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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dear Phil (and Johnny)

Not even 7:15 and my stomach has already had a rough evening. Why send Zimmerman on a single to shallow left? Why not bring your RBI leader up with the bases loaded instead of taking a chance like that? It wasn't even a close play. Ball in his hand before Zimmerman was at third. Disgusting. Terrible choice.

But that is not why I come to you tonight.

I don't like jumping on the broadcast talent and I've stated before I enjoy listening to Phil Wood. So this is just an issue with his statements tonight, not with him. He about made my lose my spaghetti dinner.

First, Phil said something about "some fans" just looking to be as negative as possible. Said these players were NOT quitters! Hmmm. How hard does one have to look to be negative with this bunch? And what fans? I read most everything and have yet to come across anyone calling them quitters. I don't think they'll win more than 10-12 games the rest of the way. I don't think they are quitters. They're just not very good.

Next, they tried to make some kind of weak comparison to the Phillies. Said over the past 12 games, the Phillies were only averaging 3 runs and the Nats weren't far behind with 2.9. (How many they giving up? My brother saw the Nats give up 29 in three games last week). Had some other points about the teams being close, the biggest difference being the home runs.

I think they were serious.

Let's see, going into last night's game the Phillies were TWENTY THREE AND A HALF games ahead of the Nationals. They had three players - Howard, Utley, Burrell - who have more home runs than the Nationals. The Nats' RBI leader has about half as many as the Phillies' RBI leader. Flores would be fourth on the Phillies, about 20 RBI behind No. 3.

The Phillies have three pitchers with 10 or more victories. The Nats likely won't have a 10-game winner for the second straight season.

The Phillies are in a pennant race. Midweek games against bad teams are drawing huge crowds. The Nats are headed for 110 or so losses. I don't believe 20,000 were in the house for either of the games I saw last weekend.

If I wasn't sitting here watching them play each other, I would have a hard time believing they were in the same league.

It is not a narrow gap. It is a ginormous gap.

If I'm being a negative nelly, I'm so very sorry. Facts is facts. I love the Nationals. I want badly to cheer for a winner before I die. I realize more with each passing day that I am a long way from that. The winner, I mean. I hope death, too, but who the hell knows? Being a Nats fan is taking years off my life.

While I'm ripping:

*I liked what I saw of Bonifacio when I saw him in AAA. I'm liking less and less of what I'm seeing in the majors.
*I had a good chuckle when I read this on today. I'm thinking, "What the hell is he smoking?" Then I noticed it was written back in April, when the Nats were about to fall to 3-1. Very laughable now and a stretch even then. I've never met Hal Bodley. He has a reputation of being among the very best baseball writers. That piece, though, was a serious stretch.


An Briosca Mor said...

I read most everything and have yet to come across anyone calling them quitters.

Let me introduce you to my frequent blog adversary JayB. He hangs mainly in Nats320 and Nationals Journal, and while he may not ever have used the Q word specifically, he's been ragging on them for no hustle, not playing fundamental baseball, Manny having lost the team, etc, etc, since pretty much Day 1 of the Manny era. Close enough, if you ask me.

On another topic, I didn't see tonight's loss because I went up to Fenway South (aka OPACY) with a friend to see the O's-Red Sox game. Nice to see another team besides the Nats have to pull their starter in the third inning after he fell apart, then bring in a succession of ineffective relievers to give up even more runs, have one of their young prospects get caught off second base in a baserunning gaffe after a short fly to CF, and ultimately drop the game 11-6. That would be the World Champion Red Sox that did that. I guess the difference between them and the Nats is that they don't do it 12 nights in a row.

MikeHarris said...

Ah, yes, the ol' comments section. I admit I did not consider that as I usually don't read the comments beyond the one's here.
Still *** when a team is struggling as badly as the Nats, some of that has to be expected and it isn't worth bringing up. I think most fans are disappointed (we didn't expect a winner yet but we didn't expect THIS), frustrated (is there hope?) and more. I also think most fans don't think the team has quit.
I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time!

You are also right about all teams having their meltdowns now and then. The key is to get to where it is the exception and not the rule!

Four years in and this is where the Nats are now. Did we have a right to expect better?

An Briosca Mor said...

A couple of other nice things I noticed on my sojourn to OPACY last night (aside from the home team winning, of course):

1. No Clint or anything resembling a Clint.

2. The out-of-town scoreboard was not taken over between innings by flashing ads, allowing the true baseball fans there to watch the game on the field and check the out-of-town scores between innings, which is when they should be checked.

3. No condescending scoreboard flashing signs telling fans what to do ("Make Some Noise", "Clap Your Hands", etc) but instead a three-step flashing Let's-Go-O's on the scoreboard that allowed fans to jump right in on the cheers, which they did. (Corollary: Even though there was no need for it last night, no Clint popping up on the big screen in the ninth inning, pointing his finger at the camera and screaming about it being rally time.)

How refreshing. Lerners/Kasten, take heed.

(OTOH, though, my first comment on looking up to check the score was "Gee, that's an awfully small scoreboard!" And the Oriole Bird looked rather lonely with no Teddy or other Presidents to tussle with.)

Hendo said...

Wow, ABM, I'm exactly of a mind with you on those peeves. If they were all addressed, Nats Park would be a lot more pleasant place.

(Hint, Lerners: ADDRESS THE GODDAMN ISSUES RIGHT NOW. There is absolutely no excuse for a brand-new park to contain any of these flaws. And you are going to need to do something to make people want to come back when the team sucks again next season, which it will until the kids are ready circa 2010-2011.

(Oh, and while you're at it, I've heard enough of "Three Little Birds" to last me the rest of my life. I'd rather hear no music at all after a loss.)

An Briosca Mor said...

(Oh, and while you're at it, I've heard enough of "Three Little Birds" to last me the rest of my life. I'd rather hear no music at all after a loss.)

As I recall, they never asked us to vote on what song to play after a loss, did they?

And now that I think of it, here's another thing I didn't see at OPACY and didn't miss either: Fireworks blasting off at all kinds of inopportune moments, like when a crappy team is leaving the dugout to take the field. I also didn't have anyone telling me what was going to happen RIGHT NOW! when I had already figured out it was going to be a ballgame. But I might have missed that last one since I was in the club and didn't get to my seat until Ortiz was up the first time. (Of course, that also meant I didn't hear anyone yell "O" during the anthem. What a shame...)

MikeHarris said...

The fireworks were going crazy after Friday's loss and my pal says: What exactly are they celebrating? What do they do after they win?

I figured the ordered many more fireworks than they needed and they're going to have longer and longer shows until they're out. Win or lose!

The "Thunderstruck" thing is kind of cool when the stadium is full and all. When it is more than half empty and the team hasn't won in a month or so, it loses some of its juice.

An Briosca Mor said...

The Friday Night Fireworks are a promotion (like T-Shirt Tuesdays, We-Got-Nothin' Wednesdays, Threadbare Thursdays, Saturday Night Movies, Kids Run the Bases Sundays, and What? We Gotta Play Today TOO? Mondays). They go off win or lose (but not if the game runs later than 11:00). Not to be confused with fireworks after a win or a Nats HR, which are much much briefer. Although maybe you're right, and they have a lot of unused HR and win fireworks they're trying to use up before the expire-by date. Oh well, could be worse. At least they're not shooting off fireworks every time Clint takes the screen...

Hendo said...

(At least they're not shooting off fireworks every time Clint takes the screen...)

They should do it. It would be a welcome distraction.

Chris Needham said...

I love bitterness!!!

George Templeton said...

Clint, is he the Ryan Seacrest wannabe that does the trivia questions with people in the crowd and other such in-game frivolity? The Nat Pack guy?

Hendo said...

@george: That would be he.

He'd be a lot less annoying if he had a foil. In fact, that could make for some awesome comedy. I'm going to mull that idea over and maybe blog it some.

George Templeton said...

Well then maybe they should fire the excess fireworks at him. I am sure if they put that on the videoboard everyone would go wild!

And speaking of going wild: it's finally over, Hallelujah!

MikeHarris said...

I will share the story of my evening later. Another night of adventure - it never seems to end. The end of the streak did provide a reason to smile.