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L Millz Arrives

That, of course, is Lastings MIlledge's rap moniker, which came to light last year when he made an appearance on a rap video for a song called "Bend Ya Knees" on the record label, Soul-ja Boi Records, for which he is the CEO. The song, as you'll recall, was full of mentions of the N-word and got Milledge in some heat with the Mets -- not to mention the New York media.

I'm not going to keep bringing up Milledge's transgressions, and in fact, I've gone out of my way on some recent radio appearances to correct the impression that he and Elijah Dukes are of the same category of trouble-makers. They are very, very different. Milledge's issues were limited to the ill-advised rap record and some run-ins with his teammates in New York, who thought he was too showy and needed to be put in his place. Dukes... well, you know the story there. It's a long, long story.

Anyway, Milledge arrived in Nationals camp this morning and talked at length at his locker. Here are a couple of choice nuggets:

*On being with the Nationals: "It... helps when you're with your peers -- there are a lot of young guys on this tean. I feel more relaxed in this clubhouse.... Just to know somebody wants you here, it's a key. It takes a lot of pressure off because you already know your role. Being in a big market and [not knowing] what they want from you, and they bump you up and down [from the majors to the minors], it's real tough."

*On playing CF, which he calls his natural position, instead of RF: "It's huge. Last year, when I played my natural position it made me hit better." (Incidentally, he is correct: In 2007, he hit .340-.386-.491 [that's batting average-OBP-slugging] as a CF, versus .239-.343-.409 as a RF.)

Also, Cristian Guzman and Luis Ayala, meaning the Nats essentially have their full squad accounted for, save for the handful of players (Jesus Flores, Jesus Colome, etc.) still having visa issues.

As for Dukes, Manager Manny Acta said this about what happens from today forward: "The orchestrating is over. We're not going to be able to keep Elijah in a bubble. Out there [in the clubhouse], he's like anyone else."

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Weather: 69 degrees and partly cloudy, with thunderstorms and a high of 76 in the forecast.

Soundtrack: Old 97s, "Fight Songs."

More later...

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 21, 2008; 9:27 AM ET
 
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Next: And Now, a Word From The President

Comments

OK Dave, we need to go over some house cleaning rules. WP may pay you and expect you to write a daily, but we your loyal NJers live in the hourly (if not minute-by-minute world). In the military it is called the battle rhythm. We need to establish the NJ Spring Training Battle Rhythm. Manny has his Press meeting at (oh I don't know say 8 AM Daily) when do we get something on NJ. I'm willing to wait till 8:30 but not much later. Morning Sessions, Lunch at the Asian Noddle place, Afternoon sessions, Special one-on-one scoops, Music selection banter,etc. I've got to organize my day around the NJ now that ST is in full swing. We're all over the place so far. I'm not asking for 50 posts everyday (15 will suffice), but we need structure.

You're reinforcing my rant. In the time it takes me to organize myself there you go with a new post (1 down 14 to go for today). Locker talk from Lastings, before we've gotten our daily dose of Manny wisdom? I can't take it.

Posted by: Section 311 | February 21, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

It is sort of foolish for anyone to consider Milledge as a troublemaker. All accounts of him from New York point indicate that he is just young and growing up. All of us have been down that road before.

On another note, the opening night presale going on today seems to be brisk business.

Posted by: NatsMan | February 21, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Hear Hear, Section 311. I need some more info DAVE!

Posted by: mjwies11, Section 320 | February 21, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Here's the thing about Milledge... I understand why people are unhappy about the misogynistic and racially sensitive lyrics of the rap songs which he has helped to produce. That being said, nobody has mentioned the extreme success of the Soul-ja Boi brand. To play devil's advocate for a minute, Soul-ja Boi's "Superman" was easily the song of late 2007, and probably made Milledge as much money as his entire baseball career has thus far. Milledge is a young man who is using his resources gained by baseball to follow another passion, music. I am not a real fan of Soul-ja Boi and I, even as a 21 year old college student and rap fan, am a little turned off by some of the colorful lyrics. However, Milledge is a young man who is helping to support his friend's career and following his passion for an art. Yes, I said it, rap is an art form, if you don't like it go back to the 70's.

While I know that the music leaves a bad taste in many people's mouths, I wonder if this has as much to do with the cultural stigma placed against rap as it does with the actual musical content. I have heard country and rock and roll songs with equally disturbing lyrics which seem to get glossed over and ignored because both genres already struggled with cultural acceptance and passed the test (notice I am ignoring the race issue at least for now). I remember my mother telling me how she wasn't allowed to listen to Simon and Garfunkel because of the radical cultural undertones and it makes me laugh, because now that music is considered tame while everyone cries out about how rap music is damaging our youth. I wonder if Kearns put out an offensive country album, or if Zimmerman and Nick Johnson recorded an offensive Rock album if they would be so ostracized. I for one, will applaud the achievements of a young, successful CEO and wish him luck in the future.

Just something to chew on...


I would also probably tell him to keep a little more behind the scenes, no open appearances on music videos if he can help it.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 21, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Dang, y'all are tough. So yesterday's three posts, plus an update via the comments section from my Blackberry aren't enough? After Manny's 8 a.m. daily presser, I need to make a trip through the clubhouse, since our player availability ends around 9 -- and this morning I needed to wait on Milledge, who was getting his physical. You wouldn't have wanted me to miss Milledge while I was up here in the press box blogging, now would you?

But I vow to work on increasing the frequency of my posts (does this count?) and pass along some Asian noodle place tidbits.

Posted by: Dave Sheinin | February 21, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"Anyway, Milledge arrived in Nationals camp this morning and talked at length at his locker."

Did Milledge's locker say anything back at him?

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 21, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Coverage is Lacking, that was awful

Posted by: art vandelay | February 21, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey, there were plenty of slow NJ days in the offseason, guys. Things are just getting revved up again, that's all.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 21, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Dave,
Some of us living vicariously through you won't be satisfied until you are streaming live audio and video 24/7 and we can control you as a Remotely Controlled Reporter (RCR). In the mean time, knowing that locker chat follows Manny's udpdate helps me organize my morning with a little less angst. Knowing the rhythm helps control the hunger.

Posted by: Section 311 | February 21, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like the locker wasn't talking back. Milledge was talking "at" it, not "to" it. Either that, or they're in a serious relationship of some type and undergoing some communication issues.

-------------------------------------
"Anyway, Milledge arrived in Nationals camp this morning and talked at length at his locker."

Did Milledge's locker say anything back at him?

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 21, 2008 10:17 AM

Posted by: faNATic | February 21, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Plus, he said talked at not talked to...

Posted by: Buck Naked | February 21, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

You're doing fine Dave but for those of us who have been baseball starved for the last 5 months there's never enough. While i would love a post every 5 minutes (hint hint), if you give a mouse a cookie, he'll ask for a glass of milk.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 21, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

[cursing the WP wrap-around gremlin].

Posted by: faNATic | February 21, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

buck naked ha ha ha

Posted by: art vandelay | February 21, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info, Dave. I like what you say about not throwing Milledge and Dukes in the same category.

Speaking of which, Elijah, get to work my friend. I need writers to start following your name with "Nats All-Star Center Fielder" insteaad of "comes with a lot of baggage off the field." The story's already getting old.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 21, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Wow, it aint even 10:30 yet and my NJ compadres are already in full-force: nice work. Maybe AK can take this OF partners (WMP, Lastings, and Elijah) out to the farm for an afternoon of character building....I know from experience in summers through college that bailing hay and hosing out horse stalls will make you realize how good life really is.

Posted by: Corey | February 21, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think you're doing a fine job too Dave. natsfan1a is right, we may never be satisfied.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 21, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

P.S. - Dynamite Drop-in, Coverage is Lacking

It may be too early to declare Post of the Day, but you're certainly the leader in the clubhouse

Posted by: Corey | February 21, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

P.S. - Dynamite Drop-in, Coverage is Lacking

It may be too early to declare Post of the Day, but you're certainly the leader in the clubhouse

Posted by: Corey | February 21, 2008 10:30 AM

What?! Is that some kind of joke?! He's in the doghouse as far as I'm concerned

Posted by: art vandelay | February 21, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I just want to second the appreciation for distinguishing between Milledge and Dukes. One point re: VT Nats Fan's post. I respect that rap is art, but misogynistic art is still troublesome for me, whether it is visual, verbal, or auditory. I would never rank it in the same category as actual or even threatened violence against women, but cranking it out still feels like poor judgement.

Posted by: Jabby | February 21, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

VT - great comments on rap. I'm not a rap fan at all but you make interesting points.

Dave - don't worry about the junkies, although I'm one of them. Three posts in a day is pretty strong in my book. Granted, we'd take 5 (or 10) if there are things to pass along but can live w/ 3. We're very happy to have you in the interim.

We would ask you put in a good word w/ the powers-that-be about our voracious (sp?) appetite for posts here on NJ as they consider Barry's replacement. Or better yet replacementS (I shouldn't have opened that can of worms, sorry). But we would like to see two beat writers.

Posted by: Avar | February 21, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Stop. Turn Left (my Left). Look Up and Ask Rauch question. Zoom out to Dmitri and Nick joking. Move Out.

Posted by: Remote Controller | February 21, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I second Avar's vote for two beat writers. It's critical. For the first time ever, I've been cheating on Washington Post. Since last week I've been sneaking around with TWT and others.

That's all I will say about it though, and will be writing the Editor this weekend. hint, hint.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 21, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Dave I think one addition to the daily posts that would be most welcome is a recap of Manny's morning presser. If, when the video guy shows up you could link the video into the post, all the better.

Thanks for the nomination, Corey.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 21, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The word from BPG is that some people received their season tickets today. Yippeeeeee!

Posted by: Season Tickets | February 21, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

FYI guys...

The Soul-Ja Boi that is famous, and has been all over the radio and stuff this year is not from Milledge's record label. The only guy signed to his label is some guy named Manny D.

The whole argument about music not being so awful is still vaild, just putting the facts out there.

Posted by: Mark | February 21, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

side note: shock and amazement!

my season tickets just showed up at my desk.

i'll say that again, 2/21, and my season tix are hear.

that helps a little with the tremendous frustration i encountered with buying the 2 additional OD tix this morning. and it's a *HUGE* improvement over the first 3 season.

big thumbs up to the FO for getting that right.

Posted by: 231 | February 21, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Mark is right, Soulja Boy is famous because of Crank Dat Soulja Boy and a top-selling album. Soul-ja Boi Records is famous because Lastings Milledge is the CEO (and has nothing to do with Soulja Boy).

Posted by: Thomas Circle | February 21, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

c'mon art vandelay: 'round these parts a good-natured and thoughtful jab is always appreciated and recongized - no matter if it's towards a player, F.O., or even the beat writers

I think Manny and RSC are the only ones with immunity - JimBo maybe getting there after the offseason he just put together, but he just makes it too easy sometimes

Really? Season tickets already arriving? That's efficiency not normally associated with the Washington Nationals Ticket Office: the messengers must not be using Metro, somebody better notify Stan the Plan.

Posted by: Corey | February 21, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

... carried over from the previous thread, natsfan1a opined: "I would have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, natscan."

... disagreement is quite an acceptable state of mind, natsfan1a, and one in which I find myself on a continuing basis, but it would be helpful for me, if you could flesh out the bones of your disagreement somewhat.

... just suggesting

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 21, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info Mark and Thomas. Sorry I didn't look into that further before my post but like Mark said, the point is still valid.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 21, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Season tickets? Already? Did we get our MP3 Players with them?

Posted by: NatsNut's dead horse | February 21, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Good choice on the Old 97's soundtrack, though I would say spring training calls for "Too Far To Care" instead of Fight Songs, but good enough.

Posted by: Rhett Miller | February 21, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

" ... we may never be satisfied."

... satisfied? Satisfied? ... what's that, something you eat?

... as for Mr. Millidge, let me simply say 'welcome my man', and here's hoping you live up to your name.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 21, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Are the season tix that are arriving today just for the full-plan holders, or are some of y'all half-/partial-plan holders?

As a partial-plan holder, I'm just wondering how many times I should bug the front-office receptionist about whether the FedEx guy has arrived...

Posted by: Juan-John | February 21, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"the Nats essentially have their full squad accounted for, save for the handful of players (Jesus Flores, Jesus Colome, etc.) still having visa issues."

I find it hard to believe that Jesus has been turned away at the border, not once but twice. And the Republican right would have us believe that this is a Christian nation. Is Rush Limbaugh on the case? The immigration officers responsible for this travesty need to be rooted out and fired!

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 21, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I just know that I cannot wait for Lastings Thrilledge, Dukes, Detwiler, Flores, and the rest of the youngsters that we'll see in the next season or two to start producing to the level that he can so that we can talk about someone besides Zimmerman as the "future of the franchise." I LOVE Zim, but that's a lot of pressure that has been put on him. If he's got a solid, young supporting cast around him then he can just go out, play ball, and dazzle everyone with his glove work and clutch hitting.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 21, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

He knows no borders and is always with us.

Posted by: Loves the Little Children | February 21, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"Since last week I've been sneaking around with TWT and others."

... well I do that on a regular basis, but it doesn't make any difference if you get the same story twice. The same interviews are covered by all; the same arrivals are covered by all; and each story contains the same quotes etc. So different vehicles doesn't equate to different news. Hence the call to Dave for more revelations.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 21, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

As a season ticketholder, I was hoping for slightly better seats (or seats closer to my own seats) at 9am. I guess the 20-gamers bought up the remaining good seats yesterday...

Posted by: 102, Row H | February 21, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

juanjohn, 41 game plan here and mine showed up.

oh, don't ask about the fedex guy, he doesn't have tickets. you want to cozy up to the UPS guy instead.

Posted by: 231 | February 21, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"Some of us living vicariously through you won't be satisfied until you are streaming live audio and video 24/7 and we can control you as a Remotely Controlled Reporter (RCR)."

You guys seem to have Dave confused with Elijah Dukes. Dukes is the one with the 24/7 shadow, Dave is the one who can be found under the table when not even drinking. (He says it was the sonic boom that drove him there, but could he maybe really have been looking for a little Lindsay Czarniak upskirt action?)

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 21, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

How can "comfort" level explain the wide disperity between LMillz's numbers as a CF and an RF?

Really, playing a couple of hundred feet to the left for half the game makes that much of a difference? I can see a difference between say DHing or playing the field but that much of a difference between CF and RF? I hope its just a statistical fluke because otherwise it looks like LMillz will be a head case.

Posted by: importer/exporter of latex | February 21, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA. Suck-errrrrs!

"I guess the 20-gamers bought up the remaining good seats yesterday...

Posted by: 102, Row H | February 21, 2008 11:11 AM"


Posted by: 20-gamer | February 21, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

419+1, you just managed to post on religion, politics and sex in a matter of 10 minutes. Down boy!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 21, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"As a season ticketholder, I was hoping for slightly better seats (or seats closer to my own seats) at 9am. I guess the 20-gamers bought up the remaining good seats yesterday..."

Maybe, maybe not. As a 20-gamer I tried to get two seats in Infield Gallery yesterday morning around 9:05 am. Not available. Yet today I read a report on BPG that a full-season type got two Infield Gallery seats this morning, and there were others available there as well. So it looks like the team may be holding back certain sections from sale to certain groups as the presale process plays out. They could well be holding some seats open for sale to the general public when single-game sales start, just to make sure EVERYONE has a theoretical shot at Opening Day and it doesn't get the image as a season-ticket-holders-and-bigwigs-only event. Might not make much difference for this year, but for years ahead when the opener doesn't have quite the cachet it does this year it would not hurt if it doesn't get that impression.

Has anyone tried to get OD seats in the Red Porch area (Batters Eye Box, CF Club and CF Lounge)? Just a few days ago they were running half page ads trying to sell season tickets there, but yesterday morning none of those sections showed up as available. Is the Red Porch sold out, or are they holding back seats there?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 21, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

VT - The "Soulja Boy" you are referring to is *not* the same as Milledge's label.

the Soulja Boy you are talking about is "Soulja Boy TellEm", a singular "rap" artist(as a hip-hop fan since the late 80s, I think he's an abomination of stupidity, but the little kids seem to like him).

Milledge's "Soulja Boi Records" is a different record company, and neither have anything to do with each other.

Posted by: Mr Madison | February 21, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"Religion, politics, and sex" all in one, my friends, that is referred to as a "NJ Trifecta" - maybe throw a little baseball in every now and then and you've got something cooking. Par for the course on here.

I was thinking the same about Dave's intentions but due to some harsh backlash by some of our fellow readers from the fairer sex from previous posts, I figured best to stay away.

Posted by: Corey | February 21, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"419+1, you just managed to post on religion, politics and sex in a matter of 10 minutes. Down boy!"

I'm going for Post of the Day. Gal Revels in Pee has set the bar pretty high!

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 21, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

No Need to Throw in Baseball. The Nationals are my "religion, politics, and sex."

Posted by: Trifecta | February 21, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

My tix showed up as well. But buying the OD tix this am was not easy. They were sold out in about 20 min. I got in and barely got 2 in section 104. Price was still an overinflated $39/tix, but at least I got some.

Posted by: Diz | February 21, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

And with your Post of the Day ... Trifecta!

-------------------------------------------
No Need to Throw in Baseball. The Nationals are my "religion, politics, and sex."

Posted by: Trifecta | February 21, 2008 11:28 AM

Posted by: faNATic | February 21, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

agreed!


---

And with your Post of the Day ... Trifecta!

-------------------------------------------
No Need to Throw in Baseball. The Nationals are my "religion, politics, and sex."

Posted by: Trifecta | February 21, 2008 11:28 AM

Posted by: faNATic | February 21, 2008 11:30 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | February 21, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I logged on exactly at 9:00 this morning, and had no problem getting two tickets in the Infield Gallery.

However, based on several reports, all available tickets will most likely be sold out by tomorrow.

As for the CF restaruant, I checked last night and found a few great options in that section if you are signing up as a full STH.

Posted by: Presale | February 21, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Yippeee! We asked and he delivered! Video of Manny's presser now embedded in this post.

Thanks Dave! You rock!!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 21, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

419+1: I'm a 20-gamer too and I logged on yesterday morning and had trouble connecting until about 9:10. Then I requested 2 for the Infield Gallery and they popped right up. Sec 309 is where I will be come OD!

Posted by: e | February 21, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

On the 20 v 41 Game plans. I happen to hold both. The 41 game is corporate the 20 is my personal one w/ my brother. Yesterday I bought 2 OD tickets at 10:30 a.m. and clicked "Best Available" and got section 418 row K (about 4 rows from very top). This a.m. at 9:10 I went in and bought 2 OD for our 41 game plan and clicked "Best Available". This time got RF Resverved - 3rd row.

I also discovered there are two web portals. I could not use my password from the 41 game plan on the link from the 20 game plan (I had booked marked it to save time).

Clearly - and I really don't fault them - the Nats made available one set of tickets to 20 game holders - particularly since they don't get OD tickets, but they were not as good of seats. Then made another set of tickets avaliable for 41 game holders. My bet would be there is another set for Full Season.

I also wouldn't be surprised if they are holding some tickets back for March 4 genenral public. From a PR propective you probaby want any fan to have a "chance" at OD tickets.

Posted by: Nats HD FAN | February 21, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Diz, due to my issues with firefox, i wasn't able to get tickets purchased until almost 9:30, so they definitely weren't sold out in 20 minutes today.

==

Posted by: Diz | February 21, 2008 11:29 AM

They were sold out in about 20 min. I got in and barely got 2 in section 104.

Posted by: 231 | February 21, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for accepting my right to disagree, natscan. ;) As background, we had some very spirited discussions relating to Dukes' off-field issues, including the domestic violence issues, when he first became a Nat (you may have been on hiatus then). The archived posts could probably be located via a Google search if you were so inclined, but suffice it to say that to me what a ballplayer does off the field is as important as what he does on the field. I realize that others feel differently.

---

... disagreement is quite an acceptable state of mind, natsfan1a, and one in which I find myself on a continuing basis, but it would be helpful for me, if you could flesh out the bones of your disagreement somewhat.

... just suggesting

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 21, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

WooHoo! Thanks for the video Dave!

Posted by: BigNatsFan | February 21, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"419+1: I'm a 20-gamer too and I logged on yesterday morning and had trouble connecting until about 9:10. Then I requested 2 for the Infield Gallery and they popped right up. Sec 309 is where I will be come OD!"

Could be that someone else had those seats locked while I was trying to get them, and then they ended up not completing the purchase and the seats became available again for you to grab. This is one of the necessary evils of an online ticket system, and it gets exacerbated when a lot of people are online at the same time trying to buy tickets. It's also probably why "best available" changes so drastically from one minute to the next. Unfortunately, with the one-time-use provision being used in the presale, there was no way to log out and come back in later to see if you could find something better. Oh well, it's just one game, and I'm in...

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 21, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

... many thanx Dave, for the Manny vid. But I gotta ask this: am I the only one who thought the manager looked somewhat uncomfortable being in that particualr spotlight? I hope I'm wrong.

... maybe I'm being too critical; maybe my naturally pessimistic attitude is showing. I hope not.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 21, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Reduxit,
Somewhat worried about Manny, but take another look at Stan's intro to the Dukes video. "We are confident it will continue." This would be a great endorsement if Stan had not gone to his nose giving the classic sublimal, "I am not telling the truth," sign. Only consolation is Stan did not give the sign when discussing Dukes' accomplishments in the off-season. Analyst interpretation is that Stan does not believe Dukes will survive and Manny knew that when he fielded questions.

Posted by: Body Language Talks | February 21, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi natsfan1a,

... thanx for the further comments. Yes I was around for much of the initial Dukes discussion, and I agree his background is extreme enough to warrant consideration in any evaluation of him as a Nat.

... but a/ I thought Ladson put E. D.'s value as a team player too much in the background when he compared that value to Duke's personal life (I just can't accept that much ostracism),

and b/ now, while it's ST and we're trying to get the best team we can ready for the field of play, is simply not the right time to keep Elijah's indiscretions - as serious as they are - in the forefront. Now is the time to focus on the field; if he arrives back north and then slips up, there'll be plenty of time and opportunity to assail him with all the negativity, and even vitriol, we can muster; the time is just not now.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 21, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"But I gotta ask this: am I the only one who thought the manager looked somewhat uncomfortable being in that particualr spotlight?"

His demeanor looked pretty much the same as it has in any other interview I've seen of him, on TV or wherever. Bowden is the one who gets all perky when he's being interviewed - especially when it's Lindsay Czarniak who's interviewing him.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 21, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Body Language Talks

... hate to say it, but I think there's much validity in what you suggest.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 21, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think any discomfort (I didn't really see much) from Manny likely came from having to toe the party line on Elijah. I think he wants to see the kid as a baseball player live up to everything he's heard about, and he wants to leave the discussion of off-field issues to Stan, Jim, and the handlers. That's not his area of expertise and that's not what they're paying Manny to do.

On another quite important note relating to the long-term future of our club, Ryan Howard won his arbitration hearing today, winning $10 million from the Phillies after just two-plus seasons of service. This is important because our own Ryan Zimmerman may be in the same boat down the road... and may give him more leverage in negotiating a sweeter long-term contract.

Given the FO's (fairly rational, but yet disappointing, in my opinion) reluctance to enter into those discussions with OUR Ryan so far, this may force their hand a bit... given that waiting (and arbitrating) may prove to be a very expensive option with little or no security blanket in the absence of a long-term contract.

See ESPN article (and Jayson Stark analysis mentioning our own Zimmerman) at:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3256452

Posted by: faNATic | February 21, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

231,

That is weird, cause for the longest time, it wasn't letting me purchase. It said to contact your Nats advisor or something.

Posted by: Diz | February 21, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Being a believer in subliminal body clues. What about Manny's concluding comments on Belli and Dmitri? The forehead ain't the classic nose move like Stan; but there is clearly some sublimal thought process in the last five seconds.

Posted by: Section 311 | February 21, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

faNATic, the Nats will take care of Zimm when the time is right. Also, notwithstanding Stark's suggestion, D. Wright's 6-year, $55M contract with the Mets makes the market for Ryan's long-term deal, Howard winning his arbitration does not force the Nats to do anything different. For now, Howard--who won the MVP award in his first full season and followed it up with a great '07--is in a different universe than Zimmerman is.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 21, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Re: the OD tickets. I was told yesterday by Nats customer service rep. that there were separate blocks of tickets for the 20 gamers and the full season ticket holders. I had no trouble connecting this morning around 8:59 to get my 2 tickets, but there was absolutely nothing available in the more expensive sections. "Best available" was in 137 (right field corner), which is a $30 section (for season ticket holders). Of course, I'm glad to have them. I checked ticket brokers this am and seats are selling for $150-$450 on most of the sites I checked.

Posted by: Natsgal | February 21, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Natsgal,
Row YY by any chance? I lost those the first time in system when I timed out and wound up in left field corner the next try about the same time.

Posted by: Section 311 | February 21, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

natsgal, i think the system has an odd way of defining "best available." if you'd put in different categories, you might have found a better seat.

Posted by: 231 | February 21, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, faNATic. I like the fact that Zimmerman is on the national radar.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 21, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Agree w/ CIL totally that Howard is in another universe, there is no better 1st time arb player this year and there won't be one next year so that is the top of the market period.

I have not quite bought the argument that Zimm deserves Wright $, and here's why -

Wright's career averges are 311/533/921 w/ 20 HR and 109 RBI.

Zim - 282/469/812 w/ 21 HR and 99 RBI.

Those can be debated given that slugging and BA are so much lower for Zimm but RBI and HR are basically the same. The RBI being the same for Zim while on a horrible offensive team is very impressive.

That being said, I think the arb panel will judge Wright's numbers as a notch above Zimm's. He needs the break-through year we all think he'll have to get Wright money. Otherwise, he will be a notch below and (w)rightly so.

Posted by: Avar | February 21, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

avar, you left out SBs. wright stole 34 last year. zim stole 4. you also left out OBP. wright was 416 last year, zim was at 330 (which accounts for most of that 109pt difference in OPS). those are some pretty significant differences.

Posted by: 231 | February 21, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Very good coverage, Dave. And I enjoy your writing style (and content) in the .35, or is it the .50 edition.
I'm retired, love my Nats' fix like everyone else on this blog but where in heck do you people (bloggers saying Dave's not giving enough of his time)find the time yourselves. Get a life, eh!

Posted by: Jeeves | February 21, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys let me clarify something to the extent I was not clear earlier: in saying that Wright's contract "makes the market" for Zimm, I was not suggesting that I think Zimm will necessarily get the same deal as Wright. Just that I think Wright's deal is much more relevant in determining what Zimm will get than is Howard's arbitration award. I do happen to believe that I would prefer Zimmerman to Wright if I had to pick a 3rd baseman for my team for the next 12 or so years, but that's a different story and I agree that so far Wright's batting stats are a notch above Zimmerman's. Hopefully this is the season that Zimm takes it to the next level, I think it will be.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 21, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: Anonymous | February 21, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

CIL - gotcha. Would like to hear your arguments for Zimm over Wright sometime. Not that I disagree but it's easy to make an argument for Wright.

Posted by: Avar | February 21, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"Given the FO's (fairly rational, but yet disappointing, in my opinion) reluctance to enter into those discussions with OUR Ryan so far"

What makes you think that the Nationals and Zimmerman HAVEN'T been discussing a long-term contract? Just because neither side is talking about it? Remember, Stan Kasten is on record as saying his policy is to never discuss ongoing contract negotiations publicly. Also, I'm sure Zimmerman's agent is telling him that whatever the Nationals are offering him now, that number can only go up if he waits until later to sign - assuming of course that he doesn't get hurt or his performance doesn't tailspin. The better he plays each year, the more his ultimate price tag will go up. Right now the Nationals hold all the cards in the negotiation, since Zimmerman can't play their offer off against any other team's offer. The only thing he can play their offer against is his future performance. If he really thinks he's only going to get better over time, then why shouldn't he sacrifice a few dollars now in favor of getting an exorbitant amount of money later? Fear of career-ending injury would be the only thing that might stop him - and I'm sure his agent is pooh-poohing that danger. His agent stands to have an even bigger payday too if Zimmerman waits until later to sign.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 21, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

test! need to see old comments

Posted by: test | August 15, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

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