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Second Chances

Like few others in his industry, Jim Bowden craved a good comeback story. Perhaps no general manager had a keener sense for comebacks, and certainly no general manager had a greater desire to facilitate them. Throughout his 16-year history running ballclubs, Bowden -- sometimes forced into bargain-seeking because of his budgets -- offered third chances to second-chance guys, always with sympathy, always with hope, always willing the minor risk.

Dmitri Young was one of those guys.

Without Bowden to offer him a chance, Young wouldn't have a job right now.

So Young, just a few minutes ago, pulled two reporters aside and said he wanted to talk. He hasn't spoken to the media all season, but the resignation of Bowden -- Young played for him both in Cincinnati and Washington -- stirred him to share some thoughts.

"With personnel, he'd always give guys a second chance," Young said. "I've seen that with Pete Harnisch, Mark Wohlers, Jason Bere, I mean, I can go on. Mike Cameron. Ron Gant. Kevin Mitchell. The new guy over there, Elijah Dukes. He's a young player, but still. Where other teams give up, he'll give a guy another chance. If someone has a little turmoil in their life, he'll take care of you.

Before Young signed with Washington, he was trying to beat substance abuse and legal problems. He considered giving up baseball.

"Well, there wasn't a team that wanted to touch me with a 10-foot-pole, and he was the only one that gave me an opportunity," Young said. "Granted, I had to go over to the minor leagues and prove that I still had it in me to play, and then he brought me over, and that speaks for itself. But he was the one that reached out, told me that 'I know you still have it in you.'"

By Chico Harlan  |  March 1, 2009; 12:22 PM ET
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Chico...I do not see D Young as a example of a Jimbo success.....We paid $5 Million for very, very little production or leadership last year and this year we are paying another $5 million for a 325 lb non roster vet that is what 36 years old.....that is not good use of $10 Million in todays market.....Young is an example of why Jimbo is gone.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 1, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The last time a co-worker resigned, my boss sang a line from "One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)" in honor of Jimbo

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away."

Thanks for the memories, the effort and for moving along. Tis time for the Nats to ascend from the foolishness and move towards fulfilling the promise of baseball in Washington DC.

Go Nats. Go Rizzo!

PS: How much for the segway?

Posted by: jfromPG | March 1, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Bill Ladson was just on XM Radio, telling the world that he thought Jim Bowden did a "great job". Maybe it is time that the team also gets a respectable MLB beat writer, one who doesn't embarrass the team.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 1, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Jim Duquette is now discussing Bowden, and Barry is apparently going to be on soon. Holden Kushner, current host, disagreed with Ladson with rolling eyes as soon as their conversation ended.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 1, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Cancelled my XM a few months ago, regret doing so at any newsy time like this - what is Jim saying?

Posted by: AnonymousSources | March 1, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

How about line-ups for today too? I'm very curious to see who's pitching after Olsen today...

Posted by: estuartj | March 1, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm.... likes to give second chances to major league retreads?

I wonder if he'll take over the Long Island Ducks then.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | March 1, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The theme was mostly that "this had to be done". They discussed Mike Rizzo as the most likely replacement, although that was only speculation, of course.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jim Bowden did not do a bad job. What will we think of Bowden if the Nats win 85 games this year? The young pitching may come through and if Guzman, Johnson, Zim, Dunn, Dukes and Flores all have years they are capable of, this team could be the Rays of 09. And if that's the case (granted big if's) a lot of the credit has to go to Bowden.

Posted by: thegraneys | March 1, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Guzman (SS)
Johnson (1B)
Zimmerman (3B)
Dunn (LF)
Dukes (RF)
Willingham (DH)
Harris (2B)
Flores (CA)
Maxwell (CF)

Posted by: estuartj | March 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Ack- SI has this headline up:

Hill scratched with elbow stiffness.

It turns out to be Rich Hill of the O's pitching against us, not Shawn Hill. Phew.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Signing DY to a 2 year $10m deal = Bad (with the caveat that DY's diabetes may have had something to do with his health issues)

Signing DY to a minor league deal in 2006= Big Win. (Although if you want to get picky, he COULD have signed Carlos Pena instead that Winter.)

So, one good one bad. That's better than Omar our new Worst GM in Baesball

Posted by: traderkirk | March 1, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Omar our new Worst GM in Baesball"

Brian Sabean may have something to say about that

Posted by: Brian_ | March 1, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If Sabean swoops in to "steal" Manny from the Dodgers he might put that contest out of reach, especially if he give Manny the 3 years he seems to be craving.

Posted by: estuartj | March 1, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, Dmitri!

Also, carrying forward:

Heard about it on the way to brunch, and immediately thought of one person who I knew would be ecstatic. I agree that Bowden's comments were classy (and it would also be classy to move on as far as the JimBo bashing goes, IMO). I've been impressed with the way that Stan has handled things to date. Will be interesting to see what happens as far as the next GM (will also be interesting to see who becomes the next target).

My thanks to Bowden for his part in bringing baseball back to DC, particularly for what he was able to do with limited resources.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 12:59 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I thought JimBo was under-appreciated. He was hamstrung by lack of organizational resources. For example, he made no trades at all for players who held decent contracts, unless you go back to Soriano in the pre-Lerners era. That could not have been his idea. But even with this enormous restriction, if you look at the players he bought in, and compare them to the players he gave up in return, it was a lopsided gain for the Nats. Good luck to the new GM; perhaps it was time to move on.

Posted by: EdDC | March 1, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

From mlb Press Pass, the scheduled pitchers are Olsen, Clippard, T.Young, Rivera, Colome.
That could change, as I think Rivera was released to Puerto Rico for WBC duty, effective 3/1.

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hooray! No more signing terrible ex-Reds and risky players!

Posted by: futbolclif | March 1, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Omar our new Worst GM in Baesball"

Brian Sabean may have something to say about that

Posted by: Brian_ | March 1, 2009 1:01 PM


Last I checked, Ed Wade still had a job. And I think Sabes is gonna surprise a few people this season.

Posted by: Hendo1 | March 1, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Olsen made it through his two relatively unscathed - 2.0IP, 2H, 0ER, 0BB, 2K.

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

All in all....JB really wasn't that bad. I suppose it's a bit early to put a final grade as this season will have a lot to do with moves he has made.

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 1, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

only 2 hits against Olsen, but both extra bases. Big outfield assist for Dukes getting the throw home to Nieves for the DP. Would have liked to see that...

Posted by: estuartj | March 1, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

FWIW - probably not a lot - I find this situation very sad. One of two things has occurred. First, it might be that a person has lost their job because they have been wrongly accused of something pretty awful - skimming money from naive 16 (or maybe 19) year old baseball players who are in a powerless position. Second, he might actually be guilty of this outrageous behavior. Either is sad indeed.

I've always felt mixed about having JimBo as the Nats' GM. He's made some good moves and persevered in very difficult circumstances. However, his erratic personal and professional behavior has always given me pause. The bottom line is that while I'm not all that disappointed he's gone, it stinks that it ended this way.

He'll land on his feet on Cold Pizza or some such endeavor. He's too entertaining a person not to make money in TV or radio. He's a guy though who seems like he's thrived on the "art of the deal". He won't get that doing TV.


Posted by: db423 | March 1, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Dukes apparently had a put-out / throw-out DP from RF to end the 2nd inning. Nice job, Elijah!

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

NJ with the first Nats dinger of the spring.

Clippard got knocked aroudn pretty bad...when does minor league camp open?

Posted by: estuartj | March 1, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Oof - Clippard got roughed up in the 3rd for 2H(1HR), 3 ER, 2 BB, 0K; Maybe we'll see Martin or Jones in this game?

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Most people have been fired or quit once or twice, at least, by the time they're Bowden's age, but almost none of us had every inch of it and then some dragged through the daily news.
Time for the semi-annual Jacques Plante quote, I think:
How would you like it if every time you made a mistake at your job, a big red light went on and 15,000 people stood up and yelled at you, called you a bum and an imbecile, and threw garbage at you?

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 1, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico

Thanks for this. I think you get it.

Dmitri's story sums up Jim Bowden's stay in DC. He was sharp enough to pick up Dmitri when nobody else would --- and he honestly did help the guy turn things around.

But he wasn't wise enough to make sure Dmitri stayed in shape and he was fool enough to dump $10M on a bad contract.


Posted by: nattydread1 | March 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

when does minor league camp open?

Posted by: estuartj | March 1, 2009 2:01 PM
Ummm, March 15th?

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

And we wonder why goalies, catchers, and closers are characterized as "flaky"? Good quote.

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The immediate question is, will Manny stretch T.Young to two innings again?

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the quote, CE, and for the game updates, BinM and estuartj. Attaboy, Nicky. We pause now for a nickname non sequitur that arises after my recent viewing of a ST game. Does anybody else find it funny that the Cleveland Indians' skipper is nicknamed "Wedgie"?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

No, I find it more ironic than funny - Eric Wedge has a reputation for getting in people's faces - i.e. he can be a sudden "pain in the a__".

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Also, somebody was asking about where they could see footage of last night's 30/30 program if they didn't have access to MLB Network. There are a few clips on the MLB Network site now. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have the clip of Belli singing. That was one of my faves. The guys all seemed to be upbeat and having fun with each other. One of the hosts commented that they must be the best conditioned team in MLB because they are doing working out and stretching in all of the footage they have of them. From his mouth to G*d's ears.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

That's funny, BinM!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse


Baseball folks have a penchant for adding -ie or -er on the end of names to create nicknames. What's worse "Wedgie" or "Wedger"? Neither is great.


Posted by: db423 | March 1, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

And the answer to the question is yes - T. Young is on the mound to begin the 5th, but is getting slapped around.

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

As for SoCH / sbiel2, I'm reminded of a Lenny Bruce line after JFK's assassination: "Vaughn Meeder is scr#w#d!" SoCH's already taken out the web addresses for "FireMikeRizzo," "FireLaCava," and "FireKimNg."

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 1, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Bottom of the 5th, bring on the 2nd stringers - Maybe Whitney, J.Guzman & Herrera?

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I just noticed from the box score that it doesn't look like a very pleasant day to be playing in Viera - cloudy, 57, 27 mph winds. Better than DC I guess, but we're not playing here.

Although it's just one game and you shouldn't read too much into one game, it's never a good sign to be behind 4-1 after 5 in a spring training game at home. So few big league regulars travel during the spring anymore, than you are inevitably playing against a "B" squad when at home, usually with your "A" squad. That seems to be basically what is happening today.


Posted by: db423 | March 1, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I know, #4, but in Wedge's case I would have been inclined to make an exception.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Good observation - the "A" (home) team should put up a good showing against the visiting squad, particularly early in the ST session.

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Who's SoCH's next target?

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 1, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Given the prior observation, wouldn't "Wedger" be more appropriate than "Wedgie" as a nickname"

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Please Manny, throw one of the kids into the fray this afternoon - Don't tell us you're going to go Towers, Lannan, Brownlie, Jones, Martin, Larrison against the Itaian WBC squad.

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

LOL, BinM!

My money's on IHATEBOZ, leetee.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Just noticed that there's a new post re. the WBC. Not sure how I feel about the news.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

people get way too worked up about ST results. especially the first week in an unusually long ST. don't put too much stock into anything but an injury yet.

Posted by: sec231 | March 1, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

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