Mike Greenberg says Nats to World Series
People talk about how there's a Nats Tax on free agents, how the long-struggling franchise needs to overpay at least slightly to get big names to sign on with a 100-loss outfit.
Well, I'm gonna argue there's also a Nats Tax on the media, how the long-struggling franchise needs to get bigger-than-expected big names in order to get the national media to devote even 3 minutes of tongue-in-cheek praise to the future of the franchise. Sigh.
Look, all I'm trying to do is write some gibberish that will introduce Mike Greenberg's remarks on the Nats' signing of Pudge Rodriguez, from Wednesday morning's show:
"I can tell you right now, the Washington Nationals, write this down, the Washington Nationals will be in the World Series in relatively short order," Greenberg began. "Write it down. You think I'm nuts? Did you see who they signed yesterday? They signed Pudge Rodriguez. Pudge Rodriguez has done this twice before in his career. Pudge Rodriguez spent a whole lot of years in Texas developing his case as being one of the truly great catchers in the history of the game, which he is. Offense, rocket for an arm, great hitter. When you start naming the greatest catchers of all time--Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra--his name goes right in the discussion.
"And then he did a funny thing a couple years ago, probably going back now eight or nine years. He signed with the Florida Marlins. And the Marlins were awful. This was after they disbanded, they were awful. And I thought to myself, boy that's ridiculous, why would a guy like that just take the money, no one else was gonna pay him, he's gonna go to Florida? And then the next thing I know, they win the World Series.
"So then a couple of years later, one day the Detroit Tigers, who I think had just come off making a run at the record for the most losses in a season in the history of the sport. Who had been just atrocious, without question the worst team in baseball for about a five-year period. They were where the Nationals are right now essentially. And Pudge Rodriguez signed there. And I thought to myself, what is he doing? Why in the world would he go there? No one else was gonna offer him any money, he's got to go there? And the next thing I know, the Tigers are in the World Series. They're in the World Series.
"So Pudge Rodriguez, he's third among active players in hits with 2,711, he's fourth in games played, he's 11th in RBIs, holds the Major League Baseball record for most games caught, he's a 14-time all star, he's won 13 gold gloves, he was the MVP in 1999, and he will lead the Washington Nationals to the World Series. Write it down. It's happened before. History will repeat itself."
"This is what we like to call a reach," Mike Golic finally said. "Your arms aren't long enough to go for the reach you're going for right now....You know, the funny thing is, you don't even believe what you're saying right now."
"No, I don't," Greenberg said, concluding the Nationals segment at just under 3 minutes.
Anyhow, for Nats fans who are excited to see Pudge help develop this young young young pitching staff, NBC Sports's Craig Calcaterra is here with a bracing shot of ugly.
The only problem with that is that Pudge has no real history of helping to develop young pitchers. I was talking to some reporters who have covered Rodriguez in the past yesterday -- guys who followed him in Texas, Florida and Detroit. Reporters who have very high opinions of Pudge in general and who have never slammed him in print as far as I can tell. To a man they say that Pudge is neutral if not detrimental to a young pitcher's development. The story is that he rarely if ever takes part in the pitcher/catcher meetings before games during which game plans and opposing hitters are discussed. He mostly just kind of sits there and lets the backup catchers take the lead.
Whatever, man. He earned the Nats nearly 3 minutes on Mike
on and Mike.
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