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The 25th (Or 26th) Man On The Team

As it stands, today will probably be Kory Casto's penultimate game with the Nationals. The team is probably going to take a third catcher for its final roster spot, which means Casto will be placed on waivers. He'd have to clear through waivers before he could report to Class AAA Syracuse. There's no reason another organization would hesitate to pick him up.

Anyway, for today's paper, I wrote about Casto's battle to make the roster -- what it feels like for him, and what he's taken from it. The one lesson applicable to almost any player is this: The higher up you move within the game, the more complicated baseball becomes. At one point in one of our discussions, Casto, reflecting on some stories from earlier in his career, paused and said, "Now that we talk about it, it was so simple back then. You showed up and you played."

The Nats, to be sure, view Casto as a utility player. This bothers Casto beyond words. He wonders, at what point is he being held back by others' evaluations, and at what point does the limitation become his own talent? For athletes, that is one of the hardest questions to grapple with. Every season, a few guys emerge (Nate McLouth last year) who were always pegged with limitations, then received an opportunity and ran with it. But those are rare situations.


Manny Acta, speaking in general terms, not referencing Casto, said, "There are some guys, it doesn't matter what explanations you have for them [when you cut them]. There are, at times, a lot who are bad self-evaluators. A lot of guys sometimes think a lot more of themselves than everybody else does, or what they've been doing on the field and it becomes tough, because it doesn't matter what you tell them. We never lie to them; we tell them what we think. But they're either not listening or giving you excuses or one more explanation that we should give them. Those are the toughest guys... but it's just tough to not make the big league club when that is your goal."

Last year, when Casto was sent down to Class AAA Columbus, Acta suggested that Casto could eventually evolve into somebody like Rob Mackowiak.

Speaking from a personal standpoint, Casto strikes me as one of the most honest, straightforward people in the clubhouse; I'll evaluate him that way, rather than by his batting average. Several weeks back, when I explained to him the concept for this story -- chronicling the fight for a roster spot -- he was fully willing to make time for me. I hope the piece turned out okay.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 3, 2009; 7:28 AM ET
 
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Comments

Chico, One of the best stories you have written!!

Posted by: kgwcoach | April 3, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Within every life there's a Russian novel. Nice story, Chico.

Posted by: Sidebar | April 3, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Well done, Chico.

I truly feel for Casto. Perhaps all he needed was one Hernandez-like hot month when he got his call up opportunities. Alas, the dream of baseball has many sad endings. He may go out with his head held high--that is the best that many of us could hope for in life as well.

Posted by: driley | April 3, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Home run Mr. Harlan. Your best piece yet.

Posted by: Watson1 | April 3, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Hi, grammar Nazi here. In the article, shouldn't the phrase "because the minors is ruthless like that" be "because the minors are ruthless like that"? "minors" is actually "minor leagues," which is plural.

Other than that, great article.

Posted by: wahoo2x | April 3, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Spring Training is all about hope and optimism.

At the end of Spring Training, when Ryan Zimmerman and baseball fans are clamoring for the start of the season, the hope and optimism can fade for others.

I can think of no more appropriate story to close out a long Spring Training. Great choice, Chico. And you wrote the heck out of it, too.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 3, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I generally skip or skim the stuff about ballplayers as human beings. This was an excellent, compelling read.

Posted by: Scooter_ | April 3, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Chico -
I was traveling with the team last year in Philly in August when Casto got the word after the game on Aug 19th that he was being sent back to Columbus. It was in the middle of that horrible losing streak so players were already "down".

So there was Kory and his wife and baby in the lobby bar of the Ritz saying their goodbyes.

It was sad. I knew who Kory was but didn't really know him but anyone with 1/2 a brain could see the pain as everyone was giving encouragement including others who just as easily could have been in his shoes like Ryan Langerhans. I said to Kory, "hey you will be back up in 2 weeks" as I was sure he would be a September callup (which he was) but clearly nothing was going to make that moment better.

This potential "cut" could be even worse as staying on the MLB roster could create the break he needs. Passing through waivers and going back to AAA is just another "Groundhog Day" for him and his family.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 3, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth on NJ lately, and many of those doing the gnashing seem to have fangs. However, here is a sunnier look at things.

This morning, Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus gives his projected NL final standings based on his PECOTA system. Rail against it at will, but he projects the Nats to finish 77-85, 6 games ahead of the Marlins.

I would take that.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | April 3, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed the story but the problem is that most players have similar histories. Very few players make it to the majors without enormous effort and spending a lot of time in the minor leagues, waiting for their chance.

I always rooted for Kory simply because he was the organization's player of the year, two years in a row. Admittedly, the system was a little "dry" talent wise but still, he was our best player. That's a significant accomplishment and I hoped he might be rewarded.

The reality was the Nats drafted Zimmerman and Casto had to move from his "natural" position. Once the team started moving him to the outfield and first base, his fate was pretty much sealed.

I do think we have to be fair though. Kory was given a lot of at bats, during the last three spring trainings with the team. Also, while he never got regular playing time with the Nats, he had many opportunities to show what he could do as a bench player. He simply never hit consistently enough (average or power) to earn a job. That's the key: he had to earn his playing time and he never did.

Would life had been different if he had stayed at third or played every day at some point in time? One never knows. As an earlier poster wrote, a one-month hot streak might have made all the difference (or only delayed the inevitable).

I'm hoping Kory might get one more chance with the Nats or another team. I have a feeling the ending to his story isn't likely to change though. The major leagues is pretty selective, you cannot get a job merely by being a hard worker or a good team mate. You've got to produce and he hasn't proven he can contribute enough, offensively, to deserve a spot on the team.

Posted by: grforbes | April 3, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Chico, that was a superb story.

Grammar nazi, I view "the minors" as a collective noun, in which case subject-verb agreement wouldn't off there.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 3, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

wouldn't *be* off there, I meant.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 3, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Just a great article Chico. A touch of humanity on an otherwise cut throat competetive occupation. There is little room for sustained compassion in the pro sports world. It is always about getting the job done in the highest of standards. Nothing else matters in the end. I hope Kory has a career in baseball beyond his playing days, maybe we'll see him waving runners around 3rd base someday.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 3, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

That's what I loved about this story. It was on Kory Casto, but really it was on every single baseball player who'd ever been cut.

I *always* wonder about this stuff and I think it must be near impossible to get anyone in baseball to show us the human side of things. But somehow, Chico, you got him to give more than the standard answers about these things and for that you deserve a hefty pat on the back.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 3, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't this have been titled "The 26th (or 27th) Man on the Team"? Because the reality is that either Casto or the third catcher or someone else is gone from the roster as soon as they bring Zimmermann up to go to a 5-man rotation or Hernandez comes back off the DL, whichever comes first. If there was someone with options they could send down to preserve the likes of Casto, they would have done it already. Even if he makes the team for OD, his days with the Nats are still numbered.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 3, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut, you summed up why I loved the article so: "It was on Kory Casto, but really it was on every single baseball player who'd ever been cut."

Exactly.

(And yes, he had his chance and failed, and hard work ain't enough. That is both beside the point and the *entire* point.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | April 3, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I just read Ladson's article from yesterday and he writes about Cintron, Bard, and Casto. Seems Ladson knows what is going to happen with the only decision on Casto is whether he will be waived on Thursday or Friday:

Nationals made up their minds Wednesday that Alberto Gonzalez would be their backup infielder.

"We have already spoken to Alex Cintron," Nats manager Manny Acta said. "We are very happy that he is willing to go to Triple-A. We have very good inventory in Triple-A. He is going over there and play different positions."

With Cintron out of the picture, catcher Josh Bard more than likely will be a reserve on the 25-man roster. Bard would be a pinch-hitter, while catcher Wil Nieves would get occasional starts and be a defensive replacement.

As for infielder Kory Casto, he will likely be put on waivers either Thursday or Friday. He will know by Saturday if he will go to Triple-A Syracuse or be picked up by another club.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 3, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Chico,
You have really produced since the Washingtonian incident. Well done today.

1a,
For the best collective nouns go to the animal kingdom.

My personal favorite? Murder, as in a murder of crows, but pride, gaggle, covey, and pod are fun also.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | April 3, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Loved your Casto, Chico. Thanks. A makeup, character guy who falls short, talent-wise. An honest guy, a hard worker.

Unlike, say, BoBoOlsen, smoking his cigarette on a plastic chair in his fron yard, kicking the cops until they tasered him. Trailer trash incarnate.

And unlike prima donna Thrilledge, who WILL do things his way, which translates into the lazy, uncaring, also not-so-bright way.

Who is being referred to in the following passage? Olsen? Thrilledge?

“(He) has put the work in. He was really hungry. He wanted it. There were days when you had to shut him down. You thought he lived on the back field early in the spring. You hit him two buckets of balls and he would want more… 'The way he worked at it is very impressive. It shows what kind of character he has.''We had a night game this spring when guys would show up about [1 p.m], and he was here in the morning working out in the weight room. That's shows you what kind of guy he is. 'He is receptive. He asks a ton of questions all the time about everything. From a standpoint of a guy who wanted to work hard and learn he is off the charts. I'm a big fan. The thing I like about him is he wants to learn and get better. He is in the weight room early, doing footwork drills. I can't say a bad word about him.''


It's Boni boy!!! Makeup, character.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 3, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree with previous posters that there is really nothing unique to Casto's situation. He is one of many mid-late 20-something baseball players with 1) the pretty wife and small children, 2) just enough visuomotor and athletic skills to keep them in a minor league job, and 3) enough talent and breaks to have an occasional cup of coffee in the bigs, but who may not have enough talent to stay there.

You can't knock his earnest, lunchpail attitude. Casto is sort of the Anti-Manny-Ramirez, where Ramirez is on the upper-upper-upper tip of the bell curve on skills, but has the whole "Manny being Manny" B.S. I wonder if Casto and Ramirez ever shook hands, there would be some kind of cataclysmic explosion, like matter meeting anti-matter.

Posted by: saxguy007 | April 3, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

To be honest it seemed like a waste of space to me. Maybe because I know what this is like at a lower level but the Casto story is not unique in any way. He is a good guy, he has a family, yada yada yada.....their are a thousand like him every year......Casto did not make it like just like so many before him, but it is not sad….it is not unique…it does not tell us anything about him or the Nats....he had his chance like everyone else and he came up short. Time to move on with his life.....it happens to all of us just at different times and in different professions.

I would have much rather seen a story about the trades needed to clean up this roster or perils of keeping players because of guaranteed salary or unrealized potential. This is the story of Spring Training that will have an impact on the Nats

Posted by: JayBeee | April 3, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

... Chico, thank you so much for this story about Kory Casto. I have been partial to Kory ever since he was drafted by the Expos, and have watched each spring as he did his very utmost (as your story so well describes) to make the big team. In all that time, I never once heard of Kory complaining about his fate.

... now he faces the kind of future that the overwhelming majority of society does – having done everything he could and still didn’t reach his goal. As fans, we all know the names and faces of the guys who DID make it, whether due to some lucky breaks or because of their own efforts. But we quickly forget – and thereby miss the lesson of – the ones who tried hard but didn’t get there anyway.

... I started a baseball novel a year or so ago, and by coincidence, based my main character on someone like Kory Casto. This story and others like it (about him) will surely be placed in a folder as resources for my own efforts. Will that story ever reach success? Who knows? But if it doesn’t, that alone will be the metaphor for the game and the bulk of the guys who don’t just dream about playing, but who get out there and try. Win or lose, they are the real heroes of baseball.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | April 3, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

SP63, true, there are some hilarious collective nouns relating to animals.

saxguy, can we also throw Paul Lo Duca and Sal Fasano into the meet-and-greet mix? Heads might explode. A recent Baseball Insider photo brought to mind another great baseball piece (IMO), this one about Fasano:

http://www.rd.com/content/printContent.do?contentId=89787&KeepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=500&width=790&modal=true

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 3, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

".it happens to all of us just at different times and in different professions."

Sadly, it leaves some of us more time to post stupid crap in the comments to blog entries.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 3, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

natscanreduxit, please keep us posted on progress with the baseball novel. Seriously.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 3, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Well played, Uncle T.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 3, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

would have much rather seen a story about the trades needed to clean up this roster or perils of keeping players because of guaranteed salary or unrealized potential. This is the story of Spring Training that will have an impact on the Nats

Posted by: JayBeee | April 3, 2009 9:36 AM

Seems to me like we've heard the story about trades needed to clean up the roster. over and over and over again.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 3, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, JayBeee, I will never understand your negativity. Chico's piece today was really good and is representative of every 26th man on every roster.

Can you please refrain from grinding your axe for just one day?

Posted by: Brian_ | April 3, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Have we....who are they taking too and what is being offered? How much of Kearns and or Johnsons salary are they willing to eat. How much should they eat to get a prospect. What is the right mix and is this a good way to add depth to the farm system in lue of draft picks. What is the Type A or B free agent implications for Johnson and Kearns and Willingham.....I must have missed this in depth reporting.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 3, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

" would have much rather seen a story about the trades needed to clean up this roster or perils of keeping players because of guaranteed salary or unrealized potential. This is the story of Spring Training that will have an impact on the Nats

"Posted by: JayBeee | April 3, 2009 9:36 AM"

Haha, you're such a proceduralist, JayB. Lawyer? You're right about where the real story is, but stopping to smell these roses isn't bad. After all, not everyone is a baseball fan yet, and I know at least one (very beautiful and red-headed) person who came to love baseball because of the stories long before the stats meant anything to her.

Posted by: Section506 | April 3, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

okay this is getting ridiculous. I need to get to work people! what IS it about this blog that has me addicted?

And it's not just chico's posts. lord knows I refreshed 150 times a day when we were getting nuthin' from him. It's YOU GUYS. Stop it! Stop being interesting and funny and fellow baseball-lovers or I'll never get anything done again!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 3, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

JayB,

I will give you one thing, you are consistent.

Did you by chance ever play the role of The Tin Man in a school or community play? If not, you may want to consider it.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 3, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Brian,

Is the Casto story unique in any way? Is it a story you did not know in any way? My point is that the only baseball reporting we seem to get is the personal interest reporting. Where is the meat.....seems Tracy told us just the other day that Redskins bumped Nats out of the paper......I have a problem with Washington Post and Chico falling in love with human interest stories when real baseball stories either do not get written or do not get printed.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 3, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Jesus.

"who are they taking too and what is being offered?"
This team doesn't leak. NOBODY is reporting anything, even from the other end. There's no news if there aren't leaks.


"How much of Kearns and or Johnsons salary are they willing to eat."
You think Kasten's going to talk money? Have you been paying attention at all these last few years?

"How much should they eat to get a prospect."
That's an opinion. Chico writes facts.

"What is the right mix and is this a good way to add depth to the farm system in lue of draft picks."
I'm not sure that's a question.

"What is the Type A or B free agent implications for Johnson and Kearns and Willingham"
A decent question. That'd take two lines though. And a helluva boring story.

"I must have missed this in depth reporting."
It's cold and lonely up Milledge's butt, isn't it?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 3, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"Everything is handed to the younger generation, and they don't ever have to sweat. You have 20-year-old kids getting out of school with no real-world experience."

This quotation from Casto cracked me up. He's only 26.

Posted by: Section506 | April 3, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

JayBeee - You are not the typical baseball fan (nor are the majority of the people who comment here). Hardcore baseball fans are aware of things like Casto is experiencing. But the casual fan who picks up the sports section today WILL gain something from it. It humanizes an aspect of the sport that the casual fan typically would not consider. I for one enjoyed Chico's article and moreover Casto's candor.

The endless harping on why the Post isn't doing X really gets tedious and turns into noise for the most aprt.

Posted by: Brian_ | April 3, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I remember going to a game last year where Kasto was either playing first or on first as a runner, and he was standing next to Ryan Howard (I think). And I realized several things: 1. If Kasto were to make it as a ballplayer, he'd have to really work hard, because there are tons ballplayers out there which a lot more God-given abaility. 2. Are these guys not hitting the weights? 3. In addition to mamouth Howard, Kasto was dwarfed by the first base umpire, which made me sad.

Posted by: dclifer | April 3, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

There are not leaks witht the Nats.....come on....nobody is asking the right questions of the right guys. I walked about minor league camp for 4 days.......people will talk you just have to have good questions and passion for the game.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 3, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Excellent story, Chico. Thanks!

Posted by: ajtrue78 | April 3, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Then, JayBee, why aren't we hearing anything about the Nats from the Times either? Why isn't Bill Ladson getting this?

Why isn't the LA Times, which covers the Angels, reporting on anything about NJ to the Angels? Why isn't the Oakland paper on any NJ rumors? Why isn't the AJC talking about Kearns to the Braves?

But you were in Florida for four days? you've heard it all? Someone alert the Pulitzer Committee.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 3, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Good grief. Post of the Day.

-----

I wonder if Casto and Ramirez ever shook hands, there would be some kind of cataclysmic explosion, like matter meeting anti-matter.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 3, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Maybe he was born old, 506. Like George Bailey.

---

This quotation from Casto cracked me up. He's only 26.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 3, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Chico, despite all of the stops and starts, this was your ST master-piece. There is no other sport that compares with the highs and lows that is a baseball career and your piece brought that to life. Kory Casto is no different then a million other guys over the past 140 years that have tried to make it to "the show". Good luck #5, whatever you end up doing in life be sure to bring that same level of intensity that you brought to MLB.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 3, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

One can get all the trade rumors from other places on the 'net. Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports is like a pig after truffles on that beat. MLBTraderumors.com collects them from other sources.

You need someone like Chico to write these kinds of stories about DC players, because nobody else gives a hoot yet. The rumors and stats aren't all that make baseball so interesting. If there wasn't so much depth and texture to the game, someone like natscanreduxit wouldn't be inspired to write novels about it. With nine different positions and several additional sub-disciplines among them, that novel doesn't always eventually have to be about "Five seconds left! 3-2-1 He shoots! He scores!!!"

For someone like Kory Casto, it's a trip through multiple positions, through multiple little burgs, and then contemplation of a future in plumbing. That's good stuff, and Chico presented it very well. That's meat to me.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | April 3, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Have we....who are they taking too and what is being offered? How much of Kearns and or Johnsons salary are they willing to eat. How much should they eat to get a prospect."

JayBeee, take it from me. They don't like food talk much around here, even though their main man Chico is a closet food critic. Actually, he's out of the closet now on that, thanks to Washingtonian magazine. Too bad Washingtonian is laying off writers now, so they won't even notice the audition piece Chico wrote for them today. But I digress.

Anyway, JayBeee, a word of advice. If you want to make friends and influence people around here, change your approach. Pick up the proper terminology. Like "inventory." Yeah, that's where it's at.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 3, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

not to continue to pile on but I have not read one positive thought from JayBee in the short time I have started reading this blog - If its not Milledge its Chico or the Post - the man is just not happy unless he is unloading - I loved the story, love baseball and figure the manager and FO will make the decisions and then as situations occur make changes - that's one of the great things about the game - I honestly doubt if JayBee has fun with the game, he is too busy being negative

Posted by: sjm3091 | April 3, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Being negative and pessimistic is perfectly fine. I'm that way typically, and it's a strangely enjoyable way of appreciating the game. It is, after all, a game built on failure.

But the same two complaints every single day phrased over and over in the exact same ways? Get some creativity, man.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 3, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

LOVED your story, Chico, so much more interesting than how much so and so is being paid or then hearing that athlete whine about not being respected. We all know in the back of our minds how hard the minor leagues are, but to read specific stories makes it so much more real. Good job, Chico man :)

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 3, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"For someone like Kory Casto, it's a trip through multiple positions, through multiple little burgs, and then contemplation of a future in plumbing."

Where for the rest of his life he'll be treated as a hero. Because what other plumber will have gotten a $400,000 bonus just to sign? The rest of them have to wait unti their first day on the job to start raking in that kind of coin.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 3, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"But the same two complaints every single day phrased over and over in the exact same ways? Get some creativity, man."

Or a spell-checker, at least.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 3, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Jesus, JayB, grow a heart.

First of all, what makes this story to pertinent is that it isn't unique. There are dozens of players facing this very reality this weekend. Kasto, then, is a microcosm of the hard reality that many of us rarely look at. We think transactionally, neglecting to realize that these are actual human beings.

And for one day as Spring Training closes, it's a good perspective piece. We have the two Baltimore Battles coming up, followed by another off day, followed by Opening Day. Followed by 161 other games, 17 more off days, and the All-Star break. There's plenty of time to resume regarding these men as machines.

And Chico can't make up the news. If it's no there, there's nothing to report. We all know what this team needs, and we've been discussing it during this very long Spring Training session. If Chico knows anything he hasn't told us, it's off the record or unreportable. I, for one, can do without an article full of innuendo in favor of today's piece.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 3, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I think 99% of the posters here get it. It's not always whats between the lines that makes the story. Thanks Chico.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 3, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Chico - your story today on Casto was excellent! Thanks! Now I want him to make the team.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | April 3, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for showing the human side of a baseball player. Bummer that he has hit only .152 in Spring Training...hope he catches on somewhere...

Posted by: Bellasdad | April 3, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice one, Chico. Bravo Zulu.

"I wonder if Casto and Ramirez ever shook hands, there would be some kind of cataclysmic explosion, like matter meeting anti-matter."

The REAL cataclysmic explosion would be if Chico stopped writing stories like these. Or -- heaven forbid -- if Nj disappeared. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | April 3, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I have to wholeheartedly agree with JohninMpls. It's amazing to think of baseball as an arena for individual failure because all that's given thought to is the failure of the team, or the failure of an individual as it relates to the failure of the team, if that makes sense.

Chico's story really shed light on the entire race of baseball players that we know exists, but don't bother to consider. In a world where baseball is increasingly (but not totally) dominated by Manny Ramirez's and dollar signs, it's refreshing to hear about someone who wants to be remembered by the fact that he "did everything he could" and not by how many home runs he hit.

I loved the story, Chico. Great job.

Posted by: margkcars | April 3, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

A great story, Chico. You should be proud of your result, even if you'd rather have Sietsema's job.

As for Casto himself -- I know he's struggled to hit major league pitching, but I think his new strength will pay off. I always thought he was too slender -- he looked like a utility guy, not a starter. I do hope that he somehow slips through waivers, because I think the Nats need him around. Lest we forget, Zimmerman has a hole in his shoulder labrum. Casto is a third baseman. For his own career, I could hope that he lands with some team that will need a new 3rd baseman in the next year or two. As a Nats fan, I wish he could stick around.

Posted by: fischy | April 3, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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