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New Stadium, New Pressure

I admit. I've got nothing. I'm drained. Lots of losses, similar stories, a theme that has morphed into pure redundancy.

So I have not much of a post, but merely a desire to point you in Boz's direction. Many of you have probably his column on the very tight Nationals. Not only does he go all psychological on us, but he addresses the idea that with the new ballpark and a team that's not supposed to go 42-120, there are new pressures, and these Nationals aren't dealing with them well.

Even in the context of the well-discussed "plan," is what you're seeing now acceptable?

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 24, 2008; 12:20 PM ET
 
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Comments

repost to meet the topic:

say what you want about loduca, but hes right:

"This team needs to believe it is good. You have to start every season wanting to go to the playoffs and expecting to be in contention," Lo Duca said. "You need to be cocky. We're going to have some fun this year. Once we get over the hump, we're going to enjoy this new park. But we've given away four or five games already. We have nothing to lose. We should play that way. The worst thing you can do is play not to lose."

Posted by: theraph | April 24, 2008 11:46 AM

Posted by: theraph | April 24, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I consider the Nats' play of late to be unacceptable for three reasons:

1. it has been sloppy.
2. it has been uninspired.
3. soundbites aside, they don't seem to care about points 1 and 2.

This is a team that seems to be going through the motions. There is no fire. Nothing, from their at bats to their running the bases to their defense, has been sharp. To say it has been AAA quality ball does an injustice to the guys in AAA who hustle and focus every game, because they know it is what they have to do in order to get to the show.

Lopez and Johnson, the two guys on the squad who have the most to prove and the most reason to be focused, seem to get it. The rest, not so much. I think Manny needs to bench someone unexpectedly after one of these bone-headed plays, to send the message that it isn't acceptable. Milledge, for all his long-term potential, is a good candidate.

Posted by: Deep Fried Screech | April 24, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, first, I understand the drained topic. Barry, I don't know if you get enough love from the readers, but your level of output is better than most *departments*, let alone individual reporters. So, personally, I appreciate "same old, same old" rather than just nothing.

Anyway, I am excited by the progress in the minors. It's very hard to ignore. And really, LoDuca is the example of what I would have done -- a few million to make the current team more presentable without risking the long-term future of the team. (Though Nieves has better defense w/o hitting any worse). So the team will be good down the road. But man, it can be hard to watch now.

Posted by: Paneramom aka Mrs. Svrluga | April 24, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

What I've so far seen is highly unacceptable. Thr play of the team is not crisp or sharp in any facet. The nats are being run like a developmental team where players don't seem to be made accountable for repeatedly doing the same stupid things. I know this isn't the Dick Williams-Earl Weaver generation of managers, but this "positive reinforcement" touchy-feely laissez-faire malaise surrounding th team doesn't seem to have an end in sight. If fans are being asked to pay major league prices to attend games at Nationals Park, shouldn't the product be up to that standard? I'm not down on the physical, reactive mistakes and errors that occur as a matter of course, but the perceived "we're too cool to be bothered" attitude on the part of some of the players is really grating. Lots of people say it's "early," but the tone for this season has already been set with 140 games to go - and Manny or the front office - needs to do something before the rest of the season goes to hell. There's nothing wrong with sitting a guy whose head isn't in the game, but there seems to be no repercussions for the transgressors.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 24, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"As catcher Paul Lo Duca said recently of the Nats inept start, 'A squirrel could do better.'"

You Rang?

Posted by: Rally Squirrel | April 24, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Repost, with a twist (of lemon, perhaps?):

I'm pretty sure that the response will be unanimously that we'd all like to see better play. We've been entertaining in spurts and competitive at times, but the level of consistency has been disappointing. That said, there are reactionaries among the Constituency who'd like to fire the Lerners (or their tightwad accountants, apparently), Stan Kasten, Jim Bowden, Manny Acta, Tim Tolman, Lenny Harris and/or Randy St. Claire (it still stupefies me that someone legitimately said that).

I've been understatedly against pulling the trigger on anyone involved, because none of the suggested terminations will help us put a better product on the field tonight, which is the performance that everyone's concerned about at the moment. The alarm bells are ringing because we're on pace for 42-120 this year, not next (we hope). There seems to be little doubt that we have some solid pitching prospects in the pipeline, and despite some debate, I'd argue that we have acquired some pieces of a foreseeably successful team in the future (Zimmerman, Milledge, Flores, potentially Dukes, potentially WMP, and a host of minor leaguers who may or may not step up).

Again, I don't think firing anyone at this moment will put a better product on the field for us tonight, next week, or even next month. And if we don't benefit there (i.e. immediately), then any such move would have to be done for the long-term. I'm not in a position to know whether or not such long-term changes would reap those kinds of rewards, but I think that the current players would benefit from continuity in leadership/management/coaching.

The proviso to this is that there is always room for individuals to improve the aspect of the team's performance for which they are responsible. Obviously, we'd like all of our players to immediately start playing to their potential (or what we conceived of their potential just four weeks ago) and we'd like our coaching and management to continue working to get the best out the players, however that needs to happen. I just happen to think that the right coaching and management to put in that work for results that appease everyone in the shortest amount of time happens to be the current coaching. There's no new system or philosophy to learn or to which all the personnel would have to acclimate.

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

I'm simply not sure how it was possible to be bored during at least the first five innings of the game last night, dk. Redding was going toe-to-toe with Santana and coming out ahead, actually driving in the runs to put himself in place for success.

That's more than half of the game on the field that was excellently played, and it was generally, quite riveting baseball. Maybe we weren't winning 30-3 by the end of the second inning and homers weren't flying out of the park every other Nationals batter, but it was a tight game against the universally-crowned best pitcher in baseball (against whom most teams suffer from a dire lack of offense), and every second of it was pretty enjoyable to me.

Posted by: faNATic | April 24, 2008 12:27 PM

Posted by: faNATic | April 24, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Screw Milledge....for me, Zims is the first one to have a seat - I love the guy and will praise him when he gets back to form, but at this for this very moment he has hurt this team so much more than he has helped it (which is sad because 33% of the wins can be directly attributed to him)

Posted by: Corey | April 24, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

It's not acceptable because it's so predictable. The guy in charge in 14 years has never drafted a starting pitcher better than Brett Tomko. He's drafted maybe 6-7 starting caliber players, and just 2 all-stars. He's seen the playoffs once, the WS never. Since coming to DC he's gone from 11 years of abject failure as a GM to 14. This is an unacceptable record--except to the Lerners I guess.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 24, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday, Baseball Prospectus published the strength of schedule thus far. The Nats have had THE #1 TOUGHEST schedule. So many games against the very good teams in our division make sure that the deck is stacked against us.

Granted, this is not a good team. But we wouldn't have such a terrible record if we were in the Central division.

Posted by: osc | April 24, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@Steven,

I didn't wantto JimBow bash in my earlier post but only novice ownership would have a self-promoting, preening schmoe with a way-below-average track record of drafting, signing and developing talent still on the job. Let's pray that it doesn't take the Lerners as long as it took the guy up north to realize that cobbling togther a roster mostly with players no one else values or wants isn't the way to keep the turnstiles moving.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 24, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, the team itself doesn't consider it acceptable, but there's those ugly box scores. They're in the record book now, you *have to* accept them. It's not like they want to keep doing this. They're trying too hard, everyone seems to agree.

I'd characterize a lot of the bad stuff as sloppy, but I don't think it's more a loss of focus than not caring. I hope Manny is learning a lot from this, at least. He needs to fix that. If that's not the manager's job, what is? (I know, I know: "Keep the nine guys who hate you away from the nine who haven't made up their minds.")

Posted by: CE | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Boswell -- utter nonsense!

The biggest problem is that they are trying too hard?

Give me a break! How about a dysfunctional roster filled with flawed talent, cast-offs and never-will-be's? To wit:

* Will Austin Kearns ever hit 30 HRs if tries "less hard? Of course not.

* Will Tim Redding ever be a consistent 7-inning pitcher? Of course not.

* Will Odalis Perez ever re-capture his form from the 2002 Dodgers? Of course not?

* Will Paul LoDuca ever throw out more than 10 percent of base runners? Of course not.

* Will Matt Chico suddenly become a consistent pitcher at his age and experience? Of course not.

* Will Lastings Milledge suddenly learn outfield instincts? Of course not.

* Will Felipe Lopez hit the way he did for Cincy? Of course not (He's now playing in a ballpark with normal-size dimensions.)

* Will Willy Mo Pena ever be anything other than a hitter? (and hopefully he will be that). Of course not?

You can go on and on and on...This team is built to win 75 games if things go well. 65 wins if they don't.

Playing more relaxed isn't going to change that.

Boswell needs to relax -- in a writer's retirement home.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

nats new slogan "if we don't care how we play, why should it bother you?"

Posted by: natsscribe | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Section 506 published a strength of schedule in his head this morning and it said Braves, Phils, Streaking Fish, Mets, Braves, Mets is a hard schedule. The only one that's really surprising is swept by the Cardinals. 1 of 3 against the cooling down Fish wasn't that surprising.

Luckily we have the Cubs this weekend, followed by... the Braves!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm simply not sure how it was possible to be bored during at least the first five innings of the game last night, dk.
Posted by: faNATic

pitching duel in the first 5 innings was good fanatic. but the cumulative affect of the nats anemic offense is wearing. and dont tell me about its santana. they make every1 look like santana.
and the only meaningful hit of the game up to that point was by our pitcher. our offense is truely horrid.

and again 5 innings does not a game make.
6 thru nine--well please let me forget it.
acutally i think i already blocked it out.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, the team itself doesn't consider it acceptable, but there's those ugly box scores. They're in the record book now, you *have to* accept them. It's not like they want to keep doing this. They're trying too hard, everyone seems to agree.

I'd characterize a lot of the bad stuff as sloppy, but I don't think it's more a loss of focus than not caring. I hope Manny is learning a lot from this, at least. He needs to fix that. If that's not the manager's job, what is? (I know, I know: "Keep the nine guys who hate you away from the nine who haven't made up their minds.")

Posted by: CE | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm simply not sure how it was possible to be bored during at least the first five innings of the game last night, dk.
Posted by: faNATic

pitching duel in the first 5 innings was good fanatic. but the cumulative affect of the nats anemic offense is wearing. and dont tell me about its santana. they make every1 look like santana.
and the only meaningful hit of the game up to that point was by our pitcher. our offense is truely horrid.

and again 5 innings does not a game make.
6 thru nine--well please let me forget it.
acutally i think i already blocked it out.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Boswell -- utter nonsense!

The biggest problem is that they are trying too hard?

Give me a break! How about a dysfunctional roster filled with flawed talent, cast-offs and never-will-be's? To wit:

* Will Austin Kearns ever hit 30 HRs if tries "less hard? Of course not.

* Will Tim Redding ever be a consistent 7-inning pitcher? Of course not.

* Will Odalis Perez ever re-capture his form from the 2002 Dodgers? Of course not?

* Will Paul LoDuca ever throw out more than 10 percent of base runners? Of course not.

* Will Matt Chico suddenly become a consistent pitcher at his age and experience? Of course not.

* Will Lastings Milledge suddenly learn outfield instincts? Of course not.

* Will Felipe Lopez hit the way he did for Cincy? Of course not (He's now playing in a ballpark with normal-size dimensions.)

* Will Willy Mo Pena ever be anything other than a hitter? (and hopefully he will be that). Of course not?

You can go on and on and on...This team is built to win 75 games if things go well. 65 wins if they don't.

Playing more relaxed isn't going to change that.

Boswell needs to relax -- in a writer's retirement home.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Boswell -- utter nonsense!

The biggest problem is that they are trying too hard?

Give me a break! How about a dysfunctional roster filled with flawed talent, cast-offs and never-will-be's? To wit:

* Will Austin Kearns ever hit 30 HRs if tries "less hard? Of course not.

* Will Tim Redding ever be a consistent 7-inning pitcher? Of course not.

* Will Odalis Perez ever re-capture his form from the 2002 Dodgers? Of course not?

* Will Paul LoDuca ever throw out more than 10 percent of base runners? Of course not.

* Will Matt Chico suddenly become a consistent pitcher at his age and experience? Of course not.

* Will Lastings Milledge suddenly learn outfield instincts? Of course not.

* Will Felipe Lopez hit the way he did for Cincy? Of course not (He's now playing in a ballpark with normal-size dimensions.)

* Will Willy Mo Pena ever be anything other than a hitter? (and hopefully he will be that). Of course not?

You can go on and on and on...This team is built to win 75 games if things go well. 65 wins if they don't.

Playing more relaxed isn't going to change that.

Boswell needs to relax -- in a writer's retirement home.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, the team itself doesn't consider it acceptable, but there's those ugly box scores. They're in the record book now, you *have to* accept them. It's not like they want to keep doing this. They're trying too hard, everyone seems to agree.

I'd characterize a lot of the bad stuff as sloppy, but I don't think it's more a loss of focus than not caring. I hope Manny is learning a lot from this, at least. He needs to fix that. If that's not the manager's job, what is? (I know, I know: "Keep the nine guys who hate you away from the nine who haven't made up their minds.")

Posted by: CE | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Boswell -- utter nonsense!

The biggest problem is that they are trying too hard?

Give me a break! How about a dysfunctional roster filled with flawed talent, cast-offs and never-will-be's? To wit:

* Will Austin Kearns ever hit 30 HRs if tries "less hard? Of course not.

* Will Tim Redding ever be a consistent 7-inning pitcher? Of course not.

* Will Odalis Perez ever re-capture his form from the 2002 Dodgers? Of course not?

* Will Paul LoDuca ever throw out more than 10 percent of base runners? Of course not.

* Will Matt Chico suddenly become a consistent pitcher at his age and experience? Of course not.

* Will Lastings Milledge suddenly learn outfield instincts? Of course not.

* Will Felipe Lopez hit the way he did for Cincy? Of course not (He's now playing in a ballpark with normal-size dimensions.)

* Will Willy Mo Pena ever be anything other than a hitter? (and hopefully he will be that). Of course not?

You can go on and on and on...This team is built to win 75 games if things go well. 65 wins if they don't.

Playing more relaxed isn't going to change that.

Boswell needs to relax -- in a writer's retirement home.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Section 506 published a strength of schedule in his head this morning and it said Braves, Phils, Streaking Fish, Mets, Braves, Mets is a hard schedule. The only one that's really surprising is swept by the Cardinals. 1 of 3 against the cooling down Fish wasn't that surprising.

Luckily we have the Cubs this weekend, followed by... the Braves!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Section 506 published a strength of schedule in his head this morning and it said Braves, Phils, Streaking Fish, Mets, Braves, Mets is a hard schedule. The only one that's really surprising is swept by the Cardinals. 1 of 3 against the cooling down Fish wasn't that surprising.

Luckily we have the Cubs this weekend, followed by... the Braves!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the plan, it will not work when the 3,4 and 5 guys have the following: 1) BA .215 (Z), .209 (J), and .205 (K); 2) OBP .240 (Z), .365 (J), .340 (K); 3) Slg. .333 (Z), .403 (J), .308 (K). That's our number 3 guy at Mendoza and the 4 and 5 below Mendoza. That production will not sustain any plan whenever it is implemented.

Posted by: upperdeck4 | April 24, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Boswell -- utter nonsense!

The biggest problem is that they are trying too hard?

Give me a break! How about a dysfunctional roster filled with flawed talent, cast-offs and never-will-be's? To wit:

* Will Austin Kearns ever hit 30 HRs if tries "less hard? Of course not.

* Will Tim Redding ever be a consistent 7-inning pitcher? Of course not.

* Will Odalis Perez ever re-capture his form from the 2002 Dodgers? Of course not?

* Will Paul LoDuca ever throw out more than 10 percent of base runners? Of course not.

* Will Matt Chico suddenly become a consistent pitcher at his age and experience? Of course not.

* Will Lastings Milledge suddenly learn outfield instincts? Of course not.

* Will Felipe Lopez hit the way he did for Cincy? Of course not (He's now playing in a ballpark with normal-size dimensions.)

* Will Willy Mo Pena ever be anything other than a hitter? (and hopefully he will be that). Of course not?

You can go on and on and on...This team is built to win 75 games if things go well. 60-65 wins if they don't.

Playing more relaxed isn't going to change that.

Boswell needs to relax -- in a writer's retirement home.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the plan, it will not work when the 3,4 and 5 guys have the following: 1) BA .215 (Z), .209 (J), and .205 (K); 2) OBP .240 (Z), .365 (J), .340 (K); 3) Slg. .333 (Z), .403 (J), .308 (K). That's our number 3 guy at Mendoza and the 4 and 5 below Mendoza. That production will not sustain any plan whenever it is implemented.

Posted by: upperdeck4 | April 24, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm simply not sure how it was possible to be bored during at least the first five innings of the game last night, dk.
Posted by: faNATic

pitching duel in the first 5 innings was good fanatic. but the cumulative affect of the nats anemic offense is wearing. and dont tell me about its santana. they make every1 look like santana.
and the only meaningful hit of the game up to that point was by our pitcher. our offense is truely horrid.

and again 5 innings does not a game make.
6 thru nine--well please let me forget it.
acutally i think i already blocked it out.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a, I'll be there, thanks for the welcome, the gathering, and if you need anything just let me know. I will bring my poster for everyone to sign, and will bring an NJ sign, but it will be lame/feeble, as I have no access to graphic design or anythng but posterboard and a marker.

dk- loved the new park, just loved it. Love the open spaces, the big wide concourses, the view of the diamond, which is all I really care about. This is why i can't see it as anything but an improvement over Camden yards, where you can't see the diamond from the concessions. I agree that the usher nazis need to use some common sense, and that they give credence to the impression that the Lerners are cheap. Someone in management has 'em all geeked up in a way that I've never experienced at Camden Yards, Fenway, or any other sports facility.

swanni, thanks for the "no security or lighting in paid parking- if you're going to park, pack some heat." thanks for caring about our safety. I'm going tonight and was thinking of parking. Since I own no guns, and don't like to even be around them, and wish the 2d amendment said that the right to bear arms is for a well-regulated militia who knows what the hell to do with them (oh, it does?) I will metro in and stay in the middle of the herd of wildebeasts. Trouble with metro is the empty parking lots at the end of the line, where I am the only wildebeast amidst the hungry crocs.

And this is why there's less season tickets this year than at RFK, which was a parking paradise and a DMZ.

Posted by: flynnie | April 24, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Ever since Nick Johnson's three-run double in the Nats' win-before-last, I honestly haven't been as worried as I was before. I have faith these guys'll snap out of their funk pretty soon. As Sheinin said in today's chat, "April lies!"

Posted by: Juan-John | April 24, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the plan, it will not work when the 3,4 and 5 guys have the following: 1) BA .215 (Z), .209 (J), and .205 (K); 2) OBP .240 (Z), .365 (J), .340 (K); 3) Slg. .333 (Z), .403 (J), .308 (K). That's our number 3 guy at Mendoza and the 4 and 5 below Mendoza. That production will not sustain any plan whenever it is implemented.

Posted by: upperdeck4 | April 24, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats have had THE #1 TOUGHEST schedule."

With the small number of games played this early in the season all of the Nats losses are helping to inflate the rankings of their opponents.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 24, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I keep hoping that the Nats will address the security issue at the parking lots -- before it's too late.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I think the blog software is trying too hard, now.

Posted by: MIB | April 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

No, it's not acceptable. But I don't think it will continue to be unacceptable. The main concern -- starting pitching -- has been satisfactory. The Shaky Strength has been much more Shaky than Strength, but this is a veteran group and there is no reason to believe that they won't revert to the mean. Same is true for Zim, Kearns, and Johnson. Guz and Milledge (for all his gaffes) have been bright spots at the plate, and hopefully Felipe has turned the corner. Getting Chad and Meat and Dead Dawg back (I read 7-10 days this morning) will help.

ESPN has a story about slow starts, and Zim (who is featured) has plenty of company. Unfortunately, he also has plenty of company on his own team. I think they'll get this turned around. Perhaps not in time to contend for the wildcard or anything, but I don't think they will continue to be unwatchable by any stretch.

And here's the article:

http://tinyurl.com/62jg4y

The Rally Squirrels will be out in force tonight! Hill goes seven strong and the Nats prevail 5-2.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

You hit the nail on the head with your post, DFS. Regardless of 'the plan', new stadium, overall talent level of this roster, etc., the bottom line is that this year's Nats are playing with no life and are making way too many mistakes for a MLB team of any caliber. It's not so much the losses, but how those losses are occurring that I find troubling and frankly, unacceptable. It is not attractive baseball. Manny has to do something to break them out of this funk.

Posted by: Re: Deep Fried Screech | April 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the repetitive posts. Was unintentional.

Posted by: upperdeck4 | April 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

A softball there for us Barry -- if the fans are anything like the team we will swing and miss anyway.

The free program last night (which soooo does make up for the $12.50 BBQ sandwich, yeah right) read "The House that Zim Built" -- marketing schemes (and concession stand woes) asside, Zim is not living up to the face of the franchise mantle and he is going all Mackey Sasser/Chuck Knoblaugh on us with these should-be-simple throws to first that end up in Row C of Section 124. Yikes. This kid might not overcome this "slump" -- 700+ ab's at this point. Anyway, 195 striaght games for Zim the scoreboard read in huge HD last night -- it is time for Zim to take a seat for a game, maybe two. Howard sat last night (36 K's already) and Zim needs to find the pine too. And otherwsie the Nats need to play to win, this is not a developmental league this is the Big Leagues and winning is everything. These perenial notions of working for the future need to put into perspective. The "plan" does not require the Nats to suck.

Posted by: dh | April 24, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Have there been assaults, robberies, whatever? I haven't heard.

******
I keep hoping that the Nats will address the security issue at the parking lots -- before it's too late.
Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:09 PM

Posted by: CE | April 24, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I can see that swanni is also having trouble posting.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome, flynnie, and thank you for offering to bring a sign.

---

natsfan1a, I'll be there, thanks for the welcome, the gathering, and if you need anything just let me know. I will bring my poster for everyone to sign, and will bring an NJ sign, but it will be lame/feeble, as I have no access to graphic design or anythng but posterboard and a marker.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 24, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

506, there is a bar behind the Diamond Cub, and seeing things like what Bob Carpenter described as "this debacle which all began with walks to the number 8 and 9 hitters" I would be surprised if it wasn't
doing a brisk business, like Bob Uecker's bottle at the beginning of Major League. Sounds like Barry could use a double Gray Goose martini sent to the press box.

Posted by: flynnie | April 24, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't really care what LoDuca says. He certainly hasn't earned the right from a performance standpoint, as a Nat, to continually opine about what's wrong and what should be done to correct it. He needs to shut it and play. Lead by doing and not by talking.

Posted by: Wallpass | April 24, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

looks like a lot of us got burned by the delayed posts. sorry.
btw boswell has got to stop shilling for the stadium and the team. his act is gettin old 2.
and his claim about the big crowd last night was such a joke. does he even go to baseball games anymore. yea wow look at all those people at camden yards for the sox. wow.
what a dumb statement.
it was shea south last night.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Haven't heard of robberies, etc. at the parking lots yet -- that's why I hope the security issue is addressed before we do hear of something happening.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I think that the pressure of a new post got to it.

---

I think the blog software is trying too hard, now.

Posted by: MIB | April 24, 2008 1:10 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 24, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The "plan" does not require the Nats to suck.
Posted by: dh | April 24, 2008 1:11 PM

roger that!

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It's the blog's fault. It won't spend money on itself because it's too cheap. But, it does have a Plan.

Posted by: blogsoftwareischeap | April 24, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

BTW... I'm officially adding the "Rally Squirrel" to the NATionary. Definition to be posted after my 1:30 meeting.

Posted by: MKevin | April 24, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

personally i dont care and it doesnt affect me, but im amazed by where they put the announcers and writers at the stadium. you cant get much higher. those guys are almost on the roof. good for them.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to care, of course, but: He's a veteran. Boswell asked for an interview and he agreed. He may or may not answer to his teammates (under the circumstances, I doubt it), but he has every right, and SOMEBODY has to say it. Zim won't. Dmitri can't, he's not there. Nick might, but I doubt it, and anyway he was gone all last year. Who does that leave? Schneider? Livan? Gone and gone. Manny? He's no Uncle Lou.

**********
I don't really care what LoDuca says. He certainly hasn't earned the right from a performance standpoint, as a Nat, to continually opine about what's wrong and what should be done to correct it. He needs to shut it and play. Lead by doing and not by talking.

Posted by: Wallpass | April 24, 2008 1:14 PM

Posted by: CE | April 24, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Good news below (I guess). By the way, does anyone suspect that Dukes' absence from the roster is not entirely physical?

A judge has allowed former Tampa Bay Rays player Elijah Dukes to end his probation on a drug charge six months early.

Dukes appeared in a Tampa courtroom this morning but did not speak. Judge John Conrad said Dukes had met the conditions of his probation, including completing community service.

In January 2007, Tampa police stopped Dukes' 2006 Dodge Charger because of loud music. As they walked up to the car, they could smell marijuana, police said. A drug-sniffing dog also alerted the officers to the presence of an illegal substance.

Dukes and a friend were cited for possession. Officers quoted Dukes as saying, "Are you really going to arrest me over a little sack of weed?"

Dukes pleaded no contest to the possession of marijuana charge in September. Judge Conrad then sentenced Dukes to 12 months of probation and 50 hours of community service. The judge also said Dukes had to undergo drug evaluation and submit to at least three random drug tests.

Conrad also said Dukes could end his probation six months early in return for community service.

Dukes performed 25 hours of community service at Lowry Park Zoo from April 17 to 20, said his attorney, Grady Irvin.

"He did everything from helping to erect a fence to landscaping to tidying up the janitorial closet," Irvin said. "He took lunch with the guys. Sweeping. He did all of those things. He didn't have a plush job where he'd sit here and tell people where the bathroom is."

A question was raised in the courtroom today as to whether Dukes violated probation by not reporting in December, January or February. But Irvin said Dukes had been playing spring baseball.

"He wasn't missing in action. He just didn't call in," Irvin said.

The Rays traded Dukes to the Washington Nationals in December

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

MKev, don't forget the picture.
**********
BTW... I'm officially adding the "Rally Squirrel" to the NATionary. Definition to be posted after my 1:30 meeting.

Posted by: MKevin | April 24, 2008 1:18 PM

Posted by: MIB | April 24, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie -- I thought this was hilarious:

Since I own no guns, and don't like to even be around them, and wish the 2d amendment said that the right to bear arms is for a well-regulated militia who knows what the hell to do with them (oh, it does?) I will metro in and stay in the middle of the herd of wildebeasts. Trouble with metro is the empty parking lots at the end of the line, where I am the only wildebeast amidst the hungry crocs."

And MIB nailed it here:

"I think the blog software is trying too hard, now."

Posted by: MIB | April 24, 2008 1:10 PM


Great stuff fellas.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

That community service was certainly well timed -- just as he happened to be on the DL.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Majorca Coffee sends free hot joe to Charlie and the abstemious Dave, on whom it is wasted. Can we arrange to send cold vodka to the press box as long as, "Lots of losses, similar stories, a theme that has morphed into pure redundancy" continues? Or should someone borrow some adderal from the geeked-up ushers, which Hollywood writers take to overcome writer's block?

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

"Zim is not living up to the face of the franchise mantle and he is going all Mackey Sasser/Chuck Knoblaugh on us with these should-be-simple throws to first that end up in Row C of Section 124."

These? He has all of two errors. Really, let's not make the classic fan mistake of confusing last night with forever.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, good. Some comments sounded like there was a reason besides "It's in DC."

****************
Haven't heard of robberies, etc. at the parking lots yet -- that's why I hope the security issue is addressed before we do hear of something happening.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 1:15 PM

Posted by: CE | April 24, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The nominations for the Nats Journal MVP (Most Valuable Pessimist) are in and they are:

DK
Steven on Capitol Hill
Swanni

Congratulations to all nominees and Good Luck.

If the panel has overlooked anyone please feel free to pass along your suggestions.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | April 24, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they could get Steve Martin to do a promo about "April -- The *CRUEL* Month!"

Posted by: MIB | April 24, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

From The Book of Morals with apologies to Elijah Dukes, who actually said #1.

#1 thing not to say when pulled over by the police: "Are you really going to arrest me over a little sack of weed?"

#2 Would you care to join me for a cocktail?

#3 Would you please hand me my crack pipe? It's underneath the bong on the front seat. I'm under a lot of stress right now.

Posted by: flynnie | April 24, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

you guys are the definition of fans.

longterm, folks, i still see improvements everywhere i look.

regarding church. i could hit .300 if i was surrounded by beltran and wright and reyes. his production on that team is no way to judge the trade. i know that will be impossible for most to accept in here but i had to say it.

regarding lopez: "i told you so" but, if that's what it took to get his head on straight then so be it. belliard was always better off the bench.

the bats are gonna come around so everyone needs to relax. we still need to find out what we have. there aren't many longterm contracts on this team so we still have a ton of flexibility. it's not like we are stuck with chan ho park or darren dreifort for the next 5 years. that is a level of frustration i don't want to ever know.

i'm surprised to find redding and lannan pitching as capable as they are. the bullpen is a mess so maybe cordero is more important a piece than i thought. nick johnson looks in good shape and fully healthy. milledge is exciting at the plate and will be fine in the field. zimmerman and kearns both look like they are coming out of their slumps to me.

clutch hitting, injuries, and the bullpen is what is killing this team. no reason to flip out about that...

Posted by: longterm | April 24, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The nominations for the Nats Journal MVP (Most Valuable Pessimist) are in and they are:
DK
Steven on Capitol Hill
Swanni
Posted by: Section 505/203

thank you thank you. id just like to thank my mother who beat me with a louisville slugger every time i tried to crack a smile and of course my dog loser who crapped on my slippers every morning.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

i love the milledge for church/schneider trade.
we traded 2 holes in the lineup for a bonified future star.
church is hot right now but check back by the end of june and he'll be at .250. schneider will be at .233.

milledge is going to be great though im more worried about his actual baseball knowledge than his talent. running on olsons first pitch over the weekend was something not even my 12 year old woulda done.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"We'd learn. As a GB Packers fan in my other life, I didn't learn about Johnny "Blood" McNally and Don Hutson from going to games personally."

Well then, you'd better have put that other life behind you, dumped any allegiance to the GB Packers, and forgotten everything you ever learned about Johnny "Blood" McNally and Don Hutson, because you're on Capitol Hill now. Otherwise, you've got a hell of a lot of nerve to be crusading for the removal of anything not related to Washington baseball from Nationals Park.

And keep in mind that there are *lots* of Nationals-related murals and such around the ballpark now, starting with the giant mural of Zimmerman's first walk-off celebration on the back of the scoreboard. And there is more Washington baseball-based artwork yet to come, in particular the Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson and Frank Howard statues to be installed next year. Also on tap, I hear, is some sort of a Washington baseball hall of fame in the ballpark. Personally, in the midst of the mainly Washington-themed artwork I see no problem with murals showing the best that MLB has had to offer us in generations past. In particular because for a couple of those generations those "outside" icons of MLB were all we in Washington had. Why not remember that part of our history in the new ballpark?

Posted by: PWABOMH | April 24, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

DK,

I just LOL at work. Very Funny.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | April 24, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of definitions, or maybe I don't want to know how LMilz got bone-ified ...


********
"we traded 2 holes in the lineup for a bonified future star."

(that would be "bona fide"--Latin for "[in] good faith")

Posted by: MIB can't drink milk and do this anymore | April 24, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of definitions, or maybe I don't want to know how LMilz got bone-ified ...
"we traded 2 holes in the lineup for a bonified future star."
(that would be "bona fide"--Latin for "[in] good faith")
Posted by: MIB

watch it the grammer police are out in full. what i meant to say was the mets got boned and fried in the deal. kinda combined it bonafried. :)

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

So I'm listening to the game, and my wife says, "Pitcher's gonna throw over. Go on the second pitch, if gets a jump."

**********
milledge is going to be great though im more worried about his actual baseball knowledge than his talent. running on olsons first pitch over the weekend was something not even my 12 year old woulda done.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:42 PM

Posted by: CE | April 24, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

dk, you better watch out, people are going to start liking you if you say funny sh*t like this, and then you won't win that award .....


"thank you thank you. id just like to thank my mother who beat me with a louisville slugger every time i tried to crack a smile and of course my dog loser who crapped on my slippers every morning."

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 1:37 PM

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Barry: Not to put a crimp in your travel/career plans, but if these guys are on pace at the All-Star break to challenge the 1962 Mets for futility, you've got to find a way to stay on the beat. A front-row seat (actually, a row ZZZZ seat in the press box) to history would make for a fine second book.

Getting outplayed by superior talent is acceptable. Getting outsmarted (Guzman forgetting how many outs there are) is moderately unacceptable. Getting outhustled (Milledge meandering, allowing a single to become a double) is wholly unacceptable.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | April 24, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

btw will some1 please tell me how you melt down in the 6th and walk schneider and santana bk-2-bk. seriously. theyre giving you those 2 outs. unreal.
players should be flogged for that kinda stuff.
running on olsons first pitch, walking schneider and santana, they should be flogged.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I didn't wantto JimBow bash in my earlier post but only novice ownership would have a self-promoting, preening schmoe with a way-below-average track record of drafting, signing and developing talent still on the job. Let's pray that it doesn't take the Lerners as long as it took the guy up north to realize that cobbling togther a roster mostly with players no one else values or wants isn't the way to keep the turnstiles moving.
_________________

Huzzah, Leetee!!! I'll be handing out pitchforks in the $5 seats tonight!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"btw will some1 please tell me how you melt down in the 6th and walk schneider and santana bk-2-bk. seriously. theyre giving you those 2 outs. unreal.
players should be flogged for that kinda stuff.
running on olsons first pitch, walking schneider and santana, they should be flogged."

___________________________________________


Now that's more like it. No humor, dk,
just give us flat pessimism and anger.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"btw will some1 please tell me how you melt down in the 6th and walk schneider and santana bk-2-bk. seriously. theyre giving you those 2 outs. unreal.
players should be flogged for that kinda stuff.
running on olsons first pitch, walking schneider and santana, they should be flogged."

___________________________________________


Now that's more like it. No humor, dk,
just give us flat pessimism and anger.

Sorry, that was me.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | April 24, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

trust me a little caneing and flogging and i guarantee you youd see a different more heads up team. time for a little tough love manny. WAKE UP!

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"regarding church. i could hit .300 if i was surrounded by beltran and wright and reyes. "

someone better get you a contract in NY, then, cuz castillo could only manage 280 there last year...

Posted by: 231 | April 24, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"If the panel has overlooked anyone please feel free to pass along your suggestions."

where's the love...er hate...for JayB? he may not be able to spell pessimist, but he sure are one!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line:

This team is not playing as a team. At times a few individuals have been competitive. Like Lannan. Like Johnson. Like Lopez and Lo Duca. Everything else is pretty listless. Not ready for prime-time. Unity and mission and focus are lacking. The individual pieces, when added up, are better than what we've seen so far. Time for a refresher course in arithmatic. They need to come together. And play together.

Posted by: Andy | April 24, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Well I'm honored to be nominated for MVP, but I thought hoping for Bowden to be fired qualified as optimism, no?

What's that expression about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a change being the definition of insanity?

Re: my Packers, the day the Redskins become a community-owned, non-profit franchise (and dump the racist nickname) I might consider ALSO partially rooting for the burgundy and gold. Till then, the Packers are the shining golden heart of all the goodness and purity that's remaining in professional sports. (That positive enough for you? See, I can be a happy fan, when there's something to be happy about!)

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 24, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie: regarding your safety and parking. Remember, swanni makes good points sometimes but he can be a bit of an alarmist. It's not that bad.

MKevin: regarding the son "Nuts about Nats". I cringed the first time I heard it, but it's growing on me. It's sort of old fashioned and a little childlike.Which has some charm with all the flash and pop music you get otherwise.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 24, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm simply not sure how it was possible to be bored during at least the first five innings of the game last night, dk. Redding was going toe-to-toe with Santana and coming out ahead, actually driving in the runs to put himself in place for success.

That's more than half of the game on the field that was excellently played, and it was generally, quite riveting baseball. Maybe we weren't winning 30-3 by the end of the second inning and homers weren't flying out of the park every other Nationals batter, but it was a tight game against the universally-crowned best pitcher in baseball (against whom most teams suffer from a dire lack of offense), and every second of it was pretty enjoyable to me.

Posted by: faNATic | April 24, 2008 12:27 PM
----------------
I thought we had hopes through five innings - the game remained close and anything was possible. To quote the immortal Bugs Bunny, "What a Maroon!". My record is now 0-4 for games in attendence -- must be I'm the jinx. I'll stay home for a while...

Posted by: N@sfan | April 24, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

in response to dk:

I think Sutton made a good point last night in the 6th, when Redding started to falter... he said something to the effect that he (Redding) had stopped pitching, and started to be a pitcher... losing confidence in his stuff... If by that, he meant that Redding got tentative, I think he's right.

I was very impressed with Redding, but he slowed down his pace a lot in the 6th.

I think you see some form of that all over the place with the Nats... thinking too much, trying to do too much (in contrast to trying too hard).

I think they'll get it... eventually.

Posted by: Wigi | April 24, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

ok one funny thing to share then I have to change diaper and fold laundry...

Baseball Prospectus describes WMP as "the baseball equivalent of a shiny, distracting object." Ha ha!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 24, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"If the panel has overlooked anyone please feel free to pass along your suggestions."

where's the love...er hate...for JayB? he may not be able to spell pessimist, but he sure are one!

-----

This was a cheap shot, but I also laughed real hard.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Packers, one of the best Onion articles ever was published last month:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/packers_tell_fans_they_gave_favre

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

And this is why there's less season tickets this year than at RFK, which was a parking paradise and a DMZ.
Posted by: flynnie

nuthin to add. just loved the term rfk parking paradise. well done.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I might consider ALSO partially rooting for the burgundy and gold
-------------------

Um, I believe that it's the maroon and yellow!

Posted by: Jim Zorn | April 24, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Why I Love Boz:

"A team without demons kicks the dirt and moves on. A team in full gag mode thinks, "Uh oh, here we go again." And there they went, soon tied, quickly behind, then so dejected as to be barely ambulatory by the late innings."

April 24, 2008 Column

And from last year about this time:

This Nationals team does not have the dismal attitude, the dreary clubhouse atmosphere, the palpable cloud of depression that follows a breathtakingly awful team. An upbeat club, even if it lacks talent, can only be so bad. Knowing that you can't be a good team doesn't curse you. Hating your situation, rather than working realistically to improve, is what blights a season.
Tom Boswell, Washington Post Sports, April 20, 2007

Posted by: flynnie | April 24, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Boswell -- utter nonsense!

The biggest problem is that they are trying too hard?

Give me a break! How about a dysfunctional roster filled with flawed talent, cast-offs and never-will-be's?"

Much as I normally would go all JayB over anything Boswell writes (i.e. believe the exact opposite), this time I think he is right on. I would not argue with swanni that any of those guys is ever going to be what he says they're never gonna be, because they aren't. But none of them - with the possible exception of Milledge, Guzman and Lannan - is even playing at the level they HAVE performed at in the past. The ENTIRE TEAM is underachieving. Is it possible they all just decided to become underachieving slackers at the same time, and just give up after notching their third straight win of the season in Philly? Well, of course it's possible. Anything is possible. But likely? No. What Boswell is saying makes much more sense. Every player on this team from Zimmerman on down is playing right now with the implicit or explicit expectation that this will be their breakout year. That's what they're all doing, trying to be more than they've ever been before, and they're all coming up short. The harder they try, the shorter they are coming up, to the point where they're all not even being the slightly-flawed-but-not-terrible players they really are. How else can you explain an entire team underachieving to such a degree at the same time? Zimmerman, Kearns and Johnson may not be .300/30 HR guys as everyone was expecting them to be at the beginning of the season, but they're not .200 guys with no power either, as their performance to date would suggest.

Really, as Boswell said, the entire team just needs to adopt the mindset they had last year, which was "play the best you can, and it will all work out in the end as best it can". They need to loosen up, quit trying too hard, and quit trying to make the team be more than the sum of its individual parts. All it needs to be is what it was last year, which was as good as it could be but not better. They need to quit believing what the press says about them, and just play the game the way they each are best capable of playing, and no better. This is what they did last year when they rejected the "worst team ever" predictions, and they need to do the same thing this year, just in the opposite direction.

Ironically, the one group that is playing up to its expectations on this team is the group from whom the least was expected - the starting pitchers. In many ways, they have even exceeded their expectations. Maybe that's because they didn't have a boatload of unreasonable expectations laid on them prior to the season. They're just playing ball, one game at a time - which is what the whole team needs to start doing.


Posted by: PWABOMH | April 24, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

One of my former managers had one of those "motivational" picture thingies. It said "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

Posted by: SF Fan | April 24, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the "Is Paul Lo Duca really posting to the Nats Journal and asking about Italian restaurants?" debate? I was away from computers for a few days and didn't see if it was resolved.

Posted by: Nat Gas Futures | April 24, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I did not live here during the earlier baseball era, but it was my impression that it's a revival of an old song? Seems like I've been hearing that ditty occasionally on WTOP ever since the Nats came to town.

---

MKevin: regarding the son "Nuts about Nats". I cringed the first time I heard it, but it's growing on me. It's sort of old fashioned and a little childlike.Which has some charm with all the flash and pop music you get otherwise.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 24, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

despair.com

Enjoy. :)

---

One of my former managers had one of those "motivational" picture thingies. It said "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

Posted by: SF Fan | April 24, 2008 2:55 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 24, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Barry - is there any chance that Zimmy's hand hasn't fully recovered from off season surgery? Or even the downtime contributes to his slow start.

Posted by: Cabraman | April 24, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Kearns may not be .300/30 HR guys as everyone was expecting them to be at the beginning of the season,
Posted by: PWABOMH

i want whatever youre on if u thought ak25 was gonna ever get near those numbers. aside from 2002 austin i stink kearns has never had a whiff of .300/30. hes actually pushin .200/15, which would be his comfort consistent mode right now.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, good point, dk!

Try again, but this time use some career numbers:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/k/kearnau01.shtml

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"If the panel has overlooked anyone please feel free to pass along your suggestions."

where's the love...er hate...for JayB? he may not be able to spell pessimist, but he sure are one!

___________________________________________


I think hate may be a strong word, but man, how I could I leave off JayB?

So with that, the updated list of nominees for Nats Journal MVP (Most Valuable Pessimist) are:

DK
Steven on Capitol Hill
Swanni
JayB


Good Luck. Please feel free submit a name for nomination.


Posted by: Section 505/203 | April 24, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Kearns a .300/30 guy? Uh, no. Love the guy as a player but, I think .275/20 would be a reach.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | April 24, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

506: I may have been a bit rash in calling Zim's recent throwing woes "these throws" as if there were so very many. But, there have been two absolute awful flyers in less than a week and he has had this problem in the past. 23 erros last year, many of them with the arm. And those throws to first have been on his mind in the past:

2/07: RZ: "A few of my errors last season, I did not move my feet when I was throwing the ball, that's the biggest thing I must work on this spring training--trying to get my footwork better, so I can be the best I can be. A lot of my throwing errors (in 2006) were because of my footwork. One of my biggest goals is to get rid of, what I call, the silly errors, that I know I can cut down on, and try to stay in single digits this year (on errors)."
3/08: RZ: "Sometimes at third base I rush some stuff. Whether I am fielding a ball or throwing--I sometimes have a lot more time than I think I do. That's a BIG THING for me this year. I need to take my time, not make as many off balance throws and things like that."

The guy is pressing like hell and he needs a breather.

Posted by: dh | April 24, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Try again, but this time use some career numbers:

ak25: 264, 230, 240, 274, 250 266, 205.
yea any questions?

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

You speak all truth. As long as we don't overstate the problems, since reality is enough to deal with.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Kearns Love the guy as a player
Posted by: Section 505/203

uh why. or what exactly do you love about ak25. the guy gives new meaning to stink every night. he leads the league in dps hit into. i would risk that he leads the league in men lob. i know hes a league leading rally killer. am i missin anything.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Try again, but this time use some career numbers:

ak25: 264, 230, 240, 274, 250 266, 205.
yea any questions?

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 3:39 PM

-----

Nope, just wanted to point out you had plenty of supporting evidence instead of hyperbole. I think we can expect .255-.260 from Kearns. Maybe 16 home runs, 60 RBI. We'll also see a return to superior defense as the games become more competitive.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

As quickly as he was added so has he been deleted. Evidently my inclusion of the mythical creature known as the Rally Squirrel to the NATionary was done in haste and without any research into whether or not he/she/it was a true Nats original. I'm sad to report he/she/it is not. He/she/it is evidently a product of the St Louis Cardinals farm system and made their Major League debut on September 4, 2007.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxUSrur9BTk

So unless you guys are aware of a FA signing that I missed, the Rally Squirrel is a Redbird and out of the NATionary.

Posted by: MKevin | April 24, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I think we can expect .255-.260 from Kearns.
Posted by: Section 506

u may be right. unfortunately the only reason he'll probably hit those numbers is because he gets so many at bats. but most of his hits are meaningless. whenever it matters, hes a sure out. but 2 innings later with game over, its a double by kearns into the gap.

i still say his dp rally killing bases loaded back to the pitcher grounder in game 4 against the phillies was the beginning of the end for the nats. if he just hits a sac fly we win that game and everything is different. its just the way it is.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Roster changes in the wind.

Posted by: In the know | April 24, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

True, all the errors by other players (and various relief pitchers totally stinking) were totally the fault of the right fielder.

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

i still say his dp rally killing bases loaded back to the pitcher grounder in game 4 against the phillies was the beginning of the end for the nats. if he just hits a sac fly we win that game and everything is different. its just the way it is.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 3:51 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, last one was me.

Posted by: faNATic | April 24, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

PWABOMH -- I agree with everything you said. See, isn't life better with a moniker? And a good one at that?

Nat Gas Futures -- I don't think that the Lo Puca/Italian restaurant debate was resolved definitively, but there were subsequent posts from "Elijah D." and "natsonthebus" that looked a lot more like people impersonating players than players themselves.

We're talking about diapers (?), Packers, maroon and yellow, and negative poster awards? Three hours until gametime. We need a new topic, and Barry's burned out.

I've heard the "sportswriters" on radio play something called "count and the amount," which doesn't really make sense, come to think of it (or maybe I have the label wrong), but the idea is to predict the score of the game and a few things that are related to the end result or are otherwise funny or quirky. Should we try that?

As in:

"Tonight the Nats will win 5-2, Shawn Hill will have a shaky start but then, following the appearance of an actual squirrel on the field, will settle down and go 7 innings. And Pena will hit a 3-run moonshot to spark the offense."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Try again, but this time use some career numbers:

ak25: 264, 230, 240, 274, 250 266, 205.
yea any questions?"

Yeah, I have a question. Why can't you figure out that this was my original point? Many people (maybe not you, because you're obviously a Kearns hater) have been saying that they were looking for Kearns to have a breakout year this year. His contract would add to that expectation. Yet what are we getting from him? Much, much worse than his career norms. He's trying too hard to be more than he really is, and as a result he's coming up much much less than what he really is. Even as a hater, do you not see that?

Posted by: PWABOMH | April 24, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

04/24/2008 3:56 PM ET
Nationals option Ray King to Columbus
The Nationals reliever Ray King to Columbus of the Triple-A International League and selected the contract of pitcher Mike O'Connor from Columbus.

Posted by: Tom | April 24, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey, we stink. It is what it is. I suggest that if we win 2 or 3 in a row, we all chant, "We stink less! We stink less!"

If Milledge is still learning to play, I hope he hurries up. He almost misplayed a line single into a triple last night. I've got my doubts about his instincts.

Posted by: Section 420, ready for a Section 8 | April 24, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"uh why. or what exactly do you love about ak25. the guy gives new meaning to stink every night. he leads the league in dps hit into. i would risk that he leads the league in men lob. i know hes a league leading rally killer. am i missin anything."

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 3:43 PM

___________________________________________


I like his defense for one and It appears that he is pretty solid team guy. I have said here before that he would be a better 4th outfielder and that he is not a starter.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"PWABOMH -- I agree with everything you said. See, isn't life better with a moniker? And a good one at that?"

No, because sooner or later you all will turn on me, as you have on so many others, and start reacting to my posts on what you think you know about who I am, and not paying attention to what I'm saying. Anonymity is much better, because in the absence of any real background knowledge of the person behind the post, the post should just be evaluated on the words and opinions it contains. This is the Internet. No one knows who they're talking to, even if they think they do. Better to just pay attention to the words you read and leave it at that.

Posted by: PWABOMH | April 24, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, on the one hand, it does seem that the Rally Squirrel gets around, he has been sighted not only in St. Louis, but also Colorado, Cleveland and the Bronx. On the other hand, the origin of the concept here was Lo Puca's comment that squirrels could play better than the Nats, so at least that part of the concept is original. I don't know, we might need to go back to the Rally Sandhill Crane or something.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

If Milledge is still learning to play, I hope he hurries up. He almost misplayed a line single into a triple last night. I've got my doubts about his instincts.
Posted by: Section 420, ready

420 im also on record regarding milledges instincts. so we agree there. however i havta disagree with you about that single. that was right in front of us. i thought he made a nice play. he charged in, you could tell he was thinkin about diving cause kearns was circling behind him to provide insurance but at the last moment he figured no, pulled up and stopped the ball kinda with his mit and body and it bounced forward off him and he retrieved it quickly. really no harm no foul. i felt like he had it under control the whole time.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

i am UP

Posted by: gnu post | April 24, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I have said here before that he would be a better 4th outfielder and that he is not a starter.
Posted by: | April 24, 2008 4:11 PM

ok we're in complete agreement then. i love him as a non starter pinch hitter late innings outfield replacement. i am now an ak25 lover.
btw this whole hes a great outfielder thing, where did that come from. thats like the deshawn stevenson or jared jeffries is a great defender hogwash. one writer writes it and somehow it sticks.
ive never seen evidence of kearns being such a great right fielder.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

True, all the errors by other players (and various relief pitchers totally stinking) were totally the fault of the right fielder.

ok u get it. so whats the problem.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Dangerous to post before reading the thread but this article in The Hardball Times on the recent Forbes valuation of baseball teams has some useful and new information on two of our favorite topics - LAC or not! and Darn you MLB!

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-much-is-your-team-worth-2008/

No need for a Tin Yurl. The article criticizes Forbes method of calculating franchise value as a swag based on revenues rather than operating profits. Also notes that costs are pretty well concealed. Applying it to the Nats, that $47 million operating profit is a swag number.

Also, very interesting to note what they say about the team with the least year to year increase in Forbes-estimated value:
"The value of the Washington Nationals rose less than 3 percent, but this followed an enormous increase a couple of years ago after the team relocated from Montreal. Expect the Nationals' worth to accelerate now that the new ballpark is open (though you'd hope that the value of that asset, which is now complete, would be reflected in the data)." For purposes of LAC, the enormous increase was reflected in the $450 million they paid and did not go into their pocket (cue Steve on the Hill for the "MLB scre[ech]ed us" thread).

Posted by: PTBNL | April 24, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow - who knew? I was familiar with the Yankee Stadium incidents last year but not that one. Also, I can't believe the guy seriously thought he'd trap a squirrel by using a a sunflower seed bucket and a board. :-)

---

So unless you guys are aware of a FA signing that I missed, the Rally Squirrel is a Redbird and out of the NATionary.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 24, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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