Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Little More Intensity Please!!

Our Washington Nationals need to play with a little more fire. That intensity which puts everyone on the edge. Sharp and ready for action--at a moment's notice.

Over the past two weeks, DC's team seems to have lost some of that passion. Spirit that binds teams together.

The "Go Get 'EM!!' necessary to be competitive.

Consistent losing hurts every one's enthusiasm-but it shouldn't hinder being a professional on the field.

Our Team that calls Nationals Park it's very home appeared to be walking through the paces last night in the series finale at "Obstructed View Field", defeated long before the game ended. And the latest controversial home run only deflected the real issue. For quite a few games now, the mental as well as physical errors have taken their toll on our ballplayers. We are not playing anywhere up to our capabilities.

You can't tell us that a lineup with Cristian Guzman, Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and the healthy Elijah Dukes and Jesus Flores is terrible? Offensively, none of those six guys have been problems.

You can't tell us not to get excited about John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Shairon Martis, Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen (all under 25 Years of Age) being in our starting rotation? As written before, that's Forward Progress in building from within.

And you can't tell us a defensively fielding team with Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, Anderson Hernandez, "The Guz", Elijah Dukes, Justin Maxwell and Austin Kearns is awful?

Are they world beaters? No, not by a long shot.

But collectively Our Washington Nationals are just not putting it all together. The early season power surge offensively has recently seen an outage. Our Baby Starters are having their expected growing pains. And even Gold Glove Caliber fielders are stumbling a bit in the field. And Our Bullpen--well that's been a mess all season.

Consistent losing hurts one's pride, but The African Queen and I don't want to see anybody lose faith in their abilities on the field of play.

The Average of 20,000 Fans at Nationals Park have yet to give up on you. So please don't give up on us now. The Long 162 Game Season is barely past the quarter pole. The Dog Days Of DC's Sweltering Summer Looms Large. Time to get back on track, revive hope and give Our Fans positive momentum for when summer eventually turns to fall.

A Little More Intensity Please!! The Philadelphia Phillies are next up at Citizens Bank Park starting Friday Night. If that doesn't get you fired back up--nothing will.

100% effort at all times during these growing pains. Only then can these mounting losses be more tolerable.

And Manny--you don't have act like Earl Weaver (Classic Earl) or Lou Piniella (inciting a riot) or Carlos Zambrano (just being stupid) yesterday--that's all pretty embarrassing stuff they've all performed arguing with umpires. But it sure would be nice if at times you got out there on the field and protected Our Players on some close and controversial calls. Josh Bard being thrown out at the plate on Wednesday night and Jesus Colome's Phantom Balk last night well worth stopping the action and getting your two cents in.

Photo--Kathy Willens (AP)


Anonymous said...

Go on a 10 game winning streak like the Padres did this past week and a 1/2 and you are right back to near respectable.

It took them too long to make decisions on Cintron and DCab and Kearns and Willingham are not pulling their weight and Justin Maxwell can't buy a hit.

The infield is solid and doing their job for the most part.

Starting pitching is clicking now so just need the defense to back them up.

SenatorNat said...

Final roster moves needed: Bard assigned when Flores back; Colume optioned or assigned when Olsen back; Maxwell optioned when Dukes returns, so he can play everyday; and Wells should go to make room for back-up shortstop Gonzalez, as Guz cannot play every inning of every game obviously.

Manny's clock set for his departure alarm to go off - as said, during All-Star Break. Rizzo will be named full-time GM first, probably in first week of June, prior to draft.

Team unlikely to win six games in a row, much less 10. Manny sets the team's demeanor, and it has a certain fatalistic quality without question, some might suggest a martyrization of the situation.
Swapping Knight for Acta might be good move, as Knight has fire on his sleeve, and Manny analyzes post-game superbly.

Trust in Manny's long season's journey into Knight. Anything goes.

JayB said...


When will you be willing to call it like we all see it. Manny Acta is not the leader this team needs. He has zero fire for the game and for going on 2 out of 3 years now his teams have progressively played worse. What is it going to take for you to looke at the facts here? I know you love Manny personally, but his approach and leadership are killing baseball in DC. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Screech's Best Friend said...

JayB--For the millionth time, we are not into the hate you so lovingly like to spew. It's not our thing. The Nationals have worse issues than their manager and until he gets a complete team to work with--he should stay on. Judge him properly then or after the end of this complete 2009 season.

It would make zero sense to fire your manager when you don't even have a full time GM in place yet. That would make any new interim manager truly have his days as the bench leader numbered.

Other decisions need to be made first.

It's fair to question some of his managerial moves. It's fair to question Manny not running out on the field to protect his players more on controversial calls. But to say Manny is the root of the problem is off base. There are other player personnel moves and upgrades that need to be made first before the final decision is made on Manny.

He has no bullpen, a weakened bench and a young rotation just getting their feet wet in the Major Leagues. Most of those players are leftover from the former GM you so badly wanted out. Now JimBo is gone and you can't seem to wait even for his mess to be cleaned up. Have a little patience.

Steve Walker said...


While I largely agree with you assessment above, I think you are a little hard on JayB. He usually argues his points without venom and he's been right a lot (should've signed free agents in 07, 08, should've fired Bowden a lot earlier than they did).

It pains me to say this, but it appears that Manny Acta has quit on this team. I know he thinks arguing does no good, but now the umpires know, on close calls, if they go against the Nationals, they won't hear anything from Manny. The instant replay reversal last night cried out for Manny to go berserk (even if it's an act) and get ejected so his team knew SOMEONE was fighting for them. If not then, why not on the "balk" call? How could he just sit there?

The tell-tale quote is from John Lannan on Replay Fiasco #1 -- "As soon as they went to the review, I knew it wouldn't go our way."

Do you hear the resignation? The defeatist attitude? That starts with the manager.

I believe Manny wants out of his contract so he can rejoin Minaya in New York. I can't blame him, but he's "Felipe Lopezing" from the manager's seat right now and that's just plain unacceptable.

I wanted Manny Acta to succeed, because he has a good perspective on sports as just games and appears to be a kind, generous man, but I do not see the same fire and creativity I saw in 2007 when he squeezed 73 wins out of the joke roster Bowden dumped on him. The 2009 squad has loads more talent, but a lot less competitive spirit and fire. Again, that starts with Manny.

Once Rizzo is named full-time GM, I expect Manny will be gone within 10 days later. If not, he will not be offered a contract for 2010 unless there is a 1914 Boston Braves-like turnaround with this club.

JayB said...

I was right about Jimbo....and I am right about Manny. It just seems to take you a lot longer to see the truth. I am glad you finally are seening the "mess" Jimbo that is some progress. See you at the end of the year on Manny.

JayB said...

As for the timing....just put Rigglemen in charge for the rest of the year and the team will play better, and win more. As a season ticket holder is that not our right to expect from Kasten and Lerner?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Stephen: JayB & I go waaay back in taking our stands. Way, Way Back Here.

Craig said...

You're right. The line-up is something to get excited about.

Manny must go. Need someone in there who will motivate and blow guys out when they make a stupid mistake.

He's had it too easy. He doesn't care about his guys. Doesn't care about the franchise. And doesn't care about the end result in games.

Anonymous said...

Agree with SBF; this is not Manny's fault. Stop scapegoating him. You have no idea what he does to motivate his players (such as they are) and his team (such as it is) behind closed doors. All you see is his unflappable demeanor on the field. He's already explained that he used to be a firebrand, and it never worked, so now he's trying not to be pointlessly argumentative. Should he argue more? Maybe. Should he argue constantly, just for show? Of course not. How about blaming the guy(s) who stuck us with a bullpen of newbies who couldn't hold a game if it was luggage with a padded handle? That's Manny's fault? We would have won 8-10 more games under his horrible leadership if the bullpen had just held up at all.

Anonymous said...

As I've said before, this scenario makes me think about the premise of the Mel Brooks' movie, The Producers, where Zero Mostel & Gene Wilder could only make a fortune if their production failed miserably.

Anonymous said...

SenNat - A passive manager may not be what the team needs, but I believe a (Lou) type of character would be even worse. Ray has had his time in the spotlight, very knowledgeable guy, but could be too extreme when the situation may not call for it. I'd like to see Riggleman get an honest shot with this talent.

This team needs to be rearranged. We have the talent in the minors, but IMO there's no faith/respect in how our FO handles our players. I still cannot believe we're in this situation. What's obvious is that someone in this chain of command simply it out of their league and is doing more harm than good.

An Briosca Mor said...

"As for the timing....just put Rigglemen in charge for the rest of the year and the team will play better, and win more."

You mean like Riggleman did for the Mariners after they put him in charge last year? He took a 25-47 team and guided it in to a 61-101 finish. Added a whopping .029 to the winning percentage. So fire Manny now at .283, put in Riggleman and finish 50-112. Brilliant, JayB. The park will be packed every night for that!

NatsGuy said...

I can't believe what I'm writing but I agree with JayB. They have to change up the mentality and the players have to know they have a person in their corner. As far as Riggleman he would have some better hitting on the Nats than the Mariners last year. Maybe he could do better. He couldn't do any worse. Maybe Manny needs to be put out of his misery. I know I do.

phil dunn said...

The team's lack of instensity flows directly from the manager, who is far too passive, far too laid back. The manager needs to light a fire under these guys; they are just going through the motions.

phil dunn said...

I am quite sure Manny will be gone, if not by the All Star break, then certainly by next season. His hand picked coaches have already been replaced and he has not been offered an extension.

I am not so sure Rizzo will ever become the GM. He's been "acting" for awhile now and it appears that the ownership is not convinced he's the right person. My guess is that there will also be a new GM for next season.

JayB said...

Bottom line is this team has quit. Manny taught them to accept and even embrace losing. They drop pop ups, still can not bunt, do not hit cut off men, do not cover bases and don't care to improve. This is all on Acta. You do not need talent to play basic baseball. This team would be enjoyable to watch if they just showed they had enough pride in uniform to do the fundamentals.

Acta has nurtured the current culture and feeds it every night. Oh and read the recent quotes from Zim and Kearns and Dunn...."Acta is exactly the same in the locker room as he is with the Media".

That is Fact...the proof is on the field night after night.

The Nationals Enquirer said...

Stephen said earlier: "It pains me to say this, but it appears that Manny Acta has quit on this team."

Wrong. We are all watching this team day in and day out. The on-field performance indicates that THE TEAM has quit on Manny Acta. He lost them weeks ago. For that reason alone, it's time for a change. Big picture, it probably won't make a big difference - this is a badly pieced-together team. But in the short run a change at the top will change the culture, light a fire under some butts, and at the very least reestablish some semblance of respectability.

Somewhere in LA, Jim Bowden is enjoying a good laugh at us poor suckers.

Andrew said...

This team is so much better prepared on fundamentals than last year and Manny's game decisions have gotten much better as the season has gone on.

This team is struggling 5 out of 7 games, and need to find that killer instinct and start blowing out some teams.

I can't blame Manny for the personnel he was handed but I do expect him to get the most out of the hand he has been dealt. Motivation is a part of the job, and I do enjoy a Manager that will kick dirt every once in a while.

Jim Riggleman is a great guy and I still loved in 1997 when he got in Sammy Sosa's face when he managed the Cubs.

paul said...

Management set the tone when they decided not to sign Manny to an extension. What would motivate a team to play hard for a lame duck manager, and why would such a manager do anything but philosophize? Too bad Charlie and Dave can't take over the team!

darknova306 said...

Just popped in to say this is a very well done blog. Well written posts and good insight. [I'm a Mets fan for the record, but I love talking anything baseball].


Anonymous said...

"Bottom line is this team has quit. Manny taught them to accept and even embrace losing. They drop pop ups, still can not bunt, do not hit cut off men, do not cover bases and don't care to improve. This is all on Acta. You do not need talent to play basic baseball. This team would be enjoyable to watch if they just showed they had enough pride in uniform to do the fundamentals."Are you talking about every team in the league? The Mets dropped a few balls. Ryan Church missed 3rd base. Maine didn't get down a bunt. Their RF didn't run out a popup to the catcher in fair territory!

JB, the cup can be 1/2 full. The Nats fundamentals this year have been good from Guzman laying down a bunt to every starting pitcher. Check out the Sacrifices. Very few baserunning mistakes in May.

Yes, Adam Dunn missed a cut-off man. Yes, John Lannan missed a bunt. Yes, Willingham missed a fly ball in the corner.

It happens. Now if you want to talk about errors, this team has improved over the 1st month of the season.

I see the problem more as the offense doesn't click when the pitching is good and vice versa. Baserunning hasn't been aggressive enough. Not enough manufacturing runs.