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Root root root for... wait a minute

There's not much meat on the bones of this blog entry, because I've gotta scramble to the airport here in Miami. But real quick, I wanted to provide two links (gamer... notes) and one sentiment:

That is, I'm starting to notice how many fans apparently want the Nats to lose. The user comments from the last few days reflect this desire with near unanimity. Gotta say, I'm a little surprised. I knew this notion was out here -- the otherworldly talents of one Stephen Strasburg have been known to make heads dizzy -- but I just didn't know it was so widespread.

So today, we've got an unofficial poll going to test this matter on a more precise level. In the last two weeks of the season, are you rooting for or against the Nationals? Finishing with baseball's worst record, obviously, secures them the No. 1 pick in the June 2009 draft. Finishing strong helps them avoid, well, further day-to-day agony. Perhaps it also triggers some goodwill for next year.

Anyway, here are the standings right now for the poorest record in baseball:

Washington (56-93) -
San Diego (57-93) - 0.5 GB
Seattle (57-91) - 1.5 GB

By Chico Harlan  |  September 15, 2008; 6:51 AM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineups

Comments

vote early and often....

Posted by: 422 | September 15, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

The games back approach looks very similar to the Nationals Farm Authority website vigorous discussion. Do you think it is appropriate to cite them in your article, as you belatedly did for a previous article?

Posted by: Scott | September 15, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Appreciate the comment but I didn't invent the wheel there ;)

I am rooting for the Nats to win but I also hope the Padres and Mariners watch them win for win from this point on.

Posted by: Brian | September 15, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Just so it's clear, the other Scott isn't me :-)

But seriously, I wouldn't mind the team not having 100 losses, but in the end, what's the difference? Bring on the #1 pick.

Posted by: Scott the Yudite | September 15, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

OMG and I both weighed in on this on our blogs last week, both with the strong vote to root for wins.

Harper made the point that even #1s aren't sure things, while I focused more on the integrity of the game.

Add to that the point that if god forbid Manny allowed himself to be seen by the players as ambivalent that it could cost him their respect for good.

Gotta root for wins, every time. I've had fun trying to find a Strasburg silver lining in the losses, but that's not the same as rooting for losses.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 15, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

C'mon people. Be FANS. Root for the team to win TODAY, not for a draft pick next year.

Posted by: NatsFanatic | September 15, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Chico: "Down it all came at once -- pick your metaphor: an avalanche, a meltdown, a collapse; anything that stops at the bottom will do --"

PTBNL: You mean like my Worldcom shares? Qwest? I could go on . . .

Posted by: PTBNL | September 15, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

BTW--the #1 silver lining to the poor finish is not Strasburg. It's that we don't have to read about how the team played .500 ball from some cherry-picked point in the season and that therefore this was all just bad luck.

Less ammunition for the Bowden apologists isn't a bad thing.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 15, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I just don't think the #1 pick is anywhere near as important in baseball as it is in the NBA, NFL, or even the NHL. Strasburg is the best college pitcher since . . . Prior? We will get quality prospect in the top 3 picks. Sign him, sign #10, and we are ahead of the game.

What I do not want to see is any more 7 run rallies against us. I don't think we'll have a 5 run lead going into the 8th the rest of this year, so I'll not say I don't want to see us blow a 5 run lead going into the 8th. Too easy to get my wish. That's like wasting your birthday wish on "I hope there is a hot, muggy days sometime next August."

What do suppose scalpers can get for next weekend's series with San Diego?

Posted by: PTBNL | September 15, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Cheer against my team? What?


Seriously, I'm with SOCH here ... integrity.

Posted by: i hate walks | September 15, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Really, did you all not expect some ridiculous, "the universe is just NOT fair" losses to the Marlins? I assumed we'd be swept. Those of you who were not superstitious about this are really missing out on a baseball tradition.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I HATE when the Nats lose but realize in the long run, the first pick will bring more victories so I hope they don't win.

This season has been excruciating. Can't wait for it to be over. The way things are going, we'll sweep the Pads and come in second in the Strasburg race.

Regarding Prior, all pitchers are subject to blowing out their arms. If that bothers you, don't have any pitchers on your team. I guess that is a problem, though. Prior is a former 18 game winner. Would like to have one in DC in my lifetime. Would prefer to draft one and pay him tens of millions to prove himself, rather than hundreds of millions like a Zito or, this year, Sabathia and Sheets and risk a blown arm.

If they lose 98 or 108 this year, it doesn't matter. SOCH has a good point, too, regarding cherry picking. Would like to see them follow the Snakes path, lose 105, win 70 something, win 70 something, then make the playoffs the 3rd year after the debacle. There are no quick fixes here!

Posted by: Ira | September 15, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't really want to root for them to lose, but I wouldn't mind it if all three teams got hot, played well and the Nats still get the pick. I'm not so much worried as to how the end of the season will effect the start of next season. The off season and spring in Viera will quickly erase the memory of 08. Plus, it will give Teddy time to get in the gym and try to shape up for the 09 racing season. I hear Usain Bolt is going to be his personal trainer.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 15, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

If I have to spend years living with "the plan", don't the Nats too? It seems to me that finishing last, and getting Strasburg would fit in perfectly with "the plan". These losses... 8-10, 10-13, and 7-8 are actually perfect. Gives some of our hitters something to be happy about on a personal-stat level, but still gives us the loss.

Posted by: Eric | September 15, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Gotta beat the Mets and Phillies and get win #63.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Still rooting for the Nats to win, but the losses are less painful when there's an upside. Also, when you've been following the team with the worst record in baseball the entire year, it's hard to continue to work up a sense of outrage about each additional loss, especially near the end of a long, long season.

Posted by: joebleux | September 15, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I truly hope the team wins but this team is so flawed in every aspect of the game that they will lose more often than win. They will win the odd game but the team expects to lose. They do not expect to win. Acta has accepted this losing philosophy and has given up trying to motivate his team. He merely sits in the dugout until the 6th inning and then brings in the relief pitchers, most of whom can not throw a strike. If I was managing I would pull any relief pitcher that walks someone. This guy Manning should be cut . He can not throw a strike. The same with Rivera.


If one reads the quotes from the players and Acta, it appears the team is going through the motions. They really don't care. As fans I ask myself why we should care. Maybe Harlan should take a poll to see if the fans think the team has quit.

Posted by: mjames | September 15, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Rooting for the #1 pick next year means giving up on making Mets fans miserable this year. That's a sacrifice I am simply not willing to make.

Posted by: D.N. | September 15, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh my G*d, I also root for them to win, totally.

Posted by: OMG | September 15, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

In response to the comment that Baseball #1s aren't important, Here's a list of #1 overall draft picks through the years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_first_overall_draft_choices

There's some seriously good names on there, especially as of late as draft picks and scouting has become more and more important in light of Moneyball and GMs realizing the value of developing talent. Ignoring the obvious successful picks from the past (Arod, Strawberry, Griffey Jr, Chipper Jones), lets look at the #1 picks just from the 2000s:

2000: Adrian Gonzalez: 30hrs, 100rbis and .850+ OPS the last three seasons
2001: Joe Mauer: A catcher who hits for average (a batting title 2 yrs ago) and has speed.
2002: Bryan Bullington: a middling starter about to be 6yr FA'd by Pittsburgh
2003: Delmon Young: Dimitri's brouther; decent hitting starting OF for a playoff team in Minnesota
2004: Matt Bush: a HS shortstop struggling in A ball for San Diego but he's only 21 this year.
2005: Justin Upton: a 20-yr old rightfielder with 12hrs and .256 average for Arizona this year.
2006: Luke Hochevar a member of KC's rotation as a 24-yr old this year. 6-12, 5.51era, 1.473whip in first year in MLB.
2007: David Price, a 22-yr old phenom who went 12-1 in the minors and just got called up to Tampa Bay and who undoubtedly will be part of their rotation next year.

So, in the past 7 years you've got 5 guys who would immediately start for us (arguably 3 guys who any team in the league would covet), one total miss in Bullington and one guy who's struggling but who is still just 21.

I'd say you'd rather have the #1 pick than not.

Posted by: Sec131 | September 15, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

mjames:

I wonder where you are getting your facts about Manny no longer trying to motivate this team?

Posted by: Ben | September 15, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure the Nats will handle losing themselves without me having to root for it. Does that fit into a category?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"it's hard to continue to work up a sense of outrage about each additional loss"

Oh, if only that were universally true!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Root root root for the home team, as I pledge to do in the 7th inning of every Nats game. Making Mets and/or Phillies fans miserable is also a worthy endeavor, IMO. :D

Even if we did get the pick, isn't Boras Strasburg's "advisor"? If so, signability could be a concern, no?

Finally, I haven't gotten the impression that Acta and the players do not care but rather that are committed to playing hard to the end. The Marlins have had our number all year.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 15, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

To those who really want the Nats to lose, might I suggest dropping your alliance with the Nationals and instead becoming Baltimore or Pittsburgh fans.

Those teams love to lose on a whim and with no reward.

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

Winning the consolation prize means it does not hurt to lose as much. Finishing .5 game out of first place for Strassberg would just not be a fitting end to this season. I am definitely rooting for the Nats against the Phils and Mets but against all the others I will save my psychic energy (which just got annihilated by yesterday's relief pitchers).

Posted by: Dale | September 15, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Um, examples? I have seen no such quotes. I also don't read everything in the world, so I may have missed those.
I find myself agrreing with natsfan1a's comment:
"I haven't gotten the impression that Acta and the players do not care but rather that are committed to playing hard to the end"
++++++++++++++++++++++++
If one reads the quotes from the players and Acta, it appears the team is going through the motions. They really don't care.
Posted by: mjames | September 15, 2008 9:46 AM

Posted by: Section 138 | September 15, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Even if Boras represents Strasbourg, assuming he's the #1 pick next year, I wouldn't think it would be a problem. The reason? Boras seems to want to be the high signer each year and advises his clients to wait til the 8/15 deadline so as to let the market settle. If he's got the #1 pick, he MAKES the market.

The Nats would have to know going in they're going to spend 6-7M at a minimum on the #1 pick (in all likelihood they're getting a front-of-the-rotation stud). Bowden likes to get guys in early and get them playing.

The largest bonuses for baseball picks prior to this year went to Justin Upton ($6.1M in 2005) and David Price ($5.6M in 2007) though Prior and Teixiera both got larger guaranteed deals out of college. Posey, Alvarez and Hosmer all got $6M+ deals this year, so you'd have to think Strasbourg might be asking for a bonus in the 6.5-7 range, a mlb contract and perhaps more guaranteed money.

Risky yes. Worth the gamble for a team with a rotation that (in the NL) currently has ranks of 14/16 for team ERA, 13/16 in team WHIP, 16/16 in wins, 12/16 in batting average against and 14/16 in quality starts? Absolutely.

Posted by: Sec131 | September 15, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Yep, up is down, black is white, and wins are really losses to me. I don't see how the team benefits long-term from 2 or 3 extra wins in an already-meaningless season if it means they miss out on someone who baseball people seem to think is a can't-miss prospect.

Also, thanks for facilitating my laziness with the race-to-the-bottom standings. I've had to do those in my head for the last couple of weeks . . .

Posted by: Bucky Katt | September 15, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I want the Nationals to win. I want them to want to win, I want them to value winning, and I want them to do everything in their power to attempt to secure victory.

What's nuttier is I'm still hoping for fourth place. It's still mathematically possible.

I don't want to see 100 losses. I want to see the same look on the faces of Mets fans on September 28th as I did on September 30th last year. I won't care about Stephen Strasburg until he's either pitching for or against the Nationals.

I want Lannan to get his tenth win of the year. I want Guzman to hit his tenth homer. I want Hanrahan to get his tenth save.

I want the Nationals to win. I didn't pay $160 for Extra Innings to watch the Nationals lose.

69-93, here we come!

Posted by: John in Mpls | September 15, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Lose every game. After what I've paid money to watch this summer (not to mention what the Senators put me through + 34 years without)I deserve the first pick. After all isn't that part of THE PLAN. Damn the fan. Damn the major league season. Horde all draft picks and develop talent, especially pitchers.Just because Strassberg is from San Diego and would probably prefer to play there and wont sign with us means nothing.I'm sure we won't consider that before we draft him if given the chance. We screwed up by sweeping Seattle in June. Our fate is partially in our own hands. Lose 3 to San Diego next weekend. If we can't sign the first pick maybe Bowden will get fired. Or may be he'll trade it for the rights to Dave Kingman and Steve Dalkowski. But I'm not bitter

Posted by: Alan Alper | September 15, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

JiM, you're my hero.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 15, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sec 131: But you prove the point about not getting too hyped up about #1 as a ticket for success for the franchise. Adrian Gonzalez only succeeded when he went to his 3d team. Minnesota was roasted as cheap for taking Mauer instead of Prior. Brian Bullington? Say no more.

Delmon Young? How much better is he than Lastings, who went 12th the same year(seriously - Delmon - .285 /.330 / .398, 9 HR, 14 SB; Lastings - .262 / .330 / .404, 14 HR, 22 SB. Defense? The Twins can't even try Delmon in CF.)

Matt Bush - universally regarded as a bust. Justin Upton - very good, but that draft produced a huge number of major leaguers all the way through. I believe at least two Ryans at 4 & 5 and one Tulo at 7 who seem to be pretty good, as well as 5 1st rounders and supplementals that played for EE#4. Hard to say Upton is the best of that draft. Hochevar - jury is out. I'd rather have Masterson. Price - Great pick and signing, looks like an ace for a long time. That is one (two if you count Mauer) on that list who panned out for the team that drafted him better than many others in their draft year.

Don't get me wrong - Strasburg is regarded as clearly the best available guy in the draft, and I don't see anyone saying it is a close call. But if your criterion is getting someone who would upgrade our roster fairly quickly, then there is probably more than one player in the draft who would do so.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 15, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

My point was that several recent #1 picks, despite probably needing several years to pan out, have already shown themselves to be valuable major leaguers. You can't ever expect any draft pick to be a lock/guarantee to be great, but the higher the pick the better a chance you have of getting a valuable player.

Go back in the late 90s and you see other productive MLs like Burrell, Josh Hamilton, Erstat etc.

You go back to 1988 and you include three hall of famers in ARod, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey Jr.


Posted by: Sec131 | September 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I think the real question that we should look at isn't whether Number 1 picks end up as good players or not, but whether more Number 1 picks end up as good players than Number 2 picks, or even Number 3 picks.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

1990
1. Chipper Jones SS ATL
2. Tony Clark OF DET
3. Mike Lieberthal C PHI

1991
1. Brien Taylor P NYY
2. Mike Kelly OF ATL
3. David McCarty 1B MIN

1992
1. Phil Nevin 3B HOU
2. Paul Shuey P CLE
3. B.J. Wallace P MTL


1993
1. Alex Rodriguez SS SEA
2. Darren Dreifort P LA
3. Brian Anderson P CAL

1994
1. Paul Wilson P NYM
2. Ben Grieve OF OAK
3. Dustin Hermanson P SD

1995
1. Darin Erstad OF CAL
2. Ben Davis C SD
3. Jose Cruz OF SEA

1996
1. Kris Benson P PIT
2. Travis Lee 1B MIN
3. Braden Looper P STL

1997
1. Matt Anderson P DET
2. J.D. Drew OF PHI
3. Troy Glaus 3B ANA

1998
1. Pat Burrell 1B PHI
2. Mark Mulder P OAK
3. Corey Patterson OF CHC

1999
1. Josh Hamilton OF TB
2. Josh Beckett P FLA
3. Eric Munson C-1B DET

2000
1. Adrian Gonzalez 1B FLA
2. Adam Johnson P MIN
3. Luis Montanez IF CHC 18

2001
1. Joe Mauer C MIN
2. Mark Prior P CHC
3. Dewon Brazelton P TB

2002
1. Bryan Bullington P PIT
2. B.J. Upton SS TB
3. Chris Gruler P CIN

2003
1. Delmon Young OF TB
2. Rickie Weeks 2B MIL
3. Kyle Sleeth P DET

2004
1. Matt Bush SS SD
2. Justin Verlander P DET
3. Philip Humber P NYM

2005
1. Justin Upton ss ARI
2. Alex Gordon 3B KC
3. Jeff Clement c SEA

2006
1. Luke Hochevar P KC
2. Greg Reynolds P COL
3. Evan Longoria 3B TB

Posted by: First Three Picks (1990-2006) | September 15, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"Finishing strong helps them avoid, well, further day-to-day agony. Perhaps it also triggers some goodwill for next year."

Right, because that worked SO well last year.

Posted by: Matt | September 15, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

So in the 16 years that Anon sent us (thanks so much!), I count the following serviceable major leaguers per pick number. I don't feel like I have a confident metric of deciding who ends up being a star. Maybe someone who is two standard deviations above the league mean for his position, but then which stat do we use? Is this a case for VORP?

Anyhow

First Picks: 9
Second Picks: 9
Third Picks: 7

That's just based on my count, which was done quickly. It's open for debate.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

In response to a previous query, no throwback jersey but a story about a guy throwing one heck of a game in a Cobras jersey. I'd guess that this is another of Acta's fond memories of 1999.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 15, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I am rooting for wins and, believe it or not, I'll be sorry to see the season end because it will mean I have to wait until next April to go to the stadium again and watch baseball. I would also suggest that 1) trading for or signing as a free agent a slugging first baseman (not, under any circumstances, Adam Dunn) and 2) finding a way to keep Zimmerman, Dukes, Milledge, Guzman, Flores, Harris, Kearns, and Bonficaio healthy next year will have a lot more impact on near term success that whoever get drafted and signed as the Nats first pick.

Posted by: happytobeafan | September 15, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

And the url for the story (duh):

http://tinyurl.com/5aftmx

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 15, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm with happy etc. - always sad to see any baseball season end.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 15, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

506, your guess is good enough for me.

That said, this is still the wrong sample, because picked 1-3 overall doesn't mean the 1-3 best choices were made.

Teams drafting first-third, by definition, need help at the top right now, so they might not take the best player in that draft if they see someone very good who looks ready to help the big club. Not saying it's a good strategy, but it happens. Sometimes teams just mess up, and overvalue a player, or overlook glaring flaws because of some bias, and wind up with flameouts. Some organizations are more risk-averse than others.

Point is, it's not an even field. What's clear is, most years, there are more than three really, really good players available. And if you can't do that reliably, it doesn't matter much where you draft, you're always going to be drafting 1-2-3.

Posted by: ce | September 15, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

if you can't IDENTIFY THEM

Posted by: or if you can't proofread | September 15, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

If you're interested in measuring the difference between the historical value of #1s v. 2s, Baseball Prospectus went on ad nauseum on this a few years ago. I found it so interesting I made it a permanent link on my blog, but the link is here:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4026

Bottom line, there's no argument. #1s are worth substantially more.

Still, self-respect and the long-term health of the team demands that we root to win.

I'm personally surprised and disappointed that this poll is even close. I don't blame anyone for trying to find the bright side of a terrible situation, but to proactively wish ill on your team? This I do not understand.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 15, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

And no rational fan ever roots against their team. The baseball gods are very particular about that--try to lose, and you might get two or three years of it, just to teach you a lesson. (Whaddaya mean, rooting for the team to lose has no effect on the outcome of the games?)
---
Besides, fans here, at least the post-Senators fans, haven't really learned the Zen of losing (yet). Innings like that one last night will help, but it's a long study, where rapid progress is not possible.

Posted by: CE | September 15, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I always root for the Nats to win. I always hope that the players, especially the core of Zimmerman, Flores, Dukes, Milledge (plus Bonifacio & Guzman), Lannan and Balester do well.

That said when keeping track of the standings I only look at the Trajic Number List.

I echo what Brian at NFA says, don't worry about the Nats losing, the losses will come, just root for SD & SEA to win. The upcoming SD series will test that of course.

I only wish that Bowden/Kasten/Lerner had put together THIS team in April instead of teasing us with useless spare parts like LoDuca and Perez. THIS team would have been far more interesting to watch, and I hope the 2009 team will be as well.

THIS team is capable of going toe-to-toe with the Mets/Phillies/Cubs/Etc, AND of being rolled over by the likes of the PITT/SD/HOU/etc, with a young team the inexperience is going to lead to some terrible losses, but the talent and promise of the youngsters (as well as their energy and excitement) will make for some entertaining baseball.

I'd much rather watch the growing pains of kids learn and mature than watch some 30 somethings slowly fade away into obscurity...

Posted by: estuartj | September 15, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

SoCH has a blog? Why hasn't he told anyone of this before?

Posted by: Curious Reader | September 15, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I once saw the White Sox lose to the Twins in extra innings by blowing a four-run lead. The TV announcer almost quit on the spot.

Posted by: ce | September 15, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ahahahhahaha, Curious. 10 points!

"I only wish that Bowden/Kasten/Lerner had put together THIS team in April instead of teasing us with useless spare parts like LoDuca and Perez."

I feel this way, too, though I like Perez. I would pick Estrada as my second flub example. What I think is particularly poignant about this point is that many on this blog have been advocating for more useless spare parts for next year, too.

Brings to mind the Official Hot Stove Motto: go big or not at all.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I voted for the losses, because the draft pick is SO big this season, somehow Lerners will come up short and we wont sign him so than i cheered for nothing in the end.

just like a dog chasing it's tail

Posted by: junkbucket | September 15, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

This was the worst inning I've seen this year. Bergmann against the worst hitting team in MLB.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=280606120

Posted by: 756* | September 15, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

When I'm at the game and the Nats and playing good baseball, I want them to win. But when they're swinging at first pitches and making costly errors, I want them to lose and I want it to be ugly. Because maybe if they are humiliated, then something will sink in (because everyone knows Manny ain't gonna say squat)!

Posted by: 756* | September 15, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I vote for wins, cuz I don't see the Lerners signing Strasburg, Mr. "I am Scott Boras' Minion!"

We're either going to pay for it the next 10 years if we win the Strasburg sweeps, or the Lerners are going to get mocked all over baseball for picking #1 because of signability.

Posted by: SF Fan | September 15, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

506-

How about in stead of go big, we say Go Young or don't go at all!

List of players I rate as "Spare Parts";
LoDuca
O. Perez
Estrada
Mackowiak
Boone

"Kick the Tires" players;
Willy Mo Pena
Bonifacio
Bergmann
Hill (tire fell off)

"Put 'em out of the track and see how they run" players;
Flores
Dukes
Milledge
Bonifacio
Zimmerman
Lannan
Balester

"I know its broke, but we don't have a choice";
Kearns
Young
Johnson
Guzman
Redding

I won't even mention the bullpen since they are an AMC Pacer all to themselves...

Posted by: estuartj | September 15, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Curious Reader:

Yes in fact, I do. Thanks for asking. http://FireJimBowden.blogspot.com.

I cover all things Nationals with a healthy dose of statheadism, do a detailed game preview of all 162, and of course we keep a particularly close eye on Ol' Leatherpants.

Come by anytime.

;)

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 15, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll buy into that breakup, estuartj. What's more, I won't even argue with your assignments. See, I can be agreeable.

And before anyone gets to antsy, however pleased we are about Redding and Guzman now, we can't say we played them at the beginning of the year because we expected them to finish this way.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I root for the Nats to win. Even though I still have a strong allegiance to the Mets (a lifetime of rooting for them doesn't just go away), I find myself rooting for the Nats when they play the Mets -- not just when they play the Phils. I root for the Nats in individual games, but in the long run I'm rooting for them to get Strasburg. I smile big when I see that San Diego and/or Seattle has won a game...

That said, the Lerners better not mess up the negotiations. Strasburg will cost more to sign than any prior draft pick. At that, he may prove to be a bargain, if and when he reaches the big leagues -- compared with a veteran of comparable ability, if there any veterans with comparable ability.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 15, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I want the Nats to win, but I want Seattle and SD to win more! The talent evaluators talk about Strasburg like they did about ARod and Chipper. Matt Bush was a surprise to everyone. However, the Lerners better save their pennies byecause I predict no less than $8M to sign Strasburg and it might be more. However, consider this write up on Baseball America:

At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Strasburg is the complete pro-style power package on the mound. His fastball ranged from 94-99 mph this summer and typically sat between 95-97. Strasburg also throws a hard breaking ball that is anywhere from 78-84 mph, as he has the ability to add and subtract velocity from it effectively. The pitch breaks on two-planes and is a legitimate swing-and-miss offering. Strasburg also throws a changeup but rarely needs to use it at the collegiate level.

It easily makes him our best pitcher - now. That is worth it to me.

Go Nats! The SD series will be interesting to watch.

Posted by: NatsWin! | September 15, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

They are going to win or lose on their own no matter what I want. As with any sport the only fans that appear to influence the game are the ones at the actual game. For me I want them to win every game but it also made it a lot easier to accept the meltdown yesterday.
I also think that any supposed fan who would go to the trouble to put up a web site to have anyone fired needs to get a life.

Posted by: Doug B | September 15, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Aw, man, we didn't have anything to do with this one:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/15/AR2008091501707.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Am I the only one that thinks the Brewers ownership are idiots?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"It easily makes him our best pitcher - now. That is worth it to me."

I would love to see Strasburg in a Nats jersey as well, but since he has not pitched to the likes of a power laden major league lineup like the Mets, Phillies or Marlins yet I would wager that he will not dominate them like he has college hitters. We will just have to see how it all plays out before crowning him our staff messiah.

Posted by: Dale | September 15, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Brewers fire Yost?

Man, the stink of desperation hangs over that park like a raincloud.

Posted by: John in Mpls | September 15, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

While my moniker may make it seem like I want the team to lose, my heart says no, I want the Nationals to win.
I do, however, think that the idea that we are getting closer to the 1st pick softens the blow of a bad loss. Thinking like that means that even when we lose, we win.

Posted by: Strasburg Express | September 15, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I wd never want the Nats to lose. I wd like the Mariners & Padres to win along with us to help us get Strasburg but that won't work when we play SD, will it? But as folks have said, for general integrity we gotta root to win, and I think it will also be a lot better for all the guys heading into the off season. I wdn't wish a bunch of losses at the end of the season on anyone. Well, maybe on Chase Utley.

Maybe the bullpen guys all had a virus yesterday. I wish.

Posted by: Section 109 | September 15, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Fun point - counterpoint today with 131 and 506. I'd love Strasburg but can't root to fail. All I've heard is he is a class by himself. That distinguishes him from 2005 and some other years where you almost could not go wrong (2001 the 4th and 5th I think were Gavin Floyd and Mark Teixeira). Strasburg to the rest of the class is kind of like the reply to Queen Victoria when America won the 100 Guineas Cup - "There is no second, your Majesty."

If we don't end up with the worst record, though, it should not become an excuse to vent. We should get a good player regardless. I'd like to see a position player if we can't get Strasburg due to projectability.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 15, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thinks that Strasburg can't help but become a disappointment? He's being built up as the Jesus of Baseball.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 15, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

At the games I attend before the end of the season I'll cheer for the Nats and by all outward appearances look like I want them to win. But inside, I'll smile if they lose because after all we've been through the Strasburg sweepstakes is the only thing left worth winning this season. And I agree with SoCH that I will throw up if I hear any Bowden apologist cite a .500 record from some cherry-picked date as evidence that the team really wasn't that bad, and if only we hadn't had so many injuries, blah, blah, blah....

Posted by: Section 222 | September 15, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

506 - but I thought we already had the Jesus of baseball, at least until Chase "666" Utley got him.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 15, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Do the Nats have the highest B selection in next years draft?

So does that mean we will have the tenth overall pick?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

What am I chopped liver?

Posted by: NR used to be every day Colome | September 15, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

What am I, chopped liver?

Posted by: NR used to be every day Colome | September 15, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

What am I, chopped liver?

Posted by: NR used to be every day Colome | September 15, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

What am I, chopped liver?

Posted by: NR used to be every day Colome | September 15, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, I am quicker with the clicker than with my delivery to the plate...

Posted by: NR Colome | September 15, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to say that I enjoyed reading the Jamey Carroll piece in MLB Sunday (as well as the P-Nats shoutout).

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 15, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

i want the nationals to win every time but the chance of getting the first pick does make the loss easier to take- its a version of hope i guess. but they could lose forever and i will remain a fan

Posted by: cos | September 15, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

So which of my pitchers (in the Nationals organization) started 16 games and went 13-2 this year? 121 Ks and 33 BBs in 90 IP, with an ERA of 1.02.
Strasburg, indeed!

Posted by: Jim B | September 15, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable to let Yost go, but the really interesting part of that notebook, for this blog, was further down:


ยท POSADA ON JOBA: C Jorge Posada wants Joba Chamberlain kept in the bullpen and predicts more injuries for the young pitcher if the Yankees put him their starting rotation.

"I think if you start him and he pitches 200 innings in one year, you're going to lose him. He's going to get hurt. I don't see him as a starter," Posada said during a session of "CenterStage," scheduled to air on the team's YES Network starting Sept. 28.
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Chamberlain was sidelined from Aug. 4 to Sept. 2 because of rotator cuff tendinitis.

Posted by: CE | September 15, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Okay, true confessions time: how many Mets fans voted in the poll? :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 16, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Only somone who knows absolutely nothing about the draft would root for his/her team to lose.

The exact pick in the draft isn't terribly meaningful, unlike in football, because the odds on any one player are long.

Also, the higher you pick in terms of how the player's rated, the more you need to pay him, so if it doesn't pan out you waste $$$, which is why some teams with high drafts pick someone less regarded.

Next, baseball isn't just about the season. It's about trying your best to win each game. Anything less cheats the fans who paid to watch.

Anyone "rooting" for the Nats to lose certainly does not deserve to be called a fan of the team.

Posted by: BaseballinDC | September 16, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

As a former Senators fan (1969) and a current Nats fan, I want them to win. How can you ROOT for them to lose? How can you be happy that they're losing. It goes against a fan's nature. Fan is short for Fanatic after all!

Its Root, Root, Root, FOR THE HOME TEAM,
If they DON'T WIN, ITS A SHAME!!!

Its shameful to root against your team! Can a song that's been around for 100 years be wrong?

Go NATS!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | September 16, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

They need to win every game against the Mets and every game that John Lannan pitches. Other than that, lose 'em all.

Posted by: Mary | September 16, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

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