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Braves 9, Nats 8

Step-by-step, how to lose a close game:

1.) Summon Jesus Colome from the bullpen.

2.) Watch him walk the leadoff man.

3.) Watch him walk another guy, just for good measure.

4.) Watch him give up a two-out, three-run pinch-hit homer.

Colome's ERA, after tonight's 9-8 loss to Atlanta, stands at 8.40. That's cartoonishly bad, but then again, it's representative of the overall pitching performance tonight. Starter Ross Detwiler faced 22 hitters; 12 reached base. He allowed five earned runs and 10 hits in 3-1/3 innings, and it could have been worse. Twice he escaped innings with the bases loaded. He had absolutely zero fastball command, and later admitted that he couldn't get a feel for his release point. "He struggled mightily," Manny Acta said. "Couldn't get the ball down at all. Every one of them. They hit him pretty good."

The bullpen, Atlanta didn't even need to hit. Washington's relievers threw all the balls necessary to facilitate the scoring. Six of the Nationals' eight walks today came after the seventh inning, as a 5-5 tie fell apart. Two of those free passes were from Colome. In the eighth, as the Braves added another run, taking a 9-6 lead, Ron Villone walked two and Julian Tavarez walked one.

"You put guys on base, I guess they're going to score," Villone said. "That is one thing that's been going on."

Oh, the cruel twist? Atlanta closer Rafael Soriano, trying to protect a 9-6 lead, walked two to start the bottom of the ninth. Both scored with two outs, thanks to a Cristian Guzman double, but then catcher Josh Bard swung at the first pitch and grounded to first. Game over. Nats have now lost nine of 11, um, and 55 of 77.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 3, 2009; 11:16 PM ET
 
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Comments

55 of 77. OK. So we're slow starters.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 3, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

This was a real good day except for the conclusion of this game. Nice BBQ in the backyard, game in hi-def, nice crowd, Nyler looks real good with a glove in CF, etc. But this bullpen ruined the whole day! Nats should keep MacDougal and get rid of all the others. Bring up all the kids and let 'em try for the rest of the year. They can't do worse than these guys.

Posted by: glennpc | July 3, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, typo. Nyjer. Nyjer, right?

Posted by: glennpc | July 3, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Acta: what are you thinking bringing Colome in? Learn to manage not to lose!

Posted by: johnbear1 | July 3, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't care how much Rizzo hates fly ball pitchers, to have Bergmann in Syracuse and Colome in Washington is criminal.

I also think it's time for Detwiler to head to Syracuse to get his touch (and confidence) back. I say bring Balester back or give J.D. Martin a shot, I'm guessing the former since he's already on the 40 man.

Posted by: estuartj | July 3, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the game....
Nyjer Morgan looks real solid defensively, as good as advertised and Beimel in particular is real thankful that he was out there tonight. He gets such a good read on the ball and even little things like the way he fielded balls off the wall showed polish.

Lost in the sauce about Colome's putridity was that Tyler Clippard had a key two inning stint that kept the Nats in the game. I'm scared about bringing him in situations with runners on base because his fly ball tendencies can lead to multirun dingers. When he gave up that double I thought he was giving Rizzo the excuse to send him down. But it turns out that he settled down and made pitches and battled through things to keep the team in the game. Hopefully Clippard can stick through the year and contribute. If he doesn't make it here he's doomed to AAAA.

Colome must be sent down. He must! What does it take to get a man fired on this team? Kearns, Belliard, and Colome are all dead weight. If we send Colome down, who would you like to see brought up?

Nice to see some offense and guys like Willingham produce. Some offensively challenged contending team ought to be able to use the guy and give us something decent in return.

Posted by: souldrummer | July 3, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

"55 of 77. OK. So we're slow starters"

LMAO. Good one. I can just imagine when they are 40 -120 with two games to go, Manny will still be saying "they're trying", Stan will still say "it's all part of our plan". Meanwhile I am guessing season ticket numbers won't be released next year either....

Posted by: smill411 | July 4, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

The great thing about Morgan is that you can have a sane outfield that has Dunn and Willingham at the corners, which was not previously possible. They're going to have a LOT less territory to cover.

Probably that combination is done after this year, but it will be a lot more bearable to watch this season with Dunn and Willingham able to play more within their limitations.

Posted by: joebleux | July 4, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

How is it that Holey Butt Colome has NOT been sent down or DFA'd yet? And is there any way of cloning Beimel?

Posted by: Juan-John | July 4, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't get Acta's incompetent handling of the bullpen and bench.

Why not double switch with Bard/Nieves when bringing in Burnett? (Or why bring in Burnett at all? Why not leave Clippard in to finish the inning and then do the double switch if he gets in trouble?)

Surely Burnett could have pitched another inning had he not been the first batter up in the bottom half. Seven pitchers in a nine-inning game is pretty much inexcusable unless they gave up 20 runs, but this game was actually close. What if the Nats had tied it? Who would pitch the 10th and 11th? Belliard?

But then he pinch hits for Harris, one of the guys on the team who has actually been doing well lately? You really can't afford to pinch hit for position players in the NL, especially when you're burning through the bullpen a third of an inning at a time.

Acta needs to be fired. The sooner, the better.

Posted by: zaph | July 4, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Sooner or later, Manny is going to have one of those games where you run out of pitchers. I guess McCatty will have to pitch. Oh sorry, not legal.

Posted by: glennpc | July 4, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Hate to see the game turn out the way it did. This season has had a lot of hard points and watching Detwiler struggle was up there...

That said, it was almost comical how the Nats released a game program hyping the young and talented new staff. One game into the program: one starter is already in Syracuse and another is rocked for a loss. Only in natstown

Posted by: VT_NatsFan | July 4, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Just listened to Vin Scully calling the Dodgers-Padres game. "Joe Torre takes the team to 51 wins. And for the Padres, a mistake here, a mistake there, and suddenly you've lost 45 games." (Padres had 2 errors) 51 wins on July 4th weekend. Can you imagine? Wait, I don't have to imagine. I remember it. The Nats won their 51st game on July 5, 2005 by beating the Mets. I listened to the Mets radio broadcast from Ocean City because I couldn't get any Nats coverage from there. I remember the Mets play-by-play guy calling Chad Cordero "incredibly courageous." As in, "He doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he throws a fastball with late movement and he's just incredibly courageous. He throws strikes." If that pitching staff had these hitters, they would've won the world series. By August 31st the Nats had clawed out of their slump and and were 6 games out of first to play meaningful September games. Attendance was good, too. 51,785 turned out to see them play the Mets on August 20. It's incredible how difficult, how illusive that success has proven to be. I would trade the new park and everything in it to be sitting with an Anthony's of New York hot dog watching that team play in RFK.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Flynnie, first off, let me add my condolences to those with others from earlier posts, they all said better what I would like to say, particularly jfromPG and NickfromGermatown, so I can only second their excellent comments/thoughts.

As for the RFK reminisces, I lived (with every win) and died (with every loss) during the '05 season, right from opening day, when I saw the Senators team my late father watched while growing up hand the ball over to the team I was going to watch and will continue to do so every day. Boy howdy, that was one helluva year, indeed.

Posted by: HotNats | July 4, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Vin Scully is a story-teller. That's the heart of his genius, and why it's so fun to listen to him. I still remember him calling Jason Bergmann "a big kid, 6'4" and a Red Knight of the Raritan, a Rutgers alum who spent his off season as a substitute teacher." I had to call my anthropologist middle daughter at Rutgers to ask, "Is there a river that runs through New Brunswick?" "Yeah, Dad, the Raritan." In listening to a Dodgers-Mariners game, Vin told me that his teammates were struck by the sleekness of Ichiro's feet. He takes a carrott-shaped stick and works on his feet for a pre-game ritual. My Lovely Wife got me a pumice stone on a handle, and now I have a post-lawn mowing ritual. Vin then told how Junior Griffey and the other Cincinnati player's kids used to love to visit Red's manager Sparky Anderson after a win - no kids in the clubhouse after a loss. He would take the kids on his knee and tell them stories, and let them have his "Big Red" Soda, a red cream soda made to honor the team, and his big red chewing gum. Jr. later felt so much pressure to succeed when he was 17 he attempted suicide. I got all this from a couple Dodgers broadcasts.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to JfromPG, NickfromGermantown, chris88, and NatsFan1a for being there for me when the news of my Uncle Bud Kaufman's loss hit me hard. This can be a very important place. I knew baseball fans would understand the loss of an uncle who gave me this love for the game.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 4:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, HoNats.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 4:21 AM | Report abuse

From Baseball Think Factory:

nbcwashington.com/Needham: Defense First for Nats
I didn’t realize Chris Needham had a gig with the local NBC affiliate…

After the number crunching is done, it gives an estimate for how good or bad a fielder is compared to his peers. It ain’t perfect, but it’s a good estimate.

The main Nats centerfielders (Dukes and Milledge) are basically 20-25 runs below an average centerfielder. That’s a lot of balls dropping that others would’ve caught, which can’t help a young pitching staff that’s developing on the fly.

Nyjer Morgan, on the other hand, has some impressive defensive statistics. While he hasn’t played a ton of centerfield (owing to the Buccos having an All-Star there), he’s a wiz in left. And when he’s played center, he’s been on the order of 20 runs better than average.

Even if you assume that he can’t keep that pace up for a full season and he’s only 10 runs better than average, that’s a 30-run improvement over Milledge and Dukes. That’s a lot of extra outs. And that’s why, even if the names going back and forth don’t make much sense, it should help the Nats’ on-field product, and the development of those young arms.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 4:22 AM | Report abuse

And this from Phil Wood, also from BBTF:

"The P.A. announcer at Nationals Park has a terrific voice. A solid broadcaster’s voice. He does a terrific job announcing the upcoming promotions, and the visitor’s lineup.

It’s when he announces the Nationals that I have to resist the urge to find him and, to quote Fred Sanford, give him one across the lips.

Is it really necessary to announce the Washington shortstop as “Cristian Goooooooooooooooooooozmonnnnnnnnn.” Or the right fielder as “Elijah Doooooooooooooooooooooooooks.” What is this, professional wrestling?

It’s not just me who finds this annoying. It’s a frequent topic of conversation in and out of the pressbox, and I’ve yet to find anyone who likes it. That type of theatricality might be okay in the WWE, or maybe in the minor leagues somewhere, but this is neither of those.

Don’t try and tell me it revs up the fans. Please. It clearly does not. Nor does adding any extra testosterone to the names Johnson, Zimmerman, etc. Give the fans some credit for knowing who they are."

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 4:28 AM | Report abuse

Friday, June 19, 2009 BBTF
SoSG: Vin Scully, on My Way
Vin Scully on last night’s telecast, after Russell Martin beat out a soft grounder to short:

It reminded me of one of the great hitters the game has ever seen, who was a marvelous player for the Pittsburgh Pirates a long time ago, Paul Waner.

And Paul Waner was very close to his three-thousandth hit. And it was the second game of a doubleheader, late in the second game.

The bunt will be picked up by whom? Suzuki, to get him.

Anyway, Paul Waner hit a slow ground ball to short, similar to that play. And they gave him a base hit and Waner stood at first base and kept waving up to the official scorer.

“No, no, no, I don’t want that hit!”

So, they said, “Well, if you don’t want it, you don’t get it.”

So they took the hit away. That was the end of the doubleheader.

The next day was an off-day, then his first time up the next game: Bam! Base hit. Three thousand base hits.

And he said, “That’s the way I want it.”

So if anybody ever talks about a hitter screaming and hollering, “I don’t want the hit,” remember Paul Waner

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 4:32 AM | Report abuse

"Every day when I say my prayers, I thank God for my health and for my job which I love. I know that I have more yesterdays than tomorrows, and the wolves are getting close to the campfire." Vin Scully

God Bless America, all of you and the Nats! Happy 4th, everybody!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 4, 2009 4:44 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the PA announcer, and his calling the players' names, I kinda dig it, generally. I especially dug it when we had the wookie come in in late innings, and he'd announce his appearance with "now pitching, John, (and then he'd bring it low) RooooOOOWWWSH."
Tonight though, I found myself chuckling to hear the same attempt announcing Detwiler at the plate. It just didn't quite work with that name, to say the least.

Posted by: HotNats | July 4, 2009 4:56 AM | Report abuse

I find the announcing of players at Nats games embarrasing, the bullpen embarrasing, and Acta embarrasing. So I close my eyes, block my ears, and wait for next year with no Acta(I was and still am a Boston fan so waiting for next year is easy). Happy 4th!!

Posted by: Pete433 | July 4, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Isn't the definition of "insanity" continuing to do the same thing while expecting different results? Isn't that what we see every night when Manny removes his starter to summon a member of the Arson Squad? The Nats have GOT to have SOMEBODY in their system who can produce better results than Colome and Tavarez on a daily basis and Villone seems to have regressed to the mean of the past few years. Stop the madness!

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 4, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Thoughts on firing Manny:

I think he's not the problem. The problem is the personnel. It's not so much that the trades are bad (most of them are OK). It's just that they are mostly of the low-cost, fringe variety of swapping marginal major leaguers. it's the moves the Nats are not allowed to make, for budgetary reasons, that are sinking them. Still, it is great to see a game on the 4th or anytime in summer!

Anyway, if you want to fire Manny, please consider that you would have to pay his replacement for over a half season. That's a few hundred thousand. Last year, that was the difference between signing and not signing their top draft choice. What if the extra salary burden helps influence the Strasburg signing? If you favor the Nats staying within their tiny budgets (as many of you do), maybe it is best to be consistent on this.

Agree with flynnie2 on the announcer. Too boring and generic. Would prefer a local flavor, maybe a DC woman with a personality.

Posted by: EdDC | July 4, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

estuartj

Maybe Rizzo hated flyballers because until Harris and now Morgan patrolled center the Nats had no one who could adequately track and catch those balls. Dukes wasn't a CF and neither is Kearns. Perhaps we'll see Bergmann back before too many more Colome appearances.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 4, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

good morning and happy independence day fellow natsochists

the pa guy in natstown reminds me of one of those "real men of genius" bud light radio commercials - mister overaggressive public address announcer. nats management apparently believes the fans they have left are a bunch of unsophisticated rubes. i listen to out-of-town games nightly on XM and one of the better PA'ers i've heard is renel moon-brooks in san francisco. she's really good and doesn't try to inject herself into the game as does mr. overaggressive public address announcer.

Posted by: surly_w | July 4, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

leetee,

I'm hoping that Colome and Belliard will get DFA'd before we fly out Sunday night, bring up Bergmann and maybe an 8th reliever (we have a host of potential arms in SYR that could get a shot out of the pen; JD Martin, Marco Estrada).

I also think Detwiler will be pitching for Syracuse on Wednesday and we'll see Balester back in the bigs for the next month or so.

As for Defense, I think Nick Johnson has about an 80% chance of getting traded in the next 2 weeks, the question then is when you move Dunn to 1b, willingham to LF then who starts in RF, Kearns or Dukes?

Posted by: estuartj | July 4, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Cheeks, some good lines in your gamer. You're a little too snarky these days, but still. This was a gem:

"Since the dawn of the strike zone, some one-and-a-half centuries of baseball have proved the value of throwing pitches there."

Posted by: NatsNut | July 4, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Sheinin's article on Boras essentially calls his bluff on Japan. Good.

If we don't sign Strasburg, wouldn't that give us the top 2 picks next year?

And yea, our pitchers are young, but we've got the hints of a little pitching pipeline. We need Strasburg, but we'd get over it.

Let Strasburg walk. Boras is a pruck.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 4, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

NN

such language from a lady! i do declare. lol!

a beautiful fourth of july dawns and beckons us to spend the day with family and friends or in natstown with a team that may be lucky to match the franchise worse 52-110 record of 1969. is this a great country or what?

Posted by: surly_w | July 4, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

If SS won't sign we'd have the #1 and #2 picks in the 2010 draft. Assuming SS wouldn't allow a re-draft he would drop to no higher than #3. Not a good option for him....

Did anyone see the report that the Cuban defector Chapman might actually be 26 years old, not 21? Funny stuff, buyer beware....

Posted by: estuartj | July 4, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Well Manny should've taken COlome out after he walked 2 batters! He is so dumb!

Posted by: rachel216 | July 4, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

>Thoughts on firing Manny:

I think he's not the problem. The problem is the personnel.

That's the same old treadmill. Remember, the same guy who put the team together, hired the manager. They lose a different way every night. Which proves that they're capable enough in each area to succeed. They just don't put the whole thing together. Statistically, over the last 150 years, you can't go .286 winning % without help from your manager. That's why they all get fired when you get to that level, because the players can't be that bad - if you don't believe me, here's Adam Dunn today:

"I think everything is frustrating," Dunn said. "I don't know how many times you can sit here and say we're better than what we are."

Look, if he knows the talent is better than 22-55 (oh dear god), then he's pointing the finger directly at the manager. There's nobody else left. That's just how it works. These are rules that have been in place since 1870. The Braves gave up some runs in the 9th, but they got out of the jam because they did the little things that enabled them to win. That's how you win - you don't throw statistics against the wall, and point fingers at them, you find a way to win. Like keeping Clippard in there longer, because he certainly hasn't been overused, and he's got the longevity of a starter. Instead, Manny wants to piss on a good thing and start the rollercoaster over again with all his overused veterans. The vets in the bullpen might be decent pitchers, but the older you get, the less likely you are to be effective if you're overused. Maybe they need to bring up Mock. Who knows. But Manny's managing to his level, which is all-time bad.

Posted by: Brue | July 4, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I keep hoping to see a new post here or on the mlb site that Colome has been DFA'd and they re-called Bergmann (unlikely since he pitched 3 innings last night).

Posted by: estuartj | July 4, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Here is my pick for the starters today.

1 Lannan
2 Nieves
3 Johnson
4 Hernandez
5 Zimmerman
6 Gonzalez
7 Harris
8 Morgan
9 Kearns

All defense no hitting! I can't even try to put together a line-up of these guys, but I'm sure Lannan would love to have those guys behind him (until he realized he'd need a no-no to get the win).

Posted by: estuartj | July 4, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Happy 4th.

Posted by: db423 | July 4, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I consider myself at this point to be the most pathetic sports fan in America. The two team sports that I follow: baseball and football. My favorite teams in those two sports: Nationals and Lions. I’ve rooted for the Lions my whole life and therefore count myself as an expert on dysfunctional franchises. Teams that win (or lose) consistently have one thing in common good (or bad) ownership. We can talk about bad bullpens, inept managers, stupid GMs, or bombastic presidents, but the bottom line is that the owner sets the tone. He (or she) gets people in place who work well together, can establish a common mission, and can come to consensus about how that mission is achieved. The Fords in Detroit have never really had a clue about how to run a franchise. They hire drinking buddies, guys who are fun to play 18 with (Wayne Fontes), guys who bring some superficial boost of publicity (Matt Millen), or the coach who tried to gain credibility with his players by coming into camp on his Harley. All the while there seems to be no plan, other than trying save money on the one hand, but then on the other hand doling out big money to high profile but flawed players in an effort to placate the fans who say the owners are “cheap” – think Scott Mitchell. In the meantime, franchises with methodical, hard working, behind the scenes lifers who value high character players are implementing their plan and kicking your behind year after year.

I see the same characteristics with the Nats. Bowden was a Millen-type GM, lots of talk about how great he is, wanting to be the center of attention. The fact that Mark Lerner thought he was the right guy for the job when they took control of the club was a sure sign that this franchise would not succeed. Kasten is in that category as well. Please don’t tell me about his track record in Atlanta. He benefited from Ted Turner’s TV brilliance (and TV money) and John Schuerholz being one of the great GMs ever. The Braves as a business stunk. They couldn’t sell out play-off games. The Thrashers and the Hawks were also miserable failures under his leadership. To me the Smiley Gonzalez signing was less a question of being duped about his age, although that was egregious enough. To me it was more that the guy really wasn’t very good. They spent the money simply to say to the fans that “we will be a presence in Latin America.” That’s not a reason to spend $1.4 million. Sign and draft good players instead. Demand personal and professional excellence from the people working for you. Let’s try that.

Perhaps the Lerners should go to “owners’ camp”. Are there some professional workshops where Bob Kraft could teach them what to do? The other option is for them to sell the team – preferably to Zients/Malek who would have been much better owners. Regardless I’ll keep rooting for them (and my Lions) because I can’t bring myself to do otherwise. Thanks for listening and Happy 4th.

#4

Posted by: db423 | July 4, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Flynnie - very sorry for your loss.

All - Happy 4th!

New business - More perils of dealing with the international market. The latest? Flame-throwing, Strasburg comparison Chapman may in fact be 5 years older than originally thought.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/07/aroldis-chapman-reportedly-26-years-old.html

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 4, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Happy fourth everyone and Flynnie you would have to bring up the 2005 season! man i never missed a game that year i think its safe to say we all enjoyed that ride that F. Robby and that cast of characters took all of us on,i think what bothers me the most is that this team arguably has more talent but they are underachieving at every level add to that fact the NL East has turned into a real dog fight from top to bottom sans the Nats. It grates on my last nerve that this team isn't a part of what has turned into a real pennant race, one needs to only look at the Colorado Rockies who made the "bold" move to replace Clint Hurdle with Jim Tracy and "go to war miss agnes" they are now a factor in the NL west. One last note, HOF Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians broke the color barrier in the American League some sixty plus years ago July 3rd 1947 if memory serves me correctly let us not forget his courage and character, again Happy Fourth everyone!

Posted by: dargregmag | July 4, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Hello, before starting my rant, I wanted to acknowledge the excellent post by db423. It appears that we have the type of ownership that simply isn't interested in studying and implementing the methodology for putting together a successful product as measured by wins and losses. (They probably spend a great deal of time thinking about putting together a successful product as measured by dollars spent per ballpark visitor, etc.)

One factor that aids the Nats ownership in their approach is that the visitors to Nationals park, as a whole, do not care about their ability to win games. In fact, they react very little to what is happening on the field. I don't know whether this is the attitude of fans in 2009, or specific to Washington. At the game last night, I observed people simply having a great time around the restaurants and bars. There was no sign that the Nats were 22-54. In my section (229), only I groaned when Jesus Colome gave up that home run.

For the people around me, the only things that mattered to them were waving caps, the kiss-cam, the t-shirt toss and the presidents race. They talked about the apps on their phones, pakistani restaurants in northern virginia, the list of names on their cell phone, gelato vs. giffords ice cream, the texts from some guy ("I think of him as just a friend") etc. Only I groaned when Austin Kearns came up to pinch hit. But I couldn't boo him because the p.a. announcer stretched out his name for 10 seconds and they had to play his music for another 10 seconds. (His at-bat lasted about 20 seconds).

I have recognized that the pain of rooting for a loser is an archaic feeling that younger sports customers don't worry about. I saw bad baseball teams when I was younger (Mets in the '70s). The people around me at the ball park talked about how to fix the team. Nobody had any comminucations devices and there were very few food alternatives. If the team was bad, you sat and complained and tried to root for guys who might be part of a better future.

I think the Nats customers have it right. Unfortunately, I taught my 11-year-old to care about what happens on the field, so he cringed whenever Joel Hanrahan came into a game. I should have taken him for gelato whenever Joel came in.

What do you think? If you're brought up to care about baseball, can you teach yourself just to surrender to the ballpark experience? It would make me happy if I could, and it certainly would make Stan K. happy.

Posted by: natteringnabob | July 4, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of a female PA announcer. We attended a game at AT&T on a recent trip and enjoyed their announcer (also the spectacular setting and the view from the upper deck - yeah, I'm a little biased but still).

I, too, have fond remembrances of that first year at RFK with our new-found team. Heck, even my Chicago baseball buddy fell in love with that team. How could you not?

I, too, wish a happy 4th to all, whatever you are doing to celebrate our country's birthday today. We'll be at the Pfitz this evening for some baseball and fireworks.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 4, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and we saw lots of people wearing their Nats gear (as we were) at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival yesterday. Also saw one odd couple (IMO), he in O's gear and she in Red Sox gear. What the?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 4, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Lineups are up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 4, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Was at the park last night - here's a couple of observations from last night's game:
- Manny had the chance to pull Colome and he didn't. Colome struggles but gets to two outs and runners on first and second with a short, left-handed pinch hitter coming to bat and Villone (at least he's left handed) in the pen. He leaves him in and the home run happens. That's on Manny.
- Whatever Nyjer Morgan had at the plate early in the season is gone. He was way behind every fastball and waving his bat through the zone on curveballs (I'm calling him Zorro now because he ends with that bat straight up in the air flourish thing).
- Whatever Nyjer Morgan does at the plate, he's 300% better in the field than Milledge or Dukes - that guy can fly and he gets great jumps on the ball (see the ball hit to 401 in dead center and the gapper he chased down in [I think] the 8th).
- Z-man is lost at the plate and almost threw another one away from Johnson at first on his only fielding play of the game. What is going on with him???
- We need to trade Dunn. He's got a lot of value to an American League team and we should win overall in that equation. He may help us but he doesn't help this team win games and I don't know what the number is but he does not come through in the clutch.
- DC is a baseball town and when this team is right, we're going to have a great atmosphere at the park all the time! We had ~35K fans last night and there weren't a ton of Braves fans - all for by far the worst team in baseball. This is sooo different than watching the series with the Marlins. Let's keep it up.

Posted by: natslifer | July 4, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

natteringnabob,

I am not sure the don't-care-if-the-Nats-win attitude is what DC fans are like. There's nothing in the water supply that makes us apathetic. The fans you see out there at the park just reflective of the fans who are left. The competitive ones are driven away by the product.

Most of the time the stadium is half empty. The fans who come still are the ones who just enjoy baseball and the whole atmosphere. I've become like that myself. We go out and watch a couple hours, have a nice dinner and a beer or two, and leave when we have had enough. Whether the Nats lose 102 games or 112 this season is not important to me (and that's the main reason the fire-Manny discussion is irrelevant to me as well.)

If the franchise can turn itself around in the future (and we have a difference of opinion on this site as to whether you need to invest in the future to do so), you will see a different kind of crowd, a crowd that cares fiercely, and a bigger crowd too.

Posted by: EdDC | July 4, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

My 2 cents on the PA announcer. To me, since I don't see him, he is a disembodied "Clint". He is a parody of the juiced radio DJ. There is NO need for it. I agree that it jazzes up NO ONE. Kasten continues to run the ballclub like we are a bunch of hayseeds. Do the Yankees (ugh)or the Red Sox (ugh) need to use this sophmoric hype? No. I remember Rex Barney, the Orioles' (ugh) PA announcer. No bleating and he worked just fine. The fans loved him. I guess with the team soo p--s poor, I just blow these things out of proportion. But Kasten/Lerner should reflect on the fact that Washington fans are not newbies from Phoenix and don't need the plastic experience that he is foisting on his dwindling fan base.

Posted by: MMilzman | July 4, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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