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Arizona 2, Washington 0

Andrew again. A few thoughts...

Well, what a night.

After the game, pitcher Odalis Perez had some choice words for umpire Angel Hernandez following his ejection in the third inning. Earlier, at precisely the moment Perez and Hernandez exchanged pleasantries, Nationals team orthopedist Dr. Benjamin Shaffer held an impromptu press conference in the back of the media center to shed light on the team's numerous injury issues.

Here are a few tidbits from that. Look for related coverage in the coming days.

__

ON CORDERO'S SURGERY: "It was successful. [Doctors] found fraying and partial tearing in the posterior labrum, which is the cartilage in the back of the shoulder. He found a partial tear in the biceps tendon, which is a partial tear in the front of the shoulder. ... He will be in a sling for three weeks. Then he'll start a rehab program with the expectation that he will begin a healing program at four months with the expectation that he ought to be ready for spring training."

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INJURIES TO WAGNER AND CORDERO: "Ryan has had a lot of damage to his cuff. That is a more difficult recovery, given that Chad had no cuff damage and mostly needed to be cleaned up. That that makes me think that this is something easier to recover from. Hopefully, he won't have the long recovery process that Ryan has had to struggle with."

ON ELIJAH DUKES'S UPCOMING SURGERY: "He ought to respond straightforwardly to an arthroscopic procedure, trimming out part of the meniscus and going through a rehab program. The recovery depends on what he has to do, what else he finds. It's probably a four to six week recovery. We'll find that out [today] after [doctors] go in to scope his leg."

ON INJURIES THIS SEASON: "I've been involved with college and professional athletics going on 18 years. The constellation of misfortune is striking. I'm sure those of you who cover other teams find this to be a surprising calamity. ... The reality is that there are a number of different events that are not related, and most of them are traumatic and unavoidable."
__

Washington's offensive performance was about what you would expect against a pitcher of Brandon Webb's caliber. He improved to a major-league leading 13-4 and struck out six and allowed six hits, appearing in control at times. However, by no means were the Nationals stifled; they squandered numerous scoring opportunities and, afterward, Manager Manny Acta said the Nationals hadn't seen Webb's best stuff. I'm not sure if the statement says more about Webb or Washington's ineffectiveness in crucial offensive situations, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Obviously, post-game banter centered around the ejection. From the moment the press horde surrounded Perez near his locker, it became evident that he felt as if he were unfairly targeted because of a checkered history with Hernandez. Perez showed utter disregard about the possibility of a fine, saying he needed to vent to defend himself and his team. Stayed turned.

The Nationals stand at 34-57, the worst in the major leagues. If you're looking for any semblance of hope, at least they displayed a flicker of fire last night.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 9, 2008; 12:56 AM ET
 
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Next: Injuries and Missteps (and signs of evolution)

Comments

I wonder...

1) Does Chico WANT the Nationals beat? Not because it's a beat, but because it's baseball, and more importantly, the NATS? If not, I like his writing, but he shouldn't have the post.

I generally avoid harsh criticisms of the Post, because CiL says everything better, and usually before, I can. But I'm getting tired of the Negative Nancy attitude. We suck. Yes. It's completely true. But give me the hometown discount! We could be 0-162 next year, and you know what? I bet every person on this blog, and thousands of others who aren't internet savvy would still root for them every night. I. Love. the. Nats. Everyone on this blog, even the ones who have taken up lurking or left feels that way (419+1 and SoCH, I'm thinkin of you here). Our beat writer should a) reflect that. b) feel the same way and c) not take days off every other week!!!!!

Next thing I feel like ranting about...
2) Does the WaPo WANT to cover the Nats? Does it WANT to?
Right now it seems not. I'd love to hear your thoughts. The level of coverage is not necessarily lacking in my opinion, though I'd love more, but the quality and tone implies that it does not WANT to. If that's the case, then Mr. Garcia-Ruiz or whoever makes the decision: Say it. Tell it to me point blank. I will still visit the website for real news and Redskins coverage, and to see the many people whose opinion I value on this blog, but I will not come expecting good gamers, new information or anything else.

3) I know the plan is to stock the Minors and go from there, but I think we need to shake things up. Stan, Mark, Ted even, show me you have the slightest understanding of what makes a REAL fan. I could not give a rat's rear end about games and such at a stadium. I live in Hawaii now, if it weren't for the people on this blog, I would be perfectly fine with RFK again. GIVE ME A PRODUCT. If the BREWERS, who to be are synonymous with FAILURE can get frickin' CC SABATHIA, then raid the farm system, find someone amazing (coughoswaltcoughcough) and DO WHAT MUST BE DONE.

Sorry about that guys. I was gone camping for the weekend and all my rage at being swept by the Reds got concentrated into this post.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 9, 2008 2:46 AM | Report abuse

I wonder...

1) Does Chico WANT the Nationals beat? Not because it's a beat, but because it's baseball, and more importantly, the NATS? If not, I like his writing, but he shouldn't have the post.

I generally avoid harsh criticisms of the Post, because CiL says everything better, and usually before, I can. But I'm getting tired of the "Negative Nancy" attitude. We suck. Yes. It's completely true. But give me the hometown discount! We could be 0-162 next year, and you know what? I bet every person on this blog, and thousands of others who aren't internet savvy would still root for them every night. I. Love. the. Nats. Everyone on this blog, even the ones who have taken up lurking or left feels that way (419+1 and SoCH, I'm thinkin of you here). Our beat writer should a) reflect that. b) feel the same way and c) not take days off every other week!!!!!

Next thing I feel like ranting about...
2) Does the WaPo WANT to cover the Nats? Does it WANT to?
Right now it seems like no. I'd love to hear your thoughts. The level of coverage is not necessarily lacking in my opinion, though I'd love more, but the quality and tone implies that it does not WANT to. If that's the case, then Mr. Garcia-Ruiz or whoever makes the decision: Say it. Tell it to me point blank. I will still visit the website for real news and Redskins coverage, and to see the many people whose opinion I value on this blog, but I will not come expecting good gamers, new information or anything else.

3) I know the plan is to stock the Minors and go from there, but I think we need to shake things up. Stan, Mark, Ted even, show me you have the slightest understanding of what makes a REAL fan. I could not give a rat's rear end about games and such at a stadium. I live in Hawaii now, if it weren't for the people on this blog, I would be perfectly fine with RFK again. GIVE ME A PRODUCT. If the BREWERS, who, to me, are synonymous with FAILURE can get frickin' CC SABATHIA, then raid the farm system, find someone amazing (coughoswaltcoughcough) and DO WHAT MUST BE DONE.

Sorry about that guys. I was gone camping for the weekend and all my rage at being swept by the Reds got concentrated into this post.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 9, 2008 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Lovely. I guess the Post wanted everyone to see my message so bad, it made it appear twice.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 9, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Please remember that the reason the Brewers were able to trade for CC was that their minor league system is stocked with talent. They did not raid their system, every article I read suggested that they were able to keep some of their best prospects. The Nats simply don't have the talent (yet) to make this type of trade. The plan is starting to yield some players in the lower minors but we're really lacking players above AA. I'm sure there is a team or two looking to "steal" some of our young arms but I certainly hope we'll hang onto to all of them. I choose to remian patient, I don't think it's our time yet. We need a stronger nucleus before we start making such splashy acquisitions.

Posted by: grf15 | July 9, 2008 3:32 AM | Report abuse

NattyDelite!

There's a big difference between wanting to cover a team and feeling obligated to cover it. The Times is the former with two beat reporters, the Post is the latter with a hodgepodge approach where the feeling seemingly is anyone can do the job. The Post coverage has become bloodless and passionless because it fancies itself a national and international paper. The Times is the local sports page where there is generally found a gamer, a sidebar, game notes and even occasionally a feature on how the farm teams are doing. Last night, for example, only initially posting the Nats lineup then circling back hours later to include the D'backs lineup after the game was in the middle innings was truly tacky. Saw what passed for the early pre-edited game story and sent it to a former Post editor who now teaches so her class can see how not to write cliche-ridden, hackneyed drivel.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 9, 2008 5:20 AM | Report abuse

Are we sure that the earlier article was Intern Andrew and not AP? It's not that I would be surprised, just want to be not surprised correctly.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 9, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

NattyDelite, I agree that the Nats' beatwriter should care about covering the team, but disagree with your conclusion from a handful of off-days during a long stretch of boring, sloppy baseball that this means Chico doesn't care. As to your other requests, that the beatwriter reflects and personally feels our love for the Nats, I think you misunderstand what a journalist's role is. A journalist's job is not to reflect the team's followers' love for the team, but rather to provide an accurate and informative account of the team's activities. While I certainly don't want coverage that goes out of its way to take shots at the team, the idea that the team's beat writer should personally love the Nats is not realistic or even wise. Let's remember, this is the Washington Post, not a nats blog. You can ask that Chico provide more constant and thorough coverage (though I think he's doing a fine job so far), but to ask that he also focus on how much the fans love the team and that he love it himself is unreasonable, and would likely lead to much worse coverage.

Posted by: mrlogical | July 9, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

506, it was definitely Astleford's story, it was online right under his byline.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 9, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

NattyDelite:

1) Good points about the tone and extent of Post coverage, although I'd also agree with mrlogical in that it is not the role of the beat writer is not to be a fan.

2) Do you have a guest room? :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 9, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Whoops, didn't edit out the "is not." Daggone Post editor layoffs. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 9, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward in light of the coverage discussion:

Re. the OP's comments section, I occasionally tried to post, often without success, in the past. I looked again when they changed the format, but I was turned off by their wanting to know my gender, birthday, and zip code (required fields) to register.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 9, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone comment knowlegably about the balk calls? Were they legit or does Perez have a point? What is Perez' checkered past with the umpire? These are some questions I had that were not answered satisfactorily in the print article or this blog item. Can anyone help?

Posted by: Dsmac | July 9, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I'd be interested to know that, too, Dsmac. Charlie and Dave did not seem to think that either instance was a balk (I liked Charlie's revisiting of his classic Nook Logan call in light of the balk calls).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 9, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

A left-handed pitcher generally is granted the "45-degree rule" when stepping toward first, meaning that an umpire won't call a balk if the pitcher is at least somewhat heading toward first base. From my viewpoint, Perez followed all the requisite "pitching from the stretch rules", although when his right ankle (right toe, more specifically) pointed toward home plate, Angel Hernandez sought vindication and retribution from his parents for that awful first name. I disagreed with our heavenly umpire. Yes, Perez tilted his right ankle, but he was not trying to deceive the runner and 99 out of 100 umpire wouldn't ever make that call.

Posted by: Ray Knight | July 9, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Dsmac,

I didn't see them last night, so the short answer is "no, I can't." That said, balk calls are almost always borderline, and almost always in the eye of the beholder - Perez can be doing the same move all year long, and then he runs into one ump who thinks its a balk and calls it. It sounds like he and the ump may have a history.

Thanks to whoever on the WaPo website helped Chico set up the poll questions this way - much, MUCH better and more conducive to reading the comments.

PHS- Have to say, the '79 Mets is not a lineup I'm familiar with, but part of my horror yesterday was realizing that this was actually the best eight-man team we could field. Ugh. At least Kearns played well.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | July 9, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Acta really needed to get thrown out last night. He should have stood up for his pitcher and went off on Hernandez. Angel is one of the worst umpires because he thinks he is a God out there. I understand that Manny doesn't like to go a la Pinela, but sometimes you have to get thrown out. The umpire changed that whole game.

Posted by: BRothbart | July 9, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone for the great comments concerning the balks. It helps a lot. Does anyone know about the "history" between Odalis Perez and Angel Hernandez? If there is a history, why would MLB have him ump behind the plate when Perez is pitching?

Posted by: Dsmac | July 9, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Posted this in the "Injuries and Missteps" thread, but perhaps this is the better place for it:

"I'd like to apologize to umpire Angel Hernandez for my words toward him that led to my ejection in yesterday's game, as well as for my ill-considered words toward him that I used with the press after the game. I should have treated him with the same respect I would want people to treat me with. I take full responsibility for the inappropriate language I used, and accept any fine that Major League Baseball chooses to impose on me.

That said, I stand by my original assertion that both my pick-off attempts were not balks, and respectfully ask that MLB look at video of my previous pick-off attempts (that have not been called balks by other umpires) to compare with what I did yesterday." -- Odalis Perez

OK, Perez obviously didn't say the above, and I'm assuming that his supposed balks were actually not balks, but it's a fun thought to have anyway, huh?

Posted by: Juan-John | July 9, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Angel Hernandez is notorious for getting in the face of the players. Instead of just doing his job he likes to be the center of attention. He has a long history of being confrontational.

Here is a story from last year:
"Astros manager Phil Garner was not pleased with what he saw in the sixth inning when plate umpire Angel Hernandez confronted Astros starting lefthander Wandy Rodriguez. After the Los Angeles Angels' Chone Figgins took a 1-2 curveball, Hernandez appeared to lose his temper with Rodriguez. For some reason, Hernandez had words with Rodriguez after that pitch. Garner ran out to protect Rodriguez."
www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bb/4907912.html

Also an incident with the Dodger and Diamondback. While arguing L.A. Dodgers third base coach , Mariano Duncan, tossed his hat and Angel Hernandez ran over to it and picked it up-and took it over to the stands and gave it to a fan.

Another example, Hernandez ejected Julio Lugo while he was playing SS during a game in Seattle earlier this year.

Finally, earlier this year, Hernandez cursed out Carlos Delgado, of the mets, calling him a "piece of s**t".

Hernandez has also been described as a "roadie" umpire, or someone that favors the road team over home teams almost in spite of the fans and the home team as to never show them favor in the least.

This is Angel Hernandez's fourth ejection of 2008.
This is the 117th ejection of 2008.
This is the 53rd player ejection of 2008.

From washington times blog
Odalis claimed Hernadez has it in for him and that this was the fourth time this ump has called him for a balk in his career. So, was Perez right? Well, Ben Goessling and I have gone back and looked at all 16 times Perez has been called for a balk in his career. And last night indeed was the fourth time it happened with Angel Hernandez on site. There's no way to know whether Hernandez was actually the guy who made the call in each instance, but here are all the instances when it's happened:

* April 27, 1999 -- Braves vs. Pirates

* June 24, 2003 -- Dodgers vs. Giants

* April 21, 2006 -- Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks

* July 8, 2008 -- Nationals vs. Diamondbacks (twice)

www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/chatter/2008/Jul/09/23-games-under-and-live-chat-today/

Posted by: brothbart | July 9, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Going back to the Post's coverage of the Nats - it's really frustrating that there is almost no coverage of the minor league teams even though there's one that's local. I remember back before we had a major league team, the Post did cover the minors. At least, there would be a box score. Given how poorly the team is performing, and "The Plan" it would be nice to have some news about what might be in the future.

Posted by: Mama B | July 9, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

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