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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gonzo Time?

I've been fairly quick to criticize Rob Dibble here and I feel bad about that because, as I've noted, he seems like a good guy and that's more important than anything else when it comes to the bottom line.

I'm also a fair guy and I've noted several times that when you get past the cheering and clapping and talking over Bob and get down to actual analysis, he's often spot on. And, for all his clapping and cheering, he's not afraid to rip when a rip is merited.

He didn't exactly rip on the postgame last night but he made a very good point without naming names (that I heard). He talked about the "changes" Jim Riggleman made and how they worked and then wondered if the Nats should stick with those "changes" a while longer and let people earn their way back into the lineup.

Hmmmm. Who could he mean here? Changes? How about change? Only one that I noticed. The regular C started. So did the regular 1B, 2B, 3B, LF, CF and RF. What's missing here? Oh yeah, the shortstop!

Everybody loves Ian Desmond. Hard not to love a young player who flashes that much ability and doesn't seem in any way to be dogging it. But even Mrs. Desmond would have to agree things are to the point where the liabilities might be outweighing the assets. Might be? I'm being too nice. ARE outweighing the assets. His penchant for making a spectacular play here and there is nice. His penchant for often blowing the routine play is aggravating and becoming too common. Plus, when was the last time he had a hit?

You aren't going to get better on the bench, that's for sure. You also aren't going to botch the easy double play ball from the bench. I'm not a shrink or even a real manager (just an armchair manager) so I don't have the perfect solution. But I have zero issue with trotting Gonzo out to short daily at least through the All-Star break. Given Desmond some time to clear his head and all that.

Gonzo is not a long-term answer but he's more than acceptable short term. I think the idea of giving up on Desmond is absurd and I'm hopeful he'll develop into at least an adequate fielder. The idea of giving him an extended break is a good one.

Interesting that Gonzo is even still here. Who had that on March 1 when it seemed inevitable he'd be long Gonzo by now?

New poll coming soon. My recent poll drew 70 votes (sniff sniff) and most think Ryan Zimmerman should be the Nats all-star. He got 36 votes. Tyler Clippard was next with nine and I'd guess most of those votes were cast before the weekend. Jee-SUS got eight, Pudge got six, Dunn and Capps got four and Willingham three.

I still think Zimmerman will again be the only one wearing a Nats uniform in Anaheim. There is no obvious Nat, at least not to me. If Dunn is selected instead, it won't be a crime. I don't see any way anyone other than one of those two goes at this point.

Gonzo ain't going but I hope he's going out to short tonight. And tomorrow. And every day for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's a Funny Game

Me: So, if I'd said yesterday afternoon that the Braves would win 5-0 with Stephen Strasburg pitching and lose 7-2 with Craig Stammen pitching, you would have said??

My Son The Braves Fan: I would have said you're (flipping) nuts.

So what happens?

People who bet on baseball need their heads examined.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Annual Allegiance Debate

Had a fine day at Camden Yards yesterday, if you can overlook the actual ballgame. Since I fully expected the result, even that didn't bother me so much.

Camden Yards remains a great ballpark after all these years. I love that concourse out by the beautiful brick warehouse. Easy in, easy out, eight bucks to park. Lots of great food options. Met my buddy Tony Moss there, an Orioles fan by virtue of growing up in Baltimore. I treated him to a 4-3 Nats win in May, he treated me to a 4-3 Orioles win yesterday.

I got a free hat just for showing up and a free Orioles t-shirt for signing up with some car dealer (but no free car). With the free hat I got there last year, I now have a decent start on gear if I decide to make the transition. Which I might - BECAUSE THE NATS ARE KILLING ME.

Too fried to go look it up now but I could swear this team was 20-15 at one point this season, against some better competition than it has faced in recents weeks. My kids tell me all the time I'm losing my mind and this must be a classic case. Wasn't there hope, optimism, joy, all that stuff - THIS season? Must be a mirage.

What I'm seeing now is so 2009 like it is scary. How you blow 6-0, 5-0 and 3-0 leads in successive games is beyond my comprehension even when my brain was working right. To the Orioles no less. What is a real team going to do to the Nats? Oops, I better ease up on that smack talk since I may, you know, be jumping ship.

I suppose it would be wrong of me to be a Nats fan on the days Jee-SUS pitches and an Orioles fan on the other days. I'm just not that kind of guy. So I suppose I'll stay put a while longer.

Is there a simple answer to what ails the Nats? I fear not. I think what we've seen the past 40 games is more realistic than what we saw the first 35.

At least it is a Jee-SUS night so all will be right with the world for one day. I'm willing to bet if he gives up one run again, he gets a victory this time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Blame Game

Just a typical Friday night in Harris land. Dogs stretched out in various places around the room. My wife on the sofa, pretending to read but watching the Nats the whole time. Me squeezing the stuffing out of the arms of my chair. I go through about eight a season.

My wife asks good questions. Martin out in the fifth? Why - he's making them hit it on the ground? Good question. I guess Rigs told him to surrender mammoth fly balls instead because he had a center fielder who could run forever and bring them back from over the fence. Ground balls? Your middle infielders can't handle those.

Slaten gets a K and he comes out. In the fifth. Wait a second, my wife says, didn't he just come in? Yep, I explained. Matchups. In the fifth inning?

Over (clap clap) manage *** over (clap clap) manage.

One of my Twitter friends, if that's what they're called, asked where the blame should go on this - Desmond, Guzman, Riggleman. I'm going to go straight with Riggleman here, despite the Little League defense played by the middle infielders.

I'm sure everyone realizes if Guzman had actually completed that double play, the Nats would have gone into extras with one available pitcher? Unless I missed my count, Joel Peralta was the only one left besides the starters (can Jee-SUS relieve?). Suppose the game had gone 16-17 innings? Would Alberto Gonzalez finally get to play - on the mound?

Of course, the one reliever who should have come out quickly stayed in. Tyler Clippard was clearly off his game from the start but what the hell? Let's leave him in to do some more damage. Then we can get Capps to come in and induce a ground ball that can't be converted into a double play.

At one point, another Tweeter noted (Zuckerman, I think, my head hurts and I didn't sleep well), the Nats used four pitchers to record five outs. This is why my head hurts and I don't sleep well. Being a Nats fan is worse for my health than the 200 extra pounds. Of course if this keeps up I'll develop Natsbulemia and maybe that will at least help with the weight.

As for the second base situation, I don't have a perfect answer except this: There has to be a better answer. Can Jee-SUS play second?

I went to Tuesday's game with a group of Michaels: My regular co-attendee the Rib Michael and Michael our former intern (2004) who gave up a newspaper job out west so he could go to law school back east.

Why, Law School Michael asked during the ninth inning, is Guzman at second base?

Welcome home, son.

Adam Kennedy is the obvious first answer but he's been a lead glove himself. Can Mik, uh, Michael Morse play second? I'm serious. I know he has a background as an infielder. Is it time to trot Gonzo out there for a while and see what he can do? OK, we already know. At least he can catch and throw.

Is there anyone in the system close enough to ready to give a look?

Yeah, there's another part of the infield defense that's a serious problem, a part that has almost as many errors as all the Minnesota Twins. That'll have to wait for another day. I need to go find my pills.

Friday, June 25, 2010


OK, that catch was ridonkulous. Great catch. I called my wife in from the other room to see it. We rewound and watched it again.

But here's what I like, cribbed straight from Ben Goessling's "Goessling Game" over at the MASN website: He is historically a much better hitter in the second half of the season. In April, May and June, Morgan has hit .275, .236 and .246, respectively. Those career numbers jump to .388, .315 and .323 in July, August and September.

That's a heck of a jump and I'm not enough of a psychologist to understand. Does he just wake up and go, "Dang, it's July. Time to get hot." Should he start spring training in December and be ready to go by April? One year of that kind of split is a fluke. Two is eyebrow raising. Three? That's a trend.

He's three for three tonight and I think he had two hits in the last game I saw.

Would it make a major difference if he gets hot? You think? He made a major difference when he arrived last year on offense and defense. No reason to think it wouldn't happen again.

Now as soon as Dunn hits this one out, I'm going to rewind and watch that catch again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ray vs. Rob

The video is here in case you missed the most action out of anyone associated with the Nationals today not named Stephen Strasburg.

Take a minute to watch it if you haven't already. Or watch it again.

The vote in this house is 3-0, Ray. Unanimous decision. Not really close. He made the better points (see NatsInsider for a link to Mark's CSN story where Jose Guillen basically says what Ray said). He also handled himself with a ton more class. Two tons more class. Maybe three.

Is anyone surprised by that?

I'll admit to my bias. While I have nothing against Rob personally (he's been very gracious the two times we met), I've made it clear his cheerleading over Bob's calls drives me nuts. Plus, there's a certain arrogance to some of his analysis that I can't quite pinpoint but I know it is there. I like listening to Ray a lot more.

At one point, I was sure I saw Rob give a dismissive look while Ray was talking and look at Bob with something close to a smirk. That's when I called in the family to make sure I wasn't seeing that because I wanted to see that. We hit the back button on the DVR and watched again.

Nope. Disrespectful, my wife called it. She thought she saw a bit of an eye-roll in there. I couldn't tell for sure. Smug was another word she used. "He seemed like he thought he was above him," she said, "like he thought he knew more and he couldn't be bothered with what Ray thought. Hence the eye roll."

Hmmm. I ought to let her take over this blog.

You can disagree all you want. A little debate can be a lot of fun. But there's no need to be so dismissive, to basically come off like an ass. We know Rob Dibble played pro ball. You can't get out of the first inning without hearing about it. Ray Knight played a little ball, too, and played it pretty well. Rob often jokes about his lack of hitting ability. He was, after all, a pitcher. Ray knows hitting. I think he knows quite a bit more about what a hitter is thinking up there.

If Ray the hitter in his prime saw Rob the pitcher in his prime give that look or eye roll, hoo-wee. We coulda had us a fist fight.

Bernadina was safe, by the way. Family vote went 3-0 on that, too. I won't quote my wife on her reaction to the call other than to say "blind" was the first word. My ears still hurt from the second. I think everyone agrees on that play, except for the guy who actually counts.

Too bad. Jee-SUS was JEE-SUS once more. I think another thing we can all agree on after four starts - he's pretty good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just A Quick Question

Mark Zuckerman at NatsInsider has a good post up now that addresses some of the lineup questions - well, one big one: Where's Morse?

I posted a comment there and then decided to share it here. I'm one of those goobers in the Willingham-Bernadina-Morse camp. We're almost halfway through and, yes, Nyjer Morgan is performing a little better than he was recently. He's still making too many head-up-fanny plays, particularly on the bases.

But let's play the part of dutiful fans and accept the judgment of the general manager and manager. Morgan stays in center.

Can we please pretty please extra pretty please not play fun with lineup cards this weekend in Baltimore, the last chance to use the DH this year? Can we please pretty please see Mike, uh, Michael Morse three games in a row? Maybe two at DH and one at first? Just for yuks?

That home run he hit last night about landed in Baltimore. There's a message there. You have an extra slot so your "this is our best outfield" stuff doesn't work up there. Play Morse.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Amazing what some sleep, a yummy breakfast, a couple of cups of coffee and blue sky will do to a mood. I'm back to being excited again and looking forward to baseball with my kids (no movies I want to see anyway).

I'm sure my cheery mood will last another seven or so hours, then I'll be back to my usual grumpy self.

Baseball and golf are probably the two biggest fathers-sons bonding sports out there, I say without any scientific support. Age doesn't get in the way of enjoying a round of golf together (my son and I are awful), nor does it interfere with baseball enjoyment. Sure, my son is a Braves fan, so there's an inherent flaw in his makeup. But it is fun to go to games with him.

My daughter doesn't play golf (she's the smart one) but has become a baseball fan and at least roots for the right team and, to date, hasn't questionned that or wondered what I got her into with this Nats thing. The first Nats game I saw was with my daughter. This one. Livo's seventh win. On May 19. Check out some of those names in the box. Jeffrey Hammonds played for the Nats? Forgot all about that one.

The three of us have already done three games together this season and it's always an enjoyable time, just being with them. Winning, which the Nats used to do some of this season, does add to the enjoyment.

My own dad died before I was 11, so most of my baseball bonding came through my big brother Jim, who remains a traditional big brother in every sense even though we're both old as sin now. I'm typing this on his porch. Jim got to shake President Obama's hand the other night at the game. Jim and his wife Carolyn are part of a season-ticket group and two of their games were Strasburg's two home starts. So in addition to being wonderful people, they're lucky.

I do have one terrific baseball memory with my dad. His brother, my Uncle Harry, lived in New York and we took in a game during the Mets' inaugural season. This one. I remember just about every detail, particularly Julian Javier leading the game off with a home run. Yep, I'm so old I saw a game at the Polo Grounds. I even remember racing into the street to hail a cab afterward. I was six and felt like a grown-up.

So here's to all the dads, past, present and future. Spending time with your kids is a blast, whether they're 6 and 4 or 26 and 24 or (I hope to find out) 46 and 44. Enjoy the day. Nats, how 'bout a little help on that one?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shortening My Life, Game by Game

Dear David and Courtney,

I love you two very much. Out of whatever I have done in my life thus far, being able to say I'm your father makes me more proud than anything else. You've become outstanding young adults and that makes me happier than you can imagine.

Your offer of a Nats game and dinner afterward for Father's Day is generous and kind.

However, is there any way we can maybe go to a movie and dinner instead? Or you just beat me with golf clubs and then we go eat? Or find a way to paper cut most of my arms and legs and pour salt on them?

If I watch this team too much more, your dear old dad is gonna up and die.



At least I got a bobblehead out of today's game. Which leads to a question - what would you rather have had at bat today, Ryan Zimmerman or the Ryan Zimmerman bobblehead? I'll pick the bobblehead. Why? Well, if Zimmerman is going to refuse to swing the bat, the bobblehead has the same chance of getting a hit. And at least it will look cute there in the batter's box, its little head bob bob-a-bobbin up and down as it watches another Jake Peavy offering sail right over the plate.

Swing. The. Bat.

The White Sox are going to score five runs in this series and sweep all three games. These two teams are so offensively inept they couldn't break wind after a week in a bean factory. Nats get two on to open the game! Yee Haw! Gonna be an explosion of offense, lots of runs.

How'd that work out? J.D. Martin pitches like G. Zus Strasburg and gets zippy run support and an L to show for it.

I can see the quotes now. "Well, Peavy just had our number today. He's a good pitcher. He shut us down," said some Nats manager or player. Dudes, everyone is shutting you down now. You face Bruce Chen of the Royals on Monday, maybe the worst pitcher in the history of the sport. How he's still in the major leagues is beyond me. Yet he presents a pretty huge challenge right now.

The company was good, too, today. Hung out with my bud and blog contributor Ryan and his wife and photographer Summer. Also my pal Matt (the White Sox fan) and his girlfriend Ashly. Matt and I had several deep conversations today. I thanked the White Sox for sending out their Senior Day offensive team. Omar Vizquel is FORTY THREE. FORTY THREE.

Me: Is everybody on the White Sox 35 or older and hitting about .200?
Matt: Pretty much.

Me: Congrats on the run. That'll hold up. This is a 1-0 final.
Matt: No way, you think?
Me: Trust me.

I'd offer up a good solution if I had one. People getting paid lots more money are charged with finding solutions and I hope they do. I can throw out a couple - try something different up top. Yeah, Nyjer got on a couple of times today. Yeah, Guzman laid down a beauty of a bunt in the ninth to set up another Zimmerman backwards K. Still, try something anything, PLEASE. Bernadina-Desmond, just once?

Also, when you are hitting, swing at the strikes. I've seen some stuff in my day but I can't recall someone getting a hit without swinging the bat.

Of course, leaving the place was its usual nightmare. The c*********k is much more bearable when you're leaving after watching Strasburg. When you're hot, bothered and flusterated, it is pure agony.

And here's a serious complaint to close: I was in the landing between escalators coming down from the 300 level when the thing stopped, with a lurch. Two older men did an amazing job keeping their balance and not sending countless others sprawling.

Did someone turn it off? If so, why? Either leave it on or leave it off - not a real good idea to stop it while it is so full of people.

If it is stopping on its own, FIX IT. You're asking for a major problem if not. If those two men hadn't recovered nicely, things could have been real ugly. I'm not so sure I could have recovered as well.

This team is beating me up enough as it is, I don't need it throwing me off an escalator.

A Weekend at the Yard

Sunscreen? Check. More sunscreen? Check. My new ugly hat for further protection? Check. Tickets I printed at home (first time)? Check.

OK, I'm ready for a weekend at the ol' ballpark. Meeting some friends today, one of them a should-be-happy White Sox fan (yes, they do exist - not all of Chicago is Cubs crazy). Tomorrow, my brilliant and lovely children are treating me to a game and dinner afterward for Father's Day.

I'm hoping but not very optimistic that my season record isn't 6-3 after the weekend. It's 6-1 now.

Watching Jee-SUS be brilliant again last night was fun and aggravating. This is a loss they darn sure can't blame on starting pitching. They won't throw up four head shots and graphics showing how ugly it has been. They may on Monday after Martin and Lannan go this weekend.

Not sure I have the answer so I hesitate to say anything, but how about some different top-of-the-lineup options since Guzman and Morgan last got on base in April? OK, Morgan did have that ninth-inning hit last night and got in scoring position. But, in general, there's been no "table setting."

Bernadina-Desmond? Bernadina-Rodriguez? Do you maybe try Desmond up top?

I'm at a loss, no pun intended. I do know the AL Central isn't baseball's toughest division and the Nats don't even play the best team (the Twins). And yet the Nats are now 1-6 against that lineup of giant killers. The Royals must be drooling about coming in next week.

I expect a fun weekend no matter what, for the company (but not for the heat). It will be a lot more fun if it isn't an 0-2 weekend.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jee-SUS and the All-Star Game

My intent was to write this yesterday, before I got hungry after watching Top Chef DC. My other intent was to be less of a bitter old man and only write when I'm happy. Then I realized that, with the way things are going, I'd only be writing every five games.

So I'll just keep being bitter.

The sub-title of this post should be 'An Open Letter to Bob and Rob." I also need to note that I'm not a fan of ripping ol' Bob. Call me clueless but I like the guy. He's very gracious in person and he's a competent broadcaster. The fact that he puts up with cheering and yelling and whooping OVER HIS CALLS without losing his stuff earns him multiple bonus points. If the Nats declared him broadcaster for life, I would not complain.

That said, the two of them do come off sometimes as arrogant snobs with an attitude of "no one - especially those silly bloggers - knows near as much about the Nationals as we do." You can hear the sneers in their comments.

Well, I hope they know an awful lot, perhaps more than anybody. They are paid to talk about the team for hours every day.

They also need to concede others know stuff, too. While I'm at it - they need to actually read what's been written before they rip it on the air.

All this came to mind on Wednesday when they were scoffing at things they read that suggested Stephen Strasburg should be on the National League All-Star team.

They must have access to stuff the rest of us don't have. Perhaps there is something out there that says that. But nothing I've seen has said that, at all. No one is annointing a 2-0 pitcher with 10 days in the major leagues as an all-star.

Several people did write about the topic. Their question was simple and on point: If Jee-SUS continues on his current path, does he deserve consideration? Will MLB want him there to drive ratings, to showcase its next great star? Not "take him now." Rather a "what if?" kind of thing.

If I'm counting correctly, he has five starts left before the All-Star game. Suppose he's 7-0 with 70 strikeouts and an ERA right about where it is now? Or 6-1 with the loss a 2-1 type of thing? Should be be taken under those circumstances? There's some precedent. I believe Dontrelle Willis was the one mentioned.

I don't know where I stand on the issue. I don't know if a guy who makes his debut 35 days before the game should merit consideration. I do know it is a legitimate topic of discussion.

I also know I haven't seen anyone declare him an All-Star yet. If they have, Bob and Rob are right. That's over the top.

Speaking of Jee-SUS, only 61 people voted in the "how many will he win" poll. It fell right about where I thought it would, with most of the votes in the 8-10 range (I picked 10). A total of 27 say 8, another 19 say 10. Seven think he'll be in the 12-14 range and five see him winning five (only three more? really?). On the other end of the spectrum, three think he'll win 15 games.

If he does win 15, that's pretty impressive. I'll post something about rookie of the year, MVP, Cy Young Award winner and ambassador to the United Nations.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Top Chef

The highlight of my night after turning off that disaster of a Nats game?

My Son The Braves Fan flipped over to Top Chef D.C. I might be the biggest anti-reality guy in the world but I toughed it out and stayed in the room. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it.

I would have booted the guy who got tossed just because of his hair. You want to wear a bird's nest up there, fine. I'm open minded. Just not while you're cooking what could become my food.

The fact that Adam Dunn and Matt Capps appear in a future episode will keep me tuning in.

I hope the guy who regularly undercooks the ribs at Nats Park isn't on the show.

As for the looking-too-much-like-last-year-lately Nats, please tell me that was just a blip for Livo. If he goes in the tank? Yikes. Strasburg and rain and then some more rain and then some more and then an off day and then Strasburg. Otherwise, there's trouble in Top Chef City.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm Baffled, Too

I hate to crack on John Lannan, I really do. Seems like a good guy, has had some moments. But the headline on the recent Nationals Journal that shows up on my blog roll - Lannan trying to figure it out - baffles me.

Not the head itself or the post. What baffles is a guy who is a major-league veteran is trying to figure it out. Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh here, but shouldn't he know by now?

If he doesn't, there's a place where he can figure it out. It's called Syracuse. I don't know if he has any options left but if he does and he's baffled, let him go work it out in AAA.

Lannan in general baffles me. We were at the Sunday Orioles game where Capps blew his first save. I told my daughter Lannan is either going to be very good (he was that day) or brutal. There's no in between with the guy. He's either sharp as heck and gives up 1-2 runs or he's awful and is gone early.

He's made 13 starts this year and given up two or fewer runs in five. He's been gone in five or less innings in six.

He had four strong starts after his elbow issues, so I'm guessing it isn't that. But maybe it is, in which case he needs to say something and join Scott Olsen on the DL (will we ever see Olsen again?).

I'd like to see the guy succeed, but right now he's just plain painful to watch.

Odd the way things work out. When we talked about space-holders in the rotation earlier in the season, everyone would have bet on Marquis and Lannan being the two to stick around when the cavalry arrived. Now it looks like they may be the two out of it, assuming more reinforcements come. Detwiler by the all-star break, Wang shortly afterward? What is up with Marquis anyway? Is he don-zo for the year like I'm guessing is the case with Olsen?

If my ears didn't deceive me, I think I heard Jimmy Rigs on the postgame last night mention something about Jordan Zimmermann being six weeks or so away. Can that be right? Lord I hope they don't rush that kid.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another Shrine?

A very small portion of my family room is devoted to what some visitors refer to as my shrine to "that horse."

That horse?

We're talking about Secretariat here, maybe the greatest athlete ever. Go ahead and watch the 1973 Belmont Stakes and tell me it doesn't give you chills. I just watched it and teared up a little. My brother lived in Louisville in 1973 and I went to the Derby that year. Crammed into the infield, I actually saw a small portion of the race. I saw Secretariat make his move. I was in love. Grace, power, speed - you name it. The perfect race horse.

My shrine is pretty detailed, more of a mini-museum. For Christmas one year, my wife got me a framed collage of the finish line photos from all three Triple Crown races. Signed by the jockey Ron Turcotte. Secretariat is the only athlete to appear on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated in the same week. I have all three.

I have a record album with the call of every race - all 21 of them (16 victories) - and a cassette tape of the same. I have coffee mugs, drink glasses, a poker chip, a paper weight, a money clip, a snow globe and a beer bucket. I have a copy of a Leroy Neiman print and I kick myself 10 times a day for not taking it with me to the 1998 Preakness to get it signed.

I have books about Secretariat. I have three Kentucky Derby Mint Julep glasses from 1973 (and at least one from every year since).

Yeah, I'm obsessed.

I probably don't need another shrine but I am thinking about putting together a little collection of art and the like on you-know-who. Seeing this Sports Illustrated cover got my mind to racing (is the jinx still a factor - will he lose Friday?).

The poster from the Post, that cover, my ticket stub and a few more items should do nicely. My friend Michael, he of the rib bet, got me a copy of the Post's Nats Park poster and my wife framed it for me. My Son The Braves Fan (but slowly converting), as much as he hated the moment, is looking for a good picture of The Walk-Off That Was (anyone know of one?).

A few more items and I think shrine two will be complete.


*I guess my few faithful readers think the Nats have NO all-stars, given that my previous post was basically ignored. Here I am thinking it wasn't all that bad!

*Yes, I watched Stras II. My wife, who bought a Strasburg T-Shirt last night, made me tape it for her because she had a graduation party to attend. I begged off and I don't care if it makes me a bad person. As others have written, if that's an off day, I'll take it.

*I will see three of the six games on the next homestand and miss both Strasburg starts. I need a new scheduler. I will see two games in Baltimore and miss him (as will everyone else since he isn't pitching there). I will see him July 3 against the Mets. My son and I want to make a lightning trip to Atlanta the previous Monday but work is clogging up that plan for both of us. Should have stayed unemplo *** uh, self-employed.

*Update on the rib bet, since I know everyone is just dying for more. Michael, fair man that he is, offered to buy because, as several commentators noted, the game was technically a sellout. I declined because we agreed on 41,888 as the number and it was below that. So we called it a draw and we'll each buy our own rib. I may opt for pizza instead. Last two ribs I had there were still mooing.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All-Star Ramblings

If all these reports are true, and I have no doubt they are, D.C. gets the All-Star game in 2015. Sweet. I have to take care of myself and stay alive that long so I can see Stephen Strasburg start on the mound, Bryce Harper start in RF, Ryan Zimmerman start at 3B and Ian Desmond start at short. Drew Storen will come in and earn the save. The Nats will have 15 of the 34 players on the roster!

I also have to get back on the season-ticket bandwagon before then, otherwise I suspect I'll have no shot at tickets.

But that's a long way away. A lot can happen between now and then. So here's today's question: Who goes this year? The All-Star game is a month from tomorrow (the day my son turns 27), so it isn't too early.

I'd like to see one of the relievers go and, at this point, I'd take Tyler Clippard over Matt Capps. He had that awful burp a while back but he was lights out before and he's been even better since. But maybe Capps is back on track - suppose he has 30 saves by the first week of July? They're not both going.

If Livo had better run support, he'd have eight wins by now. Suppose he gets 3-4 more between now and early July? Does he deserve a look?

As for field players, my first thought was Josh Willingham. My Son The Braves Fan Who Is Rapidly Becoming A Convert told me to back off. "I love The Hammer," he said (oh yes he did), "but The Man is still The Man. Willingham is having a better year than maybe you thought he'd have. Zimmerman is having the year you thought he'd have and is a better choice."

Kid's got a point.

He also said Pudge deserves some consideration. I'm not so sure I'd go that far. He's been a positive addition, for sure, but an All-Star? I don't see that.

Does Adam Dunn deserve consideration with his hitting of late? If he keeps that up for a month and is at 20 home runs with a high-for-him batting average?

I see the Nats as more than a one all-star team this season. I don't see them as more than two. I think one pitcher and one position player will go.

Which ones?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two Mornings After

The buzz lingered. I was so caught up in Stras-mania last night still that I hardly noticed they were playing another game. I think the Nats even won again.

Did Bryce Harper start in right field?

Ba-da-boom! I'll be here all week (sorry to say).

Maybe the best thing about yesterday is people were talking about the Nationals. Well, they were talking about Strasburg mostly and the Nationals as an ancillary thing but that's OK. They were talking about the Nationals. And it was positive talk.

People are trying to figure out his starts (even fifth day, not every fifth game) and figuring out how to get tickets, home and away. People are talking about every game he throws being must-see TV.

There's a lot of weight being placed on this kid's shoulders, maybe more now than before he actually threw. That's OK. After seeing him Tuesday, I'm certain he can handle it.

The only thing I ask is for us long-suffering types to keep our seats. We'll make room on the bandwagon for as many people who want to jump aboard but I'm not giving up my chair for anyone. I was here first, since 2005 thank you. Since 205 losses the past two seasons, thank you. Welcome aboard but don't block my view.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jee-SUS is Absolutely Right

Nyjer nailed it. Dead-on nailed it. I have to believe every one of the 10 trillion who walked out of Nationals Park last night, including those with "Pirates" on their jersies, was saying the same thing.

Jesus. Jee-SUS. JEE-SUS.

Unreal. Amazing. I don't even know the right words. Could a debut have worked out any more perfectly? Short of a no-no or a perfecto, which wasn't going to happen, I simply can't see how.

I actually planned to NOT blog about the game today. I had some other things to say (see below) and I figured why go where everyone else was going? There were a jillion media members there and bloggers everywhere were prepared to chronicle this. I knew we'd wake up with no shortage of Strasburg material to devour.

But you can't ignore something like that. Spare me the "let's see what he does against a real team" lines. The Pirates are a major-league team. They aren't a very good one but they are a major-league team. And Jee-SUS did what you should do against a weaker team. He dominated. He shook 'em like a dog shakes its prey, snapping their necks and draining the life right out of them.

My Son the Braves Fan came with me. We're slowly turning him. He had on a Nats shirt and a Nats hat I got him. He was into it. And we got into quite a debate after the Home Run Derby in the sixth, which probably didn't sit well with our neighbors in the stands since he was sitting in another section.

Take him out, my son said. He's been great, he can't lose. Get him out now.

I see the argument, sure. But not with this kid. If he has the stones we're told he has, now is the time to see. Did we ever. That seventh inning should be framed. A stunning display, running a strikeout streak to seven and throwing his last pitch at 99.


I'm actually glad he gave up that home run. It'll happen with a guy who throws that hard. See Virginia in last year's NCAA tournament. What I wanted to see was how he'd react. Lots of hype, lots of excitement, lots of nerves. He's done OK so far. And now he's losing. What will happen?

He started shaking that bird and broke its neck is what happened. He got about a million times better after that home run. Ten more outs, eight of them by strikeout, seven of them in succession to close his night and that seventh inning that will be etched in our memories forever.

I'm still drooling, by the way. I've seen a lot of stuff over the years. That seventh inning is instant Top Five and only because I haven't thought about the others on the list yet. It's probably No. 1.

In my group were two friends who are not Nats fans. One is a baseball fan in general, the other a Pirates fan. When we left the stadium, both were wearing Nats jersies. I suspect the Nats fan base has grown considerably overnight.

Most impressive besides that seventh inning? Movement. Change of speeds. Command. Savvy. Even his at-bat music is outstanding. This kid (yeah, right) is 21 - 21! He was thrown into a national spotlight and all he did was kick as much ass as can possibly be kicked.


The camera views they showed from behind him were head-shakingly good. One early pitch broke about two feet in on a batter. That ought to be illegal. You don't know where it is going, which way it is going to move or how fast it is coming. My son noted he wasn't aware that Strasburg had so much finesse as well as that amazing power.

The whole world knows now.

Jesus. Jee-SUS. JEE-SUS.

When does he pitch again? How much is air fare to Cleveland?

A few other thoughts:

*Are we really booing Lastings Milledge? C'mon. We're better than that. What did poor Lastings do to deserve such scorn? Be a little immature? Wow, such a rarity at his age (not everyone is a Strasburg). Not be quite as good a baseball player as we were told he'd be? For all his faults, HE didn't hype himself. Not be a center fielder or a leadoff hitter? Yep, boo him because the Nats tried to put his square-peg self into a round hole. Lay off. It didn't work. He's moved on, the Nats have moved on.

*Umpire Tom Hallion has the best called strike three motion I've ever seen. My back would last about two batters doing that.

*My friend Michael and I did a lap of the stadium upon entry to pick up the free (and surprisingly good quality) hats we earned with our mini plans. We were in the stadium at 5:45 when it is usually just the two of us and some vendors. Not last night. People were everywhere. I told him I wanted to get to where this was a daily thing, not just a roll-out-the-stud-night thing. They must win, a lot, to get that. You can only debut Strasburg once. How soon can it happen? Can the Nats ever get to where 35,000 is the rule rather than an exception? We'll see.

Most important, can the stadium handle it? I didn't notice many problems last night until the end. We got around easily, got food easily, the bathrooms were never a problem. For some reason, exiting that stadium when it is crowded is more of a pain than I recall other stadiums being and I'm not sure why. It should NOT take as long as it does. My daughter, a bit behind us because she was a level higher, sent me a text as we cattle-called our way out: Who is responsible for this c*********k? (yes, she included the asterisks). Not sure and I sure don't want to let it put a damper on a great evening but it is something that has to be addresed. I've been in stadiums with more people plenty of times and have never had such exit issues.

Michael, by the way, gets a big rib on me next time we go. I'm a gracious loser. I bet the game would be a sellout. He disagreed. Weak sauce. I needed someone to pad those numbers for me by about 1,000 and failed.

That's OK. If I get to see that kind of performance, I'll buy Michael an entire cow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Proof The Jee-SUS Thing Is Accurate

Just look at today. Crystal clear blue skies. Warm, not hot. Pretty much a perfect day, no? No other way to explain it.

I'm in the big city, came up early to pick up tix (thanks, you know who!) and get some work done before meeting up with a large crew for a bite before the game (don't want to risk stadium lines for food).

Less than eight hours. Jacked beyond belief here.

It IS Tuesday yet!

(disclaimer - this is tongue-in-cheek, not meant to be sacreligious or offensive. I also don't want to end up in Hell. I've had five years of that already and I don't want to go back)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Interesting - Not a Catcher At All?

This release came in just as Bud Selig was making the announcement. Love a prepared team. I did think they'd call him a catcher/outfielder but no. Is C completely off the table?

Release courtesy of the Washington Nationals:


The Washington Nationals today selected College of Southern Nevada outfielder Bryce Harper with the first-overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Nationals Senior Vice President & General Manager Mike Rizzo, Nationals Assistant General Manager & Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark and Nationals Director of Scouting Kris Kline made the joint announcement.

Harper—who stands 6-foot-3, 205 lbs. and hails from Las Vegas—hit .443 (101-for-228) with 23 doubles, four triples, 31 home runs, 98 RBI, 39 walks and 20 stolen bases in 66 games for College of Southern Nevada in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, which uses wood-bats. Despite being 17 years-old and the youngest player in the SWAC, Harper posted .526 and .987 on-base and slugging percentages, respectively, en route to a stellar 1.513 OPS (OBP+SLG) this season. He led his conference and team in virtually every primary offensive category.

Harper was named 2010 SWAC Player of the Year last month. He also earned First-Team SWAC All-Conference status. Harper’s 31 home runs in 2010 set a College of Southern Nevada single-season mark, easily besting the former record of 12, which was set during CSN’s era using aluminum bats.

On May 22, Harper went 6-for-6 with a double, triple, four home runs and 10 RBI to lift his CSN Coyotes to a 25-11 win over Central Arizona College in the finals of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Western Regional. With the victory, CSN earned a spot in the National Junior College World Series.

Last season, Harper was cited as Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year after he batted .626 with 14 home runs, 55 RBI and 36 stolen bases in 39 games for Las Vegas High School.

The season prior, in 2008, Harper hit .590 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI in just 38 games as a high school freshman. In March of 2009, Harper became the first high school sophomore ever named a Pre-Season First-Team All-American by Baseball America.

The left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing Harper sports extensive baseball experiences gained beyond his high school and college careers. He was a member of USA Baseball’s 2009 Under 18 Team (.294 with four doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI in eight games) that went a perfect 8-0 to claim the COPABE Pan Am Championship in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

Harper also played in the 2009 Aflac All-American Game (‘09 Jackie Robinson Award presented by Aflac), the Area Code Games (‘08 All Area Code Team) and International High School Power Showcase Home Run Derby (‘09 Ryan Howard Award).

I May Not Last 30 More Hours

"Last night *** the Nationals used the No. 1 pick in the draft to select catcher Bryce Harper.
"Tonight *** 2009 top-pick Stephen Strasburg is in the house and making his Major-League debut.

Oh God. I just died.

At the risk of offending my wife of 32-plus years and my kids, I'm trying to think if there's anything I've looked forward to more, anticipated more, couldn't wait to see more.

Drawing a blank here.

Check out Mark Zuckerman's latest post. I alerted the kids, what with Father's Day coming and all. Make it actual dirt Strasburg touched and they could triple the price.

"Batting ninth *** and pitching, No. 37 ***" How loud do you think it's going to get?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Is It Just Me (and Stammen sent out)

or was there no real reason to take our Tyler Clippard today? He's been throwing awfully well lately. Capps has not.

In his defense, he was let down by a defensive play today. In his non-defense, he immediately coughed up big hits. Dude doesn't seem to handle adversity very well.

No excuse for that one getting away.

I still wouldn't change what I said earlier today but I would be remiss if I didn't come on and post some love for Craig Stammen. He's had much worse first innings and he was really good after that. Heck, why take HIM out after just 66 pitches?

Livo-Lannan-Luis would sure seem to be safe. That leaves it down to two and neither has been too terribly bad. I'm now firmly in favor of sending the "loser" to the bullpen and making a change down there.

Speaking of change, Ray Knight mused on the postgame that maybe it is time to look at changing the closer situation. Not sure I agree yet but I'm not going to argue against. He was so very good for so long. You knew that couldn't last. A little better defense and he's sitting there with 21 saves right now.

But some better pitching after some bad breaks would have changed some things, too. So it is certainly a valid point for discussion.



Following today’s game, the Washington Nationals optioned right-handed pitcher Craig Stammen to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Stammen, 26, went 1-2 with a 5.43 ERA in 12 starts with the Nationals. He did not earn a decision in today’s start, but held Cincinnati to one earned run on seven hits with one strikeout in 6.2 innings.

Two Things I Never Thought I'd Say

back in March.

1. Luis Atilano better not get sent out. Not now anyway. He's earned a chance to stay in the rotation and last night, even if it was his second loss, was probably his best game. Eighty strikes in 114 pitches? Are you kidding me? Even My Son The Braves Fan has noticed. "They're not really thinking of sending Atilano out, are they?" he asked via text. I can't imagine. As I watch Craig Stammen struggle through a first inning again, I think I have the right answer. Or try the relief thing with him and send someone out of the bullpen.

My friend Hendo gets to sit in the main part of the press box. I snuck over for a brief visit (don't tell anyone) and he's also on the Atilano train. I said I thought he was, for today anyway, the Nats' second-best starter. Hendo thinks I may be one spot too low.

Of course, I couldn't have said this in March because I was oblivious to Atilano's existence. But you get my point.

(Late edit - Shocker, Stammen looks pretty good now that it isn't the first. I still say bullpen).

2. I hope Miguel Batista sticks around. That he seems like a terrific guy is a small part of the reason because I like quality people in uniform. He's a better, more versatile pitcher than I would have guessed. You need a guy like that. You can't have studs in all 25 slots but a reliable guy who can start, long relieve, situational relieve and - big key - plunk someone when needed is an asset. The Nats' bullpen is so much better than it was a year ago it isn't funny. It still has some problems. Batista isn't one of them.

Hey, speaking of Stammen, my mind has gone blank again. Who was the pitcher - Balester maybe? - who had similar first inning issues a while back? They made him warm up longer and created a mindset that he was actually in the second inning when the game began. It worked, too. For a while.

An old mind is a terrible thing.

Is it Tuesday yet?

Let Us Pray

Since it is Sunday and I'm getting ready to do some work and watch a ballgame instead of going to a house of worship:

Please please please please please please please please please please make sure Joe West and his band of arrogant clowns are long gone by Tuesday.


Can you imagine if Joe West was behind the plate for Stephen Strasburg's debut? He'd think the big deal was Joe West. Angel Hernandez is back there today, he's not any better.

Imagine if one of those two had made the Jim Joyce call. The world would still be screaming. My old boss said the other night he'd never heard of Jim Joyce, which is exactly one of the things that makes Joyce a good umpire. He's had 22 years in the game and he's not a "name." West? He's a name, all right.

Batista took the high road last night and said West was within his rights. Of course he was - that doesn't mean West WAS right. How about a warning? Or how about you put on the mask and get ready for the next batter? Everyone in the world, probably including Brandon Phillips, knew Phillips was going to get drilled and should get drilled. One to the ribs and it's over. Move on. EVERYONE. That means you, too, Joe.

My Son the Braves Fan was watching at home and he sent a text right after the dustup at third base that led to Jim Riggleman's departure. Decorum prohibits me from repeating it here. Suffice it to say, it wasn't, "Wow, Joe West sure is cool. I want to go buy all his country CDs now."

Please please please please please PLEASE get him out of town by Tuesday.

Speaking of which, is it Tuesday yet?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bloggers in the House!

The Nationals made good on their promise and let us in the house. Terrific job by the Chad Kurz and the Nats staff. They made sure we were entertained all day, including providing some time with Drew Storen, Josh Willingham and Jim Riggleman.

Now we're in a smaller room off to the side of the main press box, with a real high view of Ryan Sax the 3B and the Nationals being shut out by the Reds.

My biggest discovery? You really CAN see the Capitol from Nats Park. You just have to be really, really, really high to do it. And it is partially obscured by a bank of lights. But it IS the Capitol and you CAN see it.

You can also see, over higher buildings and some construction and construction equipment, a cool looking dome of a building to our right of the Capitol. No idea what that building is, I need to ask.

Anyway, I worry about my streak. It may be over here. The Reds' version of Strasburg, this Leake kid, is giving up some hits but isn't giving up runs. He also scored one. Can't get him out. (They just got him out, he's now 10-24 on the season). The Nats, meanwhile, are giving away runs. Well, one so far.

Looks like a nice crowd out here again, and they can't blame this one on the hype and bad guesswork about Jee-SUS' debut.

Speaking of which, is it Tuesday yet?

Keeping the Streak Alive

My wife and I got together last night with several other former newspaper couples and had a great time catching up and revisiting the glory days. Terrific evening and I knew nothing about the game until I got the final score. I immediately said "Clip and Save" and, sure enough, I was right.

Capps, I've concluded, is a much better pitcher when the defense makes routine plays. Couple of those in Houston and he'd have 20 saves now. I'd say Clippard is back on track but the last time I raved about him, he went off the schneid so I won't say anything good about him ever again.

I also concluded that maybe the team would do better if I saw the game after it had been played. Watching it in recent days wasn't doing much good. So I decided to do that toda *** oh, wait, I'm going.

Well, when I'm there live, the Nats are 5-0. Might be the most impressive streak in baseball this season.

I'm actually going courtesy of the team. It's Bloggers Day. That's right, the TEAM is inviting us to come out of Mom's Basement for the day and act like real media. Actually, I hope we act better (kidding guys, KIDDING). They have all kinds of stuff planned for us, including some interviews. Poor Jim Riggleman. He does this twice a day with the (semi) legit crowd and now has to put up with it from us? Whew.

Seriously, it is nice of the Nats to at least recognize the online community exists in so many forms and fashions. The media world is a changed monster (I asked Rigs about that last season) and the Nats do a pretty nice job of dealing with that change.

The team even issued regular media credentials to the online outlets that try to operate as more news and information stations. They did not issue credentials to online outlets that are more opinion, commentary, rants, etc., like this one. Nor should it. I'm media in the real world but not media in this world. When you have "Fanboy" in your title, it's tough to claim the non-bias real media needs to have to do its job properly. Not to mention being a Looser.

A majority of blogs are essentially online diaries. Sharing my weirdo thoughts with the world through a computer. We are not media, nor should we claim to be.

That said, it is nice to know the Nats know we're out there and nice of them to let us inside the ropes once in a while.

And because Riggleman is so busy anyway and is taking on some extra duties with this deal today, I've done him a solid and I will present him with his lineups for the rest of the homestand. I'm sure he'll appreciate that.

Guess who's starting in right on Wednesday? I'm going to do busy Mike Rizzo a solid, too, and get that deal done. I'm Facebook friends with the agent, I can make it happen.

Friday, June 4, 2010


You are going to read this post and laugh. You will mock me. You will write it off as the ramblings of a crazy old man frustrated by events of recent days.

You may be right.

But here's a promise: This post will CONSUME you this weekend, all the way through Monday night. You'll laugh it off and, in a couple of hours, it will pop back into your brain. It will linger, leave and then come back. To stay. You won't be able to shake it.

You will come to the inevitable conclusion that I'm right. Stan, Mike, Jim - they read everything written on the Nats. They will follow the pattern, too.

This is crazy, nutso, stupid and I'm 100 percent serious about it.

Ben over at MASN has a post about possible right-field solutions that talks mostly about potential trades. It's a good, strong post as we've come to expect from Ben.

There's another solution sitting right out there:

Bryce Harper.

Yes, I said exactly that. Bryce Harper.

Draft him Monday, sign him Tuesday, start him Wednesday. Or maybe even Tuesday when you-know-who debuts. Naw, do it Wednesday and sell that out, too.


Why not?

Look, I know he's only 17 or maybe 18 by now. So what? I don't care if he's 12 if he can play. Can he play? We don't know for sure but all signs point that way. Can he be worse than the ever-rotating collection of right fielders the Nats have trotted out there this season? I can't imagine. They could trot out a rotation of us Mom's Basement dwellers and not be much worse.

What's the risk? One of the few good things about sucking so badly for so long is you can take some chances. What are you going to do, suck worse? Give it a couple of months and see. Maybe he CAN handle it. Maybe he can't and it becomes a learning experience, humbles him a bit. He sees what it takes and he goes and gets better. The kid sounds too cocky to let it ruin him if it doesn't work out.

But I suspect it will work out.

The brass needs to call Scott Boras and say this is what we're going to do. We're going to sign your guy immediately. Maybe a little less cheese than if it drags out but the other side is his clock starts right away and his big payday comes a little quicker. Work with us here, Scottie. Storen signed the next day. Why can't Harper?

This team clearly had no answer when it let Elijah Dukes go (he's still available, too). It just wanted rid of the no-curveball hitting former problem child. Two months into the season, it still has no answer.

Maybe this team isn't quite good enough to linger around .500 or above all year. But maybe it is - though not if RF doesn't get settled.

Give it a shot, huh? As crazy as it sounds, maybe it isn't that crazy?

ps - if you do think I'm way too over-the-top crazy here, go back and watch yesterday's ninth inning. Might soften the crazy a bit. There's your ninth-inning right field option.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Heading South.

Me. ME. I'm working in Dulles today and I'm about to head home.

You think I meant the Nationals?

Sadly, maybe I do.

1-3 in Houston is inexcusable. Losing two of them they way they did just makes it worse. A team that has turned the corner hammers the Stros at least twice and finds a way to win a third. One loss I can handle.

I was in a meeting during the fateful ninth and could only glimpse at gametracker now and then. A Nats fan/colleague joined us later. He saw it live. He's not a Guzman fan to begin with and today didn't change his mind.

Those fly balls are a fairly routine thing for a professional outfielder. You have to catch those.

Infielders, too, which is what Guzman is and always has been and always should be. I'd love to know why Guzman was in right in the ninth. Didn't Bernadina start the game there? Didn't he make a great play earlier in the game (I didn't watch much)? Wouldn't he have caught that ball? Hell, YOU would have caught that ball. I may well have caught that ball.

Would there, perhaps, have been some overmanaging going on today? Being a manager is a stressful job but it is a cool job, too. You get the best seat in the house and they pay you to sit there. Sometimes it is quite OK to just sit there and watch the game. Put down the wand, maestro, and just listen to the music.

I'm glad Jim Riggleman is in charge, he's definitely an upgrade. Just do what we do sometimes, boss, OK? Just watch and enjoy.

I hope this isn't a tipping point where things really go sour. This was supposed to be when the schedule got easy.

Is it Tuesday yet?

They're Getting Over It, Why Can't I?

News is out that Jim Joyce declined an option to sit out today's game and will work the plate in Detroit the day after blowing that call. Armando Galaragga will deliver the lineup card. They'll shake hands and move on. A good umpire made a terrible call. Stuff happens. They'll get past it.

So what's wrong with me that the game Tuesday won't remove itself from my brain? I keep seeing that pitch to Berkman over and over and over again and I want to bash my head into a wall over and over and over again.

Not the missed call on the very obvious strike three, although that is wearing a hole in my stomach, too.

The next one, the weak piece of crap that Berkman poked into left field to score the winning run.

The journalist in me admires Matt Capps. He stood in there after the game and blamed himself, said he should have taken it out of the umpire's hands.

The fan in me says HELL YES and then wonders, "So what was up with that pitch?"

Wasn't it 0-2 at one point? Is there any reason you don't bust him inside four times, with some of that 95 mph heat? This isn't Nook Logan up to bat. It's a bona fide, proven, quality major leaguer who has driven in more than 100 runs in six seasons. Berkman knows what he is doing up there.

I can live with getting beat. It happens, thankfully not as often as it used to and Matt Capps is a major reason why.

But trust your stuff man. If you get beat, you get beat. Get beat with your best and tip your cap as you walk off the field. Do not get beat with some weak-ass pitch that should not have been thrown. You're an honorable, stand-up man Matt Capps. I love that. You're also a better pitcher than that.

At least my frustration over Tuesday's game is keeping me from getting frustrated over last night's game. A split with the Astros? Please.

I'll get over all this soon, I promise. I hope. Tuesday IS coming and all is about to be right with the world.

Strasburg, after all, has SWS. He does not have any weak-ass crap in his arsenal.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Suddenly I Don't Feel So Bad About A Missed Call

If you weren't watching and haven't seen the lone "hit" the Indians got tonight against Detroit, go find it on the 'Net somewhere and watch. Or look right here at this picture.

Wow. Just wow. Just holy cow wow.

Some ump has some 'splaining to do.

Swing or no?

Fun night at our house, right to the end. My son cooked dinner on the grill (and got soaked in the process). We put the clicker to full use. Braves-Phils on ESPN, Nats-Astros on MASN.

At least one of us got to go to bed happy.

What kept me awake was wondering how badly, if at all, the umps missed the strike three call before the winning hit. Where's Rob Dibble when I need him? I thought he went. My son wasn't as sure, though he thought the pitch may have been a strike anyway (I did not, I just thought he swung).

Just like the game against the Padres, one pitch later and it is done. "Capps has to be better than that," my son said. "Blow the next one by him."

No argument there. I just can't shake that non-call from my brain. Thanks to the always-awesome Dan Steinberg and The Bog for providing photographic proof THAT I AM RIGHT. Feel good about being right? No. Feel worse about the game.

Whatever. We're a day closer to The Day. My red t-shirt with Strasburg 37 on the back arrived. I got a cool new hat for the event. Time to start thinking ahead, not behind.

But, dagggone, that sure looked like strike three and the linked picture PROVES ME RIGHT. Of course, if Zimmerman doesn't go all matador on us with that first ground ball (Ole!), it's probably a moot point. Or a mute point as a friend used to write, in which case I'm silent.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ticket Masters

You'd think by now I'd be Internet-savvy enough to pull off some of these stunts.

A young man I know, one of my best friends despite the 100-year age difference, went online this a.m. and bought a four-game plan that included the Tuesday debut of you-know-who (JEE-SUS in case you don't).

Seeing as he was already the owner of four tickets to that June 8 Date With Destiny, he went online and legally sold those tickets.

That money covered the cost of his other three games. Free baseball. Plus a hat.

I need to get with it.

I am also a part of a group of four that got tickets because it was a Tuesday and the Pittsburgh fan in our bunch had the night off. We figured we'd get a t-shirt because Tuesdays and t-shirts are automatic.

Turns out they're not but the "prize" instead allows me to get over my anger a little bit.

I was able to get online last night and find one ticket near our section but not two. So we've add one to our traveling party.

I'm now convinced this is the biggest night in Nationals-in-DC history, topping the first home game in 2005 and the ZimmermanWalkOffChristenTheStadium in 2008.