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Reviewing The Review

OK, I wanted to come back with a more definitive post on the home run instant replay decision tonight. First, a description of the play, after watching it numerous times and speaking to the parties with the best view:

In the sixth, Daniel Murphy hit a ball deep to right field. We know for certain that the ball landed on the warning track, then took a high bounce in its natural direction against the right field wall. There is a Modell's sign at the top of the wall.

Now, for the complication. The second deck at Citi Field hangs over right field, extending eight feet over the playing track. (It's almost like an umbrella for the warning track.) If, on the way down, Murphy's ball had scraped the front side of that deck -- adorned with a yellow Subway billboard ($5 footlongs) -- then Murphy had a homer.

Originally, the umps did not call it a homer. Thus, they faced a high burden of proof to overturn the call.

Now, the reaction...


First, from crew chief LARRY VANOVER

I feel like the system tonight worked the way it was designed to work. I thought it worked well. As far as the individual play itself, I think the key element in this play is that yellow sign out there. It's light-colored and the ball is slicing and coming down hard, and all of a sudden the ball disappears into the sign, which makes it very, very difficult for us. It was a very difficult call. We took all the information from the group consultation and from the replay, and that's how we came up with our answer. When you look at the replay, you can see the ball does disappear into the yellow sign and it does change direction. That's how we made the call.

Q: Which replay angle did you use?

It's not one particular view. You look at everything they've got, and then we come up with the answer.

Q: Was there one feed that made it more clear?

It was a consensus of the crew consultation and looking at all the different views.

Q: Do you take a vote?

No. We ask each guy what did you see? What kind of information do you have? You put that all together and come up hopefully with the ultimate correct decision.

Q: So the change in direction of the ball was most significant?

Yes. Yeah.

Q: Do you have access to both teams' TV feeds?

Yes, we do. We sure do.

Q: They send it to you from MLB?

Yeah, we have a room down here. Pick up a phone, somebody's on the other end. I haven't been able to see it, but they have all the different feeds coming in. We talk to the technician and he puts everything he's got up there. We look at it. We ask him: Show me this one again, show me that one again, rerun this one. And when we're satisfied, we make a decision.



Q: What did the ball do?

I didn't think there was any way possible that ball could have been a homer. What would have been interesting -- I probably should have caught that ball. Then I would have liked to see what the verdict would have been then.

Q: What did you see?

Well, I was playing in, so I was kind of running back, and when I did, I thought it would have been a homer. But it didn't hit the [overhang], so I picked it up and threw it to our cut-off man.

Q: So when you were looking at it, was it close to scraping the Subway sign or not even?

I guess five feet close. Is five feet close?



Q: What did you see on the Daniel Murphy home run?

Well, something has to be done, because this was supposed to be to help make the right call, help the umpires, and it's supposed to be a clear-cut home run. If it is so inconclusive like the last couple of days, the call shouldn't be changed. Like today, they either need to get better feeds, more feeds, or something. I am not a geometry expert, but that [Subway sign] hangs over the warning track, the upper deck. And there's no explanation for that ball hitting the upper deck, coming down, and then bouncing forward the Modell's sign. It's supposed to clear everything out, and these last two it hasn't been that way. Something has to be done, because we all just want the right call to be made. Just looking at that video, I couldn't see the ball hit the sign. And if you analyze it the way I'm explaining hit, how can that ball hit the top sign, come back down, and then go forward again to the Modell's sign. It's just unexplainable.

Q: Did Dunn say anything to you about it?

He said the ball didn't hit the sign. He was anticipating the ball going out of the ballpark, but the ball completely missed the sign. The ball bounced onto the track.

Q: So was your chief complaint this time around the fact that it was inconclusive and still they overturned the original call?

Yeah, if it is so inconclusive I don't think it should be changed. If it is clear-cut that it is a home run regardless... it's fine to change it. But don't change a call if it's so inconclusive or you don't have enough feeds. Because, I mean, just follow me on what I explained to you. It's almost impossible for the ball to hit [the Subway sign], come back, and then go forward again. So, something has to be done.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 28, 2009; 12:08 AM ET
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Next: Off Day Reading


I'm taking Dunn's word for it. He had the best view and he is not the type of guy who will lie about something like this.

Seriously, this series the umps were terrible, just terrible.

Posted by: irishnat | May 28, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Did you talk to fans? (Granted they are New Yawkers)

On a side note, baseball should think about using a "goaline cam" on the fences.

Posted by: inthestreetindustry | May 28, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

To reply to a question in the previous thread, a ball that strikes the Metrodome's ceiling is in play, I believe. If it is caught, the result is an out.

Thank god we won't have to worry about that next year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 28, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

So we have a choice between believing/listening to a right fielder who can't run and get in proper position; an umpiring crew that will never see the postseason light of day; and a manager that would rather quote scripture than fire up his team. I'm all for scripture, but this team needs an exorcism.

On another note, it was really curious how pissed Charlie and Dave were compared to Rob and Bob.

Posted by: paulkp | May 28, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

i hope all of you belliard fans were paying attention when one of the team's so-called veteran leaders played some of the dumbest baseball i've seen in a while. first, he doesn't cover first on the castillo bunt play leaving r-zim no one to throw to for a potential big out. instead, belliard is perched on second with his hands on his hips. then on a fly ball to left field instead of watching the play that's in front of him and possibly advancing to second on a bad throw, he turns his back to the action on the way back to first base. granted it wasn't as egregious as fernando martinez spectating when he should have been running on a popup in fair territory it just shows how directionless and unfocused this team is right now. if the team is going young don't stop with the sterting pitchers. there's some veteran deadwood that needs to be fire hosed out of natstown as well.

Posted by: surly_w | May 28, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey Harlen, how about writing in your story that on neither Monday night nor Wednesday night did Nats manager Manny Acta come out of the dugout to argue the umpires decision or reversal. Not once. Don't you think that's an important piece of information for your readers???!!!

And again, in your story, Acta says he thinks the home run reversal call was wrong but you never ask him why he didn't come out to say one word to the umpire. Seems like a logical question.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

i think both manny and chico were thinking about food, 5 dollar footlongs!!!

Posted by: formerlylove1 | May 28, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, ask Manny why he didn't come out to ask them how they can make that call and change an on the field ruling if it is inconclusive. Also ask him why he didn't come out when they called Colome for a balk that didn't look like a balk. I understand that Manny doesn't want to "argue" but you need to get clarification and support your players. He is way too passive. He doesn't need to act like a jerk and throw things etc, but he needs to stand up for his players or atleast get ask questions and not just sit in the dugout. Arguring calls, getting thrown out is also a strategic move. Maybe if he argued the call on Monday they get the call tonight or the close call at the plate yesterday. I have been a Manny guy and he is a great guy, but it is time for him to go. Maybe his passivity is why sometimes these guys are so laid back. They fight hard and never give up and maybe try to hard, but I don't really see a fire in them. I want that intensity that Paul O'neil used to show. Not coming out of that dugout says a lot and it isn't good. Let bring in Buck Showalter.

Posted by: brothbart | May 28, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Can we protest the game? Or, maybe send MLB a tape and an explanation of why it was actually impossible for the ball to be a home run. Manny's explanation after the game is right. How could it bounce off something and then return to its natural flight path afterward? The umpires should use their brains more often (they should also all be fired for utter incompetence).

If the Nationals don't do anything about this, it is a complete embarrassment. If they don't complain, they are showing that they do not care about winning or losing. What is the point of even playing the games if they don't care whatsoever?

Posted by: Vladman1327 | May 28, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

I officially accuse Bud Selig and Major League Baseball of using the instant replay system to help large market clubs win games. There is absolutely no way whatsoever that four umpires who have been good enough to progress to the major league level can be so utterly, horribly wrong on two separate occasions, both of which just happen to gift a home run to a team from New York. This is not the NBA, people, we don't have to accept this!

Posted by: mjhoya12 | May 28, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

He have to make a formal protest of the game during the game. The protest will be recorded for review at a later date. However you can only protest a call the umps make that is against the rules not a judgement call.

Posted by: brothbart | May 28, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Since Randy Johnson won tonight he will be going for number 300 on Wednensday at Nationals Park. I wonder if the Nats will do anything special for it. When I saw Nolan Ryan win number 300 in Milwaukee they handed out certificates after the game.

Posted by: twinbrook | May 28, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

This, from the announcement by MLB last year of initiating instant replay: "The decision to reverse a call will be at the sole discretion of the crew chief. The standard used by the crew chief when reviewing a play will be whether there is clear and convincing evidence that the umpire's decision on the field was incorrect and should be reversed."

Does anybody really believe that replay showed clear and convincing evidence? What a joke.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 28, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

I just went and watched the SNY feed of the game, and they have a view that shows that the ball DID NOT change direction... and they rock it back and forth in front of the sign several times... the ball takes an unchanged path past the sign.

While all of that is going on, Ron Darling is making the point that it couldn't be a home run, because if the ball were that close to the stands, the fans would have been reaching out for the ball... and then after the play, they would have been pointing at the place on the sign where it hit... and neither of those things happened.

He also goes on to say that there probably wouldn't have been any question about whether the ball was in play or not had Adam Dunn not given up on the ball and played it all the way to the wall...

I don't miss Ron Darling that much, but he makes good points.

Posted by: wigi | May 28, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: suesue8709 | May 28, 2009 5:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure it was mentioned on a previous thread, since a poster here made reference to the Metrodome, but shouldn't a ball that hits a piece of the stadium that reaches out over the wall be in play? That is what I couldn't understand. The whole, "Did it hit the sign or didn't it," shouldn't even have been an issue. The stands reach out over the warning track, so anything that bounces off the face of the stands should be in play. I understand a ball hit into the stands is gone, but...

Posted by: Cavalier83 | May 28, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Yup, just one more chance to get it wrong. Human beings are going to make just as many mistakes reviewing a two dimensional image of an event as they are of the event itself. Unless you have a camera stationed along the plane of that sign, you cannot possibly know for sure whether it hit the sign. I'll say it again, tennis is the only sport that uses replay in a sane, correct manner. They use a computer that can calculate where the ball landed based on the layout of the court and the trajectory of the ball. Put an object in front of your monitor and move to your right or left then tell me where the object is in relation to your monitor. It is really that simple people...

All that aside, according to the insane rules of MLB, the review got it right on Monday and wrong on Wednesday. Both were inconclusive. Can't wait until they try to use it to determine if a ball that went over the foul pole was fair or foul.

Posted by: truke | May 28, 2009 6:16 AM | Report abuse

And, yes, I would protest the game based on the umpires explanation of changing the call. He pretty much admitted that they changed it based on their best guess rather than on clear and convincing evidence as the rules require. Protest on the misinterpretation of the rule (not so different from the George Brett pine tar incident in that way).

Posted by: truke | May 28, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Another omission in the gamer was Willingham's horrible misplay in left on the fly in the corner, not to mention that the NY runner went first to third on another play by Willingham on a ball that traveled about 120 feet. Had he not bounced the ball to Zimmerman on the relay the runner would have been out in his brazen play. I think Dunn's non- playing of the home run/fly had influence on the umpire's reversal.

This team is built on the premise that we will give up runs, lots of runs, from bad fielding. Is this any way to build a ball club? I know the pitching is not the greatest but the way this team plays defense will kill any pitching staff. What is the point of drafting pitchers in all the top rounds if your players behind them can't field their positions? I am not a stat head but I wonder how many runs this season have been scored by the opposition because of the inability of our fielders to play baseball? Just looking at the error tallies alone is like looking at only the tip of the iceberg. So many plays are being muffed that are not awarded errors. How many games do the Nats play where they look like a team of major league fielders? I think the ratio is somewhere in the one to ten range.

Posted by: driley | May 28, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Ok protest all you want, but the Nats still lose that game. Even if the play stood the runner from 3rd scores the 4th run on the next play (a hit). Add the 2 runs scored off the bullpen and it sounds like 6-4 Mets win. Move on and just try to win a game, will ya?

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 28, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

"I probably should have caught that ball."

What a brilliant bunch of guys we have, Acta really coached them up well, no body covers first on a bunt and the RF turns and watches the ball land 15 feet from the fence. Good thing for these bums we've still got no minor league talent to push for their jobs after three years of the Plan.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 28, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse

The only thing more ridiculous than Manny being nailed to the dugout while his player (Dunn) fights the good fight with the umpire, was this beautiful see-no-evil explanation from ump Vanover:

"I feel like the system tonight worked the way it was designed to work."

The Big Lie continues. And Manny continues to look like a chump. How many more losses will it take, StanK and Rizzo?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 28, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

The umpires need to be challenged--fiercely, ferociously and often. I know this is contradictory to the mantra of some but the crew in NY put up some of the most atrocious calls, one after the other. No one on the Nats is doing it, even when the need is clear. People will respond that the umps will retaliate--so what? It seems like last night was an example of the umps grinding constantly on one team.

Is Acta our manager, or our caretaker? I now am leaning that he is our caretaker. A manager has to actually influence the outcome of some games.

Posted by: driley | May 28, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Good point on the weak throw from Willingham in LF plus the mis-catch on the foul line that ended up a double.

This guy sure isn't endearing himself to anyone when they put him in the lineup.

Dunn LF Dukes CF W.Harris RF

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | May 28, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

"I'm sure it was mentioned on a previous thread, since a poster here made reference to the Metrodome, but shouldn't a ball that hits a piece of the stadium that reaches out over the wall be in play?"

The ground rules for the stadium probably explicitly say that if a ball hits that sign, it's a home run. That seems to be the unstated assumption underlying everyone's comments about the play (announcers, umpires, managers, players, etc).

Posted by: nunof1 | May 28, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

A goal-line-cam type technology would be great, but in football the ball is never 50 feet over the line -- it can be a fixed camera where in baseball it would have to move all over the place. It may be possible to track the ball but it would probably be difficult, and you would need a few cameras for the different parts of the field.

Posted by: tailwagger | May 28, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

"The only thing more ridiculous than Manny being nailed to the dugout while his player (Dunn) fights the good fight with the umpire"

Dunn was not fighting any kind of fight with the umpire after that replay call. He probably was just getting an explanation or a clarification on the specifics of the call. Why do I know that? Because arguing a replay call results in automatic ejection, just like arguing balls and strikes. If Dunn was fighting with the umpire over the call, he'd have been tossed. And he wasn't.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 28, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me what the links in suesue8709's posts in the last two threads have to do with the disputed replay, the game, the Nats, or even baseball?

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 28, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the everything that MLB does to "improve" the game makes it worse. Add replay? Takes too long, is no guarantee of getting it right, adds cost. Use technology to grade the umpires? Makes the strike zone too small, makes games too long, less pleasant to watch. Juice the ball? Impunes the record book. Allow steroids to go unchecked for decades? Damages player health, impunes the record book, drives up player salaries. Change draft and sign policy? Retards player development and fails to address fundamental issue of signability. Add to this the failure to address exploding bats, horrific mistakes with the Expos and Marlin franchises, and their botched handling of All-Star games, Play-off and World Series schedules, and television contracts and you're left wondering exactly what a man like Bud Selig has to do to get himeself fired.

They give him credit for increasing the financial value of the game, but its the economy of the times that drove it up and now that the economy is in downturn so is the game. He was never so smart as some people said he was, but he's every bit as dumb as many of us have been saying all along.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 28, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Brue and others, I'm coming around. It's not just the ugly defense, it's the ugly defense as a result of failure to run hard to balls, or keep your head in the game. It's not just the bad umping, it's Manny's failure to make any kind of showing at all. If there was ever a time to change the focus from the ugly team play and record to the manager, it's been this week. A 2-9 homestand followed by an ugly 3-game sweep?

It's time for the team to at least play better baseball even if the pitching stinks and they lose anyway. That's the manager's job.


Posted by: utec | May 28, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I was listening to 98 Rock this morning and they were hyping up Matt Wieters starting for the Os tonight. Sure would be nice if we could get excited about seeing our 2008 draft pick. $42 million in profit for Lerner last year, I guess $41 million just wouldn't have been enough.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 28, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I say lets take page from Bill Veck and the St.Louis Browns and finish the year with the fans making the managers decisions. Just use text messages voting as to what to due next. How could it be worse.

Posted by: CBinDC | May 28, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

OK I am moving off the fence.

It is time for Manny to be replaced, and it is important to do it quickly to signal that we are not giving up on the season.

Leave aside, for the moment, the debate over whether he should have argued the home run call (I think he should have in light of what had happened two nights earlier).

The fact is that the team is in free fall. It is no longer producing the offense that it was earlier in the season. The repeated misplays in the field, failures to cover bases, etc. can no longer be attributed to momentary lapses but are evidence of a team that is poorly coached and not mentally in the game.

The team's record is now below .300, the only such team in the major leagues (in fact, IIRC, only one other team is below .400).

We are at the point where there is a real concern that Strasburg will either decide to wait a year to avoid signing with the Nationals, or will demand an amount of money so great that it will hobble the team financially, especially if he turns out to be a bust.

It may be entirely unfair to Manny. It may be that none of these problems are really attributable to him. But the team has reached the point where it is essential to find out, and for the ownership to make the statement that the status quo is no longer acceptable.

I never thought we would be at this point at the end of May. But here we are. It is time for a change. Manny must go.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 28, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I was actually at the game last night and from my angle looked like it just dropped onto the warning track with typical Nationals defensive effort. Anyone know where I can see some replays, since they aren't allowed to show any at the ballpark?

Posted by: NatsFanNYC | May 28, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Ray Knight on Nats Extra last night made a point about the lack of fundamental's concerning this team and how since the season started this ball club has been lacking in basic baseball 101,i've said this also and what's mind numbing is that for the most part this is a veteran team and the mistakes we see are of the HS variety.Mike Rizzo has to be asking himself "what did i get myself into". Manny Acta's lack of fire(laid back attitude) is more than i can take and it has to affect the players if Manny doesn't show them he will go out and argue a call then why should they give a damn,Rizzo needs to make a move the team is twenty games under .500 like i said in a post yesterday Acta should have never been brought back he needs to go now.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 28, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Meridian1, the Nats have got four rookies and a second year guy in the starting rotation and they keep giving Hanrahan chances to be the closer. They gave up on this season a long time ago.

Last night, we saw a 12-year veteran fail to cover first on a sacrifice bunt, a Gold Glove candidate at third bobble a sure double play ball, a six year veteran fail to catch a fly ball, a 31-year old catcher catch a pop up with his chest, and a nine year vet misjudge a deep fly, setting up a bad call by the umps. I don't see how you fault Manny for that.

Here's what I do fault Manny for: will he discipline Belliard today in some way? If the catchers seem to have trouble calling pitches for certain pitchers, is he changing catchers or is he calling the pitches from the bench? If the umps seem to shaft you on the instant replay call, why don't you go out and argue to make your case, show the team you're standing up for them and maybe (maybe) sway the umps to get a break the next time.

This team reeks of loser right now (still? again?) and judging from the body language we see on TV (which I admit is dangerous) Manny isn't showing signs of doing much to change things. I know that's his personality and I know this team's biggest problems go beyond him, it still comes down to talent that the Nats don't have, but he shows signs of accepting things the way they are, which could be disastrous.

I don't think Frank Robinson was a particularly good strategic manager, but I think he did a great job of maintaining a tough, professional attitude on a team that was treated like unwanted stepchildren by MLB. That was an older team than this one, which helped, but he seemed to keep them from quitting or thinking of themselves as second class citizens. I'm not sure Manny's doing that. If there's a reason to fire him, that's the one that makes sense to me.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 28, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Chico, come on, ask the questions we all want answered: Why did you not ask for an explanation of the call? Why did you not ask for an explanation of the balk? Or of the Bard or Sheff calls the other night? Why were you not on the field backing up Bard, Colome and Dunn?? etc.

Acta can't get the vets to play good baseball (Belliard does not cover 1st on the bunt - again), why should we think that he's the guy to guide young players?

This guy is awful, just awful.

Posted by: dfh21 | May 28, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

>Can anyone tell me what the links in suesue8709's posts in the last two threads have to do with the disputed replay, the game, the Nats, or even baseball?

About as much to do with it as the reporters' questioning of Manny has to do with the real problem with this team. How that idiot gets off the hook every night is beyond me.

13-33. Let's blame a home run call. Bunch of babies. Hey Boz you think it's time to get rid of Manny? Why don't you write another column about why they're not winning without pointing the finger? Be a good contrarian, we think it's cute. We really do. What a disaster all the way around. Ah, yes, Dibble asking why they continue to get their pitching staff beat up because they treat every hitter the same - 'I'll say it every night until someone listens - that's what a pitching coach is for, and if he doesn't do it, it's the manager's job'.
Oh Manny you supremely useless waste of oxygen, maybe you can get a job with the Post with all the other fools after you get fired.

If you get fired. Suck on it and like it nats fans. Oh, and the Nats take all major credit cards. Thanks for playing, suckah. I mean sir.

Posted by: Brue | May 28, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

this team has no depth. that is the problem. the mets come up with sheffield when their starters go down. we come up with belliard and nieves.

flores and dukes make us a viable lineup. without them we are easy pickings.

the dmitri and belliard resignings have turned out to be a complete nightmare. i thought they were worth the risk at the time but looking back at it now they were an absolute bust.

i thought the comparison of zimmermann to oswalt was very keen last night. zimmermann is a much bigger guy but their windups are similar. great model.

Posted by: longterm | May 28, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but I saw the ball change direction as it came down and hit the Subway sign. I thought that Dibble was going to start fighting Carpenter on the air because he disagreed with him.

What is most telling is that Dunn did not bother to move. He thought sure that the ball was in the second deck. Has anyone every seen a major league outfielder fail to take a step and then have the ball land behind him? I doubt it.

Posted by: MKadyman | May 28, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Lack of deopth? No. This club came in with capable backups all over the place. More OF's than we could count, Belliard and Harris, D. Young rehabbing. Best depth the club has had under Acta, hands down. He just can't win ball games; it's something new every night but always bad baseball and a loss.

Manny could have Bob Gibson on the mound with some combo of the Gas House Gang and Murderers Row in the lineup and he'd find a way to lose (and do so very calmly).

Posted by: dfh21 | May 28, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Don't think I read this in the thread yet but on the Mets feed the on field guy went up into the stands to ask the Mets fans sitting in the first row above the Subway sign what they saw. They all said the Mets got a break and that the ball did not hit the Subway sign.

Posted by: slopitchtom | May 28, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Why is this instant replay review and series of reviews the subjects of all these blogs, posts and even game stories, the real story is the offense that was scoring more than 5 runs a game is scoring a lot less than that lately and reviewed HRs or non-HRs are irrelevant as Manny said the other day you cannot win a lot of ball games scoring only one run.

Posted by: markfd | May 28, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

By God, somebody has to be fired for something, I don't really care what or why!! Then, I'll feel better, just like how everything was fixed when that bum Bowden was replaced by a real baseball genius, Mike Rizzo.

Posted by: Section506 | May 28, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

This is an easy one.

Get rid of instant replay in baseball.

Posted by: dand187 | May 28, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

8-20 May following a 5-16 April and we aren't going to fire this absolute joke of a manager.

What the hell does Get Your Red on Natstown even frigging mean?? It doesn't make any sense.

Randy Johnson is going to win his 300th game in front of 7500 people. He must be thrilled.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 28, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo was actually at the game last night and was interviewed by Debbie Harris during it so it's not like he isn't seeing (cue Marvin) What's Going On??

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@davelovine -- Who's Harlen?

Posted by: fischy | May 28, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse


Rizzo had not had enough time to even begin re-vamping this team. I would like a trade now too, but I also don't want us to be fleeced. If Rizzo beleives we have to wait until later to get value you have to trust him until he is proven wrong.

Manny at this point has had enough chanced. He looks apathetic, and so do his players. The culture of defeat is partially his fault. He should have been out there fighting. He should be drilling his players on defense.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 28, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"By God, somebody has to be fired for something, I don't really care what or why!! "

I think everyone on this board has made clear what the what/who and the why are.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 28, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The umpires should be fired. Watch secs 30-41

Posted by: JDB1 | May 28, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

They should rename our team the Washington Neuter.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

You think that with all the issues last year, that someone from MLB would review new ballpark designs (before they're built) to discuss any issues. I'm not advocating an MLB big brother with veto power over construction, but they should have an open dialogue. Having seats that hang over the field of play is asking for trouble, plain and simple.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 28, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"Since Randy Johnson won tonight he will be going for number 300 on Wednensday at Nationals Park. I wonder if the Nats will do anything special for it."

You mean, aside from losing?
Maybe they can bring back Mike Bascik for group photo-ops. Or maybe anytime Randy strikes out a Nat, he can autograph the ball for the batter.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 28, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Nats have no depth period - there are no viable options for replacing injured or non-performing players. There's no one in the minors ready to help either. You want a good example of good young prospects that you build a deep pool of talent with? Look up the road at the O's. They will definitely be ready to contend very soon, but the Nats, not so much.

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 28, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

we came into the season with too many outfielders, question marks at second base, hope upon hope for starters, weak relief corp, and a hurting flores. whatever we thought before the season, we are what we are now.

this is clearly the best team we've ever had. but every other team in the division is better also.

Posted by: longterm | May 28, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

JDB1, thanks for the link.

Gee, how about that. Conclusive evidence that the ball didn't hit the sign. Hard to imagine how the Keystone Cops missed that one.

Posted by: joebleux | May 28, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Forget about depth. How bout just playing normal fundamental baseball with the players you have---fielding grounders, covering 2nd base on force outs, covering first on bunts, catching popups and flyballs, hitting cutoff men, intentionally walking power hitters with first base know normal stuff. Or as Rob Dibble said, things an average high school team would be doing. Our own announcer is calling out the team daily. And rightfully so. At least someone is honest around here.
All praise Dibble.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 28, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

last night i thought it hit the board but now that i've looked at the replay (!!!) i'm convinced it did not.

Posted by: longterm | May 28, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Look at where baseball hit on the warning track, use basic physics and geometry and the answer is IT DID NOT HIT THE SIGN. So easy a 5th grader could do it.

Posted by: CBinDC | May 28, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse


So Matusz, Arrieta, Bergeson and Tillman are going to be seasoned vets when they come up? The Nats Starting Rotation is those guys, but on the big club. Marerro is back to himself after being hurt last year. There is help on the way its just not ready. After Weiters comes up the Orioles have a lack of Depth in terms of Position Players. The difference between the 2 farm systems is the O's have pitching prospects close to big league ready, the Nats prospects are either very young (Willems, MCgEARY, Smoker, Norris, Marerro, Burris, etc) or in the bigs (See starting 5, Flores, Dukes, etc) The O's have position players in the bigs, But the Pitchers are going to start going through the growing pains shortly and the O's don't have much that is very young.

Posted by: JDB1 | May 28, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

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

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

Sure, the Nats have problems with the roster, but very other team in the division is struggling too. The Braves can pitch but don't score. The Marlins have all kinds of troubles, but for when they play us. The Phillies have worse pitching than the Nats, and that is saying something. The Mets have injuries galore -- no Ryes, no Beltran, no Delgado. The division is arguably the worst in baseball. The Nats are 5-22 against it. FIVE wins.

Acta needs to go and it needs to happen today.

Posted by: dfh21 | May 28, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Replay should be scrapped. Umpires, like hockey refs, do exactly what they want to to influence the game they way they want it to come out and replay is a tool that they use to influence the result.

Just ask the Caps about the officiating in the Penguins series. The officials handed Pittsburgh Game 5 and attempted to hand them Game 6. This is no different, with the exception that the Nats aren't ready to challenge for the world championship yet, but the Caps are.

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

@baltova1: I don't disagree with anything you say.

When I thought it was just a matter of the Nats not having the necessary talent, especially in the bullpen, I saw no point in making Manny the fall guy.

But the continued failure to play fundamentally sound baseball can no longer be rationalized as individual failings, and Manny, as you say, shows signs of accepting it despite his assertions to the contrary.

While there is no guarantee it will help, it is time for a change.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 28, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The call the night before that gave Gary Sheffield a bogus home run was horrendous and obviously NOT a home run. The play last night, when watched from slow mo cameras, didn't look like a homer either. When the crowds, who are NEW YORKERS AND METS FANS, were asked by OUR on air personality, THEY said New York had been given a gift and that it hadn't been a home run, either, and they were absolutely in the best position to judge. Every one of those umpires should either be fired or sent to the minor leagues, ESPECIALLY Adrian Johnson, who is the WORST umpire I've ever seen. Someone needs to explain the rules and regulation to these guys! Remember the old jokes about umpires needing glasses? If these bozos can't even tell from a video feed that a ball isn't a home run, then glasses are DEFINITELY not enough; they need telescopes!

Posted by: agrippamom | May 28, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

A few things:

The umps got the call right. It was a home run. End of story. Whining about umpires & referees and getting screwed over is the realm of losers. The Nats aren't losing because of bad umpiring. They're losing because of bad pitching and bad defense. Instead of griping about the umps, how about we hold Guzman accountable for his bases-loaded error (ruled a hit!) and hold Belliard accountable for not covering first on a nicely fielded bunt to Zimm...

The larger issue is poor pitching. Sheffield's double in the first, Murphy's bomb. ZNN has outstanding stuff; his pitch selection was horrible. Nieves and Bard are terrible game callers. Let's hold them accountable for setting these young pitchers up for failure.

Manny Acta is SO not the problem. He's a good baseball man stuck with the mess Bowden left him. St. Clair, on the other hand.... that's the guy who should go. We brought in a new hitting coach and it's worked out splendidly. Time to bring in a better pitching coach. Let's hold St. Clair accountable for the catcher's poor pitch selection and the inability of the relief corps to do the one thing ALL relief pitchers are trained to do: throw strikes!

Posted by: outsider6 | May 28, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"Q [to Manny Acta]: Did Dunn say anything to you about it?

A: He said the ball didn't hit the sign."

When did this supposed Acta/Dunn conversation take place? Couldn't have been during the review, Acta didn't come out, and it didn't appear that Dunn went into the dugout (though admittedly, the camera wasn't trained exclusively on Dunn during the review period). I assume Manny sought this clarification after the inning ended.

If that's right, it's too late to ask Dunn! In situations like this, a *real* manager would have been on the field, if not arguing his case, at least finding out from his players what happened. And, it also bothers me that when Dunn started jawing the ump after the HR was announced, Acta didn't come out, either to back up Dunn or to keep him from going too far and getting tossed. To these eyes (admittedly, watching on TV, hundreds of miles away), Acta sent the message, "Adam, you're on your own on this one."

In which case, Acta has a lot of nerve to then complain about the call in his post-game. Too little, too late.


Posted by: mvm2 | May 28, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Some really thoughtfull points this morning, everyone is on their "A" game, but really people how many more weeks can this go on? Bottom line, Acta just does not have his team prepared to play on a daily basis. His inability to focus is inexcusable at this level. Its amazing that the Lerners are letting this unfold this way.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 28, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I have not been on the Manny must go band wagon because I do believe he knows strategy, odds of success, etc. . . I also appreciate that sometimes he has to allow guys to play themselves out of subpar streaks of pitching and hitting. Having said all that, there sometimes are guys who are knowledgeable about the game who just do not make good managers or who need to get their mistakes out with one team before they are successful with another. At this stage in his career, Manny would excell as a bench coach for another manager where he could help on the strategy, work with players, but not have the responsibility for putting the whole show together. He can take heart in the career paths of Torre and Francona, who went through this. He may not get there ever even if when he gets his second chance, but I don't believe the talent on this team is as poor as it has performed, and it is not going to change with him leading it.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | May 28, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

@ oursider:

"Manny Acta is SO not the problem. He's a good baseball man stuck with the mess Bowden left him."

How do you figure? What evidence is there that Manny is a good baseball man? Becasue he is Oamr Minaya's pal? This is his first job as manager and he's simply failing in every aspect of his role and he has been doing so now for well more than 200 games and with no end sight. He's placed players in bad roles, he's made bad in-game decisions, he has refused to stand up for his players, he has defelcted blame for the bad record and poor play on to everyone he can find, he's not been able to motivate the club, etc.

He is at least as much a part of the problem as anything else ailing this club right now. He needs to go.

Posted by: dfh21 | May 28, 2009 2:16 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 2:25 PM | Report abuse


The umpires should be fired. Watch secs 30-41"

...this is the most damning vide I've where the ball passes sign on both views...if the ball was actaully near the wall it would be the same

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | May 28, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

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