Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fat Guys Dropping Jaws

So the Nationals -- you probably knew this -- are non-embarrassingly bad. I know the day after a 13-run loss isn't the best time to bring it up, but it's true. Worst record in the league? Not us! Now, if you look at our expected record based on our runs scored vs. runs allowed, you should probably keep it to yourself, because that's almost as pointless as it is boring. I subject myself and you it just this once because it backs up my theory: while the Nats' record in real life is 32-46, it should -- in the theoretical world of sabermetrics where carts inevitably precede their horses -- is 28-50, which is more what I was expecting.

What explains the discrepancy? Grit and gamerosity? Luck? Cheating? The Kabbalah? No. Clearly, the answer is fat guys. Back at the start of the season, I noticed that our fat guys contingent -- then limited to Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard -- was losing games all by themselves. They were dropping balls, wasting at-bats, and embarrassing me in front of Orioles fans.

But no longer! Starting with Ronnie Belliard: he's fine, I guess. He didn't make fun of Manny Acta in public even after being stationed at first base, so that says a lot for his character. And he hasn't dropped any balls that I've seen.

Dmitri Young has become the story of the season. And while the praise is perhaps too effusive at times, I'll concede that it's difficult for a sportswriter to weigh the relative merits of a great batting average on the one hand and a history of domestic violence on the other.* Young has rebounded quite nicely from his early-season woes, batting-wise if not physique-wise.

The best fat guy of them all came out of nowhere. Once our fat guy of the future, the fat guy we were going to build the team around, Cristian Guzman had become an afterthought fat guy. But after coming back from an opening day injury, Guzman was on fire. He put up an unprecedented and nearly impossible 850 OPS. Then he did the right thing: knowing he wasn't going to be able to keep from sucking for the duration of the season, he messed up his thumb and took himself out of commission for the rest of the year. He gives his fellow Nationals an inspirationally incapacitated teammate to win for, and he gives Jim Bowden something to crow about. And don't think he won't.

*Wait a minute, no it's not. Seriously, Kurkjian, what the hell? "That legal thing" my ass.

3 comments:

MissChatter said...

*gasp* a post?!1?!

Nice to see someone do the * even if you used a little font. While I'm happy for Dmitri's turnaround on the personal front and truly hope he really has turned a permanent corner for himself and the sake of his kids (and the baseball rejuvenation is a nice bonus), I'm somewhat surprised by what an effusive free pass he's been handed by practically everyone given the seriousness of "that legal thing".

Ryan said...

Yeah, it's a difficult enough issue that I almost decided just to leave it unmentioned. Hence the small font. We don't know the whole story, and I don't want to crap on the guy if he really has turned his life around. But the free pass you mention has definitely been too . . . well, free.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the nats are definitely leaving much to be desired. Oh well, it's not about winning a losing its about... ok, that's a pile of crap... I WANNA WIN :). By the way, when you write new blogs posts, go over to BeTheRef.com and post a link to your story, and hopefully get a few extra readers. Take care and keep up the good work :).