Friday, July 06, 2007

Simply Not Delivering

Our Washington Nationals First Round Pick had just signed, with GREAT FANFARE, his first professional contract--including a $2.15 Million Signing Bonus before The Washington Media and Nats Management. The Whirlwind Tour was in order. Ross Detwiler was living The HIGH LIFE--in his first day as a Professional Baseball Player. The Center of Attention, most likely with little sleep. When your life changes overnight--you may not know exactly how to react.

So, for tonight's CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH--which Ross Detwiler threw about five feet short of the required 60 feet, 6 inches--I will give him a pass. Athough, it SURE WAS FUNNY TO WITNESS. Remarkable, actually. Considering the hoopla--Ross Detwiler did not deliver (and that's written in fun). But, his Opening Toss set the stage for a brutal game played by Our Washington Nationals against one of the finest teams going--The Milwaukee Brewers.

At a time Our Newly Signed 2007 First Round Pick is dreaming how long his Major League Career will last, Mike Bacsik must be wondering how much time he has left as a Major League Player. Because this Friday evening, before a rather spare crowd of 19,861--Our Number 37 Simply DID NOT DELIVER ALSO--Early. A solo home run to Ryan Braun, then a two out -two strike-with two men on --NO DOUBT HOMER TO LEFT by Kevin Mench--putting Our Washington Nationals in serious trouble--not eight minutes since this game began. When Section 320 Regular Andy and his Daughter Erin arrived just after that Mench Blast--they were STUNNED that at 7:13PM, Our Team already was behind, 4-0.

It didn't get much better when Braun homered again in the 5th. Mike Bacsik was throwing far too many pitches high in the strike zone. He wasn't fooling many. It made me wonder--HOW SOON WILL ROSS DETWILER BE READY? By the time Our Manager Manny Acta took Bacsik out of this game, he had surrendered six earned runs in just five innings.

But despite his poor performance--Our Number 37 was not solely responsible. Our Washington Nationals--time and time again-continued to fail in the clutch at the plate. Obviously, you've guessed the tone for this post--Our Hitters also--simply did not deliver. Tonight--24 runners left on base with hitters at the plate--including seven of those runners in scoring position. Despite their early deficit--Our Team had their chances to get back into this ball game. They continually failed--a problem that has existed all season long.

None as badly as the 6th inning. Dimitri Young doubled to left-hustling all the way. Then, Ryan Church smoked an infield single, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with ZERO OUTS. But, Austin Kearns flied out to center--followed by FLop and Brian Schneider striking out weakly to end the threat. Once again--a total inability to move runners up and score them.

Again, in the 8th--Young leadoff single, Church force out grounder removing Dimitri; Austin Kearns Single and Felipe Lopez single provided a second run of the evening with one out. Yet, with The Brew Crew bringing on lefthanded submariner--Brian Shouse--this late rally was OVER. Schneider softly grounded out to second base. And, Tony Batista, pinch hitting for Traber, bounced out to first to kill this final threat. Openly, I have to wonder--really what good are Batista and D'Angelo Jimenez providing for Our Team? How much worse would Washington be--if some other Minor League Talent filled their roles? Are Our Minor League Affiliates that bereft of talent? I find that hard to believe. Really.

Tonight, Our Washington Nationals stroked just as many hits as Milwaukee-11. The Difference--The Brewers were able to deliver in the clutch. While Washington could only fail.

Not much of Ball Game this hot humid evening--A 6-2 loss to a very good Milwaukee Brewers Club.

But, as I mentioned to The African Queen this evening. Take a good look at those Brewers. They are mostly HOME GROWN with some Shrewd Trades and Free Agent Pickups. Milwaukee is EXACTLY The Franchise Our Washington Nationals wish to emulate. Sure, it took Brewers Management some time. But, honestly-who wouldn't want some of their Fine Young Talent. Those Guys can play.

Some Day, One Day, Our Washington Nationals will be able to play with them, competitively. And on that day--Our Washington Nationals WILL SIMPLY DELIVER.

Just not right now. Defintely Not Today.

Game Notes & Highlights:

Tonight was Ronnie Belliard's night--despite the loss. Our Number 10, who from now on will always be called by me "The Ball Player" was outstanding. When you hit a double, two singles and a solo Home Run, as a gamer--you deserve to be picked up by your teammates. Ronnie Belliard was ON FIRE TONIGHT. Proving, Once Again--A Savvy Veteran, is a Valuable Veteran--even on a less than stellar team. "Manny Ramirez, Jr", as I so fondly call him, STUNNED ME when he clubbed that Dave Bush Fastball over the left field wall in the bottom of the 7th inning. Sure, in his prime--Ronnie Belliard could hit the baseball out of any park in the Majors, and knocked one out this past Saturday Night in Pittsburgh with The African Queen and I in attendance. But at RFK? Everything had to be lined up PERFECTLY for tonight's smash. Obviously, it was. And, I couldn't be happier. Its really sad that Ronnie Belliard is not playing for a Winning Team. Hard it is for me to believe, NO ONE except Our Washington Nationals offered him a contract in 2007. A World Series Winning Second Baseman, was not wanted. How lucky we are to see him play. How fortunate that Our General Manager Jim Bowden saw opportunity this past spring, and took advantage of it.

An Egde that Ronnie Belliard used in the top of the fourth--when Milwaukee Pitcher Dave Bush popped a blooper into short right field. Ronnie ran hard all the way to his left toward the right field line--then dove and SNARED the baseball, just inches from the ground. "The Ball Player" rolling over and jumping up--in GREAT EXALTATION!! Our Number 10 well knew--he had just completed one of The Defensive Plays of This Game.

An Honor that Brian Schneider thought he also earned in the top of the second inning. Ryan Braun popped up just above Home Plate. As Braun trotted to first in disgust, he laid his bat down a few feet up the first base line in foul territory. The spinning baseball was called by Brian--but it just so happened it appeared the baseball would fall directly over the fallen bat. Schneider knew he was in trouble, feeling his way. Sure enough--his left cleat slipped over the Braun's Bat tettering him back--at the very same moment--the wind caught the ball and directed it behind him toward the mound. Luckily for Our Number 23--his foot rolling over the Ryan's Bat produced the exact lift he needed to propel himself backwards toward the pop up--now in fair territory. Falling down, but with his glove in the air--Brian Schneider made ONE TERRIFIC CATCH to end the inning.

Its Hard to Choose--Belliard's Catch was SPECTACULAR. Schneider's was the work of a Real Pro. Tonight. They both get credit for The Defensive Plays of This Game.

Dimitri Young had two more hits tonight--including his 23rd double of the season. Although, he struck out twice, including the game ending out, with a total of four runners on base. Our All Star JUST MISSED A HOMER down the right field line--just foul, before he singled in the eighth.

After Bascik gave the game away early--and Our Washington Nationals couldn't score despite numerous chances--Our Bullpen was quite effective. Chris Schroder, Billy Traber and Saul Rivera combined for 4 shutout innings. Only Schroder providing any hits (3 in two innings) to The Brew Crew.

You may have read my post from yesterday: "Are The Sausages Coming?" Well, tonight when Our Racing Presidents trotted out during the middle of the 4th inning, "TEDDY" unfurled a banner directly in front of the Brewers Dugout. The Sign questioning--'Where "R" The Sausages?' The Milwaukee Bench, to their great credit--actually responded to the proclamation--a few of their players shrugging their shoulders and couple of others telling "Teddy" to just move along. Sure enough, The Brewers Sausages DID NOT POST UP TONIGHT. A "VERY RELIABLE SOURCE" telling me "that the sausages declined numerous invitations to compete against the Presidents this weekend." Take it for what its worth. The Sausages Chickened Out. Could they possibly have been worried about "TEDDY"?

Ross Detwiler signed autographs near The Diamond Club during the 6th inning tonight. You better believe, I took the opportunity to met him. Although I only had the briefest of moments--there were a TREMENDOUS amount of fans wishing to greet and meet with our newest young star. But, I did ask Ross about whether he's concerned about Pitching Inside at The Professional Level. Pitching against Aluminum Bats is basically all he's known. Detwiler responded: "I relish the opportunity. No longer can hitters just get their bat on my pitch and get a hit. Now, with wood bats--they have to earn it. Pitching inside is how you win."

Nothing wrong with that comment. Our General Manager Jim Bowden believes that Ross will pitch two or three outings in Viera, Florida for the Rookie League Nationals, then be sent DIRECTLY to Woodbridge, Virginia and The Potomac Nationals--Single A Ball. With Chris Marrero, Mike Daniels and Justin Maxwell all currently playing at that stadium near Potomac Mills Mall--four of OUR FINEST YOUNG PROSPECTS, may well be playing in our very own backyard, very soon. Time for visit to Woodbridge.

Finally--while walking around the 300 Level at RFK to visit with Detwiler--I took the opportunity to take a photo with Our Racing Presidents. Many Thanks to NatPack Kenny for taking the fine photo. And, Mark Rogoff for my picture with Ross Detwiler.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Haraz N. Ghanbari
Schneider falling on his back--Miss Chatter


Anonymous said...

SBF - Thanks for maintaining your enthusiasm during these hard times! I'm beginning to rely on your game reports and the different slant you place on them each night.

Please tell me your comment on Miss Chatter's blog included a typo. It was a pleasure meeting Ross?

Anonymous said...

SBF- I give you a lot of credit for keeping your spirits up. As a season ticket holder, tonight may have done it for me. Some stands ran out of food BEFORE the game even started. One can only imagine what would have happened if the game actually attracted a crowd? Then, to top it off, the tee shirt launchers did not work. How can we trust a team to sign the right players, make the right deals and build a $611 million stadium when they cannot even make sure a bunch of tee shirt launchers work. It would be a lot easier to make it through this season if the Nats front office made the game time experience better. Every game is the same - the contests take place during the same innning each game and the same songs are played at the same time, each game. I could deal with our team a lot better if I felt the ownership cared about us; it is clear to me they do not.

Anonymous said...


It has be awhile since I checked in. I'm going to disagree with brianh and anonymous.

Two days ago I lost my season tickets. The ticket services folks were great. I got my replacement tix that day.

Anyway, I sent an e-mail to Kasten and cc:d the nice person I worked with to make sure they got kudos. Kasten replied back within 20 minutes and cc:d the VP for tickets services.

To me that is impressive. First, the e-mail did not go into a vortex of unreplied e-mail. I felt like my business as a fan was appreciated.

Also from the prospective of running an organization, I was impressed. This is an office, like any other, struggling with the day-to-day mechanics of doing business and motivating employees when the team is no good while folks are complaining about everything else: i.e. the T-Shirt launcher.

So, rarely in life do you get a chance to love something from its inception. And as fans we are the stewards for this team. Let's give them a break and be a little more understanding.

Screech's Best Friend said...

brianh--yes, that was a typo--it was late when I wrote that remark.

anonymous--I can only tell you to contact The Nationals if you feel unhappy about your game experience. I have found that they respond to EVERYONE who has an issue. Sure, sometimes something might not work right--like the tee shirt launcher as you mentioned--its mechanical. But, that's such a small thing. I am sure no one went out there to make sure they didn't work on purpose. That's something that happens from time to time. But, if you have a larger issue like FOOD (which is a very serious issue)--you should make your point directly to the team and ARAMARK. As Tobias Funke mentioned, Mr. Kasten responded to his issue, also.

Only a few ballparks in America have ANY IN GAME CONTESTS. And, you can bet that every season ticket holder for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE TEAMS views those events at the very same time, every single game. Its part of the ebb and flow of how its produced. When The African Queen and I went to Pittsburgh last week--everything was the same for both games--between innings. It did not bother us. They did a good job.

And, we feel The Nat Pack actually does a decent job of getting fans involved in the game.

It does not bother us--the manner in which the The Nationals do their own in game entertainment. Although, we were quite happy to see them take away "You Gotta Have Heart" for "Twist & Shout" during the 7th inning stretch. A much more fan friendly song. Things have been tweaked from time to time all season long. Experiments to see how fans might react to certain things. If you wish to see something different, why not suggest something? Maybe they might like your thoughts.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion--I just don't buy the statement that ownership does not care. I find that far from the truth. And, I am sure that belief is not just me. Where in America does The Team President walk around the stadium engaging fans and listening to them? Never is his talk a one sided conversation. Very few teams GIVEAWAY so many items and involve fans at games more than The Nationals (The Orioles do NOTHING)--in all my experiences at ballparks around America.

Thanks for comment.

An Briosca Mor said...

SBF, you said "Openly, I have to wonder--really what good are Batista and D'Angelo Jimenez providing for Our Team? How much worse would Washington be--if some other Minor League Talent filled their roles? Are Our Minor League Affiliates that bereft of talent? I find that hard to believe. Really."

Someone asked Dave Jageler almost this very question last night on the post-game call-in show, and his answer was yes, our minor league affiliates are really that bereft of batting talent. The batting prospects are all down at Single A, and you don't want to rush those guys' development by rushing them to the show just because you have no other bats there. Dave's conclusion was that the guys at AA and AAA (Casto, Watson, etc) have had their shots in the majors and not produced. He said that there is a big difference between guys tearing it up in the minors and producing in the majors, e.g. Jimenez, who hit like hell in the minors but can't buy a hit in the big leagues this season. I would agree with Dave on this, but personally I'd rather see Watson and Casto get some time on the Nationals this year, even if they don't perform, than guys like Batista, Jimenez and Logan. This season is supposedly about learning what we have and what we need. We know already that Logan, Batista and Jimenez are useless and/or washed up, so let's acknowledge that, move guys like Casto and Watson in, and see what we can learn about them. Maybe they'd surprise us, and even if not we would still have learned something more this year than if we just continue to let Logan, Batista and Jimenez prove over and over again what we already know about them.

Anonymous said...

"...Then, to top it off, the tee shirt launchers did not work."

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! Not the tee shirt launchers!!!! Nooooo!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to know where 24 left on base came from, just reading the box score it says 11 left on for the Nats. For someone who claims to be a huge Nats fan, this is a gross oversight. Please be more careful in the future to not misinfrom your readers in the future

Screech's Best Friend said...

natsfanoutwest: If you read the box score you linked-Washington Batters came to the plate and left 24 Runners on Base tonight--its clearly stated under "LOB" for each batter. That number totals 24, a culmlative total for all Nats Hitters. During the entire night--7 runners were left on base from scoring position at the end of an inning. There is no gross oversight on my part. I am reading the box score correctly. No one is misinforming anyone. Sorry you feel that way. I am not wrong.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie Belliard, "the ball player"? Aren't your forgetting 24 other guys?

Anonymous said...

I've been to several games so far this season and have never had a problem with food or anything-and i have upper deck seats. RFK is what you make of it. If you go in expecting to have a good time, then you will (unless the Nats get killed, in which case, drink more beer!) If you're expecting escargot and free junk every night, then you're going to be disappointed. I find it funny that "because the t-shirt launchers didn't work", that is the last straw. Uh, hello? There's a baseball game going on!!!

Anonymous said...

azs--from reading SBF daily I am sure "The Ball Player" is just a moniker for a player he appreciates. Nothing more, no slight to anyone else. it seems to be a nice part of his personal write ups. At least he makes things interesting.

An Briosca Mor said...

SBF, as I'm sure you know, adding up the LOB count for each player in the box score can result in double-counting of runners. For example, if the bases are loaded with no outs and then three straight batters strike out, then each of those strikeout batters gets credit for three LOB, total of nine. But the team LOB for that inning is three. The team stat you are quoting at 24 should really be called something like "missed RBI opportunities" rather than LOB. But that's just semantics, isn't it? Your point is clear: we need batters on this team who can drive in runs when given the chance!

MickMcD said...

Gooooooooooooooooooooo Nats

Anonymous said...

hey, learn how to read a box score claim to be a die-hard, but can't even interpret how many runnres were actually left on base??

maybe you need to take a break from chugging all that kool-aid and look around and see that this team is awful, and then you'll be able to correctly interpret a box score

Anonymous said...

People...can't we all just get along? Thanks Stan for creating such anger and frustration amoung the fans....can't wait until the dog days of August when things get really ugly. Maybe Boz had a point back in March?

Screech's Best Friend said...

doctorb--You can criticize me all you want. I don't hide from ANYONE. Nor, am I bothered by slanted comments like yours. I can take it. And, I will continue to enjoy this team in the proud manner that Sohna and I do each and every day. Someone with an axe to grind-which you certainly have- will NEVER TAKE AWAY our fun. NEVER. We enjoy Our Washington Nationals in our own special way. And, we know many others appreciate our efforts.

But, you are missing my point on that LOB stat. I FULLY UNDERSTAND A BOX SCORE. What YOU ARE MISSING is the fact that I was stating that over the course of the game every single Nats hitter came to the plate and did not drive in 24 total runners. Sure, that number includes the same runners for different batters. If that stat was NOT IMPORTANT TO YOU--TOO BAD. But, The Box Score represents that figure and that's what I am talking about.

No one is forcing you to watch this team. Enjoy or Dislike them all you want. That's your perogative.

Anonymous said...

i think that the stat you are looking at ISNT IMPORTANT. Our Washington Nationals DID NOT leave 24 men on base. It's as simple as that. You are misreading the boxscore, and it's a shame that Our Manager Manny Acta has to deal with uninformed fans like this.

It'll be people like you that make guys like Your Main Man!!! Ryan Church want to leave as soon as they get a chance, and will make Ross Detweiler want to change occupations. And I like how even though several people have pointed out your mistake, you continue to try and stand behind your point, which has Certainly been THE DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THIS COMMENT BOARD.

Anonymous said...

Prerogatives aside...whats the difference?

paul said...

Miscellaneous comments in no particular order:

"You Gotta Have Heart" is from "Damn Yankees," which was Broadway's adaptation of "The Year the Yankees Won the Pennant," a Senator's fan attempt to get back at the hated Yankees some 50 years ago. A Senator (or Senator fan, I can't remember) sells his soul to the Devil, played by Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), and all of a sudden the Senators make a dramatic run for the pennant. (I won't spoil the ending. . . .) So it is incredibly appropriate for a Nats' game, although a constant reminder that we are looking up from the bottom.

Forgive me for not waiting, but I can't wait to comment on Saturday night's game. As all that good play started to go up in smoke in the top of the ninth, I started surveying the crowd. I was cursing, my friend was speechless, and you folks in 320 (through my binocs, forgive my stalking) were very pensive, sort of like they were about to go see the principal and their life was to end. The team had heart tonight, but we almost had a heart attack. Anyone else have a different reaction to the near disastrous ninth inning?

You folks who live in Virginia: there are other bridges beside the 14th Street Bridge.* You guys lined up for that one lane of freeway traffic like sheep. This may partly explain our estimable host's delay posting.

*Keep right, following the Maine Avenue sign, and eventually you have an exit to the right for the Memorial Bridge.

I promise I will stop by and say hello instead of just stalking. . . .