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And that's a final!

Cubs 6, Nationals 4. Third loss in a row.

Very winnable game. An unearned run. All those runners left on. Even in the ninth against Ryan Dempster, Ronnie Belliard hit a two-out single to left, bringing up Ryan Zimmerman as the tying run. Zimmerman, who had walked twice, grounded out and doubled, took two balls to get ahead in the count, and was up 3-1 before he swung through a pitch to make the count full. And Zimmerman then swung through what looked to be an off-speed pitch for strike three.

Discuss below if you like. And keep in mind that 1:05 eastern time tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 4, 2007; 5:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

RISP R.I.P.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 4, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

What is the deal with the lack of hitting?

I have never seen a team so lame across the board. Anyone still think we do not need Alfonso just to make watching the games possible. Just watching him on another team provide more excitement than the whole Nats line up.

Time to sit Zimmerman down for a game at least.....he is lost....he really must hate being a Nat.

Thanks Stan!

Posted by: JayB | May 4, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I think he hates being in a slump more than being a Nat.

Or is it that with a full year in the majors behind him (with all the concomitant attention of his ROTY near-miss), opposing pitching coaches have figured out his weaknesses and are exploiting them to the hilt, and he just hasn't adjusted to that yet?

Posted by: Juan-John | May 4, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

That's 1:05 Eastern time Saturday (12:05 in Chicago). Then 2:20 ET again on Sunday.

Posted by: Cosmo | May 4, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully it will be better with Nook and Guzman back in the line-up - more hitting from Nook, and better defense from them both.

Posted by: Patty | May 4, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

... when I checked on my office computer we had a four - zip lead. Then I left for home. When I was got there and was finally able to log on again, we'd lost. This is really getting monotonous.

... Ryan Zimmerman: is there really such a thing as a sophomore jinx??

... and this: "That's 1:05 Eastern time Saturday (12:05 in Chicago)" Of course for the two of us fans here in the Atlantic time zone, that would be 2:05.

Posted by: david f watts | May 4, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

In 2005 and 2006 I used to get upset with each loss, but thanks to Stan the Plan I've already become accustomed to daily dissapointment and it's only May.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 4, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game and it was tough. That was such a perfect 1st inning that I was sure I was watching the beginning of a team-wide uptick.

In hindsight, though, we were outplayed pretty much across the board but from the stands it was like "oh man, just another double and we're tied then we can take it next inning..." I kept leaning into the guy next to me w/ "but"s, "if"s and "maybe"s.

Yeah, that was a tough last out to watch.

Posted by: mrm0to | May 4, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping to be emulating PowerBoater69's name tomorrow (minus the number), but as usual, it looks like it's not meant to be. So I guess I'll catch tomorrow's game as well. I'm still hoping for a series win against the Cubbies.

Posted by: misschatter | May 4, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Totally off topic, but I have to get it off my chest - when someone told me Ken Rosenthal on Fox Sports On line had written a critical piece on a baseball team with a mean-spirited, stingy, caustic, penny pinching, clueless owner with an incompetent general manager, I thought it would be on the Baltimore Orioles. Turns out it was all about the Nats!

How disappointing that the Lerner's appear to be following the same path that Angelos has taken, to the near total alientation of the fans.

And Bowden -- you can't treat people the way he does and expect to be successful.

Maybe the Lerner's are new and will learn.

But Bowden - I believe he is a major obstacle to the team being good one day. He has got to go.

There...now I feel better!

Posted by: Natswriter | May 4, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I think at least a couple (3? 4?) years have to pass before the Angelos comparison is valid... I mean, there not even a pattern yet.

Posted by: mrm0to | May 4, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Of course for the two of us fans here in the Atlantic time zone, that would be 2:05.

Go Canada!

Posted by: BrianH | May 4, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Ya know, I really don't understand why everyone dislikes Bowden so. Ok, the guzman deal sucked, and he looks like a bit of a dork. But really, the kearns/lopez theft, the vidro trade, both stanton trades -- I think they were all pretty good deals. I really get the feeling enough reporters said "he's terrible!" that everyone is buying it just cause someone said so.

Posted by: Section 406 | May 4, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

The Bowden Deal that is killing the Nats now is the Alfonso no deal. This team needed to get something to help them over the next few years to balance the off their goal of cutting payrole to the bone.

Getting two draft picks is for our only bat is what is killing the Team. If they had paid Alfonso this team would still be building (any our Season Ticket Cash would be working for us) but with an electric player to keep fans interested. Alfonso would also make Zimmerman better and take all the pressure off these current developing Nats so they might actually be able to hit the ball once and a while.

Posted by: JayB | May 5, 2007 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Post newspaper edition continuing to ignore the issues of Nats mismanagement raised in Ken Rosenthal's report at Fox Sports?

Is this the official policy of the newspaper? Are the Post editors protecting the Lerners for some reason?

Can't be because the Post doesn't think Rosenthal's reporting is off-base -- they invited him to do an online chat here about his findings! (By the way, can you imagine the Post bringing in a New York Times reporter to chat about his big scoop over the Post on a political issue? Hardly.)

Where is Howie Kurtz when you need him? Where is George Solomon when you need him?
Where's the newspaper's ombudsman?

Explanations, please.

Posted by: swanni | May 5, 2007 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Section 406,

... many people dislike Jim Bowden for reasons other than his baseball prowess (which hasn't proved to be all that good). Whether deserved or not, he has been tarred with the brush of his association with the infamous Marge Schott, the former racist, Nazi sympathizer and owner of the Cincinnati Reds. He was her choice for GM; presumably she and he saw eye to eye.

... for anyone unfamiliar with this sad story of MLB, and who wishes to know something about Jim Bowden, a little historical research may prove enlightening.

Posted by: david f watts | May 5, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Swanni, chill, man. Could it be that the Washington Post is conducting their own investigationd into these allegations, which take time if the investigation is sound? Are the Post editors trying to ensure that a meaningless Witch Hunt isn't conducted because some disgruntled ex-employees bad-mouthed their bosses? Give it some time. Watergate wasn't cracked in a day, and since nothing in that Rosenthal article was a smoking gun, I find it comforting the Post isn't going to jump on a Lerner-bashing bandwagon willy-nilly. Obviously there are problems with the way the Organization is right now. But simmer with the fire-breathing, gungho-ness. Barry has already said they're looking in to, but they also have a team RIGHT NOW to cover, too. There's no vast Post conspiracy. They are not out to get you.

Posted by: Atlanta | May 5, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Barry,

What is the average age of the Nats? What is the Average of other teams? Last nights quotes from Acta now seem to blame the lack of hitting on age of the players "young hitters"....My rough cut says our roster averages 28 years old.....does not seem to hold water Manny.

At what point do they look at the hitting coach? Nats seem to have no plan at the plate and they seem dead again.....I thought Manny was supposed to be the Manager who could get these guys playing hard while being smart......not sign of that yet.

Posted by: JayB | May 5, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

On the Fox piece, you have to first consider the source. Rosenthal is a former Sun writer from Baltimore. If any of you guys worried about what was said, you have to be aware of the long long rivalry history of the two cities. When I was a kid it was Nat's (Senators were still called Nats) and O's, Hondo vs. Boog. Johnny U. vs. Sonny. Bert Jones v. Joe Theismann. We don't like each other's sports teams (except for that brief Orioles infatuation of the 80's and 90's). As I said, Ken Rosenthal is a Baltimore boy crying "DISASTER IN DC". There is nothing that Kasten, Bowden, and the Lerners have done (IN LESS THAN A YEAR OF OWNERSHIP) that should be part of anyone's story. Rosenthal's piece should have been a year by year expose of the Angelos ownership and how he singlehandedly dismantled a once proud, and very strong franchise. The Washington Baseball Club is going to be a league powerhouse for decades. Just not now. Want to ask former employees what they think of their old organizations? Just ask Lavar Arrington what he thinks of the Washington Redskins.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 5, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Or the steroids investigation. There are bigger fish to fry.

---

Rosenthal's piece should have been a year by year expose of the Angelos ownership and how he singlehandedly dismantled a once proud, and very strong franchise.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"The Washington Baseball Club is going to be a league powerhouse for decades."

What crystal ball are you using, my man?

1. Can you tell the waiting audience in what decade this powerhouse will show up?

2. Can you sell 2.5 miilion tickets each year for the next five+ years relying solely on this, bold, Joe Namath-like guarantee?

3. Will the ball club be able/willing to pay the players on this "powerhouse" so it stays intact in, say, 2015--or whenever it shows up?

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | May 5, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

JohnR (VA) my man,

1. It will be this decade. Granted, at the end of the decade, but nontheless, this decade. How do I predict this? I base it on Stan Kasten's track record in Atlanta and from what I read in the Baseball Prospectus.

2. The ball club won't sell 2.5 million tickets until there is a credible team on the field. I don't understand the relevance of your point. What does selling tickets at the stadium have to do with putting a winning team on the field? 14 Atlanta division championships and they don't draw.

3. If you've read anything about the philosophy of this ownership group, you will know that they want to fiscally operate somewhere between Oakland A's Beane ball and Yankees buy a club. I've heard Mark Lerner say "somewhere in the middle". I've also heard him say "We'll let Stan run the club." A perfect example is Soriano. Wow what a player, but at that price? No way.

Dismiss my views if you will, I just don't see things as dire as you do.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 5, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

JayB -- the average age of the Nats is 27.5. Go to espn.com and find the roster for a team and at the bottom of the list it tells you. (The Nats' average height is 6-2 and their average weight is 204.)

Posted by: Cosmo | May 5, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Thank You Cosmo,

Nats are not the youngest team in Baseball. They are a full year older than that. While they are on the young side they are within a yearor so of the average of 29.

What this data did so is that their oldest play is just 33 years old. The next oldest payer is 35 on PIT and OAK and then 36 for BAL. League average for Vet Leadership (oldest player on the team)seems to be around 38. That is a big difference from Nats 33, which is Fick.

Lots of numbers but to me it says Nats have no Vet Leadership. Fick should be out of baseball and is not providing any leadership at all. The PLAN by STAN and executed by JIMBO is flawed. NO VET LEADERSHIP, youngest manager with no expirence leads to worst team in MLB and now, UNWATCHABLE!

Posted by: JayB | May 5, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Do you think Frank would come back if they fired Bowden? At least Jim would go out on a high note.....perhaps his best trade ever. Manny is getting nothing out of these guys. At least Frank could have gotten their attention.

Posted by: Hello Frank? | May 5, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Nats lose again, but they maintain their league leading error average. This team commits two errors a game. How can you win with that fielding?

Posted by: Ed | May 5, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The errors only tell half the story. Count how many grounders went through the infield in a typical game, especially with Lopez on the left side.

Posted by: Chris | May 5, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"Dismiss my views if you will, I just don't see things as dire as you do."

6th&D: Thanks for the civil tone.

I expect trouble for D.C. in paying off the stadium bonds. That will require high attendance, heavy spending by fans before and after the game, etc. Further, I don't believe that: (a) Kasten is being allowed to run the team as the Lerners aver (per Rosenthal's articles) or (b) that Bowden is a younger John Schuerholz and Acta a younger Bobby Cox.

Early returns suggest the Lerner ownership group is quirky and ineffective, and already seems to have had a deleterious effect on the organization despite the group's laissez faire public stance.

I would LOVE to be proven wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Barry, it breaks my heart when you don't post on the weekends. I feel like I'm missing valuable words of wisdom.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

The issues outlined in the Ken Rosenthal report did not just happen; they have been going on for months. The Post's lack of response on this story suggests they have little interest in pursuing it.

After all, the red flags have been flying for months:
-- $36 million payroll.
-- Departure of key scouting personnel in February.
-- No offer to Soriano.
-- Low-ball offers to guys like Ortiz and Armas.
-- Pinella, Giardi and Pendelton all publicly rejecting the Nats manager job just days after being interviewed.
-- Season tickets not delivered until less than a week before Opening Day (now we know it had to be because the printer was the cheapest around.)
-- Reduction in give-away days from previous seasons.
-- They try to trade Cordero after he wins his salary case.
-- Okay, this one is silly, but maybe not: Why does Screech still wear an '05' on the back of his costume? Are they too cheap to update it?

Add it up and it screams: Penny-Pinchers!

Plus, at the same time, parking went to $15 a game. More "premium" games were added to the schedule; stadium service has not improved (cold dogs still reign); etc.

Wake up, guys, smell the losses.

Posted by: swanni | May 6, 2007 6:28 AM | Report abuse

And where's Tom Boswell on this story? Is he too busy donning his Screech costume? Judging from his rose-colored glasses view of the team, he has to be the man behind the mascot.

Posted by: swanni | May 6, 2007 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Me, too.

---

Barry, it breaks my heart when you don't post on the weekends. I feel like I'm missing valuable words of wisdom.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 6, 2007 6:54 AM | Report abuse

From Barry's Notes Section

"I feel like my at-bats are starting to get better, even though the results aren't there," Casto said. After watching film following Saturday's game, he said he needs to be more upright in his stance."

Excuse me this is the major leagues and the game is on the line......This team is treating this season like winter development ball.

It is getting so bad I really am starting to think Lerners are worse than Bob Short......Are going to find a way to get out of the DC Deal and move this team to Las Vegas? Putting up this poor a team is a great start.

Posted by: Do We Even Have A Hitting Coach? | May 6, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

We waited so long for ownership of this franchise that we granted them carte blanc. Now though the ..OH NO.. experience is apparently on us. What is happening up there..hello, anybody home. By not being competetive this season and charging the fans mega bucks for an inferior product is suddenly leaving a bad taste. Perhaps they could offer free parking ala the D Rays to help pack fannies in the seats. Raising parking prices and decreasing payroll by about half is sick. JUST WIN BABY. It wouldn't have cost that much to have had a couple decent pitchers and a hitter or two added to this bunch to keep it interesting all season. The other owners must be laughing at all the rookie mistakes this bunch is making.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 6, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

We would not know what Lerner Peers are thinking. Our newspapers and media star reports are not paying any attention to this mess. Barry is doing his job I guess, but someone needs to hold the owernship accountable for us. We can see the team sucks...we do not need game stores, we need big critial writing about what is going on here!

Posted by: JayB | May 6, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Right on, JayB and SCNatsFan!

Why is the Post afraid of this issue? Where's Wilbon? Wise? Run at the mouth Korny? Jenkins? Oh, forgot, they're busy on ESPN...

Okay, where's Boswell? Woodward and Bernstein? Anyone? Bueller, anyone?!

Posted by: swanni | May 6, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me started on Boz!

He declared after 3 weeks the Nats were not going to set any all time records for losing so he is free to take the season off from watching the NATS.

Well those of us who paid for season tickets in November have no such freedom.

Thanks (for nothing) Post Media Stars, no wonder you can't even get people to spend 35 cents to read about what YOU think is cool to care about.

Posted by: Boz Who? | May 6, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Well said, Boz Who?

The Nats -- and the Post -- are underestimating the anger and unrest building among hardcore fans. If that continues, you'll see disappointing ticket sales next year -- new stadium or not. The decision to pinch pennies this year was ill-conceived and poorly timed. The Nats should have whipped up fan enthusiasm as a foundation for next year -- not tear it down.

Posted by: Swanni | May 6, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

... it's easy to understand the frustration among many fans, especially the ones who live in the (commutable) area, have bought tickets (some even full season) and have either attended or watched games enough to be upset. I dare say every Nats fan is upset over the experience on the field, the experience in RFK or on MASN, the confusing and disillusioning situation with the management.

... but let's not forget. As far as I can recall, the owners, the president, the GM and the coaching staff were all quite clear at the first of the season - even during spring training.

"This team will not be a quality team in 2007 - get used to it. Now is the time to confront your demons about it, and get right in your own mind. As a fan, you will be called upon to withstand some pretty ugly s**t. We can this 'our plan' and we aren't asking you to accept it; we're informing you about it, so you can decide if you want to come with us or not."

... now almost 35 games into the season, they take our continued presence as affirmation that we, indeed, hear their message loud and clear, and are committed to the team in the way they suggested.

... but look at what happened; look at how faithful we turned out to be. Some pen-jockey named Ken Rosenthal, for whatever reasons, poked his head up and pointed his fingers at us and called "Nya, nya, nn, nya, nya" and we cave in. We run for cover, crying for our mommies, saying do something. The bad man is making fun of us.

... well kids, our mommies are the ones who warned us in the first place times could get rough. Now the first of those times has happened, and we have to face the music: Are we fans or simply fair-weather friends?

Posted by: david f watts | May 6, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

All you Lemmings get in line behind david, cliff is just over there....Nats are on pace for over 110 loses....that is not a Plan, it is a failure of the PLAN.

Posted by: JayB | May 6, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The Plan evidently is to be as cheap as possible...Memo to Belliard: Next time you need a dozen bats, give me a call. I'll buy them for you with my 2008 season ticket money.

Posted by: swanni | May 6, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey JayB,

"All you (l)emmings ..."

... you sound angry. Are you? Are you angry at management for asking something of you that you can't deliver, or are you angry at me for telling the truth?

Posted by: david f watts | May 6, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

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