Sunday, June 22, 2008

Nearly


Wily Mo Pena nearly caught Ian Kinsler's drive on the second pitch of the game tonight at New Nationals Park. Instead, Wily Mo deflected the baseball over the fence for a home run. The moment setting off a series of near misses all night long.

Washington Starter Garrett Mock nearly got out of a first inning of trouble before allowing The Texas Rangers David Murphy to torch him for a two run double over the head of Elijah Dukes in right field. The results--an early 3-0 lead for Texas.

Our Washington Nationals nearly fought back to tie and take the lead in the bottom of the 5th. Down by two runs, Washington loaded up the bases with nobody out--only to see Elijah Dukes hit into a run scoring double play and Lastings Milledge ground out to third base to kill the rally.

Followed in the 6th by FLop nearly laying down a bunt with runners on first and second, nobody out. Instead, Felipe Lopez struck out badly. But that was not all the near misses in that same bottom of the 6th as Washington loaded up the bases after FLop flailed. Only to see Pena and Kory Casto nearly drive in the tying and go ahead runs. Our Number 26 flying out meekly and Our Number 5--battling during a terrific ten pitch at-bat, eventually sending a looping liner to Rangers shortstop Michael Young.

Lead Nearly Taken, Game Lost For Sure--when Charlie Manning and Brian Sanches were sent to the mound in the top of the 7th for Our Washington Nationals and blew this game wide open. 10 Texas Rangers hitters would step to the plate to face them. Seven of whom scored. Nearly sending the Home Faithful to their cars and Metro before the 7th Inning Stretch even commenced.

Actually the sight of aisles and aisles of fans leaving the park was pretty amazing. A rain storm was actually coming, how fitting--"The Human Rain Delay" trotted out to put a dampening to the Texas 7th Inning Thunder. But that only set the stage for Jesus Colome to nearly make it out of this game unscored upon himself. Nearly no one for Our Washington Nationals was untouched tonight. The Rangers got to Our Number 43 for two more scores in the 8th and 9th to bring this near public flogging to an end.

Not many were on hand to witness the ending.

With the rains beginning, nearly the entire crowd had left New Nationals Park by the 9th frame. Leaving Our Washington Nationals pondering how they lost 13-3, in a blowout that hard as it may seem to believe--they nearly had the chance to win.

Really they did--until that awful seven run 7th inning. Instead, they NEARLY got their brains beaten out.

Game Notes & Highlights

Garrett Mock deserved better tonight. Wily Mo Pena didn't help him when he made a terrible play at the wall in left field off Kinsler's eventual leadoff homer in the top of the 1st inning. The replays showed Wily Mo closing his glove too soon--before the ball reached his padded mitt. Mock struggled through the remainder of the first frame--but settled down nicely to complete sixth innings. A decent effort--striking out eight and showing he has the talent to be a Major League Pitcher. Maybe not a top of the rotation pitcher--but an effective 3rd or 4th starter. Garrett just needs some more experience in The Big Leagues--which will not happen anytime soon when he was optioned back to AAA Columbus immediately after tonight's game.

Paul LoDuca got absolutely NAILED by Marlon Byrd on a close play at the plate in the top of the 1st inning. Retrieving the relay throw on David Murphy's double, Byrd barreled into Paulie as LoDuca swept his glove around on an attempted back handed tag. Marlon's big body caught Our Number 16 on the bottom of his face--knocking down hard--but not out. Did he ever get WHACKED though!! Byrd scored the third run of the first inning for Texas. LoDuca stayed in the game.

Lasting Milledge slugged a Kason Gabbard pitch deep over the left field wall in the bottom of the 4th inning his sixth home run of 2008. Our Number 44 must have been stoked after diving head first onto the warning track in deep left centerfield for a fabulous catch of an Ian Kinsler drive in the top of the 4th. By far, the Defensive Play of this Game, and a nice effort on Milledge's part. Lastings, not only used his athletic ability to track down the drive, but showed some baseball instincts in making the catch. Not bad for a guy that so far this season has not looked comfortable playing centerfield.

Why can't Major League Hitters consistently bunt? Again tonight--FLop couldn't lay one down in the bottom of the 6th with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Felipe Lopez's inability to move the runners up and his eventual awful strikeout on Gabbard's very last pitch of the game--on a toss well off the plate in the dirt--hurt Washington's chances for a big inning.

Dmitri Young had three hits tonight raising his average to a more respectable .283. And in the 4th added to his running resume video--when laced a liner to left that The Rangers David Murphy had to chase down into the corner. Our Number 21 motoring as fast as his large girth would carry him--slung off his batting helmet in full stride rounding first base--revealing his Red Curly "W" Skull Cap and lumbered into the second base with a double. He was safe, but the jaunt to second had to make you smile. Watching Dmitri run is sometimes like watching someone run in slow motion. And with the announcement that Nick Johnson will now seek a specialist for his continuing tendon problem in his wrist--its a good thing Young is beginning to heat up with the summer temperatures. Our Washington Nationals need some punch from their first baseman.

The Rangers can hit. 18 hits this evening. A starting lineup where most every hitter has a batting average above .270. Pretty impressive. A sight I would love to see from Our Washington Nationals some day. Of course, Texas has very little quality pitching.


While attending Saturday Morning's Youth Clinic at New Nationals Park for an upcoming post--Saul Rivera and I got into a conversation about his three inning performance in extra innings on Friday Night. Pleased to talk about his effort, I asked Our Number 52 whether he felt good enough to go a 4th inning--if Our Manager Manny Acta needed him. Saul's response was classic. "Yeah, because I wanted to bat!!" Not expecting such an answer--we both broke out laughing. "I have only batted one time previously (this season) and that was against (Barry) Zito. I was up to the challenge." Understand, Saul Rivera was just joking. But his comment was very funny.

Finally--Nolan Ryan was in the house tonight. The Hall Of Famer was spotted sitting in the very front row of Presidents Club--in the The Lerner Family Seats.

Tonight's InGame Photo--(AP)Pablo Martinez Monsivais

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saul Rivera took time away from the children to talk to you?

An Briosca Mor said...

We had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the sixth and came out of it with nothing. The Rangers had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh and came out of it with seven runs and the ballgame. I nearly lose my lunch every time I ponder that. The only thing that keeps it from happening is that I haven't had lunch yet. But it's nearly lunch time as I write this. Watch out!

Anonymous said...

i thought the event yesterday was for kids? how come they let you down to take pictures/get your picture taken with the players? that doesn't seem fair.

Anonymous said...

which one was your kid?

Anonymous said...

I am a parent that brought a child to the event and was told I could not get onto the field. How did you get on the field? Did you have a kid there too?

Andrew said...

Great analysis of the game and amazing photo of Lo Duca getting a facial.

I just wish we had pinch-run for Dmitri Young. I know Manny didn't want to use a position player but he could have used Tim Redding or another pitcher he wasn't going to use.

Anonymous said...

andrew, please don't be confused. the LoDuca photo was from a professional.

Anonymous said...

Yea, who are you really? A paid mouth-piece for the Nationals?

Randy said...

Anonymous-- Good points, but don't hide. I've been trying to get SBF to be a tad more transparent, and if you look at the archives you will see that not only is he unwilling to explain how he does things that not even people involved in programs can do, but says its not open for discussion. That hasn't done anything to quell the flames, and so its good to keep asking, but don't be rude about it. Readers, both friends and critics are curious, and given his stature in the Nats blogosphere and the amount of work he does, I think SBF should shed some light on his approach to coverage (beyond have fun). Obviously, nobody can make him, but we can ask and ask and ask.

Victor said...

I can safely say he leaves the games with the common rabble :)

Except last night, when he and the AQ tried to get onto a crowded elevator. If you heard someone exclaim in surprise, "That's Nats320 & the African Queen!" as the doors closed, that was me....much to the horror of my girlfriend ;~)

Old Nats Guy said...

Despite endless attempts by thousands of people, Colonel Sanders took the mystery of his "secret recipe" to his grave. So how can we reasonably expect SBF to reveal his secret recipe for obtaining access to so many events? Who cares? Whatever his methods or connections, you must admit that he has unbelievable access for someone who is "just a fan." But you can probably ask and ask and ask, and I doubt that we will ever know the true story. Just another in a long list of life's little mysteries.
SBF? Colonel Sanders? OK, maybe that is stretching it just a bit, but I'm sure you get my point.
If SBF were to reveal that he is being paid $50K/year, or even $100 per post to report the company line, would you stop reading Nats320? If this is causing you so much aggravation, why do you still read it? You do have a choice. Just accept it for what it is, whatever "it" is. He has access. We don't. The End.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

What part of "It's not open for discussion" is not clear? I don't question how SBF gets the access because I appreciate the information he passes along. I don't view his blog as self-serving---SBF gives me a lot of information that I either want or need to know as a fan. For example, how many Nats fans might have gotten stuck on the Metro if SBF hadn't told us all about the scheduled maintenance?

If you want to bash somebody, bash the Lerners if you think he's cheap. Bash Jim Bowden if you think he's done a lousy job signing or trading players. Bash Manny Acta if you think he's not managing the team right. Bash the players you think are screwing up. Disagree with SBF on any of his opinions about the team.

But do NOT question why SBF gets the access that he does. Just accept that what we read about on this blog, we're getting from the horse's mouth. I would hate to see this great source of information on my favorite baseball team go away because my fellow fans became jealous of SBF rather than grateful.

And unlike some people who post on this thread, I use my real name whenever I post

Edward J. Cunningham said...

One more thing SBF has not commented on. I noticed today that the Nats replaced the Canadian flag in center field with a red flag emblazoned with a white curly W representing the ball club.

I know why they did this, and I'm surprised this did not happen sooner. As soon as I saw the drawings of Nationals Park with the Canadian flag in center field, I realized a mistake had been made and I was shocked when that flag was actually flown on Opening Night.

Why? Because flag protocol at MLB parks requires that the Canadian and U.S. flags to be flown together at EQUAL heights. This is not usually done unless a Canadian team is playing. Should the Toronto Blue Jays ever come to Nationals Park, you should see the U.S. flag on the left flagpole and the Canadian flag on the right with nothing on the center flagpole. This is how things were done at OPACY when the Blue Jays and future Nationals came to town. It was also done when the Cuban national team came to Baltimore as well. It was only a matter of time before somebody---possibly from the Canadian embassy---noticed and complained.

Anyway, nothing has been said publicly about this, so at least there is no bruhaha. If I'm wrong, then I hope somebody will correct me.

Andrew said...

I think SBF and TAQ do such a great service that I had said to them last night that they deserve full Media credentials to which SBF replied that Bloggers can't get any Media credentials.

It is amazing what great insight they have while not being afforded the same resources as the "paid" media.

Keep up the great work----I for one greatly appreciate it.

Randy (Although I sound like Ted Leonsis) said...

All the more reason for SBF to come out! If this is a service for everybody, and he isn't profiting from it, then what incentive does he have for excluding other bloggers? Imagine if instead of just SBF we had SBF, Chris Needham, and goodness knows who else all working their angles! All SBF is doing is preventing other bloggers from joining him in providing access to the team. As you may recall, this was started by a fellow blogger who was curious as to how SBF got in to "Ladies Night" despite not being a lady. Everybody sees the world through different lenses, so what harm is there in having more bloggers trying to get access?

Andrew said...

Quoted by Randy - Imagine if instead of just SBF we had SBF, Chris Needham, and goodness knows who else all working their angles!

Randy, you can't be serious. The "who else" probably have the same opportunities as SBF and TAQ if they want to devote an immense amount of time during their Spring and Summer following the Nationals and showing up at every game and doing their homework and probably breaking open the piggybank because "premium access" costs money starting with buying great season's tickets to traveling to Spring Training to paying to go to the Dreams Foundation Gala and Golf Events and other events.

For the insider's angles, it goes to the old sayings of "It ain't what you know, but WHO YOU KNOW" and "He with the gold, makes the rules".

I wish you and others luck in your quest to the "secret" formula; however, I don't really think it is a "secret".

gina said...

My issue isn't "how" SBF gets his access. It's his inability to distinguish fandom from media opportunities.

Because he chats up Saul Rivera and takes a picture with him (a fan-like experience), he takes away from the experience of the children that paid to attend.

paul said...

SBF, You work hard and pay attention to the games. How do you do it? You are respectful toward everyone and are a fair reporter. What is your secret? Come on, come clean!

Seriously, about last night's game, Garrett Mock pitched really well and was undone by the defense. Unless Wily Mo starts smoking the ball, we can't justify putting him in there.

Janet said...

@Gina -- my apologies for the lack of formating, but the Nats community web site [http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/community/clinics.jsp?loc=form] describes the clinic on June 21st (and four others that will take place this summer) as sponsored by Smithfield, open to children 6 to 17, free to the children attending, and including a two hour clinic, lunch, player visit and 2 game tickets per participant.

In that context, maybe a brief conversation and photo with a player wouldn't have had that much impact on the children's experience. If there were team staff around handling reigstation/clinic logistics/equipment/lunch and whatnot, in addition to player(s) and/or coaches conducting the clinic, I could picture SBF looking (to the children) like one more miscellaneous grown up--or part of the scenery.

Anonymous said...

The children are on the field for two hours with the coaches. The player is with them for 30 minutes after. There is plenty of time for everyone. Sadly there are many uninformed people commenting here.

Chris Needham said...

The only problem that the team giving access to him is is that it means that any ol' hack blogger who strings three sentences together every other day for a month now thinks its their birth right to get to go to these events.

He's worked hard to get to know the team and its officials, and he's doing them a huge favor: getting the word out about these things that'd otherwise go uncovered. He's worked hard to develop trust from the team, despite a few initial misteps, and that -- more than anything -- is the reason why he, unlike just about anyone else who'd ask, gets to go to these things.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Just one response to Randy, who said:

All SBF is doing is preventing other bloggers from joining him in providing access to the team. As you may recall, this was started by a fellow blogger who was curious as to how SBF got in to "Ladies Night" despite not being a lady. Everybody sees the world through different lenses, so what harm is there in having more bloggers trying to get access?

Now SBF hasn't let me in on any of his secrets, so this is pure speculation on my part, but I have a pretty good idea this ISN'T happening:

Ted Lerner: Hey, SBF! Your blog is so successful in promoting the Nationals, we are going to give every blogger the same "extras" you've been getting for four years!
SBF: *choke* No! Unless it's only given to me, I won't write "Nats320"!
Ted Lerner: *shrugs shoulders* OK, have it your way...

SBF doesn't own the team---the Lerners do. If he happens to get unfettered access that many fans--and others in the media do not receive---I'm pretty sure it's because he's somebody the Lerners can trust. SBF and TAQ have earned that trust, and I respect them for it.

Here's another scenario I don't think is happening...

Mark Lerner: SBF, you've been so supportive of our team the past couple of years, you get to attend Nats games for free!
SBF: Thanks, Mark!

Occasionally, SBF may be invited to some shindig that he reports about on his blog. He also may be invited to sit in the Presidential Suites behind home plate. But I'm pretty sure he pays for his full season tickets in 218 out of his own pocket---and unless some emergency crops up, he's usually sitting in them at a home Nats game. I can't afford those tickets---at least on a season basis, but I don't begrudge SBF because he can.

Last scenario I don't think is happening.

Mark Lerner: SBF, we're going to give you an inside tour of _________, but keep it to yourself! Don't talk about it on your blog!
SBF: My lips are sealed!

In other words, when SBF is usually given access, it isn't just a "thank you" for all the hard work he's done. The Nats I'm pretty sure KNOW about this blog and they WANT him to report on this stuff for the rest of us. Does this mean he's on the Nats' payroll? Probably not, but in my opinion HE SHOULD BE and he has more than earned his money!

Anyway, I'm off to Ocean City. Hope my hotel covers the Nats game!

Basil said...

On a scale of ridiculous discussions from 1-10, this would have to rate at least a 6.5 -- ridiculous enough, I'd say.

SBF's method for gaining access to things like these can't be that difficult to figure out: he started out (relatively) early in the Nats blogger scene, he displays a tremendous amount of passion for the team (on the field and in the social sense), and he shows a lot of initiative. I'd imagine he's earned the trust of some people high up in the organization, they know he'll enthusiastically attend even the most low-profile of events, and he has who-knows-how-many fans of the team reading his reports. If the Nats don't have a problem with him attending a kid's function, then why should we?

More power to him, I say.

Anonymous said...

because anytime someone tries to call him on his "access", he either deletes their post or tell them he doesn't owe them an explanation.

so if SBF can't be up front about how he gets to go to these things that the public can't, don't we have to assume he's hiding that fact for a reason?

if he's going as a member of the press, it's no big deal and he should just say so. if it's something else, then he's hiding something.

Chris Needham said...

C'mon. Do you really need him to explain to you why he has access? No doubt you've got some guesses. And if you don't, I'm sure you could figure out some, even if just reading Basil's comments.

I think it's bad form for him to delete posts, but I think it's also bad form for the peanut gallery to take cheap shots at him and get all pissy when he doesn't respond to people being Aholes to him.

Andrew said...

Anonymous - This is getting old and I feel sorry for SBF & TAQ for having this attached to their Blog. You sound like a jealous kid whining that you can't have something you believe you are entitled to. This is America so if you want it---work for it!

Like Basil said, 6.5 heading toward 7.5 on the ridiculous scale.

They don't have press credentials as MLB won't issue press credentials to Bloggers.

Maybe they watch Debbie Taylor on MASN and tape the Post Game for some added insight.

They do their homework and work hard and we should all be appreciative for the service they provide.

They also paid the same season ticket price as the people that sit next to them. If their tickets were comp'd, the price would say "$o.oo" and their tickets have a price on it.

Anonymous, why don't you try showing some respect and appreciation for the time and energy they put in.

THANKS!!!

An Briosca Mor said...

I would guess that SBF (who we know works for a broadcast media organization because he tells us this all the time) has been able to get press credentials based on his place of employment, and these press credentials gain him access to many of the events he covers on this blog. I'm sure the Nationals know that he's not covering the team for his employer and they probably tell him not to come and sit in the press box during games, or use his press credentials to try and get into sold out events like Opening Day, just as they would tell (for example) James Carville that he can't do those things either just because he has legitimate press credentials. But for events like Ladies Night and the kids clinic that the real Nationals beat reporters aren't covering anyway, they probably don't mind letting SBF in as a credentialed member of the media who just happens to be a blogger. Which is a different thing than some random guy who has a blog and wants in on account of that. If perchance SBF were to do something untoward whenever he's at an event, they would as a fallback be able to complain to his employer about it. If it were just some random blogger, they'd have no recourse and could end up quite embarrassed. Also, as others have said, SBF has worked hard and built up a high level of trust within the Nationals organization. Other bloggers (e.g. Miss Chatter) have done the same trust-building and have earned access to events or areas not open to the general public. There's nothing wrong with that.

And really, this is all speculation on my part, because when it comes down to it it's none of my business. Just as it's none of yours, anonymous. It's not like SBF is hiding anything from his readers. Often he tells us way too much - especially when he reprints interviews verbatim, including the "Hi, how are you?" greetings. If you can't read between the lines of what SBF writes to discover what's real and what's not, anonymous, then you'd have to be blind.

Chris Needham said...

I'd bet a large sum of money that he's not using his general press pass to get into things.

Dave Nichols said...

Chris (and all the others),

I'm not an anonymous poster, in fact I have been transparent with my question to SBF all along. And i have no qualms AT ALL about Nats 320 covering any legitimate newsworthy event, or using his contacts to gather interviews, etc.

But i don't think it's right for him to attend Ladies Night and the Kids' Clinics under the guise of "reporter". these events are benefits to the fans, not news.

and he keeps deleting my posts, which leads me to believe he's hiding something, since i've stated every single time all he has to do is e-mail me directly and i will cease and desist.

Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball

Chris Needham said...

But i don't think it's right for him to attend Ladies Night and the Kids' Clinics under the guise of "reporter". these events are benefits to the fans, not news.

The team obviously disagrees. Your beef is with Stan Kasten and the Public Relations Department, not SBF.

It's good PR for the team. That's why they let him participate. Otherwise, 99.99999% of the fans wouldn't know a damn thing about these things. He's filling a gap in coverage.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why this is all a big deal, and yes, this debate is silly. He reports, takes time out of his life to inform us about what the team does.

Give it a rest. Just email or call the Nationals if you have a problem with it, or start your own thing and do the work involved.

An Briosca Mor said...

I'd bet a large sum of money that he's not using his general press pass to get into things.

Maybe so. But he's obviously on the mailing list for press releases (as differentiated from the general Nats e-mail spam that I get, for instance.)

But as I said before, none of our business really.

But i don't think it's right for him to attend Ladies Night and the Kids' Clinics under the guise of "reporter". these events are benefits to the fans, not news.

So if a male Washington Post reporter wanted to cover Ladies' Night for the Style section (they've done stranger stuff) you'd keep him out too?

Basil said...

and he keeps deleting my posts, which leads me to believe he's hiding something, since i've stated every single time all he has to do is e-mail me directly and i will cease and desist

I have no real dog in this fight, but this line strikes me as curious. I'm not seeing where SBF owes anyone any kind of explanation. I suspect that the reason for the deletion of your posts doesn't go much further than just wanting postively-oriented comments at his blog. One may disagree with that style of administration, but it's his blog and his rules.

You have your own blog? You can engage in unfettered discussion of the ramifications of his coverage of the team over there, I suppose.

SenatorNat said...

The real story that is being missed herein: Screech's Best Friend (SBF) - no one has ever asked Screech himself or herself if this is actually true! Screech may have many friends - fish, fowl, mammal, and may not wish to offend them. I think it is a bit presumptuous of SBF to claim this important mantle without apparent authority. This is the real story!

Trust in Fundamental Unfairness. All Good.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Like Basil said, 6.5 heading toward 7.5 on the ridiculous scale.


*in auctioneer's voice*

We have 7.5! We have 7.5! Do I hear 8? Do I hear 8? Yes! 8.0...8.0...