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Lineups sans Boone

Hey everybody, Steve Yanda here at Nationals Park filling in for Chico. It's "Throwback Friday," according to Aaron Boone. A few players were sporting throwback jerseys when they arrived in the clubhouse. Boone, who was a late scratch from the lineup due to a sore left knee, showed off a powder blue LaDainian Tomlinson jersey. Ryan Zimmerman was sporting a Ron Jaworski jersey. Paul Lo Duca brought in a San Diego Chargers jersey of his own, though he went with Natrone Means. Do we have any Natrone Means fans out there? Does anyone else even remember Natrone Means? Nice choice, Paul. Here are tonight's lineups:

Rangers

Kinsler, 2B
Catalanotto, 1B
Young, SS
Hamilton, CF
Byrd, RF
Murphy, LF
Laird, C
Vazquez, 3B
Millwood, RHP

Nationals

Guzman, SS
Dukes, RF
Milledge, CF
Young, 1B
Flores, C
Casto, 3B
Lopez, 2B
Harris, LF
Redding, RHP

By Chico Harlan  |  June 20, 2008; 6:02 PM ET
 
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Next: Quite the summer kick-off

Comments

Folks,

Just touched down in DC. I wanted to thank each and every person for his/her comments. I found them, in whole, thoughtful and well-reasoned ... and absolutely appreciated.

Listen, I'm kidding myself if I pretend like I know the best way for a newspaper writer (yes, with restricted space) to cover a team. Many of baseball's dramas play perfectly for a baseball writer, though; the pacing of a season works right in step with the daily newspaper. But covering a daily beat is a delicate balance in itself, and sometimes (maybe maybe) it helps the rhythm to look away for a minute.

Again, I really valued your responses. I read all of them, with interest. And I can see all sides.

One other note: By no means was that Young story some tacit admission of boredom with the on-field happenings. "Cookie-cutter" was a poor choice of words to describe that game; nothing is cookie-cutter, and my job is to find out - and write about - what makes every day different. That can be reporting's greatest challenge, but it's one I embrace. (Most days, in a conventional manner.)

Posted by: Chico Harlan | June 20, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Chico! You read those posts?What, were you always curious about what Braveheart felt like in the end? Loved the gamer, love Dmitri, it was excellent, and, unlike the AP gamer, Patty and I read it, which we usually don't after a loss.

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I, for one -- and my temples, for two more -- appreciated the novel twist on the gamer.

And I remember Natrone Means. Perhaps someone will show up with a Timmy Smith jersey. Or Mike Nelms. Or Eddie Brown.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I am learning a lot today. First, I had to look up orthogonal. Then, I had to Google Natrone Means.

Welcome back, Chico.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 20, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

orthogonal=statistically independent. And something about vectors. I don't like the vector the Nats are on with the Rangers, who are right at .500 (which is 16 better than the 29-45 Nats) and they just took to out of three from the Braves. It makes me want to buy an expensive ticket on the Orient Express. But the Lerners can afford that. I can't. So I'll listen to something to be absolutely grateful for-Charlie and Dave!

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I can't be the only one who's stuck with the obnoxious voice of Chris Berman booming "Natrone Means 'Business'" can I? I can even hear the cheesy music underneath as he's doing the highlights. AAAAAHHHHHH

Posted by: Chris | June 20, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Natrone Means split time with Marion Butts? [OK, you can supply the punch line now]

Posted by: PTBNL | June 20, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

2 of my AL fantasy league players in there (Young & Byrd)and I'm trying to pull off a trade for the pitcher (and A-Rod) (giving Casey Blake and Kazmir). Please no injuries.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 20, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

And I want to some throwback jerseys from Les Tigres del Licey, Águilas Cibaeñas, Gigantes del Cibao, Leones del Escogido and especially Estrellas Orientales. And let's give a shout-out to Cuba - Industriales Blue Lions and the Islay Grapefruit Cutters. Gammons said it was the best game he'd ever been to! "Nemisio Guillo is credited with bringing a bat and baseball to Cuba in 1864 after being schooled in Mobile, Alabama. Two more Cubans were sent to Mobile, one being his brother Ernesto; the Guillo brothers and their contemporaries formed a Baseball team in 1868 - the Habana Baseball Club. The club won one major match - against the crew of an American schooner anchored at the Matanzas harbour."

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Everybody, for a treat, go to ESPN and listen to Gammons play "Take Me Out TTBG" in the style of Bo Didly. Jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli is terrific - he smiles while singing! And Punch is very good, too.http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/notebook?page=bbtn/takemeout

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Cuban baseball, I've probably mentioned this here before, but I really enjoyed the documentary, The Bases Are Loaded, in which Monte Irvin returns to Cuba to reunite with former teammate and Cuban baseball icon Connie Marrero (who has a DC connection):

http://thebasesareloaded.com/

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 20, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

1A, I saw another great documentary called "The Emerald Diamond" on New England Sports Network. It's about baseball in Ireland, and the Red Sox bring an Irish team over to Fenway to play. But who's at the bottom of it all? A bunch of Cuban emigres to Ireland! It shows them playing, older Cuban guys built like Dmitri - you need a lot of sheperd's pie in that weather-"teaching and preaching," but, mostly playing.

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Check back and see if the graphic for Baseball Sunday is working. It works for me now and it's pretty fun.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 20, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Slowes is such a treasure! that interview he just did with Rangers manager Ron Washington was so subtle and tactful, especially when he brought up Katrina where Ron's family lost everything. To here Ron say "soytanly" for "certainly" was so sweet-that wild New Orleans accent, which sounds so like Brooklyn, or South Boston!

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Jon -Thanks for the sneak peak! What an interesting graphic. 506-were you astonished to see Brad Wilkerson in his curly W helmet as one of the best at taking a count? Abreu? No surprise. But Brad? He must take a lot of pitches before he strikes out.

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The Nats should come up with a gimmick, in honor of that Eastern Shorebird, Bill Veck. They should hold open tryouts for an excellent cricket batsman who specializes in working the count. Fouling off pitches is one reason cricket lasts so long. See if they can foul off 30 or so pitches per at bat.

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

flynnie-

Pleasure to read your musings, as always.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | June 20, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Redding walked the pitcher. No better excuse to start lurking again than that.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | June 20, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Where is "I hate walks" when we need him? Walk a sorry dude to pitch to another sorry dude (and then walk him, not intentionally)!

Its time for Jimbo to start calling up the youngin's.

Posted by: joNAThan | June 20, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

@Flynnie per your post about losing 11 pounds in 9 days following some rules

Rule 1: Watch Nats. Throw up. Repeat.
Rule 2: Watch JimBo ride Segway. Laugh hard. Throw up. Repeat.
Rule 3: Don't eat until Tim Redding grows his mustache back.
Rule 4: Don't eat until the Post improves its coverage.
Rule 5: There's crab cakes at Orioles Park. Like tens of thousands of others, don't go.
Rule 6: Don't eat until Teddy Wins.
Rule 7: See who relents first--Steven of Capital Hill or ABR.
Rule 8: Boycott food until Wily Mo gets a hit.
Rule 9: Run to the table as fast as Flop runs to first base.
Rule 10: Boycott food until Don Sutton drops the fro.
Rule 11: Hang out with Jimbo at Red Porch. Throw up. Repeat

Posted by: joNAThan | June 20, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

yeah. i'm not loving this team at all right now.

I don't believe in booing the home team, but this year I've come to permit myself to let out a single "boooooo" (equivalent to half of a hearty GUUUUUUUUzz) when a Nats pitcher walks an opponent, but when a Nationals pitcher walks an opposing pitcher (I won't even touch the fact it is an AL pitcher), I give full throat to my displeasure.

Even you, Tim Redding.

On the other hand, I really took up this one-note anti-free-bases position long ago when the Nationals starting pitching was their achilles heel. This season the starters have by and large been an pleasant surprise. The bullpen has balanced that out, however. And then there's the bats, which make me want to change my moniker to "I'd love a walk, you flailing buffoons, where's Nick Johnson when you need him, anyway?"

In the meantime, I'm reading wigi's blog over at planetnj.net ... momma said if you can't say anything nice, make sure people understand what you mean with your silence.

Posted by: i hate walks | June 20, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh, joNAThan, that's a great post! Catching my breath Oh, I'm wiping tears from my eyes! How to Achieve Your Fetal Weight Through Baseball. Charlie said, "If you have great pitching and can catch the ball, you don't need a lot of hits." Dave: "And the Rangers can't do either, lead the league in hits, and are a 500 club."

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Positively Half Street! We don't hear enough from you! Charlie was reminiscing about how terrible Tampa was when he was there, "and now. . ." Dave: You brought it with you?" Charlie: "I was watching them last night and they finally have good pitching and can catch the ball!" Hope for next year. But we're only a few games down! Playoffs! This year!

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Cuban baseball player defects
Dayán Viciedo, a promising 19-year-old third baseman, wants to play baseball in the major leagues.
Posted on Sun, Jun. 08, 2008 Miami Herald
Ok, Stan the Plan, Mark Lerner - sign him up! He's 19 in Cuban years which means he's 29, 6'2, and ready to play! He cam here through Mexico, so sign him!

Posted by: flynnie | June 20, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

flynnie, I believe we have a third baseman already. Some dude named Zimmerman. Young one, too. He's on the DL now, but he'll be back eventually. Can your man from Cuba play another position?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 20, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

The people over at blastingsthrilledge.blogspot.com, a good Mets and general baseball blog, have been counting down the worst GMs in baseball.

Blastings is asking for input from their readers on whom should be picked next, and we need to make sure JimBo gets his due.

Click here: to vote for Bowden as the worst GM in baseball: blastingsthrilledge.blogspot.com

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 20, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

So it's 3-2, which in my view is the ideal score for a baseball game in the late innings. The Nats main problems are that they give opposing teams too many free outs (fielding, walking pitchers, etc), give the other team free outs (baserunning errors) and seem incapable of taking advantage of any free outs given them (too many singles, not enough XBHs, poor average with RISP).

Also, stich 'n pitch? What in the name of Jesus Flores is that?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 20, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Man Ayala has some wicked stuff tonight. And a red glove.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 20, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Here's a cool thing I really like when the Nationals are in town.

I'm sitting here watching the Nationals on MLB.com. The stream is 20 seconds or so delayed. Don't ask me why I'm not blocked out. I dunno. I'm just not.

It's on a commercial break. I hear fireworks out the window. Commercial break ends.

Oh yeah, I know what's going to happen next.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 20, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm really becoming convinced that Flores and Dukes are two significant pieces of the puzzle known as "The Plan."

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | June 20, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking, that theoretically the Nats could have their 2-5 hitters (assuming Zimm is healthy and hitting #4--not sure thats his best spot, but hey, just pontificating here) all 23 or younger (Dukes, Milledge, Zimm, Flores).

Keep Hope Alive!

Posted by: joNAThan | June 20, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

joNAThan - don't tease...

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | June 20, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

dukes is beginning to show why people like his game so much...

July numbers

ave / obp / slg / ops
.303/.395/.455/.849

overall numbers
.261/.371/.387/.757

pretty decent overall numbers considering he started 2-37.

Posted by: 231 | June 20, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Can ED be the cure for our offensive dysfunction once again?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 20, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

God I hope Dukes can put his past behind him. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuukes

Posted by: joNAThan | June 20, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

there was a good opportunity wasted...

Posted by: brian | June 20, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

DROP FLOP!!!

Who is with me!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | June 20, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

i think charlie and dave have finally lost it

Posted by: gretchen | June 20, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

kind of a breakout night for dukes.

5-6, BB, 2B, HR, 2SBs.

Posted by: 231 | June 20, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

woooo hooo!!!!!!!!!!!!
anyone else out there celebrating???

Posted by: gretchen | June 20, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I've been celebrating for quite some time now...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | June 20, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

OK, I guess Elijah's a keeper.... :-)

Watched the beginning of the game, then went to see "GET SMART," which was a very funny movie, then got home to watch the last four innings. Gotta love baseball . . .

Posted by: Juan-John | June 20, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

That was a looooooooooooong one, and Dukes did have a great game. I missed Charlie and Dave, except for the pregame, because I was watching on tv 20. Funny, in light of the recent Post pieces, that they were running a commercial that featured four young men who had N-A-T-S painted across their bare chests (unless they were out of order and it spelled T-A-N-S or A-N-T-S).

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 21, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm celebrating! Was at a graduation party & missed most of the game but what a delightful ending! Bravo Dukes, bravo bullpen!

Posted by: Section 109 | June 21, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

"Funny, in light of the recent Post pieces, that they were running a commercial that featured four young men who had N-A-T-S painted across their bare chests (unless they were out of order and it spelled T-A-N-S or A-N-T-S)."

S-T-A-N, dummy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

These are the Nats I remember!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 21, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

If Dukes keeps playing like this I'll let him beat my wife!

Posted by: ike turner | June 21, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Just a note.

Ten days ago, 6/10, Dukes was hitting just .195 and now he is hitting .270.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | June 21, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Just got home from the game and came to two conclusions:

The Nats have GOT to play Dukes everyday for the rest of the season. His instincts and ability are first-rate. Play him every day even if you have to waive or demote the Wasteland of Minimal Production to free up LF when Can O'Kearns comes back. Seeing the Nats beat that former team from here has finally exorcised the ghost of Bob Short.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 21, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

I agree Zim ,Flores and Dukes look good for the plan but not sure about Milledge just yet. It would be nice if he could control his swing. He is always going for the fences. He needs some guidance. Actually he should watch his buddy in RF. Now that we might have a right fielder where do you think Kearns is going when he returns.

Nice win tonight. If only we had a few more Dukes we might have hope. That guy is intense.

Posted by: mjames | June 21, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

BTW - On the scoreboard, there was a happy birthday greeting for a "Steven." That's not you, is it SoCH? LOL!

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 21, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Based on the effort tonight maybe the corpse in the corner is not dead after all. I saw a few twitches tonight. Hopefully it was not merely settling into now accustomed state of morass.

Just curious. Have Lerners, Kasten and Bimbo left Washington. Someone should tell them they own a baseball team or did they abandon it already. Where are they? Maybe they are working on the total fan experience as opposed to the baseball experience. This crowd is like the Apple Dumpling Gang. Maybe Washington just accepts an inferior product.

Posted by: mjames | June 21, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

what a game! dukes is the real deal at the plate, on the bases and in the field. i've been to 7 games this year, 3 walk off wins. no thanks in any way shape or form to FLOP, what a pathetic piece of excrement. an error and a GDIP in extras (also didnt cover second on the ball to end the same inning to casto who made a great play) how long must we put up with this team killing, half a loaf, cancer of a player. i would rather have dukes and his history over a player who clearly does not enjoy the game and frankly does not play it well at this stage in his life. only one thing can and should be done...

DROP FLOP
DROP FLOP
DROP FLOP!!!

Posted by: love | June 21, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

yanda supplied

Posted by: gnu post | June 21, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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