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Lastings Milledge is Ocho Cinco?

This is in the past. (By Charles Dharapak - AP)

There's a piece of tape next to Lastings Milledge's stall at Space Coast Stadium. It says "Ocho Cinco 85."

It turns out Manny Acta wrote the message and stuck the tape there. And it turns out Acta did so because Milledge has forfeited 44 to newly arrived Adam Dunn and has selected 85 as his replacement.

"When you wear a number like that, that means you're not gonna make the club," Acta joked as he walked past the locker today.

Several teammates expressed disbelief about the choice of 85, but Milledge said he likes it. He's already planning to get an "85" medallion, and he was laughingly comparing himself to Antonio Gates. The real reason he chose the number was, as some teammates correctly guessed, because of his year of birth.

"Plus I wanted something big, too," Milledge said. "I wanted a bigger number."

Football players openly discuss their negotiations for taken numbers, with the Redskins' Reed Doughty getting paid off twice last year, but Milledge said that there was no negotiation needed.

"He hit 240 bombs the last six years; how the hell am I gonna wear that and let him wear another number?" Milledge said. "Hell no. He never asked me about anything. It's just the proper thing to do. That happens all the time. Just like if Barry Bonds came here, whoever was wearing 25 got to give it up. That's the right thing to do. I mean, if he feel like he wants to give something to don't ask somebody. We all make good money here."

"I don't," Willie Harris noted from the next stall over.

Dunn was, predictably, appreciative of the gesture.

"He thought that I would like it, and I obviously would, and so I think it was pretty cool of him," Dunn said. "He definitely didn't have to give it to me. It wasn't that big of a deal....I didn't care. A number's a number to me."

And he echoed Milledge's account of a hassle-free exchange.

"He didn't ask for anything," Dunn said. "I tipped him, is that fair?

As for 85, it's definitely unusual.

"That's you," Elijah Dukes said to Milledge, when he heard about the new number. "That's just him," he told me.

(While Milledge mentioned Antonio Gates, Dukes pointed out that he shares Walter Payton's number. "That's some good company right there," he said.)

One teammate gave me a "no comment" when I asked about 85. Another asked if players were actually allowed to wear numbers in the 80s. Corey Patterson said it was "like a receiver or a tight end or something," but said that "whatever number Lastings wears, he's gonna be all right."

(Patterson, by the way, is wearing 4, his high school number. He said he's been waiting to get the number back since then. "Every year I've been playing, it's been retired or someone already had it," he said. "Finally. Took me about 11 years.")

Dunn said 85 was "solid" and "different," but he also took a jab.

"That number's so ugly I might just give this one back," he joked. "I'll wear No. 1."

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 2:42 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Adam Dunn Buys Lunch


Can't wait to see LMillz' 85 bling.

Posted by: Section138 | February 19, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I've become a Milledge fan since he came to DC, and this just makes me like him even more. (M85 = methanol?)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 19, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly (if you're into that kind of thing, anyway), the St. Louis Cardinals retired number 85 in honor of CEO Gussie Busch (his age when the number was retired).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 19, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

One word on LMillz' number choice:


I told you Steinz. There is some bloggability up in the Nats joint. No doubt.

Now when are you teeing it up with 'Lijah? The Post should charge extra for video + text on that excursion. In fact, I want a Dunn, Zim, Dukea, and LMillz foresome with cameras rolling for the entire 4 hour round.

I smell Pulitzer.

Posted by: WebberDC | February 19, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Dang typo. Ruined a perfectly good post.

"Dukes," not "Dukea"

Posted by: WebberDC | February 19, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Figured that's what you meant, Webber.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

What am I going to do with those Adam Dun #32 jerseys I ordered last week? Yard sale!!!!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 19, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

laughed audibly at Willie's side comment. this crap is hilarious.

I don't get how Steinberg has managed to get this kind of unguarded spontaneity from the players so quickly.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 19, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I can hear it now...

"Och-o Cin-co (clap, clap, clapclapclap)"

Posted by: wigi | February 19, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

With my LMillz #44 jersey, I sort of feel like the the guy who went out and bought a Jordan #45 Bulls jersey.

With him choosing '85 for the year of his birth, let's just hope he does not have to switch to uniform '81 in August.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 19, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

85 for a starting outfielder is silly.,12150.0.html

there is a poll to select a better number for Milledge.

it's all in fun, so don't get too huffy about it.

Posted by: MrMadison | February 19, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I live in brooklyn and I cant wait to get a nats away jersey with washington across the front and milledge 85 across the back.

I love everything about this story.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 20, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Wow, jca, post of the day on another blog. An NJ first!

By the way, Willie Harris doesn't make money. Willie Harris IS money.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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