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Ian Desmond, on His Toes

Since his call-up to the big leagues one week ago, Ian Desmond has walked around the clubhouse wearing a pair of these. He has, of course, taken constant joking from the older players. When you wear these things, you somehow adopt the lower body likeness of a frog.

"What are those things?" injured pitcher Scott Olsen asked Desmond this weekend.

He tried to explain, first, their technical purpose. With the popularity of au naturel running books like this one, barefooted running/exercise -- or a close approximation of it -- has become, if not a phenomenon, then at least a niche large enough for mainstream attention. Even Nike has its own "free running" creation.

You can tell a lot about a rookie by how he manages a good ribbing.

Desmond was unflappable. He told Olsen, first, that the shoes help him strengthen the muscles around his feet. (As the NYT piece puts it, rather pricelessly, "[N]aked feet are perfectly capable of running long distances, and ... encasing them in the fortress of modern footwear weakens foot muscles and ligaments and blocks vital sensory input about terrain.")

Mmm hmm, Olsen said suspiciously.

"Just watch," Desmond grinned. "I'm gonna keep wearing them. They're gonna be the new Air Force Ones."

"Do you ever wear them out in public?" Olsen asked.

Desmond has. Once, at least. To a sushi restaurant in Syracuse.

Now that's bold.

Desmond started wearing them earlier this summer, at the suggestion of minor league teammate Andrew Kown. Now Desmond is in the big leagues, and he has a .617 average. If he gets a single in his next AB, his slugging percentage (1.077) will actually drop. If Vibram Five Fingers needs a pitchman ... well, they might have a candidate. Perhaps they can model some five-fingered baseball cleats, too.

Other links.

The New York Times baseball blog gives a little attention to Adam Dunn.

SI's Jon Heyman looks at the potential managerial changes this offseason, and of course Jim Riggleman is mentioned.

The Philly Inquirer has a rundown of the team's bullpen issues.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 15, 2009; 8:42 AM ET
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Next: Roster For Florida Instructional League


I was already laughing at the way Desmond wears his baseball cap! Put it on straight, dude. You're not in a rap video.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 15, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

He can wear whatever he wants, however he wants to wear it as long as he keeps hitting and playing the way he has.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | September 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Manny Acta wasn't on Heyman's list of candidates. I'm really curious about what's in store for him.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 15, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

A company called FiveFingers making footwear? They do look rather interesting, and I suppose they'll become all the rage very soon.

Posted by: cokedispatch | September 15, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh please, can someone get The Hoss to put on a pair of these and post a pic? Please?

Posted by: NatsFly | September 15, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Manny Acta wasn't on Heyman's list of candidates. I'm really curious about what's in store for him."

Third base coach, first base coach, maybe bench coach somewhere on the staff of someone else who's yet to be hired. Or maybe the Nats will hire him to direct their Dominican operation. I believe he's familiar with how things work down there, isn't he? But a major league manager again any time soon, doubtful. He had his shot, and he didn't do very well at all.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | September 15, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

cleats aren't comfortable at all. maybe he should try those bad boys on out in the field!

Posted by: longterm | September 15, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Cricks, Thursday night. Set your TiVo!

Posted by: Section506 | September 15, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

506, already done sir. They had like a 6 episode mini marathon on the other night. So happy I have FX in HD now.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | September 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I've been too busy working of late to post here, but I presumed the push would be on for Desmond to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I mean, why wait, the dude's hitting .600, for Pete's sake?

Sad to say, I think once word of these shoes gets around, the guy's done for. I mean, would Ty Cobb wear those things?

Just when I had hope for the Nats' future, this happens.

Although, come to think of it, shouldn't Guzman get a pair? How do they work on bunions?

Posted by: baltova1 | September 15, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think these shoes come with side-cars, which is what Guzie would need.

Although, come to think of it, shouldn't Guzman get a pair? How do they work on bunions?

Posted by: baltova1 | September 15, 2009 12:17 PM

Posted by: TimDz | September 15, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

You took the thoughts right out of my head baltova1. I have tailor's bunions, bunionettes. I need those shoes. Chico, very, very useful and cool post.

Okay, can old guys become ultrarunners?

Oh, I am pretty sure Ty Cobb would wear those things. Definitely, he would pretty much do anything to get an edge. If this provide him with a huge edge he would be there both feet forward.

Posted by: periculum | September 15, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

2010 schedule is out:

4/5 We open with 3 against the Phils
4/16-25: 10 Game Homestand I
No Fish until 4/30, then we get them 6 of the next 9 games.
5/21-23: Orioles at home
@ Baltimore May 25-27 (Weekend series!)
May 1-11: 10 Game Homestand II
June 18-23: WSox and Royals @ home
July 1-11: 10 Game Homestand III
Sept 20-29: 10 Game Homestand IV
Oct 1-2-3: close on the road in NY

Posted by: dand187 | September 15, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - @ Baltimore June 25-27

Posted by: dand187 | September 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Cubs in town Aug 23 - 25, we play the AL Central next year in interleague.

Posted by: Section506 | September 15, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

MLB has released the 2010 master schedule. You can see who the Nats are playing when next year by going to Or you can check out any other team's schedule (but why would you?) by using the "jump to team" menu box on the right side of the calendar page.

The Nationals will open the season April 5 at home vs. the Phillies, be on the road for Memorial Day and the start of Labor Day weekends and play the Mets on the Fourth of July. Interleague matchups (in addition to the "natural rival" games with the Orioles) are Cleveland and Detroit there, White Sox and Royals here. The last homestand of 2010 will be a long one, from Sept. 20 through 29 before ending the season on the road in New York Oct. 3.

Posted by: greggwiggins | September 15, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico! How about going thru the schedule Month by Month and putting it in a printable format?!

Yes, I'm too lazy to do it myself! ;<)

Posted by: CALSGR8 | September 15, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Went to the foot site. Maybe if someone can figure out how to put cleats on them (claw like?) it would provide...

Checked the list of Managerial possibilities listed. Would not surprise if both LaRussa (if he wins it all) and Pinella give it up, although for obviously different reasons (Lou just looks beat.)

Frankly, none of the "available" prospects is really any more intriguing than Riggles. What really surprises me is the Mets. Minaya has been awful and both of his choices have stunk up the joint. If the Bombers get to the W/S (win or lose) and come out of the chute big time, next year, don't be surprised if both are canned by Memorial Day.

BTW, I'm inclined to go the Gibson route.

Posted by: Catcher50 | September 15, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Gibson == Frank Robby (was a better hitter).

Need a guy who knows pitching and pitchers who knows a really good batting/hitting coach and pitching coach.

Posted by: periculum | September 15, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Ex catchers: Duncan and Sandberg?

Posted by: periculum | September 15, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Ex catchers usually make good managers - they understand how to pitch as well as the grind of playing everyday (where as pitchers often don't work out as managers for whatever reason).

I'm really looking forward to this offseason with Rizzo at the helm. He's got plenty on his plater, but he's earned my confidence with his in-season moves. Bowden tried for years to deal Johnson and Belliard, but it was Rizzo that got that job done.

After looking at the free agent market, it seems that of the available shortstops, none are particular good defensively. Scutaro is the best of the bunch (I don't consider Wilson much of an upgrade of Guzzy), but for the money he would cost, how much better in the field would he be over Desmond (who needs a nickname!)? If we can get a big bat like Nady for RF, I'd rather go with the rookie and bat him 8th.

Posted by: sec307 | September 15, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

If we can get a big bat like Nady for RF, I'd rather go with the rookie and bat him 8th.

Okay ...

Posted by: periculum | September 15, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The NY Times piece on Dunn was in the DTE Sunday was a photo, by the way.

Posted by: nats24 | September 15, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss a snark adjustment?
They mentioned Ryne Sandberg (not a catcher, of course).
Ex catchers: Duncan and Sandberg?
Posted by: periculum | September 15, 2009 3:01 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 15, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@ periculum: Most ultrarunners are old guys, actually. The biggest age groups are typically 40-49 and 50-59.

I wear VFFs--and, yes, in public. Love em. Now I love Desmond even more.

Posted by: rallycap | September 15, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

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