Friday, August 15, 2008

One Mistake, One Miscue, One Mental Error

For nearly five innings tonight Our Washington Nationals played a fairly tight game. They were in the lead, up one run against The Colorado Rockies, and Tim Redding was putting up a representative outing on the mound. As Our Starter, he was even on the receiving end of some keys hits from his teammates. Our Offense was scoring a few runs--early. And for the first time in over one week--Washington was possibly closing in on a win.

All on the night--Sohna and I spent the entire game visiting with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler in their Broadcast Booth--WAY UP TOP and Nearly OVER TOP--New Nationals Park. Man!! Those Boys Sit HIGH ABOVE THE PLAYING FIELD!! A get together that has been in the planning stages for some time. We had a blast!!

Then--just like that--One Big Mistake, Miscue, Mental Error, by Washington unraveled this game. No, it never fails. When things are going bad, one little slip up can prove costly. With Two Outs and one runner on base in the top of the 5th inning at New Nationals Park--that moment came. Quickly, and decisively.

Our Number 17 held a 2-1 lead before allowing a two out single up the middle to The Rockies--Seth Smith. Still, Redding needed just one more out to get out of this frame unscathed. Unfortunately, he had to face perennial All Star Left Fielder Matt Holliday. A tough task that Tim seemed to have under his control, at least, until Holliday uncorked on the 4th pitch of this game changing At-Bat--and sent a screaming liner to dead centerfield--right at Lastings Milledge. A hard stroked ball--but playable.

Easily caught--until Our Number 44 misplayed his read on the ball. Instead of backing up a few steps to catch the stroked baseball--Lastings misjudged the arc and ran in. Big Mistake, and he knew it--right away. Attempting to readjust and use his athletic talents to his best ability--even Milledge could see--he could not overcome this misplay. As Lastings Milledge leaped as high as his back running legs would take him--in an attempt snare the hit--the baseball sailed Right Over His Glove. An eventual ruled double that scored Smith all the way from first with the game tying run. And had many in the Home Faithful Crowd of 27,965 Moaning and Groaning over whether Our Washington Nationals were about to throw away another winnable game.

One batter later--that belief came true.

Brad Hawpe would UNLOAD on a Tim Redding fastball just over the centerfield wall for a two run homer. In a mere matter of minutes--a one time one run lead, was now a one run deficit in favor of Colorado. Our Washington Nationals had found a way to fall behind again--by not helping themselves make the routine plays. Lastings Milledge had make the first gaffe and Tim Redding made the second. Washington should have been out of the inning--easily. Instead--they had put themselves out of this game.

How quickly things changed. How fast Our Offense shut down for the remainder of the night. Washington would add one more run to the tally board in the bottom of the 6th by manufacturing their third score--but they never really threatened again. Hope had turned to dismay when Lastings Milledge did not catch Matt Holliday's drive. And all was lost when Tim Redding gave up the game winning home run. All three runs for The Rockies Scoring--after Washington SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE INNING--sitting in their dugout--heading to home plate--to bat. Not still standing in the field, wondering, what should have been.

Since it was raining when The Colorado Rockies began this Two Out Rally--maybe The Baseball Gods were also crying--upset over whether Our Washington Nationals can pull themselves back together again in 2008. This loss was sad--because it did not have to be. Now losers of 8 Straight and 18 out of 24, Loss Number 79 came on a cool wet evening when Washington proved that when things are not going well--something always seemingly happens--to take even the slightest chance of winning away.

One Mistake, One Miscue, One Mental Error--proved costly.

Final score from a disappointed New Nationals Park--The Colorado Rockies 4 and Our Washington Nationals 3. Just 39 Games Remaining In This Season--can Washington possibly avoid 100 loses?

No--we didn't get to hear Charlie Slowes BELLOW OUT "Bang!! Zoom!! Go The Fireworks!!" or "Another Curly 'W' is in the BOOKS!!" As badly as we wanted to hear him shout those two FAMOUS CALLS OUT IN PERSON--LIVE!! But it did not take the fun away from one terrific night hanging out with two of the best Baseball Broadcasters in the business. Really, we love those guys. And of Course the now Infamous--The Jack Of All Things--Jack Hicks. No Nats Radio Broadcast is ever the same without Charlie and Dave's Chief Engineer on the scene--making everything work--and adding to their hilarity.

There will be MUCH, MUCH MORE on Our Special Night with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler at New Nationals Park coming up in a later posting. Interviews, a little play by play action, and some comedy--some really funny stuff. Along with Jack Hicks, they are as professional as can be, and hilarious beyond belief in person--just like on the radio. They let it all hang out tonight--for our benefit. They were great hosts.

Game Notes & Highlights

Tim Redding became noticeably bothered after Lastings Milledge's miscue in centerfield on Matt Holliday's drive. Our Number 44 made a mental mistake, something he will hopefully learn from. But Redding should have known better--pitching to a dangerous and powerful lefthanded slugger in Hawpe. In the top of the 3rd, The Rockies shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki also took Redding deep to left for a homer--Colorado's first run of this game.

Two pitches into the game--Our Washington Nationals had a one run lead. Emilio Bonifacio slashed the first pitch he saw from Jorge De La Rosa and ripped it down the left field line. Ronnie Belliard followed with another first pitch drive to right field scoring Bonifacio easily. But with Colorado Rightfielder Brad Hawpe playing the baseball well--Our Number 10 attempted to stretch his RBI Single into a Double. HUGE MISTAKE. Hawpe easily threw out Belliard at second base. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a two pitch At-Bat before grounding out and Milledge followed with a first pitch flyout to center. Five minutes into the bottom of the 1st--and after only five pitches total were thrown--Washington led 1-0.

Washington scored their second run when Belliard walked, moved to second on a Wild Pitch and scored when Ryan Zimmerman ripped an opposite field drive to right for his 32nd RBI of his injury shortened season. Hitting well of late for average--Our Number 11 still not hitting for much power.

Austin Kearns was hit by pitch to lead off the bottom of the sixth--advanced to second on a wild pitch by De La Rosa and moved to third on a Jesus Flores flyout to center. Eventually, Our Number 25 would score Washington's final run of this affair on a ground out to shortstop by Aaron Boone. Routine, except for the fine defensive play made by Tulowitzki. Boone would hit a sharply hit grounder to The Rox's Shortstop--to his right side. Ranging over, Tulowitzki backhanded the baseball into his glove hand, then LEAPED off his front foot and threw a terrific toss to Garrett Atkins at first base. As Charlie and Dave praised the effort on the air--Dave concluded, even Derek Jeter doesn't make that play and throw--maybe ever in his career. And Jeter is one of the best Yankee Shortstops Ever--possible Hall of Famer. Troy Tulowitzki shows some terrific range and arm to retire Our Number 8.

But Aaron Boone got the last laugh. With Colorado runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs in the top of the 7th, "The Human Rain Delay" on the mound for Washington and the very dangerous Matt Holliday at the plate--Jesus Colome forced Holliday to pop a foul fly near the first base stands, and the camera well next to Our Washington Nationals Dugout. Aaron did not give up on the play and made a fabulous over the railing catch to retire Holliday, The Rockies and keep Washington into a one run game. Aaron Boone with The Defensive Play Of This Game.

Emilio Bonifacio may well have slammed the very first pitch of the night from Jorge De La Rosa for a double down the left field line. Our Number 7 may well have scored Washington's first run of the evening, as well. But, for the remainder of this game, Bonifacio was not a factor--offensively. Striking out four times, The Golden Sombrero, including once with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 4th to quell a rally. And finally, to end this ball game on the final out. Emilio has shown little patience at the plate--like none whatsoever.

As Charlie mentioned on the radio--Aaron Boone might have given Washington some hope to get back into this game with his Defensive Play Of This Game. But, what his effort also proved was that for the first time, in some time, Our Washington Nationals actually have a player that can man first base and play the position well. Kory Casto and Ronnie Belliard have had their moments--but they don't have the skills to play first base. Both are exposed on a regular basis.

There was a very odd moment around 10:10PM tonight at New Nationals Park. While the game was progressing, nothing particular was actually happening at that time. But, out of nowhere came this HUGE CHEER RISING UP FROM BELOW. Sitting next to Dave Jageler while Charlie Slowes was doing play by play--Dave looked at me shrugging his shoulders in the "What's Up?" signal. Looking up at a TV Monitor above our heads--I pointed to what was on the television. Michael Phelps had just won his 7th Gold Medal at the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games in the Butterfly--but just barely. As Dave mentioned on air--apparently the cheering came from the many Suite Holders watching the event while at the baseball game. Funny and odd at the same time. The Noise Was Loud. You had to wonder what the players thought of the interruption?

Finally, from high above in the Radio Broadcast Booth, you have got to give Charlie & Dave some serious credit for their play by play calling. Every fly ball looks like it is going out of the park. Every hard hit grounder or liner in the infield--is difficult to determine. You really can't tell, until you see the movement of the players. Jokingly--Dave Jageler asked The African Queen and I if we would mind switching our seats in Row A of Section 218 with them--so they can broadcast a ball game and see the action up close. Call the game right. On second thought, Dave might have been serious. Those guys need to be closer to the field. They really do.

Charlie and Dave both did interviews with Sohna and I this evening. And, we have the entire broadcast, with all fun and excitement they provided for us to write about. Much more coming later on Our Evening With "The Jack Of All Things!!"

Sorry Charlie--I just couldn't help myself on that one.


Anonymous said...

Re the failure to sign Crow - FIRE STAN KASTEN!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you had to witness that disheartening loss, but too cool you and the AQ got into the booth!! (and good god, looking at those pics, you weren't kidding — they are up there. Might as well be broadcasting from atop the Capitol)

Can't wait to read the "booth gamer"!

Cheers and (hopefully some year soon) happy baseball!

Anonymous said...

I am very jealous. Can't wait to read more about your night in the booth.

Anonymous said...

I think Crow really screwed us if any of the "facts" below are accurate:

The Nats offered Crow a Major League contract and a $3.5 million bonus, which is higher than what the Orioles gave 4th overall pick Brian Matusz.

"Matusz was the first pitcher taken in the Draft," Bowden said. "We went north of that offer to get a deal done and were not able to get a deal done. The marker for pitchers [in 2008] was very clear. We offered [Crow] more money than any pitcher in this Draft."

Bowden said that Randy and Alan Hendricks, Crow's advisers, never told the Nationals how much money they wanted until Tuesday. They asked for $9 million, and the offer didn't change until 11:40 p.m. ET. on Friday, when they moved down to $4.4 million.

Anonymous said...

Just because I say I'm a center fielder doesn't make me a center fielder. How much longer must we be forced to watch poor play from what has been (with the possible exception of Willie Harris) a consistently awful group of center fielders? I can almost hear Steve Ray saying: "The Washington Nationals: Showcasing the league's worst center fielders since 2005." How much longer until Lastings and his weak arm are moved to left? How many more years and countless misplays must he make before he finally "develops" into a competent outfielder?
Re: Crow -- Don't let the door hit your greedy rear end on the way out. If what the GM says is true, it's obvious that he is in it solely for the money. Don't we have enough players who already feel that way? Give me someone who loves the game -- that is, if there are any of them still out there.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I took my brother-in-law to the game last night as a birthday present. His 46th birthday was on Thursday. He grew up in Wyoming and roots for all the Denver teams and Notre Dame. *sigh* I'm glad he had a good time, but it would have been nice to see the Nats break this losing streak.

On the other hand, I've been taking him to Nats/Rockies games since our inaugural season in 2005, and this is the first time the Rox won when we came.

One more thing. Is it possible that the Nats couldn't sign Crow not because they didn't offer enough money, but that Crow and his agent deliberately offered more than the Nats were willing to pay so he wouldn't be signed. In other words, Crow might have been willing to sign for less money to another team...

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Then again, this sort of thing happens to to other clubs, too. Remember the fiasco with J.D. Drew and the Phillies?

Screech's Best Friend said...

The very fact that The Hendricks for two months never wavered on their initial asking price and then, only with 20 Minutes to go came back with a real counteroffer, speaks volumes about their goals. Only money, not about the player. Sad really. I really wanted to see Aaron Crow play in a Washington Uniform. But, I don't think you can blame Our Washington Nationals for not getting this one completed. You can't say, Management didn't make an honest effort. The Hendricks look bad for this unfinished outcome.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Crow is being really stupid for pulling this off. Maybe he will sign for another team (for less money) but this stunt will scare away a lot of teams. If he doesn't like Washington or the Nats, he should still sign anyway and prove his worth on the field. Then, if his opinion hasn't changed, he can go somewhere else as a free agent. But right now his career as a major league ballplayer is in jeopardy.

As for Annie, who apparently would sign Crow for $10 million---that's why Stan Kasten is President and he is not.

Anonymous said...

Tough call on Crow - worst team in baseball, not getting this done is a blow. To the casual fan it says - we, the Nationals, are not committed to becoming a winning team, we only care about making a profit -- even though we are a joke of a team.

The Washington nats could not even finish in the top 3 in the International League. They are a "national disgrace!'

Anonymous said...

I beg your pardon. the Clippers were in the Western Division lead until most their players were brought up to the Nats.

Anonymous said...

Anon - There is definitely a lot of people that go to the ballpark that will work from age 21 to age 65 and do their 45 years of work at a job they may not like.

Take $3,500,000 and divide that by 45 years and you get $77,777 per year which is a whole lot of years of work for the average Washingtonian.

I would be more upset if they gave in to him!!!!! Thanks Stan!

paul said...

I too am really curious about your night in the booth. It is insane that they are up there; it reminds me one of Ronald Reagan's first jobs, "re-creating" games from a telegraph wire with sound effects, etc., in the days where media outlets, and/or the teams they covered, did not want to spend the money for the commentators to travel.

It used to be I would bring a radio to the game to learn more about what is happening--a nuance here or there, a detail about a player. More often than not, when I tune in at a game, I wince or chuckle when the guys miss a fastball for a change or can't tell why the pitch was called a ball, etc.

There is so much room behind home plate for these three guys--Dave, Charlie, and Jack, that they really need to be moved down, and immediately. It is really disrespectful to do otherwise.

And by the way, I enjoy listening to the guys anyway. They really do add to the enjoyment of the game. They are really good.

One note about Belliard's gaffe in the first inning last night. The team really needs to play mistake-free baseball. Batting against a pitcher with a 6-plus ERA, with your best hitters coming up, Belliard going for second base with 0 outs was a terrible mistake. Rather than De La Rosa wondering if he was going to get anyone out, he could blow a sigh of relief and settle down, which he did. If Belliard had stayed at first, De La Rosa would have been a lot more nervous, and the Nats could have had a big inning.

I should correct myself about the blown HBP call the other night. The alternative call was a foul ball, not a wild pitch/dead ball, as I wrote before.

Anonymous said...

Every ball hit Milledge's way is an adventure. He's not much of a hitter and he is a disaster on defense.

Anonymous said...

"Kory Casto and Ronnie Belliard have had their moments--but they don't have the skills to play first base. Both are exposed on a regular basis."

You are so wrong! Obviously you have not been paying attention, or perhaps have some personal agenda that is clouding your ability to be unbiased. Belliard has been pretty awful at first, but he's been awful as a short stop too. The fact is that he's not a great athlete. But Casto was errorless at third while Zimm was out, and last I checked errorless at first. So when you say that he is exposed regularly, what are you refering to? Care to give an example? Or better yet give a few?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Paul, from what I've seen around the majors, the Nationals are far from being alone as putting the press box a good distance away from the field. Both Wrigley Field and Fenway Park moved their press box farther away and team with newer parks may have done the same. I think the Nats want the really good seats saved for the paying customers. The MASN TV cameras are located elsewhere so TV viewers don't have to literally see things from the same angle (and distance) that Charlie and Dave see. I need to take another look at those pictures. Did Charlie and Dave use binoculars?

Anonymous said...

SBF: It is inaccurate to say the Hendricks never wavered on their asking price for two months. They never stated an asking price until Tuesday! Very bizarre.

Regarding the first poster, you can't fire the part-owner!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Anonymous at 3:38PM. Casto has poor footwork around the bag. He might not have any errors, but he doesn't move around on throws properly--stretching or scooping the baseball in the dirt. That costs outs, whether or not an error is charge. Clearly, this has been a problem all season with Johnson, Boone and to a lesser extent Young all out for injuries. Belliard is even worse at this position. I not arguing their desire to try. They are just not good at playing first base. But difference. And Boone's catch in the railing last night was something those two have problems with playing there.

Anonymous said...

I just think that this first base by committee is a joke!

Anonymous said...

Came across this and thought it was interesting since this was discussed about Manny many times.

B.J. Upton Is Benched
by Pat Lackey

In the last week, the Rays have lost both Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford to injuries. Given their relative inactivity at the trade deadline, many people thought that would spell doom for the surprising young AL East leaders. They're still ahead of the Red Sox, but they're going to be without B.J. Upton tonight for an entirely different reason.

He's being benched for not running out a double-play ball last night, an infraction which lead to manager Joe Maddon pulling him out of last night's game.

Anonymous said... just did the Nationals stars past and present. Its so funny. This guy has become a you tube star. Wanted you to know. Great blog.

Anonymous said...

Larry Broadway is the best 1B in the organization. He's hitting .275 at Columbus. He hasn't made an error in over 40 games. He is one of the best fielding 1B in AAA. And he is a fan favorite in Columbus.
It is beyond me why this team cannot make the right decision about bringing up a player to fill a glaring need. So what if he is not in the team's future plans.
He has been needed all season. What has the 1B position's offensive numbers been since NJ went down? Not much. So he doesn't hit for power. Who on this team is?

Screech's Best Friend said...

BattingStanceGuy Link: Very, VERY FUNNY!!. Thanks for letting us know.

Anonymous said...


Backing you up further in your response to Anonymous at 3:38 on Casto at 1B -- all (s)he has to do is go to the archive and watch the July 31 game against the Phillies. I still can't figure out why Langerhans isn't given some starts at first against right handers. He looked fine there in a brief stint in Milwaukee, and his offense since the All Star break has improved considerably.