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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Stunned into silence

Those who know me will vouch that I don't do silence well. I'm chatty by nature and even my whispering is loud. Apparently I don't even do silence when I sleep, my wife says. I'll probably still be muttering at my funeral.

But this latest twist in this odd season for the Nationals did the trick. As Dukes crumpled to the ground, my jaw hit the floor. I may have muttered something incomprehensible. I can't recall. Mostly I stared at the TV and shook my head. No freaking way this is happening.

We've gone round and round on Dukes before on here. None of that is relevant now. Even if I thought him the most despicable person on earth, I wouldn't wish injury on him. He'd grown on me completely as a player and I was dealing with the other stuff.

I can't say it as well as Tim Redding did in today's story in the Post:
"I'm not worried about how I did. I'm worried about Elijah Dukes right now. It's definitely a blow. We've had enough injuries already for any team in a whole season, let alone in the first three months. And to see a kid go down who is passionate about winning and lays it out on the line day in and day out, you go home, pray and hope he's doing all right."

I will add this: If he indeed has a partially torn patella tendon, forget that 4-6 weeks. I don't want him back this season. If that goes completely, you have a real mess on your hands. There's no pennant to be won. Like Zimmerman, don't rush it with a key piece of the future. Get it right and then get him back.

I don't really care who replaces him out there, the dropoff will be considerable. We've already seen what Wily Mo can (or can't) do. I'd rather see them give another kid a shot but the kid they're giving a shot to right now isn't exactly tearing it up. Willie Harris to left, Casto called up and put at third and Belliard at second? Whatever. Like it matters.

Odd how things change over time. If you told me when Dukes was acquired that I'd be sitting here one Sunday with a boulder in my stomach over what happened to him, I would have sneered. Now I'm sitting here with a boulder in my stomach.

The only good thing in all this is I'm not stewing over yet another loss. I'm not cursing, wondering if Flores should have caught that thing and made the tag or if the bad hop made that impossible. I'm not fretting 100 losses, I see that as inevitable.
I am wondering if they ought to get Flores out of there before something happens to him - most agree the four key position players for the future are Flores, Zimmerman, Dukes and Milledge. The thought of all four on the DL at once gives me the shakes.


George Templeton said...

It is difficult not to engage in gallows humor at this point.
All the experience Flores is getting now will make him an elite catcher in the future. But I guess I am like you, just crossing my fingers that no one else gets hurt at this point.

MikeHarris said...

Only one of the Big Four for the Future is left standing. Unreal. I made that comment only semi-tongue-in-cheek. I worry like that, it's the old Jewish mother in me.

The Nationals Enquirer said...

I've watched the clip a few times now...and still can't figure out exactly what he did. It's a shame -- really feel badly for the guy...

MikeHarris said...

I can't watch it anymore. I'm not sure either, though my best guess is it happened before he hit. Plant and twist, something. I can't detect a grimace. I can't figure out when Milledge got hurt either.

Mike said...

Dukes the baseball player just has something special about him. He's the only player they have(had) right now that made you not want to miss an at-bat of his. He had a few lapses in the field but by and large, he's been good out there, as well as at the plate and on the bases. The only other Nationals' player I think that has made me feel the same way is Soriano.

One step closer to Stephen Strasburg.

MikeHarris said...

My silence ended when Nieves let that last strike go by but decorum prohibits me from writing what I said.
It rhymes with truck. And suck. And duck. And luck. And cruck.

Gus said...

I thought it was a misprint when I saw the headline, figuring they must have meant Milledge, but got confused! Anyway, let's take it as a sign from the baseball gods that we are meant to have a REALLY bad year, and move forward. To move forward, we need youth. I am all in favour of going trade crazy and dumping anyone over 28 for whatever we can get under 24 (yes, that includes you Lenny).

I don't need to watch Young butcher first base, Redding pitch 6innings or Lopez swing on the first pitch, but I can watch Dukes swing or Zim dive, even if it means we lose for 2 or 3 more years.

George Templeton said...

I thought we were going to have some shout about after three innings yesterday. Still Ballester seems to be the genuine article. All part of the painful growth process.