Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Heart's Filthy Lesson

I'm back, and I have a new plan to win universal adoration. You're probably not interested in what I was up to, but here it is regardless: I was at an undisclosed location dressing like an idiot and coming in third place in the pairs competition. It was my partner's fault; the concept was "Future David Bowie with Shotgun and Numchuk Twiggy." The concept was great, and I looked fantastic. But my partner spent too much time on her hair and not enough on the numchuks - plus she barely even looked like Twiggy.

It took me the whole weekend to get my bad-ass expression just perfect, so I didn't have the chance even to think about the Nats, except to say a little prayer to ¡Livan!. But I learned something very important from the whole ordeal: I'm more than willing to look like a complete jackass in public in exchange for attention, any kind of attention. This makes me a perfect candidate for the latest, greatest idea in the field of annoying people at sporting events: the Nat Pack!
Have an outgoing personality? The Washington Nationals want to talk to you. The Nats are interviewing candidates Tuesday for the "Nat Pack" - the hospitality crew for D.C.'s new baseball team.

Nats entertainment manager Josh Golden says they won't be so much cheerleaders as a pep team. They'll be launching T-shirts into the crowd, running the between-innings promotions and rallying the fans.

Golden says he's looking for a certain type of personality rather than experience, although a background in acting, promotions or working with children wouldn't hurt. Auditions are being held Tuesday at RFK Stadium.
Sounds like a job for Future David Bowie! And even if I don't make the squad, or if I do but fail to win the hearts of a city (a la Dancin' Homer), at least I can rest assured that a bunch of peppy assholes are going to be throwing stuff at us while we're trying to enjoy our eight dollar beer.

Hey, remember Jim Bowden? Yeah, he's still running the Nats, which is certainly a blow to my stuck-up blogger attitude. Bowden, of course, likes making trades, and there could be another one a-brewin'. Bodes realizes that Inning-Endy Chavez ain't no good and that there's no center fielder in the organization to displace him. Rumors are swirling, as rumors tend to do, but most of talk involves Wily Mo Pena from the Reds in exchange for Zach Day from the Nationals. I'm late in getting to this because I had a hell of a time finding that Future Bowie jacket, but that just saves me work: Chris "Sniffles" Needham at Capitol Punishment didn't like the idea, John at Nationals Pastime did. I'm with John. I just don't think that much of Day - what's his ceiling, third starter, maybe? He's currently the fifth starter, and we have two guys waiting in the wings for that job, one of whom is very tall. Wily Mo Pena (full name: William Moore Pena) is by all accounts a superior center fielder, an impressive slugger (.526 SLG and 26 homers in 110 games in 2004), and only 23 years old. No, he doesn't have a batting eye (108 Ks, only 22 BBs last year). But there's no denying that he'd be a significant upgrade over Chavez, who has all of Pena's plate discipline problems but none of the power. This rumored trade would be a shocking act of thievery even without considering the strengths (depth of mediocre pitching) and weaknesses (no center fielder) of the team. So shocking, in fact, that I can't imagine Zach Day by himself would get it done. If Bowden pulls this off, though, I would forgive him for Juan Rivera. And what could mean more to Jim Bowden than my forgiveness?

Time for another brief love letter to Barry Svrluga. The Washingtons Post and Times both featured profiles of Jose Guillen today. This subject has been a particular interest of mine, as you may recall, so I was eager to see if either of these articles actually said anything. The Times version didn't - typical stuff about how Guillen once was lost but now is found, etc. Barry Svrluga in the Post, however, dug a little deeper and came up with something worth reading. Specifically, talking to Nats front-office guy and longtime Guillen acquaintance Jose Rijo made all the difference:
"He's their best player, or one of them," Rijo said. "But he don't understand that the manager is the boss. He's got to do his job the best way he can go about it. If the manager thinks he's got to pinch-run for him, he's got to understand what's going to happen.

"The little things in life that make you a better person, he doesn't understand them yet. He hasn't started doing all of them yet. Will he start doing them? Yes, he will. But right now, he hasn't proven he can do them all the time."

The fact that Rijo isn't merely regurgiting the company line - "Guillen's learned his lesson and will never do anything bad as long as he lives" - makes his testimony believable. Yeah, Guillen's doing fine so far, and he appears to be a charming guy. But all of this is meaningless, and we won't know if he's actually changed until he's tested during the season. What happens when Frank Robinson pinch hits for him or even benches him? Rijo is rooting for Guillen but realizes that this is an issue, and Svrluga deserves credit for not handing in a puff piece, something his colleagues seem all too happy to do.

2 comments:

Basil said...

Wow. Just wow. ;-)

Anonymous said...

i know that's not you guys in the picture, so post (or email) some pictures from this alleged event, for the love of corn!

tk