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A Relief from Early Relief

For those who survived past the third inning - or simply for those who have sought sanctuary on the Nationals Journal - I wanted to provide something to pique your Nationals interest as they try to break within a touchdown of the Mets and possibly wear out their bullpen.

Before the game, I caught up with Mets catcher Brian Schneider, a former three-year veteran of the Nationals who once experienced an 81-win season in Washington.

Here are his unfiltered comments on his former team and a few of his former teammates:

On Jesus Flores: "He's having a great year this year. It's one of those things where you never know how good he can be until he gets the chance to play."

On the new ballpark: "It's great, coming from RFK. I know the owners put a lot into this. It's all about the fans. They want to be fan-friendly, and they take pride, which they should. It's a beautiful ballpark in the Nation's Capital and it's going to support the team for a long time."

On if he's surprised that the Nationals have struggled: "I'm going to say, no, I'm not surprised. But it's not like I'm dissing them. They've had so many injuries that it's hard. You knew they were going to have a good team over here, but then Kearns gets hurt, Zimmy gets hurt, Johnson, that's your 3, 4, 5 guys. You're asking some guys to pick up a lot of slack. If one of those guys - maybe two - gets hurt, but all three of those guys, and Dukes' been hurt, Milledge, Wily Mo at the very beginning, it's very hard. It's a tough year for this team. Shawn Hill was a great pitcher, and now you lose Chico. You lose so many guys. It's asking for a lot.

"Am I surprised? Yeah, I'm surprised, they should have a better record. With all the injuries they've had, you have to give them slack. It doesn't matter if you're Anaheim or Chicago or us or whatever. If you're going to have so many injuries - if the team you leave spring training with, you're not playing with that team.

"So to answer the question, yeah, I'm surprised, but I originally said no because of the injuries and it's hard to deal with all those injuries. But obviously they're a lot better team than what their record is. There's not much you can do."

On John Lannan: "He caught everyone by surprise. He looked awesome. He's done a good job. There's a lot of talent in the minor leagues for the Nationals right now. They did a good job a lot of years drafting, they spent a lot of money on these guys. Lannan's done a good job and Balester is up here. I'm excited to see him pitch, too."

- Zach Berman

By Chico Harlan  |  August 13, 2008; 8:37 PM ET
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Next: A Nat or a Cat?


Oh, for a mercy rule! Can we just stop playing this season? What am I happy about? That I turned down free Diamond Club tickets tonight!

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Two-out walk, followed by a two-run homer. This is just laughable now. The magic number of 30 is getting closer and closer.

Posted by: d'oh! | August 13, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, how can I have an Attitude of Gratitude (the Mother of All Virtue) with this Bucketude of Sucketude?

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Ayala's warming up!

Posted by: 30-0? | August 13, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg has a Great Post on our Judo Bronze Medalist - what an original thinker she is! Steinberg: How are you going to celebrate? Judo Girl: By becoming a vegan!
Steinberg: You're going to celbrate your medal by giving up dairy products? I mean - isn't your sport a little violent for that?
Judo Girl: Well, we fight, but we don't kill and eat each other!

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Schneider is a nice guy -- what a shame he's still not here.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

the nats said give them a break cuz zim and kearns were hurt. They have won like 6 games since they both came back...give me a break

Posted by: luv da nats | August 13, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Charlie just announced that the official scorer has given Guzman an error on the ball that went through his leags and only four of the eight runs scored by the Mets that inning are earned. Hope that makes Bergmann feel better.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 13, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Ayala...could hit 20-0.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Is Chico on vacation?

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Schneider is a class act... can't slug to save his life, but he is a great guy.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 13, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Father Flynniegan, you of all people have to keep the faith.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 13, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Where's Lucky Bob Carpenter? If I have to suffer through this, so should he. Years of broadcasting Maryland sports has prepared Johnny, who's looking for Maine to be pulled w/85 pitches already. Bonifacio walks! For the 2d time! It's a miracle!

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Love to see Schneider come back after his contract runs out. Would make great back-up catcher/bench coach.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Bob Carpenter is on vacation with Chico in Ocean City.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

is JayB posting under flynnie's name tonight?

Posted by: natsscribe | August 13, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

How bad will it get?

100 losses. 105? I vote for 107.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow...Ayala pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning! Hey, I'm trying to find positives out of an otherwise horrible night...

Posted by: B | August 13, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse


As someone who first hand saw the most gawd awful expansion Senators team of all time - 56-106 in 1963 - I'll go for 106 losses. That team actually had a seven-game winning streak and STILL lost 106 games.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 13, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Re: Faith, Optimism and this team. This game puts me in mind of the argument that took place in Lincoln's cabinet when the government ran out of money in the Civil War and decided to print paper. Salmon Chase wanted a verse from scripture on the money, and the Masons of Virginia were dead against it. Lincoln cooled down the increasingly heated room by suggesting the following verse uttered by Peter when he cured the blind beggar: "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have,I give thee."

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

106 losses? How embarrassing, if true. But does anyone actually think the Nats will acknowledge something is wrong. I don't -- they will blame everything from injuries to bad karma.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I know tonight's a lost cause, but I swear if I see AK ground into one more double-play...He IS NOT A CLEANUP HITTER!

Posted by: BSG | August 13, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Wonder which intern will get to cover the Nats the last few weeks of the season. Probably someone who hasn't graduated from high school yet.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse


Just think, if they had lost those seven games, the 1963 Senators would have finished 49-113. Perhaps the Nats will do better than that.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 13, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

BSG....Kearns is not a hitter period, you must meant to say.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't the Lerners have any pride? Or, is it all about the profits?

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

right now, the nats are on pace to finish 59-103. let the public firing of jimbow on the scoreboard with SoCH as master of ceremonies commence sooner than later.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 13, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Mark Lerner will never fire Bowden. Never. They could go 0-162 and they wouldn't fire him.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't be surprised to see Mr. Kasten exit after this season -- by his choice.

Posted by: ohplease | August 13, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Chico got injured a week ago. They say he is day to day, but I have a hunch that he will be DL'ed retroactive to Colorado

Posted by: Misty May is a better hitter than Bonifacio | August 13, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Luis Ayala pitched really well, Milledge extended his hitting streak to 14 games, Bonafacio drew not one, but TWO walks...

Posted by: Trying to Think Positive... | August 13, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

it took until tonight, but the nats have finally found "gasoline alley" ayala's role - use only when trailing by a dozen or more runs.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 13, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama has a plan to tax the Lerner's windfall profits and give $1000 to each ticket holder.

Posted by: BO | August 13, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Over on NFA there is a story about Aaron Crow signing with the Independent League. His take is that it is posturing on Crow's part. Interesting

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 13, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

#8 signed for $2.6 mil. Crow needs to lower his asking price

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 13, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

2 out rally! It's only 12-0! Yeah! Shutout #18! Souls leaving purgatory in droves! Offer up that suffering NatsFans! Anyone in a state of mortal sin? I have season tickets! One game should be sufficient penance to return you to a state of grace!

Posted by: father flynniegan | August 13, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

If you were Crowe, would you want to come to a market that has been advertised as the worst (9,000 families watching) in MLB? Maybe you could go somewhere with a chance to make endorsement money. I don't want to discourage the lad from signing here, but the Redskins seem to have the Eastern Motors money sewn up.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse


Interesting development regarding Aaron Crow, the Nationals' first-round pick. The Fort Worth Cats of the independent Texas League announced they have signed Crow, and that the former Missouri pitcher will play there if he doesn't sign with the Nationals. See for yourself:

What does this mean for the Nationals and Crow? Not a lot. If anything, it's an indication he probably won't be back at Missouri for his senior season. But he could play for the Cats and re-enter the draft next year. J.D. Drew did something similar when the Phillies took him in 1997. He didn't sign with them, played for the St. Paul Saints (then of the independent Northern League) and was drafted in 1998 by the Cardinals.

Crow has until Friday at midnight to finalize a deal with the Nationals. He's rumored to be looking for upwards of $4 million in bonus money. Stay tuned.

Posted by: theredskin | August 13, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for taking the duty. It was brutal.

Thanks TTP, I can think of nothing positive to add, other than tomorrow is another day. We get to play another game and, who knows, maybe sign a draft choice or two.

I'll type to you then.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the relief, Zach (although I listened to the whole thing, because there's no DL for Nats fans). Schneider is a class act and, as others have noted, I would love to see him back here in some day - perhaps as a coach. TtTP: you forgot to add Boni's hit as a plus. Also, due to the lack of offense on our part, the agony of defeat was not unduly prolonged (hey, I'm trying to work with what I've got here). D'oh: I was thinking about the magic (30) number early on as well, but we didn't go there.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse


Where is your article from? I've heard he wants $6mil. I've also read ridiculous amounts like $8-10 mil. Even though $4mil is overpaying, if he wants $4mil I'd say there is a decent chance the Nats sign him

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 13, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

NatsVerse, it's from the Fort Worth Cats' site - you can navigate there via the URL in the posting.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse


Fort Worth's site has no information on what his salary requests are. Just curious where it is reported that he wants $4mil

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I hope the Lerners realize tonite's embarrasment is a sympton of a larger problem, Manny can't motivate period! from last night's pointless and goofy argument with the umpires to his season long lack of enthusiasm this team does not respond to Manny and it never will.If you're serious about going forward(that means winning!)then the search for a new field manager should start Oct.1 establish who are the free agents you want(that should be a short list!) I,ve said it in this blog since before the all star break Jimbo has got to go he has made some serious mistakes concerning personel moves and contracts that has cost this franchise. Stan Kasten should also be shown the door he has no history of sucess anywhere( no not in Atlanta thats where I live and talk radio lampooned him on a daily basis until he was kicked to the curb) As a native of washington dc born and raised there, left in the fall of 2006 and a diehard nats fan i implore you ( The Lerner Family) to move forward in an effot to turn this franchise around.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | August 13, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Crow's agent says that Bowden broke off negotiations

Posted by: Uh oh | August 13, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Also, the Enrico Palazzo and Mickey Goldmill references = priceless.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, sorry that I misunderstood, NatsVerse.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, as talk radio goes, so goes the nation.

Posted by: Yikes, are we in trouble | August 13, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama will fix everything, including the Nats

Posted by: stankonia | August 13, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what happened tonight, I've successfully located and killed the braincells that had stored those memories, but I dimly remember one vague item.

Bonifacio 1 for 2, with 2 walks. He's learning to lay off the breaking pitches, hurray!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I have to ask myself, why would R. Zimmerman want to re-sign here? Why?

Posted by: Jim Bow | August 13, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

It is always darkest before dawn. Boy is it dark out there!!!

Posted by: mjames | August 14, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

On the bright side ... Mike O'Connor may feel a little better tonight knowing that his loss v. the Marlins wasn't the worst of the season.

Posted by: dcbatgirl | August 14, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

At this point, I am hoping we end up with the worst record so we can get #1 pick. Unfortunately, the Mariners are hard to shake.

Posted by: Last place | August 14, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Lets 86 the injury excuse. Please the Lerners and Bowden dont have a clue and figure neither do DC baseball fans. If you are going to put the a single A team on the field punks then you need to charge sing A ticket prices. And this aint like managing a mall girls. Either learn how to own a major league baseball team and hir quality folks to run and Acta isnt one of them or sell them the team ladies.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 6:33 AM | Report abuse

When the starting pitching goes this team has no chance whatsoever. Watching Bergmann die out there was like watching a movie where the commander of the fort closes the gate before the last soldier comes back from patrol--it is such a pitiful helpless feeling to see him picked off by the bad guys.

I wonder how many more shutouts are in our future this year? This is too sad to bear.

Posted by: Dale | August 14, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

So calling somebody a "lady" or a "girl" is a supposed to be a negative, right, Anon? Just trying to get a handle on the lingo these days, because I always thought that being such was a positive. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

"Lets 86 the injury excuse."

In other words, let's eliminate a rational explanation so that we can scream hysterically?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Manny from the gamer:

"I really don't care what people think," Acta said. "We have to do what we have to do, There are times the pitchers have to take it on the chin for their teammates. Everybody knows the situation."

I think a lot of people are beginning not to care what Acta thinks. Not only is the guy not very bright, he responds like a kid under pressure. Everyone is beginning to see that he doesn't have any balls, especially his team, because players can sense that right off the bat. He's such a coward, so inhibited, that he couldn't even get thrown out late in a game with his team 33 games under .500. If you're not truly pissed by then, you need to do something else for a living. Like coach first base on a single-A team, or whatever his path to greatness included. Who made this guy smart? What's he got, like a 9th-grade education? If you're going to be an ex-scrub, like say Earl Weaver or Dave Trembley, or LaRussa, then you at least need some intelligence in order to get players to do your bidding. Acta has neither. 18 shutouts?? Maybe if they manufactured a run every once in awhile they might not be staring at goose eggs at least once a week. Kearns hitting cleanup?? These people have to be high. Completely high.

Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Where else can a team have these long losing streaks, be shut out 18 times in a season, have batters show NO discipline at the plate, throw 30 walks in a 4 game series, etc, etc and THERE BE NO MENTION OF SOME KIND OF SHAKE UP??? I love Manny, but there has to be some kind of conversation going on about whether he really is the guy for this job.....

Posted by: Broncos7 | August 14, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Bad news, fellas, this isn't that sort of team. You should find a new team to follow, if you want that. Seriously, it's just not going to happen. If no one has been fired mid-season yet, then no one is going to be fired mid-season.

Can anyone shed some light on Stan's time with the Braves? Were there analogous situations when he refused to fire folks when things were really dark?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

It get's no more positive than "girl" other than perhaps "female", "woman", or, of course, "lady."

You, NatsNut, dcbatgirl and JennX (I'm sure others whose gender I do not know)lend dignity and class to what would otherwise be a vulgar, depressing and self pittying exercise especially after a game like last night.

Please keep us centered and with the help of some from the other side of the gender line, like flynnie and maybe even me, keep us positive.

Think St Crispian's Day and Hank Cinq.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 14, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Here's another gem from's gamer:

"There are really no answers for it," said Harris about the Nationals' sputtering offense. "I just say, keep working hard and go to the plate with a plan. Manny told us that early in the season. Just don't give up on your plan. Just keep working. It will change."

Seriously, can you get any dumber? Keep working hard on WHAT?? Hitting the ball over the 2nd baseman's head while some 60 year old coach is throwing you pitches at 68 mph? Somebody needs to put Lenny Harris out of our misery. They can do it at the end of the season. Which was two months ago.

Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

>Bad news, fellas, this isn't that sort of team. You should find a new team to follow, if you want that.<

Bad news, fella, we ain't going anywhere.

Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Why, Brue, I don't get it? This team is not going to make you happy for five years, at least. Why are you hanging around if you're so miserable? I understand loving baseball, but I don't see any love of anything from you. You don't seem like you love baseball, you seem like you love winning teams with Lou Pinella managing them.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I really dislike the Lerners as baseball people. They are ruining this franchise and nobody in this organization seems to care. I'm glad my season ticket money goes straight to their pockets and not on any roster improvements.

Posted by: Dagger | August 14, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Well - it's happened for me during this season - my being a Nats fan is no longer a choice - it's just something I am. Maybe we need a 12 step group or counseling or something. It's kind of like your family - they make you nuts but you love them anyway. My greatest hope is that WHEN then wins come ( not if) in the future it will be very, very sweet. Of course, then we won't be able to get tickets because the "tourist fans" will be out in force in their shiny new nats gear. By the way -- any Bonifacio jerseys available???

Posted by: masnstinks | August 14, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

>Why, Brue, I don't get it?<

You will. Believe me. And it probably won't take you long. It ain't about being happy.

Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Section 506, why are going on as if your way is the only way to root for this team? Face it, the team stinks. Injuries are not the reason. If people want to call for change, what's wrong with that? What's wrong with pointing out that Manny is not up to the task? If you ask me, the Nats need more fans like Brue, guys who actually know how to play--and watch--the game, and aren't afraid to call out the team for its pathetic performance.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 14, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Brue = Peter Angelos

He wants a better return on his MASN network.

Posted by: malcontents | August 14, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

"Lets 86 the injury excuse."

no, let's be realistic. well, you can be unrealistic, along with other negative nancies, but the reality is it's a combination of a roster that's not up to MLB standards *AND* injuries. list all of the teams in baseball that could lose the players penciled in as their 3/4/5 hitters for extended periods of the seasons and not have problems offensively? how many teams could lose their closers and have their top setup guy fall off of the map and not have it affect the bullpen? how many teams get down to their 3rd string 3B and 3rd string 1B at the same time, while also two of their best offensive OFs also on the DL?

i'm not going to defend the roster. it's populated with too many retreads and reclamation projects. this was not a 500 team going into the season, so expecting 81 wins wasn't realistic. but when a team loses as many every day players' games to injuries as the nats have, it will negatively affect their record. and to ignore that shows a lack of understanding of the game and a pure desire to rant without regards to the facts, especially if it supports your personal views about the ownership/front office.

if you can't acknowledge the effects of the injuries on the team, you can't make a rational judgment about the status of the team.

Posted by: 231 | August 14, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I started thinking about the situation last night and I began to wonder if the Nats are willing to let Crow walk because they are leading the race in the Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes.

He is a better pitcher than Crow, will probablty be first pick (which we probably will have), and he is going to be expensive.

I wonder if they are thinking "Crow is asking for a lot, why not just use our top pick on a better pitcher next draft and use our 9a pick on a bat".

I am just speculating. I used to think this deal would get done because both sides had too much to loose, but I am wondering if the Nats really feel that way.

Posted by: This Crow thing | August 14, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, SlowPitch, stalwart in this band of, uh, siblings. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the draft, new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the draft, new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about that, Chief. I thought that I was refreshing to view the new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

>Brue = Peter Angelos<

My friends call me Brue, but you can call me Mike Rizzo. On second thought, I wouldn't have given away a workhorse reliever with a cheap contract for a guy who can't hit the ball out of the infield even on a good day. They're gonna put Bonafacio's picture on a milk carton before they put it on the back of a jersey. Just watch. Two and four seamers up in the strike zone, preferably away, and junk in the dirt. See, little men with no upper body leverage can't hit high heat. That's one of those things that popped up about 130 years ago. Voila - the little man stereotype lives. Hey - he finally got his first walk anyway. Too bad he's not a shortstop, so that when the organization gets tired of Guzman's sloppy defensive play, and want to move him to 2nd base, they won't be able to, because our little newcomer can't throw the ball across the diamond.

Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I usually enjoy reading these posts, but Brue, your nastiness, is taking all the fun out of it. There is no thoughtful reflection in your comments, just bile.

Posted by: Nats Gal | August 14, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The Lerner's either need to sell the team or move it. Its a disgrace. Mall managment 101 does not work in MLB.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Which possession of the Lerners owns the team?

Posted by: proofreaders anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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