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Same old (with an emphasis on old)

OK, so the losing streak has hit six. In the last four games, Washington has tempted a new low. Heck, maybe it is a new low. The team has been shut out three times in the last four games. During that span, it has four extra base hits, all doubles, and just six walks.

Team batting average since Thursday? .133

Team slugging percentage? .167.

Rock bottom? (Manny Acta's been asked this question a few times now, but not in the last few weeks.) Today, here's what he said:

"Ah, no. I don't think so. Look, what makes rock bottom? We won two out of three in Atlanta and I didn't hear the question. How many games make rock bottom? I mean, losing 2-0, 1-0, is that rock bottom?"

But before I lose track of this blog entry's direction, though, let me steer things back to my purpose -- namely, to deflate this sense I'm gathering that Washington's struggles have anything to do with youth. When folks in the Nats clubhouse talk about the recent woes, you'll hear a lot about the young kids, the inexperience, etc.

Among the statements that made their way onto the ol' tape recorder today...

From Lenny Harris: "Well, they're young guys, they're young guys. We don't have that veteran guy who says, 'This is what we need to do' and stuff like that. Guys are pretty much floating on their own and trying to learn. Guys ask me a lot of questions about the game and I try to dictate the game how it's supposed to be played. You can talk about it, but you have to go out there and produce, there's no doubt about it... We have young guys. Twenty-two, 23 years old, playing in the big leagues at a high level."

From Manny, asked today about his lineup's inability to be patient as opposed to, say, the Yanks: "That's some of the stuff we preach around here, but those teams you mention, you're talking about guys who have been around the league for a long time. They've been doing that for a while. Hopefully we'll get to that point, but we've been bringing a lot of younger guys over here and just struggling offensively, and a lot of those kids feel that getting out of a slump is swinging at pitches."

Now maybe such talk is just a reflexive habit built up from the days when Elijah Dukes and Wily Mo Pena et al were playing every day, but right now, youth just isn't a valid excuse.

Let's review today's lineup, position players only.

Willie Harris: 30
Felipe Lopez: 28
Ryan Zimmerman: 23
Austin Kearns: 28
Ronnie Belliard: 33
Lastings Milledge: 23
Paul Lo Duca: 36
Wil Nieves: 29

Average age -- 28.8.

Also note, six of those eight have at least 1,000 major league at bats.

Of course, if all goes according to plan, the youth talk should be right on target again in a few weeks.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 27, 2008; 9:41 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: GM: We're "concerned" for Dmitri's health
Next: We're happy and we're tough to beat


Thanks Chico,

The next step is to point this out to Acta, Harris and the rest of this spin machine. This is something that is not to this organization. As long as people buy it and do not call them on it Acta can anything. Please, ask him in the next pre game talk about these comments and confront him with the facts.

When is it time reassign (fire) Lenny Harris.....this is just not working and Youth and inexperience is not the problem. It may not fix anything but it could not hurt and is worth a try. We have what 60 games to go.....they have to do something.

Posted by: JayB | July 27, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

One of the big problems with this team is the sense that a lot of the veterans are playing for themselves - to pad their stats in hopes of being airlifted to other teams by the trade deadline. Some of the older guys, like DY, have shown no leadership by setting an example for the younger players to follow. All winter fans heard about how DY's influence would help stabilize Dukes's' transition to the team. Well, the Meat Loaf has twice been on the disabled list, has contributed nothing offensively and now is dealing with what seems to be a personal health crisis. LoDuca has failed to make consistent contributions to the offense. FLop, need I say more? Estrada came in overweight with a balky elbow and he and DY could have physically passed for the Wild Samoans. Kearns has been hurt and been an offensive cypher (btw Austin stop lifting your elbows on what you perceive to be inside pitches. The umps think you're showing them up and will keep calling strikes on that move). Mackowiak and Estrada gave been released. Guzman is having an All-Star year. Zimmerman's been hurt. WMP did neither himself nor his team any favors by hacking at every breaking ball within the zip code before undergoing shoulder surgery. Corder and Hill, the bulwarks of the pitching staff have been MIA. This team is a mess.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 27, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

If Lenny Harris is not fired then I am going to go nuts. These are some hellaciously horrible at bats that I am seeing. A five pitch inning from Kershaw?
Are they not listening or they just don't get it? The mantra of excuses is really getting old. I like Manny but I wish he would just stop sugar coating his responses. Let's try a little brutal honesty for a change in the clubhouse. Wake up the zombies. I am so sorry for the starting pitchers who have to play with these pitiful excuses for hitters. (I feel like I am channeling dk, except for the capital letters.) This is where I really miss Dukes, he at least would be throwing SOMETHING by this stage. Somebody has to get into the grill of some of these guys and wake them up. Sorry Manny, but it's time you started showing some fire. The old way is just not working.

Posted by: Dale | July 27, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I say fire the whole team. From GM on down to bat-boy.

Get rid of the whole lot of 'em.

Posted by: Nats Fan Dude | July 27, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Had the kids really been playing, I would think they'd be playing with more zest, energy, etc, though they may be prone to more mental lapses. However, they still have the bounce in their step and will continue to play hard (e.g. Flores, Dukes, Lannan, Balester...)

The issue with veterans is that they may check out mentally and just collect the paycheck (e.g. FLop and Estrada).

I know I chose the extremes in both cases, but it seems like a general rule. Point is, I'm sure most of us agree that if we're the worst team in the league, it'd be more bearable if we were watching the guys 25 y/o & under making errors as opposed to 30+ y/o's just making mental plans for fall & winter vacation...

Posted by: CN | July 27, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

leetee, i had to snicker at your post. not trying to make fun of you, necessarily, but it was funny. first you say:

"One of the big problems with this team is the sense that a lot of the veterans are playing for themselves - to pad their stats in hopes of being airlifted to other teams by the trade deadline."

then you go on to list almost every veteran on the team and talk about how much they have sucked. so... maybe they need to try harder to pad their stats??


Posted by: 231 | July 27, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Leetee1955 says it all and right!

Bring up Boomer Whiting if that is what it takes to get some excitement on this team.

For those of you not following the farm - he is a ok-at-best hitting OF in Potomac who is 110% heart and hustle. Watch him turn a 12 pitch walk into a run with 2 stolen bases and a sacrifice. Love him.

Posted by: I'll Second That | July 27, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Manny has used up just about every darn bit of goodwill he earned last year!

Fire someone. DFA someone. Do something.

(and Rob Mack and Estrada dont count)

Posted by: As the World Turns | July 27, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure that age is the key factor here. (So, I'm also not buying the youthful errors explanation.)

I say go with the players who put in the best effort, whether the "older" Harris and Langerhans, or youth when they are giving it their all (can't wait for Dukes to return in this regard).

I of course want to see sound baseball (smart at-bats, communication in the outfield, etc.) But just as important, I want to see 110% on every play. And I want to see improvement that shows that players, including both veterans and youth, are focusing on the basics.

Let's go Nats!

Posted by: dcbatgirl | July 27, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are an awesome announcing team. What a pleasure to see the Tour de France through their eyes. I'm watching the replay. Paris is very beautiful in the sun.

Posted by: flynnie | July 27, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

just so you know, as the world turns, manny can't fire or DFA anyone. he's not the GM. only bowden can do that.

Posted by: 231 | July 27, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess when Acta/Harris has nothing to say - they just go to default and blame youth. I used to appreciate Acta's lowkey approach but I think he needs to show a little fire & passion. This doesn't mean doing a Pinella on an Ump - I agree with Acta that this is usually pointless - but there has got to be a happy middle here.

Anyway I hope in September they bring up some of the youth and let them play. Can't be any worse.

Posted by: Count Demoney | July 27, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Didn't think I would get here but in the offseason I would like to see some management changes too. It is time for Bowden to go b/c I think it is time for a change and not b/c I think Bowden is terrible. The Nats need some fresh blood. It would be nice if Rizzo took the job - a Diamondback fetish has got to be better than a Reds fetish

Posted by: Count Demoney | July 27, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

And those young guys just got beat by a 20 year old pitcher! There is a difference in youth and talent. The Dodgers are young too.

Billingsley 23
Broxton 24
Kershaw 20
Martin 25
Loney 24
Ethier 26
Kemp 23

Posted by: natrat | July 27, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Red Sox - Yankees game (why the other 28 teams even bother to compete?) on ESPN and thinking wow, what if we had a 2B like Pedroia.

And turns out that we had ample opportunity to draft him in 2004. We took Bill Bray in the first round, and Erick San Pedro in the second round. Anyone remember him?

He played 4 years in our farm system, a total of 121 games .. 500 ABs, and has a career batting average of .181..

dont get too excited SoCH, this was before Trader Jim, when MLB was still... whatever you would call what they did to the expos.

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | July 27, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Teams can rebuild quickly through the draft.


Red Sox took Pedroia in first round of 2004

Ellsbury in first round of 2005

Clay Buchholz in supp round of 2005

Jay Bruce and Ryan Braun were also both still on the board when we picked Zim.

Just facts. Not commentary from me on this.

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | July 27, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Now HERE's the commentary...

for those of you that argue that a team should always trade a soon-to-be-free-agent instead of taking the compensatory picks...

the trio of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie and Clay Buchholz were compensatory picks made by the Red Sox to compensate for the loss of Pedro Martinez and Orlando Cabrerra (yes that stings a little since he was an Expo)

do you think the Red Sox would have been better off trading Cabrera or drafting Ellsbury and Lowrie.. yes they were the two picks they used from Cabrera.

if there are doubters.. here is the link.

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | July 27, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

PLoD, FLop, Vidro, Fick, Nook Logan, Langerhans, WiMP, Estrada, 300 pounds of DaMeat, has there been a bigger collection of stiffs pretending to be major leaguers on any franchise? The Lerners are cheapskate suburban shopping mall experts who haven't a clue except how to squeeze a nickel while Kasten and JimBo are their work-on-the-cheap middle management scumbags. This team will never get better until there is new blood top to bottom, including Manny. Firing Lenny Harris is like changing the band-aid on a cancer patient; it might need to be done, but it's hardly going to cure things. This is a Double- or Triple-A team that has the cahones to charge Major League prices. A millionaire scumbag landlord living in a rent-stabilized (or, more accurately, rent-free) playpen. They should all be ashamed.

Posted by: Meat Hook 450 Pounds, or Bust | July 27, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world is Lenny Harris still the hitting coach? They would be better off letting each player fend for himself! The man is not ready and the team is an embarrassment and a laughingstock. The dregs of baseball by far -- and let's not kid ourselves, no one on the farm is going to help that much.

AND - less than 20 days to go and draft picks in Rounds 1, 3, 4 and 5 are still unsigned -- not that the Post would even deign to cover that or ask why.

The draft picks are the major issue, b/c the pathetic Nationals are no longer worth talking about or watching this year. They are not a true major league team. Major league baseball left Washington about halfway into least we get to try again next year, not 2042!

But take heed Kasten & Co. - without a major free agent signing your season ticket sales will struggle to reach even 12,000 and Nationals Park will average less than 20,000 fans next year. The media have ignored your team from almost Day 1, the fans will too unless you make a concerted effort to win in 2009, not 2019.

I'm done for this year -- see you all again in Spring Training, 2009!

Posted by: steve | July 27, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The success or failure of any organization begins at the top.

In baseball, in the end you will play as well or as poorly as the talent you have.

Posted by: ken beatrice | July 27, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Man, you guys sound like a lynch mob. You must all be season ticket holders. I know how you feel...

Granted, 'The Plan' ain't quite working, but Chico put it quite succinctly a few posts ago, we are almost 9 for 9 with opening day players on the DL. I think with the major leaguers all out, and the kids not ready, the offense is suffering. But I must agree with CN - if the kids were still playing, we'd see some better (at least more interesting) baseball. Remember Girardi's Marlins?

And as far as Bowden goes, I can't say I have agreed with much that he has done (Schneider/Church -> Milledge - are you kidding?) - but I'm very much anticipating his next move. The dude has surprised me each time. But I must admit, it is kinda like watching a train wreck in slow motion...

I'm hoping after the trade deadline, it's all kids all the time. Time to showcase these guys - even if they are not ready. The season is already toast, Right JimBo?

Posted by: CajunD | July 28, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

fire lenny harris and hire ray knight. he will be more useful in the clubhouse for the young guys than on tv. i think 60 games with kearns zim et al will really do wonders.

Posted by: love | July 28, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Boni update -

3 for 4 which ups his Columbus Clipper batting average to .625.

..Bernadina is hitting .413 there.. yep, another Brandon Watson wannabe..

and in the its time to cut bait dept..

Larry Broadway left 5 men on base and is continuing his deadening .267 with no power or clutch hitting or reason to be..

Posted by: Yippee | July 28, 2008 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Yep, all season ticket holders.

Next year I am buying really expensive opening day tickets and just burning the rest of the $$ in lieu of my 80 tickets...

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | July 28, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

If Bowden can get anything at all by the trade deadline in return for the veterans who need to be dumped, I will be amazed. I would also be amazed if he managed a trade for the very few who don't really need to be dumped, like Willie Harris and Tim Redding.

Once that deadline is over, and the draft signing deadline has passed, I would love to see Bowden simply jettisoned, and Lenny Harris "accidentally" left behind when the team bus or plane makes its way back to DC.

I believe changes will happen this off-season, including an attempt to sign at least one serious free agent. The voices of the faithful are a bit too loud and dismayed to be ignored anymore, and they want to keep season ticket holders more than anything else.

Posted by: Positively Half St | July 28, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

OK, someone throw me a life preserver. I'm drowning in my own self pity. I desparately want to be positive about this team but where do I start? Flynnie, you seem to be the resident Mr. Sunshine. Help!
In the short term I'm rooting for all our pitchers. With the exception of The Opener, who showed positive signs yesterday, they're doing pretty well. I'll continue to root for the older position players until Thursday in the hopes that they will be traded. I believe it is still fairly easy to trade someone after the deadline but I've settled on Thursday.
I' m rooting for the farm system and stop by NFA first thing every morning. Brian can not be publically thanked enough so thanks again, Brian. I would hope that after Thursday we would consider bringing up a few of our farm hands if they can play every day. Otherwise I believe it would be best to let them complete their seasons and then bring them up in September.
I'm hoping against hope that we sign the draft choices. If we sign 1, 3, 4, 5, 11, 14, 15 and 20 we'll have all of our top 25. It would also be nice to see a roll of the dice and see Silverstein signed well above slot (hey, it's my dream, please don't shove reality down my throat for another couple of weeks.)
Have I been relegated to hoping for the #1 pick next year? I hate rooting against the Nats and for the Padres and Mariners, but what else is there?
If I do root for the Padres and Mariners I'll do it quietly and will still be hoping against hope for the emergence of one or more Joe Hardys.
Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 28, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Have I been relegated to hoping for the #1 pick next year? I hate rooting against the Nats and for the Padres and Mariners, but what else is there?

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 28, 2008 7:35 AM

I hope this makes you feel better rather than worse: personally, I don't see any point in rooting for the Nats to have the first pick in next year's draft. Seriously, isn't the baseball draft something of a crapshoot? Haven't there been plenty of top picks who didn't pan out? Root for our boys to win. The fact that they won't do it very often will have the silver lining of a high pick, but that's not the basket where you want your eggs.

I just stepped outside for a few minutes. Here at my hotel just steps from the interstate in lovely Albany, the sun is up, the sky is mostly clear, and it's 70something with a cool fresh breeze. Let's play two indeed -- three, if they let us.

Posted by: Scooter | July 28, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Heck, maybe Lenny Harris is a great hitting coach and it's just that none of the boneheads listen to him. I am so tired of one pitch at bats that wind up as pop ups or weak grounders. In the end it is up to Acta to enforce a little plate discipline around here and he is NOT doing it. Maybe he should take Flop and Zimmerman and any other guilty parties and force them to watch Bergmann's at bat over and over until they get the message that you should try to battle the pitcher. (Guzman is in this group but he gets a pass because he at least gets a hit about every third at bat.)

If we are stuck with Lo Duca and Flop after the trade deadline then this will be the longest end of season run imaginable. It will be like the bad dream where you are trying to run but not moving. The last two series were agonizing to watch and hopefully not to be repeated again for a long while. In the end what fan would pay to come to the ballpark to watch Lo Duca and Flop or Odalis Perez of the last two outings? It's time to play the hustlers and the kids. We may lose but one thing is for sure--we can not score any LESS runs.

Posted by: Dale | July 28, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Scooter!
You bet we've been blessed with another beautiful day and my family is healthy. I have lots to be grateful for.
Now if a couple of Joe Hardys emerge and we rip off a mere 57 game winning streak we've got it in the bag. Maybe we can get JB to sell his soul to make this happen. It's not like he's using it for anything now.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 28, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I believe that ship has sailed.

"Maybe we can get JB to sell his soul to make this happen. It's not like he's using it for anything now."

Posted by: Mr. Applegate | July 28, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

PS I don't get the "Joe Hardy" reference.

Posted by: Scooter | July 28, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

PPS Finally did the right search and now understand the Damn Yankees reference. I've never seen that show.

Posted by: Scooter | July 28, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Once again, yesterday flop fails to run on the third strike -- defense messed up and there was a possibility of a runner on first - but , I guess we all know what flop did. Jimmy Rollins has been benched twice this year for things flop does every day. Can JB tell manny he HAS to play flop? I would rather watch an eager, hungry kid play even if he makes mistakes than watch that arrogant, sulky excuse for a major leaguer play one more game. Manny needs to grow a set and sit his A**** down. Lenny Harris is ineffective. If we are going to grow a young team from the ground up then they really need a good hitting coach. Obviously St.Cl is the right pitching coach. Good stuff coming up from the minors - are we going to develop them or ruin them?

Posted by: masnstinks | July 28, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Pathetic that Acta and Harris have to hang their excuses on youth. No Manny, the truth is the cards you have been dealt are marked with AAAA'ers, retreads, and never will be's. Lenny Harris your skill set doesn't translate to "hitting coach". Here's to the Real Estate Developers and their side kick Carni Act-Used Car Salesman (AKA LernerStans), any good will that might have come your way because of the obvious (no team for two generations, new stadium, blah, blah, blah) is over. Your deadpan public relations along w/your inability to end the charade (aka PTBowdoin)has guaranteed a stadium empty of Nats Fans but loaded w/Phillie, Mets and Braves fans in August and September. Shame on you for thinking so little of us, the fools who bought into you plan and sent those checks thinking that this version of DC baseball would be eons better then the previous ones. Enough is enough.

Posted by: tippy canoe | July 28, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

A good post, Chico. The only way that this is going to get better in my opinion is if the fans and the media stop drinking the 'we're building for the future' Kool Aid and demonstrate that fans are not going to sit silently and be satisifed with a stadium full of bars and a team on a field that is going to lose 110 games.

The problem isn't youth, its that the ownership thinks getting people off the waiver wire and paying them minimum salary is acceptable.

Willie Harris: 30 -- let go by Braves
Felipe Lopez: 28
Ryan Zimmerman: 23
Austin Kearns: 28
Ronnie Belliard: 33 let go by Cardinals
Lastings Milledge: 23
Paul Lo Duca: 36
Wil Nieves: 29 minor league free agent

Three of eight players were bottom of the barrel minimum salary desparate to stay in the major leagues pick ups. Add to this list:

Odalis Perez
Tim Redding
Wily Mo Pena
Dmitri Young
Saul Rivera
Joel Hanrahan
Jesus Colome
Jesus Flores
Steven Shell

That's 12 players -- or nearly half the roster -- that's been picked up for nothing from other organizations. Occasionally (like, say, with Flores) the organization missed and he has been a very good major league player. But the M.O. of the organization of buying guys on the cheap while promoting racing presidents and bars on the concourse is wearing thin. Fast.

The organization needs to commit some money to major league salaries to provide fans with a major league product on the field to justify the major league prices it charges in tickets, parking, refreshments. etc.

Posted by: Ray | July 28, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I have one argument left that trumps every other point I try to make to convince myself otherwise: I have bought-and-paid-for tickets and I'm not using them. My favorite place in the world is a baseball game, and I'm not using these.

It's not just that the team is bad, the whole "fan experience" thing just isn't there for me. This is an incompetently marketed product, reeking of sloppy, inexpert, careless management. (Which then turns on DC for sloppy construction work, so I will grant they do have nerve.)

Zimmerman isn't the Face of the Franchise, Felipe Lopez is.

IF (and I don't think it's likely, but if) Mark Cuban gets to buy the Cubs: watch, and learn.

Posted by: CEvans | July 28, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"Zimmerman isn't the Face of the Franchise, Felipe Lopez is."

How true.

We are already pinning a great deal of hope, wishes, and expectations on Bonaficio. His arrival on the team can not be soon enough.

The best thing about baseball is that each season starts with a new promise. I do feel that Spring of '09 will be tinged with wariness. This team will be a much harder sell to the fans unless some dramatic changes are made in the next six months.

Posted by: Dale | July 28, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

People on the Dump Harris bandwagon forget how much the team improved last year when he took over after Page. Also, who is available to take his place?

DY is another example of the short attention span crowd. I think the Nats have been lucky to have him, and wish him well. His health issues are surely more complicated than we know or the press can or should report.

I'm not saying something shouldn't be done about the current state of the team (like DFA FLop), but once we get Dukes back maybe we can start building for a strong September.

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

And there is lots of places within 50 miles to watch a baseball game.

Woodbridge, Bowie, Frederick, and the gem of a little park out in Waldorf.

Spending a night at the ballpark doesnt have to include cash and frustration on Capitol St.

Posted by: Baseball in the summer | July 28, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

wow, i think you're pretty close to bulls eye on when you say taht Felipe Lopez has become the face of the franchise. ouch.

i think next years number one overrall pick has really separated himself from everyone else, very early still but, yes, we do want to finish dead last.

Posted by: longterm | July 28, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

sign CC Sabathia and Teixiera to 5 year/20 mil deals. sign this years remaining draft picks, and finish dead last so we choose overall number one (Strasburg) next year.

then we can start thinking about 4th place.

Posted by: longterm | July 28, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Jim Bowden is the face of this franchise, which is why we are repelled at the sight of it.

Posted by: ohplease | July 28, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to change back to Dmitri's health, but seriously, it's time to root for Dmitri the person, not Dmitri the player.

This is serious and can lead to a great many of things, including slipping into a diabetic coma and dying the way my friend did at the age of 27.

Let's hope Dmitri can work with doctors to get this under control to save his life.

Worry about him as a baseball player later folks.

Posted by: Ryan | July 28, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The teams needs to go forward as if neither Nick Johnson or Dimitri Young plays regularly again. Tough call, but an undeniable one.

Posted by: ohplease | July 28, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

What Ryan said.

Posted by: CE | July 28, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

True and right, and I've adjusted to this by playing, myself. It's good, but it's not the same.

And there are lots of places within 50 miles to watch a baseball game.

Spending a night at the ballpark doesn't have to include cash and frustration on S. Capitol St.

Posted by: Baseball in the summer | July 28, 2008 10:12 AM

Posted by: CE | July 28, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Says it all:

"Jim Bowden is the face of this franchise, which is why we are repelled at the sight of it."

Posted by: seasonticketholderfornow | July 28, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

and on that point:

The Cult of the General Manager
Can we go back to worshiping athletes already?
By Neal Pollack
Posted Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, at 3:14 PM ET

Posted by: CE | July 28, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

We're not talking about just some incompetent GM here. We're talking about a guy who's under investigation by the FBI; who fires players on the radio; who apparently thinks he's God's gift to the world...

He needs to go if this team hasn't any chance of coming out of this season with a shred of dignity.

Posted by: ohplease | July 28, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"DY is another example of the short attention span crowd. I think the Nats have been lucky to have him, and wish him well."

As long as that attention span doesn't stretch back to 2006, Meat is all good.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, CE. Interesting piece, particularly the point about the lack of distinction between fantasy sports news and real sports new. Somehow I'd not made the fantasy sports/armchair GM discussion connection before (duh). Neither is my cup of tea, but to each his or her own.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

According to, the Rangers are looking to trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia for young pitching. With Laird catching and Davis & Ramirez at 1st, he could come fairly cheap.

We have a ton of young pitching and this guy automatically comes a legitimate 1st baseman of the future who can have an impact immediately. I know all about Marrero, but this could give us some good depth.

Posted by: Corey | July 28, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree - Flop is the face of the franchise. Sadly enough.

As for building for the future - it's gonna be a long ride. Kasten has always preached that trading and drafting is the way to build a contender, not through free agency. So if we follow that mindset our two options do not look good. For one, we are having difficulty signing our current draft picks and two, we do not have anybody to trade for actual proven talent. No team in the league wants anyone from our cast of fringe players. Rauch, one of our few proven commodities, was traded for "one" prospect. Thats kinda weak.

If the guzman signing is any indication of things to come, we are going to shell out anywhere from $4-8M per player for a few fringe players this offseason. I don't see us breaking the $10M mark.

Still a nats fan...sadly enough.

Posted by: Hopeful In Arlington | July 28, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone ever stop to wonder why this team has so many injuries. Two years ago half the Yankee's team was injured and Cashman brought in a fitness expert, and switched conditioning coaches. Sure we shouldn't run the team like the Yankee's but at what point can we assume that every year being destroyed by injuries is not a damn coincidence.

Also you are dead wrong! Zimmerman is exactly the face of the franchise. Over-hyped, quite talented, deeply flawed player who is utility at any club that takes themselves seriously. He's just keeping the seat warm until Bowden declares the next 23-year-old to be a mega star in waiting only to learn he can't hit a curveball!

Posted by: Ben | July 28, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Also, thank you Ryan for putting Dimitri's performance into perspective. We should all wish him all the best, and a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Ben | July 28, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who is reading and or commenting on this site is a true Nats fan...they'd have to be. To keep allegiance to a team as pitiful as the Nats is surely the answer to: What is the meaning of a true fan? This lastest debacle of a west coast trip leaves me nearly emotionless. I've come to not expect much and in return, not get much. Just imagine how excited we will all be if/when the fortunes turn for the better. Ah but to fantasize...sweet dreams Nats fans...sweet dreams.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 28, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"Over-hyped, quite talented, deeply flawed player"

Over-hyped and quite talented, I'll give you. But please probe the depths of Zimmerman's flaws for us. Really. Because at worst I'd assess him as an average player myself. And no average player can be considered deeply flawed - because if average players are deeply flawed, how then would you characterize the many below-average players in MLB?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 28, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

How is this for a hopeful September, if we can't get better, get Younger!

1. Guzman (SS)
2. Milledge (LF)
3. Zimmerman (3B)
4. Dukes (RF)
5. Flores (CA)
6. Rhinehart (1B)
7. Bernadina (CF)
8. Bonifacio (2B)
9. Pitcher


You can swap Milledge and Bernadina between CF and RF.


Posted by: MO Nats Fan | July 28, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

MO Nats Fan; makes great sense but this is the Nationals and logic is usually reserved for ......., well you get the idea. Just replace Kearns and Redding w/Langerhands and say maybe Boone or Orr and your onto something.

Doubt they would give Kearns and Redding away for nothing. The others it wouldn't matter.

Posted by: tippy canoe | July 28, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

MO Nat's fan. I would love them to have the grapes to field that team.

As to Zimmerman's flaws, he can't hit a breaking ball low and outside. Which means he is flailing at half of all pitches thrown at hem. Alright, I'm being a bit harsh above but at best he features as a good defensive option on a poor team (like this one), or a late game sub on a good team. The man is batting .262. Like all Bowdens love children he is really overrated.

I was being harsh, but we all look at him like he's the answer but, when the fact is for a corner infielder we should be expecting more than, slightly below average bat. And for a face of a franchise (and please let's all stop calling him that, it's just depressing) we need a lot better.

Posted by: Ben | July 28, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

But you need to see Billy Rhinehart in person a few times before you get him the first baseman's job. He has some talent, but can still be overwhelmed at AA. Yep, saw him live four times just last week.

And who, who are you going to convince to take the expensive Kearns off our hands?

Posted by: Like Your Idea | July 28, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Who is going to be held accountable for the train wreck named the Washington Nationals. It starts at the top w/ownership. They have been all smoke & mirrors. They have hidden behind "The Plan" and are expecting blind loyalty from this fanbase. Spend some money learners and put a more competitive team on the field while we wait on the kids in the farm system to develop. We all like the stadium, however without drastic changes for next season the stadium will not be enough.

Somebody needs to be thrown over the side and it starts with Bowden. The architect of the worst hitting team in baseball! He has got to go! Terminate with extreme prejudice! The hitting coach Harris must go!

The fans need to see that there is a new sense of direction to this baseball club.
Except for Zimmerman, Flores, and maybe one or two others, this roster needs to be gutted!

Posted by: Wayno | July 28, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse


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

LYI - it doesn't matter that Reinhardt is over matched. As we're going to spiral down do we lose giving Reinhardt a chance, or with the apathetic Lo Duca? I say that's an easy question.

And given that Kearns is not part of the future, and has no value add him to the cut pile!

Posted by: Ben | July 28, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

While I'd love for the Nats to go out and sign Sabathia and Teixeira, why would they sign here. If 5 years at $20M per would be enough for each of them, great. But why wouldn't they take the same $100M from the Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, etc...

As for Bowden, he may or may not be under investigation by the FBI. All that I have seen is that he has been interviewed, he could have been the subject of the interview, or Mike Rizzo, or Theo Epstein. We just don't know. Don't get me wring, I still think we should fire him.

As for Lenny Harris. Pathetic. Does he just sit and wait for people to come to him for help? He needs to be more proactive with guys that actually need help. To build on Chico's point, most of our lineup isn't "that" young - in addition to hundreds of major league at bats, these guys have experience in the minors, batting practice every day, time in the cage, time in the video room, etc - there's no excuse for these guys to appear so unprepared. Fire Lenny Harris.

Last item, I'm almost 100% certain that Lopez will be DFA'd by this time next week. Just a hunch, but they are playing him with the hope that he gets hot, snaps out of his funk and we can trade him for a 5th outfielder playing rookie ball somewhere - once that Aug 1 deadline passes, he'll be gone soonafter.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | July 28, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I didn't,wouldn't,couldn't watch yesterday's debacle,spent time with my wife and daughter.These guy's would test the paitience of Jesus Christ,no discipline at the plate over anxious its almost like they can't wait to get out of batters box and back to the dugout,I really want to support Lenny Harris but after reading that exchange yeah you gotta go and take Manny and Jimbo with you.

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Why cant folks on here even spell the darn player's names correctly?

You want to start Reinhardt? Gosh, what will Bill Rhinehart say about that slight?

Be a fan or follow the O's for craps sake.

Posted by: The Plan | July 28, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Jesus Wept! The Plan, go correct spelling somewhere else you pedant! Especially given your somewhat flirtatious relationship with apostrophes.

Posted by: Expofan | July 28, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The current Nats are Bob Short, Vol II. The ownership does not care what kind of a team they field, only wish to fill seats with the "entertainment experience". They think that the fan base will fall all over themselves because we finally have a team. Their scheme of mediocrity at minimum expenditure will somehow fill their pockets is going to be a debacle for years to come. This team is not even fun to watch. You knew that old man Griffith was a tightwad, but at least the Senators were fun to watch.

Posted by: jjb | July 29, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

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