Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Sad News

This day began sadly with the news that Nick Johnson was officially done for the season for Our Washington Nationals. That man never gets any good breaks.

Sadness which continued throughout the top half of the first inning tonight against The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Five hits and one walk allowed by Shawn Hill. Two crucial errors behind him defensively. Even the odd sight of Our Starting Left Fielder, Paul LoDuca, being replaced due to dehydration. The result six runs before most everyone in the announced crowd of 28.531 had settled in.

Game Start 7:10PM. Game Over 7:35PM. That's pretty sad. And considering the picture above of Randy St. Claire and Shawn Hill--this game must have stunk too.

Yeah, Our Washington Nationals made a slight comeback. Wily Mo Pena actually hit one out!!--for the second time this season. So did Elijah Dukes--his third. In fact, after Kory Casto pinch hit and knocked in Ronnie Belliard for run number three for Washington in the 5th--there was a glimmer of hope. Down by five with two runners on--Dukes was again at the plate--looking to get Our Washington Nationals back into this affair.

Sadly--Our Number 34 struck out swinging. Ball Game Officially Over.

This one had little flair. An early lead, never truly threatened. The Angels controlling this one from the very start to the very meek ending. Final Score from quiet but comfortably wonderful New Nationals Park--The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 8 and Our Washington Nationals 3.

Washington, losers of four straight, now sitting 19 games below .500 at 30 wins and 49 losses.

When will Charlie be able to proclaim: "Another Curly 'W' is in the books!!"? Hopefully soon. Otherwise that might be the saddest thought this day.

We Need A Win.

Game Notes & Highlights

Sohna and I love Nick Johnson. We believe he is not only a fine professional baseball player, but a decent person. Our Number 24 is the type of man you cheer for. That's way the news that NJ would again miss the remainder of a baseball season got this Tuesday off to a disappointing start. Nick Johnson deserves so much better for his efforts. Never does that man give up on the field of play. It's how he got injured in late 2006 during his violent collision with Austin Kearns. And it's how he got injured swinging at a pitch, back on May 13--late in another game well out of reach. A torn tendon in his wrist. Ironically--both season ending injuries occurred at Shea Stadium in New York. Thankfully, Johnson will never have to play another game in that ballpark. The Mets open Citi Field in 2009. You have to feel for the guy. Sometimes it's about more than the game. Personally, this latest setback has got to bother him--more than anything. It's just so unbelievable. It really is.

As mind boggling as Shawn Hill in the first inning tonight on South Capitol Street. Our Number 41 had no zip on his pitches. Batting practice early on for The Angels. And when Mike Napoli took Shawn deep on a full count in the top of the third for a two run opposite field homer to right --Hill's reaction to the Home Run said it all. He knew it was going out. He still looked at the ball's flight--all the way to seats. Then, he dejectedly dropped his left hand--his glove hand--and slowly lowered his chin to his chest. Turning to get a fresh ball from Home Plate Umpire Rob Drake, Shawn Hill knew he had been whipped, again. Like Chad Cordero earlier this season with his shoulder--you have to wonder if Our Number 41 has completely changed his mechanics to compensate for his lingering pain.

That man is not pitching anywhere near his talent level. Shawn Hill is not right. Please, let's get better, before we ruin his career. Something is badly wrong. And you know--he is one of my favorites.

If there was a bright spot, Our Bullpen actually pitched six solid shutout innings after Hill was lifted for a pinch hitter. Steven Shell, Jesus Colome, Joel Hanrahan and Charlie Manning finishing this one off.

Finally--my pet peeve of not only this game--but most every home game this season. Why is that someone like Pete Orr can run hard, both on and off the field of play--before and after every half inning? But, most every other player for Our Washington Nationals loafs. Nothing beats Lastings Milledge and sometimes Dukes WALKING off the field of play. Many times back on to it. Monday night, they took their sweet time one inning--so slowly--Willie Harris stood there the entire time Our Pitcher was warming up with a baseball--waiting to throw to someone. He never did. Milledge & Dukes did it again tonight with Wily Mo Pena.

Harris hustles, "The Guz" hustles. Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson always make the effort. Now it seems, many others do not. Our Team is struggling. Washington is not winning many games right now. But, how difficult is it to--at least for show--act like you care?

Please--players for Our Washington Nationals--run off and on the field of play. Look like a real ballplayer and act proud--whether you feel like it or not. The fact I have to write this--is pretty sad news in itself.

Nick Johnson Photo--Getty Images, Drew Hallowell
St.Claire, Hill Photo--(AP) Nick Wass


Anonymous said...

With all the brouhaha the past couple posts over your access, I took a look at the archives. Where is the flair of 2006? Do you still insist that JimBo must go? Are you still shocked by his decisions? Do you have faith in the direction Stan Kasten and the Lerners are leading the team? I was there tonight, and at Yankee Stadium earlier this season. The Yankees SPRINT on to the field as a single unit at the start of games. The Nats amble out when it suits them. The Yankees put zip on their warmup tosses, as you point out, the Nats sometimes skip them. Where is Frank to bench players who dont try or appreciate that they are in the Big Leagues. I spent a ton of money tonight, and while I can deal with a loss, I cannot stand the sense these boys dont care.

Anonymous said...

SBF/TAQ - I feel your frustration and so glad to have arrived an inning late to see a big crooked # (6) on top of the scoreboard next to "Angels".

You definitely hit the hilights and "low" lights. Anonymous makes some great points too.

Sorry, but why is Paul LoDuca playing in LF or on the field at all. He cleary isn't at MLB quality. Knowing his history tells me that what he and Nook Logan shared (in terms of being on the infamous list)should send him the same way of Nook mostly because he is taking up a coveted roster spot and can't contribute on the field.

Nick Johnson who officially hung up his cleats for 2008 will have now statisically played in an average of 79 games per year during his tenure for the Nats. Although the broken leg was a bad break (no pun intended), he has always had the rap that he can't stay healthy and 2008 again proved that. Acta defended Nick to reporters yesterday citing his healthy .415 OBP when a reporter pointed out the unhealthy .220 BA. I commend Manny for sticking up for his players but again do you hold a roster spot for a guy like Nick who is one of the most liked guys on the bench.

Same goes for Mr. Hill who is still struggling on the mound. My insider tells me that he is heading to see an arm specialist. Let's hope he can get healthy.

Aaron Boone isn't right either. The bench looks like the walking wounded.

We have over 1/2 the season to still go and we need to make the best of it which starts with hustling and acting like you want to be there and the "brass" may have to make an example of someone to get the point across.

Let's play ball!!!!

Keith said...

Dukes and Milledge both tend to act like high school bad boys. They seem to hang together like that, too. They're good players who are very immature. They would have done better under the strict fatherly ways of Frank Robinson. If they don't sprint to first on a pop-up, they're on the bench. If they don't run on and off the field, no comp tickets for their friends and family for the next week. Heck, take away their PlayStation.

Keith said...

On Johnson: The team and Johnson would both do well to have him take 3 steps to the right and coach first base. He may be a great guy, but so am I, and nobody's holding a position for me and my personality.

An Briosca Mor said...

Heck, take away their PlayStation.

That wouldn't work. They could just go out to the Kids Zone behind the scoreboard and play there. You know, while they're "shagging fly balls during batting practice."

Anonymous said...

The Nats wouldn't loaf around if the team had a manager worth even half his salary rather than an A ballcoach in training at a level way over his head.

I really do not see how anyone can still stand to go watch the team without feeling bile come up their throat. I haven't used a single ticket out of my 81 game package since the second week of May. What's the point?

I no some people are just happy to have baseball back in the district. But, I would rather watch good baseball on tv than crappy baseball in person.

I wonder if th FO will actually be shocked at their ticket numbers for next year. They must be kidding themselves if they think they will even get 80% of the STH base they have this year. Heh--not even close with the product they have managed to assemble for the price they are asking fans to pay.

Anonymous said...

Happy to see you rip into the team's lack of hustle and fundamentals. You have a fairly big megaphone and would like to see you use it more on this topic. The losses I can handle, but the mental errors and the lack of hustle are disgusting with this team. In this area I think we've regressed, yet it doesn't appear that Manny or the front office has noticed.

Dave Nichols said...

While lack of hustle between inning may be disconcerting, not once has Milledge or Dukes loafed it 'between the lines'. They always run out their ground ball and hustle on every single fly ball, whether they got a good read on it or not.

Lopez, on the other hand, rarely runs hard on ground balls, and his lazy play on defense is now costing him at bats to Willie Harris.

bottom line though, the team is hitting .238 AS A TEAM this year. think about that. when will someone hold Jim Bowden responsible for the team he assembled this year? we all know he has very little to do with the scouting and drafting part, so his contribution has to be what's actually playing on the field this year. and it's emabarrasingly bad.

SenatorNat said...

"Unravel, unspool, discombobulate, disarrange, disintegrate....{and smell my lapse}" No, this isn't Shaq, rapping at a trendy nightclub in Manhattan - it is the tragic state of affairs for the 2008 Washington Nationals.

This team may be noteworthy for its season and even career ending injuries to the core of Major Leaguers on it - Johnson; Hill; Cordero; Zimmerman; the lack of spending on Major League talent overall; the terrible overpayment for its one major free agent acquisition, LoDuca, compounded by a manager learning on the job and dedicated to not blowing his cool, or losing his mind in despair.

There are no reinforcements available, none coming, in what may be known as an historically bad and seemingly interminable season where losing less than 100 games will be perceived as a minor miracle.

And, yes, fanbase will be impacted and perhaps start a viscous recessionary cycle whereby the owners wouldn't spend the money to acquire talent since they can only rely on a base of 1.75 million for the next season - and, so on, and so on, on a ride down the slope...

Kasten and Bow-Bow can ONLY sell the future and a bedazzling ballpark to the likes of Destin Hood, who you can now bet will be with the Crimson Tide this Fall at wide-out. Did he introduce the young man to the Joy Boys in center and right as future teammates and role models? Hope not, for the team's sake...

No one could have foreseen the Mets collapse, relatively speaking, thus far this season, especially if one knew in advance how well the Milledge trade would be going for them; no one could have foreseen that Seattle and Colorado would be mired in last in their respective divisions.

But, other that that, the biggest relative collapse is that of the Nationals due to fiscal tightness; tightrope planning; and a GM who is apparently not a workaholic whatever other "holic" he may be...

The brass took the iconic Baseball away in center - and the baseball Gods are repaying the favor, it would seem. Symbolism, like hustle, matters - if you give a damn, they will come.

Trust in Fields of Dream. All Good.

An Briosca Mor said...

a viscous recessionary cycle

10W40 or 10W30?

Keith said...

"10W40 or 10W30?"

If you're a proofreader of blog comments, you'll always have work.

SenatorNat said...

Some very viscous commentary. (Love the 10W50 for the heavy duty jobs, actually.)

Trust in Edwin Newman. All Correct.

Anonymous said...

Nick for first base coach? Or what about batting coach? If he could teach his approach -- I can dream, can't I?