to Nationals Park on Saturday. Great trip. I could get used to living out here if the Nationals would visit more often.
Will post some pix of Safeco when I return.
In the meantime, I will ponder Friday's pitching choice on my way home. And relive the joy of seeing Kory Casto's first home run on Sunday. Clearly hit the pole. Those Mariners fans could not have been nicer to this invader but they are a very bitter bunch about the fortunes of their team. One of them saw me in my Nats hat on Monday and thanked me profusely for helping get their GM fired.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Live from Seattle *** Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. And, if you are fortunate enough to still have a father - call him. Right now.

I'm off to another game, hoping for a sweep. Yesterday, my wife and I toured Safeco and took about 40 pics that I plan to send to El Jefe, Uncle Stan and JimBow so they can see some ways to makes the Nationals Park fan experience even more enjoyable. I know they'll be receptive. Nationals Park is a great place but it can learn a few things from Safeco.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Just a quick check-in before heading out for a ferry ride and tour of some island (hey, you have to do something to get your wife to agree to three baseball games).

Our tour saw last night why I love the Nats and why this team gives me ulcers and ages me 10 years every day. It's never easy.

Safeco is spectacular. I'll post some pictures when I get home because I forgot the cord thing to load them to my computer. But they manage to use the space behind their food stands well - tables, chairs, rails, ledges so you can eat and look out over the water. We spent $8 on a dinner and it was enough to feed the two of us and that isn't easy given the size of me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Westward Ho!

Nice of the Nats to play a day game today so I can watch the game while I pack for my trip to Seattle. Eager to see Safeco, which I understand is a great ballpark. Last time I was in Seattle, the Pilots played there (and I saw them play the Senators). There as in Seattle, not Safeco. They played in an old minor league park called Sicks Stadium.

It looks like half of the $6.25 million DynamicDudDuo will rejoin the team in Seattle and Acta was coy in Chico (the writer's) Nationals Journal update this morning. I can't believe there's even a debate. Is it not obvious what should be done? Flores has to be No. 1. There's no valid argument that can be made against it. I can live with LoDuca as the No. 2, though I'd prefer Nieves. Zuckerman just said on MASN that Casto may go and they'll keep three catchers. Boone and Belliard will handle third. I can live with that, too.

I cannot see a scenario where they'll keep Estrada when he's finally ready to play. What purpose would that serve at this point?

Hell, I can live with anything other than Flores not being No. 1.

I'll check in once or twice from the other side of the country.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

4-6 weeks?

Says Chico (the writer) in the NJ, Byron and Phil just discussed it, too.
Four to six weeks? I doubt it.
Any takers? My money is not again this season.
As much as that pains me (not to mention Zim), I'll go back to an earlier point that I'd rather they make damn sure and not rush back The Face of the Franchise. It isn't like his absence is going to cost the Nats a division title. They'll finish fifth without him just as easily as they would with him. It just won't be as much fun to watch.

Dukes in tonight. I'm very eager to hear this explanation. "What happens in Pittsburgh stays in Pittsburgh," Manny just said on the TV. Great line but I still think something should be done.

Hey, a brainstorm! A pool! What happens first - Zimmerman's return or the end-of-the-line outburst from Dukes? Double my money from above and put it on Elijah.


Chico (the writer) makes mention briefly in his game story and I got an e-mail from a guy I know on the Pirates' TV crew. But I didn't see anything.
What happened between Acta and Dukes?

UPDATE - Just saw a clip thanks to great work at and it doesn't look good. Hasn't Dukes been suspended at least once for five straight seasons? Interesting to see if this gets it up to six and if this fits into the zero tolerance policy.

UPDATE AGAIN (you can tell how I've spent my morning) - The Washington Times hits it pretty well in the game story today - the former sports editor in me says this is a very well done story that mixes the incident and the game nicely. Interesting that the Nats didn't make Dukes "available" after the game. Afraid he'd pop off, I guess. You can't hide the guy forever.
UPDATE AGAIN - finally weighs in with something and I call b.s. on the handshake thing. Why would Acta not want to shake Dukes' hand afterward? It just don't smell right, dig?

I don't know what bothers me more, the shouting or the high school horsecrap in the postgame high five line. I don't like this whole deal.

Is Maxwell healthy yet?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Welcome Back Ronnie

Now, is there any way you can coach third base, too?
I have this bad feeling that "out by a mile" play is going to haunt me all night.
That call fell on the wrong side of the fine line between aggressive and stupid.

Are we whistling in the wind?

Interesting to read the comments today in Chico The Writer's Nationals Journal.

I've been a big fan of the NJ both under Barry and Chico's stewardship. Blogging is something just about every newspaper requires its writers to do these days and few do it as well as the people at the Post. I usually don't read the comments. It's not that I'm not interested. It's a time factor. I have to do SOME work!

A morning appointment got delayed today so I clicked and read a while. Wow. I'm clueless in general but I didn't realize the discontent ran that deep. I should have. This should not be a surprise.

I'm trying to figure out where I fit in with this. I'm frustrated and disgusted by the way this season has gone. Some are hurt, some are dogging it (well, some is a little strong. One is more accurate), some are playing like crap. I'm beginning to think the historically bad predictions for last season weren't so much wrong as they were off by a season. I fear 100 or 110 losses.

But I'm also trying to remain somewhat upbeat about the future. As much as I snark and gripe, I remain a fan who will wear a Curly W on my head until I die (and then I'll be buried in one). I haven't given a thought to not renewing my tickets. I may even upgrade.

I was not dazzled by our two glimpses of the future this week - Mock and Clippard. Is that the best we have to offer? I think not. But I also wonder: Is there a Cole Hamels somewhere down there? Is there a big-time hitter just waiting for the chance (Luke Montz to first base, you read it here again)? Can we count on JimBow to make sure the right players make it to Washington and the others help deliver via trade? I'm not at all confident there. I've met John Schuerholz, who was a master of figuring out which prospects to keep and which to trade. JimBow is no John Schuerholz.

Despite the way my constant bitching makes it appear, I'm pretty easy. Just give me a shred of hope. Give me some reason to believe my season-ticket status will one day lead to me being able to buy postseason tickets.

For now, the hope remains. You?

Monday, June 9, 2008

$4 water never looked so good

I upgraded yesterday. Sat in section 130, just a few rows back. Probably ought to NOT do that again on a day when the temperature hits 2,397 degrees. Great view, great seats, really damn hot. I soaked through two hats. But not my cool new green hat. I spent so much money at the Land of Overpriced Goods that they gave me a set of six logo golf balls.

The game itself? This team can be frustrating in so many ways. I was neither impressed nor unimpressed with Mock. He wasn't the problem. He also didn't make me go "wow!" A double play in the first, so Milledge's home run is good for just a run. Dukes makes a mistake on the bases, which normally wouldn't bother me so much but with this team struggling so much for every run you can't take many risks. Bases loaded, no outs, one run. I really thought Nieves ball might get over Winn's head. A dropped throw on a stolen base attempt. Wily Mo up, bases loaded *** groundout. Bad hops. Ineffective relief pitching. John Bowker? Twice in two days? Six RBI?

All of it makes you want to yell ARRRGGGGHHHHHH but it would have been too draining in the heat.

So I just sat there and sucked it up and waved over the water guy again.

Looking forward to seeing the games in Seattle this weekend, with night-time temperatures in the 50s.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Trifecta

Sticking with a horse racing theme, I hit a bad trifecta yesterday.

*The Belmont. Don't know if I've mentioned on here before but I am a horse racing freak. The one way I'd return to newspapers is if one called and offered me a spot covering horses. I wouldn't even ask where. I saw Secretariat win his Derby and have a "shrine" to The Greatest Horse Ever in my home. This year, I was hoping for another Triple Crown. One of our Labs is nicknamed Big Brown. Very disappointing race. We watched in the Red Porch bar so I couldn't hear anything but you could tell the horse wasn't right. I told my son I didn't like the way he was lathered up going into the gate but thought early in the race he'd be OK. Nope. "I'm convinced," my son said, "that I will never see a Triple Crown." He may not.

*The game. I told my wife I'd rather have her out there when Ayala came in. She could not have done any worse. She tried to shame me into being more upbeat but after the slam-a-roo she said, "Yeah, maybe you're right." Hill deserved better. And please, please tell me Manny was not giving an OK to FLop's jog on his double play with his comment late in Chico (the writer's) story in the Post today. I don't care how out you may be. RUN. Suppose he throws it away? RUN. ACT LIKE YOU CARE.

*The storm. Eerie timing, the way the rain hit just as we were leaving. A lovely end to a lovely day.

A couple more notes:

*Minor stadium gripes last night. On the way out, on the narrow mid-level concourse between the entrance to the suites and the Five Guys stand, two guys were pushing this huge dumpster filled with nasty smelling garbage THE OTHER WAY as people were trying to get out. Unreal. Guys, you have to wait 15 minutes for the crowd to clear before you do that. It ain't that hard. Downstairs, some ushers in yellow shirts were chasing people out as the hard rain hit. To their credit, a couple of fans dug in and made it clear they were going nowhere. The ushers tried to be hard asses but failed and wandered away. I felt like applauding from my distant spot but was trying to find cover my own self.

*I'm eager to see Mock today but fear he has no chance unless he throw a shutout. I'm also eager to visit the Land of Overpriced Goods and see if they have any of those green hats for sale. I hate shopping there. I got a 15 percent one-item discount for being a season-ticket holder and everything is cheaper online even with that discount. But I'll get over it if I can get one of those hats.

Today has to be better, doesn't it?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Here and there before hitting the road

*Thanks to all who participated in the Dukes discussion on my previous post. Good exchange of views. He's a subject that brings that out, that's for sure. What I don't like about most message board settings is you can't have a discussion without it generating into insults and name calling. That wasn't the case here and I appreciate everyone making that possible. My guess is it won't be the last time we talk about Mr. Dukes.

*Last night was one of those totally disconnected from the game nights and I guess I picked a good night for that. Took my wife to see Reefer Madness at a local theater two blocks from the office, dinner beforehand. We had a blast. I did sneak a listen to the pregame while driving to the theater after dinner. I also called my son at intermission and asked for a score. He said, "Just make sure you enjoy the play." He's a Braves fan so he's in agony right now. I offered him Colome to shore up that weak pen down there. After last night, I may have to ask for more in return.

*We're going tonight and tomorrow. My son and his girlfriend are joining us. I hope to get there early enough tonight to watch Big Brown win the Triple Crown on the TV in the bar. We're in 420 tonight and 312 tomorrow but I may splurge for an upgrade. Looks like we'll see Garrett Mock tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekends. Try not to bake.

Friday, June 6, 2008


This is not a bash. I said I wouldn't do that for 10 days and I'm mostly a man of my word. This is merely a discussion.

Sam's comment on my post from last night's game about his friend and her education about Elijah Dukes got me thinking about a similar conversation I had with my wife.
We're watching on TV and Dukes came up shortly after his activation. New guy, she asked? Sort of, I said. You wouldn't have noticed him in the opener. Got hurt, left, just came back. I love the name, she said. What's his deal?
So I told her and got the reaction you'd expect.

I had no argument but said I was willing to do the clean slate thing. He's only 23. We don't know about his upbringing, maybe a new environment will do him some good, etc. Zero tolerance. Fine, she said, so long as she didn't have to cheer for him. She then posed a question: If you, at 23, had that history, wouldn't you be in jail?

Yeah. But I'm not big and strong and capable of mashing a baseball. It may not be fair but it is the way things work. So I'm trying to be open minded.

I'm finally able to see a little of why there's so much fuss about the kid's ability. I'm now convinced he's a very good defensive player. He's athletic enough to recover when he misjudges a ball. He has an arm. I don't know that he'll ever hit for average but lord-a-mighty he hits it hard. That triple last night flew. His hard single later came off the bat so fast the second baseman didn't move. His home run was a serious shot.

So there's reason for some hope and so far so good, it seems, on the behavior front. I wish I could say my concern was easing. It is not, not very much anyway.

This article in ESPN the Mag, written by my bud Chris Jones, bothers me. You can't molly-coddle him. Virginia Tech did it with Marcus Vick and I know it ticked off some in the VT communications office. Special rules for a guy because he's been in trouble? I worry very much about guys whose bosses are worried about how they'll handle interviews.

I'm also bothered by something last night. A buddy of mine in Indiana is a Cardinals fan and we were messaging back and forth. He signed off by saying "good game, Dukes was terrific and that HR was a shot. But what a (bleep) move after he hit it."

I thought Dukes had just gestured toward the bench in delight so I wondered what he meant. Then I saw the replay a few (thousand) times and my pal was right. Watch it again if you don't recall. Dukes turned and snarked at the umpire, which was totally classless and unnecessary. You just won the game son. Take your ass around the bases and enjoy your pounding at the plate (I love that recent tradition for some reason).

I wish I could get the fear that he's going to snap out of my head. I really, really do. I want this to work. I want him to be one hell of a player and become one hell of a person. Unfortunately, I remain unconvinced. This is another time I want to be very wrong.

Happy Happy

I'm, uh, pretty sure this was earlier in the day. But for the sake of this post, we're going to pretend our BrainTrust was reacting to the Dukes blast. I am just as certain they have NationalsFanboyLooser up on those computer screens there.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thank you Tony

Mercy is a wonderful thing. Thank you Tony LaRussa for starting this no-talent hack tonight so the Nationals could bash the sheet out of just about everything he throws up there.
Even Dukes is killing the ball.
Casto does look good. Maybe this is the Casto we heard so much about, eh? How nice would that be?

UPDATE - They're not going to funk this up, are they? The BP pitcher is out of there so there's no guarantee the Nats get any more runs. Five RBI by two opposing pitchers. It's never easy, is it?

UPDATE2 - Could someone pay Milledge to ground into single plays? Tell him we don't want home runs. We'll settle for just one out. And let me add that I'm still far from a Dukes fan but I am becoming convinced he's a pretty good defensive player.

UPDATE3 - You HAVE to be kidding me. No wonder I have ulcers. My dogs have left the room. They fear the coming explosion.

UPDATE4 - HELL YEAH! I promise, right here in front of the world, that I will not give Elijah Dukes grief for a week. Great at-bat and he crushed that ball. Great game for Dukes at the plate and in the field. Heck, 10 days with no grief.

Oh, if anybody snagged a spare Zimmerman bobblehead and wants to be my b.f.f, holler. I'm watching several on eBay - how did one guy get about 10 up there earlier in the week? - but fear they'll go too high. I love the boy but I'm not paying 35 bones for his bobbling likeness.

Honk if you are at the game

Lord, that's an empty stadium. I thought about heading up just for yuks but a 2 p.m. meeting scotched those plans.
Thus far, I'm not impressed with Dukes in the "two-hole." I'd be happier with him in the bench-hole.

Got back to my desk just in time to see Pujols knock one out. And no runs for the Nats. Will this team ever score again? I switched over to the draft to try and get excited about the future. Don't know squat about Aaron Crow but a guy in my office (a Braves fan) who follows this stuff just hollered in: GOOD PICK. Let's hope.

I like what has to say about him. And here is his Missouri bio.

Can he pitch Sunday?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Adam Kilgore of the Post, who subbed for Chico (the writer, not the pitcher) last night, is a real-life friend. He's a Facebook friend. We were on the Virginia Tech beat together for a while. He's friends with my kids, once borrowing my son's computer to do a story after his melted down. Terrific guy, terrific family. I have enjoyed a fine lunch at his family's restaurant in Maine.

I could not love him more. But, even though he had a grammatical faux paus in his game story today, my love for him has indeed increased thanks to this great line: Felipe Lopez submitted questionable focus.

If anyone read my post last night and wondered what I meant with my head-up-ass line, there you go. Felipe Lopez submitted questionable focus.

Chris Needham and I used to debate about FLop. We all have our players we like even though reason and performance suggest we shouldn't (see Kearns, Austin for me). Chris likes FLop and, given that he knows way more about baseball than I do, I yielded to his opinion. I also thought Lopez handled the deserved benching well and deserved to play again when he got his job back. For a while, all looked well.

Alas, a leopard can't change his spots. Soon, he was back to being FLop. With all due respect to my favorite former blogger, the tide has turned for me. It pretty much did during the Saturday game against the Brewers when, with the game in the balance, he went up and looked at three straight strikes and sat down. I sent a text message to a friend in the press box: That might have been the worst at-bat I have ever seen. The reply: It might have been the worst at bat anybody has ever seen.

I do not know Felipe Lopez. He might be a fine guy who reads to kids and rescues puppies in his down time. I do know the way he carries himself and his body language screams "bad attitude" whether he has one or not. And I hate that crap with a passion. He's getting $4.9 million to play a game. ACT LIKE YOU CARE. I'd much rather see an eager kid from Class AA in there, with 10 percent of his ability, than someone who gives the impression that it isn't important.

Felipe and I share a birthday. I turned 24 the day he was born. So he gets points for that. It is also Yogi Berra's birthday. I'd almost rather have him out there - the current Yogi and not the former Yogi.

UPDATE - FLop not in lineup tonight. Willie Harris at second. Maybe Manny is tired of the FLop act, too.

Unrelated, a friend in Atlanta sent me a text this morning that said the buzz around town is Smoltz may be retiring soon. If so, bon voyage to a terrific pitcher and first-class person. I spent a lot of time around the Braves professionally in the 1990s and Smoltz is as stand-up as they come. I bow to his greatness and I will applaud if he is inducted into the Hall of Fame (not likely but a guy can hope). UPDATE - season-ending surgery, hopes to return in 2009.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What a fine start we have here

I'm praying for some seriously heavy rain up thataway now to wipe this thing completely off the books. Told the wife when Lopez dropped the ball that should not have been thrown to him - that will hurt big.

Being a fan of this team is often very painful.

Anyone hear Ray on the pre-game saying he "sometimes" reads the blogs and newspapers? Said they get on them (the whole crew, I suspect) for being too optimistic. We don't know these kids.

I don't think I've ever accused anyone of being too optimistic. Maybe I have. Old age does strange things to the memory. I do know I'm optimistic when I have reason to be and I'm not very optimistic right now.

And just as I'm about to hit "post," we give away another out even though it won't count as an error. Give. Me. Strength. Some of these guys clearly came back from Arizona with their heads up their ass.

(Sudden thought - I'm not sure if they suspend these days or start over if it doesn't go official. Probably ought to look that up. If they suspend, hell, let's just go ahead and get it done).

Oh (bleep)

Just wonderful news to wake up to this a.m., Zimmerman to the DL. They don't plan on actually playing Casto, do they?

To quote a Dr. Seuss book, I do not like this. I do not like this one little bit.

I'll add this: Fix it right, whatever it takes, even if it means missing a huge chunk of the season. I think we're safe in saying a playoff spot is out of the question. So do not bring the Face of the Franchise back one second before he's 100 percent. Take no chances.

And get him signed while he's out. It isn't his signing shoulder that's injured.

The version has the tidbit that Nick Johnson has had a setback in his recovery. I wish I could say I'm shocked. I love Nick but the poor guy is a "double" with every injury it seems - it takes him double the time it should to get back.

This is five from the Opening Day lineup on the DL, right? LoDuca, Johnson, Belliard, Zimmerman and Kearns?

Monday, June 2, 2008


I don’t know how it works for you. I usually don’t watch the entire pre-game, the game and the entire post-game. Sometimes I’ll watch the whole pre- or post-game but usually they’re on as background noise.

Such was the case yesterday. Johnny and Phil are up there. I’m playing tug toy with the dogs, my wife is asking me a million questions about this or that, the phone is ringing. Just a typical afternoon around our joint.

I’m semi paying attention because they’re talking about the catching situation and how well Flores is playing. Phil is talking about when the DynamicDudDuo returns and it sure sounded like he then said, “What are they going to do?”

The room stopped. My wife stopped talking. The dogs dropped their toy and looked at me with a “What him just say?” vibe. I stood there stunned.

This is not a knock on Phil Wood. I enjoy it when he’s on and I’m listening. His nostalgia segments are good. He usually adds something. If I misheard him yesterday, then I fall on my sword right now and apologize for the rest of this.

But, assuming I heard correctly: You MUST be joking. What are they going to do? Does that really need an answer?

If at any point in the foreseeable future a healthy Jesus Flores is not the No. 1 catcher, it is going to get ugly. I’m going to march into the offices, throw down my season-ticket-holder card and demand answers. No one with a brain can really think there’s another option. It may be an accident by the Mets that they got him and it is an accident of injury that he got to prove himself ready but he has clearly done that. This is not open for debate. No, he is not the finished product. He still must play. Regularly. In the majors.

So what they’re going to do is eat those big contracts and move on.

I would love to be the fly on the wall when JimBow has to explain the DynamicDudDuo and the $6.25 million to El Jefe Lerner. I’m told many times over the Lerners run a very efficient operation and I’m sure they’ll want some answers.

El Jefe: “What’s up with this? I’m stroking huge checks twice a month to two guys who haven’t played much and haven’t done anything when they have played. They couldn’t throw me out. They couldn’t throw you out on your Segway. In fact, the biggest contribution either of them has had is blabbing to the world about Zimmerman being hurt.”

What JimBow ought to say: “My bad. Flores is further along than we thought.” (I could live with that. Mistakes are made. It isn’t an exact science. Deal with it and move on).

Somehow, I don’t see JimBow sacking up and admitting $6.25 million worth of errors. I don’t know what else he could say but I’ll hazard some guesses:

“They’ve both been on All-Star teams!” (So have Don Sutton and Ray Knight and I wouldn’t want either of them playing right now).

“Paulie told me he’d taking me trolling for chicks.” (LoDuca may have some game but I don’t see it in JimBow even with a proven wingman).

Estrada got into it with Ned Yost, in the dugout, on camera, in the middle of a game. Character is overrated. We need some nasty around here, someone to keep Manny on his toes.”

“Uncle Stan told me to sign them.”

Actually, I don’t much care what he says as long as it isn’t, “Jesus, head back to Columbus and continue developing.” My wife has fallen in love with Flo, too, and I should probably let her handle things if that happens. Or maybe not. Her reaction might be uglier than mine.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Bright Side

My late father was right. There may indeed be a bright side to everything. The bright side from the past two games? They've been mercifully short.
Beyond that, I got nothing. Kind of like the Nats' offense.

Visiting Potomac

If I missed deadlines like this in the old days, my newspaper career would have been short. Sorry for the delay, to the few of you who were actually waiting for this. Excuses are many. One is my week was a little more hectic than planned. Another is that I’ve thought too much about how to say all this because I am not a talent scout. As a reporter, I talked to scouts and used their information. This is all feel, nothing scientific.

Or perhaps I was simply waiting for my bald head to peel. Man, I got some burn. I look good splotchy, though.

I should also note that in the days since I attended the game, Ross Detwiler got chased in the FIRST inning and Chris Marrero has hit a couple of home runs. Had I gone to that Detwiler start, my views may be different.

Anyway, on with the show.

For starters, make the trip if you haven’t done so already. Easy drive when there’s no traffic, very nice Class A park, cheap food, friendly people. No, the stadium is NOT named after the company that makes Viagra, I told my wife. That’s Pfizer, not that I would know for sure. The stadium is Pfitzner Stadium.

We had great seats, right next to the home dugout. We even had waiter service. We were surrounded by some cool folks. It was a beautiful, hot day. My wife had the sense to borrow some suntan lotion. I did not. I paid.

When I bought the tickets earlier in the month, I was eager to see Marrero and a handful of pitchers. Well, some of them – Van Allen, Zimmermann, ZECH! – got the call to Harrisburg before we arrived. That left Alaniz and Detwiler and, by stroke of luck, Detwiler was scheduled to pitch. Sweet.

My brief experiences watching the low minors is this: The studs stand out. Really stand out. You can tell by watching. In 1993, I spent a week with the Lynchburg Red Sox for a project in the paper. I saw four different teams, maybe 5-6 real studs and they just jumped out at you (Joel Bennett, a pitcher, is one I recall and he did make it briefly to the majors. So did Steve Rodriguez, a second baseman who is now head coach at Pepperdine. Neither had significant major league careers, so perhaps my theory is just so much mush).

Detwiler has it and you’ll just have to trust me or go see for yourself. I can’t really describe it but even my wife noticed. His ball doesn’t just move, it MOVES. You can see it, feel it, hear it. He struck out six in the first two innings.

So I can see what the fuss is about with him and I’m excited to see him in the future. That said, let’s be clear that he is not close to ready. Not this year and probably not next. Hard to explain there, too. I wasn’t as impressed with his breaking stuff and that has to become more of a weapon. Clearly, given that he’s been knocked out in the first inning twice this season, he isn’t very consistent. He gave up five runs in 2/3 inning the other night. He has the stuff to dominate but isn’t ready to be dominant just yet.

I hope he gets the time he needs because, until it is proven otherwise, I will believe he is a future asset to the Nationals.

Another thing I like – a very nice man was seated to my left and we struck up a conversation. He turned out to be Detwiler’s host “dad.” He’s had several players live with him over the years. Detwiler, he said, is a very good kid. I know that’s not always a given with high picks given big money and burdened with serious expectations. Being a decent person, as I have noted on the blog before, is important to me. I don’t tolerate jerks very well. I tend to cut good guys more slack (see Kearns, Austin).

As for Marrero, it really isn’t fair to say much. Hitters are much harder to judge with one viewing and he did nothing this day to make me go wow (0-4, nothing hit very hard in his first three at bats). With a batting average of .234 through 51 games, he’s clearly having a hard time dealing with Class A pitching. He has a ways to go in the field, too, adjusting to a new position. Let’s just say no one is going to call him Big Cat just yet. The footwork needs some work.

He’s only 19. He has time, and let’s again hope the organization is very patient. If he’s in the lineup by 2011, I will be impressed. I don’t think it will come that soon (Luke Montz to first base, you read it here first).

I had such a good time at the game that I’m sure I’ll go again. I can probably get a better read on Marrero with a few more views. In the meantime, I’ll continue to yield to Nationals Farm Authority as the authority on the farm system.

No one else really stood out to me. The second baseman is a good player named Matt Rogelstad, who is a member of the Canadian national team. He’s having a very good year (.300 with 7 HR and 34 RBI to date). He’s also going to be 26 in September. I see future coach written all over him. The catcher is a kid named Jhonatan Solano, a recent arrival. Detwiler’s host dad said the pitchers loved him. He’s hitting a combined .184.

It was dog day, so I picked up some bags of treats for my dogs to enjoy when we got home. They did a dog parade before the game and they must have had a special area for them because I didn’t see a dog once the game started.

A final note – if you do go to a game, plan to eat at the brand new Ruby Tuesday’s across the street afterward. There’s a Dad bias at work here. My daughter is Waitress Supreme and working her way toward management. So go in and ask for the best waitress in the world. If they look at you like you’re crazy, tell them Courtney, please. You will not be disappointed. She, along with her dad, appreciates generous tipping!