Thursday, June 07, 2007
Cashing In On The Future
On the day Our Washington Nationals looked to the future by picking a TOP RATED Lefthanded Pitcher with the Number 6 pick in The 2007 Entry Draft--another of their young lefthanded throwers reminded EVERYONE--"Don't Forget About Me". Yes, Ross Detwiler fell into the laps of Washington with that 6th pick. A polished collegiate star ranked highly on most every draft board. Yet, Our Matt Chico showed both management and fans this afternoon at RFK Stadium he is ready right now. Number 47 pitched HIS FINEST GAME OF HIS EMERGING MAJOR LEAGUE CAREER.
Yeah, We lost on a TOWERING opposite field drive to right center by former Montreal Expos Jason Bay off Chad Cordero today. But really, it didn't matter--This 2007 Season is about finding talent and building, not only a New Stadium, but Our Team. Our Franchise moving forward to 2008 and beyond. This Gorgeous Thursday Afternoon Matt Chico was FABULOUS going seven very strong innings. Only being touched by a Freddie Sanchez two run homer to left in the top of the third. Our "ON THE JOB TRAINING" starter continues to improve, impress--and most importantly--show confidence. Matt threw 104 pitches today--gave up 4 hits, 3 walks, leaving with the game tied at two. Honestly, if you are looking for improvement, something to grab ahold of and cherish--take a look at Chico. During April and Early May--this fine young man couldn't find the Strike Zone at times. Many fans were asking for his head--"Send him down!!" they cried--demoralize him, before he had the real chance to learn.
Look at him now. Sure, he's still got a long way to go. But, you know what--Matt Chico has been OUR MOST DEPENDABLE STARTER all year long. Each and every 5th day he takes his customary turn. More and more each and every start--this 23 Year Old gets better and better. The African Queen and I enjoyed his confidence in Spring Training. Today, that courage and grit he's shown is helping to make Chico a Quality Major League Starter. Can you imagine how good that Livan Hernandez Deal will look if Garrett Mock gets over his right knee problems. Mock, with a power body-reminiscent of Roger Clemens--is a superior talent. Both youngsters, acquired for The Most Entertaining Number 61--could fill two spots in Our Nationals Rotation for years to come.
That's progress. That's CASHING IN ON YOUR FUTURE!!
A Winning Destiny improved even more this afternoon when Our General Manager Jim Bowden swooped in and nabbed Ross Detwiler with the sixth pick in the draft. Now, I am not going to sit here and write how much I know about this Missouri State Star. I will leave that to Brian Oliver over at Nationals Farm Authority. That man knows his stuff and follows all the drafts, players and minor leagues better and more thorough than I could ever approach. But, knowing Our Scouting Director Dana Brown--I trust his judgement implicitly. When you have spent 5 years dealing with Major League Baseball and all its cheapness--yet still have the wherewithal to draft Collin Balester, Chad Cordero, Bill Bray, Colton Willems, Chris Marrero and, of course, Ryan Zimmerman--you know your stuff. Dana Brown understands pitching. That's a fact I truly believe. Brown is one of the most talented scouts in the game. He works for Our Washington Nationals. And, once Brown helps select that talent, Assistant General Manger Bob Boone knows how to harness it. We are building a winning team, both on and off the field.
Despite what many have sniped and clawed at The Nationals Management Group--The Lerners--To me, all this effort appears to be building a solid foundation. This is an exciting time. And, as I mentioned to The African Queen on the way to RFK Stadium this morning--This Thursday, Draft Day--is the biggest day for Our Franchise in some time. Today--Alfonso Soriano, Jose Guillen pay off. Competent and thorough Scouting and Player Development are choosing our future.
Yeah--Our Washington Nationals are cashing in today. And, Our Future is far greater than today's frustrating 3-2 loss. A defeat served up in stunning fashion. "The Chief" Chad Cordero was called on by Our Manager Manny Acta to keep the game tied, and give Washington a chance to take this one in the bottom of the ninth. But, after 12 straight scoreless innings over his past appearances--"The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" made one mistake this afternoon--a HUGE ONE--serving up a pitch right in Jason Bay's wheelhouse. Bay, a fine young power hitter--wasn't going to miss that gift. Jason hammered the baseball to right centerfield and over the wall for the game deciding homer. A game winning hit not one minute after Our Washington Nationals showed Our General Manager Jim Bowden's Press Conference Remarks about Detwiler on the JumboTron in right. What a coincidence.
You had to laugh. Baseball is the great equalizer. While cashing in on the future--the present brought everyone back to reality. All this in A Real World Dimitri Young refuses to realize. How else can you explain his OTHER WORLDLY Performance over the past few weeks. Again today, Number 21 was not to be denied--CLUBBING a two strike fastball off Ian Snell in the bottom of the first, batting lefthanded, over the 380 Foot Sign in right center--giving Our Washington Nationals an early 2-0 lead. An advantage only short lived--until Sanchez popped his two run shot off Chico in the 3rd.
From there, this game was all about pitching, good pitching, in fact. There were only 7 hits all day. Washington's three hits all of the extra base variety. Young's Home Run, The Ryan's (Church & Zimmerman) socking opposite field blasts to the power alleys. Neither would score, unfortunately.
Despite the frustrating loss, I couldn't be unhappy. Today, was about the Our Future. Today, was about Building A Foundation. Today was about a new found left handed starter dropped into our lap. Today was about a young lefthander in Matt Chico that turned a huge corner in his development.
Today, was about Cashing In On Our Future. Today was about The Posterity of Our Washington Nationals.
Game Notes & Highlights:
In the top of the second, Pittsburgh's Catcher Ronny Paulino was on first with a two out walk--Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson sharply grounded down the 3rd baseline past the diving Zimmerman. My Main Man!! Ryan Church tracked it down in the left field corner, Paulino running all the way--attempting to score from first. No doubt, Ronny thought he was going to score. Unfortunately, for The Pirates, Number 19 reeled off A PERFECT THROW TO THE PLATE. Really, it could not have been better. On the fly, Our Catcher Brian Schneider caught the ball, rotated to his left and tagged out the standing up Paulino to end the inning. Home Plate Umpire Mike Winters with the Flamboyant Out Call at the plate to end the inning. Not a single Nats Fan among the 25,622 in attendance did not appreciate Ryan's Effort. My Main Man!!! received a well deserved Standing Ovation for The Defensive Play of This Game.
FLop, still wearing those terrific White Shoes and High Red Socks, struggled mightily today--weak ground outs and not enough energy in the field. Apparently, Manny Acta noticed this also. Ronnie Belliard replaced Felipe Lopez in the top of the 6th. Not sure if FLop was sick, injured or just didn't have it. But, Manny had seen enough. I am interested in hearing what is said about Lopez. Felipe just seemingly not into the game, mentally, the past two days.
Again, Our Washington Nationals can't seem to call the baseball on pop ups. Church, Ryan Langerhans and Cristian Guzman lumbered to a pop up today, no one seemingly in control-until Langerhans looking right at the ball took control and caught the baseball. Austin Kearns and FLop the same thing. Kearns finally catching the baseball. Church, Guzman and Zimmerman on another. Eventually, Number 19 ran hard to retrieve the ball. Dimitri Young and FLop on an infield pop to second. No one in control--Dimitri took the baseball. This is not difficult guys. No reason to be afraid. Just CALL THE BALL, CATCH IT!! Please don't make it more difficult than it really is.
As a side note--today Our Washington Nationals lost the very first game all season at RFK Stadium started by Matt Chico. Matt was not saddled with a loss (Chad Cordero was), but Washington was undefeated in the six previous games started by Chico before this afternoon.
Angela--One of The NatPack Crew sang The National Anthem Today. She was TERRIFIC. Great Voice. Nice Rendition. After the 7th inning stretch, I went over and thanked her for the performance. I am sure many today had NO IDEA Angela is a NatPacker.
Already, Our Washington Nationals have 4 Ryans--Zimmerman, Church, Langerhans & Wagner. Austin Kearns' middle name is Ryan. Today, Washington picked another Zimmerman, this one named Jordan--a pitcher from Wisconsin Stevens-Point. Jordan is the first name of Brian Schneider's wife. Now, how Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is this becoming. Is everyone on our Washington Nationals going to be related in some way??
Finally, when The Racing Presidents showed up in the Tunnel to the left of Section 320 today, they were each wearing their Home White Nationals Jersey. The Uniform Number corresponding to their Presidency. It was funny to notice for the first time that those Jerseys are sponsored by GEICO. The Geico patch sewn on the lower left side of each uniform. But, the funniest part was the patch itself. Our Washington Nationals wear a "DC" with Stars Patch on their left sleeve. The Presidents wear a Starred Patch with The Geico Gekko!! I would LOVE TO HAVE THAT PATCH!!!
Kathy--sitting next to me in Section 320, pondered the following question. Why is it in the GEICO television commercials, The Gekko has a British Accent? Is not Geico the Government Employees Insurance Company? That's pretty American to all of us. It was good question. An answer which we do not have. By the way, I must acknowledge Dave, Kathy's Husband who showed up for this afternoon's game moments after arriving from an overseas flight from Europe. Dave had been on foreign travel for some time and was kind enough to tell me he read The Nats320 Blog each and everyday for information. Pleased was I to hear SBF's International Following is expanding.
Ross Detwiler Photo--(AP)--Phelan M. Ebanhack
Today's InGame Photos--(AP)--Pablo Martinez Monsivais