Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Monday, August 31, 2009

Is It Just Me, Or Did It Get A Little Less Fat In Here?

Yeah, a little. On balance, we're still fatter than we were two weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SAM Missile

I still haven't magically developed the coding ability to put that damn poem in a format that doesn't take up the entirety of the front page and the July archive, so hold on. But I totally looked at a Nats-related thing today (lay off, man. I just picked up Wii Sports Resort), and here's what I found.
That sequence of uncommon efficiency pointed to a broader, sustained truth about Lannan's pitching approach. Since June, judged either by stats or results, Lannan has become a different pitcher. He's also become one of the most unique in baseball, striking out almost nobody, pitching more innings than almost anybody.
Just . . . dude, I know you hate your job, but don't say "most unique." Just don't, man. Don't. I shouldn't have to tell you this, Chico. "I overexaggerated the amount of cash money in the ATM machine, as I found out when I entered you're PIN number too the machine." I shouldn't have to tell you these things. Damn.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Y is for Youth

Y is for Youth, that’s the Plan that we follow
Though the record we have makes it tougher to swallow
We’re better than last year, if I may be so bold
We still lose all the time, but at least we’re not old

Z is for Z-Men(n) – we’ve two of them now
R. at the corner, J. on the mound
By the time that we’re good – and this is a surety
Both Z’s will be collecting Social Security

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, and extra special thanks to Erato, muse of lyric poetry, for flitting about my head intermittently over the last month. Special whatever the opposite of thanks is to the Red Sox, for acquiring a LaRoche and robbing my N stanza of the timelessness to which great poetry aspires. Anyway, I'll put the whole thing up in one post tomorrow. UPDATE: And by "tomorrow," I mean "next week." Who knew it was so damn complicated to do a "Click to read more" on a post?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Postponed for the Start of the Riggleman Era

I'm going to finish this thing next week. I just realized that I have to go to an actual Nats game tomorrow, and preparing for that's interfering with my usual poetical routine of absinthe, opium, and RhymeZone.com, the rhyming dictionary. So stay tuned, and does anyone have a rhyme for "1962 Mets"?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

W's for W

W’s for W, red, white, and curly
(My cap is a pink one – don’t say it’s girly)
We should be careful – it might mean tall green
If the lawyers decide we stole it from Walgreens

X is for Treasure, cause X marks the spot
Bad teams get good draft picks and good teams do not
Our death grip on last place ensures there’s no danger
That we won’t get first dibs on that catching teenager

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters. Hey, today's Bastille Day! Man, fuck Bastille Day. Seriously, look up Louis XVII on Wikipedia. We might as well celebrate Pol Pot's birthday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

U is for Unicorn

U is for Unicorn, rarest of creatures
A horn and not existing are its greatest features
The odds of you finding one out in the woods
Are the same as the Nats being any damn good

V is for Victory, that slippery dame
She doesn’t come ‘round much at Nationals games
Just when you think that she’s coming our way
In comes the bullpen to scare her away

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, thanks to the Nats for including me in on that letter and making me feel so much better about everything. "We hope to sign our 2009 draft choices by the August deadline" - feel the confidence!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

S is for Strasburg

S is for Strasburg, whose bonus will floor us
That's what you get when you roll with Scott Boras
I can't say I care - he's not after my money
But you can see how the Lerners don't think it's funny

T is for Trees, our fine cherry blossoms
The first week of the season, they look pretty awesome
But when May rolls around, the view’s gone to potty
The trees are all bare, and they look like dead bodies

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, thanks to the Nats for manning up and drafting Strasburg, and also thanks to the Nats for not boring us all with a lot tedious negotiations. Have they even called him yet?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Q is for Quaff

Q is for Quaff (that's a dork word for "drink")
The Nats are more fun when you’re too drunk to think
Another Q word, one that here fits right in:
The Quinine in tonic, which goes with your gin

R is for Reds, where our players come from
Pena and Kearns, also Lopez and Dunn
We didn't do well, but the Reds are quite testy
Since Bodes set them up with a broken Majewski

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, thanks to the Rockies for giving me an excuse to drink, and thanks to those pith helmet-wearing limeys for coming with a drink to express how much they dislike humidity.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

O's for the O's

O's for the O's, our orange friends up the road
Whose owner, it happens, is a godawful toad
We've got little to boast when it’s time to get hatin'
But as bad as things are, our owner's not Satan

P is for Presidents running around
They get your hopes up, but then Teddy falls down
It’s a good thing they’re there and a good thing they run
It’s the only time Nats fans see something that’s fun

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, thanks to George Washington for being the first president and having the dignity not to reenact sausage races, and special thanks to North Carolina for coming up with the idea of putting vinegar on pork shoulders.

Monday, July 06, 2009

M is for Milledge

M is for Milledge, aspiring rapper
Whose baseball career has gone down the crapper
It was bad before, now it’s worse by a bit
We sent him to Pittsburgh for a guy who can’t hit

N is for Nick, with his nifty moustaches
The baseballs he fields, the baseballs he bashes!
Enjoy while you can all his walks and base knocks
Since soon he’ll be working for the Boston Red Sox

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, and big ups to me for rewriting the Milledge one on the fly.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

M is for . . . Let Me Get Back To You On That

I'm going on vacation, so you'll have to wait a week for the resumption of the triumphant Nationals alphabet. I apologize for any weeping and depression that may ensue, but it's not like I can throw off my gauntlets in the middle of a LARP and drop internet rhymes on everyone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

K is for Kontrived

K is for striKeout, which means it’s for Dunn
Strike three sailing by him – that’s not very fun
As bad as that is, it’s nothing at all
To Dunn in the outfield, dropping the ball

L is for Lannan, our top lefty hurler
With eyebrows so long he could use a hair curler
Batters may be distracted - they must be surprised
When they see the sasquatches over his eyes

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters and apologies to John Lannan. I just couldn't think of anything for the Lerners. By the way, if I ran a newspaper this would be my Michael Jackson headline: "It Was Thursday - What a Black Day." "Smooth Criminal" is my favorite Michael Jackson song, which I'm gradually realizing is unusual.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I is for Interim

I is for Interim, like our GM
Will Mike Rizzo stay on the job in the end?
I can think of one good reason he'll get the spot:
Just not being Jim Bowden counts for a lot

J’s for the Journalists who cover our team
The fans thirst for content, and they produce reams
The season is long, and it must be a slog
It only gets worse: now they have to write blogs

Thanks to FromOldBooks for I, and thanks to Chico Harlan for letting me photograph his iced-out J chain.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

G is for Guillen

G is for Guillen, from back in the day
A hot-headed fellow indeed was Jose
Bodes brought him in – I don’t think he was kidding –
Based on his skillfulness at babysitting

H is Hernandez, my main man Livan
Who’s been growing sideways since he has been gone
He’s not very good – take a look at his stats
But he turns into Maddux when facing the Nats

And here's a special bonus stanza for Nate:

G's for GUZMANIA!, a grievous affliction
(What else to call a fat shortstop addiction?)
The fandom's so giddy at Nats Triple Play
That a guy's got to wonder if they've seen Cristian play

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, the Latin -ictio third declension feminine ending for making the Guzmania part so easy to rhyme, and extra special thanks to puppies for being so cute.

Monday, June 22, 2009

E is for Expos

E is for Expos, our Frenchy forebearers
Who decamped to the south for a ballpark much fairer
Since then they’ve performed with a maladroit touch
Je regrette, Montréal, but you ain’t missing much
F is for Flores, poached from the Mets
Which adds to the long list of that team’s regrets
We’ve been waiting around for Jesús to save us
But he keeps getting hurt, so we’re stuck with Nieves

Thanks to FromOldBooks for the letters, thanks to me for the dope rhymes, and thanks to the Mets for Jesús Flores.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

C is for Cristian

C is for Cristian (no H in his name)
We used to be better when he came up lame
He’s now got new eyeballs, new shoulder, new spleen
He’s a whole new ballplayer – is he man or machine?

D is for Dibble, with his World Series Ring
He played the game; that’s why he’s got the bling
If ever you question his statements or hunches
It’s cool that you do, but bring own lunches

Thanks again to FromOldBooks for the letters.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A is for Acta

I think it's time for a little culture around here. Let's begin!

A is for Acta, our soon former boss
Every win to his credit, to his debit each loss
Add these things up and it’s quite plain to see
That he won’t be around by the time we hit Z

B is for Bowden, or Bodes to his pals
Dudes love the Segway, leather pants thrill the gals
If you ever meet him, he’s surely not bland
But check for your watch after shaking his hand

C and D on Monday. Thanks to Liam at FromOldBooks for the letters.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Manny Acta's still the manager, and I think I've figured out why. Obviously, management doesn't think he contributes to winning games. Why else would they let it be known, in their typically loathsome, passive-aggressive manner, that they're going to fire him?

But now losing doesn't look so bad. 16-year-old catcher Bryce Harper, subject of a self-parodically overblown Sports Illustrated cover story, is well on his way to figuring out how to get himself into next year's draft.
Harper, the Las Vegas high school catcher who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, will forgo his final two years of high school, get his GED and play community college baseball next year at the College of Southern Nevada. His father, Ron, made the announcement Saturday at a tournament in Oklahoma City...

Harper will turn 17 on Oct. 16, and by finishing high school he will be eligible for the 2010 draft, where he is expected to be the No. 1 pick and command a multimillion-dollar signing bonus.

We've already seen the rewards a team reaps for tanking it for a year. Tank for two years, it turns out, and it just gets better. We can't let Jim Riggleman get in the way of this kind of haul.

Last week, I made fun of Dave Sheinin for defending the Nationals against the charge that they drafted cheap. I don't know if this is an actual controversy - is anyone who doesn't work for the Nats or isn't Dave Sheinin disinclined to believe this? Well, just in case, here's my point made for me:

On Tuesday, the Nationals used their third-round pick -- No. 81 overall -- in the amateur draft to select Trevor Holder, a University of Georgia senior who had a 7-5 record and a 4.48 ERA this year. Holder hadn't been ranked by Baseball America among the top 200 prospects, and even Holder himself didn't think he'd be drafted so high.
Well the Nats must know something everyone else doesn't, right?
But the Nationals, who'd tracked Holder since high school, had five years of information on him and liked what they saw.
Yeah, that's some Scouting! We're getting a leg up on everyone with only the sharpness of our eyes!
The team also liked the idea of signing Holder quickly, and at a discount rate. On Friday, just before moving out of his apartment in Athens, Ga., Holder agreed to his first professional contract, which included a $200,000 bonus; the previous year, pick Nos. 80-82 all signed for between $490,000 and $525,000.
Oh. Never mind.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's A Hollow Snarl

Hey Dibble, what happened to edgy?

Remember that laughable slapfight the Robs Dibble and Neyer got into earlier this week? R-Dibbs seems to have scrubbed it from his Twitter. It happened June 7, but check it now. On the 6th we get a telegram dispatch from the last good Nats game:
John Lannan CGVs The Mets 21 1st pitch strikes, 1st CG in The Show. Nice job
Then on the 8th we're treated to a stream of random capitalizations.
talking to Andy Larouche of the Pitrates about The Nate McClouth Trade, At 5 o'clock we will have David Price on to talk about the Draft
Where's the beef, Dibble? I mean, if you're going to post for photos like this...

...you can't then turn around and unilaterally squash the beef with a pencil-necked, never-played-the-game former roofer like Rob Neyer.

I'm honestly disappointed.

By the way, if you were going to start a mock Dibble Twitter thingy, could you do any better than this?
Got some cool new shades for the game tomorrow
That's an actual entry. He wrote that himself. What can you say? Dude's unmockable.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Look, I don't know nothing about no draft. I'm just as elated about the start of the Drew Storen Era as the rest of you, but I'm pretty clueless beyond that. That's what this guy does, and let's all be glad he's there.

The story that seems to be coming out of this, though, is that after taking Stephen Strasburg, the Nats went all Chris Rock at the rib place on us.

Above: Chris Rock as Mike Rizzo, weighing his options

Apparently the Nats had promised that they weren't going to be cheap this year. They'd take the best available player. While their actual strategy may well be defensible, that's clearly not what they did. Dave Sheinin over on the Post site tries to make the case for the defense. And fails.
Finally, a word about the Nationals' picks at Nos. 10, 50 and 81 overall: There was a lot of dissatisfaction expressed among commenters on this blog, and elsewhere, about the quality of those picks. Many accused the Nationals of outright lies when they said they took the best players available with those picks.
Well yeah. They didn't take the best players, and they said they would. That's lying, right?
But my view is, when you're facing something as monumental and complex as the Strasburg negotiations, the last thing you need is a bunch of difficult negotiations among your other picks. If the Nationals constructed their draft board out of players they felt would be relatively easy signs, then made their picks based on the best player available on their board, I don't have a problem with that.
Man, what kind of evasive Obi-Wan Kenobi bullshit is this? "You see, when they said 'best players,' they meant 'best players that wouldn't cost any money.' Because of the italics, you see."

What the hell, Dave? You don't work for the Lerners, and that's the only legitimate excuse for this kind of nonsense I can think of.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Beef: It's What's For Lunch

So many stupid things happen to the Nats that I forget probably half of them. Here's another one to throw on the pile.
D.C. Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin yesterday ordered that all fireworks displays at Washington Nationals games be suspended until a safety review can be conducted, after fireworks debris landed on him as he watched a game, a department spokesman said today.
I don't know about you, but I'm picturing a guy who looks like William Howard Taft in an old-timey fireman hat with his moustache singedand his face strategically charred like he'd been smoking a loaded cigar.

This is not the first assault on our favorite team's right to explode things whenever they want. Back before they'd even played a gam, some pinko "neighborhood commissioner" and another crybaby halfwit who pretended to be scared of Grateful Dead fans tried to stop it. But it didn't work, because this is America, dammit! And America it remains.
The fireworks are coming back for the Washington Nationals, days after debris from some pyrotechnics fell on the local fire chief as he watched a game.
U-S-A! U-S-A!

So, the draft is tomorrow. Probably you knew this. Here's my prediction: with the #1 pick, the Nats will take Stephen Strasburg. With the #10 pick, they'll take somebody I ain't never heard of. So that's why I'm not all that excited about the draft itself, and that's why I won't be attending the Official Draft Party (It's Cool! Bring a Lunch!). The real excitement comes afterward, and it's not the good kind. I've been trying not to think too much about it, frankly, because a Nats-type screwup this time won't be funny, like typos on jerseys or setting fire marshals on fire.

Speaking of lunches and the necessity of bringing them, Federal Baseball brings further proof of my theory that Rob Dibble prepares himself to commit self-expression on the internet by getting drunk and listening to rap. Following the example of Jay-Z vs. Nas, Game vs. 50 Cent, and N.W.H. vs. the Jam Boys, he's now beefing with ESPN columnist Rob Neyer. Neyer calls Dibble a dumbass, Dibble calls Neyer a roofer - please, guys, squash this beef before someone gets shot! Or before I have to read any more of your weak-ass insults!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

That's Cool; Bring A Lunch

In my office, we rely on daily calendars to amuse ourselves because the alternative is me complaining about the Nats all day. I have a baseball calendar, replete with birthdays and impossible trivia questions. One coworker has a trivia calendar - each day brings a new question about geography or history or whatever. It's like Jeopardy for people (like me) who can't stand Alex Trebeck.

They're usually pretty easy, but last week we had a clock-meltingly surreal one. Here it is - let's see if you can figure it out: "Where on the human body is fear of open spaces?" Take your time.

The answer, of course, was "agoraphobia," which successfully answered maybe half the question. It was quite an enigma - was the calendar just messing with us? Was it a dada art experiment? Did it actually think it was right? We don't know and we never will.

In a similar vein, Rob Dibble posted something on the almost always not worth reading MASN website. He's apparently embroiled in one of those fun internet feuds where the participants never name the people they're beefing with. The post itself gives absolutely no indication what the hell he's talking about.
There are some local writers and bloggers that would like to try and twist what I say as to why the Nationals are not playing well. To me thats about as low as you may want to go. My street cred comes from experience, and though I sometimes might not come across as kind and gentle the way some people might think it should, let me try and get you up to speed with MY experience.
This is followed by a series of anecdotes about the Cincinnati Reds, culminating is some incredibly awesome trash talk.
If you want to challenge my street cred, that's cool, but you better bring a lunch because we're going to be here all day.
That's just beautiful. Bring a lunch, snitches, cause Dibble's got the crazy street cred! That's cool, but bring a lunch! Lunch is essential in this endeavor!

I'm not being sarcastic - this is my favorite thing on the Nats-related internet since Chico Harlan's "I hate my job" coming out party. It's not just because "That's cool; bring a lunch" is about to become my stock response to everything. This post also proved that Rob Dibble and I have identical blogging preparation techniques. In case you're wondering - and I should be charging for this kind of expertise - I have a time-tested two part regimen to prepare myself for the rigors of typing on the internet.
  1. Get drunk
  2. Listen to rap
Dibble is clearly replicating or at least approximating my pre-blog routine of Fighting Cock bourbon and Ghostface Killah. How else to explain the incoherence and unironic gangsta talk? I have a drink, and then I think "I work magic at a liquor store" is a deeply meaningful statement. Dibble and I are soul mates in this, and you ought not front on our street cred.

As far as the actual argument goes and as far as I understand it, I'm on Dibble's side. Anderson Hernandez should unquestionably be beaten about the head and neck until he stops thinking about things other than fielding ground balls. Maybe it won't help, but he sure isn't paying attention now, so it couldn't hurt. Where on the human body is fear of getting the hell slapped out of you? Fielding!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

St. Claire the Thaumaturge

You could argue that in the history of the Washington Nationals, Randy St. Claire was the only member of the non-playing part of the team that ever did a damn bit of good for anyone. We've had terrible hitting coaches, bad managers, and worse GMs. We always had a good pitching coach, though.

St. Claire did two remarkable things, remarkable both for their on-field impact and how easy they are to pin down, which is unusual when you're talking about coaches. 2002's Livan Hernandez was a fat failure of a pitcher. He could eat food and he could eat innings, but you didn't want him doing either. In 2003 he joined the Expos, and St. Claire laid hands upon him. By which I mean he messed with his arm angle until Livan became ¡Livan!, a legitimate Cy Young-quality pitcher. As I've lamented before, this amazing transformation and inspirational three year run got less press than that little hobbit Japanese girl pitching a third of an inning in a semi-pro league. That doesn't make it any less awesome.

Later, he fixed Hector Carrasco, the very definition of a journeyman. By teaching him some sort of magical changeup, Carrasco briefly became a really, really good pitcher, bailing the Nats out when they had their annual "We're out of pitchers!" crisis in 2005. Hector very directly credited St. Claire with his turnaround before signed with the Angels.

And . . . that's it. And I guess that's the problem. Two miracles, the thinking probably goes, don't make up for years of lousy pitching, especially this terrible one we're in now, so they fired him. Obviously, it's not all St. Claire's fault. Or even mostly his fault. Maybe it's not his fault at all. I'm guessing, though, that the Nats made some personnel decisions based on the hope that St. Claire could get that third elusive miracle. Daniel Cabrera had lost his fastball - Randy can fix his mechanics! Scott Olsen, after years of violently resisting arrest, can't strike anyone out anymore - Randy will take care of it! Neither happened. They emphatically didn't happen, and that combined with the bullpen's incredible ineptitude combined with the fact that Mike Rizzo needs to get in some firin' practice before he trains his guns on Acta mean that St. Claire's gone. He won't be the last.

As summer follows spring and a blown Nationals lead follows a Nationals lead, so the new pitching coach follows the old. I don't know anything about Steve McCatty, the former AAA coach who's stepping into this thankless role, but what Mike Rizzo is saying about him isn't making me sanguine.
He goes back to the days where pitchers pitched a lot of innings and they were really tough burly guys on the mound, and I think he's gonna bring an edge to the pitching staff, a toughness, and kind of a really tough-minded mindset not only to the starting rotation but to the bullpen guys, too.
This is meaningless to the extent that it makes any damn sense at all. Burly? That's what we're after? If only we had more huskiness, things would be fine. It's those portly pitching staffs that get it done. You need gentlemen of a certain carriage.
Randy, as we all know, is a diligent film-worker and a mechanics-oriented pitching coach. Steve is more of a gut-feel [guy], more of a mental aspect kind of the game, and he's a much more old school pitching coach than I think Randy was. He was kind of the modern guy who worked diligently with films, how to attack hitters and that type of thing.
I fear that this is faulty reasoning. Allow me to summarize: science and hard work didn't do it, so we're going with some witch doctor oogy-boogy bullshit. Well, I guess it can't get any worse.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I Before E

On Friday I donned native garb and went to walk among the infidel in Baltimore. It was a special occasion - the arrival of Matt Wieters. Maybe you heard something about it.

Once I got accustomed to the weird accents and garish orange garb of the natives, I realized something: I was having approximately a million times more fun than I ever did at a Nats game. Approximately.

It's not because I'm an Orioles fan. I've been to scores of meaningless, indifferently-played O's games that left me with the same "Hey, at least it's baseball" feeling as most Nats games gave me. This time was different, though, because the Orioles are a team on the rise, and their fans are keenly attuned to it.

Wieters didn't do anything, but it didn't matter. There was enough spillover excitement for Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott and Brian Bergeson to carry everyone through Wieters' fruitless at-bats. The fans, their sweat reeking of Old Bay and National Bohemian, were satisfied that their team had good, compelling players and a rotation filled with talented, homegrown pitchers. Perhaps they reflected on the twin masterpieces of the Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard trades. It also helped that they won.

The good news about the Orioles is hugely magnified because I'm looking up at it. Fans of the even competent teams would scoff. But as a Nationals fan, I couldn't help but envy every single thing I saw, from the pretty ballpark to the 8+ inning pitching performance to the complete lack of a Nat Pack.

Meanwhile, the Nationals have lost . . . what, five or six or ten or fifteen in a row? All to the sound of Josh Willingham bravely throwing himself into outfield walls but forgetting the part where he catches the damn ball? People are now talking openly about poor Manny Acta being led to the altar to appease the bloodthirsty gods of Base Ball. I'm a diehard - I'm still here. But who can blame the casual fan's eyes for drifting Wietersward?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Still Real

Hoo boy, did we ever get Livaned. I kind of enjoyed it, I have to admit, and I would have enjoyed it even more if the big guy had hit a triple or something. Did you see that crap he was throwing, those slide whistle curveballs? I miss it. It's still real to me, dammit.

I'm not going to enjoy so much losing to Santana, but what can you do? Sometimes the unstoppable force meets the unthreatening, barely noticed object.

Meanwhile, here's something about how glad I am Daniel Cabrera's gone. There's some other nonsense in there too, including ancient Chinese wisdom. I buy it in bulk and pass the savings on to you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And the Feeling's Right

I just realized that it's ¡Livan! Night! It's a night of divided loyalties and gelatinous, 80 mph fastballs, and it should be a natinal holiday. I love ¡Livan! so damn much, and it hurts me that he's a Met now. And this time he's going up against my man Craig Stammen, so my loyalties aren't as divided as they usually are on ¡Livan! Night.

Please indulge me - I'm going to get all nostalgic for minute. Here is the entirety of my favorite post about Livan and maybe my favorite post ever.
I got nothing today. But I tell you who did have something was my main man Livan, who went 3 for 4 with a homer and two doubles. I'm sure you're aware of this, but he's a pitcher. And sure, maybe his pitching wasn't so hot, but some of that was Joey Eischen's fault, and the rest of it you can cram up your ass because Livan rules.
And here's my heartfelt tribute after the ugly SOB got traded, sacrificed to the stern principles of the Youth Movement.
Whatever age ¡Livan! is -- let's say 38 -- he was such a youthful 38 that we all agreed to call him 31, but I guess that's not youthful enough for the movement.
Good times. But now I hope he's awful enough that Stammen gets the win and stays in the rotation forever.

It turns out that the best resource on the internets for information about El Cubano Gordo y Feo is (of all things) Who's Dated Who, a website I'd never heard of until doing a Google search to see if ol' Distinguished Senators figures anywhere in the results for a search for "Livan" (it does not). They get his age wrong - they have 34, when the correct figure is "34" - but there is a downright disturbing wealth of information there. Height, weight, profession, religion ("Christian" - if you want more detail than that, you have to go to another site). You can vote how good a date he is; there is currenly one vote, a 10. I will not deny that it is mine.

Who's ¡Livan! been dating? I hadn't been wondering, but now I know, and there are pictures too. I have not yet voted in the contest to determine "Livan's Best Romance." Other features: commentary on the great man's love life by such internet experts as "MiamiPapi" and "no1diamondback fan"; a list of his eye-opening quotations presented free of encumbering context ("It's hard to beat that team"); and a fairly puzzling "Related Profiles" section. This is totally going in the links if I ever get around to updating them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Once Preferred A Human Being's Company

I spent most of my weekend in Natstown, just like they're always telling me to - I was there Saturday and Sunday. I'd recommend it, as long as you don't have to get on the Metro afterward. Some observations:
  • I'm estimating 40% Orioles fans.
  • Ryan Zimmerman is good at baseball.
  • The ovation for the troops each day was the only thing the crowd could agree on and the longest anyone seemed interested in anything. It would have gone on for ten minutes on Saturday if the announcer hadn't started yakking about someone coming up to bat.
  • The presidents race actually is pretty entertaining. I know I'm supposed to be all jaded and from the internet, but what can I say? On Saturday, Teddy had the thing wrapped up until that damn Oriole bird came out of the crowd and tackled him. I wasn't not entertained.
  • Those statues out in front of the park? They're starting to come to life, and I think they're going to kill everyone.
I noticed a report over at Nationals Pride that the Walter Johnson statue has a crack. I checked, and it's true. I can only assume that all three statues are gradually breaking away from their bases, and that they will eventually come to life with malice in their stony hearts. Wielding their poop-covered bats and extra arms as weapons, they will wreak havoc on all around them. Watch out, Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday.

Please enjoy the awesome reflection effect, which was totally intentional. Note how the crack cuts right through those Nationals fans, reflecting the heartbreak that we've all experienced since we've started following this team.
Who is the mysterious woman reflected in the base of the statue? I don't know, but she looks as though she's pissed that the Orioles lost and she wants to get the hell out of there.
Typical Nats incompetence! I went around to the back of the statue and found another crack.

Get it?
And here is a small cat that is asleep.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I'm kind of relieved that Manny let a starter blow a lead for once. Really.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Favorite Nat

Apparently Jordan Zimmermann addresses John Lannan as "Eyebrows." If I were ever talking to Lannan, I wouldn't have the stones to say that, but I'd sure as hell be thinking it. Dude looks like a Batman villain's henchman.

Why yes, they are real. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

American Dream

I made the mistake of watching the Nats game on Monday night, and I kept thinking of the Dusty Finish.

The Dusty Finish is a professional wrestling booking technique popularized by jive-talking fat man Dusty Rhodes. Basically, you make the crowd think that the good guy has won and maybe even taken the title from the bad guy (usually Ric Flair). Then, some pro-wrestling nonsense happens (double disqualification, whimsical act by an authority figure, etc.) and the decision is reversed. The crowd, having seen its dearest hopes fulfilled and then dashed, went home pissed. It is said that excessive use of the Dusty Finish killed off entire towns for Rhodes' employers. Even people who are willing to pay money to watch dudes pretend to fight will put up with only so much.

Above: Dusty Rhodes says some things about Elvis that probably aren't true, threatens Jerry Lawler with 17 dancing go-go bears

Did you watch that game last night? It was awful. Ross Detwiler, a recent first round draft pick, made his first major league start, and he really looked out of place. By which I mean he threw strikes and didn't suck. I was excited - finally something was going right. How did the team respond to this breath of fresh air? Well, they committed three errors and blew the hell out of a lead that would have given Detwiler the win. Manny Acta did his part as well, foolishly pulling his starter after five innings, six strikeouts, and no walks. His reasoning made me despair.
...if I have to keep a Class AA guy out there because I don't want to go to my big league bullpen, that's really scary.
Yeah, it is scary, and a good manager would adapt that this situation. You know, maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. As soon as Garret Mock walked the first post-Detwiler batter on four pitchers, we all knew what was coming. It was like I thought Kerry Von Erich was finally going to win the belt from that strutting bastard Ric Flair until the ref got knocked out and reality set in.

The Nationals are booking a Dusty Finish every night, and it's killing baseball in this town. Attendance is in the crapper and TV ratings (I assume) are still terrible - people will find other ways to divert themselves. Take, for instance, me. I like baseball a lot more than most people. I'll watch just about anything. But last night when the Pirates scored their thirtieth or fortieth run (I stopped keeping track pretty early into the implosion), I said to myself, "I don't have to watch this shit. I've got better things to do." And I said that last part even though I totally didn't have better things to do - how long would someone who actually did stick around?

Here's a thing about how much I hate Daniel Cabrera. Well, hate isn't the right word. I mean, it's not like I think he's a bad person because . . . no, wait. Never mind. Hate is the right word, and I do think he's a bad person. It's from last week, but not a damn thing has changed in the interim. There something timeless about Daniel Cabrera sucks articles.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


So Tom Boswell has for a while been making arguments that the Nats shouldn't draft Stephen Strasburg. Whatever. Neither I nor anyone else listens to anything Boz has to say - you've got to wonder how a polished, embarrassed journalist like "Chico" Harlan feels about some crusty old sportswriter straight out of central casting intruding on his blog. But anyway, he did it again today by pointing out that it's hard to tell who's going to be a hall of famer. Which is inarguable, really. Whether or not it has anything to do with the situation at hand can be determined by looking at who wrote the damn thing.

The important thing to remember here is that Boswell isn't trying to talk us out of unreasonable, slavering enthusiasm about Strasburg; he's trying to talk himself out of unreasonable, slavering enthusiasm. You know how Boz gets - he's not exactly balanced when it comes to what's been one of his two favorite baseball teams for more than several years.

Anyway, here's something I wrote about the pert, supple back end of the Nationals' pitching rotation. I gotta admit, I like this one. It's short, it's light on "facts" and "analysis" and all that other crap that internet baseball writing has made me so tired of, and it employs a hell of sophisticated literary device where I'm talking about one thing but I make it sound like I'm talking about something else. What is that thing? Here's a hint: it rhymes with ass.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The Washington Examiner came wrapped in a Nats ad this morning. I usually pay it no more mind than I do the Epoch Times or the Washington Blade or any other of the free newspapers or sub-newspapers that beg for my commuting attention, but I grabbed it today.

It was nothing but an ad - I had hoped for some Nats content to distract me from my Wodehouse, but nothing doing. Still, ads can be instructive. Let's see what the team is dangling out there as lures to pull in the pigeons.

Front page: Zimmerman throwing, racing presidents, an utterly indifferent peroxide blonde in a short skirt and a warmup jacket clapping with all the enthusiasm of a Lerner signing a check. Seriously, I cannot overemphasize how bored this woman looks.

Inside: some gremlin-looking kid holding a sign demanding a curley [sic] W for its 9th birthday, Screech prancing, a Los Nacionales t-shirt you get for going on Friday, and Adam Dunn bearing a bat and that stubble that makes him look like a hood from a 1930s cartoon strip.

Well if that doesn't make you want to get your red and make it your pastime and change your mailing address to Natstown, USA, then nothing will! I mean, that blonde looks very nearly almost interested! It's good enough for me, at least - I'll be there tomorrow. Unfortunately, it's a day too soon for me to get a Los Nacionales t-shirt, but I'll still get to see Albert Pujols beat the infierno out of our culos.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Count It Up

I wrote something about pitch counts, particularly as they relate to Stephen Strasburg. Are links not showing up for you? They just look like normal text? I have complained about that.

I was thinking about this, in an ill-formed kind of way: is there an analogue in any other sport to pitchers' arm injuries? Is there a body part that routinely fails just as a result of an athlete doing his job? I guess soccer players have a lot of leg problems, but that seems to be from people regularly diving cleat-first into them. Plus they're faking half the time.

I don't know. Concussions in boxing, maybe? That's from getting hit, but that's half the job description. Do beach volleyball players get really bad sunburns? Do mixed martial artists start getting a little too used to having a sweaty man in combat panties on top of them? I don't know. Just thinking out loud here.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Did you ever notice that when the Nats make any kind of splash among the general baseball fan population, it's for something bad? Of course you have. Well it happened again recently, when Sports Illustrated's Tim Marchman put up something that's practically indistinguishable from my last ten or so posts, except for the lack of swears and kitten pictures.

Here's the difference, though: look at Tim Marchman.

That's a face bent on finding censure. Stern, unforgiving. Now look at me (I'm below the poop arm).

Note the pronounced joviality, the willingness to assume the very best, the comforting beigeness of the hair.

What this means is that when Marchman finds something to complain about, you can more or less dismiss it. It's like a positive review of Thunderbird from a wino. When I, on the other hand, find fault, it's an occasion to sit up and take notice. I'm not going to complain about just anything, as it obviously goes against my cheerful manner.

Therefore, you should all go check out my extended critique of the statues of the Elder Gods they plopped down in front of the ballpark. It features my own exclusive photography, endless use of the inherently amusing word "poop," and a full, uncensored look at that cheery face of mine.

Even better, go here, where all instances of my joy-bringing grin have been collected, and take your pick. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel about everything. Well, until someone hits a fly ball to a National. My mug isn't that powerful a painkiller.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Well, that was just awful. Just completely, thoroughly, unjokeaboutably awful. Joking about that game would be like cracking wise at a funeral.

Speaking of which, I think it's time for a Manny Acta Getting Shitcanned Watch. Whether or not it's his fault, this team cannot catch baseballs, and it's gotten so bad that every announcer we've got (with the intermittent exception of Sunny Bob Carpenter) is all but calling for Manny's head. If this keeps up ("this" meaning "not just losing but playing like our shoelaces are tied together"), it's going to happen soon.

One thing about Bob Carpenter: when Elijah Dukes avoided that fly ball in center like it was a court order, allowing two runs to score and shattering Daniel Cabrera's porcelain self-confidence, this was the exchange in the booth, more or less. (WARNING: I went ahead and wrote out all the swears that Dibble was thinking but didn't say because he's a broadcast professional.)
Dukes dodged that fly ball like it was a court order! Two runs score!
Oh for fuck's sake! What the ballsack is going on here?
Yeah, that was pretty bad. BUT DAVID WRIGHT IS ONLY ON SECOND BASE!
I mean, why can't any of these dumb motherfuckers catch a fucking ball? Or hit a batter in the head, for that matter.
Yeah, whatever. Catch the ball, dipshits. This isn't fucking Mario Bros. You don't lose a life if it touches you.

It wasn't that Sunny Bob ignored the mistake. He briefly acknowledged it and then moved on to more homer-friendly topics. Dibble is growing on me precisely because he doesn't want to sweep that kind of stuff under the rug - he's just as mad as you are.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Solution

I watched the whole game last night, and at the end of it, I was pleased. "I say, old man," I said to myself, realizing as I did so that I'd been reading P.G. Wodehouse again, "that was a diverting three hours. Time to polish off the last fourth of this fifth and totter off to bed." Obedient as ever to the instructions of my internal monologue, I did so.

I slept the innocent, dreamless sleep of a baseball fan who'd seen a fine pitching duel, a closely-contested 1-0 contest that pushed both teams to their limits. Both sides, I was sure, had walked away with their moral fiber more fibrous and with a healthy respect for their foes.

But that's drunk talk. I woke up to face several unpleasant realities: it felt as though I had been entrusted with the safe-keeping of an unusually valuable wad of cotton balls and had kept them safe from burglars in my mouth; work (damn the concept!) meant that I couldn't resort to my usual practice of staying in bed and crying meekly for Wendy's; and, worst of all, the Nationals walked in the winning run.

What kind of pitching duel ends like that? This wasn't the well-struck dinger or the crafty squeeze bunt - this was rank incompetence. There's nothing more humiliating - baseball-wise - than walking in a run.

The tightly-played, narrowly-won pitching duel is one of baseball's sweetest delights and most time-honored treasures. And the Nats screwed it up, as they screw up everything: trades, free agency, statues of legendary players, jerseys, drafting, the Dominican Republic, text messaging, giving the game situation on radio broadcasts, hitting coaching, everything.

At least I figured out a remedy, based on my 24-hour mood swing: DRINK. Drink and never let yourself sober up.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So I was reading Chico Harlan's latest chat on the Washington Post site. I always check those things out since Harlan's embarrassment is palpable, and I really like the way embarrassment feels. It's warm and kind of spongy, and it leaves your hands smelling a bit like tar.

There was some discussion of Manny Acta's handling of Jordan Zimmermann during the young fellow's unwatched debut. With two men on in the sixth, and with Zimmmermannn having thrown just 72 pitches, Acta pinch hit for him - which was a good idea - with Alex Cintron - which was not. The issue was addressed in the chat.
Alexandria, Va.: Why is Cintron the go-to pinch hitter with Kearns and Willingham on the bench? Cintron repeatedly got the nod in the big spots over the weekend and last night. And he delivered like you'd expect a backup utility middle infielder.

Chico Harlan (mood: embarrassed): It was the sixth inning. It's OK to save your better pinch hitters for the latter innings. (Willingham, by the way, was starting LF last night, but Kearns was indeed available to PH.) But there's no problem is using a guy like Cintron in that spot. Plus, I believe Lowe was still pitching at the time. Kearns is 2-for-17 lifetime against DL.
This is utter tactical nonsense, right? The point of pinch-hitting in that situation is to blow the game open; to make it, as "Chico" himself mentioned earlier in the chat, 5-2 rather than 3-2. If it works, you won't need your better pinch hitters later, and it's a lot more likely to work with Kearns than with Cintron. But I don't need to explain this to you - "It's OK to save your better pinch hitters" is obviously moronic and requires no commentary. These aren't the higher Stengelian functions we're dealing with.

But why am I making fun of the sportswriter who defended the bad move rather than the manager who made it, other than to make fun of the sportswriter for hating his job? I guess it's because I don't want to see Acta fired just yet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The "Natinals" incident has taught something about myself: I am steel. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that a fan of a better team would be pretty upset about that, or at least amused. I am neither. It is as nothing. Years of constant humiliation have made me immune, and I'm betting you're the same way.

Yes, dear reader, embarrassment to us is like water off a duck's back. Our team makes headlines only for metaphorically peeing itself in front of the whole class? Well to us that's like a blown save to Joel Hanrahan or fatherhood to Elijah Dukes - not a big deal, happens every day.

So . . . I got to admit: I don't have a big finish here. I just wrote this so I could make that Dukes joke. I think it was worth it. There is a thing that I wrote, by the way.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Photo Dump, Featuring Kitten

I ambled down to Nationals Park on Saturday to make it my pastime and get my red on and whatnot, and you could not have asked for a better day. As long as you ignore the on the field happenings, of course. I was favorably impressed: the staff was almost too friendly, the place is quite nice when it's only half full, it was a pretty good game for eight innings.

One of my reasons for making a stop in Natstown was to get some personal, non-copyrighted photos of those horrendous, seemingly poo-covered statues they've just added. I did that, but I did not let my photo-taking rest with that mission accomplished. Please enjoy the sights of the first half hour of a day at the ballpark.
I'm not a huge fan of the park from an aesthetic standpoint (I'm even less of one from an ascetic standpoint), but this is pretty cool.
The sweet sounds of the Obscure Nationals Jazz Ensemble! I don't know who these guys are, but they made some interesting jersey selections. Which is more likely: 1) They did this on purpose, just as I would have done, as a gag? or 2) The Nats just gave them some jerseys they found in a crate in the basement? I wonder if the guitarist knows that Levale Speigner's a golem.
Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday! I don't know how they do their job with yokels like me this close to them. Shortly after this, Knight stood for the entirety of the national anthem, which I thought was nice.
Unattended snacks!
The ceremonial first pitch, delivered by a guy from IHOP. Probably because of his ground-breaking work in the field of hash browns.
Portait of the Artist as a Young Man Standing in Front of Walter Johnson who has Poop Shooting from his Shoulder Socket.
American, 2009
Artist: Ryan Moore, b. 1977
And here's the ferocious kitten who guards both my towels and my gin. I pay her in kind, but she's not interested in the gin.

PS. I wrote a thing.