I read through the comments on blog posts at Nationals Journal every day, as well as the weekly chats hosted by Chico Harlan, the Washington Post beat writer assigned to the Nats. These comments used to be all rah-rah but all of a sudden people are starting to freak out.
This semi-optimistic post came first. It sums up a lot of my feelings on the subject:
I love the game, and I love the city, and I'm willing to wait for brilliance. I'm young. If they're not the guys for the job, I'm willing to wait past Kasten and JimBow and Ted. I'll be rooting for the Nats after those men are gone, no matter what kind of team they field...If you don't find this entertaining, Tom, you're watching it wrong. I don't understand the fans who aren't happy with a pathetic disaster of a team. You know what makes me happy? Baseball. Winning is gravy...Winning's a lot more fun when you're in last place. Yes, I'd like to be at the top of the division someday. I'd like it as soon as possible. But I refuse to stop enjoying my favorite game in the world because the Nats just got swept.
Posted by: girl at work | June 19, 2008 4:30 PM
That post was lauded by plenty of the Nats Journal's readers but then called out by a handful of others:
Seriously, what is going on here? It seems to me that a lot of us around here aren't happy with this pathetic disaster of a team. And why should we be? And why are so many of you saluting a post that says we should be happy with a bunch of (unlovable) losers? These guys don't even try hard for the most part, which is what I find most offensive and which makes it impossible for me to be happy.
Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 19, 2008 5:21 PM
Why should you be happy with this team? I can see why people are discouraged with the team, but what were your expectations? The Nats were a 71-91 team last year and were expected to be less consistent than last year (mainly because they're younger). And how do you expect a team to be anything but a "pathetic disaster of a team" when they lose their Opening Day starting pitcher, closer, first baseman, third baseman and right fielder for a significant time? The team is in a lot better shape than people thing. When our 3 best hitters (yes, Kearns IS one of our 3 best hitters. One bad month doesn't displace an otherwise good career.) return, we'll start hitting better. It's as easy as that.
Besides the commenters, there were many pessimistic (and a few outright stupid) people on the chat. Among the losers:
Silver Spring, MD: Isn't it time to just release Nick Johnson. This is for simple fairness, and will not save any money. For the last two years, Mr. Johnson has received $5M a year, essentially to heal, to be on sick leave. He was hired to play baseball games. Whoever hired Mr. Johnson for this kind of money made a huge mistake. On a game-played basis, Mr. Johnson is probably up there with ARod.
Maybe it is time to part ways.
Manassas, VA: Chico, historically Nick Johnson has not played a full season. Ever. The closest he ever came was 2006, then got hurt and missed a whole season. If he's a slow healer that means he's always healing, which means he's rarely playing.
It doesn't matter how good his batting eye is, if he doesn't get to use it.
Second the call to part ways with Nicky J.
Chico (kinda) came to the rescue, saying this: Disagree. Washington has no intention to release Johnson. None whatsoever. Johnson's only problem is that he's historically been very slow to recover from injuries. This is just the latest example. But no doubt he'll be playing again during the last months of the season. And the Nats need him. Even when his average is down, he helps the team by drawing walks and taking pitches. No way does Livan cruise through an entire game on turbo-speed if he has to face Johnson three or four times.
That doesn't take it far enough. There is absolutely no reason to give up on him for being injury-prone. He has ALWAYS produced when healthy. His average may be just average (no pun intended) but he puts up great OBP/iso SLG numbers and good fielding to boot. But this guy said it best:
Dumping Johnson: Suggesting the dumping of Johnson just because he's injured is the perfect example of why you will rarely find anyone from a MLB front office in a chatroom. Just. Plain. Idoitic.
That's all I've got. I guess we've officially found our "stupid fans," which every team has a few of. Some teams (coughBOSTONcough) just have a few more stupid fans than others.