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4 hours, 34 minutes of baseball

In a 14-inning game, especially on getaway day (that is, the day when teams travel right after the final pitch), everybody gets a bit punch-drunk. Yesterday's game had that affect, somehow: When Lastings Milledge saw a tandem of unimposing reporters -- or at least that was my appraisal -- approach him after the game, he screamed a preemptive, comical answer about a question he knew was coming.

"We ... won ... the ... game!" he said, emphasizing every word. "We ... won ... the ... game!"

It was Milledge's joking way of suggesting that he didn't have much interest in scrutinizing the fly ball he couldn't catch in the second inning. But heck, just by insinuating that we'd ask him about it, he might have been giving us too much credit: The play, after all, had happened some four hours earlier. (By the way, he did answer the question in earnest. He just lost the ball in the sun, he said; he had a good eye on it until the last second.)

Anyway, things were goofy all over Turner Field yesterday.

Some of the oddities:

* Odalis Perez pinch hit for the Nats in the 14th inning, grounding out to short

* Anderson Hernandez walked four times -- or more often than he'd done in 45 career games (122 at bats) entering yesterday. (During that span, he had three walks total.)

* Ryan Zimmerman had seven at bats for the first time of his career... and no hits in a game for the first time since August 24.

* James Parr, a rookie who'd pitched against the Nats on Thursday, pinch hit with two outs in the bottom of the 14th, evidently not expecting much. The Braves were already down three, and down to their last out. As Parr stepped in against Joel Hanrahan, he mashed his helmet against his head and let out a muffled smile, as if acknowledging the situation. Oh... and then Parr walked.

Read about the game here. Read the notebook here.

I'm off to New York in a few minutes, and I'll update the blog if any news interrupts the afternoon. If not, enjoy the off day.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 8, 2008; 6:25 AM ET
 
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Comments

Time to start auditioning for another closer. Hanrahan has looked horrible the previous two attempts, now he walks a freaking pitcher pinch hitter. The first thing that a closer must have is the common sense or ability to not walk the weakest batter in the lineup. I imagine that opposing coaches are going to tell their 9th inning batters to take the first 5 pitches he throws since a lot of Hanrahan's strikes are coming from batters swinging at a ball outside of the strikezone.

Thank you Dukes once again for putting that game to rest in a good way.

Posted by: Dale | September 8, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

In response to SF Fan from the last post ("Wouldn't it be funny if we took 4 or 5 out of 6 from the Mets and they lose the playoff race AGAIN?")

I live in NJ and work with several Mets fans (including my boss' boss). While it might results in my getting fired and beaten, in addition to folks jumping off the Tappen Zee bridge, I would love to help push the Mets to the brink. Talk about a team with a delicate psychy!!

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | September 8, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

I have a question regarding the scoring in yesterday's game. Why is it not judged an error for an outfielder to misplay a ball coming out of the sun? It seems that the pitcher's ERA gets screwed in this case, whlie the hitter and outfielder get protected. MIlledge's misplay cost 2 runs to Balestar yesterday and a double was awarded to Chipper Jones. If a popup is muffed by the infielder is the same standard applied?

Posted by: Dale | September 8, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

"I have a question regarding the scoring in yesterday's game. Why is it not judged an error for an outfielder to misplay a ball coming out of the sun?"

I think if he got his glove on the ball it would have been an error, but Milledge didn't touch the ball on that play. I don't think it's possible under the rules to charge an error on a player without him touching the ball, although clearly everybody knows he screwed up and should have made that catch.

Posted by: this pastime of nationals | September 8, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"...he mashed his helped against his head..."

Posted by: Huh? | September 8, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@Dale

Strange are the ways of Baseball scoring. The ball never touched Milledge's glove. Thus, the scoring is the same as if Milledge has misplayed a line drive and the ball went over his head to the wall. In both instances, it is a hit not an error. If had put his glove on it at the last second and it dropped to the ground, score it a two base error. Broadcasters talk about the anomaly of the shortstop or third baseman who has no "range." Since chances go down so do errors, as do Assists/Putouts of course.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | September 8, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Today's gamer was incredibly annoying to read. Why are we, the Post readers, not informed regarding what actually happened (how runs were scored, etc.) in the game stories? It seems like that would be basic information, on which one could pile reportorial filigree if time permitted. Yet we get game stories that are almost all reportorial filigree (and not particularly distinguished filigree, either - some days are better than others, but for the most part I become impatient with it). I know there are "so many other sources for the basic information about the game," blah blah blah, but having chosen the Post, I expect the Post to provide me with said basic information. If not, why shouldn't I patronize another media outlet?

Posted by: Lindemann | September 8, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, strange are the ways of baseball scoring. Next stop: inherited runners and why once again starting pitchers get shafted in ERA.

Posted by: Dale | September 8, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

so who should get blamed for those runners scoring? i understand the pitchers that let them on base didn't necessarily let them score, but the reliever behind them didn't put them on base, either.

Posted by: 231 | September 8, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Nats.....toughing out a 14 inning win!

Keep playing hard, we fans are watching

Posted by: Cabraman | September 8, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

231 - this is Washington. We can always find someone to blame for a mess. Much tougher to find someone to clean up a mess. I'll blame tax policy, and endorse Steve Shell to clean up the mess.

Posted by: Shell / Rivera '09! | September 8, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Man, I wish Barry Svrluga had his own blog so I could post there to say how great a job he's doing on the Redskins beat. This morning's article is once agian typical of his exceptional output there.

Posted by: did you see it? | September 8, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Barry's article today was outstanding. I am really starting to appreciate how the third beat writer is able to provide that additional insight that LaCanfora and Reid aren't able to provide.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 8, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I know, CiL, I suddenly have so much more insight into the team and find it to be so much more of a compelling story to follow than it had been. It makes me want to view all the articles, repeatedly, over a long period of time.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"If not, why shouldn't I patronize another media outlet?" Yeah, let's all go listen to the sports radio station report about the Nats. Oh, um, I mean, let's rely on the coverage furnished by the major TV stations in town. Oh, um I mean, let's read the fine coverage offered by the Washington Times. Oh um....never mind.

Posted by: TeeJ | September 8, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday's marathon contest solidified Elijah Duke's emergence as a "real" major leaguer,after going zero for six at the plate he came up in the fourteenth and delivered a double to drive in three runs and give the nats a victory, it was a long draining day at the ballpark in a game of little consequence to either team but he focused when it mattered. He could have easily gone through the motions it was hot and humid in the ATL yesterday sitting in the stands it was even hotter so for this kid to deliver in a game that didn't matter speaks volumes about his maturation process as a ballplayer hopefully this will be the start of long career with the nats.

Posted by: dargregmag@aol.com | September 8, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The Nats need to make the Mets earn it. And I say that as a native of Queens who grew up in the Upper Deck of Shea Stadium in the 60's.

Posted by: 419E | September 8, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Tough call as to who I want to see spit the bit on the division. I'm nostalgic for a Mets collapse, but the Phillies have Utley, whose uniform number should be 666. The Marlins gave us heck all year, so it would be nice to mess them up in our final few games. So I guess I'm rooting for Church, Schneider, Ayala (!), and, of course, the lame but loveable Pedro.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 8, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Great win yesterday. Nice to see the Nats win the kind of games they were routinely losing not so long ago.

To me, though, it's becoming clear that Milledge is not going to be our CF of the future--at least not if the club is to better than mediocre. It's not just losing a flyball in the sun (again). He continues to get poor jumps on flyballs (although his speed does allow him to turn some of those bad jumps into "spectacular" catches). And his arm is below par. On the other hand, he is hitting well enough to hold down the LF job. So why not give him the LF job next year and start (or restart) the search for a legitimate CF?

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 8, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't Elijah Dukes have the speed, fielding, ability to read flies, and the arm of a center fielder?

Posted by: Clueless | September 8, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Milledge doesn't have enough power for a LF. You don't need great playing abilities for left (see Wily Mo), so you can afford to get someone who is a heck of a batter, but not a great fielder and stick out there. We could find a better bat than Milledge, with less fielding skills and still have it be a benefit in left.

That being said, I completely disagree with your assessment of Milledge's center field skills. They are about average at this point, but haven't plateaued yet. He may yet become downright good.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"If not, why shouldn't I patronize another media outlet?" Yeah, let's all go listen to the sports radio station report about the Nats. Oh, um, I mean, let's rely on the coverage furnished by the major TV stations in town. Oh, um I mean, let's read the fine coverage offered by the Washington Times. Oh um....never mind.


Posted by: TeeJ | September 8, 2008 10:33 AM

I find myself having to read the tiny type beneath the box score or go to ESPN to see how the teams involved in the game scored, except when Chico determines that the method in which they were scored is of more interest than making additional witticisms. This seems backwards - if I have sat down to read a game story, I am looking for, at minimum, an account of what happened in the game.

It's pretty pathetic when I have a better idea what happened in the game from an AP story than I do from a Post gamer.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 8, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

>I have a question regarding the scoring in yesterday's game. Why is it not judged an error for an outfielder to misplay a ball coming out of the sun? It seems that the pitcher's ERA gets screwed in this case, whlie the hitter and outfielder get protected. MIlledge's misplay cost 2 runs to Balestar yesterday and a double was awarded to Chipper Jones. If a popup is muffed by the infielder is the same standard applied?<

Of course it's applied. If a popup lands with nobody catching it in the infield, and there's no infield fly, it's not an error.

It's not a linear comparison. Let's say an infielder misses a pop up with men on base, you can't give him an error, because the infield fly rules apply (if there's a force play), and the batter is automatically out. So it's impossible to give an error. If an outfielder loses the ball in the sun, the scorers treat the sun as any other ground-rule obstacle at the stadium. In other words, the sun is in play, just like the lights are. If a guy pulls up short because of one of these idiotic quirky fences that stick out and injure outfielders, then you can't give the fielder an error because he wanted to avoid injury, or misjudges the wall, assuming he never touched the fly ball. It's just like if a guy muffs a double play ball, and only gets one out - you can't assume that a play will be made just because it should.

Posted by: Brue | September 8, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

506,

I hope you're right about LMills not having plateaued yet, but I'm not optimistic. My negative assessment comes from watching one game from the 104 section (a much closer view than my usual
408 perch).

As for him not having enough power for LF, I disagree. Based on what he's done this year, I don't think it's unreasonable to project him for 20-25 HRs a year. He definitely hasn't plateaued yet in that category.

Clueless, I would agree that Dukes would be better than LMills in CF. But he's also got the makings of becoming an above-average RF. For now, I think Willie's our best option in CF, although I understand that on a really good club he would make great supersub.

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 8, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"I think if he got his glove on the ball it would have been an error, but Milledge didn't touch the ball on that play. I don't think it's possible under the rules to charge an error on a player without him touching the ball, although clearly everybody knows he screwed up and should have made that catch."

I think if a grounder goes through an infielder's legs without him touching the ball and without the ball taking a funny bounce, it's an error. But largely, pop-ups and fly-balls lost in the sun are generally treated like grounders that take funny hops.

Posted by: 756* | September 8, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"It's just like if a guy muffs a double play ball, and only gets one out - you can't assume that a play will be made just because it should."

Someone should let Bob Carpenter know about this.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 8, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Scoring can get very strange. If an fielder dives for a ball well out of his normal range, and drops it when he hits the ground, that might be (and has been) scored an error on occasion. But if he gets a routine ground ball, and doesn't throw in time, just lollygags it, by rule that's scored a hit.

Posted by: ce | September 8, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

most teams wouldn't consider 20-25 HRs to be optimal for a corner OF, especially LF.

then again, i think we need to look at what we consider "optimal" as far as HRs go in today's post-steroid world. we're on pace to have about half as many 40HR guys as we've had in recent history in MLB (5ish instead of 10ish). right now the top 10 ranges from 40 (howard) to 33 at the 5th spot (delgado) and 5 guys tied at 32.

Posted by: 231 | September 8, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Is it OK to throw in a random jab at FLop who has suddenly decided he actually can play baseball now that he's a Cardinal?

Posted by: Arlington Nats fan | September 8, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

There's no strict rule that just because an inept fielder doesn't get his glove on the ball that it's a hit -- a grounder through somebody's wickets is usually an error, for example. In my book, Lastings deserved an error on the missed fly. He was camped under it and it landed between his body and his outstretched glove, for goodness sake. You noticed that Zim had little trouble with the high pop moments later.

Posted by: Bad scoring | September 8, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Lopez can play baseball for a good team. He can't play for a bad team. Some guys are just like that.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This is what comes of laying off the copyeditors. No editors = self-indulgent writing on a deadline for a story maybe 9,000 people will read.

That said, you *are* free to vote with your eyeballs and find another outlet that supplies those game details (and btw, just wondering, where are you reading the AP story, if not in The Post?)

I find all the windging in here incredibly annoying, but I work around it.

****************
Today's gamer was incredibly annoying to read ... [W]hy shouldn't I patronize another media outlet?
Posted by: Lindemann | September 8, 2008 8:55 AM

Posted by: CE | September 8, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Post-steroid era is a crucial point, yes.
Of the top (pick a number - 20?) HR hitters in the NL, how many of them are starting left-fielders?

Optimal is always nice, I'm in favor of optimal, but sometimes "sufficient" can work just as well, depending on other things, like team chemistry, or who is or isn't available.

***********
most teams wouldn't consider 20-25 HRs to be optimal for a corner OF, especially LF.

then again, i think we need to look at what we consider "optimal" as far as HRs go in today's post-steroid world. we're on pace to have about half as many 40HR guys as we've had in recent history in MLB (5ish instead of 10ish). right now the top 10 ranges from 40 (howard) to 33 at the 5th spot (delgado) and 5 guys tied at 32.

Posted by: 231 | September 8, 2008 12:53 PM

Posted by: ce | September 8, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

231,

20-25 HRs for a LF might not be optimal but sufficient at least, especially as you say in the post-steroids era. And Milledge's speed on the bases would give him a dimension lacking in "classic" LFers like Burrell and Carlos Lee.

506,

Interesting outlook on FLop. Are we still allowed too boo him next he comes to DC?

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 8, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Re: Milledge and the missed flyball.

Someone up top said a player must touch a fly ball to be charged with an error. Not true. Here is the rulebook on it (Rule 10.12 comment):
"The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball."
Ordinary effort is the key phrase. The official scorer felt that it would take anyone more than "ordinary effort" to block the sun on that flyball.

Posted by: Section 138 | September 8, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

CE, beat me to it!

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 8, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Allowed? You're encouraged! I agree with 506, but to a different degree. True, he doesn't play well on a non-competitive team, but that's by choice. He needs constant motivation, but it needs to be the right motivation. One would think the motivation of him getting paid $5MM to play to his best ability would be enough, but for him, it's not. Here were his quotes that drove me to insanity after he left:

About coming from St. Louis to Washington:

"It's like night and day. You go from somewhere that's dead last and the energy is not there. You come here and as soon as I walked in I felt that energy. That inspires you, that motivates you to play well."

On not hitting:

"Like I said, the motivation - just being dead last, I guess. Like going out there knowing you're probably going to lose isn't motivating."

He's so dead to me. I can't wait to see him on his first game back here.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
interesting outlook on FLop. Are we still allowed too boo him next he comes to DC?

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 8, 2008 1:14 PM

Posted by: Section 138 | September 8, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

cap and CE,

i'm definitely allowing for milledge to be in LF, if that makes sense based on the roster. but understand why that's not the most optimal spot for a guy with his skillset, especially long-term.

it's the least challenging defensive position besides 1B (and one might say even less than 1B, since there's a lot less mental responsibility in LF and no regular off-target throws to scoop). which means if you can find a defensively challenged slugger, that's where he goes (in the NL, in the AL that's where your 2nd most defensively challenged slugger usually goes).

so... the thinking would be that milledge offers less to the team as a LF than he does as a CF. it's much easier to find someone with good offensive numbers who can play LF than it is to find someone with decent offensive numbers to play CF. not just easier, but often less expensive, freeing up cash to pay for other positions that might require more investment to get the same level of production. (or, if you're part of the "lerners are cheap!" crowd, more money for the ownership to pocket, but i digress.)

Posted by: 231 | September 8, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

as far as lopez goes, it's interesting how "dead" the clubhouse/bench was when he was here, then suddenly became lively when he --and 1-2 other "veterans"--were cut loose... one might think there was a correlation.

Posted by: 231 | September 8, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Veterans whose play depends on the performance of others on their team. Correlation confirmed.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I read AP game stories on ESPN. I subscribe to the Post for myriad reasons, not just sports. But I am a Nationals fan, and I'd really like to be able to enjoy the Post's Nats coverage (as I did when Svrluga ran the show). Mr. Harlan gets lost in the thickets of his own purple prose far too often, and loses the audience along with him. That is all.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 8, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I think there is a consensus that Milledge has improved a lot in CF this year. He still may be below average, but if he were just 40th percentile among regular CFs, and a 20 - 25 HR, 30 steal, .280 / .340 / .500 offensive player, he would more than make up for his defense. Post all-star break, he is .288 / .356 / .481, with 7 HRS and 7 steals in 41 games, so I don't think it is a stretch to say he can produce the kind of offense to make him one of the better offensive CFs in MLB. If he were to hit as well as he's shown 2d half of the year, and become a better than average range / weak arm CF, you'd have Johnny Damon plus in his prime.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 8, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

FLop may be hitting the ball in STL, but he has not helped the team win. Prior to his arrival, the Cards were 63-52 (.548). Since he's been on the roster, they are 14-14 (.500).

The Nats record prior to him leaving DC? 38-70 (.352). Their record since? 18-18 (.500).

I think we all know where the "losing" attitude came from ... and where it can stay! Good riddance, FLOP, you piece of $%#@!

Posted by: e | September 8, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

231 and PTBNL,

Points taken. Admittedly decent MLB LFers are more plentiful than decent MBL CFers. And we don't seem to have any homegrown CF "naturals" knocking on the door (chronic wrist problems look bad for Maxwell and Bernardin we've all seen). I just Devon White(our roving minor league instructor) could implant his OF instincts into Lastings.

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 8, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"I just Devon White(our roving minor league instructor) could implant his OF instincts into Lastings."

"I think there is a consensus that Milledge has improved a lot in CF this year."


Looks like instincts verses experience is the big battle in Washington.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps he'll evolve. If there is such a thing.

Posted by: Sarah | September 8, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Not to disagree with you Lindemann, but I enjoyed today's gamer and the so-called "purple prose." I thought the line about having to carbon date the offense to find when it last scored was hilarious.

Ideally, and I think this is where CiL comes in, this is the kind of story we would get on TOP of a regular AP-styled gamer *(which still must be written by a post beat writer)* Similar to how the Redskins have approximately 65 million articles every time Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley, Jason Campbell or a rookie breathe.

Also, I enjoy the "How they scored" box with the box score. I find that informative and without any unnecessary word play. Admittedly, though, I have not "seen" that in about 4 months, because I don't live within circulation range.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | September 8, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

ND, I also thought the carbon dating line was hilarious.

But I also thought long-game joke got beat into the ground. It was at least two paragraphs of valuable space just riffing on how long the game took. Get in, make the point, and get back out. Don't spend so long on a funny, but ultimately insignificant point.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 8, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

From the baseball rules:

It is not necessary that the fielder touch the ball to be charged with an error. If a ground ball goes through a fielder’s legs or a fly ball falls untouched and, in the scorer’s judgment, the fielder could have handled the ball with ordinary effort, the official scorer shall charge such fielder with an error. For example, the official scorer shall charge an infielder with an error when a ground ball passes to either side of such infielder if, in the official scorer’s judgment, a fielder at that position making ordinary effort would have fielded such ground ball and retired a runner. The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball.

From the softball rules, but I bet it is the same:

NO ERROR IS CHARGED
SECTION 22. No error is charged to a fielder in the following situations:
a. When a ball is misplayed due to being lost in the sun or lights, blown by the wind, or if
the fielder slips and falls—even if contact is made with the ball.

Posted by: Arkymark | September 8, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Don't think the Metropolitans aren't a little nervous about their "quickie" with the nats tuesday and wedensday they lose both and they occupy second place thursday,trust me 07 is in the back of their minds the good news for them is Jerry Manuel is running the show,the bad news is the nats are loosey goosey and can just have fun, ought to be interesting.

Posted by: dargregmag@aol.com | September 8, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

ND, I also thought the carbon dating line was hilarious.

But I also thought long-game joke got beat into the ground. It was at least two paragraphs of valuable space just riffing on how long the game took. Get in, make the point, and get back out. Don't spend so long on a funny, but ultimately insignificant point.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 8, 2008 3:52 PM

NatsNut has summed up my view nicely. But the carbon-dating thing was a really good line, this I admit.

Everyone should feel free to disagree with me, BTW. Wouldn't be much of a discussion if people didn't.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 8, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Wagner out for '08 and '09. Did I just miss this this weekend? Great time to ruin the Mets.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only person to be annoyed at players talking about how exhausted they were?

Aside from the fact that position players used to routinely be expected to play doubleheaders (that's 18 innings, minimum, folks), there are millions of people out there who work backbreaking jobs for crap money 8-10 hours a day.

If standing around the outfield for a few hours is so challenging that it is going to take some of the Nationals two days to recover, perhaps that is part of the problem with this team.

If they are so tired, maybe they should be replaced with some folks with energy and enthusiasm.

Great day for two!

Posted by: Meridian | September 8, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

On a completely unrelated note, from ESPN: "According to general manager Brian Sabean, the starting shortstop job will be [Emmanuel] Burriss' to lose next spring, reports the Mercury News." He's hitting .278 with a .353 obp in 90 games. Nice to see a local kid doing well.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | September 8, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Meridian,

Totally agree. Especially hearing this "exhaustion" talk coming from the young guys. I daresay a number of us have participated in tournaments in our day (slowpitch in my case), in which you might play 4-5 seven-inning games in one day (and with a lot more running on the bases than in baseball). Call this the ranting of a crotchet geezer if you will, but Puhleeze!!

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 8, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all for the quoted rules on the Milledge muffed fly. Although the play with the sun was not judged to be routine every other player who fielded a fly was able to make the catch that afternoon. I wonder if there is a different standard based on what "ordinary effort" is. Are major league scorers more stringent in that regard than scorers at the minor league or even softball league level? I know, I know, baseball is a game where the human element is celebrated, even in scoring.

Posted by: Dale | September 8, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Sound familiar?
from alt.sports.baseball.ny-mets

Mets super doctors at it again

First Wagner just needs rest, then he went on the DL, then he's on his
way back, then he's back on Tuesday, and now today we heard that he'll
be out for ANOTHER YEAR on a torn MCL, which means at best he'll be
available Sept. 2009

Mets doctors... simply amazing...

Posted by: cat daddy | September 8, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I like Chico's style of gamer. "Carbon dating" = classic. I get the AP copy numerous places elsewhere. CFs all over are barely adequate. Not sure if Milledge is the answer, but there are worse. Keeping up the intensity of a 4+ hour MLB game is exhausting. Beer-fueled softball games do not compare. Honestly, they don't. Dukes rocks. I'm pulling for the Mets over the Phillies, too. Ex-Natpos over Utley and the 'beaters.

Quote of the Day
I think we all know where the "losing" attitude came from ... and where it can stay! Good riddance, FLOP, you piece of $%#@!
Posted by: e

Posted by: cat daddy | September 8, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

and to follow up on that, cat daddy:

"At any rate, as for this season, according to a poll from this morning on MetsBlog.com, 80 percent of the more-than 2,600 voters said they would choose Luis Ayala to be the team's closer in place of Wagner. "

cap, have you ever played 162 games in a season? it's one thing to play a bunch of games over a week, it's another thing to do it almost every day for 6+ months. a lot of young guys tend to wear out at the end of their first full season.

Posted by: 231 | September 8, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Heh heh heh, I support Luis Ayala for Mets closer, too!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Just think, we can be nostalgic and hear the Whhooosh! sound 6 more times this year!

Posted by: SF Fan | September 8, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I cannot understand how Ayala could hhave been so bad here this year. His prior record showed he was a quality middle reliever / set up man. Back in 2005, there were projections he'd be the closer, not Chad. In the offseason, I had hoped he'd have a good first few months and then get flipped to a team needing bullpen help. I thought EE#4 could use him and he'd be cheaper than Rauch. I'm not sure what he's doing for the Mets is the fluke. I just don't understand it.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 8, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Hope we don't see Cardiac in a Mets uniform next year...

Posted by: Suicide Squeeze | September 8, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Chico's gamer assumes that you've read the AP wrap, which is available online before and after the gamer comes online. It's a great gamer, and I got excited to read that the team would be toasting their persistence - is Manny buying?

Posted by: flynnie | September 8, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

506 - you may not need to be a great fielder to play left, but it doesn't hurt, does it?

Posted by: willie Harris airborne over the left field line in Shea making the catch of the year | September 8, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Chico's gamer assumes that you've read the AP wrap, which is available online before and after the gamer comes online.

Posted by: flynnie | September 8, 2008 8:56 PM

I don't see why I should have to read two stories when I want to read one and be done with it. This is a fast-paced modern world in which we live. I am not into the idea of having to consume two gamers.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 8, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

"I just don't understand it."

Player doesn't have enough fortitude to perform well when his team isn't. Or else player tries to make 3 outs with only one pitch. Either way, it's mental.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 8, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Lindemann. Afterall, if technology can develop a way to put peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, the WP should be able to find a way to include play by play with insight.

Actually, I'm not with Lindemann. If I want to know how a team scored, I check the scoring summary. If I want a little bit more info, I read the gamer. Same paper too...though sometimes on a different page and usually in a smaller font.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | September 8, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, Ayala thought he should have been given a shot at the closer job, and he was passed over twice and possibly three times in his mind. He became bitter and didn't care to be here. That's my take on it.
I don't hold it against him because who knows what's been going on, outside the obvious, in the clubhouse this year.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 8, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

If Chico wrote a basic summary, I wouldn't bother with it. I want more of a personal perspective from a beat writer, one who talks with the players and attends the postgame, asking questions.
I get the AP story, which could have been written by a writer watching TV, almost immediately after the game. I scan the pitch-by-pitch, the boxscore, and federalbaseball.com's comments and at-bat summary for a flavour of the game.
It's pretty easy in this "fast-paced modern world" to click on a few favourites and grab a variety of perspectives.
Be thankful the Post doesn't just copy Ladson's paragraph or two and call it coverage.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 9, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

No doubt that one can get the info on how the team scored from the "scoring summary." But what I'd like from a gamer is some insight on the game and why the things that happened in the game happened. To me, this is more important than the beat writer's literary riff on the game. Literary flourishes are fine and indeed entertaining, but in my view they are too much when they overwhelm the retelling of the game, which is often the case with The Post's gamers.

A couple months ago someone here came up with the notion of the "buddy test" for gamers: essentially, if your buddy asked you about what happened in a game that s/he missed, does the gamer give you the info about the game that you would want to tell your buddy? For The Post, which has access to the players and coaches, this should be supplemented by relevant quotes and insight from the participants about what happened. This can make the gamer insightful even for those who saw the game. Too often, this stuff is neglected in The Post.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 9, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Well, in a perfect world, yeah, Chico should put in a full day after the game and fill up the entire front page above the fold with everything everyone wants. But, I imagine there's space and time restrictions placed on him by the bosses and the reality of the newspaper business.
Thankfully, he augments that with extra stuff here, which is pretty special considering...

Posted by: cat daddy | September 9, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Ladson, this from the Mailbag. WTF? Getting rid of Rauch evened the keel? Rauch lost his AZ set-up gig and got ejected recently for mouthing off to the ump. Curiouser to say the least...

Given all of the injuries this season, and the youth of this team, I think Acta has done a masterful job keeping the players on an even keel. There have been no explosive temper tantrums that I know of and the team seems to remain positive on the field.
-- John B., Burke, Va.

I totally agree with you about Acta. When it came close to All-Star break, I thought someone on the team would explode and blame the media for the bad season. But once general manager Jim Bowden traded reliever Jon Rauch to the Diamondbacks, I felt the team would be on an even keel the rest of the season.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 9, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Barry Svrluga was a superstar on the Nationals beat, a gold medal winner on Olympics coverage. But who would have expected this from him on the Redskins beat? Again today, I absolutely must say it. Bravo, Barry!

Posted by: did you see it? | September 9, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I heard from some usually reliable sources that Rauch was a complete a-hole, which is really disappointing.

"...if technology can develop a way to put peanut butter and jelly in the same jar..."

I was going to say, LDO, have you ever HAD that particular concoction, but then you followed it up and I couldn't stop laughing at the perfect metaphor. Bravo.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 9, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Why is there a Redskins article penned by the third-string writer every single day?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 9, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Ok, today's article about pepper is great. This is the kind of stuff that shows what the team is doing about the future. If it wasn't for an off-day, I don't think we get this story.

On a more bitter note, living in the NJ area, I don't get to see my Nats on tv very much. So, when they play the Mets, I'm psyched b/c they are on tv. And I have meetings both of the next 2 nights. ARGH!!!!

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | September 9, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse


Ahoy!

Posted by: New Post | September 9, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I don't recall the specific game, but once again I had to use the scoring summary to get any detail whatsoever on how the Nats scored the few runs they had managed to scrape together, and it mentioned that Dukes hit an "infield double" or something like that. Now, that seemed like it would be worthy of further explanation. Yet there was none to be found in Chico's gamer. So I'm not actually getting the info I need from there either.

I realize that if I wanted to devote my entire life to my Nats fandom, I have a multitude of resources at my fingertips. But I'm a pretty casual fan - I like going to games, but not watching them on TV so much - and I have lots of other interests. It seems like it should be possible to combine literary/stylistic flourishes with actual game summary content. In fact, Barry Svrluga did it on the regular. I don't see why Chico's editors shouldn't be asking him to try harder to strike a balance.

It's been interesting to hear other people's take on the situation, though.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 9, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

On WP Live last week they were talking about whether Trembley would get his contract renewed by the club, and they were saying that the O's were just keeping him there as a temporary caretaker until they got really good and would find a manager with a higher profile so that the stars would listen to him. They were saying the same thing about Acta, that he was possibly a temporary caretaker until the Nats got really good. Makes sense to me, because why would a star listen to a guy who was a lousy player, basically a grunt, and in addition one that rarely says much? Acta appears to be someone who doesn't elicit great performances. He certainly needs to grow a sack, players respect that, instead of some guy who sounds like he's just along for the ride. You can blame injuries all you want. Acta certainly has!

Posted by: Brue | September 9, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

231,

So whose full first season are we talking about? Certainly not Dukes's, with all the downtime on the DL. Nor Milledge's, for the same reason. The mental strain of playing in a tight game for 14 innings, maybe, but not the physical.

And I was talking about playing a number of softball games over a weekend, not a week.

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 9, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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