Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fresh. Local.

These ESPN layoffs got me to thinking: Is this the first time Jim Bowden's been fired without completely, obviously deserving it?

It also got me to thinking about local, hand-crafted, artisanal baseball content.

It's like with tomatoes or Korean fusion tacos or whatever. Yeah, there's a lot of hippy-dippery involved, but the fact is that a tomato or a Korean taco that traveled only 25 miles to get in your mouth tastes better than one that came from California. That it's served by a cheerful dude with a beard and a butcher chart of a pig tattooed on his arm is just a bonus.

I'm trying not to project my personal habits onto nation-wide trends here, but I stopped watching regular season non-MASN baseball some time ago. I wonder how big the audience is for relatively meaningless baseball that's not your favorite team. And when it comes to your favorite team, there's more material than anyone can realistically consume - you've got a whole cable network, podcasts, newspapers, all kinda stuff. Even blogs if you're really desperate.

One of the good things about living in the future is that you can watch whatever you want all the time. Maybe you've seen people getting nostalgic about poring over box scores in the morning paper while listening to Jack Benny on the Philco, being careful with how much oleo they put on their toast because of the war.
Above: A young me concentrates so as not to miss the news from Sportsman's Park or Iwo Jima.
We don't have to do that any more, and in the same way we don't need to get our highlights from people who are only going to spend 40 seconds on our team before going to back to talking about the Yankees and/or Tim Tebow. We don't need the game of the week to see exotic teams from the far-off Central Division, either - anyone who cares about that kind of thing can watch the Brewers whenever he wants.

I don't know if there's anything to this. This Forbes article suggests that there is - national baseball broadcasts (not counting the playoffs) are steadily declining even as regional sports networks do better and better in spite of Bob Carpenter.

ESPN's problems are bigger than this, but it's not clear that the network has any purpose for baseball fans anymore. Not when you can get fresh, GMO-free baseball content that didn't have to be trucked in from Connecticut.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Game Over (Alchemically)

Is it too early to proclaim "Game Over" on the 2017 Major League Baseball season? The Nats just swept the Mets in their crappy city, their crappy borough, and their crappy stadium. So we win. It's too much to come back from.

I guess. I warned you that I wasn't going to do the math, but if the Mets aren't mathematically eliminated, they're definitely eliminated according to some other discipline. Let's say that they're alchemically eliminated.

Enough about those idiots. There is seldom a reason to talk about the Mets in May, and this year is no exception. It's a franchise defined by cocaine and failure.
Also terrible announcing. Left to right: Cranky old man sexism, diseased adenoid voice, who cares
So let's talk about us. The Nationals have the best record in baseball, and it would be even betterest if we had a bullpen. So at this point we're back to me talking about Nostradamus again. The difference, I suppose, is that when Nostradamus predicted the Gulf War or whatever, everyone in France wasn't saying the same thing.

I mean, I know that the Nats are going to win the division easily and trade for a closer and maybe but probably not win the World Series. You know that the Nats are going to win the division easily and trade for a closer and maybe but probably not win the World Series. Everyone knows that the Nats are going to win the division easily and trade for a closer and maybe but probably not win the World Series.

So what do we do in the meantime? We've got five months to kill. Do you people have hobbies? Embroidery? Stamp collecting? Actually watching these games and listening to Bob Carpenter?

Do we pretend that all this stuff that's about to happen matters? There are going to be some ups and downs. Dudes are going to be injured and then not be injured any more. Maybe Bryce Harper will say something "outrageous" and we'll all pretend to be entertained by it.

A bunch of stuff that ultimately doesn't matter is going to happen, and then it's going to end. Probably badly. I'd say it's a metaphor for life, but that's too depressing even for me.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Monuments

You know how when you live around here, in this area that all of a sudden we're supposed to call the DMV like those letters don't already mean something else, you almost never go bask in the tributes to star-spangled glory that dot our nation's capitol? Like that statue of FDR's little dog?

U-S-A!! U-S-A!!!
Well I had friends from the provinces in town, so I actually went to look at monuments. Some of them were pretty nice, but the best part was that I didn't see one damn pitch of one damn Nationals game this weekend.

I was looking at monuments to American greatness, while those of you who stayed home were looking at a monument to being completely terrible at baseball.

IN FRONT OF THE PHILLIES.

Pathetic.

I skipped this offseason, but I had assumed things were under control. Little did I know that at some point it was decided to dig up Jeremy Guthrie, run a few volts through him, and run him out there. If we're going to win anything, it's on the strength of our starting pitching, right?

Well we have a problem then, because teams with good starters do not sneak into the Graveyard of Crappy Orioles Opening Day Starters and stand for a while leaning on their shovels, lightning crackling ominously behind them, while they decide to dig up Guthrie instead of Sir Sidney Ponson because it's less weight to carry.
The Nationals brain trust discusses options for the starting rotation
It's not Guthrie's fault. We probably would have lost that game even with a real pitcher - and remember, against the Phillies - and we're going to lose basically all the games until at least one dude in the bullpen manages to get someone out.

I guess it's too early to panic, but it's exactly the right time to get annoyed. They'd better figure this out - I'm running out of monuments to look at instead of this monumentally bad baseball team.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Prediction or Prophecy

You ever watch those Nostradamus shows? The ones where under- or ill-accredited experts explain that when some dead French guy refers to the Danube as the "Hister," he's actually predicting World War 2?
What fools we were to ignore Nostradamus' warnings about Matt Williams!
I can't get enough of them. But I do think they miss what must have been a significant part of Nostradamus' life.

If the dude knew what was going to happen all the way from Henry II getting killed in a jousting accident to 9/11, he must have been bored out of his mind.

Can you imagine? Every time anything happens, everyone runs around like it's news, and you're sitting there fuming because you wrote a cryptic poem about it years ago but no one would listen.

Sure, maybe you said "Mabus" when you meant Obama or Bush or the other Bush or Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or Arafat or Napoleon, but it's all right there. It must have been exhausting for the poor guy.

I can relate - it was exhausting for me last year. My prediction as of April was that the Nats were going to win the division easily and then crap out in the playoffs. As the season wore on, it became clearer and clearer that that was exactly what was going to happen, so I kind of checked out.

So no predictions this year. I can, however, pass along a recently-discovered quatrain from Nostradamus himself. Did the great prophet predict the outcome of the 2017 Washington Nationals season? Only time will tell.

A leader of dust, a bearded criminal
Inspired by national attitude ignited
Will conquer the division of the Orient
And then crap out in the playoffs

Monday, April 03, 2017

Lindomania

I was able to watch the season opener, having been laid up with a fortuitously-timed cold.

I know what you're thinking, but this was the real thing. I wanted to go to work. In the spirit of the Wrestlemania season, this is a shoot cold. I'm not working anyone.

So we can all agree that the one game we're all paying super-close attention to is the one that sets the tone for the rest of the season, right? Even though it's 50/50 if Adam Lind is even on the roster in September?

Things I liked:
  1. Yay we win!
  2. Blake Treinen hella closed!
  3. Strasburg was rad as hell!
  4. Bryce Harper hit a home run and so did some other guy so we won!
Things I'm worried about:
I have two issues with the lineup, which is all the issues the issues with the lineup.
  1. This is not a good defensive team. Daniel Murphy is still shipping up to second base; Jayson Werth is one year closer to being a full-on inexplicably-adored mummy; Adam Eaton in center is not something a team with a center fielder would do.
  2. This is not a good offensive team. I "analyze" a team's offense by how far down the lineup I go before I find a batter less interesting than whatever lunatic ancient alien/Nostradamus show is on the History channel. The Nats made it all the way down to Dutch Zimmerman hitting in the fifth position. That's not great.
It'll get better once Rendon returns from whatever seemingly tiny injury is keeping him out, but we're down a Wilson Ramos. No one likes Matt Wieters more than I do, but let's not pretend that he can hit.

Tonight's the night

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Manifesti

"I could do the math, but I choose to take a nap."
-RiFF RAFF

"If you're good at something, never do it for free."
-The Joker (attributed)

These two aphorisms are the new twin mottos of Distinguished Senators. One comes from an outlandish fictional character whose unbelievable antics have entertained us for years, and the other is from some Batman movie.
Above: Rap game Katy Perry
To explain:

1. My disinclination to do the math is not a new development. It took a genius like RiFF RAFF, a veritable neon icon, to summarize my philosophy on it. It was over a decade ago that I wrote maybe three posts including some cutting edge Bush administration-era baseball statistics before I realized that I was sick of that stuff.

From that point, I asked my audience to take my word for it - if I say someone (for instance, Jayson Werth) can't hit, believe that I looked it up or at least made a reasonable assumption. I'm not going to bore both of us with math.

And by "both," I do mean, in many cases, literally two people.

2. The Joker bit really made me think. Was I a good blogger? Maybe not in terms of output (at this point I'm at about four posts per annum). But if any of these posts was any good, I was - according to a guy who got turned by acid into a clown - making a mistake.

So all I need to do is figure a way to get paid for blogging, right? That's some cutting edge Bush administration-era blogthinking right there, my friend. Is there a word for something that is more unlikely than something that is impossible?

The only solution then is to stop being good at it. And that works together very nicely with RiFF RAFF's example. Knotty baseball problem? Just type something fast and stupid and then take a nap. It's not like I'm getting paid for this.

Here's hoping there's a difference to notice.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Two of Six

There are actually people who argue about whether Scots - you know, like Robbie Burns or Trainspotting - is merely a hideous dialect of English or a whole different language.

Any of you who have had the misfortune of talking to Orioles fans lately will know what I'm talking about.
How bout dem O's, laddie?
I know they can be hard to understand, but in among all the "up'ere"s and "down-ee-ocean"s, our friends to the north have been expressing some distress about their favorite team. The O's been pretty bad lately.

Or rather, they were pretty bad until they ran into what I had been lulled into thinking was a pretty badass baseball team.

Sure, the Nats lost that last game to the Braves, but that's OK. The Braves are beaten, and it's like I always say: parcere subiectis, et debellare superbos. No need to bury our spear in that chest.

But then the losing continued, to the point that the Orioles, who are at best two-thirds of a baseball team (did you guys know that you need a pitcher for the beginning of every single game?), are kicking our asses up and down I-95.

It's bad enough that they're playing with house money and rolling Ubaldo Goddamn Jimenez out there against us.

I was - you won't believe this, but it's true - just about to post something that wasn't just me bitching and moaning. Something positive. But then the O's came along and ruined it.

Oh, don't worry. I'll still get it out there after things go back to normal. When you only have six ideas a year, you don't let setbacks against sorta-crappy regional rivals stop you from using them.