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After the 1-0 game...

Yesterday supplied the talking points in bunches.

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ONE: It's well worth the time to read Boz's column this morning, where he takes a thoughtful look at the big picture. He gets the rare audience with Ted Lerner, and relays to the owner concerns from others in the organization that the team might not be willing to spend enough money.

Boswell told Lerner (in an exchange he wrote about):

"Fine businessmen tend to make bad owners. To win, you must try to lose -- money."

"It takes time to build a club," Lerner eventually said, "but the money we are taking in is not going anywhere but into this team."

---

TWO: You can find the gamer here. Because of his role, Mike Hinckley will almost never be THE story in a game; it's the fate of the middle reliever, really, to leave attention to the others. But, on this night, I decided to zoom in on his importance and give him the deserved credit.

Hinckley mentions at the end of this story his nice guy reputation. He's probably selling himself short. He's Southern and proper: all yessirs and handshakes. In interviews, he speaks never of himself; it's always "We." We were released. We're doing so well now. We're just thrilled for this opportunity.

"We" is Mike, his wife and his child. "We're a unit," Hinckley explained when I asked him. His sacrifices as a ballplayer, in other words, have been their sacrifices. Just days after he got married a few years back, Hinckley had to go to visit Dr. Tim Kremchek for a shoulder procedure. "So," Hinckley quipped, "that's why we took our honeymoon to Cincinnati."

Just before he left the clubhouse for good last night, Hinckley mentioned that he hadn't seen his wife in almost two weeks because of the road trip.

"I think we're just going to get some dinner together and give thanks for everything," Hinckley said.

---

THREE: Joel Hanrahan might turn out to be a fine closer. He might not. But even if his career lasts as long as Lee Smith's, he'll have a hard time pitching a better inning against a tougher lineup than the one he handled last night. Protecting a one-run lead, Hanrahan took down Wright, Beltran and Delgado, the heart of New York's order.

"And Wright was batting, like, .900 against me," Hanrahan pointed out.

(The actual stats: Wright was 5-for-11, with a homer and three doubles.)

"That was a legit save," Acta said. "When you have to come into a ballgame up by one run and you have to face Wright, Beltran and Delgado... that was an impressive save. We were saying, this is a real save that can really make or break this kid for the last 10 days."

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FOUR: We've got the weekly Nationals chat today at 2 p.m. Plenty to discuss.

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FIVE: Perhaps the best thing you can say about this series is that we've still got two games left. The Mets have now lost four of five, and even before yesterday's loss, the New York writers who made the trip down here were grilling GM Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel about the chances of another September collapse. (Pre-game, Manuel closed the clubhouse doors for 15 minutes and talked to his players about how to play down the stretch.) Well, now things intensify even more. After the Nats finished off the Mets, all televisions in the Washington clubhouse were tuned to the Phillies-Braves game.

Philly took it, 8-7, and jumped into first place by a half game.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 17, 2008; 8:10 AM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineups

Comments

"According to Lerner, not one person, either fan or employee, has said anything to him this season except, 'Good job.'"

Well then, let me be the first--and I will email this to Lerner and Kasten as well. Ted: You are doing a horrible job. You are a schmuck. You suck.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Mea culpa right up front: I know I'm the guy who said we should talk about the team and not the Post's coverage, but ...

Who peed in Boz' oatmeal this morning?

As someone who follows the team very closely every day, I'm actually optimistic about the club's future next year and not so sure we absolutely have to spend megabucks on a free-agent lottery ticket unless the player and price was right. [We're not the Orioles, after all - or the Skins, for that matter.]

Forgive me if I'd be a little more interested in Boz' opinion if he'd written more columns and given more evidence of having paid attention to the team.

If this is an attempt by some folks in the front office to pressure the team to loosen the purse strings, I'm not sure Boz is the right vehicle. I mean, it's great that Uncle Teddy agreed to an interview, but in the future I'd rather he talked to someone who followed the team on a daily basis. [Come to think of it - maybe that's why he picked Boz.]

The morning after a pretty exciting win - and a meaningful one, at that - this column (like Boz' columns all year) strikes me as incredibly tone-deaf.

Dear Editors: Please let Barry Svrluga be the Nats columnist and show Boz the door.

Posted by: NRI in MC | September 17, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

If he is sincere in claiming no one has told him anything other than good job, AND he takes that as any sort of redemption, or assurance that he has performed exceptionallly well, then he is demonstrating a profound lack of vision and insight. Using a baseball analaogy, if you get a single in the ninth but lose the game, everyone will still say "good job". It does not mean you go to the playoffs. End of the day the only "good job" that matters is winning.

Should he invest in Teixeira or Sabathia? Personally, I don't think so. But should he add two to three starters (1B, OF, and a Starting Pitcher) via free agency or trade? Clearly!

Was it time to do that last winter? Probably not. But now he has a core of more proven young players who could be supported and be supportive of some star players. I'll be disappointed if they do not.

"Good hit Ted, tough loss this year." Maybe you'll win next year and we can say "Good Job!".

Posted by: NatBisquit | September 17, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm more upset about the Lerners being dumb than cheap, but any way you cut it, only a complete belly-crawling sycophant would say "good job" this season.

That said, Boz was about as ineffective as a person could be arguing the case. First he complains that the team didn't sign Andruw Jones, he of the sub-.160 BA. Then he give some completely cherry-picked stats saying that the team might be 20m below last season, which would require them to a) non-tender Zimmerman, b) somehow get Guzman to give back his $8 mil, c) non-tender Redding, d) fill all their other holes, including Boone, Harris, and Perez, from within their own minor league system. Then he says that the team should expect to lose money. Hey Boz, this isn't the newspaper industry! Baseball teams expect to be *profitable*. Maybe the Post could make money by selling papers too if you actually provided some informed writing instead of sucking off the teat of Kaplan.

PS--Damn right re: Hanrahan's save last night. He blew those guys away.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Amen on Hanrahan - whether or not he pans out as a closer he will be telling his grandkids about last night forever.

Posted by: NRI in MC | September 17, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Its true the FO has not done much to improve the team through free agency but I see little problem with that at this stage of the game. The prime candidates that people (myself included) advocated in this past offseason were Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones. The solution for the club was Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes. Its true that these players actually reduced the payroll spawning a degree of "learners are cheap!" responses but look at the production


Hunter: .281/.344/.475
Jones: .158/.256/.249

Dukes: .271/.353/.498
Milledge: .267/.334/.409

Yes, out of all of these players Hunter has had the best and the healthiest season. However, he is also much further along in his development then either Milledge or Dukes and is payed more then either of them will receive over the next couple of years. Last year's free agent class was stunningly weak and people begged that we spend money anyways. This year's class has strength but is surprisingly top heavy. I advocate attempting to sign Sheets, Sabathia, Tex, or Dunn (who would actually make a surprisingly good fit on this team). But if we can't get ahold of one of these top tier free agents I say "wait." Trade for more viable young talent. Young players can be hit or miss, but so are big name free agents, and they provide their own brand of excitement.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd much rather watch Milledge grow as a center fielder for the next 5 years then watch Torii Hunter degrade. I'd rather see Dukes hit measuring tape shots then watch Andruw Jones ice his sore knees. I like our young club. Its not perfect... next year we need to see a viable option at first base besides Young and Johnson. We need to see a corner outfielder who can hit consistently. It's time to stop counting on Kearns, DY, NJ, WMP and view any progression that they make as a bonus and not a hope or an expectation. That said, I like where the team has gone and where it is headed.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | September 17, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Bos doesn't want the team to "lose money." He is merely suggesting that to win consistently an owner must spend his money like it has an expiration date. I personally think it was a terrible way to word the phrase. As sad as it has been to watch Nick Johnson and John Patterson wither away to nothing despite all of their talents, the most depressing decline in DC sports has been Thomas Boswell...

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | September 17, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Boz's column was a cold wet blanket on what should have been a "bright, bright, bright, bright sunshiny day" in the NJUniverse. I read through the first page online then skimmed the 2nd before I chalked it up to the same ol' same ol' bellyaching nonsense from someone who has been nothing but a disappointment himself since the team came to DC in 2005. Before baseball came back, Boz was like Nikita Khrushchev at the UN demanding MLB relocate the Expos to DC. He was go to reading for those of us who pined for hometown baseball. Well guess what Boz, you got your wish. MLB relocated the EXPOS to DC. Note - the Expos, not the Red Sox, Angels, Rays, Cubs etc. This was an organization in shambles which is in the process of rebuilding from the ground up. It takes time. Yes, it's unfortunate that it had to be done now thus dooming the team to seasons of poor performance at the exact time they need to be building a strong fanbase. Let's keep in mind that Stan Kasten told the Lerners "they're going to call you cheap bastards" when he sold the plan to them. Sounds familiar. If everyone who follows this team knows what pieces need to be added to this team in the offseason, it's a pretty good bet that the people who actually get paid to run this team know that and more. I'm personally saving my judgment until they either do, or don't do this offseason.

Posted by: MKevin | September 17, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

A little cotton candy for the brain this morning since Boz wants us to eat spinach:

Know what would be fun (albeit totally unrealistic, way overpriced and probably not good for us the long run)?

"Batting cleanup for the Nats .. the left fielder ... Number 99, Manny Ramirez!"

It'll never happen (and probably shouldn't) - but if it did I'd spend the extra $10 or so a game to sit in the LF bleachers.

Posted by: NRI in MC | September 17, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

@VNF: If he wrote what you wrote, maybe there would be a point.

Boz wrote: "Fine businessmen tend to make bad owners. To win, you must try to lose -- money."

It's an idiotic thing to write.

But that wasn't as bad as when he called Aaron Crow "Jason C." or Strasburg "Starburg" or griped what a mistake it was not to sign Andruw Jones.

I didn't read Boz when he was 'good,' but right now he's pathetic. It reminds me of Harry Caray post-stroke. He was a complete dunce but anyone who pointed it out was shouted down as disrespectful.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Love those 1-0 games, seems like they always feature some great defense. The Willie Harris flying leap was incredible. I was sitting on the left field side and from the trajectory I figured if it stayed in the park Willie would snag it. The guy is that good, truly a superman. Hanrahan was overpowering with the fastball -- 11 straight fastballs to Wright, hitting 96-97 MPH for the K. Needs to watch his slider, Beltran crushed the first one he threw, good thing Milledge was still paying deep. Has got to keep them out of the strike zone like the one he got Delgado with. Incredibly, people were leaving after the end of the 8th. As Charley said -- where are they going?? Was completely surruonded by Mets fans so it was really sweet watching Hinckley get the hold and Hanrahan cut down the meat of the lineup for the save as they chanted Let's Go Mets. It's pucker time for the Mets!

Posted by: NatMan | September 17, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I almost wish they *had* signed Jones just to shut up the "spend money! on something! anything!" crowd.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The gamer today really did convey the same nervous excitement that spilled over me while watching the game last night.

Great, great start by Perez, and Hanrahan gets his ninth save. I love the focus on Hinkley - he's looking less like a LOOGY and more like a genuinely solid, all-purpose reliever. Let's hope this is just a preview of what's to come.

So far we've had a no-doubter and a one-run squeaker in this series. Tonight will feature the come-from-behind win, and tomorrow will see the Nats win with a walkoff. They're doing it to Mets fans every way they know how, and I'm absolutely tickled.

11 more wins to go!

Posted by: John in Mpls | September 17, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

""Batting cleanup for the Nats .. the left fielder ... Number 99, Manny Ramirez!"

It'll never happen (and probably shouldn't) - but if it did I'd spend the extra $10 or so a game to sit in the LF bleachers.

Posted by: NRI in MC | September 17, 2008 9:28 AM "

Did you spend the extra $10 or so a game to sit in the bleachers when Manny Ramirez was here with the Dodgers a few weeks ago? If you did, you were one of the few. Attendance at that series was poor, especially considering all the "come see Manny" promotion the Nats did beforehand.

This exposes the flaw in the argument of Boswell and the whole "Lerners are cheap" crowd. They seem to think that bringing in a big name free agent or two will solve all of the Nats' problems, on and off the field. But this is a fallacy. On the field, no-name players have just as much chance as the big name players to turn the team's fortunes around. At this time last year, were Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge even on any fan's radar around here? Now they are big and bright pieces of this team's future. Off the field, if fans can't be bothered to come out to see arguably the biggest name in the game when he's in town for a limited three game viewing opportunity, why should anyone think that they will invest big chunks of money for season tickets to see the likes of him if he was here all season? The truth of the matter is that once the team starts winning, the fans will come out. But there's no big name free agent out there who can GUARANTEE that the team will win. It's just as likely to happen with the approach the front office is taking now, provided they stick to their guns and don't panic just because Tom Boswell is "concerned".

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I always take any story that quotes "unnamed sources" with a grain of salt. Is it Stan Kasten or the peanut vendor that Boz spoke with? Mike Rizzo or the clubhouse attendant? Is it someone who's always had a personal beef with the Lerners?

But when Boz writes crap like this:

"as the club wrings its hands that ownership has not made a single investment in a prime free agent over the last two winters or made an important trade that increased payroll. Is the support there?"

I have to call him out on that. I think the Milledge for Church/Schneider trade *WAS* an important one. Sure the Nats ended up saving money on the deal, but I would argue that saving money wasn't why the deal was made. The Nats got younger, and potentially given them more talent for the long haul.

Posted by: e | September 17, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I do think they need to jump into the FA class this off-season, and not with more LoDuca or Mackowiak signings. I think they need to seriously try for Teixeira. At the very least make a reasonable offer. And while I don't think Sabathia or Sheets would come here, I think Derek Lowe would be an absolutely perfect fit as our #1 starter next year.

Oh to dream for 2009 ...

2B - Hernandez/Boni platoon
CF - Milledge
3B - Zimmerman
1B - Teixeira
RF - Dukes
C - Flores
LF - Kearns/Pena/Harris (take your pick)
SS - Guzman

(or let Guzzie lead off and have the 2B platoon bat 8th. Six of one ...)

SP - Lowe
SP - Lannan
SP - Balester
SP - Redding
SP - Martis/Zimmermann (winner to be determined in ST)

Posted by: e | September 17, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Spent some time going over the last few posts that I missed, and I have to give very belated credit to Bob L. Head, whose Tolman comment was Post of the Day, Week, and probably even Month.

But getting back to the 2B competition, I should say I find it premature. Belliard is still under contract, and the AG may want to throw his name in the hat in March as well.

Posted by: John in Mpls | September 17, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I suppose that when you run an eponymous company and your subordinates are family members, it's easy only to be flattered and eventually to believe it.

But I don't think Ted Lerner could have built a successful company by entirely surrounding himself with sycophants. Whatever he may have told Boswell, I doubt Lerner is naive enough to believe that everyone thinks things are going swimmingly.

The question is, what does he himself really think? What are is own goals and bechmarks for the team for next year and the year after? Lerner does not strike me as the introspective type, and Boswell utterly failed to draw him out.

Like others who have posted today, I once was a great fan of Boz, but he has really declined. First he was in the tank for Bud and MLB in the great stadium debate, and now he is writing stuff that just doesn't make sense. I think the idea of having Barry write a baseball column as a compliment to Chico's gamers is a great one; the Post is squandering a valuable source of knowledge and a great writing talent.

Posted by: Meridian | September 17, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I *did* go see Manny ... but let me be clear: I wasn't advocating signing Manny as an attendance ploy. I just thought it would be fun to have him here. [Hence the "cotton candy" analogy.]

That said, I'm not surprised the team didn't draw well for the Dodgers series ... the team had just come off the losing streak and school was either in session or about to be across the area.

It's all academic anyway; Manny isn't a good fit, likely costs too much, wouldn't come here ... and would almost certainly set us back years on the maturity scale.

Posted by: NRI in MC | September 17, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

If you look at the Nats as being like an expansion team after MLB took over the Expos and let them wither on the vine, I see them like the '67 Mets. They have gone beyond the Marv Throneberry joke phase, and have a nucleus of talented players who are personable, entertaining, and maturing. Their wins vs. the Mets and Dodgers have shown that they are capable of winning against good teams. Do we have future Seavers and Ryans and Koosmans (Koosmen?), I don't know. But we do have the Tommie Agees, Cleon Joneses, and Bud Harrellsons and I think in a couple of years we'll be there. I just hope that we have a radio station left to listen to them on by then.....

Posted by: 419E | September 17, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big Boz fan but also don't get this article at all. It kind of feels like he's trying to play some murky middle ground between sucking up to fans who don't understand things and the owner who he continues to want a good relationship with.

All the hypotheticals are nonsense to me. The club so far is doing exactly what they said they'd do and we can only guess at things until Spring comes around. The questions I'd like to hear answered are:
- "Since all the money is going back into the club, how much more money will you make this year than last? What percentage of that do you plan to put back into major league player salaries versus the minor leagues?"
- "One of the big problems almost every year here is injuries and this year was truly aweful. Why do the Nats seem to be more injury prone and what is ownership doing about it?"

The problem with a guy like Lerner is that he is a classic very wealthy privately-held businessman - there is no transparency to his business world and that of the Nats. It is much harder to figure out what's going on (but not impossible by using proxies of other teams and such). Boz is usually the best at doing his homework for these types of things but it seems like he didn't do any for this or chose not to ask any specific questions that might get something out of our dear friend Ted.

Posted by: Natslifer | September 17, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Ditto that. This crap with Bonneville is shameful.

~~~~~~~

I just hope that we have a radio station left to listen to them on by then.....

Posted by: 419E | September 17, 2008 10:22 AM

Posted by: MKevin | September 17, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"Well then, let me be the first--and I will email this to Lerner and Kasten as well. Ted: You are doing a horrible job. You are a schmuck. You suck.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 8:23 AM "

Will you sign your real name to it, or will you continue to spew your bile under the cowardly cloak of anonymity as you do here?

Posted by: Talk IS Cheap | September 17, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Cowardly cloak of anonymity"? What's *your* name, bud? The reason I don't post my name here is for professional reasons that are unrelated to the content of any of my posts. What is your reason?

Indeed, I did sign my name to my email, as I have in the past. The Lerners and Stan know I am a season ticket holder, and they know where I sit. That hasn't stopped them from inviting me to sit in the President's seats for free as their guest in the past.
____________________
"Well then, let me be the first--and I will email this to Lerner and Kasten as well. Ted: You are doing a horrible job. You are a schmuck. You suck.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 8:23 AM "

Will you sign your real name to it, or will you continue to spew your bile under the cowardly cloak of anonymity as you do here?

Posted by: Talk IS Cheap | September 17, 2008 10:35 AM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Pardon me, I was looking for the meeting of the Tom Boswell fan club ... is this...? Hmmmm. Guess not. Oh, wait, here's a member:

"I'm a big Boz fan but also don't get this article at all."

Boz has been around baseball forever. He has seen skin-flint owners and the way that they can destroy a baseball franchise. I'm not old enough to remember the Griffiths in DC, but I do remember what they did to the franchise in Minnesota, taking a team that could have been great and letting it rot through cheapness (Rod Carew? Eh, who needs him?)

I have no idea how the Lerners are going to turn out in this regard, but it's of primary concern to me as a fan, and I'm happy to have someone around like Boz with the standing to poke the bear for us. A few fans griping in blogs isn't going to get the Lerner's attention. One of the best baseball writers ever poking at them will. So, we have that going for us. Good for Boz. Keep poking the bear.

Posted by: joebleux | September 17, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Who said anything about guaranteeing a winner? How about helping the team start down the road to being a winner? There is a middle ground between the Yankees and the Pirates. Also, how about helping take some of the pressure off of Zimm et al., and providing some of the youngsters with veteran leadership that they can learn from? Hell, even Lenny Harris has remarked that the young hitters would benefit from that.
____________________
But there's no big name free agent out there who can GUARANTEE that the team will win. It's just as likely to happen with the approach the front office is taking now, provided they stick to their guns and don't panic just because Tom Boswell is "concerned".


Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 10:04 AM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

That was definitely a memorable performance by Hanrahan, even if Beltran lashed one that Milledge caught on the warning track. When I saw the lineup that he was going to have to face, I knew it would a classic. I was surprised at how efficiently he dispatched them.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 17, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

In baseball, you can't sign Randy Moss and guarantee a winner (of course, that didn't even work...), all you can do is put as many of the right pieces in place and throw it against the wall 162 times to see if you've survived.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

""Cowardly cloak of anonymity"? What's *your* name, bud? The reason I don't post my name here is for professional reasons that are unrelated to the content of any of my posts. What is your reason?"

The same.

"Indeed, I did sign my name to my email, as I have in the past. The Lerners and Stan know I am a season ticket holder, and they know where I sit. That hasn't stopped them from inviting me to sit in the President's seats for free as their guest in the past."

And while you're there enjoying their hospitality, you tell them this? "You are doing a horrible job. You are a schmuck. You suck. You ARE cheap." Okay. I can only imagine what other admirable qualities you must be bringing to the table to offset this. Unless perhaps you're Don Rickles or Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

Posted by: Talk IS Cheap | September 17, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Two things bugged me about the Boz article. First, My initial reaction upon pulling out the sports section this morning was something like "Finally! The Post puts the Nats on E-1 with a picture and a feature story about a relevant game!" Think about it -- how many times has that happened this season? And we all remember the infamous Saslow episode from last year, when after a similar game, the Post presented the view from the Phillies dugout instead of covering the home team after a big win. Anyway, my second reaction was, did the Post somehow feel the need to compensate for its positive coverage by including a completely random negative column on the first page as well? Why is the failure to sign free agents a "cause for concern" right now? After the season, maybe. If the team fails to do anything at the winter meetings, or by February, sure. But now? I'm not big on conspiracy theories but this kind of thing happens so often that even I wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the paper.

Anyway, the second thing that bugged me about the (non-)story is the same thing that always bugs me about the "cheap" crowd -- many of those folks complain about the failure to spend money but themselves fail to identify how it should have been spent. The game has evolved to the point that teams almost always lock up their good young players. The free agents are free agents for a reason -- they're either past their prime and/or not worth the additional dollars they can command based on past performance, at least not worth it to any team other than one for which they are perceived as one of the last pieces of the puzzle on a contender. Boz essentially says "spend money" and even "try to lose money" without identifying any free agents or explaining where they would fit or how they would help the team. That's garbage.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | September 17, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Who said anything about guaranteeing a winner? How about helping the team start down the road to being a winner? There is a middle ground between the Yankees and the Pirates. Also, how about helping take some of the pressure off of Zimm et al., and providing some of the youngsters with veteran leadership that they can learn from? Hell, even Lenny Harris has remarked that the young hitters would benefit from that."

You don't need to pay top FA dollar for this type of veteran leadership in the clubhouse. A couple more Aaron Boones would provide the same or more such benefit. Your point, then?

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

No, veteran role players are not the answer, and they aren't what Harris was talking about either. Role players don't take pressure off Zimm in the lineup, and they can't help him adapt and deal with being counted on day-to-day and how to make adjustments because they haven't been there themselves. Hey, maybe Boone can "mentor" Zimmerman by telling him: "this is what I used to see Griffey do..." or "this is what I used to see Jeter do..." Veteran role players have their place, but not in this conversation.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"No, veteran role players are not the answer, and they aren't what Harris was talking about either. Role players don't take pressure off Zimm in the lineup, and they can't help him adapt and deal with being counted on day-to-day and how to make adjustments because they haven't been there themselves."

Seems like Dukes and Milledge are doing that for Zimmerman now. No reason to think they won't continue doing so going forward. A healthy Flores in the mix will only improve the situation. How old is that Harris quote you keep falling back on, anyway? Did he make it before or after you advocated that he be fired?

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Just to be clear: this is Neil Patrick Harris we're talking about, right?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Nice one, 506. As to your Groin Pull, I think our views are pretty clear, I don't think it is worth belaboring it any more for now. He thinks the Nats should stand pat and hopefully become a successful version of the Pirates, and I don't think they should put all their eggs in that basket. I expect the LernerStans will follow his approach for the most part. Let's just hope it doesn't lead to Zimmerman (and likely others) walking when they can, as he has now said he will do if things don't start to turn around.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

If you are looking for a Boswell fan, you can find him here. I still think Boswell is an exceptional writer who offers thought provioking commentary. Like others, I wish he wrote on baseball more often. I disagree with those that maintain that his analysis today has flaws. He did not draw conclusions, he did tell the emperor that he had no clothes, and he did advocate for spending money on players. He did not argue for signing Andruw Jones, he did point out that it is that kind of high profile signing that would send a signal to the fan base and all of baseball. I suspect his use of Jones as an example, was meant to be thought provoking.

Lighten up on the Boz. If you want to blast the Post for not covering baseball more fully, then hit the right target.

Posted by: NatBisquit | September 17, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Since we are all mercilessly piling on Boz, let me join in. I’ve read the column three times now, and I am still a bit confused. Is his only real point that the Nats have to spend more money? Does he want to open the books so we can all see where the money is going?

VT Nats Fan’s comparison of Dukes/Milledge to Jones/Hunter is spot on. Unless he miraculously turns things around next year, Andruw Jones is going to down as one of the worst signings of all time (name me three that are worse, please). Is he complaining that he wasn’t our monumental mistake?

Aaron Crow’s agents played a game of extortion with the Nats. The Nats didn’t give in. Look at what is happening between the Pirates and Pedro Alvarez-Boras … the draft system is horribly broken for any franchise drafting remotely near the top of the first round. The draft is not solely a Nats issue.

What’s our record since August 1? I don’t think we are that far away as long as all the super power spenders remain in the AL.

Posted by: Arlington Nats Fan | September 17, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Our record since August 1 is 20-23. Nothing to write home about, especially given that 8/1 is a cherry-picked date coming on the heels of a 9-game losing streak.

I'd like to associate myself with e's comment that Derek Lowe would be a good use of money. Or Jon Garland. Based on what I know now, those two would be my targets, not Tex, who would require a 7-8 year commitment and block Marrero, who may not work out but certainly shouldn't be blocked.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Two things that I would like Boz to explore with Stan Kasten:

1. How much was budgeted for signing the draft picks this year? How was the number reached? Why did signing of our two picks on the last hour hinge on us not signing Crow? Is this consistent with build through the farm system approach?

2. Will we make it our top priority to sign our own developed players once they are due big contracts? Are we going to keep Zimmerman, Lannan, Flores, Balestar and Dukes once they are into the free agency years or are we going to go "cheap market" and let them go the BoSox and Yanks type of teams?

Posted by: Dale | September 17, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

First, let me say that I love Boz' writing. I've been reading him for decades and have thoroughly enjoyed most of what he has written.

He is wonderful at on the field descriptions, player profiles, etc.

He is totally at a loss, when it comes to front office issues and the "business of baseball." Let's remember that it was Boz who predicted that, when the franchises were granted to Miami and Denver, Washington would have a team by the year 2000. His reasoning was that Miami was a lock to be a great franchise city. All of those retirees, watching their old teams, the capital of the Caribbean, etc. and that Denver/Colorado was football country and the franchise would be looking for a new home in less than a decade. How'd that work out?

The piece threw in a comment about the Crow non-signing, with some implication, although it was obvious that he had no real handle on what happened (do any of us?) or a point to make.

He never details what F/As he would have signed, last winter, and why.

It is only now that we can begin to really assess the current team and its needs. Should we sign a F/A 1B? Yes. Should we go after Tiexera? Yes. Can we overpay for him? If a 7+ year contract, yes! Will the progression of the team cease if he takes Yankee Dollars? Of course not.

Posted by: Catcher50 | September 17, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Bob--the reason Boz has no specific ideas is because he hasn't watched a live ballgame since Cal Ripken retired. Mark Teixeira's the only one he's heard of.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Marrero may be ready in three years. If he isn't, then signing Tex now would be worth it. If Marrero is ready, and Tex is still putting up his normal numbers, then the Nats could conceivably trade Tex for needed spots in the ML roster (or pad the minors with prospects). I think it's worth the gamble ...

And Jon Garland would be a good choice as well ...

Posted by: e | September 17, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

An arbitrary day? You mean the day after some major personnel changes?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Let's just hope it doesn't lead to Zimmerman (and likely others) walking when they can, as he has now said he will do if things don't start to turn around."

Did Zimmerman really say that? Here's the Boswell-transcribed quote from this morning's column:

"I love it here. It would be so much fun to win in Washington. And it's close to home" in Virginia Beach, Zimmerman said. "But every player in this game is the same. Most of all, you want to win. If it looks like we're going to lose 90 games every year . . . I'm not going to play here my whole career if we're not going to win."

First of all, it would be nice to know what Boswell left out with those ellipses he put in. A word? A sentence? A paragraph? What Boswell did not transcribe for us could completely reverse the meaning of what Zimmerman said. Second, we don't even have tone of voice to go by. That last sentence, depending on how it's inflected, could just as easily be an affirmation of why Zimmerman thinks the team WILL win, i.e. he's not going to devote his entire career to any other pursuit. We'll never know what Zim meant by what he told Boswell because we're not hearing or even seeing all of it. (Say what you want about Nats320's wordy style, but in his interviews he does at least give us EVERY SINGLE WORD of what was said in order to help us make our judgments.)

When it comes down to it, the difference between me and LAC is that LAC is damning the Lerners in advance for not doing things they haven't even had the chance yet to do or not do, while I'm willing to let them at least do what they think is the right thing before I go telling them that they're doing it all wrong. Even though I'm a season ticket holder myself, I guess I'll never be invited to sit in their luxury seats as their guest. Maybe I should change my handle to Lerners ARE Masochists and then they'll invite me into their inner circle along with their other BFF, Lerners ARE Cheap.

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I haven't weighed in yet and I know you all have been dying to know what I think.

This is probably one of the best "I told you so" columns ever written. Boz has been harping on getting free agents since 2005. This was his "see I was right!", but handled in a way that it looks like no one picked up on that -- which is ideal. If people realize you're writing an "I told you so" column then they rightly judge you to be a prick.

Is Boz right or not? I really wish he had been around a lot more this year, I feel it would have made his contribution to the debate more valuable.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if it gets through this time:

ANF, I came up with 20-23 since August 1 (and 14-10 since August 21 - after the long losing streak ended).

Put me down for the Boz fan club - I've always enjoyed his writing and own a number of books that are compilations of his pieces. That said, I agree that the timing of the column was unfortunate given the victories vs. the Mutts. I don't tend to do the armchair GM thing, but spending just to spend doesn't strike me as the way to go.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 17, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

What we need now is to sign multi year contracts with a player like the 2006 Nick Johnson or the 2007 Dmitri Young. Wait a second.....

Posted by: 419E | September 17, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"What's our record since August 1? "

20-23 (.465)

If we'd played at that pace all year, we'd have the 10th best record in the National League. And that's hand-picking what's probably our best stretch of baseball all year.

I think we're a bit further away than you suspect.

Posted by: joebleux | September 17, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Lerner says everybody is telling him he has done good job. Are you kidding me, they all have to suck up to him! Yeah, good job making money!
Good job: like getting 21,000 into the stadium last night against the Mets? Even the Mets fans don't show up anymore! Why? Inferior product that needs big time improvement at several positions: pitcher(s), 1st, 2nd, right field!
What is needed is big time money infusion into this team.
Boz is right!

Posted by: "Good Job" | September 17, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Now to actually talk about last night's game....

The ninth inning was about as tense of an inning that I have seen in a while. I was scared to death when Hanrahan came in because he has been horrible lateley and, well, in a way this game actually was of considerable importantce. Winning a 1-0 game vs the Mets is putting the dagger in their back AND twisting it. It counts as only one win for us but some wins resonate for a long time. My faith in Hanrahan is now restored, and perhahps he knows now to throw his world class fast ball over and over if you have to and don't get cute with the sliders. To actually hear him say that he would not throw a slider to David Wright was great.

Thank you Manny for not putting Saul Rivera in the eighth inning. Hinkley is the saviour du jour for now, not Rivera. He actually acts like he belongs in the big leagues, and not just for September.

Posted by: Dale | September 17, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Groin pull, if by leaving something out Boswell "completely reversed the meaning of what Zimmerman said," then that would be a significant lapse in journalistic standards and ethics. I agree that Boswell has slipped substantively, but to suggest that he would do that--and that his editor would let him get away with it--is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

joebleux, don't forget since August 1 also includes our worst stretch of baseball all year, a 12-game losing streak.

That's not really hand-picking for success, I would say. August 1 is the significant date because it's the day Lopez, Estrada (officially), and LoDuca all were cut loose, the day after Rauch was traded for Bonifacio.

It's the day the club made a major decision for the next ten years. I don't think that's very arbitrary.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Bob--the reason Boz has no specific ideas is because he hasn't watched a live ballgame since Cal Ripken retired. Mark Teixeira's the only one he's heard of.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Steven, it was dumb the first time. Remember Boz's shoes?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't my joke the first time. Can't I steal it once? ;)

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Groin pull, if by leaving something out Boswell "completely reversed the meaning of what Zimmerman said," then that would be a significant lapse in journalistic standards and ethics. I agree that Boswell has slipped substantively, but to suggest that he would do that--and that his editor would let him get away with it--is, quite frankly, ridiculous."

How does his editor even know what's being left out? I doubt the editor requires a recording or transcript of any interviews that are being excerpted by anyone at the paper, columnist or reporter, in order to assess what wasn't printed. The standard journalistic technique for leaving out just a word or two in a quote is to do a square-bracketed thing with a substitute for the left-out word, so the use of ellipses says to me that a phrase or more has been omitted. My point is not to suggest that this was done nefariously by Boswell, but rather that something was left out, we don't know what it is, and it could well cloud the meaning of what Zimmerman said. Or maybe not. That's the point. WE DON'T KNOW.

What we also don't know is why you feel the need to grasp at any straw you can to strike down anything that might disagree with or disprove the point you're trying to make. You must really hate the Lerners.

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

How about these arbitrary stats:

Since 8/27 (the day Dukes came back from the DL):

Nats are 11-8 (.579)
Milledge is batting .310/.388/.423
Zimmerman is batting .346/.411/.580
Dukes is batting .292/.418/.677

Prior to 8/27, there were only 19 other games when all three of these players were healthy together and none of them were on the DL this season. Oh, and they were 10-9 (.526) in those 19 games.

Posted by: e | September 17, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of last night's game: that play by Guz rescuing Hinckley's high throw to second probably saved the game (if you missed it, Guz leaped into the air, snagged the high throw, and managed to find second base with his foot as he was landing, just ahead of the runner). If he doesn't make that play, it's bases loaded with one out, instead of first and third with two outs.

I think overall Guz is probably average at short, but he's still fun to watch. I especially appreciate the way he turns a double play -- he takes the throw, stays at the bag, makes the throw to first, and then as afterthought, "oh, there's 250 pound runner barreling down on me, maybe I'll get out the way now". As opposed to Felipe "Happy Feet" Lopez, who would dance out of the way and fling the ball to first if it didn't inconvenience him too much.

Posted by: joebleux | September 17, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Groin pull (or should I say RKGF/419+1), talk about grasping at straws! I'm not the one grasping at straws, you are. I read what Boswell reports and quotes Zimmerman to have said, and take it at face value. You, on the other hand, read what Boswell reports Zimmerman to have said and respond "how do we know that's what Zimmerman said or meant? He could have meant exactly the opposite of what Boswell reported!". So again, who's grasping at straws?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

MLB released the 2009 schedule. Looks like the Nats will play in DC on July 4th, so the space-time continuum is back in its proper order in that respect.

The Nats' home opener is April 13 against the Phillies, a week after they start the season away at Florida.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=was&m=4&y=2009

Posted by: Juan-John | September 17, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Groin pull, now I must ask YOU to step away from the tin foil hats. Journalists use the brackets or the ellipses all the time, it's a standard accepted practice. The convention is to take out phrases that contribute nor detract from the meaning of the quote. Much as I criticize Boz for overly negative, I'm not to the point where I'm going to be accusing Boz of conspiring to go against journalistic principles to make a point

Posted by: SF Fan | September 17, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

LiC, weren't many/most of the copy editors let go? Just sayin'...

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 17, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Nice find, Juan-John. Bummer that the Nats are finishing on the road as well. I'd thought that since they were starting on the road, they might finish at home (that way, I get to go to a home game on my birthday once in a while ;-)).

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 17, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Why does MLB scheduling hate the Nats?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Because they've seen them play.

Posted by: 756* | September 17, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the schedule. At least now I know where I'll be 6/23, 24 & 25.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 17, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Much as I criticize Boz for overly negative, I'm not to the point where I'm going to be accusing Boz of conspiring to go against journalistic principles to make a point."

If you'll go back and re-read what has been written, you'll see that *I* have not made any accusations of conspiracy or lack of journalistic ethics on Boswell's part, as LAC so blithely accuses me of doing. I just said that Boswell didn't print all the words that Zimmerman said, which he didn't. The point I'm arguing against is LAC's characterization of Zimmerman's comment to be "Zimmerman...[will walk] when [he] can, as he has now said he will do if things don't start to turn around", which I don't get from Zimmerman's quote either with or without whatever it was that Boswell left out. (And of course LAC wouldn't DARE attack my journalistic ethics for the minor clarifications/deletions I made to HIS quote, now would he?)

And say, LAC, you and others keep using some RKGF/419 acronym I'm not familiar with. Could you spell that out next time so I'll know what the hell you're talking about?

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Head - the voice of reason once again. Your comments are well said. The last thing we need is Bowden in the winter meetings desperately searching for a free agent to sign when there may not be anyone worth their salt out there. We have a nice nucleus growing here. It's not worth screwing up with someone who has been cast off from his old team for being: unproductive, a head-case, a cancer in the club house, etc.

Posted by: Patty | September 17, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

419 = number of alternate monikers used by a certain poster

Posted by: I'll help | September 17, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"Thank you, Mr. Head - the voice of reason once again."

The most unintentionally funny line of the day!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I really don't get this Bosewell hatred thing. He is a good writer who is paid to give his opinion. He gave it. It seems to me most of the anti-Bosewell stuff started after he incorrectly analyzed that Joe GIbbs would likely remain as Coach of the Redskins a day before he quit. He was not the only one making that analysis. WHenever the hatred started, it is silly. He is a columnist. Colimnists give opinions. When people don't agree with the columnist, they call them fools when they agree they call them insightful. Its amazng to me that those here who associate themselves with the Coverage is Lacking crowd and those who associate themselves with the Lerners are Cheap crowd are both upset with the column. He just wrote a colum (coverage) about the need to spend money. Are you so used to complaining that you didn't even notice?

Posted by: Baffled | September 17, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 2:01 PM:

"If you'll go back and re-read what has been written, you'll see that *I* have not made any accusations of conspiracy or lack of journalistic ethics on Boswell's part, as LAC so blithely accuses me of doing. I just said that Boswell didn't print all the words that Zimmerman said, which he didn't."

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 12:51 PM:


"What Boswell did not transcribe for us could completely reverse the meaning of what Zimmerman said. Second, we don't even have tone of voice to go by. That last sentence, depending on how it's inflected, could just as easily be an affirmation of why Zimmerman thinks the team WILL win, i.e. he's not going to devote his entire career to any other pursuit. We'll never know what Zim meant by what he told Boswell because we're not hearing or even seeing all of it."

Posted by: Oh really? | September 17, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"419 = number of alternate monikers used by a certain poster"

Aha! So this whole blog IS just the product of one pimply-faced loser sitting in his mother's basement starting arguments with himself on the Internet.

Posted by: ya know, i always thought so | September 17, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I would welcome a well-argued column about the need to spend more smart money. International signings. Long-term deal for Zimmerman. Crow. But this column is so full of wrong facts and really dumb statements ("you have to try to lose money") that I feel it's counter productive. I feel like Stan Kasten is getting ready for his next interview and he'll say, "I know some people wanted us to sign Andruw Jones and trade prospects for veterans, but we're not going to do that." Boz's column is so poorly argued that it's counterproductive to the cause of convincing the team to spend more.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 17, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Fave quotes from the MLB Mets board:

- and then I watch Willie Harris make amazing catch after amazing catch...

- "I did not see the Mets game last night. What plays stood out that cost the Mets the game." You probably saw the Willie Harris Catch on Sportcenter that would have score 2 Runs

- Willie Harris has made five miracle catches against the Mets, four this year. His first was last August. So five in the last 13 months, that is unbelievable. And absolutely sickening

- What did the Mets ever do to Willie Harris? Four out of this world catches against the Mets this year, FOUR!

- infante butchered what should have been a routine out in to a triple. meanwhile willie harris is playing the best lf in the history of baseball routinely. ...

- (thread title) i really, really, really hate willie harris
(only thread entry to date) We need to sign Willie Harris and say so long to Endy "No Hits" Chavez. ...

Posted by: Willie Harris fake mom | September 17, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@Oh really?: Note the use of the word "could" there, not once but twice. Looking it up and internalizing its meaning I'll leave as an exercise for the reader. Also note that saying that something COULD happen is not saying that it DID happen. Hence my conclusion: We don't know the real meaning of what Zimmerman was (partially) quoted by Boswell as saying. That's all. I fail to see why LAC is making this into such a big deal. I don't agree with his conclusion. Why does he need to annihilate every word I write with a counter-argument? Unless maybe he's trying to cover up for his own lack of a sound conclusion.

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Just read the bit on Hinckley. I hope for his sake that "give thanks" means "do the wild thing."

Posted by: Mr. Happy | September 17, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Just read the bit on Hinckley. I hope for his sake that "give thanks" means "do the wild thing."

Posted by: Mr. Happy | September 17, 2008 2:43 PM"

The words "do the wild thing" should NEVER be used in reference to a pitcher.

Posted by: at least not during the season, anyway | September 17, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"I would welcome a well-argued column about the need to spend more smart money."

Hey, I wrote that column. Years ago. (God, the facelifts I've had since then...) Here it is:

On a warm summers evenin on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin out the window at the darkness
til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, son, Ive made a life out of readin peoples faces,
And knowin what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you dont mind my sayin, I can see youre out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey Ill give you some advice.

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, if youre gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

Now evry gambler knows that the secret to survivin
Is knowin what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
cause evry hands a winner and evry hands a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

So when hed finished speakin, he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count you r money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

Posted by: Kenny Rogers (no, not the pitcher) | September 17, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@Groin Pull:"Hence my conclusion: We don't know the real meaning of what Zimmerman was (partially) quoted by Boswell as saying." This is exactly what I want you to understand. Journalistic ethical requirements say that Bos, if he quotes someone, does NOT change the meaning of the quote if he modifies it. So if Zim said that "I would not walk if the Lerners are cheap." Bos can not say that Zim said "I [will] walk if the Lerners are cheap." I simply don't believe that Bos has thrown his journalism away in a vendetta against the Lerners. You saw the quote. The meaning is clear, Bos' responsibility is to make sure that the quote and the meaning reflect what he heard. I believe he did that.

Posted by: SF Fan | September 17, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"I'd like an explanation as to what the Lerners are thinking. I am a season ticket holder and was told I cannot exchange my unused season tix for Sunday's game because they ran out of their allotment for that days exchange."

After the Nats marked three other games as being unavailable, I rushed and traded in my unused tickets for the Sunday game. Fantastic seats, much better than my normal tickets, which I promptly sold on StubHub for a nice profit.

Posted by: U Snooze U Looze | September 17, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

(the link given in the chat would not load):

http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_media.jsp?player_id=407483

Posted by: Willie highlights | September 17, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, ladies and gents, it's time to play "Songs from the 1970s that can be applied to YOUR 2008 Washington Nationals!"

Next up: "Don't Cry Out Loud," Melissa Manchester, 1979.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | September 17, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Or even another example:

If Zim said "I'm not going to say that I'll walk if the Lerners are cheap." Bos can NOT use the quote "I'll walk if the Lerners are cheap." because that is out of context and the meaning is changed.

Bos isn't like that. Put away the tin foil hat, please.

Posted by: SF Fan | September 17, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Are you suggesting Thomas Boswell should open a chain of chicken and ribs joints?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

@SF Fan: I never have said that Boswell changed the meaning of the Zimmerman quote, although LAC keeps saying I did. I just said that we don't have the entire text of the quote, nor do we have access to the tone of voice, so we can't ever really know for sure exactly what Zimmerman meant by saying what he did. Yet LAC feels perfectly comfortable extrapolating Zimmerman's quote into "I [will] walk if the Lerners are cheap." I don't get that from Zimmerman's quote, which is all I'm saying and all I've ever said. Instead of addressing that, LAC chooses to accuse me of impugning Boswell's journalistic ethics, likely as a smokescreen for his own questionable interpretation of Zimmerman's comment.

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Are you suggesting Thomas Boswell should open a chain of chicken and ribs joints?"

That would be either a brilliant stroke of genius on his part, or a totally racist move. Take your pick.

Posted by: The DC Council | September 17, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Groin pull, now you are distorting what I said. I said that Zimm has now stated that he will walk if things don't start to turn around. That's it. If you think that such an interpretation is "questionable" based on Boz's column, then you are indeed grasping at straws.

And as for your comments, as long as you contend that we "don't know" the "real meaning" of what Zimmerman said, then you are indeed accusing Boswell of changing the meaning of what Zimmerman said, as SF Fan made clear.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it nice that we all have a place to argue with people we don't know over stuff we didn't say?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | September 17, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Bob L - How about Donna Summers's "Bad (Softball) Girls," as updated by Elijah?

Posted by: PTBNL | September 17, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"I Will Survive"

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

All Zimmerman was implying is that it is not fun playing for a team that loses 90 games every year. No player wants to commit to a team stuck in a depressing losing cycle. He gave reasons that he would be staying if thinks the team can turn itself around.

On the other hand the Mets seem stuck in a depressing near miss cycle which seems to elicit a number of comments from the Mets bloggers to "blow this team up" if they fail to make the playoffs again. Their agony is real and excruciating to them and no batter was safe from the slings. Indeed they seem quite jealous of the Nats being able to play without the scalding pressure that they are under.

Posted by: Dale | September 17, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"Groin pull, now you are distorting what I said. I said that Zimm has now stated that he will walk if things don't start to turn around. That's it. If you think that such an interpretation is "questionable" based on Boz's column, then you are indeed grasping at straws."

What I'm saying is that I don't get the same interpretation from that quote as you do. By accusing me of impugning Boswell's ethics, you're just trying to shift the argument away from my interpretation of the quote, rather than countering what I said. That's the grasping at straws I'm talking about.

"And as for your comments, as long as you contend that we "don't know" the "real meaning" of what Zimmerman said, then you are indeed accusing Boswell of changing the meaning of what Zimmerman said, as SF Fan made clear."

Unless you contend that Boswell has perfect insight into the mind of Zimmerman, there's no way that even he would know the true meaning of what Zimmerman said, even with his access to every single word of it. I read what Zimmerman said, or at least what part of it was made available to me, and come to a conclusion as to what it means. You do the same, and come to a different conclusion. Why does that necessarily make me wrong and you right? Apparently you think you need to accuse me of impugning Boswell's ethics just to make doubly sure that I know that I'm wrong and you're right. That's what I call grasping at straws.

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"Tush" by ZZ Top.

Posted by: Not Really Jesus Colome | September 17, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing (and Miss)"

Now Lopez doesn't mind if don't make the team,
He's got a day time job and he's doin' alright.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 17, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't recognize any of them songs, excepting for them songs that is country.

Posted by: austin kearns | September 17, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Groin pull, the reason I say you are grasping at straws is because your interpretation is based on the presence of an ellipsis which, as others have explained, is necessarily a non-issue due to journalistic standards. No one else who has commented on this blog--including those who are diehard planistas--has said they share your bizarre interpretation. No one.

I'm not trying to shift the "argument" from your interpretation of the quote to something else, because your interpretation is entirely premised on the lapse of journalistic standards that we've been discussing--i.e., your claim that Boswell changed the meaning of the quote by using an ellipsis and omitting some words. So I don't "need" to accuse you of impugning Boswell's ethics, and I'm not doing it to distract attention from any "argument." I'm doing it to point out that your interpretation is premised on an ethical lapse by Boswell, which undermines your point.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't it nice that we all have a place to argue with people we don't know over stuff we didn't say?"

I laughed. Ain't the Internet grand?

Posted by: NRI in MC | September 17, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"It Don't Come Easy"

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

A trilogy:

"Don't Let It Bring You Down"

"All Things Must Pass"

"Brand New Day"

(and amen to Bob L. and NRI)

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 17, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Agreed NRI in MC (you should be using your other handle, whatever it was that we agreed on for you!). Bob L. Head gets post of the day two days in a row.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 17, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The 2009 schedule has been released on MlB.com

Posted by: Toolsy McClutch | September 17, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Harris, who is becoming a Mets killer in the field, actually tapes a photo of a homer-depriving ninth-inning catch against Carlos Delgado from last August while playing for the Braves to his locker every time he plays the Mets.

(from the NY Daily News)

Posted by: No wonder I like him so much | September 17, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"My Heart will Go On (after it sinks to the bottom of the frickin' ocean)"

Posted by: SF Fan | September 17, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"I'll never let go!"

::lets go::

Posted by: Kate Winslett | September 17, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"St Stephen [Strasburg]"

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 17, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Why is Boswell so often so negative? Maybe because he spent so much time in August in China instead of at Nats Park.

He missed a lot of exciting baseball.

Last night's game was amazing... I'd go back tonight if I could...darn work.

Posted by: Humble Fan | September 17, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

A few more:

"We've Only Just Begun," The Carpenters, 1970.

"Ball of Confusion," The Temptations, 1970.

"Saturday in the Park," Chicago, 1972 (for this weekend).

"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," BTO, 1974.

And finally,

"In the Navy [Yard]", Village People, 1979.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | September 17, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"Groin pull, the reason I say you are grasping at straws is because your interpretation is based on the presence of an ellipsis which, as others have explained, is necessarily a non-issue due to journalistic standards."

I have stated several times today, unequivocally, that I read the words spoken by Zimmerman and quoted by Boswell and I get a different meaning from them than you do. That is true, ellipses or no. I have also stated several times, unequivocally, that I do not impugn Boswell's journalistic ethics, or accuse him of trying to change the meaning of what Zimmerman said. Yet you persist in this vendetta against me over Boswell's journalistic ethics. That makes ME the crackpot here? Care to explain that?

On second thought, don't bother. I'm out on this one.

Posted by: 506's snark has a groin pull | September 17, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Theme from "Shaft"

Posted by: the Lerners ARE Cheap national anthem | September 17, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

come on over ...

Posted by: [new post] | September 17, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

:hits 419/RKGF/etc. on the way out (again):

Posted by: door | September 17, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"I have stated several times today, unequivocally, that I read the words spoken by Zimmerman and quoted by Boswell and I get a different meaning from them than you do. That is true, ellipses or no."

Oh right, I forgot your argument that we also don't know what *words* Zimmerman *emphasized*. So it is equally plausible that his statement to Boswell was in fact a full vote of confidence in the Lerners and an unequivocal commitment to play his entire career in DC, because he wouldn't continue to play here if the Nats were going to lose 90 games every year, and yet he is now committing to play his entire career here.

Dude, the issue isn't that you have a different interpretation than *me*. The issue is that you have a different interpretation than everyone else. Your interpretation is not plausible. If you say that in your opinion the sky is yellow, that doesn't make it plausible just because you say so.

"On second thought, don't bother. I'm out on this one."

Good to see that you are finally cutting your losses. You should have stopped several posts ago.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | September 17, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered what the Nationals are putting into their farm system before labelling the Lerners "Cheap?"

Having read a biography of Branch Rickey, his formula was the same in St.L., Brooklyn and Pittsburgh. He was tight with the players (possible in the days before free agency) but spent freely on the farm system.

Last year, the Nats farm system was near the bottom. Now its ranked around #10 - incredible progress - partially due to the expansive growth in Latin American countries, which is expensive, but gives us an edge in the area the best players come from these days.

Incidentally, this is roughly the model that the Pats used in football (contrast to the ignore the draft, buy free agent approach of the Redskins).

This is a good article on what can be done re the Nats:

http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2461:does-dc-really-want-the-nationals&catid=26:editorials&Itemid=39

Posted by: BaseballinDC | September 18, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I really don't care what Boswell says in his articles, I just wish he would write about the team more often. If he doesn't talk about them, then who will. Although, when he got around to the $195 million gross per year, it did kind of tickle me funny bone. Talk about laying someone's a** out about being tight.

Posted by: Brue | September 19, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

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