Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bring Me the Head of Frank Robinson

There's a lot of stupid stuff on teh Internet, as regular readers of this site are all too aware. Take, for instance, this Pitchfork Media review of Failer, the debut album from Canadian alt-country chanteuse Kathleen Edwards. Reviewer Amanda Petrusich, do doubt clad in green Pumas and a hip Transformers t-shirt, misspells the name "Mabel," uses the word "anachronism" despite obviously not knowing what it means, and thinks "slurping whiskey, infidelity, and dirty girls in dirty bars" cannot exist in "a tidy, peaceable country with unarmed policemen and free health care." It's just a terrible piece of writing, even though Ms. Petrusich and her editors are no doubt professionals.

I mention this for a reason. There's a tendency, particulary pronounced in sports, to defend the professionals from any attack. "Let's see you do better" is a favorite retortm, as is something along the lines of Anonymous' devastating "
Hey, why do you keep picking on Jim Williams? He knows a lot more about sports media than any of you bloggers, living in your parents basements, ever will." This is true to a point (though most bloggers prefer an attic space), but there is a line of incompetence which, if crossed, opens one to criticism by pretty much any idiot with a Blogger account. Amanda Petrusich crossed that line, and so has Nationals manager Frank Robinson.

Frank is in charge of a whole bunch of dudes, and he knows what to do with only a few of them. Capitol Punishment has a thorough run-down of his deficiencies, so I'll only mention a few. He platoons for Ryan Church even when there's no adequate right-hander to replace him. He bunts far too often and in odd situations. There are a lot things, including a truly breathtaking first inning against the Brewers, but I wasn't quite ready to start calling for his head until Monday night. The Nats went into the ninth down two runs and with the bottom of the order up. Frank pinch hit for Mendoza Line straddler Cristian Guzman, which is actually a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, Carlos Baerga couldn't do anything, and neither could #8 hitter Brad Schneider. With one out left, two runs needed, and a righty on the mound, one would think Frank would call on his unjustly benched .300 hitter, Ryan Church. But he didn't, instead bringing in backup catcher Gary Bennett, who's hitting worse than Church this year, has never hit in his entire career, and didn't even have a platoon advantage. Bennett struck out and we lost, in case you were in suspense.

And that's my biggest problem with Frank. He decides a guy can't do it, so he never lets him try. He has it in his mind that Jamey Carroll isn't a hitter, so he bunts him at every opportunity. Tomo Ohka has a couple of rough starts, and he's relegated to the bullpen unless there's an emergency. This thinking -- or rather, subsitition for thinking -- reached its insane zenith when the .247-hitting backup catcher pinch hit instead of the .300-hitting outfielder. And that's why he has to go.

Brendan Harris is back up. The 3B/2B prospect, acquired from the Cubs in the massive four-way swap that put Orlando Cabrera in Boston and Nomar in Chicago, was trapped behind several players on the major league squad and still is. In fact, with Vinny Castilla, Tony Blanco, and Baerga in front of him at third and Carroll playing everyday at second with Jose Vidro hurt, you have to wonder how much he's even going to play. But check this out: he hit a home run last night in his first 2005 at bat. So now it's all up to Frank. If he gets 300 at bats this year, he'll hit 300 homers and drive in 600, if we go by the extremely scientific projection of his 2005 performance. 400 at bats=400 home runs. The math is pretty easy on this one, so I'll let you figure out the rest of possibilities yourself. Frank seems to be a big Baerga fan, but when's the last time that guy hit 300 homers in a season? It's been a while, I bet.

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