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Fresh Starts and New Roles

On Friday, hours before his team began a series with the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington gathered his players in the PNC Park clubhouse to talk about fresh starts. In the previous month, Huntington had cleaved Pittsburgh's roster of almost every established big leaguer. Huntington, realizing some in the clubhouse were skeptical of the team's mass rebuilding, ended with one message: You guys are the 25 men we want going forward.

The two ex-Nationals included in that 25, Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge, were particularly appreciative.

"I mean, it's a fresh start. It's good for me because I get an opportunity," Milledge said on Saturday. "[Huntington] just said, 'We want to start with this group.' "

Washington entered the season counting on Milledge and Hanrahan to anchor, respectively, the centerfield spot and the closer's job. Both players' seasons unraveled, though, and became unsalvageable. Blown save by blown save, Hanrahan's confidence eroded and his ERA rose. He was yanked from the ninth inning role -- twice. Milledge's decline wasn't nearly as merciless, if only because it happened so quickly. He started the year 4 for 24, misjudged numerous balls in center, appeared late to team meetings, and was demoted to the minors one week into the season.

"As soon as I got sent down I knew I wasn't their guy any more," Milledge said.

Milledge, who in May broke his finger in a game with Class AAA Syracuse, also turned up late for his scheduled surgery -- something Milledge chalked up to a miscommunication with the front office. "[Team officials] told me I had my surgery one day when really I wasn't scheduled to have it until a day after that," he said.

Milledge and Hanrahan were spared only by the June 30 trade that packaged both to Pittsburgh, in exchange for Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan. Milledge was forced to spend a month in the minors, and only on Friday was promoted to the big leagues. Hanrahan, since joining the Pirates, has pitched in 11 games (9-2/3 innings) with a 4.66 ERA. Unlike Milledge, he was reluctant to speak formally about the trade, though he was happy to talk without the recorder turned on. Trying to explain his reluctance, Hanrahan tugged at the black and gold logo on his jersey. He then pointed toward the opposing clubhouse and said, "I'm happy here. I'm over that."

Milledge had no hard feelings about his time in Washington, and realized his own performance triggered his exit.

"I think I was in a good position to succeed with the Nationals," he said. "They put me in the right position... I was a guy that wasn't producing, but I have nothing to complain about."

*

With Joe Beimel having departed in a trade to Colorado, the Nationals intend to use another lefty, Sean Burnett, in Beimel's old eighth inning setup role.

*

Elijah Dukes, banished to Class AAA Syracuse one month ago, returned to the big leagues on Saturday -- and those who welcomed him back emphasized the significance of the next two months. For the rest of the season, Dukes, 25, will be given a chance -- his latest chance -- to play almost every day in right field. "It's time for Elijah to take that next step," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We know he's got the tools to do it." In the past, the Nationals have seen glimpses of Dukes's talent -- the raw power, the fearsome throwing arm. But Dukes has, at varying points, battled lower body injuries, pull-happy disciplined tendencies at the plate, and a proclivity for baserunning errors.

If Washington sees the right things for Dukes, it will enable the team to use Dukes in right, Nyjer Morgan in center, Josh Willingham in left -- a configuration Riggleman calls an "above average" outfield.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 1, 2009; 6:45 PM ET
 
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Next: Pirates 11, Nats 6

Comments

Good start by Elijah! Sac Fly RBI

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | August 1, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

15, 20 , 25 ..... going, going ... free and fair warning ... final call ... SOLD!


June 28, 1968, Friday
METS SIGN NUMBER 1 DRAFT CHOICE
Tim Foli, the Number 1 pick in the recent free-agent baseball draft ... yesterday signed a contract with the New York Mets for a bonus reported to be about $75,000.

One bonus boy managing another bonus boy?

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 1, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

so let me get this right. Milledge was late for a surgery that was actually a day *later* than he originally thought? (shaking head)

Posted by: NatsNut | August 1, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I was musing over the same thing, NN, I second the head-shaking...

Posted by: HotNats | August 1, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Misplayed ball last night and a catchable ball today show why Milledge is no longer a Nat. I am still not convinced Dukes is a long term answer in the outfield, but hopefully, he'll prove me wrong. We'll see if any misplayed ball by him tonight. Plus, would like to see at least one solid hit.

Posted by: JT2009 | August 1, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

No surprise, Nick Johnson in first at bat for Marlins...walked. Wearing #20

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 1, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, CD, I'm gonna miss Nick for a long, long time, assuming the Nats don't go after him after this season...

Posted by: HotNats | August 1, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I think that's what Rizzo said when he stated "that its time for him to take the next step". Its prove it or lose it for Dukes.

Posted by: periculum | August 1, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Duuuuuuuuuukes!!!

Posted by: NatsNut | August 1, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

This is an entertaining high school baseball game on MASN. Wait, these are pro teams??

I think Dibble just summed it up well: "gosh damnit!"

Posted by: curz | August 1, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, there goes another one.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Holy smokes, it never rains when you really need it.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 1, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

so let me get this right. Milledge was late for a surgery that was actually a day *later* than he originally thought? (shaking head)

Posted by: NatsNut | August 1, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

******************************************
hahaha they probably did it on purpose so he'd be on time and like everything else with him....it didnt work out

Posted by: EddieW79 | August 1, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Looks like same old Dukes to me. In other words, lost.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

1st pitch swinging right after a 4 pitch walk?!? Dukes is a Dope!
Any chance Nick fails his physical and returns to to DC?
This team took a big step backward on Trading Day.

Whatever was new & shiny about the Nats the last few weeks is long gone. Back to being the absolute worst.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 1, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

IF Dukes succeeds, great. The Willingham - Morgan - Dukes outfield can be what we hope, and Dunn has a space at first, barring further roster moves. But a sneaky part of me says if Dukes bombs out, plan B might involve signing a free agent first baseman that Florida is not going to resign.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | August 1, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to every broadcast and Dibble saying you've got to pitch inside, but not low, midway, or high. I'd like to find that spot he means.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | August 1, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Is there some kind of RECORD for man on 3rd (FAST man on 3rd) with less than 2 out and not getting him in??????????

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

@ Nats_Lady: Whatever the record is, we're approaching it. Worst situational hitting in the game. I'm still waiting for someone to hit behind the runner with man on second and none out. I don't think I've seen it all season. It takes us three hits to get one run: station-to-station baseball.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

periculum, blissfully unaware that the 2008 Major League Baseball season even occurred, wrote:

"I think that's what Rizzo said when he stated "that its time for him to take the next step". Its prove it or lose it for Dukes."

Actually, Dukes produced in the second half last year at a rate unseen in the Nationals outfield outside of Adam Dunn in recent years. Why are people DETERMINED to see him fail here? I don't get it. Do you guys just hate the Nats? Why else do you turn a blind eye to everything good the guy does?

Still waiting for periculum (and others) to acknowledge his walk rate of last year:

2008 NL
League average RF: 9.5 BB/100 PA
League average CF: 8.3 BB/100 PA

Elijah Dukes: 15.0 BB/100 PA

I know, I know, but... but... he's... got a bad attitude! Anything but focus on what the guy has already accomplished at the major league level. If we just berate the man enough, then he'll fail, and then we can feel good about ourselves.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 1, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what the question is, but Logan Kensing is not the answer.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

This is painful. Getting beat up like this at the hands of Phil or ever Fla, is one thing, but Pitt who just traded away all their major league talent. Ugh.

Is it too much to ask for more than 4 games of good fundamental baseball?

Posted by: curz | August 1, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Elijah, how about looking at a pitch?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Dukes bats like he has a parking meter expiring outside the park.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer should just never stop on third. No matter what.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Sunshine: "It's a beautiful view until the scoreboard comes into the shot."

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

We would be glad to see Elijah Dukes succeed. H@@@, we would be glad to see ANYBODY succeed...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Man, this is embarrassing.


How do you not score Morgan from third with no outs? Thats inexcusable.

Posted by: natsfan111 | August 1, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Is McCutchen allowed to wear that do-rag instead of a cap? Is than an option for a Pirates uniform?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

bandana's worn under the cap, not instead of it, Nats_Lady.
Besides, he *is* a pirate.
http://tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:mOFDXAtD7vM_DM:http://worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/bruceworld/pics/pirate.jpg

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 1, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but when he takes off his batting helmet after a home--there is that bandana with the yellow "P" on it.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

er, homer. Of which he has had THREE tonight.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

B2O2, I loved Dukes's patience at the plate last year and commented on it a couple times.

It was always so surprising because what we know about his character is anything BUT patient. I loved that.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 1, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

@sec3: That's not a bandana, that's a tricorn. We gonna see that on the heads of the Bucs?

))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
http://tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:mOFDXAtD7vM_DM:http://worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/bruceworld/pics/pirate.jpg

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Another one for the Dukes detractors here:

Ryan Zimmerman (2008): 774 OPS
Elijah Dukes (2008): 864 OPS

Maybe Ryan Zimmerman should have been sent to AAA for more seasoning this spring? You know, to "learn how to play the game"? After all, none of his pre-2008 numbers should have counted in his favor. Oh no no no no. That wait-for-him-to-slip-and-ignore-his-past-success logic only applies to Elijah Dukes. If HE so much as sneezes the wrong way, it's back to Rookie ball.

But the local white boy from UVA? LOTS of second chances. He's white, did we mention that? (No, I don't know if race plays a role here, but sometimes I wonder.)

Alright, enough. Hopefully I've proved my point. Dukes PROVED he could hit (big, nearly 900 OPS) in the majors last year. Then after a productive April '09 (look it up) he fell into some bad habits for a few weeks while coming back from a groin injury. Now that the managerial blunder (his demotion) has been rectified, hopefully he is back to where he was before we did our darnedest to derail his development.

Go Nats.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 1, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

stinkin up the joint tonight folks.....

Posted by: bromisky | August 1, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Another 1-run inning (sigh).

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut:

"It was always so surprising because what we know about his character is anything BUT patient. I loved that."

Yeah, I agree it's counterintuitive given his hothead reputation, personality-wise. But the guy actually has ALWAYS been patient at the plate. His current lifetime major league record, even counting this uneven half-year and his wretched rookie trial in Tampa Bay?

http://thebaseballcube.com/players/D/Elijah-Dukes.shtml

101 walks against 653 ABs.

You guys are spoiled having had Dunn and NJ here, because on most teams that walk rate leads the clubhouse. Seriously. I don't know if he's pressing or what this year, but this is WAY out of character for him. Even look at his minor league #s on that page. The guy in general has shown great plate discipline.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 1, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

@B202: Dukes just walked. I guess that proves your point. Whatever.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

bring in gas canrahan!

Posted by: surly_w | August 1, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Elijah walks. Everybody calm down.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

You know, folks, I have watched all year - and seen guys get "high fives" in the dugout after hitting a fly ball that allows a runner to tag-up and score. I know that is a sacrifice fly, but I don't remember in my day of playing (many years ago) being so 'giddy' when I "flew out" to say centerfield. While it scores a run, I as a hitter, just failed (to get a hit) - but instead hit a Fly Out - made an out. That was not usually something to rejoice about.

But maybe I am being to critical?

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

And 6 runs is not enough.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

B2O2. Dude. Don't you think it's a bit of a stretch to say race is the only difference between Dukes and Zimmerman? Puh-lease.

Don't make that leap. People on this blog are equal opportunity gripers.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 1, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

@bigmook: Well a sac fly is one thing. But getting high fives for that little dribbler? Maybe they are just trying to encourage Gonzalez... wouldn't want him to feel bad, y'know.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@NN: yeah, we've never gotten on Austin Kearns' case, and our big hero isn't Nyjer Morgan.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady: Now if you hit 3 homers in one night, that rates some high fives, and maybe someone on your team should be buying you drinks after the game.

But, I agree, a little dribbler - give me a break. That seems to be pervasive in our society today - "Giving awards for tilting at windmills". We don't want Gonzo to feel bad.

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Watching Cubs/Marlins game now. Strange to see Nick in a Marlins uniform. Same facial hair, though.

Their announcer noted that McCutchen almost homered for the cycle, his homers drove in 1, 2, and 3 runs.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Nats_Lady and NatsNut. We have good and bad white players, good and bad Latin players and good and bad African-American players. We just don't have enough good of all kinds. At this point, I'd take a good Dutchman if he could play a bit.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Now we know first hand why the Pirates could spare Nyjer, could trade him - Andrew McCutchen.

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

TRYING to stay positive....all the Nats need to do is win the last two games of this series for a 4 and 4 roadie. Bookend the 4 losses with 2 wins on each side. Now, everybody take a big sip of kool aid and say...YES WE CAN. It worked for the turkey on Pa. Ave.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 1, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

And it is working now for our current Congress, sure a National Health Care plan will save us all money. Where is the Knob Creek bottle when I need it.

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson is 1 for 2 with a double/rbi and 2 walks thus far tonight.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 1, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

@BigMook: There's not enough Knob Creek in this area code to make this loss look decent. I'm not even wasting my bourbon on Maalox on this stinkerooski.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah. Marlins have come back from 6-0 to make it 6-5. Guess I'll root for them except when they are here.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Luis Ayala just worked himself out of a jam. Ex-nats doing ok.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

jdschulz50: I can't argue with you there. I'll save the good stuff for another day.

So, what is going on with the last 2 outing wrt to the starting pitching? Lannan looked "off" last night. I have my concerns that maybe these "youngsters" are getting arm fatigued.

Any thoughts on this?

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Nick just got hit by a pitched ball, and that did not look fun. Bonifacio up now.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Johnson just hbp to reach base for 4th time tonight. Cubs lead Marlins 6 to 5 with 0 out and 2 Marlins on in bottom of 8th.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 1, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Lannan and Stammen off-nights? Coincidence, I would say. Two nights doth not a trend make--I sincerely hope!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, I just brought up the mlb.com and guess what is pictured smack dab in the middile of the screen. McCutchen hugging Milledge - with caption "McCutchen homers thrice for Pirates".

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

The Marlins looked just like the Nats in that inning. Bases loaded--nothing.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

@cruz

Don't feel bad. The talent the Bucs traded was not very good. And the current front office has been (overall) pretty savvy at talent evaluation - so while I expect the rest of the season to have some rough stops - teachable moments? -as a Bucs fan I'm very very optimistic for the future. The pre-trade Bucs are not worse than the old Bucs.

Blow it up, Nats. Build around Zimmerman and your good young arms and trade *everything* else.

Posted by: MannySanguine | August 1, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Nats Extra just showed a nice highlight of Nick hitting a one-hopper off the LF wall for the Marlins -- with guys in scoring position.

I know we had to deal Nick (in the last year of his contract), but I have always like the guys. While he has been a bit injury prown, when he is healthy - he plays the game the way it is meant to be played.

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Nick the Stick is thrown out trying to stretch double to triple, after his walk, he is then thrown out again trying to steal a base and now he get's hit by a pitch (doesn't bode well, as Hanley got hit earlier in game and has been replaced at SS by Boni!). Wishing well for Nick but Nat's fans can all relax a bit now not having to worry whenever Nick gets hit by a ball or slides into a base, that he's back to IR.

Posted by: gusgrace | August 1, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

@ Big Mook. That worries me, too. Lannan and Stammen have been out best the last month. Lannan's velocity was off last night and Stammen just didn't have it tonight. We need JZimm back in the rotation or else its the Mock-Bally Star-AAAA horror show.

I think Manny Sanguine from the 'burg has hit the solution: Keep all guys named Zimm and the young arms and blow up the rest.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@bigmock

Actually McCutchen is the reason the Bucs could trade McLouth. Nyjer's good play was a real pleasant surprise and they tried to capitalize on it by selling him high. Glad he's doing well in DC - you can't help but root for the guy.


Posted by: MannySanguine | August 1, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. If I am Willingham and Dunn I guess I quick try to change my name to Zimmerman(n).

What is the latest injury (or healing) report on JZimm? How is he doing?

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Now ESPN Baseball Tonight is leading with McCutchen. I guess that is one way for the Nats to get lead billing on ESPN BT.

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

8-5 Cubs. How come the Marlins don't play like that against US???

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Because the Nats aren't the Cubs.

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm sure ESPN led with Willinghammers 2 slammers, but that doesn't make us or the Pirates anything but cellar-dwellers.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you guys can clue me in on something - every Nats fan I've ever talked to hates Milledge. HATES him. What's the deal there?

He seems like a guy who was handed too much success too soon and didn't deal with it very well.

Posted by: MannySanguine | August 1, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh "no names and castaways" making the Nats look silly. Can it be that the Nats are just plain bad or is it ...., oh well I guess I answered my own question.

Boy I'm so tired, its just been that kind of year in NatsTown.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 1, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady: Hard to argue with you there.

I hear a bowl of ice cream calling me.

Good night all.

Posted by: bigmook | August 1, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

When Nats fans get a hate-on, it stays. Cf., Felipe Lopez or Bonifacio. I think it was just that hopes were so high, and there were so many like that in the Jim Bowden era.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

in the tradition of ayala, tavarez and gas canrahan - kensing is the new arsonist in residence.

Posted by: surly_w | August 1, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@MannySanguine:

Where do we start with Thrilledge?

1. Attitude. Plays like the game owes him a living.
2. Defense. Watch his routes to the ball. He looks like Heinz Ward running a flag pattern.
3. Baserunning. Will get thrown out at third at least once every two weeks.
4. Bad eye at the plate. That's compounded by his lack of plate discipline.
5. Can't tell time. He was late for our opening team meeting and dumb ex-manager Acta didn't even fine him.
6. Bottom line: tremendously overrated. Doesn't have the power to be a corner OF. Can't play center field. Of course, with McCutchen you guys really don't have to worry about that.
7. Basically he's just a big overrated jerk that we stupidly traded two starters to the Mets, who were happy to unload this jaker.

Anything else I missed? Oh, yes, wears stupid baseball numbers like ocho-cinco.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Make that Hines Ward. Got Pittsburgh on my mind.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Nick got another hit.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

@Nats_Lady

Got it. Bucs fans were like that with Ian Snell - once the tide turned against him there was no going back.

Heres to the day the Bucs and Nats battle it out for the NL Championship....it could happen...someday.

Posted by: MannySanguine | August 1, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Watching our alumni association rally the Marlins. Nick just singled with two out in the ninth. Two on, Bonifacio up. He just doubled in two runs to tie the game at 8-8. As charlie would say: "Unbelievable."

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Marlins just tied it up on a hit by Bonifacio.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

It was a triple.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Arsonist in residence. Yes, I like it. The name gives our bullpen futility a sort of distinguished mediocrity. Perhaps other arsonists from around the country will come learn from our elite. Poems and books will be written about these eminent pitchers who were able to stand out among the bad.

And we were there. We experienced it. We can tell our grandchildren.

Posted by: paulkp | August 1, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, there are a lotta Cubs fans in Florida, too, so I guess it's not just here. Ooops, after a solo homer--Nick and Uggla just combined to miss a foul ball. Seen THAT before.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

This cracks me up because on the bucs post-gazette board people post game by game stats for players the pirates traded also - they are still very bitter about those trades (Bay, Nady, McLouth, Nyjer) - it's especially funny because last year (and this year) they called Nyjer a bum and not a legit major leaguer but once they traded him all the love and bitterness suddenly came out.

I guess it just sucks being at the bottom of the standings. You had to trade NIck anyway - he was not going to sign on again with you anyway was he? Get what you can for those guys before their contracts are up and grow your own talent, I say.

Posted by: MannySanguine | August 1, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

> 5. Can't tell time. He was late for our opening team meeting and dumb ex-manager Acta didn't even fine him.

Actually Acta did fine Milledge then. He just didn't sit him down for the game the next day, which is what set all the Acta and Milledge haters off here.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 1, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected, nonof1. You are right. I forgot. I still want to forget.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

@MannySanguine: I don't think Nats fans are bitter about the Nick Johnson or Joe Beimel trades. Everyone wishes Nick the best and Joe wasn't here long enough to develop a following. Of course we wish we could have gotten some in field help, but the consensus seems to be that wasn't possible for the price and we'll see how these pitchers turn out.

Re: the Pirates trade, we were on Hanrahan's case pretty bad when he was losing here, but I think most people wish him well in Pittsburgh.

But I think if Dunn or Willingham had been traded, you would have seen plenty of bitterness--those are fan-favorites. If by some seduction of Satan, Rizzo traded away Nyjer at this point, the city would rise up. Seriously.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

@B202:
It was for the best for Dukes to be able to play everyday at AAA. If he had been Babe Ruth with the Nats, it's doubtful many more games would have been won. He got to play every day at Syracuse and not rot on the bench here, once Willingham got hot.

Now, as expected, he's back, with a full shot at doing what everybody hopes he can do.

And if he could play 3B like Zim. I'd buy your comparison.

Posted by: nats24 | August 2, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

In answer to MS that dumb ex manager Acta will be back to bite us sooner than later. The Nats are pathetic and will remain so for some time .Riggleman has no chance with these morons and just think where would they be after the break and Actas demise without Morgan .Acta never had Morgan ,and now we have Dunn at 1st base that's a bit scarey.

Posted by: kjmoon | August 2, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

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