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Taking stock

So what to make of these crazy Nationals? I took the long view in the gamer, wrapping up the longest homestand of the year. And I thought these stats were interesting.

First 22 games (6-16): .227 average, 4.75 ERA, 14 errors, .983 fielding percentage
Last 10 games: (8-2): .267 average, 3.87 ERA, 4 errors, .990 fielding percentage

That .227 average was last in baseball at the time. The .267 mark is a more palatable sixth in the NL in that span. The 3.87 ERA is seventh in the NL, the .990 fielding percentage fourth in the NL.

There is some sense of equilibrium now, even, as Aaron Boone said, "I still don't feel like the offense is really clicking." With Ryan Zimmerman hitting .217, Nick Johnson .211 and Austin Kearns .212, that's probably correct.

Sometime this week, the Nationals could get Elijah Dukes back. Eventually, Dmitri Young comes back. One would have to think the jobs of Rob Mackowiak and Johnny Estrada are in jeopardy. Dukes could also take some playing time away from Wily Mo Pena; the Nationals want to find out about one of the two this year, and they have more faith that Dukes is a long-term solution/middle-of-the-order hitter than they do Pena (if they can only keep his head on straight, which is far from a guarantee).

So with a couple of reinforcements on the way (no timetable on Young, and I'd still be surprised if we saw him in May), what do you make of this group? It's without its closer, and its best player is hitting .217 and not coming through in the clutch. Yet Paul Lo Duca said yesterday, "We want to be there in September -- with a chance."

Is that even remotely possible?

Also, a programming note: I'll be on "Washington Post Live" on Comcast SportsNet at 5 p.m. today. I will make sure we talk lots of Nationals.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 5, 2008; 10:35 AM ET
 
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Next: Down on the farm

Comments

i guess it's remotely possible they could be there in september. unlikely, but still remotely possible.

it will be interesting to see how good the offense can be on this team once everyone's back and when zimmerman and NJ start hitting at least close to what we expected.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"I took the long view in the gamer, wrapping up the longest homestand of the year."

That's quite an understatement, Barry. Question: is it really a "gamer" when it doesn't tell us about what happened in the game that, you know, they actually played on the field? If you were going to recap the homestand as you did, you should have had the space for 2 articles today so one of them could have told us about the game. Coverage needs to improve.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I love the 'skins and wish them the best of luck....but we're in the midst of baseball season and I love the Nats more. However, locally (surprise surprise) there is more coverage on a rookie tight end, who was just drafted a week ago, sleeping-in rather than the hometown 9 going 8-3 on a homestand and setting their sights on getting back into this thing.

Ahh, we all know when the boys are strapping on the pads out in Ashburn, and if you don't, just pick up a paper (any paper), turn on the tube, or tune-in your AM/FM dials.

Posted by: Corey | May 5, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Yet Paul Lo Duca said yesterday, 'We want to be there in September -- with a chance.'"

Please level set thy expectations. Enjoy what you've got, i.e., the basis for something special down the road. Of course PLD is saying that, for at this stage of his career, he doesn't want to go into growth mode. But I'm not buying into "with a chance": as a fan, my expectations were lowered during the off-season, and remain such.

Posted by: joemktg | May 5, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"more coverage on a rookie tight end"

-----

And.... GO!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The Post's coverage of sports in this town is very much like their political coverage, very one sided.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 5, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Barry, I heard the guys on TBS say it yesterday, after our own Nats guys said it earlier - the first real place to evaluate your team is at 35-40 games in.

14-18 is pretty good so far seeing how the 3-4-5 guys are hitting, plus the depleted bench with Dukes and Young out and Mackowiak not hitting.

I'll take the long view as well - this is a team that will lose more than they win, and end up right around last year's Nats in terms of record, maybe a game or two better, depending on pitching.

My question is, gutty or not, when do they send Chico down to get his confidence back and bring someone like Schroeder or Bergmann back? Schroeder has a 1.xx ERA in Columbus, and Mike O'Connor could move into the MLB rotation.

Posted by: NationalsPride Mike | May 5, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

CiL - in fairness, there was a lot of detail on what Barry thoguthwas the key sequence of the game - Rivera's job in relief.

Posted by: ptbnl | May 5, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

An 8-3 homestand still leaves us in last place in the NL East, but only 4 back and with 10 games against division opponents coming up in the next 2 weeks. The Nats can establish themselves as a pesky contender by getting it done against Florida at home and being respectable in NY in a weeks'time.

I think the hitting will come around; I think the next logical move is to activate Dukes and DFA Mackowiak. He's shown nothing and can be replaced by Estrada's switch hitting off the bench.

I always worry more about starting pitching. This team doesn't seem to play catchup well. So a starter that immediately gives up 2-3 runs in the first couple innings seems to drain the team.

We seem to have 4 starters that are giving the team chances and a 5th who kills them every time. OPerez, Lannan, Redding and Hill all are sub 4.00 eras, servicable whips and give us quality starts more often than not. When does the club option Chico back to AAA to settle himself? How many more automatic losses does he take?

There's nobody really lighting it up at AAA right now, though Bergmann's last two starts have been great. I say give O'Connor Chico's next start and put Chico to the bullpen to be sit-lefty/long relief w/ Hanrahan. Or bite the bullet, bring up Bascik as the situational lefty and put him on the 40-man roster (we should have 2 spots open right now), send Chico down to join the AAA rotation and work himself out and bump Shell or Brownlie out of the 5th starter spot at Columbus.

Posted by: Sec131 | May 5, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

No they don't have a chance to be around in September. First step to enjoying what we have is to set reasonable expectations.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I love how the article about Davis includes an extensive interview with his brother, who hadn't even talked to Davis yet: "Really, I'm assuming it's nothing bad because he always calls me if there's something wrong.". Now *that* is good journalism right there.
PTBNL, you are right that Barry used a couple paragraphs to talk about Rivera's relief job. But how did the Nats score their 5 runs yesterday to give them the lead? Who got hits? Anything dramatic or exciting happen while the Nats were at bat? From reading Barry's "gamer" the only thing we know is that Aaron Boone hit a home run. No details about even that though.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

i'll add to the comments about how much importance minor stories (that should be relegated to a "notebook") the redskins minicamp got compared to an in-season successful homestand of a team in the middle of it's season got.

if the rookie TE didn't show up because he was in lockup, ok, that might warrent front page above the fold. but a rookie oversleeping for minicamp is an above the fold story on the front page of the sports section? hey, i'm a skins fan, have been for life, and come from a long line of skins fans, including grandparents with season tix at griffith stadium going back to the late 40s. but seriously, that story should have been buried inside the paper.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"I wonder how Nats fans will feel if/when the Nats one day put on the Expos uniform in a turn back the clock game and how it will be viewed in Montreal."

Well, there may actually be alternatives to the Nationals wearing Expos uniforms for a throwback game, depending on the circumstances, and there also may not be. Yesterday, the Oakland A's hosted the throwback game and set the timeframe, 1968 or whatever. Their visiting opponent had to match that, and the Rangers had no choice but to wear Senators uniforms, because there was no team in Texas at the time, and the team that's there now was the Washington Senators then. So if the Nats are ever the visitors at a throwback game for the years 1971-2004, they would have no other choice than to show up as Expos, because there was no Washington team during those years. (And some of those years there may not have been an Expos team, either. What year were the Expos founded?) But I really doubt that we'd ever see the Nationals hosting a throwback game where they dress as Expos. Surely if they wanted to do a throwback game they'd pick a year when they could wear Senators uniforms, and if they did I doubt the Twins or the Rangers would raise a stink. Neither of those teams seems to mind the Nationals including aspects of Senators I and Senators II history in Nationals Park. But is there anything at all in the park that mentions the Expos? I think the Nationals are actively trying to dismiss them as part of this team's history.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Yes, things are looking a little brighter. he he. I will have my crow now thanks, after freaking out so bad those first couple weeks. You were right, Barry and Dave. It was early and (early) April lied.

Long-term? I'm with SoCH (!!) on this one. Keeping my expectations low. Just do like last year and I'll be very, very happy. Play great baseball, with great attitudes and then dog the contenders at the end. I can wait for the rest.

That said, when the hitting comes I still think we should score more runs and eak out a couple more wins than last year.

I hope this doesn't jinx anything, but I trust the rotation so much more than last year. Chico still makes me worry game-to-game, but the other guys are pretty solid. I don't fear being embarrassed by any of them. I do fear the other shoe might drop on Hill, but we have backups, so I'm not as worried this year.

I do worry about O'Connor and Hanrahan wasting away in the bullpen. Both cooled significantly since they moved there.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

CiL, you're sorta right on the article in today's paper. It's definitely not a "gamer", and it definitely doesn't explain crucial bits about the game.

But it was also very enjoyable, I thought. As you continue to make the argument about the Post's coverage, I think you could use today's article as a great example of a supplementary article that flesh's out the baseball experience.

You and I enjoy the blow-by-blow that gives us details of a game we missed, but other Nationals fans, including my (now misnamed) red-headed, Cubs-fan girlfriend, couldn't care less about that information, but live for these kinds of stories. It was the characters and the themes that got her hooked on baseball, not the box scores. I think you could really use this to support your argument that more coverage would garner more readers.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Who knows why I made the "flesh" possessive. Perhaps it was all that coverage of the rookie tight end?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"That's quite an understatement, Barry. Question: is it really a "gamer" when it doesn't tell us about what happened in the game that, you know, they actually played on the field?"

And you overstate your case by a factor of ten. It was the final game of a very successful homestand; obviously, it would explore that success as a theme. Nevertheless, the game story ably delved into Redding's strong performance and focused on the game's key sequence, which was Rivera's effort relieving Redding.

Not every game story follows A to B to C sequencing, thankfully.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | May 5, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I think it's time to let Chico work on his stuff down in Columbus. But what to do with his spot in the rotation? They could let O'Connor take his place. He's a more natural starter than a reliever and I'd prefer that they let him start (either in DC or Columbus) and not to mess with his head and/or his preparation.

If they do let O'Connor take the SP position, it's helpful to have a lefty in the bullpen. There are three options that are in Columbus right now:

Arnie Munoz -- currently on the DL. Came up last year and did a decent job, but like Ray King, couldn't get a right handed bat out. Leave him Columbus.

Mike Bacsik -- meh. Isn't doing a terrible job as a reliever in AAA, but I'm not thrilled with the fact that in 19.1 IP, he's given up 5 HR's. He's limiting lefty bats to a .227 BAA, but I'm not thrilled with his performance overall.

Charlie Manning -- drafted by the Yanks in 2001. he's been bouncing around for the past few seasons (Yanks, Reds, Yanks again, Nats). So far this year, he's been pitching pretty well. 18.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, 9BB, 24 SO, 1 HR allowed in Columbus. Lefties are hitting .194 against him, righties .200. I'd say let's give this guy a shot and see if he can make it as the lefty bullpen arm (or maybe if he's serviceable, the Nats could trade him to a contending team needing a lefty in their bullpen).

Posted by: e | May 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

She finally crossed over to the Nats? She dyed her hair? Or she's now your wife?
;)
_______________

(now misnamed) red-headed, Cubs-fan girlfriend

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 11:41 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

She could have been beheaded!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Are the Nationals getting a uniform makeover for 2009? Does anyone know? Any links to what they will look like if this is so?

Posted by: 6th and D | May 5, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Then she's red-necked?

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Question: is it really a 'gamer' when it doesn't tell us about what happened in the game that, you know, they actually played on the field?"

Perhaps not, CIL, but I read quite a bit of interesting detail about the game in Barry's gamer. Were you and I reading the same article?

Posted by: Hendo | May 5, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Also, Barry's got one foot out the door. I'm feeling a little weepy about it right now so I would appreciate it if you would stop beating up his gamer.

Thank you.

Posted by: NatsNut (drama student) | May 5, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Agreed 506, and I appreciate you speaking up on this. It was a good story that Barry wrote. As we both recognize though, it just shouldn't have been the only story published in today's paper. Other posters, such as Henry Mateo's only fan, appear not to realize that it could actually be possible for the Post to publish 2 articles about the Nats on the same day. That kind of coverage would flesh out both stories and, as you say, might actually lead to more reader interest.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

IF the starting pitching can continue perform this well AND the offense can continue playong like the last 2 week AND Zim, AK, NJ & Pena/Dukes can step it up to at least career level numbers (except LF of course) than this is winning ballclub that could contend all the way to the last week of the season.

Figure a top end potential of 86 wins, with the peak of the bell curve in the 75-80 range.

Posted by: estuartj | May 5, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Can the be around in September? Sure why not. The Mets, Braves, and Phillies are all flawed teams and while they can certainly hit the ball they are going to beat up on themselves and I don't see any teaming pulling away from the pack. Will they win the division? Not a chance. Not this year.

Please, please send Chico down.

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | May 5, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Can they be around in September? Sure why not. The Mets, Braves, and Phillies are all flawed teams and while they can certainly hit the ball they are going to beat up on themselves and I don't see any teaming pulling away from the pack. Will they win the division? Not a chance. Not this year.

Please, please send Chico down.

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | May 5, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"Not every game story follows A to B to C sequencing, thankfully."

True, but a "gamer" ought to include more than 10% actual game content. Did I miss the fine print on today's gamer, like on the juice cartons that say "contains 10% real grape juice"?

How's this for a slogan? Barry's Gamer - Contains 10% Actual Game News. But hey, look on the bright side - that's 10% more than you'd get from Saslow!

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

While I'm pleased that the wins have started to come, even with very little production from the middle of the order, I'm more pleased with the effort and decline in silly (Guzman forgetting how many outs there are) mental errors. Which is why Mackowiak's failure to end up at second base on his fly ball to the left-field line seemed so jarring. I don't expect this club to finish over .500. I DO expect them to play hard and smart.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, I don't know what you are talking about, but it seems to me you are distorting the article. Tell me one "interesting detail" that can be found in Barry's gamer about the Nats on offense yesterday other than the simple fact that Boone hit a home run.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Prediction: Washington will become a stronger baseball town despite the the media's substandard coverage.
For example:
1) The Post brings in a college kid, who has never covered baseball, to be the beat reporter. The best promo given is that he comes from a school that other writers came from and he's a good "writer". So was Hemingway that doesn't mean I want to read his baseball articles. The baseball guy gets "promoted" to the Redskins.
2) Boswell drops in every once in a while to either throw darts or cheer lead. The ones who so revere him have likely never lived in a baseball town.
3) MASN markets the Orioles to the National's base, who have long ago rejected the incompetent owner who single-handedly tore down a once proud and prominent franchise.

Posted by: NatsWin83 | May 5, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I thought the gamer was missing something key: Wily Mo Pena came in to pinch hit in a key spot and hit a double that just missed being his first homer. Normally he's been hitting wimpy singles, but this looked like what you'd expect. It was an important insurance run as well. With Dukes impending return, and apparently some people with the club not feeling too strongly about Pena long-term...this is the kinda thing I think is important.

Batting Pena 8th all the time certainly won't help him start slugging either.

Posted by: GoNats | May 5, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

If I remember right, Bos said in his chat last week that Paul Lo Duca added competitive drive to the team. I have mixed feelings about PLD, but I like his determination. And it is pretty funny seeing 6'11" Wookie next to 5'9" PLD.

Posted by: Section 109 | May 5, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

unless i'm missing something, natswin83, chico is *not* fresh out of college. he's an experienced reporter who just hasn't covered baseball before.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

btw, from the columbus article barry linked above:

"Tossed out: Elijah Dukes, who is on a rehabilitation assignment with the Clippers, was ejected at the end of the fifth inning for arguing his second strikeout. Manager Tim Foli also was ejected."

looks like the manager had his back.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I expect the Nats would play in Senators unis on a throwback day, and never in Expos. My understanding is that this (as well as team records and everything else around defining a team's history) is decided by the team itself, hence the Nats, Twins, and Rangers all claim the old Senators in their history to some extent or another.

I get the feeling that the Nats have tried to claim both the Expos and the old Nats to some extent, and I encourage them to go all the way and claim all Washington baseball--for team records, retired jerseys (starting with Big Train, for instance) and WS banners.

The only reason to recognize our link to the Expos is to foster our hatred for the Mets, Marlins, and the rest of MLB for the role they played in running this franchise into the ground and sticking us with a sub-standard shell of a franchise the last 3+ years.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm with CiL this time. There should have been 2 articles, one about the wonderful homestand, one a gamer. From what I saw, the game had plenty of things to talk about.

Posted by: SF Fan | May 5, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with 506 and Coverage on the article issue here.

At the same time, I agree with Hendo.

I think the problem is we are all "NatsNuts" (sorry to steal your moniker), and more or less desire not just a sports section, but a baseball section equal in length (i.e. what the Skins get now).

I think Barry has done a tremendous job of pulling double duty between columnist and beat reporter, so I avoid critiquing days like today where, since I couldn't watch the game on TV, I have no idea what happened.

Do we compare to coverage in good baseball towns? Nope. But I think the Nats Journal compensates alot for that, because we're all fairly knowledgable and debate every facet of the game anyway. It's more fun than a columnist just telling me, at least I think.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 5, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

unless i'm missing something, natswin83, chico is *not* fresh out of college. he's an experienced reporter who just hasn't covered baseball before.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 12:20 PM
----
and the rest of us have covered baseball, but happen to be inexperienced reporters. For all we know he could be a baseball nerd like us, and he just hasn't gotten paid for it before....give him a chance. You can always hang him in virtual effigy later.

Posted by: N@sfan | May 5, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@natswin83--Let's give the new beat writer a chance before we decide he stinks. I'll give a shot to a talented up-and-comer rather than recycling cast off losers (yeah, I'm talking about you anytime. That goes for beat writers, but also GMs, TV play-by-play guys, and the players on the field!

I'll also say before he starts that he deserves a little honeymoon before we start tearing him apart. My GB Packers got a new beat writer this year, and compared to Bob McGenius and Cliff Christl Ball it took a while for him to catch on. In fact, in one of his first chats he erroneously stated that Brett Favre was 42 years old! But after a couple months covering the team he really started to show his worth. I think we should expect the new Chico will take a month to find his way around.

But if he's still making "Favre is 42" type errors in Sept, then I'll have my pitchfork out for him.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Slightly OT, but Lupica says that the Yankees are asking $2500 per game for dugout-to-dugout front row seats in their new park. Front row seats just beyond the dugouts are a bargain at $1250, and seats behind the front row come it at just $600.

Evidently the Steinbrenner's haven't been watching many Nats games.

The full story is here:

http://tinyurl.com/5257ch

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 5, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, NattyDelite!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

And I seem's to have caught 506's random apostrophe's disease.

(Steinbrenner's)

Posted by: Bob L's Head | May 5, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

231 said:

"unless i'm missing something, natswin83, chico is *not* fresh out of college. he's an experienced reporter who just hasn't covered baseball before."

Chico graduated from Syracuse in 2004. I leave it to others to debate whether that is "fresh out of college" or not. http://www.pittsburghquarterly.com/pages/pq_contrib.htm


NattyDelite! said:

"I agree with 506 and Coverage on the article issue here."

Hey 506, whoever thought we would see someone write *that* on NJ? (I kid.) :-)

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

It's highly contagiou's!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Not trying to be a smart aleck, here, but I find that boxscores are a good supplement to articles as far as picking up additional details about a particular game.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

NattyDelite! said:

"I agree with 506 and Coverage on the article issue here."

Hey 506, whoever thought we would see someone write *that* on NJ? (I kid.) :-)

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 12:31 PM


-----

Trust me, I'm looking over my shoulder for the four horsemen. Especially since I bet against them yesterday.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I assumed that it was the first. ;)

---

She finally crossed over to the Nats? She dyed her hair? Or she's now your wife?
;)

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Steven, the Nats have adopted your stance, at lest to an extent. One of the penants above the scoreboard has "1924" on it (in your face, Cubs).

But I don't want baseball to ever forget the Expos. Specifically, I don't want fans to ever forget what baseball did to Montreal. 1994, then fated to contraction, then MLB ownership, then San Juan, then relocation.

Souvenez nos amours, mes amis. There but for the grace of Bud go we.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

that confirms my (weakening with age and senility) memory, CiL. 4 years of exp isn't exactly "fresh" out of college. even to an old fart like me.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

My guess is Chico (the writer) is going to be better than ever.

"Favre is 42?" Psh. This crowd would be all over him for far les's than that.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

6th and D said: "Are the Nationals getting a uniform makeover for 2009? Does anyone know? Any links to what they will look like if this is so?"

This is kind of a question from LF. Is there any reason why this is asked? My guess is no, because I have no reason to think that the Nats will change the unis.

Posted by: Seec 114, Row E | May 5, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Nats won't be in contention, however, it is curious to me some of the moves that have not happened.
1) Why is Chico up and Bergmann down? Bergmann has been pitching well in AAA and Chico has been terrible. someone tell him he needs to get the ball over the plate and stop walking people?
2) Why don't we hear about the Nats shopping Estrada or PLD to the Yankees? With Posado out, perhaps we can get some kind of middle infield prospect. God knows we need one! (Go Wil Nieves!)
3) Please tell me that the Nats are ONLY looking at drafting HR hitters. Their HR production is ridiculously low!

We need someone the other team truly fears in our lineup. I hope we do spend free agent money on that!

Posted by: NatsWin! | May 5, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

3) Please tell me that the Nats are ONLY looking at drafting HR hitters. Their HR production is ridiculously low!

Personally, I'd settle for someone that hit .270.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Coverage is truly lacking. Barry tried to have 3 articles in one: 8-3 homestand, winning the game, and Rivera getting the "game ball." For the 'Skins, there would have been 3 full articles, two of which started on the front sports page. For the 'Nats, the Post is simply not committing to them and, therefore, resulting in its readers being short changed. I don't fault Barry. I fault the Post editors for continuing to shortchange the Nats.

I love the 'Skins. I don't want to see a decrease in their coverage. Rather, the Post should recognize that the Nats deserve something more than what they've got now.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | May 5, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It's not as far out as you might imagine, I think. It's something that has come up every now and then, especially after the Lerners took over.

On the name front, some have suggested that the Lerners might buy out the name Senators from Texas. On the uniform front, some have said that the block lettering on the uniforms is incongruous with the curly W.

The name, the logo, and the uniforms were decided before an owner had been chosen. The Lerners have every right to change one or all of these aspects. One might even argue that a change might spur merchandise sales.

However, based on the look of the outfield scoreboard, the name, the block lettering, and the curly W are here at least for the forseeable future.

-----

This is kind of a question from LF. Is there any reason why this is asked? My guess is no, because I have no reason to think that the Nats will change the unis.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

As for the new guy, good luck to him. I'm assuming that the WaPo hired him because he's good. And I'll work with that until he proves otherwise.

As far as "Favre is 42" errors are concerned. A simple fact based error that is easy to check - especially in your home town - is inexcusable. If the new guy thinks our AAA team is in New Orleans, he's dead to me.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | May 5, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

As far as the "Favre is 42" is concerned, that kind of error should not have made it past the editor, either.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Big news from the affiliates. P-Nats Ace Jordan Zimmermann (that's 2 Ns) aka the Zim Reaper has been promoted to AA Harrisbutg where he will rejoin fellow High A stndout Cory VanAllen.

Zimmermann is on the Lannan 2007 track after blowing away batters in VT in '07 and Potomac in '08.

VanAllen is older and rejoining his proper place based on his age after repeating High A to start the season after spending the year there in '07.

Posted by: estuartj | May 5, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

When the Nats win a couple World Series (preferably within a decade), THEN you'll see Boston Globe-style, multistory coverage.

This isn't a knock on Barry -- I love his gamers, regardless of whether he does a pitch-by-pitch account or something more like today's.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 5, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Tell me one "interesting detail" that can be found in Barry's gamer about the Nats on offense yesterday other than the simple fact that Boone hit a home run"

There wasn't one. The Nats scored five runs against the team allowing the most runs in big league baseball.

I get your larger point: why have this article when you can have two articles? Well, yeah. But I'd rather have this one than a banal 'and then his happened' game story. With due respect to the other writers, if you want two mediocre stories, go to the Washington Times. (Of course, that all changes soon. Who knows what Harlan's stuff will be like.)

And while I know that lacking coverage is your m.o., I'd say that the more pressing need is for Boz to write regular columns that go beyond sweaping, superficial statements about the ballpark or 'the plan.'

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | May 5, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I have been among the "coverage will come when the team gets better established" camp. To a degree, I still am. And I like Barry's material very much. However, I just returned from several days in NYC, and the difference between NY Times coverage of their baseball teams and WP's coverage of ours is striking. Every day I was there, both NY teams had color pics and gameday stories above the fold. Every day. Including the day when the Super Bowl Champs met with the president; that story was inside the section. By contrast, today at home I see the end of a great homestand, which was well attended, decidedly short changed below the fold while a kid who oversleeps is headline material. Although I enjoyed Barry's article, those who say coverage is lackiing appear to have that exactly right, at least by comparison to a first rate paper in NY at least for one week in May. I strongly prefer the WP to NYT, but not on baseball.

Posted by: NatsFly | May 5, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Umm...how old is Favre?

Posted by: Section 138 | May 5, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"The Post brings in a college kid, who has never covered baseball, to be the beat reporter"

I agree that Harlan sounds inexperienced as far as baseball goes. But the Boston Globe's Sox beat writer, Amalie SomethingorOther, is only 24. And cute too.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | May 5, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Barry asks:

Paul Lo Duca said yesterday, "We want to be there in September -- with a chance."

Is that even remotely possible?
-----------------------------------------
It'll be interesting to see what Bowden/Stan do with Goozie and Flop around the trade deadline, no? They were as good as gone in spring training, but have been the only constant (positive constant, anyway) in the offense.

Posted by: Section 138 | May 5, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

any1 catch during the cubs/cards game on espn last night when jon miller talkin about standings said and "everyone in the nl east won today. the mets won. atlanta and philadelphia won and the marlins won."
nice. what respect.

Posted by: dk | May 5, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"I agree that Harlan sounds inexperienced as far as baseball goes. But the Boston Globe's Sox beat writer, Amalie SomethingorOther, is only 24. And cute too."

She should change her name to Amalie WhosOnFirst, though, if she ever wants to be taken seriously as a baseball writer. And where's the tinyurl pointer to a jpeg of this cutie?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Ozzie Guillen busted out a classic rant last night, even for him:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/24467465/

And that was after a 5-game losing streak. Imagine what he might say after, oh, say, a 9-gamer. I think I'll take Manny's even keel approach over this one.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 5, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse


If the article receiving so much discussion had been an adequate "gamer" it would have mentioned that the four pitchers the Nats used in the game combined for ZERO WALKS!

*and* the Nats won. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 5, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

She could have been beheaded!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 11:46 AM

**************

or, possibly, betrothed?!

Posted by: i hate walks | May 5, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"Although I enjoyed Barry's article, those who say coverage is lackiing appear to have that exactly right, at least by comparison to a first rate paper in NY at least for one week in May"

If that's the standard, then coverage is ensured to be lacking for quite some time. Coverage may indeed be lacking, but there really can't be much of a comparison between the 'proper' level of coverage devoted to the DC team vs. the NY teams.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | May 5, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and it's Amalie Benjamin.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | May 5, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"1) Why is Chico up and Bergmann down? Bergmann has been pitching well in AAA and Chico has been terrible. someone tell him he needs to get the ball over the plate and stop walking people?"

agreed that chico needs to learn to throw strikes, but my guess is that since bergmann was terrible in AAA before his last two starts (which were very good), maybe they're not sure which one they'll get yet.

2) Why don't we hear about the Nats shopping Estrada or PLD to the Yankees? With Posado out, perhaps we can get some kind of middle infield prospect. God knows we need one! (Go Wil Nieves!)

not sure there's any reason you'd hear it unless it's actually happening. i doubt jimbow calls barry to tell him who he's chatting to about deals until they're actually deals. in other words, for all we know it's happening (or already happened and been turned down), but there's no reason to tell us about it.

3) Please tell me that the Nats are ONLY looking at drafting HR hitters. Their HR production is ridiculously low!

i'll disagree with this one. please tell me they're drafting the absolute best player they can get at each point in the draft. baseball isn't like football or basketball, you draft best available all the time (ok, at least early rounds, maybe later you can draft for need), with the dreaded "signability" as the only caveat. since zimmerman is the exception (in the majors the year he was drafted) and not the rule, you can't reliably predict your exact needs in 3+ years, so you draft the best guys you can find. if they're really that good, but still blocked, they're quality trading chips for what you need.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

by "actually happening" above, i mean "the trade has been made."

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Re: the price of tix at the new Yankee Stadium...I had heard the same thing and when I indicated that amount to someone sitting a row back and being shocked at the $300 price tag for the behind HP seats at Nat's park, he questioned me as to whether I knew if the yanks were providing any ancillary benefits, and would they have private rooms for such.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 5, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh!! (to be read aloud with best Jersey-boy intonation) :)

---

he questioned me as to whether I knew if the yanks were providing any ancillary benefits, and would they have private rooms for such.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Favre was 38 at the time. It happened in a chat, which didn't excuse it, but explains why it didn't get caught by an editor. And I assure you, Mr. Greg Bedard was shredded by the chatters in GB for weeks for it.

I wouldn't "forgive" such an amateur mistake either, but I just shared the story as an example that even the guy who made THAT mistake came around and by season's end had earned the respect of most readers. So Chico will get the benefit of the doubt from me for at least a month or 2.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

He's 38.

-----

Umm...how old is Favre?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Check Planet NJ ya'll.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

After being all nicey-nice to the new guy, I feel compelled to gripe a little about Barry.

How long do you think it'll take before he writes something about Armando Galarraga, the 26-year-old pitcher we included in the Alfonso Soriano deal who is currently sporting a 1.88 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, with 15K and 8 BB in 4 starts and 24 IP? (And as if those numbers aren't impressive enough, he did that against Anaheim, Cleveland, Toronto, and Minnesota, some pretty good offensive teams.)

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

After being all nicey-nice to the new guy, I feel compelled to gripe a little about Barry.

Posted by: that was nicey-nice?? | May 5, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

No, not engaged. She just likes the Nats more than the Cubs, even though she still is culturally cubbish.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Just to play along on the coverage point - Here is a link to the "gamer" in the Boston Globe. You'll note that, stylistically, Amalie Benjamin's article was very similar to Barry's. Focus on the big stories - Youkilis's hitting approach and Lester's change of pitching style, with some of the basics of the game.

http://tinyurl.com/4rpu9h

That is one of the papers that covers baseball pretty extensively, with 2 beat writers (Nick Cafardo and Amalie Benjamin), plus several columnists (Ryan and Shaughnessy being the most prominent). This is after a round of buy outs that dropped the 3d beat writer, Gordon Edes, and one of the major columnists, Jackie MacMullen.

Of course, there was a notebook, plus player grades, plus a column on Papelbon, plus video and a blog. But that goes to the paper's depth of coverage and not to the contents of the gamer.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 5, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The guy is on another team; how much is there to say? They go nuts in here over any mention of the Orioles, and that team is only a few miles up the road. Galarraga's in Texas.
Maybe worth a sentence in the notebook, under "Who'da thunk it?"
******
"How long do you think it'll take before he writes something about Armando Galarraga"

Posted by: CE | May 5, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

although it might be interesting to note Patterson didn't get called up either.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"How long do you think it'll take before he writes something about Armando Galarraga...?"

Unless this guy shows up in Redskins training camp sometime, I'd say Barry will never write about him. Barry is counting the days here now, dontcha know.

Posted by: Meat Hook's Massage Magic | May 5, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Does "culturally cubbish" signify a predilection for headbutting?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

You miss Steven's point, CE. Galarraga is a traded player who is succeeding which helps Steven (in his mind) argue that Jim Bowden should be fired.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Does "culturally cubbish" signify a predilection for headbutting?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 2:30 PM

------

It means I have an extra long leash when I disappoint her!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

A brief defense: I think the space in the story in a situation like this is best used for stuff you can't get from the box score. We run "How the runs scored," which gives a run-down of just that. It's a choice I make frequently -- trying not to be redundant with material that appears elsewhere. The sequence with Rivera is different. No runs scored, it's not represented elsewhere in the paper, and it was the key to the game.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | May 5, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

should we get a story about the demise of wilkerson, too, now that he's been DFA'd by seattle?

while i find gallaraga's story interesting, and i've paid attn to him, i'm not necessarily all that bothered by the post not doing a feature on him. even texas didn't think much of him a couple of months ago, and they're always desperate for pitching.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

No, I took the point. I just think it's premature.
*******
You miss Steven's point, CE. Galarraga is a traded player who is succeeding which helps Steven (in his mind) argue that Jim Bowden should be fired.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 2:30 PM

Posted by: ce | May 5, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Okay, that's good to know. I was thinking "culturally cubbish" meant she was resisting your requests to get her chest hair waxed.

Posted by: Meat Hook's Massage Magic | May 5, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

So this has nothing to with baseball but...

We were talking about the Cold War in my World History class today. I asked what divided Eastern and Western Europe (iron curtain), I gave them the clue that it was what you made swords out of + window decorations. That, and we had already studied the iron curtain.

The first response yelled out: the Equator.

I love teaching.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 5, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

No, I think it means she likes Boy George. What, that's culture clubbish? Never mind.

---

Does "culturally cubbish" signify a predilection for headbutting?

Posted by: Emily Litella | May 5, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, we're gonna need more wax!

Posted by: The 40-year Old Virgin | May 5, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

plowshares and screensavers?

***********
"I gave them the clue that it was what you made swords out of + window decorations."

Posted by: MIB | May 5, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Does moustache wax count?

*********
Okay, that's good to know. I was thinking "culturally cubbish" meant she was resisting your requests to get her chest hair waxed.

Posted by: Meat Hook's Massage Magic | May 5, 2008 2:34 PM

Posted by: MIB | May 5, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The Steel Drape!

Posted by: Winston Churchill | May 5, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with everyone's complaining about the Post's lack of, and second class, coverage of the Nats and saturation coverage of the Redskins. I can just imagine how much coverage a Patriots draftee who overslept would receive in the Boston Globe with their basketball team in the playoffs and the Sox. Page 4, not above the fold.

But spouting off in a blog is not going to change anything until all of us who are sick and tired of the Post being nothing more than a PR shill for Snyder write letters to the editors of the Post. Here you go letters@washpost.com How about every season's ticketholder writing one! 18,000 e-mails would get their attention.

Posted by: Sec. 214 | May 5, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Steal Track! Steal Track!

Posted by: George of the Jungle | May 5, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

No, I think it means she likes Boy George. What, that's culture clubbish? Never mind.

---

Does "culturally cubbish" signify a predilection for headbutting?

Posted by: Emily Litella | May 5, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

After the comment about drafting HR hitters, I found myself a little baffled, as I was under the impression that we were hitting more home runs this year.

At least it feels that way.

But rather than go on feeling, I looked it up. In 32 games this season, the Nationals have homered 18 times, last in the NL.

In the first 32 games last season, the Nats went deep 16 times. They finished with 123 dingers (the hit, not the ice cream sandwich), last in the NL.

The difference of two home runs represents a 12.5% increase. That means we might be able to expect about 15 more home runs this season, finishing at 138. That would be good enough for 14th in the NL in 2007.

So much for feelings.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I double-posted. Never mind.

Posted by: Emily Litella | May 5, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Svrluga sez, re his not-gamey-enough gamer "A brief defense: I think the space in the story in a situation like this is best used for stuff you can't get from the box score. We run "How the runs scored," which gives a run-down of just that."

Well, in the print edition you do, I suppose. But that section is not in the box score you have online, which is where many people seem to find your gamers, Barry.

But I read the print edition, and I do see that bit. But still, more explanation and analysis of what's in there would be good to have in the gamer. For instance, in the How the Runs Scored section on yesterday's game, there was this: "LoDuca fouled." I bet you could write a whole story on that one - although keeping it clean enough for a family newspaper might be a bit tough...

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Barry - if you do check out the Globe to follow your other team, check the great article on Charlie Zink (a Sunday Magazine feature). He may have overlapped with you when he was on the Sea Dogs.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 5, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say the same thing, RKGF.

I had the pleasure of reading the print edition during my brief trip to the DC area. I thought the "how the runs scored" section was a very cool addition.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Home runs, team, NL: the median would be about 30; they are 12 short of that. Would Zim, Nick, Kearns, and WMP together have 12 amongst them, if they were hitting "normally"? Seems likely. Would it have won at least two games they did lose, putting them at .500 now? Also not unrealistic.

Posted by: CE | May 5, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Ray King's whatever:

http://stats.washingtonpost.com/mlb/boxscore.asp?gamecode=280504120

Click on "at the park" above the boxscore. You're welcome.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz is the problem, not Barry! Remember that name, WaPo Sports Editor. Suspect his next Nats game will be his first! Wilbon sees more baseball, no doubt.

Posted by: Ira | May 5, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Comcast's Sportsnet in their 30 sports show this morning, did a 2 minute recap of the Nats game, 6 or 7 minutes on DC United, and about 15 on a Redskin draftee over sleeping, and a foot race between Portis and Landry, with comments from Smoot. I guess the only thing missing was the punter farting.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 5, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying Bowden should be fired for Armando Galarraga. One of the few things I'm willing to credit Bowden for is the Soriano acquisition. It was one heck of an entertaining year. He should be fired because of 14 years of abject failure as a GM, but that's not the point.

The point is that it's newsworthy when we trade away a young prospect pitcher who then shows up 3 years later and performs better than any of our guys. It doesn't require a feature, but it is newsworthy enough to merit a mention of some kind.

How many quality starts do you think Kazmir pitched before the NY papers noticed?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Good points, CE.

I think it'd also be interesting to see what percentage of runs have been scored on the long ball this year vs. last season.

Also, it seems like the Nats were hitting home runs at pretty insigificant times (like Church's solo shot in the bottom of the ninth of a 7-1 loss to Arizona on April 6th, for example. Maybe the Nats are just hitting more significant home runs this season.

(Not that I'm the kind of guy who marginalizes the impact of any run scored in a game, mind you.)

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Chico, we're not always this hard on Barry. We're actually a nice bunch who appreciate our blogfather very much.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

At what point do the Rangers have to call up Patterson before he can ask to be released?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

http://apse.dallasnews.com/jun2001/19-20arnold.html

Garcia-Ruiz heads back to D.C. roots

By KIRBY ARNOLD
Everett Herald
Emilio Garcia-Ruiz is returning to the Washington Post, and this time he has a Pulitzer Prize connection.


Emilio
Garcia-Ruiz
Garcia-Ruiz, senior editor/sports at the St. Paul Pioneer Press since 1997, was to become the Post's sports editor this month. It's a new position at the Post, where Garcia-Ruiz was a copy editor, high school sports editor and night editor in 1987-90.

He'll report to George Solomon, the Post's longtime assistant managing editor/sports. "I look forward to working with George again," Garcia-Ruiz said. "He gave me my first real shot in the business when I was a pup, and working with that talented staff in that amazing newsroom should be lots of fun."

At St. Paul, Garcia-Ruiz ran an operation that won a Pulitzer Prize for its series of investigative stories about academic fraud at the University of Minnesota. Many of those same stories were part of the series that won APSE's contest for investigative reporting a year ago.

Before joining the Pioneer Press, Garcia-Ruiz was an assistant sports editor at the Orange County Register (1990-94) and at the Los Angeles Times (1994-97).

He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1984 and was sports editor of the Prince George's Journal for four years before starting his first stint at the Post in 1987.

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

To answer my own question, June 15th.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

From "Ask the Post" January 6, 2005

Philadelphia, Pa.: Hi, thanks for taking questions. Why isn't Manny for Tejada a fair trade straight up? Why do the Sox have to add a pitcher on top of a Hall of Famer?

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz: Because Tejada is solid as a rock and Manny seems too unpredictable to me. The Orioles should try to keep Tejada happy at whatever cost.

Anonymous: What's the policy on rotating beat writers? It seems like The Post tends to do this more than other major papers (example La Canfora moving from caps to the Skins, Svrluga college beat to the Nats, etc)

Is this normal, or unique to The Post?

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz: We don't have a policy, but covering a beat is a brutal job. Sports really don't have offseasons any more (the NFL has a couple weeks in late June)with free agency and drafts etc. Moving people around is often a way to avoid burnout.


Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"Also, it seems like the Nats were hitting home runs at pretty insigificant times (like Church's solo shot in the bottom of the ninth of a 7-1 loss to Arizona on April 6th, for example."

Actually, that was Kearns, not Church, who hit that HR. I know, because I sat through that entire game in 40-degree weather, with no hot chocolate or coffee to be found at any Aramark concession stand. Ah, the pleasures of RFK...

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Rockville, Md.: Last April, I thought The Post demonstrated itself as a world class paper by its ability to cover both regional MLB teams with front page in-depth coverage. Having regularly gone to games in both cities, I thought The Post did a great job covering both teams. However, after a bunch of complaining by a group of readers regarding The Post's Orioles coverage, The Post pulled back its Orioles coverage (buried in the back, frequently using AP copy). Since The Post is Maryland's most read newspaper, weren't you doing a disservice to readers in Maryland to appease Post subscribers who aren't bright enough to not read an article that didn't interest them? Somehow, The Post is able to cover the Ravens with a reasonable amount of coverage, it can't do the same with the Orioles. Can we expect better coverage of both teams in 2006 or will you continue to appease the vocal minority?

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz: The change in Orioles coverage happened only because the team catapulted out of contention. We always scale back when teams fall out of the playoffs and interest wanes so we can save resources and use them for teams that do better than we thought. We'll be back with double-barrel coverage in the spring. (Although if the Orioles don't get a few players we may be scaling back by June).

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

an 8-3 homestand is nice. but 4 of those games were against pittsburgh. to answer the question posed, no it is not even remotely possible. this is a below average team and will end up as one. however that doesnt mean it can't be a fun season.

Posted by: dk | May 5, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Cleaning up here, Patterson was set to pitch three innings in a simulated extended spring training game on Saturday. No word on how he did. If he's not on the big club in 41 days, he can ask for his release.

Galarraga was traded by Texas for Michael Hernandez, who was subsequently released during Spring Training. At least Bowden got Soriano.

And it actually was Church who hit that homer on April 6th. The sad irony is that, the very next day, Kearns had a similar futile experience in a 7-1 loss to the 'Backs. That's right, two straight 7-1 losses. I had already forgotten that. But it does kind of jibe with my theory that a good deal of their 16 homers in the first 32 games last season were somewhat pointless.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Of course, 7 of those games were against New York, Atlanta, and Chicago.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

and btw last i looked, teams dont play the majority of their games at home. whats our road record again? exactly.

Posted by: dk | May 5, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey 506, does that mean your RHCGF will still love you even if you leave the toilet seat up for 100 years?

Also, whaddya know, the professional beat writer knows more about how to write a gamer than random people on a blog. We all wish there were more stories. First, there need to be more of us.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 5, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

and btw last i looked, teams dont play the majority of their games at home. whats our road record again? exactly.

Posted by: dk | May 5, 2008 3:39 PM

-----

This is a good point. They play exactly half their games at home.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey 506, does that mean your RHCGF will still love you even if you leave the toilet seat up for 100 years?

-----

I think it means she expects me to leave the toilet seat up and enjoys every moment it's not, knowing full well that when everything's on the line, it will be.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I think this post was unfairly overlooked. Well played, NatsNut.

-----

"Favre is 42?" Psh. This crowd would be all over him for far les's than that.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Susan Glasser, the Post's ranking editor on national affairs . . .is colliding with decades of newsroom tradition. Unlike the New York Times, where the bosses think nothing of dialing up story after story, the Post is a reporter's paper, one where ideas make their way up from the bottom. Reversing the prevailing current was bound to kick up some static. . . It all wouldn't be quite so bad for Glasser if she weren't pissing off her equals as well as her charges. In January, she met with star sportswriter Eli Saslow and told him that she'd talked with other editors about hiring him to a key national reporting slot. One person she hadn't consulted, however, was Saslow's boss, top Sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, according to newsroom sources. The slight infuriated Garcia-Ruiz. Glasser declined comment.

washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2008/04/04/

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are good enough to finish above .500, and be in the wildcard race. Don't bet on it, don't even expect it. But there is some grit in this team and they can fight their way back in. I'm happy to be along for the ride.

I'm also to read Barry's articles when he writes about the homestand, not the game. If I want a play by play, I can read a box score, I can read Nats320 or the MLB guy. Barry, you are worth reading for the writing. Do what you want.

And hopefully, when the Nats do get better, the Post will give the coverge they deserve. There were 2 stories there last night.

Posted by: Natty Dread | May 5, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"How many quality starts do you think Kazmir pitched before the NY papers noticed?"

wait, you're comparing kazmir, considered the mets best pitching prospect and on the cusp of the majors, to gallaraga, an unknown (except for family name) A ball prospect considered a throw-in in a trade 2 years earlier?

that's not really a fair comparison. maybe if he keeps this up all season, it becomes a big story.

on a side note, he *was* mentioned in the post, if i remember correctly. it was in the AL notes or sidebar in the print edition. pretty sure that happened after his first or second start.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Church also hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th against the Braves when we lost 14-1 or 2.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

If Eli Saslow is a star sportswriter, presumably at the Post, how come I have never seen his by-line? What sport does he cover?

Posted by: Ira | May 5, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

What 231 said, and ...

SoCH, we've had this discussion before, as I recall, on other topics. The difference between our points of view is irreducible: you think it's newsworthy, and I don't. Yet. Let him win consistently, a couple of years at least, while they Nats struggle for lack of starters, and then I'd say it's worth some paragraphs in a The Ones That Got Away story.


*************
The point is that it's newsworthy when we trade away a young prospect pitcher who then shows up 3 years later and performs better than any of our guys. It doesn't require a feature, but it is newsworthy enough to merit a mention of some kind.

How many quality starts do you think Kazmir pitched before the NY papers noticed?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 3:01 PM

Posted by: CE | May 5, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Or, to put it another way, how many times do we have to hear about Endy [AB] Chavez?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

You get absolution when another team gets rid of a player after you did. BTW, how's Daryl Thompson doing? Won't he be the best player involved in the Kearns/Lopez deal some day?

Posted by: Ira | May 5, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

or to put it yet another way: that's what blogs are for. I just today read somewhere about Gallaraga having a 1.88 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, with 15K and 8 BB in 4 starts and 24 IP.
Wait, that was here. That was YOU! Who needs Barry? And since those pretty much were the interesting facts, thank you very much.

Posted by: CE again | May 5, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Particularly when said team is still picking up your castoffs.
*********
You get absolution when another team gets rid of a player after you did.
Posted by: Ira | May 5, 2008 4:03 PM

Posted by: CE | May 5, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The Post is not serious about covering the Nationals because it doesn't have to. The powers that be have bought into the cult of the Snydermen, believing it's the only team in the region that most of its readers are interested. The Nats, like the Caps, have only one beat writer and no regular columnist. In the meantime, EGR, would rather have a Spanish-language page for DC United fans than expand coverage for the city's MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL team. I read online everyday papers in Boston, New York, St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco and while those MLB teams have regular beat writers, columnists regularly also write about the teams. EGR apparently believes there is a narrow following for the Nats, much like the Caps are perceived, and as long as he's sports editor things likely aren't going to change.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 5, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks JiM.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Barry, thanks for taking the time to post your brief defense. I respect and appreciate that you would do that. In my view it is indicative of how seriously you take your job and how much you respect it. Which is one of the reasons why I have enjoyed your writing about the Nats as much as I have and will miss your work. As I've stated many times, I believe that my beef is much more with your editors than with you, because it is apparent that they haven't devoted the resources to the Nats that the beat deserves. Such as the space for 2 stories in today's paper with perhaps one of your colleagues handling one of them.

As for your specific "stuff you can't get from the box score" point, I wholeheartedly agree with you...to a point. I think for the most part it should be stuff that is actually *about the game* that you can't get from the box score. So, for example from yesterday: what did Boone have to say about his first HR for the Nats, when he was subbing for Zimmerman no less? How about Wily Mo and his big XBH? Was Snell on his game and the Nats hit him well, or was he off his game? I just read another article where Snell ripped himself for pitching badly. What did Manny have to say about any or all of this? Since I didn't have the chance to see yesterday's game, maybe there were other compelling topics. In my view it's not that the gamer didn't tell us what was in the box score, it's that the gamer didn't tell us much about the game. If you had the ability to file a story recapping the homestand in addition to the gamer, that wouldn't have been an issue. And the gamer could have still focused on stuff that you can't get from the box score.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Because it's Monday, the Nats are off and I (once again) don't want to do real work, I decided to look through the scoreboards and see how the Nats bullpen does against the other NL bullpens with Inherited Runners Scored. After yesterday's games, the Nats are 13th in the NL in allowing runners to score (based on percentage). The Reds, Phillies (?) and Padres(!) are the only teams with a worse percentage in keeping runners from scoring.

Team -- Inherited Runners/Scored = % Scored
Giants -- 62 / 5 = .081
DBacks -- 17 / 2 = .118
Dodgers -- 48 / 7 = .146
Cards -- 41 / 8 = .195
Braves -- 56 / 12 = .214
Astros -- 36 / 9 = .250
Mets -- 61 / 16 = .262
Pirates -- 50 / 14 = .280
Brewers -- 46 / 14 = .304
Cubs -- 42 / 13 = .310
Rockies -- 48 / 15 = .313
Marlins -- 48 / 18 = .375
NATS -- 47 / 18 = .383
Reds -- 43 / 17 = .395
Phillies -- 32 / 13 = .406
Padres -- 25 / 15 = .600

Man, the Giants bullpen inherits a TON of runners but does not let them score. The DBacks bullpen rarely comes in with runners aboard, and when they do, they also don't let many to score. That's pretty impressive!

Posted by: e | May 5, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

nats in playoffs? highly unlikely, but not totally impossible given the other dogs in the NL east hunt.

nats 15% better than last year (08W=91)? plain unlikely.

nats + or - 2 games off .500? highly probable.

below endorsed in its entirety...


The Nats are good enough to finish above .500, and be in the wildcard race. Don't bet on it, don't even expect it. But there is some grit in this team and they can fight their way back in. I'm happy to be along for the ride.

I'm also to read Barry's articles when he writes about the homestand, not the game. If I want a play by play, I can read a box score, I can read Nats320 or the MLB guy. Barry, you are worth reading for the writing. Do what you want.

And hopefully, when the Nats do get better, the Post will give the coverge they deserve. There were 2 stories there last night.

Posted by: Natty Dread | May 5, 2008 3:51 PM

Posted by: natty bumppo | May 5, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"If Eli Saslow is a star sportswriter, presumably at the Post, how come I have never seen his by-line? What sport does he cover?

Posted by: Ira | May 5, 2008 3:56 PM"
------------

Saslow spent the past year writing the "Why We Compete" series of stories. Pretty good reads.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 5, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff, e!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"Susan Glasser, the Post's ranking editor on national affairs ."

Susan Glasser was also recently fired as national affairs editor at the Post, due in part to her abrasive ways. So, flynnie, this will save you from reprinting that article for us. But why the hell are you regurgitating the Post to us anyway? When people say they want more coverage, it doesn't mean thay want the same coverage over and over again. This ain't Groundhog Day!

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"Susan Glasser, the Post's ranking editor on national affairs ."

Susan Glasser was also recently fired as national affairs editor at the Post, due in part to her abrasive ways. So, flynnie, this will save you from reprinting that article for us. But why the hell are you regurgitating the Post to us anyway? When people say they want more coverage, it doesn't mean thay want the same coverage over and over again. This ain't Groundhog Day!

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Hear, hear! Today's gamer was a fine read.

(For the record, that sentiment does not indicate any disagreement with CiL on the coverage front. As good an article as Barry's was, I would never shy away from more Nats coverage.)

-----

Barry, you are worth reading for the writing.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I mean, I'm not crazy, right? This did seem to happen a whole lot last season.

I'm going to have to take a look at the percentage of "significant" home runs this season compared to last. 32 homers so far and I can already start listing ones that factored significantly in the outcome off the top of my head.

Then again, I wonder how much of this has to do with Church specifically. Maybe worth looking into as well.

-----

Church also hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th against the Braves when we lost 14-1 or 2.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laugh, 506!

---

I think it means she expects me to leave the toilet seat up and enjoys every moment it's not, knowing full well that when everything's on the line, it will be.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed that when a pitcher is pitching really well, often the only run he gives up is a solo homer. Is that a baseball truth or just of our staff?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I'm posting this. It's from Les Carpenter's last column in the Seattle Times, March 7, 2005. He credits Philly's playoff and superbowl appearances to fans who will accept no less.

"The problem with sports in the gentle cities is that they don't demand much from their teams. They don't insist upon the one extra trade, the free-agent signing, the firing of the manager that would put the team over the top. In the end, the gentle cities wind up losers. They find themselves in the big game against the team from New York or Chicago or someplace else that burns to win, and they shrivel in the heat.

It's not as if Seattle is a bad sports town. Three million baseball fans a year say this is a place that loves sports. Rather, Seattle falls for its favorite teams like few cities do -- lathering them with affection, embracing them, caressing them. Much like someone so taken in the euphoria of a love affair, it ignores all the flaws, believing that true love will make them disappear.

This is, of course, a recipe for heartbreak.

Seattle's problem is that it allows its owners, general managers and athletic directors to accept mediocrity."

To completely discredit Les with his own words, let me just add one more quote:

"Maybe Philadelphia isn't so bad."

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Great work, e! Kind of puts Carpenter's "one of the best bullpens in baseball" comment from yesterday's game into perspective.

There's a lot to take away from those numbers, but all I'm going to point out is that those SF numbers are crazy.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"Saslow spent the past year writing the "Why We Compete" series of stories. "

Saslow also spent the penultimate day of the 2007 baseball season reporting from RFK Stadium, where he wrote the epic saga "Why I Can't Figure Out Which Locker Room Houses the Team from Washington". Except he never told us why, he just reported the game as if he was working for the Philadelphia Inquirer. For which he will never be forgiven by Nationals fans. If this new Chico guy is smart, he'll never mention Saslow's name around here.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Philadelphia isn't so bad."

Les Carpenter is clearly a moron of titanic proportions.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

506, if a pitcher is pitching well, he's not putting men on base, which means when he gives up that HR, it tends to be more likely to be a solo shot.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

O was also thinking that allowing that HR may take some pressure off the pitcher, allowing him to settle back in without further damage.

-----

506, if a pitcher is pitching well, he's not putting men on base, which means when he gives up that HR, it tends to be more likely to be a solo shot.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I, not O. I don't know anyone named O.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

506, if a pitcher is pitching well, he's not putting men on base, which means when he gives up that HR, it tends to be more likely to be a solo shot.

-----

Yes, I did not fully explain my thought process. Aside from what you say, I meant to point out that when a run is scored, it is quite often because of a solo homer, not three singles, or some other combination of hits. Your explanation also explains that.

It's interesting, because you would be inclined to think that good pitchers don't give up home runs, which isn't really true.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love Wilbon's chats:

"Burke, Va.: Mike, when you say you don't read blogs, are you including the ones written by "real" reporters -- like Ivan Carter and Michael Lee's "Wizards Insider" here on the washingtonpost.com? Seems like a great place for them to give readers additional writing that they can't get column inches for in the dead tree edition...

Michael Wilbon: Those aren't blogs. That's marketing junk. They're opinionated reports that are edited by Post editors just like their stories in The Post. Their reports labeled as blogs to snare people who think they're getting something new and trendy. Please."
----------

Consider me duly snared and damn happy about it. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 5, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

wait... barry, are your blog entries edited? i wasn't under that impression.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

btw, i didn't mean that in a *bad* way, necessarily (altho i would hope if it was edited, your editor would catch the occasional mistake). more that i didn't think you had to go through that process.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Michael Wilbon: "They're opinionated reports ..."

You mean just like what you do, Mike? I'll keep that in mind when you write your next hackneyed column on the Nats. When you don't watch a team live, Mike, that is not reporting. It is your opinion. Shout the [AB] up.

Posted by: e | May 5, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of fan expectations (as referenced by flynnie), here's a funny (IMO) piece from the Onion:

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

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Was just scanning the SF Examiner website and came across a photo spread of yesterday's Texas Rangers-Oakland Athletics game. It was one of those "Turn Back the Clock Days" to 1968, the A's first season in Oakland. The Rangers were dressed as the 1968 Washington Senators (65-96 last in the 10-team AL). The funny thing about the pics is that the Rangers are wearing red "curly W" Washington Nationals caps with the little MLB tag on the backs of the caps. Would anyone on this board favor such a day when the Rangers come calling in interleague play where the Nationals would host the "Senators?"

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 5, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Ladsen has a pretty good piece about Flippie on mlb.com. Hints at his "distractions" from last year being marital in nature without giving too many details (none of our biz really). Other interesting tidbit is his wife is Jennifer Lopez, he's married to J-Lo!

Also from mlb.com, Chico is listed as the starter for Friday vs the Marlins even though that would be Reddings normal pitching day, anyone care to place bet on if Chico will get skipped?

Posted by: estuartj | May 5, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse


Yes! Indeed it was overlooked. Nicely done, NatsNut.

*************

By the way, I think this post was unfairly overlooked. Well played, NatsNut.

-----

"Favre is 42?" Psh. This crowd would be all over him for far les's than that.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 5, 2008 3:43 PM

Posted by: i hate walks | May 5, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

regarding Barry's gamer (to echo CiL), I loved the take on the homestand. I just think that the gamer should be a gamer and the team article should be the article. There are enough dead trees/pixels to shove it all in there (assuming they continue the "disservice" to the MD contingent who can't seem to find the Baltimore paper anywhere).

I mean no disrespect whatever, Barry. I'm a homer for you in the Bob Carpenter sense of the word.

Unfortunately, I hate the Redskins more than I hate the sport of football itself, so I don't suppose I'll be reading a lot of your future work. But I'm duly impressed that you give a [foul tip] what we think about your coverage. Days when I care that much about my job are rare.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 5, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

quick side question: any1 sat in either 222 or 223? if so what row and how was it?

Posted by: dk | May 5, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

No, not THAT J-Lo.
THIS J-Lo. http://tinyurl.com/5ds3zd

************
Other interesting tidbit is his wife is Jennifer Lopez, he's married to J-Lo!

Posted by: estuartj | May 5, 2008 7:03 PM

Posted by: MIB | May 5, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Piling on with the thanks to e for the IR/S numbers. Some of that might be attributable to how they're used--not a lot, probably, but some. Melvin, in AZ, for instance, aside from having a stack of starters, is on record as not wanting to waste bullpen arms on a lost cause, so he will let pitchers finish innings other managers might not.

Posted by: CE | May 5, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

PlanetNatsa, Chatterati, all of whom I love, the "Groundhog Day" quotes were the fruit of my research into Emilio, whom I thought might be spared the depredations of the more bloodthirsty here were you to know that a) he was a Terp b)he covered PG high school sports for the Post and c) he won a Pulitzer for exposing the Minn. basketball team's NCAA violations on the eve of the tournament, earning the condemnation of Jessie Ventura (and me - isn't Winter tough enough on those folks without sacrificing their basketball team on the altar of journalistic ambition?) Then I found that stuff from the Citipape and, thank you, Ray, for updating me on the Post staff, as I only read the Sports page, and then I remembered talking MLB with Les Carpenter and thinking, "What a kind, knowledgable soul!" Then I read his crie de couer that Seattle Fans Should Emulate Philly Fans, and could not keep that to myself.

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sending us to the Onion, 1A! I never thought that Isiah Thomas could make me laugh! I love the latest headlines: "NFL Draft Still Going On" and "Mel Kiper Clearly Unaware Much-Criticized Linebacker Standing Right Behind Him."

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

On my earlier comment about drafting a HR hitter, I was mostly being sarcastic, but I would love to have someone in the lineup who Really might knock one out every time he is at the plate, but is also a reasonable hitter/player as well. The Phils have Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell; the Mets have Wright, Beltran, Reyes, Delgado (man he got old quick!); the Marlins even have Ramirez, Uggla, Jacobs and Willingham and the Braves have Chipper, Francouer, Texiera. We have no one who you think could knock it out every time. Zim or Nick might get a hold of one or Pena/Dukes might if they get in a few games, but that is it.

I'd just like at least A threat.

Posted by: NatsWin! | May 5, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

NatsWin! I was thinking, "Hey, they were in the chase in September of 2005. They didn't have LoDuca, Wil Nieves, The New Guzman, Lastings, Flip, Kearns and Zim who, in order to revert to form, are going to light it up, the New Improved Nick the Stick, etc. They had Livo and Chief and Hector "Found Money" Carasco. Why not this year? And then I read your Litany of the Sluggers, and remembered watching with horror that Florida Murderer's Row, and how big Taylor Jacobs is, and how he doesn't hit the ball as far as Ramirez, and I concluded: "Nah."

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

This little tidbit was in Bill Ladsen's article about Chico today; "There's no word yet if he will make his next start against the Marlins on Friday at Nationals Park,"

Chico is listed as the starter on mlb.com, but I'm guessing he gets bumped for Tim Redding to start on his normal days of rest.

Also, Dukes OPS+ is over 1.1 in Columbus so I bet he's bacl for the Florida series. Anyone want to place bets on who gets the axe to make room? Best bets are Mackowiak, Harris or Estrada, in that order

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Is "Coverage is Lacking" trying to take the Beating a Dead Horse Award away from "Learners are Cheap"?

Posted by: Pat LaFontaine | May 5, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Pat, it looks like those concussions have really taken their toll on you. Sorry to see that.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll play along.
Really? The Post covers the Skins more than the Nats? Facinating. You know, I am also starting to notice a liberal slant to some of the Post's political coverage. Is it just me?

Posted by: Pat LaFontaine | May 5, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I think we could arrange for that.
*************
I would love to have someone in the lineup who Really might knock one out every time he is at the plate, but is also a reasonable hitter/player as well.

I'd just like at least A threat.

Posted by: NatsWin! | May 5, 2008 10:03 PM

Posted by: Mr. Applegate | May 5, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, we do have a new Dead Horse, I hear.

************
Is "Coverage is Lacking" trying to take the Beating a Dead Horse Award away from "Learners are Cheap"?

Posted by: Pat LaFontaine | May 5, 2008 10:40 PM

Posted by: MIB derbys (derbies?) | May 5, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we can rename it the Beating a Concussed Hockey Player Award.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, what was the question again?
Oh, yeah -- "even remotely possible?"
Two ways:
They'd have to go anti-Plan and pick up a Soriano-esque (2nd baseman?) bat, and find a real closer, but if that were to happen more or less on its own, with someone or somethree breaking out unexpectedly into a career year, while Manny somehow whips this bunch into nearly error-free ball (yeah, and possums might fly out of ... nevermind);
AND
the Mets and Phillies and Braves and Marlins all beat each others' brains in so that 85 wins would be close ...

but I don't see this bunch doing that. They don't play tight baseball consistently, they get hurt too much, several key players are on the market and likely to get traded by August, others are still too green, and they would have to hold their own in a division with four teams better than them while beating other divisions. I'd love to see it happen, but I don't see it happening.

Posted by: CE | May 6, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

this bunch is just as talented as 2005s scrappers...and if the rest of the nl east plays the way they are now for another couple months, why not...stranger things have happened, this is baseball

Posted by: love | May 6, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

My two cents? The Nats are going in the right direction, and contention isn't out of the question. The Nats have more holes than the Mets, Phils and Braves, but those teams have holes, too. If Dukes can play MLB level, they will have a stronger lineup, that will make it easier on Zimm and Nicky. With Hill healthy, and maybe an arm or two on the way from Columbus, things will only get better.

I was impressed with the crowd -- not too shabby for an early May date. Come Memorial Day, crowds under 30,000 will seem a distant memory. Which brings me to this scandalous piece on Yahoo: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-nationalsattendance050408

I'm with Kasten -- they're trying to find a scandal. We all know the reasons for the empty seats during the Marlins series. The weather, the opposition -- and to call it the first series is unfair -- if the Nats had home games following their opener, they would have had bigger crowds. For a team that had such a miserable start, the Nats hare building up to some good crowds. If they do contend, Nationals Park will be rocking this summer.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | May 6, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Barry, ask us again after the next 10 games.

9 of 12 is great. But like the tired "playing above .500 after May 12" last year, it doesn't cut it after a craptastic losing streak in April. This winning binge was to recover from the fall.

We need another winning streak to put ourselves on the map as a team and make the previous 9 of 12 more than just a fluke.

Convince me, I'll buy the product.

Posted by: Natty Dread | May 6, 2008 2:39 AM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 6, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I think we could arrange for that.

---

You rang?

Posted by: Lola | May 6, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

@231--"even texas didn't think much of him a couple of months ago, and they're always desperate for pitching."

So your point is that just as long as we aren't any worse at evaluating pitchers than the Rangers, you're satisfied?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 6, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

did y'all catch that Bergmann was Pitcher of the Week in the International League? Perhaps he found whatever was ailing in his mechanics and fixed it? If he has another good outing it's going to get hard to ignore Bergmann. Meanwhile, I like Chico but why is he getting so much rope with the bad games he is having?

Posted by: Northernfan | May 6, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

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