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The Nationals' record is down, but they aren't

After convincing the baseball world they were a different team, the Nationals face the familiar challenge of pulling themselves out of a massive tailspin. They have lost five in row, 6 of 19 since Stephen Strasburg debuted, 29 of 42 since they hit their high-water mark and 44 of 77 since the season began, a winning percentage better than only three National League teams.

"I feel for the whole ballclub," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "We're all agonizing. We're going through a real tough time - one of the tougher times that I've been through as I've been fortunate enough to manage in the big leagues. This is one of the tougher stretches I've experienced."

The past five days have been the most brutal, but they have been the ugliest part of a horrendous and large portion of the season. Since May 15, which the Nationals entered 20-15, the Nationals have gone 13-29, a .310 winning percentage over almost exactly one quarter of the season. For perspective, last year the Nationals had a .364 winning percentage.

General Manager Mike Rizzo oozed support for his team last night. On Sunday, speaking to Boz, Rizzo had harsh words. Last night, he said "I've got their backs." While the Nationals started 20-15, they played clean games and used defense as a means to extricate themselves from the mess of last year. "I don't see any reason why we can't revert back to that," Rizzo said.

Ivan Rodriguez said he was reminding his teammates to stay upbeat. "Things are going tough right now," Rodriguez said. "We've got to stay positive as a team."

"We've played good," Ian Desmond said. "It's not just Strasburg that we're letting down. We've let ourselves. It's absolutely terrible to see him lose a game he pitched so well. But for seven innings against the best team in the National League, we were right there with them against one of their best guys. They just beat us that one inning.

"The sense in here is the feeling that you get when you can't catch a break. That's what it feels like. That's the best description. There's no one sad, no one's upset. There's probably some frustrated people, but no one's down by any means. We're ready to go, we're ready to win every game. It's just not happening for us. It's going to happen. It's not if. It's when."

Desmond's confidence is especially notable, given that he committed the most critical error last night. The ball took a bad hop - even Chipper Jones said as much - but the booting of the potential double play ball in the seventh just crushed the Nationals. Desmond remained resolute, and the Nationals stayed confident in him.

"I guarantee you the next time that ball goes to Desi, he's going to make that play," Strasburg said.

Said Riggleman: "He's a very confident young man. He's got tremendous leadership ability. He keeps his head up. He's going to be a star in this league. I don't want him to agonize over a particular play. He does his work. I'd take nine of him."

The Nationals have not publicly showed signs of cracking as a team. But being resolute is one thing and playing winning baseball is another. The Nationals need to translate the former into the latter before these Nationals convince the league they're just like the teams that came before them.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 29, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Today's lineups

Comments

Could any lip-readers out there tell me what Zimm said following Nyjer's errant throw to third last night? I replayed it several times, but I read lips about as well as Urdu.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 29, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Terminate this blog--Boycott the Nats.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-nah, Dove...and please-you might feel like a lone voice in the wilderness ( and there are plenty here who would disagree with your points) but still-need that fire and pull no punches take. Too bad the team doesn't play with your passion-which is welcome. And reading Desi say "We've been playing good.."-ah, well. I'm gonna repost here....

Hey Gang-haven't posted for a minute because...well, what can you say? Slow Lerners prudence with the dollars? Stanks' bluster? The Rizz being handcuffed or not very good? I'm gonna return to my one of my perennial tropes-the fiery leader/enough of this crap player we don't seem to have. Now, I have no idea what will become of Desi....I still have my hopes.....BUT:BUT BUT BUT....can you imagine oh, say, Thurman Munson, letting this guy be essentially your public team leader? The guy who post game is the player assessing the state of the team? Not just a rookie, but one mired in a string of atrocius games!And while I can salute him for his self confidence ("I want that ball again, etc.) after the way you've played, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! Don't tell us how good you all are GONNA be...SHUT UP and PLAY that way.But the fact that the rest of his teammates are letting him assume this "spokesman" role is , for me, what I find most troubling about this team.Like I said....imagine a Munson or Robinson-heck, even a Longria maybe-letting him run on like some savvy vet who has assumed the leadership role. Sad...just sad...and, on another familiar theme-gawd, ANOTHER missed opportunity. On the natinal? stage, we look like Throw Right and the 7(8) dwarfs. Hey, Slow Lerners-you really want a rerun of Walter Johnsons' career? >Sigh<....Oh well, we have ONE WS to look forward to in the next 20 years, right? What's that you say-oh, yea-free agency....
And at 10:40 a.m, Tony K's radio show is getting ready to talk with Dibble. Might be interesting, if you are so inclined

So....man, this team is excruciating!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 29, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

SorenK: not positive, but I think there was a "gol DANG it!" in there, possibly preceded by something like "Martha Forker!" (not familiar with that one; possibly a Tidewater colloquialism of some sort)

Posted by: joebleux | June 29, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"I guarantee you the next time that ball goes to Desi, he's going to make that play," Strasburg said.

maybe and maybe even the time after that. but just when you least can afford it, he won't. he may be confident now but when the ball comes to him he's not.

his hitting is suffering now, Riggleman always said he could be a great CF'er. As much as I'd like to see Roger there, maybe it's time to find out.

Posted by: sjt1455 | June 29, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Even bad teams can get off to good starts and the Nats are just a bad team that had some luck, made some plays, and had a good start. Anyone who saw this lineup could tell that they were way over their heads. It was never about this year anyway - the Nats did little to address that before the season began IMO, so they are who we thought they were. The key from this time forward is how much effort do they want to put in right now towards building the future, and I mean the 2013 and beyond future, of this team.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 29, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Agree with joebleux re. the "dang it" part, though I missed the "mammer-jammer" part.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 29, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"I guarantee you the next time that ball goes to Desi, he's going to make that play," Strasburg said.

As someone who watched Peachtree TV will tell you and Jim Riggleman for that matter: it wasn't all Desmond. If you watch the replay you will note that the baserunner (Chipper Jones I believe?) slowed down just enough to distract Desmond before the ball got there.

Apparently, smart baseball on the part of the Braves who knew about this tendency? Jim Riggleman, Tim Foli, and Pat Listach How 'bout some ground ball practice with runners aboard for your folks? Dezi needs some practice handling runner's attempting to interfere with his FOCUS!

Can't wait for Espinosa!

Posted by: periculum | June 29, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-r.e. bender...hope it ain't the case, but....wasn't it last year that KC started off well and had all the pundits swooning? They were a trendy pick for "up and coming"...and where did they end up? Much like our gang. In other words ,wearily, I gotta agree...while still clinging to that chimera of "hope" that our early play induced.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 29, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, joebleux. Those really ought to be the easiest phrases to lip read (along with SOB), but for the life of me I couldn't make it out. I guess I'm glad it didn't escalate to an Upton-Longoria confrontation in the dugout, but it would be nice to see Zimm take more control of the team.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 29, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and Hooray! Mebbe dove is boycotting NJ-but good to see you weigh in, Peri! Like I said regarding Dove-if ONLY our Nats would play with the passion you (and quite e few others) bring to this site. Looks like once again, the only really exciting aspect of the team is right here (with a shout to the insider and Ben, too.)
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 29, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

In the FWIW department, Dibble said on the MLB morning show on XM Radio this morning that Angels are interested in pursuing Dunn. First of I‘ve heard of it.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | June 29, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If Rizzo has Dunn's back he'd give him his contract instead of trading him to the Angels and/or White Sox. If Rizzo has the fans back he won't make the team worse than it is by trading Dunn.

Posted by: raymitten | June 29, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

We can debate all day as to whether the "good cop" or "bad cop" approach to the Nats' serious problems is best, but I can't see how they're going to avoid facing up to the simple question of whether Nyjer Morgan is intelligent enough to learn what he needs to learn to be a good centerfielder and an asset on offense in the major leagues. If so, send him down and assign a team of coaches to teach him. If not, get rid of him. At this point he's nothing but a joke and a humiliation for the entire team. And while Desmond may, indeed, become an outstanding big league shortstop and hitter, he's just not ready yet and they've got to face up to it.

Posted by: fluffy4 | June 29, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

We've played good," Ian Desmond said

NO YOU HAVE NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: CBinDC1 | June 29, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"Can't wait for Espinosa!"

periculum, would that be the Espinosa who's now hitting .249 with 10 errors in 68 games in AA? Could be a long wait, my friend...

I can't believe I'm about to sound like a PR man for the Nats, but the losing is clouding our perspective. "It was never about this year anyway - the Nats did little to address that before the season began IMO. Really?

Little done? Two starting pitchers to go with Lannan while you awaited Strasburg's arrival? Five new relief pitchers? A catcher who might be an All-Star? A veteran second baseman who looked like he'd be a good balancing act for the rookie SS?

And that doesn't count guys like Clippard, Burnett, Morse, Morgan and Bernadina who were either added last year or came back from injury this year.

That's a big influx of talent. Not all of it has worked out and they still need more but it's hard to say the Nats' front office isn't trying. It's silly to keep pointing to guys they should have signed, like Orlando Hudson, when we don't know if they would have accepted an offer, anyway. Don't you think Hudson would have picked the Twins over the Nats anyway?

This team is better than last year, it's just not good yet. I can accept this kind of performance if I feel better days and players are on their way (I believe that) and if I think the team makes the right moves to be as competitive as possible in the interim (not always sure about that). If Rizzo and Riggleman make a few moves in the next couple of weeks, I could live with what's going on.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 29, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"periculum, would that be the Espinosa who's now hitting .249 with 10 errors in 68 games in AA? Could be a long wait, my friend..."

Ask yourself Baltova, which would you prefer? More of the really horrendous, hideous and limited range/arm strength fielding of Guzman and Kennedy (who has not shown himself to be anything like the OBP machine they expected)? Or Espinosa at second or short? I'll gladly take Desmond, Gonzalez, and Espinosa and call whatever mistakes they make as progress forward.

Playing washed up, close-to-AAAA veterans that Riggleman favors borders on ridiculous ... Riggleman's follies. That is not the progress you describe. Guys like Kennedy, Guzman, Harris, and yes, Batista take reps away from younger players who seem like they could use them.

I don't care how many world series rings they have. They are 11 games under and falling fast ... looking more and more like another 100 loss season. Three of those in a row is**NOT** progress. Especially given Riggleman's penchant to play veterans who look really miserable!

If we must suffer through another 100 loss season at least give us some hope (I know .. I know many are already jaded) for a better 2011 and beyond! Please?

Posted by: periculum | June 29, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh, good. I was wondering why he was yelling at Bob Saggette.
*****************
SorenK: not positive, but I think there was a "gol DANG it!" in there
Posted by: joebleux | June 29, 2010 11:03 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 29, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Zendo,

Agree with your point about Desmond apparently becoming the team spokesman. Shouldn't that be the job of the FOTF? Or, Dunn, or Pudge? Isn't that part of being a "veteran leader," "character" type, manfully answering questions from the media after painful losses?

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | June 29, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Sigh...and in my best wimbly, wambly, see both sides style...yea, baltova...I kinda fall on your side of the line. We forget that baseball is an excruciating game, played daily. Improvements tend to the incremental. Much like a .550 winning percentage is a good team-89 wins-likewise a GM is gonna have plenty of moves that don't work. And on balance-I still am mighty impressed with The Rizz. The elephant in the room is the degree (or dollars) of commitment the Slow Lerners have to fielding a competitive team year in and out. As fans, we seem to have been cruelly left at the alter so many times....but then think of the MAJORITY of MLB franchises where, were you to read their blogs, would sound much like ours. With a much longer string of futility to fuel them. That said, I think what we find so frustrating is the really unique and golden opportunity this franchise has been presented with-only to "boot" the ball again and again. I've said it before -building for the future-i.e. the 'plan" (which EVERY team has!) and fielding a competent, competitive team RIGHT NOW are NOT mutually exclusive. While I'm still not ready to label the Slow Lerners cheap-I AM saying that they've been slow-if not myopic-so see the opportunity waiting here and to capitalize on it (AND the value of their asset.)To engender some good will with the folks who spend their time reading and writing at places like this instead of....
Still...I'd MUCH rather have a team as bad as we've been since arriving here than none at all. Even rooting for the O's ain't an option anymore. So...I guess for the remainder of the season I'll watch, glumly expect the worse, hope for the best (or at least not to suffer more gutting embarrassments)and dream that SOME day....and come here for only real entertainment and satisfaction it seems this team is providing (love that Schadenfreude, eh?)
Go Nats!!

Posted by: zendo | June 29, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

peri, if the problem with Desmond is that he's not ready to play at this level, why add Espinosa to the mix, when he's clearly not ready for this level, since he's struggling to play at a AA level right now?

He'll be here at some point, just not now. In fact, bringing him up too early would do more harm than good.

What you call Riggleman's follies are the ugly choices you get to make managing a mediocre team like this. It's not like there are any shining stars being held back right now.

To me, it goes back to the lack of money spent (or spent wisely) in the first few years the team was here, 2006-2008. That reflects on the Lerners' philosophy then and Bowden's work as GM. They're still playing catch up as a franchise because of it.

BTW, I'll bet you a nickel this team doesn't lose 100 games this year.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 29, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

>Terminate this blog--Boycott the Nats.

Posted by: dovelevine

You'd never last. Come over to BPG. It's calling. Important topics discussed. Much more important than whinging on a last-place team.

Posted by: Brue | June 29, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, nothing at all about Nyjer?

Posted by: Liebercreep | June 29, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Keep everyone but get rid of Rob Dribble.
What an ego he and his friend Palmer have
developed.

I keep my TV mute button handy. I can't believe the powers that be will keep Dribble
around next year.
Bill from Rockville

Posted by: wtait1212 | June 29, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

It's bad enough, as zendo says, that Desmond has become a spokesman, but what this rook is saying is just stupid. Like "we were right with the Braves into the 7th'' -- scoring no runs against somebody is being right with them?? That was Stras, not the team, buddy.

Or "we can't catch a break'' -- it's not a break you can't catch, Des, it's the ball.

How many more botched DPs can fans tolerate? And now he's not hitting a lick. I favored letting him learn more at AAA when the season began. His start had me dreaming, but now it's an nightmare.
He's on a pace for 40 errors.

The Nats couldn't play any worse with Gonzo at SS for a while.

Posted by: nats24 | June 29, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I love Desmond saying we played with them for 7 innings. Isn't that wonderful, because here I was thinking that the goal of the Nationals was to win ballgames, when apparently the goal is merely to compete for part of the game. I guess that makes the record 33 wins 43 losses and 1 moral victory. Didn't we fire our mananger last year because he had spent 3 years of "aww jeez we played hard and we tried our best." How about we get someone who finds this unacceptable? Heck Rizzo was vocal about it for only one day and already is back to kid gloves.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | June 29, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The clock is ticking Nats fans...., word on the street is ChiSox and LAA of Orange County have their sites set on ADUNN!

White Sox had the inside edge for awhile however the LAA have better pitching prospects and will put together a better package to sell then our friends from the South Side!

Its gonna be HammerTime soon too? Look for
an AL team in the hunt looking for a 3 month rental. Throw in Morgan and they will have a deal!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 29, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"They just beat us one inning"

"We can't catch a break"

Seriously?? Isn't this the exact opposite of what Riggleman said about everyone being held accountable? Admit you botched the grounder, haven't been playing well at all, pin the loss on yourself, and vow to be better. THAT would be the professional, mature way to go about this. But I guess that rarely happens nowadays.

Posted by: jdwood84 | June 29, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

>>Keep everyone but get rid of Rob Dribble.
What an ego he and his friend Palmer have
developed. Posted by: wtait1212

Don't be surprised if you see the two of them together in smoking jackets hugging and then read that they've both left their families and run off to Vegas to get married. Those guys together are hysterical and obviously madly in love.

(now back to boycott.)

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Trade with the Jays to get John MacDonald, one of the best middle infielders in the Majors. Isn't playing much because he's not much of a hitter but man, can he field. We need to stop this avalanche of errors. Wouldn't think it would take too much to get him. We need a vacuum in the middle with all our "pitch to contact" starters.

Posted by: slopitchtom | June 29, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I'll bet you a nickel this team doesn't lose 100 games this year.

If they trade Dunn and/or Willingham? I think you might lose that bet baltova1! But nfa_brian will be happy ... another #1 of #1's to look forward to!

Posted by: periculum | June 29, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

>>We need to stop this avalanche of errors. Posted by: slopitchtom

Can I get an AMEN??!!
Is there anybody home who can catch and throw the ball (on target) to the correct base? Anybody?
Man I feel like I'm talkin to my kid's little league team here. Unreal.

(now back to previous boycott.)

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I bet another nickel they don't trade Dunn.

(Clearly breaking the bank today)

Posted by: baltova1 | June 29, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It's only Tuesday but Rizzo's statement of Sunday has already proven to be all hot air. There will be no accountability on this club in 2010. 100, here we come!

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | June 29, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

SorenK: It looked like Zimm said "Dammit". No f-bombs on camera.

Posted by: samantha7 | June 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Or no f-bombs on camera that I saw. I was dropping a few myself in that infamous inning of epic collapse.

This team is drinking too much Kool-Aid. Their public comments are ridiculous and out of touch with reality, just like last year. And I agree with others who are wondering, just who is allowing Desmond to be the voice of the franchise?? As well as the voice on the field to the pitchers. What is saying every time he runs in to talk with a pitcher, "Don't worry, I'll catch the next grounder sent my way"?? Please.

Posted by: samantha7 | June 29, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

It seemed a minor transaction at the time, but I think the Nats made a mistake by releasing Eric Bruntlett from the Syracuse club in early June.

Back in spring training -- before we knew Desmond would start at short -- it looked like Bruntlett had a shot to make the Nats as a steady backup middle infielder. The guy was one smooth fielder who could play multiple positions. I sure wish they had him now as late-inning defensive replacement.

Posted by: Drew8 | June 29, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I think people are getting too hung on public comments by the players and who's making them. What are they supposed to say? "We suck and I was the suckiest?" Who's going to say that? As the saying goes, talk is cheap. The problem is, they're making the same mistakes again and again. Desmond has the rookie excuse, the others don't.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 29, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Folks, you have overlooked a key point in Riggleman's extended praise of young Desmond after the game.

If somehow Ian could be cloned, and they could be put in every position save pitcher (and I guess catcher) that would mean we would be deprived of Nyjer's hijinks in the outfield and on the base paths, plus his hilarious attempts to lay down bunts.

So I would amend Riggleman's comment to "I'll take six of 'em." What would a game be without Nyjer?

Posted by: JohnRDC | June 29, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

jdwood84 had what Desmond shudda said: I blew it and I gotta do better. Not "we can't catch a break'' That's like: "It not us playing bad. It's just our luck.''

Posted by: nats24 | June 29, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

THE NATIONAL FAIR-WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A BILE WARNING FOR AREAS IN AND AROUND WASHINGTON DC. DUE TO THE UNUSUALLY HEAVY ERROR ACTIVITY COMBINED WITH THE RECENT HITTING DROUGHT, POCKETS OF PANIC AND CRAZY TALK CAN BE EXPECTED FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS, POSSIBLY CONTINUING UNTIL SEPTEMBER.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 29, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

So I would amend Riggleman's comment to "I'll take six of 'em." What would a game be without Nyjer?

Or it could be a Lastings ... who seems to turn every fly ball hit to him into a circus catch?

Posted by: periculum | June 29, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who posts on here saying that Alberto Gonzalez should be playing over Adam Kennedy, or anybody in the league for that matter, is exactly the reason sports outlets dont take DC seriously as a baseball town. His plate approach is non-existent.

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | June 29, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Actually, to be serious, Adam's article depicts a very troubling response by all of the Nats personnel who were quoted. A number of baseball commentators have noted that the current crop of players do not play with heart or intensity, but with almost a lackadaisical attitude borne of big contracts and hence knowing that whatever they do, they'll get paid.

Now it seems the lackadaisical attitude has spread to the manager and to the front office. If players are praised to the skies after playing terribly in June, then they do not have any incentive to perform well because management's "got their backs." This is what I call the Oriole disease.

If this is all we get—praiseworthy mediocrity—in the modern baseball era, then it's not worth a trip to the ballpark to see it.

Posted by: JohnRDC | June 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I could care less what "sports outlets'' think. I only care about not losing every game on errors. It wouldn't hurt Desmond or the Nats for him to sit out a while in favor of somebody (Gonzo being that only somebody available at the moment) who can catch the ball.

Posted by: nats24 | June 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-....just back and Merciful Heavens!....the sky has NOT fallen! Just those of us who fell hard for this team. I heard some sports jocks say RZman said "G.Damn"....so nice to see you feel our pain, Ryan! Although I suppose we should ask Ian for HIS take.And in reference to Cap, earlier....yup-sure would be nice to hear from SOMEONE who has more hits than errors and bonehead plays. Nah...just go fishin' with Dunn and Hammer.Somewhere here I'm searching for a "cut bait" metaphor...bit this team has me feeling insipid. C'mon, Hawkline-suspend yer boycott again and give us something to chew on...and here's to hoping Harper is the real deal.Incidently, Joe Posnanski had an interesting bit a few weeks ago....sorry NJ's ferputting in someone elses 2 cents....
*************************************
"Before we get into Strasburg, maybe it’s best to consider another phenom in order to appreciate the sports time we live in. Let’s consider a 17-year-old catcher.You know who I am talking about.He has insane home run power;everyone talks about the long home runs he hit in high school And he has this arm, this incredible arm, perhaps the greatest catcher arm scouts have ever ever seen.He was raised to play baseball…and maybe because of this he has this cockiness about him—something that sails beyond certainty.He has known his destiny for a long time.His dream is not to play in the major leagues, he KNOWS he will do that.No, his dream, before he even plays in his first big league game, is to go into the Baseball Hall of Fame.You have this player pictured in your mind, right? You can see him.No, maybe you don’t see him. Imagine this: The player will get taken in the second round of the amateur draft.The SECOND ROUND.The player will be the eighth catcher selected in the draft.He will never quite get over the slight, never quite understand how even the team that finally selected him could believe that someone else was better.He will go to his first minor league team and announce to his stunned teammates,“Forget Babe Ruth!Remember me!”He will be so dazzling in his first full year in the minor leagues, the team actually will retire his number at the end of the season.He will come to the big leagues at 19 and tell the veterans that they had better enjoy backup duty.Before the end of that season, Ted Williams will sign a baseball for him with the inscription:“A Hall of Famer for sure.”And at 22, he will put up the greatest season a catcher had ever had.
In other words, he will go on to become the great Johnny Bench.
There are so many similarities between Bryce Harper now and Bench then.The power. The arm.The arrogance.But there are also those big differences.Harper at 16 had his own cover of S.I.—something that Bench did not achieve until he was a three-time All-Star and in the middle of his legendary1970 season.Harper was the first pick in the draft.
****************
Sorry again...the rest in my next post
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 29, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

>>The Nationals' record is down, but they aren't

Why not. They should be. I am. Headline sez it all.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-well-even the blog is not pleased! Wouldn't let me put the rest of that piece in, it seems ...(mebbe a copyright thing?)...too bad-hey moderator-no harm or lawbreaking intended, OK? Any Hooo, you can read the rest on Joe's blog....
Goin' nuts, but....
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 29, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nats fans, hang in there, the all-star break is going to be right on time, and remember, September is the big month! The Nats just need to get a little closer, and I feel they will after the all-star game. People coming back, youngsters getting a grip, etc. Getting Dunn done, would give everyone a boost!

Go Nats! Pat from Bowie

Posted by: patsgrill4U | June 29, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Desmond can't cut it. Something has got to change up the middle for the Nats. Give Espinosa a shot. He is a better fielder than Desmond and definitely has the glove to back it up.

Posted by: lovelyme1 | June 29, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats don't improve their SP, the record will only get worse

Bottom line, end of story

Posted by: Bious | June 30, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

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