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The Gulf Between Them

In consecutive nights at Nationals Park, the visiting San Francisco Giants will deploy, as their starting pitchers, the reigning Cy Young winner, one of the most dominant left-handed power pitchers of all time, and a 24-year-old who's having a better season than either of them. The Washington Nationals -- as they've documented through 49 games this year -- don't require much assistance to build a losing streak. But just as they try to snap one, they run into the most imposing series of pitchers they'll face all year.

First, Tim Lincecum, who had more wins last season (18) than any current Nationals' starter has had in his career.

Next, Randy Johnson, who will be trying for his 300th career victory -- a benchmark that eve Stephen Strasburg might not reach until age 27.

Finally, Matt Cain, who is 6-1 this season with a 2.31 ERA, third-best in the National League.

More striking than that trio's credentials, though, is the disparity in experience when compared with Washington's three starters for this series. Here's the best way to crystallize it: San Fran's three starters have combined for six Cy Young awards. Washington's three starters have combined for two career victories.

The Nats have a youth-heavy rotation, but it just so happens their three greenest rookies get the call for this series. On consecutive nights, they'll use Craig Stammen, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. They have combined for 13 career starts. Lincecum, Johnson and Cain have combined for 777.

You can pick any number of categories to chart the disparity here -- All Star Appearances, Google Hits, Video Game Commercials, Birds Vaporized By Fastballs -- but here is a rather standard chart of the statistical gap.

THE SAN FRAN TRIO
GS -- 777
IP -- 5251
W -- 364
L -- 219
ER -- 1936
ERA -- 3.32
K -- 5946

THE WASHINGTON TRIO
GS -- 13
IP -- 73-1/3
W -- 2
L -- 4
ER -- 46
ERA -- 5.65
K -- 65

By Chico Harlan  |  June 2, 2009; 8:04 AM ET
 
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Next: Pitching Coach St. Claire Fired

Comments

Looking forward to the Wed game. I noticed the Nats have fixed their problem with blown saves by not getting themselves in a position for any of the relief pitchers lose a lead. A new manager or a win by Teddy would be nice.

Posted by: Champions | June 2, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

5,946 to 65. Good grief.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 2, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"Next, Randy Johnson, who will be trying for his 300th career victory -- a benchmark that even the Stephen Strasburg might not reach until age 27."

An indication on where you stand vis-a-vis all the Strasburg hype?

Posted by: joemktg2 | June 2, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I knew I would get new posted...

Okay, I know I'll get new posted on this... but I have to comment. The thing that killed the Nationals' TV viewership from the get-go was the fact that their games weren't on Comcast. That first season when they were in first place for most of June (alas, only a short four years ago) might have hooked a lot more people if they could have actually seen the games. We had to switch to DirecTV to see them (about two months before the settlement that allowed them to be shown). So by the time people could get into the habit of watching them, almost two years after coming to Washington, they began to suck eggs big time.

Also, this MASN/MASN2 crap is for the birds. You have to search the dial to find them, and even the cable TV channel listing would say that it was C-Span, rather than the games. I walked into a bar in Rockville one night last season, waiting to meet someone. I asked the bartender to turn on the Nats game (they had DirecTV) and he had no idea where to find it.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"San Fran's three starters have combined for six Cy Young awards. Washington's three starters have combined for two career victories." That is stunning!!

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

On the upside, we're not sending out Odalis Perez, Tim Redding, and Tony Armas, Ramon Ortiz, Mike Bacsik, Jason Simmontachi, Mike O'Connor, Pedro Astacio, Zach Day, or Ryan Drese.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 2, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. When I saw the title I thought this post was going to be about the gulf between Ross Detwiler and Rick Porcello.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 2, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Well, Johnson certainly collects the vast vast majority of those stats himself (and his self is 45 years old). Lincecum is in his third season, I think, so he can't have more than 70 or so starts in his career, but I get the picture. Them? Proven, forboding. Us? Who the Hell are us!?

Good news is that no one on SF can hit it out of the park with regularity, and the Nats have several guys who can.

If the Nats could do the little things in any way, they'd be winning enough games to be less than a joke -- high OBP plus the ability to knock it out of the park makes a club tough to beat -- well, most teams that is.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Just another thing to add on the TV ratings. Went Saturday night to the Greene Turtle and with all of the screens showing the O's game, Pens/Wings, and racing, not a single one was tuned to the Nats/Phillies contest....not a single one. I looked in the booths where they have screens individually, nope not a one.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 2, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"Also, this MASN/MASN2 crap is for the birds."

So to speak...

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

This morning I actually saw one of those MASN Defining Moments ads on a station that wasn't MASN or MASN2. (ABC Channel 7 morning news, if you must know.) So, is this an attempt by MASN to broaden its audience, or to actually scare away potential new viewers with its creepy commercials? I vote for the latter. It's got to be an evil Angelos anti-Nats plot, obviously brought about by the increase in Nats ratings this year.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, here's hoping that all the Giants pitchers get Bergmanned - a couple of years ago as a rookie Bergmann totally outpitched John Smoltz (who did not behave well) and a year later John Lannan also Bergmanned Smoltz - this is being touted on one of those fan ads. Comparably, Levale Speigner outpitched CC Sabathia in the same season.

Posted by: Traveler8 | June 2, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"John Lannan also Bergmanned Smoltz - this is being touted on one of those fan ads"

Every time I see that ad, I marvel at the fact that John Lannan actually struck out Mark Teixeira in a real live baseball game. Here's hoping that some day, we will have a team that has defining moments that aren't premised on the fact that the team and most of its players generally suck.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 2, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

twinbrook, I've had that same problem in bars. I ask for the Nats, and bartenders don't know how to find them. (This is DirectTV in bars. Comcast is another fubar because of the reasons you mentioned with the C-SPAN listing in the guide.) It's pathetic. I gave up trying. If I was Stan, I'd be comping tickets to bar staff left & right. Try to get them interested, and maybe they'd put the games on. Maybe it's too late now, but it couldn't hurt to try!

One time (not at band camp), I had some time to kill around Metro Center, and I wandered into ESPN Zone. All those TVs and not one was tuned to the Nats. They had the freaking Phillies on though, to be sure! This from the Bar/Restaurant/Tourist Trap that has those crazy ribbon board ads at the park and has all the player apperances. That does not compute.

Posted by: frog7694 | June 2, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

God those adds suck so much.

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 2, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

maybe you shouldn't go to bars so often

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 2, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I haven't read all the posts so forgive me if somebody's already asked this: isn't the increase in TV viewers directly correlated to the reduction of game attendees?

People, people people: where is your LOYALTY? Now more than ever our team needs you out there cheering them on! If you want to sit here and "Brue'd" about how Manny should be fired, how we don't have enough depth, how we need a REAL GM, and a REAL team president, and owners with open wallets and deep pockets (which is a sorry joke considering all the Yankees-Steinbrenner-can't-buy-a-pennant hate around here), then stop pretending to care about this team and go write columns for a living.

You think the 81-81 start in '05 was due to FRobby or pitching or talent? Bosh. It was because the EX-pos finally had more than 1,000 fans in the seats - 20K+ baseball lovers yelling their hearts out after 33 jilted years. Don't underestimate the power of an audience as inspiration.

Who cares if every snob columnist in the nation considers the Nats a laughable collection of misfits? They're here, they're ours, things WILL improve with time! Even the '62 Mets packed the Polo Grounds. If you truly love the team... then shut up and go to Nats Park and LOVE them!!

Posted by: MikeH0714 | June 2, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

There's also a Gulf on the hitting side.

Runs Nats +47
Hits Nats +36
HR Nats +31
RBI Nats +51
BB Nats + 85

Of course, whomever they have at manager is such a plus, none of this matters.

Posted by: NavinJohnson | June 2, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

To MikeH0714,
Amen! I'm glad to know that there are other fans who feel like I do. You must be a parent.

Posted by: Natsgal | June 2, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

maybe you shouldn't go to bars so often

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 2, 2009 9:27 AM

Mom, is that you?

Posted by: frog7694 | June 2, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

NavinJohnson, I've heard about this, cat juggling!!

Nice job on the offensive numbers.

Bruce Bochy is the SF manager, 950 wins. Talk about gulfs!

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Amen, MikeHO714. My view is from a distance but I can't help thinking that some of our woes - especially our fielding woes from our "good fielders" (i.e. Hernandez and NJ) - comes from them trying too hard not to makes mistakes.

A few people have suggested throwing all their support to Potomac or Hagerstown this year so they won't "be disappointed anymore." What an absurd proposition.

Go enjoy the games. Be disappointed when we lose - it is the only way to truly savor the occasional victory. But appreciate the opportunity to go out and cheer for the team. I wish that I could.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 2, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

... And MASN is STILL using Soriano in its Nationals "Classics" promo that airs every game. Clips of him playing appear several times in the 30 seconds.

That's not merely unfortunate -- someone should be fired for this still airing all this time after he left.

Posted by: jonathangrella | June 2, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Who cares if every snob columnist in the nation considers the Nats a laughable collection of misfits? They're here, they're ours, things WILL improve with time! Even the '62 Mets packed the Polo Grounds. If you truly love the team... then shut up and go to Nats Park and LOVE them!!

Posted by: MikeH0714 | June 2, 2009 9:27 AM
-- -- -- -- --

Stan? Is that Stan Kasten? You can't fool me you sorry excuse for a used car salesman! This is the most pathetic trick in the book- pretend to be a "normal fan" and rally the troops to spend money on one of the worst products ever sloppily assembled on the baseball field!

Note to Stan, the Lerners, "MikeH0714" (really Stan Kasten) and those who think spending money=loyalty/fanaticism. I'm not buying it. I'll support this team without spending a dime until they put something worth buying in front of me. I want the Nats to succeed, but as long as the Lerners are making a profit on this team (breaking their promise to put any profits in the first 10 years back into the franchis, btw) and keep the worst product on the field, I'll keep my cash in my wallet.

See you Wed. to watch win #300!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | June 2, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The whole "Defining Moments" ad campaign is beyond stupid. Between the O's and the Nats and all of the years of losing, there are no defining moments (besides Wil Nieves!). Defining moments only occur if there's something great to talk about like a playoff or world series win or a team like the Rockies that won 21 of 22 games to get to the WS.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 2, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"That's not merely unfortunate -- someone should be fired for this still airing all this time after he left. "

Well, it's classics, right? So it should show highlights and he is the best player to play here at this point, I'm not sure who else they would advertise for "classic" games? Tony Armas, Jr.?

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Yes, and ESPN classics shows replays of the World Series of Poker!! (ugh!)

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Mike H. (or Stan K.)

I agree with you to a certain extent, I've had a 4 seat, 20 gamer every year so far and I go even now, when they are putrid.

You still have to support the team.

But, fan's have a right to question when things aren't going so well.

The Lerner's and Kasten have done a miserable job so far, marketing and building this team. And it all goes back to trying do it on the cheap like this is a market the size of KC.

Hopefully they have learned their lesson that, to win in baseball you have to spend. The Rays and Marlins do well sometimes but, year after year the payroll standing and the league standings don't lie.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The Nats should advertise and open the park for free to everyone one game this season and even refund season ticket holders and all advance ticket holders for that game and make it a dollar dog day. Just open the gates and see if they can fill the place up. What better way to say, we're sorry for the season fans, this game is on us...the owners. Mark Lerner should take the microphone just before the game begins and thank the fans for showing up and pledge HIS allegiance to making this thing better. Show the fans that they're not going to sit idly by and watch this ship go down without at least trying to save it. Have some guts owners...show the fans you care. Come out of walls and show some baXXs. Lets see your backbone.

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 2, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

In some respects it is also a chicken and egg situation with the marketing. When all you have to sell is crap, then your efforts are crappy. I agree there needs to be more community outreach. They are trying to make Nats Park a hip place to go drink (as shown in some of their ads) saying "don't worry about baseball. Just come and spend your money."

And they need much better public relations on a one-to-one basis. We've tried to get someone to talk to use about resolving issues around trying to find some type of peanut-free seat for my youngest son. Their staff had been at best clueless and at worse non responsive.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"Even the 1962 Mets packed the Polo Grounds."

A bit of mythology, but untrue. The Mets that year drew 922,530, against an NL average of 1,136,016. (Source: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/metsattn.shtml)

And that, in a city with a population of 8 million just in the five boroughs.

That same year, the pennant-winning Yankees drew 1,747,725 against an AL average of 1,016,302.

I have a hard time attributing the first-half success of the '05 Nats to attendance. In fact, Opening Day attendance aside, average attendance was worrisomely low until summer, which is when their post-All-Star break slide began.

Attendance follows success, and rarely precedes it.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 2, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

A peanut-free seat? At a baseball game. Seriously?

C'mon.

Posted by: combedge | June 2, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

>but I can't help thinking that some of our woes - especially our fielding woes from our "good fielders" (i.e. Hernandez and NJ) - comes from them trying too hard not to makes mistakes.

You call that thinking?

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

They should have a commercial where they film Acta getting fired, with some nerd waving his arms and flopping on the floor. There's your defining moment.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

An additional note to put attendance figures in perspective:

As I said earlier, the 1962 Mets drew 922,530, an average of 11,389, despite being in a city with a rich baseball heritage that was supposedly starving for the return of the National League.

But in 1956 (I am using 1956 because by 1957 Dodgers and Giants fans knew their teams were leaving and many stayed away), the Dodgers drew 1,213,562, and the Giants drew 629,179, for a total of 1,842,741 National League tickets sold in NYC.

The Mets, wrongly remembered as insanely popular during their dismal 40-120 season, drew roughly HALF that number.

The lesson: even in places with deeply ingrained baseball cultures, bad teams don't draw well.

Exact parallels between eras are difficult, primarily because of the important role season tickets now play -- in those days, they were limited to a handful of corporations. In an era that was dominated by single-game and walk-up sales, a team's performance was reflected in that year's ticket sales; in the modern era, there is often a one-year lag as season ticket sales reflect the just-completed season.

But the essential message is still the same: Good teams generate good attendance, not the other way around.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 2, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

13-36 and not a word from the captians of this Titanic on the off-day. If they don't care, why should we?

Posted by: NavinJohnson | June 2, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Any word on Flores yet?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"Any word on Flores yet?"

Still hasn't been fired.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It's 10:57 am, is Manny still manager?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Amazing what a hole we have with no Flores catching. It's like having two pitchers battiong at the end of the lineup! Dukes gone also makes a big difference since he is a threat to go yard anytime!

Posted by: 1of9000 | June 2, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Manny still has the title, not sure he ever had a grasp on the job.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Manny Acta's managerial hero, Joe Torre, as quoted recently in the San Bernardino County Sun: "I don't know how many we'll be ahead, but you're right, if anything goes bad I screwed up, no question."

Manny Acta, in executive summary of all of his post game comments since becoming manager of the Nationals: "I don't know how many we'll lose, but if everyone screws up it's everyone's fault but mine."

Just another day of hero worship in NatsTown.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Chico,

Any update on Flores? I know he was supposed to see Dr. Andrews yesterday.

Posted by: brothbart | June 2, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@Meridian1. You are making a mistake by attempting to inject fact and logic into this discussion.

When I first signed onto NJ, most of the posters were serious baseball fans, starved for a home team and willing to both forgive and logically assess. That is not the case, now. Those who simply don't understand baseball, and the process for team development have become the rule. To a certain extent it is frustrating.

BTW, Re: the Giants/Dodgers, NYC situation...one can argue the villainy ad infinitum (Stoneham, O'Malley, Robert Moses, etc.) and that is a valid argument. To try and argue that the Lerners aren't spending enough money or should fire Acta, when there is absolutely no rational reason to overspend and firing the manager without a logical reason (and, no, having a serious losing season with a disastrous bullpen and an almost all rookie starting rotation is not a valid reason) is a sign of a lack of thought or simply a lack of understanding of baseball.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 2, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Manny's biggest problem is lack of accountablitly. I'm sick of his excuses. I think he has more talent than FRobby, but has underperformed. The two biggest weaknesses are the two aspects of the game the manager can control - the bullpen and defense. He gave up on Joel too soon which sent things into a tailspin. He pulls the defense in too often - two weekends ago we lost because Manny pulled everyone in on the grass so that the tailor-made double play ball (had the middle infielders been playing back) would have gotten us out of the inning, but instead two runs scored and the inning continued.

All the while, Manny stands there on the top step without a clue. I've supported him from the beginning, but the fact is the team has gotten worse and it's the manager's fault.

Frank's teams played with fire and Manny's do not. I think Manny's days are numbered; it's time for Rizzo to show he deserves to be here next year. This is the fifth season in town, and the third under the Lerners, and the major-league product is getting worse not better. They are not playing MLB-quality baseball and the reasons for it are just poor excuses.

Posted by: sec307 | June 2, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Catcher50,

If you don't think a disasterous bullpen is a reason to fire a manager, then it is you who does not know baseball.

Every expert will tell you that the bullpen is the one thing the manager has the most control over.

How about giving us a logical reason why the Acta should stay? Prove to us how much you know.

Posted by: sec307 | June 2, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I wish we could all be as smart as Catcher50.

Some day, he'll edumacate us.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | June 2, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Every expert will tell you that the bullpen is the one thing the manager has the most control over."

What's he supposed to do when no reliever in his bullpen can throw strikes? Is it just that Manny forgot to tell them to do that? Is that where he failed?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

>What's he supposed to do when no reliever in his bullpen can throw strikes? Is it just that Manny forgot to tell them to do that? Is that where he failed?

The bullpen is third in the NL in holds, you attention-seeking basement dweller.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

>Manny's biggest problem is lack of accountablitly. I'm sick of his excuses.

What do you want us to do? They won't fire him. Just boycott the games like everyone else. That's all you can really do.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Catcher50,

I also sugget you google each year's mlb payroll standings and compare them to the end of the year standings for this decade and I think you will be surprised.

Most of the time 75% of the teams in the playoffs each year are in the top half of the payroll standings and 50% of those playoff teams are in the top 10.

Playoff teams in the bottom half or bottom 5 were the Nats always are, are few and far between. There are some, no doubt, but the odds are better to make the playoffs when you spend. Period.

All this bloviating I read on here about how payroll doesn't matter. Well I call BS on it. And the Facts back me up.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"What's he supposed to do when no reliever in his bullpen can throw strikes? Is it just that Manny forgot to tell them to do that? Is that where he failed?"

Maybe he can have them take infield practice? ;-)

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

catcher50, you are much nicer than i am.

the rookie fans are much more annoying than the rookie coaches and rookie owners.

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Derek Norris hit home run #12 for the Suns this morning

Posted by: Brian_ | June 2, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Nun, you are exactly right. Acta pretty much told the relievers not to throw strikes -- he asked for sliders in the dirt every pitch, and then complained to no end about them not challenging hitters. E.g., he had Hanrahan and his 95+ heater looking to pitch to contact with the bases loaded and two outs and he did so over and over. Kid can't find the plate with the last 3 sliders? Heave up another one Joel! 7-8 in a row? No problem. He's to blame.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

>To try and argue that the Lerners aren't spending enough money or should fire Acta, when there is absolutely no rational reason to overspend and firing the manager without a logical reason (and, no, having a serious losing season with a disastrous bullpen and an almost all rookie starting rotation is not a valid reason) is a sign of a lack of thought or simply a lack of understanding of baseball.

Nobody's arguing anymore. 99% of the rabble here agrees with each other. Where do you get the idea that there's some kind of debate on the job Caca Acta does? You're only one vote. You don't speak for the masses. See all those empty seats on TV every night? That's because 99% of ALL the rabble agrees with canning Acta. It's easy if you just look. The people aren't showing up because of the roster, they aren't showing up because of the manager.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"The bullpen is third in the NL in holds, you attention-seeking basement dweller."

That's what happens when you go out to an early six run lead and a succession of relievers fritters it away bit by bit until your closer ultimately blows it. Each of those interim guys gets credited with a hold.

But never mind with that. We all know what you spend all day holding.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

>> Catcher50: To try and argue that the Lerners aren't spending enough money or should fire Acta, when there is absolutely no rational reason to overspend and firing the manager without a logical reason (and, no, having a serious losing season with a disastrous bullpen and an almost all rookie starting rotation is not a valid reason) is a sign of a lack of thought or simply a lack of understanding of baseball.

That is as funny as saying soccer sucks because we stupid American's don't understand it.

Other than the fact that Manny can't teach, motivate, make proper decisions, improve a young roster with talent, make players accountable.....yeah, he's fantastic. Give him an extension.

Posted by: NavinJohnson | June 2, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@Catcher50: While I appreciate the compliment, I disagree with most of your post.

My only point in debunking the mythology of the popularity of the 1962 Mets was to make two points:

1. The suggestion by another poster that Mets fans "packed the Polo Grounds" in 1962 was false.

2. Fans have not historically blessed poor teams with strong attendance and should not be expected to do so in DC or elsewhere. The 2.7 million tickets sold in 2005 were largely sold on a season ticket basis prior to the start of the season (a 22,000 base translated into over 1.7 million tickets sold for the season), the result of pre-season excitement rather than on-field play. That mark has never been repeated.

Nothing in the post expressed an opinion about the Lerners (or the Stonehams or O'Malleys, for that matter). My view is that they have become more willing to invest over the last year, having seen the impact of a 102-loss season on season ticket sales, but that they have a great deal to learn in PR and marketing.

With respect to Acta, I wrote on this blog several days ago that I believe Acta should be removed. While many of the team's shortcomings cannot be attributed to him, the situation has reached the point where a change must be made if only to send the message to the team and fans alike that the status quo is unacceptable.

Moreover, the team's appallingly bad play in the field and disturbing litany of mental mistakes must, to some degree, count against the manager, and his stoic, inanimate temperament increasingly appears to be ineffective for this team.

That is not to say Manny doesn't understand baseball, or that he may not find success elsewhere. But he is not finding it here, and for the owners, doing nothing is no longer an option.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 2, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

For every unknowledgeable fan, there's someone like nunof and catcher50 to talk down to them.

Most of us understand the &(*^ snadwich that MLB handed the fans of DC and the Lerners. The team needed to be completely rebuilt from the abuse heaped upon it by previous owners, contraction threat, and a term of MLB ownership.

Four years later. Little progress has been made:
- The team on the field gets worse every year,
- The latin pipeline hasn't amterialzed and was ruined by the Smiley scandal - whether or not the Nats did anything wrong,
- we didn't sign our #1 pick in 2008,
- the team cannot hold a lead,
- and cannot play defense.

Sure, the young pitching is starting to show promise. And Nats Park really is a damn good place to see a game (just ignore the hideous statues). But what else is there to look forward to? This team stinks on the field. I don't see the manager leading. We have an interim GM. Our quote a minute President has gone into hiding and the owners are nowhere to be found.

As a STH, I'm not happy. And it's not because I'm some newbie fan.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 2, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"All this bloviating I read on here about how payroll doesn't matter. Well I call BS on it. And the Facts back me up."

Spoken like a true Redskins fan. Winners of the offseason year after year after year after year after year. The amount of money a team spends doesn't matter one whit. It's what they spend it on that counts.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Funny to see comments taking shots at "rookie fans." Look around the Internet--fan sites for long-established teams that are in the dumps are much harsher than this one is. Are those fans all "rookies" too? Perhaps it is the kool-aid drinking fans around here who are chastising others who are the rookies after all, huh?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 2, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think that it is fair to say that Manny does not understand WINNING baseball. He may be a freakish basbeball genius, liek some combo of George Will and Sparky Anderson, but it just has not shown in the results. He's lost the fans, he's likely lost the team (turning over the roster like they have, him rolling guys under the bus more than occasionally, him not backing up veteran players to the umps, the losing!, etc.). There is no hope for him -- he's dead man walking without a contract anyway.

Put us out of our misery Stan, do it today!!

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

To me, most of the complaints in here are about GM duties and ownership and less about managing.

But those statues are terrible. Even more embarrasing than our fielding.

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

>That is not to say Manny doesn't understand baseball

Oh he understands a little baseball, he just doesn't understand MAJOR LEAGUE baseball. You know the kind where all the players make more dough than the manager and you have to learn how to get the most out of 25 egos? That's the baseball he has no idea about. No control over his pitching staff, the defense playing like 9 individuals, the Phillies doing double steals with slow runners late in the game and not even drawing throws. You know, getting out-thought every night.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@longterm: "rookie fans?"

I was one of those 922,530 at the Polo Grounds in 1962 and I've been a baseball fan ever since.

And I've reluctantly become one of those people who think it's time for a change.

Too bad if you find that annoying.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 2, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

>To me, most of the complaints in here are about GM duties and ownership and less about managing.

Still fighting it, huh?

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Every journalist has a responsibiltiy at this point to ask Every team official, including Manny Acta, at every opportunity, "Why is Manny Acta still managing this Team?"

We don't necessarily need to put him out on the Street - the Farm system probably has an opportunity for him - but there is no way he deserves/has the skills to be managing this team anymore.

Posted by: vo_37 | June 2, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

A post to get us back on topic... sort of.

Reading between the lines of Chico's post tells me that at least he's expecting another 3 game sweep at the expense of the Nats. A 3 game sweep puts their losing streak at 9, with Maine/Livo/Santana to follow. Assuming the SF sweep, if this losing streak extends to 10, 11, 12 games at the hands of the Mets, is there fallout? Is that when we start seeing managerial and/or coaching changes?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 2, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"But those statues are terrible. Even more embarrasing than our fielding."

Ironically, the statues are the one thing that you CAN'T blame on the Lerners. Those things are DC government all the way.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm in the minority. I really like the statues.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Spoken like a true Redskins fan. Winners of the offseason year after year after year after year after year. The amount of money a team spends doesn't matter one whit. It's what they spend it on that counts.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 11:54 AM
_____________________________________________________________

Nunof,

Problem with your logic is that I'm a Steelers fan and have been for over 30 years.

Spending on FA's doesn't work most on the time in the NFL, as I've said here many times.

But, it is very effective in MLB. The shelf life of a player in the NFL is an average of 3-4 years, for obvious reasons. Thus, the need to constanly bring in younger talent so, the draft is huge. Much longer shelf life in MLB so, you can buy a lot of your roster via FA's.


The Facts back me up.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Its 12:18 pm, who is the GM? Not the acting or interim GM, but the real GM?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Remembering the first game Blyleven pitched against our first set of hapless heroes ... the Washington Senators (now Texas Strangers). I'm not sure they might have thrown Dick Such in to start agin him.

Strasberg seems a lot like Blyleven who was 18 or 19 when he started that first game for the former Washington Senators (Minnesota Twins).

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

I'm disappointed that my all time favorite baseball player was "honored" with an acid-induced abstraction that is Josh Gibson at Nationals Park. But it just goes to prove that no non-uniformed person associated with the team knows anything about baseball, with the exception of the radio announcers (To be fair, I only watch the TV broadcasts on mute, when I can find the right channel, but that's a separate conversation).

So ... I know better than to wrestle with a pig, but I feel like chiming in on this Acta conversation to say that if the team had broken camp with either a solid bullpen and closer or a solid starting rotation and closer this team is at least 20-30 right now and maybe more. Maybe a lot more. Get one more powerful bat up the middle and that number goes up again. Avoid some of the injuries that this team is seeing (again! what is the deal here?), and this team could be close to .500.

BUT! They are not. Not anywhere close to .500 All of the reasons given above contribute, and then there are some questionable managerial moves, but here's why I don't think those moves warrant Acta's head...

In a 162 game season the players and statistics will come very close to panning out, so playing by numbers when it really makes a difference is, as un-sexi as it may be, a smart move (same applies to investing in index funds). However, when the game is not on the line and the season isn't either, the option to make fewer moves instead of more has two benefits: first, you are voting confidence in the player you've put into the game and second you are not thinning your bench in the event that the game goes long.

I feel like Manny and I both realize that the 25 men on the Nationals roster have little hope of being MLB winners, so we might as well let each man demonstrate what he can do in the variety of situations. Think of it as extended spring training.

The next logical step is to start talking about what I would do with other people's money, but that is a fool's game.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 2, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@Meridian1...(never know exactly which is the best punctuation mark in that spot),

Actually, you and I don't really disagree. I was simply pointing out that there are areas for discussion of blame (i.e. O'Malley v. Stoneham v. Moses)and areas where the facts inconveniently get in the way of preconceived notions (i.e. Da Jints really packed 'em in). At the same time I was trying to indicate that some of the nonsense that goes on here (and, admittedly, in forums devoted to other teams) is just that...nonsense.

I'm not sure exactly what I would do about Acta. I really don't think that there is a good answer. My opinion of his handling of the bullpen, this year: Good, Bad, and indifferent. In any given year, bullpens tend to be the biggest crapshoot in baseball. Remember, except for a very few premier closers (and they are really only worth the money to serious pennant contenders, something that we were simply not going to be, this year) the bullpens are made up of guys who can't make it as starters for a variety of reasons. In other words, these are the bottom half of your pitching roster.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 2, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Is Dukes starting tonight?

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Is Manny gone yet?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@Ihatewalks...You have it pegged, on the money.

Also, I agree with you, re: the Gibson statue. I suspect that it is simply modern art that I don't understand. OTOH, I can no longer look at the WJ statue. It seems to have three arms. Frankly, it scares me.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 2, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

If Rizzo is not gonna be given the job then he shouldnt be making future decisions that are gonna affect the club for years. If he is gonna be the GM then name him, move on so he can deal with the manager issue. but make a freakin decision one way or the other. This teams management is mired in quicksand.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"The Facts back me up.
Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009"

Hmmm, let's see looking at the AL East ...
The Yankees are in 1st ... just barely by 1 game.
Should be a huge gulf given the amount they spent?

Los Angeles and Texas have better records.

Texas features 2 young starters from their farms
Holland and Feldman. Millwood is the oldest and an FA, McCarthy.

Saltimacchia their catcher from the farms.
Chris Davis their 1st baseman with 12 HRS already in his 2nd year from their farms.
David Murphy their left fielder started off in Boston ... spend some time in both team's farms.
Andrus their very young shortstop brought up from their farms. Hamilton their CF came from Cincinnati just up in the majors in 2007. Their right fielder Cruz came from Milwaukee in 2005 just barely up from the farms. 2b Kinsler up from theri farms in 2006. Francisco their closer up from their farms. Michael Young the aged one of their lineup came up from their farms in 2000.

It looks to me like facts do not in fact back you up. In fact just the opposite. Who would you rather be? Texas with a young team sporting a great record or NY with Texiera who is not having as good a year at bat as Dunn?

In the end its just like the NFL. You need a strong farm. You fill in the gaps with free agents. You don't build an entire team with free agents. That has proven to be expensive and does not guarantee a winner. Sound familiar?

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Its almost after lunch and I'm still on Manny watch over here at the Park. No sight of him or his motorcade. Hmmmm, maybe just maybe......!

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

"Much longer shelf life in MLB so, you can buy a lot of your roster via FA's.


The Facts back me up."

You can do that. But you can't do it all in just one or two or even three years - assuming of course that you want FAs that are any good. Two reasons: supply and demand. In any given year, most of the best players are tied to their current team, either by previously signed FA contracts or because they're still under team control (arbitration). The supply of good FAs in any given year is therefore small. Yet the demand is high. So what happens? Teams bid against each other and drive up the price for the desirable FAs, and thereby drive up their payroll. Realistically, no one team is going to grab the large majority of FAs in any given year unless they want to spend like Steinbrenner. Teams sign 1 or 2 FAs a year, but they sign them to multi-year guaranteed contracts, providing a built-in payroll jump not only for that year but for the next several years as well. Repeat this process for five years or so and you have a team with a high payroll. None of these high payroll teams got there overnight, like you keep claiming the Nats could have done.

Here's a challenge for you. Don't rank your playoff teams by payroll for the year they made the playoffs. Rank them by average payroll over the 5 or 10 years up through and including the year they made the playoffs. Then you'll get a whole different picture of what payroll really means to how well a team performs.

Those facts back me up.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@Ihatewalks...You have it pegged, on the money.

...

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 2, 2009 12:40 PM

-- -- -- -- --

Thanks Catcher50. I've had exactly one compliment this huge in the Nationals Journal forum and that came from a guy who called himself "Bob L. Head" saying I was witty. heh.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 2, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to watching Lincecum pitch before 10 pm. I've been tuning in his starts on mlb.com and he's a treat.

Posted by: MartinZook | June 2, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

ihatewalks, you have beautiful eyes and a melodious voice.

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I am betting against the sweep. The Unit's road ERA is something Natsworthy: 8.5, and he has given up 10 HR's already. He's not getting that big 300 tomorrow night. Lincecum likely mows us down but the Ginats are not relaible scoreers, so it is not some dead bolt lock that he gets a W. Cain has been too good to be true -- so me thinks him due for a regression, why not come againts us? Ok, so maybe the Lincecum or Cain losses are not likely. But the Giants taking that second game against Znn? Not gonna happen.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to sneak out of jail a little early today and headdown M Street around 3PM just to see if I can catch the Infield practice! What would you say the odds are of seeing that?

OBTW anyone cath the news that the Yankees went something like 19 games without an error. Hmmm, Joe Giradi must have good players. Manny Acta well we now know he doesn't.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 2, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Am i the only one who keeps hitting F5 hoping to see a new post about a press conference at Nationals Park scheduled later this afternoon? (should I get a life?)

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

How come no one is talking about Randy St. Clair being fired? Brought a new guy in thie morning.....guess Chico is dozing.

Posted by: NatsBravesfan | June 2, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

St Clair was fired today, but not Manny.
Dont have the name of the new pitching coach.

Posted by: alm1000 | June 2, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Is Manny gone yet?

Posted by: twinbrook"

First you want a peanut-free stadium, now you want a Manny-free stadium. Is there no pleasing you?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Nunof and periculum,

So how come the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Cubs, Mets are routinly in the playoffs or pretty damn close each year?

Because they bring in talent via FA to keep competitive. They put a lot of money into the draft and international signings to keep their minor league systems fairly stocked.

The Lerner's have not spent the money and they have 3 years of records that get worse with each year as proof that it is not working.

Where have they spent the money? Not on the ML roster, not on the draft, not on international signings (Japan, DR, PR, Venezuela)? No where. Oh, I'm sorry they expanded the Red Porch and put a few extra flat screens the club areas. My bad.

While all the teams I listed above have spent the money and have titles and multiple playoff appearances to back it up. Even the Cubs for crying out loud.

Stop over analzying this. It is actually quite simple.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

>>St Clair was fired today, but not Manny.
Dont have the name of the new pitching coach.
Posted by: alm1000

Wheres this coming from? Love when the peeps get the news before the reporters. Nice work.
btw if this is true, it's inching ever so closer to the manager. Like the ticking croc in Peter Pan coming for Captain Hook.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Who is the Nats GM?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"So how come the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Cubs, Mets are routinly in the playoffs or pretty damn close each year?"

Go back and give me the rolling 10-year averages of payroll ranking for each of these playoff teams like I told you to, and you'll see why.

Then go back and find me a few playoff teams whose payrolls jumped dramatically in the 2-3 years right before they made the playoffs. I'll bet that number is far, far less than the number of teams that did the slow build like the Rays, Marlins, DBacks etc.

You know, I should really bring you over to my restaurant sometime. "Sorry, we're all out of filet mignon, but I'll serve you this horse meat instead and charge you even more." Boy, the smile that would be on your face then. More teeth even than the Mr. Ed you'd be eating.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I can't find anything on St. Claire being fired. Anyone have a source for this?

Posted by: slewis1 | June 2, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't want a peanut free stadium. Just a peanut free seat for my son.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

St. Clair wasn't fired, he was demoted to "acting" pitching coach.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

St Claire gets the axe (really??) and we'll now be asked to wait it out for the rest of the season to see if it was really him or Manny that makes the team play like junk. St. Claire was the only guy held over from the original 2008 staff of assistants, and was the longest tenured PC in the NL East oddly enough (6 plus years with the club). So he can be sacrificed but Manny lives on! And on and on.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Steve McCatty is the new pitching coach. My buddy saw St Claire leaving with his bags, and asked Eckstein who the new coach was-- answer was McCatty.

Posted by: pennquaker | June 2, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"I don't want a peanut free stadium. Just a peanut free seat for my son."

Why not buy one of the ADA wheelchair seats and bring your own chair for the kid?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

TIC TOCK. TICK TOCK.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

St. Claire was fired because he wanted to take infield and Manny wouldn't let him. Insubordination, plain and simple.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

That is exactly the type of solution we've been trying to get from them, with little success.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

They refuse to sell you an ADA seat? That seems odd. There must be more to your request than that.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Pitching Coach from Syracuse? Well I guess we've got most of their pitchers now...

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

No we never were told that they had ADA seats for sale.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Uh, no. I suspect that there are many who don't agree but have given up on reading comments and/or posting due to the degeneration in tone on here.

---

Nobody's arguing anymore. 99% of the rabble here agrees with each other.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps only Ted Lerner has more job security with this team than the Saint.

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hold everything. If this rumor is true then where's the story on it? I've searched but haven't found any stories by anyone.

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | June 2, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

In this day and age, there ought to be a section or half section that is peanut and tree nut free. Another case of the Nats FO being clueless.

Not sure what getting an ADA seat would accomplish - especially if the seats on the left and right are sold to peanut eaters.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 2, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Jorge Julio is available!

50/50 we pick him up?

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

New post... as soon as I commented asking where the story was, there it appeared

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | June 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

There's your new post.

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

So how come the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Cubs, Mets are routinly in the playoffs or pretty damn close each year?

How did the Marlins and Devil Rays go from 0 to Hero in 1 year? With free agents?

From the WIKI:
TITLE: 2006 Bring on the Youngsters.
(The Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals "plan".)


At the start of the year, the Marlins had a team salary close to $21 million. Not only was it the lowest team salary in all of MLB, but New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez himself made more money than the entire team. The Marlins made MLB history when they started six rookies in their Opening Day lineup.[8]By May 22, they reached a record of 11 wins and 31 losses. Although the Marlins kept losing games, Miguel Cabrera and rookie Dan Uggla were selected to the All-Star Game. Though Uggla did not play in the All-Star game, he became the first Rule 5 draftee to be selected for an All-Star team in the next year after he was taken in the Rule 5 draft.[9] Uggla, Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs are the first rookie teammates in NL history to hit at least 20 home runs in the same season.[10]

After the All-Star break, the Marlins began to break both franchise and MLB records. They came back from 11-31 to reach the .500 mark at 68-68. No team has come back to the .500 mark from being 20 games under since 1899. Then, on September 4, 2006, the Marlins rallied from down five runs to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5. This improved the Marlins' record to 69-68, marking the first time in Major League history a team that was 20 games under .500 went back over .500 in the same season.[11] Additionally, as of September 8, 2006, three of their rookie starting pitchers (Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, and Ricky Nolasco) have each won at least eleven games; the Marlins joined the 1934 Philadelphia A's and the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers in accomplishing this feat.[12]

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

BRING ON THE YOUNGSTERS continued.

On September 6, rookie Aníbal Sánchez pitched the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. During September, the Marlins advanced to within one game of the NL wild-card lead, but they were eliminated from contention after losing to the Cincinnati Reds on September 26.[13] However, on the next day, Sánchez won his tenth game as a Marlin against the Reds, giving the Marlins four rookie starters who had each won ten or more games: Sánchez, Nolasco, Johnson, and Olsen. The 2006 Marlins were the first team in major-league history to have four rookie pitchers accomplish this feat.[14] Because, as of September 27, Willis has won 12 games, the 2006 Marlins also had five ten-game winners for the first time in franchise history.[15]

Shortly after the 2006 season ended and following months of speculation, Marlins manager Joe Girardi was fired on October 3, 2006 not long after winning the National League Manager of the Year award. This was due to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the year in which Girardi did not challenge a call that pitcher Taylor Tankersley thought was a strike and this prompted owner Jeffrey Loria, who was in the stands and a few feet away from the dugout, to call out Girardi who refused to listen to him. This wasn't the only thing that triggered the feud; earlier in the year Girardi reportedly wanted 1B Mike Jacobs to start off the year in triple A, Willingham to start at catcher, Miguel Cabrera to start at first base. This was just of the few of the other things that got Girardi fired from the Marlins.[16] Within hours, Atlanta Braves third base coach Fredi González was named his replacement and was signed to a three year contract. On October 28, 2006, first baseman Wes Helms and pitchers Matt Herges and Brian Moehler filed for free agency. The next day, closer Joe Borowski filed. On December 29, 2006, the Marlins signed a one-year contract with infielder Aaron Boone.[17] The Marlins also made some minor signings as they signed Lee Gardner and Justin Miller in hopes of rejuvenating their careers with the Fish.

* Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla was named the Sporting News Rookie of the Year for the National League and won the Players' Choice award as the league's most outstanding rookie.[18]
* Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez won the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year award, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Ramirez's numbers at season's end drew comparisons to Alfonso Soriano. For the first time in league history, six of the twelve players that received Rookie of the Year votes were Marlins. Uggla finished third in the voting and starting pitcher Josh Johnson, fourth; starting pitchers Scott Olsen and Anibal Sanchez and left fielder Josh Willingham received one third-place vote each.[19]
* Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera earned the 2006 Silver Slugger Awards in National League, and finished second in batting average in National League.

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"In this day and age, there ought to be a section or half section that is peanut and tree nut free. Another case of the Nats FO being clueless."

There are already many sections that are peanut and tree nut free. They have to be, because no one is ever sitting in them and nuts can't walk there by themselves. In the upper deck for instance, there's sections 420, 419 and 418, all to my right. Those sections have been empty pretty much every game I've been at except for Opening Day.

But seriously though, are there any pro sports teams anywhere that offer peanut or tree nut free sections in their stadiums? If so, which ones?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

He also beat Santana that year. But I wouldn't say he outpitched him in that game.

-----

Comparably, Levale Speigner outpitched CC Sabathia in the same season.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 2, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

2003: Second World Series Title.

The Marlins struggled in the opening stages of the season, going 16–22. During that span, Florida lost its top three pitchers: A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, and Mark Redman. On May 11, Florida replaced manager Jeff Torborg with 72-year-old Jack McKeon. On May 22, the Marlins hit bottom with a major league worst record of 19-29, having lost 6 straight games. However, help was on the way.

On May 9, the Marlins called up high-kicking southpaw Dontrelle Willis from the Double-A Carolina Mudcats and helped carry the injury-plagued Marlins with an 11–2 record in his first 17 starts. Miguel Cabrera (also from the Mudcats) filled in well, hitting a walk off home run in his first major league game, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Pro Player Stadium. Both Willis and Cabrera would later prove to be essential parts of the Marlin's playoff success. Jeff Conine - an original Marlin and member of the 1997 World Series team - returned from Baltimore, and closer Ugueth Urbina arrived from the Texas Rangers. These acquisitions helped to keep the team in contention, and although they finished ten games behind the Braves, the Marlins captured the NL wild card.

The Marlins won the Division Series against the favored San Francisco Giants three games to one. The series ended with a dramatic collision between Marlins catcher Rodríguez and Giants first baseman J.T. Snow, making it the first postseason series ever to end with the potential tying run being thrown out at the plate.

On October 15, the Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to three in the Championship Series, coming back from a three games to one deficit. A Beckett complete-game shutout in Game 5, "The Inning" incident with Steve Bartman in Game 6, and a come-from-behind win in Wrigley Field in Game 7 helped the Marlins capture their second NL pennant.

In the 2003 World Series, the Marlins defeated the heavily favored New York Yankees in six games, winning the sixth game in Yankee Stadium. Shortstop Álex González helped the Marlins in Game 4 of the series with a walk off home run in extra innings. Josh Beckett was named the Most Valuable Player for the series after twirling a five-hit complete-game shutout in Game 6. Skipper Jack McKeon became the oldest manager ever to win a World Series title. The Marlins became the first opposing team to win a Series championship on the field at Yankee Stadium since the 1981 World Series, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it. The Marlins are also the last team to win a World Series at the 1923 Yankee Stadium. The Marlins won the series despite scoring fewer runs (17) than the Yankees (21). The Marlins also became the first team since the creation of the Division Series to win the World Series without ever having home-field advantage during their entire post-season.

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Nunof1 is right. Spending a lot of money on free agents does not guarantee a winner. IN fact just as in the NFL it could have the opposite effect.

It takes a few select free agents with a strong and productive farm system to produce a consistent winner. This can be done without spending 1 billion dollars on payroll as the Yankees have done.

Which would you rather do?

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

nunof,

Those teams I listed are routinely in the top 10-12 in payroll each year.

The slow build only is an abject failure most of the time.

The cheap payroll, slow build proces of the teams that you listed the DBacks, Rays and Marlins, only one has a title.

The Marlins did it as big payroll team in 1997 and then dismantled. 2003 they were 20th in payroll.

The most recent low payroll, slow build teams, the Rays and the Dbacks have what, 2 playoff appearances between them the last few years. And currently the Rays and Dbacks are a combined 12 games under .500

Even the Braves spent a good amount of money during their 14 year run, almost always in the top half of the payroll standings.

It is almost impossible to win and not spend on anything like the Lerner's have done it so far. You have to spend on the ML roster and the minor league system to succeed.

The Lerner's are doing neither.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

periculum and nunof,

You guys are bringing up only little hand full of organizations that have done it with a small payroll, most didn't even win it. I have all the other years of big payroll teams that have won it on my side.

Wake up fella's, stop drinking the Kasten/Lerner cheap kool aid.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I've followed the mini-exchange here on whether the 1962 Mets "packed" the Polo Grounds that first 40-120 year with great interest.

No, the Mets did not "pack" the stands on a season-wide basis, though they did pack the stands that year when the Giants and Dodgers came to town.

The more important point: The Mets that first year captured the imagination of massive numbers of kids -- like me, an eighth grader at the time. Huge numbers of young fans followed the Mets that first year.

The Nats, sadly, have so far failed to kindle anything close to that enthusiasm.

Posted by: TooMuchEditor | June 3, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

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