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Leading Off (The Morning Reading), Lastings Milledge

For the past couple weeks, Lastings Milledge has been living out of a hotel room in Syracuse. His new manager, Class AAA skipper Tim Foli, does not view him as a leadoff man, and has been filling out lineup cards accordingly. Nobody from the Washington front office has contacted Milledge, and Milledge hasn't closely following the Nationals -- though he has kept in touch with Elijah Dukes and Willie Harris.

We know, at the very least, that Matt Gelb will escape Syracuse before Lastings ever does. Gelb, a talented soon-to-graduate senior at Syracuse University (or rather, Daily Orange University), contributed this piece on Milledge, whose career has taken a vicious curve in the last month.

Milledge is now trying to deal with what he calls the biggest disappointment of his professional career.

"My whole life, I've been playing this game for a long time, I could take a lot of stuff, more stuff than anyone else," Milledge said. "That's the edge I have. I don't get discouraged easy. I have thick skin. I don't care what anybody says about me. I think that's what makes me better than another person getting sent down. I know I can overcome anything. There's nothing in this game I can't take."

To understand where things derailed, you have to trace back to the spring, when Manny Acta named Milledge as Washington's leadoff hitter and everyday centerfielder. In retrospect, Milledge received a role that proved too difficult for him. And Milledge's failures -- both at the plate and in the field -- during the first week of the season also backed Acta into a corner. Pull Milledge so quickly into the season, and the manager would look indecisive or reactive. Stick with Milledge, and he'd risk more losses with better-qualified players on the bench. Demoting Milledge solved the problem. Also, it gave Milledge what those in Washington's front office describe as a wake-up call; for the first time as a pro, Milledge would have to earn his way back.

Milledge, looking back, said he was mildly surprised to be named the leadoff hitter by Acta with a few weeks left in spring training.

"It was a good opportunity for me," Milledge said. "I was excited, but I knew I would struggle a little bit, just like I knew I would struggle in centerfield last year. But I never said anything. I just go work as hard as I can. I knew I would struggle. I knew I wouldn't get off to a hot start. I knew that myself because of the change of style in my hitting."

Through 14 games with the Chiefs, Milledge is hitting .263 (15-for-57) with four doubles and no homers. He has walked three times, struck out 11. It all translates into a .300 OBP and a .333 SLG. Regarding the lack of power: Milledge has now gone 81 at bats this year (compiling MLB and AAA stats) without a homer. Take it back even further, and Milledge had just one homer in 73 spring training at bats. Milledge's only explanation for this -- that he always needs some time to find his power -- prompts a reference to 2008. Last year, he didn't homer in April (94 ABs) and homered just twice in May (101 ABs). He ended up with 14 homers, which led a painfully Dunn-less, powerless team.

One other thing to note here. Foli, so far, likes what he sees in Milledge -- at least with respect to hustle and work ethic. Said Foli: "You'd be pretty stupid to not understand how high the ceiling would be on a Lastings Milledge if he got it all together."

A few other links for some morning reading...

If you have tickets for tonight's game, watch the weather.

Here's a snapshot from a different era in the career of Mike MacDougal, courtesy of the great Joe Posnanski.

Some good photos from Miss Chatter of the Nats' Saturday night gala.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 4, 2009; 8:29 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Chatter Up: Chico
Next: Lineups

Comments

LM doesn't hit very well, doesn't hit with much power, throws average at best and fields poorly. If we didn't see him again in a Nats uniform that would be OK with me. Dukes has much more upside and even Willie Harris comes to the park with better tools -- and much more respect for the game -- than LM.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | May 4, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"LM doesn't hit very well, doesn't hit with much power"

Well, see, the thing is he CAN hit. And he CAN hit with power. He did both the second half of last season. If, as he says, he needs time to find his power then maybe he should consider playing winter ball. Then he could find his power there and show up at spring training with it, when it might actually be of some use.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

From the Gelb article ...
He says he has lost faith in the organization's coaching staff. "From now on, I'm going to do what I feel like I have to do to be the best for the team, regardless of what other people say," Milledge said. "When it's all said and done, I know myself better than anyone else."


After reading the Gelb article I'm starting to change my mind that Manny shouldn't finish out the season. Before I would have said to keep Acta until the end of the year and then get rid of him. Now I'm more convinced that he needs to go.

I'm surprised Milledge is throwing Acta under the bus after Acta nearly fell on his own sword for him. Regardless, Dukes is better than Milledge.

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 4, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Why should Milledge listen to coaches when he knows best? Why should he show up on time for meetings and practice when he knows best? Every last place team needs a prima donna, I guess. I'm just glad ours is in Syracuse.

Posted by: rbelleisle | May 4, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

i will rarely take the players side against the manager or organization.

i don't see or hear anything from milledge that makes me think he should be on anyone's major league roster right now.

Posted by: longterm | May 4, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Milledge has picked up his average since his 1st week down on the farm and whether he stays or not as Nats fans we should hope he improves as maybe he can be traded or come back and be productive as a corner outfielder.

His power numbers should come back after he straightens out his stroke.

Thanks for the link on MissChatter's photos from the Gala. They are nice photos to see without all the personal self-promotion that I saw on another Nats Blog site where the Blog holders were each posing in almost every picture. So glad Chico searched the Blogosphere for that link.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | May 4, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

From the last post ...
____________
I bet he thinks this song is about him.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 4, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse
____________
The question is, do I keep reading today's comments, knowing that this cannot possibly be topped? That's the problem with peaking early.

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 4, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Now, for my own take ...

The received wisdom here has been that Acta annointed Milledge as the leadoff dude because he was so in love with young Lastings and thought he was just the bee's knees and couldn't possibly fail. What if it was, rather, a final attempt to kick-start the player into changing his approach? If he won't work on patience in the leadoff spot, he won't do it anywhere.

So ... let the kid do it his way. He's still got one heck of a swing. Not everybody follows the same path to success.

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 4, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Milledge sounds like he's a very knowledgeable young man, constantly talking about how he knows what's best for him, while playing himself off the worst team in the major leagues. He's not exactly burning up the world in Syracuse, either with his OPS of .633.

I suggest he pick up and read a book titled, "It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts." It's by a guy named Earl Weaver, who, I'm told, also knew a little about baseball - though possibly not as much as Lastings Milledge knows.

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 4, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

No News here....move along...we pointed all these issues out in Febuary....too bad Acta does not listen.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 4, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

So Lastings' attitude has been "great"? Is that what they call ripping the major league coaching staff? LM should kept his head down, play some ball, get better, and prove he is worth something.

I wouldn't put the blame on Acta. If LM had his way, he'd swing at whatever pitch, never walk, and bat 3rd. The first two may be fine for a rookie, but won't cut it if he wants to make baseball his career.

Posted by: dclifer | May 4, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

a new book by Ron Darling
http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/books/05/04/weber.darling.baseball/index.html

Posted by: dclifer | May 4, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Matt. I gave Chico credit for your story. Good job, btw. It's the kind of story we crave around here.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 4, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Chico... Last season, Milledge had a home run in the second game of the season, against the Phillies in Philadelphia... but if I remember correctly that was March 31, so technically it wasn't April... but it was a regular season game. Not that it matters much, he went 0-for-the-rest-of-the-month.

Posted by: wigi | May 4, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"I also cannot see the Nats signing Strasburg. He might go across country to a contending team with a winning record of developing and/or trading for talent and drawing big crowds, but not to a ragtag franchise bereft of any of those qualities. "

If, as you suggest, Boras steers Strasburg away from signing with the worst team in baseball, sending him off to the independent leagues or Japan to wait out a year until the 2010 draft, what will be his lot then? He will be drafted by whichever team is the worst team in baseball this year. Really, as long as there is no trading of draft picks allowed in MLB, there is no way to steer Strasburg away from being drafted by a terrible team. Boras can't manipulate the system to steer Strasburg to a contender, and believe me Boras knows this. All he can do is get as much money for his player as the system will allow. At midnight on Aug 15th, Boras, the Nationals and the rest of us will know what that amount is.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

When LM was sent down, I said either he would straighten himself out or, more likely, would continue to blame everyone but himself.

I think we already have our answer.

He's a good hitter, and it may well be that the Nationals, in trying to fill a need for which he was ill-suited, bear some blame for making him hit leadoff. After all, Foli doesn't seem to think he's a leadoff hitter, either.

But that attitude is just going to kill him. It's almost too tragic to watch. But I'd rather see it happen in Syracuse than in Washington. At least our troubles up here are largely confined to the bullpen (with an extra error here and there as well).

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 4, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm afraid I really just don't get the Milledge hate. I'd be interested to know if it's a generational thing.

Posted by: Section506 | May 4, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm afraid I really just don't get the Milledge hate. I'd be interested to know if it's a generational thing.

Posted by: Section506 | May 4, 2009 11:17 AM |
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Agreed with this and other optimistic comments that you want an overload of talent so you can trade for specific needs or stockpile for next year where most likely Kearns and Nick Johnson will be gone.

Dunn may be moved to 1st so the OF may be Willingham LF, Dukes CF, Milledge RF with Bernadina and Maxwell as the backups.

-OR- Milledge shows progress and is traded for a Relief pitcher, 2nd baseman or 1st baseman.

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 4, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

It is NOT a generational thing or a racial thing…….. is a Milledge thing!

If either were true you would see issues with Dukes. The issue is Milledge thinks he is a great player and he thinks everyone should take his word for it….weather he shows it ever is not important to him.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 4, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Milledge will not ever play for a Rizzo team. If Rizzo does not get the job then maybe he stays but I really do not think the type of GM Stan will pick is going to trust Milledge with no options left. Nope he will be traded for whatever they can get as soon as he shows some power at AAA.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 4, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"I don't think he's a leadoff hitter," Syracuse Manager Tim Foli said.

Wow. What an indictment on Acta.
If nothing else, the managers main job is to put the player in the best position to succeed. Despite everything pointing in the other direction, Acta promoted Milledge to leadoff. And even though in spring training Milledge failed, Acta kept him there for all of 7 games and then instead of moving him down in the lineup he sent him down to the minors where the minor league coach basically called out Acta saying Milledge wasn't a leadoff hitter.
Holy Smokes!!

Posted by: dovelevine | May 4, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Well, given that from my POV, the whole team is pretty much the same generation, i.e., all young enough to be my children, but not young enough to be my grandchildren or old enough to be my siblings, I'd say, no, it's not a generational thing.

I think it's an attitudinal thing - distaste and frustration regarding a young player who obviously will need a lot more development both on the field and between the ears, who nevertheless seems to think he knows it all. As long as he thinks he doesn't need to learn anything, he'll never be a major-league player, for al his natural talent.

And FWIW, I think Martis and Zimmermann are great, and they're both younger than Milledge. They're both obviously more developed than Milledge, and I don't recall either of them talking like they know it all.

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 4, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Said Foli: "You'd be pretty stupid to not understand how high the ceiling would be on a Lastings Milledge if he got it all together."

That pretty much sums it up - the question is, can he "get it all together?" This is probably the most important season in his career. If he can hit his way out of Syracuse, he may turn a corner. Right now, though, whether his approach is aggressive or patient or anything else, he's not hitting well. A .633 OPS in AAA is a great way to stay in AAA.

Posted by: Section220 | May 4, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Exactly....Milledge has no one to blame but himself.....and he can not do that so....there it is.....

Posted by: JayBeee | May 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Really, as long as there is no trading of draft picks allowed in MLB, there is no way to steer Strasburg away from being drafted by a terrible team."

There is a way of steering him away from certain teams, such as floating the ridiculous $50M bonus idea. But I also disagreed with your assumption that "terrible teams" will always be there from one year to the next. Case in point, the Rays last year, drafted #1 despite winning the NL East. Seattle with the #2 pick this year is currently in 1st place in the AL West.

And Strasburg wouldn't necessarily have to play for the Ft. Worth Cats or in Japan. He can always go back to college, though that too would be a huge mistake.

Posted by: dclifer | May 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Some good photos from Miss Chatter of the Nats' Saturday night gala.

By Chico Harlan | May 4, 2009; 8:29 AM ET

____________________________________

Thanks for the link. Chico, were you there? How's about Bill Ladson? I saw a Promo that MASN will be doing a show on the Gala.

This was funny on the MissChatter link:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3353/3497269210_22d6be0812.jpg?v=0

Whose basket was that? I thought the MLB frowns upon any tobacco product......Do tell!!!

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 4, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

All in all, there isn't much difference between a leadoff and #2 hitter. Leadoff hitters typically have more speed and #2 hitters more bat control. But generally, you want them to see a bunch of pitches. If Foli doesn't want him to bat leadoff, then fine, LM was a major leaguer all last year, so he's going to bat somewhere in the top 4 of a AAA lineup. I don't think that's a huge deal. The problem, as I see it, is LM was asked to bat 1st and see some pitches. When he failed at both of those tasks, he blamed his coaches and the circumstances. He talks a whole ton and doesn't back it up.

Posted by: dclifer | May 4, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Case in point, the Rays last year, drafted #1 despite winning the NL East. Seattle with the #2 pick this year is currently in 1st place in the AL West.

Posted by: dclifer | May 4, 2009 11:40 AM

*******

Um. First, Rays are in AL East.

Second, draft order is based on standings the year before. Rays picked first because they were LAST IN ALL OF BASEBALL the year before.

Third. Rarely do teams go from last to first. And it's too early to call Seattle's standings right now.


Posted by: NatsNut | May 4, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Exactly....Milledge has no one to blame but himself.....and he can not do that so....there it is....."

So why do you persist in blaming Acta for Milledge? As soon as he definitively showed that he was never going to cut it as leadoff/CF, they sent him down. Acta most certainly had major input into that decision. I could see blaming Acta if they were still stubbornly running Milledge out there now, but they're not. They tried him at leadoff/CF, he failed, they moved on. Maybe you should too, instead of continuing to blame Acta.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

In addition to the leadoff experiment, is the CF experiment over with Milledge? If his hitting comes back, he might value for some team as a LF candidate.

Posted by: CapPeterson | May 4, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

And Fourth: When the Rays picked their #1 draft, there's no way that draftee or his agent could have known they would end up going to the Series.

When he was drafted, the Rays were likely still considered a pretty sucky team.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 4, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that Milledge was late for Acta's begiining of the season meeting the Sunday before opening day. Great way to start the season. If I recall, Manny did not bench him for the opener so he received some major slack. The Nat's don't have a natural leadoff man and LM was given a chance and he showed no inclination not to mention his miserable fielding. With the logjam in the OF his "My Way" approach isn't going to cut it. The crappy attitude and sense of entitlement will make it difficult no matter where he ends up. I think Manny did the right thing by pulling the trigger early with the problem child. He PO'ed the veterans on the Mets and I have a feeling the same scenario was developing here. I think it also sends the message that we now have good enough players that we don't need to coddle bad actors with potential.

Posted by: SackMan | May 4, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I have three words for Milledge to remember: Wily Mo Pena. All potential, no production. Currently toiling away for the Buffalo Bisons, which is a short hop from Syracuse.

Posted by: HistoryBoy | May 4, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Hi, from the No. 1 Nats fan in Asheville, NC.
I stated earlier that I felt that Elijah Dukes is the one who should be our center fielder and hopefully can take over that position and be our center fielder for a long time. The move to option Lastings Milledge to Syracuse was the right thing to do, as he needs further development. Now, where he will fit in as the Nats try to fill their holes - of which there are many - and with so many outfielders crowding for three positions, is another story. That remains to be seen. I wish him luck in his stint at Syracuse, and if he is to be in the Nats outfield in the future, it will happen. But Dukes is the man and now it's up to him to really claim that position. If he does, that takes care of one of our holes. :-)

Posted by: sfr123 | May 4, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

If LM is saying he has lost faith in th ecoaching staff and is going to ignore them, then all hope is lost. He has to be traded. Or better yet, demote him again - this time to A-ball and let him work his way up from there. I wanted to be a Lastings Milledge fan, but he just can't shut up. He is his own worst enemy. This has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the coaches. It has to do with his refusal to put in the work, to take accountability, to play the game right, and to shut up.

Imagine how the public's perception of him would be different, if he would just follow the Bull Durham Rules and limit his comments to:
- "We gotta play 'em one day at a time.",
- "I'm just happy to be here and hope I can help the ballclub.",
- "I just wanta give it my best shot and, Good Lord willing, things'll work out."


Posted by: natbiscuits | May 4, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, he’s toast. This hot dog is auditioning for a bun at another club just now. Eck, et al wanted one thing. And Lastings (in a paean to Derby parlance, of a horse who will not leave the starting gate when the bell rings) REFUSED.

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Manny then: “I think the people in D.C. and the Major Leagues are going to enjoy this guy for a long time." Chico then: “The guy will be, at worst, a .270-.280 hitter with 20-25 HRs annually once he reaches his prime. That's the worst-case scenario.”

Lastings then: “Manny thinks I'm a center fielder. I think I'm a center fielder.”

Again: "I don't really compare myself to a major league player, ‘cause I want to be more special than somebody else.” “Milledge … weighs every word rather than blurt out answers to questions.”

And again: “I stay on my same routine whether I'm in minor league camp or big league camp. Nobody is going to change who I am. Nobody is going to change my persona. I am what I am. That's what I'm going to be, whether I'm here or on the other side.”

Yet again: “I did it my way. Nobody else told me what I need to do. I didn't try nobody else's way. I tried my way.”

Yada, yada: "New York is not a tough place to play. It is all mental. I know how to handle the media and I played in front of 35,000 fans when I was 12 years old. So New York is not going to be tough.”

Sigh: "Where some people have difficulty is when they're failing and the fans are all over them. I know how to get myself back into gear. No matter how many people in the world tell me I'm not good, I have confidence in myself. I know how good I am."

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz: “Nobody’s going to run me out of there. One of these times, it might catch me and put me out for a while, but when I come back, I’ll be right there. That’s just how I hit. You just try to take one part of the plate away and pitchers might not like it. But they have to deal with it because I’m going to be there. If I get hit more, I get hit more. It’s just putting yourself in the best hitting position you can and being comfortable where you are. And I don’t feel comfortable anyplace else other than right on the plate.”

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Nunof1, et al blindly insist that Mr. Thrilledge will not be traded, will remain a part of the Nats. Yet he is through with the coaching staff and they are through with him. Choose Milledge or Eckstein. He’ll be traded, as soon as his numbers improve. Perhaps one day, someone will deliberately throw at his head, because that is what happens to mouthy, egocentric punks. When he is beaned, the trainer will come in to see if the ball is ok.

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Man!
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/05/03/nats.strasburg/index.html

Plus, Pedro Gomez had a piece on Strasburg yesterday.

Posted by: dclifer | May 4, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

There's only one bull Durham rule that matters, and it's this one:

"Well, I believe in the soul. The cock. The pussy. The small of a woman's back. The hanging curveball. High fiber. Good scotch. That the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional Amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days."

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

CapP - I think that's the biggest question about Milledge, all the endless psycho-analyzing of his attitude and whether or not he "respects the game," etc. aside.

Putting aside all that hoo-ha and focusing on his production, Milledge has always had sort of a "tweener" skill set. He's always hit well, but never really great in the minors - he's a career .853 OPS, which looks great, but then you notice that his production (and especially his power) declined at each higher level. His slugging dropped from .527 - A to .449 to .440 to a career .400 slugging in MLB. So, at higher levels, he hasn't really hit for a LOT of power, and certainly not enough to take up one of the corner OF spots. So, that's what led Manny and others to say "Leadoff guy - CF," because if he can put up a .270 - .350 - .440 line AND be defensively adequate in CF, then he's got a chance to be a player.

The other alternative - and I don't really know if it's any more or less likely - is that he's got to develop more power and become more of a corner OF guy - he's got to get his power at AAA back up into the .460-.470-ish range and make him a middle of the order 25-30HR guy.

The trouble is, he's caught between those things now - he doesn't hit for enough power to be a really useful LF/RF guy, and he can't play enough defense or walk enough to be a prototypical CF/leadoff guy. Right now, his skillset says "AAAA phenom" - yes, he led the team in HR's last year, but took 587 plate appearances to do it.

And THAT's where the attitude of "I do it my way" is hurting him - he got through high school and A-ball and AA-ball doing it his way and letting his skills outshine everybody else. Well, now he's finding that his skills aren't better than everyone else's at the MLB level. So the question Millz needs to ask himself is "Do you want to listen to good advice, work hard to develop your skills, do things in a more sustainable way and have an MLB career, or do you want to do it your way and flame out as an AAA player?"

It's not too late - he's only 24. Most guys don't reach their full power potential till later in their 20's, but he needs to figure out how to find the power stroke against guys who aren't making as many mistakes as in A and AA ball and either develop power or go to serious work at becoming a better CF. Being a can't-field-CF or a no-power-LF is a great way to ride buses professionally.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | May 4, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Nunof1, et al blindly insist that Mr. Thrilledge will not be traded"

Tell me, has he been traded yet? Nope. All I ever said was that he wouldn't be traded. I never said why.

And it's still looking like he won't be traded, isn't it?

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

very, very inappropriate language, nunof.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 4, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I didn't write it, natsnut. It's a direct quote from the Bull Durham screenplay. And while I was prepared to clean it up if the WaPo content screening software balked at it, there was no objection raised there, so I didn't. And yes, there is content screening on the comments here - I've bumped up against it in the past, on much more innocuous words that I thought would surely not be objectionable. So if you really think it's inappropriate for some reason, I suggest you ask the Post to modify their content-screening software accordingly.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The Bull Durham rules on dealing with the media were at least relevant. The ramblings about passions had no relevance to this discussion whatsoever.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 4, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

nunof, NatsNut is of course correct. That's inappropriate for this forum. Even your brand of ill logic can't possibly believe that because you're quoting something and it passes automated filtering, that that makes it appropriate by default.

So disappointing, since you seemed to be going through a lucid spell lately.

Posted by: joebleux | May 4, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Nunof,

Instead of your rambling excuse of which you put the blame on the Post, wouldn't it have beem much easier and more appropriate to just say:

"My apologies NatsNut and anyone else I may have offended?"

Geez, I mean, are you kidding me?

Posted by: Section505203 | May 4, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who wrote it, nunof, it's not appropriate to post.

Speaking of throwing at hitters, as nova was, wonder whether A-Rod will be taking any incoming after the recent pitch-tipping allegations:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/ted_keith/04/30/ted.keith/index.html?eref=si_mlb

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 4, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Now he's going to say we're picking on him.... yikes. It's like he IS Milledge.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 4, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

nunof1 makes friends once again; my tween daughters thank you for your posting (that's Mister Dooooosh to me?) on a site which i thought was safe for them.

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Nunof1 Milledge just doesn't get it?

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Highway 295,

Good analysis. It seems BTW that Foli is using LM at CF in Syracuse; at least, he's listed as "CF" under "Individual Stats," while Patterson is listed as "OF" and Justin Maxwell is listed as "LF."

Posted by: CapPeterson | May 4, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

nova_g_man, if your tween daughters are really reading this site (which I seriously doubt) then I apologize. (I'd love to hear you explain to them what you meant when you wrote 'Mister Dooooosh' on this site that they read. Could you share that with us? It might be useful to those who are parents here.)

I'll not argue if anyone wants to say the quote was irrelevant to the discussion. If it was, though, I would surely not be the first to make an irrelevant comment here. But seriously, does anyone think the posting of that quote would have been inappropriate or offensive (not irrelevant) if I had replaced a couple of words with [redacted] or whatever? That's what I was relying on the Post's content filters to tell me, namely whether the words were inappropriate or not. Which is why I say that if people are really offended by this, they should tell the Post so the content filters can be modified.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Our friend in the digital age is stiffing its Fairfax, Caps-fan subscribers tonight and Wednesday? Versus is pay-per-view and/or new, added service, channel 241? A few years back, Leonsis noted that a replay would be aired on CSN at 10:30 or so. Any Caps fans know the deal tonight?

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Dude, really???? That's what you thought would be an appropriate response?

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 4, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, don't hate on Nunof, I like Bull Durham. This is an alltime greate quote.

Posted by: swang30 | May 4, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

It's probably the worst quote from the otherwise excellent movie.
Crash is being defensive and changing the subject because he's insecure.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's another friendly cliché to learn and remember: "When you're in a hole, quit digging."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I see that NJ has yet again morphed into nunof1 vs. the others.

Any chance we can get back to baseball?

Posted by: TimDz | May 4, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

At least someone out there gets it. If there's one thing you remember about Bull Durham, it's that quote. Or maybe the image of Nuke LaLoosh out on the mound in ladies unmentionables. But you prudes probably find that offensive too and are already typing your condemnations of me for even bringing it up.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 4, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, GRiP, but speak for yourself.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Never your fault, is it nunof1? You're the same charmer, who decided to post the following when Nick Johnson's baby boy fell and had to be hospitalized.

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

Like father, like son. Someone had to say it.Posted by: nunof1 | April 4, 2009 3:30 PM

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Actually, "Can you believe this [guy]? A two hit shutout and he's shaking me off." and "The rose goes in the front, big guy." are way ahead.
As is the scene on the breakfast table.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, I didn't find the quote offensive. I mean, whats the big deal about roosters and cats?

Posted by: TimDz | May 4, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

BACK? We were dis(cuss)ing Lastings' attitude ["bad"], his prospects ["dim"], and his impolitic relationship with the media ["won't shut up when it's in his own best interest to do so"].

***********
Any chance we can get back to baseball?
Posted by: TimDz | May 4, 2009 2:12 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Milledge hasn't been traded from the Nats. Yet.

But I'd put money up that - unless the Nats have another injury pandemic like 2008 - the next time Milledge puts on a MLB uniform, it won't be for the Nats. Book it.

Posted by: comish4lif | May 4, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

That Bull Durham quote is chock full of baseball. But I can see why you guys are offended by it. Taking three whole days just to get to first base? That's an abomination!

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 4, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Can I get a NatCast update? I need to know three things: 1) Will the game start be able to start on time; Is there going to be one or more delay(s); and will they run out of hot chocolate again?

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 4, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Every now and again, an obnoxious poster takes over a forum, message board, or blog and makes it all about him/herself. I often find myself staying away from such a board for awhile when that happens.

Nunof1 is about to do that with the NJ for me. Nunof1, you really ought to grow up and show a modicum of respect for your fellow posters.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | May 4, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

On Lastings, what 295 said. He looks like trade bait at this point, and unlikely to fetch much. You can play in the majors as a free-swinging .260-hitting SS/2B/CF but a similar OF without defense or power may not even find a spot on the bench for the big club. At a time when Milledge should be reinventing himself, he's evidently doing exactly the opposite.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 4, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have shown a tendency lately to dump someone on the market, rather than bother trading for a bag of balls they don't need. They might not do it here, and probably won't do it soon either way, unless someone makes them an actual serious offer, which I can't see happening, but then I'm not in Seattle or San Francisco.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Nunof,

I think it may be time for you to dig into your bag of monikers and pull out a new/old one.

How 'bout "DCCapsFan" in honor of the game tonight? Or how about going way back and bringing back "ABM?"

Or dazzle with the play on words in "Spamcastin".

Posted by: Section505203 | May 4, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

biscuits, the 7:05 start is starting to look good--the last of the actual precipitation is moving through the area now, according to the radar, which should leave enough time to more or less drain the outfield and work on the infield.
Sorry, I can't help you with the cocoa.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I see way more comments ABOUT nunof than BY nunof. Maybe if you guys just quit talking about him he'll go away.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 4, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

NJ Poll. Please vote early and often.

nunof1 will divulge his true identity soon. he will reveal himself as:

1. gilles de rais
2. lastings milledge
3. jim bowden
4. tomas de torquemada
5. rickdotsalt
6. abner doubleday
7. spamkastin
8. the village idiot (never argue with an idiot. they bring you down to their level, and then they win with their experience)
9. dysfunctional an briosca major
10. galrevelsinpee
11. nunof the above.
12. all of the above

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 4, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

OK, seriously, let's move on, here.

HEY TRACEE can we get a new post over here please???

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

You guys must be looking in the wrong place for hot chocolate. Yesterday I went to the Mayorga stand by the first base gate to get coffee and all they had was hot choc. Later I saw a Mayorga guy walking the concourse selling it. He was wearing a big hot chocolate tank backpack thingy complete with a cup dispenser on the side.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 4, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going anywhere until someone admits that the best quote from Bull Durham is "candlesticks make a nice gift".

Posted by: joebleux | May 4, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

joebleux, I'm with you -every time there is a conference on the mound we are speculating on what items are on someone's gift registry, and/or what a good china pattern would be.

Posted by: Traveler8 | May 4, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

You can play in the majors as a free-swinging .260-hitting SS/2B/CF [...] At a time when Milledge should be reinventing himself, he's evidently doing exactly the opposite.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 4, 2009 2:31 PM

------

And THAT's why I want Foli to try him at 2b - if he can wrestle 2b to a defensive stalemate, he'd still have value to us.

To me, BobL, you've hit on the really sad part of the story -- watching a 24-y.o. kid with almost, but maybe not quite great enough skills flame out because he isn't willing to try to do it some other way than the way he's used to doing it. Not about the moral judgment of it, but just a kid with that much natural talent not getting the most out of it.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | May 4, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Sec3mysofa: "It's probably the worst quote from the otherwise excellent movie.
Crash is being defensive and changing the subject because he's insecure."

No, that's not it at all. Annie has just asked him, rather smugly and with a superior tone (after all, she teaches literature, and he's just a dumb jock), "Well what DO you believe in?"

She sits there listening patiently and almost bored until he criticizes Susan Sontag. At that point, her mouth drops open; she's stunned and speechless until he turns to leave, and even then, all she can say is, "Oh my..." and she runs out of the house begging him to come back.

It's the defining point of their relationship. Nuke LaLoosh is going to be her project for the coming season, but Crash is the guy she sees as her possible intellectual equal, who also happens to play and love the game she loves.

One of my favorite movies, ever.

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 4, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Foli has received few instructions from the organization about what to do with Milledge. Just play him every day is I think the gist of it. Do you think Foli would be allowed to move him to 2B or would the org balk at that?

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 4, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the best quote?

"Pokey."

Reduces me to helpless laughter every time.

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 4, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

So not suprisingly, Dunn leads the team in homers (7)and RBI (16), and Zimm leads in almost everything else. But stolen bases is lead by Justin Maxwell with 3. Carl Crawford stole 6 last night for the Rays and Dexter Fowler stole 5 in one night earlier this year. Given that Dukes should have a red light the rest of the year, who is likely to lead the team in stolen bases this year? Anderson Hernandez, Willie Harris, or Dukes? And can the Nats set an all-time record for fewest SB's in a year? Overall, I would say that baserunning has improved this year, (despite Dukes goofs), but in terms of stolen bases it may be the most honest team in history.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 4, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Foli has received few instructions about Milledge ought to tell you everything that you need to know right there.

I think that Rizzo and the brass in DC have had enough of his "me" attitude. Otherwise, they'd have instructed Foli has staff to turn him into a leadoff hitter, a Center-fielder, a back up catcher or whatever the plan was from DC.

Posted by: comish4lif | May 4, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

natbiscuits, the Nats could steal zillion bases if they really wanted to. Just ask Bill Ladson, who in his latest Inbox column, asserts that Zim could be a 30/30 guy "if he wanted to". I guess Bill was seduced by Zim's 2006 season where he stole 11 (out of 19). Or, "I'd like some of what he's smoking, please".

Posted by: joebleux | May 4, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

295, I would support an extended tryout for Lastings at 2B, at least in theory (I don't see any reason why a good athlete like Milledge could not play second, but perhaps he's allergic to ground balls or something). As you know, the "new math" suggests that 2B is not nearly as important a defensive position as previously thought -- in fact, it may be easier to hide a deficient defender at second than it is in left. At a minimum, he wouldn't have to run any receiver routes from the keystone.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 4, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing (yes, I admit it is nothing more than a guess, but at least I admit it) that Foli received instructions from the F/O that amounted to: "See if you can find some way to turn this 24 Y.O. raw talent into a baseball player."

Milledge does have the talent to be a baseball player, but...he does not have the instincts to be a CF, does not have the arm to play in right, does not have the power to play left, and does not have the patience to lead off. What seems to be left is 2nd base and bat 7, which may be ideal, but he is 24 and can he learn to turn a DP?

BTW, any of the quotes from Bull Durham are appropriate, at any time. Your daughters are too young to appreciate the true meaning of baseball. Start them off with Field of Dreams. Build to the hope of Bull Durham. When they begin to get serious about life, have them watch For the Love of the Game. The trilogy works and is much more to the point than the Star Wars trilogy.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 4, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, Chico!

dcmacman88 - that was in Nick Johnson's player favorites basket and is now proudly on display in my cubicle. Still with the bow tie on it.

I don't think tobacco has been banned - I've seen telltale bumps in players' rear pockets often during games even. Some quick Googling shows it's banned in the minor leagues only, but only discouraged in MLB.

Posted by: misschatter | May 4, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@Catcher50: Watching Thrilledge try and turn a double play would be worth a ticket price. He'd probably run to second base via right field, if his instincts are the same as catching a fly ball. Now, everybody, repeat after me: Strasburg is not a closer and Thrilledge is not a middle infielder. What's next? Nick in center field?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 4, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Young girls do get wooly.

Posted by: longterm | May 4, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Because of all the stress...

Posted by: Section220 | May 4, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Chico, can we please get another post?

Posted by: FloresFan | May 4, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Milledge has a quadrophonic Blaupunkt.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 4, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Here is the lineup for tonights game (if they play) via WT

NATIONALS

SS Cristian Guzman

1B Nick Johnson

3B Ryan Zimmerman

LF Adam Dunn

CF Elijah Dukes

RF Austin Kearns

C Jesus Flores

2B Anderson Hernandez

P John Lannan

Posted by: FloresFan | May 4, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The question is, do I keep reading today's comments, knowing that this cannot possibly be topped?

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 4, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse
-----------------
Sometimes prescience is a curse.

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 4, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

He doesn't have a million dollar arm but, it does appear that he has a 5 cent head.

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


He doesn't have a million dollar arm but, it does appear that he has a 5 cent head.

Posted by: Section505203

No more calls, please. We have a winner. Post of the day.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 4, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Returned home today from my visit to Charlotte. I went to 3 games, Charlotte vs. Syracuse, missing only last thursdays game. Chiefs won friday night but then lost the next two games. Balister threw one game and got knocked around pretty good. Yesterday, a 10-7 loss saw Brad Eldred power 2 long balls. Casto went 4-4 on friday night with a 3 run dinger. Milledge didn't do that well and appeared to me to loaf or just go through the motions most of the time. After the Chiefs had come back to tie yesterdays game at 7 in the 8th, everyday Colome proceded to give it away in the 9th. With runners on 1st and 2nd and little tapper back to him ended up in the left field corner on a wild attempt to get the force at 3rd with all 3 runners scoring for a 10-7 Knights victory. Oh well, it was nice to pay cheap prices for pretty good ball. Sunday was turn back the clock day (1989) prices. Got in for 3 bucks. I liked that.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 4, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The Sun-Rises-In-The-East School of Journalism awards a first-place prize to Bill "Let's Belittle the Obvious" Ladson, for this gem:

By Bill Ladson / MLB.com

05/04/09 12:31 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have the first pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, and according to a team source, San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg is expected to be their top choice provided that he is healthy on June 9.

Wow. Hey, Bill, you know the Vietnam war is over too, right? Nixon resigned? How about this guy Obama? He's got a real shot at the White House, don't you think?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 4, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

correction: the give away by Colome was in the 8th, not the 9th.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 4, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Belabor!

*That's* the word jdschulz meant to use. Couldn't come up with it.

Belabor.

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 4, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Scooter, you're correct. You can be my editor any day! Goodness knows, I need one. Or is it I kneed one?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 4, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he meant "belittle the oblivious".

Posted by: joebleux | May 4, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Demotion of Lastings did not "solve" anything and how is it any different than the not sticking with him choice? If the plan is now for him to play everyday and learn the position of CF very well and re-tool himself as a leadoff man in AAA, then Acta should have sent him down to do just that from day ONE and called him up to perform those roles at the MLB level when he showed he could do so in the International League. Instead, Acta placed a round peg into a square hole (two square holes really, CF and leadoff) and after 24 AB's he rolled Lastings under the bus to Syracuse (how had Lastings's attitude been any different than it was when Manny tabbed the kid for the starting role when they broke camp?) and then put him on it. Acta made a poor decision to begin with -- he was very decisive, but then he punted Lastings (and most of the bull pen too) when things got tough and the heat in the manager's office would not go down (must be an item on that punch-list the Lerners are still looking to DC to complete). Gotta be very hot in there now, despite all of this rain.

Posted by: dfh21 | May 4, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Lastings played left the 3 games I saw him this past weekend. I believe Corey Patterson and Maxwell roamed centerfield the games I saw.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 4, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Checking further, he did play cf the game I missed, last thursday. By the way, Patterson made an outstanding layout catch in cf the first inning of yesterdays game, going to his left, a webgem by any standard.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 4, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, things running together in my dyslexic mind, it was Maxwell on Saturdays game that had that layout catch, I need sleep.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 4, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I like Bull Durham, too, and I don't consider myself to be a prude. That said, the quote was inappropriate for this venue according to Post guidelines, the relevant point of which would be the third bullet under the following statement:

"You agree not to submit inappropriate content. Inappropriate content includes any content that:

is obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit"

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 4, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Sending Milledge down solved the problem of clearing out some playing time for Willingham and it made room in Centerfield for Dukes.

And if they had done that while Lastings was in DC, sounds like he would have complained.

Kind of funny that he is now getting his "mentoring" from Corey Patterson.

As for batting leadoff in AAA, maybe the Nats decided that they saw enough of his attitude about that and his unwillingness to adjust and have writtne him off. I have.

Posted by: comish4lif | May 4, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

""You agree not to submit inappropriate content. Inappropriate content includes any content that:

is obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit"

Well, it wasn't pornographic, and it wasn't sexually explicit. If one or more words are considered obscene, why isn't the content filter flagging them like it does for other more innocuous words other times I've tried to comment? I apologize if anyone was offended (except for nova_g_man - in the words of Joey Eischen that I read in the Post once, you can suck on it and you can like it) and I'll try my best not to do it again. I'll quit giving the Post's filter the benefit of the doubt now.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow. A college senior writing a piece for the Post. Is this a first?

Posted by: MKadyman | May 4, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, nunof.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 4, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

My $.02 on Blastings:

The more fundamental part of the Manny "blame" probably resides with trading for him from Manny's old team in the first place. Something Manny's then-boss JB was also very comfortable doing with his old team. But I suppose that's common. However, the phenomenon has probably exerted on undue influence on some of the Nats' subsequent decisions about who gets to play, where and when.

In fact, I always rather enjoyed LM's interviews while he was here. Unguarded, no BS, and actually quite thoughtful/philosophical for a young guy. Even self-deprecating to an ingratiating degree, in his way. (I think he was confident, not arrogant.) Of course, as everybody knows talk is cheap...

It's sad that the pattern established with him NY seems to be playing out here as well, with the fans virtually running him out of town with an unseemly, *personal* sort of vitriol for, all things considered, not much real reason when viewed in perspective. I mean, pros are paid to be confident. (Also competent.) But still, I've got to ask myself, is it them, or is it him? After all, he *is* the common denominator...

Now the waters seem to be poisoned on the sides of both the organization and the player, and I don't see much of a way back. Which would be not just a shame but a waste, even if only from the standpoint that we traded Schneider and Church and got back a AAAA 'tweener with uncertain natural position, future and/or trade value in return.

Which is I guess the reason why a team better than ours was so willing let such a supposedly hot prospect go. I wish Lastings all the best, and find more fault with our organization than with him if it never works out here. (Although I give Lastings his share of the blame too, especially in the home opener, his last game as a Nat I believe, for overly celebrating after he -- finally -- did his job in making those two wild catches WHILE WE WERE BEHIND, then coming to the plate with a legit comeback chance in the 9th and swinging for the fences THREE TIMES IN A ROW instead of trying to get on base.) But I trust/hope Manny's learned from the episode -- if it doesn't ultimately contribute to the team parting ways with him in the end as well...

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | May 5, 2009 3:16 AM | Report abuse

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