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NATS SCARED OFF BY BIG GREEN MONSTER

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[June 22nd] -- It's time. Go ahead; give it a push.

For the third consecutive game, the Washington Nationals were throroughly outmatched by a team that didn't even seem to be trying. Over the three games, the Nats were bested by a rookie, by a pitcher so bad he was waived by the Kansas City Royals, and a veteran with a 60 mile-per-hour out pitch.

For the Nationals to win on a regular basis, every player has to play up to their potential, or better still, exceed it on a daily basis. For teams like the Boston Red Sox, they have to show up to the stadium on time.

That's the difference between the big boys and teams like the Washington Nationals. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe Stan Kasten's long-term plan is a sound one, and in five or six years, the Nationals, with a new stadium and a bevy of young bucks, will compete for the N.L. East crown for a decade or more. But what do we do in the meantime? How do we react as the team continues to get it's brains beat out by the big-boys? We can either say, "Oh well, they're terrible -- when does Redskins' summer camp begin?" or "Why isn't the team doing something, anything, about the situation?"

The Nationals were outscored in their three losses to the Red Sox by a 26-9 margin. Three starting pitchers sent to the mound, three starting pitchers completed less than eleven innings combined. Pitchers didn't pitch, hitters didn't hit, fielders didn't .... well, you get the idea.

So, a team that is without question going nowhere this year sends down a solid young infielder and returns Royce Clayton to short. Roy Corcoran (1-1, 1.93 at New Orleans) didn't get a call up this week but Jason Bergman, great last year but not this season, got the nod. It seems the Zephyrs' pitching coach thought Bergman deserved the callup more. Hmm.....

Over the forty-two years that I have spent on this Earth watching baseball, I have come to one unquestionable truth. Teams that plug the elderly into holes that surround young players never, never succeed. They seem to poison the youngster's enthusiasm and temperament. Why does Jim Bowden et. al. believe that a loss is somehow more palatable when Royce Clayton is at short? They aren't! But if at the end of the year, we can look past all those losses and say, "Hey, Brendan Harris batted .275 with some power during the second half of the year," doesn't that make those losses have some value?

I think it does. Instead of looking at those horrific line scores, we can check to see how the kids are doing, like we all do for Ryan Zimmerman after every game right now. It's either that or endure a long summer in Washington.

Hey, it's a thought.

Comments:
Farid, I'm starting to agree with your "blow the whole lot up" tack again. Unfortunately it's looking like the value of those whom the Nats should trade for prospects is going down as well.

I would suggest replacing your "panic button" graphic with either a pic of the little Zoloft critter that looks like a cotton ball or Joe Btfsplk from the comic strip Li'l Abner.
 
Farid, there seems to be an exception to your plugging holes with old players never works rule. Surprisingly, the Tigers have done exactly that with Ordonez, IRod, Polanco and 41 year old Kenny Rodgers and it is working. Of course, the Tigers have a lot of young talent, especially their pitching.
 
Phil, I agree that the Tigers have done some remarkable things with "older" players, but I was referring not to the "Pudge" type of old players (i.e. "talented") but warm body types, guys like Royce Clayton. Just look at the Pirates and Royals, they both signed a slew of guys in the general shape and form of Reggie Sanders. With five all-stars and two solid players, Reggie Sanders can indeed help a team. But when he is batting 3rd-4th-5th, he isn't helping -- he's only filling out a uniform.
Thanks for the post.
Farid
 
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