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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random Thoughts

Hang with me while I babble on about a few things.

*Interesting item in Post story by Zach Berman (another INTERN!) today: Unprompted, Flores tried to bunt Milledge to third -- a play that could either be interpreted as selfless or foolish, considering Flores leads the Nationals in RBI with 52.

No "or" needed. It was both. I love Flo (duh) and love that he was thinking hard about getting Milledge to third. But it was indeed foolish. He had two hits, both of them solid. I'd rather he go up there thinking, "Bring that jank, I'm going to hit a couple of guys in your bullpen on the head." Or, "Hey you in the Red Porch, look out." Or, "Let's put this one in the gap." He's a run producer. He needs to start thinking like one.

*If reports of Crow asking for $8-10 million and a major league contract are true, F him. Have a fine senior season at Mizzou and I hope you don't get hurt. I also don't like that he may have turned down invitations to Nationals Park. Why? It is a common courtesy for you to be invited and a common courtesy for you to attend. Granted, all this is probably an agent's doing and not the kid's but it does reflect on the kid and not well. I'd love to see him in Washington with his ability but I'm also not big on prima donnas. Make him a bottom line offer. If he doesn't take it, the new GM will enjoy having two of the top 10 picks.

*JimBow took some shots at unnamed sources in the Nationals Journal done by The Intern last night, immediately leading the skeptic in me to believe JimBow may have been one of the sources.

Unnamed sources are a hot topic still for me. I have no idea what the Post's rules are about them. We had some very stringent rules. For instance, the GM or athletic director or coach is often a source. We were not allowed to say said person was not available for comment and then quote that person anonymously. You can't say Bowden, for example, wasn't available when you are quoting him. He WAS available. He just didn't want his name used.
We also had to have two sources saying something, not just one. We weren't supposed to agree to not use the name unless termination or death was a possibility.
We were pretty good about following those rules. Sometimes, if it was really important to get something in, we'd bend them a bit.
They should be used VERY sparingly and should be treated with a skeptical eye by the reader.

A couple of quick "anonymous" stories.

I am reluctant to say anything negative about my old paper. I love the paper, love the people there. It was a very good job for a long time. I honestly believe the paper is doing its best to stay viable in an age where a newspaper is a relic. I hope with all my heart it succeeds.
Last night on the paper's Web site, they had an item about the latest teen-aged NASCAR hot shot maybe making his Cup debut in Richmond. It said, "according to a variety of Internet blog sites."

Love it. My new goal in life is to get some mainstream publication to write, " is reporting ***" Hmmmm. Maybe us Nats bloggers can band together. I'll write that JimBow has been fired. Everyone else can do the same thing and maybe we'll see "Numerous blog sites are reporting ****"

One more and then I'll shut up (for now): Years ago, I'm working a story about William and Mary football coach Jimmye Laycock flirting with a job at Boston College. The WM football secretary finds me and says, "You have a phone call."

It was a reporter from the Boston Globe. We chatted for a while about the situation.

The next day's Globe quotes "a source inside the William and Mary football office." I'm thinking, this guy has never been to W&M. How does he have sources there? Then I read it again. He's quoted ME. And, yes, I was INSIDE THE WILLIAM AND MARY FOOTBALL OFFICE when we talked. Yeesh.

Bottom line, coming from a former journalist: Anonymous sources are best avoided.


Brian said...

The $8-10 million was a number floated around at the time of the draft. I have not heard reference to that number until today.

Smells like rhetoric/posturing to me.

Sean Hogan said...

I'll post "Bowden has been fired" if you want :)

MikeHarris said...

Have at it. We'll spread the word and hope it gets picked up.

Brian, I hope you are right. We'll see soon enough.

An Briosca Mor said...

In the future, I suggest you adopt a personal policy of taking all phone calls in the crapper (should be easy now in the era of the cell phone) and be sure to flush during the call. But remember, if you flush twice you'll be credited as two anonymous sources, not one.

MikeHarris said...

Funny you should mention that *** when Laycock finally made a decision (one he reversed 12 hours later), he comes out of his office and says to me, "I know you've been waiting patiently but I have to move fast so follow me to do this interview."
I figure we're walking to his car.
Nope. He heads into the bathroom.
Christ, Jimmye. Get serious.
"Hey, if you want to do this interview, this is where it has to be."
Yep. It was a glamourous job.

Dave Nichols said...

it's unfortunate that "anonymous" is the most frequent source of inside news anymore and the GM only goes onteh record when there's P.R. to do (announcements, etc.).

MLB is not quite as bad as the NFL (try getting a Redskins press pass, they even kicked Channel 7 out of Redskins Park a couple years ago) but it is surely inching its way there.

An Briosca Mor said...

Back in the day, LBJ supposedly summoned his aides into the bathroom to conduct official White House business while he was doing his business. So you're in good company on that!

Gus said...

What's the deal with Bergmann in terms of his contract with the club. Will he be around next year?

MikeHarris said...

Not sure of Bergmann's contract status, I'll try to look that up later today.
I do know I have two sources who tell me last night's game was UG-lee. My dogs played keep-away with the remote when I tried to turn it on.

Crow to an independent league - now there's some great advice. Go risk your million-dollar arm in some bush league while we posture. Will he really play for them if he doesn't sign?

An Briosca Mor said...

Last night's game was indeed ugly. I was there, in my normal seats which one of my guests earlier this year dubbed the Cleavage Box for the fine viewing opportunities available therein. But even the non-game viewing opportunities last night were subpar. Hey, at least the weather was nice.

But for something even uglier than the game, see Fire Jim Bowden Blog's attempt to pin the blame for Bergmann's failure to get out of the third before giving up eight runs onto every single member of the organization but Bergmann himself.

MikeHarris said...

Last night was part of my package but I couldn't make it. My brother called this a.m. and said how fortunate I was to miss that. He left after seven, which is longer than I would have been able to hang.
I'm there Friday-Saturday, with a Rockies fan. Could be a miserable couple of days.
As for Bergmann *** didn't he win a 1-0 game against the Mets earlier this year? When he's on, he's on. When he isn't, lord. I saw his relief stint against the Braves earlier this year when he got bombarded and then sent out.

George Templeton said...

Whatever you think of the merits of the rest of his post defending Bergmann, the point about being shorthanded was dead on. How many times this year have we heard Nats announcers talk about the people on the bench who aren't available. And it isn't just one day this goes on for several days and then they are DLed (Gonzalez, Young and Zimmerman being the examples of this). That is terrible to handcuff Acta in that fashion.

MikeHarris said...

Wait a second.
The "word" from all "sources" is that Gonzo gets DLed so Boone can get activated.
Boone is not a pitcher.

What reliever was not available? Mock? You can't piece together something out of Colome, Ayala, Shell, Rivera, Manning and Hanrahan? An inning each? Maybe an inning plus out of Shell?

If you are truly going to take one for the team, go 5-6 innings. They hung him out to dry so they could use the pen for 6 innings instead of 6.2. WTF? Makes no sense.

And, yeah, bottom line on last night is Bergmann blew hard. The grounder that Guzman couldn't get was bad but five walks? Schneider? The pitcher? He didn't have it and should have been out of there very early in that inning.

An Briosca Mor said...

Bergmann has a history of pitching great until all of a sudden he totally melts down. First start this year, sailing along fine in Philly until the fourth inning when he gives up four runs before getting to the second out and is pulled. Second start, against the Marlins, gives up nothing until the fifth when he suffers a seven run meltdown. Then the relief stint against the Braves that you already referenced, which got him sent down the next day to work out his problems. He comes back up and pitches great for long stretches, but still hits the meltdowns after a while, like last night. What to do about that? At some point, he needs to learn how to pull himself out of these things before they become total disasters. But he can't ever learn that until he manages to do it a few times, and if he gets pulled out in favor of a reliever every time he gives up a couple of runs (be they his fault or not) he will never have the chance to work himself out of one of these jams to find out what it will take for him to be able to do it. If he has to suffer a couple of 50+ pitch innings in order to learn whatever lesson he needs to learn, in the long run it will be worthwhile to both himself and the team.

MikeHarris said...

I agree with you - to a limit of some sort. Eight runs is too high a price to pay for that education. It was clear after a while that he wasn't pulling himself out of that one.
For the most part, yeah, you don't know what they have until you see them work their way out of a jam or two. Clippard being left in at Seattle to strike out Sexson (yeah, I know) is an example.

Redding is another one who seems to melt down. I remember when he was still being given an all-star shot by some and Ray Knight, to his credit, dumped all over that. Knight said Redding didn't have the win total and he didn't have it because he wasn't getting to the 7th and 8th often enough.

MikeHarris said...

Here it is! From - "blog reports indicate ***"

What blogs? Give credit where credit is due, big guy. (and no, it wasn't this one so I'm not begging for a plug).