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Dmitri Young: Comeback Player of the Year

So Dmitri Young was just announced as the National League's Comeback Player of the Year -- an honor that's well-deserved.

Think about when we first met this guy in spring training. He was overweight. He was wearing a "Sanford and Son" T-shirt. He was talking about his diabetes. He had considered never playing again. He was on Field 5 with a bunch of 19-year-olds in Viera, not even allowed to work out with the major leaguers.

As of right now, he hit .320. He became a positive influence in the clubhouse. As far as we know, he put behind so many problems -- substance abuse among them, and his legal problems were resolved. His divorce was finalized. And as he told me many, many times, "My mind is finally clear."

I'm going to go talk to him out at the ballpark later on tihs afternoon before he heads off to Florida for the offseason. A fitting end to one of the Nationals' best stories this year.

By Barry Svrluga  |  October 2, 2007; 10:22 AM ET
 
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Next: Introducing Postseason Journal - and Sheinin

Comments

Thanks, Barry. Congrats, Meat Hook!

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

As part of the Carnivore Chorus, here's a big round of applause for Da Meat.

Barry, will you ask Dmitri if he would like a shirt of his own in honor of his achievements this year? And more importantly, if so, what style he'd like. Maybe Mr. 300* is still around to post the link. I'd love if we could send him one.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hearty congratulations to Dmitri Young. See you in March, Meat. (February if you can pitch. We never run out of good ideas.)

And thanks and props to the front office for seeing and promoting, through all the issues, noise, and drama, the value of the man and the player. The team should feel pretty good about that, as should the fans.

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

congratulations to dmitri.

let the countdown begin...

Posted by: longterm | October 2, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Nats' postseason goals:

1. Meat = Comeback Player (check).
2. Manny = Manny of the Year
3. Zimm = Gold Glove

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 2, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't that Rich Ankiel fellow in the National League?

So, he lost out on the award because he did something that at the time was not illegal?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Re Bob L. Head's desideratum #2, am reposting this item by request from two threads ago.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Speaking of coaches, John Lowe in this past Sunday's Detroit Free Press delivered this bouquet to Our Manny:

"My favorite surprise of this season came on the night of June 19 at RFK Stadium in Washington.

"The host Nationals were losing to the Tigers, 15-1, in the bottom of the ninth. And yet the Nationals players were crowded together on the top step of the dugout, leaning forward on the railing to be as close to the action as possible. Such a posture is the universal baseball sign of enthusiasm and intensity. You usually don't see it when a team is losing by 14 runs.

"With that relentless spirit, the Nationals exceeded expectations more than any other major league team this season."

Lowe doubtless caught hell from Freep-watchers and the Tiger-fan loyalty police, but my hat's off to him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's the link to the full Lowe article:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070930/SPORTS02/709300648/1050

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Even if you disregard the HGH story and judge Rick Ankiel based solely on what he did on the field, he still doesn't deserve the nod over DaMeat. Ankiel didn't get called up to the majors until well after the All Star break (8/9/2007).

==========================

Wasn't that Rich Ankiel fellow in the National League?

So, he lost out on the award because he did something that at the time was not illegal?

Posted by: | October 2, 2007 10:38 AM

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"So, [Ankiel] lost out on the award because he did something that at the time was not illegal?"

So, he should have got the award because he gamed the system?

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"So, he lost out on the award because he did something that at the time was not illegal?"

He was almost killed for his performance, true, but he didn't almost die.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The remainder of the quote from the Lowe story is actually quite good as well (might as well post it here, there's nothing else to the mini-item). It's nice to see someone else outside the Nats fan-base acknowledge how much this team defied their own [incorrect] expectations.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"As the season dawned, they had almost no established starting pitching. Their lineup lacked power. I felt worse for their manager, Manny Acta, than for anyone in baseball. Here was his first crack at big-league managing, and he'd gotten a team that seemed doomed to 100 losses, and maybe a lot more.

On Wednesday night, the Nationals came from five runs down to beat the Mets. The win capped a three-game sweep that left the Mets' NL East title chances in jeopardy. In those three games in New York, the whole baseball world saw the same Nationals intensity that poured out of their dugout when they were 14 runs down to the Tigers.

The Nationals have assumed the character of Acta -- positive, aggressive, unintimidated. He deserves to finish high in the voting for manager of the year.

As the Mets went into this weekend tied with the Phillies, the best thing they had going for them was that the Phils had to close their season against the commendable Nationals."

Posted by: faNATic | October 2, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Congrats Dmitri. Mad props. No one deserved it more. Nats fans' hearts swell with pride.

But to comment on the previous post: I of course am a big Nats fan and love NJ for the coverage. But I'm also a big Svrluga fan. So, Barry, if you are to part with the Nats, the last post made me realize I'd love for you to keep blogging about whatever you're covering. Baseball or otherwise. For instance: Does Beijing have a Panera?

Posted by: Section ? | October 2, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Haven't posted in a while, good to be back.

Congrats to the Meat! Great validation of what we all got to watch happen all year. Thrilled that he's back for two more years.

Loved the awards show and updates on the coaches.

Should be a great Spring Training but before that a lot of guys are up for arbitration; Church and Rauch come to mind. Some will get big raises, Rauch for example.

When do we start a predict the opening day lineup contest? Here's mine.

C - Schneider
1B - Johnson
2B - Belliard
3B - Zimmerman
SS - Guzman
LF - Pena
CF - Maxwell
RF - Kearns
Opening Day starter - Hill.

I would rather they sing Rowand for CF and let Maxwell start on the bench or in AA or AAA but the above is what I think they will actually do.

I have a whole predicted roster but will save that for later.

Thanks for a great year Barry. Can't imagine this summer w/o the NJ!

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | October 2, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Can we have a guess the rotation again?

Posted by: natsinthevalley | October 2, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I am SOOOO happy for Dmitri. And so proud! I was getting a little worried that his story was losing its momentum with the media because he wasn't in everyone's faces this last month. I can't believe how happy this makes me.

I'm also proud that Bowden and the FO opened their minds and gave the guy a chance.

This story, plus the kudos we get from other teams (thanks Hendo), shows that this team is fast becoming the team I'd hoped it would be--honorable, spirited, and even a little humble. Word gets around enough and this team is going to be a magnet for all the hot players.

GO NATS!!!

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

So, Ray King said when he was traded that he reminded Bowden that he was a "free agent at the end of the year." Belliard says that he loves playing here because we play baseball right. Dmitri said that being with the minor leaguers restored his love of the game and that being with the team confirmed it.

How much of this is standard player talk and how much of it is Washington as a club player's want to be part of? I mean, obviously, there are the players who wouldn't be playing elsewhere, but what is the buzz about being on the Washington Nationals in other clubhouses?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Our favorite beat writer from Nationals.com had this to say on this very topic:

"Young also is the No. 1 reason the Nationals' clubhouse went from being one of the worst in team history to one of the best in the game. He is the leader and is always trying to give a young player a helping hand."

Now I'm not sure how you would empirically measure a clubhouse and rate one vs. another but I think it's sufficient to say that this year's CH was a much more pleasant place to be when compared to the years past.

There are several names that pop up consistently when people speak to the state of the CH last year. Included in them are players like Jose Vidro, Jose Guillen, and Livan Hernandez. What I'd like to know is how much of it was the players themselves vs. the management staff's handling of said players?

When so many factors are changed at once it's hard to pinpoint a specific causal relationship between changed variables and the insuing effects. There's no doubt that Manny deserves a lot of credit for the improvement in clubhouse atmosphere but how much of it is due to roster churn?

And how would that effect the team's decision to bring back any former players as free agents? There's been some discussion in the NJ recently about resigning Livo as a veteran presence and innings eater. How does one reconcile that thought with the idea that his name is consistently mentioned among those missing from years past that has led to an improved clubhouse atmosphere?

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

506:

Contrast those comments to the things that Soriano said (and also Guillen)... their comments were not about the organization or about a style of play... and look where they are now... I think those comments are sincere...

I think we're seeing the development of "The Nationals Way"... a distinct and positive organizational culture... and in my opinion, it is more than just about what happens on the field... it has some pretty positive values... and it isn't like Dmitri is the only player that came to the Nats under those kinds of circumstances... most of the starting pitchers were castoffs and retreads... Belliard was a free agent, most people thinking he's be a bench player... the message is, come to the Nats, work hard, win... and be part of the family.

Posted by: Wigi | October 2, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I'd be more inclined to bring Livo back than I would either of the Joses. With Guillen it was "All About Me!" while Vidro maintained a steady stream of kvetchery.

Now, pitchers are odd beasts to start with, but Livo didn't seem too much of a noisemaker (except when his knee was in pain in '05 and he gave that "I'm Quitting!" interview that struck me as probably being somewhat painkiller-enhanced). He just seemed to want to work every fifth day and be left alone the rest of the time.

That doesn't seem much to ask, and I bet this clubhouse could accommodate it.

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Dimitri Young IS the Comeback Player of the year. He WAS a good player ... then he wasn't ... and then he WAS again. If Ankiel had comeback to be a pitcher (and played a whole year) you could argue for him, but he didn't.

Dimitri Young came back as a player and a person. I heard more than one announcer comment on the fact that he never gives away at bats. He never seems to lack hustle (though he lacks speed). In the field he clearly worked hard to overcome a lack of mobility and grace.

Congratulations to Da Meat!

Posted by: NatBisquit | October 2, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Anyone covering the Nats while Barry is off galivanting about the country? (I know I'm greedy and news should be sparse, but ...). Either way, enjoy the galivanting...

Posted by: NatBisquit | October 2, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

MKevin:

Organizational culture (which is what you're talking about, when you talk about clubhouse chemistry) is the product of all of the members, regardless of the roles... But some people are more influential... generally those are the ones that have some power or leadership... so by definition, people in formal positions, like manager, GM, team president, etc. set the tone for the culture... also, people who are respected, for whatever reason... age, ability, charisma... influence it more strongly...

There isn't a single answer... but it appears that Dmitri and Manny are a big part of it... and you're right... you gotta wonder what things would be like with Vidro, Guillen and/or Livo. I don't know any of them personally... but I think some of them would be more polarizing than others... but others might fit in really well... The thing is... if that culture takes hold and becomes really dominant, the individuals have less influence on their own.

It is almost a shame to have everyone scatter to the four winds for the winter... you don't want that team synergy to go away...

Posted by: Wigi | October 2, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think you're right that news could be sparse at best. The Commissioner's office has what amounts to a gag order until after the post season. They don't want anything distracting attention from the playoffs. Given the FOs tight-lip policy about news until it's official, I wouldn't look for too much info to come out during the next month.

I for one can't wait to sit back and enjoy the greatest month of the year. I know some people point to March as the highlight of the sports year but I say it doesn't get any better than October. Baseball Playoffs, NFL in full swing, NHL starting up.... what am I forgetting?..... oh yeah... they play pro basketball too don't they? I guess that has to be included.

===================

Anyone covering the Nats while Barry is off galivanting about the country? (I know I'm greedy and news should be sparse, but ...). Either way, enjoy the galivanting...

Posted by: NatBisquit | October 2, 2007 11:52 AM

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Just read the chapter in Barry's book about Guillen and Frank's night with the Angels and the meltdown in the clubhouse after the all star break in 05. Wasn't pretty. And Livo was definitely part of it.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

HOO-yah, Meat-Hook!! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | October 2, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of clubhouse chemistry and so forth, did anybody hear yesterday's Mets-choking-related All Things Considered interview on NPR? They had Mike Stadler, the author of Baseball and Psychology. I didn't care for the reference to our guys as hapless, and I was skeptical about some of the author's inferences, but I was somewhat intrigued. Here's a link to the NPR story:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14869673

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Many congratulations to Meat Hook!!

Posted by: Patty | October 2, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow... how do I not have this?!? I'm embarrassed for myself. Looks like a trip to BN on the way home :-)

========================

Just read the chapter in Barry's book about Guillen and Frank's night with the Angels and the meltdown in the clubhouse after the all star break in 05. Wasn't pretty. And Livo was definitely part of it.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 12:01 PM

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Yea to Dimitri and all the Nats!!!

PS - Can they make a Dimitri Teddy Bear?
My daughter wants one and says he seems so cuddly!

Posted by: jb42 | October 2, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

320 has a Nats-eye view of the Rockies improbably victory last night here:

http://nats320.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 2, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, NatsNut, I'll have to look that up.

---

Just read the chapter in Barry's book about Guillen and Frank's night with the Angels and the meltdown in the clubhouse after the all star break in 05. Wasn't pretty. And Livo was definitely part of it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Just listened. My impressions:

1. RE: Robert Siegel referring to the Nats as "unimposing" and "almost as hapless (as Florida".

Whatever. Another in a long line of uniformed national journalists judging this team solely based upon wins/losses.

2. To paraphrase a quote from the author, Dr. Mike Stadler: "the better a player rates on a team player dimension, the worse a baseball player he turns out to be."

Now far be it from me to question the credentials of the delicate genius Dr. Stadler, but is this guy a douchebag or what? I have neither the time nor inclination to look up all the HOF members and rate them on a scale of "good guy" vs. "bad guy" but for the love of God look at the 2007 HOF inductees and tell me that these guys weren't either good team players or good baseball players because according to the good Dr. the two are mutually exclusive.

What an idiot.

================================

Speaking of clubhouse chemistry and so forth, did anybody hear yesterday's Mets-choking-related All Things Considered interview on NPR? They had Mike Stadler, the author of Baseball and Psychology. I didn't care for the reference to our guys as hapless, and I was skeptical about some of the author's inferences, but I was somewhat intrigued. Here's a link to the NPR story:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14869673

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 12:10 PM

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Meat, you are a credit to the Nationals organization.

Posted by: Mike Morgan | October 2, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

MKevin, Cal Ripkin was neither a good player nor a good man. He was obviously a minion (Oriole) of Satan himself (Angelos) and therefore not any good on the field or off. The only reason you think that he was is because of the deliberate efforts of the Washington Post to undermine the Nationals so that their maniacal plan of making sure not enough seats are sold in the new ballpark can come to fruition.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

oh no, Sect. 506, you'll waken the sleeping hounds...

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Dimitri Young. You're an inspiration to us all.

I admit I was skeptical when I first read about this, but even in the "Sanford & Son" article a bit of his determination and positivity comes through. When I got to Viera he had just joined the big league squad and a couple days later Travis Lee decided his heart was no longer in baseball (remember that?). A couple of days watching "Big D" (and he was still really big then) was all it took to know he plays with heart. When I had the chance to interact with him briefly (he autographed my hat) his personality as experienced through the press and through watching games was again reinforced. From that point on I was a die-hard-big-D fan. Not as a gymnast, but as a serviceable 1B and doubles-hittin' machine. I'm so glad for him, for the Nats, and for all the fans that we've gotten to watch him reestablish himself this year and, Nick or not, we wish him all the best for the future.

Posted by: i hate walks | October 2, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

506, thanks for showing me just how wrong I was. I guess I'll just huck my rookie card and autographed ball out with the trash tomorrow because they obviously aren't worth the space they're consuming on my shelf.

I would further suggest that any fans holding memorabilia for any past Roberto Clemente award winner do the same.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Clemente_Award

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget Gold Glove memorabilia

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

What they said, and:
I was impressed by how, in his violence and anger mismanagement, he seemed to me to genuinely GET that he was just wrong, period, no Comma But. He didn't seem to expect people to forgive or forget, because he was wrong, and there would be consequences. No "mistakes were made," no "I was loyal to the wrong people," no "some other dude did it," no diminishing or hiding out or acting like it didn't matter.
This is important because we need role models for how to act when we're wrong, as much or more than how to do right. Kids who mess up need to see how to act afterwards, and Dmitri was a man about it, which is rare.

---------
Congratulations Dmitri
Posted by: everybody

Posted by: cevans | October 2, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

now if only he could work on Delmon ...

Posted by: cevans | October 2, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

and I've said it before, so bear with me, but I hold out hope that .335 is the real Dmitri Young, sober and sane and healthy, not just a "career year."

Posted by: cevans (still moving) | October 2, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad I cut Dmitri on the verge of the World Series last year. I didn't need anyone who hit .320 going up against those Cardinals! And I'm old and loved going home two games early.

Posted by: Jim Leyland | October 2, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Just to beat Carpenter's mom to the punch...

Great article by Len Shapiro re: Carpenter.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/02/AR2007100201036.html

Interesting how the guy assigned to write about sports television coverage writes about the Nats TV broadcast team. And the guy assigned to be the Nat's beat writer writes about the Nat's on the field performance. And other writers write about other sports stuff. How....logical. It's almost as if the entire sports section doesn't have to be devoted to one topic.

Posted by: joebleux | October 2, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like someone went to the Svrluga School of Snark, joebleux. Looking forward to matriculating there myself.

Posted by: faNATic | October 2, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Favorite Livo quote: "Now throw me that change-up, beeaaatch! Boom!" Said while eating pancakes viewing a video in the clubhouse of himself hitting a home-run against the Marlins.

Posted by: flynnie | October 2, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm thrilled for Dmitri - he deserved this honor to be sure. And he did a magnificient job of reinventing the clubhouse persona.

And his .320-13-74 helped a great deal.

But ....

Wouldn't the team have been much better had Jim Bowden signed Young AND Carlos Pena, who went to spring training with a minor league deal with Tampa after being released by both the Yankees and Red Sox last summer? Pena batted .282-46-121 with a 1.038 OPS. He also had a .993 fielding average on just 8 errors.

Pena at first, Young at the premier pinch hitter.

Could have been, but regardless, I'm happy that Dmitri was with the Nats all season.

Posted by: Farid @ Beltway Boys | October 2, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

faNATic: yeah, maybe I did oversnark there a bit. So hard to stop once you get a good snark rolling.

Posted by: joebleux | October 2, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I just listened to the NPR piece...

Robert Siegel should know better... I am pretty sure he's in Washington... but... it is not really hyperbole to say that a 73 win team is "almost as hapless".

As for the sports psychologist... I could see how there would be a negative correlation between being a team player and being a good baseball player. I think the point is that for the team to do well, each of the player must excel as individuals. It's not like when you hit a single to right field that the right fielder has a choice to make as to which cutoff man he is to hit. The circumstance dictates what he does at that time, and it doesn't really require teamwork... it just requires each one to do their job.

Sheinin fans: That wasn't me!

Posted by: Wigi | October 2, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Looks like bad news on your anti-career year theory, cevans.

2007

AVG .320, SLG .491, OBP .378, 2B 38, HR 13, RBI 74

Excluding 2006 Season and 1996 Season (rookie look)

AVG: .292, SLG .476, OBP .349, 2B 29.1, HR 16, RBI 64.8

Excluding 2004 and 2005, too, since they might have been the build up to the '06 meltdown and are significantly below his career numbers.

AVG .297, SLG .476, OBP .353, 2B 30.3, HR 19.3, RBI 64.5

Now can a "New Man" have increased purpose and start a new career? Certainly. Is that Dmitri? If not him, then I don't know who...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

You people need thicker skin. Does it matter whether the characterization was "hapless" or "bad" or "poor"? The Mets screwed the pooch against two bad teams. That's the story here (and the Phillies winning 13 out of 17).

The culture of victimhood is not very becoming, Nationals Journalers.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | October 2, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

On topic: Congratulations to Dmitri for the award and getting his career and life back together. It was a joy to watch him play for the Nats this year.

I wouldn't have signed him to the extension.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | October 2, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

farid:

pena would not have come close to 20 HRs, let alone 40 in RFK and meat hook would not have had as high a BA not playing every day.

Playing every day is what meat hook going again. when he started to fade in Detroit, he lost his way and baaad things happened. playing every day gave him a shot at being 25 again, and thats what produced the great season.

Posted by: love | October 2, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Whew, a man goes away for a few days and catching up is a long process.

Wigi - thanks for the clarification because that sure didn't sound like you on Sheinin's chat!

More later - congrats Meat!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | October 2, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Henry Mateo Fan Club (why separate it, is it a sandwich?) is right on his first point about victimization.

I hope we can say in two years that he was wrong about his second point.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Apparently fanclub is not a word. I feel like it's ubiquitous enough to be compounded now, don't you?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Interesting how the guy assigned to write about sports television coverage writes about the Nats TV broadcast team. And the guy assigned to be the Nat's beat writer writes about the Nat's on the field performance. And other writers write about other sports stuff. How....logical. It's almost as if the entire sports section doesn't have to be devoted to one topic."

It doesn't, and I don't think anyone here has said it should be. Certainly not me. But notice how Shapiro's work gets buried on the web, never seeing print at all, and how Svrluga's work is typically buried way below the fold or deep inside the section? (Although the worse news there is in it about the Nats, the better the chances are that it will get higher play. Funny, that.) It's not only in real estate that the three most important words are location, location and location.

Posted by: Section 419 | October 2, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice snarkpost, joebleux. Shapiro asks the question I've been wondering about, which is basically why did they can Carpenter before asking the guy they wanted to replace him whether he would take the job? It doesn't seem like anybody thinks Carpenter is so bad that virtually anyone else would be preferable, and in the absence of someone that is clearly preferable by a significant margin, I would think that some weight should have been given to maintaining continuity. They really bungled this one.

Conspiracy alert: Maybe they almost bungled the coaching thing as well -- intending to announce that one or more coaches would not be back, and then realizing, based on the Carpenter SNAFU, that maybe they should wait and make sure the guys they were targeting as replacements would actually be available?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 2, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Leonard Shapiro article on Bob Carpenter, Bleux. Leonard seems like a decent human being, like Carpenter. But I read all about it in The Times and The Examiner, and a day later in The Post, by Eli Saslow. Evidently, Post editors did not agree with Svrluga's handling of this story. Now let's hear the howls of anguish from the Svrluga Cult, which this blog has become. Is there another site where I can talk about baseball without the requirement that I be in a cult?

Posted by: flynnie | October 2, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This is one area that I think that the Lerners could use a little help... because their decisions involving the Nationals have such a wide-reaching audience (if the Lerners make a choice about a subcontractor on an office building, and then reverse the decision, it isn't reported in the press), they need to be a little more circumspect with how they do things... there is a lot more of their business that is in public view when you own a baseball team... so whether it is the delivery of season tickets or who your play-by-play guy is, there are a lot of people outside the organization that are invested in the outcome... and that isn't the case in other businesses.

Posted by: Wigi | October 2, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like someone went to the Svrluga School of Snark, joebleux. Looking forward to matriculating there myself.

Posted by: faNATic | October 2, 2007 02:25 PM
--------------------------------
Can we get t-shirts? "I matriculated at the Svrluga School of Snark." It can go with the secret handshake.

Posted by: Atlanta | October 2, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Da Meat! Dude - I went to 25 games this year at various times and you always got a hit.

Off the topic - If I were named the Commissioner of Baseball........

Why not move the Pittsburg Pirates to the NL East, and the Atlanta Braves to the NL Central? That would be a very cool division with 4 of the 5 teams within 6 hours of each other (by car). Pittsburg is closer to the east than Atlanta. Atlanta actually lines up with Cleveland and Detroit in terms of how far West the city is. What a great rivalry that would be to have Pit/Phi/Wsh/NYM/Fla all in the same division.

Posted by: 6th and D | October 2, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Meat! I'm glad that you are "coming back" again next year.

Whatever else may be said - I love the fact that the front office is already beginning "next year." A nice gamer today to ignite the hot stove, Barry.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | October 2, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure Pittsburgh provides great rivalry to anyone.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I've been snarky since before Svrluga was even old enough to spell his own name. (Of course, given his name he was probably a sophomore in high school then.) Book learnin' only goes so far, y'know. If you want to snark in the big leagues you need some tools to go along with all that ivory-tower snark theory. Me? I'm a five-tool snarker. Svrluga? Not so much. Have you checked his VORS (Value Over Replacement Snarker)? Not so hot, actually...

Posted by: Section 419 | October 2, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Wigi, agreed on the point that their ownership of a baseball team is far different, and with far more public scrutiny of each decision they make, than the closed-door real estate deals with which they are familiar.

That being said, Kasten, their right-hand man, is no novice to the publicity associated with these kinds of decisions. I think the Carpenter snafu could have been handled more gracefully or professionally from his direction, although the ultimate result is what matters. Personally, I'm relatively indifferent on the specific outcome of the Carpenter fiasco, I just prefer it to be handled in a more professional manner than it has been to this point.

Flynnie, while there are some here that have drank the Kool-Aid, there are many of us that just like to talk baseball (specifically Nats baseball) and see this as a forum for that. While I definitely respect Svrluga's writing ability and clear and concerted efforts to appease the crowd on here in terms of feeding us as much information as he can, when he can, I would argue that most people on here seem to be relatively informed consumers, browsing a variety of sources for their Nats info.

I think much of the cult that you speak of comes out of deference to the fact that his postings are the very reason that this "community" even exists, i.e. in the form of comments to his postings in the Journal-type setting. It's somewhat akin to taking your shoes off at the door when someone asks you to do so.

That being said, there has been no shortage of pro- and anti-Barry opinions bandied about this space since its inception. Its all part of the give and take, ebb and flow (cue the bada and bing) that this space's discussions seem to follow.

Posted by: faNATic | October 2, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to da Meat. Bring Carp back to the booth. It's time to stabilize that situation and he'll improve next year, as will the team. A little crow salad to the braintrust on that one. They shoulda dug into there homework a little deeper. Take the rest of the day off everybody.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | October 2, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

You're suggesting, flynnie, that the chat not revolve around the Barrycenter?

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, 419!

---

I've been snarky since before Svrluga was even old enough to spell his own name. (Of course, given his name he was probably a sophomore in high school then.) Book learnin' only goes so far, y'know. If you want to snark in the big leagues you need some tools to go along with all that ivory-tower snark theory. Me? I'm a five-tool snarker. Svrluga? Not so much. Have you checked his VORS (Value Over Replacement Snarker)? Not so hot, actually...

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

506, I'm sure those numbers speak for themselves, but I'm not getting it.
Anyway, I meant that, since I don't know enough about his history, I was basing my hopes on the presumption that this is the first time he's played sober, sane, and happy, and he's 20-50 points better that way.

----------
Looks like bad news on your anti-career year theory, cevans
.....
Now can a "New Man" have increased purpose and start a new career? Certainly. Is that Dmitri? If not him, then I don't know who...
Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 02:44 PM

Posted by: cevans (while moving) | October 2, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll bite. What are the Five Tools of Snark?
-----------
I'm a five-tool snarker....
Posted by: Section 419 | October 2, 2007 03:20 PM

Posted by: cevansjr | October 2, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Is there another site where I can talk about baseball without the requirement that I be in a cult?"

Sounds like you want a bash the media cult. Try the Ballpark Guys forum.

Or just stay here. There's plenty of people that do that around here, and far more delusionally. You're fine.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | October 2, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

cevans, I hope they speak for themselves, because I sure didn't speak for them. Whew, you know when sometimes you say something in response to something you're thinking? Apparently I do that when typing...

Those numbers were Dmitri's career averages, less his peek at the bigs in '97 and his meltdown year of 2006 (with supposition that it might have started in 2004). With that, we ought to be able to see whether Meat Hook is having a career year or not offensively.

Unfortunately, it appears his numbers this year were significantly higher than his averages in every category except home runs (with and without '05 and '04 being considered part of the breakdown). It seems to say that in the new park we could look forward to a Young that hits a handful more homers, but less of everything else.

The flip side is that, by his own admission, Dmitri was a lazy player before. Almost dying and then hitting Field 5 convinced him that it wasn't the legacy he wanted for himself or the example he wanted to set for his sons, so he decided to work hard. In that case, we might see a couple more years like this one.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Time for me to apologize. Barry's been on the Bob Carpenter story from the beginning. He's the one who opened the e-mail floodgates on the subject. Leonard Shapiro's journalism is journalism indeed, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the rich and the powerful, and urging them to do the right thing. And here's to the rich and the powerful, the Lerners and Stan Kasten, who are big enough to admit a mistake and do the right thing, hopefully by renewing Bob for three years. And here's my apology to Barry. I've been reading baseball beat writing for 40 odd years, and his is as good as it gets. He deserves your, and my, admiration, as does The Post.

Posted by: flynnie | October 2, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Let's all feel the love here, people.

Five tools: Snark, snark for power, field snark, throw snark, and snark on the run.

I concur with 419's self-assessment. He's major-league ready.

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

cevans, nice comments about Dmitri. I had forgotten that my first great impression about the whole story was his attitude about it. That he never offered any excuses, not even any real explanation. Just that it was all really bad. He proceeded to buckle down on field 5 with humility, then just plain worked hard, showing through his actions, not words, that he had put all that behind him.
He never excused it, never exploited it, and hasn't even really dwelled on it much himself (He just answers the question when he's asked). Just like you said, he was a real man about it. Thanks for reminding me.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Very good, Hendo!

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

That Svrluga kid has really got the snark on the run and field snark going, I think he could be a late-innings snark replacer or a pinch-snarker for the slower snarked.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, you do realize that knowing what the five tools of snark are does not necessarily mean you possess them, right? The uber-tool of snark is having your head in the game, just like in that game they play on the diamond. But you probably already know that.

Does this blog have a snark coach?

Posted by: Section 419 | October 2, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I fear I am just a four tool player. I've always had trouble fielding snark....I'm better at throwing it though.

Posted by: NatBisquit | October 2, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Dear Lord! How many days until we play a game again?
_____________________________
"Hendo, you do realize that knowing what the five tools of snark are does not necessarily mean you possess them, right? The uber-tool of snark is having your head in the game, just like in that game they play on the diamond. But you probably already know that.

Does this blog have a snark coach?"

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | October 2, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

186 Days until April 1

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

A little off the snark topic, but Barry, since you're at the playoffs, I'd be very interested to know how the teams prepare for post-season games. Does the manager give a pep talk? Do they eat lots of carbs? Do they go to bed early? Abstain from nooky? See what you can get.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Oops. I meant "see what you can get" by way of a story, not see what you can get by way of nooky. Yikes.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

heh heh

---

Oops. I meant "see what you can get" by way of a story, not see what you can get by way of nooky. Yikes.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Can't come too soon.
______________________________________
186 Days until April 1

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 04:43 PM

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | October 2, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and before I forget, a request to scribe Svrluga to convey congrats well wishes to Jamey Carroll. Without disrespect to our current guys, it was good to have him here and it's still a bit sad that he's gone.

No doubt a lot of people would like to see his team whup up on the Phillies. (As a Snakes believer, I'm ambivalent; it's just a matter of time.)

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Pardon the telegraphese; that should've been "congrats and well wishes."

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

We have several, Sect. 419, but we have not yet decided whether they will be back next year.

---

Does this blog have a snark coach?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of snark, beat reporters, and local papers, check out this gem on Brett Myers and the Philadelphia Inquirer:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20449599/

"When Myers was asked about the two home runs, he said they were really "just pop ups."

"A reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer questioned whether Myers really thought they were pop ups, and Myers got angry.

""You're not even a beat reporter, you're a fill-in, you don't know anything about baseball," said Myers, who then called the reporter "retarded."

"The Inquirer reporter asked if Myers could spell retarded, and Myers stood up. Burrell then restrained Myers, and Myers refused to speak any further."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"Beat reporter". Myers. Hmmmm.

Nah, too easy...

Posted by: joebleux | October 2, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"The Inquirer reporter asked if Myers could spell retarded, and Myers stood up."

I think we can safely take that as a no... on the spelling question only.

A+ for nerve and lip from the fill-in though. I think he'll ask to cover the Eagles next time.

Posted by: faNATic | October 2, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Department of devil's advocacy:

All love to Livo, but what's he doing in the postseason rotation?

Why is this feeling like Philly's decision to start Eaton the other night?

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse


All love to Livo, but what's he doing in the postseason rotation?

Why is this feeling like Philly's decision to start Eaton the other night?

=======================================

Or the Mets decision to start Glavine on Sunday... ?

As they say in football, "on any given Sunday...."

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"That Svrluga kid has really got the snark on the run and field snark going, I think he could be a late-innings snark replacer or a pinch-snarker for the slower snarked.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 04:19 PM"
***************************************
Ya this tread sure beats a discussion on WPost Sports Editor practices and policies......

Posted by: JayB | October 2, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, JayB, I guess I'm blind.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

How DO you spell it?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but pitchers and catchers report sooner than that... :-)


"Can't come too soon.
______________________________________
186 Days until April 1"

Posted by: Juan-John | October 2, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Preparing myself to be dazzled...

I'm the proud new owner of "National Pastime: Sports, Politics, and the Return of Baseball to Washington D.C." Mr. Svrluga, you can thank NatsNut for your royalty today :-)

=================================

Just read the chapter in Barry's book about Guillen and Frank's night with the Angels and the meltdown in the clubhouse after the all star break in 05. Wasn't pretty. And Livo was definitely part of it.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 12:01 PM

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Think they still feel this way about Jamie Carroll? From The Mile High Beat, July 9, 2007 -The Philadelphia Phillies did everything they could to avoid the franchises 10,000th loss...including helping out the groundskeepers at Coors Field. In a wild rain/wind storm that swept over the Denver area, several members of the ground crew scrambled to get the tarp over the field in the 7th inning of the Rockies/Phillies game. As the wind funnelled under the tarp, a few men were trapped underneath and as they surfaced they were greeted by several members of the Philadelphia Phillies who were quick to help when they saw that a couple of guys were in trouble. Once the game resumed, the good karma helped, as Philadelphia went on to win the ballgame 8-4. Most of the Rockies were already in the clubhouse at the time, but Jamey Carroll was quoted as saying, "I've been on tarp duty in college and it can whip around, yank you around, your shoulders and stuff," Carroll said. "They were helpful and hats off to them for it. After the fact, you think what could have happened to one of the guys ... you're risking a lot." I've got news for you Carroll; you are hitting .207...next time get out there and help. You may need the skills for future employment. Anyway, good for the Phils, that was very cool to see

Posted by: flynnie | October 2, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I think we gotta work on the five tools of snarking, which is a potentially hilarious concept.

First, as Hendo said, you have to be able to snark in the first place. But everyone can be snarky some of the time; a five-tool snarker has to be an above-average snarker.

Second, instead of "snarking for power" how about "snarking to power" as, for example, our own Snarkmaster General Svrluga did when accosting Stan at that lunch and then kind of, sort of implying that maybe he might be telling a fib in the course of a chat? "Snarking to power" is a good DC concept related to the similar "telling truth to power."

Speed snarking also seems to work as a concept; sure, lots of people can come up with long, drawn out snarks given time to think, but what about the short, staccato rifle shot snark? That's a skill that should be owned by a five-tool snarker.

So, snark above average, snark to power, speed snarking; we need two more. Somebody help me out here.

(Gee, I wonder if the regular season is over.)

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 2, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Not that this specifically means anything for Nats but....

"The Atlanta Braves are cutting ties with Andruw Jones, saying they can't afford to keep the perennial Gold Glove center fielder who's spent his entire career with the organization."

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3046705

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

MKevin, I'm not anxious to go after Andruw, although I have no reason to believe his '08 won't be better than his '07.

One of the reasons is that (AFAIK) Matt Kemp is still available from the Dodgers, who seem not to want to play the kids any more.

Kemp, and Snell from the Pirates, at the right prices, could be two useful additions.

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Yep. There's been nothing from the press or the FO that would indicate the Nats will be in serious contention for Jones. Given that he's a Boras client and that big spending clubs will be on the hunt for CF help too, he's likely to be dramatically overpaid - something that the FO has been public in saying they will be avoiding.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that they will give Maxwell every chance to win the CF job in the spring but will have something burning in the trade market in the event he flounders - a la Larry Broadway this season.

I think if they make some noise it will be in the trade market for middle infield (if they don't go after Luis Castillo) and in the 2nd tier pitching market for a veteran innings eater.

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Darnit, ya'll. I thought I'd finally get some stuff done now that the season is over. Do some laundry. Wash the dishes for once. Finish this stupid paper. But ya'll keep posting stuff and I'm still visiting this site just as often as before. Stop it. Stop being funny and stop thinking of more stuff to talk about. I gotta get productive here.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 2, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the decision to not go after Andruw will be more significant for the Nationals because it results in the Braves trying to acquire Ryan Church. 43 doubles, 15 home runs, .272 average? Not too shabby. He's no superstar, but he's solid on offense and doesn't completely suck on defense. And Church certainly has fans amongst the Braves tv crew, at the very least.

Posted by: Atlanta | October 2, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

But doesn't that negate the reasoning behind our most wonderful GB/A standings?

---

Henry Mateo Fan Club (why separate it, is it a sandwich?) is right on his first point about victimization.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Bob L., how about snarking the field, as in indiscriminately snarking or snarking at large?

For throwing, I dunno. Maybe on-target snarking?

(Why do you ask? heh heh)

---

So, snark above average, snark to power, speed snarking; we need two more. Somebody help me out here.

(Gee, I wonder if the regular season is over.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Or, perhaps, skill in fielding snark, as in response to incoming snark.

---

Bob L., how about snarking the field, as in indiscriminately snarking or snarking at large?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a, I was thinking the same thing this morning, we need a label for a response to a snark that trumps the original snark. Defensive snark, responsive snark, fielding snark, those don't have a lot of appeal to me. Boomerang snark? Where someone throws a snark out there only to have it come back in his/her direction?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 3, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Quiet here today... what is everybody doing? Surely you're not WORKING!!??!!

Anyone planning on going home early today for the start of the playoffs?

Posted by: MKevin | October 3, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Bob L., hmmmmm, boomerang snark has appeal, and it's easier to say/type than rubber-and-glue snark. ooooh, maybe comebacker snark?

---

Natsfan1a, I was thinking the same thing this morning, we need a label for a response to a snark that trumps the original snark. Defensive snark, responsive snark, fielding snark, those don't have a lot of appeal to me. Boomerang snark? Where someone throws a snark out there only to have it come back in his/her direction?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I have a home office, so I'll just get my work in early and knock off in time for the playoffs (I'm not having much success with that plan, obviously, as is evidenced by my postings here...)

---

Quiet here today... what is everybody doing? Surely you're not WORKING!!??!!

Anyone planning on going home early today for the start of the playoffs?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

No, no, it has nothing to do with GB/A ratings which is the anti-victimization. The point of those is to prove how great we are, not whine about how poorly we've been treated. It's a parade of perhaps irrational smugness, not an emo-party.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 3, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm on a client site today; I'll catch bits and pieces of the 3:00 game on MLB GameDay. (Would listen to it on the radio, but it's being broadcast on Triple Secret ESPN Radio, so there goes that idea.)

Posted by: Hendo | October 3, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

seriously, what is the point of MLB.TV package if they can blackout everything. did you know, that living in this area, we are blacked out of Phils, Nats, O's and Pirates games... thats the local "blackout" rule, and it doesn't take into account the nationals games (TBS, ESPN, FOX).

so stupid. as much as I love the sport, the league office wakes up with mud butt every morning.

Posted by: theraph | October 3, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

OK, 3 offensive (!) and 2 fielding (note NOT "defensive" because if you're getting defensive in a snark fight, you've lost)

Snark Average (SA) -- overall consistent quality. Extra points for developing a persona that enhances the snarks, a la Groucho. Extra points for intricacy, and especially the rare Nested Snark.

Snark for/to Power (SP) -- fearlessness in snarking at powerful people who have it coming. Could be just because they are better snarkers, not just armed and drunk. Context- and target-dependent. Note formula is (quality of snark) times (dangerousness of snarkee).

Speed Snarking (SS) -- the devastating ad-lib snark.

Counter-Snark (CS) -- the return to an incoming snark, serve-and-volley style.

Snarkskin (Sk) -- a thick skin and good balance, not easily provoked.

How's that?


----------
Or, perhaps, skill in fielding snark, as in response to incoming snark.
Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 07:08 AM
---------
So, snark above average, snark to power, speed snarking; we need two more. Somebody help me out here.
Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 2, 2007 08:12 PM

Posted by: c snarky | October 3, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Very good, c (captain?) snarky. Will you now unmask and reveal your true identity? :)

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

My understanding is that all MLB postseason games will be broadcast on Redskins Radio (92.7, 94.3 FM and 730 AM)?

---

I'm on a client site today; I'll catch bits and pieces of the 3:00 game on MLB GameDay.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the differentiation, Sect. 506.

---

No, no, it has nothing to do with GB/A ratings which is the anti-victimization. The point of those is to prove how great we are, not whine about how poorly we've been treated. It's a parade of perhaps irrational smugness, not an emo-party.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, new post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 3, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

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