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News! News! News!

So lots of news here, providing a sad moment as well as a nice opportunity for a kid who hasn't shown he's a big leaguer, but deserves a shot.

First, Robert Fick's mother, Gloria Fick, passed away this afternoon after a long battle with lung cancer. Fick, as we noted earlier in the Journal as well as in the paper a couple of times, has prepared for this moment for quite some time. Nonetheless, it will be hard for him. He was just starting to hit, was in a great mood this afternoon, when I talked to him at length about some stuff, and then he found out during batting practice.

"We told him to take as much time as possible," General Manager Jim Bowden said just a few minutes ago.

Fick will be placed on the bereavement list tomorrow - in which you must miss a minimum of three but a maximum of seven days - and he will be replaced by Brandon Watson, who will be called up for Fick tomorrow.

Watson, of course, just had a 43-game hitting streak stopped last night. "He certainly deserves the opportunity," Bowden said.

More news: Jason Bergmann will be activated from the disabled list next Tuesday and pitch in Atlanta - barring a setback tomorrow at Class AAA Columbus, where he's making a rehab start. Bergmann will thus Levale Speigner's vacant place in the rotation (as we've guessed would happen here). Speigner is available out of the pen beginning tonight, Manny Acta said.

More news: Luis Ayala will be activated from the disabled list Friday. "He's pitching here Friday," Bowden said, starting to get animated. "I want him to get those outs here!" So there's some bullpen help.

More news: Alex Escobar - who everyone who discusses things at the Journal, and even in our morning Journal staff meanings, thought would be a problem-solver - has a sprained ankle. (Perhaps this guy should be placed in a bubble, no?) It will cost him two weeks, Bowden said. "He can still thrown," Bowden said. "It's not really going to affect that part."

Bowden added on Escobar: "It's frustrating. I feel sorry for him. Everybody wants to blame the player. It's not the player's fault."

Minor news: John Lannan, fresh off six scoreless innings for Class AA Harrisburg in an outing seen by Nationals scouting director Dana Brown, will be promoted to Class AAA Columbus and start this weekend. He's now skyrocketed through the system, starting this year in Class A Potomac. Combined stats from Potomac and Harrisburg: 9-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 14 games (13 starts). Leads Nationals minor leaguers with 86-2/3 innings. For perspective, Matt Chico leads the major league staff with 77 innings pitched.

That would be enough for now, though I offer you a Tigers' lineup as well. Did you know Magglio Ordonez had 33 doubles? That's on pace to break the 74-year-old record of 67. Yikes.

Detroit:
Granderson - 8
Polanco - 4
Sheffield - 7
Ordonez - 9
Guillen - 6 (not a bad player, huh?)
Casey - 3
Inge - 5
Rabelo - 2
Durbin - 1

That'll probably be it for the Journal today. Most of the staff has gone home already. Enjoy the game, pick up the $.35 edition for more on all this stuff, and we'll talk again tomorrow, when I have a 1 p.m. chat.

By Barry Svrluga  |  June 19, 2007; 6:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Ayala, Schroder arrive, Speigner, Abreu depart

Comments

Thank you for relaying the news, Barry.

Rob, our prayers are with you in your sorrow.

Posted by: Hendo | June 19, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Hearts go out to Rob Fick, a tough time to be sure. Heres to the hardest working man in print sports...Svrluga man. Great news about Bergman & Ayala, oh what a relief it is. Help on the way for the Mashionals.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 19, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Forgot an Esco mention...geez, what dumb luck that guys has.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 19, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Any idea on what the corresponding roster moves will be? Two people have to go ... Abreu and Bacsik maybe?

Posted by: Steve | June 19, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Escobar caught his sprained ankle from visiting Nick Johnson this afternoon.

Posted by: bleedNATSred | June 19, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow-

This is all good news, but for Fick's mom. You deserve credit, Barry, for making us know Fick better, and letting us appreciate what he means to the club beyond his struggles in the game.

Watson is up, and could be sent down after that week. Then again, so could Logan (please). The return of Ayala feels like the return of Nick- we have waited so long for someone who was supposed to be important.

I hope Bergmann remembers what he had done this year, and not in years past. It is exciting to think of him as a building block, and not as a flash in the pan.

Finally, Ohka signed with St. Louis. That option has closed.

Posted by: Parts is parts | June 19, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Good at-bats by Church and Schneider in the 2nd.

This is important. Even though Young was stranded, the harder we work Durbin, the closer we get to that bullpen.

Posted by: Hendo | June 19, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, I think we can't get to either bullpen soon enough.

Posted by: cevans | June 19, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Tatch, hitting for himself, struck out. At that, he's batted better than he's pitched.

Posted by: Hendo | June 19, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

And the redoubtable Speig steps fearlessly in to mop up.

(No irony intended. Truly. This is not the day for irony. Washy on Monday. Irony on Tuesday. Etc.)

Posted by: Hendo | June 19, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I guess it is the day for irony.

American Airlines has wrought havoc on my tired brain. Which is still in limbo at DFW.

Posted by: Hendo | June 19, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Aargh...I can't wait til this interleague schedule is through, mercy, mercy, mercy. Stan, you watchin...take a picture of Detroits team and lets re-make the plan in that image. Whew... Hendo, you can't get in the air fast eneough to avoid this misery. ouch 12-0 and counting

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 19, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

My prayers, too, are with Robert Fick and his family in their time of loss.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 19, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, too, for the updates on injuries, callups, etc. Poor guy Escobar seems to have a perpetual cloud over his head.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 19, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Barry, it is hard to describe how lucky we are to have you as the Nats' beat writer. I fear you are so good that we may not have you for long.

Thanks for giving this addict his fix.

Posted by: GP | June 19, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Holy Smokes!! I just got home and yikes! 15 to 1. Yowza.
Very sorry to hear about Fick's mom. I agree with Parts is parts in thanking you Barry for helping us get to know him better.
Are you f*#!ing kidding me about Escobar? Barry, you gotta do a tally of his injuries. I mean, just the short time I've been paying attention to him (last year?) has been outrageous. Bless his heart for trying to keep on.
The rest is awesome news. Yippee about Bergmann! Braves-fan dad worried a month ago about Hill or Bergmann recovering by the Atlanta series next week. I didn't think he needed to worry, but here's hoping he does.
Such a weight off the shoulders knowing pitching help is coming back.
Like the sound of this Lannan kid. C'mon up buddy, there's tons o' room.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 19, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

The good thing about this game is that it's over and tomorrow is another day and a fresh start. Go get 'em, Nats!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 19, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I recall reading that in addition to Guzman's other recovery (shoulder? I keep forgetting which injury belongs to whom) he also got lasik eye surgery. I guess the Logan bashing is already old news, but I wonder if he needs to get the lookers checked out?

Posted by: NatsNut | June 19, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Double yikes. Thank god for DVRs and fast-forward.

I did pause long enough to hear Carpenter make a completely classless mention of the passing of Robert Fick's mom -- something like "Gloria Fick passed away this afternoon -- strike three on Batista -- he's flying back to California, so the Nat's are short a player tonight...".

I hope Bob recovered his common decency enough later in the broadcast to make at least perfunctory offer of condolences to the Ficks.

Posted by: joebleux | June 19, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Out of 41 losses so far, only seven of them have come with deficits of six runs or more.

Like Barry says in his Wednesday gamer, if the Nats were truly a historically bad team, wouldn't the number/proportion of total blowouts have been larger?

Posted by: Juan-John | June 20, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

And Barry -- how come Belliard replaced Zimmerman? Did Manny mention this during the postgame presser?

Wouldn't it have been a better idea to have replaced Lopez, who at least once during one of his groundouts -- to my eyes along the Section 303 right field line -- didn't seem to hustle fast enough to first base?

Posted by: Juan-John | June 20, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Whoa. This game fell outta the top of the tree of Ugly and took out every branch (except Traber's) on the way down.

Bacsik'll be out to get 'em tomorrow. I'll be there. Hope our local bloggists will be there too.

Posted by: Hendo | June 20, 2007 2:18 AM | Report abuse

"I did pause long enough to hear Carpenter make a completely classless mention of the passing of Robert Fick's mom -- something like "Gloria Fick passed away this afternoon -- strike three on Batista -- he's flying back to California, so the Nat's are short a player tonight..."."

----------------------------------------

That wasnt the first time they had mentioned...it was mentioned earlier, at a somewhat more appropriate time, in a somewhat more appropriate manner.

...by the way, am I the only one who cannot stand Carpenter? Im glad Sutton is around to straighten him out.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | June 20, 2007 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Vandy from yesterday: Assuming Escobar doesn't get hurt coming out of the dugout, ...

The Post today: OF Alex Escobar, rehabilitating his injured shoulder with Class A Potomac, sprained his right ankle and will miss two weeks.

Great call Vandy. Do you have any stock market suggestions?

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 20, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut:

Yes, Guzman did have lasik surgery in the offseason leading up to last season. He said in Spring Training that his eyes had been a big reason for his diappointing 2005, and that now his peepers were tweaked, we'd all see "the New Guz."

Sadly, New Guz was Nonexistant Guz, as he missed all of 2006 with the shoulder injury.

So now it's New Guz v 2.0, with better vision and reconstructed shoulder. We have the technology. We can rebuild him.

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 20, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

who would have thought at the beginning of the season that we'd be counting the days until Jason Bergmann returned?

Posted by: Section 418 | June 20, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

So I was at the "game" last night and there's not much to say about that (I think Simontacchi's line says it all). I was seated amongst a billion Detroit fans (not in Section 506) and came away with two anecdotes that are a lot better than anything on the field last night (though defense played well!).

1) A guy in front of me must have been Casey's little brother, because he was going NUTS for that man. He had a Casey jersey and was standing up in front (blocking everyone's view) and screaming and waving it around his head. After ten solid minutes of this nonsense (do you really want your first baseman to be distracted?) someone yelled innocently, "Where's your Lions jersey?"

Everyone in the section lost it.

2) On the metro going home I saw a Nats fan who had kept score proving the sheet and a Detroit fan behind him leaned over and they started talking about the game. Just before he left the car, the Detroit fan turned to the Nats fan and said, "don't worry about tonight, you guys are going to have a really good team one day in not too long. I've been where you are and it sucks, but your guys are doing it right and you're going to be winning before you know it."

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 20, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to all of you, and especially Barry, for the blog - makes my day to read it. I want some advice - suggestions on the best "gamecast" to follow the game from a distance while traveling. I usually follow the one from ESPN, can't quite get into the one on the Nats' website, and find the one on the WP website annoying (showing a chart with the percentage chance that the Nats will win the game in progress seems to have been invented by someone who has no appreciation of baseball, even if it is statistically accurate). Any other thoughts on how to track the game's progress?

Posted by: Traveler | June 20, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Just read the gamer.

Good Lord, can you get a Pulitzer as a sports writer? St. Barry, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 20, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like that was one classy fan.

---

2) On the metro going home I saw a Nats fan who had kept score proving the sheet and a Detroit fan behind him leaned over and they started talking about the game. Just before he left the car, the Detroit fan turned to the Nats fan and said, "don't worry about tonight, you guys are going to have a really good team one day in not too long. I've been where you are and it sucks, but your guys are doing it right and you're going to be winning before you know it."

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 20, 2007 10:08 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 20, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

It's pricey, but MLB TV hooks you up with a live feed of the game. It's only $15 a month, and you also get access to all the previous games in the archive. The only catch is you have to pay with a credit card that has a billing address outside of the Nats blackout area.

Or, for a one-time payment of $15, you can get MLB Gameday Audio for the whole season, which means you can listen to Charlie and Dave on your computer. It's worth the money to be able to listen to the day games at work. There are no blackout restrictions for the audio.

And no, MLB does not pay me to say this.

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 20, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Traveler, I take it you're too frugal to spring for the MLB radio ($15/year, every game played, both broadcasts, Spanish where available)?

Posted by: CEvansJr | June 20, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Alrighty, then. We have nothing more to argue about here. Let's hope he's psychic as well as classy.
---
2) On the metro going home I saw a Nats fan who had kept score proving the sheet and a Detroit fan behind him leaned over and they started talking about the game. Just before he left the car, the Detroit fan turned to the Nats fan and said, "don't worry about tonight, you guys are going to have a really good team one day in not too long. I've been where you are and it sucks, but your guys are doing it right and you're going to be winning before you know it."

Posted by: cevans | June 20, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Didn't know about MLB audio/radio, thanks to both of you.

Posted by: Traveler | June 20, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Traveler:
I don't have a tv so I listen to MLB's Gameday Audio and keep the Gameday graphic up at the same time on my laptop. The Gameday graphic is always just a little bit ahead of the audio so if it's a really tense moment you can sneak a peak ahead.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 20, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

John, you mean to say I could watch them on MLB TV, IN DC, if I can just get my mom in Phoenix to lend me her credit card? (Not that she'll fall for that again...)

Posted by: CEvansJr | June 20, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of scorecards, I'm curious regarding how many of our bloggers like to keep score at games. I taught myself to do it and refined my method after reading "The Joy of Keeping Score" and finding a card I liked at www. baseballscorecard.com. I used to keep for score radio and TV games when I was just learning, but now I primarily score those games that I attend in person. I think it helps me keep my head in the game and it also makes a nice souvenir of memorable games.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 20, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Traveler:
I also recommend the Gameday graphic because if you miss part of the game, you can click on any inning off to the left and get details of every play.
And no, MLB didn't pay me either.
;)

Posted by: NatsNut | June 20, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I like Carpenter, I listen/watch alot of other baseball games and in comparison he is much better and easier to listen to than most team brodcasters. I have never understood the desire to take humor out of the brodcast. I liked Proctor - he was funny -(not Darling) and I liked Paciorek - funny/goofy. I like Sutton - dry but informative. I'm not a big fan of Gary Thorne (O's) and I dislike most of the Fox brodcasters (Fox likes that overly dramatic/overly energized style that is better applied to football). Carpenter has the smooth and easy but compelling tone that fits baseball. My only complaint about Carpenter is that he keeps referring to the Cardinals as his team (he grew up there, he brodcast for them, etc... but you know Harry Carey brodcast for the Cardinals too and you never doubted for a second who Harry was routing for in those Cubs games.) Bob, you need to leave the Cardinals behind! You're a National brodcaster now.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 20, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Nastfan1a: about scorekeeping: I don't do it myself, but in the Nats first season I saw the cutest thing. There was an older couple sitting in front of me and the woman was keeping score, not her husband. No big deal, but I may have wondered for a sec how she learned how to do it. I think I figured it out though when Schneider came up to bat, took a couple pitches and she yelled "good eye Brian, good eye. Wait for yours now, wait for yours." Aha! She was a little league mom and probably took a turn keeping score for the team.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 20, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a, re scorekeeping: I fooled around with various methods in the late '80s, starting with the (somewhat unusual) method the Orioles used to publish in their scorecard and morphing to something kind of like what's recommended in the Carpenter scorebook.

How much detail is enough? When you can recall key game details by just scanning the scorecard for a few minutes, you've got enough.

I do add a couple things to the scoring and the movement of the runners. First, if the pitcher goes 0-2 on a batter, I put a little check mark in the lower left-hand corner of the box for the current at-bat, or if the pitcher goes 2-0 I put a little X. Boz recommended this years ago in a column.

Second, at least for Nats batters, I keep track of the number of pitches. This lets me see the context of such seeming ignominies as strikeouts. At least to me, you're something of a hero if you strike out on at least 7 or 8 pitches, something of a goat if you strike out on 3 or 4.

By the way, unless you need the kind of diagrams and charting that a softball scorebook provides, Carpenter's scorebook is the best. There isn't even a close second. You can get one at the Nats team store.

Posted by: Hendo | June 20, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

> Just before he left the car, the Detroit
> fan turned to the Nats fan and
> said, "don't worry about tonight, you
> guys are going to have a really good
> team one day in not too long. I've been
> where you are and it sucks, but your
> guys are doing it right and you're going
> to be winning before you know it."

I had another Detroit fan say basically the same thing to me as I waited for a train after the Monday night 9-8 game. Maybe it was the same Detroit guy as in your Tuesday night story, maybe not. But I would have to say that of all the opposing fans I've experienced at RFK this year (and that includes Mets, Orioles and Pirates who had a significant presence as well as other teams who didn't have as much) the Tigers fans were the classiest of the bunch. Surprisingly, though, I found the Pirates fans to be more boorish and loud than the Mets fans. I'm not talking loud as in cheering loud, either. I'm talking loud as in just when they were having a normal conversation with each other in the stands or on the train, their voices were ear-shatteringly loud. Worse even than a screaming little girl. Go figure...

Posted by: Section 419 | June 20, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut and Hendo, thanks for the input on keeping score.

NatsNut: Funny, my husband doesn't keep score, either. I don't have Little League experience, though, so I don't think it was me ;)

Hendo: I also use the check mark and x method. That and some other Boz tips are cited in the book that I mentioned, and that's where I picked it up.

I haven't tracked the number of pitches but I like your reasoning on that. I do appreciate a feisty at-bat!

I looked at the Carpenter scorebook when it was first made available in the team score but the layout didn't seem to fit with the way my oddball mind works.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 20, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Ordonez had 33 doubles last night? Wow, I knew they killed us but I didn't think it was that bad.

Posted by: BristowNats | June 20, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

No, no, no, 419. Cubs and Mets fans are the worst. A Cubs couple were sitting in front of us last year and a group of Nats fans in the next section were standing up cheering and the girl turns around and yells "shut the F up". AT OUR OWN STADIUM!!! This year at the Apr. 28 game when the Mets beat us 6-2. Walking down the ramps was the most obnoxious Met fan, talking trash as loud as he could, all the way down: "Nationals can't win 10 games can they? Mets haven't even LOST 10 games, etc. etc." Classy Nats fans didn't give him the gratification of saying a single word. Well. Until I turned around and said "at least Nats fans aren't A-holes". Even then he replied with "ooooh, nats fans are sensitive are they?" I wanted to punch him.
No, from the stories here, I think the Detroit fans might be the only classy ones.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 20, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut: I'm not saying that Mets and Cubs fans aren't the worst, in terms of obnoxiousness. They are indeed obnoxious and boorish, and can be quite loud when they are going about their obnoxiousness and boorishness. (Although really, when it comes down to it, Yankees fans make them all look like gentle souls.) What I'm saying is that Pirates fans are just loud - all the time. Their volume switch is always turned all the way up, even in normal conversation. At the game, I was surrounded by a group of Pirates fans who weren't even paying attention to the game. They were just chatting with each other about who was going where for the weekend, etc. There was virtually no ambient noise, yet they were talking so loud that I could barely hear Charlie and Dave in my radio earphones. Later, on a not very crowded train where no one else was talking, a different bunch of Pirates fans were holding a conversation and it was so loud that my ears hurt. That's what I mean about Pirates fans being the loudest. Thank God they're not the most obnoxious, too, 'cause that would really be ugly!

Posted by: Section 419 | June 20, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Us Pittsburghers are just really nice folk and we learned to talk loud when we had steel mills to shout over; then we learned to shout about the Steelers and never learned to talk softly.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 20, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

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