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Smoker signs for $1 million


So Josh Smoker is in the fold. The 31st pick in the June draft signed for a $1 million bonus - the same bonus that last year's 31st pick, shortstop Preston "Don's Kid" Mattingly signed for with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

GM Jim Bowden called him "pretty remarkable" and said, "We are very, very pleased." The Nationals have signed 19 of their first 20 picks now, and the only outstanding one is Jack McGeary (as we've discussed). Bowden had no comment on those developments, but I don't sense a lot of optimism. He would, after all, be a bonus.

"It's one thing drafting good players," Bowden said. "But it doesn't help if you don't sign the players."

"When you're building an organization, you're always looking for quality starters," said scouting director Dana Brown, "and when they're a left-handed starter, it's a special thing."

The plan is for Smoker to report to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in Viera, Fla., on Saturday. He'll build his arm strength there, play there for the rest of the season, and then stick around for the club's fall instructional program.

"It's a pleasure to finally be a Washington National," Smoker said. "It's always been my pleasure to play professional baseball. Not many kids get that opportunity. What better than to play in the nation's capital."

I asked Bowden if, at any point, he was nervous this wouldn't happen. "We were scouting 31B pretty hard," he said, a reference to next year's choice.

"There's always the possibility," Smoker said. "But we knew our advisor was going to get the job done. It was just a matter of time. We had the deadline. We knew that might be an issue. But the Nationals and the Smoker family, we came to an agreement, and now just ready to get the pro career going."

Smoker was committed to Clemson. He said he's spent the last couple months playing long toss every day, and he'd like to gain some weight before next season.

McGeary: I'm tracking this as best I can, but as I said, there's not a lot of optimism. We'll see.

Smoker hanging out by the batting cage during BP right now. He's wearing jersey No. 17. Which happens to be Tim Redding's number. Hmmmmm.


By Barry Svrluga  |  August 14, 2007; 5:17 PM ET
 
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Next: McGeary: Not done yet

Comments

Woo Hoo! Welcome aboard Josh! Very happy to have you.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I remind everyone that money is a finite commodity. The Lerners do not have a bottomless pit of cash. There is a budget to sign players every year, and using up another $2-3 million in a HS pitcher is not what the Nats need to do. I'm glad they signed Smoker, and drafting McGreary (however you spell it) was good leverage to help sign Smoker. It's one reason he was probably invited down to DC. Smoker may have suddenly thought, hmm... maybe they don't need to sign me. Use the $2-3 million they didn't use on the Stanford guy to help sign an established position player for next year. Again these two are NOT established big leaguers. They are a gamble.

Posted by: #4 | August 14, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Now, the Lerner's should step up to the plate and get McGeary. If they are worried about "slot value" and the MLB, tell them that when the rest of the owners destroy a franchise, severe measures need to be taken - like signing players above slot.

Posted by: John, Arlington | August 14, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Right on, John in Arl!

If the owners won't chip in to provide some farm support, supplemental draft, or the like, at least allow an exemption(s) to actually buy players to fill in the holes. I hope those Vt pitchers and these youngsters can pull together some real winners in the years to come - on our field or at the bargaining table.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 14, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Great news on Smoker, I'm off to the ballpark to see Hill's triumphant return to the mound.

I'll have my blackberry with me (yes, I am THAT guy) so I can keep tabs on NJ, plus I love having the play by play from mlb.com so I can remember what happend in previous innings.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Also we should tell them to give us back Grady Sizemore.

Posted by: 414 | August 14, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but with a name like "Smoker," I'm getting flashbacks to "Waterworld." And I'm really sorry for that.

Posted by: jon | August 14, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Ya'll make good arguments for both cases and I'm now firmly on the fence.

On the one hand, what's a couple million extra to get a guy with (pretty unanimously agreed upon) first round talent and top off our top 20 draft pool? And #4, I'd almost argue that we should take the gamble BECAUSE none of the prospects are established big-leaguers. Gives us a little insurance for not that much money really. Besides, what established position player might we get for $2-3 million?

On the other hand, we have signed 19 of our top 20. McGeary IS only high school level and why would we shell that much out for TWO big question marks? Plus it seems we might have a pretty good stash of hot pitchers on the way up anyway. That $2-3 million might go toward Torii. (emphasis on 'might' and 'toward')

Thank goodness much smarter people than me are making this decision.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners may not be a bottomless pit, but with all the revenue coming tin MLB right now, I find it sort of hard to believe that $2M is going to prevent this team from signing someone in the offseason. These are the kind of risk that seem reasonable for the Nats to take.

Posted by: MF | August 14, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

John in Arlington - Wholeheartedly agree with you. Spend the money; this is a one time deal. We don't have to make this decision every year, just this once. For a $2.5M one-time gamble, it's worth it.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | August 14, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"Thank goodness much smarter people than me are making this decision.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 05:45 PM "


Nah, probably not any smarter....just richer.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

He should be wearing number 31.

or, pfft... wearing number 1,000,000.00

I agree that these guys are a gamble. But I'm currently in an experimental frame of mind where getting pitchers younger and training them the right way the first time is better than repairing problems they developed under someone else's watch (e.g., college coaching) ... someone who never had any hope of taking them pro.

Mostly, though, I hope that a longer stretch (unintentional pun) under the care of our farm system can build a less fragile player.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 14, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Forget Torii Hunter, I say Aaron Rowand or Carl Crawford.
Of course it's going to be Adam Dunn.

I wonder what effect giving McGreary 2-3mil will have on our ability to sign next years picks at reasonable amounts. A large investment now could cost you big money in the future.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

#4 makes a logical point, but I still insist that other teams are ignoring MLB, and signing 5th and 6th rounders over slot. Even if only for a year or two, MLB owes it to the Nats to be able to do the same. Sign Smoker. The fact that the Nats are so much better than expected doesn't change the fact that the team's budget was slashed on the major league level this year, and that the Lerners will be receiving a free stadium (which I was happy they got, don't dobt).

If you are going to talk big, make this big move. The team signed Smoker a little above slot. Make ONE big move, and prove you mean everything you say about the PLAN!

Posted by: Kevin | August 14, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Bowden on WTEM right NOW

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 14, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Getting taken advantage of doesn't help you get better.

IF they can get McGreary to sign at a reasonable number, and paying him up to the 2mil or so they gave Detwiler would qualify as reasonable to me, then I'm all for it. If they have to break out crazy numbers like Detroit to steal him away from Stanford? No freakin' way.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

SC Nats Fan,
Give us a re-cap when Bowden's done...

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

It's good to see the Lerners put a little money in player developement. Hopefully, this will put the Nats above the have nots of baseball, you know, the perennials that never move up. I truly believe this team is on the a faster track to becoming a contender than I thought was possible, given the pieces left over by MLB. A wink and a nod to the management team thusfar. I can't wait to have the Nats mentioned in the same breath as the Braves, Mets & Phillies in the NL East by the folks at the four letter network.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 14, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

When asked about McGeary, Bowden said he does not comment about on going negotiations, so at least they're talking. Asked if Hill is on a pitch count tonight, he said that he is always on a pitch count. He said that Manny should be manager of the year for the job he's done. I think while Manny will get some attention on that, in the end, he won't get that award.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 14, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"Pitching, pitching, pitching" - Jim Bowden, GM, Washington Nationals, 2007

... and my how he's gone out and proved his point.

Detwiler, Hanrahan, Lannan, Willems, Balester and now Smoker (with McGeary possibly parked on campus).

... but where are the position player picks? Who have we drafted to play OF or IF, or anything other than 'the mound'? I'm not asking in order to make a point; I simply don't know.

... I've learned a huge amount about the minors in general, and the Nats' farm in particular on this blog - from any of you who go to the games and certainly who follow the fortunes of these teams. And I have to say that aside from Marrero, Maxwell, Watson, and Whitesell, I can't bring to mind any position player in the minors that we're drooling over.

... so,o,o,o it looks to me that either 1/ the new park is going to be a definite pitchers' park, or 2/ we're going to see a very large number of important trades come winter.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 14, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Marrero and Burgess are two key draftees for bowden, Englund, King and Smolinski are others.

These guys are all at least afew years away of course, but you can go out and get hitters a lot easier than pitchers.

The keystone to the plan, both here and when Kasten did it in Hotlanta is pitching. You have to develop it in house because it's too expensive and even at exorbinate prices just not available any other way.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Shane Hill strikes out Henry Rollins for his first out back, nice work.

Today's name check brought to you by Barry.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

MASN2-COX FAIRFAX - NATIONALS GAME SCHEDULED FOR TODAY (AUG. 14) AT 7 PM - HOWEVER, NO NATIONALS GAME IS ON - JUST A BLUE SCREEN!?! THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME MASN HAS FAILED TO BROADCAST THE GAME WHEN IT SAYS IT WILL!?! CAN WE GET A REAL BROADCAST NETWORK, PLEASE?

Posted by: tobeytebo | August 14, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

ESJ:

You make an interesting point about Kasten, Atlanta, and the Plan. I'd be interested though in going back to see which players Atlanta developed, which they traded for, and which they signed via free agency. I think actually their main pitching was not developed by them. Smoltz and Maddux came via trade and free agency respectively. Their run started before these guys emerged, but I know they developed Chipper and Andruw. I'm guessing they drafted more hitters than pitchers as key players. One would have take into account of course what pitchers they developed that ended up being valuable trade chips for hitters they acquired. One thing I'm pretty sure about though, their track record of developing pitchers is a somewhat overblown. It's a good project for some night when I have insomnia

Posted by: #4 | August 14, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Tobeytebo,
MASN2 on Comcast in Frederick! Blame Cox.

Posted by: HLHjr | August 14, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Nice to have Hill back on the hill! That's 3 innings of NO-HIT ball.

Posted by: Patty | August 14, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Howdy gang! It's been a momentous week and I felt your absence. I had to get my Nats news from ESPN, which was less than satisfactory. Looks like we're still doing pretty well, too. I imagine there were some moanings about losses, but I'm not complaining. If I wanted an undefeated team I'd be a New York Yankees fan, and then whine self-righteously whenever the inevitable losses occurred.

So my question for you all is: what did I miss? Anything particularly amusing, exciting, or profound show up on the blog? I'm going to go re-read the post-Bonds blog, because I value your all's thoughts, but what else went down while I was gone?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 14, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Nook blew Shane's no-no. He should have had that ball, but totally pulled up, even Ryan was amazed he didn't try to get to it.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill did the dag on thing

Posted by: Jason | August 14, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Trivia Question:

Why is Antonio Alfonseca's nickname veinticuatro (24)?

Posted by: #4 | August 14, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Trivia Answer: It's the total number of his fingers and toes.

Posted by: Lurker #1 | August 14, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

We have a winner.

Posted by: #4 | August 14, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Ugh - well, based on the discussion last week (2 weeks ago - i don't remember now), that Zimm error could cost a W...

What a shame - amazing night by Hill and Rauch seemed to have good stuff until situations changed. Still one more inning to go Nats!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 14, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Once again we need late offense and Manny has pulled Young and Church, I appreciate his optimism, but we now have half our offensive production gone when we need it most. Grrrrrrrh!

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Hmm - per Barry's inquiry today, would post-Howard/King be a good time to bring in Schroeder?

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 14, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe Zimm gives the game away by air mailing one to first.

Posted by: Zimmerman | August 14, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least we have the bottom of the order coming up!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 14, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Can't say it any other way: that sucked. Bummer.

Posted by: m | August 14, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Tough game to give away. I realize a lot is being asked of Zimmerman, probably too much, and at a very early age, but he has got to make those routine plays. Man.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | August 14, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't ask for anything better than that from Shawn Hill. This guy can really pitch and should be our starting day pitcher next year. We shouldn't lose games like this.

Posted by: J | August 14, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from the now-obsolete thread.

JennX, let me attempt to deconstruct the uses and derivation of [RF]. As best as I can recall, [RF] was first used by Hendo. The inspiration was the, um, evidently very colorful vocabulary of Mr. Robert Fick, as well as a desire to comply with blog rules re. "colorful" language. [RF] is often used in place of [expletive deleted], [expletive expletive deleted], [expletiving deleted], and so forth. I can't remember the thread where it started (perhaps as part of the posting marathon that took place over Barry's vacation?), but perhaps that thread is no longer available on the blog.

---

Slightly off topic: Can someone help me out by explaining the origin of "[RF]" or simply point me to discussion where it was born? I think I've divined its meaning, but after searching through the last month or so of NJ, I can't locate its origin. And I hate being left out of a good joke (especially one that is apparently here to stay!).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I just looked at the box score. Did I read it correctly? Just one hit, one walk and 7 strikeouts in 6 innings? If I did read that right, ya'll need to excuse me for a minute while I dance around my living room...

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, 506 -- we missed you! e came off the bench to pinch-hit for you on the GB/A yesterday and did a nice job, I think. I'd have to think on it before trying to abstract recent blog events/posts, but am too befuddled to try now. Maybe others will take a hack at it...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, start dancing. The one hit was due to another fly ball pas de deux by Logan and Church: are you getting it? no, please, you first. not at all, after you, I insist. CLUNK!! [base hit]

---

I just looked at the box score. Did I read it correctly? Just one hit, one walk and 7 strikeouts in 6 innings? If I did read that right, ya'll need to excuse me for a minute while I dance around my living room...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Disclaimer: the above scenario was based on my having heard the play-by-play on the radio. I did not see the play (or lack thereof) in question.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

If the bat doesn't break Zim makes the throw and it's two out and nobody on. Instead Rauch gets frustrated and serves up 3 straight hits, the last one leaving a huge dent in the Nats bullpen wall.

Little plays make a big differnce...damned frustrating - especially having to walk out of the stadium surrounded by happy Phillies fans.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1, I can assure you, having seen it with my own eyes that the reality was even worse than your imagination.

I honestly think Nook called Church off and then gave up on the play. It might have been a tough play for him, but with Church there to back him up if he missed it we still only give up a single.

Nook looks snake-bit on his defense, maybe getting bumped back to hitting 8th screwed with his mojo.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

that was hilarious!!! I can't dance now, I'm laughing too hard.
_____
"Logan and Church: are you getting it? no, please, you first. not at all, after you, I insist. CLUNK!! [base hit]"

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:31 PM


Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Section 506 (After moving),

... welcome home. Sorry about the 'welcome home party'. We had it all arranged for Shawn Hill to get you a win, but ... hey, stuff happens.

Posted by: natscan reduxit (after hockey) | August 14, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Why thank you, NatsNut. And I'm sorry to hear that, estuartj.

---

that was hilarious!!! I can't dance now, I'm laughing too hard.

Natsfan1, I can assure you, having seen it with my own eyes that the reality was even worse than your imagination.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, welcome back 506. We did miss you.

Question: Long before the game tonight they said they'd hold Hill to 80 pitches, right? But what if he HAD taken a no-hitter that far? They wouldn't have let him continue would they?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

You'd think that I wouldn't have a lot to complain about tonight. Indeed, Hill was impressive and held his BB to just 1 (with two out in the fifth). Awesome.

But I keep seeing "if ... if ... if" here as a way of excusing FUN-DUH-MENTAL mistakes that _will_ make the difference over 162 games.

Logan: CALL THE BALL. "Mine" or "Yours" or "Help" but scream ... something ... LOUDLY. Tonight you should have been diving for it and let Church back you up. Grow a pair, Nook.

Lopez: You knew what happened the instant it did. I don't need to harp on your fielding.

Zim: Don't rush, don't lolly, let the game come to you.

And my very first criticism of Acta (although it is an echo of what others have said before): pulling our "good" batters late in a close game (after a day off!) is a gamble. Sure, Fick needs ABs (and he made use of his tonight!) and so does Langerhans. But if the errors didn't give the game away (they did), the anemic offense sealed the deal.

But I just can't stand giving away games to the Phillies of all teams. We should smoosh these guys, and in less than 14 innings, too. Maybe the Mets make us really sweat, but not these guys.

Nationals: Tomorrow night I'll be at the park to observe how you're responding to my comments and, well, please don't suck. I'll be there with Philadelphia natives.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 14, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

506 (am) ... welcome back.

this'll be my final post tonight as I have to get up at about 5:06 AM but...

If you wanted to be a fan of an undefeated team, don't pick the Yanks. The O's were up on 'em 12-zip last time I looked!

(bwaahahahahahahahahahaah!!!!)

Posted by: i hate walks | August 14, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

awesome comment ihw. This is a real gem: "Nationals: Tomorrow night I'll be at the park to observe how you're responding to my comments and, well, please don't suck. I'll be there with Philadelphia natives."

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I hate hearing things like "anemic offense" whem we esentially abdicated our offense for the 8th and 9th inning. Not only dow we take out our best hitter and top doubles hitter, but we lose option of having Langerhans pinch run and Flores pinch hit.

Like I said previously, I love the optimism and if Zim makes an easy throw well founded optimism, but with our bench being what it is you can't pull our offense out of the game with only 2 runs across.

And to make all this hurt even more, the fish and the cards both won tonight - grrrrrrrrrrr!

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Ah, how I love happy (Metro) trains. Sad trains, OTHO, full of obnoxious Phoolies fans, stink...

---

Nationals: Tomorrow night I'll be at the park to observe how you're responding to my comments and, well, please don't suck. I'll be there with Philadelphia natives.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

estuartj: why does the cards' win matter?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

As I noted on the previous thread, here is where all the [RF] started:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2007/07/bergmanns_hammy_and_the_return.html

I was in the process of justifying a man-crush (still, to this date, unrequited) on Ian Snell, so search for "Snell" and go from there.

Posted by: Hendo | August 14, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

To those who question my sanity after I did an about-face to plan yet another trip out to Woodbridge for the businesspeople's special tomorrow, two words: You're right.

And two more words: Detwiler's pitching.

Posted by: Hendo | August 14, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, we were within a half game of overtaking the Cards in the wild card race. I know, being 4th in the NL East is way more important, BUT my wife and daughters live in STL and I fly back every weekend so being ahead of St. Louis would go a long way to making my friends back there be polite. In truth my best friend in STL is actually a Mets fan, but I still run into way to many Nats bashers in STL and telling them they are the least talented team to ever win a world series just isn't satifying.

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the welcome back, gang. Looks like there was some fun. Tonight was lame, but hey, Hill was awesome. I'm glad to have this guy back. And either tomorrow or the day after we're going to have a 14 inning game against the Phils and it's our turn to win it in extra innings, so I'm looking forward to that.

e, thanks for the GB/A coverage, it was awesome. I'm glad to know that if something worse than going to Missouri happened to me (what on earth could that be, it was LOWEST 100 degrees and humid) a great tradition of middle-finger raising at the ESPN twits would continue.

Speaking of Missouri, I couldn't agree more on beating St. Louis. We attended a wedding my Cubs-fan girlfriend was in up there and it was miserable having to put up with their nonsense. The limo actually drove by the stadium in order to try to check the score. Don't worry, I represented well by being extra polite. "I know, I was really impressed when y'all won the World Series LAST YEAR. Can you believe it was only a YEAR ago that you were world champions? A WHOLE YEAR. Pretty impressive! Too bad about those bad calls that led to a THREE-GAME SWEEP for y'all, but at least we didn't spoil your chances at winning again, right? I'd feel bad IF YOU HAD A CHANCE and we wrecked it. ETC."

Luckily, my Cubs-fan girlfriend's family aren't Cards fans. They're Cubs fans. Oddly enough. Her dad's from Chicago (is anyone a White Sox fan there?) and that's how she comes by it. She's really more a Cubs-fan culturally, rather than a practicing one. But in his pizza shop he does have Cards stuff, because Budweiser gave him some really sweet promotional stuff if he hung up a Pujoles poster.

And speaking of the restaurant, since I know it's a bad habit of this blog: if anyone ever goes to Caruthersville off I-55 in the Boot Heel of Missouri (I don't know why you would) stop at Little Pizza Heaven and get some of the best pizza you've ever had in your life. I didn't believe my girlfriend because it's her dad's pizza, but it really is incredible.

It's great to be home.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 15, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

My buddy I went to the game with tonight made a good point. Don't worry too much about line-ups, look at the roster as a whole. Now imagine taking the 3 worst players and replacing them with the best players available.
For next year that would be;
Nick Johnson for Fick
Guzman for Jiminez
Carl crawford for Langerhans

I then said; just for right now;
Larry Broadway for Fick
Watson for Langerhans
A bucket of chicken for Jiminez

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Welcome home, 506. Thanks for getting In The Face of the representatives of the equivocal Cards.

Re your Cubs-lovin' GF:, you mention: "Her dad's from Chicago (is anyone a White Sox fan there?)"

Considering who we see representing at RFK, you wouldn't think so. Remember, though, that our Nats and the Cubs are in the NL and the Sox are in the AL, so we'll be lucky to see the Sox every third season, if that.

National focus seems to go to the Cubs, too; I have to think it's the Lovable Loser Syndrome. (By the way, don't any of y'all write the Cubs off for 2007. If they settle their bullpen down and/or if the Brewers' pen blows up, the Cubs are liable to battle into October.)

When I was doing a lot of business in Chi in the mid-'80s, I followed the White Sox some just because their games were on at night and the Cubs weren't playing night games at home yet. The Sox, then and now, have plenty of fans, and keep New Comiskey pretty full (80%-plus on average this season).

Whether the Sox are being run well, on field or off, is another matter, and one I'll leave to observers and bloggists closer to the scene.

Posted by: Hendo | August 15, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

I think I may have originated the "Carl Crawford's available after this season" excitement. I was wrong. He's signed through 2010.

http://www.sportsnetwork.com/default.asp?c=sportsnetwork&page=mlb/news/aan3824950.htm

Rowand's the guy the Nats need to go after.

Posted by: #4 | August 15, 2007 5:48 AM | Report abuse

506 -

My 15 year old cousin from the Chicago area came to visit me earlier this summer. One way she's expressing herself is to reject the family-wide support of the Cubs in favor of the White Sox. Other than winning IT ALL a couple of years ago, most of the time being a ChiSox fan was a lot like being a Cubs fan without air conditioning. Both teams were stinkin' losers but Cubs fans were comfortable doing it.

While she was here, my cousin donned (and assumed ownership of) one of my Nats hats and very stylishly borrowed by Schneider jersey. After catching a bit of my Nats Fever she proclaimed that the Nationals to be her "second-favorite team." This proves that she cannot be a Cubs fan, because the other key difference is that Cubs fans have no room in their heart for a "second-favorite" baseball team.

So, yes. There are White Sox fans but you normally can't tell because they're often cheering for their other-favorite teams.

And my, my ... didn't you just outdo yourself with politeness and charm the way you shushed those Cards fans right up! :)


estuartj: as much as I like a bucket of chicken, I thought the prevailing attitude was that Jiminez is a stud.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 15, 2007 6:33 AM | Report abuse

IHW, as I may have mentioned here before (but, as natsfan1c's grandfather always said in preface to an anecdote "I might have told you this already, but it's worth telling again"), natsfan1b is also a Cubbies fan, and also opened her heart to the Nats on after a visit here in 2005. Only she made them her first-favorite team (ouch -- poor Cubbies, but, hey ,they're used to it).

Hendo, I don't think you're crazy to consider heading to Woodbridge today. I was considering it myself, but work won't permit.

Sect. 506, I'm very impressed at your politeness to Cards fans. I hope that you also remembered to add a commnent on how you were extremely impressed that they made it to the postseason and became WS champions after being ONLY 2 games over .500, which was ONLY 2 games over our record the year before that...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I also forgot to say, thanks, Hendo, for the [RF] link. Before my posting that attempted to give JennX some background info, I actually tried Googling [RF] in conjunction with Hendo and Nationals Journal, but couldn't find the thread. Googling [RF], what hath Nats journal wrought?? ;)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Actually, upon reflection, it was "before," not "already." I gotta get the quotes straight...

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(but, as natsfan1c's grandfather always said in preface to an anecdote "I might have told you this already, but it's worth telling again")

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Jimenez is no stud. Are you perhaps thinking of Jesus Flores?

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

"poor Cubbies, but, hey, they're used to it"

But it was Hary Cary that taught us to "root, root, root, for the home team" and since we hang our hat near here, we hang our hopes near here.

Incidentally, growing up in Arkansas where there was and is no MLB team nearby (although you the list of teams that claim my parents' zip code as "local area" and thus black them out from live video is impressive), I rooted on behalf of my mom's side of the family for the Cubs for several years until it dawned on me (in '84 I think) that the Cubs always lost and if I was going to pick a geographically distant team to root for I may as well pick a good one.*

That never happened, I wound up moving to Chicago a few years later. By that time I was more "bud man" than "Cub fan" anyway.

* I think I get the run-on sentence of the day award for this one. Proofreaders?

Posted by: i hate walks | August 15, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

estuartj: see the comments to this blog entry. Search for "tolete" ;)

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2007/07/dmitri_young_scratched.html

Posted by: i hate walks | August 15, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

It was good to see that Hill is the real deal. The two step boogie between Church and Logan is becoming tiresome. One wonders if bad chemistry is the problem. They don't seem to communicate on those plays. Manny in post game comments seemed to indicate that he detected the problem with Zim (footwork) and as "Infield Instructor" will address it. On the game itself, we will see more of those the rest of the season. Making my prediction of 72 or 73 games (made in May) still has us playing sub .500 ball.

As for the Cardinals (followed them since 1967 where in NEW Bush Stadium saw Bob Gibson out dueled Fergie Jenkins. They won WS that year), one would think a SWEEP would be enough for you guys. Also, y'all aren't going to make distinction about "two games above .500" or "weakest team to win a World Series" (by the way how many have the Cubs won in the 20th-21st Century? I believe the Cards have won 3 since 1967) when the NATS do the deed. LETS GO NATS!!

Posted by: Sec 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | August 15, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I can't look back at the old posts (I'm on my blackberry) but I think it is an offense before God and Man to attach the work Stud to someone slugging .274 and with a batting average below the Mendoza line (.174).

Does it bother anyone else that 3 of our 5 bench players are hitting at or below .200?

Posted by: estuatj | August 15, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey there "i hate walks":

"Incidentally, growing up in Arkansas where there was and is no MLB team nearby (although you the list of teams that claim my parents' zip code as "local area" and thus black them out from live video is impressive), I rooted on behalf of my mom's side of the family for the Cubs for several years until it dawned on me (in '84 I think) that the Cubs always lost and if I was going to pick a geographically distant team to root for I may as well pick a good one."

... I am a proof-reader for my wife's newspaper, and as I've noted previously, I dabble with the written word on occasion. It is my considered opinion that your sentence, while long in terms of number of words, is not what I'd call a long sentence. It was well-constructed and easy to read. The main idea continued throughout and I never felt bogged down reading it.

... and while we're on the subject of writing, I wanted to note a thought I had earlier today: as a blog, we do exceptionally well at carrying on while staying on topic without the ever-present invigilator, one Mr. Svrluga.

... so Barry, you can take all the time you need to carry out your day-job responsibilities, confident in the knowledge that the Nationals Journal is in good hands, and can operate quite well on an independent basis.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 15, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Is swanni still reading? If so, do you drive a black BMW?

Posted by: section 406 | August 15, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Oops, we seem to have touched on a nerve there, Sect 417. I always suspected that there were Cards fans lurking in our midst, as they always seem to come out of the woodwork for games at RFK. Being that our area has so many transient inhabitants, and that it went without a team for so long, it makes perfect sense that we'd have rooters for many different teams here. I seem to recall a thread on prior/continuing allegiances earlier in the year. Anyway, whomever our bloggers may have root(ed) for, I daresay that we're all happy to claim them as part of Nats Nation now (especially so long as they end all of their postings with GO NATS!!) ;)

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As for the Cardinals (followed them since 1967 where in NEW Bush Stadium saw Bob Gibson out dueled Fergie Jenkins. They won WS that year), one would think a SWEEP would be enough for you guys. Also, y'all aren't going to make distinction about "two games above .500" or "weakest team to win a World Series" (by the way how many have the Cubs won in the 20th-21st Century? I believe the Cards have won 3 since 1967) when the NATS do the deed. LETS GO NATS!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

ESJ asks: "Does it bother anyone else that 3 of our 5 bench players are hitting at or below .200?"

... my reasonaed and serious response is "Yes it does". But I can't allow myself the luxury of expectating mid to high level averages when in reality, I went into this season not knowing what to expect. A Mendosa is as reasonable a result from some of these guys as anything else.

... suffice it to say that next year, I'll expect a whole lot more, and will go looking for answers if it doesn't materialize.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 15, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Eh, run-on, schmun-on. I'm with natscan on this, IHW, your sentence read just fine...

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* I think I get the run-on sentence of the day award for this one. Proofreaders?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Boz finally noticed the little tap on his shoulder by Capital Punishment...


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081402034.html

Posted by: NatsNut | August 15, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

And the earnest bloggists of Nats Journal jumping up and down on him. Thanks for the shout out, Boz.

Posted by: Hendo | August 15, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I was glad to see that. Probably just coincidental that "Barry" was off on Monday... ;)

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Looks like Boz finally noticed the little tap on his shoulder by Capital Punishment...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"Does it bother anyone else that 3 of our 5 bench players are hitting at or below .200?" Yes! Honestly, I'd take that bucket of chicken for Jimenez, even if all I got out of it was the empty bucket to wear as a hat.

As much as Fick has frustrated me this year, I kind of like the guy. That being said, I definitely want to see Broadway called up in a few weeks. I know I've spent a lot of time saying "Ain't gonna happen, he's done with the Nats" here on NJ, but I really am rooting for him.

IHW, your run-on sentence was Faulkneresque. Lovely.

I don't expect an early post from Barry today. I hear he was up late last night with Shawn Hill's sinker...

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 15, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

OMG. ROTFL! Either you guys are [RF]ing funny or my threshold for entertainment is very low...

"I don't expect an early post from Barry today. I hear he was up late last night with Shawn Hill's sinker..."

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 15, 2007 09:57 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | August 15, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

John (picturing you in a KFC hat), glad to know that I'm not the only one who still kinda likes Fick. Good one re. Barry and Shawn Hill's sinker (hope Barry's not the type to kiss and tell)...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

as frustrating as last night's game was:

- Church/Logan gaffe
- Zim's error
- playing REALLY DEEP for the Phils' catcher then seeing a routine fly ball drop in right center to allow their first run to score
- Rauch serving a meatball to Branyan
- Acta's stubborness that lets him keep taking Dmitri and Church's bat out of the lineup when we may still need them

I'm going to instead look at the positives:

- Shawn Hill's performance -- WOW!!
- Luis Ayala striking out Burrell and Howard in the 7th
- Batista's two-run pinch-hit double to give us the lead
- Me catching a foul ball and seeing my 2 yeard old daughter's eyes light up when I gave it to her

Losing stinks, especially to the Phillies, but anytime I see my daughter that happy, then heck it was totally worth it.

The next two games are going to be tough (Kendrick, who's been pitching really good lately and Hamels). The bats need to come alive starting tonight (I'm talking to you Belly and Zim!). Let's hope Redding and Hanrahan can keep up their impressive performances.

Go get 'em Nats!

Posted by: e | August 15, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut, it is my considered and unbiased opinion that we are, indeed, [RF]ing funny. And, oh yeah, humble, I forgot humble...

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OMG. ROTFL! Either you guys are [RF]ing funny or my threshold for entertainment is very low...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Way to go with the GHF viewpoint, e! And very cool re. the foul ball!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey e! Congrats on the foul ball for your daughter!

Yes, I like your list of positives from last night's game.

Batista's big hit and Ayala's K-centric inning (he struck out Rowand too, a very impressive 3-some) were the big pluses in addition to Hill's impressive return. Ayala looks like he's back to form - that heater has more movement on it than anyone that comes to mind.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 15, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

A post on the team site (from last night) indicates that McGeary will go to Stanford?

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070814&content_id=2148481&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"invigilator = invigilate (v.t.); to keep watch."

Thanks, natscan, for teaching me a new word!

"I don't expect an early post from Barry today. I hear he was up late last night with Shawn Hill's sinker..."

Ooooh, Barry's wife ain't gonna like that... :-)

By the end of the 6th inning, I was thinking, "[RF] the pitch count! Keep Hill in the game!"

Posted by: Juan-John | August 15, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

RE: Cubs fans - The reason Cubs fans don't have room in their heart for a second-favorite team is because they don't need one; the Cubs always meet expectations.

From the "Sour Grapes" Department: In three years, when McGeary is draft-eligible again, the Nats have more pitching in their system than anyone could imagine, and not signing a first round pick gets you a pick the next year, we should pick McGeary in the first round and offer him sixth round slot money.

Posted by: Wigi | August 15, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

New post from Barry....time to move along, folks

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Hey Wigi,

I thought the compensatory draft picks were only available for unsigned 1st rounders, not for a 6th rounder like Cardinal McGeary.

That being said, if we don't sign him today, I hope we made a positive impression that would interest him 3 years from now after a CWS win or two...

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 15, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

417 said: "...As for the Cardinals (followed them since 1967..."

I would swear you are the guy I share season tickets with, except I know for a fact he sits in 418. This year when the Cards came to town he said he was just rooting for "a good game." When he realized he was happy the Nats won, he realized he was now first and foremost a Nationals fan. It took since 2005, but I think this is happening to a lot of folks.

And I submit to the community that Nationals fans all not only have room in their heart for a second-favorite team, it is most common to have one. And, likely, a least favorite team ... especially one who blacks out your ballgames and desecrates the National anthem.

e: Very cool to catch a foul ball and get to see your daughter's face light up when you give it to her. That's on my lifetime list of "things to do."

estuartj: YES it bothers me that so much of our bench is hitting at or below .200, but as I see it, that's because our 25-man roster has been "topped" (as in what the power company does to a tree growing too close to overhead lines) by injuries and we haven't built up the requisite depth yet. If Johnson, Guzman, and Escobar are healthy our bench becomes Belliard, Church, and maybe Young. That's better than Jiminez, Langerhans, and Fick.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 15, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

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