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LOOK DEEP INTO THE LOSSES AND WHAT DO YOU SEE? LOSSES. NOTHING MORE.

[June 29th] -- There is no need to write another story about Wednesday night's game. Just go back to Tuesday's entry and change the 6-0 score to 6-1, and change the part about Ryan Zimmerman being in a 1-25 funk to to his getting two hits. Other than that, it's the same old story.

It's not like Washington baseball fans have some special understanding with the baseball Gods. Just because we went without baseball for thirty-three years doesn't give us some special dispensation that guarantees that the Nationals are going to have winning seasons forever. We're not even guaranteed that the Nationals will have a winning season ever. Just look at the history of baseball in D.C. "First in war, first in peace, last in the American League" wasn't just created out of thin air. Three pennants in seventy years, with none in the last thirty-seven. Other than 1924, '25 and '33, baseball in D.C. was just something to do in between the Cherry Blossom Festival and the start of the Redskins season.

Losing is meaningless. How you lose means something. There is nothing like watching your team lose as they get better, as the individuals on the roster begin to coalesce. Their uncertainty is slowly replaced by confidence with just a hint of arrogance. In Vince Lombardi's only season as head coach of the Redskins, they lost about as often as they won. But those losses were fun to watch because, for the first time since the days of Eddie LeBaron, the Redskins were playing solid fundamental football. Two years later, George Allen took the helm and turned the team "into the wind," beginning a twenty-year run as one perhaps the premier team in the NFL. The Bullets were a bad team when they moved from Baltimore to D.C. Then Jack Marin was traded for Elvin Hayes, and slowly, guys like Mike Riordan and Phil Chenier joined the squad. They looked so good that last year they were bad; you could see within the losses hints of a very bright future. If the Nationals were losing like that, being a last-place, dead-from-the-neck up team (I stole that from "The Natural") wouldn't bother me. But the team isn't showing signs of a sudden turn around. The kids that are allowed to play are playing well enough. The veterans who are asked to play are doing the best they can. But unlike the Phillies, who have a Ryan Howard behind each Jim Thome, the Nats' minor league system offers less hope than does the major league roster.

I hate to say this, but last year's 81-81 finish might have done far more harm than good for the team's future. Instead of making decisions for the long-term good of the team, the Nationals were "buyers," buying players that no one else wanted. Preston Wilson and Junior Spivey kind of players. Wilson was terrible. Had we begun the "rebirth" of the team last year, we'd be one year closer to being able to smile as we discussed the team's losses.

We're not their yet, however. So, in the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that." At least for now.

Comments:
While I don't think very highly of Jim Bowden and the way he handled Soriano's position shift, or the sale of Carroll's contract to the Rockies, I find myself wondering how much of the problem in making buying and trade decisions was driven by MLB's foot dragging. Certainly there was an inherent conflict of interest for the other 29 owners.
 
Let the dumping (of the trash) begin. I can smell the stench and it stinks.
 
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