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Haunted by Lastings Milledge

So while I was in Kansas, I did something I hadn't done since I was a kid -- bought a single pack of baseball cards.

(Not that I haven't bought cards more recently; some years ago I still collected religiously, but I bought them by the case. Nothing like sitting down in front of a World Series game with a case of baseball cards and a beer and sorting. Love that.)

Anyway, times have changed. It was $1 for a single pack of Topps cards -- not surprising, since I was in line at Dollar General. It contained seven -- SEVEN! -- cards. Yeesh. And no gum!

Of the seven, two were Nats -- not surprising, I guess, since I suppose they still load the deck with a lot of, um, non-stars, and make you work for the big names.

That's not the problem. But guess which Nats I got?

Ronnie Belliard and Lastings Milledge. Milledge? Good gravy.

Anyway, some reading material:

Steinberg talked to Rob Dibble about his use of "we."

The St. Petersburg Times' Eduardo A. Encina and Rebecca Catalanello have written about Elijah Dukes' return to his old home tonight. According to the paper, Dukes will not speak to the local media.

Bill Shaikin of the LA Times writes that Boras will make the Nats squirm. Hardly news, but if you can't get enough Strasburg ...

BTW, I'll be interested to see the crowd shots from Tampa tonight (while flipping between the Wings' Game 7 and the Nats). The Royals played down there when I was in Kansas and I couldn't believe how empty the stands were for the defending AL champs. I'll be eager to see if more people are there this weekend, but not holding my breath. I don't suppose the Nats will be a bigger draw than the Royals were.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  June 12, 2009; 11:59 AM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's Lineups

Comments

7 cards for a buck? I wonder if card companies are trying to keep card values artificially high by keeping them scarce.

Posted by: dclifer97 | June 12, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

7 cards for a buck along recession [depression] highway.

Posted by: periculum | June 12, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"(Not that I haven't bought cards more recently; some years ago I still collected religiously, but I bought them by the case. Nothing like sitting down in front of a World Series game with a case of baseball cards and a beer and sorting. Love that.)"

I would think a single baseball card and a case of beer would be more appropriate. Oh wait, you said World Series game. I was thinking your average Nats game on MASN2. Never mind.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 12, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The baseball card opening description brought back painful memories of summer days in the late 1960s when I'd open a pack or two hoping for a Frank Howard card and getting a card of a less desirable Senator such as Brant Alyea, Casey Cox or Tim Cullen. When the Nats came to town in 2005, my son seemed to get Gary Bennett or Zach Day in every pack. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: VaNat | June 12, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what those Casey Cox, Brant Alyea etc.. cars are worth now. I've got loads of those.

"And I still think they should give Jorge Padilla chance in the big leagues. Looks like he's earned a shot given their current standings and record. He can't be any worst than Kearns, decidedly better as he has much to prove"

Have you bothered to check Jorge Padilla's age?

Posted by: natsguy | June 12, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Tracee: At least Lastings is still on the 40-man. I think the last time I impulse bought a pack, at least two of the players had been either released or traded.

Posted by: BinM | June 12, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

newposted before I could ask: Do you suppose Boz chose the phrase "keep on fighting 'til the end..." as an allusive tribute to the professionalism he describes? Just wondering.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 12, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

oh, and 1a1-- "fanhedonia" would be on the very short list of great user names...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 12, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The Casey Cox 1968 Topps has a short printed variation based on the color of his name on the front of the card(either white is short or yellow is short, can't remember. If you have three yellows, then it is the white one...haha). The short printed one is actually valuable. The other one, not so much.

And if you haven't collected sports cards in a while, check out the $400 packs with 5 cards in them. The hobby has evolved a bit...haha

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 12, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I had a Tim Cullen card! - we named a cat after him as well (actually the whole litter was Senators: Casanova, Brickman, Epstein, and Comer)

Posted by: lowcountry | June 12, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, it was the "Senators" team letters, not his name.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 12, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Should know I'll get new posted at lunch.

What ever happened to that kid the Nats drafted in like 2007 where they came up with some sort of special deal so he could complete his college at Standford, or something like that? I can't remember who that was. Is he still with the organization?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 12, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

You had a cat named Tim? That's awesome.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 12, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Tim Cullen was my favorite player and a subject of several trivia questions.

Posted by: natsguy | June 12, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Jack McGreary is at Hagerstown and getting hit a lot.

Posted by: natsguy | June 12, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse


Twinbrook, you're thinking of Jack McGeary.
Still in the pipeline.
http://tinyurl.com/na9qjr


*************
What ever happened to that kid the Nats drafted in like 2007 where they came up with some sort of special deal so he could complete his college at Standford, or something like that? I can't remember who that was. Is he still with the organization?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 12, 2009 12:57 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 12, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

From last thread (post)

What a diiference a winning record makes! The Caps drafted the sainted Bengt Gustaffson's son to much aclaim. Supposedly he can play and has signed with Caps. Maybe this guy can pitch.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | June 12, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't thought of Wayne Comer in a long time. They traded Hank Allen for him. Bad trade.

Posted by: natsguy | June 12, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

beat me to it, Natsguy.
McGeary is 0-5 with a WHIP of YIKES 1.735

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

twinbrook:
Jack McGeary. He's still in school. Left a little early this year to join low A Hagerstown. He's 0-5, 6.20.

Word is he'll still return to school in the fall.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

oops. I was a little slow.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 12, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

yeah, but how's that for service, twinbrook?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 12, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Tim Cullen? Casey Cox? Whatever happened to that team's Strasburg, Pete Broberg? The young guys trying to stay in the bigs: Bittner, Harrah, and Nelson ...

My god, is that the heart of the Nationals hard-core fan base? Ex Senators fans? If so, the team may indeed be in trouble?

Posted by: periculum | June 12, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Natinals = Sentors. Hmmmm ... could be two new autobots ... or even a couple of Poke Mon's?

Posted by: periculum | June 12, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

We went with last names for the cats, NatsNut - although I was pulling for Aurelio.

Natsguy, Wayne Comer was my hero. I first met him whe he was with the Pilots (he gave me a practice ball) and then when he came to DC I was a proud member of the Wayne Comer fan club. Even at the early age, I wondered if I might have been the only one. But yes, it was indeed a very bad trade in my book.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 12, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Sean Black (originally drafted in 2006 by the Nats #59 overall and didn't sign) was drafted this year by the Yankees #225 overall.

Posted by: dclifer97 | June 12, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"WHat ever happened to that kid the Nats drafted in like 2007 where they came up with some sort of special deal so he could complete his college at Standford,"

Jake McGeary!!! I know this one!!

ooh, fail. Sec 3 even got the Times Q&A. I'm superfluous. Like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter at a Paula Deen festival.

Posted by: Section506 | June 12, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

misread your original post, natsguy. I was thinking about when we sold him back to the Tigers (which I thought was a bad trade)

Posted by: lowcountry | June 12, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Wild-eyed Optimist Dept: Maybe McGeary picks up his game when old buddy Storen comes to [Hagers]town?

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 12, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

A shout out to everyone who answered my question. :-) I'm impressed by the service. NJ Rules, when we're not bickering. (I'm not say'n...)

Posted by: twinbrook | June 12, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

On a Friday after a win, you guys are in rare form.


"I'm superfluous. Like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter at a Paula Deen festival."

"You had a cat named Tim? That's awesome."

=)

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 12, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Lowcountry: That would be Brinkman not Brickman as in Eddie Brinkman the good field no hit shortstop of the sixties.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 12, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of ol' Lastings, comes word from SI's Jon Heymann that he could be headed out of town (page 2):

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_heyman/06/12/outsized-performances/index.html

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 12, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Uhm, as to the Dibble piece, is George Kennedy not the observer in Dirty Dozen, as opposed to Kelly's Heroes?

Posted by: Section506 | June 12, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

...and since you folks are in a good mood today, see if you can avoid an un-PC joke out of this play that ended the Royals and Indians game in Cleveland last night:

http://bit.ly/wUAhL

or

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090612&content_id=5283376&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

(same link)

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 12, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this has been mentioned while I've been away, but it will be interesting to see the extent to which our lineup plays better with a DH (it lets us add a bat and drop a liability in the field):

Guzman, ss
Johnson, 1b
Zimmerman, 3b
Dunn, DH
Dukes, cf
Willingham, lf
Kearns, rf
Gonzalez, 2b
Bard/Nieves, c

If we had Flores then that would be a pretty decent offensive lineup.

Posted by: BobLHead | June 12, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

thank you dargregman. Obviously, I gave my proofreader the day off today.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 12, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps this has been mentioned while I've been away, but it will be interesting to see the extent to which our lineup plays better with a DH (it lets us add a bat and drop a liability in the field)"

I see no improvement there. Kearns's bat is no better than a pitcher's bat.

Kearns may be a nice guy personally, but I'm actually rooting against him right now. If he bites the big one this week, he's likely gone. This interleague stretch will be his Waterloo. Which is kind of fitting since he might as well be batting with one hand tucked into the front of his jersey.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 12, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Tracee wrote: Anyway, times have changed. It was $1 for a single pack of Topps cards -- not surprising, since I was in line at Dollar General. It contained seven -- SEVEN! -- cards. Yeesh. And no gum!

Tracee, I'd say your best deal was the no gum. I always found that pink slab to be slightly disgusting compared with the high-grade Bazooka or, the best, DoubleBubble.

Sorry about the Lastings card. Did the card show up 15 minutes after you opened the pack?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 12, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Reprinting the folloowing rant from Steinberg's blog about Rob Dibble. I needed to vent after all the Dibble love that's been flying around here:


Ok, I'll be the contrarian here. I don't mind the "we" part of Dibble's performance. It's actually kind of endearing. I particularly enjoy when he let's out a "yes!" or "all right!" when a Nats player gets a key hit. I don't blame him for getting caught up with the team he is spending so much time with. That's fine. And he is certainly unpredictable, which is fun.

What I don't like is that so much of his "analysis" is completely lacking in substance. How many times have we heard him say something like, "what these guys need to understand is that no one is going to do this for them, it's up to them to step up and perform, and if they don't they have no one to blame but themselves." It's like a string of cliches, with an occasional entertaining eruption. I respect the fact that he's willing to say that Nats are terrible, and to call out players who aren't producing, but is it really that hard to be critical of a 16-42 team?

His discussion a few nights ago of the upcoming negotiation with Strasburg was laughable. He thinks it's ridiculous to give millions of dollars in bonus money to someone who hasn't thrown a major league pitch. And he goes on at length about that position, which pretty much everyone rejects given the fact that teams need to lock up young talent, and the bonus money is spread over 4 years etc, etc.

So Carpenter asks him, a former major league pitcher, "so from seeing that video, what can you tell us about this kid's delivery and his potential?" Dibble's response: "Nothing, nothing at all. He's pitching against college kids." Ok Rob, we get it. You're jealous that this guy is going to be a millionaire right out of college, but come on! According to lots of knowledgeable baseball insiders he's the best pitching prospect in years. The Nats are staking their future on him. You really can't apply your knowledge of pitching to give us some insight on this guy?

At least with Sutton, for all his annoying self-absorption, I learned something about pitching. I don't feel like Dibble is a student of the game, he's all feelings, some of them very misguided. That's fine in the guy you sit next to at the park, but in the booth I'd like to have someone who knows something.

Posted by: Section222 | June 12, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

That's a fair point. Dibble also has an absolutely dreadful grasp of statistics. But he tends to rant when things aren't going well and takes four of five innings (or in the case of the QS we're on three months) to grind a nonsensical point into the ground.

However, he's there to provide color, and when Bob keeps the analysis firmly in his sphere, he provides plenty of color.

Posted by: Section506 | June 12, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"His discussion a few nights ago of the upcoming negotiation with Strasburg was laughable. "

Dibble's extended rant on Strasburg was by far my favorite commentary on the subject to date. He was 100% spot-on in ripping these monster bonuses given to college kids who for the most part aren't going to pan out. And I loved it when he started rattling off Boras' clients, the bonuses that they got, and the fact that a lot of them haven't produced squat.

And he's absolutely right that you can't tell that much by watching him pitch to college kids; that's why drafting pitchers is such a crapshoot.

Posted by: joebleux | June 12, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking for quite a while that Dibble contradicts himself. He says you have to pitch inside. But when you pitch one low and inside and the batter hits a homer, you're wrong. If you pitch him high and away and the batter hits it, that's wrong too. And when you pitch him midway and inside and the batter gets a hit, that was your dumb mistake too. He doesn't know what he's talking about a lot of the time, but he comes across as confident, so it gets swallowed by his fans. Totally fooled by the confident sound. Some of them say the only reason they watch the game is because of him. I'm sorry but I didn't wait all this time for Dibble to come to Washington. I waited for a baseball team to play here, and I am going to support them no matter what some color commentator says. If you prefer Dibble to our baseball team, what kind of fan are you?

Posted by: P522 | June 12, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Aurelio Rodriguez, at one point in time, he was one of the answers to a two-part trivia question. Who's the only player in MLB history to have all of the vowels in his first name? The other question? Who's the only player to have all of the vowels in his last name? The answer after this sidebar.

I think "Haunted by Lastings Milledge" would be a great name for a rock band.

The answer is Ed Figueroa.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 12, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Pete Broberg, David Clyde ... fast forwarding to ...

Ross Detwiler, Steven Strasburg, Drew Storen ... Luis Atilano (Braves), Colton Willems (another high schooler like McGreary) ...

There are now plenty of 1st rounders down in their minors. Time to find out if they are flops like Clyde and Broberg who were both rushed too soon into the majors or will pan out into 4 20 game winners.

Posted by: periculum | June 12, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

There were some other guys also waiting to come up. Jeff Burroughs, Bill Madlock to name a couple.

Posted by: natsguy | June 12, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

confession:

me at yesterday's game: "I love you Kearnsy, but you suck."

Posted by: NatsNut | June 12, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Totally disagree on Dibble. We had to mute Sutton and his constant references to Cairo Georgia. He analyzed pitching but it was the same words over and over and over again.
You never know what will be coming from Dib.

On BB cards. I was into collecting about 10 years ago and put together a complete 1965 set. it is sweet - a set that I had as a kid. Besides that great set that I look through from time to time, I now have a legal file case of cards that have virtually no value and a bunch of stinkin Mets cards (yes I was a convert in 05!).

Tonight our streak goes to 2 wins!

Posted by: alm1000 | June 12, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/06/heyman-on-penny-ackley-milledge.html#comments

some chicago and oakland fans want him.

Posted by: longterm | June 12, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

milledge = tommy hanson?

Posted by: longterm | June 12, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

What in the name of sweet baby Jesus would anyone be offering us for Milledge? His value must currently be lower than at any time in his career.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Funny to read those comments - it reminds me of me a year or so ago.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

BobLHead - I'm thinking the bottom 3 in the order might be Wil/Bard, Kearns, and Gonzalez / AH. I think the 2d baseman will be in a wrap around second leadoff position that you see in the AL, and that right now, the catcher is probably more of a production hitter than Kearns.

Also, would part of you want to see an OF with Willie, ED, and Willingham? They could do a lot of stuff with AH/AG, Willie, and Guz 8-9-1 in the order.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 12, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Tracee - did the Milledge card note that he was on the All-Star ballot in '09?

Vote Millege from the Natinals!

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 12, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

They are going to give us a bag-o-balls for Milledge. We have to give someone else that same bag-o-balls to take kearnsy!

Any cats named for Unser, Epstein, Allen, or Knowles?

Posted by: 1of9000 | June 12, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"You never know what will be coming from Dib."

Except that somehow or another, Jair Jurrjens will figure into it.

Posted by: joebleux | June 12, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Ron Darling rubbed people the wrong way too, but I liked his commentary.

The difference between Darling and Dibble saying "If I were pitching now, I'd stick one in his ear" is that Dibble comes across as a huge meat-head.

Posted by: dclifer97 | June 12, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Not that I recall - but I was a big fan of them all. The reminiscences on Casey Cox reminded me that he may have been the only Senators starting pitcher I ever saw. It seems like every time we went to a game he was pitching. But perhaps it was just one game that for soem reason became the memory of them all. Thirty-five years from now, one of our current young fans may think that Daniel Cabrerra pitched evey game (when, in fact, It was only one really, really long game).

Any cats named for Unser, Epstein, Allen, or Knowles?

Posted by: 1of9000 | June 12, 2009 3:54 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | June 12, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

PTBNjca, I was thinking about the same outfield you propose: Willingham, Harris, Dukes. And batting the second baseperson 9th makes oodles of sense, too. So I guess you're hired.

Posted by: Scooter_ | June 12, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Dibble, confidently: "Pitch them inside, but not low, midway, or high." Yeah, that's color for you!

Posted by: P522 | June 12, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

It's always comforting to know that all OUR pitchers need is confidence. Then come the championships.

Posted by: dclifer97 | June 12, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

It *is* fun in here after a win. Just catching up with comments.

Glad that you liked my little neologism, sec3. It could make a good moniker for someone (but not for me, at least not at this point). Actually, if I don't have fanhedonia by now, I would suspect that I'm not susceptible.

I Googled Tim the Cat, NatsNut and IHW, so I learned something new today. I was familiar with Bill, but not Tim.

I don't have a joke on the Cleveland play, IHW, but it made me think of Major League 2, which I watched after the game last night. (Back up the truck!!)

Speaking of Kearns, I thought it was cute when Brady Dunn (who looks a lot like his dad at that age) was interrupting his mom to alert her to Kearns' at-bat during her interview. ("Mom. Austin!") Somehow it made me happy that the guy had at least one little fan in the stands last night, despite his offensive woes.

Last, re. P522's comments on Dibble, I do enjoy Dibble, but I don't prefer him to my team. As with Charlie and Dave, I like that he doesn't sugar coat it when somebody makes a boneheaded play or dogs it. To my ear he is not excessively critical, and he doesn't tend to make excuses, which I appreciate.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 12, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh, 1a, you reminded me. Kearns's favorite joke:

Q: What kind of frog can jump higher than a telephone pole?

A: All frogs. Telephone poles can't jump.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 12, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Casey Cox was a Physical Education teacher at Carrollton Elementary School in the offseason(around 68, 69 and 70, I think).

Posted by: 1of9000 | June 12, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

No wonder Brady likes him, NatsNut. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 12, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

No wonder NatsNut likes him, 1a. She strikes me as a gal who's soft for a big ol' cornball. ;)

Posted by: Section506 | June 12, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

1a - now you know why my parents insisted that we name the cats using the players last names, especially "Cullen."

Posted by: lowcountry | June 12, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Tracee, a day late welcome back. I imagine you have a fridge within reach of the recliner in your sports lair so you can keep the case of cards in your lap while reaching for the beer?

When do your columns start? Looking forward to them.

Geezer

Posted by: utec | June 12, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

How about a cat named Biitner? Or Wert? Or Stroud?
or Harrah?

Posted by: periculum | June 12, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Could be, 506. I like him, too, though I'll also admit to being frustrated with some of his at-bats (or Zimmerman's or [insert player's name here]'s, of late). Would be great to see the bats wake up on this road trip (and the pitching hold its own).

Got it, lowcountry. So does anybody ever name dogs after players. Like, oh, I don't know, Lopez? ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 12, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Anyone here live in Arlington? This isn't related to Nats or baseball in anyway, but worth watching.

http://tinyurl.com/lq9fed

Posted by: NatsNut | June 12, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

NN - Thanks, after the day I've had I needed the laugh...

Posted by: OldDude | June 12, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

lineups?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | June 12, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Guzman - 6
Johnson - 3
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - DH
Dukes - 8
Willingham - 7
Harris - 9
Bard - 2
Hernandez - 4

No Kearns??? What happened to he "Test"?

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 12, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Wondering if baseball cards these days have the vapid or fluffy comments on the back, like this about Otto Velez, Yankees scrub of decades ago: "Otto's wife is a fine Irish cook!" with some goofy cartoon drawing of their enjoying food.

Posted by: paulkp | June 13, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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