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?