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Off Day Reading

Some time in the last week, the Nationals stopped playing like a team with no luck and started playing like a team with no chance. No longer is the bullpen (3.28 ERA in the last eight games) blowing games -- so there goes the convenient scapegoat. Now, things have just gotten ugly. Ronnie Belliard didn't cover first on a bunt play last night, which rather directly cost the Nats a run. The Nats have lost 12 of 14. The Mets were playing this series with a lineup that resembled something from a B-side Grapefruit League game, and still they took all three. Washington's record against the NL East: 5-22.

Here's your morning reading material.

* The game story. Mets 7, Nats 4. And yes, the umps were involved, too. Here's a take from the Mets' side.

* Newsday columnist Wallace Matthews is annoyed with Citi Field's architectural contrivances.

* Here is the news story about the Lakeland, Fla., drug bust and the man, Richard Thomas, at its center. For now, the sheriff's department in Polk County says it has no specific evidence to support Thomas's claims that he sold steroids to the Nationals and Capitals. Said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd: "I sent a supervisor in with a detective, and [Thomas] confirmed, 'Yes, I've sold steroids to professional football, professional baseball and professional hockey players. When asked for specifics, he said the Washington Capitals and D.C. Nationals. At this point in the investigation, I have absolutely nothing to corroborate those statements."

* I mentioned this in my notebook, but it's worth highlighting here so it's not lost in the shuffle: After last night's game, the Nats announced their plans to return C Luke Montz to Class AA Harrisburg and purchase the contract of reliever Mike MacDougal, the former all-star closer who was with Class AAA Syracuse. MacDougal, exercising an out-clause in his contract, would have become a free agent had he not been promoted. Said acting GM Mike Rizzo: "We wanted to go with another relief pitcher, and Mike has been throwing the ball extremely well down at Class AAA. Really good velocity. Throwing strikes for the most part. And he's got an experience at the end of games. So, I figured he earned a chance to prove what he can do at the big league level again." Now, the Nats again have an eight-man 'pen, and Rizzo said, "It'll continue through the next series, at least."

* Tracee Hamilton gets a fantastic new job, the Journal needs a new blogmother.

* College baseball/draft reading: Tony Gwynn still won't disclose whether or not Stephen Strasburg is starting SDSU's first NCAA game ... Baseball America releases its spreadsheet of the top 100 prospects ... SI writes about the second-best of those, and the most sought-after position player.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 28, 2009; 10:13 AM ET
 
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Comments

Best wishes to Tracee - we've enjoyed her columns, time to share them with everyone else!

Posted by: Traveler8 | May 28, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"Ronnie Belliard didn't cover first on a bunt play last night, which rather directly cost the Nats a run."

I think that was during the time that MASN was interviewing Manny while the game was in progress. I wonder if Ronnie missed a sign, or it wasn't relayed to him properly. There are plays where he's supposed to cover second there.

It really annoys the living crap out of me that MASN is bugging Manny while the game is in progress. This is one case where Manny just needs to stop being nice and just say "no" (in fact, it ought to be MLB policy that you don't interview players/managers while the game is in progess). That's just inexcusable that the media is interfering with the game itself.

Posted by: joebleux | May 28, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals are a disgrace to baseball and an embarrassment to Washington, D.C.

Posted by: logan9 | May 28, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

This team needs a taskmaster bad. How bout Buck Showalter?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm starting to think Dibble should manage them.

Posted by: twinbrook | May 28, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

so i think if dunn had actually made a play on the ball the outcome would have been different.

belliard looked like he was set up for a double play. i mean, he wasn't standing in right field. so maybe he knew there was no chance he could ever get to first to help, so why even bother. if i'm an opposing manager i know i can bunt on the nationals simply because hernandez flinches at the throw to first, and belliard doesn't even bother to go to first.

that was a monster homerun by dunn last night though. and zimmermann looks like he's legit. lots of hanging curveballs still but he's a keeper.

Posted by: longterm | May 28, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

No way Manny makes it to the All Star break...

Posted by: FloresFan | May 28, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse


Acta has no spine,
And 0-2 count has more balls.
Give Manny the hook!

Posted by: HaikuMan | May 28, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

i know i said this when our record was about 0-7 but, next year's number one overall draft pick is gonna be the best player ever! same as the year after that i'm afraid.

Posted by: longterm | May 28, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Baseball America prospects ranked #4-12 are all pitchers. Looks like a strong possibility we'll draft a pitcher with the #9a pick. Personally, I'd prefer a position player.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 28, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Someone needed to get thrown out of that game and they needed to make a show of it to try to give this team a kick in the pants. Acta should have made a point of blowing up -- especially after the balk call -- but would have been equally justified in just unleashing on either the crew chief or Adrian Johnson, who appears to be an absolutely horrible rookie upm. If Dunn is right about the Murphy home run call -- and I think he is -- how could you not be more demonstrative in your discussion with the umpires? As well, after all that had preceded it, I would have fully supported Colome blowing up at the third base or home plate umps either after the balk or on his way to the plate.

Posted by: hondavirus | May 28, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

some of that don't make a lot of sense. The Old Hondavirus might need to sober up a bit still this morning.

Posted by: hondavirus | May 28, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg will really have the Nats over a barrel when it comes to signing time. He'll demand so much it'll throw the whole first round dollar structure outta whack and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Nats have trouble signing their second pick in that round for just that reason. The other thing that could happen is the Nats could make their second selection a player further down the rankings just to deal with the "signability" issue. That may not be a bad thing cause the Nats desperately need position players.

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 28, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I agree, but it shouldn't have been Colome to blow up. Part of a manager's job is to back his guys and to take pressure off of them during times like this via the blow-up. I get that Acta wants to be controlled, but the great managers play the angry role when they need to. Acta doesn't realize that there is a difference between playing the part and being the part.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 28, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Bender,
No doubt signing Strasburg will be tough, esp. when the entire fanbase is counting on it. Payroll is smaller than it should be (has been for years), so they better get it done.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 28, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Boras picks sign. For a lot but they sign.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 28, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Why does Acta still have a job? The team needs some fire, along with a few hundred other things. This team is horrible.

Posted by: rskinz34 | May 28, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Why does Acta still have a job? The team needs some fire, along with a few hundred other things. This team is horrible.

The Nats still need an inadequate third base coach masking as a head coach, and that's who they have in the dugout.

Posted by: thisismydcsportsopinion | May 28, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"Ronnie Belliard didn't cover first on a bunt play last night, which rather directly cost the Nats a run."

Saw it last night, and thought that there was no way for Ronnie to get there in time. Rethinking it, and concluding that there is absolutely no excuse for this. Even if it's not going to be close, you've got to give max effort to get over there as you just don't know what will happen.

On another note: I'd like to see the manager running out there to argue with the umpires, just so as to establish turf which comes in handy during the next close calls. Too many questionable umpiring decisions, and no Manny out there going cap to cap. Show your players something.

Posted by: joemktg2 | May 28, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

other joe: it was pretty clear to me that Ronnie thought he was supposed to cover second on that play. Belliard isn't stupid or lazy, and generally knows how to play the game. He wasn't standing within a few feet of second for no reason.

Posted by: joebleux | May 28, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I am starting to really enjoy Rob Dibble. Most commentators are supposed to be somewhat neutral. Dibble is pulling for the Nationals on every single color comment, he's disguisted when things go bad, and I can literally feel him trying to will the team to victories. It's the only thing I enjoy about watching our Nationals play.

I also thought Zimmerman did a great job yesterday, it's refreshing to see some young guys come in and play like the want to be there.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | May 28, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Zimmermann (pitcher) not the outstanding third base man.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | May 28, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

my dream is to one day have a nats squad worthy of the radio play-by-play announcers.

Posted by: surly_w | May 28, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

BTW anybody checking out the boz filibuster? In a half-hour he's only responded to TWO questions. boz you don't have to write a column to answer every question.

Posted by: surly_w | May 28, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Maybe he's not a good typist?

Posted by: CluelessNatsFan | May 28, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I have followed the Expos/Nationals since 1975 and this is the most gut wrenching team that I have ever seen.As they always say...You can't fire 25 players,the manager has to go.(I wish I had kept my $160.00 from the baseball packsge...it seems like a waste now)

Posted by: durk6 | May 28, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

When is one of the columnists at the Post finally going to show some balls and write what needs to be written. Manny has to go. This team is ill-prepared and half of them look like they are just going through the motions. I would swear that Belliard is trying to get released. Not just the missed assignment, but he looks barely awake at the plate and swings from the heels at everything. He's a better playing than he's showing as are several others.

Posted by: truke | May 28, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

joebleux: 1B charges, 2B covers. That's it: end of story. Brain fart? Can't figure it out other than a general team-wide lack of focus, lack of concentration/intensity, and a general malaise.

Fish rots from the head...

Posted by: joemktg2 | May 28, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"When is one of the columnists at the Post finally going to show some balls and write what needs to be written. Manny has to go"

Chico has done a good job this post by pointing out just how bad this team has gotten, rather than improving throughout the season they are sinking lower and playing worse, seems like he is saying (without saying) at this point you have to look at the manager.

Posted by: skippy1999 | May 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd cut Chico a break - it took him weeks to get rid of Cabrera ... give him time.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | May 28, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Chico is a reporter, not a columnist. He shouldn't be calling for the Nats to fire Manny.
But I can: Fire Manny!!

Posted by: jdsp2000 | May 28, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

for all of you who are asking wapo columnists to draw and quarter axta, fuhgeddabout. besides boz, no current wapo columnist either knows enough about this team or cares enough to waste words. sally writes from on high in new york; wilbon is mr. hip-hop nba posse boy; wise is a front-runner who latches onto the "hot" team in town. tracee is our only hope besides boz where baseball is concerned. the ennui surrounding this team is palpable. bad record, suspect management, substandard on-field major league product, low attendance. for chrissakes, this is the wizards before agent zero or the caps before ovie. just another bad washington team not worth wasting words on.

Posted by: surly_w | May 28, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"just another bad washington team not worth wasting words on."

So why are you wasting your words on it then?

Posted by: nunof1 | May 28, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm done feeling guilty about my antipathy towards Manny Acta. I was feeling disloyal because I have criticism of him. I've come to the conclusion that it is not disloyal to the team nor a betrayal of Manny if I express total dis-satisfaction with his job this year. Afterall, very few managers ever avoid being fired.

Here is my list of grievances:

1) Poor Fundamentals - even if you buy the lack of talent and youth as excuses, the recognition of the problem and the response to the problem has been inadequate.

2) Apathy - its one thing to embrace a philosophy of calm and reason, its another to allow a team to perform for an extended period without fire, enthusiasm, and hustle. If you can accomplish those things while remaining calm, great. But if you can't, then try something else.

3) Pitching Management - I don't blame him for the walks, I don't blame him for the catcher's skill, and I don't blame him for the lack of a talented closer. But I do hold him accountable for pitch selection, pitch count quotas, and questonable match-ups. A big, big part of the losing is a result of lack of talent, but there actions that can be taken that have not been.

I am not naive enough to believe that a change in management will result in a significantly better record. That will take better players and better performances. I'm not even calling for Manny to be fired. I'm calling for a change in effort and better fundamentals. How that is accomplished is up to ownership.

But here's the rub: If the Nationals do not demonstrate better onfield performance and effort in the coming months, they will once again find it near impossible to attract free agents in the off-season and paying customers in 2010 and beyond.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 28, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Count me in the camp that says RB couldn't have gotten to first in time, even if he had JimBos segway.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 28, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I did not think that Manny needed to go until watching the clips from last night. I completely agree with him that yelling and screaming (either at the umps or at your own players) will usually do nothing to solve the situation. Last night he could have yelled at the umps all night and it would not have changed the outcome. HOWEVER, it would have showed all of the players on the team that he stands behind them and will have their backs. Sometimes it is not about who you are yelling at, but rather who you are fighting for. If he will not support the players on his team it is time for thim to go sit calmly somewhere else.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | May 28, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

In Belliard's defense on that bunt, I recall Pagan was moving on the pitch. Castillo then dropped down a bunt for a hit, not a sac. I think this was a defensive miscommunication: Belliard was playing the steal so Guz could cover the hole at short with a right-hander batting. The "bunt-and-run" was well handled by Zimm but NJ charged, leaving no one at first. If Belliard's responsibility was the base stealer then NJ is the one who screwed up... he should have stayed home leaving Zimm and ZNN to cover the bunt. Either way, someone wasn't where the were supposed to be.

If I'm right, this would support those who are dumping on Manny. If all the members of the defense are not on the same page, that reflects badly on Manny...

Posted by: outsider6 | May 28, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

>>If I'm right, this would support those who are dumping on Manny.

Manny who?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Acta... Manny Acta. That outstanding young manager of our club. :)

Posted by: outsider6 | May 28, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Second Baseman has to cover first on that bunt. For those of that say he couldn't get there in time.. bad answer.

Belliard needs to anticipate the bunt in that situation and has to break for first the second the batter moves his feet to square up and bunt.

The only excuse I can accept is that Johnson wasn't supposed to charge and was supposed to stay home and cover first while the pitcher fielded the bunt.

Posted by: comish4lif | May 28, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Last night he could have yelled at the umps all night and it would not have changed the outcome. HOWEVER, it would have showed all of the players on the team that he stands behind them and will have their backs."

Well, a player doesn't generally need for his manager to have his back unless he's in some sort of argument or dispute, right? Who were the players who were in arguments last night who needed their manager to have their back? Dunn? He wasn't in an argument with the ump after that replay call, because if he was he would have been tossed immediately per the rules (just like arguing balls and strikes). Dunn's conversation with the ump never even came close to that. His back did not need to be had. Manny should get himself tossed defending the honor of a player who's not even in an argument?

Likewise Colome. That balk call was questionable for sure, but Colome himself did not seem at all upset by it. Maybe he was just being his human rain delay self, taking his sweet time working up a good lather. But still, what good does it do for a manager to take a non-argument and escalate it into one? Manny showed last year that he has his pitcher's back on questionable balk calls in the Odalis Perez balk incident with Angel Hernandez. But at least Perez got upset himself, unlike Colome last night. A manager really has only one or at most two "fire up the team by getting himself tossed" cards to play in any given season. I don't think last night provided the best spots for Manny to play that card.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 28, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

In the words of another Kansas girl, "I think I'll miss you most of all."

-----

Tracee Hamilton gets a fantastic new job, the Journal needs a new blogmother.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 28, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't have much to say in Manny's defense, but Belliard was plainly covering second on the steal. Nick has to 1) know that; and 2) recognise the bunt is down the third base line, and haul ass back to first to cover, even though nobody was going to get there ahead of Castillo (who recognized the situation and laid down a great bunt at a perfect time, btw), just to keep him from getting too far off first if they wind up with a play elsewhere.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 28, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@nunof

i will never feel words are wasted covering the nats. it's my opinion that wapo columnists besides boz don't feel any significant need to follow or write about the team. i want all of the coverage i can get.

Posted by: surly_w | May 28, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Let's pretend for a minute that this point about player arguments is valid at all and that managers are only supposed to argue when their players are losing their minds over a call. As if it's the job of the players to initiate every argument.

True, Colome and Dunn may not have put up huge arguments last night, but that is because they have come complacent in their losing, just like their spineless leader. They take their cues from the boss and while, sure he'd like to win, it's really not a big deal if they lose.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

but it does remind one of the play against the Giants a couple of years ago, when they had the extreme shift on for Bonds, with Zimm playing basically behind second base, with a runner on first. The runner (sorry, to lazy to look up who) stole second cleanly, and almost didn't break stride, just raced Zimmerman to third and won handily. Clearly, they hadn't thought through that defensive alignment, just plain unprepared.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 28, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@surlyw - just curious--since you don't seem to respect their opinions, *why* do you want more coverage from the Post? Srsly.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 28, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

TOO lazy.
I hate it when I do that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 28, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't think they're complacent, I think it bugs the kip out of them, but they do have their daubers down, as Roger Craig used to say. "Un-empowered" is the new term, I believe.

***********************
True, Colome and Dunn may not have put up huge arguments last night, but that is because they have come complacent in their losing, just like their spineless leader. They take their cues from the boss and while, sure he'd like to win, it's really not a big deal if they lose.
Posted by: RickFelt | May 28, 2009 1:47 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 28, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Is there a video online of the Belliard bunt play. I saw it last night and caught the replay this morning on MASN, but I'd like to break it down a little more definitively.

It still comes down to the players being prepared for the situation. I know that the gameplan doesn't involve first base being uncovered in a bunt play...

Posted by: comish4lif | May 28, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Fogettabout the Nats my friends. It's time to once again head up 95 to the Yaaad. What time is it? It's Weiters and Reimold time. Now there's a team that's starting to put it together. See you there Saturday night.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Dove,

Did Angelos die? I'd love to go to the Yaad but I refuse to go back til he's dead or the team sold...

Posted by: outsider6 | May 28, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree with hondavirus, who wrote: "Someone needed to get thrown out of that game and they needed to make a show of it to try to give this team a kick in the pants. Acta should have made a point of blowing up."

The fact that Dunn had to argue that call alone is indefensible. Charlie and Dave kept mentioning it's an automatic ejection to argue a replay call? So WHAT? So what if Manny gets tossed? Better him than Dunn. Manny has gone from being just a inspiration-less bad manager to a complete buffoon. What is it going to take to get this clown fired? They're 13-and-33. A sweep in Philly means 13-and-37. That's about a 41-and-121 pace. Manny is so one-and-done; mark my word, this will be his last managing gig. He's a clown.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 28, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Fogettabout the Nats my friends. It's time to once again head up 95 to the Yaaad. What time is it? It's Weiters and Reimold time. Now there's a team that's starting to put it together. See you there Saturday night.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 2:08 PM
_____________________________________________________________

dovelevine,

You just lost me. Head up 95 to see the blOw's and then just go ahead and stay up there in that armpit they call Balmer.

If you turn this easily then you ain't a loyal fan anyway.

I mean, you've got to be kidding me.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 28, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

>>Did Angelos die? I'd love to go to the Yaad but I refuse to go back til he's dead or the team sold...Posted by: outsider6

Don't be an outsider. Time to move on. As you can see the owners in DC aren't any great shakes either. And heaven knows the DC football team's owner is the worst in all of sports. So fogettabout who's sittin up in the ivory tower. The Os have put together an exciting squad on the field for the first time in years. Treat yourself and come on in from the cold.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

>>If you turn this easily then you ain't a loyal fan anyway.

I've got enough love in my heart for 2 teams. And if you're in the area and you turn a blind eye, you may be missin out on some fine ball playing. Adam Jones, and I don't say this lightly, is as close as you'll see to a modern day Willie Mays. Markakis--Stud. Reimold--possible future star. And Weiters, well I've been told he's the Strasberg of catchers. Personally I'm excited.
And I still luv the DC Neuters.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

On Belliard. He's decided the season is over. So, while I agree that he should be DFA'ed just as Millege was sent down ...

It is the sign of an overall morale and motivation problem. And THAT IS MANNY ACTA'S responsibility, and no one elses! Frank Robby would have dealt with this harshly. There's no room for this sort of attitude in May. Where some of the team play well, and the rest don't. Where too many play well only when certain pitchers are pitching ... albeit the clubhouse no longer has Cabrera in it ...

Manny just doesn't have what it takes to be a major league manager. He is better suited to the Minors.

Posted by: periculum | May 28, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"I've got enough love in my heart for 2 teams."
__________________________________________________________

dovelevine,

I will take everything you post from here on out with a grain of salt.

All your pissing and moaning about the Nats don't mean crap to me now.

Pick a team, Judas.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 28, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

is ronnie not supposed to be covering second on the steal? should he be a mindreader and know the bunt is coming and cast off his prior responsibility of covering 2nd? please, heaping on ronnie does nothing, he hasn't been the same guy we've seen the past couple years so it doesn't matter to me one iota whether he stays or goes, but don't just start dumping on the man for no reason, "unacceptable not to cover first" I'm sure he knows this and without the runner moving he would have been there in plenty of time

Posted by: bford1kb | May 28, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

At least two different ownership groups of the Orioles kept baseball out of DC for 33 years. One-third of a century.

No, they won't get my support. I don't care how good or bad the team is.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | May 28, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

If Manny A. reads this blog at all, I'm sure his belly hurts from laughing.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 28, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

As gawd-AWFUL as the Nats have been playing lately, I gotta believe that there's light at the end of the tunnel.

As much as I scream when Acta takes out a starting pitcher in favor of a pinch-hitter at the wrong time (and he's done it less the last few games), I gotta believe that Acta's still in essence a rookie manager who's learning the job as he goes along.

As bad as the pitching has been so far, I gotta believe they'll get better over time (just like Atlanta who started out horrific but then went on to win 14 straight division titles).

So fine, this year may suck donkey balls already, but five years from now when they're playing like the Caps to a full house every night, deep into October, I gotta believe that all this current pain will have been worth it.

I just gotta believe, because the alternative is too depressing. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 28, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

the only thing worse than having 13 w's, is knowing that we can't try to use our 28% chance to get 14 tonight...how quickly I forget the misery of watching this team

Posted by: bford1kb | May 28, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

What's interesting to me about Acta's career is that once he leaves the Nationals, either voluntarily or otherwise, he will IMHO be toast in the majors. Even though he's young for a manager, I cannot conceive of any other club wanting to hire him given his team's track record. Bench coach? forget it. Maybe first or third?

So I guess it's something like that or back to the minors in some position. I'm surprised that, given his dim prospects, he is not more animated, imaginative and forceful, if only as an audition for another club.

Posted by: JohnRDC | May 28, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: bhyman1 | May 28, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I am finding the Nats increasingly difficult to watch. I am a partial season ticket holder and can barely bring myself to go out to the games when they come up. Finding folks to go with me is a real challenge. Here are my gripes (as if anyone wants/needs to hear them):

1) The product on the field is miserable. I can live with young pitchers learning the ropes, but the "veteran" players we have are awful. The middle infield makes at least an error a game. Guzman can hit, but he just sucks as a fielder. If he made that many mistakes on a HS team he'd never see the field. The 2B rotation is worse - they can't even hit. How about the Nat's go get two defensive MI's and move to an american league team where he can DH? Even if they can't hit, it would be better than the slow death of waiting for Guz or Belliard to blow up.

The OF is also miserable. Here's an idea, how about hitting them some balls in the areas where they tend to go during the game (in gaps, corners, along walls, etc.) during practice (they do practice don't they?). And how about teaching the OF where the cutoff throws are supposed to go?
Dunn is doing what we expected, Willingham is getting better, time to dump Kearns.

2) Time to dump Acta. He seems to think he is managing the Red Sox or Cardinals. What coach of a last place teams plays for the big inning when he gets a leadoff double late in a close game? Acta. Somebody tell this guy that Larussa would bunt anyone in his lineup in that situation. Acta hasn't bunted in a "traditional" bunting situation at any of the games I've watched. He will only bunt with his pitcher. Note to Manny - counting on anyone other than Guzman to move a runner on this team is wishful thinking - they suck - make them bunt - they have no business having egos.

And while you are at it. Somebody needs to put a swivel on the left arm of the 3rd base coach. SEND THEM!!! I'd rather see guys thrown out at home than stranded on 3b.

3) The shine wore off the new stadium pretty quick. Getting in and out of there is a lot easier than I expected (Of course attendance may have somethign to do with that). The stadium layout is nice. I like my seats. Here's the bad stuff - why do they need seemingly thousands of staff there when all they do is talk to themselves, ignoring customers. I had high hopes that the RFK experience would be improved, but apparently the same folks have found work at Nats stadium. Please get rid of the folks just standing around. They are distracting the ones that are supposed to be serving me my $8.00 beers. I realize it's a ballpark, but a bit of the Disney training for staff would go a long way.

4) Last and least, it's time to let Teddy win a few races.


Posted by: themarks1 | June 1, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention in my last interminable post that the one thing that is absolute aces for the Nats right now is Dibble. I absolutely love hearing someone say what I am thinking. He's funny, smart, and willing to say what none of the other "homer" types will say. Last week he berated the away scorekeeper for not giving Guzman an error, just to give the home player a hit - now that's honesty.

Still, knowing the Nats, Guzman will be here next year and Dibble will be gone.

Posted by: themarks1 | June 1, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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