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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dim Bulb on Line 2

For four years, I had my very own radio show. The first three years were devoted to Virginia Tech sports. When I moved into management, we had to change it to The Sports Beat rather than The Tech Beat. About two weeks into the show's history, I opted not to take phone calls.

I just couldn't do it. Many of the calls were OK. People asked reasonable and intelligent questions. But there were just enough do-dos out there to make me shake my head and the brass frowned on us saying things like, "How can you be so flipping stupid?" or "I have a hard time figuring out how you managed to dial the numbers."

This occured to me last night on the drive home. By the time we escape the stadium and make it back to the car, we are able to catch the tail end of the postgame show. Then it is straight into Nats Talk Live, where my main men Craig Heist or Byron Kerr sit there and take those questions. I have yet to hear them use the word "dumbass" in any of their responses, which makes them better men than me.

Two calls last night would have taken all my restraint.

The first came from a kid, so I should ease up a bit. Somewhere, a father should have said, "uh, no, don't ask that" or "just go to bed." The kid wanted to know why Manny was tinkering with his lineup when things were going "so well." Why did Cintron and Belliard play last night in place of Gonzalez and Hernandez?

First, things are not going "so well." This team is 3-11. Because two of those victories came back-to-back doesn't mean things are going well. 3-11 is 3-11. Granted the starting pitching has been much better and there are signs of life. Gonzalez and Hernadez are not the reasons.

Gonzalez bounces more balls than Gilbert Arenas. Then there's that whole 1 for his past 17 thing. Hernadez? His .207 batting average at the top doesn't excite me.

I was fine with that change, not that it helped. Let's face it, as soon as Willie and Guzman are back, Gonzo is Gonzo along with Cintron. And those two can't get back soon enough.

That question was relatively harmless and I chalk up my reaction to the mood I was in after seeing the Nats fall to 0-7 with me in attendance. Had a good time with my kids and all but, damn, win a game, huh? They were above .500 with me there last year. I need to find my rhythm, get out of my slump.

The next one sent me over the top, had me pretty much screaming at the radio. This woman was down on Manny, as many seem to be these days. My poll is currently running at an even split. I'm not ready to push the button on yes just yet though I do understand the questions people have.

Not this one. This woman didn't blame Mike Hinckley. Nope. Poor guy was just "thrown out there like that." That dumb ol' manager just tossed him into a bad situation.

(rapid head shake). WHAT? Hinckley is a relief pitcher. That's what they do. Provide relief. Clean up messes. Get outs when they have to get outs. And I have no problem with Mike Hinckley and his presence on the roster. I do have a problem with his showing last night. Faced two batters. Walked two batters. One with the bases loaded, leading to the game's only run. The Braves go SIXTEEN innings without a run and they get one that way? No wonder my head hurts. GROOVE ONE. Throw it over and let them pound it. There's at least a chance it goes right to someone (see Hanrahan, Joel - Tuesday night). DO NOT WALK IN A RUN.

Yeah, that is the fault of Manny.

Kerr was cool. He merely said he thought pitching changes were handled well. I hope he was at least saying, "you dumbass" under his breath.

Speaking of relief, I'm not sure just yet what it says but it says something that I catch myself saying "good" when Julian Tavarez comes into a game. At least I did last night. Maybe I was wrong about him? Probably not. I must admit he's doing a better job most nights than I would have expected and he's moved way down my list of things that are wrong. Actually threw some strikes last night when that dumb ol' manager just tossed him into that situation.

So does Manny get credit for Taverez' showing if he has to take the blame for Hinckley's?


Kevin said...

Highlights from Charlie & Dave's Rain Delay Theater this week:

1. Zimmermann bats/throws right, writes left. Charlie Slowes writes right, brushes teeth left.

2. Caller notes that Willingham played 2B in the NY-Penn league in 2001, asks whether Nats have considered using him at 2B.

3. Caller named Jordan notes that Zimmermann v Schafer will be the first Jordan v Jordan pitcher/batter matchup in MLB history.

4. At one point Mike Rizzo was in the radio booth taking questions. Q for Rizzo: Do the Braves have the depth to contend in the NL East?

5. Caller concerned with St. Claire's "acumen." Seems to think St. Claire responsible for pitching personnel decisions. Charlie bitchslapped him.

MikeHarris said...

I love Charlie and Dave.
Dave was a guest on my radio show several times. Excellent guest. Never met him, seems like a fine guy.

That Jordan vs. Jordan thing is interesting. It also demands further research.

Sec314 said...

I didn't have the stomach to listen to the call in show, but I do wonder about Manny's decision to bring in Hinckley and not Tavarez right away. Hinckley's worked a lot recently and I wonder if maybe he should have had a night off.

bdrube said...

Sec 134 makes a good point. Hinckley has had 10 appearences already in only 14 games (putting him on pace for about 115 appearances on the season), and he pitched two innings on Sunday and 1.2 the previous night. I'm not saying he can't blamed for not throwing a strike, or that the question absent context wasn't dumb, but given Manny's propensity to run relievers into the ground, he COULD legitmately stand criticism for this.

Hinckley is, after all, still a rookie. I'd hate to see his arm fall off and deprive us of yet another serviceable bullpen arm.

An Briosca Mor said...

Manny brought in Hinckley as a LOOGY or to force Bobby Cox's hand after Cox announced a left-handed pinch hitter. Ultimately Cox countered by pulling his left-handed pinch hitter in favor of a right-hander. But no matter what, Hinckley was only in there to get one out, since the pitcher's slot was due up in the bottom of the 9th. Being the only remaining lefty in the bullpen, Hinckley was the only choice to fill the LOOGY role. And getting one guy out a night is not going to break down any pitcher.

Ryan said...

Hey, we're off tonight. WE CAN'T LOSE, BABY!!!

DeezNats said...

While I agree with you regarding the inanity of the 2 calls you cite, I think a far worse problem with the post game call in show in general is that the hosts toe the party line and dismiss very valid points that intelligent callers make. I remember after the home opener, the host was actually defending Manny's decision to leave Rivera in to pitch to Howard when a caller questioned it. The host cited some statistic like "since last September, Howard has hit over .400 against LHPs" as a solid rationale. He completely ignored (or was unaware of) the fact that over his career, Howard's OPS vs. LHP is about 300 points lower against LHP than it is against RHP.

MikeHarris said...

Re: Jordan v. Jordan. Correct. There have only been five players named Jordan in the majors and this is the first time two have been up at once. Baseball Reference is amazing.

As for DeezNats' point: It is very valid but those guys are in a tough spot. You can say you're objective as all get out but you can only be so "objective" when the team has a hand in your paycheck. It is the same position the folks writing for the sites are in, despite all their disclaimers. That recorded voice of Manny Acta thanking us as we leave isn't directing us to the Post or Times or one of those daggone blogs. It is directing us to

How great would it be if they went to "honest" recordings? "Hi, this is Manny Acta! Thanks for coming, sorry we blew tonight. Be sure to check out tomorrow because we deserve to get ripped a new one!"

bdrube said...

Hey ABM - are you SURE you don't receive a check from Nats management the way you are always sticking up for them no matter how bad their decisions are?

As I posted, Hinckley's last two outings prior to this were 2.0 and 1.2 innings, six and five outs respectively. He has NOT been used as a LOOGY, and even if he was, a 115 appearance pace is in-freaking-sane.