Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flat Sunday

Maybe it was the heat and humidity.

Maybe it was because today was Getaway Day for The Annual All-Star Break.

Maybe all the news surrounding Our Washington Nationals this week had finally taken it's toll.

Maybe there was just no juice left in the tank.

After injury after injury after injury. A series of losses followed by a few more. And the continuing sight of Our Washington Nationals playing shorthanded when their players are unable to go physically--today's game against The Houston Astros was the most LIFELESS game of the season.

Little energy shown on the field, even less in the stands. Fans spending most of this Sunday Afternoon trying to find protection from the BROILING SUN casting down upon New Nationals Park.

There was so little noise and excitement on South Capitol Street that when Paul LoDuca grounded out to Ty Wigginton at third base in the bottom of the fifth--the SOUNDS of Our Number 16 disgustedly yelling at himself in anger over failing--could be heard CLEARLY across the first base side of New Nationals Park. In Section 218, Sohna and I started laughing--wondering where was that type of passion from the remainder of Our Team?

Honestly, this game was just spiritless and when it ended--The African Queen and I slowly trudged our way out of New Nationals Park, looking forward to the Upcoming All-Star Break. We will never give up on Our Team, but left hoping a mini vacation away from watching Our Washington Nationals will help rejuvenate and bring life back to Washington's Baseball Team and Ourselves.

Yeah, we are disappointed and frustrated how the Inaugural Season at New Nationals Park has played out so far. But, that has not taken away from all the fun we have in and around the games on South Capitol Street. Having friends to share time with at each and every game--makes attending as exciting as ever. We only hope there will be more signs of life over the last two and one half months of this season. And that those injured players now on the Disabled List will all fully recover before Spring Training 2009, so all of us can truly find out if Our Washington Nationals of 2008 were better or worse than the product now struggling on the field of play before us.

Final Score from a Flat Sunday New Nationals Park--The Houston Astros 5 and Our Washington Nationals Zero.

And you can bet--Sohna and I will be back--as strong as ever on July 29th--to shout down THE WORST FANS IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS--Those of The Philadelphia Phillies. I don't care how bad others feel Our Washington Nationals may be--but We Just Have To Beat The Phillies and their MOST OBNOXIOUS FANS. Nothing more pleasurable over the past three and one half years since Baseball's Return to Washington than putting The Phillies in their place.

Please, come join us protect Our House!!

Game Notes & Highlights

As the trading deadline approaches--I can only hope Our General Manager Jim Bowden finds a taker for Odalis Perez--today's starter. A now journeyman pitcher with no future in Washington. Never has he overly impressed me. Never does he pitch lights out. With all the issues surrounding player personnel injuries this season--I would be far more interested in seeing Tyler Clippard, Garrett Mock, maybe Shairon Martis starting for Our Washington Nationals in August and September. Really, we have NOTHING to lose.

And since I am on a roll here--the same goes for Wily Mo Pena. If Batting Coach Lenny Harris is publicly trashing him--then someone has got to go. Either Our Number 26 for continued failings, or Our Number 9 for not being able to work with Pena's problems. This statement goes for FLop too. Sorry Felipe Lopez, but I don't see enough effort from you.

Professionalism, that Ronnie Belliard continued to show this afternoon at New Nationals Park. In the top of the 7th inning, with Houston Pitcher Brandon Backe on first after a single--The Astros Kaz Matsui BLISTERS a grounder to the left of Our Number 10. Cool as always and mostly under control--Ronnie dove to his left--AND BEHIND HIMSELF--the baseball had already gone past him. Still, he was able to get his glove on the ball, recover and throw out Matsui at first base for The Defensive Play of This Game.

Houston's Darin Erstad also swiftly strode back to the centerfield wall in the bottom of the 7th on a blast by Pete Orr. Erstad, the only player in Major League History to win a Gold Glove as an Infielder and an Outfielder made a wonderful over the shoulder catch approaching the 412 FT. Sign in Dead Center off Our Number 4. At 34 years of age--on the downside of a good career--Erstad can still play this game. You gotta appreciate hustling guys like that.

There was a very strange play involving Erstad in the bottom of the second. With Ronnie Belliard on second, Kory Casto on first--Pete Orr drove a liner to dead centerfield. The Houston Centerfielder charged in and appeared to catch the baseball. Now, I don't have anyway of seeing a replay on this moment, but I am pretty sure Second Base Umpire Charlie Reliford signaled "OUT". Belliard trotted back to second seeing the call. Then, Umpire Reliford REVERSED HIS CALL which Belliard DID NOT SEE. Casto did and ran to second base. Both runners now occupying the same bag. Astros Second Baseman Kaz Matsui tagged both Our Number 10 and Our Number 5 before Casto was eventually called "OUT"--Orr safe at first base on a fielders choice--Ronnie remained at second.

The Umpire's original miss call--if that was it was--had caused the problem. Unfortunately, there was nothing more to be done to correct the situation. But I would like Our Manager Manny Acta to trot out there to get the final word from The Umpires over what just had transpired. Houston Manager Cecil Cooper had NO PROBLEM running out for an explanation.

Finally--I saw the comments from Ken Rosenthal stating Our Washington Nationals are interested in Matt Holliday of The Colorado Rockies. He's a fine player, good numbers--home and away. Giving up Chris Marrero and some other similar type players would be OK by me. But the thought of giving up Ryan Zimmerman for him--is out of the question. Maybe, Lastings Milledge. Can you imagine an outfield of Holliday, Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns or Lastings Milledge. That would be a pretty solid outfield. Our Section 218 Seatmate, Jim and I discussed this rumor at length this afternoon.

PS-- GOOD LUCK "GUZ"--Represent Our Washington Nationals Proudly. Sohna and I will be cheering on Cristian Guzman wildly in The All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium this Tuesday Night. Hopefully, Our Number 15 will get a chance to play and produce. HE EARNED THE HONOR.

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


Anonymous said...

SBF, thanks for the post. I have no idea what the team is planning to do before the deadline, but I'd love to see what the youngsters on the farm can do in the big leagues.

You can't have a team fill of 20 year-olds, but could they be worse than what we have now? At this point, we perhaps may need an infusion of new talent to right the ship.

paul said...

I actually think the Nats were fairly unlucky today, hitting lots of line drives, hard grounders right at someone, and long shots that were caught. On the other hand, a much better defense could have stopped a couple of bleeders Houston hit through our statuesque infield.

Pete Orr was particularly unlucky, having lined a hit until Belliard mistakenly went back to second. (Charlie and Dave explained that when Belliard went back to second, Casto's entitlement to second was gone, and so he is the one ruled out. The 2B umpire was the one really initially confused, not knowing that the 3B umpire had called the play safe all the way. Orr was also the one who hit the long drive to Erstad.

Sitting in 113 I wondered where all the soft drink vendors were. The beer vendors seem to outnumber them 5:1. Also, one particularly vigilant usher went up and down checking tickets, really odd considering the section was about half-occupied, and a real distraction to the game (not that it mattered).

I looked at the Nats' yearbook on the way home. It is amazing how much worse Luis Ayala's stats are this year than his previous three years. It is not possible that he is healthy.

My other philosophical thought is, as much as I like the work ethic and hustle of them, why are guys like Pete Orr and Willie Harris playing? Do we really not have any much younger minor league prospects we can take a look at?

Chris Needham said...

Odalis must've had about 4 seeing eye grounders just barely bleed through. a bit better range from the infielders would've helped, although sometimes crap just happens.

I'm with you on yelling at Manny. I don't think he needs to scream at the umps, but it's ridiculous that he couldn't get his lazy ass out of the dugout just to get the call right, or to defend his players out.

I thought it was funny when he was the 'know your nats' target today. They usually intersperse the questions with action shots of the players. In Manny's case, every cut out was of him standing still, maybe talking, or making some slight gesture. It's hot, Manny, but farkin' move!

Anonymous said...

Hey SBF- Do you know who were the 4 players who volunteered for today's Signature Sunday?

Janet said...

I guess I'll nitpick on the article and point out that the MLB writer said Willie Harris was the batting coach.

But I agree with your assessment of the game, and I also wondered why Manny didn't come out to discuss the bizarre play involving Orr, Casto and Belliard. And I'm wondering if Escobar will finally be put on the 40 man roster and brought up.

Andrew Stebbins said...

Zero chance Zimmerman or Milledge get moved for Holliday. More likely an advanced arm like Zimmermann, a still very raw Willems, and slugging Burgess (since Marrero is out for the year) plus a Major league contributor like Rauch or Belliard. I wouldn't be opposed to the move but I am also not pushing for it. Holliday is past his prime (he is 28, most players peak between 25 and 28) and who knows if ownership would commit to signing him past 2009, when this team would be coming close to being poised for a run at contention (although perhaps less so since the loss of possibly the organization's best or second best bat and two quality minor league arms). Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised to see Guzman and/or Rauch go and would love to see atleast one young MLB-ready player come back. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Just my .02.

Brian Michael said...

Worst fans in baseball? No, try closest fans in the division. If DC was closer to NY, you'd be complaining even more about Mets fans.

You're really just boo-hoo-ing because there are so many of them and you get frustrated because we give you crap after the Phillies repeatedly beat the Nats. Maybe if the Nats didn't suck so much as you so eloquently noted in the post, then the Phillies fans wouldn't bother you so much.

See you in 2 weeks. Go Phils!

Anonymous said...

I agree that the Phillies fans are obnoxious...last year, I had to have the ushers check tickets and have some Phillies drunks removed when they came down to sit in our section.

No-NO on the trade for Halliday. He's a free agent after 2009 and will test the market. Therefore, we'll be renting him for a season & half-max in exchange for young prospects. If they want to trade him for Perez, Lopez, Lo Duca, Young, etc., it's okay by me!!! As a season ticket holder I want them to play the youngsters instead. They hustle more and care more about playing.

Andrew said...

Matt Holliday is a .277 career hitter outside of Colorado and is a healthier .301 this year.

Rumors aside, why trade away youth and prospects unless you could pre-sign Holliday long-term.

If we were in the midst of a playoff run where we thought Holliday would push us over the top then maybe---we certainly aren't anywhere near a playoff push!

Let's spend our energies on 1 to 2 key Free Agent acquisitions that will make an immediate impact and be long-term fixtures.

As I see some light at the end of the tunnel, we are 22 out of the 30 teams in Team ERA and our current rotation has a combined ERA well below 4.00 so if we can score some runs, who knows!

I am up in NYC to see some All Star ball so I will work on some Free Agents!

Anonymous said...

In response to signing free agents that will have immediate impact and be long-term fixtures, here is your list: Ben Sheets(RHP),Mark Teixeira(1B),CC Sabathia(LHP) and Orlando Hudson(2B)! Some older free agent players could be: Jon Garland(RHP), A.J. Burnett(RHP) (if he opts out), Pat Burrell(LF), Adam Dunn(LF/1B), Cesar Izturis(2B/SS),Derek Lowe (RHP??)& Bobby Abreu(RF). Which ones do you want and will the Nats "pony-up" the big money and lose the appropriate draft choices for these players.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of trades, let's play GM for the July 31st trading deadline and make a "blockbuster" trade with the Yankees who need help since their are back in the race(and we're not)which will also help our youth movement:
1. Nats trade Austin Kearns, Tim Redding & Jon Rauch
2. Yankees trade Zach McAllister (RH-SP,age 20), Austin Jackson (AA,OF,age 21), Mark Melancon(AA,RH-closer,age 23), Marcos Vechionacci(AA,3B,age 21,DL)and Edwar Ramirez(ML,RH-RP,age 26/27)

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I usually wind up bashing a certain troll who refuses to use a username, but not all "anomynouses" are the same. I don't think the last "annie" is the troll I argue with and my post is directed at him.

I would make that trade in a heartbeat, but I think the Yankees---even with Jeter and Rodriguez---need to wait to develop some more pieces so they can be a TRUE contender in a few years. In other words, what they need to do is hang on the young talent they've got.

What am I trying to say? You can't win the World Series every year, but if the Yankees are stupid enough to think you can, they might actually go for the trade you propose. If those players you proposed are talented enough to make the Nats a better team next year, I think we should go for it.

But I don't see Brian Cashman being that stupid.

Anonymous said...

Edward J.
Don't know about trolls or Annie but Brian Cashman is swart enough to see an opportunity. Bobby Abreu is a free agent after 2008 and Kearns' contract is a great deal cheaper and it runs thru 2011 with the option year. Rauch is a great setup man and even closes if necessary and his contracr is also very inexpensive and runs thru 2010with the option year. Picture Rauch & Rivera closing a game in the 8th & 9th innings. Tim Redding is a steady starter who has 2 more arbitration years left and would cost "peanuts" to re-sign and Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina are free agents after 2008. With Mussina, Pettitte, Giambi& Abreu gone next year, the Yankees save $64M in payroll and can go after Mark Teixeira and CC Sabatha!!! The young kids that they trade away are not in their immediate plans. Jackson is their #2 prospect, Melancon is their #11 prospect and young McAllister has put together two good years in the minors and has advanced to Advanced A ball in just two years. Ramirez is a mid reliever and Vechionacci is a switch-hitting gold glove caliber, strong arm but passive third-baseman/LF who's going nowhere with ARod in his way. I think the Yankees would love the deal but I'm not sure Bowden would make the trade. I might ask for more!!!