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The talent of Elijah Dukes

You must grant Elijah Dukes this much. The man puts his goals in hard-to-reach places. When he returned from the disabled list on Wednesday, he did so with one number in mind: Twenty. Yes, twenty. That's how many homers Dukes wanted to finish the season with.

Dukes, at that time, had six.

But here's the thing.

If there's one Washington player capable of hitting 14 homers (and Dukes crossed two off the list last night) in the final month of the season, it's Dukes. As a player, he is unpredictable and seemingly injury-prone. But he's also dynamic, with a talent that's so blatant and a power that's so devastating, it almost seems unfair. Few players in the major leagues are more tantalizing, more capable of showcasing their ability in the kind of concentrated form Dukes served up last night. This was all of Dukes' best in shot glass form -- it hit you between the nose, opened up your nasal passages, and still had you remembering it the morning after.

The homers he hit yesterday were the kind perhaps no other Nationals player can hit. The shot he hit in the first inning (off Clayton Kershaw) was a thick liner to the opposite field. Dukes hardly even rotated his hips. He swung all arms. Then again, Dukes' arms are the size of most players' torsos.

The second homer, in the eighth, might have been the hardest ball anybody's hit out of Nationals Park this season. It almost made its way to the walkway beyond the left field stands. Just my guess: It felt like a 440-foot shot. Garrett Mock later joked that he thought the snipers from the White House would have to shoot it out of the sky.

"He brings to our lineup what we so desperately need, and that's why it's so good to have him in there," Manny Acta said of Dukes. "He gives us the threat of, every time he steps into the plate, he has a chance to hit the ball over the fence. That's how strong he is."

Dukes got short shrift in my game story, only because of Cristian Guzman's cycle, but his performance last night was probably just as impressive as Guzman's. Because he's been on the disabled list three times this year, Dukes has only 189 at bats. It's been enough to witness what he can do, but only in glimpses. The last month of the season is particularly important for Dukes, mostly so he can test himself. Can he sustain a high level of hitting for a long period? Will he look like the sort of player Washington can count on for 2009 and beyond?

If the answers to both are "Yes," the payoff for the Nats will be huge.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 29, 2008; 8:49 AM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineups

Comments

The whole EDukes story is one that is dramatic enough to be a movie script. All that talent and power -- I think a lot of us are watching to see what kind of ending he writes for himself. It's all right there if he can keep it together.I had my doubts but am pulling for him to right the ship and fulfill his potential.

Posted by: masnstinks | August 29, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Dukes is a strange sort of injury-prone. He seems to get hurt easily, but heal just as easily.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 29, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I guess "The Talented Mr. Dukes" would be too creepy? Aside from being taken, sort of, for the The Talented Ms. Shipley ...

oh, and Guuuuuuuuuzzzzzz.
Thank you.

Posted by: sect. 3, my couch | August 29, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Chico, really compelling story about Guzzie's night. And I loved this: "Manny Ramírez, the Dodgers' dreaded, dread-locked slugger,"

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 29, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

So we have to play for five months just to find out, they're mudders? That's been it all along??

Posted by: Sec. 3 | August 29, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward because, Guuuuuze!!

Nice gamer, Chico, though methinks that you may have underestimated Guze a bit. Though the odds were long for this year, with his having hit only three, he led the AL in triples three times (granted, he was younger and playing on artificial turf).

As noted in the previous thread, I am sooo jealous of those who were at the game and saw him hit for the cycle. I'm also very happy for Guze. It must feel terrific for him to have come back from injuries as he has this year, particularly after the way he was disparaged in previous years as a Nat (I've never booed him or any other Nat but plenty of people did). Good for you, Guze!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 8:13 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

No question about Dukes' talent. Hope that he can keep it together both on and off the field to fulfill his potential.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

BobL, what was that you were saying a few posts ago about how last night's lineup couldn't scare the lion in the Wizard of Oz?

Break up the Nats! They're too good!

Oh, and . . .

Guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuzzzzzzzzzz.......

Posted by: Choowee | August 29, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Great masculine prose, Chico. "Thick", red meat style that would have Hemingway savoring the flavor of it.

Dukes has an intensity that vibrates throughout the lineup when he is healthy. His fierce presence challenges other teammates to play harder.

I would love to see a starting outfield next year of Dukes in right, Milledge in center and Harris in left. Every since it was disclosed how seriously injured Wily Mo has been all season I have wondered just what he would be like if he was fully healed. The end of last season showed us the potential power that could be his future. I think that a resurgent Wily Mo could be a starter in left field which would give us a powerful outfield. If Wily Mo can not come back I would be delighted to have Mr. Harris in left. As for Kearns, I have yet to see for any extended duration just what is supposed to be worth 8 million dollars next year.

Posted by: Dale | August 29, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

This last series makes all the suffering we have endured this year more acceptable. Could we finally be getting the players together for our "core" team? There appears to be hope. Contrary to a lot of posters around here I like Jim as our GM.

Posted by: Doug B | August 29, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I glossed right over the gamer's Manny description, 506, but good point. I also liked the behind-the-scenes whiteboard detail.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

A nice solid win last night. Dukes does alter the team's potential. It takes some of the pressure off Zimmerman and Milledge. What is disconcerting is Tom Loverro's column in the Times today. It implies that Kasten is not running the operation which explains all the missteps. Loverro seems to believe the problem lies with the Lerners. If that is the case we can expect to Bowden to stay. Prediction - Kasten resigns at the end of the year with his ownership position purchased by the Lerners while Bowden and Marc Lerner run the team.

It increasingly appears that MLB sold the team to the wrong group.

Posted by: mjames | August 29, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Zim was interviewed last night by the tv broadcast team -- he's a very thoughtful and articulate young man. He clearly stated that in this last month he wants the team to be competitive on a daily basis - talked about correcting mistakes. If you missed it -- he also talked about his early training as a factor in his defensive maturity. Nice to see his bat waking up - not to be lost in the Elijah Dukes fireworks and the Guzzie cycle was Zim's offensive production at 3 for 5!

Posted by: masnstinks | August 29, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

You look at how Hamilton matured and fought his demons, which for the moment he is beating, and you realize why a team like the Nats would take a try on this talent. Lets hope he keeps his head clear and stays injury free - when Hamilton had all the free time off to rehab his slide kicked into another gear - as if he does he could be something really special.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 29, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Woke up this morning hoping to catch the high points of last night's Nationals win because I was watching the DNC, Turned on the television and what do I see? The freakin' Baltimore Ravens replay. Yes, Mr. Angelos Screws Nats Fans again.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 29, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Chico,
Great gamer, even better post.

Let's post two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 29, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a,
You are a gemntlewoman with compasion for all and empathy for those who strugle.

Borrowing from an old cliche, "You lend class and dignity to, what, otherwise, would be a vulgar enterprize."

You keep all of us posters centered and aware that our comments are about real easy-to-hurt fellow humans.

I need that from time to time.

Thanks,


Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 29, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@arrogant/ignorant

From last post. It always depends on how you look at it. A 62-100 teams finished 38 games below .500 for that season. However, two things are also true. One, that team need only have won 19 more games that season to finish 81-81 and two, need only improve 19 more games next season to finish 81-81.
@mjames
Your prediction makes no sense. Kasten was invited in by the Learners and they bought into the plan. Stan predicted two things-(1) Lerners would be called cheap (2)Things would get worse before they got better. So why would he resign Missteps, what missteps. You can predict injuries to specific players? As for baseball, they gave the team to the highest bidder. Other than that Baseball cared as much about the Nats ownership as it did about Bob Short.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | August 29, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the split link but you can see the Zimmerman interview and other here:

http://www.masnsports.com/ml/index.php?q=nationals

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The Hamilton story is a great one, SC!

Arrogant/ignorant and others, y'all are making my brain hurt with the math talk. ;-)

Aw, shucks, SlowPitch. (kicks at dirt with big toe)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

My math may be a little off, but the Nats are 25-50 (.333) when Dukes has been on the DL. They are 24-35 (.407) when he's been healthy. I know a .407 winning percentage isn't what one should strive for, but it does make me wonder if he weren't on the DL, how many of those 75 games would the Nats actually have won? I'm betting definitely more than 25.

Posted by: e | August 29, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow. This is an awesome post, Chico. I LOVE it and I love the tension-filled hope it brings.

The guy seems like he's a monster. I've never seen him up close, but every description I've ever read about him, including yours, from anyone who's been around the guy, says he's one scary, powerful dude.

And no offense, Chico, but I've seen you. The thought of you trying to get a quote out of him after a bad night scares the crap out of me. Here's hoping Dukes has more nights like last night.
;)

Posted by: NatsNut | August 29, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

MMMMmmmm, that's good metaphor:

"This was all of Dukes' best in shot glass form -- it hit you between the nose, opened up your nasal passages, and still had you remembering it the morning after."

One small gripe, though, Chico - how many noses do YOU have? =)

Between the eyes, methinks, but still, glad you got to recycle some of the prose from the torn-up gamer after the GUUUUZ cycle - I like the "thick" liner, too. The description of the all-arms swing, and Dukes moderate-tree-trunk sized arms and "thick" liner brings some of the old-time feel to the post.

Nice post, and good for Dukes, too. I've been rooting for him ever since the "and that, my friends, is definitely broke" moment - I'm hoping that he's starting to outgrow his youthful demons and that we'll see the emergence of a real star. His progress along with Milledge, Flores and Lannan have clearly been the highlights of the season for me.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 29, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

for MLB, selling teams is not all about the $$s. otherwise they'd have already found a way to get mark cuban to own the cubs. instead, they're more likely trying to do whatever they can so he *doesn't* own the cubs.

Posted by: 231 | August 29, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to like this guy's reporting skillz.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08242/907865-63.stm

Posted by: 756* | August 29, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

'I've been rooting for him ever since the "and that, my friends, is definitely broke" moment '

That was hilarious. I use it every now and then when I'm failing at athletic things.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 29, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with Thom Lovarro's assessment in the Times. The Lerner's are screwing up this franchise bigtime. Despite the three game sweep of the Dodgers, which does provide some hope, we are still destined for a 100-loss season. I heard a discussion on the Nats a few days ago on XM with the analysts from Baseball Perspective, the site that focuses on the minor leagues. They wre decrying the Nats failure to sign Crow because the Nats farm system is devoid of real talent. This year it has regressed from being ranked 14th in the major to somewhere in the mid-20's. There is no real future cornerstone, a la the O's Wieters, to be found anywhere. Lovarro focuses on the right question: Where is all the money going? I think I know. Ted lerner is using it to pay down the debt he used to buy the team rather than investing in the team. I think the beat reporters need to focus on this issue. Make the Lerners accountable!

Posted by: Disgusted | August 29, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

756*, that Kovacevic piece is absolutely fantastic. We should send it to Steinberg for an example of what the Post is lacking (but the Post-Gazette has?)

If I had my way, I would have Chico working on that kind of stuff full-time (he can write even better than that) and Yanda working gamers (the kid can write a great gamer). Imagine a true article on Guzman hitting for the cycle alongside a full gamer.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 29, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm delighted for Elijah, but just slightly nervous about his ability to play 150 games and turn in 600 ABs every year. If he's healthy, if Milledge continues to improve, if Zimmerman rebounds from a lost year, that's a slightly less anemic lineup - but there's still nowhere near enough offense, and where do we add that?

Catcher is Flores, who has a chance to be a decent hitter. First base looks like a disaster right now. Second and short it looks like we're going with Guz and Bonifacio, and they don't scare anybody offensively. Third is Zim, who can maybe be a 25 homer, 40 double guy, which is terrific from a great defensive third baseman. Outfield of some combination of of Elijah, Milledge, Kearns, Wily Mo, Harris?

IF the team were to decide to pursue free agent bats, where do you slot them in? Do you just write off Nick and Dmitri? Do you drop Kearns?

Posted by: 220 | August 29, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

you don't drop kearns. you make him the 4th OF if he's not starting. he's still a fine defensive OF and, if healthy, isn't as poor a hitter as he's shown this season. besides, why just eat the $8m he's owed? if you're going to pay him, why cut him and pay someone else to be a 4th OF?

i think you have to write off either nick or dmitri or trade one of them for minimal return, if possible. you can't go into 09 with three 1Bs and you can't go into 09 considering those two as your starter/backup.

Posted by: 231 | August 29, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The Post-Gazette story includes the following paragraph:

"Boras and Huntington negotiated regularly, each satisfied with the other's approach even if their numbers were miles apart: Boras sought as much as $9.5 million, and Huntington's only offer until the Aug. 15 deadline was $5 million. But they never stopped communicating and, as late as Aug. 13, Boras granted Huntington a full hour on the phone with Alvarez."

That's how the Nats should have handled negotiations with Crow.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 29, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

The Post-Gazette story includes the following paragraph:

"Boras and Huntington negotiated regularly, each satisfied with the other's approach even if their numbers were miles apart: Boras sought as much as $9.5 million, and Huntington's only offer until the Aug. 15 deadline was $5 million. But they never stopped communicating and, as late as Aug. 13, Boras granted Huntington a full hour on the phone with Alvarez."

That's how the Nats should have handled negotiations with Crow.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 29, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

E-Dukes is a mean mother f*ning hitting machine. Got to figure 2009 is already looking brighter if Zimmerman, Dukes, Milledge, Bonifacio and Company can pull it all together! Not the Mets or Phillies but something on the order of the Marlins. That would be a "bonus" for us long suffering fan-dangos!

Posted by: Tippy Canoe | August 29, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

don't both sides have to be willing to do that for it to work, bobL?

Posted by: 231 | August 29, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"@arrogant/ignorant

From last post. It always depends on how you look at it."

Of course. But when all of baseball - players, management, sportswriters, fans - has been looking at something one way from time immemorial, even if they are looking at it in a way that makes no sense to you, who are you to tell them that they are wrong?

Posted by: do you bat a thousand or do you bat one point zero zero zero? | August 29, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

First of all, when I really believe something I like to post it twice.

Second, yep, the agents are at fault as well. But I'm not a fan of the agents, I'm a fan of the Nats. And my position is that the Nats, in their sorry position, had to draft and sign the right first round pick. They failed to do that and the vaunted Plan has been set back accordingly, again.

Great game last night though. And I'll be there tonight. And Monday. Hoping to see more of the same.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 29, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"Where is all the money going? I think I know. Ted lerner is using it to pay down the debt he used to buy the team rather than investing in the team. I think the beat reporters need to focus on this issue. Make the Lerners accountable!"

I don't know where YOU come from, but in any real world paying down the debt on the team IS investing in the team. If there is a debt and it is not paid down over time, it needs to be serviced over time - which in the long run will cost more money than paying down the debt will. That's money that in the long run will not be available to pay free agents, be they wise choices or unwise choices.

Posted by: compound interest: the gift that keeps on taking | August 29, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Thom Loverro:

You will go to Denmark, get a sex change operation (probably electing to keep the beard), lose 400 pounds and succeed Kirstie Alley as a Jenny Craig spokes-tranny long before I ever resign as president of the Washington Nationals.

Posted by: stan kasten | August 29, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't know where YOU come from, mon amis, but being a holier-than-thou jerk only undermines your messianic effort to spread the Good News that has apparently been revealed to you.

Posted by: i'm smart because i have a smarmy handle | August 29, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to construct a 2009 line-up that is reasonable and makes sense (I would love to pencil in Texieria at 1B, but realize that it is quite unlikely) and I keep wondering if there would be any chance to move WMP (a less than mediocre defensive OF) to 1B. Is there any chance? He is pretty big, it seems that he is big enough and just quick enough to be at least average at 1B and if his shoulder was a problem and he is hitting healthy he would provide some pop that you expect from a corner infielder.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | August 29, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

After a couple tough weeks, last night was fun to watch (and I'm sure fun to play for the Nats). While we're on a high from the lopsided win and series sweep, what are the possibilities if we could get Texiera? Just pie in the sky... Flores, Texiera, Boni, Guzzy, Zim, WMP, Milledge, & Dukes. Pretty cool to dream...

Posted by: Old 425 | August 29, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, not from Quebec. Touchy, though.
_____________

I don't know where YOU come from, mon amis, but being a holier-than-thou jerk only undermines your messianic effort to spread the Good News that has apparently been revealed to you.
Posted by: i'm smart because i have a smarmy handle | August 29, 2008 12:18 PM

Posted by: let's be friend? | August 29, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

No, it doesn't depend on how you look at it. It's a convention. A 62-100 team is 38 games below .500, by conventional baseball usage, as 1.000 pointed out. Period. This is not my rule, it is what the phrase means.

And, point of information, Kasten was not invited in by the Lerners--Bud more or less forced him on them, as an alternative to giving the bid to Malek-Zeinz or Smulyan. You can look it up.
I don't know if Kasten will quit, but I believe he *would* if he thought he was out of the loop. I don't get the idea this guy suffers in silence very often.

______
@arrogant/ignorant
From last post. It always depends on how you look at it. A 62-100 teams finished 38 games below .500 for that season. However, two things are also true. One, that team need only have won 19 more games that season to finish 81-81 and two, need only improve 19 more games next season to finish 81-81.
@mjames
Your prediction makes no sense. Kasten was invited in by the Learners and they bought into the plan. Stan predicted two things-(1) Lerners would be called cheap (2)Things would get worse before they got better. So why would he resign Missteps, what missteps. You can predict injuries to specific players? As for baseball, they gave the team to the highest bidder. Other than that Baseball cared as much about the Nats ownership as it did about Bob Short.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | August 29, 2008 9:59 AM

Posted by: CE | August 29, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know where YOU come from, but in any real world paying down the debt on the team IS investing in the team."
_________________________________________

Maybe I'm missing something. Are the Lerners losing money on the Nats?

Posted by: 756* | August 29, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

i have lost respect for loverro's reporting on ths nats. ever sice he was proven wrong on his prediction of doom for 2007 he has looked for every opportunity to say "yea but".

Posted by: tired of his ranting | August 29, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

RKGF/419+1 is even more of an assho1e now that he's posting under anonymous, obnoxious names. Anyway, it is rather amusing to see the same people who talk incorrectly about the Lerners "paying $450 million" to buy the team now talking about how debt service payments--paying back the interest on the loans which are how they really bought the team--made with money earned through team revenues constitute an expense that somehow justifies scrimping on payroll. You can't have it both ways. And let's also not forget the Lerners' virtually-guaranteed return on their no-risk "investment" when they sell the team.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 29, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

You almost had me there, BobL, until I realized who the story was about.

*********
That's how the Nats should have handled negotiations with Crow.
Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 29, 2008 11:27 AM

Posted by: CE | August 29, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

>he has looked for every opportunity to >say "yea but".

What's the "yea but" here? The big league club is an embarassment, the player development has stalled this year, the general manager is a jackass, and the white knight has seemingly spent more time addressing the ballpark's frilly amenities than addressing the team.

Sad to say, but for this season, pointing out the positives really is the "yea but" position.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | August 29, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey, is youse referring to the rest of us that post under obnoxious, annoying names, too?

Posted by: Cuz me and Primo would like a word wid youse | August 29, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"i have lost respect for loverro's reporting on ths nats. ever sice he was proven wrong on his prediction of doom for 2007 he has looked for every opportunity to say "yea but".

Posted by: tired of his ranting | August 29, 2008 1:27 PM"

He's probably just pissed that he has to pay to eat his dinner in the ballpark media room. Because from the looks of him, he's probably paying for five or six dinners a night.

Posted by: i guess the times is slow with the expense account payments too, huh? | August 29, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah! What HE said.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

What's the "yea but" here? The big league club is an embarassment,

i didn'y say he was always wrong, just that i've lost respect for him. on his spots on the radio with those two non-baseball "reporters" he tended to sink to their level.

Posted by: in reply | August 29, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Also, paying down the debt that the Lerners incurred to buy the team--if that's where the money is going--is NOT investing in the team. It is the Lerners putting more capital into their capital expenditure. How they chose to finance their purchase of the team was entirely their decision, but it should have zero repurcussions on payroll.

That is especially true here--let's remember that the $450 million purchase price was artificially set by MLB--some groups were willing to go higher than that, but MLB set that as the ceiling and then judged the ownership decision on other factors. The Lerners will be able to sell the team for well more than that amount if and when they sell. So let's not have any pity parties for the Lerners having to pay down any debt they may have chosen to incur to buy the team.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 29, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm hitting .303/.333/.416, with a respectable OPS+ of 96, in an otherwise crappy--excuse me, "inconsistent"--lineup.
Any team in any league would take that and be happy with it at SS.

How's your career path looking?

*********
Second and short it looks like we're going with Guz and Bonifacio, and they don't scare anybody offensively.
Posted by: 220 | August 29, 2008 10:54 AM

Posted by: NR Christian and-I-just-hit-for-the-cycle-for-cryin-out-loud!-where's-the-respect? Guzman | August 29, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"What's the "yea but" here? The big league club is an embarassment, the player development has stalled this year, the general manager is a jackass, and the white knight has seemingly spent more time addressing the ballpark's frilly amenities than addressing the team."

Loverro conveniently cites nothing but the same tired canards from "the national media" (whatever that is, and oddly he can't even name the media outlets), not even managing to find one single supporting quote either "on background" or "not for attribution" from a Nationals organization he claims is absolutely riddled with demoralized and disgruntled employees. He then completes the circle jerk by saying that someone from every visiting team (which surely means the beat reporters who cover those teams, since I doubt Loverro talks to many FO people from other teams) always asks him "Gee, what's wrong with the Nats' organization, since I've read this one endlessy quoted piece in the national media?". Of course, what Loverro tells them is just a regurgitation of what he, Loverro, has read in "the national media", because he is too fat and lazy to do any investigative reporting of his own. Then they retreat to the bar to knock down a few.

Lather, rinse and repeat.

Posted by: the wapo and bloggers aren't the only ones who make stuff up | August 29, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Lerners "paying $450 million" to buy the team
____________________________________

This is what you guys are arguing about? The speed at which the Lerners are trying to pay off the $450 mil loan? Well let me tell you something. They better do that sh*t fast, b/c at the current rate, NO ONE WILL GO TO NATS GAMES IN 2 YEARS!

Posted by: 756* | August 29, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

CE, don't go undermining a perfectly good argument with actual facts!

Seriously, though, even if the Alvarez negotiations didn't work out in the end, that's still the way the Crow negotiations should have been handled. Both sides played chicken and lost. Yeah, that means Crow and his agents were wrong, but it also means the Nats were wrong and lost out on their #1 pick. That sucks.

Now, somebody put a stop to this rain.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 29, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@ "the wapo and bloggers aren't the only ones who make stuff up":

If the argument is against the way sports writers, including sports columnists, go about their business (by not "showing their work"), you'll get no argument for me. All too often, what those guys are doing isn't journalism. It's hardly Loverro's method alone.

At the same time, dismissing a piece (or any of Loverro's pieces, as the guy above has apparently done) because it was written by Loverro is sort of curious to me. And he does raise a few thought-provoking issues here, amid the innuendo. It was a good, hard-hitting column.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | August 29, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"And he does raise a few thought-provoking issues here, amid the innuendo. It was a good, hard-hitting column."

At least Boswell will talk to Kasten and quote Kasten (and self-referentially quote himself in the process, of course) before he issues his opinion on what Kasten ought to be doing or his prediction of what Kasten will do. Doesn't look like Loverro did even that, though, or he'd have been able to at least mention a "no comment" from Kasten in his "hard hitting" column.

Posted by: the only thing loverro ever hits hard is the buffet | August 29, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

sigh

Posted by: your long screen names are stupid and I don't listen to anything you say when I see them | August 29, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Chico, dude!
This is my favorite gamer of the year. GREAT gamer. I read it twice, just enjoying the story line and diction.

And what was even cooler, for me, was I got to watch the game on TV!! I can only see the Nats if/when we play the Dodgers unless I pay through the nose for MLB Extra Innings (MLB tv is not the same...

@NJ Why are we bickering? We just spoiled a playoff contender with a sweep! Sure, our season sucks, I've been here, got that. But a sweep! And we scored (relatively) LOTS of RUNS!

If you can't feel happy about that stuff today, then yeesh, take a Prozac!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 29, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

co-sigh

Posted by: A. Nonymous | August 29, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Do you all know who Charlie Steiner is? For those that don't, he used to be an ESPN anchor, a yankee broadcaster and is now earning his keep as a Dodger broadcaster. He handles the TV dueies when the Dodgers come east as Scully doesn't take the long trips anymore. Last night he had a wonderful one liner when Dukes launched is second home run. His call was that the ball gathered icecicles on the way up and burned on re-entry. A fitting description to say the least. Have a nice flight west Charlie...see ya next year.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 29, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of sports columnists:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-27-mariotti-jayaug27,0,609457.story

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It is not known whether Mr. Mariotti took up the habit of passing the time by playing a little solitaire during his China trip. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 29, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm hitting .303/.333/.416, with a respectable OPS+ of 96, in an otherwise crappy--excuse me, "inconsistent"--lineup.
Any team in any league would take that and be happy with it at SS.

How's your career path looking?

Posted by: NR Christian and-I-just-hit-for-the-cycle-for-cryin-out-loud!-where's-the-respect? Guzman | August 29, 2008 1:57 PM
------------------------------------------

Er...my career path looks great, actually. Thanks for asking. I'm sorry to have irked you to this extent. Cristian (not Christian, btw) Guzman has a career EqA of .240. I'm not a hater, but that's completely mediocre. He happens to be having one of his best offensive years, and his VORP still ranks him 11th out of 27 shortstops with at least 300 PAs this season.

More to the point, all I said was he doesn't "scare anybody" offensively. I was making a position-agnostic point about the strength of the lineup and where there were spots to inject power.

No diss to Guz intended. Lighten up.

Posted by: 220 | August 29, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

What is the difference between OPS and OPS+? also, what is EqA? I've never heard of that before...

Posted by: estuartj | August 29, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Yikes - Friday of the holiday weekend, sweep of a contender - with Manny no less, and what we discuss is team financing and obscure stats. Ugh! In a perfect world I would go to a nats game each and every day at our new ballpark and that would beat almost anything else I should be doing. If it was too easy we wouldn't appreciate it when we get to the world series! Let's sweep Atlanta, too! If you are going to the game tonite - I envy you and hope you see some fun stuff like last night.

Posted by: masnstinks | August 29, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

@esuartj

OPS+ is adjusted OPS. "Adjusted" to consider the league a player hits in and his park. 100 is average. So, a 96 OPS+ means Guz has a little lower than league average OPS. Which, as the poster pointed out, ain't terrible for a shortstop.

EqA is defined by Baseball Prospectus as "A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense." It's set so that .260 is average - so your reaction to it should be much like your reaction to a player's batting average. .300 = hey, that guy's good! .240 = hey, that guy's not so good. But it gives you much more info than batting average because it's a total offensive stat - includes power, baserunning, the whole shebang.

Posted by: 220 | August 29, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Me

Posted by: New Post | August 29, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Me

Posted by: New Post | August 29, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think I've figured it out -- you have to submit it twice to get it to go in at all, but only if you didn't expect the first one to take.

Posted by: Schroedinger's Post | August 29, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The thing about Dukes is to remember his age and his talent. It's not too early to think he will be an All-Star someday, probably pretty soon if he stays with the Nats. However, the guy has Hall of Fame level of ability. The question is how far will that talent take him -- will he develop into a Hall of Famer? He has the kind of power that Manny Ramirez has, but he's much better in the field and he has a gun for an arm. He's also starting to show the kind of consistency that will produce .300+ batting averages, at a ridiculously young age. To combine that kind of power, the ability to hit for average, and throw in a decent glove and real speed? There are never more than a few players with that kind of ability. Fewer still realize the potential they possess. Dukes has all the talent in the world. I hope that his career will be as exciting as his potential.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | August 29, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

>I would love to see a starting outfield next year of Dukes in right, Milledge in center and Harris in left. Every since it was disclosed how seriously injured Wily Mo has been all season I have wondered just what he would be like if he was fully healed. The end of last season showed us the potential power that could be his future. I think that a resurgent Wily Mo could be a starter in left field which would give us a powerful outfield. If Wily Mo can not come back I would be delighted to have Mr. Harris in left. As for Kearns, I have yet to see for any extended duration just what is supposed to be worth 8 million dollars next year. <

Yeah I get the feeling that there will be more outfielders than slots next year, if things remain the same roster-wise. I was thinking that the solution may be to put one of those guys at 1B, since we're gonna need a solution there anyway. You know, Kearns, Wily Mo - both of them could play a good 1B defensively. I don't see why not. They're both signed anyway. But I would definitely run Wily Mo out to play first, if nothing else. I mean, you throw the ball and you can't miss him.

Posted by: Brue | August 31, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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