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It will either be a very long night, or a very short one

UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: Announcement in the press box: Estimated start time of 9 p.m.

UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: Here comes the grounds crew to remove the tarp. There could be baseball here in about half an hour.

UPDATE, 7:50 p.m.: Not much of an update, actually. But I didn't want you to think I had forgotten about you. The tarp is still on the field, and it's still raining lightly, but the intention here it to get the game in. So I'll be back with any (real) updates later.

Original post: We're in rain delay mode at Nationals Park, with the tarp on the field and a steady rain coming down. Since it takes the grounds crew about 30 minutes to get the field ready once the tarp comes off, a 7:05 p.m. ain't gonna happen. I'm no meteorolgist, but I do read the Capital Weather Gang blog -- and while things don't look so good right now, it doesn't look so bad once this system passes through.

Tonight, of course, is a giveaway night, with the first 15,000 fans getting a DVD of MASN's broadcast of Stephen Strasburg's June 8 major league debut. (I gave the disc a spin last night, and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Strasburg, starring as himself, gives the performance of a lifetime, and the supporting cast is strong as well.)

Although tonight is the last game of this series, it's worth noting the Marlins do return to Washington in September, so there is a built-in window for a makeup game in case we do get into rainout territory tonight -- and on top of that, the teams share a mutual off-day on Sept. 9, the day before that series begins.

I'll update this post with weather-related news when it occurs.

By Dave Sheinin  |  August 12, 2010; 6:33 PM ET
 
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Next: The team the Nationals just can't beat

Comments

Hey Gang-and once again, I see some Gang alums (souldrummer, JayB) as well as regular Gangsters contributing good stuff over at Insider (Bens' spot, too).Also some folks I'd like to see over here (natsjack, phil dunn, anonymous!, to name a few...mebbe they ARE here - with different handles) Though I do see Souls' point-the Posts' website gives my computer fits. Logging on....posting...freezing up...etc. I never have that issue with oh, say the NYTimes site-or any of the many others I frequent (even if I can't seem to get on over at Insider!).
And what does that have to do with this post from AK? Nothing....just trying to reassure myself that there ARE plenty of folks who care about our on-field Gang. Speaking about Nats coverage-Baltova, I was disapointed with Boz's chat. Didn't appear to answer your (our)questions. He seemed to be back in the semi-fawning mode. Hey-we all recognize the improvements...the time it takes...the horrendous starting point. But acknowledging improvements AND holding feet to fires-just like building and winning-are NOT mutually exclusive.Although Boz was pretty strait-up regarding Desmond....I dunno...I realize being too antagonistic with the powers that be might result in his being frozen out...he'd be a hack like the rest of us with no real inside dope. Still...say what you will, but the OTHER Thom-you know, the BIG one now with All-4Skins media!-he was on the Slows and StanK way before anyone else...IMHO.
And finally, sticking with media, I heard Doc Walker talking about the Nats and the Slows...talking about how, while it might be embarrassing to be perpetual losers-well, as long as they're making money...it's working for THEM, right? And please-I'm on record as believing Poppa Slow when he sez he is gonna build a perpetual contender here-which leaves me even MORE bewildered. (Incidentally, the new Rangers owner - Nolans' partner- sees the Dallas/Ft Worth region as being a sleeping giant and plans on perpetual contention there as well. Can't say I disagree.)OK...thanks for listening to my ramblings, Gang.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 12, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Is there a better place to get the latest rain delay status? I have tickets and don't want to hop on the metro until I have a sense for when the game will start. Only a few stops away so no reason to sit in the rain until the game is about to start. Nats website shows the game as already in progress, but MASN just said a considerable delay was on.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | August 12, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

zendo, thanks for checking in. Boz spent a lot of time dealing with Tiger, so that limited his Nats time. I suspect he'll cover the Lerners in the next month in some fashion. But Doc Walker's point is a good one. Even if it's not their intention, the Lerners are leaving the impression that profits come before winning. They should consider that when making their decisions.

And I find it ironic that Nolan Ryan and company are willing to push for greater market share in Dallas while going head to head with the Cowboys, when the Lerners don't appear to be willing to do the same thing against the Redskins, who, sad to say Skins fans, aren't in the same condition as a franchise as Dallas.

There's an opportunity here, Lerners, and you may be missing it.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 12, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-yea, Baltova-couldn't agree more. This team has missed -and CONTINUES to miss-so many opportunities. I think that's what underlies a lot of our frustration-even if it comes out in different ways. They've given the appearance of being inept (Bowden), tone deaf (stadium rent payments), or indifferent (this years' home opener) to a fan-base that is DYING to embrace both the team AND the owners (an antidote to the 4Skins hegemony and an anti-Snyder). And whatever our disagreements are with fellow Gang members here (and other sites), regarding how to best improve the team- we're ALL united in our yearning to FINALLY see this team become what we all KNOW it CAN be-a first class, winning, loved (AND profitable,Slows!) franchise.I don't wanna nurse my hopes and grudges in perpetuity, ya know? And Schadenfreude gets old-especially when it's largely all you have!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 12, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Based on tonight's weather and last night's fairly sparse crowd (right at 15,000) I wonder if they even get 15,000 through the gate tonight.

Posted by: marathoner | August 12, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, I had 7 tickets to go tonight, but when I saw "severe thunderstorms with rotation heading right down 270" I decided to forgo the pleasure and stay home. If they play, I will watch a few innings on TV until I get too sleepy, but no way my Midwestern soul was going to expose my family to "severe thunderstorms with rotation"!

Posted by: NatsFly | August 12, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Repost from earlier thread...

@zendo:
The Boz is just back from vacation, including time on the Caymans; Give him a week or two, and he'll be back under Kasten's skin regarding the Nationals, imo.
As you mention, JBeee has diligently pointed out (mostly on Zuckerman's site) some valid problems that will need addressing in the off-season, related to pruning the 40-man roster & restocking. His tact is a little too agressive for my taste (Do It NOW), but he does make sense in the long run.
Finally, don't believe even 10% of what you hear on local sports-talk radio - None of the local voices are either interested or invested in anything but the Redskins right now. They might voice an occaisional opinion, usually pointed at riling up the 'core' fanbase that might be tuning in (which most of them aren't, having already given up on local sports-talk coverage).

If the local radio stations want to snag the baseball listeners, devote a regular show entirely to Baseball - Skew it to Washington / Baltimore coverage, but allow for general NL/AL coverage as well. Get the known local voices (Angell / Carpenter / Holliday / Jaegler / Knight / Palmer / Slowes / Wood / etc) to either host it, or at least guest on it. Run it for a year on weekends, and if it takes hold, expand it to gamenights during the season & keep it to weekends during the off-season.

Posted by: BinM | August 12, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BinM | August 12, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

@NatsFly Sorry you won't get a chance to use your tickets.

Posted by: marathoner | August 12, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

@marathoner: we will try another time. Used several ST rewards points for some of these tix, but still hate to burn them. Oh well...

Posted by: NatsFly | August 12, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-hope you're right about Boz, Bin. And completely agree about JayB- he can be a bit brusque but his points are almost always salient, informed, well reasoned. I tend to be more willing to keep guys around (based more on hope, I suppose).
See, that's the thing-just 'cause we may disagree at times...it doesn't follow that the Gangster we're disagreeing with is an idiot, evil, etc...Like the Buddha said a LONG time ago..."Truth is above sectarian dogma..". Ah, jeez-listen to ME! Kumbayah!
And regarding a REGULAR weekly show....it's gotta do better'n those idiotic football betting infomercials we're subjected to!!!Oops-I mean mis-GUIDED....not idiotic! Kumbayah! Namaste!Go with God!Just efn WIN,right?!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 12, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Zendo: Agree with all your points about ownership/management. I do think there has been a learning curve for them too, maybe longer than it should have been, but they are doing better: More aggressive pursuit of free agents, signing their top draft choices, building up their international operation, and some improvements in fan relations and the stadium experience.

Specifically with regard to free agents, it's easy to spend someone else's money, but can you imagine if it were your money and you were watching the Marquis saga unfold? Or imagine if you're Mike Rizzo and you've got to go back to the Lerners and ask them to bet millions on your next FA. Or, for that matter, on Bryce Harper.

I've been as critical as anyone about the Nats management, but it seems to be getting better. It has been an excruciating wait, though, and no question -- this year has been a big disappointment.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 12, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Meridian1, I hope you're right about the learning curve and I do think there are some positive signs. But the next step in the process will have to be learning that every move doesn't pay off with the expected return. They've gone over the slot to sign a few draft choices who haven't done much yet (the guy who went back to Stanford would be one). Marquis hasn't worked out yet but was that a bad decision at the time? Look at his games started totals since 2004:
32
32
33
33
28
33

He's only 31 so why would you expect him to suddenly have arm problems? It happens. They paid fair market money for a guy who would fill a need (and still might). Hard to argue with that, no matter how it turns out.

Signing Dunn to a deal (three or four years) fits the same mold. Given his consistency, no reason to believe he'll falter in the next few years. It makes sense to do it so let's hope they do.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 12, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Thought it was interesting that Boz is now saying Desmond has "bad hands". He just now noticed? He seems to have changed his tune Desmond about being a better fielder in the major leagues. I'm guessing he had reservations but kept them to himself until things played out. Suppose that is better than being critical of a young player trying to move up but it makes you wonder how much inside information gets held back by reporters and columnists. Seems like when someone gets traded, demoted, cut, etc. a story will come out saying yeah, he really couldn't do (fill in the blank). Have a feeling there will be talk about bringing up Espinosa and trying Desmond at second. Also hope they continue batting Desmond second, there's no point putting Kennedy in the 2 hole.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 12, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

A 1-2-3 top of the first!! Hip Hip Hooray!

Posted by: Natmeister | August 12, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey, where's the update saying the game actually started!? Oh well, caught the Bernadina double before the unimpressive rest of the inning.

That wasn't such a good start, but it is nice to see a goose egg for the top of the first for a change!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey, where's the update saying the game actually started!? Oh well, caught the Bernadina double before the unimpressive rest of the inning.

That wasn't such a good start, but it is nice to see a goose egg for the top of the first for a change!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

oops, Stanton just crushed the ball to right-center. I spoke too soon...

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

When we see Stanton crushing the ball in the big leagues at the age of 20, that's what we hope for with Harper. Sign him next week, send him to the minors for '11 and '12 and then, some time in '13, he's here.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 12, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

At the game so I can't tell -- what just happened at the plate with Pudge, the home plate ump and Rigs?

Posted by: HenryStin | August 12, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Pudge didn't like a ball and strike call, actually several. He let the ump know it.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 12, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The one way to get this fan base more interested is to get the O's off of Sportstalk 980 say what you want but with the Nat's competing with the entrenched Skin's fanbase you don't need another baseball team competing with the Nats and with the O's on a mini win streak well let's just say the Nationals need all the help they can get.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 12, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Livo continues to get squeezed on first pitch borderline "strikes" -- which is a killer for someone like him. He needs that first pitch on the black more than just about anyone (except maybe Lannan) in order to let his junk work ahead in the count.

Against a team like the Marlins, that's a killer. I'm surprised the damage is limited to 3 runs after 4 -- quite fortunate, actually.

Pudge seems PISSED at several of the calls, not just the one he argued.

BTW, how's that for respect? Nearly any catcher but Pudge gets tossed for arguing with the blue.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

In the top of the 5th, Livo starts to get a few of those strike calls on the black that Pudge had been griping about. And... shuts em down.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Livo needs to step up in the batters box when he's clearly sacrifice bunting -- Bunting 101.

He knows better than that. That really hurt a golden opportunity. We gotta learn how to get some runs later in games...

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

For all of those people busting on Riggleman, explain to me what he could have done differently in the 5th. Livan, the best bunting pitcher we have, fails to execute and your best power hitter whiffs with the bases loaded. At some point, you turn the game over to the players you have.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 12, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

ugh. Dunn kills a bases-loaded situation at the bottom of the 5th, at 11:00. A tough call whether to stay up on a school night, with a meteor shower coming around 3AM!

Wait -- I've seen 3 nights of meteor showers, courtesy of Marlins hitters. Don't need another one!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

ugh. Dunn kills a bases-loaded situation at the bottom of the 5th, at 11:00. A tough call whether to stay up on a school night, with a meteor shower coming around 3AM!

Wait -- I've seen 3 nights of meteor showers, courtesy of Marlins hitters. Don't need another one!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

>For all of those people busting on Riggleman

Posted by: baltova1

We don't have to - he busts on himself. (see below) Would you buy a used car from this man?

It's like shooting angry fish in a barrel.

>"If that call goes 2-2 instead of 3-1 - I'm rationalizing, making excuses, whatever but if that call goes our way, Adam's looking at a 3-1 pitch with the bases loaded," Riggleman said. "Maybe something happens."

Posted by: Brue | August 13, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

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