Sunday, August 31, 2008

At least today can't be worse than yesterday...

Yeah, I know the Nats won. In the grand scheme of things, though, I would prefer a Hokies win to anything else. I'm not going to talk about the game any because it makes me want to cry, but I will leave the following as my statement of the game:

In other news, the Skins made their cuts. I'm very proud of Justin Hamilton for making the team and I'm also happy that Durant Brooks grabbed the punting job from Derrick Frost. Frost seems quite bitter for someone who shouldn't have had any feeling of job security. The best way to sum up the punting battle in my opinion came from The Redskins Report (via the official blog of the Redskins):
If you are one of the worst punters in the league, you’re going to have to whip the competition to win a camp battle, Frost didn’t. It was close and tie goes the guy who might not suck.
Tonight has to be the night Odalis gets dealt. He has no value to the team anymore (just blocking youngsters) and has been surprisingly effective for someone who nobody else wanted. I don't think anyone else gets moved...Colome, Boone, Nieves, Harris and Langerhans could be of some use to contending teams as well, so maybe one of them could be dealt. I'd say there's a less than 10% chance anyone gets dealt, though, and if anyone it's gotta be Odalis. Check out MLBTR's list of guys who have cleared waivers. Expect a few trades tonight before the playoff roster deadline at midnight.

Hat-tip to NFA, who was the first (or at least the first I saw) to note the Nats' press release concerning the September call-ups:
Roger Bernadina
Kory Casto
Alberto Gonzalez (activated from the DL)
Mike Hinckley
Shairon Martis
Levale Speigner

The Nats' press release has some decent detail on everyone. The other day I predicted Casto, Gonzalez, Tyler Clippard and Brian Sanches would be added, plus good possibilities that Hinckley, Luke Montz and Bernadina would get the call. I was less pessimistic on Leonard Davis, Yunior Novoa, Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond and Mike Daniel, and for good reason, as none were called up. Everyone seemed to miss out on Martis, probably because they figured his innings limit was coming, but it's not a real surprise. I'm very surprised Clippard and Montz didn't get the call, but they might when the AAA season concludes (or at least Clippard might).

And about this. Are you freaking serious? Vladimir Nunez, you are not a good pitcher. Become a ML-quality reliever and then comment on the awful taunting that is celebrating after a win. Geez, what a moron. It's the second time this year a crappy pitcher has attempted to diss the Nats for being "unprofessional" after losing to them. The first one, Nelson Figueroa, is unprofessional himself, because he is no longer a professional baseball player (or at least a ML one). I have a feeling Vladdy Nunez is going to join him soon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday randoms

Jim Bowden made a (well overdue) roster move tonight, outrighting RHP's Brian Sanches and Chris Schroder off of the 40-man roster. It appears that both have cleared waivers and have elected to stay with the club, so they will remain in AAA Columbus. I've advocated giving Schroder another chance all year, and although this certainly isn't the end for him (see Langerhans, Escobar, etc. in past years), it certainly isn't encouraging I'm sure. Both pitchers celebrated their 30th birthdays this month, so it's not like there is a whole lot more upside there anyways. By moving these two off of the 40-man, the Nats have 38 on it. Additional spots will be made by putting the Chief and Hill on the 60-day DL, leaving the Nats with 4 spots. 1 will go to Dmitri Young when he is activated from the restricted list. I'm guessing the other 3 will be Hinckley, Montz and Novoa.

In other news, Redskins veteran Jon Jansen is apparently on the roster bubble after being challenged by second-year Maryland product Stephon Heyer. I don't like the potential move, because Jansen only makes $400k more than the minimum against the cap this year (or at least that's how I understood the article). And he's got the potential to be the beast he's been most of his career.

Only 16 hours until kickoff! GO HOKIES!!!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Links

Just a few to throw out at you today:

Nationals Farm Authority goes through their picks for September Call-ups (with good write-ups):
Roger Bernadina
Kory Casto
Tyler Clippard
Alberto Gonzalez
Mike Hinckley
Luke Montz
Yunior Novoa
Brian Sanches
Maybe Leonard Davis
Chico Harlan of the Post also named his picks today in his chat:

Kory Casto
Mike Hinckley
Luke Montz
Roger Bernadina
Jordan Zimmermann
Leonard Davis
maybe Ian Desmond and Mike Daniel (currently in Harrisburg)

I tend to agree more with NFA than Chico. I don't see Zimmermann, Desmond or Daniel being called up. The definites are Casto, Gonzalez (he's not really a call-up per se, but he'll be added after September 1), Clippard and Sanches. Beyond that, I'd say Hinckley, Montz and Bernadina will all have 75% chances or better, followed by Davis and Novoa at 50/50. Zimmermann, Desmond and Daniel I'd say are all 25% chances at best.

Another thing to keep an eye on (from the Pirates' official website via NFA):
At the Pirates’ request, the Office of the Commissioner today placed Pedro Alvarez on Major League Baseball’s Restricted List. The Pirates were forced to request that Pedro be placed on the Restricted List because we were informed by his agent, Scott Boras, that Pedro will not sign the contract to which he agreed on August 15. Boras further informed us that Pedro will not report to the Club unless we renegotiate his contract and agree to pay him more than the $6 million signing bonus to which he agreed.
If for some reason Pedro Alvarez ends up not signing with the Pirates, it will probably void Eric Hosmer's deal as well (as Hosmer's came later than Alvarez's). And then the Nats' compensation pick for failing to sign Aaron Crow falls to number 12 overall rather than number 10.

And the last NFA link for the day (Brian has really been on a roll lately) is this one discussing the Nats' Arizona Fall League players. The guys named to the team are RHP Adam Carr, LHP Cory VanAllen, RHP Zech Zinicola, SS Ian Desmond, 1B Bill Rhinehart and 3B/OF Leonard Davis.

Last link of the day: Chris Cooley is offering an autographed jersey to whoever finds and returns Chief Zee's tomahawk.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mailbag answers

Why send Kory Casto to the Minor Leagues when more than half of the team is struggling? Let him figure it out like the rest of the players are doing.
-- Aaron P., Minneapolis

.193/.292/.281 on the year, 1 for his last 17...who else is struggling THAT bad? The only worse position players on the year: Fastrada, MacKKKKKowiaKKKKK and Bernadina. And he has options left.

I read that the Nationals decided not to sign first-round Draft pick Aaron Crow over a difference of less than a $1 million. For a team that emphasizes building their farm system, isn't this move a bit hypocritical?
-- Pat R. Oakton, Va.


I really do feel for you. Any team that loses 12 straight games has more than just injury problems. The Nationals' manager -- Manny Acta -- can't play small ball and I don't like Jim Bowden. He reminds me a lot of Jim Beattie. Hang in there.
-- Scott S., Halifax, Va.

I agree on one part and disagree on the other. Jim Bowden is absolutely awful and needs to be fired, ASAP. His personnel moves aren't really what bother me the most, it's how he treats his players and other GM's. If some GM's refuse to talk to him for being a moron, he's not a good GM. Ostracizing other teams leaves out hundreds of prospects we could otherwise trade for. Not a good plan.

On the other hand, I'm a bigger believer that small ball wastes outs. This is not a team who can play small ball, mainly becuase they can't afford to lose any outs. So it don't matter that Manny can't play small ball, becuase it's a waste.

The Rays have gone from worst to first with Joe Maddon's no-nonsense approach. Shouldn't the Nationals take note? Isn't a taskmaster needed?
-- John S., Alexandria, Va.

That's not why they've gotten better. It's the farm system. Maddon is a good manager, but it works for some guys and not others. I shudder when I think of what would happen if Elijah Dukes had a no-nonsense manager.

At this point in the season, on a scale from A-F, how would you rate the performance of Jesus Flores? Please rate his defense and offense.
-- Jason H., Rockwood, Tenn.

B. He's been slightly above average with the bat and with the glove. I'm comparing him to league average, not expectations.

Will Adam Dunn be headed for D.C.? We know Bowden loves Reds players he once drafted and traded for. The Nats need a huge power bat and Dunn could fill that void.
-- Chad B., Hitchins Ky.

50/50 if Bowden is still here next year.


I really believe that Nick Johnson should call it quits. He has spent more time on the DL than in the field. At his age, things aren't going to get any better.
-- Jorge, Springfield, Va.

Without any long-term injuries, it doesn't make sense for him to call it quits. Maybe if he had a real serious injury (such as breaking his leg again), but not at this point.

Will the Nats re-sign Willie Harris? He's been extraordinarily useful and I also like his attitude.
-- Richard M., Lexington, Va.

Yes. They better.

It doesn't take rocket science to determine that the Nats just can't hit. Is Lenny Harris the best hitting instructor available? Have the Nationals talked to Paul Molitor? He comes highly recommended -- 3,319 hits.
-- J.W., Springfield, Va.

Just because he has a lot of hits doesn't make him a good hitting coach. I'd rather have someone in-house like Ladson noted (Rick Eckstein?) though.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday thoughts

I can't watch Nats games anymore at school (unless they're on ESPN...I'll wait until you stop laughing), but I did catch highlights and the writeups of last night.

Why was Anderson Hernandez batting leadoff? I don't care that he's 5 for 9 in on the season so far or that he went 3 for 4 the other night. ANDERSON HERNANDEZ IS A NO-HIT SHORTSTOP! I think the 12 for 87 line in the majors before this year, the .264/.310/.354 career minor league line or the .203/.262/.307 line this year in AAA would tell you that. And, seriously, what does it tell Willie Harris when you move him to the #8 spot in a career year to make room for a guy who is a historically awful hitter to bat leadoff just becuase he had a 3 for 4 game.

Manny, I don't disagree with you most of the time, but what were you thinking? It's ANDERSON HERNANDEZ!

The Nats and Cubs start a 3-game series tonight. For those who don't know, I was raised on the Cubs and regularly sport a Ryne Sandberg jersey. During Cubs-Nats series, the team who needs to win the least always seems to wim the most. So the Nats will probably take at least 2 of 3 and the Nats will end up losing out on the #1 pick by 1 loss and the Cubs will lose the division by 1 game. Maybe I'm a pessimist in that sense.

In other news, I really enjoy the blog Kyle Tucker writes for the Virginian-Pilot concerning VT (based out of the Hampton Roads area). Here are some funny things to picture:
Nothing I can report from practice, since today was one of those off-limits workouts...I like to imagine on such days – when the gates are closed to all outside eyes – that Frank Beamer is cackling into his bullhorn, “Muhaha! Muuuuuuuhahahahaha!” while scheming plays like the Ed Wang end-around and the receiver screen to Ike Whitaker, who then throws into the backfield to Greg Boone, who then throws a bomb to Taco Thompson, who would’ve been lined up in the slot for this particular trickeration.
The fun thing is, I can totally see that happening.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Whatever Wednesday

I realized last night that I missed week 2 of Whatever Wednesday/Tumbleweed Thursday last week. Then I realized how bad I am with having series on my blog (Unsubstantiated Trade Rumor of the Week anyone?). I'll try my best to do this every week, because it's kinda fun to do this...especially considering I spent the last two hours moving my whole life into my dorm room. So without further ado, I present to you Whatever Wednesday!

Baseball Links of the Day
My roommate really enjoys this game. I'm still getting the hang of it (and haven't had a mouse to use since I'm on my laptop), but it looks like fun to me. You have to throw a perfect game, in case you couldn't figure that out.

Here's another fun one: Batting Stance Guy. Nothing fancy here, just a guy in jorts with a baseball bat standing in front of a camera. But then his cameraman shouts out "Andre Dawson" and he jumps into The Hawk's batting stance. The Nats/Expos episode (I guess they're called episodes?) only includes Zimmerman and Guz from the current lineup, but it's still worth a look.

Jason Bergmann could be the first baseball player ever (with 30 or more atbats) to post an OBP of .000.

My last baseball link of the day is something I didn't quite expect out of Brian Oliver of Nats Farm Authority. Instead of paraphrasing, I'll just quote part of it:
This is has been something that I have been thinking about since the signing deadline passed. I’m going to break from the mold that I typically have here where I attempt to be as even-keeled as I can when it comes to the happenings with the Nationals farm system. and leave you to check out the rest.

They need to show a commitment to the farm system if they are going to forgo the present for the future. And, $5 million is simply not enough of a commitment when other teams are out there spending double that.
Hockey Links of the Day
Kenny Gartner (of The Musings of Kenny G) has started up another blog, called "A Capitals Affair." He promises interviews with Chris Clark and Matt Bradley soon, so make sure to watch out for those.

It's also interesting to follow the KHL saga. Basically, the Continental Hockey League is gearing up in Russia and there are rumors that they're going to start trying to draft NHL players under contract. This article says that the KHL is denying that, but when was the last time you trusted a Russian?

Football Links of the Day
Former Virginia Tech jack-of-all-trades Justin Hamilton is fighting for a spot on the Redskins at safety and on special teams. Hamilton played WR, RB and S for the Hokies.

I found this on StumbleUpon and it's kinda cool: a map of where FBS schools are. Pretty self-explanatory there.

Here are some cool videos: "The Greatest Trick Plays in Football." The video of the Boise State plays from the 2007 Fiesta Bowl doesn't work, so here's a separate link to a different video of it.

Curran Update
Since my interview with 2008 Nationals draft pick Chris Curran a few weeks ago, he's still been awesome, hitting .338 (23/68) with 4 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 20 R, 11 RBI, 7 BB/12 K and 2/3 SB over 16 games. Glad to see Chris smacking the GCL around. He's looking like a solid prospect.

Last Few Links of the Day
Here are two fun games I found last night on StumbleUpon.

That's all I've got for now. Now on to unpacking and job interviews!

John Challis, an inspiration for all of us

Just as I was about to hit the sack (aka my friend Steve's couch), I looked up at the TV. Linda Cohn was rattling off the NL East standings, but then looked down at her papers and her expression suddenly changed. Cohn then announced the death of John Challis, an 18-year-old who spent the last 2 years fighting liver cancer.

If you're interested in John and his inspirational story, here are some links for you:
Original ESPN Story (with video)
Original foundation story
ESPN Video Obituary

Here is video of the original story:

The last link I have is to the John Challis Courage for Life Foundation, which you can visit here. Rest in peace, John. You have inspired many of us.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Picture of the Day: Sign of the Apocalypse

To borrow the series from Sports Illustrated, here's your picture of the day:

Yes, this is a Hannah Montana Fathead. I guess business was slow with the Barry Zito and Stephon Marbury ones.

I made it to Blacksburg fine, thanks. Unfortunately I was greeted by the news that WR Zach Luckett was arrested for a DUI. I'm tired of the labels our program is getting. No one who gets a DUI should ever play again. No one should get a DUI in the first place in Blacksburg...there is a free taxi service for drunk kids! Kick him off the team.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goodbye Ayala

Luis Ayala has been traded to the Mets for infielder Anderson Hernandez. As you can see by his profile, Hernandez is not a very good player, but Ayala is an expensive not-very-good-player, so the deal is addition by subtraction.

I'll be saying goodbye for now as well. I'm making the trip back to Blacksburg today and may or may not be able to make many updates between now and next week. So continue to read up on Nationals Fanboy Looser, Fire Jim Bowden and Nats Farm Authority while I am (possibly) gone.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bowden fails us again

Jim Bowden, your time is officially up. For all intents and purposes, you are dead to me. I will no longer acknowledge your role as Nationals General Manager, because that can't possibly be your job. Your job is to screw this team over moreso than MLB did in the early 2000s.

For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, Bowden let Crow slip away. You might think Crow's demands were what kept the deal from happening...but no, it was Jim Bowden (whose intelligence ranks up there with elephant turds) who kept the deal from happening.

From BaseballAmerica:
One source indicated the Crow camp, led by his agents the Hendricks Brothers, dropped their demands to $4 million from the $8-$10 million range, and that the Nationals came up from slot to $3.3 million, but that the two sides ran out of time and wiggle room and couldn’t work out a compromise.
Jim Bowden lost out on Aaron Crow over $700k. Are you freakin' kidding me? Running out of time is absolutely not an excuse, as they've had more than 2 months to figure this stuff out. $700k, really? That's just embarrassing. Bowden, you're an embarrassment and continue to prove it time and time again.

If the Lerner family ever wants to field a winning team (something I consistently doubt), they need to pay off Bowden for whatever he's got that blackmails the family and get him a plane ticket to Guyana.

In other news, Bowden's ineptitude for building a team showed again tonight, as the Nats lost their 8th straight game. Bleck. At least the Cubs are rolling (5 wins in a row). Otherwise, I might pronounce the 2008 MLB season officially dead.

Tonight's your chance to vandalize Bowden's Wikipedia page.

And tonight's the Nats' night to fire Bowden. DO IT!!!!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When no news isn't good news

Still no real word on Aaron Crow. I know everyone's saying all of the 1st round guys who are unsigned are just waiting for one domino to fall, but if he's really asking for $8-9 mil and an ML contract, I'm not confident he'll be signed. Whether or not he's worth that price is a different story, but am I the only one that doubts the Nats will give him even half of that? When he signs, I'll be happy. Until then, I'll be skeptical, especially when I keep reading articles like this.

Why is Odalis Perez still on our team? His last 3 starts have all been quality ones (6 IP or more while allowing 3 ER or less). He's got a 2.79 ERA and a 2-0 record in those 3 starts. And he's got a 4.12 ERA for the year while only making $1 mil. AND HE'S A LEFTY! I can't help but believe this is another instance where JimBow is asking for the moon and we'll end up with nothing to show for it. I find it hard to believe we can't score a Jhonny Nunez-level player for Odalis, so just like in Crow's situation, I'll be wearing my skeptical pants for now.

One last thing: would anyone be interested in a contest? There wouldn't be any prizes or anything (I am a poor college student, you know), but you would get the pride of knowing you're the best Nationals fan in the world. Email me your list of guys who you think the Nats will call up when rosters expand on September 1. I'll compile the winners that day and announce them afterwards. Sound like fun?

That's about all I've got for now. Check out Steven's interview with Baseball America Editor John Manuel here. As I posted in Steven's comments today, FireJimBowden is a daily must-read. You may not agree with everything, but it's still worth reading. I wonder what he'll call his blog when Bowden is fired?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Reading Material

Check out this from Fire Jim Bowden and this from Hendo's Hutch.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mailbag answers

Will the Nationals spend some money to acquire Major League players this offseason? I appreciate them building the farm system, but I can't wait forever. What do you think of trying to sign a big-dollar player?
-- Ryan K., Washington D.C.

I'm cautiously optimistic the Nats will spend some money this offseason, but not for a big-name guy. We're talking wasting dollars on more guys like Lo Pukea, Fatsrada, Mackowisuck, etc. rather than going after someone who might return the investment like C.C. Sabathia or Ben Sheets.

I was at two Nationals games recently, and Alberto Gonzalez plays outstanding defense and covers a lot of territory. With that in mind, who will be the Opening Day shortstop next year?
-- Brian G., Richmond, Va.

Um...seriously? Gonzalez can play some good defense, but his bat is probably closer to Jesus Colome's than Jesus Flores'.

Unless this is a trick question. Guzman's chance of starting on Opening Day is usually about 50/50, depending on his health.

I recently heard on the radio that Ryan Zimmerman doesn't have a good relationship with the Nationals organization. Please tell me this is only a rumor.
-- Xavier N., Houston

Does this surprise anyone? Ladson says it's just a rumor, but I'm skeptical. Only time will tell, but after the way our bridges were burned with the Chief, I wouldn't be surprised.

Are there any updates on Shawn Hill? Can we expect him to pitch again this season?
-- Jeff, D., Alex., Va.

This belongs to Ladson: "There is an update. He is currently on a throwing program and the Nationals are hoping he can pitch in the big leagues by Sept. 1.

When can we expect to see guys like Justin Maxwell, Chris Marrero, Mike Daniel, and Michael Burgess to be called up to the big leagues?
-- Jeff, D. Alex., Va.

Maxwell-2009 at some point, 2010 for good (if he's ever healthy, which is unlikely)
Marrero-2010 cup of coffee, 2011 for good (if he stays healthy and doesn't regress)
Daniel-2009 at some point, 2011 for good (if he's ever good enough)
Burgess-2010 mid-season callup, up for good (most confident that Burgess will be the star of these 4)

Does Austin Kearns really have a future in Major League Baseball? This is the second season that he has been terrible with the bat, and it doesn't seem to be improving. He is also a rally killer.
-- Patrick B., Fairfax, Va.

Kearns is not this bad. Something's wrong with him physically. He'll be fine next year (assuming he's healthy).

With no one to take Nick Johnson's place in the Minors, are the Nationals going to give him one more chance to be the everyday first baseman?
-- Steven S., Washington, D.C.

They'll continue to give him chances for the length of his contract (which means through the end of next season). I doubt they'll sign a free agent of any real value, but expect to see some combination of Rhinehart, Montz, Casto, Broadway and Jimenez there next year.

Might I add that this would be a great time to have Josh Whitesell and his .331/.428/.564 AAA line. But JimBow decided that it would be more important to have Lo Duca, Estrada and Mackowiak on the 40-man roster (just like he decided it was more important to have Matt LeCroy in 2006 than Darrell Rasner). And when he dumped Claudio Vargas on waivers. And on and on....

That's another shortcoming of Bowden-he is awful with waivers.

OK, I have reached my boiling point now with Bowden. The way he handled the Chad Cordero situation just oozes lack of decency and sportsmanship. Chad has been a warrior for the Expos/Nationals and for Bowden to treat him like that -- announcing to the media that he would be non-tendered -- was uncalled for.
-- Tim R., Auburn, N.Y.

I'm equally appalled. FIRE BOWDEN!!!!!1!!!one!!

4/5, 9/10

According to Bob Carpenter on MASN's coverage of today's Nationals-Brewers game, 3rd round pick SS Daniel Espinosa and 4th round LHP Graham Hicks have both signed, leaving only 1st round RHP Aaron Crow unsigned.

Nice. Still NEED to sign Crow, he's the most important. If Crow signs, that would make it 10 of the first 10, which is good.

I'm no French major

"'The Americans? We’re going to smash them. That’s what we came here for,' [French swimmer Alain] Bernard said."

Then the U.S. Men's 4x100 freestyle relay team, led by Jason Lezak (NOT Michael Phelps!) broke the world record by more than 4 seconds and beat the French dirtbags to win gold.

So I need a little bit of help from the French majors (or anyone who can use an online translation device). How do you say "loser" in French? How about "second place?," or even "karma?"

Since I am a history major, I do feel confident in adding Bernard and his relay mates to a very long list of French people who have failed throughout history.

Yes, that IS necessary. USA ALL THE WAY!

Edit-Here's a link with the video of the race

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Nationals 5th round draft pick C Adrian Nieto signed. Good, definitely didn't expect it.

Still need to sign Crow, Espinoza and Hicks. Not want to, NEED to.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saturday morning thoughts

I read through a couple of particularly unimpressive predictions regarding Virginia Tech and the 2008 college football season.

Here's what the first article said (from the Fort Worth Star Telegram):

Why Virginia Tech is No. 22: An experienced offensive line and two quarterbacks return, but there are numerous questions on both sides of the ball, and the schedule includes four potentially tough road games.

Potential problems: Start at quarterback, where Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon remained even through spring and neither won the job outright. Taylor is a running threat, while Glennon is more of a dropback passer. The Hokies also must bolster the running back position after Branden Ore was kicked off the team and two others were injured. The receiving corps has little experience, and the defense must replace seven starters who were drafted. Virginia Tech has a tough four-game stretch in conference that includes contests at Boston College, Florida State and Miami.

Yes, the Hokies do play some historically good teams on the road, plus North Carolina (who will be good next year rather than this year). But Florida State's offensive line is starting I think 3 sophomores and 2 freshmen, Boston College lost more key players than Tech did, Nebraska sucks and Miami lost a ton of players from an already-bad team.

The "potential problem" at QB is just stupid, as it's a good thing to have two starting quarterbacks. That way neither of them can take a play off. The two worked well together last season and should continue to this year. Branden Ore was a detriment to the team last year, and his replacements (Kenny Lewis Jr. and Jahre Cheeseman) both averaged either around as many or more yards per carry than Ore last year. Throw in Josh Oglesby and Ryan Williams and the Hokies will instantly improve at the position over Ore.

The Hokies went to the Sugar Bowl in 2004 with their top 2 wide recievers being freshman (plus their third and fourth were a true sophomore and a true freshman, respectively). Again, I'm not worried.

It's incredibly ignorant to ever question Bud Foster's defense. He's done more with a worse group before. That's an awful argument. The Virginia Tech defense is a never-ending reservoir of talent, and that will continue for the forseeable future.

And to the second bad prediction:
3) VIRGINIA TECH - Coach Frank Beamer's Hokies have earned the respect they get in the preseason, but if you put a different name on this team's resume, it probably wouldn't be favored to reach the ACC title game. Tech returns only 10 starters and said goodbye to its leading rusher and four top pass catchers from last year. There are no obvious replacements. The top three tacklers on defense? Also gone. In fact most of last year's typical tough D will be playing on Sundays this season. Rebuilding year, anyone?

Why wouldn't the Hokies be favored to reach the ACC title game? Nobody else is anywhere near as talented or experienced in the Coastal Division. Unless something clicks with another team, the Hokies could win the Coastal Division very decisively. Kenny Lewis, Jr. and Jahre Cheeseman were obvious replacements. Again, defensive players are ALWAYS replacable at Virginia Tech. Another poor analysis, but this is why you're writing for USA Today, I suppose.

All of this sounds a ton like the 2004 Virginia Tech team that went 10-3, losing to 2 undefeated teams (USC and Auburn) as well as a 1 point loss on a missed field goal at NC State. I'm not scared to predict a 12-1 or 13-0 season (because Clemson will choke in the ACC Championship, as always).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fun Friday

I'm sitting in Panera once again. They have amazing iced tea. So good that I have gone through 4 cups of it in the last half hour. But anyways...

According to Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News (via MLBTR), "Speculation around the Nationals is that vice president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo is positioned to replace Jim Bowden as general manager." Not exactly big news, but it's refreshing to hear it come from non-Nationals bloggers (I'm looking at you, Steven on Capitol Hill).

It's really tough for me be excited about this team right now. Don't get me wrong, I love the guys, their energy and their winning habits (6 of the last 7? OMG!!!). But all of my excitement from the "New Nats" (or as my blogger friend the Scholastic Scribe would probably call them, the "Gnu Gnats") is drained by how angry I still am toward the management. We need to spend money and we need to sign our draft picks. Sadly, all I can do is say "meh" and try and move on. But if August 15 comes and we don't have all 5 of these draft picks signed, I'm gonna go nuts. Fire Bowden, Kasten, The Lerners, etc.

Was anyone else as immensely amused by this as I was? A Tecmo Bowl matchup of Milledge and Dukes? That's awesome! So awesome that I spent the last hour playing Tecmo Bowl on my laptop here at Panera. That would probably explain why all of the 30something yuppies are staring at me.

Nothing else is really happening. The Olympics are on tonight, and anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with them. If you see someone dressed in red white and blue chanting "U-S-A! ALL THE WAY!," it's probably me. If anything exciting happens today, I'll probably give my thoughts then (cough ODALIS TRADE?!?!?!?! cough). If not, I'll be back on either tomorrow or Sunday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Whatever Wednesday/Tumbleweed Thursday

I've been thinking of having a new semi-series that comes out once a week. It doesn't serve a huge purpose, mostly just to keep the blog updated as the year turns, I head back to school and the baseball season winds down (no, I won't stop blogging, there just won't be as much to blog about). The series will probably come out on Wednesdays and Thursdays and will contain basically anything, both sports and non-sports related.

So, without further ado, here's your first Tumbleweed Thursday, fresh from Panera, where I'm stuck for 2-3 hours every day this week (Barry Svrluga-style).

Baseball Links of the Day
Check out the on-going list of players who have reportedly passed through waivers on (continuously updated).

Also, if you have time and want to feel like you should feel sorry for someone (without actually feeling bad for them), read yet another article about Mike Bacsik. My favorite quote: "One of the things I think about is, do the Nationals not want me there because I'm popular there because of that?" [Bacsik] said. No, Mike, it's because you suck. You suck so much your name should be Mike Bacsuck. I do like the Nats' idea of having him retire and host the pre-game show, though. He and Robert Fick would make an awesome broadcasting tag-team (and, although I was never a fan of him on the field, Paulie was semi-amusing in the booth as well, when he wasn't divulging Ryan Zimmerman's top secret injury status).

Hockey Links of the Day
Check out all of these Capitals concept jerseys from NHL Tournament of Logos (now Icethetics). I'm quite partial to this one as a 3rd jersey. The Caps need to find a way to add the Best Secondary Logo in the NHL to the front of a dark blue sweater.

Football Links of the Day
Florida State QB Christian Ponder finished his undergrad degree in 2 years, and is now enrolled in the Graduate program at FSU. I know, I know it is FSU, but it's gotta be hard graduating in 2 years (including summers) anywhere. I don't even want to graduate in 4! Ponder's only game experience in his short career came last year in Blacksburg, where he didn't totally embarrass himself, going 8-18 with 105 yards, and 1 TD while rushing for 51 yards on 5 carries. Oh wait. He's the guy whose miscues (2 INT and a fumble) directly accounted for the Hokies' last 12 points (INT returned for TD, fumble set up a FG and INT set up the Hokies to drive to the 1, where FSU stopped them on downs and subsequently allowed a safety. Sorry, Christian, but I'm an FSU hater. Quit your stupid chant and maybe I'll stop hating.

I (finally) added Chris Cooley's blog to the sidebar. Every post is somewhere from 7-12 on a 10-point scale of hilarity, but this one really sticks out and actually made me laugh out loud in The Barry Svrluga House of Bread.

And if anyone's into MMORPG's (I have no idea what that stands for), here is a fun game to check out: Goal Line Blitz. Basically it's a free game where you create your own player and as time goes on, you develop them into a better player. Your player usually starts on a CPU team, but will be offered contracts by human-controlled teams generally before your player's first season ends. That's the best I can describe the game. As time goes on, you can accumulate "flex points" and either create more players, "own" a team or buy custom equipment. If you don't want to wait to accumulate "flex points" you can either buy them or invite people to join the game, as I'm doing now.

Try this Product
I (semi)recently won a contest where I received two flavors of Pop'rs. Pop'rs are essentially awesome-tasting, good-for-you Pop Rocks that you sprinkle on foods. They're mostly marketed toward families (so moms can get their kids to eat their veggies), but with my two flavors (Cocoa and Taco), I can add both flavor and nutritional value to my ice cream and Ramen noodles. They're really worth trying out. Go to Pop' and order some or stalk the "Eat Your Veggies" blog for similar giveaways to the one I won my Pop'rs in. To borrow the catchphrase from Pringles: Once You Pop'r...well nevermind.

For those of you who, like me, are in completely 24 withdrawal there is good news. A 2-hour "prequel" movie to the show's 7th season will be shown on Sunday, November 23. The movie, entitled "24: Exile" will bridge the gap between season 6, which ended last summer, and season 7, which was pushed back an entire year because of the writer's strike.

Random Updates
Since my interview with 2008 Nationals draft pick Chris Curran a week ago, he's caught fire, hitting .419 (13/31) with 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 12 R, 6 RBI, 5 BB/4 K and 1/2 SB over 7 games (including 3 straight 2-run, 2-hit games. We're proud of you, Chris! Keep up the good work!

It's been a while since I mentioned Brian Conley, my first cousin once-removed (I think), who was a 2008 draft pick and is an outfielder in the Orioles organization. He's at .258/.364/.400 through 34 games in the GCL.

One last Link of the Day
Here's a post I found on StumbleUpon, entited "How much is inside cookie dough ice cream?" The post is pretty funny and not too long, so be sure to check it out. If you have Firefox or Internet Explorer and don't have StumbleUpon, get it. Now.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I'm trying very hard to not throw something. Things like this really tick me off:
Nationals president Stan Kasten acknowledged on Tuesday that the team most likely will not sign all of its top picks. Kasten declined to say which players he felt were unsignable. However, late last week, general manager Jim Bowden said negotiations with Crow, the Nats' top pick, weren't going well. Crow is represented by advisor J.D. Smart, who works for the Hendricks brothers. Smart was not available for comment.

"I'm sure we'll sign some more of our picks, but I don't think we will sign all of them, but we will try," Kasten said. "We studied this pretty carefully. We decide the value that we place on prospects. That's the No. 1 consideration. Sometimes it's more than Major League Baseball's recommendations, sometimes it's less than the recommendations.

If the Nationals are unable to sign their top Draft picks, the money slotted for them would most likely go toward signing young players outside the United States. (My note...yeah and O.J. is innocent and 9/11 was actually a vast right-wing conspiracy).

In fact, Kasten told the Nationals' board of directors right after the Draft that the team would most likely not sign most of its picks like it did last year. He told them it would be similar to the 2006 Draft, when the team didn't sign four of its first 12 picks, including left-hander Sean Black, its second-round pick. (My note...great....the memorable 2006 draft...and Sean Black is right-handed).

This year's Draft is in sharp contrast to last year's for the Nationals. In 2007, the Nationals signed their first 20 picks. They even went over the slotting system to sign pitcher Jack McGeary, a sixth-round pick who signed first-round money.

"[The 2008] Draft felt like one of those years where we wouldn't sign all of our top picks, which is like a normal year. Last year was an aberration," Kasten said. "This Draft has felt [different] to me, because of the kind of guys we drafted and some of their circumstances, and I think that's how it's playing out. (My note...why does last year have to be an aberration? If we want success, we need to sign all of our top 10 draft picks. Always. Always always always. No excuses).

"Last year, we were among the leaders in amateur signing bonuses. We are prepared to do that this year, but we are not going to do unreasonable contracts."

After finally taking a step forward with the draft last year, here are two steps back. There is no point to The Plan if you can't sign your draft picks. None. This is absolutely inexcusable and the entire front office should be fired if 4 of the top 5 picks aren't signed. Or 3. Or even 2. If you are drafting guys who figure to be asking more than the slot amount, you better be freakin' prepared to open up your wallets. Or only draft 1 guy who might not sign. Don't draft 5 in the first 5 rounds! This is ridiculously pathetic and the Lerner Family, Jim Bowden and Stan Kasten should all be ashamed of themselves for continuing the losing tradition as well as the poor products both on the field and in the minors. Fire Bowden. Fire Kasten. Force out the Lerners (By boycotting games, Bud Selig, whatever. Just do it). We want a real owner and real guys in the front office and a real team. Get rid of the dirtbags who are standing in our way of a respectable team, something these nitwits aren't capable of even coming close to. This cheapness has got to stop here and now, forever.

You're losing us once again, but this time you've almost lost us completely.

And I'll close by asking the Nationals to please make me eat my words. Prove me wrong. Make me ashamed of doubting you. But for goodness sake, quit being so embarrassing from top to bottom. The fans and players are first class people (although the players are for the most part second class ballplayers), but the ownership and top dogs in the front office are amongst the worst in professional sports already.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Roundup

The New Nats had a great weekend, sweeping the Reds.

In game one (5-2 Nats), Odalis Perez threw 7 and 1/3 innings, scattering 3 hits and allowing a single run. If he had done this last week, the game would have been pitched by the likes of Clippard/Mock/Zimmermann, as Perez would be in a different uniform by now. It did raise his value, I'm sure (beleive it or not, he has a 4.16 ERA), as many contenders could use a cheap solid lefty starter signed only through this year.

In game two (10-6 Nats), the Nats tagged their former teammates Bill Bray and Gary Majewski for 1 and 2 runs, respectively. Bray let in one inheirited runner whereas Majewski allowed 3, so 7 of the 10 runs were either scored while the two were on the mound or by runners that reached base against the two. Millz with Thrillz and Belliard both hit homers while Emilio "Bad to the" Bonifacio had a double and a triple. While watching this game, I came to realize that this team, no matter how bad it was, is now really really exciting. Bonifacio, Harris, Milledge, Dukes and Gonzalez all have great speed and can make things happen, and the double play combination of Emilio and Alberto seems to produce at least one web gem per game. Combine this with timely hitting from Flores and Kearns (and Zimmerman when he returns) and you have a decent ballclub. And don't look now, but Ayala threw his third straight shutout inning. Just sayin'.

In game three (4-2 Nats), rookie Collin Balester tossed his second straight solid outing, going 5 and 1/3 innings while only allowing 1 run on 6 hits. Balester now has 10 strikeouts against only 2 walks in his last two starts (totalling 11 and 1/3 innings) and topped 100 pitches for only the second time this year. Bonifacio had another 2 hits, raising his average from .167 to .280 in the series while Milledge hit another blast (and went 1/2 in stolen bases). Kearns had his second straight 3 hit game and is now hitting .293/.355/.414 since returning from the DL a month ago.

The bullpen was awesome this weekend, throwing 8 and 1/3 innings and only allowing 2 runs (both by Hanrahan). I wouldn't worry, though. Hanrahan allowed one run in a non-save situation on Friday and another with a 3-run lead on Sunday. He'll be fine.

And on another note, this is certainly something I'm happy to hear:
Ever since the Trade Deadline, when Washington released its veterans and acquired shortstop Alberto Gonzalez, the Nationals have been playing with a windfall of energy and a renewed sense of enthusiasm.

They picked up their first home three-game sweep of the season on Sunday, scoring 19 runs, while allowing just nine, and hitting .330 -- well above their season average of .240

Pete Orr talked about the change after Saturday's come-from-behind 10-6 win, saying that the Nationals are feeding off one another.

"If you don't get excited watching the last two games, then you're not a baseball fan," Orr said.

Orr added that the hustle of Gonzalez and new double-play partner Emilio Bonifacio -- recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Friday -- is starting to rub off on teammates.

"Everything carries over," Orr said. "You watch those guys play, you get excited, and when you get a chance to do something, you want to do it, too."

Notice that it's the energy of the new guys that gets the credit, not the good pickups by Bowden or bood hitting strategy compiled by Lenny. They probably have till the rest of the season to plead their respective cases. If the next two months go like this, they could be retained (notice the groans from bloggers everywhere...but read this and see why Bowden won't be back...two words: economic irresponsibility). Be carefully optimistic, though, because the Old Nats started the season 3-0 also.