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Great-Uncle Roy, and Mid-Morning Reading

It's an off day, time for ruminating. My mind took a funny little wander this morning to my great-uncle Lew Roy -- Roy for short. I never knew Roy, because Roy was killed when he was a young boy, about 10. By a baseball.

My great-grandpa was a farmer, but for some reason Roy was in town and playing with some friends. They decided to throw a ball back and forth over the Old North School. At that time -- 1904 -- the school would have been among the tallest buildings in the county, three stories with high ceilings. (True story: There is a senior citizens' apartment building in Lincoln now, three stories tall, that is known around town as The High Rise.)

Anyway, the boys were trying to catch the ball as it sailed over the roof and descended at a high rate of speed. Roy was hit in the head and killed.

What's my point? I don't really have one; I was just thinking it was ironic that a baseball killed great-uncle Roy and now I'm a baseball editor. And maybe there are worse things an 0-3 start. But I'm no philosopher.

Anyway, Chico's traveling to Atlanta and getting ready to chat, so I thought I'd give you some reading to while away the off day.

First, a fresh post from Dave on Baseball Insider; check it out.

Marc Fisher writes today about the Nats and their neighborhood.

Post Art critic Blake Gopnik doesn't like the Nats' new sculptures.

Everyone at The Post got into the baseball act today: Here's George Will's offering, and David Broder's, on Paul Dickson's new dictionary.

Nats320 has more photos of the statues. I must say, I don't care for the Walter Johnson statue. (I can still hear Shirley Povich saying, "I was talking to Walter by the batting cage one day and ..." or even better yet, "Babe Ruth once told me ...")

Sorry if this is old news, but Patti Austin is singing the National Anthem and "God Bless America" on Opening Day.

The Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star's Rich Campbell has a story today about Chris Marrero.

Former Nats Manager Frank Robinson was in Cincinnati this week to see the Reds' new museum and to reminisce.

Looking ahead, Mark Bradley of the AJC writes about Saturday's Braves starter, Kenshin Kawakami.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 9, 2009; 10:04 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Opening Pitches, Chats, Sales Pitches You Just Can't Make
Next: The Proximity-Optimism Theory Of Beat Writing

Comments

LOTTA stuff on baseball and Nats today in the Post. LOVE IT!!! Thank you!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 9, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Marc Fisher says "In addition to seeing President Obama throw out the first ball, fans will notice new trimmings on the stadium..."

Is it confirmed that Obama is coming? Because, you know, I like to believe what I read in the Post, but based on Chico's Belliard reporting yesterday I guess it's always wise to get a second opinion.

And as for the Opening Day singer, I have no idea who Patti Austin is but IMHO the Nats need to get that guy DC Washington to sing at every opportunity. He could become our version of what Irish tenor Ronan Tynan has done for the Yankees. If he changed his name to PA Philly do you think he'd have a better chance of getting the gig?

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"The only time management even TRIED to promote actual baseball to the local market was when Soriano was going for 40/40 at the end of 06."

What exactly did management do to promote Soriano going for 40/40 in 2006? Did they run ads in the paper, on radio and TV? Did they trot Soriano out on the PR circuit, having him do radio talk shows like they've had Dunn and other players doing this spring? Did they give away Soriano bobbleheads or T-shirts at the games?

Because, you know, I don't recall anything like that happening in 2006. I do recall a lot of media attention to Soriano's 40/40 chase, but media attention doesn't equate to management promoting something. In fact, usually those two things are not related at all.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

No wonder The Big Train was so good. He had four arms!!! He must have had a very deceptive delivery. Ugh.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 9, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The statue of Walter Johnson is trippy

Posted by: dclifer | April 9, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Frank Howard or Spiderman?

Posted by: dclifer | April 9, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

about the marketing, I was hoping to see big Nats banners all over Metro and plastered to the side of the trains this week.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 9, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I loved the lineup yesterday (10 walks plus if you switch Johnson for Dunn I think that's our best defensive formation). I'm not sure how I feel about Guzman leading off, though, and obviously NJ needs to get in there, both for offensive and defensive purposes. I've been thinking Manny should give this one a try:

Dukes CF
Johnson 1B
Zimm 3B
Dunn LF
Kearns RF
Guzman SS
2B du jour
C du jour
P du jour

It gets our best bats into the lineup, loads the top of the order with our best OBP guys, and it's also pretty solid defensively. I don't understand why Milledge is our Once and Future Leadoff Hitter while Dukes doesn't even get a chance. Dukes has the potential to be like Soriano except with a little less speed, better defense, and a higher OBP. Why wouldn't Manny want him leading off?

Also, based on what we've seen so far from the SPs, who else absolutely cannot wait for Zimmermann to get up here?

Posted by: WMPete | April 9, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"about the marketing, I was hoping to see big Nats banners all over Metro and plastered to the side of the trains this week."

I'll settle for the trains running on time. Metro has enough problems of its own.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'll reserve judgment until I've seen the statues in person.

Metro had ads on some vehicles/trains last year, if I recall correctly.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

With yarns like that, Tracee, I'm almost looking forward to the next off day.

I was hit in the face by a line drive - hit by my father in our front yard - when I was about four. I'd say I've had baseball on the brain ever since, but that would just be a terrible joke, wouldn't it?

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 9, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Of course I meant Nats ads, specifically.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

believe you will be able to listent to Syracuse game (Zimmermann) here:
http://www.sportsradio620.com/main.html

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 9, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Milledge is in CF because Acta is too prideful and stubborn to admit he was wrong. About a month ago he made a bad decision to give Milledge the job and he is too pig headed to admit he was wrong. No amount of data is going to change his mind. It is Acta's Achilles heal. He is too young and insecure to admit his mistakes. He just compounds them with stupid statements like Lastings is our CF and WE like him there. Translated this means I am smarter than you and I don’t make mistakes in judgment so he will stay their until he proves me right no matter how long or how many loses it costs the team.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@RickDotSalt: "And as for the Opening Day singer, I have no idea who Patti Austin is but IMHO the Nats need to get that guy DC Washington to sing at every opportunity. He could become our version of what Irish tenor Ronan Tynan has done for the Yankees. If he changed his name to PA Philly do you think he'd have a better chance of getting the gig?"

+1. DC Washington was The Man when the Nats played at RFK. I just naturally assumed he'd become the Nats' Ronan Tynan (or Robert Merrill, for older fans). He sings beautifully, does not waste a lot of time or extra notes, and has the correct name.

Why is he not featured at 75% of the games at Nats Park?

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 9, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

jaybeee, you should just abbreviate your posts to "I hate Manny". It'll save you wear and tear on your fingers, and we know the rest of the spiel anyway.

Posted by: joebleux | April 9, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Why is he not featured at 75% of the games at Nats Park?

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 9, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

*************
I think he is. Or at least a bunch of times. I've seen him several times in a given year and I only go to about 30 games.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 9, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Fact is I DO NOT HATE MANNY. I have talked to him several times at the Park, at Season Ticket holder events and in Spring training camp last month. My current Nats hat has his autograph along with two of his coaches.

My view of his current actions and his current weakness as manager are based in first hand observations of the facts on the field. I have talked with his coaching staff...Chico...if you asked them about Acta and his current weaknesses they may tell you some interesting things off the record.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"Come to think of it, these four pieces may count as the Washington Nationals of art."

Ouch. It hurts because it's true. With the Big Train's four arms, no wonder he had 400+ wins and 50 starts a year - he could pitch every day, and just use a different arm. "No, no, gotta rest ol #3 today, put 125 pitches on that one yesterday...but #4 is good to go! Put me in, coach!"

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | April 9, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The Syracuse story has this quote from manager Tim Foli:

"Our outfield," said Foli, who can also call upon Ryan Langerhans and Jorge Padilla, "will be as good as anybody's in the big leagues."

So if we run out of outfielders at the major league level ....

Also, there is only one comment that follows the story, but it parallels the sentiment often expressed here:

"Please! More Chiefs coverage! It's opening day and we are finally hearing about the team!"

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Wow, LAA pitcher Nick Adenhart (22) was killed in a traffic accident.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Terrible news - Nick Adenhart, Angels pitcher and Silver Spring native was killed in a car crash. http://www.nbclosangeles.com/sports/baseball/angels/Angels-Pitcher-Among-3-Killed-in-Fullerton-Hit-Run.html

Posted by: SimonOliverLockwood | April 9, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

jaybeee, it's not a sign of weakness to make a decision and stick to it. It would be weakness if he made Milledge center fielder in spring training and then flip-flopped after a couple of lousy games.

And his statements about Milledge being the his/our center fielder are nothing more than a manager sticking up for his player when the chips are down. Again, strength (and character), not weakness.

Posted by: joebleux | April 9, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Boswell cancelled his season tix. So what. Just shows that he's got a brain. Unlike you and your high octane suburban angst-ridden posts. Attendance mole!! Bean counter!! Nerd!!!

Posted by: Brue "

I bet I paid to go to more games last year than you and Boswell combined. I attended 30 games myself, and for at least half of them I brought along a friend or family member with me, my treat. I only left early once, and that was the Saturday afternoon game early in the season that had a 2-hour rain delay before it even started and I waited until the 8th inning to leave because it was a blowout. So I would say I have a fair investment in coming to the park to see major league baseball. And guess what? Although I saw some pretty ugly losses, the Nats were 16-14 in the games I was at. I suppose you could call it a small sample size, but 30 out of 81 games is still batting .370 on attendance. I was watching the games while you and Boswell were on your third beer slamming the team on the internet.

And if you'd remove your head from your other region just once, you'd realize that I'm not arguing that the quality of the team doesn't drive attendance. Of course it does. But Boswell and the others who sucked up to the MLB teat pre-2005 went out of their way to say that it didn't matter. Over and over they said "Give us a team, any team, and we will support it like you wouldn't believe." Never once did they say Oh, it needs to be a winning team or at least not a AAAA team or anything like that. All they ever said was GIVE US A TEAM. Now they have a team, and they're throwing it back. Hypocrites.


Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Adenhart was their #1 prospect. Their Zimmermann. Literally.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Adenhart was their top prospect. Their Zimmermann. Literally.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It would be a strength sign from Acta IF Milledge could do the job. All the Data shows he can not play CF and will not be able to play CF....He got worse at the end of 2008 and he was bad all Spring.....it is not going to change...you do not "learn" instincts. Watch what Dukes did on day one with about 4 innings in the Spring and none in 2008.....Acta is wrong and that is not a strenth...

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Let Teddy Win has a link to audio of the Kasten interview. There's some interesting "Plan" stuff between the opening comments about Philly phans, and you can also hear the questions that led to those comments. (Oh yeah, and the Philly broadcaster says that we should expect to see a lot of Nats hats thrown onto the field. Nice.)

http://blog.letteddywin.com/2009/04/07/stan-kasten-invites-phillies-fans-to-nationals-park/

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

After reading the comments, that is sad about Adenhart.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Talk about there being worse things than an 0-3 start. Perspective, anyone?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I guess I don't understand why people focus on Milledge being an Acta decision. Do we really think the front office has no input on who gets playing time?

Posted by: Section220 | April 9, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Talk about there being worse things than an 0-3 start. Perspective, anyone?"

Exactly - for instance, that statue of Walter Johnson.

Kidding! Kidding. (though that statue IS really ugly)

And naturally, condolences to any of those who knew the poor guy (though I doubt they read NJ).

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | April 9, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Just ask Acta....he said that Jimbo did not have any input and if he ever got pressure from Front Office to play people he did not agree with then he would leave and say so.......SO NO THIS IS ON ACTA

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I'll second the condolences, 295. It's sad for someone to die so suddenly and so young (regardless of whether they are a top prospect).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

People don't realize that these statues are there for other purposes beyond honoring past baseball greats. For one thing, they serve as field sobriety tests. "How many bats do you see there?" Of course if the statue had only one bat like it's supposed to it would be too easy for drunks to game the system. And with Stan inviting in the Phillies fans they needed three statues so drunks wouldn't have a chance to sober up while waiting in line to get tested.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Very sad about Nick Adenhart, and some here might remember him from his high school days, since he was playing in Maryland.
Here's a piece the Post ran on him in 2004:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A64417-2004May28

Posted by: RightField | April 9, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if you can re-post the self-centered angst, I get to reprise the snark Rickdotshaw! I bet I've been to more games in my life than you have (tongue out)! We can bet monopoly money because I don't like to gamble! Besides, I don't want to take your allowance.

I rest my case. Another fan measurer. And probably a young one. Geek alert!!
Did you have a note for the game you left in the 8th inning? You better have been sick, because the attendance monitor won't put up with that.
I can't even remember how many times I've heard this noise. Hasn't been a winning team here since '69. You remember '69, don't you? Didn't think so. I'm not gonna feel the least bit guilty about closing the wallet until they get serious about winning. Which means running Acta out of there. Sure, I'll go because I have a buddy who's loaded and gives me freebies. I mean, you wouldn't go see a bad movie if you knew it was bad before you went, right? Or a band you knew was crappy? Of course not. It's not the customer's job to support a sub-par product, it's the product-maker's responsibility to put out a good product. Let's face it - any organization that takes almost four years to tell Jim Bowden to piss off has got problems.

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

nunof, er, I mean none of the Phillies Phans would pass such a field test.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Very Sad News.... I recall seeing him play in High School....very very sad.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Just ask Acta....he said that Jimbo did not have any input and if he ever got pressure from Front Office to play people he did not agree with then he would leave and say so.......SO NO THIS IS ON ACTA"

No, not really. Acta always decides who will play, but it's the FO that stuck him with four corner OFers and one DH to fit into the outfield. And he can't just consider defense in putting up a lineup, he needs to look at offense too. You've been saying that Dukes should be in CF over Milledge. Well, Dukes was the worst by far of the OFers at the plate in ST. His bat eliminated him from the starting lineup entirely - especially since Kearns was hitting so unexpectedly well. Given that, it totally made sense for Acta to commit to an extended tryout of Milledge in CF. Find out now or never if he will be adequate there. Everyone knows he won't be perfect, but perfect is the enemy of the good. Maybe Dukes is a better long-term CF solution, but Dukes was hitting so bad that it didn't make sense to give him a tryout at CF in ST.

And the key thing about trying out Milledge in CF is that it needs to be an extended tryout. Knee-jerk yanking him out of the position because Bonifacio hits one over his head doesn't help you find out if he'll ever be able to adequately play CF. That takes time, and as long as there's no one else nipping at his heels for playing time it makes sense to keep trying Milledge. Sooner or later either he'll learn, or Dukes will get hot and force him out of the lineup (presuming Kearns doesn't flame out first) or it will become patently obvious that he'll never get any better than he is now, at which point you punt on him. This decision is not on Acta, it's on the players involved - Milledge, Dukes and Kearns. They will make the decision themselves, sooner or later, by their play. As long as Acta doesn't do something stupid like refusing to play someone who's consistently knocking the cover off the ball in favor of someone who's not, he's not going to be fired because of this. And Acta is not stupid.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Brue, I'm 54 years old. I remember the Senators. I went to RFK to see them as a kid. If I haven't been to as many games as you have in my lifetime, it's only because I didn't make it up to Baltimore much if at all from 1971 to 2004.

I remember. Which is probably more than your drunken self can say about any of your "nights before."

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

This is so tragic and sad. Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, 22 was killed early this morning in a felony hit-and-run car accident. He had just started for the Angels last night and pitched 6 scoreless innings. He grew up in Silver Spring and attended Williamsport High School in Maryland.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/sports/baseball/angels/Angels-Pitcher-Among-3-Killed-in-Fullerton-Hit-Run.html

http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090408&content_id=4170072&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=ana

Baseball fans are rallying around the Angels and their fans. Enjoy life
http://www.halosheaven.com/2009/4/9/828360/tragedy-strikes-angels

Posted by: baseballphotosbycheryl | April 9, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Dukes had better spring training numbers than Milledge. Walks and Power and Defense were much better than Milledge.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

JayBeee, how about posting those respective stat lines so we can be sure we both know what we're talking about.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The fact is Milledge doesn't have a natural position on this team. There are two better options at RF and 2 better options at LF. He's clearly not a natural CF, but at this point he either plays there or he doesn't play. Maybe he can play 2B, as has been suggested in previous posts, but the team has invested so much effort into making him a centerfielder and it (understandably, in my opinion) doesn't want to give up on it that quickly. Furthermore, he doesn't seem to have much trade value. So we're keeping him. It's just a matter of whether he starts.

It comes down to Milledge vs. Dukes, and Dukes just had an awful spring training. I think if Dukes had lit it up along with Kearns in ST, we wouldn't have this problem. I still think Dukes should start in center, but I can't really blame Acta for choosing Milledge. I can blame Acta for maintaining this belief that Milledge should be our leadoff hitter. At no point in Milledge's development was he touted as a leadoff hitter. Maybe he could develop into one, but I'd rather put somebody else in that spot until Milledge ready so that he doesn't feel pressured. Problem is, if you start Milledge in center (and Kearns in right), our best leadoff prospect (Dukes, in my opinion) is relegated to the bench.

Posted by: WMPete | April 9, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are not playing for this year. Again.

Lastings' highest upside is as a leadoff hitting CF, not as a mediocre LF. So he's playing CF right now to see if he can reach that upside. We all know he wouldn't be playing CF right now on a contender. We all know we're far from being a contender.

Kearns' highest value is as a solid veteran plus-defender with some pop, and a good guy to have in the clubhouse. We're trying to recover that value after his dismal 2008. If he's hitting .270 with 10 dingers in July, he'll be gone. That's why he's playing RF.

Dukes' upside is higher than either of theirs, but he doesn't need OF practice and he's not trade bait, and just keeping him around the major league team and out of trouble can still be seen as "development" in his case. He can play all three OF positions and thus is the easiest choice to rotate in and out of the lineup while we watch The Education of Lastings and deal with the corner OF glut.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

WMPete, you at least understand what Acta is dealing with. JayBeee doesn't have a clue. The manager has to manage what he has been given to work with on any given night, in order to try to win not just that one game but to succeed long-term. JayBeee thinks he knows all about managing, but the truth is that if called upon to do it JayBeee couldn't manage his way out of a paper bag.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats are not playing for this year. Again."

Yes, but the haters are hating for this year. All the time. Except for when they're using their rollover hate minutes from years past, of course.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

So far I've heard a couple sportsy instrumentals and a lot of silence from the link KF posted. Here's hoping it kicks in at 2pm.

I also found this:
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2009_04_09_rocaaa_syraaa_1

Gameday for the minors? Sweet.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 9, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Good post, Bob L.

Posted by: Section220 | April 9, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It's game three of Acta's third season. Can his detractors honestly give examples of games the Nationals have lost due to poor management?

Sure, there are philosophical differences, such as bunting or stealing. But he's certainly not the first or only manager in baseball with that approach.

But really, how many more games was he supposed to win last year with Mackowiack and Estrada? Could arguing with an up or instructing a pitcher to throw inside on a hitter really have made Lo Duca a serviceable addition to the team? Could he have managed the team healthy, motivating Nick Johnson's tendon sheath back to 100%?

I don't get it.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 9, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they can add a statue of Milledge too since he plays CF like one.

Here is an interesting blog from Yahoo Sports about Phillies fans.

"When it comes to Philly fans, one of the things they always like to tell you is that the reputation they've earned as loutish thugs is just a bum rap assigned by lazy media who like to fall back on old stereotypes.

And, over time, they've made so many cases about why it was OK to throw snowballs at Santa Claus and why Jimmy Rollins deserved to be booed after he called Philadelphians front runners that I started to get a little case of the old Stockholm Syndrome. Maybe their consistent defense of "Hey, we have bad apples just like everyone else" was ringing true.

But booing ex-pitcher Adam Eaton which was held before an impossible and incredible 12-11 sweep-avoiding comeback win over the Braves?

Well, inch me back closer to the side which just got more ammo for its anti-Philly fans arsenal.

Yeah, yeah, I'm sure many of the fans were probably booing in a tongue-in-cheek, "you-want-Philly-we'll-show-you-Philly" type manner. And I'm not saying they should have greeted him with a large ovation, not after he went 14-18 with a 6.10 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over two seasons with the Phillies and not after he was left off last year's playoff roster and released before this year
.
But ring ceremonies tend to be a happy time and you clap for everyone — no matter how small the contribution — from Ryan Howard to the traveling secretary.

Yeah, Adam Eaton wasn't very good, he won't be good with his new team (the Orioles) and the Phillies still owe him $9 million. But that isn't the point. The Phillies WON the World Series, this guy ultimately didn't do anything to mess it up, and on World Series ring day, everyone earns absolution — and at least a polite golf clap during ring retrieval.

Look, we all know that Philly fans don't do this type of thing often.
On Wednesday, it showed."

Posted by: HistoryBoy | April 9, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I'm a big fan of Manny. I agree with him on bunting and stealing because the stats have shown that these strategies are not conducive to winning, and I like his demeanor and the way he handles the personalities on the team. I do not think he should be fired. I just disagree with his stance that Milledge should bat lead off. It seems to go against his self-professed focus on the statistics, which show that players with the best OBP's should be at the top of the order since those players will come to the plate the most often. Granted, it's probably the difference of only 10 or so runs per season, but honestly, I'll take all the runs I can get thank you.

Posted by: WMPete | April 9, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks JiM and well said. All this pi*sing and moaning about Acta is starting to get to me.

He's doing the best with what he has to work with. He doesn't have a ton of talent like Joe Torre did with the Yankees, where he can just lay the bats and roll the bats out there and say "there you go boys, now play"

What is also getting to me is all this jib jab about how hypocritical some Nats fan are. We get it RickDotSalt, you're the best Nats fan of them all. Now, can we just let it go?

Posted by: Section505203 | April 9, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

ZNN sets them down in order in the first.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Bernadina CF
Cintron SS
Eldred 1B
Langerhans DH
Maxwell RF
Casto 3B
Patterson CF
Montz 2B
Orr 2B

With Jaw-Z on the mound

The Chiefs are dope.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 9, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the starters for the Syracuse is certainly interesting. They would undoubtably play better defense than the Nats' starters. The starting pitching looks better by miles.

Posted by: driley | April 9, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

jaybeee, it's not a sign of weakness to make a decision and stick to it. It would be weakness if he made Milledge center fielder in spring training and then flip-flopped after a couple of lousy games.
Posted by: joebleux | April 9, 2009 11:59 AM

***************************

a couple of lousy games?

“Acta pulled out a copy of the spring statistics, suggesting that numbers proved the point.” (talking about Martis here)

Lstings Mendoza has started 12 games since Acta handed him the leadoff spot. He was hitting .282 at the time. Lastings Mendoza ignites the Nats’ offense in 2009! 4 for 47, 2 BB, 15K, 2R .085 (.000 lately), since the announcement. He earned it! Sorry Willingham ya bum ya! Dukes, you dead dawg!

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 9, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

>Brue, I'm 54 years old.

Time to start sounding like one then!

>I remember. Which is probably more than your drunken self can say about any of your "nights before."

Have we met? I can't remember. Were you the twice-divorced bitter middle aged guy who tries to tell everyone what to think but doesn't spend enough time thinking himself? Snap snap girlfriend!!

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

>JayBeee, how about posting those respective stat lines so we can be sure we both know what we're talking about.

Posted by: RickDotSalt

Dude in your case I don't think that'll be enough.

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

>jaybeee, it's not a sign of weakness to make a decision and stick to it.

You're right - it's a sign of insecurity.

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Bob L's analysis of the Dukes/Milledge situation is right on.
But I respectfully disagree with RickDotSalt's analogy about not going to see a bad movie, etc. I have always gone because I love big league baseball. Even when the Nats are bad, there's a good chance they'll win on any given day. Sure, I pray for the Nats to get better, but I'm never going to stop going (unless they totally price me out). As bad as the Nats have been, there's another team out there, too. And in DC, you're always going to have a good number of fans of the opposition, given the number of non-natives.

Posted by: nats24 | April 9, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody have the Syracuse audio going? I couldn't get it to load for me and the game day link seems to be frozen up at the top of the 2nd with 2 outs, a man on second, and a 3-1 count.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Brue:

RDS=nunof1=spamcastin=ABM

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1:

Top 4th 1-0
NN gives up dinger

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 9, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Nova,

I was thinking the same thing myself.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 9, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

2-0

back to back HRs

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 9, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Zim strikes out the side (and gives up the two big flies)

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 9, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

>WMPete, you at least understand what Acta is dealing with. JayBeee doesn't have a clue. The manager has to manage what he has been given to work with on any given night

The guy that got him all these albatrosses is the same guy that hired him. See a pattern here? Even Zimmerman said that nobody communicated last year, everybody just went through the motions. Maybe that disgusted look on his face is on there because he's tired of Acta's mute leadership and seat-of-the-pants decision-making. Hey maybe the reason he hasn't signed a long term deal is because he said 'he doesn't want to lose 90 every year'. Hey maybe the reason Acta hasn't gotten an extension is because the front office doesn't believe in him either. Otherwise, he would have been signed before the season, because if he was a hotshot and they were worried about losing him, they wouldn't let him be available at the end of the year. Snap snap boyfriend and around the world!

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1:

did you get your audio back?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 9, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

My audio is working.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 9, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Bob L.,

Sounds good when you say it but that was last year....we paid top dollar and watched minor league ball. We gave 500 ABs to Milledge because we had nothing better. This year we have better and I expect them to play the best players and try to win as many games as they can. If (and he does) Milledge needs to go to AAA to learn baseball so be it.....Play the best players at the MLB level and send the guys who do not know how to play the game to AAA.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Baseball Prospectus has a regular feature called Future Watch, and the current edition focuses on which players are likely to be #1 prospects next year. The Nats entry is as follows:

Washington Nationals

The Incumbent: Right-hander Jordan Zimmerman's scouting reports improved throughout last year, and they were even better this spring. He's not only in the big-league rotation, he's their best pitcher.
Other Possibilities: Who are we kidding? The team is going to draft Stephen Strasburg, so there are no other possibilities... unless he signs quickly, goes straight to the big leagues and gets over 50 innings, thus basically never becoming an eligible prospect. I just don't think that's going to happen, though. In the interest of being fair to the rest of the system, Michael Burgess has power, patience, and the ability to raise his stock if he can make contact more consistently.
Trade Bait: If the Nationals are trading away prospects at the deadline, we have bigger things to worry about, as the earth will likely have reversed it axis.
Best Chance To Move Into The Top 100: Left-hander Jack McGeary could take off after abandoning his full-time commitment to Stanford for a full-time commitment to pitching.

Odds to be #1 in 2009:
Stephen Strasburg: 500-499
Any other carbon-based life form: 500-1

********

Let's hope the Nats don't draft any other carbon-based life forms. At least, not with the first overall pick.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Casto ties it up with a homer, Langerhans was on second

Posted by: nattaboy | April 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

If you're not getting audio and you are using Firefox, you need to have FF 3.0 and the IE Tab plugin. That should fix you.

Go Cory!

Posted by: OldDude | April 9, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, you should really have FF 3.0.8...

And, yes, Anal-Retentive DOES have a hyphen.

Posted by: OldDude | April 9, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"Hey maybe the reason Acta hasn't gotten an extension is because the front office doesn't believe in him either. Otherwise, he would have been signed before the season, because if he was a hotshot and they were worried about losing him, they wouldn't let him be available at the end of the year."
________________________________________________________

Brue,

You bring up a very good point that I have overlooked. Manny's option has not been picked up. It's only 3 games but, he's not exactly off to a roaring start on the way to getting that option picked up.

I personally like Manny and think he has the makings of a good manager but, sometime things don't work out. I guess we will see down the road what happens.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"We get it RickDotSalt, you're the best Nats fan of them all. Now, can we just let it go?"

Yeah, as soon as you let go of the attitude that you're the only one whose opinion is valid here, that you're the best commenter of them all, that you're the only one who's allowed to lay down a challenge here and you're the only one who's allowed to defend yourself against a direct challenge here, I'll let it go. Okay? I don't think you see me whining away about other people making comments very often, like you love to do about me. Usually I'm responding to someone's ideas or challenging their ideas. Isn't that what a conversation is supposed to be about?

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Could somebody please link me to or tell me how to get to the audio for the Chiefs game? Gameday is stuck in the top of the 2nd.

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | April 9, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

>Brue:

RDS=nunof1=spamcastin=ABM

Yeah I was noticing a similarity. They're never in the same room at the same time. Pretty gutless. Doesn't seem to be much of an advantage for him. Maybe it's the multiple personality disorder exacerbated by anger complex.

It'll be nice to see JZimmerman throw 90+ up here though...

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

My gameday has been stuck at top 2nd 2 out 3-1 count since...well, the top of the 2nd 2 out 3-1 count.

1A,

Did yours start again?

Posted by: Section138 | April 9, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Radio link:
http://www.sportsradio620.com/main.html

Use IE of FireFox with the IE Tab Plugin.

Posted by: OldDude | April 9, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

RDS,

Have you taken your meds today? Man, lighten up. Geez.

You've been bloviating for 2 days up on your high horse about hypocritical Nats fans. We got it, we know where you stand on the issue. For Pete's sake.

There are other things more important in life. I recommend hugging a family memeber (wife, kid, mom, etc.) Or hell, smoke'em if you got'em.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 9, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

anybody have a link to the audio? My GameDay's stuck on the second inning.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

>I don't think you see me whining away about other people making comments very often, like you love to do about me. Usually I'm responding to someone's ideas or challenging their ideas. Isn't that what a conversation is supposed to be about?

Which personality is this? It's contrite, victim-like. Almost apologetic. The opposite side of the rage part. Maybe a blankey and a bottle would help right now?

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe that disgusted look on his face is on there because he's tired of Acta's mute leadership and seat-of-the-pants decision-making. Hey maybe the reason he hasn't signed a long term deal is because he said 'he doesn't want to lose 90 every year'. Hey maybe the reason Acta hasn't gotten an extension is because the front office doesn't believe in him either. Otherwise, he would have been signed before the season, because if he was a hotshot and they were worried about losing him, they wouldn't let him be available at the end of the year."

Maybe the reason Zimmerman has that foul look on his face is because he's like 1 for 12 now with a couple of nasty throwing errors already, and now he really wishes he'd signed up long-term for what they offered him last Saturday.

And expect Acta's option to be picked up before the All-Star Break if their record is any better than it was last year. And it will be. Why then? Because the press will start raising the issue around then, and they'll pick up the option just to shut them up.

Why didn't they do it after last season, if they believed in Acta? Because you don't do that after a 102-loss season if you don't have to, and they didn't have to. They gave Acta a supreme vote of confidence by not firing him along with all the coaches. He knows that, which is why you don't see him all spun up about the option even though everyone else is. He'll be back unless he really screws up. And he won't.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

>You bring up a very good point that I have overlooked. Manny's option has not been picked up. It's only 3 games but, he's not exactly off to a roaring start on the way to getting that option picked up.

Yeah, Manny's toast. I'm just hoping they get him out of there before this season turns into a train wreck too. I think there's some hope, especially if they bring up the young pitchers, that we may have a shot at .500. We need more hard throwers, and if they're 22, so be it - it's better than veterans who are running on fumes.

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Dazzled by RDS here.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 9, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And dang it, I found KF's audio link, but my computer doesn't like it.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 9, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Section505203,

Have you taken your meds today? Man, lighten up. Geez.

You've been bloviating for 2 days up on your high horse about how much you hate my posts. We got it, we know where you stand on the issue. For Pete's sake. If you don't like what I write, don't read it.

There are other things more important in life. I recommend hugging a family memeber (wife, kid, mom, etc.) Or hell, smoke'em if you got'em. No wait, don't do that, or you'll end up throwing like Scott Olsen and all wizened up and jerky looking like Randy St. Claire.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Manny Acta = Alan Trammell

Posted by: JayBeee | April 9, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John - I had to reload my page about 17 times before the audio would actually start.

Thanks for the link everyone. Charlie and Dave, this dude ain't, but I'll take it any way I can get it. (We're talking about baseball scores, people. Get out of the gutter.)

Posted by: Section138 | April 9, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

BobL - of course you're right on Millz - but still, come on, wouldn't he have upside as a 2b?

But, honestly, thanks for the needed dose of reality - the simple fact is this is going to be another season of weeding and picking among folks to see who pans out and who doesn't.

If Milledge doesn't work now at CF, though, I'm afraid he's not going to work at all - if he can't wrestle CF to a draw, he's going to be a career 4th OF - like Endy Chavez.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | April 9, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

> Which personality is this? It's contrite, victim-like. Almost apologetic. The opposite side of the rage part. Maybe a blankey and a bottle would help right now
-------------------------------------------

Brue, you seem to have me mixed up with one of your drunk friends. Or maybe yourself.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

>Why didn't they do it after last season, if they believed in Acta? Because you don't do that after a 102-loss season if you don't have to, and they didn't have to. They gave Acta a supreme vote of confidence by not firing him along with all the coaches.

I like this 'because you don't do that after a 102-loss season if you don't have to'. See - Jimbo let him keep the job because if he had gone to the Lerners and said, 'hey I want to fire this guy I chose even though he has a year left on his contract because I made a mistake', they would have fired HIS ass. And Jimbo will do anything to stay employed. He fired the REST of the coaching staff because that's as far as he could go without getting the ax. So now that Jimbo's gone, where's the vote of confidence? It's gone too. Just like Manny.

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, without question RDS=Nunof1

If not, they're long lost twins.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 9, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

S138, I was away from the 'puter but just checked and it's still in the same frame.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Chiefs up 3-2 on a single RBI from Kory Casto.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 9, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Funny you should say that, 138, I've been thinking how this dude is doing a pretty good job.

Casto with another RBI, bringing Cintron is with a single. He's 3-3.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 9, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Casto's a triple away from hitting for the cycle. He hit a 2-run homer earlier in the game.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 9, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I hear you JayBeee, as Barry would have said, that point of view is absolutely valid. It's just not the one that our front office is taking account of at the moment.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, guys, for the game updates and FF tips. Will check my s/w updates.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

" like this 'because you don't do that after a 102-loss season if you don't have to'. See - Jimbo let him keep the job because if he had gone to the Lerners and said, 'hey I want to fire this guy I chose even though he has a year left on his contract because I made a mistake', they would have fired HIS ass. And Jimbo will do anything to stay employed. He fired the REST of the coaching staff because that's as far as he could go without getting the ax. So now that Jimbo's gone, where's the vote of confidence? It's gone too. Just like Manny."

That's not what I meant. I meant they didn't re-up him at the end of last season because they didn't have to. If they'd done that right after losing 102, the press would have raised holy hell. But they definitely liked Manny then and wanted to keep him, or they'd have fired his ass right along with Lenny Harris et al. They liked him then, and they still like him now.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Anybody catch the final line on Zimmermann?

Posted by: WMPete | April 9, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman's out, pitched 5 and 1/3.

Four hits (two single-run homers), one walk, four strikeouts. Left a man on base when Bergmann came in to replace him.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 9, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

295, I have no idea whether Lastings has the tools to play second, but I am intrigued by all of the chatter over defensive stats that may be leading teams to put better defenders elsewhere and better hitters (and lesser defenders) at 2b, contrary to past practice. I don't think I want to watch Lastings attempt to make the switch at MLB level in the course of this season, but if Dukes supplants him in center and the coaching staff decides to try him at second in AAA, I'd be on board.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Make that three runs charged to Z-mann. Bergmann gave up an RBI single.

Score now tied 3-3.

I'm signing off as far as listening. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | April 9, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

It was the plug-in. Now it's working for me. Thanks to Old Dude for the detail on FF requirements (and the laugh).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Zimmermann was wild around the plate this afternoon (from what I get from the radio broadcast)

Posted by: Brian_ | April 9, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Also, on Manny, of course his option gets picked up. How many coaches have the demeanor to lead a young, unbalanced team that is not trying to win? They needed a steady hand in a storm, starring Jim Bowden as Neptune, doing crazy stuff like auditioning 35 castoffs for the rotation last year, and playing catchers at first and infielders in left in order to "showcase" them for trades (that worked out well). Things have improved slightly in that we have depth (although that poses some problems of its own), and he now has to deal with a young rotation (meaning, a potential blowout almost every day).

That requires a smart guy. An even-keeled guy. A guy without much of an ego, who deals with issues in the clubhouse and not in the press, maintains a positive vibe, never gets too high or too low. That's Manny. They will pick up his option.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

So, according to my calculations, that's a 5.06 ERA with a .937 WHIP and a 6.75 K/9. The best performance by a starting pitcher in the organization so far this year. Get Excited!

Posted by: WMPete | April 9, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Syracuse, nice piece on the GBE here:

http://blog.syracuse.com/chiefs/2009/04/first_baseman_brings_impressiv.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

BobL,

Just to play devil's advocate, what if they finish with over 100 losses again? (God help us.)

Do they still pick up his option?

Personally, I'm thinking, no. They will be forced to make a change, because it ain't workin'

Posted by: Section505203 | April 9, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

>But they definitely liked Manny then and wanted to keep him, or they'd have fired his ass right along with Lenny Harris et al. They liked him then, and they still like him now.

How many GMs not named Jim Bowden have fired entire staffs and kept the manager? Who the hell would think of something that stupid? The front office at the end of last season is not the same one that's in place now. So, it ain't the same 'they'. Rizzo got the gig too late in the spring to fire Acta and find a replacement from outside the organization, which is the way the job searches are conducted. They would have been limited to choosing someone within the organization, and that would have limited their choices. Not to mention the time constraint. You have no idea what Rizzo thinks about Acta. And neither does anyone else. But given all those circumstances, I'm sure his hands were tied, which means even if he did want to fire him, he wouldn't have been able to pick the candidate he wanted.

Posted by: Brue | April 9, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

uh oh. Glover can't hold 'em. Chiefs down 3-6 in the 8th after a dramatic episode of This Is Your Life, Gary Glover (hat tip to play-by-play guy).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I think it depends on the circumstances, 505203. If the players completely turn on him, then yeah let him go. If there's an injury-plague like last season, it'd be hard to fire a guy for something like that (and let's face it, not picking up option=firing). Plus there are absolutely no guarantees on the pitching staff this year whatsoever. Honestly, I don't see the Nats losing 100 again, but I wouldn't blame Acta if they did. A baseball manager can only do so much with the talent he's given. Sure, Torre and Francona are great managers, and they certainly contribute to their teams' success, but they're not going to make the Nats a playoff team, either.

Posted by: WMPete | April 9, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Re. Adenhart, Nats hitting coach Rick Eckstein might have some thoughts as he was an assistant coach with the Olympic baseball team on which the young man played.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

So sad for Nick Adenhart, his family, and the LA Angels. It's a sad day in Baseball. ;( Imagine that, pitching one night, then killed. So sad.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 9, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"They would have been limited to choosing someone within the organization, and that would have limited their choices. Not to mention the time constraint. You have no idea what Rizzo thinks about Acta. And neither does anyone else."

Rizzo ain't firing anyone until he gets that "Acting" removed from his title. Maybe you should harp on that one for a while.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"That requires a smart guy. An even-keeled guy. A guy without much of an ego, who deals with issues in the clubhouse and not in the press, maintains a positive vibe, never gets too high or too low. That's Manny. They will pick up his option.

Posted by: BobLHead"

Careful, BobLHead. You're agreeing with me. Next you'll be coming out and revealing the secret that YOU"RE ABM. I've always suspected that, you know.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

How can this be? I'm sitting here listening to Mike O'Meara on WJFK, a non-Nationals radio station, and I just heard an ad for Nationals tickets. Am I in Philadelphia or something? Everyone in DC knows the Nationals never do any marketing.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 9, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

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