May 27, 2008

Go West, Young Team

Random thoughts in advance of late night, left coast baseball.

These are the Times that Try Mens' Souls

There's a difference between a bad baseball team and a baseball team performing badly. The 2007 Washington Nationals were a bad baseball team. The late-2005 Washington Nationals were a baseball team performing badly. The problem with the 2008 squad is that it's impossible to say for certain that they are in one camp or the other. Based on recent results, you'd have to say "bad team", right? But these are the same guys who have taken series from the Cubs, Mets, Phillies and pretty much every team not named after fish, and earned a split with the talented if underperforming Brew Crew. What to make of that?

Are you not entertained? Are You Not Entertained?!

Isn't this more or less the team we wanted on the field? Flores behind the dish, Felipe at second, Pena-Milledge-Dukes across the outfield? Youth, notwithstanding the ocassional shoulder impingement, is being served up and down the lineup. And the result is team that's counting on DaMeat Hook to leg out a triple. Folks, that's entertainment.

Buy One, Get One at Regular Price

Among the "Special Season Ticket Holder Benefits" trumpeted in a recent email from a tour of Nationals Park, at the regularly scheduled time, for the regular price! Act now, before the hoi polloi snap up this not particularly special, not remotely limited, offer.

Faith is the Evidence of Things Unseen

Like Ryan Langerhans's ability to handle a major league breaking pitch. Nonetheless, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of central Ohio, Langerhascendentalism has returned to Washington, DC. That's right, where's your God now, Loganites?

Deep Thoughts

What if Cristian Guzman is the best free agent shortstop on the market next season? You can bet he'll get more, at age 30, than $4M per year.

May 18, 2008

MASN continues to disappoint

So, at the risk of annoying our sponsors, I'm really horribly disappointed in MASN this weekend.

I had every intention at the beginning of the season of making it up to Oriole Park for one of the games Nats V. O's. But, schedules conflicted, and my wife and I decided to roast swine this weekend, and thus I spent Friday night over a cooker smoking a 105 pound pig to eat on Saturday. I anticipated shoveling out said cooker on Sunday, and thus no driving to Baltimore for me. But, two opportunities to watch the Nats on TV. (Saturday was spent drinking and eating and not watching baseball).

Now, I'm normally reasonably happy with MASN's coverage. I admit to liking the radio broadcasters a lot better than the TV ones, but I don't have any particular bone to pick with our TV crew. Nats Xtra Post Game is a bit weak, but the actual game coverage is acceptable.

But the braintrust at MASN decided it would be far more fun to combine broadcasts and do one combined broadcast, putting everyone together in the booth... sorta. Only three at a time, in some weird rotation system.

Now, I've been listening to Jim Palmer for years, so he's a capable announcer. I don't have any bone to pick with the talent. But this format sucked!

First, this is a RIVALRY. A budding one, yes, but a rivalry all the same. I don't want to hear our announcers hanging out and saying nice things about the Orioles. I just don't. I want to beat the Orioles, not compliment them. Try and imagine this happening in New York, and you get the picture.

Second, when you have announcers in this format, you end up at times with two Orioles announcers and one Nationals announcer. Again, this sucks. The coverage becomes Orioles slanted, and I don't WANT TO HEAR THAT. I want to hear analysis from the perspective of the Nationals, not from the perspective of the Orioles.

Third, MASN itself ends up mostly orange. All the in-game "games" and drawings and graphics became Orioles slanted. Again, I don't want to see a "MVP vote" between two Orioles and a National. I don't want to hear that "we'll give away cheap crap every time an Oriole hits a homer". I want to listen to the hometown broadcasters, and I want to have a little "Rah-Rah-Nationals", not a million commercials for "This is Birdland".

SCREW Birdland. I swore off Peter Angelos years ago when he told us all there were no baseball fans in Washington, and thus I want my Washington coverage to be about the WASHINGTON TEAM.

MASN -- get a clue. You're constantly accused of slanting to the Orioles, and if you want to build a Washington brand, you don't do it by having our announcers hang out with the guys in Baltimore. They're nice guys, but they are the opponents. Let's all remember that. We can shake hands at the end of the weekend, but when we're actually playing the game, we're supposed to be competitors. Can we all please just get along... without having to sit together and hug?

May 8, 2008

Back Away From the Keyboard. Slowly.

Put down the laptop and nobody has to have their, "face-of-the-franchise, future All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman" reputation ruined. Ryan Zimmerman does many, many things well. Early evidence suggests that blogging might not be one of them. (H/T to Steinbog.)

Now, NTP loves us some Ryan Zimmerman. Even when he was hitting .215 and swinging at the infielders playing around the horn, we were still Zimmerfans. But DC is a tough town for athlete/bloggers. Gilbert Arenas set the bar very, very high and Chris Cooley has blown past it in record time. That's a lot to live up to for a guy who's also expected to carry the franchise's offense and play flawless defense for 150+ games a year.

Mr. Irrelevant is, shall we say, less than complimentary of the Z-Man's inaugural effort. Far be it from us to suggest that a highly competitive professional athlete like Dutch Zimmerman won't be able to hack the high stakes DC sports blogging scene, but allow us a word of advice.

Ryan: Keep up those two homer games and we promise to be enraptured if all you do is retype the phone book letter by letter for the next five months.

May 7, 2008


As far as I'm concerned, navel-gazing is the mortal sin of blogging. Having the ego to imagine that anyone else would care what we think about baseball, movies, local politics or footwear is one thing. Expecting anyone else to give a rat's ass what we think about ourselves, though, is a whole other level of self-absorbtion. That said, every once in a while something comes along and makes us take stock of our situation. Chris Needham did what the United States Supreme Court has steadfastly refused to do; he put an end to Capitol Punishment.

Chris was already an established voice in the nascent Nat(m)osphere when NTP was unleashed upon teh unsuspecting interwebs in early July 2005. Our blog was born of the desire to have a place for three idiots to spout off on the amazin', unheralded 2005 Washington Nationals. Of course, not long after, that team dissolved into the 31-50 in the second half Nationals. Totally not our fault though. We kept on going to games, drinking beers and heckling Pat Burrell like it was a paying job. In between, we blogged. Sometimes sporadically, sometimes half-heartedly, but we blogged.

Along the way many other, better Nats bloggers closed up shop. By my count, we've outlasted The Nats Blog, Nasty Nats, Distinguished Senators and the original (and much better) incarnations of Federal Baseball and The Curly W, to name but a few. Life, it seems, is what happens to you while you're blogging, and time is no respector of great baseball fan/writers. Still, I never expected to be writing a post the day after Capitol Punishment shut it down.

We've not been immune to the evolution of the Natmosphere. When a thousand flowers bloom inevitably some of them are going to start looking alike. And when your team (struggles/is rebuilding/just flat sucks) it can be even harder to find a fresh and interesting way to express that sentiment. In contemplating Cap Pun's retirement from the hurly-burly, I'm mostly just thankful that we're still here.

Four years on, despite relocations, job changes and the ebb and flow of daily life in the DC Metro the three of us still find time to go to games, drink beers and heckle Pat Burrell like it's a paying job. And in between, we blog. We are older, but no wiser. No less certain of the theological correctness of GUZMANIA! and still in awe of the curative powers of a $6.50 Miller Lite draft and a half smoke on a late spring evening. We few, we happy few, we band of bloggers.

May 3, 2008

The Night The Lights Went Out in Southeast

Image courtesy of Cedric's Blog-O-Rama

Because, "Nats Suffer Power Outage" would just be redundant.

To say John Lannan, American Hero, was "in the dark" in last night's 11-4 loss to the Pittsburgh P-Rats just doesn't do justice to his performance. But hey, pitchers, especially young pitchers, are going to struggle from time to time. Some nights you just need your offense to pick you up. Unfortunately for Lannan the 2008 Washington Nationals don't do offense. It's just not their bag, baby.

To make matters worse, relievers "Irish Mike" O'Connor and Irish Joel Hanrahan must have missed their pre-game massages, because they couldn't find their release points to save their lives.

To recap: Best pitcher of the young season implodes, brand new $611M stadium felled by two 50 cent fuses. No wonder Barry Svrluga is bailing on this beat.

May 1, 2008

I love me some bobblehead action

Watson posted on our freezing our tails off on Tuesday. It was a ton of fun, and our love of the new stadium has not diminished at all.

I'm off to the stadium tonight, with other, non-NTP fans (Watson has other "obligations" this evening, and Nate is difficult to get on a weeknight these days).

Look for me wearing my red fleece. For a summer sport, I have yet to see a warm game. I love the location, but that water breeze is damn cold.