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Thursday, April 30, 2009


Debbi Taylor did an interview with Logan Kensing on last night's pregame. It was a typical quick interview with the new guy thing - not very riveting and that's not a knock on Debbi. It's just the way these things go. We did hear three times that Kensing is a laid back guy. I'm still waiting on a clear definition of laid back.

Anyway, there was one very interesting tidbit in the segment. When Kensing isn't going well, his mom sends him a duck.

What? A duck?

This is where print beats the heck out of those quick TV interviews. Print guys can go in depth, get to the meat of the story so to speak. They can tell us more and I hope they're hard at work on that today. I need to know more about these ducks.

We talked about this over dinner last night (Peking Duck) as we watched the Nats win a game behind setup king Kip Wells and closer extraordinaire Julian Tavarez.

We've pretty much ruled out a live duck. They're probably hard to mail and they'd make the box all messy. Plus, as much as the guy has struggled over the years, that would mean a whole lot of ducks hanging around his apartment. So it is reasonable to assume this is not a live duck.

Is it a frozen duck that he can thaw and cook? It is a construction-paper duck? A cardboard cartoon duck? A chocolate duck (do they make those)? A stuffed duck? If so, we have one the dogs play with that we'd be happy to donate. It is a Shoebox greeting card kind of thing with a duck on it?

It really is a cute story. Mom's watching, Logan gets lit up, she runs out and gets some sort of duck and sends it along. Does it work? What are his stats immediately after receiving the duck? And, now that this has been made public, is the poor guy going to get overrun with ducks of all kinds as soon as Albert Pujols takes him deep this weekend?

Daffy Duck? Donald Duck? Daisy Duck? Dirty Duck? Clickety Clack Duck? Little Quack (you have to be old to get that one)?

I'm sure some are going to think I'm being snarky here. I'm really not. I don't think players' personal lives should be open books but I love little "looks ins" like these, things that show just a little bit of personality. Mom and the ducks is a great story. I want to know more.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My apologies

This move to get Logan Kensing doesn't exactly make me jump up and down and go, "YEAH. WE'RE ON THE WAY NOW BABEEEE."

Sure, it's a low-risk, high-reward thing. As he is, he's no worse than what's out there now and the hope is he gets better. He has a pretty good body of work that indicates he is what he is and that isn't going to change.

Jason Bergmann is this year's yo-yo man. Up, down, up, down, up, down. My next poll may be when he's back. And then when he's down again. And back.

Kensing has one career save in the big leagues. He's not the closer solution.

Anyone surprised that Ledezma and Shell cleared waivers? You mean, no one else wants them??

Why do you do this?

That's the question I was asked last night and I think only the diehards among us beleaguered Nats fans would understand the answer.

I spent last evening being "muscle" for a family friend, laughable if you know me. A young woman we know is moving and unloading some of her stuff via Craig's List. She didn't want to be alone with strangers stopping by her apartment. So my wife sent me up there with two instructions: Look intimidating and buy the couch if the person coming to see it didn't want it. We need one.

So I sat there and looked all badass and the couch sold. We did sit on it long enough to watch the Nats game. I told her I wasn't coming if she didn't get MASN. After one of the long home runs (they all run together), she popped the question: Why do you do this? How does a mid-50s (EARLY 50s damn it) Richmonder go in over his head over a baseball team like that?

I'm from there. "Oh, so they could plop down any old team and you'd be all in?" Pretty much. "Quality doesn't matter?" Clearly not.

See, baseball is one sport where I've always been basically a fan. I did cover it some professionally but not to any great extent. I care about the other D.C. teams and want to see them do well. But baseball is also the one sport of the big four I enjoy watching when I don't have to watch it. Plus the other three take place mostly during the seasons when I am (was) the busiest. I had more time to enjoy baseball.

I was a fan of about nothing for a long, long time. I remember, as I've said before, waving Nick Johnson around third at RFK Stadium and my son saying to his then-girlfriend: We've never seen him like this.

Being a fan is fun. I hope to find out in my lifetime that it is much more fun when you are a fan of a good team. My Caps diehard friends are about giddy right now. I need to jump on that train.

I will bitch, moan, gripe, complain and curse but I will continue to be a fan of the Nationals even if they manage to go 0-162. What would change that? Bad actors, for one. I've spelled out my feelings on Dukes before and won't go into it in detail again. I'm OK with Dukes being given a chance. If Dukes or any National ever does anything egregious and they don't cut him loose, I'll rethink things. I don't like assholes. Give me an honest effort and accountability, I say for the umpteenth time, and stay off the police blotter.

I also want to feel the team at least appreciates the efforts we make as fans, with our time and our money. It is not insignificant. I don't need a red carpet. I just want to feel that I matter along with the other 8.999 who are there.

The Nats don't earn A grades in either category right now but they do earn passing marks.

As long as they continue to do that, I'm all in. But I sure as hell wish they'd hurry up and get good. Has Strasburg signed yet?

On a totally unrelated and very sad note, sports writer David Poole of the Charlotte Observer died suddenly yesterday at age 50. Terrific reporter, terrific guy. His current Facebook picture will break your heart - it is his 2-year-old grandson Eli. David loved being "Paw-Paw."

His death serves as a reminder of two things we all need to keep in mind - games don't really matter all that much and enjoy every single second because there's no good way to know when you're down to your last one. RIP my friend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So what's the solution?

During the Manny Acta portion of the postgame show, he handled the question of "will he continue as the closer" pretty well. He didn't want to make a decision in anger/frustration/whatever. They'd sleep on it and make some sort of decision.

Johnny and Ray kicked that around some and Ray closed the program by saying, "Someone else will be out there closing."

I'm down with that. Who's with me? The question? Who will it be now?

I don't see anyone in the current pen I'd trust any more than I do Hanranhan right now. Kip Wells? Julian Tavarez?

Syracuse's six saves are spread among several, including Garrett Mock and Ryan Wagner. Zech Zinicola has Harrisburg's only save (How much does H-burg suck - it is 2-13! Ugh).

This is where I need the experts' help. Am I missing someone? Is there someone somewhere in the system they ought to throw out there? Is there a still-unsigned free agent worth giving a shot? When does Beimel come back? Can he close?

Manny had a point when he said there's no Rollie Fingers or Mariano Rivera down there. It is a very obvious problem. I just don't see an obvious solution.

Five home runs and 11 runs ought to be enough, every single time. Four runs up with two to play ought to be enough, every single time.

LATE UPDATE: This story indicates they'll go with Beimel when he returns next week. I hope they're not putting him in a position for which he's not suited. He's the one thing that has been right about the bullpen thus far and I'd hate to see him go to hell in a handbasket with the rest of them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Words fail me

The Manny Poll

The results are in. The readers of NationalsFanboyLooser have spoken.
By a margin of 30-20, voters say the Nationals do not need a managerial change.
And the lone employee of the site - that would be me - still isn't sure where he stands on the issue.

It is definitely a legitimate question, given the team's start. Even the television crew is weighing in, though not addressing the question directly. My previous post from yesterday talks about Ray Knight's strong comments. Rob Dibble was very pointed in comments he made during the game and after the game about cluttering Jordan Zimmermann's head with too many scouting report details. That's Randy St. Claire, not Manny Acta but the point is even the hometown TV team is asking a whole bunch of questions about the way things are being done. (Dibble was also very pointed about bring Z-double-n back for the sixth - he didn't like it).

Like many, I'm sure, I go back and forth. What I should have thought to do is track when the votes were coming in and how they went on those given days. I posted it last Sunday, after the disaster of the series against the Marlins. Anyone voting then probably had a mad on and said yes. Then the team wins two against the Braves and maybe those voters said no, no change necessary.
Anyone voting early in the Mets series *** you get the drift. There was a rush of "no" votes late. How big is Acta's family?

I like Manny for a lot of reasons, though I'm not sure any of them have to do with baseball and running a game and a team. It is such a complex job, what with juggling personalities, dealing with media, actual in-game strategy. I've asked aloud if he's the right manager for THIS team and I still wonder about that. There have been some decisions that make me shake my head: Milledge up top, Cintron pinch-hitting too much, the whole Rivera against the Phillies thing, Josh Bard batting fifth.

But I'm far from a confirmed passenger on the Manny Must Go Express. Again, I like the guy. I'd like to see it work out. If he was dismissed, I don't think I'd scream bloody murder. But I don't think it is necessary. Yet.

All I know for sure is the Nats are 1-0 since I last shaved and the Caps evened the series and forced a Game Seven. Sounds like a great excuse to not shave for a while.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Good Lord - you go Ray!

Anyone watching pregame? Ray Knight just earned a lifetime supply of bonus points from me.

Knight essentially said he'd kick Elijah Dukes' ass.

"He and I would probably tie up."

Said someone in there has to be stronger than Dukes, either the manager or a captain or another player. Go tell him what's what and if he hits you, hit 'em in the mouth.

I get the sense that Ray is extremely unimpressed with what's going on right now. He did NOT say this, let's be clear, but I also get the idea that he is extremely unimpressed with the lack of leadership - which comes right down on the manager.

Ray vs. Elijah. I'd buy a ticket. And I'd put my money on Ray.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting testy in there

Watching a Virginia Tech football practice one day, a young player with some promise mouthed off ever so slightly. A veteran assistant coach shook his head and told him, "Son, you are nowhere near good enough to be an asshole."

I was reminded of that when I read today's update on about that abomination at Citi Field.

Elijah Dukes has no reason to listen to me but I do wonder if he's listening to anyone. Does he still have the baby-sitter? I meant to ask that last week when he had his Little League fiasco. But this guy, of all of them, ought to be very, very careful about being an asshole.

Now is not the time to ask you about that shit? (that's my guess as to what he said, since 'something' was in parentheses and I can't think of another curse word that fits). When IS the time to ask you about that shit? Tonight at dinner? At the club? Tomorrow?

Here's what I ask for the money you make, a point I've made before: Your best effort every time out and accountability. Those reporters aren't down there because they love hanging out with you postgame. They're down there because their job is to be the connection between you and the fans, their readers. You don't owe the reporters jack squat. But you owe ME and the other fans who invest chunks of time and money some sort of explanation as to how you botched an easy fly ball, turning the first inning into a shitshow.

You do that through the reporters.

The other thing you may want to think about there is what those reporters may do when you do need them. They're professionals. They'll be fair. But they're also humans. So when there's a screw-up of some sort, minor or major, do they write that you are really trying hard and deserve another chance? Or do they write that it is time to cut your "not the time for that shit" self loose? Think about that. I hate to admit it because I'm still a media guy at heart. But it does happen.

I also understand Manny is very frustrated right now and quite tired of dealing with variations of "why do you suck so much?" every day. Well, he IS the manager and dealing with it is part of the job. Best way to end those questions is to stop sucking so much but it sure doesn't look like that will happen any time soon.

When he says the fact that Dukes probably won't talk is "not my problem," it is laughable. If you have assholes in your clubhouse making it difficult for the media to do their jobs, it is your problem. The splatter could end up back on you. See the explanation above about the media connecting the fans/their readers to the team. It applies here, too.

By the way, I heard a variety of coaches/managers use the "don't ask me ask him" kind of line over the years. Without fail, it was code for "I'm tired of alibi-ing for his ass." This could be very interesting to watch.

Again, I understand frustration. Everyone involved with the Nats - from the top through the organization down to us beleaguered fans - feels it to some degree. I hope. If 3-13 and an ugly 3-13 at that doesn't frusrate you, you may be dead.

They're still professionals and they should act like it. For our money, we fans deserve answers. From everyone.

I actually turned the TV off earlier

and I'm about to do it again.
This is awful, unwatchable. Sunglasses on top of the head where they do NO good, easy fly ball dropped. Two runs. Nick Johnson of all people is now throwing it away. Bad baserunning taking the bat out of the hands of a guy who can hit it out. TV announcers talking about a team not talking infield. WHY NOT?
And so much for the "streak" of "quality starts." Cabrera out already, Bergmann coming in. I have no confidence this day is going to get any better.
It's way too nice an afternoon to sit here and get frustrated by terrible baseball. Seriously, sometimes I wonder if they are trying to be this bad.

C'mon dogs. It's time for another walk.

Cintron Revisited

Morning person is often used to describe me. I haven't slept this late since college. Usually, sleeping in means 8 a.m.
I planned to get up and post my thoughts on the guy who is apparently the Nats' new favorite player, Alex Cintron. I see my friends at Nats320 had the same thoughts and managed to get them posted at a decent hour.
So just click on the Nats320 up there or on the cool links to the right and imagine my snarly voice going, "Yeah. Daggone right. What he said," in the background.

Seriously, what's the love affair with this guy? I'm sure we'll hear some defense about situational this or situational that. Here's the situation: The Nats had cut a three-run lead to one. They needed someone on base, or maybe another home run. There sits Ronnie Belliard, long-time MAJOR LEAGUE pro, veteran of many roles ....

Oh wait, all this is in Nats320's fine post.

Off to walk the dogs and do a couple of chores before plopping back down in this chair to agonize through a Daniel Cabrera start. I just love being a fan!!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Last item in the "Mailbag" on

Don't you think the Nationals made a mistake in not signing second baseman Orlando Hudson? He is apparently healthy and certainly hitting and fielding well. I think they blew it big time.
-- Peter R., Vancouver

I don't think the Nationals made a mistake in that regard because they have good enough second basemen in Hernandez and Belliard. The reason Washington didn't sign Hudson is because he failed a physical the club gave him before Spring Training started.

Say what?
A. Hudson is an upgrade over Hernandez and Belliard. He's more expensive for a reason. He's better.
B. But this is the real news. He failed a physical? Was that reported when it happened and I just missed it? I'd never heard about this. If it is indeed true, it damn sure should have been reported somewhere and I suspect it was and I just fell asleep on that one. Right?

Whatever was ailing Hudson, it appears to have been fixed. He's played in every game and is hitting .385 with two home runs and eight RBI. He's stolen four bases and hasn't been caught stealing. He has zero errors.

Yeah, Belliard and Hernandez compare. Granted, never said they compared. They said they were "good enough." For what? Hudson would have been an upgrade and I'd like to know what was wrong with the physical that made him not worth signing?

Perhaps it was money? If so, let's just say that. The Nats didn't want to invest 10 or so million in a quality second baseman and leadoff hitter. Not when they have half of that invested in a DH who is too sick and out of shape to actually, you know, play. Not that he could play anywhere in a league that doesn't use the DH.

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?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wipe that smirk off your face!

As rare as they've been, any victory is worth celebrating. In my house, there's nothing better than a victory over the Braves - especially after being in the stadium for three losses to them recently.

My son and I sat through the whole thing last night, switching over to the back-to-back Two and A Half Men episodes during the rain delay (he's the half in this joint). In the ninth, two on and none out, he had that smirk on his face. We both knew what was coming. Except it didn't come and he retreated upstairs in a flurry of unprintable words.

Love it.

Neither of us could figure out why Dukes was trying for third base early in the game. We darn sure couldn't figure out what Prado was thinking trying to get to third later in the game. I sure didn't mind seeing the inning end with Chipper Jones in the batter's box.

He's leaving work early today, we're meeting his sister and heading to the park. I'm saying my prayers now that Zimmerman hits one out. If it happens, turn your head toward Section 309 and watch the goofball in the Braves' hat and Virginia Tech tattoo stand up and sing the U.Va. fight song. I'm hoping my buddies at MASN put a camera on him.

It's amazing how a couple of victories can change a mood. He reminds me the Nats are 3-10 on the season. I remind him the Nats are 2-0 since the purge, 2-0 since the deal for Zimmerman was signed. And the Braves are 0-2 in that same timeframe.

The Nats are, however, 0-6 with me in attendance this season. I hope that little fact doesn't get my ticket voided.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My favorite read of the day

is this story about Elijah Dukes and the Little League. I need to find an address where I can send a buck or two to contribute to the cause. I do wonder about the $500 payment to Dukes. Is that standard?

Actually, that story was my second favorite read of the day behind all the stories such as this one about Z-double-N winning his debut. We'll work on the nickname. I liked what I saw enough to sit down and try to figure out when I'll get a chance to see him live. Not sure I'm ready to anoint him as The One just yet but my mood has definitely improved.

I went from downstairs to upstairs after the sixth and saw that a reliever not named Beimel had recorded two quick outs. That helped the mood, too.

Today is already a better day than any recent day has been. All because of a baseball team. I need professional help.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An eventful evening

We caught the news of the promotions/demotions on the drive home. I hope it makes a difference but I'm not sure shuffling some pitchers back and forth is enough. We'll see. We all know it can't be worse.

The better news was waiting when we got home. The Zim deal is done, NJ (and apparently but I haven't seen it yet) report. Good. I'm surprised he didn't go in after this weekend and say "bump it up to 5/50 to get me to hang around this joint."

I got through on the radio call-in and asked my question about Willingham. My phone cut off before I heard the answer. I still have no clue why Alex Cintron batted in the eighth instead of Josh Willingham. I didn't remember until I read my bud over at FJB (see cool links to the right) that it happened yesterday, too.

Is Willingham still on the team? I'm sure I saw him sitting there in the dugout today. No. 16, right? WHY THE HELL ISN'T HE BEING USED??

I'll be plopped in front of the tube the next two games, will venture north again with my son and some friends for the Wednesday game. I wonder if we'll get two days of rain so I can see Zimmermann's debut in person.

Can Bergmann close? Or is that a really bad idea (if so, it would fit right in with several others the team has tried).

Quick question for the road

Does anybody see a way this team wins another game? Because I sure don't.

Oh, OK, a couple more:

*Am I holding the right guy accounable in my poll? Is it time to call Randy St. Claire into question? Probably not, since he's not a magician and he can't turn chicken poo into chicken salad. But I still can't think of a pitcher he's developed into a stud in his years here.

*Was Willingham not there today? I swore I saw him sitting on the bench. How is he not hitting in the eighth. Don't give me the lefty-right nonsense or whatever. Willingham has to hit there.

This is going to be a fun drive home.

Hole in the Wall Gang

I was sitting in approximately the same place last June when Lastings Milledge got hurt that I was in yesterday when Roger Bernadina got hurt. Both were nasty scenes, seeing an outfielder mess up an ankle after making a catch.

As I watched the aftermath of both, I thought to myself, "Why is there a gap between the bottom of the wall and the ground?"

There has to be a reason, right? Is it a structural thing? Is it the same way at other stadiums? I'm not an engineer or construction expert. I don't play one on TV and I don't pretend to know anything about that stuff.

It could also have nothing to do with the injuries at all. I seem to recall someone saying Milledge did get his ankle jammed under there. A poster on Nationals Journal indicated Bernadina just landed wrong, wasn't near the gap. Could be, I couldn't tell.

I do think, given what has happened to the two center fielders, it is a reasonable question to ask. I hope somebody who knows weighs in with the answer.

A few other items and thoughts:

*Two friends got on the subway after the Caps game yesterday and arrived at Nats Park in the ninth inning. They couldn't get in. They were most willing to pay. They headed up and watched from the top of the parking deck. Trust me, there was plenty of room inside for them and the Nats could use whatever money someone is willing to give them.

*My wife was surprised by the size of the crowd when we sat down at 12:50. She thought it was a 1:35 game. If they're announcing 19 and change, my guess is the actual count is closer to 15. How long before this team is drawing less than 10,000?

*I'm torn on the Dukes thing. Yeah, you have to have rules - but it isn't like he was just plain late. Did he call? Extenuating circumstances have to be considered. I think the idea of sending him to AAA if he does it again is laughable.

*Is there ANY reason to consider keeping Josh Bard over Wil Nieves? Haven't we seen enough? That "hit" he got in the eighth yesterday - the Nats' only hit after the second - was a gift from the home scorer. Hanley Ramirez usually makes that play blindfolded. And why was Bard batting fifth yesterday?

*Results of my home run poll were not surprising - 44 of 48 responders think Dunn will lead the team. Three voted for Dukes (not if he's in AAA!) and one for Zimmerman. The pitching victories poll was spread out - nine think a reliever will lead the team, eight liked Martis, eight liked Zimmermann. Lannan got five votes. Olsen and Cabrera one each. As we all know, Martis is the current leader. With one.

*Another friend recently moved to the area, taking a job not far from Nats Park. He and his wife bought a 21-game plan. He used one of our tickets yesterday. He's all in, having splurged on Nats gear for his head and his torso. I warned him before the game: Being a fan of this outfit will age you fast. He's well aware already. He had the glazed look in his eyes as we filed out yesterday.

New poll going up today, thanks to all who participated. I'm enjoying some time with my brother and sister-in-law before we all head to the park. Gluttons we are, severe gluttons. They're in the club today. We're not.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good morning to you, too

Not even 7 a.m. and I'm already in a bad mood. I got up early to get ready for a weekend trip, looking forward to seeing Guzman back in the lineup.
Instead I find out he's on the 15-day DL. No offense to Alberto Gonzalez, who did a fine job at short last night (and whose 26th birthday is today). But I'd rather have Guzman out there. I suspect that doesn't make me the Lone Ranger.

Oh, and I'm on record as saying how much I love Jesus Flores. That hasn't changed. But you have to swing the bat. Have to. Can't look at those pitches.

That one definitely should have been won.

Oh, and what's up with the O on the uniforms as discussed here? It might be funny if the team wasn't 1-8. I'd be curious to hear how that happened. Didn't someone notice it before the fourth inning? They mentioned on the broadcast they'd received e-mails about it and then showed the "proper" shirts, leading some (like me) to believe they'd been correct all along. Guess not.

See you at the park.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Deal or no deal?!

Is Zimmerman signed beyond this year yet?!

I posted something briefly yesterday about 7/72 - I saw a string on a message board that excited me so much I broke most of my reporting rules. I didn't read the whole thread and didn't even look for a link to the story it was discussing. There was NO link because there was NO story. So I pulled my post that should never have been posted.

Today there have been hints that a 5/45 is close, or done, or something. I've heard bits and pieces about it on the pregame and I'm getting the sense that this is close to done. But not done. I suspect/hope that, if/when it does get done, the regular media makes a big deal out of things.

I do know this: 5/45 is a hell of a deal. I hope that gets done. I was just fine with 7/72.

A win and a still-bitter wife

Adam Dunn's blast was still streaking toward the stands when my wife asked: How many of those runs is he going to give back in left field?

Wow. She isn't going to get over this Lastings Milledge thing any time soon. The answer she got, at least for last night, was NONE.

Amazing how a simple thing like a victory eight games into the season brightens a mood. It is a beautiful crystal-clear blue sky day down this way. I feel great. Went to bed with a smile and woke up with a smile.

Anyone know how to clean champagne out of Berber carpets?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rain - a blessing and a curse

I had a feeling it was futile before I even got in the car. Raining hard here, rained hard pretty much the entire drive. Ever the optimist *** I felt like Charlie Brown standing on the mound screaming as the rain soaked him.

But the rainout turned out to be an OK thing. MASN was kind enough to invite a bunch of us blogging types to invade their suite (there goes the neighborhood). Instead, several of us got together at a place in Crystal City. Kristen and Stephanie were there from We've Got Heart. Chris, late of Capitol Punishment and now with, was there along with Brian from Nationals Farm Authority and Ian from Nationals Pride. Also there - our host Todd Webster from MASN, Rob Dibble and his wife (whose name escapes me and I hate that - I'm terrible with names).

We watched the Caps lose. Every team I watch these days loses. I won't watch them anymore. I promise. We ate, drank some (but stopped early because we had to drive) and talked a lot.

Dibble was very entertaining, very engaging. To say it was an enjoyable evening would be an understatement. Yeah, I know. I haven't been the most open-minded about Mr. Dibble but I'm also not an unreasonable person and I promise to be much more open-minded now. I hope once he gets to know the team/town/audience better that we will see and hear in the booth the same guy we saw/heard last night. Those who were there will vouch for this point - it will be fun and entertaining.

I'm not going to back away from my feeling about cheering in the booth. That's probably just a holdover from my "no cheering" media days. I still don't like it. That's OK. There's plenty about me not to like either.

But I will look past it and listen. I heard enough last night to move my knowledge level up a few points.

As for the cursed part - Zimmermann now debuts on Monday. Saturday and Wednesday are part of my ticket plan. I bought Sunday to see the originally scheduled debut. Not sure I can make another trip on Monday, as much as I'd like to, since I do have some actual work to get done. I may be unemplo ** self employed but I do have SOME stuff to get done.

Heck, I can just stay home and listen to Bob and Rob. I learned a bit about Zimmermann last night and I'm sure I'll learn more Monday.

Thanks Todd/MASN for hosting the evening, thanks Kristen for helping pull it all together - thanks to all of you for putting up with me. We bloggers do get out of our basements every now and then and we have fun when we do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An explosion south of Richmond

That noise many of you up D.C. way just heard was my lovely wife after hearing the news that her favorite Washington National was now a Syracuse Chief.

This is not a happy woman. I've hidden the phones. She's trying to go straight to the top, right past Manny, Uncle Stan and the IGM (interim GM). She wants El Jefe on the line. It could get ugly if she's successful. If we see Uncle Stan or the others coming on our visit this weekend, I'll point her in the other direction.

"Did he make those errors at second base yesterday??"

No, but he doesn't play second base.

"Did he look like a drunk beginner ice skater in left field?"

No, but they're paying Dunn lots of money to hit lots of home runs and he has to play somewhere. No DH in this league.

"Did he have anything to do with the Plunk Plunk Boom Boom?"

No, he's not a pitcher.

"He'd probably be a better one!" Hard to argue with that at this point. Maybe he'll come back as CC Sabathia?

She went on to say that she's seen enough to know he's hardly the problem with this team. She can't believe management thinks sending her dude out is going to fix things. No, I tried to explain, no one in management could possibly be that dumb. It's more about fixing HIM at this point than fixing the team.

Actually, I think the fix is simple. He's playing the wrong position and batting in the wrong spot. He's not a center fielder or a leadoff hitter and I wonder about anyone who thought it was a good idea. He's a corner outfielder and No. 6 hitter at this stage of his career. That might be all the fixing he needs. I still think the guy has a shot at being a very good player. A future MVP as many thought when he was overvalued as a Mets prospect. No. But he can still be plenty good.

But no one asked me. Or my wife.

They haven't asked me about the lineup, either, but to me that's simple given the current personnel. This is how it should look:

Dukes - 8
Guzman - 6 (assuming speedy return)
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - 7
Johnson - 3
Willingham - 9
Flores - 2
Hernandez - 4
Pitcher - 1

When Kearns plays once a week, he can slide right into the six hole. When Nieves plays (please remove Bard, please), he can hit seventh.

Give it a whirl and see what happens. As long as the lineup can score 12-15 runs a night, it should be OK.

The bright side to the Milledge move, my wife decided, is we can go see him locally when Syracuse visi *** oh, wait. No team here anymore.

What would you do?

We had plenty of time on the way back to the car yesterday. We "upgraded" to the club level - a treat for the family for the opener - and it took forever to get through the logjam out of there, through the logjam downstairs and actually out of the stadium. Good thing it won't be that crowded anymore.

During the walk, we discussed the question: You're off to a brutal 0-7 start. What would you do?

We came up with no good answers but talked about a lot of things.

*A manager change won't solve anything. I'm still not sold on Manny as a great manager and it seems something else comes up every day. I heard lots of grumbling yesterday, particularly with the whole Rivera thing. But unless there's someone out there who is a magician, I don't see that a switch will do any good now. I'd love to have a chance to judge Manny with a full deck. If you have a great alternative for a new manager, present it.

*The GM we loved to hate is gone and we're left with his mess. Rizzo is not going to be able to fix it quickly. It is a poorly constructed team. Why, my son asked, trade for a guy like Willingham if you aren't going to use him? Who among those in the glut of OF/1B types can be moved for anything of value? Maybe they want to use Johnson to "showcase" him but is that necessary? There's no question he's a quality player - when he's able to play. His injury history is why the Nats won't get full value for him. Dukes' off-field history decreases his value. But he may be the one guy you don't want to trade anyway. History aside, dude can really play. Milledge appears to be a guy who was overvalued as a Mets prospect. He might be a fine player, I don't yet see the greatness that was predicted for him. He won't bring back close to what he cost. You can't trade Dunn. Kearns? Might be time to stroke that check and say thanks, man, good luck.

*The best thing to do may be hope that Zimmermann is the real deal and Strasburg signs quickly (no matter what it costs - he is a MUST get). Is there one pitcher currently on that team that scares opponents? That inspires the sure-fire confidence in those on our side? Maybe I'm being sacriligious here but is Randy St. Claire the Be All End All of pitching coaches we've been led to believe? In four-plus years of Nats-dom, name me one pitcher he's developed into a stud. The current rotation (Zimmermann excluded) is pretty much four No. 4 starters. We Need The One - and he isn't coming via trade.

*Tell me again why this team is carrying three catchers? Of all the problems it has, catching doesn't appear to be one of them. The Flores-Nieves combination is just fine. Josh Bard is not an upgrade. Go with Flores-Nieves. If that doesn't suit, move Nieves and get Montz up as a backup. But there's a wasted roster spot there with three (and I don't think any of them can play elsewhere but I could be wrong).

*I am not clear on the thinking that led anyone to believe Milledge was a leadoff hitter. I would love to see Dukes-Guzman-Zimmerman-Dunn as the first four for a stretch, just to see if it works. Guzman is a perfect two-hole hitter and there's nothing wrong with having a power hitter who can run like crazy up top. You could have Willingham-Milledge-Flores after the first four. Or Johnson-Milledge-Flores or whatever. Give Dukes a look up top. Leading off and playing center field *** every single day, please. Put Milledge in a corner. Yeah, he had some nice plays yesterday. He can make them in right, too. Dukes will cover more ground and has a better arm.

*Who besides Zimmermann is in the farm system that we really, really can't wait to see? Is the farm system really any good?

EDIT - great, fast work by my friends at We'veGotHeart (see cool links to the right) getting up the news that Milledge has been sent to AAA. No word on a call-up or other move in the initial post. Clears up a logjam (Dunn, Dukes, Willingham PLEASE across the outfield). Could be good for him IF he goes down with a good attitude. Be something to watch anyway.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I'll try to post something of some substance tomorrow. Right now, that's about the best I gots.
Just got home, pretty much yelled that the whole way home. My family at least understood.
Great crowd, great atmosphere. And another L.
Some guy behind us actually said the Nats were on a pace to lose 100. Uh, my son noted, they're on a pace to lose 162.

Three home runs. Was it 12 hits? Eight runs. You win that game.
But three errors and the inning we dubbed Plunk, Plunk, Boom, Boom will do a team in.


Sad news about Harry Kalas. Got a text right when I got to the stadium. Philly has some classic voices - who is the old Spectrum announcer? - and it is a shame to see one go. RIP.

Dazed and confused

Here I am, back in my easy chair for another couple of hours. Then we'll load up the wagon and head north for the home opener. I should be pretty excited. Instead, I feel like I've been clubbed in the head.

My son and I had a great time in Atlanta. Father-son bonding and all. But, daggone, 0-6 to start the season? I refuse to rationalize it anymore (like I ever did?). This team could not afford this kind of start.

I was sitting in surpringly empty Turner Field in the seventh inning yesterday when a young man and his wife plopped down in my row. They had on Nationals hats and she carried a pretty cool Nats mini-backpack. He was from Vienna, graduated from James Madison High just like I did. Moved to Atlanta in 2005. Sat through all three games over the weekend, just like I did. His father flew in and saw two of the games with him. So he had a father-son weekend, too, and enjoyed it except for, well, those pesky losses.

"What concerns me," he said, "is I don't see any fire on this team. Something's wrong."

I wish I could have offered an argument. I could not.

The team will score runs. If opponents keep putting lots of people on base for Dunn, Zimmerman, Johnson, Kearns, Willingham, eventually they'll pay for that? Won't they? Willingham won't always look at a clear strike with the bases loaded? Will he?

But you sense an air of something - defeatism maybe? - EVERY time the other team gets a chance. They make a mistake, we whiff with the bases loaded. The Nats make a mistake, Escobar hits it out. It felt like everyone in the park knew that was coming, including those on the field.

I also don't have a lot of confidence in that pitching staff right now. I can only hope Zimmermann is the real thing.

And it isn't in any way fair to single out one player for this 0-6 mess, but I do wonder if Josh Bard is really necessary? I probably just caught him on a bad day. Or not. I saw nothing that indicates he is any kind of an upgrade. Brian McCann stole a base. Yeah, yeah, he got a great jump against the pitcher but a solid throw still gets him. Flores and Nieves would have wasted him blindfolded.

If I had a dollar for everyone who has told me not to panic yet, I could afford season tickets on the presidential level. So I'm not going to panic yet. But it is not too early to be very concerned. 0-6 and the Phillies and Marlins up next?

I do not have the answer. But something has to be done, and fast.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

At least I got a serenade

Excuse me if I've told this story before. It bears a repeat.
When I take my son the Braves Fan/Virginia Tech graduate to a game between the Braves and the Nats, we have a simple deal. I buy the tickets and the food and all. If Zimmerman hits a home run while we are there, the boy has to stand up and sing the U.Va. fight song. Loud and proud.
Tonight, he did to a rousing round of applause from those around us. I was proud of him. He took his punishment graciously.

The night went downhill from there.

A friend made me promise not to panic too early and I guess five games qualifies as too early. But anyone among us fandoms who isn't getting a bit concerned needs to maybe start getting that way. I'm going to keep from ranting here but this is a team that couldn't afford a bad start and it is off to a very bad start.

Some things that did chap my tail tonight.

*Home plate umpire Chuck Meriwether and first-base ump Eric Cooper. When Cooper rang Milledge up from first on a phantom swing, even my son the Braves fan said, "WHAT?" Sure didn't look close from our angle. Milledge tossed his helmet and his bat in frustration and then walked away. It looked like Meriwether took off behind him to give him some grief. Yo, Chuck. Be a pro. Either toss him when he tossed his stuff. Or, better yet, understand it is a momentary show of frustration and let it go since he's walking away. Don't follow him. Don't continue the argument. Who are you, some Angel Hernandez wannabe? (We'll ignore the rest of Milledge's bad night at the plate and make it clear here that Meriwether and Cooper didn't have anything to do with defeat No. 5).

*When Kelly Johnson got the hit that drove in the winning run, how did second base end up uncovered? There's no play at first there, none. The play, if there is one, will be at second. Someone has to be there. It's a fundamental thing.

I suspect we'll see Gonzalez at second and maybe leading off tomorrow? Willingham in left, Dunn at first, Nieves/Bard behind the plate and maybe Dukes in center? A guy in front of me tonight asked when Willingham got hurt, since he didn't seem to be playing much. "Isn't he supposed to be pretty good?" he said. So I hear. And he isn't hurt.

This is the kid's Christmas present, so I'm happy he's enjoying the trip so much. We ate at The Varsity this afternoon, kicked around town a bit. Great fireworks show after the game. Very well done. One more and then we'll fly home and prepare to head to D.C. on Monday. I hope my head doesn't explode before then.

Can't sleep with this on my mind

It has been a LONG day. Up at 5:30, out the door at 6:45 a.m. for Newport News (much cheaper flight), flight delayed, yada yada yada.

Anyway, it's either very late or very early and I want to get to bed. Just got back to the room after a very long night and early morning of baseball. Turner Field still looks great. We had fun. Got a cool picture taken that I will post once I get home and get it scanned. Trip is off to a great start if you can overlook the 6-5 score and 0-4 thing next to Nationals in the standings.

But I'm left with a nagging question and I hope some of you who watched at home can help. Being at the park is terrific, one of the things I enjoy most in life. The views aren't always great and the replays aren't always available.

Seventh inning. Doesn't Milledge at least have to try and throw out McCann at the plate? Late in a tie game? Tough play sure. Don't you have to give it a try?

We're talking about a guy who is, as my son says, slower than I am. The risk is small. Francouer gets second base. I can live with that. The potential reward is high. McCann is out and the Braves don't score the go-ahead run.

It looked like McCann hesitated, too. Again, I saw no replay and my angle on the whole thing wasn't good. I could be way off base.

It also looked like Dukes was in some sort of pain as he left the field.

I'll hang up and listen. We're going to sleep in tomorrow, watch the Masters and head over for another game. I'll be about three rows behind the Nats bench. Maybe I'll just ask Milledge myself.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How much do you have?

My son and I leave the house at 7 tomorrow morning to catch a flight to Atlanta. His Christmas present. We'll see all three games there, get home Sunday night and then gather up the wife, daughter and boyfriend and head to the home opener. I'll go again on Wednesday, courtesy of MASN's kind offer to all us blogging types (I guess that means I have to be nice to MASN between now and then).

I will also be at the Saturday and Sunday games against the Marlins and the Wednesday game against the Braves. So if my counting is correct, that's five of the next six, seven of the next nine and eight of the next 12. If only the Nats could put up a similar line of victories.

Part of today will be spent preparing for all this travel. I'm digging through all my stuff and my wife is right (for once). I really do have way too much Nationals stuff.

This is not an exact count but it is pretty close. I have:

*Five jerseys (home, road, alternate, two different BP). Need a new road and new home (somehow has a big stain). I'm watching eBay for the new roaders. Not paying stadium prices.

*Four sweatshirts (grey, red, blue hoodie and red zip hoodie)

*Two jackets (one light, one heavy) plus a fleece and a windshirt. PLUS one of those things Frank used to wear. My wife bought it for me. Said she was tired of hearing me bitch about Frank not doing anything. Now I can just wander out and change pitchers myself.

*10 t-shirts (two tie-dyed!)

*One cool-wick type of shirt thing.

*Three golf-style shirts and two "sports" shirts for lack of a better term. Short-sleeved, button-up with collar. Both were Father's Day presents. So were the golf shirts, come to think of it. Being a Nats fan has made me cranky and miserable. At least I'm an easy gift target.

*Eight bobbleheads. Two of them (Zimmerman, Guzman) are still on the team. Plus two President bobbleheads.

*A squishy pillow with the logo on it for my naps. A welcome mat that is inside the front door (one of the dogs naps on it, no further comment). A money clip. Two watches (red for home, blue for the road). A golf ball marker for if I ever start playing golf again. Countless pins and souvenir baseballs. One of them signed by Livan, my man crush.

*A magnificent frame job on the poster the Post put out of last year's opener, a Christmas gift from my wife. But she won't let me put it over the mantel. My son wanted to find a picture of THE home run and frame that. Claims he couldn't. So he framed up Eric Maynor's winning shot against Duke from two years ago.

*About 60 hats. Yeah, I know. Two more due in today. Sue me, I'm bald and I like hats. Half of them are headed for the dumpster soon, I promise. To my credit, I do wear the things (pretty much all the time now that I'm unempl *** self-employed).

Toss in FOUR tickets on one of the 21-game plan and the ridiculous amount dumped on food and drink and I think I can claim I have a significant investment in this team. Enough that they ought to allow me to make one trade per season.

I tried to get a Nationals collar and leash for Ella Pupadupalous but got overruled on that one. Ah, but the season is young and Petco is but a mile away.

How much do you have?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Well, that answers that

Josh Willingham in the lineup today.

He must have just shown up in Florida.

Is today the day we beleaguered Nats fans see a starter get into the sixth inning? How many HRs will the Marlins hit today? Is Jorge Cantu going to cry when the Nats leave town?

Great thing about noon starts is they get my day ruined earlier and leave my evenings free.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Can anyone confirm that Josh Willingham actually exists? Is he in Florida with the team?
I'm trying to figure out why Josh BARD has been up twice thus far this season and we're still waiting for a look at Willingham.

Two possibilities:

*Manny just yells JOSH and Bard gets there faster.
*The team wants as many looks at Bard as it can get before Zimmermann Day comes on April 19 and a catcher has to go.

Whatever. I daggone sure didn't see Josh Willingham as the 25th player when the team traded for him.


I hesitate to post this for a variety of reasons. I don't want to sound like I'm going from sunny Opening Day optimist to doomsayer based on one perfectly awful game. I also hate to think about it because I just don't like the subject. I've never been one to suggest a quick trigger for coaches/managers and the like. Plus there's the fact that Manny Acta seems like a perfectly excellent guy and I really, really want him to succeed. Not just because he manages my favorite team.

That said, I must admit: I am starting to wonder if Manny Acta is the right manager for this team. Not if he's a good baseball man. I think it goes without saying that he is indeed. I also realize it is difficult to judge anyone who is being asked to make chicken salad out of chicken, uh, feathers.

But I am starting to wonder. And I bet a bundle I'm not alone.

It was driven home last evening in the middle of the opener. My son is not unemploy *** uh, self-employed. He gets up each morning, goes to work, comes home afterward. He strolled in about 5:30 and sat down on the couch. Took one look at the score and said, "Holy shit." Welcome to my world, I said.

Just then, the TV went to the classic dugout shot of Manny. It's the one we've seen a million times before. Stoic Manny, sitting there taking it all in without a trace of emotion.

"I'm not glued to these guys like you are," my son noted, "but I have never, ever seen a shot of Manny Acta doing anything but that."

He clearly missed the Dukes exchange last season. Even that was mild compared to what it could have been. My brother was quick to ask, "What would Frank have done?" Dukes may have busted the old man up but they would have had to drag Frank off him.

Being stoic, being patient? Great, terrific virtues. I could use a little more of each. For this team, I think maybe it is time to have a guy who is about out of patience and ready to kick some ass. My son said if he was the Nats' manager, he would have found a way to get tossed yesterday. Then he would have told them afterward "I DID IT ON PURPOSE BECAUSE I AM TIRED OF WATCHING THIS CRAP." Maybe Manny is that way behind the closed doors but I sense he is not.

Again, these are fleeting thoughts. I really wanted the former GM out because I didn't think he was doing a good job for this club. I really want Manny to work out. I am not calling for his head. I think he is good for the community. I want him to be the Nationals' manager.

I'm just starting to wonder. Is he the right guy at this time for this team?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Searching for that bright side

because it is, you know, Opening Day and we're supposed to be all hooo-rah.

Maybe they'll realize that Tavarez is a huge mistake and he won't be around when the team comes to Washington next week. He can hang around the bars at 4 a.m. somewhere else.

Oh, and where was THIS Bonifacio last season? I think he has more hits today than he did as a Nat. Of course, he wasn't facing Nats pitching when he was with the Nats.

Dibble actually cheered when Kearns hit his double. That's OUR job, not his.

I'm smiling. Hey, it's Opening Day!! Nothing but happy here. Nothing at all.

Opening Day

It's raining like hell here. Hard, hard, noisy, driving, scare-the-dogs-under-the-couch kind of rain. Check for leaks kind of rain. Still dark out kind of rain.

That's quite all right. It's a sunny day through all that water.

Oh how I love Opening Day. Cap O, Cap D. It is a holiday.

Stupid me scheduled Ella Pupadupalous the Famous Lab Pup for her rabies shot today. At 4:15. My bad. Just rescheduled for tomorrow for 4:15. My fat fanny will be resting in my easy chair at 4:15 today. It might be the only day all season that I get to smile when the pregame show starts. 0-0 might be as close as the Nats get to a winning mark.

Spring and the openers are the time for optimism, which I have to a small degree. As I discussed in my previous post, I really think the team can win in the upper 70s this season, maybe even threaten a .500 record. I'm just a little disgusted about that being the best I can hope for going into the fifth year.

I'll probably spend most of the next six months moaning, griping and complaining. That's OK. Baseball season is the best season. Even bad baseball beats no baseball. Remember youngsters, I'm one of the old guard who had baseball snatched away during my developmental years. That may explain why I'm such a crank in my old age.

I want a winner and I want it now. I'm just grateful to have a team.

Barring something unforseen like actual work piling up, I figure I'll get to about 40 games this season. I have my 21-game plan and I plan to add extras (and miss some on the plan). I have "roadies" scheduled to Atlanta and Baltimore and I'm trying to work a quick trip to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in as well.

Most days and nights, though, I'll be right where I am now. Sitting on the duff with clicker, phone and drink within reach. New HiDef TV about 12 feet away.

My son and I watched the Braves last night. He asked, and I think he was serious: On nights when they're both on, how do we decide which team we watch?

When I stopped laughing, I politely explained that he was welcome to stay in my house for as long as he liked. He's my son. I love him. He can stay here forever. But MY TV is tuned into MY team whenever they are on. It is not a subject for debate.

So let's get it started.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The first poll

Thanks to all 43 of you who voted in my first poll. Well, 42. I was one of them.
The results were overwhelming. Almost everyone (36) thinks the team will win between 70-79 games. Three are optimistic (80 plus). Four are pessimistic (60-69).

I was in the 70-79 camp. I wanted to pull the lever for 80-plus but don't have that kind of confidence.

Of course, 70-79 is a wide range. I think low 70s would qualify as a bad year. I think upper 70s would qualify as a decent year in most minds. My actual guess is 77 but I'm basing that on nothing but hope and prayer.

Here's the real question in all this: Let's say the team does hit the high 70s. Sure, after last season that would look great. But it is really good enough in the fifth year? In 2005, would any of us have said, yeah, that'd be OK? I think not.

Is it reasonable for us as fans to expect better than break even (or less) in the fifth year? I think so. Sure, there have been some unusual circumstances and I'll even agree that last year was an aberration with all the injuries. But I wanted more for season five and I don't think I'm out of line.

I have my season tickets. I'm setting up my datebook to make all my games and some extras. I have hats, t-shirts, jersies (no new ones yet), sweatshirts, jackets. I'm planning three road trips (Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh). I'm still way too invested in the fortunes of this team. Will be until I take the dirt nap, I suppose.

I just wanted more by this stage. Maybe this year, huh?

New poll up, by the way. Vote early and often.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A very sad day

I know I promised no more non-baseball posts. Sue me. I lied.
When I wrote that, I didn't anticipate this nonsense at my old newspaper.

Five of my former crew in sports - gone. Including one hard working team player who was months away from retirement. Called in and told thanks, see you down the road.

It sickens me. A day like today is something I feared was coming when I made the decision to leave that dying business behind.

I'll get back to baseball later. Right now, I'm communicating with dear friends and former colleagues who are dazed and confused. Some drinks may be consumed tonight.

I have some serious and deep thoughts on the newspaper business that I may share eventually, not that anyone comes here for that. In the meantime, they keep trimming and trimming and trimming and then they wonder why no one is reading anymore?

Lord. I may start drinking now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy April Fool's Day

Not being much of a jokester, the hilarity of the day has always been lost on me. Besides, I have something way more important to celebrate. Twenty-three years and one day ago, while Louisville and Duke were battling for the NCAA men's basketball championship, my wife went into labor with our second child.

First labor was about 26 hours so I figured I had all day and then some. I started making a list of what I needed to get done in the morning. At halftime, she called back. NOW.

Courtney Suzanne Harris was a much easier delivery. She was born early in the morning of April 1, 1986. I wanted to name her Pervis Ellison Harris in honor of Louisville's young star but got vetoed. My little April Fool has grown into a marvelous and beautiful young woman. I'm very proud of her. Tonight, the Richmond crew will head north and celebrate her birthday with dinner in Fredericksburg (note to northern crew - it is NOT halfway). We'll have lots of fun.

I just hope I'm out of my funk by then, that the other news of the day doesn't overwhelm me. Major League Baseball has cleared JimBow of any wrongdoing and apologized profusely. He's asked the Nationals for his job back and they've agreed. I'm sure Chico and Zuckerman and the PR Arm that is are all working furiously on the story as I type and they'll have something up soon. Check back often.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday Honey Bear Bear. Love you and see you tonight.