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Businessman's Special? Go back to work

A few things have been slipping through the cracks while working on the Elijah Dukes story the past couple days. For anyone who missed it, here's the story on the case against Dukes being dismissed.

Putting that aside: The 2008 schedule came out yesterday. Obviously, we knew it before -- we ran a version on the Journal more than a month ago, and had the Sunday night opener locked down last week. But it's nice to have it official.

Some things stand out: No home weekend series against the Mets or the Phillies. Say what you will, but those two teams help with attendance more than almost anyone (other than perhaps the Cubs). And I know Nats fans find it annoying that Mets and Phillies fans fill (or phil) the park, but I always think the Washington fans drown out the other groups.

Here are your home weekend series: April - Braves, Cubs; May - Pirates, Marlins, Brewers; June - Giants, Rangers, Orioles; July - Astros; August - Reds, Rockies, Braves; September - Padres.

Does that seem like a bad draw to you?

The other thing that jumps out about the schedule - and some of you mentioned this yesterday - is that there are no weekday day games, the much-loved "Businessman-or-woman's Special." The reason: Parking. The club is concerned about people getting used to how to best get to games, and with traffic down near the ballpark - there really are a surprising number of offices, etc., down there on M St. SE - they are taking a cautious approach, according to an e-mail Stan Kasten just sent me.

"We love those games," Kasten wrote. "But for '08 we felt it was best to get everyone comfortable with traffic patterns and parking alternatives. Day games bring a whole new set of issues that we felt better avoiding in this first year. And before I forget - GO METRO."

(I suggested perhaps bundling season-ticket packages with a SmarTrip Cards. We'll see how that goes.)

Other stuff: Bill Ladson at mlb.com reported on Mike Rizzo's presence at a workout held by Kris Benson. Lots of scouts there, and Benson is in the process of trying to prove that he's healthy after missing all of 2007. The Nationals are in fact interested in adding another pitcher, and a veteran at that. They continue to maintain interest in Jason Jennings, and will likely flirt with Mark Prior, whose agent believes he will be ready by mid-May because that's what Dr. James Andrews - who has some experience with arm injuries - told him.

Mitchell Report: If there's interest, I'll post a transcript of Kasten's remarks the other day. We incorporated a few in a story the other day, but he had more to say.

More Mitchell Report: Still awaiting any sort of response from Paul Lo Duca or his agent. I have tried to make contact every day since the release of the report, and have not received any word back. Kasten said the club would not advise anyone on how to respond, saying it was a "personal decision."

Dan Steinberg, however, went back and dug up an interesting interview of Lo Duca from WFAN in the days leading up to the report's release. Steinberg's post is worth reading, if you haven't already.

Last thing: Some former Nats are moving around. The Cardinals signed D'Angelo Jimenez. Jamey Carroll was traded from the Rockies to the Indians, which was interesting given the Rockies' loss of Kaz Matsui to free agency. Gary Bennett, one of the few to admit the accusations in the report against him are true, signed with the Dodgers, where he'll get very few at-bats behind Russell Martin but should have a chance to reach the postseason.

That's it for now.

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 19, 2007; 11:28 AM ET
 
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Next: Happy New Year!

Comments

Maybe having the Mets and Phillies only during the week can help boost attendance for those weeknight games. People will be coming out on the weekends regardless of who plays, especially with the new park.

Posted by: Cosmo | December 19, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

exactly what I thought, Cosmo.

Good suggestion about the smartrip card, Barry.

As far as more Mitchell Report coverage? Nah, I'm good. Thanks for asking though.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

We got our partial season ticket plan yesterday. We are a "new" subscriber in that we had a half season plan in 2005, but none in '06 or '07. We got the 20 game plan Section 108. We had requested the third base side as our choices so I think this was within our first or second choice. The interesting thing is my company had been a three season half season plan holder ('05 - '07) always in Section 415. For '08 the company got Section 109 - literally 1 section over and 4 rows closer than what I got on my personal plan (the reason I got a personal plan again is I know my company tickets will be hard to get this year). So basically holding tickets for 3 years got my company really only 1 section closer than coming in for a new plan. I think the biggest problem w/ our company plan had been that Sec. 415 in RFK basically converted those seats to Club Level and full season only. That automatically started pushing the company tickets down the basepath and into Left Field.

Of course now one of the prime reasons we wanted the 3rd base side was to be out of the sun for day games. Great thinking on our part since there are very few day games (and not business specials.).

Live and Learn.

Posted by: HD FAN | December 19, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I did read Steinberg's blog. And I stand by what I said BEFORE the Mitchell Report:
______
I'm okay with LoDuca for a year, but I don't have a great feeling about his character. He comes off as a pushy wise-a** with a big ego and no sense of humor about himself.
Posted by: NatsNut | December 11, 2007 11:17 PM

It's just a hunch, but I don't see him stepping aside and letting Zim, Kearns, or Dmitri keep the clubhouse cool. I see him clanging around, throwing his elbows all over that clubhouse.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Yes, please post the transcript from the Kasten meeting.

I would have liked to see the Mets on the weekend, but the Phillies are not a big deal. I do get tired of playing the Marlins. Couldn't we just have some intramural games with Columbus instead?

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 19, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Anybody else come up with this parking idea...

When the relocation packages were sent out they said that STH would have the opportunity to buy a parking plan. Is it possible to have an adjusted or alternate parking plan. I'm a Full Season Ticket Holder and live in Vienna, but work downtown. During the week my better half and I take Metro to the park, but for Sat., Sun., and holiday games we would love to drive in. Am I the only one who feels like this? Why can't those who live in the 'burbs but work in the city have a modified weekend parking plan.

Posted by: Corey | December 19, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Another member of my Family Picnic team, Alfonso Soriano. Yes, he's the prodigal son who has yet to return and has a real attitude problem disrespecting his roots and all for the glamorous bling of big money....

but don't you still love his smile?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 19, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I did like Soriano until he flipped our section the bird last year. Mabye not a family picnic, but he can come to the grown-up picnic if he brings the beer.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Barry - Have you noticed Ballpark Cam hasn't been updated since 1:30 pm Tuesday? I'm already going through withdrawal!

Posted by: PSK | December 19, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

A very very very very small part of my wants to include Jose Guillen, for the seriously insane uncle that none of the adults can stand because he's kind of pushy, and can be a little mean, and there was that time where he stayed in your house for three weeks and never cleaned up after himself, but the kids all love him because he buys them candy and lets them skip school and tells them inappropriate jokes that they don't get yet.


Okay, maybe actually a big part of me wants to include him.

Posted by: Atlanta | December 19, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Carrying over from the last thread:

Carlos Baerga as a pinch-runner, because it's funny as all get-out to watch him run.

Edit: I'd also invite Jamey Carroll and make it a family reunion. :)

---

Name your "Family Picnic" baseball team.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, "disrepecting his roots"? what did I miss?
**************
Alfonso Soriano. Yes, he's the prodigal son who has yet to return and has a real attitude problem disrespecting his roots and all for the glamorous bling of big money....
but don't you still love his smile?
Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Posted by: CE | December 19, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I believe there MUST be handicapped parking, but nothing has been said about where it is. I am concerned because I attend the games with a friend who has handicapped tags.

Posted by: gilsfan | December 19, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

What's a busissman?

Posted by: proofreading gremlin | December 19, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Yes, please, on the Kasten comments.

Re. the game draws, for some of the teams, I don't have a good feel for how many expatriate fans may live in our area and attend a game featuring their heritage team.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Guessing that it was in reference to leaving Washington for the money and glamorous allure of Chi-town?

---

Sorry, "disrepecting his roots"? what did I miss?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Carlos Baerga as a pinch-runner, because it's funny as all get-out to watch him run."

That's just cruel.

Also unfair. (You left off Daryle Ward, who would have been my choice.)

Posted by: Hendo | December 19, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Does that seem like a bad draw to you?"

Hmmm. Hinky-looking schedule, iffy parking, clubhouse full of dynamite just waiting for a match -- these guys might be one 9-25 start shy of a Perfect [$*!%]Storm.

Posted by: CEvans | December 19, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Except this was his third ML team and he was only here one year. I thought it might be something in the DR, or even Japan (invited and not going? just a guess).

***********
Guessing that it was in reference to leaving Washington for the money and glamorous allure of Chi-town?
---
Sorry, "disrepecting his roots"? what did I miss?
Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 12:46 PM

Posted by: CEv | December 19, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Also Matt LeCroy. :)

---

That's just cruel.

Also unfair. (You left off Daryle Ward, who would have been my choice.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Good points.

---

Except this was his third ML team and he was only here one year. I thought it might be something in the DR, or even Japan (invited and not going? just a guess).

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Switch to the other camera -- the interesting stuff is going on there now anyway.
***********
Barry - Have you noticed Ballpark Cam hasn't been updated since 1:30 pm Tuesday? I'm already going through withdrawal!

Posted by: PSK | December 19, 2007 12:23 PM

Posted by: CE | December 19, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I definitely want Ray King on the softball team, but keep him away from the picnic table buffet!

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | December 19, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, then you've got to get Vinnie.

***************
Also Matt LeCroy. :)
---
That's just cruel.
Also unfair. (You left off Daryle Ward, who would have been my choice.)
Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 12:55 PM

Posted by: CE | December 19, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

And we're still a CF short for the All-Monument team

Posted by: CEvans | December 19, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta makes the persuasive case for Guillen. Also, it adds the drama of wondering if his estranged lover Pedro is going to show up, which every family picnic has.

Sori disrespected DC by flipping the bird to NatsNut's section. Granted, they were booing him, but no family member ever admits partial guilt.

Check on D. Ward and C. Baerga. Also on Matt LeCroy as the black sheep sister's husband who is a nice guy, but just overall irritating to the family.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 19, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

*What* other camera? :-)

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

Switch to the other camera -- the interesting stuff is going on there now anyway.

Posted by: PSK | December 19, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

On the Clark Construction site, there is a press box camera and a center field camera. You can drop down to select on or the other.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

make that "one" or the other

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The other thing about the lack of weekday day games is that I'll miss checking my daughter out of school to take her to a 1:00 p.m. game. What a joy that is (was) for both of us. Not to mention that I can't really take her to weekday night games because they end too late. Essentially -- in our internal draft for tickets -- I'll be competing with my season-ticket colleagues for Sunday day games and the occasional Friday or Saturday night game. I'm not sure I buy the parking explanation, as weekday day games would be perfect opportunities for all of us to get used to taking Metro to the stadium.

Posted by: Sad Arlington Dad | December 19, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Alex Escobar, when injured? (Sorry, Alex.)

---

And we're still a CF short for the All-Monument team

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Corey - I'm with you. I metro during the week day games and drive for the weekend games. I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat. If I recall I believe they asked us these types of questions in the questinaire that they asked STH to complete.

Posted by: Loggie | December 19, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Count me in with the folks who'd like to read the full Kasten transcript.

... of course I coulda said "junkies" instead of "folks," but didn't wanna drag anybody else down to my level... :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | December 19, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

you have to invite fick, just for the comic relief (and to be the token redhead). just keep him off the diamond.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 19, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"just keep him off the diamond."

And away from your kids! How many of our Family Picnic Squad are troublesome uncles that kids love and parents loathe?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 19, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

fick is a problem with kids? i thought he just liked the ladies? or are you saying your "kids" are over 18 and female?

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 19, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

For the record, my section was half and half, booing/cheering Sori. I cheered until we got the finger. AND his gesturing to his crotch was a little bonus.
:)

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Nah, Fick's just got a foul mouth is all.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Re: SmarTrip card: Print these up with player pictures on them, like baseball cards, and they'll become great collectibles. And throw the max. round-trip fare for a trip to the game and back on there.

Posted by: Jason | December 19, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad we've lightened up the blog a little bit with this discussion about the family picnic. Kudos to whomever got it started. I think all the good choices have been taken, but it got me to thinking about this subject. Who are the guys in MLB that you are truly excited to watch play? Guys could be in this category because your respect the way they play, you like their athleticism, or really anything about them that gets you stoked.

My two opening bids are Vladimir Guerrero and Dontrelle Willis. Those two guys express such a passion and joy in the way they play that they remind me of two little leaguers. Vlady's enormous hacks and rifle throws from the outfield display an all-out style that I love. Dontrelle's on the list because he's a throw back. If he were playing in the 1920's he'd get 70 or 80 starts in the OF a season. He's a complete baseball player - pitcher, hitter, and defender - something that one rarely sees anymore.

It's so nice to think happy thoughts about baseball.

Posted by: #4 | December 19, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Joey Eischen, to keep Fick company, and so that if anyone complained about the flavors of popsicles available, he could tell them to just suck on it and like it.

Posted by: joebleux | December 19, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Orlando Hernendez as somebody's ringer friend that everyone wanted to secretly gawk at with that leg thing.

Grampa Frank as the coach. "Grampa Frank keeps pinching my arm and it hurts and he says the weirdest things!" "He's just old, honey, let him be"

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 19, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The weekend schedule does seem like a bad draw to me. Not only are the matchups less than ideal, but in July and September we only get one weekend series, and those are against the Astros and Padres, respectively, not exactly our natural rivals.

Can't have a picnic without Meat and Belly wearing aprons and manning the barbie.

Also, 16-y.o. Jamie Lynn Spears is evidently pregnant, but I understand that Elijah Dukes has a solid alibi (sorry).

Posted by: Bob L. Head | December 19, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"Can't have a picnic without Meat and Belly wearing aprons and manning the barbie."

Done. And Ray King is sitting in a folding chair next to the beer cooler telling stories.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 19, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Not really. He's Uncle Fick to Dmitri's kids and was their nanny at the All-Star game last year.

----

fick is a problem with kids? i thought he just liked the ladies? or are you saying your "kids" are over 18 and female?

Posted by: Fick's mom | December 19, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Credit 506, with an assist from Atlanta, I would think.

---

I'm glad we've lightened up the blog a little bit with this discussion about the family picnic. Kudos to whomever got it started.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Love watching Willis. Wish we could've gotten him for our real team.

---

Dontrelle's on the list because he's a throw back. If he were playing in the 1920's he'd get 70 or 80 starts in the OF a season. He's a complete baseball player - pitcher, hitter, and defender - something that one rarely sees anymore.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Ken Griffey Junior is the one ballplayer I always look forward to seeing. He has such a sweet stroke, but he also always seems to look like he's having fun. He may be like 50 years old now, but he'll always be "the Kid" to me, out there loving the game of baseball.

* * *

Also, the idea about the collectible SmarTrip cards with baseball players on them is absolutely brilliant -- Barry, get Stan on this now!!!

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | December 19, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I also like watching John Smoltz (except when he's pitching against us -- unless our hitters are lighting him up!).

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Like that game where Soriano teed off on him a few times. Smoltz took a deep breath, threw back his head, and rolled his eyes, if I recall correctly. I kinda liked watching that...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps I could give the blessing before we all eat? I have a ritual that I do...

Posted by: Tony Batista | December 19, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman can do magic tricks.

http://www.natsatbat.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/zimmerman.jpg

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 19, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, 506!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Barry, the season ticket info I got indicated that DoD employees would have special parking options near the stadium. Are they going to open up the Navy Yard or DOT parking garage for DoD-stickered cars? This would make my attendance at weekday games so much easier!

Posted by: Section 319 (late of 426) | December 19, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

oooh... you know i was thinking about that game when sori was first mentioned for the picnic. long rain delay, then 3 HRs from sori. crappy night, but man am i glad we waited out the delay (kudos to the cute girls we were watching that distracted us from leaving early).

===

I also like watching John Smoltz (except when he's pitching against us -- unless our hitters are lighting him up!).

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 03:05 PM

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 19, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I second the nomination of Carlos Baerga as pinch runner. We've had an inordinate number of very slow runners (Ward, Lecroy, etc.), but for sheer entertainment value nobody can match Carlos: so much energy expended, so little progress!

Posted by: CapPeterson | December 19, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

they must have been working on the press box camera today. If you look at the centerfield shot about at 2:46, you can see a cherry picker doing something up there.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps they were adding Barry to the Beat Reporter Wall of Fame?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

What's that? They were working on the camera, not the press box. Never mind...

Posted by: Emily Latella | December 19, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

What's that you say? It's Litella? Oh my. I think that I need to have my eyeglass prescription checked. Never mind.

Posted by: Emila | December 19, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Emily, I meant. Never mind. [RF] typos.

Posted by: EL | December 19, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

what happens if Paul Lo Duca gets suspended the first 15-25 game swho do we turn to? P.S. Dukes is the best to ever step on the feild dont hate on him.

Posted by: J-dog | December 19, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, he got treated like the red-headed stepchild often enough in here
; D
*************
you have to invite fick, just for the comic relief (and to be the token redhead). just keep him off the diamond.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 19, 2007 01:52 PM

Posted by: CE | December 19, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"Orlando Hernendez as somebody's ringer friend that everyone wanted to secretly gawk at with that leg thing."

HEY HEY HEY keep it clean there ...

Posted by: E Litella | December 19, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

If you get the special OxBlue PLUS package for the high-res zoom shots, you can see they are installing a chair on the outside of the glass; the plaque in it clearly says "To Barry Svrluga, from SK"

**********
they must have been working on the press box camera today. If you look at the centerfield shot about at 2:46, you can see a cherry picker doing something up there.
Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 04:49 PM

Perhaps they were adding Barry to the Beat Reporter Wall of Fame?
Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 05:22 PM

Posted by: GoogleNats | December 19, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

DTrain and Jr. are on my short list, too, and Vlad isn't a bad pick at all, for sheer fearless abandon alone, but a better pick about 5 years ago.
Zimm makes plays *nobody* else makes at 3rd.


(Don't tell 506 this, but ---
Jimmy Rollins)

Posted by: cevans | December 19, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, they seem to be in the process of laying some sort of cover over the grassed areas of the field. The infield was done a couple of days ago. I am now thoroughly confused. This seems to be backwards.

Maybe they are going to put some kind of herbicide over the dirt area. I've never seen this before. Any ideas??????

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 19, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"(Don't tell 506 this, but ---
Jimmy Rollins)"

Hard to hate that choice. Never mind the numbers, and they're worthy, but the dude brings some joy to his play.

Despite being the enemy (and from Philadelphia yet -- yes, I too am bracing for 506's reaction), he's one of the reasons I enjoyed watching the Philly games at the end of the season.

Posted by: Hendo | December 19, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Catcher 50,

I haven't seen the pictures, but I'm betting those are grass covers. One uses them in the winter to keep up soil temperature and promote grass growth. The covers are translucent, allowing sun light and water in, but also trapping the heat. They work a little like a green house.

Posted by: #4 | December 19, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

ichiro! ichiro! ichiro!

Who are the guys in MLB that you are truly excited to watch play?

Posted by: natty bumppo | December 19, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I especially enjoyed seeing Rollins get caught in Chico's headlights toward at the end of the season:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/media/player/mp_tpl_silverlight.jsp?w_id=602758&w=mms%3A//a1503.v108692.c10869.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1503/10869/v0001/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2007/open/tp/archive09/092907_wasphi_chico_pickoff_tp_350.wmv&pid=mlb_tp&gid=2007/09/29/wasmlb-phimlb-1&mid=200709292239600&cid=mlb&fid=mlb_tp400&v=2&mType=w&urlstr=&mUrl=&type=v_free&_mp=1

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Yikes! What's with the mile-long URL? Sorry. I think it still works though.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The mile-long URL works, NatsNut... and a nice nod to Chico!

Posted by: Hendo | December 19, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

The URL works for me, too, and I like the video. Speaking of long URLs there's a pretty nifty site where one can condense them:

http://tinyurl.com/

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

for instance: http://tinyurl.com/269g93

And if you're using the Firefox browser you can get an add-in that does it with a click.
*************
The URL works for me, too, and I like the video. Speaking of long URLs there's a pretty nifty site where one can condense them:

http://tinyurl.com/

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 09:23 PM

Posted by: cevans | December 19, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks #4.

I've done my time with lawns and abandoned the effort well over a decade ago. Balcony window boxes suit me fine. All of these new fangled inventions simply confuse me.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 19, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, very cool natsfan1a and cevans on the tinyurl.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 19, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Lawns are an exercise in futility, IMO. That's particularly true in places that are naturally desert. I'd like to have a wildflower meadow but our community association would plotz. On a baseball field, though, I like natural turf.

---

I've done my time with lawns and abandoned the effort well over a decade ago.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know about the Firefox add-in so thanks for that, cevans!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 19, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Y/w, NF1a. BTW, some systems do have problems getting tinyurl links, so keep that in mind.

Posted by: ce | December 20, 2007 1:42 AM | Report abuse

i used to love watching tejada, before playing for the orioles drained the life out of him. he was always just having fun. same with cal.

now i love watching zimmerman on the hot corner playing D, whether it's barehanding the bunt to make an out (don't think there's anyone better at that) or that amazing run down the 3rd base line into the OF to make that diving catch (still one of my fave defensive plays ever, and i was there for that one).

despite the fact that he plays for the mets, it always seems like anything can happen when reyes is at the plate or on the bases.

and my one game in the expensive seats, on the aisle about 6 rows behind home plate, i got to watch roy oswalt pitch and i can't believe how much his mid-90s fastball moves. i still have a little video of preston wilson hitting a homer off of lidge from that seat that night, too.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 20, 2007 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the TinyURL site, natsfan1a.

Although when I looked at your posting first, about an hour ago, I said, "that's nice, but... Tin Yurl? What's a Tin Yurl? How am I ever going to remember that?" (Time for coffee, you think?)

Posted by: Hendo | December 20, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

YAHOOOOOO!!!

Marc Fisher:
"Another bit of welcome news: They're making a sign to go above a Ben's Chili Bowl stand. The legendary U Street eatery will have an outpost at the ballpark."

Posted by: NatsNut | December 20, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

For those who routinely pan the Post's ability to write anything positive about the Nationals, the entire Fisher article is actually a quiet acknowledgment of the economic power the team's presence possesses, and the benefits that it's bringing to the local economy, including those segments who need the most help.

It's at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902364.html

Sorry, I guess I could've been trendy and made a Tin Yurl for it.

Posted by: faNATic | December 20, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

WOW!!!!!!!!!!! I was going to light into Jimmy "We're the Team to Beat [In 3-games in the postseason]" Rollins, but Ben's Chili Bowl has me too happy!!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 20, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Only one problem, Marc... how does the stadium provide permanent jobs? Construction and sign-making are temporary. They won't need the same number of employees when they're not building a new stadium.

Maybe they can change the name every year.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 20, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Yessss!

---

Marc Fisher:
"Another bit of welcome news: They're making a sign to go above a Ben's Chili Bowl stand. The legendary U Street eatery will have an outpost at the ballpark."

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I bet Kasten was holding onto the Ben's Chili Bowl nugget for a special announcement. Bummer he got scooped.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 20, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Nah, it wasn't that long of a URL. I haven't heard of a Tin Yurl either but it sounds kinda festive. Maybe it will turn up on the freerice.com vocabulary list at some point...

---

Sorry, I guess I could've been trendy and made a Tin Yurl for it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

506, let's hope Nats Park isn't the last thing that gets built in the District that will need signs. (Judging by the number of holes in the ground around town, I'd say that's a safe bet.)

Posted by: Hendo | December 20, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

BTW, thanks for the heads up on the Fisher article, guys. I hadn't yet seen it. The signs are short term, yes, but learning a more specialized skill could also help those workers for the longer term, no?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

So our new "leader" LoDuca skipped out on his own baseball camp, leaving 25 kids in the lurch:

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/1219loduca.html

And we hired another troubled soul as a coach, Cesar Cedeno, who, among other things, evidently shot his mistress and assaulted the mother of his children:

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/1219loduca.html

Posted by: Bob L. Head | December 20, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Oops, posted the same link twice, the Cedeno story is here:

http://dcbb.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Bob L. Head | December 20, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Just In:
Padres sign Robert Fick to one year deal.

Posted by: swanni | December 20, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Now if we can just get a FIVE GUYS sign in the new ballpark!!
-------------
Marc Fisher:
"Another bit of welcome news: They're making a sign to go above a Ben's Chili Bowl stand. The legendary U Street eatery will have an outpost at the ballpark."

Posted by: e | December 20, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

We're going to need that chili on Opening Night. I'm shivering already.

Posted by: swanni | December 20, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Second that!

---

Now if we can just get a FIVE GUYS sign in the new ballpark!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the cover, Marc!
****
WOW!!!!!!!!!!! I was going to light into Jimmy "We're the Team to Beat [In 3-games in the postseason]" Rollins, but Ben's Chili Bowl has me too happy!!
Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 20, 2007 09:04 AM

Posted by: CE | December 20, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

OMG I'm the Tin Yurl!

Posted by: Dr. Who joke | December 20, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Hasta la vista, Robert.

---

Just In:
Padres sign Robert Fick to one year deal.

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

So our new "leader" LoDuca skipped out on his own baseball camp, leaving 25 kids in the lurch:

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/1219loduca.html

And we hired another troubled soul as a coach, Cesar Cedeno, who, among other things, evidently shot his mistress and assaulted the mother of his children:

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/1219loduca.html

Posted by: class acts | December 20, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

We can still use the [RF] designator, can't we?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

As I recall, Fick needs one more year in the majors to qualify for retirement benefits, so the Padres's signing is great news.

Posted by: Traveler | December 20, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

For the players who are/were fun to watch list, I nominate Craig Biggio. I liked his respect for the game, and for the fans; I liked his all-out style of play; and I liked that he chose to stay with one team despite more lucrative offers from elsewhere.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Good to know. He can still come to our picnic, too.

---

As I recall, Fick needs one more year in the majors to qualify for retirement benefits, so the Padres's signing is great news.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

so starting 12/31, the WaPo will raise it's newsstand price from .35 to .50:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902439.html

I'm a little confused on this part ...

"Over the past six years, The Post, like most U.S. newspapers, has watched its circulation and advertising revenue decline, in part because readers and ad dollars are fleeing ink-on-paper newspapers for other media, principally the Internet."

... so if they're losing readers, why RAISE the price?? I know starting on 1/1 I'll just be reading it online and won't buy it anymore.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Although WashPost is my home page and I get ALL my news online, I'm very worried about the disappearance of print news. I'll probably actually subscribe now.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 20, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Newspapers are killing themselves, it's really such a shame.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 20, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Is there a URL for the Fick signing? I haven't been able to turn anything up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Do you buy at the newsstand now? Just curious, because the story says that the rate won't change for subscribers (which I am).

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Meant to quote this in my last posting.

---

... so if they're losing readers, why RAISE the price?? I know starting on 1/1 I'll just be reading it online and won't buy it anymore.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

not just newspapers. the news industry is killing itself. the race to online media has extreme ramifications in the archives world. more importantly, organization history/legacy. i can talk about this forever, so i wont.

Posted by: theraph | December 20, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

So I'm not the only one who didn't know what a Tin Yurl was, huh? Cool! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | December 20, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

For Theraph & others. We've discussed this as a sidebar on a number of occasions. I agree that it is a serious problem for archives and, after 50 years (to quote an old professor of mine, if it's less than 50 years old, it isn't history, it's news) for historians.

One of the reasons that we have trouble re-creating historical events is that the further you go back, the less written documentation exists. Currently, SABR has a project to, essentially, re-create scorecards for every MLB game played. For many of the games in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there are only newspaper accounts, which makes stats from those eras less than entirely valid.

Of course, to add to the difficulty that will be facing future historians is the question of long term lifespan of magnetic media. There is serious question about whether DVDs / CDs, etc. have a lifespan more than a decade or so. We know that magnetic tape has a very short lifespan.

Good, bad or indifferent, the dead trees edition of a newspaper is important.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 20, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Fick signed a minor league contract with the Padres. He's going to have to perform on the field and not like last year just in the clubhouse if he wants to see that pension.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20071220-9999-1s20padres.html

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 20, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I pretty sure a player qualifies for a pension after 3 or 4 years on a big league active roster. Fick's been in the big leagues for parts of 10 seasons. He must have qualified by now. Is he close to a significant bump up in benefits? This angle makes no sense to me, but I could be wrong.

Posted by: #4 | December 20, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

#4, looks like I am repeating rumor and innuendo - I recall something like this from last summer, but now I concede that I have no way to remember where I came up with this factoid.

Re having Fick at the picnic - I wonder if he knows that he will be forever remembered by us for being the source of [RF] - sort of like being Mr. Blanket, Mr. Crapper, or Officier Chauvin, no?

Posted by: Traveler | December 20, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What, Denny McLain wasn't available?

Oh.
Not even for work release?

Bobby Valentine, then?
***********
and we hired another troubled soul as a coach, Cesar Cedeno, who, among other things, evidently shot his mistress and assaulted the mother of his children
Posted by: class acts | December 20, 2007 10:11 AM

Posted by: no shortage of candidates | December 20, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the newsreels at the moving pictures are going to be the end of print news.
No, Radio -- up to the minute, right in the home, for free! -- not even daily papers can compete with that.
TV News - with pictures! right in the home!
Free! in color someday soon.
Phones! with RSS feeds and interactivity! Anywhere!
Neural Implants! you don't even need to listen!
*********
It's not just newspapers. the news industry is killing itself. the race to online media has extreme ramifications in the archives world. more importantly, organization history/legacy. i can talk about this forever, so i won't.

Posted by: theraph | December 20, 2007 10:53 AM

Posted by: The sky isn't falling, that's just weather changing | December 20, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Traveler,

A little more research has uncovered that a player maximizes his benefits at 10 years of service. My guess is that Fick is very close to that landmark given that he's played in the big leagues for all or parts of 10 seasons. It's a big deal to max out, so that's probably what you heard.

Posted by: #4 | December 20, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

There is a 10 year vesting stage for the pension. I'm not exactly sure what the difference is, but it is significant.

Getting back to the Mitchell report, there is a very interesting item that has just come out. Of the 90 or so individuals that have been pretty well documented as having participated in the steroids episode, 11 of them are either sons, grandsons or both of former major leaguers. I'm not sure what to make of it, but it does bear thinking about.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 20, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

#4, That makes a lot of sense, thanks for checking into it!

Posted by: Traveler | December 20, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

That's a great project, catcher. Speaking of SABR, the local (Bob Davids) chapter will be having their day-long annual meeting on January 26. I've just received an email with the details, but it doesn't seem to be on the chapter site yet:

http://www.sabrdc.org/

---

Currently, SABR has a project to, essentially, re-create scorecards for every MLB game played. For many of the games in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there are only newspaper accounts, which makes stats from those eras

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, guys, for the Fick and pension info and link.

Interesting point about whether Fick is aware of his NJ legacy, theraph. :)

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

chicken little,

i do not recall mentioning the ashen horse.

accuracy and availability of organizational (in this case, news) history is something that should not be cast aside as a change in the times. regardless of new innovations, the problem persists.

Posted by: theraph | December 20, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

So that would be apocalypse, not now? :)
I agree re. the importance of archives.

---

chicken little,

i do not recall mentioning the ashen horse.

accuracy and availability of organizational (in this case, news) history is something that should not be cast aside as a change in the times. regardless of new innovations, the problem persists.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Theraph,

You are right about changes in the view of events. Which is why good old Dean Kaiser told us about the 50 year limit on "history". By the way, he did a better Teddy R. than the slow poke in the Prexy races...but then, he actually knew Roosevelt I.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 20, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

What's with the tarp on the field? Won't that kill the grass?

Posted by: What's with the tarp on the field? | December 20, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

History is bunk.

Posted by: Henry Ford | December 20, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Catcher 50,

I haven't seen the pictures, but I'm betting those are grass covers. One uses them in the winter to keep up soil temperature and promote grass growth. The covers are translucent, allowing sun light and water in, but also trapping the heat. They work a little like a green house.

Posted by: #4 | December 19, 2007 07:53 PM

Posted by: Look up there! | December 20, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Just to get back to the eponymous topic of this thread for a minute, can't the home team change the start time of games under some circumstances? If the to-and-from works out better than it looks from here, maybe they could slip a few in later in the year? Just a thought.

Posted by: cevans | December 20, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Tsiftjwc: Internet publishing is a much different threat to dead-tree media than radio and TV were --
it can exactly duplicate what's on the printed page, which radio and TV couldn't.

I don't see how daily print newspapers are going to survive in the long run. Corporations only put up with money losing ventures for so long.

Posted by: joebleux | December 20, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

(Take that, Henry Ford!)

Posted by: George Santayana | December 20, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but only if Fox tells them to. :)

---

Just to get back to the eponymous topic of this thread for a minute, can't the home team change the start time of games under some circumstances? If the to-and-from works out better than it looks from here, maybe they could slip a few in later in the year? Just a thought.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Or if 7-Eleven throws enough money at them to bump the common start time one more minute.

Posted by: joebleux | December 20, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I think that newspapers are killing themselves because they keep trying to compete with the internet instead of trying to do what they do well... longer, more reasoned, more in depth reporting. Instead they keep trying to be as flashy and current as the internet, which they can never do.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 20, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Excellent point, Sect. 506.

---

I think that newspapers are killing themselves because they keep trying to compete with the internet instead of trying to do what they do well... longer, more reasoned, more in depth reporting. Instead they keep trying to be as flashy and current as the internet, which they can never do.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

And, in fact, a point that might lead one to the conclusion that what newspapers should do is to raise prices and produce a higher quality product. Just an idea.

---

Excellent point, Sect. 506.

---

I think that newspapers are killing themselves because they keep trying to compete with the internet instead of trying to do what they do well... longer, more reasoned, more in depth reporting. Instead they keep trying to be as flashy and current as the internet, which they can never do.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | December 20, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Do you see a higher quality project coming or more graphics?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 20, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, Catcher50, the point about players in the Mitchell report being sons and/or grandsons of prior major leaguers is interesting only if that percentage is materially higher than the percentage of all MLB players that are related to former players. Did you see any indication of that anywhere?

Another caveat is that the Mitchell report only nailed guys with connections to three specific steriod sources -- there are probably many more sources and, therefore, many more players that used. So who knows whether the relevant percentage would hold up if we had all of the facts.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | December 20, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

506, I would just be guessing. One can only hope, but there are not many reasons for optimism as papers continue to chase USA Today and the internet.

In other news, Papelbon's dog ate his World Series ball!

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3163105

Posted by: Bob L. Head | December 20, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

as far as the mitchell report and sons/grandsons of former players, the other issue is the small sample size. unless there's some other corroborating evidence that shows that it's significant, it's probably just a statistical anomaly.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 20, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of dead trees, I note we seem to have a new "Yule Dawg" picture.

Posted by: Wee fish, ewe, a mare, egrets, moose. | December 20, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Shades of The Sandlot. Perhaps it was The Beast, not Boss, who ate the ball? :)

---

In other news, Papelbon's dog ate his World Series ball!

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3163105

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Interesting piece on the steroid era by Doug Glanville.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3162061

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Who did this? Wigi? natsfan1a?

Very cute. It took me a minute...
_________
Posted by: Wee fish, ewe, a mare, egrets, moose. | December 20, 2007 04:22 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 20, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Not I. It *was* cute and it took me a few minutes, too!

---

Who did this? Wigi? natsfan1a?

Very cute. It took me a minute...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 20, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

bearer of bad news - Grimsley's affidavit has been unsealed. 3 new names beyond Mitchell. Essentially is an independent source of information that confirms much of mitchell, although Pettite, Roger and a couple of other names that Grimsley reportedly had named are not on the actual affidavit. A link to ESPN (no tiny url):
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3163889

Posted by: jon | December 20, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

And a hippo gnu year!
; )

Posted by: Nun of the Above | December 21, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

But Juan-John should know

Posted by: Anonymous | December 21, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Cute, Juan-John!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Re. the steroids issue, no doubt plenty of other shoes are waiting to drop. I recommend the Glanville piece (link posted earlier) for those who may be feeling cynical about players in general. It was a breath of fresh air, IMO.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 6:52 AM | Report abuse

thanks for glanville link. well said.

Posted by: longterm | December 21, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree on the Glanville piece... well worth the read for its sense of perspective.

Posted by: faNATic | December 21, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, natsfan1a, thanks for the Glanville link. The piece isn't a mindless one-time read, and wastes no time on crocodile tears.

It is refreshing that Glanville does not sacrifice thoughtfulness for glibness. I wish we could hear more perspectives from guys like him.

Posted by: Hendo | December 21, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it would be interesting to hear more such perspectives, Hendo.

Speaking of which, here's an interesting tidbit on Brian Schneider from the Mets site:

The physical skills and baseball acumen of the Mets' new catcher will be on display come mid-February in Port St. Lucie and in April in Queens. His conscience was evident Thursday afternoon when he made his first public appearance as a Met at the SNY studios in Manhattan. One week after the release of the Mitchell Report, Schneider released his thoughts on the topic.
"They're grown men. They have to deal with the consequences," Schneider said of those mentioned in the report, including his Mets predecessor, Paul Lo Duca. "I think it was good that it came out, and I think it will help the numbers [of users] go down. Senator Mitchell even said that the numbers are going down. So I think it's getting better."

Full story here via link below. Gee I miss Brian...

http://tinyurl.com/26sh7y

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Why the players are more apt to do something to fix the PED problem than the owners are:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/idiology/

Posted by: Hendo | December 21, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Likewise, NF1a, thanks for the link to Glanville's essay. His points aren't new ones, but his standing and credibility to make them, adds a lot.

Of course, it helps when you are agreeing with Crash Davis.

"Artificial enhancement is every bit as much about fear, as it is about wanting to be the best every day, every year."
IOW, "This is a game of fear and arrogance."

Posted by: CE | December 21, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The Mets had misgivings about Lo Duca as a handler of pitchers and about his pitch-calling almost immediately in 2006. They acknowledge Schneider is not comparable offensively to Lo Duca, although during the last two seasons -- when Lo Duca was part of the Mets higher-powered offense and Schneider played with the Nationals, a weak offensive team -- Schneider averaged slightly more RBIs per 100 at-bats than Lo Duca.

Posted by: From the Mets Web Site | December 21, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Great links Natsfan1a and Hendo.

I'm still of the belief that the players need to police themselves. Whether it's formal or informal, they need to create a culture where it's shameful within the fraternity to use PEDs. There are all sorts of "unwritten rules" that MLB players have amongst themselves. A ban on PEDs needs to be at the top of the list.

Glanville makes some great points about being non-judgmental and having a clean conscience. He's an impressive guy. I find myself though thinking about how these two articles go together. I wonder what would have happened if a smart upstanding guy like Doug Glanville had taken some leadership on the issue either publicly or behind the scenes. Could he have made a difference? What was needed was a courageous Curt Flood type character who would have been willing to be blackballed for the good of the sport. That's a tall order indeed.

Posted by: #4 | December 21, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Whose idia was that headline?

Of course, it would help if I didn't have to get to paragraph 15 before I found out whether he meant "idology" or "ideology" in the header and URL.

******
Why the players are more apt to do something to fix the PED problem than the owners are:
www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/idiology/
Posted by: Hendo | December 21, 2007 10:35 AM

Posted by: CE | December 21, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Actually I inferred a sidewise reference to "idiocy."

Posted by: Hendo | December 21, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Not my sport, but I understand golfers have a reputation for strictly enforcing their own rules -- whether it's more PR than fact, I can't say, but assuming it is, how did that come about, and how do they maintain it?

Of course, the circumstances are very different for the athletes, but on some level, a locker room is a locker room.
********
Whether it's formal or informal, they need to create a culture where it's shameful within the fraternity to use PEDs.
Posted by: #4 | December 21, 2007 10:56 AM

Posted by: CE | December 21, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

And that's another reason why the poetry in here is such high level. Good one.
*******
Actually I inferred a sidewise reference to "idiocy."
Posted by: Hendo | December 21, 2007 11:05 AM

Posted by: CE | December 21, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

make that, "assuming it is MORE FACT THAN PR"

Posted by: Anonymous | December 21, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Whew. That was close.

********
Whether it's formal or informal, they need to create a culture where it's shameful within the fraternity to use PEDs.
Posted by: #4 | December 21, 2007 10:56 AM

Posted by: Marion Jones | December 21, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what you meant Marion, but one only need to read the Post today to see how futile formal testing regimens will be in the future in all sports. Catching people doing HGH is going to be almost impossible.

Posted by: #4 | December 21, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh... maybe you were responding to the "fraternity" part. We are talking about baseball after all. No women in MLB... yet.

Posted by: #4 | December 21, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

We will get a woman in the MLB!

As I'm sitting here at school( I have just finished a history project) I am so happy that there will not be any more day weekday games! Because it is very frustrating when I'm in math class doing algebra and my math teacher has the radio on to classical music. As i politly ask if we could change the channel and listen to the National game. She says no get back to your work!

I don't want to go throught that again.

Posted by: BDS4234 | December 21, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

altho you may not know it, many womens' organizations in colleges that people think of as sororities are actually fraternities.

and i'm thinking the 'marion jones' post was more about the concept that 'guilt from your peers' and 'shame' if you are caught would be an effective deterrent.

not a chance. the only people who could be shamed or guilted out of doing something like this are the ones who weren't likely to do it to begin with.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 21, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

You know who can really kill PEDs? Fans. Just stop cheering for anyone who took them. No need to boo, just give a golf clap at most for them. Player egos and owner paranoia about making money will make PEDs off-limits.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 21, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I have no issues with women in MLB, BDS, but please do be a little more gentle with the bangers.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 21, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

i'm not sure that will do anything, either, as long as it means you have to buy a ticket to go to the stadium and golf clap them. owners may be paranoid about making money, but if you pay them for the privilege of golf clapping, the money has been made.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 21, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

She must be a Phillies fan.

---

As i politly ask if we could change the channel and listen to the National game. She says no get back to your work!

Posted by: whatsamattau? | December 21, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

That's nothing -- I have an aunt who can dispense exclamation points with the best of them!!!!!

---

I have no issues with women in MLB, BDS, but please do be a little more gentle with the bangers.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

To respond, albeit late, to an earlier response to the note about the number of children/grandchildren of MLB players in the pool of accused/caught PED users: Yes, the percentage is much higher for users than among the general population (i.e. a higher percentage of descendants of MLB Players have been caught than there are descendants of MLB players in the general MLB population). I do agree that the sample is too small to make a true statistical judgment but I'm not sure that it will ever get big enough. Ya work wit what ya got.

Also, the HGH report in todays WaPo is really disturbing, in that it, effectively, says that if a player is smart enough and covers his tracks well enough (don't write a $2,400 check to the team's trainer, dummy!), he/she won't be caught. In fact it calls the whole drug testing concept into question. How are we to know if Floyd Landis' competition used HGH?

At this point, I really have no idea of how to feel about this situation. Maybe that is the way most will react. Until and unless there is a foolproof way to do drug testing with severe penalties, I'm afraid that many will simply be ambivalent to the whole problem.

BTW, if a golfer who has the "yips" on the putting green takes a mild dose of Valium to calm him down, is that a PED?

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 21, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"You know who can really kill PEDs? Fans. Just stop cheering for anyone who took them. No need to boo, just give a golf clap at most for them. Player egos and owner paranoia about making money will make PEDs off-limits."

Yeah, 506, but the issue there is that only the players know who's taking them.

Posted by: #4 | December 21, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

!zoom

Posted by: Charlie Slowes | December 21, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

How about if he takes a drink?
********
BTW, if a golfer who has the "yips" on the putting green takes a mild dose of Valium to calm him down, is that a PED?
Posted by: Catcher50 | December 21, 2007 01:07 PM

Posted by: CE | December 21, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Works for me!
*******
How about if he takes a drink?
********
BTW, if a golfer who has the "yips" on the putting green takes a mild dose of Valium to calm him down, is that a PED?
Posted by: Catcher50 | December 21, 2007 01:07 PM

Posted by: John Daly | December 21, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

hee hee, except that I got all excited when I saw his name and thought that it was about a new contract...

---

!zoom
Charlie Slowes

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Why haven't I been signed?

Posted by: Charlie Slowes | December 21, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Where did I go?

Posted by: EVERYONE | December 21, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

since some of you will be heading out and maybe not checking here over the next week (and maybe i've already missed a few), enjoy the time off and celebrating any holiday you might be celebrating this time of year (he says politically correctly). despite any mildly heated discussions, i'm glad i found my way here to a fairly reasonable group of people.

here's to hoping we find happy nats news in the new year.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 21, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I echo the sentiments and salutations of 231!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Where was I going?

---

Where did I go?

Posted by: EVERYONE |

Posted by: Nook Logan | December 21, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

A hopeful thought: Tonight is the longest night of the year. Each of the next 54 between now and pitchers and catchers will only be getting shorter.

I'll be heading to Ohio tomorrow to see my Dad, but will be checking in here now and again.

Thanks to all for your fellowship on NJ. May everyone's holidays be bright.

Posted by: Hendo | December 21, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Ha! LOL! I'd LOVE to take credit for that, but unfortunately it ain't me, sorry.

The only one I know is "Hippo Birdie Two Ewes."

But it's a great segue for me to wish one and all on this awesome blog a Very Merry ChrisKwanzNukkah and Best Wishes for the Coming Year!!

Juan-John :-)

------------------------
"Who did this? Wigi? natsfan1a?

Very cute. It took me a minute...
_________
Posted by: Wee fish, ewe, a mare, egrets, moose. | December 20, 2007 04:22 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 20, 2007 08:25 PM

-----------


But Juan-John should know

Posted by: | December 21, 2007 12:38 AM

Cute, Juan-John!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 06:49 AM

Posted by: Juan-John | December 21, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd forgotten about the solstice. Thanks, Hendo. Have a good, safe trip to Ohio.

---

A hopeful thought: Tonight is the longest night of the year. Each of the next 54 between now and pitchers and catchers will only be getting shorter.

I'll be heading to Ohio tomorrow to see my Dad, but will be checking in here now and again.

Thanks to all for your fellowship on NJ. May everyone's holidays be bright.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Also Festivus. :-)

---

But it's a great segue for me to wish one and all on this awesome blog a Very Merry ChrisKwanzNukkah and Best Wishes for the Coming Year!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 21, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Hendo wrote:

"A hopeful thought: Tonight is the longest night of the year. Each of the next 54 between now and pitchers and catchers will only be getting shorter."

My that is hopeful... it is the talk of the town here... not the pitchers and catchers, but the fact that they days are getting longer from here on in...

Not a moment too soon...

As far as pitchers and catchers? Not a moment too soon...

As far as opening day? Not a moment too soon...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 21, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

It's the thought that counts, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 21, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, ...

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 21, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Which is why I thought you'd know that one, J-J. Live & Learn.
Eid Mubarak, all, while we're at it.

***************
Ha! LOL! I'd LOVE to take credit for that, but unfortunately it ain't me, sorry.

The only one I know is "Hippo Birdie Two Ewes."

But it's a great segue for me to wish one and all on this awesome blog a Very Merry ChrisKwanzNukkah and Best Wishes for the Coming Year!!

Juan-John :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | December 21, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

i wish this was us and not the sox. seems like a good move at that price, wonder if
we were in on it at all. especially with a hole at 2B in 09 and beyond.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/12/white-sox-sign.html

==
The White Sox made an interesting move today, signing Cuban defector Alexei Ramirez to a four-year contract. Ramirez probably profiles as Chicago's center fielder, though he could also play second base.

Ramirez gets a mere $4.75MM over the four-year pact. That's an excellent move right there, in my opinion. Dirt cheap - low risk, decent reward.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 22, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I know this is off topic but my season ticket group has some room in it and we are looking to fill in some holes. We currently have four seats in Section 131 Row J seats 1-4. If we do not get enough extra people to join we will have to give up two of the four seats (and the deposit on those two seats as well). If you are looking for good seats for next year and a congenial ownership group let me know at JMastrosim@aol.com. We usually divy up the tickets in five game blocks for two or four seats.

We have to let the Nats know about the other two seats by January 14 so if you are interested or know others please let me know ASAP.

GO NATS!!!

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | December 22, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

should we be looking at signing josh towers as a back of the rotation guy? look at this analysis comparing towers and silva. silva cost over $10m/yr, towers would come very cheap.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 23, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Let's dump Dukes. Wilkerson is a free agent this year and hasn't signed with anyone.

Posted by: 6th and D | December 24, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Getting Wilkerson as a free agent would be silly. He has fallen off terribly since the trade.

As for pitchers, I wish that the Nats would just go and sign whomever they think is best among available pitchers, rather than wait to see who could be picked up as a bargain. A number of pitchers have been snagged in the meantime.

Posted by: Two more months | December 24, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas from me and Elijah:

http://tinyurl.com/2g5h6f

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | December 24, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Now *that's* showing some holiday spirit and class (not).

Posted by: Anonymous | December 24, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Planet NJ! Best wishes to you and yours.

Posted by: Atlanta | December 24, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

HO HO HO...Merry Christmas to one and all, and especially Planet NJ. See you in Viera.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 25, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the holiday well wishes, and back at you!

My hubby (AKA natsfan1c) has raised the possibility of a spring training trip this year, so I may just see some of you there...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 25, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Happy Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

Posted by: EggNog L. Head | December 25, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I like it... Nogglehead.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 25, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Second the Nogglehead moniker approval motion. All in favor say "ahhhh."

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 26, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Good column on ballpark construction supervisor this morning.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 26, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

SC Nats Fan, got a link for that column?

And a big "ahhhh" to the Nogglehead idea. It's too good of a nickname not to come up with some great ballgame-related definition.

If we were to forgo its otherwise holiday-related nature (which I'm reluctant to do), my definition might be potentially along the lines of, "taking steroids surely turns you into a real Nogglehead."

Posted by: faNATic | December 26, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Here's the link to the ballpark story.

http://tinyurl.com/2h4lkt

Posted by: NatsNut | December 26, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Ahh, nothing like a Tin Yurl to add festive holiday cheer. 8^D

Nice story indeed... and on the front page of the $.35 edition, no less.

Posted by: Hendo | December 26, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Tin Yurl, NatsNut. I was pleased to see that the article was on A1 of the dead-tree edition, no less.

I thought it was a pretty nice behind-the-scenes look at the guy getting it done for us. And besides, now we all know whose head to call for if there's any bubbles in the wallpaper the night of the exhibition game or thereafter.

Posted by: faNATic | December 26, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Nice article, and nice placement as others have noted. Thanks for the heads up, sc!

FaNATic, your Nogglehead definition sounds good!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 26, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Also, all apologies to Hendo for essentially writing the exact same comment as he. I refresh every once in a while at work to see the new comments, and then post when I feel inspired.

The scary part is that upon further review, our content and grammatical structure is nearly identical (e.g., the "Tin Yurl" reference and the appending of "no less" to the article placement note referring to some version of the physical edition of the Washington Post). Essentially, this likely means that I've probably read and appreciated far too much of Hendo's commentary to date.

That being the case, however, I see no reason for either of us to stop!

Posted by: faNATic | December 26, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Great minds think alike, faNATic!

Posted by: Hendo | December 26, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

On a more baseball-related note, the Nationals have been excused another reclamation project (although one that I was optimistically hoping we could attempt). According to ESPN, Mark Prior has agreed to terms with the Padres. San Diego is his hometown, so it makes sense.

Also, makes the Padres' pitching lineup pretty formidable, since it already has Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Greg Maddux, and Randy Wolf. Certainly, the first two are as a good a 1-2 punch as you can find at this point, with Maddux providing the requisite grizzled veteran and Randy Wolf, acquired from the Dodgers as another injury-related reclamation project.

Posted by: faNATic | December 26, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Sad news, faNATic, at least to me. I also was hoping we would take a chance on Prior. Alas. Maybe Livo?

Posted by: Atlanta | December 26, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm also bummed about Prior. Something tells me that he is going to return to form, and he's young, so a few years from now we will be regretting not going after him harder. What's next? We're still linked to Benson, right?

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | December 26, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad they didn't go for Prior. They didn't need another oft injured project a la Patterson. They should spend their money on an innings eater.

Posted by: #4 | December 26, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

It's a well-recycled joke, but if Livo's on your mind, #4, he's eaten a whole lot more than just a few innings.

I think from a risk/reward perspective, Prior would have been in the acceptable range. His upside is better than Patterson, and his recovery seems more encouraging at this point. Since that ship has sailed, however, I absolutely agree that there should be no more crying over spilled milk. If I could have thought of another pertinent yet terrible metaphor to throw in that sentence, I probably would have.

I guess it comes down to what standards you'd like to set for your innings eater. If you want someone to just throw the ball in the general direction of the plate for 200 innings, then you could sign me up. If you'd like to not have a guaranteed loss in those 35 games or so, then you need to have a window of acceptable performance that you're looking for. My fear is that Livo has started to enter that phase of his career where he's leaving the window of palatability.

That ERA is rising, no matter how much he's fighting to stay in every game. The last 5 years: 2003 - 3.20; 2004 - 3.60; 2005 - 3.98; 2006 (WAS/ARI split) - 4.83; 2007 - 4.93.

Just a couple thoughts by way of comparison: Matt Chico's ERA last year was 4.64, while striking out 5.07 (Livo struck out 3.96) batters per 9 innings. Additionally, Matt Chico is eight and a half years younger than Livo. Given that Chico currently pencils in as probably our fifth starter, I'm not sure that the acquisition of a Livo-esque type (whether him or someone like him) pitcher would meaningfully benefit the club. Those extra 40 innings more than Chico that Livo pitched (in which he yielded about 22 more runs spread over the course of the year) may not be especially meaningful, considering that those 40 innings would likely be spread over at least 4-7 relievers here in Washington... meaning only an increase of 5-10 innings over the course of the entire year for each of those relievers. Not an especially mind-boggling number, in my humble opinion.

Posted by: faNATic | December 26, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Just to stir up the Boxing Day Planet NJ world, I am curious what people would think if the Nats made no more major moves to get pitching (other than to sign free agents they already had last year), and then reduced their DL time by 20 percent? That would imply that JP would be back and more or less at form...

(I really think that the Nats starting pitching isn't too bad, if it is healthy... that's all I'm sayin'... and with that in mind, signing a free agent but having the same level of injuries isn't really all that much better...)

Posted by: Wigi | December 26, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Wigi. Much as one might have admired the doughty efforts of the Nats' unsung hurlers in 2007, the difference with a healthy JP would have been considerably more than chump change.

Give Patterson 20 decisions and assume he goes 13-7 instead of the actual 1-5 he posted; while we're at it, let's take four of Jerome Williams' decisions away to make him 0-1 instead of 0-5, and let Mike Bacsik's record be 1-2 instead of 5-8.

In that (arguably best-case) scenario, those three pitchers' combined records go from 6-18 to 14-10. All else being equal, the Nats finish at .500.

The only thing any of that proves to me, besides that we want JP (and everybody else) healthy all season, is that we got darn lucky with the pitching in '07. I wouldn't expect it two seasons in a row.

Posted by: Hendo | December 26, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

i'll agree that, if healthy, the nats rotation isn't bad. it's not championship quality, but significantly better than last year (which surprised by not being horrid as so many expected).

while i like livo and what he meant to this team in 05 and part of 06, you have to realize that signing him won't get us what he gave us then. he's not the same pitcher. i'd rather see money spent on a younger innings eater who could bounce back to pitch better than recently. prior would have fit that mold (with a higher risk and reward). from what's still out there, not sure what there is worthwhile.

josh towers isn't terrible, but has been hurt the last two years. but maybe he could bounce back to 05 form pitching in the NL.

lohse? not worth what he'd cost.

colon? big risk, considering what he'd cost, and who knows if he'd even consider DC.

fogg? he's an innings eater, at best. in 6 years as a starter, he's had an era under 5 in just 3 (and last year was borderline, at 4.94). but he'll make 30 starts and avg 5 1/3 innings. of course, we have an abundance of young guys who could do that.

affeldt? not really a starter any more.

jeff weaver? ugh.

jennings? i think he's worth a shot, depending on what the base salary would be. if it's a reasonable base with lots of incentives, i like him.

BH Kim? blech.

did i miss anyone worth not missing?

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 26, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

hendo, i think you left off a full season of a healthy sean hill. double his stats, if he's healthy and you see this line.

32 starts, 8-10 record, 3.42 era, 130k, 50bb, just shy of 200 innings.

while that's not amazing, it's definitely a decent #3. and he might see more wins with the rest of those numbers on a team that could score more than 4.15 runs per game.

as much as pitching is an issue, we have to get the runs per game up in the vicinity of middle of the pack in the NL before we can expect wins.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 26, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess the point to be made is that this team desperately needs someone who can go to the post 30 or 35 times and average 6 or 7 innings a start. It would be great to have someone whose ERA is 3.00, but I don't see a lot of those available. I'd take a Steve Trachsel 4.50 ERA type. I say this less because of the rotation and more because they cannot burn out the bullpen for the fourth year in a row. This type of guy would also take some pressure off the younger starting pitchers. So to answer the question I would be disappointed if they didn't make one more significant acquisition. If they don't I worry about the long term health of their bullpen arms.

Posted by: #4 | December 26, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

i'll agree that we need that guy, #4. but i don't see livo being that guy any more. he's a 5+ era guy at this point, imo.

now, if he was really seen as a clubhouse leader who could teach young pitchers, i'd be all for it. but i've never seen anything about him that says that. only some negative things about his clubhouse presence in 06 and comments about how the absence of a number of players from the 06 team really changed the clubhouse atmosphere in 07 (with the intimation that he was one of those guys).

side note, saw this in jim callis from baseball america's chat on ESPN.

===
jim nyc: milledge or ellsbury?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Milledge has a higher ceiling but I'll take the more dependable Ellsbury.
===

nice to see that there are "experts" (for whatever that word is worth, but callis has a good rep) who still think milledge's ceiling is high. let's hope he can realize it.

and in response to "nats in his top 50"...

Marrero is No. 35 on my Top 50, and Detwiler is No. 45.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 26, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

231,

I agree that Livo's not the guy. Looking at your earlier list, I'd go with Fogg or Jennings. The number attribute they should be searching for is durability, not high performance.

Posted by: #4 | December 26, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

jennings is the guy i'd want. he actually has upside.

i think durability and innings eater is important, and i wouldn't expect high performance from anyone on that list (with the possible exception of jennings returning to form, and, if he was still available, the same from prior), but i think we want to avoid someone who's upside is a 5.00 ERA. we have enough guys who can do that. hopefully they won't all get injured.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 26, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed the metaphors that you *did* use, faNATic (you got in just about everything but the kitchen sink, I believe). :-)

On another note, it's nice to see everybody back after a quiet holiday interlude!

---

Since that ship has sailed, however, I absolutely agree that there should be no more crying over spilled milk. If I could have thought of another pertinent yet terrible metaphor to throw in that sentence, I probably would have.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 26, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

To answer my own question... I don't think you need to be much better than we already are to get to the playoffs. In terms of pitching, we need what we got in June of 2005... get the starter to get to the end of the 6th inning with a lead. Of course, that's asking a lot of almost every staff, but, if you assume reasonably healthy starters, I would take my chances for getting six innings out of Patterson, Hill and Bergmann... Probably Chico, too, with our improved hitting.

What would the Nats record be if they went into the seventh of most games with a lead and Ayala pitching?

On a related topic, what's up with Kris Benson?

Posted by: Wigi | December 26, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm for JimBow to keep pursuing Jason Jennings, should the price be Prior like. The run scoring should improve this season with the shorter fences and the additions to the lineup. Of course, the Nats ERA will grow as well. The question is, which will grow the most. Hopefully that will fall into the run production category. We need the starters to average an inning longer at least this year so that the bullpen won't be overtaxed again. I also fear those long fly balls surrendered by C.C. will sail into the cherry blossoms far more frequently than they did the opposing bullpen at RFK. My wish list this season is that J.P. finally have a healthy season, N.J. return to form and that Dukes and Milledge enhance the reputation of JimBow. GO NATS...GET HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 26, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Barry -

Another reason to really not like this Dukes kid: every day for the past week or so I go to the Nats page and instead of some great story about what's going on with the club, I see his pic with the lead "Changes Dismissed" - really gets me fired up for the coming season.

Merry, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year but please, please give me something else to think about with this club.

Posted by: Please give us something else... | December 26, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Likewise.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

So I was looking through the archives at Steinberg's bog and noticed that the President's Race had won best contest or on-field promotion for 2007. See Tin Yurl below. Yay, team!!

http://tinyurl.com/yqjua7

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Make that "Presidents Race."

Posted by: Apostrophe abuse squad | December 27, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Barry....Barry....we are floundering...return to us soooooooon.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 27, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm betting that Barry will return after New Year's Day. But I think that we're doing okay all things considered.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Interesting piece on the demand for rehabbing pitchers:

http://tinyurl.com/3bxxzt

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

from that article, looks like i missed clement in my list.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 27, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Take a look at the stadium cam, camera II. Look for the 12/27/07, 11:18 AM picture. There is a goose flying past the middle flag pole.
Pretty cool shot if you zoom in.

Posted by: ChrisC | December 27, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

ChrisC:

Not a goose, but a gull... but you're right... a very cool picture. You never would have expected to get a pic like that...

Posted by: Wigi | December 27, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

ChrisC - Very cool, thanks for sharing! I wonder if we will have the errant goose on the field from time to time during the games.

Posted by: Traveler | December 27, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is a commentary on the offseason...

We all sit here, waiting for something to happen... and someone shouts out... "Look! A bird!"

Posted by: Wigi | December 27, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Better not be when *I'm* pitching.
_______
I wonder if we will have the errant goose on the field from time to time during the games.
Posted by: Traveler | December 27, 2007 12:18 PM

Posted by: Randy Johnson | December 27, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

But what's that string of lights in the air, on 12/25 at 12:14 a.m.? Seems to be a large object and a series of four? smaller ones...

Posted by: Virginia | December 27, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Virginia- That would be Santa making the rounds, or the two smoke stacks you can see during a daylight picture.

Posted by: ChrisC | December 27, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Good one! If I recall correctly, that one *was* a gull. :)

---

Better not be when *I'm* pitching.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

So long as it's not "the bird."

---

Perhaps this is a commentary on the offseason...

We all sit here, waiting for something to happen... and someone shouts out... "Look! A bird!"

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Or ... "the Birds" ... no news about our neighbors to the immediate north is good news, as far as I'm concerned.

Stand pat, Angelos, stand pat.

Posted by: faNATic | December 27, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I know it is kinda late for most of you, but have you ever watched the end of a night game in San Francisco? About the middle of the seventh inning, gulls start to appear (even at night), standing on every free inch of space above the stands, waiting for the game to end, so they can go pick up the scraps in the seats.

Posted by: Wigi | December 27, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I've not seen that effect, Wigi, but it sounds impressive. Also makes me think of that game where gulls invaded the field at Comerica Park last summer:

http://tinyurl.com/2pn7r9

As a birder/baseball fan, I've seen some interesting birds on the field and over the stadium. Among my favorite RFK sightings are Common Nighthawks and a Peregrine Falcon.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Disintegrated....

http://tinyurl.com/2az6ll

Posted by: NatsNut | December 27, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it sure did!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

For the hungry, check out the mailbag at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com

You have to page down a little.

They discuss/speculate on whether the Nats are overstocked at 1B and OF. No real news there, but ....

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 27, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

NatBisquit:

Interesting, though, as you pointed out, not really news (to us).

The most notable thing is between the lines... Last year, nobody would even waste column-inches (even on the Internet) to the Nats.

Posted by: Wigi | December 28, 2007 3:03 AM | Report abuse

That's "The Bird" with a capital B, to you.

*************
So long as it's not "the bird."
---
Perhaps this is a commentary on the offseason...
We all sit here, waiting for something to happen... and someone shouts out... "Look! A bird!"
Posted by: natsfan1a | December 27, 2007 04:08 PM

Posted by: Mark Fidrych | December 28, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I was waiting for that one to surface. Thought about doing it myself but figured someone else might riff on the reference to last year's Tigers game.

He'd be a good candidate for the all-eccentric team, no?

---

That's "The Bird" with a capital B, to you.

Posted by: Mark Fidrych | December 28, 2007 09:11 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 28, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Along those lines, I really enjoyed reading "Baseball Eccentrics: The Most Entertaining, Outrageous, and Unforgettable Characters in the Game," by Bill "Spaceman" Lee with Jim Prime (as well as Lee's other works).

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 28, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

So....here's my favorite bird and baseball story. I was participating one night in a game in Okeechobee Florida. It is is a real heartland of America, Norman Rockwell kind of town. We lined up for the pre game National Anthem on the base lines as usual. The ritual was going pro forma when just as the last verse started, "and the home of the brave" a bald eagle swooped in and landed on the top of the flag pole. Sure it was a little hokey, but it sent shivers up my spine that night.

Posted by: #4 | December 28, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Prior to April 2005, I never cared about baseball during the offseason.

Now, on December 28, 2007 I find myself absolutely craving an update because there has not been a Sir Barry NJ post in 9 days.

Sir Barry needs a vacation - granted and well deserved. But WaPo needs to give me a fix or sponsor a 12 step program so I can get on with my life.

I can't wait until the season begins! Go Nats!!

Posted by: roman1735 | December 28, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I hear you roman 1735...I also need my Barry fix...I'm startin to shake!!

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 28, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

#4, great story - I would love to hear more, makes the absence of Barry more bearable! Can you tell us more about your baseball history - you probably have done so by pieces in NJ, but I don't remember it, and it would bear repeating - what positions have you played?

Posted by: Traveler | December 28, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I second that request, #4 (and great story, BTW). Would also be interested to hear from catcher50 and others if they're around.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 28, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I certainly hope that it is a gull. Having done more H.S. and other games with geese on the field, I have learned to really hate them. I actually once did a game (adult rec league) reasonably after a flock of the little ones hatched. These birds are truly violent. Someone hit a ball into where the flock was doing whatever they were doing. The fielder went to retrieve the ball. The geese hissed at him. He backed off. I don't know what call I made and frankly, don't care. I wasn't about to get in the middle and couldn't blame the fielders for not wanting to get involved.

Wait, we're all in trouble. We're writing about birds and looking at pix of a stadium under construction. How many of us have driven by, just to see what was happening? Can Spring Training get here fast enough?

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 28, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, if it wasn't for those covers on the field, we could all watch the grass growing...

---

Wait, we're all in trouble. We're writing about birds and looking at pix of a stadium under construction. How many of us have driven by, just to see what was happening? Can Spring Training get here fast enough?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 28, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I was going to wait to ask this, but since there seems to still be a decent audience here:

Can anyone recommend a good portable radio that actually picks up Nats games?

I'm determined to get one so I actually leave the house on days that I'm not at the game. Not too concerned about cheap as long as it works.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 28, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

XM MyFi, Inno... may be some others. but i get pretty good reception with the little external antenna and my wife can even get reception inside her gym on it.

kinda stinky that it's on a slight delay, making it generally useless at the game itself, but you also get the added benefit that you hear half of the games with the nats announcers and half with the opponent announcers. can't remember now if it's the home or away announcers on the radio, tho. oh, and you get MLB home plate, which has some pretty good shows on it.

of course, that's not a cheap option. $12.99/mo + cost of equipment, but you get a lot more than just baseball. ;)

myfi: $99 (http://store.xmfanstore.com/myfi.html)

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 28, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Awesome! Thanks 231.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 28, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a and Traveler,

The fact that anyone is interested in my baseball history shows how starved we are for good subject matter.

Anyway... Here goes. I grew up in DC, playing high school and amateur ball. My most memorable coach was Jake Jacobs in the Clark Griffith League. He's one of the real legends in this area. The field at O'Connell HS is named for him.

After HS, I played college ball at a D-II school in Florida. That provided me the opportunity to play against guys like Tino Martinez and Tim Wakefield who played in the same conference. My school also played an annual game against the Twins during their spring training so I got to compete against Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett, and Gary Gaetti. One of my great thrills was getting two hits off of major league pitching in a game.

I was a LH hitting catcher in college who was stuck behind a guy who eventually made it to AAA. I learned to play 1B, 3B, and OF so that I could get in the line up. My coach rewarded me by allowing me to play one inning at each position in my last game. I even got to pitch an inning. Alas I really wasn't good enough to go beyond that level. I returned to DC where I played for two years in the old Industrial League and then quit playing.

However, I have stayed in baseball through coaching. I've coached about 1000 games in the past 20 years in high school and summer league. I've wondered if I and Catcher50 have ever been on the same field.

That's about it. Pretty mundane stuff. I hope it wasn't too boring.

Posted by: #4 | December 28, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks #4, for the history but most of all for your great commentary on the Nats and baseball.

Not to slight others - you all know who you are!

And NatsNut I would second 231's XM recommendations - I live 3 hours away in the mountains, so no AM/FM Nats option in any case, but XM's baseball coverage is excellent. They broadcast the home announcers, and it's fun to hear them all. And the quality of their baseball talk shows is a cut above what I've heard on AM, although I haven't heard much. Sort of damning with faint praise, but I listen at times.

Happy new year Planet NJ.

Posted by: Geezer | December 28, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

#4,

Thanks for sharing, actually quite interesting. You bring insight to the NJ discussions that I appreciate, in that I have only ever been a spectator - I envy your experience, and you do seem to have enjoyed it.

Catcher 50, and others, can we hear from you as well?

Posted by: Traveler | December 28, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, #4, that was very interesting -- not at all boring! I agree that it would be interesting to know whether you and catcher50 had ever been on the same field.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 28, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again for the xm recommendation. It didn't occur to me that listening to xm, I'd be able to listen to away games too!

Posted by: NatsNut | December 28, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Charlie ............................!!!!!

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 28, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Traveler, Geezer, and Natsfan1a:

Thanks for the kind words. Joining the NJ community has been a great thing for me. I've enjoyed everyone's contribution. I am not someone who believes that you have to have played the game to have insight on it.

i just hope that we don't find through this exercise of sharing that I've chewed Catcher50's èar about balls and strikes.

Posted by: #4 | December 28, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Good one! :)

---

i just hope that we don't find through this exercise of sharing that I've chewed Catcher50's èar about balls and strikes.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 28, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Were those would-be STH's at the park today, checking out seat locations this afternoon? Roughly noon to three pm.
Oh, and there's another bird at 12:26 (zoom in on the spot in apparent left field).

Posted by: watch the birdie | December 28, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I echo the comments about #4 and catcher 50, and would also like to know if they ever were on the same field together. Afterall, it is a small world. Each day that passes, we're all one day closer to the grand opening of Nats Park. I wish I could be there, but alas, probably not.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 28, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I'd really be surprised if I haven't been on the same field with #4. I've certainly done enough games in the area.

BTW, no-one chews my ears off about balls and strikes. I just don't make mistakes!!!

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 28, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about the STHs, but that is definitely a gull.

Posted by: Randy Johnson | December 28, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Do you think we could teach Smush Parker to switch-hit? Miami is looking to unload him cheap.

Posted by: Drop it awreddy, willya? | December 29, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

First -- for everyone in Planet NJ, have a happy and healthy 2008!

Second -- sigh, I suppose I'm not going to see many Nats games this year. Since I just retired, I was looking forward to going to day games. And the parking issue is just a non-starter for me. Will NOT take Metro at night on my own (used to commute from Annandale to New Carrollton -- too many horror stories of riding Metro on that side of town at night).

However, a cousin of mine will play this summer for the Cal Ripken Sr. Intercollegiate League -- for the Herndon Braves. And there will be a new Alexandria team in the league, playing at the old Alex Dukes field below Crystal City. Sounds interesting...

Posted by: nats fan in annandale | December 29, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Catcher 50,

If you don't make mistakes, then you've certainly never umpired any of my games :)

In all seriousness, guys like you who devote their time to amateur sports deserve a lot of praise. Thank you for all you have done.

If you don't mind me asking, what association do you umpire with. I am most familiar with guys with Southern District and Northern Virginia.

Posted by: #4 | December 29, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Shane Monahan was not interviewed for or implicated in the Mitchell report, but he is speaking about drug use during his days with the Mariners:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3171167

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 29, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

In other news, it's being reported that McNamee could file a defamation suit against Clemens:

http://tinyurl.com/3yemf6

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 29, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

This causes me to wonder whether either of you would care to share re. the most creative heckles that you've ever heard on the field (or at least the ones that weren't rated PG and beyond. :-))

---

If you don't make mistakes, then you've certainly never umpired any of my games :)

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 29, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Happy New Year to all in Planet NJ!

I want to thank everybody for their posts the last week or so. Everytime I was about to add something, one of you already had. I wholeheartedly agree with roman1735; need my baseball & Nats fix!

I wish everybody a happy & healthy New Year. My NY's resolutions include a veteran #4 pitcher, Dukes & Miledge "getting it", Dunn and Lopez confirming our steal of the Reds 18 months ago, a healthy Ayala and a surprise WC run this summer.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | December 30, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

To: #4

I've worked most of my games for Metro (MBUA) although I've done some games for other associations, including Southern District (before they were basically run by J.Porter and NV). Many years ago, I chose to not work for Porter for a number of reasons. I have never regretted that decision.

As to the heckles...yeah, some of them were funny, although they tended to be repetitive. Frankly, most of the humor comes from watching a coach turn red-faced as he cites a non-existent rule, that he knows is in th rule book, because it is what he grew up with.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 30, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Gotta say it.


BRAVES ON THE WARPATH!!

and I don't mean Atlanta.

Posted by: DC BOY | December 30, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes! Hail to the Redskins! Sweet.

Has anyone heard about the contract status of Charlie Slowes? I sent an E-mail directly to the National's Front Office and it is the only one that I have ever sent them that they have completely ignored.

Posted by: 6th and D | December 30, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

While this is a primarily for the Nationals, aw, what the heck...Hail to the Redskins!! Now let the Nats get the daily double.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 30, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to the Skins game at Seattle next week... even though I'll probably be at the bridge table during the game, and will have to catch the results afterward.

And how about Ovie and those four goals last night? It'd be sweet to see our Caps rise from the ashes under Boudreau (a great baseball name, BTW, so this isn't off topic 8^D ).

Posted by: Hendo | December 30, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Catcher 50,

Given the umpiring history you've described, I'm certain our paths have crossed. The MBUA and SDUA are my favorites. I count Lorin Sawrbacher, Doug Glosbach, and Phelps Presscott to be among my favorite people in baseball. It sounds like you and I share the same opinion about John Porter and the NoVa group.

As far as the heckles go, Natsfan1a, I try really hard not to get on the umpires. I think it distracts the players and sets a bad example. Players need to focus on things they can control like their own effort, not on things they cannot control like a slip in judgment by an umpire. That's one of the many things I like about Manny Acta. He rarely makes a spectacle of himself arguing about a bad call.

Having said that, I haven't been perfect on this issue. I very well could have been one of those red-faced coaches that Catcher 50 was referring to. I may have at some point yelled out of the dugout to an umpire with an inconsistent strike zone, "Hey, Blue. Throw the anchor out; your zone's floating around a little bit."

Good umpires are the ones who are approachable and who know how to deal with emotional people. My experience has been that former cops make the best umpires because they are really good at diffusing heated situations.

Posted by: #4 | December 31, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, catcher50 and #4, for your replies. I was thinking more of heckles coming from the fan side of things, having experienced only that role myself, but it's been interesting and instructive to read your insights and experiences. I like the anchor line, though!

On another note, I'll echo the cheers for the guys who played with that funny-shaped ball yesterday. Quite a story, that!

Last, a Happy (Julian) New Year to all!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 31, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I came across a fun website that tracks home run distances and estimates ballpark and weather condition effects. You can sort by team, league, park etc...
http://hittrackeronline.com/index.php

Not worth a tin yurl because the URL is short.

Interesting to note that weather conditions in DC most of the season look to be conducive to homers. The warmer the better, and we have plenty of that. Also, it is obvious RFK more than offset the hot weather bonus by the ridiculous dimensions. A quick scan shows that the Nats home runs at RFK tended to be more of the "just enough" to clear the wall than ones with "plenty" of distance. According to this site, 2 parks in the NL were clearly worse for homers - Petco and and ATT, and Busch played nearly identically to RFK. Height matters, which makes Turner Field the launching pad in the NL East at 1000'+ over sea level.

Spinning this out, if we believe Chad might be fly prone and benefits from a big park, do we have a trade fit with SF?

Posted by: jon | December 31, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Look, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's......a new post!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 31, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Asks jon: ". . . if we believe Chad might be fly prone and benefits from a big park, do we have a trade fit with SF?"

Fascinating question, and good fuel to start burning away those pesky post-holiday blahs.

Save for Brad Hennessey, the Giants' bullpen is no great shakes, so the Chief could be a worthy setup man or an alternate closer when Hennessey's been overworked. What the Nats would get back is the question, one that can be approached from at least a couple of directions.

First, let's say we had our eye on Zito or Lincecum. How many prospects would we have to deal away along with Cordero to net one of those guys? ("Too many" is my reflexive answer, although maybe somebody like Felipe Lopez could be part of the package.)

Or would it be reasonable to have, instead of Zito or Lincecum, perhaps a Eugenio Velez (assuming he's willing to come back to the infield) and/or a Jonathan Sanchez (assuming he can start missing bats) in our sights?

Posted by: Hendo | December 31, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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