Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just Win Baby!!

Baseball Fans Care.

The real aficionados of The Great Game appreciate achievement, no matter the individual team any one player represents. So, when those on hand at AT&T Park gave Ryan Zimmerman a standing ovation this afternoon in the top of the 9th--upon realizing his 30 Game Hitting Streak was all but over--you had to appreciate the class and respect shown Our Franchise Player. Because on the national stage, the mainstream media and online community ridicules Our Washington Nationals continuously. Picking on each and every downturn--rubbing it in--without ever acknowledging what Our Team actually does have and does well.

But Baseball Folks Understand Hope and The Importance of Emerging Talent.

Capability and Classiness which Our Number 11 possesses.

Ryan Zimmerman is swiftly developing into The Finest Third Baseman in The National League. And despite how sad it was to watch his COMING OUT PARTY END (the finish of his remarkable 30 Game Hitting Streak) against The San Francisco Giants this afternoon--The African Queen and I are content tonight, happy that The Z-Man has taken upon his strong young shoulders, the ability to lift the spirits of not only Our Franchise, but Our Fan Base--during a frustrating period of play. Promise seen everyday from a young man that never gives up and always puts his team forward--FIRST.

Much like the rising excellence of Shairon Martis.

Now, come on, raise your hand--how many of you picked Our Number 39 to even MAKE the 25-Man Roster out of Spring Training? Certainly many more than believed this 22-Year Old Starter would begin his Rookie Campaign with five wins and zero losses.

A BULLDOG is an apt description of Shairon Martis. A moniker given him by Zimmy in an interview on MASN after today's game. Martis gets himself in trouble on the mound, but he doesn't falter. Sweating it out must not be in his vocabulary, neither must be nervousness. Shairon's composure on the mound is beyond his years. Far more mature than expected. Prepared for most every start and acting like a seasoned veteran, Martis' composure has been noticed by not only his teammates, but his coaches and our fans. The impressive personal qualities that don't come along often or easily.

When you look at all our bullpen falters in 2009, those too many last inning turnarounds, the crushing defeats--it's consoling to know there are already team staples on Our 25-Man Roster. Players to build upon--anchored by Ryan Zimmerman, pushed forward by solid veterans in Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson and Cristian Guzman, while spirited in the youth of Elijah Dukes, Jesus Flores, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and now Shairon Martis. A true core group solidly in place. Baseball Players to build The First Great Nationals Team Around. The Class Act so many in Washington so richly deserve.

No question, there will be a few more stumbles and roadblocks along the way, but the Resiliency shown today by Our Washington Nationals to again battle back from a great adversity last night, and win the last game of a long West Coast Road Trip, speaks volumes as to the character of Washington's Makeup.

Hope is truly on the way, some of it already here--much of it on display this afternoon in The City By The Bay. Those San Francisco Giant Fans at AT&T Park clapping for Ryan Zimmerman this afternoon understood good baseball. Hardball competed on a High Major League Level by Our Washington Nationals Team that never gives up, never backs down, and never considers themselves out of any ball game--no matter how bad the tide has turned. Admiration for hustle and integrity--the appreciation by Baseball Fans that care.

Forsaking the gamer today to concentrate on the long term ramifications--the Final Score from one of the most beautiful cities in America--San Francisco--where finally DC's Team defeated SF's after nine straight losses--Our Washington Nationals 6 and The San Francisco Giants 3 is nine lively innings of baseball. Yeah, Sohna and I would have loved to see Zimmerman's streak continue. But it's comforting to know that Ryan ALWAYS puts his team first. And when he scored Washington's final run charging from third base on a infield grounder to first base off the bat of Dukes in the 9th inning--his resultant perfect backdoor hook slide to avoid the tag of The Giants Catcher Steve Holm and eventual pop up fist pump of joy in celebration--confirmed a young man that has all his priorities in order. Individual goals are worthy, but team values transcend personal achievement.

Curly "W" Number 11 of 2009 is a reminder of "Just Win Baby!!"-the famous slogan of long time Owner Al Davis of The NFL's Oakland Raiders. A phrase that Shairon Martis has taken to the mound every single time this young man has been given the ball and walked to the mound. Get the outs, limit the damage, gain a victory. Martis has only had one bad start and now finds himself on the brink of being named Staff Ace. Thanks to that "Bulldog" mentality Shairon has taken to the field in each and every one of his starting appearances.

Shairon Martis is not afraid of anybody, just like Our Franchise Player--Ryan Zimmerman.

Yeah, they are both Our Babies--and they are both also Our Winners!!

Together, They Just Win Baby!!

Game Notes & Highlights

What I love about Shairon Martis is when a facing batter hits any comebacker to the box. If no one else is on base, he trots the baseball to first base and then underhands it to Nick Johnson. Not wanting to make even the simplist mistake, Shairon wants to be 100% sure to record every out he's personally responsible for. We really like that about him. Also, when the final out of the inning is recorded and he takes off his hat at the foul line as he walks toward the dugout and places it in his glove for safe keeping while he rests. There is something personally inviting about that gesture. A youngster thinking over what he has just accomplished and what more he needs to do.

From personal experience, not much a talker, a little shy, but an underlying fire that's easy to appreciate. Today, seven full innings pitched, just two hits allowed and four walks. Whether in trouble or cruising--Shairon Martis was able to record the necessary outs. A now 5-0 personal record for a team that has only won 11 Games in 32 outings. That's impressive.

Even though Martis had thrown 109 pitches when removed after the 7th inning, the worry began anew when Joe Beimel got into immediate trouble in the 8th--giving up one run. Saved by Kip Wells, who was able to complete the game, but not before having his own problems himself. Shaky, shaky bullpen, but at least today, they didn't blow it.

To their great credit--The San Francisco Giant Fans on hand at AT&T Park this afternoon BOOED when Giants Manager Bruce Bochy elected to walk Ryan Zimmerman with Washington runners on second and third with one out in the top of the 7th inning. Granted, the score was only 2-0 Nats and San Francisco was still trying to win the ball game, but it really hurt to watch that free pass transpire. Washington would score three runs a bit later assisted by Elijah Dukes slapped broken bat single to left center scoring two. But having The Z-Man standing on 30 Consecutive Games of Base Hits and not being able to receive his full accompaniment of At-Bats, was frustrating to watch. No one's fault--just playing baseball.

12 more hits today by Washington's Hitters. Nick Johnson ON FIRE with four of those, two more rbi. Now personally accounting for seven scores in the past two games. Batting .333 for the young season, NJ looks more and more like is old self--vintage 2006 before that awful broken femur. "The Guz" continuing to free swing like not many hitters in the game. Three more hits today, batting .390 and still not receiving a single walk in 100 plate appearances this season. A few more At-Bats and Cristian Guzman will qualify as a league leader. The man can get on base--whether he has the patience at the plate--or not.

From One through Eight in Our Batting Order, love the lineup. It's aggressive, never on the defensive, and always battling.

Although Elijah Dukes really needs some serious baserunning lessons. Again today, thrown out at 3rd base when attempting to steal from second base with one out in the 4th. And being picked off first by Giants Lefthander Pat Misch--when Our Number 34 didn't realize the move to first by The San Francisco Pitcher in the 9th. That's five times, to my recollection, that Dukes has been officially caught stealing in the past few weeks. Marquis Grissom needs to sit him down on this long flight across the country tonight and knock some sense into him. If he doesn't, The African Queen's going to be breathing down his back, getting on his case again. And Elijah knows from personal experience with her, she's not one to mess with.

And finally today, reported that Terrell Young has been returned to The Cincinnati Reds. The Rule V Pick deemed not to have a future in Washington. Despite the published report, Our Washington Nationals have yet to confirm it as of this posting.

Today's InGame Photos--Ben Margot (AP)


Edward J. Cunningham said...

Sure it would have been nice to see Ryan's streak go another 10 or 20 games---but winning the game is more important. Just like that other game at AT&T Park when trolls like "Zimmm" were hounding the Nats for the "shame" of giving up Bonds' record breaking home run. The Nats won that game, too...

John R. said...

Yes, the victory was good, but the streak was better. Much as Alfonso Soriano gave us a reason to cheer in 2006, Zimmerman's historic pursuit helped take our minds off of what will no doubt be a very bad final win-loss record. As soon as I saw that Adam Dunn was not in the lineup today, I worried. And there is no doubt that his absence in the clean-up slot took away at least one and maybe two at-bats today. Others have written and I heartily agree that Dunn has been a key aspect to this 30 game hitting streak. What was Manny Acta thinking? After seeing Willingham blow a flyball the other night, he couldn't have inserted him for his defense. That being said, Zimmerman did get four chances to try to get a hit and it's no surprise that the one day he can't get a hit is a day game after a night game.

And I really like SBF's positive article today. Yes, there clearly are a lot of good things to see in this ballclub. Besides the players that have been mentioned, let us praise the Front Office for signing Zimmerman to a long-term deal last month. It was seriously beginning to look like that was not going to happen. Then Zim rewards us all with the best start of his career.

Anonymous said...

The Nats are breathing down a bunch of teams necks to discard the mantle of 'worst team in baseball'. They could pass several teams with a decent homestand coming up. Oakland, Baltimore, Cleveland, Arizona, San Diego, Colorado and Pittsburgh all have 14 or fewer wins.

Also, the Nats are only a few arms away from being pretty good. Obviously, they need a closer and another starter or two. They certainly can hit and will be able to keep the nucleus together for at least another season. They shed Young and Kearns contracts after the season. They could probably get Nick resigned if they want to. Given his current salary, there is probably no reason not to offer him arbitration, at least.

I wish I had an answer for the defense, though. It was flawless yesterday and they won.

I'm really starting to think we are much closer than anyone realizes to being a very competitive team.

SenatorNat said...

Martis is a complete pitcher, in his set-up, his fielding, his ability to put down a bunt, and his actual hitting and running the basepaths. He is a jewel at 22: after each inning he places his hat in his glove and looks skyward with quiet thanks. Soon to be a real fan favorite, and very solid, classy and understated like Lannan and Z-Mann. Good guys and fun to look forward to this season in all their starts.

This mantra that the Nats never give up is true only as to the offense. Truth be told - they have given up on many plays in the field, and their relievers look nervous as cats more often than not. Add to that Cabrera, who actually did give up after the wind blew that ball past Williamham two nights ago. But, coming back yesterday afternoon and playing a complete game after the most devastating loss of the season 12 hours earlier was a tribute to Z and the Men. The hitting by Guz; Johnson; and Dunn have clearly exceeded expectations thus far; Dukes is about where we expected him; Flores exceeding expectations; and AHernandez above slightly too. Health, knock on wood, has been good for a change, too.

So - should the relievers have saved 12 and blown 4, about average, v. saving 6 and blowing 12, Nats are 17-15, .5 games behind NL East leading Mets, and attendance would be very healthy over this homestand, based on the record and Z's recent 30 games streak, and the fact that chicks did the long ball.

Yet, Manny hiding behind that stat is inadequate. He continues to start Kearns too often, and prevents Williamham from regular play, a la keeping Dukes on the bench in favor of (not very) Lastings...He favors Belliard over AHernandez, inexplicably. They are going to throw Cabrera out there again at least once, despite the fact that he has already cost the team 5-6 games. He goes too much by the book at a time when fundamentals are key, but instincts have to come into play. He ain't no Gil Hodges, that is for sure.

Trust in a solid Home Stand. And sneaking up on the NL EAST.

Sec314 said...


Please do ask the African Queen to get on Dukes about the base running. He's an exciting player, fun to watch and always a threat for a big hit. But Rickey Henderson he is not. He makes mistakes and is often badly surprised.

I also hope he gets more aggressive when playing Center Field. Not to the point he runs into people, but enough where he Manages the Outfield. I doubt even Adam Dunn would want to get in Dukes' way when chasing down a fly ball.

Steve Walker said...

Terrell Young back to the Reds? So, we had the #1 Rule 5 pick and blew it? Man, Bowden's fingerprints are still on this team, but, blessedly, starting to fade.

I like how the SF fans treated Zim with class and hope our fans do the same with other teams' deserving players. We can be a class act and enjoy the good times coming when the jokes end and the winning seasons arrive!