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The New Infield Routine

You can read the game stories/weather reports from Thursday night here (from yours truly) and here (from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold, who in his notebook mentions Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham as Plan B trade possibilities if the Cards can't acquire Matt Holliday. As I mention in my notebook, the Nats are indeed listening to offers on Dunn ... but I don't get the sense the Nats are eager to deal him.)

Anyway, let me detour just a bit here and talk about practice. Cue the obligatory Allen Iverson soundbite. Thursday, the Nats played their eighth game under interim skipper Jim Riggleman. In those games, they've made eight errors -- a steady continuation of their worst-in-the-league pace. But maybe there's some hope. Maybe. At worst, there's a serious effort to change. In the last four games, the Nats have committed just two errors, and Thursday's error, though it led to an unearned run, was just a case of Adam Dunn fumblitis. (After catching a fly ball, he dropped it while coming up to throw, allowing a runner to advance. Pretty? Heavens no. Par for the course? With Dunn, yes.)

But elsewhere, things have been good. Ryan Zimmerman's been dazzling at third, and Nyjer Morgan has patrolled the outfield, and even Cristian Guzman has looked like an interested participant at short.

Is this all a result of ... practice? Who knows. But since Riggleman has taken over, the Nationals have ramped up their attention to fielding. Used to be, the team took the field for home games at either 4:15 p.m. or 4:20. After about 15 minutes of stretching, the Nats would usually go straight into batting practice; they'd conduct some fielding drills as batters hammered away.

Now, for home games, the Nats are on the field at 4:05 p.m. Every day. They stretch and begin fielding-only drills at 4:20. They start BP at 4:45 p.m.

Those 25 minutes of fielding are pretty simple. Four coaches, Riggleman included, fan out close to home plate and crank grounders. It's basic stuff. There's no music, no PA system blaring, just bats cracking and mitts smacking. When Riggleman hits a liner by mistake and groans, you hear it. You hear the chatter, too. "Way to go, Gonzo." "Way to scoop it, Nick." Etc.

"We haven't played well, as far as defense goes," Willie Harris said. "Riggleman is putting extra emphasis on that. It's more a concentration level, I guess you can say."

About half the time, the outfielders are doing their own drills during this time. The other half, they're sent to the indoor cages to work with hitting coach Rick Eckstein. Adam Dunn often gets work at first base, and Harris takes balls at second.

Riggleman said that the change in pre-game routine isn't entirely his doing. Manny Acta, before getting fired, tried to implement a similar defense-heavy system.

"We started this somewhere probably about a month ago, and it just continually got interrupted by rain," Riggleman said. "So Manny was trying to institute that earlier to address our defensive problems and we couldn't get any consistency to it because of the weather. You can't do it on the road because you don't have access to the field. So it just kind of worked it out to where I'm basically re-implementing what we were trying to do earlier. But I do think it helps. We did this in Seattle last year, and we made some jumps. I think it allows us to get a little more concentrated work without the ball being pitched in batting practice.

"It's generally one of those things where major league players are gonna roll their eyes and say, 'What are we doing this for?' But it's gonna make us better. That's why we do it."

By Chico Harlan  |  July 24, 2009; 9:19 AM ET
 
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Comments

Props to Riggleman on his giving credit to Acta, both here and in previous comments. Classy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Gee, a whole extra 10 minutes of practice for the worst fielding team in baseball. How impressive...

Posted by: scorekeeper | July 24, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Did someone say practice?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exOxUAntx8I&feature=related

Posted by: ImWithStupid | July 24, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Well what do you know Mike Wise just said on his radio show he is AGAINST the Nationals and that there are NO diehard Nationals fans.
I love it when people who grew up somewhere else feel so embolden to define what is and is not in this town.

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

reposting.................

Check this out

A Lerner speaks
http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090723&content_id=6022228&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 8:20 AM

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Mike Wise kills brain cells.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I liked Ron Darling when he was with us.
http://www.observer.com/2009/style/anti-homers

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Classy.....maybe but just plain lying is not the way to go.....we know that Acta made a big point of saying that he did not think this was needed everyday and that it was a once and a while thing. Rigs is on the right track here and they need to do it everyday at home, which is what they are doing and what Acta said he will not do.

I am seeing several area's where Rig is different than Acta.

1. Daily team post game meetings win or lose.
2. Daily infield and defense practice WITHOUT BP going on around them.
3. Hit and runs, more steals, more aggressive base running.
4. Better bunting by pitchers
5. No Anderson H at 2nd Base
6. Different Bull Pen usage and order...going with hot hands verse Acta rote.
7. Less mound trips in general
8. More Steve MaCatty influence on pitching. Pounding the strike zone with fastballs regardless of the score or results.
9. Much surer look in the fields eyes about what is happening on situational plays before the pitch. Pitchers checking with infielders on who is covering etc.

All this is leading to better baseball to watch and change is definitely there. I think for the better and we will see about .400 baseball from here out.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Gee, it sounds as if Wise is already desparate to stir up some controversy. He can be "against" the NATS, but as CBinDC points out, he can't "know" there are no diehard NATS fans, as he does not know me nor, I suspect, others on the Blog, who appear to be diehard. I read the M. Lerner Q&A. I would if this resolves Boz's questions? It sounds as if they might be a tad more active in the off-season FA market. Time and actions will tell, however.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | July 24, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

This would be great news if we were still down in Florida for Spring Training. One wonders why it took so long for the manager/coaches to inject an emphasis on practice/fielding/drills when the team began the season in a nosedive and never came close to leveling out.

Wen reading reports like this, is is easy to question whether this truly is a major league franchise with appropriate adult supervision from ownership down. Clearly, the Lerners have taken lessons from other DC ownership - they don't seem to trust "baseball people" like Angelos (and Snyder w/the Skins) and are stingy like Pollin. Kudos. It's rare that an ownership group so quickly alienates a starving fan base.

Reports that the Lerners have already extended a GM offer to an outside candidate are sure to make Rizzo's job *that much easier* (snark) moving into the trade deadline and Strasberg negotiations. Nothing like another offseason of FO shuffling and inertia to instill a dwindling fan base with confidence.

As Jeff Lebowski apoplectically said to Jeff Lebowski - THE PLANE HAS CRASHED INTO THE F****** MOUNTAIN.

Posted by: terrapin31590us | July 24, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"Gee, a whole extra 10 minutes of practice for the worst fielding team in baseball. How impressive..."

I'm impressed, its hard to fit in practice on a tight schedule everyday. There is a lot to do beforehand and afterwards. Overall, I am glad they are making the effort.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 24, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I could not believe what Wise said but he has developed a real hostility toward the Nationals and so also treats the fans with the same venom.
I have heard him before express a certain back of the hand toward any mention of the Nationals and that there are FANS but this was direct and to the point.
This happens the day after he has Kasten on his show.

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Mike Wise knows nothing about baseball. Absolutely nothing at all. Why anyone would listen to him is beyond me. He makes Chico on day one of the job sound like a seasoned beat writer. Wise is yet another reason the Post Sports Section has tanked over the past 10 years.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

WHO IS MIKE WISE??Does he know anything @the Nats?Does anyone care what he says? I watch every game here in lower /slower Delaware and am a huge fan-- going back to the 40's,Griffith Stadium, Fla. Ave streetcar days ect. GIVE 'EM A CHANCE TO GET UP TO SNUFF! Then guess who will be the 1st one on the bandwagon.!

Posted by: ripndot | July 24, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I am not impressed with Riggelman's managing, but I am very impressed with his behavior. The guy is a gentleman. Nice to have you in the interim, Riggs.

Posted by: Section506 | July 24, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@506,

Clearly Rigs is a short timer no matter what the outcome of the last 60 games. All I am saying is he is changing things for the better....not hard to do as long as you change something.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I started very impressed with Mike Wise for being willing to stand up to the sacred cow of Washington football and call a racist name a racist name.

I have sadly come to realize it wasn't courage and a clear-sighted viewpoint, but a self-indulgent cage-rattling. He seems to like to just make people angry for its own sake.

Posted by: Section506 | July 24, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

On Wise we agree.....his approach hides that he really does not know much about sports.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Wait...so people are actually LISTENING to Wise's radio show? What are you doing to yourselves?

Posted by: RickFelt | July 24, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

On Wise, he does know media coverage issues but the GAME...he know little about THE GAME on the field.

He reminds me of other Post sports writers who are really frustrated that they are not in a line of writing they really are interested. (Not just you Chico), wise strikes me as someone who really thinks of themselves as a Tom Clancy hoping for his big break while he pays the bill with sports.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

JayB, I think one of the problems is that every sports reporter wants to be John Feinstein in the same way every news reporter wants to be Bob Woodward.

What they don't recognize is that both mastered life in the trenches before turning to the purple prose that raked in the dough their late years.

Also, tangentially, both became lamer the further they got from regular grunt work.

Posted by: Section506 | July 24, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Good Point....applies to Boz as well

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Junior Feinstein can ever hope to be half the baseball reporter Boz is.

Boz is almost as good Povich.

Unless you girls have read both shut up!

Posted by: sheepherder | July 24, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@506,

Back to baseball.....do you see a change in focus on the field. I do and it is gaining momentum in a 2 steps forward one step backwards kind of a way.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure about Boz. His purpleness appears to be a personality thing (recalling the baseball-seam shoes) and never appears designed to get him more attention. I think he is just quirky.

Of course, that may add up to the same thing, even if it's by different numbers.

Posted by: Section506 | July 24, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I just ripped him a new one in an email

Posted by: JDB1 | July 24, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I never been too impressed with Wise but he is more tolerable then Shapiro. But isnt this something that comes up all the time. People who are not from around here constantly complain bout all the things about the area. Move back to your own town and good riddance.

Posted by: gatsu | July 24, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The other sports radio station has added a sports columnist from the other DC paper to compete against Wise.

Posted by: Brian_ | July 24, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Good! Are they practicing paying attention and running to the base you are supposed to cover? How about catching the throw made by a pitcher on a bunt along the third base line? Sheesh!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | July 24, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

And it looks like the Cardinals are out of the Dunn, Johnson, Willigham stakes.

They are 'close to' a deal for Halliday.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 24, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Question:

It's speculated that the Cards are going to give Brett Wallace to the A's for Holliday and cash. What do you think it would take for the Nats to get Wallace? Willingham + more cash?

Wallace is playing 3B right now, but he might be too heavy to remain there longterm. A move to 1B seems likely.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"Back to baseball.....do you see a change in focus on the field. I do and it is gaining momentum in a 2 steps forward one step backwards kind of a way."

I know what you mean on the fielding, but it seems to be a personnel change. I think Morgan's effect in centerfield cannot be overstated. Even on the balls he misses, he runs them down almost just right, with some miscues as he learns a new park. But even his miscues are better than anything we've seen before. I have to say, referring to our ancient Milledge debate, I don't miss the young man, even if I still would defend his potential for making up at the plate for his glove.

As for everyone else... Al is better at second, we always knew, but now he deserves to be in the lineup, too. I am still perplexed about the mystery of his shortstop performance. Even Belliard has an advantage on Hernandez, but only because it takes the ball twice as long to get to him.

Zimm I have not noticed a difference in yet, but he's due another throwing error in the next week, so maybe there is something to report. Willingham and Dunn are still largely helpless in the field (Josh less so) and I haven't seen enough Bard yet to pronounce a judgment.

As to Guzzie... I don't trust myself to avoid preconceived notions, let me look at the numbers in a bit.

This is not to discount fielding practice yet, though I remain skeptical, I am plenty willing to give it a chance. Just think any differences are better explained by personnel.

Posted by: Section506 | July 24, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I want to add that Chico has been a most welcome addition to both the Nationals coverage and the sports section as a whole.

All I can say to Chico is GREAT JOB!!

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I feel pretty good with Jim as manager - kinda like BB and the Caps - its about as good as you can get at the top doing the coaching - now, he just needs some tools to work with...and he's got less than anybody...wouldn't it be nice to see Strasburg join us in September and see what he can do in a month !!!!!!

Posted by: outrbnksm | July 24, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Never heard Mike Wise. Wouldn't know what station he's on if I wanted to. Sounds like he wanted lots of free ad time on this blog, which he has received.

Why don't we all stick to talking about the Nats here? kthnx.

Posted by: sidbluntley | July 24, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Brett Wallace's numbers seem to indicate a move to first wouldn't be bad. The concern is always that you will get a singles machine in a position that can tolerate a poorer fielding, bigger hitting slugger. But Wallace's minor league stats suggest he could be that slugger.

I would assume that we are in the POS... that's pinch-of-salt... territory when it comes to trade rumors. The deadline is still just under a week away and no one has even started making their best sells yet, so we should see lots of "close to" rumors in addition to the real thing, as teams try to drive prices down.

Posted by: Section506 | July 24, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"Why don't we all stick to talking about the Nats here? kthnx."

You had me until the LOLcats-ish slang. I now intend to speak exclusively about Mike Wise, starting with his childhood, and finishing with his inevitable Nobel Prize. The interesting thing about the latter story is that it was for chemistry...

Posted by: Section506 | July 24, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

reposting.................

Check this out

A Lerner speaks
http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090723&content_id=6022228&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 8:20 AM
Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 10:22 AM | Report ab--------------------------------------
Interesting article, Mark Lerner sure doesnt like the media around here. He does have point where I often feel reporters use as much speculating as reporting, and not just in sports. By the way, anyone know which reporter he was referring to talking bout Ted Leonsis in that article.

Posted by: gatsu | July 24, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I haven't listened to Wise, nor do I intend to.

In other news, methinks that sheepherder may have inadvertently complimented the targets of his comment by assuming that they have a pair of X chromosomes. ;-)

---

Unless you girls have read both shut up!

Posted by: sheepherder | July 24, 2009 11:11 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

100% agree on the effect Nyjer has had on this team, and the fans who watch. Do we want to win against the Padres, who are in the race with us for worst team. :) :(

So far so happy with the Morgan/Burnett trade, Hanrahan seems to be doing better with the Pirates, good luck to him. Would like to see something just as surprising and good from Rizzo over the next week or two. Rumors are just that, rumors...

Padres are 9 games "behind" us in the race for last place (8 in the loss column). Er, what are we rooting for? (Sad sigh).
Re: Radio. Is there a radio program devoted to local baseball (Nats, P-Nats, etc.), and, if so, what time is it on?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Was going to slide over to the box office to get tix for tomorrow and Sunday, but weather looks chancy.

Will buy on the day-of, I guess... They could make a FORTUNE if they sold Nats umbrellas at the park (or outside it). But they don't. Nor on the MLB site--though there are other team logos on umbrellas, no NATS. Found one online for $60, and it's great, but too big to take to the park, it's "golf" size."

So, you entrepreneurs out there--get the INTERIM FAN t-shirts and the Nats umbrellas!!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Are they scheduling any extra outfield practice? Morgan's been great and Willingham is improving. Not to name names, but if we had a player named Dadum Nunn, he could use some more work.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | July 24, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

While I understand the effect of Bryce Harper on a team, frankly I would rather be 'not last'.

This years draft, and international signings seemed to be badly effected by the hype concerning Strasburg. I'd just rather sign a deep well scouted draft class, and a few international free agents.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 24, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

With Wise and so many others dismissing Washington baseball, I guess I'll have to sign in here as a die hard going back to the Griffith days. If each market were allowed only one restaurant, and Washington was stuck with one that served nothing but dog food, the media would proclaim, oh so knowingly, that no one in Washington likes to eat out.

Posted by: KenNat | July 24, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"I am seeing several area's where Rig is different than Acta."

Winning percentage this year under Riggleman: .250. Under Acta: .298.

As the French say, plus ca change, plus c'est la memes choses.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 24, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If I may chime in...

First, as to Wise, I don't think these guys want to be the next Feinstein. That's too much footwork and writing. They want to be the next Kornheisers and Lupicas, who toss off a quick column and spend most of their time getting on TV, impressing each other with their humor. (As you can tell, I think the trend of columnists doing TV is a bad one. Kornheiser, for one, lost his focus and went from being a great columnist to a mediocre one to a non-existent one. He did pay for his kids' college education and I'm sure a really nice summer house, so I guess it was worth it).

Meanwhile, the new focus? Meh. I think it's somewhat improved pitching and Morgan in CF (great point, 506). The Nats are now somewhere between lousy and mediocre, as compared to being between historically awful and lousy. Let's not kid ourselves: their record since the All-Star break is 2-6. They still stink and need to be blown up. Just intelligently.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 24, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Also, earrings. Had to order those online also (found three different sets, one came from Hong-Kong). The internet is great, but get with the program, Team Store. Never mind selling other teams' paraphernalia, get creative about NATS stuff.

Re: Dunn. Charlie (or Dave) said last night was the first time he dove for a ball, and that he has a "weak wrist" and that breaking his fall with his hand is a good way to injure it. Maybe there might be a "teachable moment"? Got home and looked at the TV, and his uniform was muddy, so good effort at least. But do you want Dunn breaking his wrist diving for fly balls?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

FromTheEclipse... said what I said about the new focus, just in French. Showoff.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 24, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

This weekend's series should tell us a bit about where we are at in terms of "bad." The Padres are struggling. A sweep for the good guys is not out of the question.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 24, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

No trade with the Cardinals for us. Matt Holliday has been acquired.

And the list of potential chumps to foist our talentless trade bait on shortens.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 24, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

(gentlemen, please avert your eyes)

There's also a nice baseball purse that was mentioned on the We've Got Heart site back in the spring. I've about given up on finding it at the team store. Guess I could go online but I'd rather see it in person and not have to pay shipping.

baltova, oo la la! (and I agree with your point)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

With Holliday maybe going to the Cards instead of Willingham, I think these stats are interesting. Holliday's road stats for his career:

.281 BA, .351 OBP, .450 SLG, .801 OPS.
His number in games in Oakland this year:
.286 BA, .383 OBP, .494 SLG, .877 OPS.

Willingham's career stats:
.269 BA, .368 OBP, .484 SLG, .852 OPS.

In 162 games, Willingham averages 25 HR's and 82 RBI's. Holliday averages 28 HR's and 110 RBI's.

Given that Holliday has played for some of the best offensive teams in baseball, it's not a surprise he produces more RBI's. And he should have a few more homers because of Coors while neither Dolphins Stadium or Welcome Wagon Park are home run heaven.

But take him out of Coors Field and is he any different that Willingham?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 24, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least I won't have to keep trying to sort out Holliday and Halliday when I read trade rumors (lessee, which one has the "o" again?). Speaking of the latter, I read where the Blue Jays came out and said that they had been looking to trade him because of his desire to test the FA market next year.

---

No trade with the Cardinals for us. Matt Holliday has been acquired.

And the list of potential chumps to foist our talentless trade bait on shortens.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 24, 2009 12:24 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Dang, "Halliday."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I mean "Halladay." Is it lunch time yet?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Lerner complains about reporters writing about him but not knowing him. Duhh, if you want to be known, you need to talk to the media, not issue PR department written statements or prepared answers to questions. Like Boz has said, noone told them they had to buy the team. They should step back and truely evaluate what the team has become under them.

As for Stan being accessible, what bull. I would describe his demeanor as surly. My wife rode with him on the elevator last sunday. She and others smiled at him and tried to make eye contact but he didn't return the smile but instead looked away. He prefers not to be spoken to but commoners.

That funny, 'town jester' guy who appeared at the press clib a few weeks ago is his media facade. He's a cranking old know-it-all who could care less about the fans.

Posted by: alm1000 | July 24, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"avert your eyes" and "oo la la" in the same post? The advent of the trading deadline sure creates excitement . . .

Posted by: lowcountry | July 24, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

As soon as you posted that comment 1a1, I went straight to ESPN to check I had spelled the correct Ho/alliday.

Glad I'm not the only one that makes mistakes with that.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 24, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was Johnny Holliday the Cardinals just picked up, and was wondering why they wanted him but not me back.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 24, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"As for Stan being accessible, what bull. I would describe his demeanor as surly. My wife rode with him on the elevator last sunday. She and others smiled at him and tried to make eye contact but he didn't return the smile but instead looked away. He prefers not to be spoken to but commoners."

How do you know this if as you say none of these folks in the elevator with him said anything to him?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 24, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

It was actually a typo. The Cardinals have actually acquired French singing sensation Johnny Hallyday.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 24, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hah, good one, soundbloke! But enough of the French stuff today, people! We're not the Expos anymore, remember?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 24, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Just read the Lerner interview. This was my favorite quote, on when Washington will host an All-Star game:

"Selfishly, it is my dream that the game be played during Bud Selig's tenure as Commissioner so my father -- who is currently 83 -- can have the opportunity to honor not just the game, but Commissioner Selig for returning baseball to the Nation's Capital after a 33-year absence. We aren't helped by having some reporters continue to negatively list the reasons we won't get the game, but believe me, getting an All-Star Game in D.C. is an absolute passion of mine. I will never rest until we get one."

He may want to hurry up for his dad's sake, but "Bud Selig's tenure?" Please. Bud is like the Pope. He's got that job for life as long as he moves his lips when Jerry Reinsdorf pulls the little strings.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 24, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

No..... the Cardinals have acquired veteran broadcaster Johnny Holiday for Joe Buck and a colorperson to be named later.

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

1a, you want to make sure that purse is insulated for ice cream, right?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

You got it, NatsLady. Priorities, you know.

You guys are funny on the Holliday trades! Just make sure that they don't try to throw in Ken Rosenthal.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Manny makes it sound like they tried to do this:

http://masnsports.com/2009/06/practice-practice-practice.html

"We started this somewhere probably about a month ago, and it just continually got interrupted by rain,"

...that is, what 1a said, classy. But, Jim, if it was getting done, it wasn't getting done. Please don't tell me that in a $600M++ facility you can't find a way to get 25 guys a solid workout. And do it every. single. day.

So, Jim. We liked Manny too, but Manny is gone. You are now they guy we expect to get it done and we're happy to hear that you are, and we hope that it is evidenced tonight.

(although I doubt that the ground-screw is going to let you on the infield tonight...)

Are there any good options for a salad at the park? Thinking of exploring for new food options tonight.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 24, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, that should read:

But, Jim, if it wasN'T getting done, it wasn't getting done.

.

Also, the title of this blog entry makes me think of the song by Fountains of Wayne "New Routine." Good stuff; catchy.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 24, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I've seen a Caesar Salad offered, but I haven't tried it. Plan to look this weekend for the chopped liver.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

NJ'ers: LOOK --here is your chance!

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/fan_forum/tshirt_tuesday_vote.jsp

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

We need to increase our international scouting presence...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4353756

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I think we have just about exhausted the subject of the Lerners, but for those of you who "need" more--

http://www.nbcwashington.com/sports/baseball/Nats-Owners-Clueless-and-Tone-Deaf.html

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@dclifer: good one, you sucked me in. But I heard there were layoffs of those types, it was on the radio.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

ABM has a new screen name....again.....

Posted by: JayBeee | July 24, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wise, an incoherent-phonus-bolonus.

True to form the two DC Sports Talkers continue to dismiss anything other then _________ (you fill in the blank)!

Thank the Radio and TV gods for MLB-Network and XM-175 MLB Homplate.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 24, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"As for Stan being accessible, what bull. I would describe his demeanor as surly. My wife rode with him on the elevator last sunday."

Presumably you did so at Nationals Park, not your Apartment building. Or at church.

Presumably he was just chewed out by an angry fan and was in a confined space with a bunch MORE angry fans, and wasn't looking forward to his NEXT upbraiding by someone who thinks that he can do better.

Yeah, I would probably have been in a surly mood, too.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 24, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

let's see if I can do this in one breath:

practice: Eubie Blake ran scales for 20 minutes every day, well into his 90s--these guys can take 10 minutes of infield every chance they get.

Wise: I'm sorry, what? I wasn't listening.

Trade for Judy Holliday? Oh. Nevermind.
But the Cards might gone with the cheaper get, not necessarily the better player.

Not-Last: better play to win. As has been noted here to death, no drafted player is guaranteed to be useful, let along good. Pick #2 should be high enough (esp. with #1A).

Lerner interview: geez, I hope the guy lives to be 83 himself, he's so naive now he'll need the time to get with the program.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 24, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Is Chris Needham LAC?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't think so, DClifer. I spose it's possible.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 24, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@sec3: yes, especially when the draft is a crap-shoot, as has been remarked here. WIN NATS!!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"might HAVE gone..."
which makes me wonder what Rizzo was asking for Willingham

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 24, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

On Twitter he is needham_chris. Would he have a different screen name here?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 24, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone hear ESPN radio "extra point" where they were talking about the Nats story du jour - maybe they won't sign Strasburg. The final statement was (paraphrase) - "...if they don't, maybe the Nationals should go away."

Posted by: goexpos2 | July 24, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It would have been nice to get Wallace for Willingham...

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Cards fans LOVE Wallace

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The world will little note, nor long remember, what ESPN says.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 24, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Abraham Lincoln said that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 24, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"I'll let you be on my team if I can be at third."


and I said that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 24, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Rotoworld's take:

ESPN.com is reporting that the Cardinals have acquired outfielder Matt Holliday for top prospect Brett Wallace and two other minor leaguers.

24-year-old right-hander Clayton Mortensen and outfielder Shane Peterson, a second-rounder in 2008, are the "other minor leaguers." The A's will throw in $1.5 million to help cover the $6 million remaining on Holliday's current deal, but they're clearly the big winners in this trade. Protection for Albert Pujols is nice, and is important, but at what cost? Wallace boasts a major-league ready bat and the other two appear destined for nice big league careers.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

What, you think we were born yesterday?

---

Trade for Judy Holliday? Oh. Nevermind.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Good. Now the Cubs will have to make a move. Perhaps the Brewers and Astros as well. And the Astros might be looking for help at 1B now.
________________________________
No trade with the Cardinals for us. Matt Holliday has been acquired.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 24, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Very slick, 1a. I nearly cracked Adam's Rib laughing.
____________________
What, you think we were born yesterday?

---

Trade for Judy Holliday? Oh. Nevermind.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 1:58 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | July 24, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Matt Holliday was traded to the St Louis Cardinals

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | July 24, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, just heard on The Lockerroom with Kevin Sheehan that come Monday it will be called the Sports Fix and his co-host will be Thom Lovero. I hear Thom sometimes on The Sports Reporters. He recently said that the Nationals have the upper hand in the negotiations for Strasburg. No Japanese team is going to offer him a contract. And if the kid needs to sit out a year and play in an Independent League, risking injury, so be it. I don't want to misrepresent what he said. Anyway, it was a far cry from what Baseball Tonight and Mike and Mike have been saying. Tehre's no way that, for the average fan, the team loses credibility if it does not sign Strasburg. Maybe it will be a catastrophe for histrionic voices on NJ, but not the average fan, in my opinion. The Nationals just cannot let Boras and his clients ruin the draft system we have.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | July 24, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Wise is an idiot and just trying to stir things up. It's probably the reason that Loverro landed a full time slot on the other sports station in town. Competition is good.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 24, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

IHW

There was no hostility in the elevator on the way to the suite/club level just smiling fans looking for a little interpersonal interaction with StanK. He is a Brave-at-heart sourpuss.

Posted by: alm1000 | July 24, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"WE TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE NOT A GAME, PRACTICE"

Posted by: dargregmag | July 24, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

1a1 and lowcountry, the fact that you made those puns and I laughed at them means we're all probably old...

Anyway, here's my conspiracy theory moment of the day. What if, by Aug. 17, the Padres stay on course to finish with the second worst record in baseball? Boras realizes that if Strasburg doesn't sign, the Nats have the first two picks in next year's draft (the #1 pick for worst record and the #2 as compensation for not signing this year's #1). That means, if Strasburg goes back into the draft and remains the top prospect, the Nats have to ask twice if they can pick him. If he says No, he slides to the third spot, held by...his hometown team. How much would the Padres pay to get him?

It's a little farfetched because the Royals or Indians could also end up with the second-worst record, but I'm just saying.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 24, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Ha! How funny would it be if they faxed him two consent sheets, one for each pick?

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 24, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"IHW

There was no hostility in the elevator on the way to the suite/club level just smiling fans looking for a little interpersonal interaction with StanK. He is a Brave-at-heart sourpuss."

Consider yourselves lucky that you weren't tomahawk chopped

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually, there's something to that. If he declines to be picked with the first overall pick, but consents to be taken at 1a, the Nats wouldn't get a compensation pick if he doesn't sign. So he'd get the upper hand in negotiations at 1a.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 24, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wise can kiss my,

Senator game-attending, Nationals season ticket-holding, MASN-watching, Wise-hating ARSE.

Posted by: AWWNats | July 24, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, baltova. I think Strasburg ought to get while the getting is good. The Padres have yet to sign their top pick this year (to the best of my knowledge). Nor has Ackley signed. Indeed, I'm curious as to how many top picks have signed. It would not surprise me, particularly given the state of the economy, if some changes are made to the draft by the owners over the winter - most notably, the slot system could be made enforceable. I don't see the Player's union screaming too much about regulating the draft - especially if it seems that the process is running amuck.

Boras claimed he wanted to blow up the system. One should always be careful of what the ask for.
___________________________
Anyway, here's my conspiracy theory moment of the day. What if, by Aug. 17, the Padres stay on course to finish with the second worst record in baseball?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 24, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Hostility in a ELEVATOR

Blowing UP

While you’re going DOWNNNNN

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Thought these two remarks were interesting ...
I think they are supposed to be completely
separate and yet, intentionally connected?

# Indians GM Mark Shapiro wonders if teams are holding onto their prospects too tightly: "It's almost to the point where there's an over-evaluation of these guys. There's almost an over-correction."
# Heyman says the Nats should trade Nick Johnson, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham.

Posted by: periculum | July 24, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut:

Wise = Periculum.

NOT!?

Posted by: periculum | July 24, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Can they make the slot enforceable without renegotiating the CBA?

They can do it through collusion, I guess. I mean, let's be honest; that's how the lower FA contracts were worked out this year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 24, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of such things ...

I am tired of the "Cincinnati Reds" connection? Can't we get rid of Dibble and get someone from closer to home? Ex-SeNATor or even a Oriole would be better ...

Posted by: periculum | July 24, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of Dibble....hmmm wonder what Denny Mclain is doing these day?

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't know. I wasn't sure whether or not the first year draft was subject to the CBA. If so, when does it expire?
_________________
Can they make the slot enforceable without renegotiating the CBA?

They can do it through collusion, I guess. I mean, let's be honest; that's how the lower FA contracts were worked out this year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 24, 2009 2:56 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | July 24, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

You know who I feel most sorry for that Acta got fired? Mike Wise. He'd only just realized that Frank Robinson was no longer the manager. Now he has to figure out who this Acta guy was and find something to say about him in case the topic ever comes up on his radio show. (You know, like if the Redskins hire him or something.) I fear Wise's pea-brain is not equippped to handle such stress. Better for him to just deny that the Nationals exist at all.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

JiM ... but you can't really have a monopoly without collusion anyway, can you?

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how far the CBA stretches, lowcountry. It's worth looking into. And I think you're right - Selig and the owners want some cost assurance in the draft process, and hard-capping the slot system would do just that.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"Meh. I think it's somewhat improved pitching and Morgan in CF (great point, 506). The Nats are now somewhere between lousy and mediocre, as compared to being between historically awful and lousy."

What they are is close ... on the razor's edge, the sword of Damocles from Syracuse hovers in the distance ... yet there is lex parsimonae and Ockham's razor.

As Chico stated: 11 starting pitchers all under 28. Eleven. Next year others will more than likely be added to the list from this year's draft, while others are dropped. Strasburg included. They now improve with every game ...
albeit the last game was a step or 2 back.

Relief pitching will be addressed through pitchers from their minor league system and free agents. Storen has to be considered one.

So, its positionally. An outfield of Dunn Morgan and Willingham isn't going to cut it. The corners are set with Zimmerman and Nick Johnson. Second and short are question marks.

Its all about trades since free agency will be problematic given potentially intractable ownership and the lack of a permanent GM, Manager and staff.

Make the wrong trade and they are once again like the hapless Expos looking for a home and finding one in Washington. Make the right trade for young prospects and playoffs, perhaps even a world series might loom ahead ...

For me its that frustrating ... they tantalize with young talent ... and disappoint ... the holes in their roster look to be things you can't mend easily ... yet with the right trade or trades ... or a free agent signing or two?

Posted by: periculum | July 24, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"hmmm wonder what Denny Mclain is doing these day?

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009"

Perfect! POTD.

He's probably in jail. There's a guy for Damned Dibble. His first game, the opener, was as inspirational a victory as you could imagine ... boy did things rapidly go downhill after that.

HEY, we should go to Europe and dig up Curt Flood to play the outfield? Bowden would have done that in a heartbeat. Dibble the ex-Red would have applauded.

You know what, THANK GOD its Rizzo and that he picked a guy like Morgan.

Posted by: periculum | July 24, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Syracuse, new post.

Priceless timing.

-----

What they are is close ... on the razor's edge, the sword of Damocles from Syracuse hovers in the distance ... yet there is lex parsimonae and Ockham's razor.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 24, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

greatest userID on NJ, hands down:
FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome

You can tell which condo is Sunshine Bobby's; it's the one with all the Austin Kearns-for-All-Star ballots are hanging from the doorbell.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 24, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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