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[March 20th] -- Just like that, things went from bad to worse.

Alfonso Soriano arrived in camp on Monday, had a chat with manager Frank Robinson about being a "team player," and was then penciled in as the Nationals' left fielder for tonight's game against the Dodgers. Eight players took the field. One didn't.

And so it begins.

After waiting several moments for Soriano to take the field, Robinson came out and informed the plate umpire that there would be a change in the lineup, and after an awkward moment of indecision, Brandon Watson jogged onto the field, glove in hand.

Round one to Soriano.

Robinson spent 20 minutes with Soriano before the start of the game, and thought he had made progress with the Dominican. "If he's going to play here, he's going to have to be out in left field," Robinson said.

"He said he's ready to play, he needs to play, he's ready for the season, and I penciled him in the lineup in left field."

Sounded like he agreed to the move, didn't it? Perhaps he changed his mind, or perhaps it was wishful thinking on the part of Robinson.

GM Jim Bowden, whose is the real villain in this story, said that if Soriano refused to play on Wednesday, he'll be placed on the disqualified list and will not receive any money until he plays the outfield. It seems that Bowden was the only person on the planet that didn't see the trade as a problem. There is a thread on the "Bleed Cubbie Blue" site that is discussing the Soriano saga. The Cubs, who were one of the few teams interested in a trade with the Nationals, have fans who would still like to see a trade occur. But "LT" wondered out lout what we've all been saying under our breath: "Why didn't the Nats know this before they made the trade? They have made some strange moves in their short existance...." You know you're in trouble when Cubs' fans question your team's moves and motives.

We've been waiting for four months to see how all this would play out. Now we know. Alfonso Soriano is indeed being selfish and putting himself before the needs of the team. Placing him on the disqualified list is Bowden's only real option, as every other team understands the situation and is going to offer far less in trade than Soriano is worth. Bowden can't do that, won't do that. All that's left is the disqualified list.

The disqualified list does more than just cause a player to lose their salary; the free-agency clock stops ticking as well. If Soriano were to be a total butt and sit out the entire year on the disqualified list, he would still be under team control for 2007. By not playing, he's hurting himself far more than he's hurting the Nationals.

At this point, even if Soriano relents and agrees to play the outfield, he has lost any good will the Nationals' fans may have shown him. There is no chance he'll be forgiven by the faithful, who would now rather see him rot on the disqualified list for the entire year than be traded for player(s) who could eventually help the team.

After a week of feel-good news, "it's" happening again. Stay tuned. It's going to get ugly.

Would the players union allow Soriano to be shot at dawn? That might work....
I was really hopeing he would change...guess not...we could really use his bat...were losing to the Dodgers 2 to 11.
Soriano has to understand that his career is in jeapordy NOW -- that the number of teams willing to take a chance on him this fall (he'll be a free agent)is no more than two (the Yankees, normally willing to take a chance no one else is willing to, has already said they aren't interested in their former player)
I'm glad someone is finally standing up
to Soriano. At one time, he was the most
popular player in baseball (received the
most fan votes for the all star game).
I was a fan. Then you heard all the other
stuff, which is why the Yankees got rid
of him in the first place. Going back years now, he wouldn't take suggestions &
wouldn't do what the team asked of him.
He's doing the same thing now, but on a
bigger stage. The Yankees won't take him
back. As Marlon Brando said in On the
Waterfront--"I could've been a contender, I could've had class, I
could've been somebody. Instead of a
bum. Which is what I am."
Soriano is an ass, but you have to admit that Bowden walked into this one.
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