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Nats Deny Report of Talks With Mazzone

[UPDATED at 10 p.m.] Nationals President Stan Kasten strongly denied a Washington Post report tonight that the team has had had conversations with former Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone about serving in the same role in Washington.

"There is not a scintilla of truth to this story," Kasten said.

According to an industry source familiar with the talks, the Nationals have discussed their pitching coach job with Mazzone, whom Kasten knows from their days together with the Atlanta Braves.

Although current Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty does not have the "interim" label attached to his title - as interim general manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman do - the Nationals have not committed to McCatty in that role beyond this season. McCatty was promoted from Class AAA Syracuse to replace the fired Randy St. Claire on June 2.

Mazzone, 60, last coached in 2006-07 with the Orioles, who fired him two years into a three-year contract, ending a disappointing tenure that partially tarnished the solid reputation he constructed with the Braves, where his pitching staffs, led by aces Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, regularly ranked among the best in the game.

Earlier this year, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he regretted leaving Atlanta for Baltimore after the 2005 season, saying, "Once I got there and saw how [the Orioles] operated compared to the Braves, I knew I made a mistake the first week of spring training."

By Dave Sheinin  |  July 14, 2009; 8:28 PM ET
 
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Comments

Well, that's interesting. On the one hand, the "interim" business all over the place should stop. On the other, if someone who knows what he's doing can deal with the organization, that's a good thing.

Posted by: Section406 | July 14, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

If it looks like a re-tread, if it smells like a re-tread, it probably drives like a re-tread.

I'll take a pass on this one thanks. McCatty has done a fine job so far and these guys know him from their time in the minors. He has a sort of Bruce Boudreau feel to him.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 14, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Lol @ Obama talking about the Nats

Posted by: amorris525 | July 14, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Well, as Charlie and Dave like to say, "We're all day to day."

But I want to know why the Nats would deny such an obvious, innocuous story? Are the Lerners now going to occupy a secret, undisclosed location like the last denier-in-chief?

Interesting series of quotes from the ballplayers regarding Obama. What would they would like to ask him? I love Michael Young's question: http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/all-stars-prepare-questions-for-obama/?scp=1&sq=questions%20for%20Obama%20all-star%20game&st=cse

Posted by: paulkp | July 14, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Talking about the gnats? How about b!tch slapping them or in my best Eric Cartman voice... "kicking them in.. the... NUTS..."

Everyone loves baseball because they believe their team has a chance... well... everyone but the Nationals....

Ouch... even from the Doofus-in-Chief... that was COLD.

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

What did Obama say exactly?

Posted by: FloresFan | July 14, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Testing the 'McCarver is an idiot thesis':

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/birthplace.php?loc=Hawaii

Posted by: paulkp | July 14, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

He said he likes baseball because of the parity... and that:

Everyone loves baseball because they believe their team has a chance... well... everyone but the Nationals....

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama doesn't care about DC, he just lives here. He's already shown his distain for the Nats this season so I'm used to it.

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | July 14, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

He said something about how there was a lot of parity among teams this year, and that almost all the fans in the country still had hope, except maybe the Nationals. Then he said, "But they're a young team. Still building." Something like that. Please refrain from the political commentary, Randy, least you force others here to remind you that it is hard to imagine anyone calling Obama a "doofus" after the unbelievable idiocy we were just subjected to for the previous 8 years.

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Least=lest. Sorry, grammar police!

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

JennX;

Thanks for your illuminated input... but the last time I checked we still live under the Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech... Don't like it? Take it up with your Senator or Representative... Get them to buy out a change in the Constitution...

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Last I checked this was a baseball blog. Stuff the politics talk in a sack.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 14, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh look another one who hides their pain by calling people names......sad so sad ....on such a grand summers night

Posted by: CBinDC | July 14, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Randy: folks here have generally abided by an agreement to leave politics out of the discussion on this blog. There's enough vitriol without adding that to the mix.

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse


It was a baseball comment... maybe if you read at grade level you would get that... the comment about Obama was a peripheral one made in a baseball context relating to his comments about the Nationals. Stuff your own sack, sport.

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

JennX;

Please feel free to ignore me then.

That is YOUR right.

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

"Stuff your own sack, sport"? What does that even mean? LMAO.

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Jenn;

I suppose you don't read at grade level either... but just a few posts up -- if you care to look -- there was a comment made by Rickety Crickety...

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he needs a hug ....but you can't that which can not be felt

Posted by: CBinDC | July 14, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Saw that. But it still was a hilarious comeback. Like something an 80-year-old would say on the country club golf course.

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Back to baseball-related matters... Zimmerman in!

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, gentle folk. Zimm coming in the game?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone is interested, Zimm just replace Wright at 3B. So, he should get a couple at bats tonight.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 14, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

He'll just throw it into the groundskeeper well... or am I not allowed to say that either for fear the kool-aid drinking thought police will get their panties in a knot again....

hrmmmmmmm

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a nice HD picture after watching MASN (just got home from work, so have TV now).

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

"You can stuff your sorry's in a sack mister!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-VP8wnFwo8

It's a Seinfeld reference. Take it easy. Nobody's trying to ruffle the feathers of such a formidable keyboard warrior as yourself.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 14, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Randy, Randy... so adorable with your bitterness and your misogyny.

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

... not to mention your mixed metaphors!

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else think the black-hooded camera behind homeplate looks like the grim reaper? It even has beady yellow eyes when it faces the proper direction. It's kinda creepy.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 14, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Not bitter at all... and I don't hate women... I think YOU are a simpleton -- most likely the product of DC public schools... but it has nothing to do with your gender...

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I listen to Leo Mazzone on a sports show known as the rude awakening(6am-10am) here in atl. i can't see him here after that disaster in B'More and although i'm not big on McCatty(i really liked St.Claire)hiring Leo is just asking for trouble and why are we seeking a guy outside the organization anyway it makes no sense.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 14, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Randy and Jenn, seriously, stop.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

So far I'm a simpleton, can't read at grade level, and went to DC public schools. All because I dared to point out the unwritten rules that folks on this blog have adhered to for several years to maintain the peace on at least one level by not discussing politics. Whew. Thin-skinned much?

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

darfregmag;

Didn't StanK say a little while ago there wasn't a scintilla of truth to the Mazzone rumors?

I wasn't a huge fan of St. Claire's but I am not sure anyone could have made much out of the mess that is/was and continues to be the Gnats bullpen... McCatty doesn't seem to have been able to do much, so maybe they should have stuck with StC.

But Mazzone? No way... We've had enough ineffective losers here... it's time to stir the pot and bit and grow these youngsters up or kick them out for good.

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Apologies. So... Zimm flied out. Bummer. Hope he gets another chance to make a contribution to the NL effort.

_____________________

Randy and Jenn, seriously, stop.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

No, Jenn, you are a simpleton because:

1) You can't grasp the obvious -- that is to say Obama made a comment during a nationally televised baseball game about the Nationals. The very fact that he made the comment, again, during a baseball game about a professional baseball team, takes the comment out of the political realm and makes it germane to this forum which just happens to be about the very team he denigrated on national television.

2) What rubs you is that you are clearly an Obama fan who thinks he is somehow above commentary -- yet again, when he speaks about a baseball team during a baseball team, he gets as good as he gives.

3) You decided to try to be condescending though I doubt you have the mental acumen to do so.

Now... as I said long ago... if you don't like my comments, stop reading them...

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

No, Jenn, you are a simpleton because:

1) You can't grasp the obvious -- that is to say Obama made a comment during a nationally televised baseball game about the Nationals. The very fact that he made the comment, again, during a baseball game about a professional baseball team, takes the comment out of the political realm and makes it germane to this forum which just happens to be about the very team he denigrated on national television.

2) What rubs you is that you are clearly an Obama fan who thinks he is somehow above commentary -- yet again, when he speaks about a baseball team during a baseball game, he gets as good as he gives.

Now... as I said long ago... if you don't like my comments, stop reading them...

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 14, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

When Obama mentioned the Nats my first thought was "what will they be saying about this on NJ?" You folks never fail to dissapoint.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 14, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey -- Zimm with the putout. Nice!

Posted by: cdstej | July 14, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Nice catch, Zimm.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I say NOOOOOO on Mazzone. Unless the Lerners want to go out and trade/sign for three Cy Young winners (pause for laughter) we don't need to watch him rock back and forth for hours on end. I sympathize that he made the ill-fated move to B'more, but I think his lack of success there took the "shine off his star". He may just have been in the right place at the right time in ATL.

Posted by: smill411 | July 14, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Randy, shut up.

Posted by: seamhed | July 14, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I grew up going every Sunday to the First Congressional Church at 10th and G. I'm no heathen, but YOU DON"T HAVE TO REMOVE YOUR CAP for "God Bless America.'' It's not the National Anthem. "Take me Out to the Ball Game'' works just fine.

Posted by: nats24 | July 14, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

the title of this post is weird. was there even an initial report of talks with mazzone?

Posted by: NatsNut | July 14, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, at some point the title of the post was changed. It was something to the effect of "Rizzo discusses pitching coach position with Mazzone". It was changed shortly after the update was posted.

The original post begins with "According to an industry source familiar with the talks..."

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 14, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Before it was "updated," this post reflected the story that suggested that the team WAS talking to Mazzone. Then, the team denied it, and the title was updated to say so.

Posted by: cdstej | July 14, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

thanks, that makes much more sense.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 14, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Why go after the first pitch?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady: Just trying to represent his team?

Posted by: JennX_ | July 14, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Where did this rumour (Mazzone to WSH) originate from- I've yet to see a second, validating source. And also, why in blazes would the Nationals make that move?
They purportedly have a pitching coach in McCatty, unless Riggleman is completely apoplexic about him going forward. And if that's the case, why name Riggleman MGR, when McCatty seems to be working well with the current staff?

Posted by: BinM | July 14, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

JennX: that was snarky--but funny.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

poor zim. he must be so sick of losing.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 14, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I think it is becoming clear that someone who the press thinks is a valid source is proving to be a not very reliable source. Rosenthal had a source. The Post has a source. Heyman has a source. I like Mazone, but he was a lot smarter when he was coaching Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz than when he was coaching the Orioles. I'm fine with McCatty for now. Ray Miller was my personal favorite for pitching coach (horrible manager though). Miller had a very simple philosophy: work fast, throw strikes. I understand McCatty is all about accountability - own your pitch. I love that too. Sounds a lot like throw strikes.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 14, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

what people fail to realize is, in hindsight which is even more upsetting, that the pitching staff, for 15 years, was alot more than just maddux, smoltz and glavine.

people want to give props to pitching coaches in places like st. louis, among others, for taking retreads and turning them into quality pitchers. you cannot find enough space in this journal to write the names of the players that achieved success in atlanta in that vein. i will only name a few: greg mcmichael. mark wohlers, an old terry mulholland, an older mark remlinger - trust me the list goes on.

if people want to be baseball fans, then understand that a pitching coaches responsibilities go a tad deeper than the trio of aces everyone speaks highly of. and keep it mind, it is also an organizational culture that will be hard to replicate in dc as well - the culture of winning.

so please, before dismissing someone you have no idea about, do your homework.

Posted by: theraph | July 14, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm ... I'm liking this blog ... lots more women.
RLMAO.

This is typical ... and actually I believe one of the few "good signs". I am starting to really like Mike Rizzo ... this tells me that "Stan with the vaporware plan" approached him with this idea and Mike said "you're kidding right?"

Rizzo is building this team. He appears to know what he is doing. Unfortunately he has one HUGE problem: Steven Strasberg. If he doesn't sign him he ends up in the same crater with Manny. That said IMHO, I think they would be fine without him, but they drafted him, selected him. Mike made that choice. Now the onus is on him. I think he should have selected his teammate the second choice ... but ... I guess testosterone, bravado, ego, etc. being what it is. Clearly Strasberg (unlike Texiera) would never make a good FOF.

Finally Zim sick of losing? He has contributed to it!!!? His fielding has been anything but stellar. IMHO he is still in minor league mode: learning what it takes to play and win in the majors.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

"Pop-quiz, anyone know the other famous person from the Bootheel?"

Tyler Hansbrough!!!!

Yes, yes, nobody cares here, but you have no idea how many points this is winning me right now.

In hopes of drawing flames away from the unimpeachable JennX, I venture a thought about the All-Star broadcast I shared with the household (and the neighbors, due to my volume), between advertisements for Gatorade and advertisements for Taco Bell:

Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble were hundreds of times better than the FOX broadcast team. This had a lot of obscenities involved with it, but the gist was that Buck and Krew spend too much time dumping everything they can think of as if it was profound and the camera spends too much time with close ups of people's faces and neither spends any time covering the game. I don't even know if Zimmerman was playing in the top of the 9th or not, because they never panned that way and no one was calling changes.

Also, Crawford's catch: mediocre.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Hi, theraph!

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Baltova,

I think JennX sounds pretty cute. Its kind of interesting watching JennX, NatsNut, and Nats_lady discuss the Nats ...

I'd just sit back and enjoy ... :)

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

All-Star games ... sigh who the dickens cares? Its like the Pro Bowl in football: a free vacation for the bravest and best.

I am far, far more interested in Drew Storen and his very able attempts at trying to jump to the parent club as quickly as possible. He may be the closer next year.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey 506, a little help on who that famous person is, if you don't mind? Thanks, blood.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 14, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

periculum, you're on your own when discussing the attractiveness of our fellow bloggers. Good luck there.

Meanwhile, there's this: ""Pop-quiz, anyone know the other famous person from the Bootheel?"

Tyler Hansbrough!!!!"

If it's not bad enough we had a nasty politically-oriented dispute here tonight, but now we're going to talk about Tar Heels? For God's sakes, people, do you have no standards???

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

And periculum, you're starting to creep ME out, and I'm a dude.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 14, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"if people want to be baseball fans, then understand that a pitching coaches responsibilities go a tad deeper than the trio of aces everyone speaks highly of. and keep it mind, it is also an organizational culture that will be hard to replicate in dc as well - the culture of winning."

And again, and again, and AGAIN if necessary ... I will take the "culture" instilled by one Frank Robinson over anything from that choke-o-matic city known as Hot-lanta. C-H-O-K-E.

Give me Frank before anything or anybody from there ... how many world series? How many NL championships? Right win your division and "choke".

Reminds me of Jerry Glanville trying to convince the Atl Falcons (pre-game) not to fear or be intimidated by Joe Gibbs' Skins. Yeah right dude.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"And periculum, you're starting to creep ME out, and I'm a dude.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 14, 2009?"

Right back at ya "dude"? You sure you don't swing from the other side?

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

women know nothing about baseball. its genetic.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | July 14, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm the best baseball player may have been from backwoods part of Georgia ... and he was a nastier human being than Billy Martin on his worst days ... and that was Ty Cobb. The master of bat control, hitting behind the runner, bunting, small ball and sliding spikes up into anyone or anything that got in his way.

"Shoeless" Joe Jackson was also from that "neck of the woods". The inventor of the home run swing. Copied by RedSawx pitcher Babe Ruth.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

"Pop-quiz, anyone know the other famous person from the Bootheel?

Tyler Hansbrough!!!!"

Who fri???ing cares? You know where Babe Ruth is from? Baltimore, literally the Inner Harbor. You know where DiMaggio is from? Martinez CA. Gehrig? Manhattan! Ty Cobb Narrows Georgia. Ted Williams, San Diego ...

And "Joltin' Joe" celebrated his honeymoon with Marilyn Monroe in El Paso De Robles California.

Sigh ... let's find out what Jessica Simpson and
Tony Romo are up to after their break up.


Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Gee Mr. Trivia Section 506, there is only one high school in the entire United States named after a baseball player? What is it called and where is it?

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I know one. Are you sure it's the only one?

Posted by: fischy | July 15, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

There's no Babe Ruth High School, but there is for sure a Walter Johnson High School. And, please, all sexest pigs, depart. We don't need you here.

Posted by: nats24 | July 15, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Its the only one: Walter Johnson in Bethesda.

nat24 please learn to spell.

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

"Its the only one: Walter Johnson in Bethesda."

Just to pound in the proverbial nail:

DC IS first and foremost a BASEBALL town in spite of the Redskins. Povich and Segal understood this well. This the place the play "Damned Yankees" was created for ... this is where the ONLY HIGH SCHOOL named for a hall-of-famer resides.

P.S. Baltova, let me know when Baltimore names a school after mr. milkytoast Cal Dipken, his brother or father, or after Frank Robinson, or Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson ... ONLY the DC area (which includes Maryland Mr. Mayor of Baltimore Schafer) has a high school named after a HOF player.

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

DC and baseball, Senators and Nationals ... your time has come.

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Keeping with baseball integrity, "There is not a scintilla of truth to this story," Kasten said......means he will be hired next week.

Posted by: Pete433 | July 15, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Ah, a new tactic from periculum and friends, I see.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Ugly night on the old NJ. Sorry you had to fight that battle alone JennX, but thanks for defending one of the fundamental rules of civility around here.

As to Mazzone, it would not surprise me at all if he showed up in DC after the season. I don't know what happened after he left Atlanta (since I refuse to give a rat's class about anything that goes on in Bridland) but Leo's success in Atlanta was only partially reflected in Wins and Losses.

What is most remarkable to me is the consistency with which his pitchers took their turn on the mound. Smoltz had his elbow problems (another slider pitcher); but other than that the Atlanta pitchers were particularly healthy under the Mazzone regime. An important consideration when you have invested heavily in young arms.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 15, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I recently read The Baseball Economist by JC Bradbury, the guy who writes the Sabernomics blog. (Interesting read, if a bit uneven. Not the best baseball book I've ever read, but far from the worst.) Bradbury studied pitchers before and after Mazzone and concluded -- contrary to what he had expected -- that Mazzone really did seem to have helped just about every pitcher who came through Atlanta. It seemed like the essay was written before Mazzone went to Baltimore and hadn't been udpated with any new facts, so it could just be that he was an effective coach in that organization, given his remarks about Baltimore.

Anyway, the book was an interesting read. I hope the same applies to the new post.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 15, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

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