Spring Training has so far gone just as I predicted. It's been, from a fan's perspective at least, a complete waste of time. My own personal interest in the Nats and their works was just starting to bloom anew, only to be crushed under the muddy boot of meaningless games and Viera datelines. It can't end fast enough.
The big story out of Florida has been that everybody sucks. There was some foolish optimism about the pitching -- Tim Redding or Jason Simontacchi or one of these other guys was going to put it all together maybe by discovering a baseball-repelling substance or breaking his arm and having it heal in such a way that it gives him a super fastball.
When I put it that way, it's not all that surprising that it hasn't happened yet. It would require more interest in this nonsense than I have to determine exactly who's sucking and how much, so I'll just leave it as a generality: they all suck. I fully expect those three words to become a refrain throughout the season, because it's not going to stop.
Similarly predictable are the early returns on Nook Logan. Minors, majors, spring training -- he can't hit and he never will. For the love of Richie Ashburn, what's it going to take for this team to realize that for a speedy centerfielder to be useful, he has to be a better hitter than, you know, me? The propaganda ministers over at the official site didn't even sound convinced this time around. "He can hit lefties!" "He can . . . um . . . I guess he can bunt." He's a poor man's Brandon Watson, who's a poor man's Endy Chavez, and I swear Ladson almost said that once before he caught himself.
Also sucking is Ryan Church, but there's a vital difference here. Church has something of a pedigree. While Nook has never hit, Church has. Not at an MVP level or anything, but enough to be useful. And the most joyous difference we've noticed between Frank Robinson's and Manny Acta's managing style is that the former seemed to judge his players on the basis of grittiness and guttiness and testicular mass (figuratively) (I hope), while Acta has already awarded Church the job based on -- get this -- the fact that he's good at baseball. Truly a new breed of manager.
Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman didn't sign a long-term deal with the Nats. Astoundingly, this has produced news. Maybe the adverb at the beginning of this sentence should have been "preposterously." Or, depending on how drunk I am, "completely retardedly," because this is pretty close to the exact opposite of news. I don't know if we can chalk it up to the lack of actual news or the healthy ignorance of fans about the arcane rules of major league indentured servitude, but Zimmerman is owned by the Nats -- lock, stock, and nickname -- for years. Years. Seriously: by the time we have to worry about whether or not Ryan Zimmerman will be a National, not one player on the roster now, in March of 2007, will still be wearing the curly W.
So the fact that Zimmerman's people talked to Kasten's people and nothing happened other than the inevitable renewing of his unbreakable contract is about as newsworthy as the sun rising tomorrow then, after a certain period, setting.