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Day 4, Team Management

Morning, folks. We've got Day 4 of the Fan Satisfaction Poll here. Has anybody tried to determine whether there's a limit on how many times you can vote? Does the Internet polling system ever cut you off ... after five votes? After 25 votes? Either way, mass clicking is encouraged. Click, too, on the 35 Cent stuff from the win last night at Nats Park. You can read about John Lannan's first win since May 18 here. You can read about GM Jim Bowden's response to the Perez balk here.

Now, let's get on with the armchair analysis.

---

Day 4: TEAM MANAGEMENT

By Chico Harlan  |  July 10, 2008; 8:17 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bowden Speaks
Next: Insult, injury, repeat

Comments

Question four "F - All of the above".

Is it possible to address Day One in this poll format?

Posted by: ChrisC | July 10, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I can't access this new polling service via office firewalls - poo (same thing goes for yesterday)

Posted by: Corey | July 10, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2008/07/nats_fans_vs_the_posts_coverag.html

CiL, I'm still fighting the good fight!

Actually, I brought this up, because the Post put us on top today and I was happy that everyone can see their future Cy Young winning pitcher now. Good coverage, Post!

(Maybe a feature article about this amazing guy would be nice?)

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Good to see Chico back. This guy takes more days off than my brain.

Posted by: FLop | July 10, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Once I voted, all I saw were the results and couldn't get back to the questionnaire to answer a second time.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 10, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, if I were as loaded as those questions I don't think I'd be able to type this.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang,

There was a concern brought up in the DC Sports Bog about Nats Journal and Caps Insider posts not showing up in the "Latest Blog Posts" flyout on the site homepage. Just wanted you to know it's been fixed, and as of 9:30 am, I saw that this Nats Journal post was at the top of the list ... one small step forward.

I am headed to the beach. Please enjoy your day and feel free to hit me with other web-related questions here, on other blogs, or by email (jon-dot-denunzio-at-wpni-dot-com).

Jon DeNunzio
Sports editor, washingtonpost.com

Posted by: Jon DeNunzio | July 10, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

While I am a staunch supporter of "The Plan" as a means of building a solid foundation for the franchise, I have concerns that JimBow is not the right general manager to oversee its direction. JimBow can't just make a baseball trade, it has to be a splashy "look how smart I am" deal. Andy MacPhail is already seeing results from his low-key but skillful efforts to rebuild the AngelO's and he's not trying to convince anyone that he's the smartest guy in the room. That's why I selected "B" for question five. I can see Mike Rizzo becoming a MacPhailian-type GM for the Nats and guys like JimBow, Boone and Rijo let go if this team fails to post any significant improvement within the next two years.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 10, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Q4 -- missing answer option:

The major league ready players on the team are not talented enough.

The main problem with the Nats is that we got a bunch of guys who are talented enough to play in the majors, but not talented enough to constitute a winning team. "A critical group of minor-league prospects that fails to develop..." Develop into who? A team of Albert Pujols? Cause there's a lot of slack to pick up when the rest of the team are cast-offs.

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, 506, and BobL, I saw your post, thanks for pointing me to it. I'm going to hold off further posts in that Steinbog thread at least until Dan responds, which he said he would do at some point. Enough swimming in the neighbor's pool for me for now.

It was nice to see the little pic of Lannan up top. If Lannan and Balester can really get it together up here, I think they will be some good personalities for the team to capitalize on--the unflappable New Yorker and the California surfer dude. Of course, capitalizing on that kind of stuff will take either--or both--savvy marketing on the Nats' part or good coverage from the media. So, still a long way to go.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 10, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

If there had been a "c) both of the above" option for question five, I would have chosen it. I think the Plan will ultimately work, but there's a legitimate chance that Manny, Bowden, or some other key individual won't be in DC when it does.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

506, me too on the good fight. Also, re. the Lannan feature possibility, after watching the highlights on the team site, it looks as though he was fielding his position better this go-round (starting two of the DPs). Seems like I recall reading about pitchers' fielding practice taking place after the start where his fielding cost him. Good on him for working on it and improving, if that was the case.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

To post on my post...

This is the problem now, and will remain to be the problem unless minor league propects turn into stars.

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Steinbog did respond, CiL, in the form of a new post on the subject.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I just want to heap as much praise as possible onto John Lannan. He obviously didn't have his best stuff last night (82 balls - 83 strikes ... not a very good ratio). But to still shutdown the D'Backs while not having it all together, that's pretty darned impressive! He has one of the best demeanors for a young pitcher I've ever seen.

Way to go Lannan!

Posted by: e | July 10, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

that would be 42 balls and 43 strikes. Haven't had my coffee yet.

Posted by: e | July 10, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"Steinbog did respond, CiL, in the form of a new post on the subject."

Which for some reason does not appear above the "Part One" post on the blog (as it should, being as it's newer) but rather below it - making it very easy to miss. And let me hazard a guess that neither one of these posts will make the "Excerpts from the DC Sports Bog" in the print edition. Just like the Post does with its Nationals coverage, they obviously want to bury these posts and the many comments they've received too.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, 1a. RKGF, I think it appears below because Dan dated it July 9 instead of July 10 and the posts come up chronologically--looks like just a mistake.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 10, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Interesting, RKGF.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome, CiL. Good point re. placement.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

#1 reason that the Plan might fail:

Impatient fans force the ownership to spend now instead of spending smart by bringing attendance down to a floridian level.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | July 10, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

One of my biggest criticisms of Manny is his handling of starting pitchers. I think guys like Redding and Lannan need a longer leash, both for their own development and for the sake of the overworked bullpen. Generally, I think sending PLD up to pinch hit when a starter has thrown 80 pitches thru 5 or 6 solid innings is totally counter-productive. Of course, as I was saying that to myself last night, Jesus hit a 3-run jack and made Manny look like a genius!

Posted by: JEp | July 10, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It might have been the Post blog time stamp monster. It's listed as having been written before the first post, which means either Steinberg can anticipate our responses (which isn't that hard to imagine, honestly), or something is broken.

-----

Thanks, 1a. RKGF, I think it appears below because Dan dated it July 9 instead of July 10 and the posts come up chronologically--looks like just a mistake.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

That's a great point, e. To add to it, perhaps I should point out that he pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball - without a strikeout.

The guy is a pitcher.

-----

I just want to heap as much praise as possible onto John Lannan. He obviously didn't have his best stuff last night (82 balls - 83 strikes ... not a very good ratio).

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking the exact same thing last night, JEp.

The thing is, though, I think Manny has had to pull pitchers earlier because the offense rarely gives the starter any cushion.

This was the case last night. Had the team jumped on the shaky Owings earlier, Lannan would have been able to go seven or even eight. He was only at 85 pitches.

-----

Of course, as I was saying that to myself last night, Jesus hit a 3-run jack and made Manny look like a genius!

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

i agree with 756* (although i hate the asterisk). the answer i was looking for was "current veterans don't play well enough to trade".

Posted by: longterm | July 10, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Of course, as I was saying that to myself last night, Jesus hit a 3-run jack and made Manny look like a genius!
Posted by: JEp | July 10, 2008 10:31 AM
*****************************************
All due respect, I think even Willie Randolph would've pinch hit (and made the right decision) there. Remember, Casto had just doubled to put the team up 2-0 with himself on 2nd and LoDu on 3rd with two outs. No way you have Lannan hitting there. I'm not hating on Manny, I just didn't want his head to get too large.

Posted by: Section 138 | July 10, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely, and a good point. However, Flores was already on deck when Casto was hitting, so Manny had made the decision to pinch hit for Lannan before the situation you described had developed.

(Of course, at that time, it was just a 1-0 game, and the Nats needed some offense.)

-----

Remember, Casto had just doubled to put the team up 2-0 with himself on 2nd and LoDu on 3rd with two outs. No way you have Lannan hitting there. I'm not hating on Manny, I just didn't want his head to get too large.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"(82 balls - 83 strikes ... not a very good ratio)."

whoah, did i miss something? did lannan throw 165 pitches in 6 innings last night? :O

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

JiM,

My buddy and I were at the park last night and noticed that, as well. We thought Manny would've run Lannan back out there if Casto had made the 3rd out. Agree?

Posted by: Section 138 | July 10, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Message for Andrew - If we make you the beat writer for the Nats, will you actually attend all of the games for the rest of the season?

Posted by: Kathy Weymouth | July 10, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

So, for those at the game last night, did they play "Sweet Caroline"?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"Absolutely, and a good point. However, Flores was already on deck when Casto was hitting, so Manny had made the decision to pinch hit for Lannan before the situation you described had developed."

Just because Flores was on deck doesn't mean he definitely would have hit no matter what Casto did. Until a pinch hitter is announced (right before he hits) he is not officially in the game and can be pulled back out of the on deck circle to allow the original batter to hit. Manny may have just been "showing" pinch hitter in order to prevent Arizona from pitching around Casto, while reserving the option to have Lannan still bat depending on what Casto did. If Casto had homered, for instance, Manny might have decided that a 4-0 lead was enough to leave Lannan in.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

What sort of travel expenses are related to covering a home game by the media?

Two home games and only Intern Andrew? I had a field pass for BP yesterday and there were tons of media. I even saw Ladson!

I'll offer to start a WP travel fund to get Chico to/from home games via metro. Just say the word DeNunzio.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 10, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Maybe one of our local residents who drives to games could swing by and pick him up on the way?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

506 - No Sweet Caroline, and three members from the cast of Mamma Mia did TSSB, great harmony, well-received.

Posted by: Traveler | July 10, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

That's a good question, and really only Manny can answer it. I know I would've absolutely sent Lannan back to the mound in that situation.

RKGF makes the good point that Flores wasn't the official batter until he was announced, and it certainly makes sense to send him out to avoid the pitcharound. Even if that were the only reason behind it, the strategy worked - Casto doubled.

However, I'm inclined to believe that Flores was the guy as long as Casto's at bat didn't result in an out. Manny was showing a lot of confidence in the slumping catcher by calling on him in that spot, and I don't think he'd risk undoing it by calling him back.

Also, had Manny simply been showing, he could've called on Boone (who was likely privately unavailable), much like he did with Belly when he was hurt.

-----

My buddy and I were at the park last night and noticed that, as well. We thought Manny would've run Lannan back out there if Casto had made the 3rd out. Agree?

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The way the current Nats are playing one could possibly argue that Angelos, Flannagan, Syd Thrift, and Jim Beattie are all running the Washington Nationals.


Holy Toledo.

Posted by: O's Exec | July 10, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Yep. That's right. Opposing pitcher change in the middle of the inning and not a single note of Sweet Caroline. Thanks GOODNESS.

Now we need to work on getting rid of Clint and Screech!

Posted by: NatsNut | July 10, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

has no one else noticed that the poll system completely lets Chico off the hook for not doing the legwork for actual content to put on this Journal? Where is the washington post quality assurance?

Posted by: q | July 10, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I am somwwhat concerend by Bowden ' comments on the draft. The Nats, plain and simple, need to sign their top picks. I really do not want to hear issues as "we are a slot team" or "the market speaks". If Kasten and company are basing the team's future on the Plan, then they have to execute the Plan. Detroit , Boston, New York do not have issues with their draftees. They execute.

The Nats performance aside, what is disconcerting is the reputation that the team seems to be developing. I am in the New York market and here the Nats are considered a poorly run organization. Bowden has a less than trust worthy reputation with other GM's. I am concerned he is developing or has developed the same reputation with agents and draftees. I really do not think it is wise for the Lerners to have a person such as Bowden representing their team. He neither appears nor acts professional. His reddish puffy complexion suggest activities other than managing a sports franchise.

I truly believe this team will reach new lows if Bowden remains in charge.

I am hoping that the Lerners protect their investment and hire a professional to manage the Nats.

Posted by: mjames | July 10, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

All you guys who are ragging on Chico, I hope there's a crowd looking over your shoulder at work all day every day, and b*tching about every little thing you do and don't do.

Posted by: Not Chico's mom, but sheesh | July 10, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

So, for those at the game last night, did they play "Sweet Caroline"?

---

Section 506 - Yes they did play "Sweet Caroline" last night. However, it was about half an hour before the game started.

Posted by: Sweet Caroline | July 10, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

#1 reason that the Plan might fail:

Impatient fans force the ownership to spend now instead of spending smart by bringing attendance down to a floridian level.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | July 10, 2008 10:04 AM
______________________________________

Or...ownership melts entire stadium in an effort to make nickels.

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse


Day 4, Team Management
Morning, folks. We've got Day 4 of the Fan Satisfaction Poll here. Has anybody tried to determine whether there's a limit on how many times you can vote? Does the Internet polling system ever cut you off ... after five votes? After 25 votes? Either way, mass clicking is encouraged. Click, too, on the 35 Cent stuff from the win last night at Nats Park. You can read about John Lannan's first win since May 18 here. You can read about GM Jim Bowden's response to the Perez balk here.

Now, let's get on with the armchair analysis.

---

Day 4: TEAM MANAGEMENT

ONE. Evaluate the following statement: Manny Acta will one day preside as manager over a winning season with the Washington Nationals.
True
83%
False
16%
Created on Jul 10, 2008
Total Votes: 400

poll by twiigs.com
TWO. Which of the following revisions would you most like to see in Manny Acta?s managerial style?
Less juggling of the bullpen
17%
More fire, less patience
23%
Greater belief in bunting, stealing and ?small ball? strategies
27%
Increased willingness to criticize and punish players openly
5%
Other
7%
None
18%
Created on Jul 10, 2008
Total Votes: 399

poll by twiigs.com
THREE. It?s been almost four years since Jim Bowden was named GM ? at the time, on an interim basis ? of the Washington Nationals. Evaluate his tenure with a letter grade.
A
2%
B
25%
C
48%
D
18%
F
5%
Created on Jul 10, 2008
Total Votes: 397

poll by twiigs.com
FOUR. The so-called Plan for turning the Nationals into a winning team calls for, first, a rebuilding of the franchise?s foundation and minor league system and, second, timely spending and trades to shape a ready-to-win major league roster. What do you feel is the greatest threat to The Plan?s success?
A critical group of minor-league prospects that fails to develop
42%
The general manager?s ability as a trader and player evaluator
22%
Marquee free agents? unwillingness to sign with the Nationals
7%
The Lerner family?s reluctance to spend enough money
25%
Other
1%
Created on Jul 10, 2008
Total Votes: 396

poll by twiigs.com
FIVE. Five years from now, we?ll be talking about The Plan because?
It built a playoff-contending baseball team
62%
It cost several men their jobs
37%
Created on Jul 10, 2008
Total Votes: 393

poll by twiigs.com
By Chico Harlan | July 10, 2008; 8:17 AM ET
Previous: Bowden Speaks |

CommentsPlease email us to report offensive comments.

Question four "F - All of the above".

Is it possible to address Day One in this poll format?

Posted by: ChrisC | July 10, 2008 9:00 AM

I can't access this new polling service via office firewalls - poo (same thing goes for yesterday)

Posted by: Corey | July 10, 2008 9:11 AM

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2008/07/nats_fans_vs_the_posts_coverag.html

CiL, I'm still fighting the good fight!

Actually, I brought this up, because the Post put us on top today and I was happy that everyone can see their future Cy Young winning pitcher now. Good coverage, Post!

(Maybe a feature article about this amazing guy would be nice?)

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 9:26 AM

Good to see Chico back. This guy takes more days off than my brain.

Posted by: FLop | July 10, 2008 9:26 AM

Once I voted, all I saw were the results and couldn't get back to the questionnaire to answer a second time.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 10, 2008 9:35 AM

Wow, if I were as loaded as those questions I don't think I'd be able to type this.

Posted by: | July 10, 2008 9:43 AM

Hey Gang,

There was a concern brought up in the DC Sports Bog about Nats Journal and Caps Insider posts not showing up in the "Latest Blog Posts" flyout on the site homepage. Just wanted you to know it's been fixed, and as of 9:30 am, I saw that this Nats Journal post was at the top of the list ... one small step forward.

I am headed to the beach. Please enjoy your day and feel free to hit me with other web-related questions here, on other blogs, or by email (jon-dot-denunzio-at-wpni-dot-com).

Jon DeNunzio
Sports editor, washingtonpost.com

Posted by: Jon DeNunzio | July 10, 2008 9:45 AM

While I am a staunch supporter of "The Plan" as a means of building a solid foundation for the franchise, I have concerns that JimBow is not the right general manager to oversee its direction. JimBow can't just make a baseball trade, it has to be a splashy "look how smart I am" deal. Andy MacPhail is already seeing results from his low-key but skillful efforts to rebuild the AngelO's and he's not trying to convince anyone that he's the smartest guy in the room. That's why I selected "B" for question five. I can see Mike Rizzo becoming a MacPhailian-type GM for the Nats and guys like JimBow, Boone and Rijo let go if this team fails to post any significant improvement within the next two years.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 10, 2008 9:45 AM

Q4 -- missing answer option:

The major league ready players on the team are not talented enough.

The main problem with the Nats is that we got a bunch of guys who are talented enough to play in the majors, but not talented enough to constitute a winning team. "A critical group of minor-league prospects that fails to develop..." Develop into who? A team of Albert Pujols? Cause there's a lot of slack to pick up when the rest of the team are cast-offs.

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 9:50 AM

Thanks, 506, and BobL, I saw your post, thanks for pointing me to it. I'm going to hold off further posts in that Steinbog thread at least until Dan responds, which he said he would do at some point. Enough swimming in the neighbor's pool for me for now.

It was nice to see the little pic of Lannan up top. If Lannan and Balester can really get it together up here, I think they will be some good personalities for the team to capitalize on--the unflappable New Yorker and the California surfer dude. Of course, capitalizing on that kind of stuff will take either--or both--savvy marketing on the Nats' part or good coverage from the media. So, still a long way to go.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 10, 2008 9:51 AM

If there had been a "c) both of the above" option for question five, I would have chosen it. I think the Plan will ultimately work, but there's a legitimate chance that Manny, Bowden, or some other key individual won't be in DC when it does.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 9:51 AM

506, me too on the good fight. Also, re. the Lannan feature possibility, after watching the highlights on the team site, it looks as though he was fielding his position better this go-round (starting two of the DPs). Seems like I recall reading about pitchers' fielding practice taking place after the start where his fielding cost him. Good on him for working on it and improving, if that was the case.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 9:52 AM

To post on my post...

This is the problem now, and will remain to be the problem unless minor league propects turn into stars.

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 9:52 AM

Steinbog did respond, CiL, in the form of a new post on the subject.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 9:52 AM

I just want to heap as much praise as possible onto John Lannan. He obviously didn't have his best stuff last night (82 balls - 83 strikes ... not a very good ratio). But to still shutdown the D'Backs while not having it all together, that's pretty darned impressive! He has one of the best demeanors for a young pitcher I've ever seen.

Way to go Lannan!

Posted by: e | July 10, 2008 9:55 AM

that would be 42 balls and 43 strikes. Haven't had my coffee yet.

Posted by: e | July 10, 2008 9:57 AM

"Steinbog did respond, CiL, in the form of a new post on the subject."

Which for some reason does not appear above the "Part One" post on the blog (as it should, being as it's newer) but rather below it - making it very easy to miss. And let me hazard a guess that neither one of these posts will make the "Excerpts from the DC Sports Bog" in the print edition. Just like the Post does with its Nationals coverage, they obviously want to bury these posts and the many comments they've received too.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 10:01 AM

Thanks, 1a. RKGF, I think it appears below because Dan dated it July 9 instead of July 10 and the posts come up chronologically--looks like just a mistake.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 10, 2008 10:02 AM

Interesting, RKGF.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 10:03 AM

You're welcome, CiL. Good point re. placement.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 10:03 AM

#1 reason that the Plan might fail:

Impatient fans force the ownership to spend now instead of spending smart by bringing attendance down to a floridian level.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | July 10, 2008 10:04 AM

One of my biggest criticisms of Manny is his handling of starting pitchers. I think guys like Redding and Lannan need a longer leash, both for their own development and for the sake of the overworked bullpen. Generally, I think sending PLD up to pinch hit when a starter has thrown 80 pitches thru 5 or 6 solid innings is totally counter-productive. Of course, as I was saying that to myself last night, Jesus hit a 3-run jack and made Manny look like a genius!

Posted by: JEp | July 10, 2008 10:31 AM

It might have been the Post blog time stamp monster. It's listed as having been written before the first post, which means either Steinberg can anticipate our responses (which isn't that hard to imagine, honestly), or something is broken.

-----

Thanks, 1a. RKGF, I think it appears below because Dan dated it July 9 instead of July 10 and the posts come up chronologically--looks like just a mistake.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:33 AM

That's a great point, e. To add to it, perhaps I should point out that he pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball - without a strikeout.

The guy is a pitcher.

-----

I just want to heap as much praise as possible onto John Lannan. He obviously didn't have his best stuff last night (82 balls - 83 strikes ... not a very good ratio).

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:36 AM

I was thinking the exact same thing last night, JEp.

The thing is, though, I think Manny has had to pull pitchers earlier because the offense rarely gives the starter any cushion.

This was the case last night. Had the team jumped on the shaky Owings earlier, Lannan would have been able to go seven or even eight. He was only at 85 pitches.

-----

Of course, as I was saying that to myself last night, Jesus hit a 3-run jack and made Manny look like a genius!


Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:40 AM

i agree with 756* (although i hate the asterisk). the answer i was looking for was "current veterans don't play well enough to trade".

Posted by: longterm | July 10, 2008 10:42 AM

Of course, as I was saying that to myself last night, Jesus hit a 3-run jack and made Manny look like a genius!
Posted by: JEp | July 10, 2008 10:31 AM
*****************************************
All due respect, I think even Willie Randolph would've pinch hit (and made the right decision) there. Remember, Casto had just doubled to put the team up 2-0 with himself on 2nd and LoDu on 3rd with two outs. No way you have Lannan hitting there. I'm not hating on Manny, I just didn't want his head to get too large.

Posted by: Section 138 | July 10, 2008 10:53 AM

Absolutely, and a good point. However, Flores was already on deck when Casto was hitting, so Manny had made the decision to pinch hit for Lannan before the situation you described had developed.

(Of course, at that time, it was just a 1-0 game, and the Nats needed some offense.)

-----

Remember, Casto had just doubled to put the team up 2-0 with himself on 2nd and LoDu on 3rd with two outs. No way you have Lannan hitting there. I'm not hating on Manny, I just didn't want his head to get too large.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:58 AM

"(82 balls - 83 strikes ... not a very good ratio)."

whoah, did i miss something? did lannan throw 165 pitches in 6 innings last night? :O

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 11:08 AM

JiM,

My buddy and I were at the park last night and noticed that, as well. We thought Manny would've run Lannan back out there if Casto had made the 3rd out. Agree?

Posted by: Section 138 | July 10, 2008 11:10 AM

Message for Andrew - If we make you the beat writer for the Nats, will you actually attend all of the games for the rest of the season?

Posted by: Kathy Weymouth | July 10, 2008 11:15 AM

So, for those at the game last night, did they play "Sweet Caroline"?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 11:29 AM

"Absolutely, and a good point. However, Flores was already on deck when Casto was hitting, so Manny had made the decision to pinch hit for Lannan before the situation you described had developed."

Just because Flores was on deck doesn't mean he definitely would have hit no matter what Casto did. Until a pinch hitter is announced (right before he hits) he is not officially in the game and can be pulled back out of the on deck circle to allow the original batter to hit. Manny may have just been "showing" pinch hitter in order to prevent Arizona from pitching around Casto, while reserving the option to have Lannan still bat depending on what Casto did. If Casto had homered, for instance, Manny might have decided that a 4-0 lead was enough to leave Lannan in.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 11:31 AM

What sort of travel expenses are related to covering a home game by the media?

Two home games and only Intern Andrew? I had a field pass for BP yesterday and there were tons of media. I even saw Ladson!

I'll offer to start a WP travel fund to get Chico to/from home games via metro. Just say the word DeNunzio.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 10, 2008 11:34 AM

Maybe one of our local residents who drives to games could swing by and pick him up on the way?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 11:36 AM

506 - No Sweet Caroline, and three members from the cast of Mamma Mia did TSSB, great harmony, well-received.

Posted by: Traveler | July 10, 2008 11:41 AM

That's a good question, and really only Manny can answer it. I know I would've absolutely sent Lannan back to the mound in that situation.

RKGF makes the good point that Flores wasn't the official batter until he was announced, and it certainly makes sense to send him out to avoid the pitcharound. Even if that were the only reason behind it, the strategy worked - Casto doubled.

However, I'm inclined to believe that Flores was the guy as long as Casto's at bat didn't result in an out. Manny was showing a lot of confidence in the slumping catcher by calling on him in that spot, and I don't think he'd risk undoing it by calling him back.

Also, had Manny simply been showing, he could've called on Boone (who was likely privately unavailable), much like he did with Belly when he was hurt.

-----

My buddy and I were at the park last night and noticed that, as well. We thought Manny would've run Lannan back out there if Casto had made the 3rd out. Agree?

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 11:55 AM

The way the current Nats are playing one could possibly argue that Angelos, Flannagan, Syd Thrift, and Jim Beattie are all running the Washington Nationals.


Holy Toledo.

Posted by: O's Exec | July 10, 2008 12:10 PM

Yep. That's right. Opposing pitcher change in the middle of the inning and not a single note of Sweet Caroline. Thanks GOODNESS.

Now we need to work on getting rid of Clint and Screech!

Posted by: NatsNut | July 10, 2008 12:14 PM

has no one else noticed that the poll system completely lets Chico off the hook for not doing the legwork for actual content to put on this Journal? Where is the washington post quality assurance?

Posted by: q | July 10, 2008 12:19 PM

I am somwwhat concerend by Bowden ' comments on the draft. The Nats, plain and simple, need to sign their top picks. I really do not want to hear issues as "we are a slot team" or "the market speaks". If Kasten and company are basing the team's future on the Plan, then they have to execute the Plan. Detroit , Boston, New York do not have issues with their draftees. They execute.

The Nats performance aside, what is disconcerting is the reputation that the team seems to be developing. I am in the New York market and here the Nats are considered a poorly run organization. Bowden has a less than trust worthy reputation with other GM's. I am concerned he is developing or has developed the same reputation with agents and draftees. I really do not think it is wise for the Lerners to have a person such as Bowden representing their team. He neither appears nor acts professional. His reddish puffy complexion suggest activities other than managing a sports franchise.

I truly believe this team will reach new lows if Bowden remains in charge.

I am hoping that the Lerners protect their investment and hire a professional to manage the Nats.

Posted by: mjames | July 10, 2008 12:25 PM

All you guys who are ragging on Chico, I hope there's a crowd looking over your shoulder at work all day every day, and b*tching about every little thing you do and don't do.

Posted by: Not Chico's mom, but sheesh | July 10, 2008 12:26 PM

So, for those at the game last night, did they play "Sweet Caroline"?

---

Section 506 - Yes they did play "Sweet Caroline" last night. However, it was about half an hour before the game started.

Posted by: Sweet Caroline | July 10, 2008 12:32 PM
_________________________________________

Hearing Sweet Caroline at Fenway is nothing compared to hearing the "Let's go Man--ny" or even "Let's go Lu--go."

Nats Park should be called Sprint Stadium, "so quiet you can hear a pin drop"

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, sorry...

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

A generally Plan-supportive article by RosenRosen here:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8319678/Savvy-Brewers-turn-prospects-into-ace-Sabathia

Of course, having prospects to trade requires actually signing prospects to contracts ....

Posted by: Bob L. Head | July 10, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I have this sneaking suspicion that when Chico has days off, he's really just been temporarily reassigned to help out on the Redskins beat (you know, researching stories such as whether they have painted new lines on the parking lots at Redskins Park, whether Snyder is smoking a new brand of cigar, or if there's truth to the rumor that Snyder is putting the Six Flags logo on the Redskins' helmets).

Posted by: Suicide Squeeze | July 10, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Originally posted by Marc Fisher, Washington Post Metro columnist:

Mr. Fisher gets my vote for quote of the year!

4) The rest of the media in town has failed to embrace baseball's return. Driving up the East Coast recently, my kids were stunned by the volume and passion of baseball chatter on sports talk stations in Philly, New York, Boston and many points in between. In Washington, Sports Talk 980 (WTEM) and Redskins Radio both treat baseball as a third-tier afterthought. The Nats do have a fan base: drawing nearly 30,000 fans a night isn't chopped liver, and the team, while hardly close to breaking any records, is well into the middle of the pack in attendance at the stadium. But you'd never know that from how the team is covered and chatted about on radio and TV. The Nats have a very strong blogosphere, and the Nats coverage in the Post has a good and very loyal following. But aside from the talk show that 3WT added as part of its postgame coverage on the radio, there's precious little opportunity for fans and newbies to get into the personalities and daily soap opera that makes baseball a different kind of story from other sports.

Posted by: tippy canoe | July 10, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Suicide Squeeze, I don't appreciate your ridiculous comments cheapening a very real problem here.

Everyone knows it's the Johnny Rocket's logo being added to the helmets.

Keep your fictions to yourself.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Shoot, sorry...

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 12:36 PM"

Dude, how the HELL did you manage to cut and paste the ENTIRE blogroll of comments into that little Leave a Comment box? Clearly you must be juicing every bit as much as the asterisk boy who inspired your handle. Cut your dose before it's too late!

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Not surprisingly, the poll helps demonstrate the the anti-Bownden group is a relatively small, but outspoken minority. I guess 5 guys each saying the same thing over and over again everyday really doesn't prevent the rest of us for thinking for ourselves.

Posted by: NatBisquit | July 10, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Amen to that, NatBisquit.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Not to unduly embarrass 756* more than he may already be feeling, but RKGF's comment cracked me up.

Posted by: samantha7 | July 10, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"I guess 5 guys each saying the same thing over and over again everyday really doesn't prevent the rest of us for thinking for ourselves."

Hey, it worked with burgers and fries, didn't it?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

It does seem like we're ripping on Chico a bit too much these days, myself included.

Maybe we're not feeling as connected to him as we did with Barry, but it doesn't mean he's not doing good work.

(BTW, you can be the most devoted fan of the game and still not pick up on the 1B coach's stopwatch)

Barry had some serious, serious depth of knowledge of the team. I didn't follow the blog in 05, but by the time he got to us in ST 07, he'd written a BOOK about the team, for crying out loud, not to mention 2+ years covering them.

The problem is that he passed on to US so much knowledge of the team, that we're getting all impatient and smug and know-it-all with Chico because either we think we know more about the team than he does or that he should already be at Barry's level of knowledge somehow.

At any rate, I'm going to work at cutting him some slack until he's gone through a full cycle of baseball, meaning, at least through spring training of next year.

(Though I'd still like to reserve the right to offer a suggestion or request now and then. he he)

Posted by: NatsNut | July 10, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I gave JimBo a D.

I think this is interesting, especially when you contrast these results with STeinberg's "approve/disapprove." Bowden got just a 34% approval rating there. That would imply that (assuming, safely I think, that it's basically all the same people voting) lots of people give him a C and think that's not worthy of "approval." I'm glad to see that. As it should be. If C is "average," we should expect better.

I'm also glad to see there seems to be a lot more support for Manny than some of the comments seemed to suggest lately.

Posted by: FireJimBowden.Blogspot.com | July 10, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Apples and oranges. Who reads the bog, anyway. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought they were replacing the Native American with a profile of Tom Cruise.

-----

Everyone knows it's the Johnny Rocket's logo being added to the helmets.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse


506 - No Sweet Caroline, and three members from the cast of Mamma Mia did TSSB, great harmony, well-received.


-------------------------------------------------
Actually, they blew "banner", the single most common mistake in singing the anthem.

Posted by: lowerdeck | July 10, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Dude, how the HELL did you manage to cut and paste the ENTIRE blogroll of comments into that little Leave a Comment box?"
____

I have no idea. I must have underestimated my own powder. errr...I mean power.

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@natbizquit--how to you figure that 71% of people giving him a C or lower and just 1% giving him an A is an indication of support?

This poll tells us that basically no one is really excited about the job he's doing, and a minority will say he's "above average." The overwhelming majority think he's average or worse. Why should we settle for that? Are you satisfied with a *team* that's 71% average or worse? Don't we want a really *good* team, like, you know, one that wins the WS at some point?

Also, compare that Bowden got the lowest approval rating of anyone polled by Steinberg so far, worse even than Danny Snyder.

I'm figuring that the largest group of Nats fans think something like this:

"Bowden isn't the worst GM in the league, but he's definitely not all that great."

Then people either say, "eh, let's give him a little more time," or "shoot he's been at this for 16 years. Just like Wily Mo, he's not a prospect any more. He is what he is, and 'not that good' isn't good enough." That's more a function of how patient you are, but there's wide agreement that Bowden is AT BEST nothing special.

Posted by: FireJimBowden.Blogspot.com | July 10, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

blah blah blah

Posted by: what Nats fans hear | July 10, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

lowerdeck, yes, you're correct, they did have two notes in "ban" rather than one. However, I think that is the one thing that Loungegirl the night before did sing right, so I am willing to forgive the Mamma Mia cast's transgression.

Posted by: Traveler | July 10, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

That's a great post, NatsNut, and should be required reading. We were spoiled by Barry. Let's give Chico the time to at least try to live up to the expectations.

If any of you have a problem with the fact that the Post hired a 25 year old who had never covered baseball before to take over this beat, then your beef is with the Post, not with Chico. Cut the man some slack.

And really, let's acknowledge that the reason Barry left was that he was burnt out. This is a grueling beat. So unless you want to see Chico head over to more burgundy pastures just as he hits his sportswiring prime, lay off him when he gets a day off.

Andrew did an admirable job filling in, as has Yanda in the past. I'm all for letting interns get their shot, and, as has been discussed over at the Bog, this might prove to be a partial resolution to the coverage issue. Embrace the change as an opportunity, NJ.

Finally, I think you should absolutely reserve the right to ask Chico coverage-related questions. The fact that he's been willing to take these questions and face this issue head-on speaks volumes to the approach he has taken in assuming the responsibilities of this beat.

-----

(Though I'd still like to reserve the right to offer a suggestion or request now and then. he he)

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"I gave JimBo a D."

1. I agree with this assessment. You assemble a lineup of D players and you deserve a D. Sure, there have been injuries, but common, the team had Zimm and Nick Johnson batting 3 and 4. I really like Nick, but he's got the power of a Sean Casey or an aged Todd Helton. It's great if you want to win the "everyone likes you" award, but not if you want to win the pennant. There is room for Nick on the team, so long as you get power from somewhere else, see #3.

2. Bowden and his bone-headed moves (trading for every Red). Riddle me this. How are the Reds still better than the Nats even though we've traded for their best talent? Considering what we gave them (including a pitcher without a throwing arm), how are they still better than us? Or did the master thief get fleeced, himself?

3. Why does Bowden/management/and mgmt of years past (or lack thereof) insist on not resigning our proven hitters. Soriano --- cost $$$, we all know that. Guillen can mash though. Why the insistance on letting these guys go? Again, is it not good enough unless we draft some guy who will turn into a super stud?

4. If during the 1st 2 RFK years, the Nats scouting dept wasn't in top form, they maybe you should look around you a bit and see what other GMs are doing. No one would touch WMP with a 10-foot pole.

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I definitely agree that the Post's coverage is inadequate, but I'd vote for a discussion on the actual playing of the game of baseball as opposed to the media coverage of the game of baseball, particularly after a game like last night. Lannon didn't give in to a single DBack hitter, despite not having his best stuff; Flores came through in the pinch; Dmitri is hotter than a pistol; the bullpen reminded me of its excelence last year; and Felipe played an excellent defensive game, once again demonstrating why his occasional flashes of brilliance make him, for me, the most frustrating player on the team.

Posted by: happytobeafan | July 10, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The only saving grace for Bowden is that there are even worse GMs out there (I know, it's hard to fathom). Wade in Houston is a huge idiot and I won't even start with Sabean!

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone wanted to play around with Lannan's stats a little more:

http://tinyurl.com/6br9wt

(This is building off my post on the bog)

This kid really is impressive. Cy Young winner one day? I think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, happy.

I think the Young deal looks better and better every day. Bob calls Aaron Boone a "professional hitter", but I think Meat Hook puts him to shame. The dude is just good.

If only he could run and field!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Chico is named for a defense only Pirates' 2d baseman. He interned under Gordon Edes and his Curly Headed Boyfriend at The Globe. The boy loves baseball, and, under the tutelage of Coverage is Lacking, is becoming a fine baseball writer. But he needs to read Edes - every day.

Posted by: flynnie | July 10, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

506-Da Meat made some picks last night that saved Guzman from at least two more errors that would have padded his team-leading numbers in that category before the All-Star game that he will attend. What a great game! Casto was magnificent! And Belly's 360 spin for a 3UA at first in the top of the 9th was a web gem. Flip was magnificent. Flores head is down and his swing just perfect as he drives the ball for the home run-I love this team! Now Wily Mo- we're pulling for you! Relax and bust loose!

Posted by: flynnie | July 10, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

756*, i think the fact that guillen is on his 2nd team in 2 years since he left (with washington being the only team he's lasted more than one season with since 2001), and is being rumored on the trade block halfway into his first season of a 4 yr contract with that team, tells you a little of why he wasn't resigned.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Mariners have released Richie Sexson. His stats this season:
.218/.315/.381, 11 HR, 30 RBI, 37 BB, 76 SO (252 AB)

Looks like he could be our cleanup hitter!

Posted by: e | July 10, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

in case anyone thinks I'm serious ... I'm not.

Posted by: e | July 10, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"756*, i think the fact that guillen is on his 2nd team in 2 years since he left (with washington being the only team he's lasted more than one season with since 2001), and is being rumored on the trade block halfway into his first season of a 4 yr contract with that team, tells you a little of why he wasn't resigned."
________________________

Oh yeah, I forgot. The Nats are full of perfect angels!!!

It is unnecessary to go into the specifics of Young and Dukes. We all know the history. So 231, please tell me how many different teams our 2 FA catchers played for in recent years (please include teams that wouldn't even let them step out onto the field)? What wise choices Bowden and mgmt made in choosing guys to mould our young impressionable pitchers.

Rumored on the trading block...can't say that for any of our guys!

Posted by: 756* | July 10, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention that would-be Lopez error that was skipped to Meat, who stayed with it all the way.

Another feel-good moment for me, though, was witnessing Manny's prescience in not only pinch hitting a struggling Flores for Lannan, but also inserting Belly as the defensive sub at first. Both proved to be the right call almost immediately.

As to Lannan being a Cy Young candidate, I never would have thought it at first. Honestly, I didn't think he had the stuff.

But boy, does he ever have the makeup. Six innings of two-hit, shutout ball without a strikeout. Fighting through several 2-0 counts and still forcing ground ball outs. And, when he was faced with a situation where he had to make the perfect pitch, he either did just that, or he missed in a safe spot - low, settling for the walk, instead of high, with the ball settling into the stands.

-----

Da Meat made some picks last night that saved Guzman from at least two more errors that would have padded his team-leading numbers in that category before the All-Star game that he will attend.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, my friend up north. Lannan's stuff will come, with experience. It's his mentality he has that's going to make the most of that stuff. And he's near the top.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Last night's game really was a beaut. I was surprised not to see more of the defensive gems on the official website.

Belly's spinning play was gorgeous, as were all those beautiful DPs. Lopez recovered perfectly on that one bobble, He completely stayed with it and got the out.

Lannan's three main plays- the 2 shots into his glove and his covering 1st on a third play-- looked so smoothe it was like he knew they were coming.

That was one of those games that even if we'd lost, I would have felt great about. The win was icing.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 10, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess there is not much demand for "professional hitters". Bimbo got Boone for nothing and he has played like it. That announcer Carpenter is getting to be annoying. He can not call the game correctly and his comment about Boone being a "professional hitter" is just more disingenuous drivel from him. The guy is just a shill for Kasten. The announcers are just as bad as the team.

Posted by: mjames | July 10, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else ever wish they could tickle mjames to stop him from looking soooooooo grumpy?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

lessee...

loduca: just a 1 yr $5m contract, not a 4 yr $48m contract, has never played less than two years anywhere yet and has played on three teams in his career before coming here (over 11 years), not third team in three years, 8th in 6 years, and 10th in 11 years like guillen.

meathook: has recovered from his personal issues and proven it so far in his time here (and when we acquired him, it was a minor league contract, not on a $48m contract). DC is his 4th team in 12 years, nowhere less than two (unless he gets traded this year).

dukes: younger, not a $48m contract, team hopes he can change (nobody expects guillen to change).

estrada: he's only a backup (and was never intended to be more than that), so not really a relevant comparison

so eh, way less inherent risk in *all* of those players than guillen.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

For the fun of it, I tried to calculate how much better the Nats record would be if, instead of the starting pitchers we used this year, we had the 5 NL All Star pitchers with the best ERA, but kept our bullpen and our offense. To do this, I:

1) took the GS, IP and ER for Haren, Lincecum, Sheets, Volquez, and Zambrano per ESPN (90 / 593.1 / 179);

2) Calculated IP / GS and ER/S (6.59 / 1.99);

3) Calculated "Earned runs in innings after the all star rotation (used bullpen ERA, estimated 2.4 IP, and calculated the earned runs given up), getting 1.157 additional runs per game;

4) Added all star starter earned runs to bullpen earned runs to estimate 3.872 ER per 9 innings as the All Star rotation team ERA, or an estimated 356.224 Earned Runs allowed over 92 games.

We have scored 331 year to date, or 3.598 runs per game. Note that this all runs, not just earned runs, and note this runs per games and not runs per 9 innings. Both of those assumptions bias the number higher than the pitching number.

Using the simple Pythagorean formula (Square of Runs Scored / (square of runs scored plus square of runs allowed), you would get a .463 winning percentage, or 42 - 43 wins vs. our current 35 wins.

Why bother with this? Some have been pounding like heck on management for not spending more on high level free agent starting pitching this past off season. Even if you brought in the the freakin' all star team, that would have only meant a difference of 7 - 8 wins! The Plan's effect on starting pitching is not the problem with this team. You can argue Rowand / Hunter, perhaps a few other position players and Brad Lidge in the bullpen, but let's start to lay off on the decision to go with internal options and low cost FAs for the rotation.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 10, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Look out, mrjames, it's the Noogie Patrol!!

Posted by: Todd LaBounta | July 10, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, PTBNL!

To me it is obvious that the problem with this team has been an absence of clutch hitting, especially in the 3 and 4 spots. How many games have we outhit the opponent and yet scored fewer runs?

Perhaps that leads to the subtleties of leadership, or lack thereof, on this team. Manny does not believe in it, maybe he has yet to see it from someone on the roster. Did we have a player on the opening day roster that actually someone could point to and say "This is the leader of this team"? If I were Bowden, that would be the next priority addition to this club --the person who willingly would bear that mantle and carry this team when it needs to carried or inspire the other players to play beyond their present capabilities. It may be that Bowden was hoping to see that quality in Lo Duca, but the timbre and the presence don't ring true. I see Manny as being the glue that holds all the disparities together on this team, but his dispassionate approach needs on opposite bookend (someone Dukes-like in his attitude but older and seasoned). I just think about the leaders on some of the great winning ball clubs of the past (the hated Yankees, for one) and I see the complete absence of that kind of person on this club.

Posted by: Dale | July 10, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I just did this one, and wanted to quickly say that these were the best questions of the week.

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | July 11, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

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