Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Being Professional

If Chad Cordero makes a mistakes--he fesses up. So does Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns and Ronnie Belliard. Not one of these five players for Our Washington Nationals makes excuses for a bad effort. That honesty is something Washington is missing right now.

You can blame all Our Woes On Management; On Personnel; On Fate--if you so desire. But, how many of you were claiming Our Washington Nationals had a potentially potent lineup BEFORE the 2008 Season Began? And a very strong bench? Many, if I recall. Right now, injuries and bad starts have curtailed forward movement. This team is struggling. Some of which is beyond any one's control.

When your bench players become starters--your team is in trouble.

Wily Mo Pena and FLop aside (because they simply are not producing)--The Growing Disabled List has hurt Our Everyday Lineup. "Z", NJ, "Bluegrass" and "The Ballplayer" give their all every single time out on the field. And, "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" is a stand up guy. If the "Chief Cardiologist" fails in any ball game--Chad Cordero posts up at his locker and takes the heat--and responsibility. Fault--many on Our Current Roster are unwilling to meet.

A good attitude is a necessity for an athlete.

No one can tell me that missing FIVE KEY PLAYERS has not hurt Our Lineup. No one can tell me "They weren't playing well beforehand because they are BAD BALLPLAYERS." That's a bunch of crap. Each and everyone of those five players are professional. And as badly as Austin Kearns began 2008--he is nowhere near an under .200 hitter. A terrible start which also has affected his STELLAR defensive capabilities.

Sometimes players go in a rut. And sometimes, cumulatively, things don't go a team's way.

But, as far as I am concerned--these five players LOVE THE GAME and compete every single night--whether or not they are always successful. Eight Players on The Disabled List curtails ANY PROGRESS. Especially when those guys are willing to take the pressure. Numbers 32, 11, 24, 25 & 10 take responsibility. They are veterans and each and everyone one of them--understands what it takes to be A PROFESSIONAL.

Our Washington Nationals miss that. Much of which--has hurt our capabilities through the first 67 games of 2008. Don't discount that fact--no matter how much you want to place blame on someone. Anyone--for that matter.

Questioning is fine. Debating is fine. Not looking at the overall picture is selling the situation short. Few can win with half your everyday lineup injured.

"The Ballplayer" was the difference in tonight's affair at PNC Park against The Pittsburgh Pirates. You can give Elijah Dukes Credit for his two out double in the top of the ninth. You can give Lastings Milledge Credit for his game winning Two Run Homer--moments later. That was SWEET!!--even for me. But, you can't discount The Professionalism of Ronnie Belliard tonight. Our Number 10 was the spark plug--energy missing over the past few weeks with Our Washington Nationals being shorthanded.

He led by example.

Professionalism needed in Manny's lineup with Cordero, Zimmerman, Johnson & Kearns still missing.

Our Washington Nationals are a far better team than shown so far this season. A turnaround possible, if all their expected regulars return to every day duty.

Just look at what Ronnie Belliard provided at PNC Park this evening in a 7-6 Thriller over The Pittsburgh Pirates. He was The Game Changer.

The Professional.

We miss all of them.

Tonight's InGame Photo--(AP) Gene J. Puskar

PS--Take a look at this link of Manny getting hot at Elijah Dukes after Milledge's Home Run. Good Stuff. Really sends home the message written in my post above. What I don't know is if Milledge also got dressed down--for showing off. Boy--would I ever wish to ask Manny about that.


Anonymous said...

You need to see MLB.com's videocaps and see the confrontation between Elijah and Manny in the dugout after the Milledge homer. It illustrates the point you have been mentioning time and time again...

Screech's Best Friend said...

Wow--great video on that Pittsburgh Broadcast. Never seen Manny SO HOT--LIKE EVER!! Good for him, for attempting to curtail crap like that. It's got to stop. In the long run--it's only going to hurt the team.

At this link: for those who want to see the video:


JayB said...

I completely agree with your thoughts on professionalism. Probably the biggest disappointment of this season until last night was the ineffective way Acta has dealt with this issue. Well done Manny. This could well be the turning point of the franchise, if they can close ranks behind their leader and starting learning how to be baseball players. Great News really.

Brandon said...

I don't see the video. The default video that loads there is the game recap, which doesn't show the confrontation. Loading the Milledge homer clip shows them going into the dugout, but nothing more.

janet said...

There's a link through the Nationals Inquisition blog. http://www.natsnq.com/?p=451

Scott said...

MLB seems to have dropped the video. They should have left it up. It would have been the highlight for the past few weeks.

I have become quite disappointed in the poor character that we have been saddled with by the Lerners, Kasten and Bowden. They have chosen to build a team of immature athletes who I, quite frankly, have a difficult time supporting.

This is not the first incident. How about Duke's showing up the umpire before and after his home run trot.(Disappointing to read Manny's public response) There are little things also. Milledge drops his bat on home plate after a call ball four. The opposing catcher kicked the bat aside.

I wouldn't be surprised if a few high and tight come their way. The problem is that they still probably won't get the message.

I have strongly supported the Plan but I am beginning to think I need to take a closer look at the people at the wheel. I don't know if they understand the big picture and what motivates a fan. The win/loss record is only part of it. I can not be proud of the lack of character and sportsmanship I see in the 2008 version. I had so much more fun last year - ballpark and all.

brandon said...

Thanks janet.

VCUAlum Kyle said...

This is the second showing in two weeks of Manny making public displays to the players. Last week Bergmann ( I still dont know what happened) and now Dukes. Is Milli going to be in the dog house aswell?

Scott, I have to agree with you last season the 2007 campaign was my favorite season of all 3 yrs in D.C. I know it was not the best record season like '05 but I think the players, the stadium (RFK), and the team just made it great. I have only been to two games at Nats Park and I still dont feel like I am at home (no pun intended to the Nats ad campaigns). I don't feel like I connect to any of the players this year and I dont see any HEART. I feel the '08 team has given up including the coaches.

I am curious to see what happens the rest of the season with Dukes. I have a feeling he will be gone soon (and good riddens).

PS: It was good to see Ronne B back. He was my 3rd fav player behind Zim and D.Young.

Natsgusted said...

It's about time Manny kicked some tail. But where was he to argue the ground ball to 3rd safe call in the 1st?

You have to take the bad with the good, right? After all - Dukes is hitting .200 with 1 hr.

Actually, Dukes should be released today.

SenatorNat said...

Well, at least we can have faith in Jesus - Flores, that is: he exhibits NONE of the behavior exhibited by our Floridian CF & RF - those two looked like they might start rolling across the grass in a tumbling self-congratulatory embrace just before the bottom of the 9th started! The night before, #44 acted like he had won the WS when he doubled, went to third on a heads-up play, and trotted home on Flores terrific sacrifice line-out to left. His running through the stopsign early in the game last night, out by a mile at third, certainly was a bonehead play. If I were among the veterans on the bench, cast on my hand or not, when Milledge arrived in the dugout after that ridiculous stunt, I would have offered my helmet to him, saying "Put the money in here - Put the money in here" and then spit...

The good news - Milledge and Dukes may actually have major league ability - something I was none too certain of earlier this year - IF they can mature and QUICKLY - and understand that even a blind pig gets a key hit occasionally, so-to-speak, then they could be vital parts of a building team...

We know that Flores and Guzman are pros who can play for a while longer in their positions, should Fast Eddie Cohen permit Guz to be re-signed. We know that Belliard and Boone are exceptional high-quality utility players who would accent any team. We know that a healthy Z-Man, while probably overrated as a franchise player, certainly can be plugged in at 3rd for many years and, on a really good team, would be an excellent number 5 hitter in the line-up. And, that, is how much we know.

This is what we DON'T know is everything else, virtually. Of the outfielders, Milledge and Dukes seem to have the raw ability, but Milledge is really a hot-dog (irritatingly immature) and Dukes is a calculated emotional risk, at best.

WM Pena seems overmatched as a major league outfielder and is not hitting with any sense of authority whatsoever. Kearns has a track record of being a better than average fielder and an average major league hitter in his position in right. Odds are that, at most, only two of the four will pan out - my guess is Milledge and Kearns, but only a guess. There is a fair chance that one (Milledge) or none will be pivitol parts of a winning Nationals team...

Pitching: Lannan and Hill potentially part of a stellar starting rotation for a winning Nationals team, with jury out on whether Hill will ever be healthy.

Relievers: Rauch seems like long-term set-up guy -invaluable piece of the equation - but Cordero may have permanently lost speed, which would be his demise since he has none to lose. Rivera a workhorse. Everyone else expendable, it would seem.
Bench: as said, Belliard, Boone, and add D.Young, good assets.

Deficits: FLOP at second or anywhere due to attitude and marginal hitting overall and no clutch hitting. Johnson's health at first.

There are virtually no hitters down on the farm ready to step up now or in2009 to fill-in or spark the fire.

Lerners brag about "spending plenty on stadium updates" (HDTV; bathrooms in the biggest luxuary suites; etc.) but do not cite as offsets such items as dropping the iconic baseball in center due to its $8 million pricetag. They talk incessantly about spending money on building back-up a farm system, yet by being given the trust of the Nation's Capital's team without having to contribute any sweat equity for years prior as competing groups did, they are a bit like Milledge - a bit too pulbicly self-congratulatory for merely doing their job...

They did say many times since taking over the team that they had built a culture, and that, along with the new stadium, "Washington was a place that free agents are going to want to come to..."

And, finally - Kasten's comments in Boswell's column suggests that keeping all the players including Soriano, from 2006 would be an additional $50 million. No, it would not be - since LoDuca and Estrada, for example, and their $6.5 million would not be part of the base: i.e., it is not a full $50 million plus-up, but a net-up probably of $35 million. Translates, in an honest comparison for argument's sake, into a total payroll for 2008 of $70-75 million, hardly extravagant in terms of the pricing of the high-end seats and suites.

Trust in Plain Talking. All Good (But Curious).

paul said...

GREAT to see Belliard back and DY back in form. Except for opening night, this would have been the best win of the year if not for the drama after the homerun and after the game.

Short of protecting people physically, an outburst like Manny's last night is not a constructive way to get your message across and change guys' behavior, although if I were in his shoes with this team I'd probably have checked in to St. E's by now.

I was basically anti-Milledge and pro-Dukes when the deals were made. I think Dukes could still have a good year, and Milledge has really performed better than I expected, with no protection around him in the line-up. Both of them have behaved better than they ever have, too.

Milledge is totally spontaneous and doesn't mean to show people up. Dukes obviously still has some issues. Even with Manny cursing him out in front of a TV audience, not high-fiving your manager after the game is a bad scene. Maybe Dr. Phil could do a week of coaches and their players: Jon Gruden and Chris Simms, Manny and Elijah, Gregg Williams and that linebacker we had who went to the Giants and then retired, PJ Carlesimo and Latrelle Sprewell, and Jim Leyland and Barry Bonds. Reggie Jackson could co-host.

I have just read Monday's postings, and I agree that the green promotion on Monday night was just plain weird. (Full disclosure: I am a left wing nutjob. Did I spell nutjob correctly?)

Were we promoting the planet or just a new channel? What does an overweight chef have to do with environmentalism? Are the Nats going to suddenly start to recycle? During the three hours last week, we were standing around captive, and the green folks could have taken over the place. Hand out coupons for fluorescent light bulbs or little nuggets about how wasteful we are, give prizes to people stepping off the Metro--do ANYTHING, although such acts might have further alienated the scary subset of our fan base that still drives SUV's with American flag decals. (Full disclosure: I have two American flags flying outside my condo.)

On Monday, I dressed in green again--admittedly as empty a gesture as the aforementioned SUV decal--and, like most fans again, got bupkis. The players were disrespected, too. It's fine to wear pink for breast cancer research or green for environmental consciousness, but it's not fine to change your clothing for a cable channel. I can't imagine the Nats will do such a promotion again.

6th and D said...


Felony charges and lawsuits and restraining orders havn't changed Dukes' bahavior and you think Manny didn't use the proper approach to get his point across? I'm an old Senators fan and didn't like it that we had Denny McLean. This guy? Please. I'd like to see him cut.

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen many people comment on the fact that Bowden was in the office behind closed doors with Manny and Dukes. To me it speaks volumes on who is and isn't controlling this team any why this team has become disfuntional.