Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not Much There

Except for the mini rally in the top of the 9th by DC's team, not much there from Citi Field to talk about this Sunday afternoon. Garrett Mock again had his one bad inning--a costly one. And Our Washington Nationals Offense was quite silent against The New York Mets' Starter John Maine.

One of those late season games that sort of plays out--without anything to really remember it by. An emptiness that went unfulfilled. In most every ball game, usually something interesting occurs. Not this afternoon and not on this beautiful first full day of fall in The Big Apple.

Sure, Ryan Zimmerman knocked in his 97th RBI of the season--looking for 100. Adam Dunn knocked in The Z-Man for his 101st. And Mock went a career Major League best seven innings throwing 115 pitches. But when The New Yorkers touched Our Number 49 for three singles and a double in the bottom of the 3rd--this game was basically over early because our lineup just wasn't producing again--much the same story since Washington travelled to Philadelphia earlier this week.

Sohna and I watched the entire nine innings and not a single second of The Redskins/Rams game from Fed Ex Field. Yet, there really isn't much more to say about what became just another defeat in Queens today.

Final Score from Citi Field where Washington ended up losing seven of nine games played in this new ballpark in 2009, The New York Mets 6 and Our Washington Nationals 2. Loss number 98 in 149 games was strange to watch because there was never any real excitement. As it turned out--just two teams playing out the final two weeks of the 2009 Campaign.

Really, not much there.

Hopefully, with The First Place Los Angeles Dodgers coming to Nationals Park for a three game set beginning this Tuesday night, some excitement can be re-invigorated. And the appearances of Manny Ramirez and "Manny Ramirez, Jr." (Ronnie Belliard) will help infuse our South Capitol Street Ballpark for the beginning of the final homestand this year. In fact, really looking forward to seeing The Dodgers in person. Their General Manager, Ned Colletti, has done a fine job continually revamping his lineups all season to better prepare Los Angeles for a long deep run into the playoffs.

And Sohna can't wait to see her former "Lucky Number 10". She's watched virtually every Dodger game on TV since Washington traded Ronnie to Southern California last month. Like she always say: "No one walks on the field as if he owns the diamond more than Ronnie Belliard."

Today's InGame Photo--Henny Ray Abrams (AP)


carolync said...

I'm with Sohna. I can't wait to see Ronnie Belliard when he comes with the Dodgers. I'll be cheering my head off for him. I'm happy he has done so well for them and will be going to the play-offs. I've been listening to the Dodger radio broadcasts which are a treat in themselves.

SenatorNat said...

Time for a bit of big picture perspective: Nats will probably go 5-8, at best for final games: bringing year in at 56-106. Last two years then: 115-208; five years in D.C.: 340-466. That means that for Nationals 21st Century, average year: 68-93, 25 games under .500, playing at a .422 clip.

Even the biggest naysayer and pessimist could not have predicted worse for the first five years. Indeed, losing in its fifth year the most games, and equaling the low of the 1963 Senators, with no rash of major injuries as an excuse, and with several key players actually enjoying career bests, is hardly support for the optimists among us, myself included. Objectively viewed, the trendline has been bad, and getting worse, not better.

The fact that the club has drawn 2.17 million fans on average over that time is somewhat remarkable; it is likely to settle in at about 1.75 million per year should the team continue to lose an average of 93 games. Whether it would slide off to 1.5 million or below is YTBD, but that is conceivable, obviously.

Is 2010 a make it or break it year for the fanbase? Probably not - going into next year, team has a very plausible argument that Nyjer Morgan leading off; Jesus Flores catching regularly by May; and the addition of two proven major league starting free agents (e.g. Doug Davis, Livo and/or even Randy Wolf), along with free agent Orlando Hudson to play second, with exciting middle infielder prospect Ian Desmod on the team, plus a solid reliever added, is a decent team, pending arrival of Strasburg and Storen later in the year. Going into 2011, when Jordan Zimmerman and Strasburg and Storen are regulars, then, Nats can cajole the fan base that 2010 is another building year, and that support is warranted, as "the pieces are falling into place." Thus, team can continue to keep payroll at $55-60 million, and make money based on a 1.75 million gate...The new manager, signed for two years, either Tim Foli, or a reasonably priced outsider, permits team to argue that 2010 is "get ready" (not the "go") year, too.

Translated, even if team in 2010only plays at its five year franchise average, garnering 68 wins, it is playing 20 percent better or so than the two years' previous and is now platformed to break through into a winning season for the first time ever in 2011.

It is 2012, then, that is the true franchise "make it or break it year," since fans will accept this Plan and judge team accordingly based on 2011 performance. And do not forget that Bryce Harper will be on the farm in 2011, potentially coming up in 2012, too, to either add to the excitement coming off 2011, or as a mitigating force for a disappointing performance in that crucial year.

What is not discussed is the most fundmental question - has the team payroll been abjectly low for the first 5-7 years of this team, keeping it on starvation diet from which it never recoves? Should a prudent manager and fiduciary have been placing it at $75-80 million per year, truly investing back the profit into capitalizing the investment? The answer seems obvious - Lerners are averaging around 96 losses a year, three more even than the team overall for its brief history. Money matters. They are keeping the fuel about 30 percent too lean and they have only two years before this becomes a vicious cycle downward for them.

Trust in the Almighty Dollar. And the time value of money. Putting George, Abe, and Thomas out there first. All smart.

An Briosca Mor said...

SenatorNat, the object of your affection Orlando Hudson seems to have lost his job in LA to a guy named Ronnie Belliard. Seeing as how both will apparently be FAs after this season, which do you want for the Nats, Hudson or Belliard?

SenatorNat said...

My grandfather had a baby blue 1949 Hudson - so I shall take it ABM. Ronnie has not been my cup of tea this year - he dogged it early, and Hudson is clutch with runners in scoring position. Recall that Hudson had lost position in Arizona to Bonifacio too...