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Friday, July 30, 2010

On Capps and Trades and Stuff

I hate the Matt Capps trade. Hate it. Hate it.

Not the actual trade. I understand the way the game is today and that this move pretty much had to be made. Seems like the Nats got more out of it than they had a right to expect. I'm not going to jump on the Rizzo gushfest - I think the words Debbi Taylor used on pregame were "worked his magic again" - because there's been enough of that already. I'm told no kneepads are available anywhere in the D.C. area after everyone bowed to his greatness in prying Wilson Ramos from the Twins (a guy so good he's going straight to AAA instead of to the bigs).

What I hate is that the Nats are always in this position and that the game has "evolved" to the point that this crap happens every year with bad teams. Baseball, one of my colleagues noted on, has become a game of lower-echelon teams moving their top players in exhange for lottery picks.

Wilson Ramos may go on to be the next Pudge Rodriguez. Or maybe not. Who knows? I can't think of any prospects the Nats have gained in deals over the years who have made any kind of major impact. Matt Chico? A serviceable AAAA pitcher. Garrett Mock? How about no? Shairon Martis? Looked like it for a while but that was just a mirage. I'm sure I'm missing someone and would love to know I'm wrong. You CAN get a star in the future by giving one up now! Hey, the Rangers got Elvis Andrus, the Cardinals got Adam Wainwright (think the Braves would like either one of them back?) so it can happen. When will it happen to the Nats?

When will it happen that the faithful among us don't have to worry about it every single year? When will the Nats be buyers? I remember the last day of my New York vacation in 2006, trying to find a TV so I could watch the ticket and see if Soriano had been traded. Every damn year, it's a crapshot as to what the team will look like after Aug. 1 and I hate, hate, hate that. Hate it.

I have a sinking feeling I'll see Dunn soon and it won't be in D.C. I have tickets to the White Sox game on Sunday. Maybe I'll see his first AL home run.

If Dunn goes, I'm Dunn. Why bring in good players - and yes, he's a good player despite his flaws - only to move them quickly becuase the rest of the team isn't good enough? How about trying to make the rest of YOUR team good enough NOW?

Back to Capps, yeah, good deal if you have to move him. Do you really have to move him? He's 26 and proven to be pretty darn good. The more I think about it, the more his All-Star spot was legit. So you have to pay the man a little. That's the way it works. Would it suck so much to go into 2011 with a proven closer who makes a lot and some very good setup people around him? You have this incredible rotation about to happen - or so we're told a lot - so why not have a guy like Capps around to save all those victories they're going to compile?

Every year, we think this team is 2-3 years away. Best guess now is they're still 2-3 years away. I'm going to stick my neck out and say we'll be saying next year they're 2-3 years away.

Or maybe YOU'LL be saying it next year. I'm about done.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greetings from Dallas

where the text message that arrived at 6:05 p.m. local time said, "When did Strasburg turn into Batista?"

My Son the Braves Fan and his beautiful sister were using my tickets last night. I'm on the road again, making a tour of some football conference media days around the country. I had just arrived at the Rangers' stadium to see Cliff Lee take on the As when I got that message.

"Do NOT screw with me on something like that. Not funny. I'm old and fat and at risk."

"I'm NOT screwing with you. Miguel Batista is pitching. Hey, I wanted to see Strasburg, too. What's wrong with him?"

He's AT the stadium and I'm in Dallas and I have to get that info? Fortunately, the BlackBerry refreshes quickly and fortunately my media buds were all over it and had updates posted fast.

Did it ease my mind? Yes and no. I'm fairly convinced there's nothing serious wrong here but we all know the Nats' lovely history with injuries. When is Flores playing again? So until I see him go seven with 10 or so Ks I won't feel too good.

I do applaud the Nats for pulling the plug quickly. A thread started on took the team to task for continuing to baby him. It's foolish to think this falls into that category. He's never had a problem getting loose before that we know of, and suddenly he doesn't feel right? No thanks. Miguel, you're up.

Let me also take this opportunity to apologize for everything I said back in the spring questioning Batista's presence on the roster. The Nats have lots of problems. He's not one of them. Every team needs a guy like Batista. He now has a win as a starter and a save. I saw him come in a few weeks ago against the Mets when things got out of hand early and strike out seven or so in a "save the rest of the bullpen" stint.

I got back to my hotel last night in time to see him highlights on SportsCenter. Some of his pitches looked positively Strasburg like. Good for him. That qualifies as a pretty clutch performance. The Braves, my son will tell you, are pretty good. They can hit a little.

What's next? Does Jee-SUS pitch as scheduled Sunday (my money is on no)? Does he visit the DL? Is he done for the year? I hope not, because I'd like to see him pitch some more. He's rather fun to watch. But if there are any questions? Shut it down and we'll see you in 2011.

I'm also rather curious to see what shakes the rest of the week. A Rangers fan told me last night they'd love to have a guy like Dunn. I told him to ship over Cliff Lee and I bet that would make it happen. I can't print what he told me.

Who goes, who stays? A meager 42 voted in last week's poll. Of those, 27 say trade Capps and only 15 say keep him. I'm a keep him guy - Store and Save in 2011.

They put us up in some suite last night, in the outfield. Very nice and all but I couldn't get a real feel for the ballpark. It looked awfully nice. I can check it off my list after attending a game there but I can't claim to really know anything about the place.

My tour continues today as I head to LA for the Pac-10 session tomorrow. Then I head home for two days before going to Chicago for the Big Ten session. Guess what? The White Sox are home Sunday and the Cubs are home Monday. I get into town early enough Sunday to catch the Sox. The session on Monday ends early enough to catch the Cubs, so a colleague and I are going to do that. I've never been to either of those parks.

I hope on Sunday I'm spending most of my time watching the Sox but checking my BlackBerry for Strasburg updates. I'm guessing that won't happen.

Oh, and this Cliff Lee guy? Pretty good.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oh My, Mik, Uh, Michael

Seriously. Why not? Will it mess up the playoff run? So let's see Morse every day for two months, see if the guy is legit or just a guy with a little pop every now and then.

Bernadina (not my choice), Nyjer, pick one and they sit a while (though Nyj-mo does seem to be warming up a tad). Still, am I nuts here? Don't you have to take a real, live look at this guy, whatever he wants to call himself?

My wife just asked as the second one left the park: Every time I watch him, he hits a home run - so why isn't he in there all the time?

Answer the lady, Jim.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time for Another Break

Lawrence Block is one of my favorite authors. He writes myteries and thrillers, both in novel and short story form. He's exceptionally prolific. Eight Million Ways to Die made my Top 10 list I did a number of years ago for some fiction forum. I've read almost everything he's written.

He's so good I almost gave him credit for one of Raymond Chandler's great lines (another great author, while we're at it):

"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window."--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 13)

Mr. Chandler, not Mr. Block, summed up my feeling of being a Nats fan. This is a team to make me kick a hole in every window in my house.

I left the room for five minutes to make a sandwich. I come back and it is 4-0 and Rob (welcome back) is hammering the defense and the decision to play Willie. If you can't catch the ball, you can't play at this level. And on and on and on. He also said something about being tired of watching this defense and he's sure others are, too.

Hand high in air, hand high in air!! And I didn't even see what happened. I can only imagine.

"Nyjer Morgan, Willie Harris. If that's your future, it's not looking too bright." Wow. Rob is on a roll. I mean that as a compliment this time.

I need another break.

Extended Break is Over

When you get to be my age, four days just isn't long enough for an All-Star break. These kids today, you know? They can recharge their batteries and come back a lot quicker. I needed another weekend, so I took it.

Actually, I was back to work at a three-day meeting with my college sports crew at FanHouse. We all got together to meet (a virtual newsroom is cool but face-to-face contact is rare), plot and plan. And eat and maybe drink some, too. Fantastic time and allow me to plug the site: If you are a college sports fan, you'll want to be there a lot. We have some great stuff in store for the upcoming academic year.

But enough of that. Let's get back to blogging with a question: Are the Nats' bats old like me and in need of extra time off? One inning with runs scored in 27 in Florida? Two pitchers not named Jee-SUS give a Jee-SUS like effort and get no runs in return? The Marlins are held to three runs in three games and the Nats lose two out of three?

Maybe I need a permanent break.

A friend asked me a couple of weeks ago just how it came to be that I bleed curly Ws. This friend didn't know I grew up in Washington and suffered through the Senators, too.

"Oh," he said. "I couldn't think of a reason that made sense."

Not sure I can, either.

We faithful fans are left with another second half without any playoff hope, without a sure idea of what the team will look like in two weeks. Year Six has turned into another version of Years Two-Five. Just once before I die, I'd like to go into August thinking about the rest of the current season rather than wondering about future seasons.

A couple of other things before I crawl back into my hole:

*We raised the total to 56 votes in the last poll. As I expected, most want Adam Dunn to be signed to some sort of extension. Thirty-nine voted for that, 17 voted again.

*I think I'm going to recapture an hour back of my days and stop watching the pre- and post-game shows. I'm getting a little tired of all the smug jabs at the media (that's MY job, dad gummit). Seriously, the two examples from weekend games about sent me off the deep end because they were flat-out wrong and uttered by people who don't have the "joy" of going into a losing clubhouse day-after-day-after-day and asking questions so their readers/viewers can have some answers.

The Strasburg eye-roll got lots of attention. I'll admit it right here - I love Strasburg as a pitcher and a player and I'm damn sure glad he's a Nat. If I had to cover him every day, I'm not so sure I'd like him all that much. The TV crew got a good chuckle, as if the eye-roll was deserved because the question was so dumb.

Well, it wasn't. Someone asked about the lack of changeups, a question we sat here and asked as we watched. It was a good and legitimate question, given that so much has been made about what a weapon the pitch is for Jee-SUS. Sorry, Stephen, if our pitching intellect doesn't match yours. You get paid a boatload of money because fans like us are saps and are willing to pay silly prices to see you pitch and buy shirts with your name on it. Suck it up and answer questions that seem beneath you and do it without the snark.

And then ol' Phil Wood thought Adam Kennedy's "obviously" answer was just the funniest damn thing and appropriate for a bad question. This after Kennedy was thrown out by 80 feet at home (but before he got thrown out at second yesterday to complete a wonderful weekend of "obviously" stupid baserunning).

Wrong again. It wasn't obvious and it had to be asked. It deserved a better answer because we fans sure didn't see Pat Listach send him and then try to stop him. And it isn't like players haven't run through signs before. Good on you (I think it was Adam Kilgore) for asking the question.

I have a question for Adam Kennedy that would indeed call for that answer out of him: Are you a waste of the Nats' money and roster space?

Here's some news: We get no news from the pre- and post-game shows. Probably 95 percent of the news we get comes from some combination of Adam at the Post, Mark at, Ben at (not to be confused with the on-air talent) and Bill at Of the other five percent, probably 4.99 percent of it comes from national media (and sometimes that's wrong, or Jerry Dipoto would be GM now) and the other smidge from when one of us Mom's Basement dwellers gets lucky.

Zero comes from pre- and post-game shows. Zero. The four main beat guys are in there every single day, a job that seems like a dream until you have to do it. Sure, I rag on them now and then - but rarely and only out of love. I can't recall drilling them on a question they've asked because I know sometimes you have to ask questions that are awkward. Part of the job and someone who doesn't have to do it and has never asked a tough question in his life really has no business mocking those who do.

Yeah, OK, I'm a little worked up over that one. I need another break. And I really need to get my XM fixed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Two Things (Plus One)

too many Nats pitchers can't do that drive me too, too crazy:

They can't get strike three.

They can't get the third out.

How the Giants turned that second inning into three runs is beyond me. Actually, I suppose Craig Stammen is lucky this isn't worse. He gives up a hit to Aaron Rowand on an 0-2 count (shocker!) to start the game. Double plays bail him out in the first two innings.

I simply have to get a life and start watching this team two out of every five nights. My TV is too new and too nice to throw something through it, but I fear it may not last the night.

Now for the third thing, unrelated to tonight (last time I ripped Stammen in game he turned it around and it is happening again so I'm going to start ripping him daily).

Anyway, go here to vote for Stephen Strasburg for an ESPY. Two actually. Deadline is midnight tonight.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bron Bron

As much as I hated the whole spectacle of The World's Biggest and Most Important Decision Ever, I found my fingers on the clicker at 8:58 p.m. and suddenly my TV was tuned into ESPN.

I'd like to think if the Nats had been involved in a competitive game, I would have stuck with Bob and Rah'b. Truth is, I probably would have been switching anyway. I was disgusted and intrigued all at once.

About 10 minutes into Bron Bron's hokey interview with hokey Jim Gray, My Son the Braves Fan (a psychology graduate) said, "Wow, he's actually going to stay with Cleveland)."

You know this how, I asked?

"Body language. I'm trained in this kind of thing."

Not too well, apparently, because we all know by now that Bron Bron is going to Miami to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on a team I sincerely hope finds a way to go 0-82 next season.

Do tell, oh ridiculous, rambling, babbling fool, what does this have to do with baseball or the Nationals? You have a very legitimate reason to ask that question. The answer is twofold: Everything and nothing.

During my years and years away from being a diehard fan of sports or teams, loyalty somehow disappeared. I'm the first to admit that's not the fault of the players, it is the system. I can't fault the players for taking advantage of that system. They have the right (and probably the responsibility) to take as much money as someone is willing to give them during their very short shelf lives as premier athletes.

We probably should expect a Bron Bron moment or two of our own in the future when Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg decide to head elsewhere, as the rules of the game allow. I'm sure I'll be screaming as loud as anybody and burning jersies and what not. HOW CAN THEY DO THAT TO US? THEY GREW UP HERE?? TURNCOATS!!

But they didn't really grow up here, did they, except in the athletic sense. We have no claim of roots and no reason to expect any athlete to stick around if someone is offering a bigger pile of cash. That's the system.

My wife thinks people ought to get off Bron Bron's case, that he did nothing wrong. She makes valid points. Of couse he did nothing wrong and he's well within his rights to go to Miami. Or wherever the heck he wanted to go.

I just held out a little hope he wouldn't. I really thought Bron Bron was different. He IS from the Cleveland area. He does have roots there. Plus, quite frankly, I think he does owe that team and town something. It's not like the Cavaliers are the Nationals. They've been pretty darn good. They went to the NBA Finals after the 2007 season and won 60 games each of the past two seasons.

So how 'bout you sack up and stick around to finish the job, Bron Bron?

Instead, he takes less cash and goes off to join Wade and Bosh in town where he defintely will not be king (enjoy playing second fiddle to Little Wyane).

My stomach honest-to-goodness hurt for Cleveland and its sports fan.

My respect for the former King James would have grown 1,000 fold, I would have become his biggest fan, I would have purchased every product he ever endorsed if James had said, "Cleveland, I'm staying home and I'm going to see that we bring a bunch of titles to town."

Instead, he said "I'm going to South Beach."

Maybe he's tired of being king and wants to play second fiddle to someone? Someone else to take the heat (no pun intended) when they don't finish the job?

I wish I had one of his jersies so I could burn it. Yes, I very much realize it isn't fair to take my frustrations with the system out on LeBron James. My anger isn't so much at him personally as it is at the realization that this is the way things are these days and I better get ready for some of my young heroes to rip my heart out one day, just like the Cavaliers faithful had theirs torn out. And stomped on.

All along, I said I didn't care what he did and clearly I do. Maybe I ought to go back to not being a fan of anything.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dunn De-Dunn Dunn

First, sorry for a couple of days of silence. Long story but some real-life factors got in the way (damn them). I learned of Ryan Zimmerman's game-winner on Tuesday via text message. But not while driving.

Second, Adam Dunn's theme music ought to be the theme from Dragnet. You younger readers may need to look that one up.

Third, sign him already.

My brother probably just spit something all over his computer. He's not a proponent of long-term Dunn-ness. He just doesn't think his production outweighs the liabilities he brings when there's a glove in his hand rather than a bat.

I don't agree and it isn't a knee-jerk reaction to his three-homer night (I listened to one and saw the other two and I appreciate him hitting a couple after I was back near by beloved TV).

He's a bit of a liability on defense, more because he isn't good enough to save his fellow infielders from errors. So make better throws. Yep, some will always get away. We'll have to live with that. If his colleagues cut down on the errant tosses, it will be easier to live with that.

I've been on record for a long time as liking the guy a lot. I'm sure those who know how to crunch numbers much better than I do can argue against this eight million different ways. That's fine and you may be right.

I still want him around a while and will be very disappointed if he's traded or just not signed. I hear some talk that the Nats want to go after one of the big-name first basemen who will be available after the season. Can anyone guarantee they'll be willing to sign with the Nats? Didn't think so.

Just sign the guy already. He's already a Nat and he claims he wants to stay. Swallow hard, put four years and 60 mil on the table and get it done already. Or Dunn already! Ha. At least I haven't lost that amazing sense of humor.

The new poll will be all about Dunn. Let's hope it draws more than the weak 47 votes last week's poll drew. I hang my head in shame at that total. Of those, 35 said Jee-SUS didn't merit All-Star consideration and 12 said he did. I assume Jee-SUS himself was one of the 35 because he pretty much said he didn't think he should go.

Go vote already, and tell your friends.

Monday, July 5, 2010

All Stars

My colleage at FanHouse, Jay Mariotti, has a column taking baseball to task for not selecting Stephen Strasburg for the All-Star game.

He makes some good points. In general, though, I come down on the "no" side. Hasn't been there long enough, didn't earn it. Is it a showcase for the players the fans want to see or a reward for a quality half-season? If it is merely a showcase, you can probably pick the participants in March.

That doesn't mean I'm correct.

I must say I was a little surprised when the announcement of Matt Capps making the team flashed on the scoreboard yesterday. No disrespect to Capps, who was certainly lights out during the Nats' good start. His ERA has ballooned in recent weeks and his hits per nine is pretty high. A little better defense and he'd have more saves (who can forget Houston?), a little tougher pitching after some bad breaks/calls and he'd have more saves, too.

I'm not going to rant and say he doesn't belong. His case is probably as strong as any other Nat. I was just surprised. I thought for sure it would be Zimmerman, or Dunn is not Zim. Willingham had a slight chance, I thought, of being the one (and I never thought for a second after that bad June that the Nats would get more than one).

The Nats don't have a dominant player. A number of them are having good years, no one is having a great year. With the Reds' Joey Votto being snubbed, you can't gripe too much about Dunn. A total of 98 Braves make the team but Troy Glaus isn't one of them? Even as those all-star rosters expand, some head-scratching decisions are made

I give Zimmerman a slightly better chance than me of being voted into that final spot. I just don't see the Nats' fan base pulling that off.

As for yesterday's game, I suppose I should thank Craig Stammen for making my point from Saturday about Jee-SUS. The Nats have too many pitchers still who can't get out of their own way. The slightest bit of trouble doesn't get resolved, it gets exacerbated. Strasburg turns what could be a 6-0 deficit into 2-0, keeping his late-sleeping team in the game. Stammen turns 2-0 into 5-0 and all hope is pretty much lost.

Decent long relief by Batista again. Is it time to give him a start just for yuks?

Defensive play in the first by Alberto Gonzalez led to this message from My Son the Braves Fan (with 98 all-stars): Maybe the best defensive play I've seen.

I'm not sure I'd go that far but I'm not sure I wouldn't. That was quite a play.

One more thing while I'm on the game itself. Nats are trying to rally, bases are loaded, Wil Nieves coming up. Yeah, I know all the schools of thought about not using your backup catcher of the day unless you have to - but don't you have to there? Don't you have to bring up Pudge and say to hell with it, try really hard not to get hurt but we need one of your doubles here? Badly?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sun-Baked and Happy

Word to the wise: Don't buy tickets in section 320 for a 4 o'clock game. Better to spend your day in a greenhouse. Wow. The sun targets that section and cooks you to a nice medium well.

But it's a happy medium well after that ninth-inning rally. Walk offs are always fun. I would have preferred it on a grand slam - how nuts would the place have gone if the umpire had come out and done the circle thing with his hand? - but I'll take it however it comes.

Heading back for more in a couple of hours and not sitting in a sun seat today, thankfully. A few thoughts from yesterday:

*Isn't it about time for Storen as the eighth-inning guy? When Clippard's first pitch got hit really hard, I turned to my wife and said, "They need to take him out right now." Doesn't seem to be a middle ground with him. He looks really good or he gets crushed and Option B has been all too frequent lately. Give Storen a look.

*No more big ribs. Tried it again yesterday. Undercooked and nasty. Pizza and wings for me from now on.

*I told my daughter, who attended with some of her friends, that yesterday was a fine example of why I love Jee-SUS. He was not his sharpest, obviously. My brother was watching on TV and said those early pitches that led to walks were not as close as they looked from Sun Town. And still, he leaves down just 2-0. Some of the Nats' other pitchers turn that into a 6-0 deficit. He turns four-run innings into one-run innings instead of turning one-run innings into four-run innings. He's really, really good and there's still room for growth. It boggles my little mind to think how good he can become.

A must-read by my colleague at FanHouse, Andrew "Prez" Johnson.

*Big argument this a.m. at my brother's house over the soon to be released all-star rosters. They want Willingham. I say don't discount Dunn, they disagree. We all think Zimmerman will be the one and only choice.

*I've mentioned this before here and there but I'll mention it again as my wife was rather disturbed during portions of yesterday's game. A buddy likes to use the quote about common sense and common courtesy not being that common. Very evident at a baseball game as people move to and from seats whenever the hell they please. If you can't wait until the end of the inning, can you at least do it between at-bats? There's a 2-2 count and two men on for the Mets, we're trying to see Jee-SUS strike someone out and people are walking back and forth from their seats. We've been in at least two parks (Safeco and Citizens Bank) where they don't let you into the section until the half-inning is over. We'd be all about that if Nats Park decided to go that route.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thank You, DVR

We have a DVR with our DirecTV. It holds 100 hours of programming and it is a wonder it isn't full all the time. My wife records everything and stays up all night watching. I still have the finale of Glee on there I need to watch.

I have no idea how to do any of it - record, watch, delete, nothing. I know how to turn on the TV and how to change channels. That's it. ESPN is 206. MLB is 213, the MASNs are 640 and 641. That's the sum of my DirecTV knowledge.

Now and then, I'll get some warning that it is about to record TWO shows and you can't record two and watch something else. So I'll ask my wife to please do something so I can continue to watch the game.

It happened last night right at nine. Except she wasn't home. Neither was my son. The dogs know more about the DVR than I do but they were no help. The smart one was off with my son.

It was 5-0 so I said what the heck and turned off the TV (it can still record). I read a while and went to bed.

Had no idea until I woke up what happened while I was in Nats Darkness. Very glad now I didn't see the end. This house might be fully trashed and my head might have exploded.

How in the name of *** HOW DO YOU GET PICKED OFF AT SECOND TO END THE GAME? It's a 3-2 count. There's two outs. You don't need a lead, you're scoring on a hit anyway. Stay VERY close to the bag and take off running when the pitcher goes into his motion. How hard is that?

I may trash the house anyway. No telling what would have happened. Could well have become strike three to Willie. Or not. Say what you will about his .001 batting average, the guy has delivered in the clutch before. He may have hit one out. I've seen him do it.

Now we'll never know.

One other thing. Hate to bust on my buds in the media but now and then I can't help it. This is cribbed from one of the newspaper accounts:

With one out in the top of the first, Washington starter Luis Atilano hit Tejada, then allowed a single to David Wright. The next batter, Ike Davis, hit a grounder to second baseman Cristian Guzmán.

A double play would have ended the inning. Instead, Guzmán bobbled the ball before recording an out at first. Meantime, Tejada scored from second. Because Guzmán recovered in time to record an out, no error was awarded.

Me again. What's wrong with that picture? Nothing except Tejada wasn't on second. He was on third. Went there on the single, at least according to my fragile memory AND a play-by-play account I just read online. He was all but certain to score on that play anyway. A double play was extremely doubtful even if the ball had been fielded cleanly. The bobble meant the Nats got the out at first instead of second.

I bust on the defense all the time but a DP would have been a miracle there. If Guzman had time to pick up the ball and get the batter at first, surely he would have been able to get a guy trying to score from second. Except the guy was on third.

Of course, we'll never know if it could have been a double play because it wasn't fielded cleanly. Just as we'll never know what Willie Harris would have done with a 3-2 pitch.

This team is going to kill me flat-out dead. I just hope I live long enough to pick up my free hat today. Free stuff, even if I don't really need another hat, always perks me up. Then the game will start and it will all go downhill. Over/Under on runs scored for Jee-SUS today? I have 1.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Midpoint

Say what? This is game 81 already. Time moves a little too quickly for me these days. I'm not sure why, considering I do the same daggone thing almost every night. I sit here and watch (or listen to) the Nats and wonder if I'll live long enough to see this team get good. I thought maybe that chance was there this year but that whole 20-15 thing must have been a mirage. The 15-30 thing since has been a pretty convincing argument that those hopes were premature.

I've also been tooling around the Internet more than usual tonight and some thhngs I've read have made me think.

*Blogger with Benefits Mark Zuckerman at NatsInsider asked an interesting question in his daily game-setup post. The team is on pace for 72 wins. Would we have taken that back in March? No. I thought 75-80 and was holding out hope for 81. Yes, 72 is a lot better than the past two seasons. That doesn't mean I'm going to settle for "bad" instead of "wretched." Mike Rizzo said tonight in pregame the Nationals can't ask their fans to be patient anymore. It's time to win. He's right. I don't expect a division title or even a wild card spot but I think expecting .500 is reasonable. And I still expect that. I don't think it will happen.

*I read something through a Twitter report that I'd never read before and I apologize profusely for talking about your stuff here without giving you proper credit. I went back to my Twitter feed and couldn't find it. But this was yet another article about July being trade month and it talked about who could be gone soon. The essential point was that Dunn will stay and Capps, Willingham and Guzman/Kennedy (one or the other) will go. So will Livo.

If they can get something for Guzman or Kennedy, please. Don't see much coming in return. Why move Willingham? He's under control for another year, he's proving to be pretty productive. An offer for him has to be spectacular.

Capps, I think, will draw the most interest, particularly if he gets back to his early season form. A mostly reliable closer is going to bring the biggest return. The Nats seem to think Drew Storen can move into that role, and they're probably right. If Capps ends up with 40 saves this season, his arbitration number could get real silly.

Livo? I think he's more likely to bring something better than any young pitcher not named Strasburg or Zimmerman and they're not going anywhere. But just how much will he bring? He brought Chico and Mock four years ago (yawn). Are two more at that level worth it?

Suppose the Red Sox or someone make a great offer for Pudge? Do you do that? Wil Nieves and who knows who for the rest of the year?

*Unrelated to anything I read, I really thought Atilano was about to get out of this inning with no damage. Instead, it's 5-0. Yet somehow I sit here and continue to watch. Even through these stupid Geico commercials. Maybe I ought to go for a smoothie.