Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Want

The Tigers have given up, and that could be good news for the Nationals. They might be convinced to disgorge a Cuban for us.

I wanted Aroldis Chapman, but we got Jonathan Papelbon. That's fine, really. But while Papelbon solves one of the problems I wanted, I still have a hankering for:
  • Outfield help
  • A Cuban with an inexplicable first name
Well looky here - the Tigers just put Yoenis Cespedes on the block.

This has even less of a chance of happening than the Chapman thing. I mean, you can't disrespect a veteran like Jayson by acquiring someone who plays his position but way better than he does. It's not about winning the World Series; it's about respect.

Speaking of respect, Drew Storen is all pissed off because he's not closer anymore.

I'm not going to make fun of him. Of course he's angry. I would be too, were I in his position. No one blames Storen for wanting to be the closer.

But look, human society is, like, a huge unwieldy pile of every individual's preferences, and they're not all going to fit together. All these things need to be balanced against one another. No one gets everything he wants; some desires, as reasonable as they may be, can't be fulfilled.

Drew Storen's problem doesn't matter to anyone but Drew Storen. It is impossible to care.

Sorry, dude. Except that I'm not sorry. I can't even care that much. Just keep your head down and do your job and you'll get your eight million or whatever dollars next year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Intimidation

Well look at that, the Nationals got Jonathan Papelbon. Ain't that something?

This doesn't matter even a little bit, but man do I wish it had been someone else. I've always disliked Papelbon. Remember when the hacks who get to call World Series were trying to convince us that when he got ready to throw a pitch, he looked intimidating? Every damn pitch, the camera would give us an unnecessarily close close up and Joe Buck would have to blather something about his terrifying stare. I mean, World Series broadcasters are basically conduits between Fox's corporate sponsors and you, the viewer, but this was shameless even for them. It would take a better shill than Buck to convince anyone that he looks like anything other than the kind of 12 year old who tortures insects.
Oh my goodness I am so intimidated. Who's a big scary man? Who's the big scary man? Is it you? Yes it is!
That said, he's definitely good at pitching. I thought the Nats were going to sit still, but they went out and fixed the third-biggest problem they had. I'm impressed. This transaction wasn't free either, and I'm not talking about the AA pitcher the Nats gave up. This is costing some Lerners some money. Thanks, guys!

It'll be interesting to see who actually closes. Wait, that's not true. Who cares? As long as they both keep their mouths shut - and that could be a problem with Papelbon - it doesn't matter. Especially if the manager has the experience and savvy to figure out the best matchups and . . . oh, right. We don't have one of those, and you can't really trade for one.

The narrative from this point is that all the problems are solved. We got a reliever on the same day Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman came back, so now we're perfect.

This outlook requires a rosier opinion of our ancient position players than I can muster, but I'll settle for one problem being solved.

PS 
[Mets] relief pitcher Jenrry [sic] Mejia has been suspended 162 games for a second positive performance-enhancing drug test, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.
Hahahahahah get rekt you idiots! You should have known he was on drugs when he told you how to spell his first name.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Results

Hey there, baseball fans. Doug Fister from your Washington Nationals here with an update on the Doug's Dingers program.

You know, there are a lot of charities out there, and they're not all equal. You've heard the stories about so-called charitable groups that keep all the money for themselves and don't get anything done. That's hard to forgive - I don't even think making The Score makes up for it!

You don't have to worry about that with Doug's Dingers, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Doug's Dingers gets results!

Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson were toiling in obscurity, which is to say Atlanta. Everyone had forgotten about Uribe, and people thought Johnson was a chick. I know I did!

But look what happened - two patented Doug's Dingers later, and suddenly both of my dudes get acquired by the Mets. Now they have a something to play for, and that's what I call results.

People thought I was crazy to intentionally give up home runs to players who weren't very good. Or at least unethical. But when I see the faces of these Doug's Dudes when they get the good news that, thanks in part to me grooving a fastball right down the middle to them, they're back in the playoff hunt - well that, makes it all worth it.

Speaking of those Mets, they just picked up my old buddy Tyler Clippard. They're really going for it up there, huh? Makes me wish I could give up a homer to myself!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Untitled #674

From time to time, we've been joined here at Distinguished Senators by outside commentators. This isn't just a space for my lovable voice and insightful insights. We've been enlightened here by William Blake, who told us about Screech. By Origen, who possibly overrated Ryan Church a little bit. And even by Doug Fister, who's been kind enough to keep us up to date on his charity work.

Today we're joined by Steve Kilbey of the Church, who perfectly sums up the Nationals' current predicament.


The enemy seeks our dissolution
All he needs is a little push


The Mets are making that push. They're losing slightly less often than the Nats are. They made a move, acquiring Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson (both Doug's Dudes!). Uribe already won a game for them. They're not done, either: They're trying to get an outfielder - possibly an Upton.

The Nationals, meanwhile? Nah. We're fine, thanks.

Maybe you saw the rumor about Jonathon Papelbon. That's not going to happen. But if you heard about it, that means there's a possibility that you might think that they're not just standing pat. They are.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo did a radio interview last week and dropped some hints that he's not doing a damn thing. "We will certainly be looking but I don't know how active we'll be."

Don't just do something - stand there!

"There's no trade I could make that could be as good as the guys we're getting back [from the DL]."

He can't actually believe that, right? Yeah, getting Rendon back is good news, but are we still trying to convince ourselves that getting Werth and Zimmerman back changes anything other than the specific reasons that the lineup sucks?

The Nats aren't quite good enough, the man in charge of fixing that doesn't seem to realize it's true.

Where are they now? 
  • Steve Kilbey and the Church will be appearing at the Fillmore in Silver Spring along with the Psychedelic Furs on Sunday, August 9th. Tickets are available
  • Origen and William Blake are still dead. 
  • Doug Fister will probably have a blog post up tomorrow.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Burden

Here's an awkward question: Are we bad fans?

By "we," I mean "y'all." "All y'all," to be less specific. Not me - I'm definitely a bad fan. One of the worst. I only go to games when there's a Livan-related trinket available.

The evidence that Nats fans are bad at being Nats fans is mounting. Sure, it's all circumstantial, but we're not looking at whether the fan base is going to prison, only whether it has bragging rights over Cincinnati or Phoenix or wherever. The burden of proof on this one is light as a feather.

We call it the fan base to make it seem bigger, by the way. You don't want to call and say the fan is going to be there. We put "base" on the end of it.

Some blog intended to help the SEO of a site that's trying to sell you after-market tickets put together a hell of scientific study about fan base enthusiasm, factoring in attendance and ticket price and even diseases of the modern age like Facebook and Twitter engagement.

It's the .48 that gets me. You can't round up.
We're terrible at this stuff! Are you doing your part? Make sure to follow @Nationals on Twitter with both the real account with your name on it AND the one with the funny pseudonym you use to troll desperate semi-celebrities.

Then there was this story about TV ratings. Ratings for baseball are pretty great everywhere, and the good news is that around here they're well up from back when they were under nine thousaaaaaaaaand.

The bad news is, on a per capita ratings-type basis, we're getting outdrawn by damn near everyone. Even Baltimore! Have you seen what they're doing up there? Playing in an empty ballpark, Steve Pearce at second base, running out of Hawaiian shirts before I got there - it's been a complete debacle.

It looks a little better as a counting stat rather than a rate stat - 67,000 butts in their own seats per game - but still. We're 19th out of 30.

The attendance is actually pretty good. After a pretty rough start (2005: 8th out of 16) and rougher middle (2010: 14th out of 16), we're up to 4th. We're number four!

Based on the available facts, I conclude that Nats are not terrible at being Nats fans. Rather, they are rational actors who respond to incentives and whatever you call the opposite of incentives.

If you offer them Shake Shack and Livan bobblehead dolls, they go to the game. If you offer them Bob Carpenter, they switch over to Ancient Aliens.

PS Make sure to check this out, where Wm. Yurasko makes a pretty convincing case that Aroldis Chapman would be only the third-greatest Cuban in Nats history. He also has a line about Chapman's fastball vis-à-vis Jayson Werth's reckless and imprisonable disregard for all living things that I wish I'd thought of and which I now cannot rip off since I've made it clear that I know about it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Utopia

That was a close one. We were a baby's head's breadth away from disaster.

If it weren't for Michael A. Taylor, a man with the body of a man and the head of a baby's head, driving in a couple runs in the 8th and then stealing second and scoring another one, we'd be in real trouble: headed to Pittsburgh to face a superior team while only one game ahead of the damn Mets, who refuse to acknowledge the Nationals as their betters and stop trying.
Note how his hand is too big for his head. Because it is a baby's head. The head of a baby.
Thanks to Taylor, we're living in some kind of Elysian Shangri-La-Ass Utopia: headed to Pittsburgh to face a superior team while two games ahead of the damn Mets.

So things could be better, and my prescription hasn't changed. We need some offense. We need Aroldis Chapman. We need to set up a GoKickMe so we can afford Aroldis Chapman.

We'll see what happens. I'm just going to sit here pushing myself back into the sofa cushions as I watch my nightmares come true.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Charoldis Fund

On Monday I laid out a mathematical case that the Nationals should acquire Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. The math included numbers such as "101," "103," and even "106." Those numbers are irrefutable.

The counter-argument contains some much larger numbers, such as "176 million" and "210 million." This argument, which consists of the Nationals payroll and the money promised to Max Scherzer to induce him to throw his no-hitters for Washington.

The counter-argument is not being made publicly, but unfortunately it's being made by the only people whose opinion matters - the pack of Lerners that signs the checks.

It was revealed last month that the Lerners think they've spent quite enough on this team, and any mid-season improvements are going to have be more or less free, which means they more or less aren't going to happen.
The Nationals’ owners, despite being among the wealthiest in the sport, are reluctant to add payroll in the middle of a season, according to major-league sources.
So that's that.

Or is it?

We're living in the future, and while we don't have flying cars or colonies on Mars or double ties, we do have crowdfunding. If you can get a whole bunch of people to pitch in a few bucks apiece, pretty soon you have Chapman money.

This futuristic method of fleecing suckers has already accomplished so much. Among other things, a whole bunch of people pitching in a few dollars apiece have:

1. Saved the Icelandic goats, evidently the stars of an episode of Game of Thrones, from non-dragon-related extinction.
2. Sent apparent musician Amanda Palmer a million dollars so she could make a record and pay musicians in hugs.
3. Allowed Who's Your Caddy? executive producer Chris Roberts to escape his high-flying Hollywood career so he could follow his dream of making Wing Commander again but this time spending $80 million dollars to do it.
These are the winners in the new crowd-funded economy. One of them throws a hundred miles an hour, one of them is a goat, and the other two robbed drama club kids and nerds.
I'm very nearly serious about this. What if the Nationals made it known that, gee, we almost have a trade worked out for a high impact player who can put us over the top, but we need just a little more money. Click here to donate and make it happen!

Are there rules against this? I'm sure they aren't allowed to mention the specifics of what you'd be paying for. They probably couldn't even do something crafty like using pseudonyms - you know, "Charoldis Apman" or whatever.

That, however, can be solved very neatly by leaking information to friendly writers. "Sources say the Nats are close to acquring a reliever whose name rhymes with 'Chardolis Apman'" - that's the whole reason Ken Rosenthal exists.

It's not like shame would hold them back. They're willing to charge damn near 300 dollars (American!) for an Ian Desmond jersey. Setting up a GoKickMe or whatever to raise bullpen money is far less objectionable.