Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Having to get up at O-Dark-30 this morning, there was no way I could watch the entire game last night between Our Washington Nationals and The San Diego Padres from Petco Park. So, no--I didn't see the back to back home runs given up by Charlie Manning and Joel Hanrahan. And I didn't see Our Offense again go silently through the cool San Diego night--an eventual 4-2 loss.

But, I did stay up long enough to witness an amazing performance by Shawn Hill. All over the place with his pitches, throwing 10 straight balls at one point in the crucial bottom of the third inning--Our Number 41's wildness was so uncommon it was agonizing and downright fascinating to watch--during the same span. At times, you didn't know whether to feel sorry for him--or cheer for his competitive nature.

Inning after inning--he could barely find home plate. Frame after frame--he kept Our Team in the game.

Then, the sight of Shawn Hill "LOBBYING" (as Don Sutton called it on MASN) to stay in the game was just great stuff. Despite the fact that Hill was struggling--HE WANTED THE BALL. He did not care about his personal statistics. Not giving up--Our Number 41 wanted to continue the battle.

ANY DAY--I will take that type of attitude on MY TEAM. Always injured, never fully satisfied with his performance (even if he pitches seven shutout innings)--Shawn Hill is a ballplayer. One of those throwback type guys from decades past. The man's got guts. I love that aspect of his game. It's why I appreciate his effort so much and hope he can turn his injury prone career around.


"Gamer" may be an overused term--but no better description for Shawn Hill last night at Petco Park.

Hopefully, his healthy teammates learned a lesson last night--watching this performance.

InGame Photo--(AP) Lenny Ignelzi


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being so open minded and seeing Shawn and his effoerts for what they are. He goes out there and struggles to get past this nagging injury as he has been told he needs to work thru it, and he does and fights no matter what the situation is. He is a great baseball player...we are lucky to have him. Good luck Shawn...your healthy days are just around the corner.

SenatorNat said...

Great observations, SBF - it would indeed be a wonderful thing were Shawn Hill to wake up one morning soon healthy - no doubt that he would be among the best starters in the majors - he impresses me that much. He covered first base so well on a ball the Meat Hook actually stopped; he perserved to get that bunt down, even with two strikes, to move two runners into scoring position, so FLOP could keep his near perfect no-clutch hitting record in tact... And he started throwing strikes after losing control of the strike zone COMPLETELY by never losing his focus. He left the game tied.

Charles Manning and Joel Hanrahan gave up back-to-back belts, but giving up 4 runs by the pitching staff is no sin. What is a sin is that so-called "fixtures" like Lopez and Kearns have contributed virtually nothing in getting key hits. It is so demoralizing to see a runner on 2nd with no one out advance to third on a put-out and be stranded - repeatedly.

I can withstand the growing pains of Milledge, Pena, and Dukes, but am very unhappy about Kearns, Lopez, and Young coming into camp looking like he has been swallowing helium, but without its levitating effect.

Boone has been such a consumate professional and clutch hitter; and Flores is everything fans thought he could be and is growing. But, I am unhappy that Langerhans is up instead of Alex Escobar, and Mackowiac is a non-entity.

The Nats are looking for a big turn-around at or just after the All-Star break, when Cordero, Johnson, Belliard, KEARNS, LoDUCA return, and when Hill's forearm might stop barking. With the exception of the latter, I am unsure the influx of these guys is going to make that much of an impact, unfortunately.

Trust in Stan the Man. All Good.

Anonymous said...

I rarely comment on this board, but i just wanted to put in my two cents on this years team. I've been a fan and ticket holder since 2005, but i have actually done something i never thought would happen, i've (except for occasionally visiting Nats blogs ;)for the most part stopped paying attention to what the Nationals are doing this year. It's not that i dont care, it's just that this team is so utterly boring to watch. The new stadium is nice and all, but after a few games, i need more than a shiny new ballpark to make me spend a day or evening there. That, and i seriously could care less if any of the players on this years squad save for Zimm and Lannan aren't around next year.

The team isn't very good or very bad, just very...blah.

Is there something wrong with me? Help me Nats Nation!

Anonymous said...

Dave: Go to some P-Nat, Suns & Senators games and you'll get your grove back. You'll see the plan at work and see some good baseball.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Two comments for Dave.

If you live in the Maryland suburbs as I do, please consider going to the Bowie Baysox. My grudge against Peter Angelos does not extend to their AA affiliate, since I went to Baysox games for several years after I stopped going to Camden Yards. The Baysox have an outstanding minor league stadium which is second to none, and I don't think you will be disappointed if you go.

If, however, you live in Virginia or are determined to see the P-Nats instead, MAKE SURE YOU CONSULT A MAP FIRST. Don't expect to see a lot of signs in the general area which will direct the way to Phizer Stadium. A good mobile GPS device will also do. The stadium leaves much to be desired, but I understand the P-Nats will build a new park very shortly.

Either way, you will still have a good time!

Anonymous said...

Sad that it has come to this; Nats did not need to put such a boring, lifeless product on the field. The product is a result of choices made. Building the farm system and putting a professional product on the MLB field did not need to mutually exclusive. I think the most alarming trend is the denial of Jim Bowden and Manny Acta about the problems at the MLB level. The product is unwatchable. It did not have to be this way.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Of course the product is watchable. I've seen about seven or eight games so far and I intend to use the rest of my season ticket package.

Anonymous said...

These facts are what makes the team unwatchable. Good for you if you don't care what you pay for.

* The Nats offense is last in the majors in average (.233), last in slugging percentage (.354), 28th in OBP (.310), and tied for 23rd in home runs (39).

* They've hit just four triples all year.

* Yesterday, they scored one run and struck out seven times against Wil Ledezma, who hadn't won a game all season.

* In their previous 16 games, the Nationals have had averages (compiled just from that given game) of .121, .156, .195, .107, .143, .138, and .194.

* Since May 13, the Nats OBP is .290.

* Also since May 13, they are striking out once every 5.09 plate appearances.

* In 111 at bats, Wily Mo Pena has five extra base hits.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Annie, if you are only interested in baseball when the home team is a pennant contenders, you will miss a lot of baseball. Colin Cowherd may be an arrogant jerk, but he did make a good point last week. GREAT baseball towns like St. Louis draw well even when their team is not in first place.

Washington is not a great baseball town---yet. Until it does, I know the Nats will depend on fans like me to keep coming to games. That's why I'm a season ticket holder.

As for you, since the Mets and Yanks are out of it, I'd suggest driving to Philadelphia or checking the Southwest Airlines schedule for Chicago, St. Petersburg, and Miami.

Anonymous said...


I too am a season ticket holder. Winning has nothing to do with it. Player good baseball does. Our hitters are clueless. What I object to and can no longer watch is Pena, Lopez, and crowd strike out, swing at first pitches and generally have not plan. I also have a problem with Lack of Outfield Defense and Bowden's reliever of the day approach to player development.

Again, Winning is not the issue.....good baseball is what I will pay to watch and Acta has failed miserably in this respect.