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Who Ian Desmond reminds Davey Johnson of

Ian Desmond, the rookie, and Davey Johnson, the lifer, first met this spring in Florida, before Desmond had become what he is now, when he thought maybe he'd play outfield some days. Desmond wanted to know about playing different positions, how a player makes that work. Johnson, a senior adviser for the Nationals, told Desmond all he needed to know.

"I've seen you play," Johnson replied. "You're a shortstop. Don't think that you're a utility player."

Johnson, like he usually is when he has an opinion about baseball, has been proved right. In the Nationals' 7-6 loss to Atlanta last night, Desmond continued to establish himself as an everyday major leaguer. He scored the first run in the eighth-inning, game-tying rally. He made an electric, barehanded play at shortstop.

The Nationals scored their first run when Desmond led off the second inning with a home run, a rocket into the Braves' bullpen on a 1-0, 94-mph fastball from Tommy Hanson. Desmond has faced Hanson a bunch over his career, in the minor leagues and in the Arizona Fall League. "He usually gets me with his heat," Desmond said. "This time, I got him."

Desmond had just one home run before Tuesday night, but now he's hit two in two games and the potential for more is there. Johnson swung by Nationals Park for the first time this season. Johnson watched Desmond take batting practice Wednesday, and Desmond's power reminded Johnson of a shortstop he once managed.

Said Johnson: "He's actually got the pop that Ripken had."

FROM THE POST

Tracee Hamilton wrote a stunningly beautiful tribute to Ernie Harwell. If you ready anything today, make it this.

The Nationals lost to the Braves 7-6 in 10 innings, and for the first time as a National, Matt Capps has to carry the burden of losing a game.

Boy, the Orioles really stink, Sheinin writes.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse was off. It plays Gwinnett today.

Bowie 7, Harrisburg 1: Aaron Thompson allowed 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings, which led to seven runs. Jesus Valdez -- the only Jesus left in Harrisburg -- went 2 for 4.

Potomac 8, Myrtle Beach 0: Marcos Frias allowed one hit and three runs in six scoreless innings. Stephen Lombardozzi went 3 for 5 with two doubles. Tyler Moore and Tim Pahuta each went 2 for 4 with a home run.

Rome 7, Hagerstown 1: Daniel Rosenbaum suffered the Minor League Report jinx, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks. His ERA rose to 2.45. Destin Hood went 1 for 4 with a double.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

From FanGraphs, a cool and quick way to view all the ups and downs from last night.

This loss will linger a little longer, Nats Insider says.

Byron Kerr has more on what, if anything, Bryce Harper's college coach is going to be doing for the Nationals.

Davey Johnson is on board with starting Stephen Strasburg in the minors, Nationals.com says.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 6, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Ian Desmond  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Game 27 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves
Next: Nationals minor matters

Comments

How do you allow 1 hit and 3 runs in six scoreless innings?

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 6, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Tried to sneak some funk past you, but you nailed it, CD.

Posted by: Juliasdad | May 6, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

1 hit, 3 walks, 6 scoreless innings -- it's in the box score.

Posted by: tailwagger | May 6, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

He reminds me more of a young Jeter - especially by his notable presence when he is on the field. Let's hope he develops along similar lines to either one.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 6, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang....a few threads back, saw some comments on the lack of attendance at the game. Also saw a small piece on one of the Big Boys (ESPN, Fox, S.I.) about how attendance would pick up as things improved. But as the other posters here pointed out, this is a reaction to a totally botched approach by the Slow Lerners and Stank. If there's one thing about our club that still sticks in my craw, it's their missing such a golden opportunity. I mean, 34,000 that 1st year in RFK? And then to provide such an absolute ......fill in the blank! as a product. Now.....it pained me last night to see so few fans at the park with me - on an absolutely flawless night for baseball. But I understand.And while I think that eventually we'll end up as one of the better markets-perhaps even one of the top-MAN, did the brass blow it. A shame that from The Wiz on down, this team deserves plenty of support (IMHO). It's exciting being a Nats fan! Too bad the stench from all the past missteps continues to take away from them.....
And oh yea, back to THIS post! Man Zimm and Ian ....be still, my heart!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | May 6, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Zendo,, I was one of the posters who commented on the lackluster attendance this year.

I haven't gone to a game yet due to medical isue, but when I hear the public address announcer screaming the names of players coming to bat, or the crazy, over-amped theme music that follows, I wonder whether I can stand MLB as presented at Nationals Park.

If the game experience is targeted at the 18-30 market, then I'm afraid I don't qualify.

Posted by: JohnRDC | May 6, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, go read Tracee's column on Harwell.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 6, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang.....yea John, the extra noise can be a bit taxing. Seems to be less this year, though. And a big yes to Mpls, too..and Tracees' column.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | May 6, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I was born and raised in DC the Senators were my team, i think Stank&the Lerners are missing the oppourtunity that lies right under their nose; the innercity, what about a caravan throughout the city to promote the beauty of the game take Willie and JMax,Zimm,Livan, give away some tickets,you got to start em young, get with the mayor and the new school chancellor(Ms.Rhee)tie in good grades with a free ticket promotion.I live here in Atl. now and it breaks my heart to see the stadium so empty on such a perfect night for the game and this team is playing great baseball so far, think about it if someone had told you in March that this team would be a game over.500 in May you and me would have jumped for joy so let's show some support GO NATS!!!!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 6, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

You know,

Morgan
Desmond
Zimm
Dunn
Willingham
Rodriguez

Is a pretty good line up. It is still, however, traditional to have a right fielder.

Posted by: markfromark | May 6, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Seriously, go read Tracee's column on Harwell."

And, when you're done with that, go listen to Vin Scully work in his tribute to Harwell while seamlessly calling the game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We8i8Qc5vBg

Posted by: joebleux | May 6, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Two factors to include in attendance calculations when comparing to 2005:

1) The game can be seen on TV in 2010

2) We're in a pretty severe economic downturn in 2010

I'm not sure how big a role both play, but it's not none.

Posted by: Section506 | May 6, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If you look at attendance figures all around the Major Leagues, you will notice that the days when many teams sold out (or nearly so) their ballparks are gone, with but a few exceptions.

I think it's going to take a while for teams, both in their marketing and overall economics, to adjust to the game's reversion to its traditional business model, which was not primarily based on season tickets.

Those teams with especially poor attendance, like the Nationals, where the customer base was eroded over the past five years by poor play and even poorer management, will have an especially hard time.

TV cuts both ways for teams: TV appearance sustains interest in the product and revenues from TV rights are critically important. In fact, they are largely what separate the big money teams from the small market teams, much more so than differences in attendance.

But by the same token, the old assumption that it's always more fun at the park than on TV has been eroded by hi-definition, long games, high ticket prices, online video streaming, the ability to watch multiple games at once, etc.

So the challenge is for MLB as a whole, and it is even greater for owners like the Lerners who have so badly squandered the customer base and goodwill they enjoyed only a few years ago.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 6, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

There's no one better than Scully.

And he's so humble. He routinely tells stories while calling the game, and one endeavor never interferes with the other; rather, each seems richer. And yet he openly wonders if he'll be able to honor Harwell without interfering with the game call:

“I have a problem, and I hope you understand and bear with me….I really want to salute [Harwell], and at the same time, I don’t want to get in the way of the ball game, so see if we can possibly do both.”

-----

And, when you're done with that, go listen to Vin Scully work in his tribute to Harwell while seamlessly calling the game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We8i8Qc5vBg

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 6, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

In a related vein to the attendance discussion, I want to share an experience I had Friday evening. I decided to watch the game at MoMo, a sports bar on U St NW just east of 14th.

The Stanley Cup playoff game 1 between Montreal and Pittsburgh was on, two guys were watching it. The bartender put the Nats game on (I had to request it) on another screen.

As the bar filled up between 7 and 10 when the Nats game ended, I was the only one watching baseball. Everyone else was watching hockey or the NBA playoffs. What's especially interesting about that is that there was no Washington team in ANY of those other games.

People were rooting for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and teams from several other cities. It is clear that, had I not been there, the baseball game would not even been on one of the screens. In a sports bar, in DC. With no other DC team playing. And I have a hunch this isn't unusual.

Granted, the 20-somethings (I am older, alas) who dominate the U St scene may be more likely to be from elsewhere and retain out-of-town loyalties than others in the Washington area. But it still illustrates the exceptionally low visibility that baseball generally and the Nationals specifically have among young people in DC.

Winning, of course, will help. But so would some savvy marketing, and I don't see much of that happening at all.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 6, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Not being in the vicinage, I cannot really speak to the marketing issue. But, from many of your comments, it seems that lowering the food prices and creating a more family friendly enivronment in general at the stadium would help tremendously. I'm no businessman, but, relative to public events, my experience has been that the young 20 and 30 something professional set actually follows families.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 6, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Tracee - your column on Ernie Harwell is beautiful.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | May 6, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I would never object to them lowering prices, but that's not the problem. They have a long, slow, hard climb ahead of them. They need to get into people's heads, as Meridian's story illustrates, and they aren't close to that yet. Families are important, long term, but they aren't going to get those folks back soon. The "outdoor bar with a cover and live entertainment" model only works when there's a buzz to be seen there, and even then, for only so long before some other place becomes the thing to be seen doing.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 6, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Scully is always a treat; thanks Joe for posting that link. I'd say he was the last of his kind, but he was always sui generis.

Nice of the Dodgers to cooperate, too, by taking a few pitches and making a couple of easy outs while Vin was telling the story.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 6, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Re the insistent PA shouting, screaming, stupid loud music torture of the fans -- YES it has cost at least one share of one season ticket! My wife had no problems attending games at RFK. Then in BETTER seats in a nice, clean, new stadium -- inside third base, right under the edge of the next deck overhang -- RIGHT UNDER THE LOUDSPEAKER -- that was it. The constant tumult is so juvenile, intrusive, unpleasant, insulting to intelligence, and just plan LOUD that she refuses to set foot in the place. We dropped our season ticket share, so games are not on my calendar either. This, and the hide-and-seek for finding them in HD on MASN on Comcast cable. But mostly this -- c'mon -- if you want most of your fans to be obnoxious boosters only of the visiting teams, go ahead. If you want to develop a loyal fan base, start respecting your fans, IN THE BALLPARK, as ADULTS.

Posted by: rschwartz1 | May 6, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Ok so much for those calling for Aaron Thompson to start in Lannan'e slot!

Posted by: markfd | May 6, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Meridian1- if you think it's hard to get them to put the Nats on TV, you should have seen how hard it was to get them to show a Caps game a few years ago.

As you noted, nobody who lives here is actually from here, especially in a neighborhood like that (my neighborhood). But give it time, they will come around.

And don't hang out in any bar that caters to Penguins fans.

Posted by: bryc3 | May 6, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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