Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Dear Washington Nationals: Tell the Potomac Nationals #DontPayForHate

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From Atif Qarni, who has done great work on this issue ACTION ALERT! Friends in the DMV area. We need your help by emailing or calling...

Wilson Ramos Returns To Nationals Park After Kidnapping Ordeal

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It's great to see Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos back at Nationals Park after his kidnapping drama in Venezuela. Ramos recently finished 4th in the National League Rookie of the Year voting (just ahead of fellow Nats rookie Danny Espinosa). We wish him in the best in putting the ordeal behind him and having a strong 2012 - and maybe leading a playoff charge? Video via Nats Insider:

PWC Board Chair Corey Stewart Defends Big Donor, Falsely Attacks Nats...

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Corey StewartPrince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart is best known for his war on people who look different than him undocumented immigrants. But he's making a bid to be known for something new: Guy who says crazy stuff to defend his campaign donor!  

The Nats were recently forced to cancel a doubleheader at Pfitzner Stadium due to lousy field conditions after storms damaged newly-installed grass:

“The Washington Nationals would never consider asking our players, or those of our opponents, to play on a field that we believe represents a safety threat,” Rizzo said. “The Nationals have repeatedly requested that dangerous field conditions be addressed under the supervision of Major League Baseball.

“Recent unsupervised work has resulted in a field that is even more dangerous. We regret any inconvenience this may cause to fans of the Potomac Nationals, but we know they join us in wanting only the best for our players.”
But wait! Potomac Nationals owner Art Silber has donated $12,500 to Corey Stewart personally & has channeled $25,000 to Stewart through the team, oddly making the team Stewart's 2nd-largest donor. So Stewart, his voice reportedly "shaking" with anger, personally attacked Rizzo:

Just What Do the Nats Think They’re Doing?

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63677500The Washington Nationals have announced that, contrary to baseball's conventional wisdom that would have their biggest basher batting fourth, they'll put offseason acquisition Jayson Werth second in their lineup. As the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore details, if he stays healthy, the move could get Werth to the plate as many as 30 additional times over the course of the season.

Look, this is Washington, DC. We don't let things like "facts" bury our crazy memes:

  • Cutting taxes will INCREASE revenue!
  • Slashing funding for Metro will IMPROVE service! 
  • Americans only care about the deficit and not about jobs!

And we bat our home run hitters fourth! Because that's how the late great Connie Mack did it at old Shibe Park!

Unless the New York market gets the third team it could easily support, the Nats are always going to be in an uphill financial battle against the Mets. But the Tampa Rays have shown the ability to close a much wider financial gap with brains & luck - things the Mets have found hugely lacking lately. I'm still not convinced Werth's contract was such a bright idea, but this is a smart move to get the most out of their investment.

UPDATE 3/28: The Nats' dumb marketing doesn't seem to match their smart lineup-setting.

Nats Following Redskins Blueprint?

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Do you know who this man is? The Washington Nationals just gave him the 16th-largest contract in the history of professional sports - 7 years, $126 million.

He's Jayson Werth, an outfielder most recently with the Philadelphia Phillies. It's not clear who the Nationals were bidding against - the Phillies offered about half of what the Nats did & there's no indication any other team had significantly raised that bar. Jayson Stark reports, "The Nationals offer on Werth was so far above everyone else that Boras didn't even ask other interested teams if they wanted to match it."

While Werth has been one of the best all-around players in baseball the last few years, he's already 31 & will turn 39 early in the final year of this mammoth contract. Baseball Prospectus, trying to project Werth's 30s by looking at what similar players have done in the past, predicts he'll be merely an average outfielder by the 4th year of the contract & a payroll-hogging albatross in the 6th & 7th years.

With the ink barely dry, the deal is already being mocked by other teams:

Horrible Day for Washington Nationals

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If you're a Washington Nationals fan, or a baseball fan in general, it doesn't get much worse than this.
Rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg will "probably" miss at least one year and perhaps the entire 2011 baseball season after undergoing Tommy John surgery to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, General Manager Mike Rizzo said. After one of the most electrifying beginnings to a baseball career in memory and after validating the massive hype that trumpeted his arrival, Strasburg ends his season with an uncertain future. The Washington Nationals will hold their breath, optimistic Strasburg will conform with the odds and return to full health by 2012.

Strasburg will receive a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum, the surgeon who performed Tommy John surgery on Jordan Zimmermann. But the Nationals are operating under the assumption Strasburg will need Tommy John surgery to repair a "significant" tear in his UCL, Rizzo said.

That truly sucks. On the bright side - grasping at straws here, but what the heck - by the time Strasburg is ready to return in 2012, #1 overall pick Bryce Harper should be just about ready for the major leagues. So, wait 'til next NEXT year!

The Value of Punditry (Or: Dunn & Dumber)

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Last night on ESPN's SportsCenter, I was listening to Buster Olney declare that, given that the Nationals haven't signed him to a long-term deal yet, the Nationals had made a horrible mistake by not trading Adam Dunn. At 2006's trading deadline, I heard the knights of the keyboard say the same thing about the Nationals holding onto Alfonso Soriano. So I thought I'd look back at MLBTradeRumors.com & list all the prospects who'd been linked to a potential Soriano deal at one time or another:
Yusmeiro Petit, Renyel Pinto, Jason Vargas, Erick Aybar, Brent Clevlen, Jair Jurrjens, Humberto Sanchez, Lance Broadway, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Jason Kubel
It's still too early to pass final judgment on most of these players. But four full seasons after the 2006 trading deadline, not one of them has been an All-Star. Some, like Jurrjens, Garza, Baker & Kubel, have had one or more good years, but all four have regressed to average (or worse) this year. Others have already flopped.

My point is not that the Nationals made the right or wrong decision in either case (the compensation pick they received for Soriano turned into Josh Smoker, who currently sports a horrific 3-10 record with a 7.44 ERA in single A). My point is that people anointed as experts often say stuff that isn't just questionable in hindsight -- it's not supported by fact at the time. Because in 2006, it wasn't just in baseball that pundits were making bold predictions that turned out to be dazzlingly wrong.

The Most Important News of the Night

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Forget politics for  a minute. In the most important news of the night, Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 batters - a new Nationals record - and got his first Major League win.  Of many, I predict!

Barack Obama Throws Out The First Pitch

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It was high and wide, "ball one" - hopefully not a sign of things to come this season for the Washington Nationals! :)