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Four outta six? Thank you, John Lannan

I gave the Journal staff the day off yesterday. It's been a long grind already. Try this exchange in the dugout the other day in Atlanta.

Tim Tolman: "How long ago does Opening Night seem?"
Me: "About three months."
TT: "Exactly."

But rejoice for today, because while the offense still isn't in full gear (hello, Austin Kearns, Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman), John Lannan is. That's 19 straight scoreless innings from the kid. And man, does Lannan like Wil Nieves.

I'm going to write about Zimmerman for tomorrow's $.50/$.35-edition, because I think his struggles are interesting.

But consider, for a moment, what Lannan is doing here. He has 11 major league starts. He shut down three of the NL's best offenses. And he's only getting better, at 23. I wasn't wowed by his stuff when he came up, and I'm still not. But he is working in that backdoor slider to right-handed hitters now. He explained again yesterday that he used to throw it only to a right-handed hitter's back foot, getting him to chase down and in. Now, he can throw it backdoor for a strike, something they might not expect. The only time he used to throw the slider -- before pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Nieves encouraged him to do otherwise -- was down-and-away to left-handed hitters. He's much more versatile because of it.

I thought two quotes yesterday were telling. The first is in the gamer, Manny Acta saying, "I've seen him better." Usually, when a Nationals pitcher throws seven shutout innings, it's like, "Man, that was unbelievable." But Acta's right. Lannan walked four men yesterday. With his control, he can and will be better than that.

The second quote didn't make the gamer. I asked Randy St. Claire what he saw in Lannan's development from his first major league start last summer to now. St. Claire, who loves breaking this stuff down, thought for a minute. "Nothing," he said, "other than the slider."

The point: This is who this kid is. There's a reason why he rose through the organization so quickly. He has, as Zimmerman said, "good enough stuff to attack people," and he attacks them.

Now, Lannan is also learning the tools of the majors. For the first time in his life, he's looking at video not only to watch his own delivery, but to look at the tendencies of hitters. "I'm learning to use each day to my advantage," he said. That's what you're supposed to do, but at 23 with only a couple of months -- total -- in the majors, it's impressive he gets it already, particularly when he's having success.

Enjoy the day off. The Journal offices will have only one staffer in today, so probably low activity here. But keep a look-out for the NL player of the week announcement later this afternoon. Totally possible that Lannan -- with 14 shutout innings in two victories -- could win.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 28, 2008; 7:34 AM ET
 
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Next: Rehashing Zimmerman's struggles

Comments

And no, I realize Wil Nieves won't hit .350 all year. Not up here, anyway. But how much is he enjoying this past week? Good for him.

Posted by: CE | April 28, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry! "I wasn't wowed by his stuff when he came up, and I'm still not." So we have a young Greg Maddux type of pitcher, instead of a mindless heaver (to use Maddux's description of himself in his first couple of years with the Cubs), and not a Zambrano-like overpowering guy. At least he won't punch his catcher in the face like Zambrano did for all to see last year. And was it good to see Zambrano's team lose yesterday, as the Nats continue to surprise! The math of baseball is now working in their favor. Zimm & Kearns hard-hit balls are not always going to land in someon'e glove.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Barry - you did it to me again! Repost:

RK's Gut Feel made me look at the attendance of the Cubs Series since 2005. I had remembered these games as sellouts, especially the first series in 2005. Turns out, my gut feel was not as accurate as Ray's. Size matters?

This is the earliest the Cubbies have been in, so I suppose that lessens the visiting attendance (not summer vacation). Of the 13 games, these all ranked ##7 - 9.

2005 -
Fri Jul 1 - 38,973
Sat Jul 2 - 40,488
Sun Jul 3 - 40,006

2006 -
Fri 7/21 - 35,442
Sat 7/22 - 38,021
Sun 7/23 - 30,851

2007 -
Mon 7/2 - 24,015
Tues 7/3 - 30,106
Wed 7/4 - 39,207
Thur 7/5 - 22,594

2008 -
Friday 4/25 - 35,154
Saturday 4/26 - 35, 188
Sunday 4/27- 33, 795

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

It was good to see John get away with one that Bob Carpenter called a "front door slider" and Don Sutton said, "It's also called a 'please don't hit me pitch.'" It seems long ago when Lannan didn't make it out of the 4th and appeared to be near tears in the Debbi Taylor interview, agaqinst the Mets, I think. And now,"He has 11 major league starts. He shut down three of the NL's best offenses. And he's only getting better, at 23."

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

So my wife asked me yesterday, "Why is Zimmerman leaving his helmet and bat and batting gloves right in the batters box?" after that called third strike. I suggested this was his way of expressing his dissent on the inside pitch that just ended the inning. "He's pouting."
They must really miss Fick.

Posted by: CE | April 28, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

PTNBL- One thing that jumps out is that you're comparing April and July attendance. It was cold out there yesterday - a great day for football. With this considered, and the fact that the Nats were leading the division in 12005, those comparisons show the Nats doing pretty well this year.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Barry - Any word on the fan that was hit by a foul ball Saturday?

My brother took a Cal Ripken line drive to the face when he was 12 and had a couple of years of dentist trips to get put right. It literally knocked a tooth down his throat and his face was so swollen he looked like a circus freak. Some idiot tried to keep the ball but the Baltimore fans explained how he would be in worse shape than the kid if he didn't hand it over. Anyway, I'm always curious about these fans after that episode.

Posted by: Avar | April 28, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

And thanks for reminding me of 7/4/2007, when I was one of the 39,207 to see Dmitry Young's Grand Slam. Thanks to Felipe Lopez a/k/a Flow, for his grand slam on Thursday night, which cost me my voice, as did Dmitry's. The Nats were not supposed to win these last 4 games. But the math is on their side, and I look forward to a lot more wins.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I love this Lannan kid, but I have to temper my excitement with the fact that he has yet to make it through the division this year.

How many times have we seen pitchers get owned on the second and third time around? Once the regular opposition has seen him live once or twice and gets plenty of tape to study.

If he keeps his control, he will do well no doubt. But let's not discount the fact that he gets the "new guy" bonus this first time around.

And Nieves, he's obviously an important part of it.

Too bad LoDuca's on the DL (you won't hear me say that too often). Maybe a LoDuca+King package could have fetched us something nice. Oh well. Best of luck, Ray. See you next spring, eh?

Flynnie: I had to layer up by the time I reached the North Face (401). Just a t-shirt wasn't going to cut it yesterday. I had a hot coffee, though (behind sec 225 .. before they ran out of coffee ... and why is the coffee stand in the 300 level STILL CLOSED?)

And NatsNut ... the tip to use the other Navy Yards Metro entrance was excellent. Maybe I'll try the N22 bus next time, but it was starting to rain and I wanted to get indoors.

Oh man ... a day off after a win. Oatmeal and Pho weather. Yum.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 28, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Props to the WaPo's photographer. The pictures all season have been spectacular, the most recent examples being Nick Johnson's slide with the plate being blocked, and Wil Nieves Million Dollar Walk-Off smile. It was great to hear that former Yankee teammates were calling to congratulate him.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Flynnie - you are 100% right. April there is always a risk of cold so it hurts advance sale. Along with two of those series being around July 4, a cool time to take your kid from Chicago to DC to se your favorite team, it isn't an easy comparison.

The one thing we know about Nats attendance right now is that it is going to be a while before you get into the cycle of "you need to buy your tickets in advance or else you will not get a seat" that Jacobs Field, Coors Field, and Camden Yards had at the start and that Fenway has had since 2003. If any series was going to be like that, I would have bet it was the Cubs this year. It wasn't.

Do you spot another high advance sale series down the road? There are no weekend Phillies series. Is there another Mets weekend? B-More? 7/4?

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"He shut down three of the NL's best offenses." To hold the Brave, Mets and Cubs scoreless for 19 innings is stunning.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for all of these posts, but I Hate BB - The Nats and Yankees match up really well right now. Posada is going on the DL and they just sent down Traber. So they have no situational lefty, there offense first catcher is going to out for a while, and they cut Chad Moeller and have only Jose Molina. Add in that A-Rod and Jeter are getting over their leg problems, they have a defense first SS in Ex-Attorney General (EAG) Alberto Gonzalez, it seems the teams have the abitly to fill each others needs. If not him, Betemit. If you think bigger, they also could probably use a 1st baseman, given how decrepit Giambi is and that he is in the last year of his contract. A lot to watch.

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

PTBNL - We're in Cincy on July 4 (I was there on schedule magnet night) which is always one of the best attended game of the year. That in itself is remarkable when it is also the bet attended time at the beach! Ah, the tailgating at RFK on the 4th! Your great attendance will be in the summer with no school on a holiday weekend and a huge opposing fan base. (Even among the 37,000 mostly scalped tickets at Fenway, there are a lot of Yankee fans.) I think that the last weekend at June against the O's will be our best chance for a sellout. Get your $5 seats now! The summer home weekend series are, in June, Giants, Rangers, O's, then July, Astros, then August, Reds, Reds, Rockies and Brave for Labor Day. Maybe the Mets on Tuesday, August 12-14, which could have playoff implications. Same goes for Phils on Labor Day and Mets on Sept 15-18.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of that, flynnie, what sort of colossal moron runs the MLB scheduling that decided not to play a baseball game in Washington, DC on July 4th. It's just stupendously, shockingly, stupid. Surely there are plenty of other dates we could be charged in exchange for the thrilling home opener we gift-wrapped for ESPN.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

PTBNL --

I'll note that the $5 grandstand tickets sold out yesterday. I don't know how many times that has happened, but it is at least twice (Sunday v. ATL being the other one I think). Cheap-seat sales is an interesting measure because they're sold exclusively day-of.

And hey, trading PLoD to the Yanks sounds good to me. Would he survive back in NY? Could he perform in the AL off the juice? I've not sold my stock in JimBo yet, so I'm still invested in "teh plan" ... so I'll let him manage the mutual fund of talent stocks, but yeah ... I'd like to see what he could get. I don't think it happens often that a team can have FOUR good catchers (well, three and a half if you're a PLoD hater like myself).

Posted by: I hate walks | April 28, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

If anyone ever deserved "Oatmeal and Pho weather. Yum." it's you I Hate Walks, in your green t-shirt yesterday. And the "4 outta six" makes it all taste better! My wife and I met a concession foreman from Santa Barbara, a guy with a deep voice who looks like an American Indian, and he was here to get the concession folks coached up. (If anyone can, he can.) I had no problems with Aramark last year (lucky, or one of a silent majority?) but the three things I miss about RFK are the efficient concessions, the Dominic's of New York hot dogs (loaded with garlic) and the ample parking. They still have the same people taking money as are trying to serve the food at some of the stands, and it just isn't working. Boz says to get there two hours early and eat then, and he is wise. God Bless Noah's Pretzels for bringing warm, delicious fare in the cheap seats in the later innings!

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey 506 - I dunno. It's baffling. On the bright side, the Potomac Nationals are playing, and the Chicago-born manager of the Irish Inn at Glen Echo told me that they serve Dubuque franks, the very best in the world, which has turned him into a PoNats fan! See you there on the 4th! Perhaps we can erect an above-ground pool to simulate the Diamondbacks' amenities in Arizona!

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Yeah the NatCast said it was going to be 68 degrees and it felt more like 48. Coverage was lacking, so to speak, and I had to buy blankets for my kids.

Our D gave the Cubbies extra outs to play with a number of times, but Lannan got it done anyway. Best news of the day is in the Notebook, though, where Manny is quoted as saying he can't see breaking up Lannan and Nieves right now. Wil the Rally Rodent!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

In honor of Wil Nieves, I thought it might be an interesting off-day to begin discussing who is and who isn't trade bait. Below you'll find my list, in order, of who I think is tradable, non-tradable, and nearly off the table, ranked in order, with 1 being the most whatever the category is. I think this should inspire a lot of disagreement. Just a feeling. Also, I've excluded guys on the DL, since they're largely the reason we need to talk about making space and they'd have to be sold low.

Tradable:
1. Christian Guzman
2. Saul Rivera
3. Tim Redding
4. Odalis Perez
5. Nick Johnson
6. Luis Ayala
7. Jon Rauch
8. Joel Hanrahan
9. Johnny Estrada
10. Willie Harris
11. Jesus Colome
12. Wily Mo Pena

Non-Tradable:
1. Rob Mackowiak
2. Austin Kearns
3. Matt Chico
4. Wil Nieves
5. Chad Cordero
6. Shawn Hill
7. Ronnie Belliard
8. Aaron Boone
9. Felipe Lopez

Keepers:
1. Ryan Zimmerman
2. John Lannan
3. Lastings Milledge
4. Mike O'Connor

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The post regarding the Yankee needs is interesting. I would not be opposed to sending LoDuca to the Yanks. I do know if they tried to send Neives back down the Yanks would snap him up. I understand Neives is out of options plus he played with the Yanks last year. I hope Jimbo does not waist this guy who seems like the only true catcher we have.

Posted by: mjames | April 28, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

506- I assume your list is just based on their play thus far and their trade value as of today?

I agree most of the way although I think Belliard still has some value (many teams will understand how tough he had it batting 8th, but will also want a corespnding "discount", and he is still valuable to us as a backup or replacement starter if Guz is traded).
I think the most likely to be traded are Guzman (Angels or Cardinals?), Redding (so many suiters for a cheap hard throwing starter) and Perez (less of a market, but his solid play could move him up in value).

Guzman going is a no-brainer, but determining the hold value for the Nats of Redding and Perez is difficult and depends so much on our organization oponion of the MLB readiness of Balester and Matt Chico and Michael O'Connor's status.

Anyone care to venture a guess on what Guzman is worth?

Posted by: estuartj | April 28, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Bob L. - sympathies on the financial setback of buying blankets at the Park - at the prices there, they need to let you sign a mortgage to secure your purchase. 506, great list! Is Guzman sparkly enough in the field to rank #1 over Nick, although I understand that 1st base is the most easily replaceable position. Any shortsotp we have benefits from Zimm's sky-high out of zone plays, which made Bill James marvel and wonder whether we know what greatnes we have down here. I'd hate to see either traded, lest the "on pace for 48 wins" comes true. Why aren't they keepers? Guzman might sign a not-unreasonable long term deal now. I also think that Felipe and Belly are tradeable, though I'd hate to see them go. LoDuca's 15 days or so away from being tradeable. Surely, Barry's not the only one that sees him hitting .290 this year.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I hate walks: The $5 seats were sold out for the 4/7 game against the Marlins, which was the lowest attended game of the year. I paid $10 for my ticket and found some great seats in 133L.

Posted by: PB | April 28, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Tried to get walkup $5 tix saturday night, sold out. cheapest walkup ticket avail was $39!! Ahwell, i've paid worse covers to bars before (since I was basically going straight to red Loft).

I don't think you can yank Nieves, not when he's patently handling the staff better than either of our FA catchers and hitting .350. There's a stat out there that shows our starting pitchers' era with Nieves catching is something in the 1.xx range. That's priceless. You invent a muscular injury to one of the other guys and/or keep Lo Duca on the DL a bit longer and let him get 110% healthy. Either that or you turn Escobar into the situational lefty pinch hitter off the bench and freaking cut Rob "I'm stealing money now" Mackowiak.

Now. Lets talk about Chico. It is TIME TO SEND HIM DOWN. We now have 3 starters with very respectable numbers in Lannan, Redding and OPerez. We have a fourth who we know can be effective in Hill. And we have Chico. Put O'Connor in the rotation or bring up Baelester, NOW. Send Chico down to work on his mechanics at AAA like Bergmann is doing.

Posted by: Sec131 | April 28, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Belliard, I think, is one of the more non-tradable guys, but his production level right now makes him not as appealing as Felipe Lopez and certainly not as appealing as Guzman. If he can start proving himself again off the bench, he will swap lists, I think.

And, don't be fooled, he WILL prove himself off the bench, so there's no point to selling low.

I really think Estrada is our more marketable catcher. Lo Duca's career stats mean squat because of the Mitchell Report, no one's going to be taking a chance on him right now, fair or unfair.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't see the Halos having a need for Goose. Aybar is lights out right now. Add in Itzturis & Wood and the Angels have depth.

The tradeable/keeper/non-tradeable chart is interesting. I'd speculate everyone is tradeable for the right price. If the Dodgers offered Kershaw, Billingsley and LaRoche for Zimmerman would the Nats pull the trigger? I'd hope not, but that could be two potential front line starters and a touted 3B prospect.

The only non injury guy that seems to have zero value is lil' Mack, based on his poor performance and contract. I could see the others being moved in the right situation. I cant see anybody taking on Mackowiak at this point.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | April 28, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Here are 12 reasons to build through the draft and not through free agency:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8063664

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Agreed on the everyone has a price opinion. In my longer descriptions the "Keepers" were called "nearly off the table", but I am a lazy, lazy man and didn't write that off below.

What to do with Mackowiak? He's like your roommate on a romantic evening while your strolling the tidal basin with your girlfriend. You don't want to say anything, because he's not a bad guy and you know he has nothing waiting for him, but you just really wish he'd go away of his own accord.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

RosenRosen has this to say about the Angels prospects (another plug for The Plan):

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8071310/Aybar-is-latest-sign-of-Angels'-player-development

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

kBarry, the next time you take a day off, please run it by Steven on Capitol Hill beforehand, and maie sure that it is convenient for him. He's on Capitol Hill and he manages to post long screeds here constantly, maybe he can give you some tips on time management.

Posted by: Mr. Washington Post | April 28, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Good call on Aybar, he was struggling a bit early but is now batting .349/.359/.429, no need for Guz if he keeps going anywhere near that!

I think Mack"s days are numbered for sure, with Dukes and LoDuca back soon and DY back eventually - where does he fit? Estrada will stick for sure because he can pinch hit, Harris seems like a likely keeper as defensive replacement/Pinch runner/lefty PH. I have a tough time imagining Nieves sticking, but an it's even tougher imagining someone playing so well going away.

Posted by: estuartj | April 28, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Bob, that contract flops article really makes free agent pitching look like a bad gamble.

I think the bigger problem with Mack is that we can't do what we normally would in this situation: stick him on the waiver wire and try to slip him to the minors. He would definitely clear waivers, which, in this case, is bad, because his major league salary is guaranteed. We may have to eat this one.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Chico needs to turn it around, but on the other hand, Balester got knocked around yesterday, 5 runs on 7 hits in just 3 innings, so it's not clear he's the answer just yet.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

can't see much reason to keep mackowiak. i kinda like the signing at the time, and maybe he could come out of it, but with the team squeezed for roster space, he just seems like the odd man out.

i don't think aybar struggled that much early. he's on a fantasy simulation team of mine, so i've payed attention. he had 3-4 bad games to start the season, but has been hitting over 300 since his 5th start and hasn't slowed down yet (remember, he split time with izturis for the first couple of weeks until kendrick got hurt... again).

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barry,

Can you find out how much Flop was charged by the kangaroo court for turning that double play with 2 outs?

Posted by: Section 138 | April 28, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Mackowiak isnt a big fella. Maybe the front office can stash him in the AAA dresser drawer and pull him out like a pair of fresh socks when the need arises.

Would any team claim him on waivers?

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | April 28, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I missed the gathering yesterday at the game. I was feeling a bit under the weather Saturday night and into Sunday, but made a game time decision to bring the family to the game. Got to the park a little after 1:00 and figured everyone had dispersed.

Even though Lannan didn't have his best stuff, that perfromance yesterday impressed the heck out of me. To go 7 scoreless without your best stuff shows me that this kid knows how to pitch. If PLod or Estrada were back there, maybe he doesn't get through 5.

When PLod is ready to come off the DL (barring any trades), I'd suspect the Nats will find a "lingering injury" to Estrada and put him on the DL so they have a little more time to figure out what to do with their 3 catchers.

When Dukes is ready, the obvious choice would be Mackowiak to be DFA'd, but that takes one of the few lefty bats out of the lineup ('tho how much would they miss a bit that doesn't hit?).

Posted by: e | April 28, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

506 (BM) - nice list. I disagree on a numebr of your rankings though.

Nick, in a slump, is still 25th in the NL in OBP, which is his main offensive weapon. .392. Do we realize how good he is? A real batting order would have him 2d or 3d, not 4th. He is signed cheap for this year and next, and looks healthy. He is our most valuable trade chit among the position players, excluding Zimmerman and Lastings, who are on the quasi-untouchable list (I'd take the LaRoche/ Kershaw/ Billingsley if it were offered).

Guz is not regarded as a good glove. He'd be middle of the tradeable list. He's only of value to a team who needs a SS this year and has no depth. Lopez actually has higher value due to his position flexibility, base running, and adequate defense at 2d. Since he's become a regular at 2d (alst 7 days or so), his offense has been equal to Guz's.

I'd put Nick #1 on the trad value list, Perez #2, the 3 normally middle relievers (Rivera, Rauch, and Ayala) next, Lopez, and then a gap to Guzman and Belliard. I'd also put Schroder on the list but can't if we are leaving off guys not currently on the roster. After that, think there is minimal value in the rest of the list (or else we would have seen Colome traded already).

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to have missed you, e. Yes, we'd dispersed by 1 p.m. There's always next time, though (which looks to be the July 4 P-Nats game, for which a number of us have tix already).

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Also sorry to have missed the festivities yesterday. Had a 10-mile race in the morning, and didn't get to the park until 1:30ish.

I have to confess though, I was looking over my shoulder half the game trying to decide if the Nats fan behind me and his red-headed Cubs fan girlfriend were one of the familiars from this board.

Posted by: faNATic | April 28, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I think Lo Duca's return means less for Nieves tenure than the return of Dmitri. Estrada fills Dmitri's role. You really don't want him catching unless you are short on roster space.

Dukes I think would spell the end of Mackowiak. I think his high contract guarantees that he slips through waivers Might as well cite Kyle Snyder at $850 K scaring away claims as evidence that teams think twice about claiming costly bench guys. My guess is Mackowiak accepts assignment to Columbus because, if he slips through, it is evidence he's not signing elsewhere for similar money.

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The placing of Nick was the hardest. Ultimately, I believe Guzman is more tradable because of his contract situation. He's a classic loaner to a team that could sacrifice a little on defense in exchange for riding his streak. I think that he would probably be looked at as a second baseman by this imaginary trade-deadline buyer.

Johnson, on the other hand, requires a longer commitment, which makes him more of a classic hot-stove move. No team that thinks they need three extra wins to clench their division is going to be looking at him right now, despite the high OBP, especially with first base being so easy to fill. They'll say he's a quality player, but he's not that extra kick they need right now in their lineup.

So, then you have Guz over NJ. But given that the pitcher is the one position involved in every single play for a total of 4.5 innings, I tend to value pitchers higher than position players. John Lannan showed why yesterday. The one thing I think that you can never have too much of is good arms in the bullpen. Thus Rivera is number 2, then Redding and Perez.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

they should sit zim down for a day or so. its time. and maybe move him down in the lineup though i dont know who youd put in the 3 hole. and austin ks should be sat down indefinitely.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, this has been bugging me since yesterday but this is the only place where I can vent about the concessions at the new ballpark. Each game I've been to (yesterday makes #6), I've been able to buy either a Nats Dog or a Hebrew National dog then have them put chili on it. Before the game started, I bought one for my wife. In the 5th inning, I decided to buy one for myself. But the concessionaire tells me they don't do that. They say they only put chili on Ben's dogs. I tell her that I've done this each game and have never had a problem before. She tells me no and that no one is supposed to do this. This was at the same stand that I bought the earlier chili dog at! I just want a little consistency. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: e | April 28, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"Austin Ks." That's funny. Unfortunately.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Yeah they still haven't got the concessions right. I ordered a Heineken at a beer stand and they didn't have cups big enough to hold the entire beer and had to give me two small cocktail cups. I said something like "What's up with that, are we still at RFK" and the response was basically yeah, I don't know why they can't make things work the way they're supposed to. It's really strange. Good to hear Stan is focused on fixing the scoreboard though.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't see any reason to trade Rivera or Hanrahan. Those two guys, I believe, are the 2 most frequently discussed as a possible closer in the future, they're fairly young, and are inexpensive. What you would get for them in return wouldn't be enough given their upside. I suppose they could be a deal-sweetener in a larger package, but Ayala, Rauch, or Cordero would be better to trade, I'd say.

Posted by: Matt | April 28, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

It's really strange. Good to hear Stan is focused on fixing the scoreboard though.
Posted by: Bob L. Head

not sure what youre talkin bout here but i will say the scoreboard that the outfield seats face, the one over first and third base is the worst sb ive eva seen. doesnt give you any info and the info it gives you is confusing. doesnt even tell you if its a hit or error. didnt any1 with baseball sense check this thing out?.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

With the Nieves-Lannan connection being discussed, I can't help but wonder if Lannan might be doing even better with Brian Schneider catching him. How much better would the entire rotation be doing if he'd been with them through all of spring training? I know, I should let it go...B's not coming back anytime soon. So, how 'bout a Nieves-Flores platoon? It's gotta be better then gimpy LoDuca and lumbering Estrada. [Look out...this is becoming a full-blown rant]

And, doesn't Ryan Church's .322 average look a lot better than Milledge's .288? Anybody know how many catches Church has tanked this year? On the Nats website they're lauding Milledge for doing better, but from my outfield seat, he still looks pretty lost out there most of the time. Has he gotten a good jump on a fly ball yet? History may prove me wrong, but right now the Schneider-Church for LoDuca-Milledge trade looks like Bowden's biggest gaffe to date (yes, I'm still bitter, but I'm trying to get over it).

I apologize if this has already been discussed in the forums, but I'm kinda new to this.

Listen, I'm just glad to have 'em...I thank the Lerners and Tony Williams every time my kid and I sit in our seats and I explain what a hit-and-run is while she cheers on her favorite right fielder (the opening day ticket holder and lanyard is now used to display a homemade "I love Austin" picture!).

Posted by: Still Bitter | April 28, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Hush your fears, still bitter. Church always starts hot, raises a chorus of "why isn't he appreciated," does something to his hamstring, pouts a bit, goes into a slump, then goes back to being a fourth outfielder.

And, here's the thing: Milledge will be starting in the majors in five years, neither Church nor Schneider will. He's not looking great in center field, but he has gotten the job done the last couple of games. Personally, I don't care which way a fielder runs to the ball, as long as he gets it.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

But - of course - I really miss BSchneid.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Can we safely induct Brian Schneider into the Jamey Carroll Hall of Beloved Former Nationals Who Really Aren't As Good As We Remember Them, but Love Doesn't Judge by Numbers?

He really is batting 1.000 in our hearts.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, DK! We can't see the big board from our seats (we're in right field, row 8...just a bit too high), so those boards over the baselines are all we've got and it seems they hardly ever work right. There's a sort of a tower structure out near the end of the left field line...I think it supports the ramps going up to the club and upper level seats on the third base side. Maybe the Nats could spring for a smaller version of the big board to go out there? Then you'd have the mother-of-all-scoreboards board and a baby board!

Posted by: DaveBrad | April 28, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking this yesterday, too. He's been showing a lot of frustration lately, more than in the past, it seems to me. Perhaps it might help to clear his head if he had a break?

---

they should sit zim down for a day or so. its time.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I second that emotion. And thanks for the GB/A, as always. :)

---

Can we safely induct Brian Schneider into the Jamey Carroll Hall of Beloved Former Nationals Who Really Aren't As Good As We Remember Them, but Love Doesn't Judge by Numbers?

He really is batting 1.000 in our hearts.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it might help to clear his head if he had a break?

-----

Let him break the franchise consecutive-game record first. He's only like three games away, or something.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Gotta disagree w/ the defenders of Church and Schneider. At the end of last year, remember, neither one was starting and neither one was in our plans to start. So why not trade them for a guaranteed starter in CF to replace the DEBACLE of center fielders we used last year?

If Lo Duca/Estrada were healthy (neither has been 100% since their signings) nobody'd be saying squat. If Pena was healthy (also not 100% all year) and was hitting like he was last year, we'd all be saying, "See see, dump Church and his attitude and get a 23-yr old can't miss prospect in return."

I think Bowden's 3 worst moves were/are:
- the Spivey-Ohka trade in 05; we DFA Spivey at the end of the year and Ohka was decent for a while.
- Not trading Soriano for something of value at the 06 deadline(arguable since we got the 1st round supplimental pick that let us sign Smoker).
- Not Trading Cordero at the deadline in 06 or 07 when his value was highest and it was clear teams were getting to him

- and a bonus bonehead move by bowden: moving Enrique gonzalez off the 40-man this spring while KEEPING Langerhans, who was slated to be our 7th outfielder or something. 2 weeks later, Langerhans passes through waivers (like anyone needs a lefty outfielder who can't hit his weight) and is now safely in AAA for the rest of his career, while Gonzalez got snapped up.

And, while you're thinking Bowden was bad, here's highlights of the 03 and 04 transactions our franchise managed to pulloff under the guidance of MLB
- let Vladimir Gurrero go to free agency
- Trade Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon, then trade Colon for Orlando "I'm actually nearing 50" Hernandez, then let Hernandez leave via FA, all in the span of 12 months.
- Trade Orlando Cabrera to Boston for three stiffs who are either out of baseball or in AA right now.

Posted by: Sec131 | April 28, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

506, do you know my kid still asks about Jamey Carroll?! That experience has helped me illustrate the concept of "utility infielder" for her.

I'd say maybe we could put Church in that hall, but I'm not ready to put Brian in yet. I think he was a real leader on the team and he certainly had a way with the pitchers. I haven't seen anyone emerge yet as that leader, have you? (I wish Zim would, but I almost wonder if he's waiting for them to commit to him with the big contract, and I'm not sure I blame him) Plus, I think part of Brian's problem last year was he was adjusting to having a kid. You know what having a newborn in the house does to your body and brain! I think he's bounced back well this year, but as you say, it is early.

And okay, to be completely honest some of my bitterness stems from the fact that I bought the really expensive Schneider game jersey last year...I figured no chance he was getting traded. Of course, I get hit with the "jersey jinx" again! I should've known better...same thing happened with Redskins jerseys TWICE (Brad Johnson and Stephen Davis). I finally bought an old-school Jurgensen jersey...figured I could do no harm there. But, I promise there's no WAY I'm buying an Ovechkin jersey!

Posted by: Still Bitter | April 28, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

On an unrelated topic, maybe I'm getting old, but visiting fans seem to be getting more boorish every year. In my life, Cubs fans have always been quite pleasant--very supportive of their team without being nasty to the home side. Of course, they are so often in the cellar that they don't find much to cheer about.

Yesterday, however, the Cubs fans were as rude, foul-mouthed, and belligerent as any fans from NY, Philadelphia or Atlanta, which was shocking. Sure they are pleased with themselves for being in first place, but Cubs fans teasing and trying to instigate fans of a last place club--are you kidding me? Do they have no sense of history?

I'm usually against these kinds of things, but between the Braves fans standing up and turning around (to face the crowd) to do that stupid stolen-from-FSU tomahawk chop thing and Cubs fans screaming at cheering Nats fans to "shut up you last place losers", we really need an updated fan code of conduct or it could really get ugly. I'd like to keep bringing my small kids to the game without them being taunted for their allegiances (at home, no less).

Okay. Sorry. Rant over.

Posted by: Sec 112 | April 28, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

- the Spivey-Ohka trade in 05; we DFA Spivey at the end of the year and Ohka was decent for a while.

seriously who trades a decent starting pitcher for a so so basically utility infielder? oh yea he turned his back on ole frankie when frank came out to the mound to yank him and he was gone within a week.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Lots of folks were worried about how the Nats Pitchers would do when Schneider left for the Mets. I wonder how much that has been part of the start they have had. Also, I wonder how much the recent improvement of the Nationals has been a product of the "catch-first" Wil Nieves catching instead of the "Bat-first" tandem of LoDuca and Estrada?

I wonder if Nieves calls a better game and that is helping pitchers get better results? Based upon a quick look at the last 7 games or so, all but 1 of the losses have come when Estrada has been the catcher or after he replaced Nieves.

Perhaps we should be looking at keeping the "Catch-first" cather in. It helps that he is out hitting the others as well!

Posted by: NatsWin! | April 28, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"I wish Zim would, but I almost wonder if he's waiting for them to commit to him with the big contract, and I'm not sure I blame him"

Oh, I see. His horrible start this year is nothing but a job action, an on-field sick-out as it were. Give him the big contract, and he'll start performing at a high level.

Could it be that Zimmerman is not really as good as everyone thinks he is (or wants him to be)?

Posted by: zimmerman = ripken (bill, that is) | April 28, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I didn't have any problems with the Cubs fans in my section (307). Most were too cold to say anything. Plus, it was hard to denegrate the Nats when we were taking two of three from them. Am cringing, though, when the Philly fans come to town next month.

Posted by: e | April 28, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, 112! I observed the exact same thing Friday night. A guy in front of us (with Cubs fans, but wearing a Yankees t-shirt...go figure) kept taunting Kearns when Kearns hadn't done anything wrong except try and chase down a fly ball he had no chance of reaching. And, some idiot behind me kept yelling, "FU-KU-DO-ME!" to encourage the Cubs right fielder every time he was out there. I confess, it gave me great pleasure to follow him up the stands yelling, "Fukudome really looked good watching Nieves' ball sail into the bullpen, didn't he?!"

Yeah, in the past Cubs fans have been fun guests...I was actually kind of looking forward to this series. I will say, there was a whole family of Cubs fans near us (looked like three generations to me) and they were pretty appalled by their fellow Cubs fans' behavior.

Well, at least we won't have to worry about Marlins fans, right?

Posted by: Still Bitter | April 28, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

a thought on zim, who we have been in the tank for:
however, zim and hanley ramirez are pretty equally linked. ramirez also plays for what was supposed to be a lousy team and has been a lousy team. and he may have more pressure on him cause the marlins gave up beckett for him.

but these guys each came in to the league at the same time, highly touted. they battled each other for rookie of the year and now look at their stats.

ramirez is a stra8 out stud and zim looks completely lost on almost both side of the ball.
zim makes better defensive plays when he doesnt have time to think, otherwise he may toss it into the first row.
kinda weird. maybe zim isnt as good as we thought he was.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I think Belliard has some additional value to the Nats. He is the only Major League ready middle infielder on the Nats roster that is signed for 2009. Keeping him means they only "must" fill the hole at SS (which I still think they might do by offering Guz a 2-year extension based on his play so far and the numbers he put up when healthy last year). Didn't he get the Tiger/Lasik surgery after the 2005 season?

Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Sports Illustrated on whether Bowden will be fired:

5. Jim Bowden, Nationals. The Nats are very bad, a fact that is usually disregarded or dismissed due to the rebuilding nature of their team. Judging by the bonuses it handed out last summer to its draft picks, the organization does appear serious about building for the future. However, Bowden's moves aren't aiding the present. He has a penchant for coddling the terminally troubled (see offseason acquisition Elijah Dukes). And the $10-million contract for Dmitri Young, only a backup, seems like a waste. It can't hurt Bowden that he has gotten really close to owner Ted Lerner's son.

Posted by: swanni | April 28, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of a time in my youth when I was part of a "bad visiting fan" group.

My cousins and I were in Houston and just being rude as all get-out to Phil Nevin-then a rookie third basemen. The game was played in the Astrodome on a Sunday afternoon in May, so there coudn't have been more than 10,000 people there--it was dead quiet. Nevin had a miserable game--three strikeouts and one GIDP and two errors in the field.

Well, my cousins were really letting him have it and this nice grandmotherly lady who was sitting in front of us turns around nicely and says,
"gentlemen, I should remind you that it's legal in the State of Texas to carry concealed weapons."

They were pretty quiet the rest of the game.

On an aside, before this episode, Nevin responded to the jeers with "you want a piece---come and get me!" My lubricated (and since disowned) relative went tearing down the aisle to feign accepting the challenge. I was so embarrassed, but it is pretty funny in hindsight. I've never seen a player call a fan out like that. It was SO quiet though, he clearly heard every word.

Posted by: Sec 112 | April 28, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

just skip cubs, mets, yanks, bosox and phills games and youll be in the majority. otherwise in this town or b-more youll be the visiting minority.
we went to the mets game last wed and it might as well have been shea south. sad.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"zim looks completely lost on almost both side of the ball."

dk, Zim's made only two errors this year and has the second best fielding percentage among full-time third basemen in the National League. And he picks the ball better than just about anyone.

Maybe you're thinking of last year. Or giving too much weight to one or two plays.

Posted by: joebleux | April 28, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

fan rudeness has a direct correlation to media coverage. its "cool" to be a cubs fan, mets and phillies fans as well.

i would be willing to bet that most of the rude fans were under 30 right? that means that they have been intellectually corrupted by this sports non-highlight highlights that are so prominent on the larger networks.

sample highlight:
strikeout, strikeout, first run of the game, last inning, last pitch. douchebag fan in the stands. sportscaster yelling at us.

then, add to that the gossip news that is the main draw of fans, and you can see how the game is being shoved aside so we can see analysis/what ifs/roger clemens hooked up with a young singer crap.

and finally, add the sense of entitlement that these fans in larger cities have with their teams - because they are told they will win - and you can see why they shun the "last place" teams.

and yes, i am making large assumptions. and yes, i am not explaining myself thoroughly (whats new there?). open to interpretation by those that actually think about what they write before they do it and have the time to construct good arguments.

Posted by: theraph | April 28, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you're thinking of last year. Or giving too much weight to one or two plays.
Posted by: joebleux

u could be right. i was at one of those games-- mets but yesterday is a perfect example. in one inning zim made one of his patented beautiful barehanded sidearm outouts. on the next play it was a routine grounder and he almost threw it away. johnson saved it and made the out otherwise it would have been an error. and there have been a lot of plays like that this year and last where he was saved.
just seems when he has time, thats when the fun starts.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I was at Friday's and Saturday's games and the number of Cubs fans was depressing, especially Sat night. I felt bad for our guys on the field. But I can't really blame them for maintaining loyalty to other teams. I grew up in Pittsburgh, but gave up on the Pirates when I left in '92. I adopted the Nats last year, but I am still a Steelers and Penguins fan. The main reason was because they kept winning all these years. I still wish the Pirates well, but I won't be wearing any Black or Gold this weekend. It just takes time to build the kind of following the other more succesful franchises enjoy. And once the Nats finally get to the place where they are in first place in Sept., on the verge of their first playoff appearance, it'll be a totally different atmosphere. Till then, we just have to keep the faith.

Posted by: BofG | April 28, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

John Lannan = demeanor! Look at this guy step on to and off the mound. He is a WINNER! It's about attitude and confidence. It's what separates mediocre ball players from the great ones.

Posted by: Nats=class,class,class | April 28, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

dk, yeah I remember Nick making one of the those nonchalant "step over to the wrong side of bag" plays to save a bad throw by Zim. I have to say, though, I don't think DaMeat did too much saving last year...

Posted by: joebleux | April 28, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

dk, yeah I remember Nick making one of the those nonchalant "step over to the wrong side of bag" plays to save a bad throw by Zim. I have to say, though, I don't think DaMeat did too much saving last year...

Posted by: joebleux | April 28, 2008 1:07 PM
...other than lots of vittles for hibernation.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Among the many, many things I don't get:
If it's clear "teams were getting to him" to (even) fans, why would his value be highest?
Higher than now, maybe, but highest? Wouldn't it have been higher *before* it was obvious?

**************
Not Trading Cordero at the deadline in 06 or 07 when his value was highest and it was clear teams were getting to him

Posted by: Sec131 | April 28, 2008 12:09 PM

Posted by: CE | April 28, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Was at Sat game, so many Cub fans there my chants of "1908" and "Bartman" were hard to hear.

Will Nieves = Jamie Carroll. Gives great effort every night. Becoming a fan fave. Actually has worth (Lannan) and low era with pitchers he's worked.

What has the human pear Estrada brought? Keep Nieves up in DC, get rid of Estrada. Give Jesus a couple of months, bring him up lose PLoD. Simple :-)

From Bowden:
"I hate to send anybody down that's performing at that level, so that'll be a difficult decision when we get there," Bowden said. "Right now, he's been a very important part of our winning. I just look forward to him catching his next game."

It's not a difficult decision at all Jimbo.

Posted by: Johnny Baconbitz | April 28, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I am equally conflicted, like BofG, when the Phils come to town as a lifelong Philly sports fan. But it became important to me to have an MLB team in the city AND I'm a baseball fan above all. The rivalry between the Phils & Expos/Nats never really reached a fever-pitch level, so it made it easier to cross the stream.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

When I first saw Lannan pitch last year I did not think much of him. He's grown on me and I'm starting to think he could be our very own "crafty lefty" for years to come.

As to having opposing fans in our ballpark - eh, no big deal. I am a native Washingtonian and full season ticket holder. I am proud to call the nation's capital and the most powerful city in the world "home". Other than the Marlins, there will ALWAYS be many fans of the other team - just shows what a good thing we have going on in the DC area that people are flocking from all over the country (and world) to live and work here.

Posted by: Doctor Joe | April 28, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. If this team is in a race for the NL Wild Card this August/September, I get the feeling attendance will have a different feel to it.

------------
"And once the Nats finally get to the place where they are in first place in Sept., on the verge of their first playoff appearance, it'll be a totally different atmosphere. Till then, we just have to keep the faith."

Posted by: Juan-John | April 28, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

(re Cordero): ok perhaps "clear to those of us who were at most of the Nats games watching him nail-bite his way through saves" is the better phrasing.

Even in mid-last year, there was a market for him but only as a setup guy. Well hell, if it turns out he's got a torn ligament in his elbow, and that's the reason he can't throw faster than 87, then i'd rather have something over nothing. Svrluga doesn't think he's our closer of the future, he's one of the highest paid guy on the team right now and not earning it, and scouting reports have clearly said players hated seeing Rauch and *looked forward to" seeing Cordero in the 9th.

should have moved him while he still had value.

Posted by: Sec131 | April 28, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Sec 131: You got Josh Smoker AND Jordan Zimmermann for Alfonso Soriano. Only time will tell how it works out.

Posted by: dick | April 28, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

dk, interesting thought to compare Ramirez and Zimm. Hanley is about ten months older than Ryan, but spent parts of four years in the minors before his September 2005 call-up, in contrast to Zimmerman's part of one. I crunched some numbers from last year (since April lies) that seem to tell a mixed tale on these two.

At the plate:
Zimmerman, .266/.330/.458, 99 runs, 43 2B, 5 3B, 24 HR, 91 RBI, 61 BB, 125 K
Ramirez, .332/.386/.562, 125 runs, 48 2B, 6 3B, 29 HR, 81 RBI, 52 BB, 95 K

Please tell me you don't need a stat to tell you that Ramirez stole more bases. In fact, you can see the effect of his speed on his number of runs scored. What surprised me was how comparable their doubles and triples numbers were. I assumed Ramirez would be well ahead. Likewise, I assumed Zimm would be well ahead on home runs. RBI is obviously a function of batting order.

So looks like you have a point about Ramirez being clearly the better offensive player. On the other side? Zimmerman 23 errors, Ramirez 24, but with a lot more balls hit to the shortstop to bring his fielding percentage up a little higher at .963 to Zimmerman's .955. Don't know the throwing/fielding split, so no founded guess on the Meat Hook effect, just anecdotes.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

A couple of random reactions to various posts on a rainy afternoon: I'm still hurting because I got a rare day off today, had an 8:44 AM tee time, and well...

1. On Chico/Lannan, I'd be wary about making too many declarations. I'm with IHW who commented that Lannan hasn't been around the division yet. On the whole the folks on this board make too many snap judgments based on limited data. Lannan moves it around and has decent stuff. The fact that he racked up 11 K's in one of his starts is impressive. He missed some bats there. However baseball history is filled with guys who the league caught up with quickly after a few splashy outings. To the kid's credit, he seems like a hard worker. Someone I knew played against him in HS, and the reason he went to such a relatively weak baseball school like Siena is that as a senior in HS, he threw only about 78 MPH. What this means is that he had to learn how to pitch. Sometimes LHPs who develop velocity later in life end up being the best guys because they learn their craft first then add the stuff. If you grow up throwing the ball by bad amateur hitters, you never learn how to pitch. As far as Chico goes, as long as he's healthy, keep sending him out there. He was a warrior last year. The team shouldn't bail on him after a bad month. It sends a bad message to others in the organization. If he hasn't gotten it together by the all-start break, then put someone else in there.

2. All this teeth gnashing about Zim has to stop. Is he as good as Hanley Ramirez? Probably not, but that's an awfully high bar to hop over. Ramirez is one of the best couple of all-around players in the NL right now. I think he's probably more suited to be a #5 hitter, with Nick bating #3. They definitely need another big bopper in the middle. The guy though drove 201 runs, hit 44 HRs, and batted about .270 in his first two years in MLB - all in an offensive unfriendly park. He'll come around.

3. Speaking of offensive unfriendly parks, even though it's WAY too early to make a judgment, Nats Park appears to be playing like a pitchers' park. In the games I've been to - albeit a small sample - balls seem to be dying on the warning track just like RFK. The ball has to be really hit to get out of there. As the weather warms up and the humidity increases, that may change a bit though.

4. So at some point, Dukes, Young, and LoDuca will all be healthy enough to return. That means three guys on the current roster need to go unless there are more injuries. Yikes. What a dysfunctional roster. I thought the quote this morning though that Dukes will be put in the big leagues only if he is hitting was interesting. Does that mean they will only call him up if he's going to start? Kearns and Pena should be looking over their shoulders.

5. As a Nats fan, I've never felt that I've been in the "minority" at any Nats game. Sure there have been a lot of Yankees or Cubs or Mets fans. Nats fans have always outnumbered them though. As for obnoxious fans being on the increase, I take that as another example of a selfish society. People go to the games to draw attention to themselves by acting like boars. They endeavor to get a reaction from those around them. It's another form of "look at me-ism". It's also in the category of, "I paid my money, so I'm entitled to do what I want." My experience has been that whenever I act out of a sense of entitlement, I'm usually wrong.

Posted by: #4 | April 28, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

From Bowden:
"I hate to send anybody down that's performing at that level, so that'll be a difficult decision when we get there," Bowden said. "Right now, he's been a very important part of our winning. I just look forward to him catching his next game."

It's not a difficult decision at all Jimbo.

Posted by: Johnny Baconbitz | April 28, 2008 1:16 PM

-----

Would you suggest signing him to a $10 million, two-year contract?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

112, if supposed fans of the visiting team are directly harassing you and/or the people you're with--as opposed to heckling the Nats or cheering for their team--then you should tell an usher or stadium security. It is up to the Nats to keep all fans under control, and there's a big difference between fans coming to Nats Park and cheering for their own team and making your own experience uncomfortable. If you do ask for help and don't get any from the ushers or security, then you should email Stan and let him know about it.

By the way, most real Cubs fans will tell you that Cubs fans of the sort you describe are not "real" Cubs fans. I venture to say that most of them couldn't find Lakeview if you paid them.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 28, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I've heard the same thing as CIL from my girlfriend and friends. My buddy was pretty steamed at the guys behind us cheering for the Cubs because of it. Actually, it was only one and he really was a Yankees fan (always, always) and his friends told him to shut-up at one point.

On a positive note, I ended up sitting with my co-worker and his friend, Derek Lee's cousin. He was disappointed that his cousin had a Nick Johnson-like bad day (2 walks), but had very respectful things to say about the Nats' heart (other teams' fans apparently see it) and loved the stadium. He said that "this is the kind of place baseball should be played."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

with occasional exceptions : D

************
The ball has to be really hit to get out of there.
Posted by: #4 | April 28, 2008 1:28 PM

Posted by: Wil N. | April 28, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

yeah, there were some pretty obnoxious cubs fans in the 231 area on saturday night, one in particular. i've got no problem with people rooting for their teams and proudly wearing their colors, even in enemy territory. but when it gets to the point that you're standing up, pointing at fans of the home team, and jeering them, you've turned into a jacka$$.

of course, i had to be at the one game of the series where we were beaten down from the get-go (thanks, chico). and the best way to shut up opposing fans is to beat them on the field.

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

oh, and to make a comment on the long-ball in the new park: wait. it's been particularly cold, overall, this spring. not conducive to the ball carrying. can't really make that kind of judgement until the season's over.

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to break up the bash-fest of Cubs fans (believe me I have some stories to contribute)....but back to baseball, check out this classic from Ladson via today's Mailbag on Nationals.com:

"There are no excuses this time. Most of the players are not hitting the ball hard this year. I do believe they miss Dmitri Young. I believe he could provide an occasional spark if given a chance to start in left field. In all my years in Washington, Young is the only player who makes a difference just by his presence alone."

- Young in LF (and we though Wily was bad)
- the only player who makes a different just by his presence alone? (what presence, his gut hanging out over the plate)


** I love da Hook and will cheer him when he gets back, but Billy boy is taking it just a bit too far

Posted by: Corey | April 28, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Egads! Young in LF? With a range rating of -100? I mean, really, can he actually move fast enough to get to the balls?

Posted by: SF Fan | April 28, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

maybe the "difference" he's talking about is a personality thing.

but LF? agreed, no thanks. WMP is butcher enough out there.

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I missed Flynnie walking around with a sandwich board. I walked around the lower level for a while to see if I could find anything NJ-related, but I was probably distracted by the park.

Man, Nieves really looks like he belongs here. It's not just the hitting, either. That strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play on Friday night was great. Of course, my dislike of Lo Duca makes my opinion a bit biased on that front.

Posted by: John (not) in Mpls | April 28, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, disagree with Ladson about Young in left. As anyone with any sense will. Let him get some starts at first and let him come off the bench, though, and we'll see some perk in the team mood.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, as long as he moved, I'd be satisfied. The way Wily Mo stood there on that Fukudome liner just killed me. Late, late break on a ball he might have been able to catch.

-----

Egads! Young in LF? With a range rating of -100? I mean, really, can he actually move fast enough to get to the balls?

Posted by: John (not) in Mpls | April 28, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

You mean to tell me those were the best questions he was asked all week? That stuff has been discussed ad nauseum in both the print media and the virtual spaces between. Talk about hand picking the softballs. Bill L's responses sounded like any of the myriad other junk he passes off as interactive journalism. You get better content on any number of the fan-run blog sites. Essh!

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

Sorry to break up the bash-fest of Cubs fans (believe me I have some stories to contribute)....but back to baseball, check out this classic from Ladson via today's Mailbag on Nationals.com:

Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Nieves should not go down. He's the best we've had this year and he should be playing every day. Yeah, yeah, yeah! I know what they are paying Lo Duca. So what? He doesn't help us win and Nieves does.
Makowiack, Harris, Boone, Estrada are expendable in my book. I'd list Kearns there too, but I am hoping that he can turn it around.

Posted by: 6th and D | April 28, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

As to the boorish nature of fans, I should point out that I almost got my teeth knocked out by a Cubs fan Friday night.

After the game, I turn to leave the section and I see two Cubs fans about to fight each other. Perhaps foolishly, I attempted to break it up, telling them that, no matter the dispute, it wasn't worth an arrest record.

A guy in their group (who arrived quite drunk and had made several loud, rude - and unoriginal - jokes about Fukudome's name) ran down three rows and got in my face, lightly headbutted me (no kidding), knocked my hatt off, and tried to get me to hit him. I don't hit people, so he was out of luck there.

Eventually, the cops came and broke everything up. But honestly, it almost ruined a very good night.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

That was me with the near-altercation.

Posted by: John (not) in Mpls | April 28, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

one thing i wanna say about nieves is his d, 2 early to comment on his hitting.

the guy throws one of the hardest, straightest strikes to 2nd on runners stealing that i have seen in a long while. hes got a gun and its real accurate. i really like this guy. he seems like nails behind the plate.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"In all my years in Washington, Young is the only player who makes a difference just by his presence alone." -- Ladson

Well, if they make him a hitting coach you get his presence, alone.

Posted by: Just sayin | April 28, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

even his throws at the beginning of the inning were impressive. My wife got tired of hearing me say "Look at that--it's a straight line! How hard does he throw?"

************
the guy throws one of the hardest, straightest strikes to 2nd on runners stealing that i have seen in a long while. hes got a gun and its real accurate. i really like this guy. he seems like nails behind the plate.
Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 2:16 PM

Posted by: CE who catches too | April 28, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it funny how too many beers and (un)timely HRs will make a$$e$ out of grown men? Me, I would have found it endlessly amusing and probably would have found a seat a couple rows above them to take in the action. Nothing like knowing your favorite team just caused that much angst to individuals who take their sporting events far too seriously. Don't get me wrong, I get sometimes too wrapped up in the outcome of the game on a pitch by pitch basis, but I never even think about getting violent over it. Perhaps it's because I don't define myself by the outcome of things that are beyond my control. Then again, perhaps it's because I left the "one-beer-per-inning" days behind be long ago.

Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm on record as a Wil Nieves fan-boy, but let's be a little honest with ourselves, he's only 2 out of 10 for throwing out runners.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Comparing Ramirez defensive ability at SS vs. Zimmermans at 3B pretty simple.

Take a couple of advanced fielding statistics like Revised Zone Rating (RZR) or Out of Zone Plays (OOZ) and Zimmerman has two of the top 15 defensive seasons by any third basemen over the last four seasons. None of Ramirez's seasons cracks the SS top 30.

And Zimmerman is statistically off to a better season this year than 06 or 07. Granted, Nick's glove sure helps, but Zimmerman statistically is not lost out there.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | April 28, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

more on free agents. Just sayin.

Matt Morris, the veteran right-hander added by the Pirates late last season to stabilize a young rotation, was released after failing to pitch past the second inning in his latest start. From the MLB roundup today.

"The decision to cut Morris will cost the Pirates more than $10 million, in addition to what they already have paid him this season. Morris is making $10,037,283 this season, or about one-fifth of their payroll, and has a $1 million buyout for 2009."

Posted by: CE | April 28, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

By the way, in our off season, "What middle infielder might the Nats pick up who could come cheap and help" thread, any of us have Clint Barmes? .305, 2 HR, led to the Rockies releasing Jayson Nix?

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Then again, perhaps it's because I left the "one-beer-per-inning" days behind be long ago.

Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 2:21 PM
------
Yeah, I too found that one beer per half inning makes a poorly played loss much easier to handle (and forget).

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Before the team took the field yesterday, DC little league players ran out from the dugout and took their positions on the field. The Nats followed and met the kids there. It was a very cool, very classy thing to do, and I loved it.

But I noticed something funny. The little league outfielders were pretty shallow, since they had to get off the field quickly. As a result, they were not in a position to meet their respective Nationals.

I saw Wily Mo wave at the child in left without making the effort to jog over to him. Millege jogged right by his little league counterpart without even acknowledging his existence. I'm not sure Millege even saw him.

Kearns, though, ran straight to the right fielder, shook his hand, and talked to him. It looked like - and mind you, I was up in 234, so I could be way off - he asked the kid what his name was.

He then noticed that Milledge had trotted right past the center fielder, so he ran over to that child and shook his hand, too, also taking the time to ask his name and talk for a bit before the little leaguers had to run off the field.

I know Kearns isn't going to win any games by shaking little leaguers' hands, and I sure would like him to crack the Mendoza line and stay out of double plays. But a lot is said about how Kearns does things the right way, and this was certainly a touching example of that.

Hats off to you for that, Austin.

Posted by: John (not) in Mpls | April 28, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"I'm on record as a Wil Nieves fan-boy, but let's be a little honest with ourselves, he's only 2 out of 10 for throwing out runners.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 2:23 PM "

while i like the guy, i'm also not one of the unabashed fanbois for nieves, since i expect him to regress to the mean and eventually people will start to complain about how many times he can't get it done at the plate.

that said, i also think it's pretty unfair to him to look at purely the 2-10 in throwing out the runners. i haven't watched every game he's caught, but i can remember at least 3-4 times where he popped up, got the ball out quickly, threw a strike right on the bag, but still never had a chance because the pitcher didn't give it to him. he's been pretty lights out throwing the ball to 2nd this season, from what i've seen, only to have his pitchers let him down.

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm on record as a Wil Nieves fan-boy, but let's be a little honest with ourselves, he's only 2 out of 10 for throwing out runners.
Posted by: Section 506

stats sometimes lie.
wed was a good example against the mets. i remember in one inning at least 2 guys stole 2nd although it looked to us that neives threw them out.
but they stole on the pitcher. he made amazing throws on both runners and almost (or maybe did) get them. so be careful with stats. they dont tell the whole truth and nuthin but the truth so help me god.

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

...but oh so hard on the wallet! @ $7.50 a pop I just can't force myself beyond 3 for the game. I haven't yet had my traditional pre-game pitcher at Tortilla Coast b/c I haven't gone with my Dad yet. That's such a tastier and more economical way to go!

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

Yeah, I too found that one beer per half inning makes a poorly played loss much easier to handle (and forget).

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 2:26 PM

Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I know what you mean. Those long concession lines really slow you down.

*********
Then again, perhaps it's because I left the "one-beer-per-inning" days behind be long ago.
Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 2:21 PM

Posted by: MIB Yeunglings | April 28, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

concession lines wouldn't be as much of a problem if the beer men served something better than bud and miller. blech.

^ beer snob ^

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Great points, MKevin.

I almost told the guy that punching me couldn't take away that 0-2 walkoff home run by Nieves (or make him sober), but thought better of it.

Posted by: John (not) in Mpls | April 28, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Potomac Nats on July 4, huh? sounds interesting...

Re: the draft -- think the Nats will concentrate on other positions besides pitchers this year?

Posted by: nats fan in annandale | April 28, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"I'm on record as a Wil Nieves fan-boy, but let's be a little honest with ourselves, he's only 2 out of 10 for throwing out runners."

One of my rowmates and I have been talking about that. Doesn't the pitcher share some responsibility for this (e.g., by slow or unaware pitching mechanics, even though he's pitching from the stretch)?

If that's true, one of these days the delayed double steal is going to work.

Posted by: Hendo | April 28, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHA!!! Good thing you kept that to yourself. I have a feeling you would have gotten that back in the form of a fat lip :-)

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

Great points, MKevin.

I almost told the guy that punching me couldn't take away that 0-2 walkoff home run by Nieves (or make him sober), but thought better of it.

Posted by: John (not) in Mpls | April 28, 2008 2:34 PM

Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

You all point out very well the flaws in judging based solely on runners caught stealing, but I only wrote it in response to all the talk about what a superior defensive catcher he is. You can't say he's a superior catcher, but didn't get the job done. It doesn't matter how pretty it is, if it doesn't happen, then it doesn't help the team.

Better to point to the number of passed balls or wild pitches that he has not allowed to occur, but there's still a hole in his defensive abilities that we need to remember if we're advocating keeping him at the major league level.

Will it return to the mean? His career in the majors is disappointing, only 12 catches out of 53 attempts for 22.6 percent. The reviled defensively Lo Duca is at 30.8 percent.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Pitching does matter, Hendo, but he was also catching Mussina for the Yanks and he presumably is not prone to the same mistakes as young Mr. Lannan.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Wil Nieves' first name is actually "Wilbert." Maybe we should start calling him "Agent 53."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

...but oh so hard on the wallet! @ $7.50 a pop I just can't force myself beyond 3 for the game. I haven't yet had my traditional pre-game pitcher at Tortilla Coast b/c I haven't gone with my Dad yet. That's such a tastier and more economical way to go!

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

Yeah, I too found that one beer per half inning makes a poorly played loss much easier to handle (and forget).

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 2:26 PM

Posted by: MKevin | April 28, 2008 2:30 PM
-------
I miss the tailgating. It was the great equalizer for ballpark beer prices - which have gone up a $1 per beer since last year.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I encourage everyone to sign this petition calling on MLB to end their MLB.tv blackout policy, which blocks people who live in the area from seeing Nats games, even if they buy the $90-120 MLB.tv package, which is advertised misleadingly as allowing you to watch "every game."

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/end-mlbtv-blackouts

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 28, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Steven,

not only is it Nats game. but residents of MoCo county are blacked out to Pittsburgh, Philly, and Baltimore teams.

All the more reason to sign the petition.

Posted by: theraph | April 28, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Barry, it's been a while since you commented on the popularity of the Washington Post Blogs. How's this blog doing popularity wise? It seems lots more folks are commenting these days.

Posted by: Nats Fan | April 28, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

statistics just aren't a substitute for watching with your own eyes when you're talking about defense, 506. nieves has a good arm and is quick to get the ball on the way to 2nd. he's really been jobbed by the pitchers this year. like i said, if i've seen 3-4 steals that were *purely* the pitchers' fault (and i've only seen him catch 2-3 times), that would change the numbers to 5-6 out of 10, which is a pretty good number. i remember seeing the look on his face on TV after he made two perfect throws to just barely be beaten (and knowing the pitcher had given the guy way too much lead and too long in his delivery). you could see how frustrated he was by the look.

i'm not calling him johnny bench, but i think he's got a good arm (quick and accurate). it's not his defensive skills i think will erode, it's his plate acumen.

to be fair, you're right that his numbers weren't amazing with NYY (23-7), but i didn't watch those games, so it's hard for me to judge them like the one's i've watched so far this year. and i don't think catchers go on "hot" or "cold" streaks with throwing out runners the same way players do at the plate.

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I remember when the Yankees lost to us on Zimm's walk-off homerun, how the howling Yankees fans were shut up and replaced by a stadium full of delirious Nationals fans. That was a great moment. There was a family of Yankees fans in front of my father and me - the parents were fine, but the girl and boy were pests. Seeing them plunk down in their seats and then leave very quickly was quite satisfying.

It's not just baseball fans. When the Redskins played in Seattle in the first round of the playoffs, fans who travelled out there to cheer them on said the fans of the Seahawks were horrible, even mocking Sean Taylor's death.

Posted by: samantha7 | April 28, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think catchers go on hot/cold streaks for throwing out runners, either, 231. That's why the career numbers are worrisome, because they show that this short experience we have matches what his major league career shows that with New York Yankees and with the San Diego Padres, he was equally unsuccessful.

I'm not sure whether the eyes, in person, saw an out or not, but in the scorebook it was recorded as safe and that's the thing they used to calculate the result of the game. I jest with you, of course, I have great respect for your baseball wisdom and others who have an eye for the game, I don't and must rely on the numbers. I would never try to convince your eye it was wrong, not only because of that respect, but also because I know it would be fruitless, just as you won't be able to convince me that all the 20 percent success rates add up to more than just a 20 percent success rate. It's not stubbornness, it's just all I know. You have an advantage in that you are also very good with numbers.

Another thought occurred to me and I'd like to hear CE and Catcher50 post their thoughts as well as anyone else with catching experience. Doesn't the catcher call a pick-off in many cases? Doesn't pitch selection have a great deal to do with it? Could Nieves be calling change-ups with a speed-demon on first and therefore not get the ball quick enough for his throw to make a difference?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

you misunderstand me. my eyes didn't say they were outs. my eyes said he popped up quickly, made a quick, strong, and accurate throw, and never had a chance because the pitchers gave the baserunners *so much* of a head start.

and yes, it could be at least in part pitch selection, without a doubt. i wasn't really paying attn to pitch speeds or whether it was a curve.

but even sutton was bemoaning the terrible job the nats pitchers (can't remember who the starters were, but i do remember at least one SB was solely on ray king's head) were doing at holding the runners at first and what terrific jumps they were getting. i'd like to see a bigger sample before saying he doesn't have the throwing skills.

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

506:

Pick offs like everything else these days are called from the bench. As far as his career numbers, I seem to recall that he has caught Mussina a lot. That would skew his numbers if Mussina is bad at holding runners. He may be like Maddux, who refused to change his motion with men on first. Maddux was very slow to the plate.

The only foolproof way to judge this is to take a stop watch to the game and time him. It's not that hard. If the pop to pop time (from when it hits his glove to when it hits the 2B/SS's glove) is 2.0 or under, he's got an above average arm. The best guys, like Pudge Rodriquez in his prime, are about 1.85 in game conditions. I can tell you that my eyes say that he has a very quick release. I was at that Mets game where he gave up those two SBs. I was sitting with a guy, who like me, caught his whole life. He is also one of the best catching instructors I know. When Nieves made the first throw, we both said, "Wow", out loud.

By the way, if you want to judge a RH pitcher's impact on the running game, you can time his release too. Anything above 1.3 is slow timing from the start of his motion to when the ball hits the catcher's glove.

Posted by: #4 | April 28, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Didn't say he didn't have throwing skills, just that we can't proclaim him the messiah of defensive catching yet, when even Lo Duca has a higher throw out percentage. Over both of their careers, which include 53 opportunities for Nieves.

The Constituency in these parts gets carried away and I always stamp on the haters, it's fair to gently prod the enthusiasts too.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

i'm with you on the tempering of both the overenthusiastic as well as overly negative, believe me. i was just commenting that the numbers, in this case, are probably lying. at least for this season.

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Another thought occurred to me and I'd like to hear CE and Catcher50 post their thoughts as well as anyone else with catching experience. Doesn't the catcher call a pick-off in many cases? Doesn't pitch selection have a great deal to do with it? Could Nieves be calling change-ups with a speed-demon on first and therefore not get the ball quick enough for his throw to make a difference?

This really varies on a team-by-team basis and maybe then even on a catcher-by-catcher basis. Some coaches (such as LaRussa) call every pitch (or pick-off attempt) from the dugout. Others will let the catcher call the whole game. Most teams call pitch-outs from the dugout these days.

Also, sometimes you have to throw off-speed stuff even though there are speedy runners if for no other reason than to keep the hitter somewhat honest.

Posted by: Sec 112 | April 28, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

John (not) in Mpls: Thanks for sharing your observations of Austin greeting the little leaguers. He's a class guy and I know he's having a tough time now (as are Nick, Zim, etc.), but like 6th & D I really want him to turn it around (agree with you on all the other expendables, 6&D, especially Mackowiak...ugh!). Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Kearns been robbed a couple of times by some amazing fielding? And, I think he's hit a couple of those "dead at the warning track" numbers, too. Hopefully he'll break out soon...let's hope they all do!!

Posted by: Still Bitter | April 28, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Hope to see you there, nats fan in a'dale.

---

Potomac Nats on July 4, huh? sounds interesting...

Re: the draft -- think the Nats will concentrate on other positions besides pitchers this year?

Posted by: nats fan in annandale | April 28, 2008 2:36 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

It's easy to be distracted by the park, IMO, John.

Thanks for sharing the story about Kearns interacting with the kids. On the occasions that we sat in his neighborhood at RFK, we noticed that he tends to do that.

Be careful out there on Tuesday. We don't want to lose you to belligerent opposing fans!

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to have missed you, too, faNATic. Sect. 506's girlfriend wasn't able to attend so I don't think that was him behind you.

---

Also sorry to have missed the festivities yesterday. Had a 10-mile race in the morning, and didn't get to the park until 1:30ish.

I have to confess though, I was looking over my shoulder half the game trying to decide if the Nats fan behind me and his red-headed Cubs fan girlfriend were one of the familiars from this board.

Posted by: faNATic | April 28, 2008 11:00 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Great Kearnsy story. I'm glad that in the midst of personal turmoil at work he remembers the important things.

I was watching batting practice on Sunday and there was some kid out in center catching balls. I presume he was a kid because he was short, baby-faced, and skinny, and and there was no goatee, so not Wil Nieves. He looked like a 16 or 17 year old.

Anyhow, he was sprinting all over the outfield catching these things, like he was having the time of his life, and on one well hit ball he made an awesome diving snag and came up with it. Milledge jogged over from right center with a big grin and gave the kid a massive high-five.

It was pretty cool to see, and there's something nicer to say for Lastings. Assuming it wasn't just another Boone, of course.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Kearns was very engaging with his little leaguer on Sunday, 4/13 when the Braves were in town. Brian Schneider was great at this too! The majority of the bullpen is pretty good at it too - my daughters would hang out at the front of section 101 at RFK & collect autographs. The only two who wouldn't participate were Cordero & Rauch. Mike Bascik was the nicest of all.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I hope to heck that there was a misunderstanding on Milledge's part. If not, that's the worst thing I've heard or seen all year.

If we're going to lose, better to lose with some 'good guys' in the lineup like Kearns (and Schneider, who we still miss.)rather than a bunch of self-absorbed juveniles. (Thanks, Jimbo.)
________________________________________

Before the team took the field yesterday, DC little league players ran out from the dugout and took their positions on the field. The Nats followed and met the kids there. It was a very cool, very classy thing to do, and I loved it.

But I noticed something funny. The little league outfielders were pretty shallow, since they had to get off the field quickly. As a result, they were not in a position to meet their respective Nationals.

I saw Wily Mo wave at the child in left without making the effort to jog over to him. Millege jogged right by his little league counterpart without even acknowledging his existence. I'm not sure Millege even saw him.

Kearns, though, ran straight to the right fielder, shook his hand, and talked to him. It looked like - and mind you, I was up in 234, so I could be way off - he asked the kid what his name was.

He then noticed that Milledge had trotted right past the center fielder, so he ran over to that child and shook his hand, too, also taking the time to ask his name and talk for a bit before the little leaguers had to run off the field.

I know Kearns isn't going to win any games by shaking little leaguers' hands, and I sure would like him to crack the Mendoza line and stay out of double plays. But a lot is said about how Kearns does things the right way, and this was certainly a touching example of that.

Posted by: swanni | April 28, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about Rauch, but I frequently saw Chad signing autographs for kids at RFK. However, that was in the area of the dugout before games rather than in the bullpen area, so maybe that's the difference?

---
The majority of the bullpen is pretty good at it too - my daughters would hang out at the front of section 101 at RFK & collect autographs. The only two who wouldn't participate were Cordero & Rauch. Mike Bascik was the nicest of all.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 28, 2008 4:44 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Count me in the ilk with those who have been impressed with Agent 53's throws. Not just the speed, but the accuracy as well. We're going to be parading a lot of inexperienced pitchers through the club over the next few years and I think it makes sense to have a veteran, defense-first catcher to help them make the adjustments, even if it hurts the offense a bit. Now if Nieves can't hit at least .230 or so then maybe he's not the right guy.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a - Thanks so much for the fun get-together! You are a natural leader - I have never worn a sandwich board before! And why did I have tio? Because the ushers wouldn't let us tape signs to the table or the fence! And they were nice guys, but said that we had to have permission from someone in authority! Can't someone in this organization stop the park from being, to quote JFK on D.C., "a place of southern efficiency and northern charm"?

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Also, how come the Lerners are only cheap on days following losses?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Can't someone in this organization stop the park from being, to quote JFK on D.C., "a place of southern efficiency and northern charm"?

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 5:23 PM

Flynnie, that thought is worth e-mailing to Stan, you hit it exactly right.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

John(not)in Mpls - See you in the above ground pool I'm bringin from K-Mart for the PoNats game on the 4th! Admission to the pool will be giving me one genuine Dubuque frank, which has fired my blood to get to a PoNats game! Blessed are the peacemakers! Sorry you got head-butted by that *%@##!! drunk.

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Re: The longevity of Mr. Bowden; JimBow; Ol' Leatherpants; The Highlit Head; Point and Wink, Shottsie's St. Bernard, etc.

From the SI article on the front office:

"It can't hurt Bowden that he has gotten really close to owner Ted Lerner's son."

How many of us thought that Vinny would still be around making draft picks for the local football club?

Posted by: there's poo in the outfield! | April 28, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

John (not)in Mpls: Any thoughts on the Lastings / Delmon comparison? Seems Gardy is going to be patient with Delmon as he works out his bonehead plays because the guy is a super talent. Right now, Milledge's offense seems ahead of Young's, and neither has defense to boast about. Are they good comparables?

While Delmon was the #1 prospect, Milledge also was pretty high at his peak.

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

You are too kind, flynnie. It was a pleasure meeting you, your family, and the other denizens. Also, re. the staff's not letting us page anyone, I looked at the A-Z guidelines on the team site and it says that they will page someone only in the event of a medical emergency, of which one needs documentation, even if said page would occur several hours before game time.

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natsfan1a - Thanks so much for the fun get-together! You are a natural leader - I have never worn a sandwich board before! And why did I have tio? Because the ushers wouldn't let us tape signs to the table or the fence! And they were nice guys, but said that we had to have permission from someone in authority! Can't someone in this organization stop the park from being, to quote JFK on D.C., "a place of southern efficiency and northern charm"?

Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 5:23 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy, I will be sure to bring my water wings. :)

---

John(not)in Mpls - See you in the above ground pool I'm bringin from K-Mart for the PoNats game on the 4th! Admission to the pool will be giving me one genuine Dubuque frank, which has fired my blood to get to a PoNats game! Blessed are the peacemakers!
Posted by: flynnie | April 28, 2008 5:27 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of cheap (or not), I was impressed by the free programs that are now given out at games. Those can't be cheap to produce. And that dancing banana who tripped up Teddy must have set the team back some. I was hoping that they would race again and go for a split.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

WOW! Win 4 out of 6 and the puns come back, I love it!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 28, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

not only is it Nats game. but residents of MoCo county are blacked out to Pittsburgh, Philly, and Baltimore teams.

All the more reason to sign the petition.

___________

No doubt. I read that people who live in IA are blacked out for like half of MLB--both Chicago, KC, St. L, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. OK, so that's 1/3 of the games. Here's the link again.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/end-mlbtv-blackouts

It's a ridiculous policy borne in a 1950s-era analog-only broadcast world. And for people like me who don't have cable (sorry, not getting it for Nats only, and all I watch is PBS anyway), all I see is the 15-20 games they put on channel 20.

PS I'm listening to Steve Stone doing the Orioles-Chi Sox broadcast. Geez, he's awesome. I like Charlie, but I feel like I'm in MLB grad school listening to him. I recommend listening to the Sox radio broadcast on MLB.com to anyone interested in just plain great baseball commentary.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 28, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Steve Stone is great -- I listened to him for years when he was paired with Harry Caray in Chicago. Harry would sometimes (OK, often) get lost and confused and Steve would pick him up, time and time again, without ever embarassing the legend. Sutton could draw a lesson from that.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 28, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Well Harry was so proficient at embarrassing himself, you could hardly blame Stone.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 28, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

hear hear Bob L. Head. I often cringe when Sutton gets a overly corrective with Carpy. But what TICKED me off, and made me write his name down, then cross it off, was how he interacted with Johnny Holiday when Johnny filled in for Carpenter. As a Terp alum, and a Senators II fan, Johnny is near and dear to me. So as far as I am concerned, Mr. Sutton, HOF or not, can find some place else to work. We need Frank Howard up in the color booth anyhow.

Posted by: 6th and D | April 28, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Quote: "As a Terp alum, and a Senators II fan, Johnny is near and dear to me."

But even the most ardent Terp fans would have to admit that Chris K and Jonathan C. have to do an awful lot of correcting on the Terps broadcasts as well. And as much as I like Johnny, he makes way more mistakes than any of us would find tolerable if he were anyone else.

I've gotten through a post without taking a shot at JimBo. Imagine that.

Posted by: Litany of Disappointments | April 28, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Bobble, I am thumbing as we speak, so to speak, through "Harry Caray--Voice of the Fans," a coffeetable-type picture and audio book by his Cubs radio colleague Pat Hughes and Cubs beat writer Bruce Miles. It includes an audio CD of some of Harry's stories. Not the "Get me two Heinekens" story, alas, but it's a nice appreciation.

You can't beat fun at the ol' ballpark.

Posted by: CEvans | April 28, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Houston's Lance Berkman got the nod:

http://tinyurl.com/5gkvw8

---

But keep a look-out for the NL player of the week announcement later this afternoon. Totally possible that Lannan -- with 14 shutout innings in two victories -- could win.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 28, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

speaking of nice deeds, when we sat behind the nats bullpen at the mets game the other night, my kid was saying hi to all the guys in the pen and they all waved to him and he asked rivera to toss him up a ball and rivera did which was great. and the balls theyre using this year have the inaugural emblem on em so they are pretty nice.
btw did teddy finally win a presidents race this weekend?

Posted by: dk | April 28, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

You gotta be kiddin me!!??? Berkman????? And Berkman's hits were all in Cincy!!! (+ 1 game in St. Louis) Lannan's in first, Wil Nieves is a close second with Felipe Lopez!!! I mean, come on!!! 19 scoreless innings against the Mets, Braves and Cubs doesn't even get honorable mention? 8 hits and a walk -off home run or a Grand Slam against the best competition in the league loses to 12 hits and 4 homers in the Great American Smallpark? And we didn't even get honorable mention: "Berkman edged out teammate Miguel Tejada, who hit .414 last week with one homer and seven RBIs. Arizona's Brandon Webb (2-0, 2.25 ERA, 12 Ks), Colorado's Garrett Atkins (.344, 3 HR, 9 RBIs) and Philadelphia's Pat Burrell (.375, 2 HR, 8 RBIs) were also candidates."

Posted by: The Enraged Flynnie | April 28, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

They're still cheap. Couple wins don't change that.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 28, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

note on MLBTraderumors about Ryan Freel being unhappy in Cinci. With Krivsky gone, any chance Bowden can snag Freel cheap while he's available at a discount? Contract's not horrendous, and would be great middle infield/superutility insurance, and he's got the all-out-all-the-time attitude Acta would like. Anyone else like this idea? Too much bad blood between organizations?

Posted by: s | April 28, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Lannan's looked really good so far. If he cuts down on the walks, he's going to be a key member of the rotation for years to come.

Posted by: LANats | April 28, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Late comments to some (waaay) earlier posts ...

Glad to see that others are afflicted with "jersey jinx": with one exception (Nick Johnson), every Nat or Redskin player whose jersey my husband or I have purchased are traded within a year. Castilla and Vidro (I wasn't particularly crazy about Jose but wanted a 'current' player jersey after Vinny went to SD).

I think they do the Little League thing at all weekend games. At Saturday's game Kearns also went directly out to the LL player in right field & chatted with him/her for a couple of minutes. There are folks who don't care for Kearns but he's a good guy. Hope he finds a solid swing soon.

We're in 319 and for the most part haven't yet had any trouble with opposing team fans ... but at Thursday's game the folks in the section above (400 level) and to our right started pelting those of us below with peanuts. It was late in the game, maybe 7th-8th innning -- security told them to stop but I dont know if they were told to leave the stadium.

Lastly ... saw above that someone will be in Cincy over the 4th of July -- my husband & I will be there too. Will be visiting family there & taking in at least 2 the games (of the 4-game series).

Posted by: M. Carroll, Springfield | April 28, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

(we sure would have liked to have gotten Jamey Carroll jerseys, but they apparently weren't available in the $75-or-so replica jerseys & we couldn't spring for the authentics -- even though he's now gone, with a name like Carroll we would've been able to wear 'em year after year!!)

Posted by: M. Carroll, Springfield | April 28, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I've, uh, got a Tony Armas jersey. I felt sorry for the guy and thought it might give him a lift.

It didn't.

Posted by: mike8 | April 28, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

"Law says high school first baseman Eric Hosmer has a "reported demand" of $7MM. Hosmer is advised by Scott Boras. Law says Hosmer would go in the #5-8 range if not for his price tag. Could he fall to the Nationals, Rangers, or A's if one of those teams is willing to pony up?"

could be interesting.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=3372254&type=blogEntry

Posted by: 231 | April 28, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

What does it tell you about a kid if he's 'demanding' bonus money? It isn't like I don't believe that top prospects deserve the money... but heck, we're talking about a high school kid, about to live the dream. Seems to me that the kid could still command top dollar without putting a price tag on it up front...

I suppose the other side of the coin is, scare off the low-budget teams... but even so... I think it says something about his character.

Posted by: Wigi | April 29, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

How are things in Alaska, Wigi? It was great to talk to you, and after the 4 outta 6, I kinda sorta know what the "white nights" are like, what with being delirious with joy! So now the Braves. This schedule is just brutal.

Posted by: flynnie | April 29, 2008 2:14 AM | Report abuse

The story on Zimmerman is painful to read. Barry makes it sound like Zimmerman is the only hitter slumping right now, and that it will never end. The comparison to Wright is brutal. Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .152. 16 hits and 9 walks in 105 at bats. Robinson Cano .153 with the Yankees. Big Papi .177. Ryan Howard .174 in 92 attempts with 37 strikeouts. Andruw Jones .159. Adam LaRoche .165. Adam Dunn .208. Jason Giambi .167. Gary Sheffield .159. Alfonso Soriano .175. I mean, why spotlight Zimm now, when Kearns and Johnson and most of the team except Guzman, Lopez, Milledge and Nieves are slumping, too? A hospital chaplain, really good guy, told me of journalists: "They are not your friends." Thanks for reminding us, Barry. How 'bout your next feature being, "Nats Suck!" Oh, I know the retort "just reporting the facts," but Boswell says that the team is coming out of the slump and will return to form, and Sheinen says that April lies, people! What a gruesome spotlight when they just went "four outta six!"

Posted by: flynnie | April 29, 2008 3:27 AM | Report abuse

Tom Boswell: "The hitting slump that's defined the team's spring and put Washington at the bottom of most offensive categories will soon pass. Write it down: "The Nats will be near the middle of the National League in runs this season. Reverting to past performance, plus playing in a smaller park, will see to that. The last two nights, with 10 runs against the Mets and a Wil Nieves walk-off homer against the Cubs, may accelerate the process. Injuries are a

Posted by: flynnie | April 29, 2008 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Last March and April, 2007, Zimm hit .236 with 16 strikeouts 7 walks and 8 rbi in 118 plate appearances. In July he was hitting .311.

2006 .242 with 27 strikeouts and 17 rbi in 108 pa's. In July he was hitting .333.

So it's front page news that he's hitting .222 w/26 strikeouts and 10 rbi now?

Run the splits yourself at baseball reference.com and ask, "Why did I need this vivisection of Zimm's slump in this morning's paper?" Why is this being presented as a news, fresh-mined from the earth? Did any of you need to be re inded that he's slumping? Barry's entitled to an off day, and this was one of them.

Posted by: flynnie | April 29, 2008 4:03 AM | Report abuse

otoh, flynnie, zimmerman's production has dropped off every year since his rookie season. if he was really the next ripken as people seem to think he is, this shouldn't be happening. cal went from rookie of the year to mvp the next year. zimmerman went from almost beating hanley ramirez for rookie of the year to not even being in the same league as ramirez two years later. could it be that zimmerman is not all that he is cracked up to be, that he is not worthy of the buildup and attention he gets? manny should be giving zimmerman a day off every now and then, or moving him around in the order like he does others who are in a slump (kearns, johnson), yet he writes zimm in every day at #3 without fail. there's a problem with zimmerman, and it's being ignored. barry's story is a step in the right direction.

Posted by: zimmerman = ripken (bill, that is) | April 29, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

flynnie, take a chill pill, jeezus. he's slumping badly, he's the face of the franchise, it's newsworthy. just because he slumped badly before doesn't mean it's not a story. and if he wants to be a great player, he's going to have to learn to hit in april occasionally.

Posted by: 231 | April 29, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

btw, you think any of the papers in boston have mentioned papi's slump? i'm sure the denver papers haven't bothered to run a story about tulo and philly isn't bothering with talking about howard, either...

Posted by: 231 | April 29, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Flynnie,

Actually, Zimmerman's slump is of interest and concern and is up for discussion by the press for several reasons. Zimmerman is the "face" of the franchise, you know it, I know it and the Nats know it. Before the season he talked about assuming the leadership role on the team and now he does not seem fitted to this role. That is worthy news. What Zimmerman does in the number 3 spot is critical to the offensive health of this club. The fact that he has not been able to drive in runners is the wedge that opens discussions about the batting order and Acta's resolve to keep him at #3. Does this build pressure on him? I believe it does. Perhaps MASN and the Nats' publicity machine should refocus on other players. I expect Zimmerman to eventually regain his hitting eye and confidence. However, I think that he may come around faster if he was not burdened with all the expectations that have been heaped upon him.

So I think think that it would be in the Nationals' interest to retool their marketing toward someone who has shined this spring--Lannan. In a few months we will know how "real" this young pitcher is. I, for one, would buy tickets to the game that Lannan is starting. I guess that harkens back to the time when baseball games were filled by fans who wanted to witness great pitching matchups and the quality of the product on the field was what sold tickets.

Posted by: Dale | April 29, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Here's a custom jersey source: www.teamdepot.com

I used them for my FRANK 20's when MLB refused to make them. My buddy got ROBINSON 20 done there as well.

The shop is in NY and the turnaround is pretty quick. I think he buys authentics in bulk and then customizes them upon request. This way he gets around MLB rules.

Nice guy, even though I think he's a mets (lower case intentionally) fan.

Posted by: FRANK 20 | April 29, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Here's a custom jersey source: www.teamdepot.com

I used them for my FRANK 20's when MLB refused to make them. My buddy got ROBINSON 20 done there as well.

The shop is in NY and the turnaround is pretty quick. I think he buys authentics in bulk and then customizes them upon request. This way he gets around MLB rules.

Nice guy, even though I think he's a mets (lower case intentionally) fan.

Posted by: FRANK 20 | April 29, 2008 8:28 AM
----
Frank 20 - weren't you sitting in Section 210, back row for the Mets on Wed 4/23?? I think I saw you get your picture from the Nats Photo Gal - we were a couple of rows in front of you sitting near an integrated couple - she was a Nats fan and he was a Mets fan!!

Posted by: N@sfan | April 29, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Flynnie -- it's only a game, man! you should be more concerned about your sleep than Barry's critical insights of Zim's performance to date. I think the same comparisons could be made about his fielding too - sometimes he's pressing too hard to make the "big play" when he should hold the ball instead. Granted, that's only happened twice this year, but we paid for it both times.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 29, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I do not agree that today's story about Zimm is not newsworthy. I think the subject is worth writing about.

What disappointed me about the article was that Barry didn't make any effort to question Acta's inconsistent statements about Zimm and Barry didn't question whether the light workload Manny gave Zimm in spring training might have been a bad idea. In today's article Manny says "He's a slow starter" and writes off Zimm's slump as par for the course. But if that's the case, why did Manny barely play Zimmerman this Spring, and why did Manny tell the media that the reason for this was because Zimmerman comes in to camp ready for the season to start? Too many comments from this team to the media are accepted at face value without any scrutiny or skepticism.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 29, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Zim sends a message to the Lerners in today's Examiner:

"I talked to a couple of players on other teams and each of them loved the new park. That's important, because some of those guys are going to be free agents and when their contracts run out we want them to know that Washington is a nice place to play.

That's really why a new ballpark is such a big step for an organization. Sure it makes our owners money. Sure the fans come out. Sure it's nice for us. But it also attracts players. It attracts top talent. That's what we hope to do in the next couple of years. We develop our foundation and then start bringing in big-name free agents to complete the puzzle."

Posted by: swanni | April 29, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

N@sfan : yup, that's me in 210, I'll be there all year. Stop by and say hello.

I think the fanfoto people have gotten me everyday so far. I barely escaped Clint on Sunday afternoon. He wanted me to participate in one of those pre-game "manufactured enthusiasm" things but I told him that the Presidents creeped me out and I was late for a date with my bartender!

Posted by: FRANK 20 | April 29, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Frank 20 -- Glad to see you have your priorities straight vis-a-vis the all important bartender relationship. I think we'll be up there when the Bucs roll into town so I'll stop & introduce myself.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 29, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Zim sends a message to the Lerners in today's Examiner."

Zim needs to send a message to the Lerners by producing at the plate. Right now the decision not to offer him that exorbitant long-term contract he was asking for this spring is looking mighty good, isn't it?

And I doubt the Lerners even read the Eaxminer. They can afford to buy their own newspapers rather than waiting for the the rags that get thrown in their driveway.

Posted by: zimmerman = ripken (bill, that is) | April 29, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

hey hater, the Examiner isn't delivered to driveways, it gets given out for free at metro stations.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 29, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

hey hater, the Examiner isn't delivered to driveways, it gets given out for free at metro stations.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 29, 2008 9:34 A
-----
it is thrown in driveways. I see the bags of pulp all the time.

Posted by: N@sfan | April 29, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"hey hater, the Examiner isn't delivered to driveways, it gets given out for free at metro stations."

oh, okay. i guess that explains all the pulitzers then.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 29, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I get the dang Examiner every day in my driveway even though I've never asked for it to be delivered. Have to recycle it every week. What a waste.

Posted by: e | April 29, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

...and thankfully CiL is there to point out the error of our ways. :)

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | April 29, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad Barry's paying attention to Zimmerman, though I wasn't all that impressed with the analysis. As others have said, the Wright comparison is facetious--they're really different players in different stages of development, other than the fact that they are both white guys from VA who play 3rd. He's onto something with the pitch count analysis, but there's nothing really there that explains what he's doing wrong and how better hitters manage to get more balls thrown to them earlier in counts.

But I think there needs to be a recognition that Zimmerman has a ceiling somewhere south of Cal Ripken and ARod. To me, it's pretty clear that Ramirez and Wright are both superior hitters, and always will be. He's a very, very good defensive 3B, and should be a solid RBI producer mid-lineup. He'll be a very good player you can win with, but not a game-changer.

In short, we'll never win anything as long as Zimmerman is the best hitter on the team.

This is part of a much-needed education for Nats fans about how far we still are from being a winner. Like, really, really, really far.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 29, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

John Lannan looks great; Zimm will have a great May, Da Meat will be back, we have some great future starters in O'connor, Mock, etc...Dukes return will help beef up the offense(and the bench will have more depth. Things are definately looking up on S. Capitol St

Posted by: Nick the Nat Fan | April 29, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

NEW POST

Posted by: 231 | April 29, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHA!
I just caught this. Billingsley, Kershaw, or LaRoche for Nick Johnson? Do you think the Dodgers are that crazy???!!!!!!
The trade rationalizations on the NJ are ridiculous!

----------
506 (BM) - nice list. I disagree on a numebr of your rankings though.

Nick, in a slump, is still 25th in the NL in OBP, which is his main offensive weapon. .392. Do we realize how good he is? A real batting order would have him 2d or 3d, not 4th. He is signed cheap for this year and next, and looks healthy. He is our most valuable trade chit among the position players, excluding Zimmerman and Lastings, who are on the quasi-untouchable list (I'd take the LaRoche/ Kershaw/ Billingsley if it were offered).

Posted by: PTBNL | April 28, 2008 10:52 AM

Posted by: * | April 29, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey* - Thanks. I was not saying Nick for those guys was reasonable or ever on the table. I was reacting to the idea that Zimmerman or Milledge were untradeable. Upstream in a chat there was a reference to those 3 for Zimmerman, to point out that no one is untradeable. I was saying I'd take that offer for Zimmerman. No one sober was talking about those three for Nick.

Posted by: PTBNL | April 29, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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