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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You turn your back for a day

and all heck breaks loose! Well at least minor heck. Just got back to my room for a brief break and read about the trade. Some thoughts:

*Overall, eh? Doesn't excite me.

*Who goes out? Two major leaguers coming in, one going out. Someone has to go. I haven't read that yet. Is this it for Kearns?

*Morgan for Milledge may be an upgrade in some areas but where did all this potential of Milledge go that two teams have basically dumped him? Is it not there? Is he a head case? Is Morgan an upgrade over Willie Harris? Does Morgan play every day? Is this basically just addition by subtraction? Questions, questions, all I gots are questions. Does anyone have the answers? Of all nights not to be able to watch the pregame show.

(Chico has since noted that the move will be made tomorrow and an outfielder will likely go. Has to be Kearns, doesn't it? Also, Morgan will bat leadoff and play center. So he's better than Willie??)

*The Hanrahan equation here seems like one of those change of scenery things. I'm still convinced Hanrahan has what it takes physically to be a quality reliever. The rest of it is the big question. A huge question. I know nothing at all about this Burnett cat.

I'm going out again soon, will miss tonight's game. Wonder how much will hit the fan while I'm gone.


Business has taken me away from home for a couple of days, and away from TV and radio. Didn't see a lick of last night's game, which sounds like a good thing.

All-Star voting ends Thursday, I think. Looks like our main man Zimmerman isn't going to catch up and win the starting nod at third base. My guess is he'll make the team anyway. He remains the National with the most buzz.

The question - is that the right call?

I'm OK with it, though he's tailed off some. I think his 30-game hit streak, which was one of the stories of the first half (along with the Nats incredibly poor performance overall), earned him the spot by itself.

But what about Adam Dunn? What about Cristian Guzman? No pitchers deserve consideration. A small case can be made for Nick Johnson.

Or is this open and shut? Zimmerman, end of discussion?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do I stay or do I go?

Despite major hassles getting parked, we got to Camden Yards today in plenty of time to get one of the free hats. So I have my first piece of Orioles gear. It's a nice cap, pretty sturdy. It's nowhere near as good as the hat the Nats gave out for Opening Day but much better than the blue one they gave out later.

So, if I want to switch allegiances I'm ready. Now comes the hard part, making that decision. Some talking points:

*Camden Yards is a better place to hang out. Sorry. I have no issues with Nationals Park. I enjoy watching games there. But Camden Yards is a gem. There's more to do there and a hell of a lot more to do in the area. Point Orioles.

*Nationals Park is 50 miles closer to my house. Point Nationals.

*The Orioles aren't going to win any pennants any time soon, especially playing in that division. One year, they may be better than the Nats and watch the Nats in the postseason. Not when I'm alive, of course. Years from now. But I think the O's have put together a better team. I like a lot of their players. Point Orioles.

*Despite that, Ryan Zimmerman doesn't play for the O's. Jordan Zimmermann doesn't play for the O's. Jesus Flores doesn't play for the O's (he doesn't play for the Nats right now either but you get my point). Stephen Strasburg was not drafted by the Os. I could go on. Multiple points Nationals.

*Parking at Nats game, 20 bucks. Parking at Orioles game, eight bucks. Point Orioles.

*Parking guy at Nats games knows my name and calls me, "Big guy." Says "Good to see you again Big Guy." Makes me feel like my car is secure. Parking people at Camden Yards are rude pricks. In fact, a lot of the help at Camden Yards fits that description. Not all, mind you. The ushers we encountered in the seating areas were great. But overall, the Nats are way ahead in the friendly help department. Point Nationals.

*While we're on stadium issues, how come all the food is so much cheaper in Baltimore? Pizza is eight bones at Nats Park and it is small and tastes like cardboard. I got two big and tasty pieces in Baltimore for 6.75. Beer is also 6.75 - but I don't drink ballpark beer. Point Orioles.

*The Nats are 4-17 with me in the house. The Os are 3-1 but I don't suppose if I became a fan I could count on them playing the Nats every night. So this one is a wash. I kill teams. I'd probably make the Dodgers lose.

*In one of those ask the players video things, the Nats do Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Seriously? Half the players roll their eyes. The Orioles do Dave Chappelle vs. Charlie Murphy and it is HIlarious. Most of the between-innings stuff is better there. The Old Bay crab with the ball beats the snot out of the Hats. Their KissCam is better, too (I was puckered up but they never came near me). HOWEVER, the Presidents Race simply owns that cartoon hot dog thing. And "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" as seventh-inning stretch song? That pretty much negates every advantage the Orioles have anywhere else. That song ought to be outlawed.

*We've already been over the didn't get a shirt thing (or did we)? I didn't get a shirt yesterday despite being in the park almost two hours before first pitch. So I figure to get a shirt on T-Shirt Tuesday there, I'd have to arrive Sunday night or Monday morning. With the Nats, you at least stand a decent chance of getting all the promised items and not having to deal with rude help (one young guy with glasses was exceptionally nice, though still unable to help). Point Nationals.

*Matt Wieters is becoming a legend (though I can't quite figure out why). I saw some very funny t-shirts this weekend. Sliced Bread is the greatest invention since Matt Wieters. That kind of thing. He also dropped a ball at home and threw one into the outfield. Plus, he's NOT Flo, though he is playing now and Flo isn't. Point Nationals.

*Because I'm nothing but a fair weather fool, let's look at recent standings. Since June 27: Nationals 1-0, Orioles 0-1.

So I guess I'll stick with what I know. Let's go Nats.


Twenty games into my personal viewing season, that's the Nats' record. THREE wins in 20 games. I was lamenting this to a friend after the game and we started added up the cost of doing 20 games. "Is it worth the money?" he asked.

Well, we do enjoy watching baseball. So that counts for something. But I seriously wonder a lot these days if it is worth the effort we're putting into it.

3-17. THREE-17.

I might have switched allegiances mid-game if the Orioles hadn't botched their Markakis jersey giveaway. We went to the museum next to the stadium this afternoon (highly suggest it if you are ever up this way). We got out and I went to navigate a long line at will call to leave tickets for a friend who was tied up in traffic. I told my wife to go ahead in, no need for two of us to stand there.

She got a jersey. I got in at 5:20 for a 7 p.m. game and did not. They had 10 grand age 15 and up there already? I doubt it. One of the gatekeepers told us to go straight to another game. He told a bunch of people that because they were already there by the time I got to said gate. They wouldn't give us a jersey, even though they had quite a few left at this gate. Even though we did what we told. Orioles' customer service reps basically said tough tootie. Several folks were extremely upset. I just said oh well and found my seat. If I'd had that jersey, I might have put it on and pulled a Specter in mid-game. Become one of those folks who yell "OH" during the National Anthem and all that.

Tonight's game was so Nats. Load 'em up in the first and get all of two runs, on walks. Load 'em up later and get no runs - my wife called it, groundout and then double play. The Orioles, meanwhile, get a couple on and this Reimold kid knocks it out. You think Josh Willingham is still frozen in left field, as I type, trying to find the ball. He might have been the only one in the place who didn't know that was out.

Someone explain to me the pitching move in the seventh. Why take Tavarez out then and bring in Beimel? Tavarez is pitching just fine. He can't finish that inning? Let's say, miracle of miracles, the Nats manage to take a lead in the eighth. Well, your eighth inning guy has already thrown in the seventh. At the time, it was still a one-run game. Of course, another Orioles blast soon left the park. One-run game no more.

Maybe they'll bring Stammen in for the eighth in future games. Interesting move, sending him to the pen. I'd send Olsen to the pen for a while but no one asked me. Who's out? My money is on Mr. Perfect, Jesus Colome. You put 'em on base, I'll let 'em score.

Sunday's game is a hat giveaway and they say they have 20,000 of those. Maybe I'll actually get one. Maybe I shouldn't take it. Another game like Saturday's and I could be changing hats by the fifth inning.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yep, that's our world

Went to the game tonight with a friend from Charlotte, who enjoys baseball but isn't able to follow closely.
"Why," he asked in the first inning, "are the Nationals so bad?"
I told him I could go on all night but I'd give him the nutshell: The bullpen and defense. Yeah, lately the offense hasn't been so good but we know it is better than it is showing. The other stuff? Not so much.
Unfortunately, tonight's game made me look like a genius.
A change has to be coming soon, right? Like before Saturday's game? The look on Manny's face when he went to get Hanrahan was not one I've seen before.
Trouble is, I don't know if there's a better option down below. If there is (or isn't), someone please let me know.

Oh yeah. That's 3-16 with me in the house. I've now seen losses in three cities this season.

The actual game aside, I still like Camden Yards as much as any park I've been to and I've been to a lot of them. It looks as good as it did when opened.

Going to the Aquarium before tomorrow's game. We always enjoy visiting there. Maybe I can find a fish or two who can pitch out of the bullpen.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Settled in Baltimore

Of all the things that went right tonight (or this a.m.), probably the best thing was making Baltimore an hour after the last pitch. We parked in "The Yards" lot and had no trouble making our escape. Smooth as silk. Sickos that we are, we'll see all three games this week here, head home for a few days and see all three next weekend against the Braves.

I have some business in Florida early this week, Ft. Lauderdale in fact. While the Nats are there. Hmmmmmmm.

Veteran observers that we are, my wife and I came to a conclusion on the short drive. We didn't do statistical research to back it up. We have decided that we think Zimmermann is the Nationals best pitcher.

Dibble always talks about trusting your stuff and dealing with stuff when it goes wrong. Zimmermann seems to have both of those under control. We enjoy watching him throw.

How much of a hurry were the Sox to get out of there tonight? Send up the pitcher, end the game on a pitch that's 12-feet high! They did that for you, Tyler.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Welcome to the home of the moot point polls, where decisions are routinely made before the polls end. Oh well, never said we were scientific here at NationalsFanboyLooser. Gallup I ain't. I'm not even THAT Harris.

Results of the minors/majors thing on Strasburg were not at all surprising. It got 31 for minors if he signs with relative speed, 14 for majors at some point. Since he isn't going to sign with relative speed, it doesn't really matter. He'll debut in the fall instructional league, after they trot him out on Aug. 18 to take a bow in front of 12,000 or so Nationals fans. The Red Sox will be gone by then, won't they?

Strasburg IS going to get signed, isn't he?

The manager's poll was split, though I imagine we won't have to worry about that until the offseason. And while I've posted my thoughts, I'm fine with no change until then, too. IF that's what Uncle Stan really feels is best. IF he thinks a change was best before and he put it off to spite a media report, I'm disappointed. But I don't think he operates that way.

Bobby Valentine barely nipped Someone Else with 15 votes to 13. Tim Foli got some love from eight voters, Buck Showalter from 7 and Pat Listach from none. Some points:

*A friend covered the Valentine Mets and loved him, said he'd be great for this team. Didn't exactly explain why but assured me I'd love him, too. I'll take his word for it, though he wouldn't have been my choice here.

*Someone Else could mean someone specific or "I just didn't like the choices listed." If you voted for ol' SE and had someone specific in mind, please use the comments section to tell us who and why. We thank you.

*Buck Showalter, late of Seinfeld fame, is pretty intense. Not sure about the patient part. I've heard it opined that a very strong personality may not be a good fit for Uncle Stan. Not true. Despite his arrogance and strong personality of his own, he'll do just fine with anybody who wins. Unless he's changed dramatically over the years, winning was always the key part for Uncle Stan. Bobby Cox, stoic as he may be if an umpire isn't involved, is a pretty big personality. So is John Schuerholz, who scored higher than Uncle Stan on Facebook's "How Arrogant Are You?" quiz. I wonder if Uncle Stan ever talked to Schuerholz just to see?

*I know zip about Tim Foli. If a voter of Foli wants to explain in the comments, I'd appreciate that. I know he played and I know he's in Syracuse now. End of my knowledge base.

*No votes for Listach, which isn't surprising. Readers with long memories will remember me saying "the next manager is on that staff" when the new coaches were announced. I meant Listach. He had a rep as an "on the rise" guy when he was in the Cubs' chain. I haven't fallen in love with his third-base coaching but that's not indicative of someone's managerial skill. I do think he's a victim of timing/circumstances here. When someone unproven gets a chance and doesn't deliver, it is difficult to follow him with someone similar. The Nats' probably need someone proven as their next manager. Unless Manny manages to stay for 2010.

Managers aside, as expected I didn't find the legions of Red Sox fans too offensive or rude last night. Maybe others did. I just found them EVERYWHERE. I was surrounded by them. Apparently, the "standing room only" spot was right behind my seat because I had a ton of people standing right behind me. I did get a kick out of a couple of Soxers calling Pedroia "Pedy." Pedy? C'mon.

Sox buddy of mine to me via text in the eighth inning: I LOVE this Nats bullpen! Yeah, dude, I bet you do. How would you like a couple of them? Send that Delcarmen cat over and we'll throw in Colome, Wells and Hanrahan along with Nick Johnson.

I was reminded of one thing I hate about full stadiums - people up, down, up, down, up down with every single damn pitch. Hard to see much of anything. If you can't have the courtesy to wait until between innings AT LEAST WAIT UNTIL THE AT BAT IS OVER. I'm stunned at how many people just get up and move out, making countless others move, with two on, one out and a 2-2 count. SIT DOWN AND WATCH THE GAME.

OK, that's enough. Off to think of another worthless poll. I'll catch the game tonight with Rob and Bob and be back in the house tomorrow for another round of "is there another Nats fan within my field of vision?"

Batting a thousand

Just got home after a long, interesting and not all good day. More details to come.

One thing jumped out at me on the ride home - hearing that Jesus Colome has now inherited nine runners. And nine runners have scored. That's some mighty fine relief! He's perfect.

Clippard anyone? Isn't it time to make that swap and see what Clippard can do? What's he going to do to be worse than Colome, let guys not on base yet score, too? Oh wait. Colome did that tonight as well.

Fun game while it lasted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Red Sox Nation invades

My original plan was to go to Thursday's game only, the game that is part of my season-ticket package. I managed to pick up some actual work in the area, so I will go tonight, too. Might as well take advantage of the free t-shirt and see a little more baseball.

What I'm most curious about is seeing the Red Sox Nation somewhere outside Fenway Park. I have a feeling it is a different group than other fan "nations," and I mean that in a positive way.

My many Red Sox fan friends have a different vibe about them. I was actually happy for them when they broke the curse in 2004. I think "get your Red (Sox) on" is going to take on a whole different meaning the next three nights but I also think it will be a lot of fun.

I have no love for Mets fans. I have had zero issues with Phillies fans, though I understand others have and I can fully understand how that could happen. Cubs fans? Please. Oh how I loved being there for Wil Nieves' (who?) one and only major league home run.

Yankees fans were cool when we dealt with them back in 2006. O's fans weren't too bad when we encountered them last season (and I'll see three games in Baltimore this weekend). Maybe it is an AL East thing.

Whatever, I'm looking forward to these next three games as much as I've looked forward to any of them since the Nats appeared. It should be fun. I'll see two live and one on TV. I'm fully expecting three losses but will be thrilled to be wrong once, twice or even three times.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

to all my fellow Dads out there. Already heard from one child as she starts her shift managing at the Ruby Tuesday across from the P-Nats' stadium (go see her!). Other child is on a river somewhere trying to catch smallmouth bass. I'll hear from him later.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this whole new-media thing a lot lately in light of the Nats opening their arms to us blogging types. I got a kick out of Adam Dunn's admission that he didn't know what a blog was - refreshing, actually.

I stumbled across this column by Sally Jenkins in the Post today, talking about her legendary father and his introduction to Twitter. I got a kick out of reading it and, yes, I'm one of Dan Jenkins' followers.

Sally is one of the best columnists in the country and has the awards to show for it. Dan is very much a legend. His books are classic. Semi-Tough got more love but Dead Solid Perfect is a better read. Do yourself a favor and find a copy. There's a segment where two guys create a fake football team to try and scam some gambling friends. It may be the best thing ever written.

Yeah, this is all unrelated to the Nats - who could make my Father's Day even sweeter by pulling off the sweep. Sorry. I thought it was worth sharing.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


See what happens when you swing the bat? Sometimes the ball will go out of the park.
Pretty daggone nice game by Willie, who is no relation. I wish.

When Zimmerman - who needs to work on the whole swing the bat thing - hit his Father's Day walk off against the Yanks and Wang in 2006, I hit my head pretty good on the ceiling fan in my family room.

For this one, I wised up and went left when I leapt out of my chair. Got pretty high for a fat old man, too.

I'm enjoying the summaries I've read thus far from my blogging colleagues who were at the park today. Wish I could have been there. FJB mentioned the no cheering in the press box thing, which is a hard-and-fast rule. Kind of why I prefer the stands for the Nats. Every now and then, they give you something to cheer about and this was one of those times.

Swing. The. Bat.

The happy train keeps a-rolling! Woo hoo, choo choo and all that. Three in a row. Streak. Fans streamed out of Nationals Park happy last night, with a beach towel to boot. "That was fun," my wife said. Yeah, it was, I said, noting my "in the house" record had improved to an impressive 2-14.
Get your red on!

So pardon me for introducing a bit of angst to the love fest, but I have to get something off my chest.


Nothing nothing NOTHING makes me crazy crazy CRAZY like a called third strike. Didn't all our Little League coaches tell us you can't get a hit if you don't swing the bat? That seventh inning last night about sent me over the edge.

Two on, none out! Power core of the lineup coming to bat. Man, this is going to be good! Instead, Zimmerman looks at No. 3. We'll leave Dunn out of this discussion since he had no chance. Dukes looks at No. 3. Bard may strike out, I'm thinking, but no way he looks. He has to go down swinging. Nope. No. 3. Ai yi yi yi yi.


Manny says they have to get a little more aggressive in those situations. You think?

Section 309, Row F, Seat 1 is not a real good vantage point to make balls and strike calls. But none of the three looked remotely objectionable from there. Certainly not all three. A hitter has to go up there in that situation absolutely drooling. I can live with strikeouts when you're actually trying to, you know, HIT THE BALL.

But it had a happy ending so life is good for another day.

A few other thoughts:

*The Nationals either understand the new-world media scene or they're just trying to be really nice to us. MASN did an outstanding Bloggers Day last month. The Nats had a conference call for bloggers the day after the draft. Today, they've invited bloggers to be real media for an afternoon. They've set up sessions with Dunn, Zimmerman, Acta, Uncle Stan and Mike Rizzo among others. Unfortunately, I'm unable to make it thanks to other items cluttering up my schedule. I hope they do it again. In the meantime, make sure to check out all the other blogs later today and tomorrow (but don't ignore this one).

*The guy wearing Jesus Colome's uniform last night looked pretty darn good. Wing it, bring it, throw heat. A moment of concern, however, after the balk call. Let's make it clear that C.B. Bucknor is the worst umpire in the history of the world. That said, I have no clue if it was the right or wrong call. I didn't see anything and I don't have the benefit of replay. My concern was Colome walking toward him - good way to get a quick thumb from that hothead. Get back on the mound and throw more heat. Which he did, thankfully. (pretty nice night for the bullpen overall, by the way).

*I had no idea until last night they sold margaritas at the park. I wouldn't drink one on a dare but my wife loves those things. Trips to the park just got a lot more expensive. My wife, my daughter and my daughter's roommate spent sums I don't like to think about on those things last night. None had to drive. We're responsible around here. I made it through the night with one warm Blue Moon (and no orange) and a Coke Zero.

*How "this team this season" is it that the Nationals earlier scored five or more in 10 straight and lost nine and have now scored eight total in three games and won three? I love baseball.

Friday, June 19, 2009

So what now?

Before anyone goes and declares Ken Rosenthal's report about Manny officially wrong, keep in mind he said he could happen after the New York series. Which is now. But I now suspect it isn't going to happen. If the Nats drop six on this homestand, maybe the talk gets renewed.

I don't think anyone - from the front office down to the lowest citizens of Nats Town - expects this club to turn into a contender overnight. All anyone asks at this point is for some signs of life. That's exactly what we got the past two nights. When you're flat-out dead and about to be covered by that sheet, all it really takes is a couple of faint heartbeats to have everyone smiling again. I'm gearing up for the long drive for tonight's game with a smile on my face, not a sense of dread. (and I hope I don't need to use my beach towel to dry off any rain. I've had enough of that stuff).

I know I wrote in my post to close May that I was on board with the idea that it was time for a change. I'm not going to back off on my conviction that it was the correct thinking at the time. I'm also not going to claim to be bothered that it didn't happen. As I've said many times, I like Manny. I like what he's all about and I want him to succeed as a manager. I'm willing to give it some more time, as long as we continue to see some signs of life.

Enough pieces are in place for this to be a .500 team but there's no margin for error.

Once you get on the other side of all his folksiness and golly gee manner, Ray Knight will deliver some decent analysis. He noted the same point the other night, that this team should be able to play .500 the rest of the season. "Anything else is a pipedream," he said. True. I'm not dreaming that big, not yet anyway. Playing .500 ball is a step in the right direction and I think I'm safe in saying that's all any of us need to see at this point - steps in the right direction.

So, let's keep this happy train a-rolling. Here are a few suggestions if anyone cares:

*Keep Manny for a while, at least through the all-star break.

*Name a GM. Rizzo? Fine. Someone else? Fine. But put someone in charge without an interim tag. Remove the air of uncertainty. And I hope the reports are wrong that this Hunsicker cat, late of the Astros, is a candidate. If you can't coax John Schuerholz out of retirement or get someone of that stature, give Rizzo a shot. A real shot.

*Get Strasburg signed. Whatever cash you have committed to this, add a smidge more and get it done. Your fan base will love you. My installment plan just finished for my second set of tickets. Take another month's worth and put it in the SS Fund.

*Someone on the FireJimBowden blog had an interesting comment about Manny only trusting four of his seven relievers (Beimel, Villone, Tavarez, MacDougal). Very valid point. If it is true, move out Hanrahan, Wells and Colome and get him more options. Hasn't Clippard earned at least a look? Just make sure one of the options isn't named Logan Kensing. I still believe the stuff is there with Hanrahan but if the manager doesn't trust him, he can't be clogging up a spot.

*Think hard when Willingham returns. I have about zero love for Corey Patterson but perhaps it is time to thank Austin Kearns for the memories and hope he finds success elsewhere. Maybe move Patterson and Kearns and give someone else a look.

*Keep the rotation intact for now. Lannan and the Rooks. Let Olsen pitch out of the bullpen or find a creative way to keep him on the DL or something. When shutdown time comes - and I'm not sure I agree with all that but that's a story for another day - let Olsen have a few more starts.

*Is Johnson for Delcarmen dead?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm baffled

Not only is Austin Kearns playing, he's batting fifth. I'd much rather see a struggling Dukes in this spot.
Yeah, he's a fine fellow and all that and I would LOVE to see him succeed. But isn't there a point where you just throw up your hands and realize it isn't going to happen.
Corey Patterson is batting sixth. Five Ks in his first 11 at bats! This is quite the lineup tonight. I'm surprised they didn't bring Alex Cintron back for an honorary start.
Hell, at least they're playing baseball. I had a big meeting this afternoon so it was nice of them to wait.

UPDATE - The man can play some defense. I'll give him that. I just wish he wasn't below the Mendoza line at the plate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trivia question

What's it called when you score more runs than the other team?

Wow. It can happen. Fun game to watch, hell of a ninth inning.

SON: I consider a home run much more likely than a ground ball here.
ME: Home run that, punk! Game over.

I did have visions of the throw to first ending up in a dugout.

Standings in our house since June 16:

Nationals 1-0
Braves 0-1

Lord how I wish there were many more nights like this.

Required reading

Johnny talked about it last night on pregame, or tried to until he got choked up. I got choked up with him.
Dan Steinberg writes about it today in his Bog.

Johnny is a terrific guy but this is a wonderful cause regardless of the people involved. Go. Get a haircut. A real short haircut. It'll grow back but you may like it short. I'm bald as an egg so I'm out. My son recently buzzed his hair, so he's out. Plus it is a long ways away.

But, as soon as I round up an address, we'll send off a check for 30 bucks to cover the cost of two haircuts as a donation. Anybody know if I should send it to the shop or somewhere else?

Stuff like this is way more important than losing a ballgame every single night. It would be way cool if the Nats showed up all buzzed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Do you know what time it is now?

Ladies and gents, friends and foes, I am starting to think the clock has struck midnight for Mr. Villone. Wasn't he 3-0 a week or so ago?

Too bad. Martis should have been up 3-1 instead of 3-2.

And I'm not feeling real good about a comeback.

Tom Petty had it right

The waiting IS the hardest part.

The anti-media crowd is probably loving all this. The media is the easy target because people naturally have a "kill the messenger" reaction to a lot of bad news. So it is easy to think the Nats don't need to say anything, don't need to lend credence to a media report that may not be quite accurate.

Well, that's not quite right. If it is accurate, do something. If it is not accurate, make that clear (and do it honestly - waiting until NEXT week to do something does not count).

First, this is not some fly-by-night blogger who threw that "Manny is gone soon" report out there. Ken Rosenthal has been a respected and reputable journalist for years. Does that mean he's always right? No. It does mean he's not going to throw something out there just to create a fuss, just to have some fun. Someone in the Nats organization said something. And that is why the Nats' alleged braintrust needs to react.

If what Rosenthal reported is true, Uncle Stan or El Jefe needed to man up right away and go to Manny. "Look, dude, it wasn't supposed to happen this way and I'm sorry it did. We will find the leak and take care of that. But we are going to make a change."

Or, they needed to come right out and say, "Nope. Wrong. Not true. Someone is spreading horsecrap. Manny is our man." And they need to stick with that.

One or the other. Manny deserves a straight answer (he may have already received one) and the fans deserve one. I put a lot of coin into this team. I have a right to know if the manager's job is really in jeopardy.

I'm also not going to play "kill the media," though I do have a bit of bias on that one given my background. No self-respecting reporter would sit on something like that.

I'm OK with any of the following statements:

"We stink and we're going to continue to stink no matter who manages. Manny is a classy guy and we like what he's all about, so we'll stick with him and reassess after the season."

"The reports are false. We have assessed every aspect of our organization in recent days and, yes, a change in managers was among the topics we discussed along with many others. Someone involved jumped the gun and got a little too anxious to spread some news that isn't true. We will deal with that. But Manny is our manager and will remain our manager."

"We are making a change. We are bringing in (fill in the blank of some poor sap who is about to be saddled with a significant challenge) to try and change the direction of our ballclub. We admit it was not handled well, because someone in the organization was in a rush to share news before we were ready for it to be announced. We will fix that and we apologize to Manny Acta and our fans for that. But we do need to make a change."

I do love Manny's response in the story - he's still the manager and you wouldn't have reached him if he wasn't. I imagine, though, he's a bit jumpy every time the phone rings.

And I'm sure our reporting buddies enjoyed their "day off" in New York. Where does stuff like this fit in the dream job scenario?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dear Mailbag - TELL ME MORE

As we continue to wait ***

From Today's Mailbag:

Don't you now think after two-plus months of everyday playing, Orlando Hudson should have been signed? He doesn't appear to be injured at all and is hitting extremely well.
-- Peter G., Vancouver, BC, Canada

Hudson didn't pass a physical and that's why the Nationals didn't sign him. If Hudson is a free agent again, I would not be surprised if the Nationals pursued him.

THERE'S THE DAMN PHYSICAL AGAIN. Orlando Hudson - 63 games, .310 batting average, 25 extra base hits, 41 runs - not passing a physical is bigger news than I've seen reported anywhere. Who didn't pass him? Why? Would he really have signed if he'd been "passed?" How did he heal so freaking quickly?

I'd like to take the "firing coming" leaker and Hudson physical fail person and put them on the same boat out.

Or get off the pot

Still waiting. What's that old insult about a person who can't get their jank together? He/she would muck up a one-car funeral?
Welcome to Nats Town. Get your Red on!

Look, this isn't that hard. Someone in the organization got word to Ken Rosenthal that Manny was going to be fired. That much is clear. It may not be correct but Rosenthal is a pro and he's not going to state/write that if he wasn't told by someone he trusted and someone who would be in a position to know.

Once the cat is out there, it does no one any good to let it hang out there. Yet Manny has managed two more losses and headed to New York.

If you are going to fire Manny, do it. Now. Don't issue these cheesy non-denials and "I don't talk about personnel" crap. When your personnel is in a tremendously high profile job, you have to talk about it sometimes.

If you are not going to fire Manny, come out and say that and let's all move forward. Questions about his managing ability aside, Manny is a quality person. No one disputes that. He doesn't deserve this.

Someone in the organization brought an elephant into the room. It isn't going anywhere until someone in the organization moves it out of there.

Fire him. Or don't. But let's quit the fooling around and non-statements. It's out there and acting smug and all high and mighty isn't going to put it away.

There have been many times in the past five years that I've wondered what I did in a previous life to deserve to be saddled with a bad team that manages to regress every year. I went years and years and years without being a fan of anything and now I get this. Today is one of those days.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Some thoughts while waiting

I suspect we'll know something soon. If the FOX report is true, my guess is the move will be made after today's game. I have my thoughts on the sources and I'll keep those to myself for now. But there can't be too many in the Nationals organization who would know if such a move is coming.

As to the replacement - I've pored over a lot of the posts on Nationals Journal and elsewhere and they throw out some good thoughts. Here's mine: If the person the brass thinks should be the manager of the future is available now, bring him in now. Tim Foli? Find someone else to manage in Syracuse and let Mr. Foli get started. Buck Showalter? Who knows? Just bring him in now.

There's a risk in giving an interim tag to Jim Riggleman if he isn't seen as the man, and I can't see how he could be given his career record. Suppose, just suppose, the team gets it together? Suppose it pulls a 50-31 half? We've seen it before. The Rockies made a change and they've won about a million in a row.

If the team goes .500 the rest of the way, it would have just 67 wins. So if an "interim manager" gets the team to 75 wins, does it force your hand?

Interim tags stink. I had one of my own for a couple of months before I was promoted at the paper in Richmond. Fortunately, I had a crew of professionals working for me. Most had known me for years and they busted their tails. Still, we were all operating under that air of uncertainty.

IF the Nats are indeed about to make this change, they need to replace Manny with someone who will really be in charge. Not just a placeholder. Of course, the Nationals have a placeholder at GM. Maybe it is time to get rid of that interim, too, one way or another. Let's get a GM in place, let's get a manager in place and let's see if things will change.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Anyone see FOX pregame? - Manny countdown on

UPDATE - here is the online version of what I talk about below.

I did not.
A friend in the media business (not covering baseball) just sent a text that says Ken Rosenthal said Manny Acta was out, either this Monday or Friday, to be replaced on an interim (we presume) basis by Jim Riggleman. Ol' Interim Jim.

IF true, Monday makes the most sense with a day off. But, since the replacement isn't coming from outside, I guess that doesn't matter.

Wonder how much it will cost to re-film the pre-game intro on the big screen?

What I do not know is this: Was it presented as fact or was it presented as "we're hearing?" Awaiting a response.

Did anyone see it?

I know Rosenthal a little from his days in Baltimore. Didn't have a rep as being a wild-hair guy who threw stuff out to see what sticks. If he said it, I'd put some credence to it.

On a much sadder, real world intervenes note: Condolences to the family of Josh Willingham, based on this item reported by the Nationals News Network. Awful stuff. I can't imagine going through something like that. Here's the link to the newspaper story. Says he was trying to elude police, which is not good. Doesn't make it any less sad for Josh Willingham and family.

Willingham is on bereavement leave, Corey Patterson called up.

I miss Flo

One of my Facebook friends posted something along the lines of missing Flores on his status update last night. I responded with a simple "Preach It Brother."

I miss Flo, too. The Nationals miss Flo, too.

I'm pretty sure Flores makes that tag early in the game. Hell, I'm pretty sure Bard MADE the tag but I'm pretty sure with Flores there wouldn't have been any question.

I'm pretty sure Flores doesn't sail the ball into the outfield trying to throw someone out at third. Probably no chance of getting the runner out but how about we not let him come home, too?

I'm pretty sure Flores inspires a tad more confidence when he's at the plate than either of the two current options.

I'm pretty sure Flores catches that pop up in the eighth, too, maybe even from the catching position. Love Ol' Nick but he has a history with pop ups. I was at the park in April when he dropped one against the Marlins. Didn't seem big at the time, Florida scored to make it 6-3. Then won in extra innings.

Just another night in NatsTown. Get your red on, indeed. Does getting red in the face from anger count?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why not Willie?

My Son the Braves Fan is getting the Nationals shoved down his throat since he moved back home. The price one has to pay for living in my house! I offered to buy that MLB package for him since I'm such a nice guy. He declined, figuring he was costing me enough money by eating me out of house and home.

Anyway, he's a pretty bright young 'un thanks to his mother and he's learned a lot about the Nationals. I think he'll admit to even pulling for them when the Braves aren't on the other side.

Last night, when the trip to Tampa was being discussed on television, the boy asked a pretty good question. Mention was made of Dunn as the DH (makes sense) and Willingham, Dukes, Kearns across the outfield.

"Why not Willie?" he asked.

He's a little biased. Harris is a former Brave and therefore one of his favorite Nats. But it is a good point. Why not Willingham, Harris, Dukes across the outfield?

Does anyone, and I mean anyone, feel any sense of confidence when Austin Kearns is at the plate? Why do they keep trotting him out there? I'm sure someone in the know about all those funky OPS, BAC, LLC, DYA numbers can point out that Kearns' career has been a lot more productive. Uh-huh. I'm sure. But let's get real and talk feel - I feel a lot more confident when Willie Harris is batting than I do when Austin Kearns is batting. Anyone disagree?

So why not Willie? UPDATE - They listened, sez lineups posted in Nationals Journal. It is Willie playing instead of Kearns. Good.

I'm also still waiting to hear if anyone got one of those "holde" season-ticket-holder gifts discussed yesterday. Did the Post somehow get its hands on a picture of the one ball where a mistake was made? Is the picture legit or doctored?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Those crystal balls

Not the prediction kind. Since most of us saw this as a 70-win team, we were way off. Only 55 to go!

No, I'm talking about the season-ticket-holder gift Dan Steinberg writes about in his current edition of the Bog.

The one pictured has no "r" in holder. Mine has an "r" in holder. Mine is just fine.

It is curious that some clearly have no "r" and some do. I wonder how many of the mistake variety got out the door. Is anyone checking that stuff? Do other teams have the same kind of uniform/bobblehead/crystal problems and we just don't hear about them?

One ball getting out the door like that shouldn't happen but it isn't as bad as the entire lot of them being wrong.

Anyone get a "holde" ball?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Storen signs, talks to bloggers!

no word on whether he'll close tonight.

Actually, may have word soon on what's up with him. The Nats have set up a conference call for us blogging types. Uncle Stan was supposed to be on there but now we're told we'll get the four starters not starting tonight and a special guest, draft related. Too much to hope that it is Strasburg. I'm guessing it is Storen.

Yep, it was Storen. Seems like a bright, confident kid. He went to Stanford, so he's way too smart to be talking to the likes of me. Some highlights:

*Will report to Hagerstown, not sure when.
*Would like to contribute on the big league level - this year. Big fan of Chad Cordero. Used to be a bat boy for the Expos on special occasions.
*Has a "short-term memory" for the good and bad stuff. Likes the idea of staying in the bullpen.
*Got a great question (not from me!) about reduced pressure over the normal No. 10 guy, given the overwhelming shadow/aura/presence of Sir Strasburg. Said he felt pressure, too, because he was also a high pick. But spoke of it as a good thing, not a bad thing.
*He "knows" Strasburg but doesn't know him. They are Facebook friends.

If he pitches as well as he handles the media, albeit us non-traditional media types, the Nats will be OK. I'm eager to see this kid at some point soon and may check out Hagerstown's upcoming schedule.

The first session of this call featured John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammem. Nothing earth shattering from any of them, just a nice, general conversation about learning on the fly in the big leagues. Detwiler was candid enough to admit a bit of frustration - one bad pitch can often spoil an otherwise fine night (see last night for example). In the minors, maybe he gets away with that pitch.

Zimmermann isn't expecting anything out of this elbow deal - but the Nats' Nation always gets a little nervous when anything injury related followed by the words "but he's OK" comes up. Flores was OK, too. We could go on and on with that kind of list. Let's hope this time it's actually true.

Following up on my praiseful post of this a.m., it was nice of the Nats to arrange this. The media world has changed so much over the years, with us pesky bloggers springing up like weeds everywhere. I don't expect in any way to be treated the same way as mainstream media members, who have a real job to do. Having been on both sides, I understand the difference. Blogging is not journalism. Blogging is a form of personal expression.

But it is also nice that the Nats recognize we are out there. It is nice that they provide opportunities such as this now and then.

Wow. I really got up on the right side of the bed today.

Credit where it is due

As much as I whine and moan and complain, I figure I ought to be fair and say "nice job" when a nice job is done.

The Nats did a nice job last night. Not on the field, of course. No runs after loading the bases in the first, couldn't get Detwiler a victory despite a solid effort. The usual there as the team tries to get to 50 losses before it gets to 20 victories.

No, the nice job was getting the game started quickly after the rain.

This was a spur-of-the-moment trip. The tickets were part of my plan but I didn't think I'd be able to make it to my first T-Shirt Tuesday. Worked it out, rode up with a friend, we got there at 5:30 just in time for it to open up on us. It rained hard, for a long time. We were preparing to bail when it stopped. We figured it would take at least an hour to get the field ready.

Nope. They did it in 35 minutes. So we stayed. They sprung into action at the first chance and got it done.

We went to the Red Loft along with 10,000 or so others to watch the draft. My bud is a Royals' fan - and not terribly happy about the choice of Aaron Crow. Not to be petty, but it didn't disappoint me that he fell three slots lower than where he went last year.

My friend posed an interesting question - suppose he is available at the Nats' second slot (which turned out to be the case). Not sure if he signed that deal giving the team permission to take him. Let's say he did. You take him? Moot point now, of course, but it killed a little time. My thought was sure, if the team was still convinced he could help. If he's a real live player, put the past in the past and get it done. That said, I'm not disappointed he's going elsewhere.

Someone tell me something about this Storen kid. Should we like that pick?

We were also convinced, for no real rational reason, that Strasburg was in the house last night. We figured they'd trot him out to his future fans, get us something to be excited about since what's out there now isn't getting much done. OK, so we were wrong.

One other thing while I'm being all happy pappy today - I love the whole T-Shirt Tuesday thing. I'm still trying to get my hands on some of the older ones, especially the Cinco de Mayo Teddy shirt. Love the sombrero hanging off the W on the back.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today's the day

We're about 10 hours away from the first pick, the Nats on the clock and all that. I don't know how much time they get (I suspect it isn't the ridiculous 10 minutes they give in the NFL) and I'm curious how much of it they'll use before saying, "Stephen Strasburg."

My son tried to goad me last night, barging into my room and announcing that Sports Center just reported the Nats decided to pass on Strasburg. Ha ha ha ha ha.

They pass, I'm out. But they're not going to pass.

My new poll put up today asks about where to use him, assuming a reasonable timeframe to get him signed. By that, I mean within a couple of weeks. I realize that's unlikely to happen but humor me and think on the possibility if it does.

Where do you use him?

At this point, he isn't going to help with the playoff push. The only reason to pitch him in the majors would be to put some people in seats. To trot out the future. Is he ready? I have no clue. If someone who actually knows declares he is major-league ready, then let him pitch there. I'm betting he is not quite there yet and a little time in the minors won't hurt at all.

Not signing until late will make it a moot point.

Rob Dibble had an interesting point for the team that drafts Aaron Crow. Offer him half what the Nats offered and tell him take it or leave it. "What are they going to do, have him sit out another year?" Dibble said. They also keep talking about Boras with Crow. Did he switch agents?

My St. Claire poll showed 23 in favor of a change, 18 not in favor. Thirty votes were already in when the actual change was made and it was 18-12 in favor of the change at that point. I voted yes - I was to the point where I was disappointed in the lack of progress and I'm still waiting for someone to name me one single pitcher he's developed. Or tell me Jason Bergmann is better now than he was in 2005.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Congrats to the Wahoos

A shoutout to Ryan Zimmerman's alma mater, which I'm sure will put his generous donation to good use.

After witnessing today's buzzkill against the Mets, it was nice to switch over to ESPN and watch a tough, scrappy team pull itself out of a hole AGAIN and earn its first trip to the College World Series.

This O'Connor cat is one coach worth watching. Has there ever been a case of a guy going from the college level to managing in the majors? Just asking.

As for today:

*That's a month without an RBI from Austin Kearns. A month. Is Willingham still sick?

*I still wish the team had signed Livan Hernandez. I know, against the rest of the world, he's actually mortal. It's the Nats who make him look like Cy Young. I just love watching the guy pitch.

The future is so bright - or is it?

Today's mind game is this: Why is it always so stunningly beautiful on days when I'm stuck inside to watch baseball and so nasty and wet when I'm actually there to see it live? I'll have to work on that. Today looks so great that I might forego watching baseball and get off my fat duff and do something. Or not.

No matter what I do, I have to get something off my mind first. I'm delving into territory about which I know next to nothing. Yes, I know that's a wide area. Reading Boswell's column the other day left with me lots of thoughts and one big question.

When all this pitching finally "arrives," who is going to be left to hit?

Brian Oliver does such a marvelous job over at Nats Farm Authority and I'm sure he'll have some ready answers. It is quite all right for others to chime in as well.

Let's take Uncle Stan on faith when he whips out that list of pitchers. A real rotation is in there. Take the current five. Add Strasburg, the No. 10 pick this year, Balester, someone else not on the radar yet (or deeper in the system I don't know about yet). Out of that group, a rotation will emerge. One or two may fade or fail, one may get hurt, one may get traded to bring in an answer to the big question. Somehow, five will solidify and this should be a good rotation.

Again - let's say this is reasonable by 2011 - who hits?

Going down the current optimum order:

Guzman - contract ends next year. Don't see an extension in the offing. Is there a shortstop in the system who is ready by 2011>?
Johnson - contract up this year. I still think he gets traded for prospects. I don't see him signing here again. This is it for Nick in D.C. Marrero?
Zimmerman - he'll be here, thankfully.
Dunn - this year and next on the current deal. Maybe he'll be extended. Despite his lack of defense, I'll take him forever. Likely? No. So who is next? Burgess?
Dukes - I suspect he'll be here, unless he finds trouble again. I hope not. He's also pretty fragile, as Boswell points out.
Willingham - under club control for two years after this, I think.
Flores - is he fragile, too?
Hernandez - I have no real issues with him as the second baseman but don't like to think of him as the long-term answer. Is there a future 2B in the system? I still want answers on Orlando Hudson and this alleged failed physical.

So I guess it comes down to three spots: 1b who is always on base, SS who hits pretty darn well and the big bat. Who will those spots?

There's also the whole bullpen issue. Perhaps it is being patched together for now but are Ron Villone and Mike MacDougal long-term answers? I think not. Where are those answers? If there was a closer even close, I suspect we would have seen him by now. My man Zech has been in the system a while. Is the closer of the future already in the organization? Are strong relievers of the future already in the system?

Is the Nick Johnson for Manny Delcarmen trade dead?

Here's hoping there are some answers. I'd hate to see this can't miss future rotation all grown up and having to win 2-1 every night.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Glavine, and a question

The just-released Tom Glavine came up on Wednesday, one of many things discussed during the countless hours Uncle Stan drained us of our money before making the obvious call to postpone that game.

Should the Nats make a run at him? Makes sense, considering he's a big-time pro, he's smart and the Nats have some promising young lefties who can use that type of guidance.

Unless they're bring him on as a co-pitching coach, I say no. Glavine has enough savvy and moxie to win a few more games but overall, he's just a shadow of his former self and his presence would take up a spot for a youngster and not lead to enough wins to make a difference. He might well make an excellent pitching coach but I don't see him helping the Nats as an actual pitcher.

If what Glavine said is true (and I have no doubt that it is) - that Frank Wren told him he couldn't get people out anymore - someone ought to knock some sense into Frank Wren. It may well be true but you just don't say that to Tom Glavine. He deserves better.

Glavine, in my media days, was one of the best and most accomodating. I did a number of stories on him during his days in Richmond and in his early days in Atlanta. The last one I did was after the 1994 strike, when he became something of a villain and was booed in parks across the country. The fact that he is a good guy made him the bad guy. While most other players were hiding from and otherwise ducking the media during the strike, Glavine was always willing to share the players' side. Because of that, he became the face of the strike to many angry fans.

As for my question:

Let's go to the second game in the rain on Thursday. Willie Harris opens an inning with a triple and remains there for a short fly ball, a not-as-short fly ball and a strikeout.

Was any consideration given to sending him on the second fly? Risky, sure, but what the hell? The real question - was any consideration given to a squeeze bunt? It is raining pretty well by then and the odds of a deep fly are lower. Why not try something? It may well work. The line between aggressiveness and stupidity is very thin. At this point, does it really matter if the Nats fall on the wrong side now and then? Show a smidge of sack, please.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fun with numbers. 300

For the last time in my life, I saw a 300-game winner. I'm sure there will be another one eventually but I suspect it will be a long, long time.

I would have given up my eyewitness to history claim, however, to see Drama Queen the Umpire make the correct call on Adam Dunn in the eighth.
Yes, I'm biased. My Son the Braves Fan is not. He was watching at home and sent a text right away - horrible call, brutal call, pitch was low.
What really bothered me was Drama Queen waiting about a week to make the call. You want to butcher a pitch, fine. Do it. Don't primp for the camera.

There's a thread on Johnson on an online forum I participate in at and many there thought the pitch was definitely a ball.

Three hundred is a lot of wins. Fifteen seasons of 20 victories? Wow. Here's a fun fact about 300 - Randy Johnson now has two more victories than the Nationals have in their four-plus seasons in Washington.
Check my math with me: 81+71+73+59+14 = 298. Yep, my computer calculator says it is correct.

Somehow, when the Nats get No. 300 in 2-3 weeks, I don't think there will be as much of a fuss. Today's game - guess the date they win No. 300: I have June 21.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Rain King

Is it the Counting Crows who sing about the Rain King? That's me, the Rain King.

I went to the second home game of the season, when MASN had originally scheduled its Blogger's Night. Fortunately, the game was called early so I was able to enjoy good company in two different restaurants and still get home at a reasonable hour.

I had tickets to the Cardinals' game that was rained out. We were heading over when I got a text message that said the tarp was back on the field.

MASN rescheduled its event for us Kings of the Keyboards for the day portion of the day-night doubleheader. That went off without a hitch. Not so the night game, which at least played long enough to be official.

Then came the disaster that was last night. No way anyone with vision could have looked at a radar and seen a way to get that game in once 9 p.m. version of the rain started. No way. Yet many stayed and stayed and spent and spent and spent *** and there's the deal. You're here. Once we pull everything out of your pockets that we can, we'll do what should have been done two hours ago and call the thing off.

I understand schedules and wanting to play and doing everything within reason to do so. Within reason is the key. There's no way after a certain point you can risk million dollar players on a field like that. Let's not forget the comfort and safety of your fans, either. That has to count for something.

I had tickets last year to the game - also the Cardinals, I believe - that was delayed under a similar circumstance. I couldn't go so I gave the tickets to my daughter. Called her about five to see if she'd headed out. "Heck no. It's raining like crazy and the radar is as red as a fire engine," she said.

She was right. It never let up. There was never a reasonable window. Yet they waited and waited and waited to call it. My brother was at the stadium and he predicted within five minutes when they'd make the call. "They won't do it," he said, "until they sell all this food. And drinks to go with it."

I love baseball. I love it enough to go to great lengths to follow a bad team and see it in person as much as possible. I don't love rain. I'm a wimp and don't like sitting in wet clothes in wet seats and making long, wet walks back to my car.

So my plea to the Nats is to take that "within reason" part to heart in the future. You're getting plenty of money out of me now. You don't need to "soak" me for more.

Now, let me stop writing and go get ready to drive to D.C. again. Ladies Day and my wife is taking a half day off. Ladies Day is under cover and will go on, rain or shine, we're told.

Just got home

mostly dry by now. LONG day of driving, sitting around at ballpark, spending money (you are welcome Uncle Stan), NOT seeing baseball. No chance of that with the weather, I understand. It took until 11 to make that call?
More later. Probably shouldn't post when I'm tired, wet and ticked.
At least I get to see two tomor *** uh, later today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Wee haaaa! On a roll, bay-beee. The Nats are 1-0 in the McCatty Era. The team is within 22 games of the .500 mark. Better days ahead.

Ah, but there's still a question to be answered. Or so we're told on the television. Bob and Rob talked about it last night before the Nats exploded for a zillion runs in the bottom of the eighth. With the bad news about Jesus Flores' shoulder, there's now a competition going on with Wil Nieves and Josh Bard for the top catching job.


Mike Rizzo was quoted as saying the team is content to go with those two and I suppose it makes sense. If there was a No. 1-worthy catcher out there, someone would already have him. It is probably not worth trading even a marginal prospect for someone to use the rest of this season. What, catching Nieves-Bard is going to cost this team a playoff spot?

So while being OK with this duo because of circumstances, I'm still a bit confused. A competition? Is there really any question that Nieves is the better choice of the two?

Bard is growing on me and not because he hit a home run last night. I posted a while back about a quote of his I loved. I saw his postgame interview last night and my guess is he's the media people's dream. Chatty, personable, a good quote. He's a guy I could like a lot. Despite Nieves' recent hitting, Bard is probably a better offensive option.

But by how much? Heck, Wil "Who?" Nieves almost had a grand slam last night!

I also can't make myself believe Bard's a solid defensive catcher because I haven't seen any evidence of that. It seems that Nieves has it over him there in a big way. Neither of them is Flores on offense or defense but, sadly, that's no longer an option for 2009.

Am I nuts? Shouldn't it clearly be Nieves-Bard?

As for Flores, I'm still bothered by the use of the term "stress fracture." Years ago, before I gained eight million pounds, I ran a lot. Even did the 1997 Marine Corps Marathon. Honest. My brother was there was a witness. I know a thing or two about stress fractures because I had a couple. I've been under the impression they were overuse injuries. Flores took a ball hard off his shoulder.

I'm also curious why it didn't show up before he went on a rehab assignment.

Perhaps there's a perfectly reasonable and legit medical explanation for all this. I'm going to guess that's the case. But given the Nats' medical history over the past couple of years, these questions are not out of line.

I really hate this for Flores. He's the best thing JimBow did for the Nats. I love the way he plays, love the way he carries himself. I think I'm going to wear my Flores t-shirt to the game tonight in his honor.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A move IS made - St. Claire gone

See Nationals Journal (cool links to the right).

I'll leave my poll up, most were in favor of this among the 30 votes thus far.

Manny stays, St. Claire goes. Interesting world. I'm eager to hear some of the explanations. As usual, Chris Needham has a good take on why Manny may still be around. And you can still blame Chris for me writing my nonsense. He stopped his old blog and I started mine.

I don't have much of an opinion on St. Claire. I always bought into the hype that he was pretty good, never really questioning that theory like it should have been questioned. But I asked not long ago (as many did and have since): WAS he really any good? What pitcher can he brag about having developed? He's had Bergmann every season the Nats have been in D.C. Is Bergmann any better now than he was then?

And I still want news on Flores.

Well, maybe I should have just shut up on Flores. Here is a cut-and-paste of the latest Nationals Journal and it has flat-out ruined my day. How did someone miss a stress fracture? And, if the ball that hit him caused the injury, is that not something other than a stress fracture? A stress fracture, I think, is an overuse injury. So does this have nothing to do with that ball nailing his shoulder? Whatever - we won't see him again this year.

Flores Out At Least Three Months, Maybe For Season
Just got the word on catcher Jesus Flores's status. It'll be a long time before the Nats' first-string catcher -- and a big part of the future -- is back on the field.

Flores has a stress fracture in his right shoulder. The team is saying he will be out three months, maybe the rest of the season.

Flores has been on the disabled list since May 15 with a right shoulder contusion. As recently as last week ago, the Nationals were anticipating Flores to be ready within days. But while rehabbing with Class AA Harrisburg, Flores aggravated his injury, and was sent to Birmingham, Ala., for a consultation with Dr. James Andrews.

The other question

While waiting for yesterday's Big News That Didn't Happen, I forgot about another issue.

How did Flores' visit with Dr. Jim go down there in Birmingham? Wasn't that yesterday? Has anybody read anything? I still hope for the best, fear the worst.

Just bought tickets for tomorrow. Last 300-game winner we'll see in my lifetime. Watch, that'll be the one game the Nats win this week.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Remember when?

For some reason, that old song "Re-mem-mem, Re-mem-be-member, Re-mem-mem, Re-mem-be-member when?" won't leave my head today.

So while we sit and wait for off-day news that doesn't appear to be coming, let's board the way back machine and go all the way back to June, 2005.

I remember back-to-back homestands where the team posted a 17-2 record. I also remember being present for both losses. Even when the team doesn't stink, I can't manage to see it win. The first of those homestands actually started May 30.

Chad Cordero saved FIFTEEN games in June. FIFTEEN.

That team spent 53 days - MORE THAN SEVEN WEEKS! - in first place. That team went 20-6 in June.

If this team goes 20-6 in June, it will still be NINE games below the .500 mark for the season.

Admit it. You're singing it, too. All together now: Re-mem-mem, re-mem-be-member, Re-mem-mem, re-mem-be-member WHEN!

Bring back Frank.