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About three things

About an injury (or many): For the off-day feature, I tried to touch on the basic question that fans have been asking all season. That is, what the heck happened with all these injuries, and could any of them have been prevented?

"It's the same inquiry we subject ourselves to," Dr. Ben Shaffer told me. "You're asking the same questions we ask."

You can read more here, but I wanted to add a little background on the blog about one of the more ambiguous, and ultimately severe, injuries this season. Wily Mo Pena, in July, had surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff, as well as a tear and fraying of his posterior labrum. That put his season to a merciful rest. When Dr. Tim Kremchek performed the surgery, he was stunned that Pena had been playing for so long in his given condition.

"I don't think it was expected to be that severe," Jim Bowden said at the time. "The doctors do not understand how he could have swung a baseball bat. They have absolutely no idea. . . . The doctors were absolutely amazed that he was on the field."

So yesterday, I asked Shaffer how it was possible that Pena's injury could have been ignored for so long.

This is what he said:

* Based on all evidence, and based on Pena's recollection, the shoulder injury was actually something that had happened three years ago, while Pena was playing with Cincinnati. He'd rammed into the outfield wall while trying to catch a flyball, and that was the first time his shoulder started to hurt. But never, even at that time, did Pena go on the disabled list. The pain just became an inborn element of his day-to-day existence. And for a while, he could deal with it.

* But, Shaffer emphasized, baseball injuries often have a depletive aspect. Unlike in football, say, where you can get a guy ready to play for one day knowing he'll have six days to rest, baseball injuries are subject to constant grind.

* And with enough grinding, the injury never goes away. In Pena's case, it got worse gradually, leading to the inevitable endpoint.

"At some point," Shaffer said, "a guy just falls off the wagon... I don't know why it became so symptomatic that he finally had to get it fixed. But he'd been playing with the injury for 3-1/2 years."

---

About a place to eat
: Out of Chicago, and thus freed from the civic obligation that requires a two-inch thick cut of prime to dominate every plate, I took advantage of my free night in DC by meeting up with a buddy at Granville Moore's, a Belgian place that specializes in the holy trinity of delicacies: mussels, frites, and high-octane monk-brewed beer. Let me give a particular recommendation to frites, cut thick, fried to a crispy autumn brown, and bathed in heavy sea salt. We got there are 8:30 and waited 45 minutes for a table, but never regretted it. One of my favorite DC eating experiences so far.

(I'm saving Minibar for the end of the season, fellow foodies.)

---

About a place that no longer exists
: Starting yesterday, the Nationals fanbase lost perhaps its best remaining message board forum on the Web. What once stood as a multi-threaded shrine to discontent, hope and (sometimes-deserved) Washington Post-bashing has now been cleared into nothingness. I gotta say, the Ballpark Guys forum deserves a better epitaph than "404 Page Not Found."

I'll miss it. At its best, it was a place for ideas and laughs.

And no -- I never posted. Just read.

[UPDATE, 11:38 a.m.] Report of the Ballpark Guys' demise was premature. (See reader comments below.)

By Chico Harlan  |  August 26, 2008; 7:40 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Against the best
Next: Kearns to DL; out 2-4 weeks

Comments

BPG was a haven for the mouthbreathing hordes.

Stay the Course, Stan!!11!!!

Posted by: and at worst | August 26, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Good articles in Style today on why baseball is good even with bad teams and the mystery of the lack of radio audience for Charlie and Dave.

I'm sorry Mr. Hunter, but I can't bring myself to hate the Racing Presidents. Clint (or Jimbo) is a much better target.

As for WWWT (or whatever it calls itself now) having strong signals, you could've fooled me when I'm driving home from NJ and can't hear anything but static until I get on the Baltimore-Washington Pkwy. There is decent reception to the south along I-81, but what they really need is a NETWORK of stations that extends throughout MD, VA, WV and NC. And they won't get that until they start winning.

Posted by: Sec 419E | August 26, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I'll bite, Mr. Hunter. But I can hate the race without hating the individual presidents. They're cute, but the race is so TIRED. The race is not funny, it's not cute. It's just TIRED.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 26, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I'll be back! A Nat player must've surfed by me and passed on the virus "fifteendaystrainusinteruptus". Hopefully I'll be back in a week or so. BPGuy

Posted by: reports of my demise | August 26, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

BPG is working this morning, they are performing maintenance. Don't worry, the same few guys will be posting their same tired jpegs for a long time.

http://www.ballparkguys.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=41;t=018347

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

BPG is not back...yet. But the word is that it's being moved to a new server and will be down during the week. Will be back soon. What will we do without fireworks. insult dogs and suspect jpegs? (Not to mention, believe it or not, the most intelligent discussions of the business side of the Nats, spanning the saga of getting the team, financing the stadium, and now the economics of actually running the team.)

Posted by: mojo | August 26, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Excellent essay by Hunter in the dead tree addi!tion.
This is a cruel sport and it is difficult being a fan. Case in point...now I have a greater respect and, dare I say it, hope for WMP for next year.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 26, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Posted to marc Fisher's blog; reposting here...

Brilliant piece by Mr. Hunter. We can offer our two minutes of hate to the racing presidents, to Bud Selig & the other owners of MLB for what they did to this franchise before selling it (my personal favorite), or to the current front office / management structure for the product they currently have on the field. "So many targets, so little ammo".

Posted by: BIM | August 26, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

My personal hatred goes to the announcer of tyhe President's Race. It always starts with"And now for the main event..."

Funny, but I thought the BASEBALL GAME was the main event!

However, bashing Clint, the MLB owners and Peter Angelos who screwed us on the MASN deal, even if only 9K people are watching, is also worthy of some alternatively directed hatred.

Posted by: NatsWin! | August 26, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

So, the FO demanded Aaron Crow take an MRI before they give him a major league contact. Smart. Wouldn't want to buy damaged goods . . . oops looks like someone forgot the old MRI on Wily Mo before he got the 2 year deal.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | August 26, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Ummmm, NatsWin, I'm pretty sure he's joking.

Posted by: Man, we need a win. | August 26, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey, if WE don't take ourselves seriously, no one will.

Wait, that came out wrong ...

Posted by: Sec. 3 | August 26, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Is Balester really a potential major league quality starter? Will he ever be able to go 7 strong innings without giving up 4-5 runs? Can he be a decent 3-4-5 starter?

What about Mock? Is he ever going to be more than a spot starter and long man? Estrada? Clippard?

Lannan appears to be a solid starter. Redding is a valuable guy on staff. Bergmann may yet make the cut. Perez deserves our thanks, but his spot probably needs to be given to someone else.

Is Van Allen (sp?) or Zimmermann going to work out? Will we find a staff anchor on the free agent market we can afford?

I'd like to end the year with Lannan, Zimmermann, Bergmann, Redding, and Balester in rotation. But I'd hope to enter Spring Training with at least one more healthy veteran pitcher at the front end of that rotation.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 26, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the piece on injuries. I would
be interested in seeing an associated piece on roster management. In the recent interview series on Nats320, Kasten stated (in response to a question about it) that he was not happy with how often the team has played short this season and that he had questions about how things had played out in that regard.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 26, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

BPG isn't dead just being fixed.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 26, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"I'll bite, Mr. Hunter. But I can hate the race without hating the individual presidents. They're cute, but the race is so TIRED. The race is not funny, it's not cute. It's just TIRED.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 26, 2008 8:13 AM "

The live Presidents Race was a truly inspired idea when it was crafted out of the on-screen animated race that ran during the first season and a half at RFK. (BTW, did Teddy ever win the animated version of the race? Does anyone really care?) But you're right. The Presidents Race is now tired and boring. Why? Because it's scripted, and overhyped to boot. We know that Teddy is going to lose before the race even starts. The only drama, the only interest in the race at all any more is how Teddy will lose. And the well has run dry on interesting ways for him to lose. Getting tackled by someone in a panther costume? Repeatedly? Come on. Who even cares any more? Kids, you say? Hell, they don't care if the Presidents race or not, they're just happy to see the big-headed things (unless of course they're scared of them).

Really, the only way to save the Presidents Race from the curse of banality is to turn it into a real competition. Let the four of them really race, with no script to follow. Over time, they'll develop their own script, and it will draw back the interest of the fans. But right now, the scripted version of the Presidents Race, where you know Teddy wiil lose, has truly jumped the shark. I would submit that the moment it did so was probably the last game at RFK, where thousands of fans were screaming for Teddy and he wasn't even in the ballpark to race. You don't hear anyone screaming for the Racing Presidents any more, do you?

Posted by: let them compete | August 26, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Interesting piece by Hunter. Methinks that it was tongue-in-cheek but IMO there is already plenty of hate manifested in the blogosphere and the Natosphere. I tend to agree with Mr. Calacanis (as featured in the Business section of yesterday's dead-tree edition and as quoted below). I look back fondly on the days when this blog was a civil, literate refuge but sadly it seems to have become mired in the mud over the course of this tough season.

Quote of the day from yesterday's piece: "It's basically become a mudpit and it's very loud," he said of the blogosphere. In his final post, he wrote, "Today the blogosphere is so charged, so polarized, and so filled with haters hating that it's simply not worth it.

But "the limitation of the medium is the strength of the medium," he said. "It's open to everybody."

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 26, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Is Mr. Hunter's article online?

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 26, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

By hating the haters, aren't you simply feeding the hate, thus making the haters hate more? And in so hating haven't you become a hater too? Does your hate now become self directed? It sounds like we could all take a lesson or two from Stuart Smalley.

Posted by: vicious circle | August 26, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/25/AR2008082502611.html

Posted by: link | August 26, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Ballpark Guys will be back, don't you worry. In the meantime, I will surely miss having the opportunity to post Photoshopped images of fireworks behind the outfield stands at Nationals Park, displaying slightly creepy manlove for Stan Kasten, and belittling/issuing vague threats to anyone who doesn't see "The Plan" as gospel.

Posted by: Washington Senator | August 26, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Hate as an antidote to heartbreak? I think not. The antidote is hope. Hope that on any given gameday, you might see something spectacular, even from a losing team. Something like a walkoff homer from your star on opening night in a new stadium. Something like a miraculous game-saving catch by your heroic utility player. Something like a popular backup catcher hitting his first big league dinger to send the first-place team home emptyhanded, something our former beat writer would call "one extraordinary moment in a life of obscurity."

Sadly, those moments have been overshadowed by the litany of injuries and disappointments that have come to comprise the 2008 season, both on the field and off, and even in the media (coverage is lacking, but even so, it appears that the team is getting more coverage than it deserves in light of dismal ratings).

All we had left was The Plan, and then came the draft, the Crow debacle, and the revelation that the draft budget was insufficient to sign all of our top picks.

Heartbreak 1, Hope 0.

But there's another game tonight.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 26, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised to read in today's Style section article on the lack of audience for the radio broadcasts of the Nats' games that their stations -- 107.7 FM and 1500 AM have "two of the most powerful radio frequencies in the Washington area." That's news to me. I live and work in NW DC and have never been able to get 107.7 FM. I am generally able to get 1500 AM when I'm not downtown, but still get static from time to time. I often end up listening to the games on XM radio, an alternative the Post never considered.

Posted by: Nats Gal | August 26, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

HA! I'm back! I bet you all missed me terribly! Guess what, things aren't that bad! I bet you never saw that coming! Banger!

So, I've returned from my annual purgatory in Missouri where my red-headed Cubs-fan girlfriend is no longer a member of the sole Cubs-loving family in town. Suddenly, they're all over. For always, the Cubs were ridiculed in her town for being perpetual losers, but suddenly there's even talk among Cardinals' fans of "I'd rather someone in the division at least..." I even heard an ESPN radio announcer say he would forsake his Tigers for the rest of the year for the Cubs.

Ah, ye fickle, fickle baseball fans. Fear not, DC, all it will take is a playoff push and everyone will love the Nats. Cue whining about how we'll NEVER have a playoff team with this management. Blah, blah, blah. Never is a long time.

The other thing I noticed was how terrible WGN is. It makes MASN look almost good. And the Cardinals have their version of FNS where all the announcers actually wear Cards jerseys!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 26, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Like other have said, this part had me scratching my head:
The Nationals "have two of the most powerful radio frequencies in the Washington area. One of the stations, 1500 AM, has a signal that can be heard as far away as Florida at night. The static-free FM station blankets much of the metropolitan area."
I live and work in Rockville, and I have zero chance of grabbing 107.7 in my office. I can jump in my car, but it's more static than actual broadcast. There are so many dead spots that I usually listen on 1500. I can't even get 107.7 in my house, one block west of Route 355! I only listen on radio when it is the absolute last option. And that's a shame, because when I am able to hear Charlie and Dave, they do a fantastic job.

Posted by: Section 138 | August 26, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"I was surprised to read in today's Style section article on the lack of audience for the radio broadcasts of the Nats' games that their stations -- 107.7 FM and 1500 AM have "two of the most powerful radio frequencies in the Washington area."

One telling detail that was left out of this article was whether or not the Nationals programming on these stations is outperforming the remainder of their programming. My guess is that it is - and this would also have been true last year when the failed Washington Post Radio experiment was still on. In other words, listeners have to actively seek out the games. There are not many game listeners who already have their radio dials set to the station for general listening and then decide to hang around when the game comes on. And for listeners actively seeking out the games, it's not easy. I know that when I drive home from my job in Reston to my house in Falls Church and I'm trying to listen to a day game broadcast, I have to constantly shift back and forth from 1500 AM to 107.7 FM to maintain a signal. Just as with the TV broadcasts, there are no accidental recipients of Nationals games on the radio. While a substandard team may have some share of the blame for lack of interest in Nats radio and TV, I think substandard networks (MASN and WWWT) play an even bigger part in it.

Posted by: if they called the team the Statics, listenership would increase exponentially | August 26, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"I was surprised to read in today's Style section article on the lack of audience for the radio broadcasts of the Nats' games that their stations -- 107.7 FM and 1500 AM have "two of the most powerful radio frequencies in the Washington area."

One telling detail that was left out of this article was whether or not the Nationals programming on these stations is outperforming the remainder of their programming. My guess is that it is - and this would also have been true last year when the failed Washington Post Radio experiment was still on. In other words, listeners have to actively seek out the games. There are not many game listeners who already have their radio dials set to the station for general listening and then decide to hang around when the game comes on. And for listeners actively seeking out the games, it's not easy. I know that when I drive home from my job in Reston to my house in Falls Church and I'm trying to listen to a day game broadcast, I have to constantly shift back and forth from 1500 AM to 107.7 FM to maintain a signal. Just as with the TV broadcasts, there are no accidental recipients of Nationals games on the radio. While a substandard team may have some share of the blame for lack of interest in Nats radio and TV, I think substandard networks (MASN and WWWT) play an even bigger part in it.

Posted by: if they called the team the Statics, listenership would increase exponentially | August 26, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"I was surprised to read in today's Style section article on the lack of audience for the radio broadcasts of the Nats' games that their stations -- 107.7 FM and 1500 AM have "two of the most powerful radio frequencies in the Washington area."

One telling detail that was left out of this article was whether or not the Nationals programming on these stations is outperforming the remainder of their programming. My guess is that it is - and this would also have been true last year when the failed Washington Post Radio experiment was still on. In other words, listeners have to actively seek out the games. There are not many game listeners who already have their radio dials set to the station for general listening and then decide to hang around when the game comes on. And for listeners actively seeking out the games, it's not easy. I know that when I drive home from my job in Reston to my house in Falls Church and I'm trying to listen to a day game broadcast, I have to constantly shift back and forth from 1500 AM to 107.7 FM to maintain a signal. Just as with the TV broadcasts, there are no accidental recipients of Nationals games on the radio. While a substandard team may have some share of the blame for lack of interest in Nats radio and TV, I think substandard networks (MASN and WWWT) play an even bigger part in it.

Posted by: if they called the team the Statics, listenership would increase exponentially | August 26, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

You shouldn't have to do this if you live in the DC area, but for a measly few bucks you can get the mlb.com radio package and listen via the net. It's almost, no, it is criminal that they're not available on a strong FM network that would blanket at least a 100 mile radius around DC. The Lerners need to take action to correct this situation pronto. From all the comments I've been reading, it's just embarrassing to not have this addressed in the nations capital. Maybe, you could all drive to florida at night and listen.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 26, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a baseball fanatic and casually keep tabs on the Nationals. Anyways, I was wondering what were the chances of the NATS "winning" the prize this year? That is, the first pick in the '09 draft. How many games are left and how do they compare with the other teams who are also the basement dwellers? How do all of these teams stack up against one another? Do you think the NATS can pull it off and "win" the first pick? Do they have any call ups in September that could turn things around? I hope I don't sound too dismal...just trying to envision something REDEMPTIVE (1st pick in draft would be nice) in the midst of a losing campaign. Thanks!

Posted by: Humen8r | August 26, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I am not saying Bowden is at fault for all or any of the following missteps but "where there is smoke there is fire".

(1) The Codero misunderstanding
(2) The Dominican association
(3) The Crow signing or lack of
(4) The alleged DWI
(5) The failed FA signings this year (Loduca, Rob M, King, Estrada)
(6) The Kearns and Lopez contacts ( $13mm)
(7) The roster management

Does the above suggest a continuation of the Bowden regime? I wonder.

Posted by: mjames | August 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Humen8r,

Brian Oliver runs a great blog over at http://www.farmauthority.dcsportsnet.com
He'll keep you updated on all the guys that will likely be called up, as well as updating what he calls The "Tragic Number." That is the countdown to the number 1 pick (Who will be Steven Strasburg barring injury this spring.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

if 107.7 and 1500 are two of the most powerful signals in the area, we're in trouble. when i drive home from work on the beltway from old town to rt 50, they both have dying spots and i have to bounce back and forth to get non-static signals, often unsuccessfully.

if you can't broadcast a clear signal on the most major interstate in the washingon metro area, how strong a signal could it really be?

oh, btw, i have no problem with other stations in those areas. like dc101, 103.5, 94.7, etc. all come in strong for the whole trip.

Posted by: 231 | August 26, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Is there any way to listen to the Nats radio broadcast online? I don't feel like paying for the mlb-tv broadcast, radio or tv.

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | August 26, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"Is there any way to listen to the Nats radio broadcast online? I don't feel like paying for the mlb-tv broadcast, radio or tv."

I think the mlb.com radio streams can be had for a measly $15. Per season. For all 30 MLB teams.

Posted by: and people say the Lerners are cheap... | August 26, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Chico - the med staff's take on the injury problem was interesting, and any narrative about this team that does not discuss injuries and care is incomplete. Kudos for another post-off day article on an interesting topic.

There is another article in this topic. Your article did not have much in the way of 3d party observations. Your blog post did have 3d party perspective on WMP, but more about the extent of his injury and not the failure to diagnose it. Today's article omitted a credibility test about what the med staff said.

There are writers at BP who cover med issues and can discuss teams that have strong or weak programs (I think Will Carroll is the one, but I don't subscribe to BP). More generally, there are some teams that are particularly well regarded around the league for their med staff, including innings limits, strengthening programs, and diagnostics.

With Lannan and Bergmann likely to significantly exceed their previous total innings for a season, long term arm care is still an issue. Compare to how Kazmir has been treated, or EE#4 shutting down Buchholz in the middle of a pennant race after he threw a no hitter in 2007.

Please stay on the issue and add in some third party sources.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 26, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It's kind of perverse, but I can get 1500 clearer sometimes at night on I-84 in northern Connecticut, or in Boston suburbs, than I can even Arlington / Alexandria. Powerful, no doubt, but clear and free from local interference, no way.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 26, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Does Arbitron count the mlb.com listeners?

Anyway, put me in with the ilk who can't get radio reception. Not in the car, not in my house and neither frequency. I do share my dad's subscription to mlb.com though (does that put me ahead of the other guy in cheapness?) and I listen to Charlie and Dave for just about every game I don't attend.

And BTW, this the understatement of the year:
"The Nationals have a generally admired pair of announcers -- Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler..."

I WORSHIP Charlie and Dave.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 26, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry, the Wily Mo shoulder story---hard to believe. Sounds like an excuse for his poor batting...I never saw evidence (and neither did the medical staff) that he was hurt. Of course swinging at balls out of the strike zone is not a shoulder problem, maybe they should check his eye sight too. Maybe our medical staff stinks, or Wily Mo is not telling the truth.
Which is it?

Posted by: Laurie | August 26, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"EE#4 shutting down Buchholz in the middle of a pennant race after he threw a no hitter in 2007. "

Posted by: and how'd that one work out longterm? | August 26, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"I WORSHIP Charlie and Dave.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 26, 2008 11:42 AM"

Posted by: now I KNOW you're nuts | August 26, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"I am sorry, the Wily Mo shoulder story---hard to believe. Sounds like an excuse for his poor batting...I never saw evidence (and neither did the medical staff) that he was hurt."

The doctor who cut him open sure seemed to think he was hurt, and had been hurt for quite some time. Like years.

Posted by: but why pay any attention to HIM? | August 26, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

are you implying that buchholz is injured this season? poor pitching is a different issue than injury breakdown from too large an increase of innings pitched from one season to the next.

oh, and yes, i know he was on the DL for 15 days this year. but a broken fingernail is tough to pin on pitching last year.

Posted by: 231 | August 26, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I see that I missed nothing in the week I was gone.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 26, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys good news... The Nats didn't lose last night. Of course they didn't play, but you gotta take moral victories whenever you can right?

Posted by: O's Exec | August 26, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

WMP - Did he have a physical before we took him? Wouldn't a routine physical uncover a partial tear or even something less severe that lead to his parital tear?

Posted by: Sect 112, Cap Hill | August 26, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

in re Hinckley:

We'll just use him lefty lefty? He seems awfully skinny to me at 6'3", 170. I'm going to recommend to Manny that we reweigh him.

estoy firmado! Segue to Segway! Go away FBI!

Your General Manager and YMOS James Gordon Bowden III


Posted by: Jim B | August 26, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I worship Charlie and Dave, too. They're the only reason of late that I've stayed on to listen to games that were already in the toilet.

I have a criticism about the radio frequency. Does anyone else encounter the problem of the broadcast sometimes going blank for a minute or two, or else, on other occasions, having bumps and crackles throughout the broadcast that make it almost impossible to listen?

Posted by: samantha7 | August 26, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like a lot of these ratings numbers are achieved by old methods. Do they take into account xm radio, mlb.com and all of the many ways in which fans take in games either by watching or listening? I think that especially in this area, people have a lot of technology and use it instead of dead trees and traditional radio and tv. If they want to know whether or not fans are watching or listening, they need to take all factors into account. Just mention Charlie and Dave to any fan and they not only know them quite well but can quote some of their most memorable calls. Ex -- "Where is he going - What is he thinking?" Posters today have also hit the nail on the head about poor reception.

Posted by: masnstinks | August 26, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I worship Charlie and Dave, too. They're the only reason of late that I've stayed on to listen to games that were already in the toilet.

Posted by: samantha7 | August 26, 2008 12:39 PM
****************

The real question is, have you ever listened to games while ON the toilet?

Posted by: Mr. Clean | August 26, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Charlie and Dave are great. But, there are two problems. Baseball isnt a DC habit, yet. The signal is miserable. I can't get 107.7 in my Bethesda apartment. 1500 is my choice, but you lose that around Columbia or points north. Actually, New York AM stations come in better at night there. There needs to be better radio infrastuture around DC. A stronger signal wouldn't hurt, but strategically placed transmitters to boost signal would be welcome, too.

On other matters, it seems John Maine's season may be done -- bone spur in his shoulder. How long until Omar Minaya comes knocking, asking qestions about Tim Redding, Odalis Perez or (Jersey native) Jason Bergmann?

Posted by: Fisch Fry | August 26, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm still around, Chico.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: WNFF.net | August 26, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Heading out to the park tonight, thought I check in here to see what's brewing. Man, what a cauldron of saliva this place has turned out to be.

Ironically, the conversation turned to the dead-tree article about blogs being filled with haters hatin'.

So, here are some thoughts on all this:

The radio signals are WEAK but at least I can pick them up in the ballpark. I couldn't do that at RFK and it ticked me off to no end.

I tune in to the radio broadcast of the game via the Internet (mlb.com) at least as often as via the radio because the signal is better in my house that way. I attend the church of Charlie and Dave, too, NatsNut. Ironically, the worse the team does, the better these guys seem to be.

I was not aware of BPG but if it is full of mouthbreathers posting tired jpgs, well, that explains why.

I fully agree with the triple-posted idea that the president's race should be unscripted. After a few nights of that Teddy might actually win and the crowd would go nuts. nuts! I bet it would beat Zimmerman's walk-off for most exciting thing ever in National's park. Especially if you consider the President's race the "main event."

And finally... Bob L., man, I normally love your happy postings but there's no joy from a walk-off homer if your team is shut out by six runs. There's no game-saving catch if you're losing 7-2. I love to watch the nuances of the game, but ... with a curly W, even better.

And Jim Bowden has done nothing to make me appreciate his skill as a GM, a trader, a ballclub builder, diplomat, or quality human so far this season. Not that he had far to go, but he's fallen out of favor with me now. Officially.

I'm surprised at no talk of steroids being the reason for all these injuries.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 26, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Charlie and Dave, what are some of their most memorable moments? I haven't listened to them much this year, but when I have, I have enjoyed their attitude toward calling losses night after night.

Posted by: chime121 | August 26, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Good to see you, IHW. I'm not sure my earlier post was a particularly happy one though -- it was a response to Stephen Hunter's piece in the Style section today, and my underlying argument was that hating mascots didn't help me suffer through a horrific season as well as remembering the few highlights we've had and hoping for more tonight. The negatives have surely overwhelmed the positives this year, no doubt. But I'm still watching, and so, evidently, are you. At least until we're down by a few runs, at which point, I'll look for you at the Red Porch.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 26, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, check me out.

Posted by: New Post | August 26, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Heh. Thanks for the laugh. We need all we can get with the severe bulk of negative posting around.
Oh, to answer your question; Yes. Yes it does. ;)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Posted by: NatsNut | August 26, 2008 11:42 AM
does that put me ahead of the other guy in cheapness

Posted by: Section 138 | August 26, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"Speaking of Charlie and Dave, what are some of their most memorable moments?"

Well, there was that one time that Charlie actually gave the score of the game without waiting 10 minutes for the inning to be over. Gotta cherish moments like that. They don't happen often.

Posted by: I wonder what the score is at IHOP? | August 26, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

RE: the radio...the other day during the rain delay, I think it was Dave who pointed out that they have the best job around, getting paid to watch baseball. What I enjoy about their broadcasts is that they are clearly having fun, even when the game is probably painful to watch. Some nights, the high point is hearing them make fun of the gawdawful On the Run commercials, but at least I'm laughing.

Posted by: Sec. 417 | August 26, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

As the Nats slouch to a record with losses somewhere north of 100, I hope the Lerners are cognizant of the continuing implosion of their alleged baseball organization. Miniscule television and radio ratings - no fault of Charlie and Dave - and the loss of hope that the current regime (yes, I'm talking about you JimBow) can reverse the erosion. And when rival scouts notice how uninspired the players are, that's another dagger. Right now, the best thing about going to Nationals Park is the stadium itself. JimBow can talk about all of the prospects he wants, but the major league roster needs a talent infusion to at least present a palatable product to the public. I'm not being a hater because I never thought that MLB would return here in my lifetime. But the more I look at the Nationals way of doing business, I don't see much difference from how business was done under the Bob Short regime - otherwise known as open the gates and take the money of anyone who enters. This is sad. This team and this organization has lost so much momentum and good will since the first half of 2005 that could have been used to build a larger and stronger fan base. I'm tired of the officials of this team peeing on my leg and telling me it's raining.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that 1500 AM does best after dark, especially in cold weather. You can pick it up anywhere between NYC & South Carolina during November, December, January & February.

Oh, that doesn't do much good for baseball listeners, does it? Never mind!

Posted by: Catcher50 | August 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Here is a link to Nate Silver and Will Carroll's article in BP on age, innings, and pitching injuries. Something to think about with Lannan because he is right at about the highest risk age.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1658

To those who commented about Buchholz - while he did go on the DL this year, I don't think people attribute his problems to injury. I've heard a change in his arm slot and a poor mix of pitches. Overcoaching, overthinking, essentially. He's back in AA working with the pitching coach who had him at Wilmington and Portland, where he had the most success. Did well in his first start.

The basic point is there is a difference among major league med staffs, and we are not going to understand whether the "Stuff happens" answer and "we've done everything we could" excuse the Nats doctors offered Chico holds up without seeing what others outside the organization say.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 26, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Speaking of Charlie and Dave, what are some of their most memorable moments?"

I don't listen that often, but I just love the dry, understated humor (kind of the opposite of Bob/Don's wet, sloppy all-over-you humor). A while back I turned on the car radio just in time for the last at-bats of a blow out:

Charlie: And we go into the bottom of ninth, Mets up over the Nats 12-0.

Dave (in a subdued voice as if he's announcing a putt to win the Master's): "...and it's all come down to this".

Posted by: joebleux | August 26, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bob L.,

I read the rest of Mr. Hunter's article and I reread your post and now I get it. I can watch baaad baseball with certain caveats. Hating on the mascots ain't gonna get me anywhere.

Besides, I still don't hate the mascots. I actually think Mr. Hunter was copping out because everyone else he could have put out there is a person with a face. Bowden, Stan, Ted ... even Clint (sorta). The mascots are "muppets" of guys who stopped caring what people think of them long, long ago.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 26, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

That was my read, too, IHW -- everyone else hated in the story was an owner; he just didn't have the stones to call out any individual associated with the Nats. And for the record, I don't hate the presidents, either. They're pretty far north of Clint, and even Screech, in my book.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 26, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"The basic point is there is a difference among major league med staffs, and we are not going to understand whether the "Stuff happens" answer and "we've done everything we could" excuse the Nats doctors offered Chico holds up without seeing what others outside the organization say."

But the others outside the Nats organization never actually get to examine the Nats players, so how would they have anything to add about whether the Nats' doctors are doing it right or not?

Posted by: I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the Internet | August 26, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Poop

Poop

Poop

Posted by: | August 26, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Well at first the good news was the BPG's site was gone for good, then of course we get the bad news that they are back.

That board is delusional at best, especially that jpeg feller who seems to have a man-crush on Kastenet! Jeez that guy actually believes that DC is a baseball town. Oh really!

If all the numbers are correct there are approximately 35K baseball fans in DC. 9000 watch MASN while the other 27K listen to the game on 107.7. The 30K that show up at Nats Park are usually fans of the visiting team.

Posted by: Tippy Canoe | August 26, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"That was my read, too, IHW -- everyone else hated in the story was an owner; he just didn't have the stones to call out any individual associated with the Nats."

Probably because he's never been to a Nationals game in his life. I mean the guy has lived in Baltimore for years (per a recent lengthy profile of him in Washingtonian magazine), admits to being an Orioles fan but says he can't even bother to go to THEIR games, and shows his unfamiliarity with the Nationals Park experience in his recounting of it. The organist is substandard at Nationals games? Try non-existent. The Presidents race BEFORE the games? Only if you're one of those fans who thinks the game begins when you saunter in to your seat in the fourth inning. You'd think that if he really hated the Presidents Race he'd know more about it, wouldn't you?

This Hunter guy, sure he can write. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his film criticism after all. But I'm wondering now how many of those movies he reviewed did he actually watch?

Posted by: he phoned this one in | August 26, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow, they're screening comments! Interesting. Apparently they didn't come home from China empty-handed.

Posted by: CE | August 26, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I think I was able to get 107.7 once, for a few minutes, back in 2006. Not during a game, but still.
1500 is mostly clear, except for the CB radios breaking in from time to time during the game. Creepy, really--it feels like a time warp. Twilight Zone-ish. Serlingesque.

Charlie and Dave put together are no Hank Greenwald, but almost Jon Miller. I still laugh thinking about the time Dave (or was it Charlie) couldn't get a cup of coffee ANYWHERE in RFK, and he [complained] about it for three or four innings solid, until someone had a cup delivered from Starbucks just to shut him up.

Posted by: ce | August 26, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

unless it's because, in the first version, I didn't euphemize [complain]

Posted by: ce | August 26, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It is $15, all teams, all games, go back and listen later anytime, all season, from anywhere (ok, maybe not China or N. Korea), including the playoffs (but not the WS). Works fine on Mom's dialup AOL connection, even.
Using Dad's login isn't so much cheap, as frugal. OK, it's stealing, really, but that's different.

*************
I think the mlb.com radio streams can be had for a measly $15. Per season. For all 30 MLB teams.

Posted by: and people say the Lerners are cheap... | August 26, 2008 11:34 AM

Posted by: Sec. 3, MC | August 26, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

We aren't hating them, we're just really disappointed.
(Sophist!)
**************
By hating the haters, aren't you simply feeding the hate, thus making the haters hate more? And in so hating haven't you become a hater too? Does your hate now become self directed? It sounds like we could all take a lesson or two from Stuart Smalley.
Posted by: vicious circle | August 26, 2008 10:29 AM

Posted by: Sophists of Sophury | August 26, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I just peed in my pants.

Posted by: | August 26, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Trenchant and right on point, as always, Big Giant Head.

One can watch this game for a hundred years, and at any given game see something you've never seen before. A center fielder leaping at the wall to stop a home run, but dropping it on the fence padding, where it rolls *for several feet* before the left fielder leaps and swats it back onto the field, and somehow gets it in to hold the runner to a very weird triple.

*************
....
But there's another game tonight.
Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 26, 2008 10:44 AM

Posted by: CE | August 26, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I'll be glad when school starts again.

Posted by: that's all I'm sayin | August 26, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

So Nats320 has a lengthy three-part interview with Stan Kasten that covers a lot of stuff we've been whining about here (injuries, roster mismanagement, failure to sign Crow), as well as, ummmm, some things in the works such as speed dating and the Home Run Extravaganza (I wish I was making this up).

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 26, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"some things in the works such as speed dating"

I predict that Emilio Bonifacio will strike out at the speed dating.

Posted by: but will it be swinging or looking? | August 26, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

WMP - Did he have a physical before we took him? Wouldn't a routine physical uncover a partial tear or even something less severe that lead to his parital tear?

Posted by: Sect 112, Cap Hill | August 26, 2008 12:32 PM
___________________________________

Maybe. But considering the extent of the damage to WMP, probably.

Posted by: 756* | August 26, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

as far as radio goes, i actually listen on XM more often than broadcast, but sometimes i don't want to listen to the away broadcasters and it's frustrating when our signal sucks locally.

Posted by: 231 | August 26, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, as i mentioned earlier, buchholz's DL stay was for a broken fingernail. and that's certainly not what's causing his issues. he's just young and susceptible to not being johan santana in his prime. young guys regress sometimes.

Posted by: 231 | August 26, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Samantha7,

I also occasionally get those annoying interruptions in the broadcast signal while trying to listen on 107.7.

Agree that Charlie & Dave are great. On the TV side, yes, "Carpy" and Sutton can be annoying, but have you caught other MLB telecasts? The Cubs on WGN, e.g. (Watched the Nats' game Sunday on that station.) And although Jon Miller is probably great on Giants' broadcasts, am I the only one who is tired of his sucking up to Joe Morgan on the Sunday night games? Yes, Jon, we get that Joe was one of the greatest 2nd basemen ever.

And while I'm venting, can we pull the plug on the "Fan of the Game" contest? Just show pictures of the cute babies and youngsters randomly throughout the game: no need to embarrass the poor adults who will always lose in this "competition."

Posted by: CapPeterson | August 26, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Don't look now, but I am 5-10 since my callup from AAA, with 2 walks and no strikeouts. I have an OPS of 1.183. Yes, my fielding has been substandard, but at least my team isn't in last place!

Posted by: Paul LoDuca | August 26, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

ouch

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

And to top it off, I get my expense checks in a timely manner!!!

Posted by: Paul LoDuca | August 26, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's impressive, Paul! Almost as good as my first 9 ABs when I was called up in April! I was 4-9 with 2 2Bs, a HR, and a walk, and with a 1.500 OPS! Maybe someday you'll be as good as me!!!

Posted by: Jesus Flores | August 26, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

NATIONALS PLACE AUSTIN KEARNS ON DISABLED LIST

The Washington Nationals today placed right fielder Austin Kearns on the 15-Day Disabled List, retroactive to August 25, with a stress fracture of his left foot. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made this announcement.

Kearns is expected to miss two-to-four weeks with the injury which was originally sustained on August 3. He was examined yesterday in Washington, DC by orthopedist Dr. Edward Magur, who recommended rest and immobilization with a walking cast. This is Kearns’ second DL stint this season. He missed 38 games after having surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow on May 23. Kearns has batted .217 with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 32 RBI in 86 games this season with Washington.

Posted by: John Jr | August 26, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

did anyone else know Kearns was hurt? he's been playing for THREE WEEKS with a broken foot? good god.

Posted by: Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball | August 26, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"been playing for THREE WEEKS with a broken foot"

What? It took a couple weeks for the x-rays to come back from the Paraguayan lab. They only ship by dugout canoe.

Posted by: Dr. Vinny Boombatz | August 26, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

OMG I was at Granville's last night, too.

Posted by: Jeff | August 26, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

And the fourth thing is ...

Posted by: New Post | August 26, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I've also experienced the periodic cutting out of the signal from 107.7, samantha.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 26, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

As well as the cutting out of my Internet connection today, but that's another story.

Like others, I love Charlie and Dave and listen to them all the time. It's hard to pick out one favorite moment given that there have been so many in the past few years.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 26, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Not sure whether this was directed at me (or by whom), but I expressed not hatred but sorrow (hence my use of "sad" rather than "mad.") ;-)

===

By hating the haters, aren't you simply feeding the hate, thus making the haters hate more? And in so hating haven't you become a hater too? Does your hate now become self directed? It sounds like we could all take a lesson or two from Stuart Smalley.

Posted by: vicious circle | August 26, 2008 10:29 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

We always hear it's the player's fault for not reporting the injuries. The GM, manager, coaches, trainers and doctor are around these guys almost 24/7. Aren't they professionals? Haven't they seen injuries before? Don't they look at the tape, the stats, the radar gun or even the player? Is this the US Armed Forces: Don't ask don't tell?
Of course the players are not going to admit to all their injuries. They want to play.

Posted by: Seeing Eye Fan | August 26, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

2 hbp, the pitcher walked by Balester, 0 outs and bases loaded. Time to think back on Charlie and Dave's great moments! When I was coming out of the Home Depot in 2005 and heard the heartfelt, "Bang, Zoom!" when the Chief of Cardiology astounded a Charlie who was used to calling Tampa games, when Tampa was still "bitter as devil's spit" (Stephen Hunter-we love you! What a gift in our hour of need!) The experience of calling the woeful Devil Rays' games stood Charlie in good stead during a game this year in which there were 3 errors by Our Nats, and Charlie said, in a happy voice identical to his IHOP inflections, "This is the worst inning we've seen all year!" His philosophical comments on the Jewish Wedding of the Philly Phanatic as Dave struggles to cal the game is in my Charlie and Dave Hall of Fame, as is Charlie's "Cry for Coffee" in RFK and Dave's scolding, abstemious response. Dave's comments on Jr. Steinbrener's critique of the NL after Wang's injury on the basepaths, and then his saying, "Kiss that job goodbye!" The thrilling intro to the broadcast, especially Dave's call of Felipe Lopez's grand slam against Aaron Heilman to break open a game against the Mets last May, and Charlie's call of Zimmerman's walk-off on opening night in the new park. The best four words in our language? Charlie or Dave saying, "We're ready for baseball. "

Posted by: flynnie | August 26, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

In the interest of accuracy, my post was more wistful than sorrowful, but not hateful.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 27, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand, Chico. You write a story about the injuries to the Nats, and the only people you interview are the people who may be responsible for those injuries? Of course they're going to say it's bad luck -- they don't want to lose their jobs!

Now, go rewrite this story and call up independent physical therapists, trainers, doctors, etc., and see what they think is the problem. Or call up trainers from other MLB teams (ones that don't have a stockpile of players on the DL) and see what they say.

Otherwise, you look like Bill Ladson.

Posted by: Incredulous | August 27, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

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