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Quite the summer kick-off

Steve Yanda again, folks. And where, oh where, to begin? Let's start from the beginning, or somewhere near it. Tim Redding taught every Little League pitcher watching the Nationals game last night a very important lesson -- never, ever, if you can possibly avoid it, walk the opposing pitcher. Bad things can -- and often will -- happen. Obviously, Redding did not purposely walk Kevin Millwood, though he did purposely walk Ramon Vasquez in order to get to Millwood. "I was trying to be too fine in a situation where I didn't need to be," Redding said. And he paid for it when Ian Kinsler hit a bases-clearing double.

But a critical aspect of this game was what Redding did after the second inning. He was efficient. He was effective. He was nearly spotless. And he did it with a stomach illness that spiked up during the drive to the park.

Redding went six and then handed it over to the bullpen, which performed admirably considering their recent collective turnout. Charlie Manninig, Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Then Saul Rivera came on and pitched three innings. Then Joel Hanrahan closed things out with two innings of his own. Redding said it himself: "The bullpen guys did a hell of a job, and that's why we won the game."

Look at it this way, the Rangers entered the night touting one of the most potent offenses in baseball. Their lineup offers Josh Hamilton, the American League leader in home runs and RBI. He went 0 for 6. The Texas lineup also features All-Star Michael Young, who went 0 for 5 and reached base only on an 11th inning error by Felipe Lopez. Milton Bradley, who holds a .320 batting average, did not start for the third consecutive game due to a strained quadriceps. He entered as a pinch hitter in the tenth and grounded out meakly to second base.

The Nationals did not play flawless baseball after the second inning, by any means. There were missed opportunities both at the plate and on the basepaths, but they did something they haven't done often this season. Yes, they won, which I suppose would qualify under the umbrella of the previous sentence. But more than that, they persisted.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the game? Also, anybody upset the Nats decided against the fireworks show due to the game ending so late? And how much of a treat was it to see not one, but two presidents races in one game? See, there are a few benefits to games that last four hours and ten minutes.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 21, 2008; 1:23 AM ET
 
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Comments

NEWPOSTED

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 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Missed the game, but loved your highlights of it. Great sentence btw:

"...they did something they haven't done often this season. Yes, they won, which I suppose would qualify under the umbrella of the previous sentence. But more than that, they persisted."

i hate walks: I LOVE your new moniker. I'm still cracking up!!

"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?'"

(Did I get the quotes right, Grammar Lady?)

Posted by: NatsNut | June 21, 2008 2:16 AM | Report abuse

in game is getting better at the park as well. loved the two races and the russert tribute was very touching, especially his washington baseball quotes. scoreboard is smoother and more up to the second. clint still a lady. if you go to the PNATS booth behind the diamond club and sign up for the email newsletter you get a free ticket, worth the 10 seconds it takes to write your email and gives you updates when the big nats will be rehabing. i think for the most part the staff of the park has found its stride

Posted by: love | June 21, 2008 2:36 AM | Report abuse

does pena have blackmail photos of bowden? that has to be what has kept him on the roster/ granted, langerhans isn't a starter, but even jimbow can see that he can at least catch the friggin' ball when it's hit in his zip code. keeping wmp after kearns comes back willl only retard dukes's development if he doesn't play everyday. what a joke.

Posted by: natsscribe | June 21, 2008 4:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey Steve, thanks for a great gamer filling in for Chico. No worries on the fireworks, there is nothing the Nats can do because part of their agreement with the adjacent neighborhood is that they won't start fireworks past 11pm.

Posted by: Ryan | June 21, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Natscribe

Why would you even think of sitting Dukes when Kearns comes back? What is the basis for your comment? Also Kearns, in my view, has hit maybe for 3 months since his trade to Washington. Lets face it he has been a bust - so has Lopez and that pitcher who has been hurt for two years. Cincy at least has Bray and Thompson.

Speaking of trades it is interesting to note that we traded Milton Bradley to Cleveland for Zach Day. Interesting that we traded Sizmore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Philips to Cleveland for Bartolo Colon. They are all opotential all stars this year. Oh yes we traded Armando Galaraga to Texas for Soriano. We are so fortunate to have had Minaya and now Bowden aka Mutt and Jeff..

Posted by: mjames | June 21, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

How about Dukes? What a night! Any chance they move him into the 5th slot? Flores is great, but Dukes/Flores even better.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | June 21, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Went to the game last night. Great night for baseball, for the Nats and for Dukes.

Woke up this morning to hear that Langerhans is being outrighted to Columbus. What about Pena. Can't hit and can't catch. Send him down and let him work on improving these things. If another team picks up him, so be it. Langerhans can't hit, but, despite some recent errors, he can catch. I think the Nats will miss this late game defensive replacement. Unfortunately, this move may have resulted from Bowden's Reds fetish.

Posted by: Count Demoney | June 21, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

There is something wrong with Young. Besides being overweight he is making bad plays, he looks off-balance at the plate, and he actually looks ill.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the president's races how come they don't show them on tv like they have in the past?

Posted by: JT | June 21, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The Nats had another cookie cutter 14 inning win last night, so I thought I'd do another incredibly innovative story, this time reporting on the game from the point of view of one of the traffic control officers outside the metro stop. (Do you people realize there are 87 games left? Is anybody remotely interested in reading 87 stories about this lousy team? I certainly don't want to have to write them.) So, for a while not that many people came. Then more and more. Then a whole lot up to and after the time the game started. Then people started leaving, first in a trickle then in a steadier stream. At midnight pretty much everybody else left.

Tomorrow: the game as seen from the National Cathedral. While I stand on my head.

Posted by: Shirley Povich | June 21, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

mjames

the reason for my opinion about dukes/wmp.kearns is that i think jimbow would insist that pena play on a semi-regular basis to justify bowden's belief that he'll get "hot." dukes is a better hitter, baserunner and fielder than wmp, but never underestimate bowden's hubris when it come to former reds players.

Posted by: natsscribe | June 21, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Last night's game was one of the best I've attended since the Nats came to town. Perfect night, great view of the skyline, and an example why the designated hitter should be abolished. Possible strategic turning points were almost too numerous to enumerate and the pitching was superb. It was much more enjoyable than watching two teams bludgeon each other like a typical AL game. I sat up in Sec. 406 and the only downside to my enjoyment is having to get up at least every half inning because some kid kept having to drag his mother or father out of their seats because he wouldn't sit still and kept kicking people in the row below where he and his family were sitting. Finally, i got up and watched the rest of the game from the Red Porch, which had a better than expected view of the game.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 21, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

What a coincidence. I frequently get the same thing *during* the games.

*****************
But a critical aspect of this game was what Redding did after the second inning. He was efficient. He was effective. He was nearly spotless. And he did it with a stomach illness that spiked up during the drive to the park.

Posted by: Section 2, my couch | June 21, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Even Frank liked me, and I didn't get this much time. Why *is* Wily still there?

Posted by: Wil "we both got the L out" Cordero | June 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I've been wondering the same thing myself.

Posted by: Nook Logan | June 21, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Occasionally a blind squirrel finds an acorn.

From the "Today's Lineup" thread on 5/26:

"A New Hope in the galaxy of NJ?

Milledge, Pena, Dukes combined stats for the 6 games of the homestand so far:
54 ABs (60 plate appearances)
.259 / .333 / .463, 2 HRs, 8 RBI, 4 SBs.

Not great, but certainly improving. Dukes reached base at a very respectable .389 rate. L Millz .899 OPS was not shabby by any standard for CFs.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 26, 2008 11:26 AM "

Since 5/19:
Milledge: .261/.328/.412, 9/10 SB, 4 HR.
Dukes: .327/.432/.480, 8/9 SB, 2 HR.
Pena - oh well. 2 out of 3 isn't bad. Milledge has slowed a bit over the last week or so, but his .740 OPS over the last month is about .100 points above our team average in April.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 21, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I didn't read The Chico thumbsucker on the Young family, father and sons, but was there a mention in there that an overweight Type 2 diabetic, particularly an African-American, is in mortal danger? Has anyone informed Dad or the elder son that this is in fact the case and trumps everything?

Posted by: JohnR(VA) | June 21, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

GREAT game for Dukes. The more I see, the more I like. I can't remember the last Nationals player who I was rooting for more than that guy.

Pulling himself out of a hellish situation that most people can't possibly understand, with know-it-alls calling him nasty names and rooting against him every step of the way...

You go, Elijah. Just brush that dirt off your shoulder and keep doin' it.

I just hope we get to see him celebrate a little more next time. We need more dancing and maybe some high-fives for the fans.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 21, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Random game thoughts: It was very long (duh). Redding bounced back nicely after the first couple of innings. It was frustrating to see so many runners stranded (duh redux). Our bullpen was impressive. Dukes had a great game.

I liked the gamer, although I had to read the spring line a few times before I realized that it related to the solstice rather than a spring training game.

Fireworks thoughts: I haven't gone to a game for the fireworks (the off-field variety, anyway), so I'm ambivalent about the cancellation. I can understand why the neighbors wouldn't want to hear them after a certain point.

JT, the second president's race was on tv (don't recall seeing the first one, but I may have stepped out of the room).

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 21, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@leetee--Not my birthday.

But if 506 and ABM wanna take up a collection for a scoreboard announcement, my birthday is September 5.

Or we could all pitch in to get FireJimBowden.blogspot.com up on the scoreboard!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Not sure how I crept into that last post...

Yo, Yanda, it's good to read your stuff again. What are you up to now? Are you interning again or is the Post smart enough to hire you?

On the grand conspiracy to play WMP in left field: I think, from a manager's perspective, I would rather start him in left and hope for a few hits so I can save Willie Harris and Ryan Langerhans for pinch runners for Young, who then go in as defensive replacements. You start them there and then they're not available at a crucial moment.

When Kearns comes back, WMP will go on the waiver wire. Dukes will start in left.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 21, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

soch: no other gm in baseball except for me was willing to take a chance on elijah dukes who you love so much. yet now you want to fire me. explain that. on second thought, don't.

Posted by: jimbo's brain fart | June 21, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Who was that who crossed the plate with the winning run? Felipe Lopez! I saw him cross the plate! I saw him run to join the celebration with his teammates! And then I woke up this morning to read Love's (to quote estuartj) "unabomberesque screed." Love, I know that alcohol is disinhibiting. You seem to have drunk some more and mellowed out between 1:47 and 2:36 AM, by which time you had found the golden moment of fellowship for all mankind that lies at the bottom of the bottle. But I could do without the filth in that 1:47AM post. It did not go well with my morning coffee.

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Haters wanna hate, lovers wanna love...

Posted by: Dave Chappelle as R. Kelly | June 21, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

From Joseph White of the AP's gamer:

". . .not to mention a recent shouting match in the dugout with manager Manny Acta - he had to come a long way to earn the celebratory mob scene around him after his single off Jamey Wright (4-3) found a hole on the left side of the infield to score Felipe Lopez from third."

When we got him from the Reds, we knew we were getting an above-average bat and below-average glove. Felipe is usually part of every winning rally.

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I watched 5 games at once last night at a bar. The Nats game had close caption, and when WMP came up, the there was a back and forth between Sutton and Carpenter about how part of the problem is that he was rushed to the majors and never really has had the chance to develop plate discipline skills in the normal way young hitters do (practice in the minors against lesser pitchers). I did not catch the whole discussion. I've mentioned he had an aberrational high OBP year in 2006 with the Red Sox when Ron Jackson was his hitting coach and he could talk to Ortiz and Manny every day. I think he is willing to try to learn, but just needs someone effective to teach him plate discipline. I'd imagine they have tried to waive him down (no options) but he has been claimed, and they are not quite ready to cut their losses. They figure injuries happen, and they are willing to keep him around in one of the last spots on the roster until they are forced by good fortune to have everyone healthy and need the roster slot.

Oh, and as a reward for anyone who read this far, here is a link to a funny rain delay video. I guess you can get away with this so long as you win:
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/

Posted by: PTBNL | June 21, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@jimbo's brain fart-- Glad you asked.

You can get the brief argument for firing Bowden at the Fire Jim Bowden petition:

www.thepetitionsite.com/1/fire-bowden

or

Get the full, evolving case at the Fire Jim Bowden blog:

FireJimBowden.blogspot.com

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

But--suffice it to say, my argument is not that Bowden's never done any good things ever.

I'm certainly not going to root against Dukes just because Bowden acquired him. He has enough haters after him.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 21, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

SoCH - please sign your posts. And no thank you, dear, I'm a married man.

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

PTBNL, I'm almost hoping for a rain delay sometime this weekend - last Saturday night during the rain delay at Shea and before the game was finally called on account of rain, the some of the Rangers came out to play 'slip and slide' on the infield tarp, finally getting 'let's go Rangers' calls from the Mets' fans.

Posted by: Traveler | June 21, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@flynnie--I meant to. Sorry.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 21, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Traveler, that is amazing! I thought Mets' fans hearts were un-meltable. Who are the Sawx in the video PTBNL?

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Papelbon and DelCarmen. DelCarmen was a high schooler in Boston. What a fantasy to play for the home town team.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 21, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

A profound thank you to the Post. While I was enjoying baseball, Sudarsan Ragavhan was risking his life to tell us good news from Basra; the foreign service reports on brave Burmese citizens defying their vicious government to help the cyclone victims-135,000 dead!; and Steve Hendrix in Metro writes a very warm and funny story about kids from Eastern Europe lifeguarding here, with a great picture of 3 girls from Moscow pushing a grocery cart. Please subscribe to this great paper!

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

MB for Day, I'd do again today. At least Frank didn't have to break Zach's leg.
Day AND JJ Davis (wish you had him back now? No??) went to Colo. for P-Dub and $2M. Preston they let go after 2005; the $2M they probably still have.

The Colon trade was a Going-Out-Of-Business-Sale move. You can't count that against they guy. Please, can we bury this horse?

And a prospect for a proven all-star who did in fact have a (single) great year here isn't a one-sided deal. If you are in the Boswell camp, and they should spend something to keep the team interesting while the system develops, then you have to make a few of these. If you're of the Kasten "screw the fans for now and just build the system, and make it up to them later" school, then no, this didn't work out so much, unless Smoker OR Jordan Zimmermann winds up being at least as good as Galaraga. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, nobody knows. Just like nobody could guarantee Galaraga would stay healthy and be good, long-term (which he still hasn't done, btw; I wish him well, just sayin: it's early.)

Maybe we'd be better off with Jed Hoyer or Chris Antonetti or somebody else. But still.

*************
Speaking of trades it is interesting to note that we traded Milton Bradley to Cleveland for Zach Day. Interesting that we traded Sizmore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Philips to Cleveland for Bartolo Colon. They are all opotential all stars this year. Oh yes we traded Armando Galaraga to Texas for Soriano. We are so fortunate to have had Minaya and now Bowden aka Mutt and Jeff..

Posted by: mjames | June 21, 2008 7:39 AM

Posted by: CE | June 21, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Remember Papelbon's Irish jig in bike shorts before the throng assembled at Fenway to watch the Sawx play at Cleveland? Theo Epstein called him off the field from the GM's box.

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Baseball needs more of this. This guy is funny. (And thanks, P, for the link.)

But put him on the Mets, and he'd be getting notes in his locker.

*********
Remember Papelbon's Irish jig in bike shorts before the throng assembled at Fenway to watch the Sawx play at Cleveland? Theo Epstein called him off the field from the GM's box.

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 12:27 PM

Posted by: CE | June 21, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

CE and mjames - Minaya and Manny defend the Colon trade because the Expos were in a pennant race. They say they'd do it again.

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Kudos for he Nats for finally getting back into the win column.

Oh yeah, the O's won yet again.

Sweet-sassy-mollassy

Posted by: O's Exec | June 21, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

O's Exec - I thought you were in LA drinking causcasians?

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, please stop quoting me, my wife already says I have too big an ego and seeing my name and lines in print (even electronic) makes me unbearable.

Posted by: estuartj | June 21, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"When we got him from the Reds, we knew we were getting an above-average bat and below-average glove. Felipe is usually part of every winning rally."

please point out the "above average bat" you're talking about. i know you're an unabashed homer, flynnie, but let's not get stupid about it. just among NL 2Bs, flopez ranks 11th in BA, 8th in OBP, 11th in SLG, and 11th in OPS. 11th out of 13 qualifiers is significantly below average. he's never been a league average offensive MI since he's been here.

Posted by: 231 | June 21, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

O's Exec - I thought you were in LA drinking causcasians?

Posted by: flynnie | June 21, 2008 12:48 PM

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

Not yet, it's only 10:30 here. I'm not that much of a booze-hound. I try to rest my liver until noon-time, at the earliest.

Now, as for some Cheech-n-Chong action, that can happen at any time during the day (a.m. or p.m.).

Posted by: O's Exec | June 21, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Not trying to be a wisegal, but can a fan be called a homer, 231? I thought that the term related to journalists, who are supposed to be impartial. Aren't fans partisan by nature?

On another note, I stumbled across a NY Times travel piece on ballpark food. You can use the related map graphic to find recommendations for specific parks (for the record, they called the crabcake sandwich at you-know-where soggy, fishy, and bland).

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 21, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Forgot the tinyurl for the ballpark food piece:

http://tinyurl.com/5llfeo

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 21, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

A 5 hit night for Dukes...pinch me, no, don't, I might wake up, what a nice dream.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 21, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

1a, I think the writer even said that the crabcakes at OPACY were the worst thing he had ever tasted--worse than guineau pig (for real).

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 21, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

CiL, that's pretty bad. Wonder where he'd dined on that - Peru maybe? :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 21, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I think Peru is a good guess, 1a. I believe it is served whole...no thanks.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 21, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Attended last night and enjoyed it, but I haven't seen mention of more little things that the Nats are doing wrong: Lopez booting a ball hit right at him; Young missing a throw from Milledge in center on a play that should have been a double play (Great play by Milledge.); Casto failing to get down a bunt in a critical situation (and striking out four times in a row); and of course Redding should be fined for walking the pitcher (American Leaguer who hasn't hit in ages and could barely swing the bat.) leading to three runs.

Good things not mentioned: Dukes play in the field: diving catch and catch up against the wall; Milledge hustling and making a great throw to 1st to double off runner (when Young booted it.)

Suggest Nats release WMP and bring up a young outfielder to play left. If we are going to be bad - and we are - let's do it with an eye to the future (and WMP, Langerhans, etc are not it.)

Still a great game. Enjoyed all 14 innings!

Posted by: Missing Florida | June 21, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

In Darryl Thompson news - shutting out the NYY after 5. 96 pitches - 4 hits, 4 walks. Helped by a DP in 1st, worked inot and out of a bases loaded not outs jam in the 2d, left 2 on in the 3d.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 21, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"Not trying to be a wisegal, but can a fan be called a homer, 231? I"

natsfan1a, the term can be, and often is, used for a fan. for a journalist, it's showing some bias. for a fan, it's showing ridiculous bias. i.e., a fan so in the tank for his team that he says things that defy logic in favor of his team. like saying "zimmerman is the best offensive 3B in baseball" or "flopez is an above average hitter" would totally be homer comments.

Posted by: 231 | June 21, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Dukes did have a good night against TEXAS pitching.

Let's see what happens when this exhibition stream of games is over and we're back to business....

Posted by: well... | June 21, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Let's not give up on Pena yet:

From 2004-2006 (when he played the most), Pena averaged a homer every 16 at-bats. For his career (except this season which is an abberation), Pena has hit a homer onece every 18.1 at-bats. And he's only 25.

For the first ten years of his career, Frank Howard hit a homer once every 19.1 at-bats. It wasn't until '68-'71 that he surged to one every 15.8 at-bats. For his career, Howard's at 1 homer for every 17 at-bats, only one less per homer than Pena at an early stage in his career.

Yes, Pena can't field but neither could Howard. And Hondo was 30 when he "got it" (in terms of power) while Pena is only 25.

Send him down. He's out of options but won't clear waivers right now. Let him play every day until he regains his power, then bring him up.

Won't cost the Nationals a thing.

Posted by: Beltway Boy | June 21, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Just my opinion but:

Soriano for Galaraga, Wilkerson, and Sledge was and is a good trade; so was Kearns, Lopez and Wagner for Majewski, Bray, Harris, Clayton, and Thompson;
so was Schneider and Church for Milledge;
so was Gibson for Dukes; and the Vidro trade; and even the Castillo for Hoffman trade because they saved money.

None were the heists of the century, but just to review in most cases we gave up nothing and got nothing. In order to get good players you have to give up good players. Which the Nationals did not have.(Quick, what did the Rangers give up to get Soriano?). Despite the fact that everyone in baseball (Everyone!!) told us that MLB had eviscerated the minor league system and left for dead the major league roster, somehow people still underestimated the devistation AND the time it would take to recover. The Nationals are growing a farm system from the ground up so this whole ongoing pouting and campaigning against management reeks of two-year old temper tantrums from little people who don't understand that they can't have the cookies before dinner time.

I get impatient too from time to time (like right now, I'm a little frustrated that Pena is still on the roster), but you know I'm really, really grateful for a major league team in the area and I appreciate the people like the Lerners who have invested not only their money, but their reputations, time, and attention to the development of a team. Whether you like their strategy or not, it is foolhardy and insulting to call them cheap or incompetent, or otherwise demonize them.

Boo-hoo, they are not spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the top free agents. THey have not delivered a playoff contender in the 2 years they have owned the team. TWO YEARS!!!!

As the acrimony in the space grows, some of the greatest fans who used to blog here have wandered away because of the negativity. It's self perpetuating. If a few of you are still out there, please come back. If positive voices leave, then only negative voices are left. Be a part of the solution, come on back.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 21, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"Send him down. He's out of options but won't clear waivers right now. Let him play every day until he regains his power, then bring him up."

You don't seem to understand. They can't do this. If they try to get him through waivers and he doesn't clear, then they either have to arrange a trade with whatever team claims him, pull him off waivers, or lose him to the claiming team for the waiver price. They can't just send him down.

Clearly they must have put WMP on waivers at some point during this season, and clearly there must be some other team that wants him but not badly enough to trade for him. Looks like the only way they'll be able to get rid of him would be to cut him loose a la Patterson. But that would be quite expensive, and clearly they're not ready to do that yet.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 21, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I ought to change my sig to FLopez's Dad. But I don't even like him! Anyways, He's hitting close to his career average
2008 / Career

AVG .255 / .258
OBP .328 / .328
SLG .342 / .392

Other than him doing not as well in the field, what are people's beef with him? Come on people, stop hating.

Posted by: SF Fan | June 21, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Two things that I'm surprised have slipped past this normally very quick crew.

1. Willie Randolph's farewell to the NY Daily News, which is probably the meanest thing that man has ever written - which is to say, mildly disillusioned.
http://tinyurl.com/4q856r

2. According to Yanda, Elijah Dukes apologized to Redding for letting that double get by him. I don't know who is speaking through the transmitter they've planted in his ear, but he or she is teaching the kid all the right moves and then doing a great job leaking it to the press.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 21, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

his career averages suck, that' why people are hating on him. a lot of people who like him are thinking back to that breakout 2005 season and thinking he's that guy (20+ HRs). but he's not that guy. he's the guy you see this year, a 670 OPS (50 points lower than his career 720 OPS) guy. which is ok for a utility infielder, the guy who backs up a few positions (and a mediocre defender version of that guy). but he's not a 5m/yr starter, which is what he's being counted on for here.

if he was a 1m/yr backup here, i don't think people would complain about him the same way.

Posted by: 231 | June 21, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

flynnie how right you are...the lack of booze really brought out the venom, cant get drunk at the game though too expensive. walking to first, second, third and trotting home is not deserving of a pat on the back though. from my view at the game, he did not hustle or show any spark and it made me mad because we could have lost the game for his physical and mental errors...tonite i will be imbibing so the 2am posts will be mellow

Posted by: love | June 21, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say this, because it's a tough thing to throw around, but the only reason Lopez's career SLG is 50 points higher than this year is because of '04 and '05 (.405 and .486).

What might a 24-25 year old player trying to secure a spot on a major league roster do in the first half of this decade in order to make sure he has a career against the boom of home run bashing young players?

Let's hope not. But he wouldn't have been in the minority.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 21, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

that's exactly right, 506. he had a short stretch of his career when he either overachieved or, for the optimists, met his athletic potential. the rest of his career he was a below-average player with a sub-700 OPS and mediocre defensive skills.

he is what you see right now, imo. and what he is right now isn't a quality starting MI. he's a decent backup.

add to that the lack of hustle and you get a guy who should be out of baseball fairly soon if he doesn't decide to start hustling and trying to make it happen instead of waiting for it to happen.

Posted by: 231 | June 21, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"he is what you see right now, imo. and what he is right now isn't a quality starting MI. he's a decent backup."

....except for the Nationals.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 21, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Getting ready to go to the game. Lopez has been hitter better of late and I am hoping that both he and Belliard will be in the lineup tonight. I'm actually hoping for something interesting ... perhaps Lopez in LF or maybe LoDucca. Yeah Belliard at 3B, Lopez at 2B, and LoDucca in LF. I guess it depends on whether Boone can start.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 21, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Anyone remember the name Daryl Thompson?

http://firejimbowden.blogspot.com/2008/06/even-i-dont-believe-it-daryl-thompson.html

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 21, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm here! Thanks Yanda!

Posted by: gnu post | June 21, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Friday night's game was the best ever!!! Nationals win in 14, and my son and I caught Josh Hamilton's bat in the 3rd. Not sure life gets any better than this!

Posted by: Brant Alyea | June 21, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

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