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Life on the back pages

Until yesterday, I'm guessing, Nelson Figueroa was largely irrelevant -- and perhaps entirely unknown -- to the casual New Yorker. But last night's Figueroa-led controversy at Shea proves that a little smack-talk, at least in this town, is still the most direct path to ignominy.

Both the Post and the Daily News made entirely unsurprising decisions to fillet Figueroa on their back pages.

The Post headline: SOFTBALL GIRLS

The Daily News headline: SIS BOOM BLAH

The fact that all this happened in New York, where Lastings Milledge played last year, and where Manny Acta once managed, and where the Nationals visit three times annually, makes this a half-juicy story for the local press. All the assembled hacks are about to head down to the team clubhouses to get the latest he-said, he-said renditions. (Listen, nobody said the Fourth Estate helps lift the greater intelligence quotient.)

Anyway, we haven't yet gotten Acta's take on the matter. When we do, I'll relay it here.

By the way -- just tremendous stuff with the six-word responses. As a blogospheric community, the Nats Journal has put Hemingway to shame.

Svrluga's five favorites are listed below.

Dmitri: Each Word Equals Fifty Pounds.

Maine hits Dukes if he starts?

Clap? You throw like a girl!

My cat's named Nelson-- changing it

We're all a bunch of nerds.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 13, 2008; 3:23 PM ET
 
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Next: Thoughts from Manny, and a lineup

Comments

Repeat Post

Mets can't take punch, such girls.

Been reading the NYC sports websites and that idiot Nelson Figueroa calls the Nats "softball girls" for cheering in the dugout last night. Figueroa obviously sees nothing wrong with the preening his teammates do when they score or hit home runs. See above.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 13, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Nelson: bush league better than minor.

Posted by: mrlogical | May 13, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Chico, it's certainly not at the level of saying Brett Favre is 42 years old, but Manny never managed in NY, he was the Mets' 3rd base coach. I'm sure you know this and just goofed as you were trying to put a quick post up before heading down to the clubhouse, but you've got to be careful around here--the Constituency can be vicious. ;-)

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 13, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Missed it. I live in France!


Posted by: JS in France | May 13, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Looks like you made up the time, though, JS

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

plain and simple, the mets are bullies. when they're going well they have the shimmies and the handshakes and think nothing of showing up THEIR opponents. figueroa's comments are idiotic. he's obviously hasn't paid attention to what goes on inside and outside of his dugout.

Posted by: natsscribe | May 13, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The funny thing about Figgys comments is that his own fans thinks he's a moron for making them. Why is he so worried about what the opposing teams bench is doing anyway? Lord knows the enthusiasm is welcome (and needed) in our clubhouse. Do we dare give him credit for deflecting the focus of his dreadful performance last night, with bringing this up in the first place. I imagine that if he didn't, he would have been answering questions solely about his pitching performance last night. Good job Nelson, YOU SUCK!!!

Posted by: BigRoy | May 13, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

As to any budding rivalry with the Mets, I think it is a great development. This kind of thing increases buzz, helps the Nats build an identity, and will make it much sweeter when the Nats become a winning team (whenever that might be, I'm not holding my breath).

Now what we need are more fans who will make it uncomfortable for Mets fans to come in to Nats Park and act onbnoxiously as they cheer on the Mets, as if they own the place.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 13, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Dukes should call Jose Reyes overrated!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If players are pine-tarring, corking bats, and stealing signs using the CF video relay, then how is cheering like kids bush-league? Definitely juvenile, but bush league?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

These posts have too many words.

Posted by: Just sayin' | May 13, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Mets Choke, Thanks Guys For Milledge

Posted by: Section 111 (Formerly 223 @ RFK) | May 13, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Please don't start that again.

Posted by: BigRoy | May 13, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Nelson Figueroa, designated for assignment. Ha.

Posted by: *mania | May 13, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Jim Bowden still [stinks] as GM.

Kearns descends to the Mendoza Line.

Multiple Nats not hitting their weight.

Lite-hitting Jumbos are mostly JimBo faves.

IMO, it is not Manny's fault.

I always prefer to blame JimBo.

Will Cold Pizza take him back?

Posted by: Litany of Disappointments | May 13, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I should get back to work.

Posted by: mrlogical | May 13, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Great jibe at the Fourth Estate.

Posted by: samantha7 | May 13, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"Please don't start that again."

BigRoy for post of the day!!!

From the New York Daily News "Surfing the Mets" column:

"Talk about potential injustices. The Mets have internally decided to send down Joe Smith on Wednesday to make room for Wednesday's spot starter from New Orleans.

"The problem? Smith, who struck out the side in an inning Monday, is one of the best performers in the bullpen. But sending him to the minors is a clean move since he can be demoted without being exposed to waivers.

"On merit, Jorge Sosa and his $2 million contract deserve to go. Sosa allowed another four runs against the Nats, lifting his ERA to 7.06. But Mets officials, barring a late reversal, don't want to lose Sosa because they want to keep as many "bullets" as possible. If the Mets tried to demote Sosa, he could declare free agency and still collect his money."

My comment:

Please keep Jorge Sosa!

Career v. WAS:
41.1 IP, 16 G, 5.23 ERA, 24 ER, 6 HR, 15 BB

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"Meanwhile, Willie Randolph suggested the cool weather felt "like late September." The result looked like it, too. The Nationals - who helped doom the Mets to their historic collapse last season - dropped the Mets to 2-2 on a home stand against division doormats Cincinnati and Washington."
Adam Rubin, Daily News

Posted by: flynnie | May 13, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Perez can hit, can Kearns pitch?

Bleeding is stopped, is heart beating?

Cold don't matter, Nats can hit

10 run outburst, sign of apocalypse?

Posted by: Cabraman | May 13, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Please stop the six word posts...Please.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 13, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Will they hit tonight - for spite?

Posted by: samantha7 | May 13, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Adam Bostick is being called up from New Orleans to pitch [against the Nats "well-travelled TBD] tomorrow [afternoon]. Santana, despite the Mets' insistence that a decision still is pending, apparently will go Friday, the right plan if the primary plan is to go to Yankee Stadium showing "we got Santana and you didn't."

Jay Greenberg, NY Post

Posted by: flynnie | May 13, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Lannan versus Maine ... 1-0 in tenth?

Posted by: Gusto | May 13, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Nelson Figueroa, now in the minors.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 13, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I hope our boys can come up with some fun (but clean) retorts to the papers tonight.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 13, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, think it's awesome that the Nats started what we called in little league "a little chatter" in the dugout. There's nothing wrong with trying to jumpstart the team with some positive cheering. Maybe they'll end up like the Tribe in "Major League" doing coordinated clapping and leg-crossing routines.

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | May 13, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Too bad -- I was looking forward to rhythmically clapping at him the next time he pitched in D.C.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | May 13, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse


Please stop the six word posts...Please.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 13, 2008 4:29 PM
_____________________________

Restated: "Stop rhyming I mean it!"

Haven't laughed this hard in ages.

Six worders ease post-Svrluga grief.

Posted by: JennX | May 13, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe I'm first with this.

Are you crying? There's no crying.

Because there's no crying in baseball.

Posted by: Section 311 | May 13, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, the NY papers so far have not been ripping the Nats. For the most part they are making fun of Figueroa and ripping him for getting rattled by the clapping and whining about it after the game. Now that Figueroa has been cut, my guess is that his former teammates will try to downplay the situation, but it will be interesting to see what we hear from Chico on that front, and what Willie has to say about it.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 13, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

So now that Figueroa is sent down, does that make him bush-league? And if so, will he be rhythmically clapping?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman hits like a girl, no?

Posted by: NatsBlood | May 13, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Girls Win! Figueroa Designated for Assignment.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 13, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure I haven't been the first to do it but...

http://www.cafepress.com/softballgirls

Posted by: Mick | May 13, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I am 40 and still play in a sandlot league. Guys my age have talked about the generational gap when it comes to "chatter". The 20-somethings that play with and against us, while still good guys, are "too cool" to chatter or talk it up for the most part. We older guys were raised to believe that if you weren't talking, you weren't "into" the game.

I like that our Nats are usually up on the rail during games.

Posted by: Capital Punisher | May 13, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

According to Mlb.com both Figgy and Sosa were DFA'd. Wow can we send'em packin' or what?

Posted by: BigRoy | May 13, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

According to Mlb.com both Figgy and Sosa were DFA'd. Wow can we send'em packin' or what?

-----

How many managers did we kill off last year? Willie Randolph better be watching his back.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

From an NY rag article:
"Lastings Milledge, the controversial outfielder the Nationals acquired from the Mets this winter, defended his teammates' conduct."

I love that Milledge is controversial in New York. Seriously, their governor is sleeping with prostitutes while putting people in jail for prostitution, and a guy who gives people high-fives is controversial? Oh no, it was that rap album, which included DIRTY WORDS! Certainly words no self-respecting New Yorker would utter...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

@506

Speaking of which, think Trembley won't be looking over his shoulder this weekend, remembrring what happened to Perlozzo the last time the Nats were in town?

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 13, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing, 506.

---

How many managers did we kill off last year?

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 13, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

The team has Chico listed as the probably starter for the finale with the Mets vs Johan Santana.

1. Is this a "Reverse Lock"

2. The article also mentions that Jason Bergmann or Colin Balester could get brought up to make the start instead.

I think a call-up is likely since Chico is right now the only lefty in the bullpen and if he's starting we're still playing with a short bullpen (6 relievers and 5 starters). With us in the midst of 16 or whatever straight games going with a 4 man rotation is impossible and playing with a 6 man pen is inadvisable (is that a word?).

If I were a betting man (and I'm not) I would take Bergmann to get the call-up since he has MLB experience (though inconsistant) and that despite two rough starts right after being demoted he has done amazingly well over his last three outings giving up 3ER in 21IP with 18ks and 7BB.

The real fun is who gets optioned/DFA's to make room for Thursday's starter? Again, if I was betting I would take Mackowiak, but he or Harris are a toss-up, I'm taking Mack to go only because Harris seems to get more props from the Manny and JimBow (Mack of course has that contract...)

Posted by: estuartj | May 13, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"The real fun is who gets optioned/DFA's to make room for Thursday's starter? Again, if I was betting I would take Mackowiak, but he or Harris are a toss-up, I'm taking Mack to go only because Harris seems to get more props from the Manny and JimBow (Mack of course has that contract...)"

Trrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddde!

Harris or Mac, people always want back-up outfielders.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, please, the six word posts have become the literary equivalent of Teddy's WWE-like shtick. (Fake, dull and embarrasing.)

Chico, just because you can blog doesn't mean that you should -- unless you have something to say.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

NY press is saying Santana got moved to Friday.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 13, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

swanni, wrong on all counts

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, you here would not take Church and Schneider back in a straight up deal for Milledge?

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Make that, who here would not take Church and Schneider back in a straight up deal for Milledge?

Personally, I wouldn't, although every day that Milledge plays centerfield is a day without sunshine.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Moving Santana to Friday - when they open a series against the Yankees, who considered vying for him in the offseason.

Posted by: Not Sick of Six-Word Posts | May 13, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Chico, meet Swanni. He's nasty, but he's ours, I guess.
____________________

Chico, just because you can blog doesn't mean that you should -- unless you have something to say.


Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 5:44 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | May 13, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I am a huge Church fan and Schneider was one of my favorites. As previously posted, I have very a very low regard for Bowden. That being said,

I would not reverse the Milledge trade if that were on the table. Lastings has much more upside.

There are a number of others whom I would gladly ship to the Mets in exchange for getting those guys back, if the opportunity were there.

Posted by: Litany of Disappointments | May 13, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I would not take back Church and Schneider for Milledge.

If I could go back in time I would like to switch Kearns for Church though...or maybe keep Church too. The Mets wanted Schneider and we wanted Milledge, Church was just unloading baggage...but I think his performance thus far in NY shows that he is a quality player. Especially since having Church in RF makes carrying Mackowiak and Harris unnecessary.

Posted by: estuartj | May 13, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Does no one remember Ryan "I'm hot until I'm cold" Church?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 13, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo was down on Church -- why? -- because he didn't trade for him! He was an Expo so Jimbo wouldn't get any credit if he played well.

Kearns is his guy, which means he'll play even if he hits .170 while Church hits over .300.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

And -- I'm not nasty. But my slider is.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

If Manny would show some guts and move Milledge to LF, we might get somewhere. The guy can sure hit, but he's no CF.

So, who plays CF? Justin Maxwell -- ASAP.

Kearns should be forced to battle for his position with Pena and Dukes. Best man wins.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

We need Middle Infielders and a real Centerfielder. I would trade Milledge for either one. Lastings will not help this team in CF or RF....maybe LF someday but that is the easiest position to fill and it seems we have lots on no arm OF in the pipeline that will need that spot.

The problem, as always; Jimbo is never happy with defense as the reason for a trade. Until Jimbo goes we will not have a solution up the middle of the diamond where it counts.

Posted by: JayB | May 13, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Chico-Most of us loved it.

Nerds make for high response counts.

Anyway, I agree with those that think that making the Mets rivals could only be good for the team. We spent 3 years hardly even registering on radars, even when we were in the playoff hunt in September 2005!

I still maintain that Church will wither the first time the NY press turns on him during a slump. I really liked the guy, but I do think he is soft. I also am starting to be sure that Schneider's contribution can be replaced by Flores, sooner than later. In the meantime, Nieves can be the inspiration to pitchers.

For now, though? Time for a T-ball game, and to teach my 12-year-old daughter to scoop a grounder and throw in one motion.

It is so nice that our regional swamp is drying out today.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 13, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"Trrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddde!

Harris or Mac, people always want back-up outfielders."

If were going to trade someone, how about Kearns? There are probably some teams out there willing to take on a defensive specialist in RF, especially one that gets on base (even if he can't hit the broad side of a barn, to save his life, insert snide remark here). Mackowiak and Harris have absolutely no market value since anyone could pick up a equal or better player out of AAA (Langerhans probably has more market value) or get either of waivers as soon as we're finally forced to cut bait.

Posted by: estuartj | May 13, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

JayB -- agree on Bowden's underappreciation of defense. He's a numbers guy; he doesn't appreciate the importance of the glove because it doesn't make him look good. He wants offensive numbers to justify his position as GM.

Folks, Jimbo is just a show horse and schmoozer. No decent MLB organization would keep him on.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Want to trade Kearns? Well, fire Jimbo fast because the only team that would trade for AK is one dumb enough to hire Jimbo as GM.

Kearns is a 15 HR, 70 RBI guy -- stats for a shortstop, not a RF.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Mike Rizzo should be GM. We need an adult at the controls.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I would still do the Milledge deal because of his upside, but I think Bowden got too much credit and Omar too much criticism for what's been wrongly described as a one-sided deal. I think it's healthy for us to dial back the praise for this move a bit, even though we shouldn't completely turn on LMillz.

Nonetheless, the case against Bowden isn't any one move. It's that he has failed over time to improve the level of talent on the roster and make his teams into winners. And that goes back 14 years to Cincinnati. The biggest problem is that he couldn't find a good pitcher in a lineup of Walter Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Bob Gibson.

Bowden is an embarrassment who only got this job because no one else wanted it, and only kept it because the Lerners made a total rookie owner mistake. Things will not improve until he's gone. The sooner we face that fact, the better.

I couldn't have said it better than swanni did: No decent MLB organization would keep him on.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 13, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

People inclined to make excuses for Bowden because of the talent he inherited here in Washington should consider what the last 3 years would have been like without the bullpen JimBo inherited: Cordero, Ayala, Rivera, Rauch, Majewski... The pen is the only remotely above-average part of the team, and none of it was acquired by JimBo.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 13, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo is still GM because he crawled into little Mark Lerner's ear in the spring of 2006 and told him how wonderful he is. Stan's plan -- his real plan -- was thereby thwarted because he couldn't bring in a serious GM to run the show.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The scary thing is that Jimbo will probably outlast Stan and Manny. Don't believe it? Just ask Frank Robinson.

Posted by: swanni | May 13, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

SoCH, I know it's been a few days. But that Horse is Still Dead!! Everyone knows you want Bowden fired.

Swanni, Maxwell is not the best OF in the system, it's Mike Daniel. Maxwell's swing is way too long, much like Zimmerman and Kearns at this point

Posted by: Pat LaFontaine | May 13, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Chico my man, I would like to offer some constructive criticism. I was excited to see there were a bunch of posts since yesterday's introduction, but dissapointed in them after reading.

Everybody here knows that NJ's average is decieving because he walks a lot. The 6-word thing is cool but had too much explanation. Would've had the same response if it was a two sentence end to a meatier post.

You have a way with words that makes the semi-poetic, analytic writing in your gamers really good. But the journal should have more raw news. In the last 3 posts the only new info was that NJ leads in pitches taken.


So that is my two cents.

Posted by: nattaboy | May 13, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Nattaboy wants "more raw news," and less explanation.

Wow, I want you to lighten up. It's Chico's first week, for crying out loud.

Posted by: dcbatgirl | May 13, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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