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Friday, February 27, 2009

The Times enters my pool

indirectly, but I will buy Zuckerman a beer or several if his story is correct and it happens by the end of the weekend.

Zuckerman is a fine reporter and writer and I'm sure his editors have checked out his sources. Still, right now, everything is sources.

I'll believe it when El Jefe or Uncle Stan says it. And I will buy them a beer, too, even if they don't enter the pool.

VCU loses in OT last night, by the way. Great game except for that small detail. Back in my house at 3:30 a.m. I am getting WAY WAY too old for that kind of thing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Did they or didn't they?

Philadelphia is lovely this time of year. I just got back to my room after a nice walk through "Center City." Got coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts and it came in an EAGLES mug. Didn't the Phillies win something big? No love in their own town. VCU's women play Drexel tonight in a battle for first place in the Colonial Athletic Association. Rams have won eight straight and will match a school record for consecutive wins with a victory tonight. Listen at - 7 p.m. tip.

I came back hoping to learn some more about what's going on with management of our beloved team. I found out that Jose Rijo has been fired. Oh. We didn't know that was coming.

What's going on with JimBow?

See, this is what frustrated me with the "modern media" toward the end of my days with the mainstream media. The Internet has created a "need to know and need to know NOW" society and everyone is jumping on board. The rush to get "scoops" online has led to some sloppy reporting. Getting it first is great. Getting it right is even better.

I read on a few blogs that the Nats had asked permission to forego the usual practices and bring in LaCava. The Post refuted that (and I still stick with the paper of my youth when it comes to credibility). So my guess is permission was not sought (yet). But maybe it was sought.

In the age of quick information and modern technology, I seem to be confused more often than I was in the good old days.

While we're on the subject, this is one reason I think JimBow needs to go on leave until everything is settled. Spring games are being played and - admit it, I'm right - we're all thinking about this mess. Most of us are giddy over the thought that a new GM could well be on the way. I really have no idea what happened yesterday other than the Nats lost.

Here's my NatsFanboyLooser promise to all my faithful readers: I will stick to my journalistic principles if I ever do report rather than yabber on about something. I didn't start this to be a reporter again but I do still know people. Now and then, something is going to hit me on the head. Thus far, I'm batting 1.000 albeit with a limited sample size. I had the Olsen-Willingham trade first, all details correct. My opinions may come from left field or head-up-my-assville. My facts will be straight.

So did they or didn't they?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time's A Wastin'!

My pool pick for Leave of Absence is TODAY. There's only 10 1/2 hours of today left. C'mon, man, do the right thing and take yourself and your distractions away from the team. I'm thirsty. I need to win my own pool so I owe myself a beer.

Go read my bud's blog at FireJimBowden (see cool links to the right). He says JimBow is gone today, which hoses me in my own pool but would make me happy anyway. And if the replacement is indeed LaCava, I'm happier still.

While I'm on a roll, I hope it is not an omen that the Nats loaded the bases with none out in their first inning of the spring - and didn't score. Kearns fans (shocker) and Flores hits into a double play.

Oh, yeah, and there's this, too. A very interesting piece on Jon Rauch that was buried inside a Nationals Journal update.

I had no idea Jon was, uh, out there. The comments are interesting, too. I'm curious what happened with the catcher. I'm also curious what makes anyone think one of those neck tats is a good idea.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time To Play - Pick The Date!

This latest JimBow mess is all over the Interwebs and numerous sites do a much better job 'splaining things than I ever could. In short, our man appears to be in a whole heap o' trouble.

So let's play a game. Two dates: When he pulls a "Rijo" and goes away for a while and when he's dismissed.

Since it is my blog, I go first. Wednesday, he's outta there for a while. He doesn't want to be a distraction. I'll take April 22 for the bye-bye announcement.

Given the timing, I'm sure Rizzo will get promoted. I'm sure he's a great guy and he may well be qualified. But I fear he'll make Washington the Land of the Former D-Backs like JimBow made it the Land of the Former Reds. I'd love to see a fresh face, a fresh approach.

Winner of the contest gets a beer at Nats Park on me at the first game I attend after JimBow goes AMF. If I win, well, just having that change made is enough of a prize. Nats Town is gonna get a new mayor!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thinking out loud again

I'm in the midst of a very busy week (with a nice break tonight) and I haven't had too much time to ponder what's going on down in Florida. Probably a good thing because it keeps me from getting too hacked off about this whole Smiley-isn't-Smiley deal. But, as they often do, these little thoughts keep popping into my head:

*The Smiley deal may be a good thing if its ultimate end result is the thing many of us would really like to see happen. You know what I mean, there's a whole Web site devoted to that wish (see cool links on the right). I still say he probably survives and Rijo takes the hit.

*Glad Zimmerman didn't go to arbitration. Not glad we haven't read about a multi-year yet. How hard would it be to take what the O's gave what's his name, Markakis, and match or slightly better that? The team keeps making decent steps with the Olsen/Willingham trade, the signing of Dunn - let's make THE BIG STEP and lock up The Face for a while. Six and 70. Git 'er done.

*Where does Chad Cordero pitch this year, if anywhere?

*I saw on some of my blogging colleagues' sites that Ian Desmond is still having wrist problems. Clueless me had no clue he missed much of last season. Those hamate bones are a bitch. A VCU player named Scott Sizemore, who is in the Tigers chain now, suffered a hamate injury, too, at about the same time. I did a story on him in January for our Web site and he had not been cleared to swing at that point. Great kid, considered a great prospect, I hope he makes it back. Does Desmond still factor in anywhere? I still remember the story in the Washington Times during the first spring training touting him as a future great one. Has he played a game at AAA yet?

*Has El Jefe weighed in on Smiley yet? I see Uncle Stan chimed in. Still waiting to hear from The Big Guy. How would you like to be in that room, trying to 'splain away this mess?

Today should be a good day. I'm doing a middle school speaking gig, a library presentation about the wonders of reading and writing. We get some community service hours so I'm using those to do this. Then my son and I are headed to Durham to see Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel. We're both jacked about that. Tomorrow he goes back to work and I head to New York with the VCU women's team. Rams are 22-4 and headed - we hope - to the NCAA Tournament. The Final Four is before the home opener.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Don't want to toot my horn TOO much

OK, maybe I do.

Faithful followers of this here blog will remember a question I asked on June 28, 2008. I have cut and pasted below:
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?

I wish I could tell you I was brilliant or had great sources or something cool like that. Nope. This was just a hunch, a something-didn't-smell-right kind of thing. Luck, I suppose you could call it, but my b.s. meter went crazy from the start on this guy.

It's not the first age scandal involving a player. It won't be the last. Who was the Brave a few years back who had a few years added to his age? Was it Furcal? There was a big fuss when he got picked up for underage drinking, if memory serves. Turns out he wasn't underaged.

The real question in this Smiley-isn't-Smiley debacle isn't whether heads will or should roll. Think Uncle Stan and El Jefe are pissed? That's a lot of cabbage. Someone (my money is on Rijo) is going down.

The real question is, from a competitive standpoint, does it matter? Who gives a rat's red one how old the guy is or what his name is IF he can play? Can he play? Does anybody know?

One of the interns here is a former Nats farmhand who got like six at-bats last year in the GCL. He says the guy is legit. He also had no clue about this story until I told him. Or at least he acted like he had no clue. Someone obviously knew something!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Is he serious?

Pardon me for ripping off some version of John McEnroe's rant, but someone please explain to me just what Odalis Perez is thinking.

Holding out? Wants a deal that's more appreciative of his work?

Holding out? Seriously? Like they were lining up to for his services?

AMF dude. Thanks for the memories.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Stick with Nick?

Oh, what I'd give to see a 162-game season out of Nick Johnson. I'll bet a bundle the numbers would be good and you can't even quantify the difference it would make having a real first baseman playing first rather than a butcher. Well, I guess some serious stat crunchers could. I can't.

The thought of a lineup with Zimmerman, Dunn and Johnson in the middle is interesting. I'd love to see it work. You can go Dunn, Milledge, Dukes across the outfield, have Willingham as the fourth outfielder. He'd get plenty of time, I suppose, since Dukes seems like a guy who is always going to miss time here and there with an injury. Kearns? Well, it doesn't look as if there will be room.

But the injury history with Johnson just screams that this is a major risk. Suppose you move some of those parts and - like clockwork - he gets hurt again? Three weeks turns into three months, or three months turns into the rest of the season. Can you take that chance? While the lineup might not be quite as good, it seems like much less of a risk to put Dunn at first and go Willingham, Milledge, Dukes with Kearns as the fourth. Or am I nuts (again)?

If you do make a move and count on Johnson and he gets hurt, are any of the outfield prospects seriously ready? Is Maxwell for real? I don't see Bernadina as any kind of long-term answer.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pre P&C Report Question of the Day 3

I guess this is the last one of these, since pitchers and catchers report tomorrow.

Anyway, are you comfortable with Joel Hanrahan as the closer?
If so, why?
If not, why and what do you see as the alternative?

The Moneyball book made some good points about closers. I'm not as hung up on having a "proven" one as I used to be. I'm OK with Hanrahan. If he can consistently throw that 97 mph job that moves, he can be as good as anybody. Big if, I know. As was discussed in Ball Four: Sandy Koufax used to get 'em out with letter high fastballs. Great advice if you can throw a letter high fastball like Sandy Koufax. I'd be a fine pitching coach, eh? Sure, Joel, just go out there and toss that 97 mph thing for strikes.

I'm geared up. I need this to be a good spring and a good season. Life was going along swimmingly, even as the Nats season turned sour. Then my dog died and everything turned to hell. It's basically stayed that way, with a few blips of good here and there. I need to get good and stay good and a good baseball team would go a long way toward that. Sad commentary, I suppose. But true.

So the pressure is on you, Joel. My sanity depends on your 97 mph gas.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pre PC Report Question of the Day 2

Yesterday was the best day I've had in quite a while. Nats sign Dunn. VCU wins a game in overtime when it looked for a long while like the Rams were going to lose. I made it home safely. My son bought his first new car. I had a trio of Labs waiting for me at the door, wagging their tails.
Oh, did I mention the Nats signed Adam Dunn?

That, of course, leads to the question. Where does he play?

Do you try to keep Dunn and Johnson in the lineup and go with Dunn, Dukes, Milledge across the outfield? Willingham as your fourth and Kearns as OMO (odd man out)? Do you take whatever deal you can get on Johnson, knowing an injury is coming (it always does), and put Dunn at first. That leaves Willingham, Dukes, Milledge across the outfield and Kearns as fourth. Or Kearns in right, Milledge (or Dukes) in left and Willingham as fourth?

Trades could change everything, obviously. I'm not sure I'm eager for a trade unless it brings in a big-time pitcher. I'd hate to see them let Milledge go elsewhere, for reasons beyond having to listen to my wife complain about her guy being gone.

I see no way Langerhans, Bernadina, Maxwell or any other outfielder stick now - can the young guys become part of a trade?

Yeah, again, that's more than one question. Counting has always given me trouble.

If today is half as good as yesterday, it will be a pretty good day. It's baked chicken day at the work lunch counter, so we're off to a good start.

Oh, oh, one more question: Is there any need/clamor to try and get Orlando Hudson now?

LATE EDIT - I just realized I typed all this nonsense and didn't even mention Wily Mo. Has he become a complete non-factor to anyone else? Is there any way he sticks around?

MASN is going to show the press conference live at 3 p.m., just in case anyone doesn't have to, like, work and wants to watch.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is it really Dunn?

The Post has it. has it.

Adam Dunn is a Nat!?!?

I think I just had the big one. No, he isn't Teixeira. I'll take it. Lord, I'll take it.

Now, which pitcher becomes a Nat in exchange for a couple of spare outfielders or maybe Nick Johnson? I do like the idea of both Johnson and Dunn in the lineup but we all know better than to count on Johnson for too long.

This crappy day just got a hell of a lot better. Assuming this is true. Has to be true. Sources said.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pre-P&C Report Question of the Day

Is it Saturday yet?

NO, that isn't THE question. I've been watching for a Guess the Rotation thing on one of the real blogs that covers the Nats and haven't seen one yet. So I'll do one here while we wait for the real folks to start theirs.

Me first: Lannan, Olsen, Cabrera, Balester, Zimmermann. (way to stick my neck out).

Which leads to more questions: Hill? Start the year on the DL and fill in for the first one who gets hurt or falters? Martis? A full year at AAA? Does Matt Chico still exist? We get all these injury updates on everyone else. I fear this guy has fallen off a cliff. Is Tyler Clippard still a factor? I was in Seattle when he struck out Sexson in a clutch situation. Yes, it was Sexson but still. Guy showed me a little something there. Does Odalis Perez have any shot and, if so, where? Who among my five doesn't make it? I think the first three are stone cold locks.

Final question (damn lot of questions for ONE question, huh?): If I'm right, which is rare, are you OK with that rotation assuming health and reasonable production of the regular eight? I think I can live with it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I love Shawn Hill. I hope he's healthy. I hope he turns into a 20-game winner. I'm OK with the Nats giving him tons of chances. I've seen him up close when he's on and, well, wow.

But how on God's green earth does he win an arbitration case? He made 12 starts. He went 1-5. He had an earned run average of 5.83. That wins? Is it possible for any of the others to actually lose their case? I can't see how. Someone explain what about the process I'm missing here.

The Nats ought to just suck it up now, sign Olsen and Willingham for what they asked for and get a long-term deal done with Zimmerman. And then they need to go out and sign somebody other than more Reds castoffs and career farmhands and Odalis Perez.

I have four season tickets now. Gives me a right to be twice as bitchy.