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Preview: Nasty Nats

Nasty Nats



Populating the world with Nats fans since 2006



Updated: 2014-10-03T03:00:30.648-04:00

 



Baaaaabies...

2007-11-09T11:38:11.717-05:00

I think it's about time to stick a fork in this thing, don't you?

The clearest sign of my lack of motivation and opportunity to blog is the fact I've been meaning to write this sine die post for over a month now!

(image) There's another reason too. For those of you who don't know, and I'd imagine that's most if not all of you, Little Rockette is going to welcome a little brother or sister to the family a few weeks after Opening Day 2008. We probably should be scared out of our minds, but we're also very excited that she'll have sibling that close in age.

Another baby, especially one arriving right at the beginning of the season, is going to cut into baseball time for sure. I left the blog active after Little Rockette's arrival, and was able to post a little bit in 2007, but that was mostly because she was sleeping through the night 90% of time when the beginning of the season rolled around. I don't imagine we'll have any such luck until at least the All Star break.

(image) Plus, as those of you who have been around since the team moved in 2005 could attest, this blog hasn't been what it once was since the end of the Inaugural Season. I was hoping to get back into it over time, which is why I've held off on officially killing this thing. I'd still love to blog about the Nationals again some day, but it's best to let Nasty Nats stand alone as what it is, and what it once was.

This is probably the part where I should wax poetic about my dead blog in a Basil-esque manner, but I have neither the time nor the creative energy to pull that off properly.

I'll say this, though: The Nationals could not have entered my life at a better time. In 2005, I was living alone, two years removed from college, with my fiancée living in another state until our October wedding. I needed something other than cheap beer and microwave pizza to occupy my time. The Nationals, the Natosphere and the jockjaws at Yuda's filled that void nicely. I'll remember everything about that year fondly.

Except Paul Schrieber. I hate that rat bastard.



%$*#ing Schrieber

2007-09-13T05:07:44.455-04:00

Before anyone asks: No, I was not in Miami yesterday.

But if I was, I would have been thrown out too. Bastard probably deserved it. I would have thrown peanuts at him.

And yes, it warms my cold little heart to see that my 2005 rants are the #2 result on a Google search of the bastard's name.



And so it is...

2007-08-08T10:14:09.781-04:00

I didn't want it to happen. And I certainly didn't want it to happen against my favorite team.

But as CNN.com loaded when I opened my internet browser at a quarter till the ass crack of dawn this morning, my eyes jumped immediately to the blank stare of Brian Schneider and my heart sank.

(image)

And so it is. Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals joins the infamous club already populated by the likes of Al Downing, Tracy Stallard, Steve Traschel, and Chan Ho Park.

(image) To Bacsik's credit, he seems to be handling it in a classy manner: "Me and Al Downing I guess will be linked for a long time," Bacsik said. "Hopefully, I can win 20 games and be an All-Star like him someday."

After reading Game of Shadows, there's little doubt in my mind that Barry Bonds is both a cheater and an asshole. Either one is reason enough to dislike the guy and be sad that he now holds both home run records, though the cheating thing is certainly the more compelling reason. Put the two together, though, and it's easy to see why most wish to hold him up as a poster boy for all that's wrong with Major League Baseball.

That would be a mistake. Though the evidence certainly suggests Bonds deserves our vile, he was not the first nor the last player to cheat by using steroids. There is also compelling evidence that previous home run heroes McGwire and Sosa were using, while Clay Hensley, the pitcher who gave up 755 to Bonds, was also busted for a positive test.

(image) As many have already said, the suggestion of an asterisk for either of Bonds records is silly. Baseball, unfortunately, is a game of cheaters and scandals. The rules change from era to era, and different facets of the game become stronger or weaker. We'll always qualify certain events by remembering they occurred in the dead-ball era or the era of the dominant pitchers of the 1960's. Now we have the Steroid Era, and Bonds' achievements, remarkable as they are, will always be linked to suspicions of cheating, unless proof to the contrary emerges.

There's an excellent post from Chris on the subject, and he makes an important point. Much as we'd like the baseball record books to be a roster of American heroes, they're just numbers, not morality. Barry holds the records, for now at least. That's a fact, and we can't ignore. As for me, I plan to save my respect for the likes of Hank Aaron and Roger Maris.

Oh yeah, we won the game. Suck on that.



John Lannan: American Hero - Part Deux

2007-08-07T10:01:54.220-04:00

Second video in a continuing series:

(View the first video.)

(embed)

Too bad his teammates blew it.



Memo to Bob Carpenter

2007-08-03T15:41:34.129-04:00

(image) Robert:

While on occasion Nats fans might secretly smile at your unabashed homerism or grin when you actually get off a good line (see the 6:24 mark on this video), this Nats fan would like to put you on notice as to the following:

* When the Nationals score a run to cut the deficit from two runs to one, that run did not put them "back in the game." Believe it or not, the Nats are still "in the game" when trailing 3-1 in the third inning. As a shameless homer, you should believe that more than anyone.

* When runners are on first and second with less than two outs, and the Nationals get a force out at second, they did not "get the lead runner." The lead runner is now standing on third.

* It's East Capitol Street, not East Capitol Drive, ya hayseed!

(image)

* Any home run call that asks a question ("How far's it gonna goooooo?!") is most decidedly not cool, hip, clever, witty -- or any other adjective that might be construed as positive.

* We get it - you used to work for the Cardinals. We know they managed to win the World Series last year. We know Bob Gibson was an intimidating pitcher. We know Albert Pujols is a great hitter. (Speaking of Albert, try a "Poo holes" joke. That's still funny sometimes.)

* Oh, and Nationals fans don't give a rat's ass about what "our friends in Baltimore" are doing on the other MASN channel. In fact, we're trying to forget that our team is linked to the craphole up the parkway by the sweetheart deal Selig gave Darth Angelos.

Believe it or not, that's all I have. I can't pay attention to the TV all night, since Little Rockette usually starts crying for a bottle around the fifth inning. But I'm sure other Nationals fans could add to this memo.



Bang! Zoom!

2007-07-27T09:45:07.246-04:00

Nats 7, Phils 6

(image)

43 wins, pendejos! Eat our dust, 1962 Mets!

And shove it up your tailpipe, Wendelstedt! (video link) It sounds like Tubby Wendelstedt will make a worthy inductee to the Paul Schrieber Umpire Hall of Shame. Looking forward to catching at least part of the MASN replay tonight.

(UPDATED: I captured and put up the MASN video. I think I love Don Sutton.)

On to 63!

(And by the way, I don't care if he is in the mix for the batting title, why are we signing a 34 year old DH with a glove to a 2 year deal? Doesn't make a lot of sense. The Nats farm system has made nice strides in the pitching department, but there's literally almost no one down there, save one or two guys, who can hit. Dmitri is "found money," and you've got to turn him into long-term assets if you can.)



Welcome, young ones.

2007-06-13T11:07:58.710-04:00

Washington Nationals Draft ListRoss DetwilerJosh SmokerMichael BurgessJordan ZimmermannJake SmolinskiSteven Souza (yes, he plays baseball too)Derek NorrisBrad MeyersJack McGearyPhilip "P.J." DeanAdrian AlanizMark GildeaPat McCoyBill RhinehartCraig StinsonSteve ShepardDan LyonsPatrick ArnoldChris BlackwoodLuke PiskerSawyer CarrollJeff MandelDaniel CookAnthony BennerJake RogersDavid DuncanRicky NolanChris BerroaKelvin ClarkAaron SeussBoomer WhitingJustin PhillabaumZack PittsDave StewartDan KillianJeffrey McCollumKenn KasparekAlex FloydMartin BenoDevin DragShane ErbCaleb StaudtKai TuomiIden NazarioGarrett BassMike MartinezClint PridmoreTravis ReaganRyan CisternaJeffrey WaltersKyle GundersonJake DuggerLindon Bond[...]



Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains

2007-06-04T14:22:46.064-04:00

One thing about having children I've always looked forward to is the joy of taking them to ballgame. And although she's too young to have appreciated it, Little Rockette made her debut at yesterday's rain-soaked slopfest of a ballgame at RFK.We planned this trip probably as far back as a month ago, as it was the first non-premium weekend game when we were available. (I'm pro-"teh plan", but I'm not paying premium prices for this team.) Plus, bringing the little one to a day game was bound to be a little easier.But, of course the rain made this one interesting. We were planning to leave for the 45-60 minute drive to RFK around 12 pm or, giving us plenty of time to leisurely make our way to our seats in Section 506. However, we waited it out at home until 12:30, hoping to hear news about the status of the game. Without any definitive news, Mrs. Rocket and I decided to go for it - it wasn't raining that hard and we weren't going to risk letting the tickets go to waste.After meeting Little Rockette's godfather outside the main gate, the four of us made our way inside just in time to see Josh Bard's first inning home run on the TV monitor. Damn.We settled into the seats right around when Guzman led off the bottom of the first inning, immediately bypassing our assigned seats for a row farther back under the overhang. But the swirling winds were bringing some light rain back into our faces, so it wasn't long before we moved even father back, maybe a half dozen rows in front of the old football pressbox.Little Rockette was content to stay in the baby carrier backpack on her mom's lap for the first few innings, looking around and absorbing the sights and sounds in front of her. But it was still a little wet and colder than we expected in the upper deck, so I decided to go hunt for a blanket at the team store.While I was off being a dutiful father, I missed the best part of this otherwise crappy game - Zimmerman's Hondo-esque blast into Section 533. I stopped and watched the replays on a TV monitor near a concession stand. Poking around the team store for a blanket, I saw the other interesting occurance of the game - the home plate umpire refusing to award Kevin Kouzmanoff first base because he leaned too far into the pitch.When I returned to our seats without a blanket, (45 bucks?! Yeah right! I'll wrap her in my jacket instead) Little Rockette was out of the baby carrier and acting pretty fussy. Apparently the fireworks for Zimmerman's home run had spooked her a bit. Plus it was also about time for her to eat.After she had most of a bottle, Little Rockette was calmer. I parked her on my lap and draped my jacket across her while we watched the Nats squander scoring opportunities and play horrible defense. Perfect way to introduce a young fan to Nats baseball.After a late inning trip to the ladies room with mom, we put her back in the baby carrier on my chest for the last few innings, where she soon fell asleep. (Frankly, I don't blame her!) I put my jacket on over the baby carrier and zipped it up as much as possible to try to keep her warmer. She stayed asleep as we made our way through the exiting horde to our car in Lot 8.All in all, it was an uneventful game made a little more adventurous by the weather and the challenges of bring a five month old to the ballpark. Little Rockette handled the experience just about as well as anyone could expect. I'll save the ticket stubs for her and perhaps try to get Zimmerman or Manny Acta to sign one for her. Hopefully someday that's something she'll enjoy. I can't wait to take her again, especially when she's old enough to appreciate the experience.[...]



Grrrr.

2007-05-19T22:43:14.064-04:00

So tonight, the graphic scoreboard on the Nationals broadcast read "O's/WSH."

I really loathe the arrogance of refusing to refer to your own team by the city. But it's infuriating when it extends to the Nationals broadcast. And again, it's just a reminder that the Nationals are still influenced by the mafioso in the Warehouse on West Camden Street.

(Yes, it's much easier to bitch about MASN than write about the Nats' anemic hitting or Manny Acta's penchant for crazy late game pinch hitting and double switches.)



Mister Angelos Screws the Nats

2007-08-03T15:13:56.770-04:00

More MASN bullcrap, and another reminder that the Nationals still have the ugly hand of the ogre up north in their affairs.

This is the Baltimore MASN broadcast...

(image)

O's" and "WSH" are on the graphic scoreboard. Typical Baltimore "we're-a-regional-team" baloney. Nothing new here.

Now look at the Nationals MASN2/DCA 20 broadcast...

(image)

"O's" and "Nats." I mean, that's either insulting or patronizing. I can't decide which.

Both "O's/Nats" and "O's/WSH" are silly on their own. Referring to one team but not another by their city is presumptuous and snobby. That's nothing new for the Baltimore team. Changing the nomenclature of the Nationals on the graphics just for the Baltimore series is even more silly.

But having one on each broadcast is demeaning.

It's minor aesthetic thing. But it's a prime example of why I and other Nationals fans hate the Baltimore franchise, their management, ownership and their sham TV network. (And at the same time, a lot of us don't mind the team and a majority of their fans.)

Yet another reason that while the Baltimore franchise control the Nationals TV rights, Washington does not have a truly independent baseball team.



It is imperative that we crush the crush the O's before the start of the rainy season

2007-05-18T11:16:12.913-04:00

(image) It's bad enough that we have to witness the abomination that is interleague play, this weekend the Baltimore Orioles and their fans come to RFK. If you're going to the stadium this weekend, be sure you're up to date on your shots.

And I hope the Nats aren't letting the enemy mascot in the park this weekend, but I'm prepared to be disappointed.

So let's just say ... a shiny new donkey for whoever brings me the head of the Oriole bird.



Frustration

2007-04-21T12:32:43.895-04:00

(My stupid computer froze and ate an almost finished post. You'd think with my infrequent blogging, the blogger gods would make it easy for me to get a post up. But noooooooooo...)

Last night the Rocket family spent much of the evening taking in the ballgame on the tube, taking advantage of the fact that Dad didn't have to get up at an ungodly hour for work. Little Rockette conked out pretty early, and we finally put her in bed with her pjs on around 10:30, sometime after a few extra innings.

(image) Like Wednesday night, I had to decide how long to stay up and see if the Nats could save Cordero's bacon. After all, with the baby fast asleep, I needed to take advantage of my window to get some sleep of my own.

At the beginning of the 13th, I decided that this would be my last inning. Well next thing I knew, I was waking up on the couch around 11:45 pm with Ray Knight's ugly mug staring at me. I missed Snelling's heroics, as the Nats bailed out the Chief again.

There are a lot of things you could probably say about this one. Shawn Hill - yay. Nats hitters - yay (mostly). Chad Cordero - boo. Manny double-switching Cordero into the eighth spot - huh? (Even if there was a good reason, it sure would have been nice to have someone other than the pitcher up there with men on base.)

But the thing I'll remember is how Friday was the first time I've seen Zimmerman outwardly frustrated, at least this year. Maybe I haven't watched as many games as usual, but he really has seemed fairly unflappable about his slow start. (Even the state-run media has picked up on it.)

(image) So it came as a surprise to me when after Zimm struck out looking in the third inning on an admittedly borderline call, he turned to the ump and jawed at him a little. Then, walking back to the dugout, he appeared to say to himself, "That was a f#$%ing ball. F#$%ing horse$#*&!!" Then, after Joe Borchard hauled in a well struck ball in right field in the top of the eighth, you could see Zimm scream "G*ddammit!" as he rounded first.

(Then there's Cordero, a normally level-headed kid, who screamed "F#$% me!" to himself after Ross's game tying homer in the ninth.)

Is the frustration catching up with Zimm (and Chief)? It'd be totally understandable, but these are guys who are say the right things and are normally pretty level-headed.

I'm just grateful everyone else is doing a pretty good job of picking up their slack.



The Nationals win a game! The Nationals win a game!

2007-04-12T22:32:20.002-04:00

(image)

Who would have imagined? The Nats two-hit the Braves and beat John Smoltz behind Jason Bergmann. (And of course, the Chief gives us all a heart attack nailing down the save in the ninth.)

(image)

It's good to know the Nats can still make me smile.



Growing Pains

2007-04-04T16:41:14.982-04:00

Time to dust off the ol' blog and post some thoughts that have been rattling around my head the last 24 hours.In the wake of Monday's Opening Day drubbing at the hands of the Marlins, a prominent storyline emerging from the media, the Natosphere and the message boards was the horrible fan experience at RFK on Monday. The complaints ranged from the truly disturbing (Raw hotdogs?!) to the comical (WHERE THE F%$# WAS THE KETTLE CORN?????????).For some reason, the focus on the fan experience and not the debacle of a baseball game really bothered me. I expressed that in the comments at Capital Punishment and at YudaChat, which more or less caused people to vigorously defend their complaints.Well, I've thought about why these complaints bother me so much, and I have a few theories.First, let me say right off that some of the more egregious complaints, such as raw hotdogs or a 90 minute traffic jam in the parking lot, are fully understandable. Whoever is responsible for such issues -- whether it be the Nationals, Aramark or DCSEC -- need to be held accountable.But I believe the overwhelming number of complaints and dominance of this storyline across several forms of media -- newspapers, blogs, message boards (and not just the notoriously nitpicky BPG), and radio shows -- speak to a larger issue. As the third year of baseball in DC begins, I still believe that Washington is an immature (or "rusty," if you prefer) baseball town. This cuts two ways, against both the fans at large and the franchise.The Fans: Admittedly, I'm going on hearsay, but apparently after Monday's game, nearly every caller on Sportstalk 980 complained about concession lines and poor service at RFK. And the comment sections of St. Barry's National Journal were full of the same.Not that some of the complaints aren't fully understandable, but not being able to get a hotdog is what bothered fans about Monday? Really? They didn't notice Patterson's stinktastic performance on the mound? They didn't notice the tape measure dingers by the Marlins that landed well into the upper deck? They didn't notice two of our starting players limping off the field with injuries?Maybe I'm the strange one, but when I go to a ballgame, I'm most concerned by what happens on the field. (EDIT: I've ranted about this before. The first time was the third to last paragraph of my Opening Night 2005 post.)Again, if a lot of what people say happened actually occurred, then that's bad and it should be rectified. (Even though RFK is a nearly 50 year old facility with a single freight elevator and antiquated infrastructure.) But I'd hope there'd be more outcry over the fact that the Nats stunk up the field Monday (and Tuesday too).Perhaps the fans have already come to terms with the very real possibility of the Nationals being historically bad in 2007. (I haven't.) But I'm not so sure that's it. The service and the fan experience at RFK has been a common complaint of Nationals fans, even in the midst of the joy of the 2005 season.Look, the Nationals fanbase is still relatively young. What I'm worried about it is Washington developing a "Chavez Ravine" -- arrive in the third, leave in the seventh inning, Blackberry in one hand, premium cocktail in the other -- attitude about baseball.Maybe I'm expecting too much out of today's baseball fan, but the rampant complaints about service when the state of the team is so alarming don't give me a lot confidence about the future of our fanbase.The Franchise: Stanley, Stanley, Stanley. You swept into town last summer preaching the wonders of the fan experience, touting your brisket, knockwurst, bockwurst, bratwurst, sausages, chili, barbecue, crabcakes and more. You've preached the wonders of "Teh Plan!" (w[...]



Through the wickets

2007-02-20T17:30:42.423-05:00

Our old friend Jose Vidro reports to Mariners Spring Training...

(image)

First day of workouts, and it looks like at least a dozen grounders have already gone through his legs.



Amen, brother.

2007-02-15T14:17:51.311-05:00

(image) ...from today's Post:
"Reliever Jon Rauch had his first child -- Aubree Elizabeth -- in December, and he arrived at spring training with a tattoo of his daughter's feet on his right calf. 'We were all ready and prepared,' Rauch said, 'and then she came, and you're not prepared for any of it.'"



Pitchers and Catchers Report Today

2007-02-13T06:41:47.774-05:00

With apologies to the great Ernie Harwell...

For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come;
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.


~Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (KJV)

(image)



I believe the children are our future, unless we stop them now!

2006-12-25T16:47:13.827-05:00

(image) Well, the newest Nats fan has entered the world. Little Rockette was born at 2:22 am Friday morning, weighing in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

Mrs. Rocket and I are very thrilled. We're excited to teach our little one all sorts of new things, like why "The Plan" is our ticket to the promised land, why Cristian Guzman sucks, and why Screech may be the devil incarnate.

With the addition of the little one, more big changes are underway in our lives, and it seems as good a time as any to reflect on where this blog fits in my life.

When the Nats came to town in 2005, I was excited about the newest addition to the Washington sports scene. I started this blog to help enhance my enjoyment of the new team, which I initially intended to follow as an objective observer. However, I quickly became a fan, which is easy to tell from my early posts in April 2005.

I know we all remember how great (most of) the maiden voyage of the 2005 season was for us. Some of my best memories of that summer were the late nights watching the games on the computer while chatting away with the jockjaws at Yuda.org. I honestly don't know if I would stayed sane the summer before my wedding without the Nationals to keep me occupied. I blogged nearly every day during the height of Nationals fever in 2005, even though the frequency died off as the Nationals went into a tailspin and the wedding drew near.

My blogging dropped off in 2006 due to a confluence of major events. I was newly married, we were expecting a child, and I had started a new job with crazy hours. I often didn't get home from work until 8 pm. Under all those circumstances, it's hard to justify spending a lot of time paying attention to the Nats on a daily basis. And if I'm not significantly immersed in the Nats, it's hard for me to have a lot of value to blog about.

(image) Though there were some encouraging signs at the end of the past season. Once Comcast picked up MASN, Mrs. Rocket had the game on the television almost every night when I got home from work. We went to two games in September, and Mrs. Rocket discovered an appreciation for Ryan Zimmerman, which may or may not have something to do with his boyish good looks.

Put that all together, and I'm still not sure where I am in regards to the future of this blog. I've loved writing, and I still want to be able to do it. But I'm not going to write unless I have something of value to say - which won't happen unless I can pay attention to the Nats on a fairly regular basis.

So, like the indecisive wuss that I can be sometimes, I'm going to leave the fate of this blog somewhat open-ended for now. Chances are probably not great that I'll have enough time to pay attention to the Nats on a level great enough to give me stuff to write about. But I will definitely resume frequent blogging if I can, especially if Nats baseball on TV is how Mrs. Rocket and I choose to relax in between diaper changes and colic.



...in with the new

2006-11-14T17:49:08.524-05:00

(image)

What, you expect me to actually write something?!

Seriously, good for the Nats. It sounds like a great hire. A young guy eager to prove himself, but also someone who already commands some respect - both in the Nats clubhouse and throughout baseball.

I already can't wait for spring training.



True Grit

2006-11-14T17:49:08.428-05:00

(image)

We're thinking about you, NJ.



Everybody needs a nemesis

2006-11-14T17:49:08.339-05:00

Well, Mrs. Rocket and I finally made it to a game together during the 2006 season. We bought a pair of $5 rollback tickets in Section 506 for Saturday's game and piled in the car to make the drive into DC from the hinterlands of Prince William County. I had gone to two previous games this year -- Opening Day by myself and a game in July with my brother -- but Mrs. Rocket wanted to go to a game too, a request I was more than happy to accommodate.When you go to only one game out of a 81 home game schedule, you stand a good chance of seeing a pretty unremarkable game. Lord knows we've all sat through boring, poorly played games featuring quadruple-A lineups and retread pitchers. While the Nats have certainly been throwing on the field a fair share of such players in the waning weeks of 2006, Saturday's game was pleasantly remarkable for a number of reasons.First and foremost, it was a quite a joy to see Soriano finally reach the 40 homer, 40 stolen base mark. After Alfonso led off the bottom of the first with a single, it was plainly obvious to everyone in the park that he would be off toward second once the hitter worked a favorable count. Sure enough, he took off on a 2-0 pitch and slid into second without a throw.As we all stood up to applaud, I reflexively looked toward the scoreboard fearing that it would be scored defensive indifference. However, there was nothing to worry about, since it was clear on the replay that the catcher stopped his throwing motion because he didn't have a good grip on the ball.Although the Nationals' season has been rather anticlimatic, there was something special about being in the ballpark for a milestone that has been achieved only four times in history.And I'm glad Mrs. Rocket witnessed it as well. She's shown an increased interest in the Nats this season. During most of season when the WDCA Friday night games were all most of us had on TV, there was many a Friday afternoon where she called me at work and asked me to remind her what channel the game was going to be on that evening. In addition, the TV has been tuned to MASN when I have gotten home from work the past few evenings. So I'm thankful she got to see an historic moment like Soriano's milestone.Almost as significant as witnessing Soriano's 40th steal was the opportunity to FINALLY boo that rat bastard Paul Schrieber. If you need a refresher on the origins of my hatred of this sorry excuse for an umpire, click here, here and here. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly easy to explain to Mrs. Rocket why I consider a silly umpire my baseball nemesis, especially for a call that he made over a year ago.If only I really could squash him like the little bug that he is.And no one's surprise, including my own, I bellowed at him over a few strike calls from my lofty perch in Section 506. I wonder if that schmuck ever did get his peanuts.So we saw Soriano get his 40-40, and I finally got to boo my nemesis. A pretty fulfilling experience for a game that attended because it was one of only ones that could fit in our busy schedule. Now if only I had had the presence of mind to put down my $8.75 plate of nachos to go after the t-shirt the NatPack shot into our section. I chose to protect my food and watch as the t-shirt bounced off the railing in front of the row before me and down to the walkway below. Oh well. The nachos were worth it.And yes, I'm fully aware that not only has it been eight weeks since my last post, this post is about a game that happened four days ago.[...]



If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts...

2006-11-14T17:49:08.246-05:00

Subtitle: "Short answer yes with an if, long answer no with a but."Jim Bowden took seven hours of my life yesterday, and I want them back! Seriously, it was a bit anti-climatic to get all worked up in anticipation of the 4 p.m. trade deadline yesterday and then have nothing happen.My desire before the trade deadline was to see Soriano traded if Bowden and company could get a return that was significantly better than the two compensatory draft picks we would receive if Soriano signed somewhere else as a free agent at the end of the season. (The Nationals have a farm system almost completely bereft of talent. Since the best way to infuse talent into a major league team is to have young talent waiting in the wings, the Nationals needed to restock the farm, even if it means sacrificing someone as popular as Soriano.)Now that Soriano is here to stay for the rest of 2006, here -- in my typical milquetoast manner -- is my opinion presented in the form of "ifs" and "buts".If Jim Bowden only received offers for Soriano that were not a significant upgrade over the compensatory draft picks the Nats would receive if he signs with another team, then a hearty bravo to Jim Bowden for sticking to his guns.But if Cap'n Leatherpants put himself in an impossible negotiating position with his blowhard huckster antics, then I personally want to punch the bag of douche in the face. Nobody really know for sure what Bowden was offered, but if he turned down a B+ package of prospects because he wanted to make out like a bandit and make himself look good, then Bowden truly failed.If the Lerners and Kasten are willing to sign Soriano without diverting resources from the extremely crucial task of rebuilding the farm system and without shortchanging the rest of the payroll, then by all means, re-sign the man and make a ton of Nationals fans very happy.But if signing Soriano to a market contract means we eat up a ton of our budget and don't have the necessary resources to get other things we need, (pitching, pitching, pitching) then it's time to let Fonzie go to the highest bidder and see what we can do with the draft picks.If the Nationals are ready to get some more pieces to complement Soriano, then they should sign him and see if they can make a brief run at contending while the rest of the franchise is rebuilt.But if Bowden still thinks that signing one superstar will solve everything (see: Griffey, Ken Jr.) then it's a very dangerous proposition to resign Soriano and ignore the other glaring holes on the roster.If Soriano truly does love Washington and the Nationals, he will realize the franchise will have a hard time meeting his open-market value because there are so many other holes to fill. He'll realize he may have to settle for less than what the Yankees, Angels or Dodgers might be able to pay him. He'll realize the Nationals need flexibility in personnel to build for a long-term future, and he'll give up his desire to have a no-trade clause in his next contract. There are already some promising signs on that front.But Soriano tends to change his mind a lot, yet be stubborn about things at the same time. Remember he was never going to play left field, until the prospect of losing paychecks changed his mind. Then he was going back to the American League to play second base, until he made the All-Star team and became a hero to many DC fans. I do believe he's sincere right now when he says he loves DC and craves stability and comfort. But an offer of $100 million from an elite tea[...]



OK, he can stay

2006-11-14T17:49:08.152-05:00

(image) ...for now. (You may have noticed I took down the "Fire Me" banner.)

I'm going to reserve final judgement under the assumption that more deals are coming -- which is almost undoubtedly going to be the case.

But on the surface, it looks like Bowden just fleeced his old team.

Basically, we got Kearns and Lopez and change (Wagner) for Majewski and Bray and change (Harris, Clayton, Thompson). Kearns and Lopez are both young and have proven talent. And although we'll miss Bray and Majewski, the trade sure looks like a steal. (I pity the poor Reds fans who think they're getting something worthwhile in Clayton.)

But the trade also confuses me about the direction of the franchise. Aren't we the franchise that should be hoarding young pitchers? If we're building for the future, shouldn't we keep guys like Majewski and Bray? Even Daryl Thompson, although he's recovering from injuries, could be someone to watch in a few years. It's not like we have a lot of these guys to be dealing. Then again, many subscribe to the school of thought that "There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect," due to the fact that a pitcher's development is so complex and hard to predict.

But, like Chris says, relievers are replaceable. And it's not like we're trying to win this year. Lopez and Kearns can be a big part of a contending team in the next few years, and we have plenty of time between now and then to round the relief pitching corps.

I know the Reds made this deal because they view themselves as contenders who "buyers", needing to shore up their bullpen. But this doesn't come across as a "selling" move by the Nationals. We received quite a bit and didn't give up all that much. Pitchers can implode and self-destruct - while Kearns and Lopez are young, talented and under club control through 2008.

We know one thing for an almost certainty: There are more trades coming, and things should make more sense after that. Soriano, Guillen, Livan, Vidro could all still be flipped for propects, hopefully including a few high-end ones.

But if things don't make sense after the trades are done, and JimBo has been wheeling and dealing without some semblance of strategy -- then the "Fire Me" banner goes back up.



Why God, Why?

2006-11-14T17:49:08.063-05:00

Why the hell should I care about a team that's going to be run by this crazy-ass douchebag?

(image)

We all know Bowden is a Grade A brown-noser. I guess our only hope is that his lips are glued so firmly to Kasten's ass that he follows Kasten's vision to the letter.

It could happen; sucking up to the Lerners is how he got the job in the first place.

I'm still $#!*-ing pissed.



Them wild-eyed boys that had been away

2006-11-14T17:49:07.978-05:00

Well, winning is fun, isn't it?Honestly, I can't say I've been watching very much or even listening. Life is so busy right now. I have a new job with weird hours and a commute that leaves me literally with only one hour of non-work time at home per weekday. With a newlywed wife and a baby on the way, it's awful hard to justify spending much of that hour on baseball.But I do read Svrluga's game stories and the message boards on most days. I watch as much as I can of the Nats rare appearances on DCA 20, FOX and ESPN.So I'm not completely ignorant of what's going on. And I do have stuff to say from time to time, but I rarely have time to post it here on the blog. When do I have the chance, sometimes my thoughts are old news.There's a lot going on with the Nats, and here's some of what I think about Alfonso Soriano:Soriano is having an unreal year. He's making all of us who decried the trade look a little foolish. I think it was a questionable trade when it was made, but sometimes these things work out.It would be great to keep Soriano, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking it's simply a matter of the Lerners making a huge offer. Soriano has to want to stay here.Soriano would be stupid to give up his free agency and sign before the end of the year. He's likely going to test the market.If it becomes clear he won't sign before the trade deadline, the Nats would be irresponsible not to explore every possibility for a trade. There are plenty of teams who could use his bat and could offer us a nice package of mid- to top-line prospects. As much as we like the guy, we have to think about the long-term future of the franchise.If we test our luck in the free agency market with him, we could lose him for only draft picks. And since the teams who would be most likely to sign him are good teams, it would be a lower pick in the first round.If Soriano is indeed traded, Nationals fans CANNOT take this as evidence that the Lerners are going to be cheap and that Washington is doomed to lousy teams like the Senators. Franchises that are CONSISTENTLY competitive build good young players in the franchise. Trading Soriano is a rare chance to get 2, 3 or 4 good young players to be part of a consistent winning tradition. It would NOT mean the Lerners are giving up and planning to make this team another Kansas City or Tampa Bay type franchise.Sure, we all want to win right now. And there's a small chance we could stay really hot and get into the mix this year. But if we lose Soriano after the year with only a low first round pick to show for it, we will have missed a huge chance to add a handful of players who can be part of a consistent winning tradition. I'm certainly willing to suffer through the rest of 2006 and 2007 in order to build a franchise that can win consistently over many years starting when the new stadium opens.It usually takes around 90 wins to make the playoffs. With a record of 28-33 before Friday night's game, the Nats would have to go 62-39 over the rest of the season. That's not easy. Hanging on to Soriano in order to try to win in 2006 (with the risk of losing him in the off-season) would be pinning much of our hopes on 2006. That would be irresponsible.[...]