August 21, 2006

Ventin' Ain't Easy

On this, the ocassion of Nats Triple Play's historic 309th post, I would like to share with you, dear reader, my thoughts on the state of the team. The team sucks.

But they don't suck in traditional, predictable Kansas City/Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay fashion. Oh no, not our Nationals. They suck in ulcer-inducing, teeth-gnashingly original ways. In the rare instance where one of our cast-off collection of has-been and never-will-be pitchers manages a decent outing, the offense takes the night off, apparently laboring under the misapprehension that the game will eventually end in a scoreless tie.

On the much more frequent days when our starting pitching implodes to the tune of 42 runs in the first 2/3 inning the hitters, freed from all pressure, will invariably mount a stirring 41-run comeback that falls just short in the 9th inning as our last batter watches a 2-strike changeup sail over the outside corner of the plate.

The only legitimate power hitter on the team has a Memento-worthy mental block that forces him to hit in the one spot in the lineup guaranteed to generate the fewest RBIs. And he plays the outfield because, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, left field is his worst position except all those other positions that he's tried from time to time. And despite being on pace to hit 50 home runs and steal 40 bases the front office couldn't even teach him to play trade bait effectively.

Forget a fire sale, this team ought to be completely dissasembled, the rubble plowed under and RFK Stadium sown with pretzel salt. I'd say the plan for the offseason should be to unload every player whose last name doesn't end in -immerman, but what would be the point? Washington is apparently the franchise where previously healthy players come to collapse and once-promising prospects pass through on their way to a fulfilling career as assistant regional manager at Steak n Shake.

Meanwhile, the Team President vows to build for the future with players acquired by the Village People's love child. The same paragon of competence who built a roster composed of 5 first basemen, 6 second basemen, 1 shortstop, 1 third baseman and 1 catcher. The guy who looked at Daryle Ward, Damian Jackson and Marlon Anderson and saw an outfield. A man so acursed that even his good trades end up worthless.

On any other team, the exhange of two middle relievers for two 26 year-old position players would be unqualified grand theft. Only in Washington would one of those two leave his heart, and his bat, in Cincinnati. And only for the Nats would finding out that the other one brought his glove with him amount to a bad thing.

And you know what's great? Next season figures to be even worse, after the one marketable star departs, to be replaced by two mediocre pitching retreads and whatever else the general manager can trade his 45-minute AA sobriety chip for at the annual winter swapmeet.

Meanwhile, the lovely iconic new riverside stadium, opening April 2011, for the low low price of $2.7 billion, will be accessible only by camel caravan across miles of burning dilapidated asphalt; and the affordable seats will come equipped with oxygen masks in the event of a sudden decrease in atmospheric pressure.

But for all that, RFK's still a comfortable, easily accessible craphole, the beer's cold, the Hard Times chili nachos are hot, and the brisket is still unmatched in all the land. Tickets are cheap and plentiful. The players, despite sporadic god-awfulness, are still trying, and Ryan Zimmerman better damn well win NL Rookie of the Year or there will be consequences and reprecussions. And only 6 months until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.


Watson said...

Hold on Nate, Football season is almost here.

Nate said...

Is that meant to cheer me up? Have you seen our QBs lately? ;)

Watson said...

I meant the season as a whole. Monday Night Football will make a person feel better about a lot of things.

Nate said...

That's true. Good ol' Mr. Tony, is there nothing he can't do?

ghostofwadelefler said...

Man, did you ever hit the nail on the head, especially the comeback that falls just short.

I had hoped against hope that somehow whoever ended up owning the Nats would sue MLB to overthrow the antitrust exemption, using some kind of theory along the lines of buying damaged goods. But now that the Lerners and Kasten are in the cartel I can't see that happening.

There really is neither reason to come out to RFK nor to try to track the team down on TV, yet somehow this will get spun into "Washington is a bad baseball town with bad baseball fans" yet again. Why? Because we're supposed to be so grateful after all the years in the wilderness that we should shell out our hard earned to see a crap product? This isn't 1971 and Washingtonians aren't so naive.