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Nats announcers are already disgusted

A few depressing notes from NatsTown.

* Opposing pitchers are batting .412 against the Nats thus far (7-17, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3 K). That's a higher batting average than any Nats position player. Adam Dunn, by the way, is hitting .136 with 1 RBI and 7 Ks. (All seven hits are singles Six singles and one double, if you were curious.)

(Thanks to Nats Journal commenter Sunderland for the tip.)

* Through the first eight games last season, the Nats pitching staff had given up 56 runs. Through the first eight games this season, they've given up 58 runs.

(On the other hand, instead of 1-7, the Nats are 3-5, and they've played five games against the Phillies, who are probably the class of the National League.)

* According to Adam Sherk, the Nats rank 25th among MLB teams in Twitter followers, 30th in Facebook fans, and 30th in combined Twitter followers and Facebook fans. Their total is 29.8 percent of the Indians', and 2.9 percent of the Yankees'.

* Rob Dibble and Bob Carpenter are already losing patience. Witness this dialog from the seventh inning Wednesday night, when the Nats fell behind, 14-7, amid another bullpen meltdown.

"I feel like it's Groundhog's Day," Dibble said. "Your job as a reliever is to come in and not throw gas on the fire. It's to try to hold the other team where they are. And Jesse English did a great job tonight, but ever since Jesse English came out of the ballgame, it's been almost unwatchable....

"Right now, seven runs in less than three innings since Jesse left the ballgame. And that's just not your job. That's not what you're supposed to be doing. You know, I mean, if this was a one-run ballgame that you needed to win in September, that's the kind of outing you're gonna have?"

"And I think, Rob, the thing that's so disappointing is I think all of us came out of the winter and out of Spring Training figuring we were beyond nights like this," Bob Carpenter said. "You know, this stuff was in the past."

"Yup," Dibble agreed.

"It's just hard to believe," Carpenter continued. "And you are playing the Phillies. But, you know, somebody beats these guys. They lost 60-some games last year. But our ballclub just cannot beat this team. Can't hold 'em down."

* Of course, Johnny Holliday was slightly more impressed.

"Sixty-four runs for the Phillies in the first eight games of the year, the most since way back in 1976," he said during MASN's post-game show. "They're like the Yankees' Murderer's Row in 1927."

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 15, 2010; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Dunn also has a .441 OBP, a far more important statistic in considering offensive performance. .441 would have put him up with Pujols and Mauer for tops in baseball last year.

The Nats offer a cornucopia of depressing stats to choose from. No reason to make them look even worse than they are.

Posted by: Fozzie1 | April 15, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

What also is implied in this article - and is problem number one IMO with the Nationals is that no one really gives a crap about them. Another good statistic to throw around is the number of comments on the Post and MASN websites about the Nats. Be assured a discussion of the Redskins 7th round draft choice possibilities generates 5 times the amount of comments than anything in Nationals Journal. The blame squarely falls on team management for doing nothing to try to field a competitive team and next to nothing to market the Nats to the community. Fact is, the Nats have less than a third of the radio affiliates the O's do, and virtually nothing in the Norther Virginia area - which is your prime territory.

Posted by: bendersx6 | April 15, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Should have checked the facts on that 1st paragraph, Steinbog.

Pretty sure softball girl Nelson Figueroa hit a double last night.

Looks like Zimmerman is about to hit the DL too. How awesome.

Posted by: edeleon | April 15, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The day Strasburg gets to the Majors, Stamen should be given the options to either become a long reliever or given his walking papers.

We need a guy to come into games when our starters are screwing up early, and who's sole job is to make it so the Nats have no need to go through the entire pitching staff like we did last night.

The Nats need to replace half their marketing team with people who are from the DC area.

We got rid of Jimbo, Stan better know he was next in line for the chopping block.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 15, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

One last thing, as long as you have the FOOTS (Fans of Other Teams) to help you fill seats at the ballpark, I'm afraid the Nats management will feel no need to change. This is a situation completely unique to DC - hell, even the Pirates fans are good for a few thousand at Nats Park.

Posted by: bendersx6 | April 15, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Winning cures all. The Caps used to be the red-headed stepchild of D.C. sports because no one wants to watch a mediocre hockey team. Now that they're winning, they're the toast of the town.

The sad thing is the Lerners are the richest owners in baseball. If they invested more in big-name free agents and cared about putting a winning product on the field, they would have a huge following in D.C.

The Nats have only been in town for 5 years, so they haven't had too much time to build up a fan base. The Redskins have been in town for over 75 years.

I guess I should become a fan of the Nats on Facebook. It sounds like a pretty exclusive club.

Posted by: dmorgan6617 | April 15, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

alex is spot on

"The Nats need to replace half their marketing team with people who are from the DC area."

too much of the marketing/management side of the organization is made up of people who dont really know the area. baseball is an inherently local thing. the caps fanbase took off after leonsis put a stop to the marketing of out of town teams and started actively cultivating and supporting local followers.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | April 15, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Here are my ideas for what the Nats should do to market themselves more for local events and the like.

1. Hold a few off day practices on the baseball fields on the national mall. Maybe during the all star break.

2. Get Cal involved with the team some how. I know he is a baltimore guy but people like myself (late 20's) have no memory of the old Senators so we associate with O's history from that time for our childhood. Exploit that!

3. Avoid holding any event in any location inaccessible by Metro. This team put its stadium where it did because of the Metro access, so why are so many team events held in places you can't get to by metro? I know Ted Learner built Tyson's but how many people out there go to more than a handful of games. Smart marketing would be to hold events downtown, K street area, Eastern Market and Barracks Row, South West. They need to turn out people who don't see it as a big deal to go to Navy Yard, and those people are the ones that live and work in DC. A bad product means you have to contract your radius of marketing to be closer to the stadium.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 15, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

They are disgusted because they have to sit through 162 of these games. If they don't like it, they can svck on it and like it and apply for a job at the YES or NESN network.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | April 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This is what you get when you have sorryass cheap owners like the Lerner's, who won't pay for players and want to squeeze every bit of profit they can out this team.

They are bottom 5 in payroll every year. You get what you pay for. Period.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 15, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I understand the importance of OBP, and am all for getting on base, but I start to get tired of seeing a guy at 2nd or 3rd with 1 out and Adam Dunn taking another walk. And Dunn taking a 3-0 fastball right down the middle of the plate. The clean-up hitter is supposed to be driving runs in.

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | April 15, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid to say it but I think the Nats need a Hypnotist. Get a "qualified" Hypnotist (is there such a thing?) out in the bullpen and put the relievers into the "zone."

Posted by: richs91 | April 15, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

the blame really lies with MLB. They picked the ownership group with the biggest pocketbook, not the ones who were actually baseball fans who'd spent over a decade trying to get a team. The Collins group (if i recall correctly) should have gotten the team if for no other reason than they'd actually gotten money and spent time developing interest, when there was nothing more than hope.

and I'm still not sold on the Lerner's being cheap. Having made some missteps, sure, but they did sign SS, and we'll see if they take Harper and are able to sign him. If that's a yes/yes, then I don't think calling them cheap is fair. They are building much in the manner the caps did, lose all high/over priced talent, build up youth. But they should have spent a little bit for a decent team until the farm/youth was ready. In that regard, they made a misstep.

It's not like they have experience at sports ownership, and they are NOT following a Snyder path, nor an Abe Pollan path (then again, maybe they are on an Abe path), so for now, I'm giving them time. But they are definitely hurting themselves with bad marketing and no radio coverage (I can't even get 1500 between Reston and Dale City, when I'm in the car) and I definitely can't get 1500 at home, and they aren't allowed to stream the radio feed, you have to PAY mlb for that privilege. MLB is stupid in not letting the home town hear the home team for free via the net.

They should start building a fan base by holding free baseball clinics on every off day during home stands at various local fields to try and connect with the region and build a youthful fan base. And giving out free gloves, bats and balls to try and generate more interest in playing baseball with the youth of the region.

Posted by: Rogueone | April 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@richs91: HA! "Losing is a bubonic plague."

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | April 15, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem is that none of the players care either, with the possible exceptions of Zim and Dunn (who will not re-sign surrounded by this feckless group). The rest are just drawing paychecks. Nats newbies like IRod and Kennedy are old pros who will demand out of here by July 31, if not May 31. Probably Dunn too, so they can get another bum like Mock in return. Why is Jason "I've never pitched a scoreless inning and am still in the majors" Bergman still here with his permanent shell-shocked look? So we signed Brian "I really snookered them" Bruney? BFD. Why do players like Belliard, FLop and Rauch become all-stars when they leave here? Think about it.

I'm afraid, as a 6 year season ticket holder (aka masochist), that nothing will change til the Lerners decide to sell after the tax benefits dwindle in another 12-15 years. Stan Kasten never did the baseball work in ATL, so he's clueless as to what to do. It's not just the Phillies, it's when you don't give enough of a S--- to try to get the opposing P out, and you can't even lay down a bunt when you're up (see John "what's a sacrifice bunt?" Lannan). Management does not see that attitude as a problem, but rather as a benefit (low salaries), so things will never change.

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | April 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

they do hold clinics, they do donate tickets and make visits to local schools, they even let local high school teams practice on the field at the park. they have equipment drives for youth organizations. they do all of these things but no one cares because the team isn't winning. that's the issue.
and dan - the nats organization doesn't control their facebook and twitter pages. major league baseball does.

Posted by: natfan616 | April 15, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse


Good for them bu kids don't have money. Got to go after the older demographic. That strategy would work if there were older generations of nats fans but there aren't

Posted by: alex35332 | April 15, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

You people with this win now mentality need to stop crying. I do agree with the lack of marketing problem, but the Nationals are actually building this team the correct way, with a strong farm system. The Nationals are closer to being a competitive team than alot of you think.
The reality is, they aren't in a Boston or NY baseball market. I would rather them end up a Braves of the 90's than a current Boston or NY team anyway.

Posted by: wdcdave | April 15, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry about Dunn. He'll hit especially when Zimmerman returns. This team needed to go out and sign some pitchers. Now they're stuck with the Garrett Mock's and Matt Chico's (who got clobbered in AA) until Starsburg and Storen come up in June. They went cheap on everyone and this is what you get including a cheap to keep Riggleygum. It's early so we can cut them some slack and they did have to play the Phightins' a bunch - still say that was ridiculous scheduling and I KNOW THEY'RE in the same Division. They still didn't have to schedule this like a home and home series just about (3 games in between isn't any kind of a break). Hopefully after today's game they can get something going against these other teams. But I still feel like Nats ownership isn't giving its all. It's like they're KC of the NL. Oh and isn't that going to be a great series!!!

Posted by: billm32 | April 15, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Well why would anyone expect fans to care? Don't get me wrong we/I love baseball and having a team however, there has been no sign of a major league team in this town in ages at best the Nats teams of the last several years might be able to compete in the minor leagues. I see the same issues/problems with this team year in and year out pitiful offense, pitiful defense and horrendous pitching. I find it painful to start watching a Nats game they jump out 4-0 I flip through a few channels come back it's still the bottom half of the inning and wham just like that no 4 run lead you're now trailing...

Posted by: papaskynz | April 15, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Well why would anyone expect fans to care? Don't get me wrong we/I love baseball and having a team however, there has been no sign of a major league team in this town in ages at best the Nats teams of the last several years might be able to compete in the minor leagues. I see the same issues/problems with this team year in and year out pitiful offense, pitiful defense and horrendous pitching. I find it painful to start watching a Nats game they jump out 4-0 I flip through a few channels come back it's still the bottom half of the inning and wham just like that no 4 run lead you're now trailing...

Posted by: papaskynz | April 15, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Do we seriouisly have to suffer through another season of Rob Dibble?

This man is nothing but a cheerleader who can't stop talking about his playing days.

Anytime I actually attempted to watch a game on tv last year, I had to shut the tv off as soon as this loser started screaming - it's ridiculous. Can we please have a proffessional announcing team???

Posted by: aaarmstr | April 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't think its any secret that the Lerners are not fans of the District. With one or two exceptions, they have no real estate holdings in DC and they made clear their dislike for the city during the stadium expenses dispute last year. They simply don't get the city and its inhabitants. Everything is treated as if they are running a shopping mall, but the people who go to shopping malls are generally not the same people who go to baseball games, especially in a downtown stadium.

I agree with other posts that they need to get over their dislike of the city, embrace it, and hire marketing and management staff who understand their primary market.

Posted by: CNY-DC | April 15, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

First off, I'd like to second what the first commenter said. Batting average, especially through 34 plate appearances, is a totally useless statistic. How come you don't list a much more useful stat, on-base percentage, Dan? Maybe it's because Dunn's current .441 mark is a Hall-of-Fame type number? (Again, small sample size caveats.)

@:Handsome_John_Pruitt, 1:13
Your complaint belies a lack of baseball knowledge. The job of any hitter is to not make an out, which, coupled with his great power, is exactly what Dunn does so well. A walk with runners on second and third improves the Nats' chances of scoring run(s), so any frustration that comes with that result is completely irrational.

Posted by: IANatsFan | April 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Side comment to the earlier post that "Having made some missteps, sure, but they did sign SS..."

Actually they didn't have much choice in signing Mr. Strasburg. The Nationals had the number one draft pick and baseball teams are not allowed to trade draft picks. The Nationals were, thus, in a position to draft him and sign him; draft him and not sign him (meaning they'd lose the number one pick in this year's draft), or draft someone else, someone of lesser perceived ability.

Not too many options without completely alienating the fans. Working backwards, if they drafted someone else, the uproar about not taking "the greatest pitcher since Cy Young, Bob Feller, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Lefty Grove, Roger Clemens, Steve Carlton, Christy Mathewson, and Warren Spahn combined (and maybe throw in a little of a left-handed pitcher named Babe Ruth) would be heard clear to the west coast. Even if Mr. Strasburg washed out with another team and the player the Nationals chose instead became the greatest player of all time, you'd still here people here complaining that, "Yeah, well if Strasburg came to D.C. he'd have been an even greater player..."

If the Nationals couldn't reach agreement with Mr. Strasburg/Boros to sign a contract with the Nationals, all you'd hear the same uproar with the addition of how cheap the owners were (not that an outrageous or unrealistic contract was asked for, but how cheap the owners were). We've all seen numerous posts or heard callers to the talk shows say (just as they did regarding signing Albert Haynesworth), "Hey, pay him whatever he wants to get him here" (after all, it's not their money).

The option of last resort is to listen to his agent say why he's the most valuable player of all time (despite not having played a professional game), that he's deserving of a contract worthy of his being the best player of all time, and that contracts in the Manny Rameriz/Alex Rodriguez range are a good starting point for the team.

Yeah, "Having made some missteps, sure, but they did sign SS..." but what else could they have done?

Posted by: Dungarees | April 15, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Nats have given up on the locals. So this local has given up on the Nats. Wake me when we get owners who want Philly fans to go pound sand.

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 15, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

yeah, but last year the Nats just kept losing. today's comeback win was nice and gritty.

Posted by: hungrypug | April 15, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

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