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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A new face in Mom's Basement

There's a good reason to get up in the morning, beyond hoping all this nasty snow is gone.

A "newcomer" will join the Nats' blogosphere, or Natsmosphere as we like to call it.

But he's not new.

Mark Zuckerman, late of the Washington Times, will be blogging at - as of now it says it is open to invited readers only, though I'm sure Mark will have that fixed by tomorrow.

Though I'm sure we'd all rather see Mark with a paid, full-time gig covering the team (and I remain hopeful he will get one), he will be a welcome addition to our little world.

First, if you're actually reading this blog, it is clear you are like me and can't have too much to read about the Nats. Second, he'll add an intelligent knowledgable voice to the mix. Not that there aren't already blogs that qualify - present blather excepted - it's just that one more is always good.

I've followed Mark's stuff over the years and come to know him a little bit. Most important, he's a good guy. Almost as important, he's a hard-working reporter and talented writer.

I'm eager to read his stuff. If Chris Needham is really back for good at Mom's Basement is definitely more crowded but also a much better place to be.

In other media news:

*I've heard so many rumors about what's going on at the Post that I have no clue what to believe. Spring training is coming pretty soon, so you'd think they would have this worked out before too long. I know of at least two "outside" interviews they've done, one with a friend of mine who would be a fine choice (he has baseball experience and is a regular ol' sports reporter). One of the rumors - financial concerns may force them to stay inside rather than adding to the staff. I know they have some inside who are interested and would do a good job but I also hope the Post is in decent enough shape that it can get whatever candidate it wants to fill this job.

We'll soon see.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bacsik v. Redding

Here's some background music to enjoy while reading this post.

In case you missed it, Tim Redding apparently says via XM that Mike Bacsik grooved the home run pitch to Bonds. Stolen from Chris Needham's blog:

JC: You were with the Nats the night that Bonds broke the career HR record. What was that atmosphere like? Wasn't it Mike Basik or somebody who gave it up?

TR: You know, I don't like to speak ill of people...Mike was a nice guy and a good teammate....but Mike wanted to give up that HR. I was charting pitches that night for my start the next day and it was super obvious that he wanted to give it up. Everything to Bonds was low 80's and center cut. I think Mike had some notion that if he gave it up, he could be part of history and make a few dollars out of it one day.

Bacsik fired back on his Twitter page:

Well just got a call from Bill Ladson of and Tim Redding said he believes I tried to give up homer#756 Good teammate

If somebody would have asked me, what teammate will say you tried to give up a homerun? After laughing my answer would have been Tim Redding

For everyone on my page that needs a denial; I didn't try to give up the homerun. I was crappy enough to do it without trying.

@57Healey Thanks. It irks me though that a teammate would say that. Skip Bayliss who cares, but Tim is saying I cheated the game. Just mad

Interesting to note Bacsik's background on said Twitter page.

My wife and I were visiting our daughter the night it happened. I was watching the downstairs TV, the "girls" (wife, daughter, roommate) were upstairs. I hollered up and said, "Turn on the TV. It is going to happen now."

Don't know Redding. Don't know Bacsik. Would bet everything I own he grooved it. Everything. You? Hey, I was looking for an easy poll this week and there it was, handed to me on a platter. I need more days like that.

Last poll: 80 percent of the voters say sign Hudson. Four voters say play Guzman. One wants Kennedy signed, one wants Harris (not me) to play. No love for Gonzalez. Eighty percent of voters sounds better than 24 voters, since only 30 voted. So much for my goal of getting 100 votes one week.

How's the Caravan? Good thing they didn't come to Richmond. It's supposed to snow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Welcome Back Chris

Chris Needham, who is something of a blogging hero to many of us Johnny Come Lately folks on the Internet, returned today with a pretty thorough, pretty Needham-like read.

He talks about the Post's story today on the new-look front office and how it is rather similar to a Post story done in 2007.

Chris, as usual, says it better than I could. Definitely worth a read.

He's right. It IS the same story, with different names offering the same thoughts. We WILL be a success, Chuck Lamar said then.

Chuck Lamar? Yeesh. Let's at least hope this round of new hires who will do things the right way and beat all the other teams and promise success can actually do that.

This time, I'll believe it when I see it. Not when I read about it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Pardon my confusion. I get this way sometimes. The figures I discuss below are not something I came up with on my own. I saw them earlier on the Web and now for the life of me can't remember where and can't find them (but I'm also not killing myself trying). So when I figure it out, I'll give proper credit where that credit is due.

My point: Two arb cases left and the two figures are so close I'm very hopeful they split the difference and shake hands. Avoiding a hearing is always good. Avoiding it this year is even better. Let's not have anything hanging over anyone's head as the team heads into what we all hope is a much more positive, upbeat and productive spring training.

No issues hanging with a GM. Nobody flying off to Phoenix for a hearing. Nothing to do but get ready for the season.

So do it. The Nats and Sean Burnett are about $150,000 apart. Meet in the midde. The Nats and Brian Bruney are about $350,000 apart. Meet in the middle. Get it done. That's not enough to quibble over on either side.

Josh Willingham's reported deal is $4.5 million, which seems reasonable. I can't remember if he has one more "arb" year after this or if he's a free agent for 2011. Yeah, I know it's out there. But NCIS is on. I'll look it up later.

As for my own wallet, it looks like I'll be able to save a little money this year. I saw the new batting practice hat today (picture above if I did it right). Don't much like it, so I don't think I'll be adding it to my collection. I did get some cool Nats goodies for Christmas. I'll write about those later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Good for Rob Dibble

I'm on record as saying I was a bit apprehensive when Rob Dibble was brought into the Nats' broadcast booth. I'm also on record as saying, having met him twice, he's a very engaging guy and seems to be a genuinely good guy. I'm on record, too, as saying I think his analysis is usually quite good when he sticks to analysis. Yep, I'm also on record as saying I don't like his cheering in the booth, especially when he does it over Bob Carpenter's play-by-play calls.

Got it all out there, I think. In short, I like Rob Dibble even if I don't like all aspects of his broadcasting style.

Let me throw this into the mix: I love what he said on his XM show, as relayed to me in Dan Steinberg's best-in-the-business "bog."

You go, Rob.

Given a chance to see the Nats lose 100 again by the rules or win 100 by cheating, I'd come down on the lose 100 again side.

Why? Read what Rob has to say. The vast majority of players are doing it the right way. A few cheats call into question all their accomplishments. The next guy to hit 70 home runs may be applauded for his achievement but the first thing he'll hear is, "Is he juiced?"

My son said it best when A-Rod fessed up. "Can we believe any of it?"

I don't want to think that way but it's human nature and a legit question as more and more cheaters find religion and spill their guts. They're sorry. Yeah, I'm sure. Now.

Keep preaching Rob.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No love for Richmond?

Whatever year was Sutton's first in the booth, the Nats' caravan came to Richmond. Manny Acta and Ryan Zimmerman were along, as were a couple of others. My wife and I went - not as a fan but as a journalist (still at the paper then). I wanted to see what kind of interest there was in the Nats in this area.

The line went out the door. And stayed out the door for the entirety of the visit. I sat there and ate nachos and drank tea and waited for people to stop coming. They did not.

(in one of the great moments of journalistic stupidity, we planned to run a picture. Except someone, not me, typed the wrong YEAR on the photo assignment and it never got shot).

Richmond really isn't that far away. I don't know if too many of my townies are dumb enough to make the drive as often as I do but I bet there's an untapped market down here - a group that would make 5-6 visits or maybe more.

We checked with the Redskins for a story once and found out that five percent of the season-ticket base had a Richmond address. So clearly sports fans where will make a short drive even if the quality of the product isn't all that hot.

The Nats ain't exactly tearing it up at the turnstiles. You'd think they'd pitch this area a little harder. You'd think they would have done it last year when there was no baseball at all here. This year, our fair city is home to the Richmond Flying Squirrels - the AA team of the Giants. I'll go out when Harrisburg is in town. I'll get the rest of my baseball fix making that 125-mile trek up 95.

MASN is part of the local cable package so the Nats DO have a presence. I think one of the radio stations carries the games.

I'm disappointed the Nats didn't include a stop here in their caravan. It's a CARAVAN - that means get out on the road. There's about 1.1 million people in this Metro area. Plenty of them are as IQ-challenged as I am and could be cajoled into fandom at some level.

I come see you 30 times a year. Come see me, just once.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who is the new guy? Or is it an old new guy?

UPDATE - It is Capps, an official release was issued Wednesday morning.

Just got an interesting e-mail, the lead of which I will share:

The Nationals will be hosting a conference call on Wednesday at 11:30 am, affording internet media/bloggers an opportunity to interview the club’s newest free-agent acquisition (details of that signing still to come).

Who is it? I can't find anything anywhere, so if it is someone new someone has done a good job keeping a lid on it. Checked, the Nats Journal, the Tim ***oops, check that one. They'd probably have it by now.

I assume from the way it is worded that it is someone new, not Capps or Marquis since we have details of those signings. Or maybe it is Capps - and this is just making it official. I don't recall a press conference with him earlier because it was Christmas Eve or something. So, yeah, maybe it is Capps. There isn't a release on him anywhere on

Or maybe not??

Speaking of the Times, congrats to Ben Goessing for landing the gig as MASN's online reporter/blogger. He'll have on-air duties, too. Good for him, good for them. Now, let's find a way to get Mark Zuckerman hooked up somewhere.

Still no idea what the Post is doing to do. I hope the Post has an idea.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

May 2010 be fun, exciting and prosperous for all. As for me, it's already off to a fine start as I woke up today. Long as you ain't dead, there's potential. Not happy to see 2009 in my rear view - as bad years go, it ranks in my top three. So see ya, 2009.

My plan was to start the year with a list of Nats-related New Year's resolutions but that will wait for another day. I can't let the day go without a quick comment on some other D.C. sports happenings.

Here is Dan Steinberg's latest bog.

If the part about drawing pieces on each other in the locker room is true, I hope the Wizards do the right thing and get rid of both of them. Someone who thinks that kind of thing is even remotely OK is too dangerous to have around. Get them gone, now.

I can assure you if two Nationals ever draw on each other - and I don't care who - the team would get no more money out of me if the participants stayed on the team.

The NBA has enough image problems right now. My guess is the league will step in before the Wizards can do anything. Let's hope.

That said, Happy New Year again. I've had a blessed life and the few bad years I've had have usually been followed by really good years. I'm hoping that's the case here. Yes, a .500 record by the Nats would go a long way toward that.