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Marlins vs. Nationals -- now and in the future

So I wrote the gamer about Hanley Ramirez. Seriously grasping at straws after what was pretty much the most boring game we've had this year, but as I've said before in this space, the guy is a force, and Nationals fans are going to be dealing with him for a long, long time -- as reported by ESPN's Enrique Rojas.

But it's a good jumping off point. Go through the Marlins' lineup -- one which didn't include Mike Jacobs last night because of a tight quad. Who do you think has more building blocks for the future -- Washington or Florida?

Some lineups:

Florida:
Ross -- 8
Hermida -- 9
Ramirez -- 6
Cantu -- 5
Uggla -- 4
Gonzalez -- 7
Helms -- 3
Treanor -- 2
A. Miller -- 1

Washington:
Lopez -- 4
Guzman -- 6
Zimmerman -- 5
Johnson -- 3
Milledge -- 8
Kearns -- 9
Dukes -- 7
Flores -- 2
O'Connor -- 1

A bit of an odd feeling for me today. Last night was my final gamer as the regular beat writer. Chico Harlan at the controls tonight -- and almost every night for the rest of the season. I'll be here with him for a while, traveling to New York next week. And I'm planning to post at the Journal tomorrow before I officially hand over the keys to these offices. We'll have a joint chat on Wednesday as one of the last steps in the transition.

So enjoy tonight's game and the rest of this tiny little homestand.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 10, 2008; 3:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Sunday lineups: Marlins finale

Comments

With two reporters at the park this weekend and in the Mets series to come, the Post is missing out on a real opportunity to upgrade its AAAA coverage of DC's baseball team, at least for a week. I'm writing Boswell off as a lost cause at this point. His column this morning about Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine not only did not offer any new insight or tell us anything we didn't already know, it also seemed to be cobbled together with quotes he either gathered by burning off this month's cell phone minutes or had stocked up in his notebooks from previous months, years or even decades. Barry does "didn't make the paper" from time to time with such quotes. Looks like Boswell this morning gave us a stack of "didn't make the next book I'll be writing" quotes. But I digress. Even though the team is not all that great and the games are often boring (I look forward to another one tonight when Irish Mike will inevitably get slammed - I just hope it doesn't rain) there are still lots of stories circulating around this team and its opponents that could be written. Will Barry and Chico pool their resources and gives us a taste of what two beat writers coud give us, or will this just be Barry's farewell tour where he walks around the ballparks and clubhouses introducing Chico and saying his goodbyes?

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 10, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"The most boring game we've had this year" was your last gamer Barry?

An inauspicious end indeed. At least I think so. Honestly I don't know what inauspicious really means, it just sounded good as I typed. Anyhow, we'll miss you Barry. Lots.

And welcome Chico. Now entertain us!

Posted by: Mick | May 10, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all your efforts Barry,

I would take the FL lineup hands down every time....anyone think differently? Says a lot about Jimbo really.

ABM....I think we both know the answer to your question....still worth asking though

Posted by: JayB | May 10, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I'll take the Nats lineup. Ramirez is a force, and Hermida has a beautiful swing, but the Nats have more pieces who could be here in even a year. I don't think Cantu is THAT good, Gonzalez is 40, Helms is a part time player, Uggla is ok but he isn't young, and Ross is a platoon player. Treanor is a backup.

HOWEVER, these two teams will have a good fight at the top of the division for many years in a few seasons because of the cores they have assembled (Ramirez, Hermida, Maybin v. Zimmerman, Milledge, probably Dukes) and their farm systems. The Nats have a better farm system, but the Marlins core players right now are better.

Nationals NL East Champs 2011+.
Florida Marlins '11 NL Wild Card Champions.

Bet on it.


Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | May 10, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again for everything, Barry. Have fun covering the pointy-ball folks.

And welcome, Chico. If everything Barry's said about you is true, then you should have no problem fitting into his formidable shoes.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 10, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I got new posted:

I think I can agree with all of your assessments there, JayB, though I'm more cautious to draw conclusions.

I don't know if Milledge has a weak work ethic or if he's just plain spacey. If he turns into Manny Ramirez, then I can tolerate his spaciness, as long as he moves to left field.

I could go along with your CF with several years or more of 20 home runs as long as he was purchased as 1) the last or close to last piece for a winning team or 2)cheap. Given that number 2 is not happening, unless it's someone with real problems, I think that he's a guy that should wait until 2010, unless we see something amazing this summer.

I feel similarly on a real star, #1 pitcher. On both of these, I don't see the point of doing it until we're ready all around. The ideal situation - for both of us, I think - is that the #1, $$$, pitcher is peaking the kids are growing up, and when he starts declining, one of the kids will be ready to be the new him. I don't know that in 2010, John Lannan or anyone else will be ready to be an Ace, so that's why I say 2009 is too early.

Lo Duca and Estrada are both stop-gaps and I'm fine with the concept. What I'm annoyed by is that they're not stopping-the-gapping, since they're both hurt and forcing Flores to play. Argh. I don't know that we can blame JimBo on that. You get what you pay for, but why pay for more on them when you could pump the money into scouting and draft picks?

So it comes down to the old question of can JimBo pick talent? The wash outs are obvious, but what about the stars? We can't find this out for a few more years, unfortunately. The farm system sure does look good after just one year, though.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 10, 2008 4:26 PM

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 10, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo is the big question mark in either of our approaches.....I have seen enough with this Reds clubs and Milledge, Lopez, Kearns, Penna, Guzman moves....all have BIG HOLES in their games. Even the picks of Burgess and Chris M seem to have big defensive flaws,

Your plan is fine or mine if you like but the long term problem is Jimbo.

Posted by: JayB | May 10, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Barry, you are mistaken. We will not have to deal with Hanley Ramirez for a long time, because the Marlins will decline to sign him as a free agent. Talk about the real cheap bastards around baseball.

I had to leave the game early with a terrible toothache last night and it's still bugging me, so I've been doing boring things to try to forget about it. One of the things I decided to do was to check out whether it's true that the Marlins really do always have our number, like it feels.

Nationals Record against the Florida Marlins (by year)
2008 1 - 6
2007 10 - 8
2006 7 - 11
2005 9 - 9
Total: 27 - 34

One thing I noticed, though, was that we tend to lose and win games against the Marlins in bunches. There will be two sweeps followed by two swepts, and so on. Four game series are never split.

If our most loathed rival is Philly, our strangest rival seems to be the Fish.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 10, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Is this the tin yurl homestand?

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 10, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Barry's point was the Fish just signed him to a big extention....If they do not trade him he will be around for them for a long time.

Posted by: JayB | May 10, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

As of now and on a full organizational level (including minors, front office organization, stadium, fan base, TV, etc), the Nationals are much further ahead in pitching, coaching, front office, of course the stadium, definitely fan base. The Marlins have superior fielders and bats. The main issues for the Nats right now is lack of upper-level position players in the minors, and a crappy television contract that provides marginal quality and restricts income. The Nats could get millions more if they weren't bound to The Angelos Regime's MASN debacle of an outlet.

The main issue for the Marlins is their fan base. I spent a year in South Florida and putting a stadium in between Little Havana and Overtown is not going to draw any more people than in Miami Gardens. Actually, possibly less, since to make a 7:00 AM first pitch down there, anyone living in Broward or West Palm will have to deal with serious traffic to get to the games. That area of Miami is crappy, and considering that most of Miami-Dade resembles the Third World, that's saying something. Tourists won't go because again, the stadium isn't close to anything. If it was built downtown and near the water/395 area, close to the basketball arena and everything, that would be a better draw. So, I think a new stadium with a roof is an upgrade - I actually like Dolphin Stadium but only in April, before the heat and chronic rain delays start kicking in. But, the location they're building a stadium in, I just don't think it's a good one.

Posted by: Catocony | May 10, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

keep in mind that those lineups leave out willingham as well, who was just killing the ball before he got hurt. they have two (very near) future stars (and one current top 10 player) already in the lineup on that team (with some minor health concerns for hermida/willingham), and 2-3 strong complimentary types (like uggla and jacobs). we have one future star, a couple of guys who could be there, but the jury is still out, and a couple of very nice complementary pieces.

honestly, i'd probably take their lineup, just because of more of what i'd consider "sure things." i think the marlins are one of the best teams in the league at reloading with prospects. they obviously judge prospects better than most (and they do a better job of getting value for their top players when they trade them). if that franchise was in a market that could sustain them (and had decent ownership), they'd be monsters every year.

Posted by: 231 | May 10, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Barry, A very sincere thank you to you for all your good work these past few years!!!

I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing, coverage, perspective, humor, and work ethic. If you left anything in the tank, I certainly could not tell. You should be leaving feeling very proud of the work you have done.

Again, thank you very much!

Respectfully, NatBisquit

Posted by: NatBisquit | May 10, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

-Barry, you are mistaken. We will not have to deal with Hanley Ramirez for a long time, because the Marlins will decline to sign him as a free agent. Talk about the real cheap bastards around baseball.-

I just heard on the radio they are signing H. Ramirez for 6 years $70 million. Guess he'll be killing us for a while

Posted by: SwiftIt | May 10, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

One would hope that after unloading Beckett, Lowell, Cabrera, Willis, and gosh knows what else over the last 3 off-seasons, and getting compensation picks for Burnett, the Marlins would have a few studs. Great for their fans that they signed H. Ramirez, but they don't have a great record with some of their keeper signings (like Lowell, for instance).

The Nats only off-loads for "quality" were Vidro and Bray /Majewski /Harris, Wilky /Sledge /Galarraga - not exactly the type of quality that yields a Maybin, Miller, or H. Ram in payback. Let's hope a few of our comp picks for Soriano and Guillen work out. Most of those are pitchers players, so that still does not mean we are filling the line up.

If you want to get young quality back in deals, it will mean trading Nick. Rauch or Ayala might also get some quality from the bullpen-challenged, but do not expect two immediate major league starters and a former closer that the Majewski/Bray deal got us. Hard to remember, but Cinci pulled that deal thinking they were shoring up their bullpen for a surprising stretch run.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 10, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

One would hope that after unloading Beckett, Lowell, Cabrera, Willis, and gosh knows what else over the last 3 off-seasons, and getting compensation picks for Burnett, the Marlins would have a few studs. Great for their fans that they signed H. Ramirez, but they don't have a great record with some of their keeper signings (like Lowell, for instance).

The Nats only off-loads for "quality" were Vidro, Bray /Majewski /Harris, and Wilky /Sledge /Galarraga - not exactly the type of quality that yields a Maybin, Miller, or H. Ram in payback. Let's hope a few of our comp picks for Soriano and Guillen work out. Most of those comp picks are pitchers, so that still does not mean we are filling the line up.

If you want to get young quality back in deals, it will mean trading Nick. Rauch or Ayala might also get some quality from the bullpen-challenged, but do not expect two immediate major league regulars and a former closer that the Majewski/Bray deal got us. Hard to remember, but Cinci pulled that deal thinking they were shoring up their bullpen for a surprising stretch run.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 10, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

yup, barry pointed it out in a link in his article (unless he added it later after your post, 506).

Posted by: 231 | May 10, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

ptbnl, i wasn't comparing their return on trades to our return on trades. just saying that they've been *very* good at getting quality in return. plenty of teams have traded "quality" guys for prospects and not had those prospects turn out to be top players. the marlins seem to do it very well.

and remember, they had to do something right to have willis, cabrera, beckett, lowell, burnett, etc., to begin with. they do a very good job of identifying young talent.

Posted by: 231 | May 10, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - submission glitch. but at least I corrected some language when I previewed.

Also - side bar to Dave Sheinin regarding his chat: A replacement player is not a league-average guy. It is a readily available guy, bench player or AAAA-type. Jody Gerut? It is a step down from a typical regular. BP defines replacement level as the expected performance of one or two of the best available players who can substitute for a suddenly unavailable regular and who can be obtained at minimum cost.

You are probably correct in saying teams are really thinking hard about whether the guy who is trying for $5 million is better than a minor league internal option (or cheap FAs like the Nats rotation options in 2007). By definition, a guy worth $5 million is not a replacement player.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 10, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: WHERE CAN I BUY | May 10, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: WHERE CAN I BUY | May 10, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: WHERE CAN I BUY | May 10, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: WHERE CAN I BUY | May 10, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - submission glitch. but at least I corrected some language when I previewed.

231 - I agree 100% with what you just said. The Becketts et al were the result of their first rebuilding. Dombrowski, right? Regarded as one of the best. It does take first rate scouting and player evaluation. Another good example is the [AB] Twins (hey, my other red jersey says "Papelbon"), who turned AJ Pierzynski into Boof, Liriano, and Nathan, Milton into Silva and Punto, etc. . .

Also - side bar to Dave Sheinin regarding his chat: A replacement player is not a league-average guy. It is a readily available guy, bench player or AAAA-type. Jody Gerut? It is a step down from a typical regular. BP defines replacement level as the expected performance of one or two of the best available players who can substitute for a suddenly unavailable regular and who can be obtained at minimum cost.

You are right when you said teams are really thinking hard about whether the guy who is trying for $5 million is better than a minor league internal option (or cheap FAs like the Nats rotation options in 2007). By definition, though, a guy worth $5 million is not a replacement player.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 10, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Bon Voyage, Barry. You will be missed.

Posted by: Brewer | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

....a Washington Nationals Car Magnet? I don't want the NATIONALS over baseball logo (yawn). I want a White Curly W, with red and blue trim. Has anyone seen these for sale?

Posted by: Where can I buy..... | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

barry:

a) what natbisquit said.

b) having made your journalistic bones in the <$.51 version and your blogging bones here, may you go on to further triumphs over there in the human-bowling league.

c) extra congratulations for your successful nurturing of this blog with wit, insight and understanding.

d) welcome, chico. mind the incendiaries popping off everywhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...I don't know why...but suddenly I feel like buying a Washington Nationals Car Magnet. you know, the white curly W kind...

Posted by: MVN | May 10, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

The main differences between the Nationals and Marlins front offices are that the Fish aren't enamored with so-called "tools" guys, but guys who can actually play baseball. The other is that the Marlins execs know that there are 29 other teams to scout for potential trades, while the Nats GM only has eyes for washouts from Cincinnati.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 10, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

is this the first time the Nats are wearing the alternate red jerseys at home for a night game? Oops...looks like Cody Ross just did his version of "Rock the Red!"

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 10, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

That's not a good start...

Posted by: BSG | May 10, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Cody Ross led off with his version of "Rock the Red," eh?

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 10, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

LOL Sutton makes Carpy look like the tool he is for the commentary on Ramirez's hit off O'Connor's change.

Posted by: Carpenter stinks | May 10, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

LOL Sutton makes Carpy look like the tool he is for the commentary on Ramirez's hit off O'Connor's change.

Posted by: Carpenter stinks | May 10, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I HATE the Marlins

Posted by: BSG | May 10, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that no matter who the opposition has pitching, they can go 6-7 innings but our pitchers can't go 5 or 6?

Is out talent that bad?

Posted by: Ed | May 10, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I REALLY HATE the ----ing Marlins

Posted by: BSG | May 10, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Sandra Day O'Connor might have been a better choice to start for the Nats. Good grief!

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 10, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I can't help but note the irony: As we are getting our asses kicked 10-0 by the Marlins, someone on here actually suggests we are better off than the Marlins?

Posted by: Ha | May 10, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

This is about as bad as I've ever seen an MLB starter pitch. No control, less command, no velocity.

Posted by: Trapper John | May 10, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

what, no mercy rule?

Posted by: natsscribe | May 10, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Barry--you had me at Panera in the spring of '05. Thanks for being so entertaining and informing your readers so well.

Posted by: Annie Savoy | May 10, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

this game should be mike o'connor's swan song as a major league pitcher. no stuff. no command. no mound presence. he looked shellshocked when manny finally hooked him. we have too many of the same type of pitchers in the rotation, guys with below-average command and the stuff to match. bring up some hard throwers, jimbow.

Posted by: natsscribe | May 10, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else having trouble posting? Not that this game is worth commenting on....

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 10, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

This is about as bad as I've ever seen an MLB starter pitch. No control, less command, no velocity.

Posted by: Trapper John | May 10, 2008 8:44 PM
----------------

That's because the person you pitch should neither be in the Majors nor a starter nor, really, a pitcher at all. O'Connor is not good at his job.

What a joke.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

You want the short answer or the long one?
************
Why is it that no matter who the opposition has pitching, they can go 6-7 innings but our pitchers can't go 5 or 6?

Is out talent that bad?

Posted by: Ed | May 10, 2008 8:25 PM

Posted by: MIB | May 10, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

You want the short answer or the long one?
************
Why is it that no matter who the opposition has pitching, they can go 6-7 innings but our pitchers can't go 5 or 6?

Is out talent that bad?

Posted by: Ed | May 10, 2008 8:25 PM

Posted by: MIB | May 10, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I've lost interest. We've showed our arse tonight.
Got an error: Bad ObjectDriver config: Connection error: Too many connections

Posted by: 6th and D | May 10, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm checking out of this abomination. Tomorrow is another game...

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 10, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, c'mon guys! One quick TD and field goal, and we're right back in it!

Posted by: this is your Rally Squirrel on drugs | May 10, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the book and all of the great stories over the last few years, Barry. You will be missed. Go Nats!

Posted by: MHJ | May 10, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Chico (the writer),

Please do your job and ask Acta what the organization saw in Mike O to make him the call up from AAA. I would like to know exactly who is making the talent evaluations here. Someone needs to help accountable for what this teams is putting out on the field. If it is not Acta then who.....I know many of you think that I look at the glass half empty BUT this was exactly what I warned would happen if the team did put a MLB team on the field with the new park. This year's team is just unwatchable.

Posted by: JayB | May 10, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow. How dreadful. Time to wallow again in misery and accuse the Lerners of being cheap. It seems that the Fish, like Khalil Greene, just own the Nats.

Posted by: DkNatsFan | May 10, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry, for the stories, the chats, the book, the journal, and a whole lot more.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 10, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all your great work, Barry.

And while I'm sorry that mess had to be your last gamer, I guess it's sort of appropriate the way the whole thing has gone.

Posted by: Svrlugamania | May 10, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the time and effort Barry.

Posted by: mac | May 10, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

so ends the svrluga era - not with a bang but a whimper.

Posted by: natsscribe | May 10, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

after noting the horrible pitching line in the box score (and yes, o'conner definitely sealed the deal for himself tonight), the next thing i noticed was this part:

a-struck out looking for J Hanrahan in the 6th
b-struck out looking for N Johnson in the 7th
c-struck out looking for A Kearns in the 7th

Posted by: 231 | May 10, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Well Barry, at least you won't have to watch this crap anymore...at least not while working. Sir blogfather, I've truly enjoyed reading your columns and book. Now that Chico is the man...welcome.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 10, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Just home from the game. I don't envy Chico Harlan having to interview the team after a train wreck like that. We stayed to the bitter end to support Rauch, etc. As bad a time as O'Connor had, I think part of the bad feeling I get at Marlins games is that there are no Marlins fans at the stadium to give the fan experience a little tension & life. We got off to a bad start & there was no fight in the Nats fans. And I think we were all bummed that the fan who threw back the Marlins home run ball got ejected for it! I wonder if that happens at all ballparks. I am all for throwing back opposing teams' balls, unless of course a kid gets them.

Well, as someone said earlier, tomorrow is another day. Good luck with this gamer, Chico Harlan! And thanks a million to Barry!

Posted by: Section 109 | May 10, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Even though they typically don't take batting practice before day games, the Nats might want to consider it after tonight's performance. The Marlins don't need to worry about it, because they've had 18 innings worth of practice over the last 28 hours. Based on numbers, the pitching matchups were in our favor last night and tonight. Given what's happened, I'm not really optimistic with their top starter facing us tomorrow. Maybe Manny will give his reserves some playing time since it worked in Houston. Still, I'm not optimistic about tomorrow - prove me wrong, Nats...

Posted by: BSG | May 10, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to be held accountable for this terrible team. I vote for JimBo, but SOMEONE has to be held accountable. We cannot just say we have a PLAN, and this is ok. Mike O'Connor should not be pitching in the bigs. There weren't any FAs out there that would have made us a playoff team, but there's no reason we could have spent the 6 mil we wasted on catchers for 1-2 legit below average MLB SPs (as opposed to the below average minor league SPs we're sending out).

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 10, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to be held accountable for this terrible team. I vote for JimBo, but SOMEONE has to be held accountable. We cannot just say we have a PLAN, and this is ok. Mike O'Connor should not be pitching in the bigs. There weren't any FAs out there that would have made us a playoff team, but there's no reason we could have spent the 6 mil we wasted on catchers for 1-2 legit below average MLB SPs (as opposed to the below average minor league SPs we're sending out).

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 10, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

wow. I want my $5 AND my three hours back.

That game sucked from the first pitch (homer) to the last pitch (double play). Put the cork back in the "baseball is a beautiful sport" wine, and leave the "the plan" kool-aid right where it is. This calls for the hard stuff. I'm going to need a bottle of bad baseball bourbon and a comfortable chair in a corner somewhere.

And that's an inauspicious (good word) introduction for Flores, too.

I think the result of the game answers Barry's question rather pat.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 10, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Man, how can people on this blog -- like JayB -- really think it's appropriate to address the new guy in such a rude, jerk-like manner. My experience with the internet, is that the tougher/ruder people express themselves on it, the more weasel-like they are in real life. I'm sure it's the case here.

Then there's SOCH, saying the same thing over and over and over. Start your own blog, I'm sure it'll be as successful as the guy who misses RFK.

How long until Chico wishes he was back down under?


Posted by: natty on the run | May 10, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Consider this: since July 5, 2005, the Nationals are 190-253, a .429 winning percentage.

I didn't do the math, but other than Tampa and KC and maybe Pittsburgh, that has to be the worst in baseball in that timeframe.

And imagine, shudder to imagine, what this team's record would be playing in the AL Central or East the last 3 years.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 10, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Usually I'm in a patient mood, nicely asking people to please stop the personal attacks and name calling. But after tonight, all I can say is "bite me." You love the crappy team and their incompetent management so much, you can have them.

Posted by: @natty | May 11, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

All of it just sucks. So which of you kool-aid drinkers picked over 80 wins in Barry's win prediction thread back in March? Hey, well at least we have that AWESOME HUGE HD SCOREBOARD to enjoy, right? What a frickin joke.

And hear hear to IHWs on the "baseball is a beautiful sport" and "pastoral beauty" crap. People who say that can never explain it, it's just something they read somewhere and think it's something they're supposed to say to sound enlightened.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 11, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Whom do you hold accountable?

Or you're saying this is acceptable?

Or you just have nothing of substance to say so you take a personal shot at other posters?

Posted by: @natty | May 11, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Whom do you hold accountable?

Or you're saying this is acceptable?

Or you just have nothing of substance to say so you take a personal shot at other posters?

Posted by: @natty | May 11, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Because I think that people act like tools here doesn't mean that I think the Nats management has been effective.

People can't seem to get that. "Bite me" is a pretty unsurprising response, and, I would imagine, consistent with your intellect.

Posted by: nats on the run | May 11, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Barry, screw the haters. It has been a pleasure and I look forward to your Redskins coverage. I hope you can instill some of your passion for the game, seen through your tireless work in this medium especially, in your replacement. I am just glad you are not leaving me entirely. Keep on doin' what you are doin'!

Posted by: mjwies11, Section 320 | May 11, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

"Whom do you hold accountable?"

Methinks this Chico Harlan guy is the bad luck charm. Too many vowels in his name, maybe. The Post should have got Chico Escuela instead. Baseball been svrluga svrluga good to him.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

"Whom do you hold accountable?"

Methinks this Chico Harlan guy is the bad luck charm. Too many vowels in his name, maybe. The Post should have got Chico Escuela instead. Baseball been svrluga svrluga good to him.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

The team looked great in their day-game uniforms tonight. That is all.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 11, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Great Gamer, Chico! Loved the blunt analysis of the hole in the starting rotation, and the history of O'Conner going back to his call-up from the Zephyrs. Another impotent GoNat. Speaking of which, did Hanrahan give up a grand slam? Seems so, but I was well into the i hate walks bourbon by then.

NatsPark looks like a duplicate of San Diego. This put me in mind of the following from Sheinen's chat. The Nats look better at real small parks: i.e. Philly and Houston.

San Diego: What do the Padres do to turn it around?

Dave Sheinin: My goodness, the Padres are AWFUL offensively. I think they are dealing with the curse of Coors Field -- in reverse. The huge dimensions at Petco Park have gotten into the heads of their hitters, and also have contributed to the franchise's inability to attract excellent hitters.

Petco:

Dimensions:
Left-Field Line: 336 feet
Left Field: 357 feet
Left-Field Alley: 401 feet
Center Field: 396 feet
Right-Field Alley: 400 feet
Right Field: 382 feet
Right-Field Line: 322 feet

And this from the Nats' team site, not as detailed:
Field Dimensions:
* Left Field- 336 Feet
* Left-Center Field- 377 Feet
* Center Field- 402 Feet
* Right-Center Field- 370 Feet
* Right Field- 335 Feet

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah. Not just O'Connor. It was 5-0 when he was pulled in the top of the fourth. Then Hanrahan pitching. On Hanrahan's wild pitch, Ross scored,(6-0) Hermida to third, Ramirez to second. Cantu walked. Uggla homered to left on the first pitch, Hermida scored, Ramirez scored, Cantu scored. (10-0). Nice hold to go with the nice start.

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 4:02 AM | Report abuse

But the best thing about the game was the t.v. broadcast of the little guy in his rally cap, and rally outfit - everything turned inside out with the score 11-0. He is our future. May his hope, his inextinguishable hope, be rewarded!

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 4:24 AM | Report abuse

Yikes! From the Nationals Notebook:
Until Friday night, Matt Chico never had pitched in relief. His two innings against the Marlins, though, might have ensured more opportunities. Chico worked two innings, allowing two hits and no runs -- a vast improvement on his numbers as a starter (0-5, 6.87 ERA).

QUOTABLE

"That's the best I saw him throw all year. That was a very encouraging outing, and I give him credit. I give Manny [Acta] and Randy [St. Claire] credit; they fought to put him in the bullpen. I wanted to option him out."

GM Jim Bowden, on Chico

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Barry, thanks for all the great writing and blogging.
Chico, welcome, and I enjoyed your first gamer. You are the luckiest one in all of this - things can only go up from your starting point!

Posted by: Traveler | May 11, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry, I'll miss you. I might even read a Redskins story from time to time. Please keep me posted on players' parking tickets and what the coaches eat for breakfast.

Welcome Chico, good gamer. Maybe tomorrow we'll get to see if you can write about Nats offense.

Building blocks - gotta be Marlins. Nats best is Zim, whose best outcome is Brooks Robinson, not to be sneezed at. But the Fish have Ramirez, who already looks like Frank Robinson.

We'll be lucky if one of WMP, Milledge, Dukes becomes a plus player. None of them have shown it on the field yet.

Remember the optimism of winter? We'll win 80 and with the Marlins around we'll surely not finish last again. So far, with injuries and actual results in, Milledge's offensive mediocrity is the highlight of all the position player personnel moves.

Posted by: Geezer | May 11, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

It takes a lot for me to leave a game, but I left at the top of the 8th last night. Easily the worst ML affair I've seen in quite some time. Yep, the pitching was horrible, but the Nats bats were impotent against a guy who came in with a 7+ ERA. Just an abomination, all the way around.

It seems the Bad News Nats have returned from their layoff. This is but one game, but the team can't keep putting a product like that on the field in front of 28,000, or their crowds will start to resemble the Marlins.

Posted by: Sec 408 | May 11, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Just unwatchable baseball caused by poor player personal evaluations more than anything else.

Yes Lerners and Stan are being too cheap with the whole plan thing but at the core that would not produce this ugly baseball.

Yes Acta and his coaching staff should be doing more to get the players they have ready to play and execute the fundamentals at least.

At the center of the issue is this 25 man roster is has no chemistry and very weak on baseball talent. They can take BP well but produce in the game? No not at all.

So, all you supporters of Jimbo, enjoy the fruits of your convictions.

Posted by: JayB | May 11, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Any post attempt last night got this error message. Look at all the multiple posts. Looks like the Nats weren't the only operation that went belly up last night.

=======================================


Got an error: Bad ObjectDriver config: Connection error: Too many connections

Posted by: 6th and D | May 11, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The submission error was a welcome distraction from the Blue Plains Sewage Re-enactors at the Navy Yard, and was responsible for this gem:


Hmmm...I don't know why...but suddenly I feel like buying a Washington Nationals Car Magnet. you know, the white curly W kind...

Posted by: MVN | May 10, 2008 6:58 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I signed the "Blue Plains Sewage Re-enactors" entry, I swear I did!

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else going today to see baseball in pink shoes with pink bats? (for breast cancer solidarity)

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I have been away from the PlaNat for a while, perhaps for the best.

Just wanted to say good work this week, BS. I effing loved the post about Tolman. Great info.

I was never too angry at him but that persepctive made me feel much more at ease. Also, now that I think about it, I see people getting thrown out at the plate all the time on sportscenter and given the choice I would much rather have a guy who's a touch too agressive than the opposite.

Some things from the rabid for info NJ fan just-kidding-but-not-really department:
-I very much enjoy it when the Nationals Report is online, but most of the time when I click the link the page is all messed up and/or not all there. Right?
-Can the chat be twice is long because there will be two of you? Heh.
-Gotta have more about that lunch with Bush. Sounds like it should be on the bog.

Welcome, Chico.

Posted by: nattaboy | May 11, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Just want to chime in--vy good gamer, Chico, excellent flow & chock full of information. How you & Barry & other good sportswriters turn out that kind of quality in the time available amazes me.

Posted by: Section 109 | May 11, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Nice gamer Chico. I didn't realize the Nats would take such a plunge when Barry signed off. Hopefully you will be able to provide some solace to the guys as they work their way thru Srvluga withdrawal symptoms. Very depressing, but, we will all get thru this together. Happy mothers day.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 11, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the gamer, Chico (the writer, not the pitcher) Harlan (the surname, not the county). I liked the (pardon the) sub-par interruption line, although I did have to explain it to my husband. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

All caught up.

Lay off my boy Irish Mikey.

Yer darn tootin baseball has pastoral beauty or however that was phrased. Being at the park is good for your soul. Duh.

WHAT!?! they ejected somebody for throwing a fish home run back? That is terrible news. Section 106 just got less exciting.

It's a bummer to watch them lose, but dang this place got negative. I was pretty dissapointed to hear that O'Connor was booed.

Posted by: nattaboy | May 11, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I was there last night and was bummed he got booed too. But we did see the section above the dugout give him a standing clap. Nice going, sections 127-30. Ya'll are good sports.

I just laugh at how negative it gets here too. Not the one-line pouts, but the mile-high blame sprinkled with gloom and doom.

"This is what you should expect as long as the 1996 Bowden is with us." or "See, I told you we should have signed that [insert free agent here]. Forget about winning EVER."

Cracks me up because one win on the books and it's all silent.

Chico got me. What's an interruption line?

Posted by: NatsNut | May 11, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Great gamer Chico.

Did anyone else catch the "highlights" of the game on the jumbotron last night? Methinks in an 11-0 blowout they should just forego this...

Posted by: Mick | May 11, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

O'Connor did not pitch like a professional, much less a major leaguer, last night. It was like watching Ankiel before he finally packed it in - he was just a complete psychological train wreck, unable to get anything over the plate. Those chin-high 72 MPH curveballs with no action are just pathetic.

Unfortunately, I doubt that O"Connor will be able to follow Ankiel and convert to the outfield.

Posted by: Trapper John | May 11, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Charlie and Dave said that the highlight of the game was delivery of Noah's pretzels to their station in Seventh Heaven (bonus Seinfeld quote: "These pretzels are making me thirsty."). I enjoyed Charlie's interview with Barry before the game. Hope that you and Mrs. Nationals Journal are able to enjoy a meal at McCormick's and Schmicks in the near future, Barry.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut, here 'tis: The Washington Nationals, in their five-man pitching rotation, have four sub-4.00 ERAs and one reliably sub-par interruption.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

glad i wasn't there last night (or home to watch on TV). the only game i've walked out on early was a monster shellacking by the fish in... 2006 i think. another one of those games that looked like the yankmees against the st marys of abysmal high school baseball team.

Posted by: 231 | May 11, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

NatNut, I think it's the interruption in the 4 sub-4 era's in the 5th starter's position:"The Washington Nationals, in their five-man pitching rotation, have four sub-4.00 ERAs and one reliably sub-par interruption. Last night, Mike O'Connor auditioned for the open spot vacated by winless Matt Chico and subbed ineffectiveness with more ineffectiveness."

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I also took it as a play on "Pardon the Interruption."

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Happy Sunday, 1a! Your exigesis is deep, as usual! I hope 506 has found a weekend dentist to alleviate his pain. I can't think of a better time to have a toothache than during last night's game. My dentist in Bowie opened his office during an ice-storm for me, and charged me just $600 for a crown! Sort of like being charged for last night's game.

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Wait ... They tossed out the fan who threw the ball back? It wasn't visible from the cheap seats. I heard a lot of booing and assumed that's what it was, but then a lot of cheering so I hoped that they let the fan stay.

On one hand, the fan should have just thrown a lob near the outfielder, not so hard that it rolled past the shortstop. On the other hand, ejecting the fan would point out handily that the folks who run nationals park have no baseball-smarts at all. They're doing a better job of running a stadium, but without an understanding of what's going on. Don't you think, Stan?

(To be sure, anything -- anything -- else thrown onto the field should definitely be grounds for ejection.)

Can someone confirm if the fan was ejected or eventually permitted to stay?

Posted by: i hate walks | May 11, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

oh, ok. I got the sub-par interruption line. For a second I thought I misunderstood it and maybe it was another statistic, having to do with taking the pitcher out mid-at bat or something.

Thanks.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 11, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The fan was ejected, but display no regret whatsoever, and hammed it up for the cheering crowd as he was escorted out.

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut and others who do not see the handwriting on the wall for this team...go back and look at the NJ when they were beating the Pirates....People were pointing out pointing out: lack of hustle by Lopez, Poor roster management by Jimbo, Chadballs (78MPH fastballs), poor bull pen management by Acta, no Outfield instincts by Milledge and really weak ABs by Pena

You're dreaming if you think those of us who can call a pig in MLB uniforms a pig are just foul weather people. You're also dreaming if you think Tori Hunter in CF, Church in LF, Schneider behind the plat with Livo and Kyle L on the hill would be a step backwards from this mess.

Posted by: JayB | May 11, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

There is a prohibition against throwing balls back onto the field per the A to Z guide on the team site (see excerpt below). IMO, that "tradition" is best left to Cubs fans.

"Guests are prohibited from throwing balls back onto the field. Violators are subject to ejection or possible arrest."

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Even with the Irish in me (diluted by a couple of generations, albeit) I have to say that some other spot than the mound needs to be found for your men O'Connor and Hanrahan. Perhaps some space could be found for them at the Red Loft bar? Treat them to a round and eventually your round will be returned to you. A far better outcome than on the mound, where the only round possible is round the bases.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Even with the Irish in me (diluted by a couple of generations, albeit) I have to say that some other spot than the mound needs to be found for your men O'Connor and Hanrahan. Perhaps some space could be found for them at the Red Loft bar? Treat them to a round and eventually your round will be returned to you. A far better outcome than on the mound, where the only round possible is round the bases.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I am fine with the rule and enforcement. The problem is the product on the field.

Any chance Chico you can do an interview with Stan and ask him about games like last night. Yes all team have as far as score goes but not as far as the team moral and energy. I was at the game and if Stan was he must be horrified but the product and its effect on the fans in the stands.

The ball coming back onto the field says a lot about what this team has done to a very forgiving fan base. It would be nice if Stan would accept some responsibility for the product and thus take action to it. (my suggesting is fire Jimbo)

Posted by: JayB | May 11, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the book and all of the great stories over the last few years, Barry. You will be missed. Go Nats!

Posted by: MHJ | May 11, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

JayB-

Odalis Perez may not pitch as many innings as Livo, but his ERA is better. Had we chosen Livo, he might also not have any wins. Nieves has been better than Schneider so far thiis year.

I grant you Hunter. However, most who were calling for him were also saying to get either Hunter or Andruw Jones. My guess is that, if Stan had his way, free agent money would have gone to Jones instead, which would have been a total bust. I obsessively posted the whole off-season, so I think I remember correctly that you were for Hunter throughout. This one is totally in your column, although I think that we need to give Milledge more time offensively.

As for Lohse, he priced himslef out early, and we had (have) a number of pitchers that could have been blocked if he came on with his historically hardly over .500 career record. The minor league pitchers are generally doing well. If we are not talking about a playoff year, we may want them later in the year.

All-in-all, you are certainly more right than wrong, considering the discussion in February. Honest props to you for better foresight than I showed. Even still, the team still started better than last year, and really does have better reserves coming later in the year.

I also still want to put forward two contrary views, like you did in the spring:

1. Church will fold. He needs validation to succeed, and will wither when NY turns on him during his first slump.

2. Milledge will improve. His batting will easily be better than the current average, and consistent playing time will improve his defense. Honestly, some folks even complained about Church in the field when he was here.

Finally, I will miss you, Barry. I hope my Giants make your work challenging for the stinking Redskins. However, I totally trust the Post to have picked a worthy successor in Chico. Coverage may be lacking, CIL, but quality is not.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 11, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Rules be damned, throw the ball back.

As for the other hating on the team, I'm looking at my box score and it says:

O'Connor, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 9 ER, 6 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR

Oh, of course! The WHOLE TEAM must be lazy! It must be that lazy play by Lopez (2 for 4) that was a big contributor. And that terrible bullpen that is no good without an innings-eating pitcher (5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1 HR). This is why our attendance is so terrible (28,663).

Looks more like Golden Boy Mike O'Connor, who many of the Haters on the blog were clamoring to replace Chico for weeks, didn't have his stuff on the mound and couldn't fake it. A 3-0 loss would have sucked, but it wouldn't have been embarrassing. That's what we would have had, without Mike O'C.

Just like with Chico, I am willing to be patient, since we've seen good stuff from him in the past (2006, not this year) and if you're going to make a commitment to a guy, you have to stick by it for a bit. Baseball is not a knee-jerk game.

There is another possibility: that spot in the rotation is cursed.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 11, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, we're back to the "everything would have been OK if we would have gotten Tori Hunter argument." Makes sense, Tori said several times, "I'd like to go to a team in a league that I'm unfamiliar with, on a crappy team with no pitching that has no shot of going to the play-offs until I'm nearly 40." If he had only added "that also has rude, know it all fans," it would have been a perfect match.

Free agency is as simple as making a list of who you want, and signing them.

Posted by: mike8 | May 11, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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