December 9, 2005

Homer J. Boswell (or the Fightin' Bowdens)

When I woke up this morning to crusty ice-covered snowy goodness sure to delight school children everywhere, I was really looking foward to a nice cup of coffee and the WaPo Sports section. Then I got to Boswell's column. Let's just say that the opening sentence, "This offseason, the best thing the Nationals have going for them is GM Jim Bowden." did not whisk me away to my happy place. I had a nice little rant all worked up, but Federal Baseball beat me to it. So you can go look over there for a little Boz-bashing while I pull the old bait-and-switch.

Snuggled right next to Boswell-impersonating-"Booster Rocket Bill "Ladson on the front page of the Sports section was an
article by underappreciated staff writer Dave Shenin on our newest 2B, "Alf" Soriano. (I opted for Alf over Fonzie, but I'll be happy if either sticks.) There are many, many gems in this piece, starting with the opening paragraph:

The Washington Nationals arrived at baseball's winter meetings five days ago with a modest amount to spend on 2006 payroll, an acute need for starting pitching -- and no owner or clearly defined future. They left Thursday afternoon with significantly less payroll room, a star hitter who plays a position where they had no opening -- and, of course, still no owner.

Amen Dave, amen. But the best is yet to come. Farther along, Alf himself talks about moving to the outfield:

"I'm going to play second base. I don't think they want me to play the outfield. I think that if they traded for me, it's to play second base. Obviously I have the control. Of course I'm not going to play the outfield."
Mmmm... conciliatory. But fear not, for Trader Jim is nothing if not a master negotiator:

"We don't always get [to play] the exact positions we want sometimes," Bowden said before leaving Thursday. "But you do what's best for the organization to win. There will be unhappy people, but our job is to win. . . . "

Indeed, compromise is in the air. But like any good storyteller, Dave Shenin saves the best for last. Channeling Pravda DC's Bill Ladson, Shenin quotes an anonymous Nationals official:

"What is he [Soriano] going to do, sit out? Jim Bowden has never backed down from a fight."
Now, some people would question the logic behind trading for a 10 million dollar, arbitration-eligible all-star just to pick a fight with him. But not Fightin' Jim Bowden. Fightin' Jim will trade for who ever he damn well pleases, and put them where ever he damn well wants. If they complain or dog it, he'll go toe-to-toe with them and won't back down, at least until he lands the Red Sox job or his contract runs out in April.

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