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Day 5, Blame and Solutions (Blame me and Luis Ayala)

Call it a fault of planning. I came up with the daily headings for these polls all at once, but I've been drafting the questions day-by-day. That created a problem when I woke up this morning, noticed the pre-programmed topic for polling ("Blame and Solutions") and realized that, well, everything heretofore was a matter of blame and solutions as well. As a result, I created a lineup of more player-specific questions, trying to avoid overlap. That's the one area that the questioning has maybe shortchanged so far. Frankly, the real binding thread of today's questions is pretty mundane: They're all things in which I'm interested to gauge reaction.

Speaking of interesting, as well as lame segues, last night's game included four comebacks (two from each team) in the final hour-plus. But in the end, this Lazarus-like fight from the Nats' lineup was undone by ... the Nats' bullpen. For the final 2-1/2 innings, the two most maligned parts of this year's team literally went head-to-head, one fighting its way back into the game, one undoing those efforts. Luis Ayala has become an un-hideable -- but eminently hittable -- liability. He was throwing pitches last night that you can't get away with against major league hitters; he took a very deserving loss.

Andrew Astleford, who handled the game coverage duties one final time last night, has the breakdown of the memorable game here. The Metro staff has some news of its own: The Lerners, contending that stadium construction is incomplete, have refused to pay $3.5 million in rent on Nats Park, instead demanding that the city pay for damages and repairs.

Now, we'll move on with the final day of the midseason poll. Early next week, I'll condense the results into a digestible package of info. Expect pie charts. If the Internet had any equivalent of a glossy cover sheet, I'd use that, too.

---

By Chico Harlan  |  July 11, 2008; 8:56 AM ET
 
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Next: Bernadina down, Langerhans up

Comments

from 2 posts down, to the guy who signed under an alias:

People on this forum picking fights with other people? How low can you go? I'm surprised.

Oh, it's MrMadison. Not surprised, after all.
-------------

hi richnats. haven't seen you in WNFF in a while. what gives? was your personal vendetta against me satisfied, so you don't have anymore reason to post? or are you following me from board to board now?

and lmao @ me "picking fights". I'm not the one talking tough about "beating up you whiners" on a message board.

so go figure.

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

MrMadison, geez, you think maybe that was a joke? I guess you will be easy to spot, you'll be wearing your "I'm Not Only a Blowhard, but Humorless" t-shirt.

Posted by: natty bo | July 11, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I think it is unfair to say that Pena is the most disappointing. It is not like the guy performed anywhere else. Just because the FO says that "we hope he turns into a 40 homer bat" does not mean he has the talent to do so. Anyone that is upset at his performance should just look at the track record.

Does it upset me that he hasnt done well? Yes. But how is it possible he is a bigger disappointment than Lopez?

Posted by: theraph | July 11, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Won't work natty bo, I wear one of those shirts, too.

theraph, you saw Wily Mo last year, right? It looked like all those complaints about not getting playing time were correct. And after his Kirk Gibson moment, we expected so much.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Kearns as most disappointing. I had hopes for Pena, but not expectations, and I really didn't even have a lot of hopes for Lopez. On the other hand, I thought the size of RFK had gotten into Kearns' head and that the new stadium would give him the mental edge he needed to start hitting with some power. Alas, he not only doesn't hit for power, he rarely hits at all.

Posted by: Brewer | July 11, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I second Section 506. WMP looked as if he had turned it around last season. Thus, expections and dissapointment hight. Question for anyone, is WMP done with the team after this season (or conversely in Semptember?)?

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | July 11, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Repeat from last post: Kearns is hitting .260 since he came back from surgery.

(Are my calculations are correct? 26 at-bats, 7 hits)

Posted by: NatsNut | July 11, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Personally, my dissapointment with WMPy is that I saw a player last year that could hit .260-.270 with some pop in his bat. The 2008 version can barely hit above the Mendoza line and has next to no gap power.

Posted by: BIM | July 11, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

So you're saying that his last 26 ABs is a better sample than his 176 ABs for the season? Well, I hope so, but I'm not convinced, and I certainly wouldn't want to build a team of guys like him based on it.

Posted by: natty by nature | July 11, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

WMP will not be here next year as a starter unless he turns his season around in some way. He is on the team for power- that is all. He is not only failing at that, he looks completely lost. There is no chance that the Nats will pick up his option at this point, which means that WMP will pick up his $2 M player option.

Since Wily Mo Pena is of no use as a defensive replacement, or as a pinch hitter, he wouldn't be a great bench player, either. WMP needs to go, if he can't pull out of this tailspin. I take it back, it's not a tailspin; he has already come to earth, and the impact has left a giant crater.

Posted by: Positively Half St | July 11, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Considering those 26 ABs give him an average equal to his 2,568 major league at bats, it's not a terrible assumption.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Did you not get the memo about the cover sheets, Chico?

Posted by: TPS Reports | July 11, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I think it is unfair to say that Pena is the most disappointing. It is not like the guy performed anywhere else. Just because the FO says that "we hope he turns into a 40 homer bat" does not mean he has the talent to do so. Anyone that is upset at his performance should just look at the track record.
Posted by: theraph | July 11, 2008 9:38 AM

Here's Wily's track record (last year in Washington in 133 ABs):
avg obp slg OPS+
.293 .352 .504 124

I'd say Wily's line this year qualifies as a disappointment. However, the emergence of Dukes means Wily's failure is not that big a deal. They took two gambles, one paid off one didn't. Going forward they have at least two athletic OF's with significant upside. That's a net plus.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | July 11, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm saying:
1. There was something off the beginning of the season that made his hitting something awful.
2.He had an elbow problem serious enough that it required surgery.
3. He's back and he's hitting.

Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Kearns's Mom | July 11, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Assuming Wily Mo continues to wander in the Wilderness at the plate, here is his future next year.

Nats decline option
Wily Mo signs a non-guaranteed minor league contract somewhere (maybe even here)
He works out a swing good enough to be tempting in AAA
He becomes a shuttle player, going back and forth between AAA

I hope, for the gentle giant's sake, he figures it out again.

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

"So you're saying that his last 26 ABs is a better sample than his 176 ABs for the season? "

In general, of course not. But when the guy has about 8 chunks of bone taken out of his elbow, then what happens afterwards (or 3-4 seasons ago) is more important than what immediately preceded the surgery.

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

I like Manny but he deserves some grief for the BP. He rode Ayala and Rivera way too hard early and it's not surprising that Ayala has broken down. I'm just surprised that Saul is still throwing well.

The BP needs some better rotation so that one guy isn't pitching 4 times a week and some of the other guys can pick up a slack. Colome should probably be given a chance more than once a week. Ayala was pitching back to back again last night. Ayala is still pitching every other day, but he looks dead out there.

Posted by: Hoo | July 11, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Well, I hope that's true. It's made more difficult to tell by the fact that the Nats' medical situation is so lame, I don't think anyone has ever said, X has been wrong with him since Y, which is why he's appeared to, uh, suck.

It still seems unreasonable that people are optimistic about him, and pessimistic about RB.

Posted by: natty by nature | July 11, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

My two cents:

Kearns -- was hurt for most of the first half. I'm guessing this was a big factor in the low BA. He seems to be healthier now and is swinging the bat a little better. Will it continue? Will he hit like the 2nd half of last year, or will he revert back to hsi 1st half woes? I'm hoping more like the 2nd half ...

Bernadina -- give the kid a break. I agree with a previous poster (sorry, didn't have time to look up who worte it) that he has only like 30 AB's in his career in the bigs. Want to throw blame at someone for last night's failings? I've got three names for you: Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala and Jesus Flores. Rauch allowed three (or four) straight hits after two outs and none on in the 10th. Ayala, well the less spoken the better. And Flores was up with runners on 1st and 3rd and ONE OUT! All he needed was a fly ball (which he had done twice in the game), and the Nats win. But instead, he grounds directly to the shortstop and Kearns gets nailed at home (and BTW, I am NOT a fan with the runner on third running on contact with less than two outs. If the play is in front of you - as this was - then fake going to home and stay at third. I'd rather have a runner on second and third and two outs, than a runner on first and second with two outs).

Most diapppointing -- how about all of the above? If not, then I'm going to have to go with Ayala. He was lights out before his injury a couple years ago and came back and pitched pretty darned well last year. I expected more of the same this year, but that just hasn't happened. WMP has been disappointing, but everyone was banking on him performing like he did in Aug-Sept last year and mainly ignored the fact that that was his best production in his career.

Finally, from where I was sitting last night (312), it sure looked to me that Lopez didn't even try to run out his last AB. A sharp liner to the shortstop (made a great play) but Lopez looked to be jogging up the first base line. Perhaps if he hustled a little more, the SS may have rushed his throw a little in order to get Lopez and maybe, just maybe sail the throw. But no, it sure looked like Lopez lollygagged his way up the line (again). I am so over his nonchalance attitude with playing this game.

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

My disappointment was Ayala. This guy used to be a stud, an automatic. I remember him being arguably the best reliever on arguably the best bullpen in the NL a couple of years ago and that bullpen was again supposed to be the bright spot on this team. Between Cordero's injury and Ayala's ineffectiveness (combined with a regression from Rivera) we now have arguably the worst bullpen in baseball.

This is an example of how bullpens cannot be relied upon from year to year. Rauch needs to be traded while he still has some value. If someone else succeeds in this role we can trade him away too. We have pitching in the minors that will be here when the team gets good but for now we need to get what we can out of these guys because there's no guarantee that they'll perform next year.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | July 11, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

*I'm* not hating on Bernadina at all. I've defended him too. I've got all the patience in the world for that guy.

Not sure I would have let him hit last night either, but I can almost hear what Manny was thinking, so I get it.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 11, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Re: Bernadina

Like last year's pitching, this year's position players are in one long audition. Need to find out if he can play, and that includes letting him hit in situations in which you might want someone else if the game meant something significant. So far, I'm of the opinion that he's a worse hitter than Nook Logan, but we need to find out.

Posted by: 307/418 | July 11, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

MrMadison, geez, you think maybe that was a joke? I guess you will be easy to spot, you'll be wearing your "I'm Not Only a Blowhard, but Humorless" t-shirt.

--------

you are absolutely, 100% correct. dead on.

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

WMP - very sad to watch, I know the fo likes him but enough is enough. Bernadina showing lots of promise, especially straight from aa, but should have been replaced by belly in that last ab. Kearns - elbow injury affected early performace - can't say enough about his maturity as a ball player and the value that brings to our team. Very smart and level headed and seems to be a leader-type , especially for the young of's. Lopez - manny seems to have blinders on - late for a game and no consequence? - either that or our depth is too sucky to bench him. Changes in the second half or suck it up for the rest of the year??

Posted by: masnstinks | July 11, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

On Kearns as influential for the young outfielders:

While watching that video of Dukes in agony, anyone else notice that Kearns had squatted down next to him and looked to be softly talking to him?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, my seats are above the Nats dugout. EVERY game that I've been to, I've noticed Wily Mo scanning the crowd, whether he's playing or not. He's clearly looking at the young ladies. I've seen him have exchanges with women, some of whom try to get him to get Zim's attention. Zim won't look away from the field.

What I conclude from this is that 1) he's not talented enough to get away with not being 100% focused on the game, and 2) I think the great hitters of the game probably have enough time for their social lives when their not actually supposed to be playing the game.

So I'm done with him.

Posted by: natty bo | July 11, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Here's the Tin Yurl for Duke's injury and sweet Kearnsy.

http://tinyurl.com/5cl3kl

Posted by: NatsNut | July 11, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

natty bo - we agree on Wily Mo.

there is absolutely no reason why he should still be wearing a Nationals uniform.

and even though he is, there is no reason why Willie Harris (of all people) should not be starting ahead of him.

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Once in 06 I was at the ballpark to pick something up, at about the time the players were arriving, and at the same entrance (lucky me!).

Kearns's dad dropped him off in a pretty average, well-used car--nothing flashy at all. I don't know why, but I thought dad giving him a ride to work was so charming.

(That was also the same time I got to chat with Zim for a minute and as he walked away, I was still so star-struck, I told him, "I hope you play as well tonight as you did tomorrow.")

Okay, it's getting bad. I'll shut up about Kearns now.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 11, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Wily Mo isn't just the most disappointing player this year, he's the most disappointing player I've SEEN since the Nats came in 05.

even worse than 2005 Guzman, Brandon Watson, and Nook Logan.

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Andrew is a promising writer. But if he is still around Chico you need to point out to him that we don't need to know the speed of every pitch that a Nats batter hit. I think that he listed the speed five times. How does this kind of thing get past an editor?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Boz:

"The only team in the NL that has the run-differential pedigree to beat the Cubs is the often-marginalized Phillies. That is, if the Phils can swing a trade, just one decent deal, for a competent starting pitcher to complement Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick now that it looks as if the arm of Brett Myers (5.84 ERA) is toast."

Now, I hate the Phillies.

But Odalis Perez to Philadelphia! He's a reliable starter and they're desperate for one and he only has a one year contract, so we won't be stuck seeing him over and over again!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

506 - what do we get back?

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I can't be disappointed in any of the players from Cincy because I didn't expect much out of them anyway.

Ayala has to be the biggest disappointment since the bullpen is supposed to be the strength of the team.

Now, the strength of the team has to be the HR Dept. handling all those workers' comp. claims.

The lowest part of the season would have to be, by default, the latest one on the list since the losses (in the standings and in the lineup) keep piling up.

Posted by: Marty DiBergi | July 11, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"Between Cordero's injury and Ayala's ineffectiveness (combined with a regression from Rivera) we now have arguably the worst bullpen in baseball."

Rivera has been lights out since May. 1.59 ERA in June and 2.5 in July so far. The problem is that Rivera and Rauch are the only relievers that can be trusted. Ayala gets the most appearances but he's poison right now and has skyrocketed the BP ERA.

If Colome can get straightened out, then the BP will be ok if Ayala doesn't get used on consectutive days.

Posted by: Hoo | July 11, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

What about Adrian Cardenas?

http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=32072

He's a 20-year old in High-A right now, but is rated No. 2 prospect. Nats can bring up a minor league stud to pitch the rest of the year, Phillies get their shot at the playoffs.

By end of next year Cardenas can get a cup of coffee and maybe the year after play in the majors.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I would love to see Manny forget about the rigidity of "roles" for his relievers and use them in the most effective combination. For example, Ayala should be used in innings other than the eighth until he gets himself together and Hanrahan should be given the eighth-inning opportunities. I would also like to see a halt to the "one inning-and-done" use of relievers in games. Some guys can effectively go more than one inning at a time and more prudent use of the bullpen can avoid situations like having "Gasoline Alley" Ayala on the mound in an extra-innings tie game.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 11, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

506 - would the phillies really give him up for Odalis Perez?

I doubt it.

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Okay, why? Explain to me how you are sure it's not a tempting offer.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Kearns could be the biggest disappointment this year. Almost everyone thought he'd rebound once he got RFK out of his head. His "know your Nats" feature was probably the saddest thing I saw last night, he looks miserable.

How was that grounder to Lopez NOT an error! Poor Bergmann. It's awfully hard to win ballgames when half your infield can't bend at the waist.

If I see Lopez trot out another grounder, I might go insane! At least in his 3rd at bat, he promptly struck out...as if he was never even there (the only way I can tolerate him). Missing option for the what to do with Felipe question: Cut losses now and trade him for anyone we can get.

In ever more saddening news, "The Nationals owners have already been through a round of arbitration over ballpark costs, including over a demand that the city pay for the team's uniforms. The arbitrator ruled in the city's favor, but since then some city officials have privately expressed increasing frustration over the family's stands." I mean, Lerners, seriously??? Uniforms??? LAC, comments...?

Posted by: 756* | July 11, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

i think we have to keep rauch for next year. of course if we get something nice for him i'll never complain but this bullpen...ah, nevermind.

Posted by: longterm | July 11, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I didn't say I was sure. I said I doubted.

Yeah it *is* a tempting offer.

but I'm not so sure that the Phillies would deal their #2 prospect in-division, for a middle-of-the-road pitcher. Perez can contribute sure, but I don't think he's a season-changing pitcher that will get someone over the hump. and there will likely be better pitchers available(I think).

but then again, you can't account for playoff desperation. so maybe they just might go for it.

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

On Kearns as influential for the young outfielders:

While watching that video of Dukes in agony, anyone else notice that Kearns had squatted down next to him and looked to be softly talking to him?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 10:42 AM
____________________________________

Now we're giving credit to the guy for doing something normal. I mean, what insight and natural instincts for Kearns to try to calm an injured player down, and avoid any inclination to run around freaking out.

Posted by: 756* | July 11, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

i usually side with the owners and management but this team uniforms issue is absurd. i doubt MLB sends the uniform standards to the city council to make sure it's properly handled.

Posted by: longterm | July 11, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Seriously. The lineup was stinkin up the place and Manny wasn't afraid to experiment, putting the players all up and down that thing. Why not do it with the bullpen too? Shake things up a bit?

Posted by: NatsNut | July 11, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

i'm not sure i'd be tempted to give you my #2 prospect (granted #2 in a not-so-great system) for a rental of a decent, but not great, pitcher?

don't know enough about how that #2 ranking stacks up against other farm systems and where he'd rank in, say, the top 100-200 prospects, though, and that's more important in trade conversations than how someone ranks in an individual system.

Posted by: 231 | July 11, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I voted twice. Don't tell anyone. I'm 50% most disappointed in Lopez and 50% most disappointed in Pena. Flipping a coin for one or the other didn't seem right.

Fun Fact...of the 20 position players on the Nats 40 man roster (all with MLB experience), all but 3 have either spent time in the minors or were placed on the DL this year.

Geez, I hope the Nats nurse's office doesnt use Centerplate to restock the tongue depressers and lollipops. They may be out of supply by now.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 11, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Okay, why? Explain to me how you are sure it's not a tempting offer.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 11:15 AM
______________________________

Because the Phillies could trade that guy for someone better, like as part of a deal to Seattle or Toronto.

Posted by: 756* | July 11, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

756* -

agreed.

it's pretty clear that Lopez simply doesn't care.

Pena cares, but just flat-out sucks.

Lopez has talent, but doesn't care.

Posted by: MrMadison | July 11, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

as far as the construction contract dispute and withholding rent, i think jack evans gets it.

===

"The owners of the team are very strong business people, and they take a very businesslike approach to the whole relationship. They enforce their rights to the extent they can," said council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), an ardent baseball booster.

"The city needs to behave accordingly and enforce our rights within the contract. And then if that's done, the relationship should be fine, as long as everyone complies with the documents."

===

exactly right. and withholding rent is what they can do when they aren't getting results from their landlord. i'm sure the rent is in escrow somewhere and will be paid in full (and with interest) when the dispute is settled. but that's the weapon they have to wield (along with the request for penalties (which, btw, aren't a loss for the city, since the penalty payments come from the fund the city has to pay bonuses to contractors for finishing on time)).

people are far too caught up in the whole "public relations" portion of this and playing the rhetoric game instead of actually paying attention to (or caring about) actual details. and blaming the lerners for doing exactly what they'd want to do if they paid to have a new home built and the contractor had a big punchlist of things to do that weren't getting done.

Posted by: 231 | July 11, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree with another poster on a previous day. DEPENDS what's in the contract. I know it seems trivial, I mean UNIFORMS?! They're the owners of a baseball team for gosh sakes!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | July 11, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Are you serious 506? Cardenas for Perez....The Phillies are talking about him being the centerpiece for an AJ Burnett deal, i don't think they'd would trade him straight up for Perez. They wouldn't even make that trade for Redding and they'd have control of him for a few years. OF Dominiac Brown or SS Jason Donald are more likely to be had for Perez. The only guys we could get top prospects for are Guzman and Rauch, and prob a pair of good upside guys for Redding. I hope all four are moved that way the Nats will have the flexiblity to make an impact trade or two within the next year without cleaning out the farm system.

Posted by: Steveo | July 11, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Ah, but he's a 20-year old #2 prospect in A-ball, which is significantly riskier than a 23-year old prospect in AAA. There's no doubt that this could add something to Stephen's webpage, because #2 prospects that young have a high risk side to them. Risks the Nats can take, but some other teams can't.

Clearly, any trade talks are fantasy. It seems to me that there is an option there, though, and maybe even one that could be productive.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"In ever more saddening news, "The Nationals owners have already been through a round of arbitration over ballpark costs, including over a demand that the city pay for the team's uniforms. The arbitrator ruled in the city's favor, but since then some city officials have privately expressed increasing frustration over the family's stands." I mean, Lerners, seriously??? Uniforms??? LAC, comments...?"

A lot of people other than players wear uniforms at Nationals Park. In fact, pretty much everyone who works there aside from Kasten and JimBo wears a uniform. Security personnel, custodians, concessions workers, etc, etc. This oft-repeated line about "who pays for the uniforms?" never breaks down exactly which uniforms are being discussed. I work in an office building that my employer leases from a building management company. There are building security people and custodians who wear uniforms there, and I can guarantee you that those uniforms are paid for not by my employer the tenant, but by the building owners. Why should anyone arbitrarily assume that the situation should be different for a baseball team leasing a stadium from a city? The Lerners pressed the issue, the arbiter ruled against them, and they're living with that decision. I seriously doubt that they ever asked the city to pay for Ryan Zimmerman's uniform.

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

"now that it looks as if the arm of Brett Myers (5.84 ERA) is toast."

One can only hope that he permanently damaged his arm when he was dragging his wife around by her hair. Karma is a b*tch.

Posted by: joebleux | July 11, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I think Pena has to be the most disappointing player for this team. When he came up hitting 20+ homeruns with a .260 average in 450 at bats while only being only 22 years old that should be a sign of things to come, not the high water mark of his career. As for Lopez yes he is a disappointment, but he at least shows his skill set, his speed helps his defense (though not the greatest by any means) at two premium postions and even in Left and allows him to be a more valuable pinch hitter and runner. Pena isn't showing any ability to drive the ball and is a major defensive liability.
As for the Lopez question i think there should have been another option of just keeping him for the rest of the year at short, trade Guzman for prospects and resign him or look for another offensive SS (Furcal, O-Cab).

Posted by: Steveo | July 11, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

And you know how I know for sure that the Lerners never asked the city to pay for Ryan Zimmerman's uniform? Because if they had, he'd now be wearing a jersey that says #11 TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. (Okay, maybe they'd have to use #21 Dmitri Young for that, in order to have enough room to fit it all on...)

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think it's interesting that even though Seattle stinks as much as we do ( in different ways, but still odorous), they have not hesitated to make moves instead of waiting it out. Releasing Richie Sexon sends a big message to highly-paid under-producers that they can't just continue to stagnate and get paid. Even if your win-loss records suggests that you are firmly settled in last place, probably for the rest of the year, shouldn't you at least cut some dead wood and start spring training 2009?

Posted by: masnstinks | July 11, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

No Doubt 506 that their is an option there to move either Perez or Redding to the Phils they def. need starters. My point being we need to be realistic in our expectation, Cardenas is great trade bait b/c he is blocked by Utley, but we need to give talent to get talent and Perez or Redding is not in the same ilk as Sabathia or Burnett. And sure it is a bit fantasy but we can't float unreal trades (bc then we become yankees fans) and then get upset at Bowden when he gets a Jason Donald in return. Also not following you on the Webpage remark??

Posted by: Steveo | July 11, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

RKGF,
I guess I never thought of the security personnel. I wonder if the Lerners will take the city to arbitration over who should pay for the powdered gatorade.

Maybe the city safety inspectors should shut down the party tent on top of the parking garage.

Posted by: 756* | July 11, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"One can only hope that he permanently damaged his arm when he was dragging his wife around by her hair. Karma is a b*tch."
_________

Then I shudder to think what will happen to our squad...

Posted by: 756* | July 11, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Whats the rationale for voting Ayala in question #3? 1 run lead, 7th inning and seeing Ayala stroll in to pitch leaves you with warm fuzzies? Yikes.

So to those 6% who voted Ayala, what is your basis for discomfort? Are you a merry band of masochists?

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 11, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Excellent, joebleux!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"people are far too caught up in the whole "public relations" portion of this and playing the rhetoric game instead of actually paying attention to (or caring about) actual details. and blaming the lerners for doing exactly what they'd want to do if they paid to have a new home built and the contractor had a big punchlist of things to do that weren't getting done."
-------------------------------------------

In this case, however, the public relations aspect is far more significant than it would be to you or I in a private matter. Whst worries me about this is that the Lerners seem to have no concept of the implications of poor PR. I have no quibbles with how this team is being constructed on the field, but off the field they seem to have no real plan for developing fans and creating a sense of connection to this team.

They follow the shopping mall model - build it, provide goods/services, and watch the loot stream in. But sports don't work that way. You have to cultivate a tangible emotional connection with the product, and by giving the perception of being cheap/greedy/ungrateful/etc. (perception being far more important than facts in the PR world) the Lerners are making it harder and harder for fans to fall in love with this franchise - not the team on the field, but the organization that claims to represent my hometown.

And on this topic, sort of, I kind of wish the DC gov. would pay for the uniforms. Then maybe they could have a contest to re-design them. I'm cool with the curly W, but in general those are such uninspirational togs. Does no one notice that the jersey lettering doesn't match the hat? And that we have the wackest, most boring logo in MLB? I won't even go into Screech, Clint, in-game music, etc, but suffice to say there's a lot of work to be done. Hard as it is to say, I think we're actually further along in the player development process than we are in any of the other key aspects of building a succesful pro sports franchise (except of course, the money gouging part. They seem to have that one down).

For rich guys, the Lerners have absolutely no concept of marketing and PR. I could go on and on, but I got a cramp in my typing finger and I'm afraid I might have to call Dr. Andrews. Peace.

Posted by: Mo Monroe | July 11, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Steveo, Cardenas was the first name that popped in my head when I was challenged to come up with anyone that we might want from the Phillies in a Perez trade. I, of course, defer to superior scouting.

I was suggesting that trading Perez for Cardenas, straight-up, has a possibility of ending up on Stephen on Capitol Hill's Fire Jim Bowden website if he flops, which is still a very real possibility when a prospect is that young.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Sigh. This is nonsense. "Substantially complete" means the team was able to play its games at Nats Park. That is why the corresponding penalties are so high; not because of a punch list that comes with any major construction project. The Lerners and Kasten made numerous public comments about how great a job everyone did getting the ballpark ready, and their admissions will kill them when they are deposed or cross examined. Stupid hardball by the Lerners that is making them look worse than Loria as owners in the process.

RKGF, the article says "team's uniforms." The "team" is the players. Why should that be interpreted differently than it is written? Of course there is a possibility that the writer is being imprecise, but you seem to suggest that it is absolutely the case that the Lerners did not demand payment for the player's uniforms. Maybe Chico or the metro writers can follow up for us, but in any event I don't see how you can dismiss it for now as you do as such an unlikely possibility.

This stuff is window dressing and PR at bottom, though it is demonstrative of the Lerners' attitude and approach. Frankly, for now I am more concerned about not signing any of the first 5 picks, comments from Bowden that the Nats are a "slot team," and talks having broken down with Nieto, as reported by NFA.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 11, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

506, I love your optimism, but there's no way the Phillies give up Cardenas for anybody on our pitching staff not named Lannan or Balester - Cardenas is in high-A ball, true, but he's their #2 prospect and quite highly rated. Yes, he's blocked by Chase Utley and J-Roll, but he's got WAY more value than Odalis. Sure, the Phillies need pitching, but they're not going to trade away anybody in the top 3 of their prospects for Odalis. We'd have to look for a Shairon Martis-type guy...somebody who's down the prospect list that Rizzo thinks has the chance to breakout. Guys like Odalis and Redding are routinely available in the off-season, so if you need one mid-season, you don't want to overpay.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | July 11, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh i gotcha 506 yeah i've ignored that website so far. I am just hoping the nats can make some positive moves before the trade deadline. B/c this team needs new blood on their roster. I would love to see the Nats trade Rauch to the Rays, they need some relief help and have the best system in baseball. Wade Davis or Hellicson and Brignac could be the right price.

Posted by: Steveo | July 11, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm playing the blame game in order:

1) Injuries
2) The Lerners
3) Jim Bowden
4) Wily Mo Pena
5) Lenny Harris
6) Felipe Lopez
7) Lack of timely hitting
8) Bullpen
9) Nats ticket/concessions prices
10) Angel Hernandez

Posted by: Section 111 (Formerly 223 @ RFK Stadium) | July 11, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I dont doubt that DC bears some blame for the ongoing difficulties with the Lerners, but the Lerners have shown themselves to be shameless. I am not going to do a boycott, but I probably wont go the park for awhile. Insignificant but my little way to protest.

Posted by: Count Demoney | July 11, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Oooh! I like the idea of that trade, Steveo. Rauch's price should be fairly high, in my opinion, since he's one of the few bullpen pieces that could be contributing here in a couple years.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

[quote]Substantially complete" means the team was able to play its games at Nats Park"[/quote]

that's *YOUR* interpretation of what it means. i presume you haven't actually read the contract itself. the lerners have been in the construction business longer than most of the posters on this blog have been alive, i'll trust their interpretation of the contract over a random blogger's interpretation of the way an article on the post words it.

[quote]RKGF, the article says "team's uniforms." The "team" is the players. Why should that be interpreted differently than it is written? Of course there is a possibility that the writer is being imprecise, but you seem to suggest that it is absolutely the case that the Lerners did not demand payment for the player's uniforms.[/quote]

this has come up before and i've read more than a few times that it wasn't the *players'* uniforms, but the employees' uniforms. don't have a link handy, and i'm too lazy to google for it, but i know i've read it more than a couple of times in articles. it's one of the things that has been misconstrued numerous times. not unlike where the money that pays those penalties comes from (i.e., not from money in the city coffers that wasn't already committed to the stadium).

part of the problem is that being obtuse with the details allows the story to be more spectacular, so it seems that some of the press (and a lot more of the public, especially on a lot of the blogs) either don't know or gloss over important aspects.

Posted by: 231 | July 11, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Question #3: didn't vote on that one, because I feel comfortable with none of the choices coming in to try to preserve a one-run lead.

Complementary question to #2 and mini-rant: why does Manny continue to play Felipe "Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn" Lopez? Time for some creativity in the lineup. Strive to keep Lopez on the bench and away from a game's outcome. He's been tried in the lineup throughout the year, hasn't gotten remotely hot, won't, and even if he did, his godawful attitude would sink any gains in a nanosecond.

Posted by: samantha7 | July 11, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"that next-morning giddy feeling that comes from an improbable, come-from-behind victory."

Positively Half-Street, thanks for so elegantly stating one of the many rewards awaiting the fan of a last place team. Manny is Mr. Macho for leaving Wily Mo and Rogerevan in. What an awakening from Wily Mo, and what a professional at bat by the kid! When the Wily Mo scalded that shot that many third basemen could not handle in the bottom of the 9th, all 9000 households at the game went crazy. And when the game tied-twice- the eruptions were volcanic. Not bad for a town that doesn't support baseball. I enjoyed the gamer, Andrew. Come back and stay a while!

Posted by: flynnie | July 11, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Looks like both player uniforms and security guard uniforms were at issue, at least according to WTOP.

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=428&sid=1353394

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

How are you going to trade Lopez? Doesn't that require someone willing to give you something for him? They need to swallow hard, trade Guzman who has value, and put Lopez at short for the remainder of the year.

Posted by: fredericksburg | July 11, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Carrying forward for those who might be interested: Speaking of coverage, Steinberg posted another response within this morning's comments over in the wading pool or whatever you kids are calling it these days. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

231, the only times I have read that it was definitively not the player's uniforms but instead ballpark employees' uniforms have been when I have read the speculative comments from you and RKGF/419(?). So by all means, if this has ever actually been reported, please do tell. But again, the article today reports "team's uniforms" and not "ballpark personnel uniforms" or "ballpark employees uniforms.". The writers may be factually wrong here (as is always the case), but they're not being imprecise.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 11, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Chico,
Thanks for the gracious invitation but I'll be in a softball tournament Sunday.
You might want to greet your guests with

"Protect yorselves at all times. Now, touch your gloves and come out SMILING."

let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 11, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"This stuff is window dressing and PR at bottom, though it is demonstrative of the Lerners' attitude and approach. Frankly, for now I am more concerned about not signing any of the first 5 picks, comments from Bowden that the Nats are a "slot team," and talks having broken down with Nieto, as reported by NFA."

LAC-- I agree with you that it is troubling that the Nats havent signed any of their top 5 picks. But you are misquoting Bowden by saying he was the source that said the Nats are a Slot team, the article didn't even say "sources inside the organiztion" or "baseball insider" that i would say makes it a bit more likely that the "source" is on Nieto's end, family member, agent ect. looking to put pressure on the Nats. If it was a memeber of the org. Kasten, Rizzo, Bowden or even someone lower or a baseball expert, K Law, Callis, Olney the writer would be remise to not use an above moniker to give the story more weight.

That being said it is problematic that the Nats havent signed their top picks, not as much Crow but the HS players esp. could get a lot of valuable instruction this past month. It is likely that most of the deals will get done by the Aug. 15th deadline we saw that last year with both Smoker and McGeary, if teams do break slot its usually not announced until right before the deadline. Hopefully that will be the case here b/c we need guys like Nieto and Hood.

Posted by: Steveo | July 11, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I saw 2 terrific pitchers for ARZ this week. I think ours will be some day soon. What I'd like to see is some .300 hitters. I'm not talking home run power, as in WMP - the BP all-star. I want guys that get base hits, or the occasional extra base hit.

Posted by: 6th and D | July 11, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Alternate topic:

Order the following players' performances in last night's game:

Jason Bergmann
Dmitri Young
Austin Kearns
Kory Casto
Christian Guzman

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"506, I love your optimism, but there's no way the Phillies give up Cardenas for anybody on our pitching staff not named Lannan or Balester"

295 revisited, never underestimate Pat Gillick's willingness to burn down the farm to win now. e.g. Toronto, O's and Mariners. Odalis is exactly who the Phillies need.

Posted by: flynnie | July 11, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

When I watch that video, I'm actually as impressed to see Guzman trotting all the way out to left. He was crouched over Dukes, and later helped him stand.

Still, Kearns does do a lot of these little things right. As many have said, myself included, he plays the game right. Granted, we oftentimes perfer he play the game well, but his attitude is nonetheless a positive thing.

-----

While watching that video of Dukes in agony, anyone else notice that Kearns had squatted down next to him and looked to be softly talking to him?

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 11, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Dont worry Nats Exec I'm still around. Yeah the O's bullpen has blown 3 straight games because they're shot since 3 of the 5 starters can't get past the 5th inning. This moves the O's to a whopping 2 games under .500, the first time they've been there in about a month and a half.

You come talk to me when the Nats are back to being 2 games under .500. When was the last time the Nats were 2 games under .500 anyway?

Oh wait, that was on April 7, (when they were 3-5) more than 3 months ago.

WOW! That's all I can really say.

No worries though, the O's are getting some of these losses out of the way now (you can't win 'em all, Nats fans know that for sure) so they can make a real good run post-All Star break. They're going to rocket up the AL East standings like a Patriot missile.

Posted by: O's Exec | July 11, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

If the Lerners weren't full of it, wouldn't they have won in arbitration?

Posted by: suzie | July 11, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Pete Orr was just named to the Canadian Olympic baseball team (along with fellow Canadian Nats farmhand Matt Rogelstad). They typically select minor leaguers for those teams so as not to take away from MLB.

Chico, could you check and see if the Nationals are going to let him go and represent Canada in the Olympics?

Posted by: Brian | July 11, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse




.

Posted by: O's Exec's Conscience | July 11, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@ Brian -

Isn't Orr already on record that he would only go if he was in the minors (which he may well be if Z or Milledge comes off the DL after the break)? I don't think the question is whether the Nats let him go off the 25-man. If he's in the bigs, he said he wasn't going.

Posted by: WebberDC | July 11, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Everyone, shell 980 with e-flames for their shabby treatment of Phil Wood, whose 2 hours of baseball every Saturday was just excellent. Phil has gotten more gracious and seems to be having more fun with the passing years (like all of us, I hope.) The last time he was fired by 980 it was in the winter, and he said that he didn't blame them, what with all the signs around saying "Firewood." This time it's at the all-star break. Talk about flipping a bird to all baseball fans! Who are they going to replace him with-the xxx nympho girl who sounds like she needs to go to the bathroom?

Posted by: flynnie | July 11, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

First of all, let me express my appreciation to Chico and his willingness to meet with the Constituency to discuss coverage. For obvious reasons, I will not be able to attend. Enjoy yourselves in my absence.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 11, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Secondly, let me point out that topics like this should be more standard here on NJ. Perhaps an occasional guest blog (something not too uncommon over at RI) is in order, raising questions just like this.

-----

Alternate topic:

Order the following players' performances in last night's game:

Jason Bergmann
Dmitri Young
Austin Kearns
Kory Casto
Christian Guzman

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 11, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

506--I'll cheat on your question and put Bergmann's performance first (I agree with whoever posted earlier that his recent performance has inspired hope for his future presence in the rotation), Kearns second--recognizing that he got a little help on his first shot down the third base line, it was still scalded, and, even though I wouldn't have sent him on contact I liked how hard he went into the catcher--and tie Guzman, Dmitri and Kasto for third.

Posted by: happytobeafan | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Phil Wood always gets the shaft, to me he's one of the most interesting local sports guys on radio. I especially like when he gets sidetracked sometimes and will tell amazing stories, like "the time I went to see Jimi Hendrix at a roller skating rink and Pete Townshend was sitting next to me." Great stuff. True that he doesn't really fit with the 980 theme -- Sports talk radio for the simple-minded.

Posted by: natty bo | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Andrew- read the gamer again, and you are to be congratulated for focusing on what made the game exciting rather than the ultimate result. It is a great baseball gamer. I disagree at the impression that the heroics were before a nearly-empty stadium. I was there, and it looked pretty full. But the details down to what pitches resulted in crucial hits (loved the pitch speeds!) just make it a superior piece of baseball writing. Thank you very much.

Posted by: flynnie | July 11, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

O's Exec - did post Gulf War #1 reports show that the Patriot missiles were completely ineffective? Also, be careful what you wish for. I/M/O, the beginning of the end for the O's was the post-All Star break winning streak in July '98, which led them to keep their veterans to try to make a run instead of moving them in deals. When they finally broke up that team a couple of years later, the components got them not just less than what they could have gotten in '98, but, in an absolute sense, nothing useful. You should be praying you don't see George Sherrill in an O's uniform in August.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 11, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@Webber - I'd say the same thing on the record if I were Orr. I doubt any minor leaguer would say openly I don't want to be in the majors.

I'm curious what the Nationals thoughts are.

Posted by: Brian | July 11, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Well-said natty-bo! Most of Phil's callers were from Americans of African descent who were asking basic baseball questions which gave Phil a chance to educate us all and expand the fan base. Phil does this with great geniality, which I suppose is why he lectures at the Smithsonian on baseball. Why any sports station would want to stop such a worthy enterprise is beyond me, as is the xxx espn radio need-to-get-to-a bathroom-soon girl.

Posted by: flynnie | July 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

interesting point about the uniforms including stadium employees. still i think nats make all the concession stand cash. sometimes that place does seem like a strip mall though. ugh. ah, who cares. i want that kind of attention to detail in prospecting and trades also. at least they are competetive about something...

word is $25 mil for MASN nats this year and 9000 viewers? nats are getting paid $2,777.78 for me!

Posted by: longterm | July 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Orr isn't ALLOWED to go if he's still with the big team cause you can't be a professional in the Olympics.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 11, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Second the hat tip on the gamer, Intern Andrew. Well done.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"RKGF, the article says "team's uniforms." The "team" is the players. Why should that be interpreted differently than it is written? Of course there is a possibility that the writer is being imprecise, but you seem to suggest that it is absolutely the case that the Lerners did not demand payment for the player's uniforms. Maybe Chico or the metro writers can follow up for us, but in any event I don't see how you can dismiss it for now as you do as such an unlikely possibility."

Indeed, it's not an unlikely possibility. It appears to be the truth.

"Early on in the negotiations, the team had asked the city to pay for team uniforms as part of the fixtures of the stadium. That request never reached the final arbitration process, but an another uniform request did. The Nationals unsuccessfully argued that D.C. should pay for the uniforms for the stadium security guards." (http://www.wtop.com/index.php?nid=428&sid=1353394)

So you see, apparently the Lerners realized that asking the city to pay for all the team's uniforms was not a good PR move. So they withdrew that request. But gosh, early on in most any negotiation strange and farfetched notions get bandied about. Happens all the time. What is anyone's first move in a negotiation? Ask for the moon. Maybe you'll get lucky and get it, and if not you move on to more realizable goals. For anyone else, that's smart negotiating. But for the Lerners, it's a bad PR move that will haunt them for years to come. Right.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Minor leaguers get paid.

Posted by: Psst | July 11, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"you can't be a professional in the Olympics."

Oh really?

Posted by: US Olympic Basketball Team | July 11, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Perez is a lefty with mid-3's ERA but a not-so-hot WHIP. He's not a #2 like Burnett would be, but he still has a lot of value. I think perhaps with Hamels and Moyer, the Phils might be looking at RHP rather than a lefty. That said, he's pitched well against ATL and FLA, and fair against NYM.

I really think the place for Perez would be the NYY. After Pettitte, Moose and Joba, they are really hurting (literally and figuratively). I think we could get Alberto Gonzalez (the MI, not Fredo), and he'd be a very good glove guy who can be a singles / contact guy. Gonzalez's position flexibility would allow you to target either 2d or SS after the season, with him covering the other spot. He has to deal with Cano & Jeter ahead of him and they have Betemit to back those guys up.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 11, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"word is $25 mil for MASN nats this year and 9000 viewers? nats are getting paid $2,777.78 for me!"

Sign him up!

Posted by: Post statisticians | July 11, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

what RKGF said.

there was no arbitration over the players' uniforms. seems like it came up in negotiations, but it was negotiation tactics, not an expectation. they obviously didn't disagree with the city not paying for players' uniforms, because they didn't go to arbitration over that, only employee/staff uniforms.

as i mentioned before, though, neither of us has seen the contract MLB negotiated. we don't know what the city agreed to originally.

and while i can understand the general idea of trying to be smarter about the PR aspects of things, it's sad that if the city agrees to provisions in a contract, a company/individual that tries to hold them to it is bad. but if the city doesn't live up to a contract with a company/individual, that's not considered bad. at least that's how arguments in the city's favor come across. i'm sure there's plenty of blame to go around on both sides for some of this, but the reality is that the lerners have a better track record of being competent business people than the city of DC does.

Posted by: 231 | July 11, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg posted a few Nats tidbits on today's Bog roundup. I think he wants us to play.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

231, I have in fact read the agreement. Based on my experience I believe it's clear, but I don't want to and am not going to turn this into the Nats Journal Law Blog and will leave it at that.
__________________
[quote]Substantially complete" means the team was able to play its games at Nats Park"[/quote]

that's *YOUR* interpretation of what it means. i presume you haven't actually read the contract itself. the lerners have been in the construction business longer than most of the posters on this blog have been alive, i'll trust their interpretation of the contract over a random blogger's interpretation of the way an article on the post words it.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 11, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

How are you going to trade Lopez? Doesn't that require someone willing to give you something for him? They need to swallow hard, trade Guzman who has value, and put Lopez at short for the remainder of the year.

Posted by: fredericksburg | July 11, 2008 12:35 PM
_____________________________________

Easy answer: Trade them both. Especially before Guzi gets injured. The A's, IMO, have the right approach. Get rid of the oft-injured while you can.

Posted by: 756* | July 11, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Orr isn't ALLOWED to go if he's still with the big team cause you can't be a professional in the Olympics."


I have a mistress who lives in Canada, does that count? Will play for peanuts if you promise not to extradite.

Posted by: Barry Bonds | July 11, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I believe with a pending court case you are barred from leaving the country.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I believe with a pending court case you are barred from leaving the country.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 2:11 PM
___________________________

It works for Serbian athletes...

Posted by: that's Mr. Bonds to you 506 | July 11, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I just read the gamer during lunch (I'm going to make a point of it every day to increase the "click" total for coverage purposes). Let me heap my appreciation on the already-growing pile.

Andrew must be studying Greek mythology, because the gamer reads like something out of a Euripides tragedgy. Joseph Campbell and his hero circle would be proud.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 11, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

i'd gladly play for $2000. they can keep the rest. i wonder if that 9,000 counts the guys watching from the DL...

Posted by: longterm | July 11, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow. How can you beat that? Post of the day.

-----

i wonder if that 9,000 counts the guys watching from the DL...

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 11, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"231, I have in fact read the agreement. Based on my experience I believe it's clear, but I don't want to and am not going to turn this into the Nats Journal Law Blog and will leave it at that.'

Well, as it happens that's all the Lerners got to do with the agreement too - read it. They didn't negotiate it, they didn't sign it, MLB did. So the Lerners read the agreement and based on their experience they believe it ISN'T clear. They're taking the city to arbitration over it to make it clear, and once it's clarified they'll abide by the decision, whatever it is, and pay the back rent, with interest to boot I'm sure. So why can't you and others quit heaping scorn on them and leave it at that?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm not quite sure what "heaping scorn" means, but I don't see why it's not ok to state my view that they're making a bad call in pursuing this. Why, on the other hand, are you blindly defending them in every respect, even when you don't know the facts (e.g. your insistent assertion that the Lerners never sought payment for players' uniforms, which you then had to backtrack on)?

There is a concept called "stupid hardball" that personifies the approach the Lerners are taking here. And they're not just withholding rent, they're seeking liquidated damages as well. Why are they seeking them? What damage have they actually sustained for which the LD provision is a reasonable surrogate? Please don't say failure to complete a punch list to the Lerners' satisfaction.
_______________
Well, as it happens that's all the Lerners got to do with the agreement too - read it. They didn't negotiate it, they didn't sign it, MLB did. So the Lerners read the agreement and based on their experience they believe it ISN'T clear. They're taking the city to arbitration over it to make it clear, and once it's clarified they'll abide by the decision, whatever it is, and pay the back rent, with interest to boot I'm sure. So why can't you and others quit heaping scorn on them and leave it at that?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 2:38 PM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 11, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up on the bog post, 506. I especially liked the Teddy/Stan clip.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"Why, on the other hand, are you blindly defending them in every respect, even when you don't know the facts (e.g. your insistent assertion that the Lerners never sought payment for players' uniforms, which you then had to backtrack on)?"

I'm not blindly defending them. I'm waiting for the arbitration/court process to play itself out before I declare them guilty of anything. Many others, including you, don't seem willing to do that. As for backtracking on what I said about the uniforms, they DIDN'T go to arbitration over player's uniforms, which is what others were saying they had done - and that's what I disputed.

"There is a concept called "stupid hardball" that personifies the approach the Lerners are taking here."

They are the owners of a major league baseball team. They'd be stupid if they DIDN'T play hardball.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"As for backtracking on what I said about the uniforms, they DIDN'T go to arbitration over player's uniforms, which is what others were saying they had done - and that's what I disputed."


Wrong, RKGF, that's not what you said. Here is what you said, in this blog entry alone. I could go back and dig up more from you/your alter ego 419 if you want, but I think this should suffice:


"I seriously doubt that they ever asked the city to pay for Ryan Zimmerman's uniform."

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 11:33 AM

"you know how I know for sure that the Lerners never asked the city to pay for Ryan Zimmerman's uniform?"

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 11:45 AM


As for your stupid hardball comment, nice joke, but the point remains. Just because they can go to arbitration doesn't mean that they should do so. Again, what actual damage have the Lerners suffered that justifies their request for liquidated damages?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 11, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Snydermen get to keep their nickname. DC court ruled today that the complainants waited to long to become offended by the epithet.

I was kind of hoping the ruling would go the other way, if only to see Snyder scramble to rename the team - a process that would only undoubtedly serve his own inflated ego. The DC Dannies, anyone?

I still find it interesting that the Lerners never seemed to consider renaming the Nationals when they took over. They certainly were not obligated in any to keep the name, logo, and uniforms. And really, it's not like the Nationals brand had really been burned into our collective unconscious - we wouldn't have been that angry about a change, would we?

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 11, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Are we sure that they didn't promise to keep the name?

I would have loved to have the Washington Grays, personally.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

New- [post] -s!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"And really, it's not like the Nationals brand had really been burned into our collective unconscious - we wouldn't have been that angry about a change, would we?"

Hrmmm... I wouldn't have stormed the gates (unless it was something other than the Senators they changed it to), but (being a curmudgeon - and very, very old-school) I think that they should keep the Nationals as the name since it WAS the name of our team for 50+ years (even if they were popularly called the "Senators" for years before the official name change in '56).

So there, consider me burned in. :)

Posted by: OldGuy | July 11, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Lerners to District: Drop Dead!

BTW, the reason Ayala is MORE disappointing than Willy Mo Pena is that Ayala had a good track record and there was good reason to expect better. Anyone who was expecting great things from Pena, paid too much attention to a few games last year.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Comparing Wily Mo Pena with Luis Ayala is like asking someone if they'd rather be shot or stabbed.

Posted by: Ray | July 11, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"you can't be a professional in the Olympics."

Oh really?

Posted by: US Olympic Basketball Team | July 11, 2008 1:37 PM
-------------------------------------------

The internet is great isn't it? It's like a bunch of drunks at a bar, shooting their mouth off about anything and everything. Like if they say it loud enough, it becomes true.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the poster of this morning who noticed that the intern wrote five times about the different speeds of balls that Nat's batters faced. Wouldn't make it past the high school editor.

Posted by: Dr. Journalism | July 11, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

hey! Hey! HEY! YEAH, GIMME TWO BODDINGTONS AND A SHOT OF JAMESON! The A*HOLE IN THE YANKEES HAT IS BUYING!

Posted by: 6th and D | July 11, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the City can find "a hygene violation" and close down concessions until the $3.5 million is paid. You can argue the city is only being a "good businessman" First, I'd tell MLB what is going to happen by the beginning of the next home stand. And if the payment is not made then close down the concession stands.

Posted by: Inspector Cluso | July 11, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

What, you couldn't even SPELL it?

Posted by: that's Chief Inspector Clouseau to you | July 12, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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