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Preview: Capitol Punishment

Capitol Punishment

Bitter rantings by a sometimes-analytical fanboy who loves the Washington Nationals, even though you probably can't tell 3/4 of the time.

Updated: 2018-03-13T03:27:52.405-04:00


Who Are The Most Natinals Players?


Sometime this week, the Nationals will clinch the National League Eastern Division.  The pennant will be theirs.  And while there are some who consider it gauche since we've never worn a uniform, we'll all consider it ours too.  We've been there since the beginning, suffering through year after year of lousy play, lousy players, lousy managing, lousy broadcasting, etc.  So it's time to shovel

Boots on their Throats


I was looking up a little more info about how the Wild Card works this year.  Everyone's focused on how much a disadvantage the Wild Card teams are this year... but there's a flip side to that.  Because they're so disadvantaged, there's an EXTRA advantage to having the best record in the league. First, as you know, there are two Wild Card teams.  The season ends on a Wednesday.  Those two teams

Whatever That Kid's Name Is


I'm old.  I don't have time for trivial details... So we drafted a guy who's very likely to need Tommy John surgery, and we're supposed to hail this as some great pick with no real downside.  I get it.  If healthy, he's a great value.  If healthy, Nick Johnson's a Hall of Famer.  If healthy and ripped, I'm winning Mr. Universe too. To get it out of the way: I'd have made the pick.  In the

Everything and Nothing, All the Same


Ever read one of those terrible essays (or written one -- it's ok to admit it) that starts out "Webster's Dictionary defines "turpitude" as..."? Know what the sportswriter (especially hack blogger) version of that is? If someone had told you that the Nats would be in first place at the end of April, despite no Mike Morse, despite an injured Ryan Zimmerman, despite a combined left-field



Prince Fielder signing with the Nats: "There's the big bat in the middle of the order! Woo-hoo!"Prince Fielder signing with someone other than the Nats: "Nine years, $214 million for that fatass?! Good luck, suckers!!!"

Square Pegs and Oranges


Silly rumor season has started, and some of the buzz has been about the Nats hoping to find a leadoff hitting centerfielder like Mr. Bourn. All I think of when I see that? AAIEIEIEIEIEEEEEEEE Ever since the Nats moved here in 1987, they've tried EVERY SINGLE YEAR to find a lead-off hitting centerfielder. Here's the problem: there just aren't that many leadoff hitting CFers. Lemme qualify

Innings, Pitches, Bananas & Pears


Having secured his first win in four tries as manager of the Washington Nationals, Davey Johnson has shifted his focus to creating a better machine. Today's topic: giving his starting pitchers "a longer leash".For longtime Nationals fans (let's just presume such a description applies to fans of a club created in 2005), the subject of getting more innings out of the starters this season might seem

Mules and Racehorses


Boy, did Jim Riggleman ever figure out how to draw attention his way or what? All of a sudden, not only the local beatwriters but also the national columnists can diagram intricate portraits of Riggleman's psyche, as if Riggleman's growing frustration and resentment had been a story simmering on the stove of the entire baseball media. Two days ago, your average baseball fan might not have even



Jim Riggleman resigned as manager of the Nationals today. After they won in walk-off fashion, sweeping the Mariners, and pulling the team's record above .500 for the first time since the day before Marbury v. Madison came out. All because he felt disrespected? I'll reserve the "Go to hell, Jim Riggleman!" title for Needham when he pops in.Is there any way to interpret this other than that

So, Um, Any Good Games Lately?


I was busy spending $300 at Wegmans, so I missed tonight's game. Anyone have a recap? After thinking about the post below, here's what caught my eye when I thought about it a bit: the Nats are 10th in runs. Now 10th isn't anything to write home about, but that's a marked improvement from where they were a month ago. And it's at the high end of what reasonable expectations were. Yet, if you

Is this thing still on???


It seems as though Needham is occupied by, among other things, annoying people on Twitter. Consequently -- although precisely nobody has asked for this -- I thought I'd check in on his behalf.During the last dispatch, around Memorial Day, the Nats were described in these pages thusly: "Third worst in baseball. Last in the East. Yep. That's about right." What has happened since then? Well, let us

Ah, Memorial Day


They (and they're usually right) always say that you shouldn't really pay attention to where the team is 'til Memorial Day. Hot starts merge with cold streaks. Slow starts (coughmorsecough) become torrid. After 55 games or so, things start evening out a bit. So where are we? Third worst in baseball. Last in the East. Yep. That's about right. More broadly (stats heading into today),

I Know You're Angry Too!


Five years or so ago, when I used to blog every day, a dumb column from one of the professional writers could really angry up my blood. Looking back, I can't really figure out why. I suppose I was too close to the subject, recreationally and emotionally. Even if my thoughts on the Nationals only mattered to perhaps a dozen other people out there, those thoughts mattered to me. I recall this

I'm Angry!


So it turns out that Adam LaRoche, Washington's okayish solution at first base, is not in fact okay. LaRoche's shoulder is hurt. And not just hurt, but really hurt, the kind of hurt that only medical science peppered with a bit of the miraculous can fix. Whoopsies.Meaning no disrespect to LaRoche, this news strikes me on the surface as more of an annoyance than a tragedy. Whatever happens from



The primary benefits of the rise of online journalism -- relative immediacy and increased coverage space -- are also its greatest drawbacks. What's the line between "news" and "dreck"? It's hard to discern sometimes, so you assume the risk by clicking on a link that you'll end up wasting a minute or two of your life reading the content therein. "Sure, go around and wade in that sea of seemingly

A Timeless Sentiment


From Baseball Prospectus:Whether another team gives [Felipe] Lopez an opportunity is to be seen, but he seems like a player who could fit on a few teams. Sure he could. I mean, what is this, the fourth consecutive baseball season in which this musing has been uttered? He's the Rasputin of indolence!



My wife and I made the hundred-mile drive up to Nationals Park yesterday -- our only Nats game for this season, perhaps. Frankly, we scheduled to come up for the Giants series pretty much because Brandon Belt, who looked like a moderately-capitalized version of Roy Hobbs for Double-A Richmond, was San Francisco's starting first baseman when we made our plans. But then he got sent down to Fresno.

Das Boot


Gone are the fireworks. Here is some sort of sub-based AWOOOOOGA. The Bog has the story. A few things caught my eye... First... Is Andy Feffer the dumbest goddamn person on earth? Does he realize how terrible he sounds? Does he know what he's actually saying, or has the man who worked for the Charlotte Bobcats and worked for the weakest union in pro sports -- so weak, that they never found

Now That The Weekend Is Over...


GO EFF YOURSELF GREINKE!!! That's more of a twitter post. Apologies. (I'm sorta starting to kinda sort maybe just a tiny bit feeling good about this team.... i mean they suck... but the sum of their suck is greater than (or would it be lesser suck?) than their individual sucky parts. Sometimes. Of course the starting pitching isn't this good... they're iced-down stinky fish. It's a

Did You Hear The One About The Overhyped Player?


If there's one thing we learned last night (aside from heart/hustle/grit) it's that you don't need to start your weak-hitting, left-handed centerfielder against a left-handed starter, a lesson that Jim Riggleman hasn't really learned this year and didn't really learn last year. (Segue warning!) Nyjer Morgan was on the bench last night and 'respectfully' declined to speak to the media before the

Spit take


Every baseball team, including the Tampa Bay Rays, uses a clean-up hitter, in the sense that the clean-up hitter bats fourth. Teams don't have to call the guy the clean-up hitter; that's the long-time naming convention, but I suppose they could call him Ray, and they could call him Jay . . . However, somebody must bat fourth in every team's batting order. Stretching the principle that sometimes a

Something Something Rob Dibble Something Something


When Washington Nationals fans absolutely, positively have stay informed about the hot topics concerning the team -- such as, for example, what Rob Dibble thinks about Barry Bonds -- there is only one place to turn: the Washington Examiner, home of Jim Williams's Emmy-winning, free-from-the-bounds-of-proper-syntax-and-spelling-and-comma-usage brand of journalism. Recounting "a very candid,and

An entirely NEW way to watch the Nationals lose!


Well, sort of. For Christmas, alms-giving people that we are, my wife and I purchased iPod Touches. Not for family or friends or our neighbors or the less fortunate, mind you, but for ourselves; I guess that's the mechanics of it, since we got them for each other. I got hers and she got mine -- and that's not even true since I was sick the weekend we bought them, so she ended up going to the

Like Christmas Eve After You Learn About Santa


That's basically the way I feel about tomorrow. I'm excited... it IS Christmas after all. But I'm not as excited as I was when I was a wee li'l boy in 2005. It's still a damn good day. Just not as magical and special as it was. And as a kid, I as singularly focused on what was in front of me... now? I'm just as interested in looking around, and seeing what presents everyone else is opening.

My Favorite Nyjer Morgan Memories