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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Belliard is a Dodger

sent to LA for RHP Luis Garcia and a player to be named. Just announced on the postgame.
Good for him, maybe he'll get a chance to play in the playoffs again.

He's responsible for one of my better moments as a Nats fan with that walk-off he hit against the Orioles last year.

All I know about Garcia is he's a Class A pitcher. I'll leave the dissection of the details to those who know more than I do. That's just about everybody.

Thanks for the memories Mr. Belliard.

Here is Garcia's player page - at first glance seems like a nice prospect.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Khalil Greene

You knew it was coming. Admit it. Never a doubt. The only question when Albert Pujols stepped up in the ninth last night was not whether he'd crank one out of there but rather in what state would it land. I understand it came down in Delaware, somewhere near Dover.

My thinking today, though, has little to do with Pujols and more to do with the guy who tied the game in the eighth - Nats killer Khalil Greene. Every time he comes up, I think back to this game in 2005 in San Diego when he doused what little playoff hope the Nats have left.

I have always loved the guy. I have always wanted him to be a Nat. I seem to remember some rumor, maybe in 2006, that a Greene-Cordero trade was in the works.

He's a terrific defensive player. His recent offensive stats don't justify my love, I know that. Those who really understand stats can rip this argument to shreds easily.

Still, I'd take him in a minute. I don't know what's going on with this social anxiety disorder that's put him on the DL a couple of times. I'm pretty sure he's a free agent after this season and I would be rather happy - maybe unreasonably and unjustifiably happy - if he ended up a Nat.

It was just two years ago he hit 27 home runs and drove in 97 for San Diego. He faded hard in 08 and has seen the bottom fall out in 09. Good. That means they can get him at a discount.

Here's a story from earlier in the season where he talks about this social anxiety thing.

Here's another one.

He will be a free agent.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

That sinking feeling

Love taking 2-3 from the Cubs. Love taking any game from the Cubs.

Hate, hate, HATE losing Nyjer Morgan. Broken hand? I suspect that's it for this season.

My afternoon smile has turned into an evening frown. Are the Nats just cursed? Even when things are going well, something bad has to happen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I got it

Let me go on record right now, before they give the answer, that I nailed the AFLAC trivia on tonight's broadcast. Quickly. I don't know whether to be proud or ashamed.

(Four Nats who were traded/let go/signed elsewhere and then came back - one of them obviously Livan)

Got home from my wife's birthday dinner just in time to see that long home run and Dukes' dropped ball. And hear the trivia question.

(You get the others yet, if you aren't watching? I'll post the answer in the comments section. NAILED it!)

Happy Birthday Sue

Today is my wife's birthday. It's No. 50, but please don't tell her I told you that. Actually, if you want to have some fun and see an interesting reaction, tell her I told you it is No. 60. Please clear out a room in the basement first because I might need it.

What better present could there be than waking up to the news that the Nats have signed Livan Hernandez and that he'll pitch on her birthday.

As mentioned in a previous post, Hernandez was on the mound in the first Nationals game I saw. I love watching him pitch. Later that same summer, I was there when he threw a 63 mph beauty to Vernon Wells that Wells swung at when he was halfway there. He had time to reset and swing again.

Yeah, I know. That was a long time ago. I know he's not a long-term answer. I'm still happy he's back.

Plus, it saves me from having to go out and buy an actual present. I can't top Livan Hernandez.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Who? Who? WHO??

First, thanks to the Nationals for conducting a second Bloggers Day yesterday. Since I wasn't able to make the first, another one was most appreciated. We were even written about in the Washington Times. That's me, Mr. Senior Citizen. I think I'm going to change the name of this to Grandpa's Blog or Droolings or something.

The Nats don't have to do this. Most teams just ignore us and hope we'll stay in our basements. There's another motive, too, let's not forget that. Stan Kasten is no dummy. He's been in the sports management business a long time. He admitted yesterday that they're still trying to figure out the Blogosphere (so are we) - but he does understand we reach people who might not otherwise be reached. So maybe it helps them, too. Nothing wrong with helping each other.

Uncle Stan and Mike Rizzo spent about 20 minutes chatting with us, and then Stan came back for some more during the game. One thing they said really intrigued me - they'd like to add a veteran pitcher to provide a mentor for the youngsters and some stability to the rotation. Not a No. 1 type - no Sabathias, Stan said - but a solid, proven pitcher who could help on and off the field.

Right away, my mind went into overdrive. Who? Who? WHO?? They can't say, of course, it would be tampering. But since I'm already thinking pretty much of 2010 and 2010 alone, I went to Cots and found a list of free agents.

One name jumps out at me, maybe not the first one who would jump out to most: Jason Marquis. Not great but much better than people think. When he pitched against the Nats the other night, MASN threw up an interesting graphic about the number of teams he's been on that have been in the playoffs.

He's won 37 games the past three seasons (including 14 thus far this season). He has 93 career victories. He turned 31 last week. He qualifies as a veteran but he has some years left. This is his sixth straight year with at least 10 wins.

Plus, he can hit. Career average of .205 and I seem to recall him being used as a pinch hitter here and there.

Another option: Kevin Millwood, though the asterisk by his name means there's an option controlled either by the player or the team. So he may not be available. He's a little older (35 in December) and not quite as good as Marquis. His best years, by far, came earlier in his career. But he is a veteran still capable of a lot of innings. And, unless he's changed dramatically in recent years, he's one of the best people I dealt with in my previous career.

I was covering the Richmond Braves way back in 1997 when they brought him up. His numbers in AA weren't that great and I remember thinking, "This is the best they have?" Well, in Richmond, he was darn near unhittable. Two one-hitters over a stretch of seven starts. He got yanked up to Atlanta pretty quick.

He won 45 games his first three full seasons. I covered a 1999 playoff game against Houston where he threw a one-hitter, maybe the best pitched game I've seen live. I thought for a long time that he was the game's next great pitcher.

That didn't quite work out but I think he still has some value. I'd rather see Marquis but I'd never complain about Kevin Millwood.

An interesting choice/risk given his injury: Brandon Webb. Without the injury, he falls into the Sabathia class and isn't even a topic of conversation.

Look over that list and form your own opinions, with that silly song "Who Will It Be Now?" playing over and over in your head.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trivia Time

We had some time to kill on my most recent visit to the park, so the four in our group talked a little about the brief history of the Washington Nationals. It evolved into a trivia contest - a low-grade trivia contest for anyone who has followed the Nationals closely.

So to take your mind off this growing losing streak and the ugly starting pitching that has contribted to it, I thought I'd share some of the questions with you before I head north to take part in Bloggers Day Part II. Try to do it the "honest" way first, without looking up the answers. I'll post them later in the week.

*How many players have appeared in at least one game in each of the five seasons? Name them.

*Name the Nats All-Stars by season (I drew a blank on one and then kicked myself when I remembered the answer).

*Name the Nationals' Opening Day starters by year.

*How many in the Nationals' Opening Day starting lineup in 2005 are still on the club?

*Who was in that 2005 Opening Day starting lineup?

*This is one I'm not sure I can do - but can you name the starting rotation as it stood on Opening Day in each of the five seasons?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who stole John Lannan's uniform?

And body? Because, resemblance aside, that's not him out there tonight.
If he goes in the tank, the thought of this team not losing 100 games suddenly vanishes, does it not?
Is this some trick being played by Daniel Cabrera? I thought he was in the Arizona organization now, not channeling himself into Nationals pitcher's bodies.
This is batting practice ugly.

Rigs still has work to do

The latest poll (still not to 100 votes): 34 say Jim Riggleman hasn't done enough to earn the permanent job yet, 21 say he has done enough.

I voted for not - and it isn't because I have anything against Jim Riggleman. I just want to see more. The team IS playing better with him in charge (this week excepted) but I think you'd see that with any new manager.

My new motto is In Mike We Trust. After the rudderless leadership of the previous GM, I'm going all in on this guy until he gives me reason to do otherwise. If he thinks Jim Riggleman is the guy, I'm in. If he thinks Jim Riggleman is not the guy, I'm in.

I wonder if he voted?

I also wonder if anyone has even noticed a little four-game losing streak has blossomed. The events of the past week are clouding everything. Is it 2010 yet?

How's the weather? It's nasty down here but I hope all is well in D.C. as my fellow season-ticket holders enjoy the Picnic in the Park. Just can't do it today, as much as I'd like to be there. One thing I found curious in the letter sent to us faithful: Ryan Zimmerman will be available for pictures but won't be signing autographs? Why not? I'm not a big autograph guy so it wouldn't matter much to me. But he IS Pete Franchise.

No free hot dog, chips and drink. No Frank Howard bobblehead to keep my Adam Dunn bobblehead company (though some are already available on eBay - hmmmmm, how did they get them to sell?). A four-game losing streak.

But Sir Strasburg is in the house. All is well.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Not to be all sappy

But I darn near cried when Zimmerman came up and gave Sir Strasburg the hat and jersey. Maybe I actually did. Nobody home but the dogs to refute my claim that I'm not some old sap.

Crowd count? Didn't look to be all that many beyond the youngsters who were clearly imported in for the festivities. I thought about going up but what do you do between 3 and 5? Go to the Ugly Mug is what I was going to do but I opted to stay home and do some actual work so I could go to Blogger Day on Sunday. Missed the first one, don't want to miss this one.

I felt bad for my former colleagues in the media. Wicked hot, it looked like. I hope they get some more access to Strasburg later, away from the masses.

Anyway, welcome aboard young man. Expectations aren't great or anything. A championship by 2011, please.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hey Hunter - enjoy that replay

Wow, was that overruled strike three call awful. You just knew it was going to lead to some runs.
I realize the umpires don't have the advantage of a replay seen 1,000 times like I just had but this one wasn't close. I don't understand how that one could be missed.

I think Hunter Wendelstedt will agree once he does get a chance to take a look. Lot of good it will do the Nats at that point.

Oh well. Strasburg is still on board and one "interim" title has been removed. Not even Hunter Wendelstedt's cluelessness can take this smile off my face.

Congratulations and a question

Congratulations to Mike Rizzo on his apparent rise to the Big Chair, the removal of the acting title and all that. I'm not privy to all the inner workings and I don't know enough to actually know what kind of job he's done since March 1. I do know that what we're able to see on the surface indicates he's done the job well. This is a better team than it was two months ago - hard to be worse but not easy to get better - and it seems he has more respect around baseball than the previous GM.

I also love the timing. It's celebration week, so much so that no one seems to have noticed the two recent losses to the Rockies, who have turned Nats Park into a launching pad. What are we, Fulton County Stadium North?

So from the entire staff at NationalsFanboyLooser: Congrats to Mike Rizzo. Playoffs by 2011 or we're all over you, too. Kidding (sort of).

Now the question - what of Jerry Dipoto? There are persistent rumors that he's still involved somehow. Let me emphasize the word rumor. I've found many persistent rumors to be very true over the years but not always. So who knows? But this week's persistent rumor is he'll join the organization in some capacity - replicate his role in Arizona, something. Eager to see if that's true. Dipoto and Rizzo could make an interesting team.

Might not be as big a deal now, since he may not be involved in any capacity. But let's remember out there - the "p" in Dipoto is small. That is about the only thing I've been able to confirm in all this. My source on that is Jerry Dipoto.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why wait?

The two guys who cover for the Washington Times, Mark Zuckerman and Ben Goessling, don't get as much notice as their brethren at the bigger paper in town, which is too bad. They're quality reporters and do a nice job. I'm on board as being a big fan of Nationals Journal in the Post but I need to make it clear I'm a fan of "Chatter" on the Washington Times' Web site, too. They get fewer comments than I do, which doesn't make sense. It's good stuff.

The most recent piece on the general manager situation is a good example. They raise some good points about Mike Rizzo that I had not considered before because I'd been too wrapped up in other things (like Strasburg).

Strasburg's signing has created a good buzz in the organization and among the fan base. The team is playing a bit better, The One and Only has been signed - there's a positive flow going for once.

Rizzo has to get some credit for that, doesn't he? If you disagree, fine, please give me a list of strikes against the guy.

Why not take another step and make him the GM now? Why wait until the end of the season? He's done the job for almost a full season and appears to be making good progress toward undoing much of the mess he was left.

Is there any reason NOT to name him? No offense to former VCU standout Jerry Dipoto or Jed Hoyer.

Why wait? If he is the guy, and I've come around to believing he should be, go ahead and do it now. Let's start removing some interim/acting titles and keep this train moving forward.

Nationals Journal weighs in, too, citing the same Yahoo report about Dipoto. Let's get it straight right now in case he does get the job. It is Dipoto, not DiPoto. Got that straight from Jerry Dipoto himself, as per the report I linked the other day from my other site at - and I just worked in ANOTHER shameless plug. I'm getting good at that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rank 'em!

My first inclination upon hearing the great news of the Stephen Strasburg signing was to run out on my porch and yell "HELL YEAH!" real loud a couple dozen times. I had my hand on the doorknob when reason caught up with emotion. I don't live in Arlington or Alexandria. I'm 125 miles south of the stadium. This neighborhood is not very in-tune with the Nats. I would have been shot, arrested, maybe both (still might have been worth it).

I did the next best thing. I ran upstairs to the room where the Braves fan slept and jumped hard on the bed. I jumped up and down and up and down and up and down yelling "HELL YEAH! HELL YEAH! HELL YEAH!" When a meek voice protested that this was like some sort of nightmare, I came back with this: YOUR NIGHTMARE JUST SIGNED WITH THE NATS! Then I jumped some more and finally let him try to get back to sleep.

Oh. Hell. Yeah. Happiest I have been in a long, long, long time. Heading up tonight and they better trot him out. I'll give him my free t-shirt. I'll buy him a rib. Uncle Stan and Interim Mike better watch out. If I see them, I may hug them.

Look, I know. I've heard it countless times lately. The kid hasn't thrown a single professional pitch. Maybe he isn't THAT good. Maybe he flames out.

Maybe so, and maybe not, too. Maybe he's the greatest thing ever and he does it all in Washington. What he does is give us long suffering foofs hope. This could be THE ONE.

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

So in the two hours it took to fall asleep after my Happy Dance On My Son, I sat and thought about the greatest moments I've had in my almost five years as a Nats fan. There haven't been a lot of them. I came up with a top five but I'm going to list in chronological order. I'll have to think some more to put them in actual order.

*My first game. I didn't go to the home opener. My daughter and I went to an afternoon game against the Brewers early in the year and had a blast. Sat in section 519. Nats won, I remember zero details. Livan Hernandez pitched and my daughter said, "I see why you like this guy Dad. He looks just like you." It was so cool to be back in that ratty joint for a real ballgame.

*Same season, game nine of the 10-game streak. John Patterson on the mound, Nats win 2-1. This was special because I went with my brother and sister and their spouses, my son and a young woman he was dating at the time (but no longer). The Chief closed it out. Just a real fun night. I remember standing in the aisle at some point in the game, wearing the Nats jersey I got for Father's Day. I was waving a runner home because I feel better when I take charge. I heard my son say, "We've never seen him like this. Didn't know he had it in him."

*Fast forward one season. The Saturday game of the Yankees series, the day before the Ryan Zimmerman Father's Day Walk Off Home Run (another great moment that led to a head injury when I jumped into my ceiling fan). The Nats were down 9-2 and won 11-9. Darryle Ward legged his big self home from first on a Jose Guillen triple. He also hit a ridiculous home run. I went with my son and three of his college buddies and it was probably the most fun I've had watching a game. Our section had a lot of Yankees fans in it but they were exceptionally cool. A lot of good-natured back and forth and handshakes and high fives when it was done. The way it's supposed to be. The best part? Right next to us were two college-aged women. When it was over, I got the high fives and the best hugs ever, non-family division. The guys were mystified. "We're right there and the old man gets the hugs?" my son said. Not the first time he's underestimated my considerable charm.

*The 2008 Opener and Zimmerman Blast. Pretty self-explanatory. You could not have drawn up a better night. The one time I was glad Paul LoDuca was on the team because his weak effort behind the plate allowed the tying run to score and set the scene for The Great Moment at Nats Park. Even better that it came against the Braves. My daughter and I were quickly on the phone with my son, yelling, "HOW DID IT LOOK IN HD? IT LOOKED GREAT LIVE." I simply cannot print his response.

*Strasburg signs. This team has gotten worse each season, not better. We need some hope. Stephen Strasburg gives us hope. My dream of a Strasburg-Lannan-Zimmermann top three will have to wait a year but I'm still deliriously happy. There's hope in Nats Town. They could lose 120-0 tonight and I'll smile all the way home.

What are your best moments?

Yesssssssssssss! (Probably)

If Brian at NFA says it, it is true!

It's showing up elsewhere now, too, but Brian had it before I saw it anywhere else. Great job! Uh, by the Nats, too.

I will be there tonight to bow down as he is introduced to us faithful.

Sweet. Less than 20, too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Is it midnight yet?

How much is today going to stink?

Fortunately, I have a good bit going on so the day should go by quickly.

Has he signed yet?

In the meantime, some news to tide us over. Logan Kensing, we hardly knew you. I'm hopeful of seeing Mike Morse (and seeing Stephen Strasburg take a bow) when I go to the park tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Blame Game

Two more miserable days and then we'll know - is Stephen Strasburg a Nat or is he not a Nat? The "spin game" has already started, as anyone who watched last night's broadcast knows.

Rob Dibble, Bob Carpenter and Ray Knight all had their say on the matter. Ray's take was probably the best. The Nationals have offered Strasburg around twice what Ray made in his entire career (and it was a good one - he's a former World Series MVP). He's done pretty well with that money. Double figure millions is a shocking amount of cash and it is unthinkable that it could be turned down.

Other than Rob repeatedly saying the word "blogger" like it was the most profane word ever, I actually agree with most of what they had to say - repeatedly - in the booth during the game. It's a ton of money. How can you turn that down? And so forth. What I didn't like was the assertion that they knew, they just knew, that the "bloggers (holding nose)" and media would be all over the Nats if they fail to sign Strasburg.

Really? I'm not so sure. I'm willing to bet some will go off the deep end and rip the Nats a new one but I hate to see all us "bloggers (throwing up)" and media lumped into that boat. There's plenty of blame to go around. I'm not so sure it is automatic it falls on the Nats.

I blamed them not at all last year when they failed to sign Aaron Crow, who appears to be on the verge of not signing again. Smart career move to basically sit out two seasons. What they offered him was fair and, if he said no, it's on him. Cost him a lot of money now and over the long haul.

I have no idea what the actual offer to Strasburg is now, other than it beats what Mark Prior got. So it is double figure millions. Let's just say 12 for the sake of argument. Any more doesn't really matter. The point is the same.

THAT IS A SHEETPILE OF CASH. How can an adult who allegedly makes a career out of financial advising advise a youngster to turn that down? As a guy who has worked hard for his entire career and not made 15 percent of that in 30 years (and still helped provide for a family), I shake my head in wonder. What world do these people live in? If someone offered my son a dozen million and someone else advised him to turn it down, there would be a hammer on someone's head.

That said, I do have a nagging thought in my head and, yeah, it may make me one of those "bloggers (gagging)" or other media lumped into that "rip the Nationals" category: Does it have nothing to do with money? Is the Nationals' reputation so bad that no one wants to play for them?

Crow is a tool and a fool for listening to bad advice. The Hendricks Brothers overvalued him and the Nats offered him too much anyway. He said no and he paid, falling in this year's draft.

I don't think Strasburg is a tool. I do fear he's out there thinking, "What the heck - I can make it another year and play somewhere else." I hope not. The Rays last year gave hope to every franchise that appears to be a lifelong loser. Things can change. With JimBow gone, I hope the Nationals are taken more seriously among baseball insiders.

But the very thought that someone could actually say no to a dozen (or more) million makes me wonder.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some unsettling words

Sometimes I wish Uncle Stan would just say no to the microphones. Earlier in the season, he pretty much invited Philadelphians to turn Nats Park into Citizens Bank Park South. And they did.

In this AP report I just read, the words "very real possibility" he won't sign don't sit too well. Maybe he's giving us fans time to absorb the fact that Strasburg won't become a Nat. Maybe it's all just posturing or some such nonsense.

I just wish it was Monday and I just wish it was over - with him signed. I don't want to hear anything else from anyone until it is done, one way or another.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We're an optimistic bunch

With the clock ticking rapidly toward Monday *****

My latest poll: 23 think the Strasburg deal will get done, 12 do not. Boo on the total numbers! After three straight weeks of record voting, which raised my hopes of hitting 100 voters, we fell back considerably. I may just cry.

I'm partly to blame on that one. I sat this one out because I have no idea what to think. I'm optimistic one moment, pessimistic the next and there's no real rhyme or reason to why I think one or the other.

Scott Boras is known for the 11th-hour deal. Didn't Matt Wieters sign late with the Orioles when just about everyone had given up hope?

Are they trying to keep Strasburg available for the Padres next year? That's a big conspiracy theory I'm hearing. Not a real solid plan, given the way some teams go in the tank late in the season. In fact, three teams besides the Nationals have fewer wins than the Padres now. If Strasburg is in the 2010 draft, he won't slip past No. 2. (The Nats better be careful - their once insurmountable lead in the Harper Cup standings has shrunk considerably. The Royals are within 5 1/2 games!).

Who is the REAL general manager, who is the REAL manager? Do those things matter in this type of negotiation? I know I wouldn't take a job without knowing the identity of the boss but baseball is hardly a typical business.

Does signing Strasburg move Rizzo one step closer to losing the Pinnochio tag and becoming a real boy? Does not signing Strasburg seal his fate and eliminate him from consideration?

Is not signing him a "sky is not just falling, it done fell" moment or is Rob Dibble right and it is too much money anyway?

It is going to be a very interesting few days.

I'm in one of my optimistic moments right now. I'll be at the park Tuesday to pick up my free t-shirt and cheer when Stephen Strasburg is introduced to the crowd.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shameless plug - but some good info

The recent Nationals Journal entry about the general manager search prompted one of those "ding" moments in my mind.
Jerry Dipoto, the current Arizona Diamondbacks executive who could be the front-runner (or so a national outlet says!), pitched at Virginia Commonwealth University during the late 1980s before embarking on a major league career.

My latest venture is a Web site called Virginia Sports Now ( Some of you have checked it out, some of you have already joined. We appreciate that tremendously.

I had brief communication with Dipoto this week, with the promise of more to come. While waiting to hear from him, I put together a few things and put up this story. Go take a look. Yeah, I know. A shameless, shameless way to get more eyeballs to my site. I'm so ashamed. Go read it anyway.

Does he deserve the job over Mike Rizzo? Does anyone? I have no clue. Although many will judge Rizzo by what happens (or what does not happen) on Monday, I can't find too much fault with anything he's done thus far. Would anyone take Milledge and Hanrahan back for Morgan and Burnett? That's been his biggest mark. How he drafted won't be clear for several years. How he deals with people is something we won't know unless we work there. Does he have the respect around baseball that our previous GM did not?

If the brass thinks Rizzo is the guy, I'm fine with that. If the brass thinks Jerry Dipoto is the guy, I'm fine with that, too. Or Jed Hoyer.

All I know for sure is I covered Dipoto as a college pitcher and I hope you enjoy what I put together on him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I still love Nyjer

but what was up with that? Where were you going to go?
Odds of a comeback without that: Quite slim.
Odds of a comeback now: None.
Let's pay attention out there, huh?

It's on

Streak over. C'mon, you didn't expect it to last forever, did you? I had hoped it would reach double figures. Maybe the next one.

The best part about last night's game came when Johnny and Rob were talking about Nyjer Morgan and football and their plans/desire to take him to a University of Maryland football game.

That immediately brought a text message from my son's girlfriend at her home in Silver Spring to My Son The Braves Fan, watching the game with me (and not gloating too badly, thankfully).

"What did Nyjer do to those guys to make them want to torture him like that?"

MSTBF and his girlfriend are graduates of Virginia Tech. In their orange/maroon highly biased eyes, there's only one way to get the full college football experience.

At Virginia Tech.

"Dad, you tell Nyjer we'll show him real football and a real football atmosphere," he said. "Make that happen."

My son really likes listening to Johnny. He had his hair buzzed, almost as close as mine, in honor of Johnny's grandson and we sent some money up to the hospital to support cancer research. I've assured him Johnny is as terrific a guy as he seems. I've also pointed out that Johnny does Maryland broadcasts.

Well and good, my son said. He still doesn't want to see Nyjer corrupted like that, which is how he sees the situation.

Virginia Tech is at Maryland on Nov. 14. My son and his krew will be there - along with lots of other Hokies - and he says Nyjer is more than welcome to sit with them. He's also welcome to join them for any of Virginia Tech's home games (he made the same offer to Johnny Damon after the Yankees played at Virginia Tech).

They may even have an extra ticket for Tech's opener against Alabama on Sept. 5 in Atlanta. But Nyjer has some other obligations that day that will prevent him from attending.

My son also said he'll find a ticket for Tech's appearnance in a BCS bowl game. It has Nyjer's name on it. He has roughly 4,305,201 hats with VT on them and he'll gladly send some Nyjer's way.

"Anything," he said, "to keep him from becoming a Maryland fan."

Oh, it's on.

Monday, August 10, 2009

From The AP (and Nationals Journal)

and it ain't good:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo says rookie right-hander Jordan Zimmermann probably needs reconstructive elbow surgery.

Jesus. Did they know it was serious when they first put him on the DL, and then just lie about it? Or did they not know? Are these things that difficult to figure out?

In the midst of so much good going on, this is about as much of a downer as there can be. I stick to my theory that Z-nn is the Nats' best pitcher. I guess we won't be able to confirm that again until 2011.

More from Nationals Journal.

Shit. Pardon my French. Shit. Pardon it again.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

And it was such a great night

Just got home from a wonderful night at the ballpark. My Son the Braves (and partial Nats) Fan joined me along with his girlfriend. Spent a couple of innings visiting with an old friend. Got a bobblehead. Had a great rib, well cooked and hot.

Saw a 5-2 victory. Seven! Made it home without traffic.

Then I saw this from Nationals Journal:

UPDATED, 6:04 P.M.: The MRI exam on Jordan Zimmermann's right elbow caused concern with the Nationals doctors and will be sent to orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., according to acting general manager Mike Rizzo.

Shit. Pardon my French. Shit. Pardon it again.
But I am so not liking the sounds of all that.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dialed in

I hate the term, mainly because it is a NASCAR thing and I heard it too much over the years. That GEICO Chevrolet is really dialed in today.

But I can't think of anything better right now.

How "dialed in" is Josh Willingham right now?

It's to the point where there's no one I'd rather see up in a crucial situation.

On the downside, this tidbit on leaves me with an uneasy feeling. A very uneasy feeling. The Nationals have an unfortunate history of players who are supposed to be out a little while being out an awful long time. I sure hope this is not one of those cases.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Play-by-Play Interruptus

Dear Rob,
I hesitate to write this because, having met you twice, I've come away convinced you are a really good guy. When you stick to straight analysis, it is most always dead on and very good. Your willingness to both praise and criticize is appreciated and this team has sure given you a chance to do some of both.

Now I've never been a fan of cheering broadcasters, though I understand a lot do it. Nature of the beast. I feel us fans should cheer and broadcasters should broadcast.

Perhaps your employers want you to cheer. Perhaps that is just your style. Either way, I have one simple request: If you are going to cheer, can you pretty super extra please wait until Bob is done with the call of the play? It is very distracting to hear a "YEAHHH," or a "go go GO," or clapping when Bob is trying to tell us what is going on.

Thanks. Other than the cheering thing (and the timing of it), keep up the good work.

Oh, one other thing: You are flat-out crazy on Strasburg. I think $20 million (or so) is crazy, too, but that's the way of the world these days. You can't pass on a talent like that. If he isn't signed, it will indeed be a disaster. Of epic proportions.



ps - he clearly isn't reading between innings. I just heard "GET UP" and "C'mon Zim" here in the eighth but have no idea what Bob said.

ps again - completely unrelated, just how many ex-Nats are on the Marlins' roster? Brian Sanches is there? Ayala?

More ps (or bs) - see previous entry on Nick Johnson. Poor guy is now 0-12 in Marlins-Nats games this season. Maybe the Marlins can move him to Philly and give the Nats a chance to beat the Phillies a few times, too.

The numbers game

We'll let Interim Mike deal with the Big Numbers, like the 20 or so million it is going to take to get Strasburg signed in 11 days. Here are some other number-related thoughts that popped into my empty head on this rainy morning.

The Nats now have 36 victories. I think it is safe to put the 62 Mets in the rear view mirror. Heck, this hot squad could have 40 wins by the weekend. Is that really a big deal? Anyone who thinks a Mets-like mark wasn't a serious possibility earlier this season is flat-out drunk.

The next milestone? Let's see if this team can get to 63 wins and avoid a second straight 100-loss season.

My math tells me there's 54 games left. That means a .500 mark is necessary to get to 63. Doable? I think I heard the TV guys say Interim Jim's mark is now 10-11. So they don't have to pick up the pace too much. Now that the Nats have conquered the Marlins, anything is possible.

Is 30-24 possible? Odd that a 66-win season would almost seem like a playoff spot but that's the way I'm feeling now.

Suppose the Nats get really hot and go 34-20? No, there isn't Jack Daniels in my coffee. I know it isn't likely. But just suppose. Does 70 wins take the Interim away from Jim?

A friend asked me yesterday what I thought of him and I didn't really have a good answer. I'd rather someone fresh (oh wait, how did that work out the last time?) or someone with more of a name (Bobby Valentine anyone?) but if he goes 44-31, I'd be just fine with giving him a real look.

Did Strasburg sign in the time it took me to write all that?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hmmmm - maybe it was Nick?

Just thinking out loud here:
First nine times the Nats and Marlins play this year, Nick Johnson is wearing the W. Marlins win all nine.
Next two times the Nats and Marlins play this year, Nick Johnson is wearing the F. Nats win both.

Could it be that Nick is the problem?

Just kidding big guy.

Nyjer was the best Wired Wednesday of the year, by the way.

Bang. Zoom. Out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


A few generic topics to touch on this a.m. before life gets hectic. Too hectic, sad to say, to make it up for a free t-shirt tonight. I'd like to be there to give Nick Johnson a nice round of applause. Cover for me, huh?

*My wife says right now it is a tie between Safeco and PNC for favorite park. Up to me to break it, I guess. I can't. Both are terrific. Spectacular views, a wide variety of good food that is cheaper than it is in Washington. Just a lot of nice touches that seem to be missing at Nats Park. I don't want to come off too negative. I enjoy watching games in D.C., it is a fine stadium for viewing. But the stadium itself doesn't match the others. Don't take my word for it. Go see for yourself. Try the wings at Quaker Lube and Something. A friend suggested them. I had them twice. Outstanding.

*Is it Aug. 17 yet? A talk show host in Pittsburgh, name escapes me, is convinced Strasburg is headed overseas in an attempt to get with San Diego in the next draft. There ought to be some sort of rule, though I'm not sure what it would be and if it would be enforceable. I'd say this is a pretty big 13 days for Mr. Rizzo.

*A buzz seems to be building that maybe it is time to give Tyler Clippard another look as a starter. Why? The experiment to make him a reliever seems to have worked pretty well. Zimmermann will be back soon (we hope) and Mock can head back to AAAA or back to the bullpen or wherever. This team has enough starter prospects. Bring Martis back. Bring Detwiler back. Leave Clippard alone. If Sean Burnett keeps it up, maybe those two are the start of a bullpen that doesn't stink. Wouldn't it be nice to go to the pen and not freak out over the impending disaster? Add Storen (assuming he is for real) and a free agent/trade and maybe, just maybe it becomes a real bullpen. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

*Burnett gave up a home run to the first batter he faced and hasn't given up a run since. I'll take it. Maybe the man found the cure for Nats-itis.

*Speaking of dreams, I keep having one where Jorge Sosa regains his 2005 form. Then I wake up. As I've said before, I saw him a couple of times that year and would have bet the ranch that he was the truthful truth.

*Shameless plug for myself. Sorry. Wait, it's MY blog! Why be sorry? As if trying to get one business going wasn't enough, I've added another. Go check out - sign up early for a discount and tell your friends. Lots and lots and lots and lots of them.

*I'm glad Willingham didn't get traded. Maybe I'm fooled by a hot month but I really like the guy. I'm still baffled by the Johnson deal. Don't you have to get a smidge more than that? Friends who know more than I do say his value really did fall and other suitors found better options. But did it fall THAT far?

*New poll coming tomorrow. Trying to think of something good.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A long, good day

We managed to cut an hour and a half off the return trip, bypassing the fabulous D.C. Metro area altogether.
Plus, the Nats won.
Plus, my new Web site is up and running at - come check it out and sign up early for a 20 percent discount. Mention NationalsFanboyLooser and get, well, the same 20 percent. But it will make me happy.
I wish that stadium was a little closer. What a great park.
The trip ended much better than it began.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


The Nats are not.

I'll have more to say on all this later, probably after I return home. Shouldn't post much now when I'm so aggravated. Great park and the less I say about the game, the better. Keep in mind I just came from watching a guy who is knee high to Nyjer Morgan hit three home runs. Three. Heck, even I wanted to see him knock one out when he came up late in the game. I've never seen four live before.

The Pirates sent the winning pitcher out after the game. Wonder if the Nats have any similar plans for any of their pitchers.

Oops. I said I wasn't going to do that.

Oh, OK, one more. We've started a new game. Whenever Kensing comes in, we do a quick pool on which batter will go deep. I won tonight. Quack.

Darn, I said I wasn't going to do that.

Good night.

GREAT park, by the way.

Yes, cheer for Nick. Loud. Long

Today will be a better day. There's a Bruegger's attached to our hotel. They had some in Richmond a long time ago and all of them closed. Nearest Einstein's isn't near. There's no place to get a great bagel where I live. Bruegger's isn't great but it isn't bad and the coffee is very good. So I'm fortified. Ready to go. No trades are going to mess up this day. Now watch it rain.

During one of the 4,329 delays yesterday, I checked out the comments section on Nationals Journal after one of the updates on the Johnson trade. Can't remember if it was the one that said the trade was in the works, the one that said there WAS no trade or the one that said, oh yeah, he's gone. I think it was the last one.

The poster wanted to know if Nick should get an ovation when he appears with the MARLINS (yeah, OK, that still bothers me) on Tuesday. I had not seen many direct responses to that one. So let me provide one here.

Yes. Hell yes. HELL YES. Why would he not get an ovation? The guy was a pretty good player for a long time. Got hurt a lot, sure. But when he was out there, admit it: You felt good. You liked your chances when he was up. You liked him in the field, except for that pesky pop-up thing. He seemed to be a guy who carried himself well. He's the type of guy you could get behind very easily.

Now he's a MARLIN. Not by his own doing. Attending Tuesday is not in my current plans, don't know if I'll be able to adjust my schedule. I'd like to be there. If not, I'll stand and applaud in my family room when he's introduced and when he bats for the first time. I hope those who show up will do the same. Loud. Long. Louder. Longer. He's earned it.

Thanks, Nick, for all you did for the Nats and good luck with the MARL -- no, sorry, I can't go that far. Good luck with the rest of your career.