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A great shot, perhaps powered by a hot dog

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Saturday afternoon, on the par-3 fourth hole at Duran Golf Club -- just a mile down the road from Space Coast Stadium -- Nationals relief pitcher Tyler Clippard extracted a pitching wedge from his bag and took aim at a hole 149 yards away. The green sloped back to front, the pin nestled in the front right of the green. Right away, Clippard liked the feel of his shot. It looked dead-on line.

"I didn't know if I was gonna be too far, short, whatever," Clippard said. "But it hit right behind the hole and just spun right back in."

Clippard, who retold the story on Sunday (for a crowd that included not just reporters, but teammates), described the ensuing scene as mayhem. He launched his club into the air and went sprinting down the fairway.

"I didn't care," Clippard said. "I'd been waiting 15 years to get a hole-in-one."

Clippard was in a foursome that included two friends and fellow pitcher John Lannan. When Clippard extracted the ball from the hole, Lannan took a photo to commemorate the moment. Clippard ended up shooting a 79.

Sunday, as Clippard talked about the shot, Collin Balester interrupted with a seemingly non-sequitor question.

"Did you have any hot dogs [before the shot]?" he asked.

"Do I really have to tell this story?" Clippard responded.

Yes.

"Okay, so on the third hole -- I hadn't eaten any lunch -- so the cart girl comes up and I order two hot dogs," Clippard said. "Eat the hot dog. Next shot, make a hole in one. So I'm going crazy, next hole I'm not even thinking about food. So the hole after that I eat the other hot dog. On my approach shot I hit it in the bunker, it plugged right in the bunker, and I chipped that in. Those lucky hot dogs. We were joking about that for the whole round."

By Chico Harlan  |  February 21, 2010; 11:14 AM ET
 
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Next: Strasburg's bullpen session

Comments

He still has a lot to learn about golf, cart girls, and hot dogs. I suggest he consult Tiger Woods and Russ Grimm.

Posted by: wahoo2x | February 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chico,

Here's one for you: ( This was posted here earlier. Lots of stuff.)

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/columns/column.php?id=38

"No, what makes Masumi Kuwata extra-ordinary, or at least unusual, is something else. As Clayton Trapp has pointed out, “Masumi's apparently an adherent to Perfect Liberty Kyodan, a/k/a, the Japanese Golf Religion” or PL or PLK."

Probably need to learn about this in case you end up covering baseball in Japan!

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm - Eat Hot dog = Ace a 150yd par-3 with a wedge; Eat 2nd Hot dog = holes out from a "plugged" bunker shot. OK, what was in (or on) those hot dogs? Mr. Clippard, we'll need a urine sample from you...

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Not directly related to hot dogs, golf, or holes-in-one, but since we were still discussing Guzman and ss options:

******
MLBTR
Cardinals Unlikely To Sign Shortstop
By Luke Adams [February 21 at 10:35am CST]

The "window is closed" on the idea of the St. Louis Cardinals signing a free-agent shortstop, according to GM John Mozeliak. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that if the team needs to add a fallback option for the rehabbing Brendan Ryan, they'll explore the trade market rather than signing a free agent.

Given the lack of shortstops left available on the free agent market, we can assume that the GM's comments refer primarily to the team's interest in Felipe Lopez. Last we heard, the Cardinals were one of a handful of teams interested in the infielder, but Mozeliak's comments suggest that the club isn't likely to bring Lopez back to St. Louis. In 43 games for the Cardinals in 2008, Lopez hit a scorching .385/.426/.538.

Mozeliak added that the club should know more about Ryan's health by "the first or second week of March when he truly tests some things." We know that the Cards have a little money to spare, but it sounds like they might wait for more details on Ryan's recovery before deciding how to spend it.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

So, come April, StL may need a decent shortstop, but only for a year, and they can afford a high-7-figure contract. And despite his "scorching" hitting, they still don't like Lopez, for some reason (probably the same reason as everybody else who isn't signing him despite need).
This could work out for everybody.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

What trade for Mitchell Boggs?

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@Sec3(sofa): Guzman is a 10-5 vested player; he can refuse any trade. IF he's getting outplayed by Desmond in Viera, then he (through his agent), might accept a trade to a team like StL, but the Nationals would probably have to swallow a big chunk of salary (60-80%), and it would need to happen before the start of the season.

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Sec3, don't get my hopes up. Everybody would love to see shortstop opened up here. Of course, I wonder if it would make sense to consider trading Ian Desmond if anybody asks. I am not sure that Desmond really is the answer for the future, and Espinosa looms behind him.

I still think that we are the ones who should trade for a shortstop, but I would settle for getting Guzman elsewhere, even if the Nats pick up most of the tab (why should I care about that?).

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | February 21, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

BinM--all true. IF he thinks he's not coming back here in 2011 regardless, he might well like a shot at winning this year, esp. on a well-regarded team like the Cards. If they decide getting something for him is better than getting nothing, they may well be willing to eat salary, depending on who they do get.

As for that, it seems unlikely the Cardinals would part with a top prospect (partly because they don't have much http://tinyurl.com/yz46emk ), but you never know, gotta ask, and some depth might be worth it.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Halfstreet, the only reason I can think you (or I) would care is that it affects the return. If the Nats aren't paying much or any of his contract, they can't expect much back; if they are still paying him, I'd think they'd insist on a better return.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

and like you and all, I'd just as soon like to find out what Desmond can do, and maybe Espinoza (or hell, Smiley, even--they paid enough for him. Ok, maybe not.) while we're at it. They aren't going anywhere this year, and Guzman isn't here next year, so let's do this.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

anyhow, I wish him well, and in baseball terms, a trade to the Cardinals from DC fills that bill.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Guzman is a switch hitter ... have to suspect that more than anything else might be why he will be given every chance to prove he can still play shortstop?

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

As for Boggs, the Cardinals are apparently considering him as a backup closer (http://tinyurl.com/yjlm3jx), but at any rate, he's a bullpen arm there. Could he start here? I dunno.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if this is an okay time to point out that "eating salary" is another term for "paying what you were already going to have to pay anyway, if you hadn't made this deal." (And yeah, you pay the new guy too, but y'all know what I mean.)

People get hung up on paying a guy to play for someone else, but sunk cost is, to me, a much more appropriate concept for such situations.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 21, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I think it must be his job to lose, as long as he's here, and they think Desmond needs the innings so they send him north. As long as he's here. If Guzzie shows the bunions are gone in ST, and he can still hit, I think somebody like St. Louis or San Diego might be interested at the right price.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

There were earlier reports of a brief on-field discussion between Guzman's agent (Stan King) and Mike Rizzo; Maybe a lead-in to acceptable trade partners, or just a 'thanks' for signing a 2B; Who knows?

I'd think that the Cardinals will look at Lugo as their short-term replacement option for Ryan, and what they really want is a #5SP.

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Not all sunk costs are sunk equally deep; some are recoverable if you play it right, or maybe get lucky and find a Greater Fool, or just someone who needs an aging-but-still-useful shortstop for one year a lot more than you do (the Veeck Valuation).

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

and did we note Joel Hanrahan is back on the DL?
http://tinyurl.com/ydszsef

Hanrahan to start season on DL

Bradenton, FL (Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Thursday that right-hander Joel Hanrahan will start the season on the disabled list because of an elbow injury.

"The reality is that Joel probably won't be ready for Opening Day," general manager Neal Huntington said on the team's website. "Is it May 1? Is it June 1? We'll know more as we get more doctor information."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It seems like Bruney has just about made himself into "trade bait." The Nats keep sayiing there are no hard feelings on either side yet ... we keep seeing 2 very unhappy pitchers ... Bruney more so. And I would guess that he has more value to a team like the cards who like strong bullpens. Factor in filling a need with Guzman ...

It does make you wonder ...

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@Sec3(sofa): Bunions don't just "go away" - They're either surgically removed, or eased through a combination of orthotics & better fitting shoes/cleats. That's why I felt back in November that Guzman would go to the DL (foot surgery).
He didn't get the foot surgery, so he may still have issues with range in 2010; Only time in Vierra will tell at this point.

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Watch, TJ for Joel Hanarahan ... with the luck Nats pitchers seem to have ...

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

has Bruney said something else? I didn't hear.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

That's basically what I was trying to say, but you're right, the fact that he didn't get the surgery makes a difference, most likely.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@peric: Bruney & Bruntlett got exposed to the "Business side" of life (& baseball) this week. It clearly left a sour taste with each of them, but plenty of other players have taken the same & moved forward. I wouldn't be overly concerned with their 2010 performances with the Nationals being effected adversely by the decisions.

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Correction - Burnett, not Bruntlett.

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@sec3mysofa,

Late last night and this morning ... I was reading the spring training notes ... I saw some additional comments by Bruney that didn't make the earlier postings on Federal Baseball I think?

I believe that BinM is right about Brunett getting past this ... but I am not so sure about Bruney and if Mike Rizzo reads his comments ... attitude is so important ... especially on a team that just had 2 100 loss seasons! He mentioned that and basically said he didn't care if they put him at closer or setup he would do whatever they told him to do. I think in the case of Bruney ... he doesn't sound right? But I guess Mark, Chico, Shenin and Boz would have a better feel for that than I.

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Watch, TJ for Joel Hanarahan ... with the luck Nats pitchers seem to have ...
Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:26 PM
----------------------
That would be EX-Nats pitchers, as if we care (mmMMM-BBBB-WWWWWwww-hahahahahahahahah).

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@periculum -- "but I am not so sure about Bruney
Rizzo does indeed seem to care more about attitude than his predecessor, and it does matter. OTOH, Soriano was absolutely, positively not going to play outfield, too. Some guys eventually do get their minds right. Maybe Bruney will be one of them.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The print edition contained a very interesting set of quotes in the two stories on arbitration and the MLB players' top exec. First, we learn that in the last 4 years the Nats, with their hideously low payroll, have accounted for nearly ONE FOURTH of ALL MLB arbitration cases, as was the case this year:

"But because the arbitration process also leaves scar tissue -- 'a hatefest,' said Jason Bergmann, an arbitration-eligible pitcher who agreed to a contract in January, thus avoiding a hearing -- very few teams and players end up in battle. Since 2006, 32 cases league-wide have gone to a hearing. Washington has been involved in seven of those cases, winning five. This year, the Nationals had two of the eight cases."

juxtaposed with:

"An occasional confrontation was inevitable, he said, but he watched closely as his father settled disputes through persuasion and negotiation -- and by 'understanding there are times when, in the interests of the long-term relationship, you don't need to exert the maximum leverage you have every time.'"

Are you listening, Uncle Teddy? Have you noticed that you are WAY outside the norm, here? Yes, we understand that you generally win these cases, but do you have any concept of the need to maintain long-term relationships with your players??? cheap, cheap, cheap.

Posted by: NatsFly | February 21, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Correction: Burnett.

At this point if they can trade a guy like Guzman and say a Bruney and get a close to top rung starter (plus some other guys) Rizzo I guess would have to pull that trigger?

And that might get them past .500 with some luck? Storen would have to have a spectacular spring?

You have to think that somewhere out there there is a team trying to shed some salary that might be interested in dealing a
top rung starter. Still, the Nats have such a dearth of prospects, so many 'former' top prospect #1 picks in their farm system ...
theirs plus other teams ... you have to wonder who would deal with them?

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Which reminds me, isn't Bill Bray due back from TJ surgery sometime this year?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

Joel came up in the Nats system. My inference: the Nats farm system (Detwiler) may put a lot more pressure on their better prospects to perform ... and so out of fear they tend to ignore
potential health risks?

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Backing up just a sec ...

"Not all sunk costs are sunk equally deep;"

I'm not here just to quibble with you, Sec3 -- that's a side benefit -- but you're going about it all wrong, son. Fact of the matter is, a sunk cost is indeed fully sunk. The fact that you can re-sell the asset (or, in this case, trade the player) doesn't change the fact that the money used to procure it (or sigh him) has already been spent.

"Sunk cost" doesn't carry any pejorative connotation, you know. It doesn't mean "wasted money." It really just means that past decisions are in the past. You know?

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 21, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"At this point if they can trade a guy like Guzman and say a Bruney and get a close to top rung starter (plus some other guys) Rizzo I guess would have to pull that trigger?"
I would.

"And that might get them past .500 with some luck? Storen would have to have a spectacular spring?"
A lot of luck, and more than just spring, or just Storen. More luck than there are dimes in Texas. http://tinyurl.com/5kumjl

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

An interesting piece regarding expectations vs reality for #5SP at the Hardball Times... http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/pleading-the-fifth-nl-style/

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Point taken.
See the things you learn here?
www.answers.com/topic/sunk-cost

This is actually why my bike is in the shop getting fixed, and I'm not riding some Vespa knock-off right now.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"At this point if they can trade a guy like Guzman and say a Bruney and get a close to top rung starter (plus some other guys)"

I wonder if that works better than saying a Hail Mary?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

And while we're kissing and/or making up, Sec3, you pretty much have my proxy for all the baseball stuff above. Well done, mi amigo.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 21, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

but my point, notwithstanding my careless misuse of an accounting term of art, is that Guzman's salary isn't paid yet, and there are circumstances whereby some part of it may not be.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

although this was interesting, and possibly on point: www.answers.com/topic/sunk-cost-dilemma

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, well I guess it would take much more than Guzman, Bruney (plus some other guys). Marerro? Yeah, its a pipe dream, or a miracle happens.

Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

At this point if they can trade a guy like Guzman and say a Bruney and get a close to top rung starter (plus some other guys) Rizzo I guess would have to pull that trigger?
Posted by: periculum | February 21, 2010 1:47 PM
--------------------
OK, as of 02/22/10, who's looking for a SS? Maybe OAK, StL, or SD. None of them will be willing to absorb salary, and StL is the only contender of the three. Guzman might bring one, or possibly two low-minors prospects (an OF & a P, perhaps) in a trade; Throwing Bruney into the offer yields nothing extra of note, imo.

Posted by: BinM | February 21, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Pre-First in the New Post!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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