Strikers, Hurlers, Batsmen, and Base Ball

May 29, 2007

Since they’ve settled in Washington, arguments have been made of who belongs to the Nationals. Do we think of the glory days as “our” 1994 Expos with great players such as Moises Alou, Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker and John Wetteland? And while the Twins have rightfully brought Killebrew with them, it just doesn’t seem fair that they get Walter Johnson. He’s 100% DC… he’s a freaking high school in Bethesda!

But there are 2 teams in the history of Washington that aren’t claimed, and we can be Statemancertain that at least some of our heritage lies with them. The Washington Nationals and the Washington Senators have had several incarnations before the Senators/Twins franchise, but only 2 of these lasted more than 1 year. They both played in the National League, prior to the existence of the AL. It can be argued that the 1880s teams were still playing before modern baseball was around, many rules were the same, but pitchers still threw from 45 feet away, and it took a while to determine that it should only require 4 balls for Deacon Carda walk. But by 1893 almost all the rules were the same as they are today. Regardless of the differences, the game was much more similar to today’s game than it was different. Besides being in the NL, these forgotten Washington teams have something else common with the current team… they never, in their 13 years of cumulative existence, had a winning season.

1886-1889 Washington Nationals (National League)

While not the first Washington Nationals, this is the first one to have lasted more than a Swampoodle Groundsyear. They had a few good players, including an alleged innovator and a future Hall of Fame manager, and played at Swampoodle Grounds. Apparently, Swampoodle was the old name for the area around Union Station, and the Stadium was located on the spot where Union Station is now sitting. Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin won his 300th game there. As a sidenote, here’s an interesting story on Pud Galvin and steroids that were basically testosterone drained directly from a monkey’s… um… testosterone-makers.

1891-1899 Washington Senators (National League)

This team started in the final year of the American Association, and were known as the Washington Statesmen (now that sounds antiquated) but when the league folded they continued on in the National League. Clearly those baseball forefathersBoundary Park saw the wisdom of playing in DC. Eventually eliminated by contraction of the NL in 1900, they were resuscitated as the Senators in the 1901 AL. They played in Boundary Field, located at the corner of Georgia Ave and W St NW. Eventually it was renamed National Field, burned down, and Griffith Park went up in its place. Major League baseball was played at the location until 1960, and today it is the site of Howard University. The best thing that happened on this field, as far as we’ve seen, is the following story taken from www.projectballpark.org (same place this picture was nabbed):

In 1897 the Senators tried a “Ladies Day” where women could get in for free. The starting pitcher, Winnie Mercer, was handsome and knew how to play the crowd. When he got into an argument and tossed by the umpire, the women stormed the field, tackled the umpire, and tore apart the stadium. The umpire was rescued by the team and escorted from the ballpark in disguise.

But enough of the teams and the ballpark, on to the stars of the team!

All Star Washington Olde Tyme Handlebar Mustachioed Lineup

From these two teams, the goal is to find the best players to honor, to make up the Washington all-time prehistoric team, position by position. Also, with one Hall of Fame exception, the player has to spend more than one season in DC to make the list. These are players that we can claim, and nobody else can dispute they were part of our team’s history.

C – Deacon McGuire (91-99 Senators) McGuire was the longest tenured Deacon McGuireplayer on this team, playing all 9 seasons (8 1/2 actually he was traded to Brooklyn in ’99) and was the starting catcher all but 1 of them. He amassed 990 hits with Washington, which was the franchise high, and was a career .278 hitter. He was a very impressive defensive catcher, still holds the position’s assists record with 1859, and won 2 pennants with the Brooklyn Superbas (they didn’t become the Dodgers until 1911).

1B – Ed “Jumbo” Cartwright (94-97 Senators) Cartwright was one of the many 19th century players with a short Major League career. He did play baseball when he was younger, but he didn’t play in the majors until 1890, when he was 30, and then took a few years off (from the bigs, at least) until he joined Washington at age 34. He retired at age 37, and you wonder how his numbers would have been if this power hitter had played in the majors for another 10 years, when he was younger. He took walks and hit for some power, his best season in DC was 1895 when he hit .331/.400/.494 and stole 50 bases, and was most famous for hitting 7 RBI in one inning in 1890, a record that stood for 109 years.

2B – Sam Wise (89 Nationals, 93 Senators) Played 2 seasons in DC, and hit .311/.375/.457 in 93. He wasn’t anything special, but the pickings are extremely slim at this position, the franchise seemed to shuffle middle infielders more than, well, today’s team. He does have the honor of being in both franchises, and he may have been Frodo’s friend in The Lord of the Rings.

3B – Bill Joyce (94-96 Senators) Joyce was a remarkable player in his short career and is 7th on the all time career OBP list at .425 putting him in between Barry Bonds and Rogers Hornsby. A truly great player for several seasons, he led the league in HRs once, and was the runner up 3 times in his career. In 1894 with the Senators he hit .355/.496/.648. Those numbers are incredible in any era.

SS – Gene DeMontreville (95-97 Senators) In his two full seasons with the team, he hit over .340, and in 1896 he hit 24 doubles, 5 triples and 8 HRs, not bad for a SS. It was almost a century before most shortstops could hit, and he is only one of 6 players to hit safely in 59 of 61 games (a bit arbitrary, but when Jeter got there on May 11, MLB let us know). Fielding may not have been his forte, as he recorded 194 errors in just over 2 years with the team.

CF – Dummy Hoy (88-89 Nationals, 92-93 Senators) Hoy also DummyHoygets credit for playing on both teams, his nickname comes from a less enlightened time when anyone who was deaf was usually called Dummy. Regarded as the best deaf player in baseball’s history he finished his career with a .287 AVG and a .386 OBP. He had a great eye, and managed to walk 119 times in 1891 (a very high number back them, probably top 5 all time until the 1920s). He was a defensive stud, one of the best center fielders and an excellent baserunner. In a game with the Nats in 1889, he threw out 3 runners at home plate (with Mack catching). He is a member of the Reds Hall of Fame, and the Gallaudet University field is named after him. Also, he may have made the biggest contribution to baseball of any of these players. He is often credited with introducing umpire’s hand signals to the game. While this is disputed, it is clear that even with his ability to read lips he would often miss calls that were simply spoken, so he may have played some role. There is even a movement to get him inducted into the Hall of Fame, but it doesn’t look promising.

LF – Kip Selbach (94-98 Senators) Selbach was able to hit over .300 in the first 5 seasons of his career, all in Washington. He led the league in triple in 1895 and was considered a great fielder. He once stole 5 bases in a game in 1897 against the Chicago Colts, the team that changed it’s name to the Orphans for 5 years before settling on the Cubs in 1903. He was a speedy outfielder who hit for average, stole bases and walked.

RF – Paul Hines (86-87 Nationals) In his 2 seasons in DC, he hit for averagePaul Hines and power. He posted .312/.358/.462 splits in 1886 and finished top 5 in the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, hits, doubles and HRs among other things, while stealing 21 bases. His career was very good, he won baseball first ever triple crown in 1878 (.358, 4, 50). Also apparently a decent fielder, Hines played mostly in the CF but also spent some time at 3B, in addition to a few appearances at 1B, 2B and SS. He actually held the record for most seasons as a starting center fielder until 1925 when Cobb and Speaker both surpassed him. But despite Hines’ longevity, Hoy seems to have been a truly remarkable fielder and take the spot here.

P – Win Mercer (94-99 Senators) the last season in which a pitcher threw over 600 innings wasn’t until 1892, and Picking a pitcher for this group was not exactly easy. Mercer has the distinction of being the ONLY pitcher on these teams to have 2 seasons as a full time starter that were not losing seasons. He went 25-18 in ’96 and 20-20 in ’97, impressive for this team. He finished his career with a 3.99 ERA, nothing special at that time. The good news is, you didn’t need a big pitching staff back then. In the 1890s team were just realizing that having more than 3 pitchers might be wise. As it was, Mercer pitched over 300 innings 4 years in a row. He also hit over .300 3 times in his career, and finished with a .286 AVG. Besides, the guy’s nickname was Winner, shortened to Winnie and Win, and the ladies went crazy for him (see the above quote). He was probably the first superstar Washington baseball player. Unfortunately, he was also a tragic figure who committed suicide at the age of 28, shortly after being named manager of the Tigers.

P – “Silver” King (96-97 Senators) In his 2 seasons with Washington, he only went 16-16, and was done with baseball by the end of 1897. But Rob Neyer listed him as having the second best fastball in baseball from 1885-1889, so he deserves mention. 2 other Washington pitchers made appearances on this list, but their tenures in DC, also with the Senators were even less successful: Jouett Meekin – 3rd best fastball from 1890-1894, went 13-25 and Jesse “Cyclone Jim” Duryea – 5th best fastball from 1885-1889, went 7-21.

Honorable Mention – Jim O’Rourke (93 Senators) OK, a little rulebreaking here – he only plaJim O’Rourkeyed one year in DC, but he was player/manager, he basically finished his career in Washington, and his lifetime splits were an impressive .311/.352/.423. He also stole some bases, his best recorded year was 46 in 1887, although much of his career nobody though to wrote such things down (perhaps in a hundred years people will wonder why people just starting using EqA). He ended up in the Hall of Fame in 1945, and for some reason his nickname was Orator Jim (he probably sounded a bit like Conan in the clip below). He is still the oldest player to ever get a hit in the majors, Julio Franco still has 5 years to match it. And the Hall of Fame credits him as “the owner of the National League’s very first hit.” All those accomplishments get him on the list for honorable mention, he doesn’t get a position because by the time he was on the Senators, he was 42 and ready to retire.

Manager – Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy (86-89 Nationals)Connie Mack Another real life Hall of Famer, Connie Mack, as he was better known, ended up managing the Philadelphia A’s for almost 50 years, winning 5 World Series. But he began his career as a catcher in Washington and while he wasn’t much of a hitter, he was a great manager, so let’s give the Tall Tactician credit for probably knowing at that time at least how to manage the pitching staff.

Single Season Team Leaders

AVG – Gene Demontreville – .343 (1896 Senators)
HR – Buck Freeman* – 25 (1899 Senators)
SB – Dummy Hoy* – 82 (1888 Nationals)
OPS – Bill Joyce – 1.143 (1894 Senators)
ERA – Jim Whitney – 3.05 (1888 Nationals)
W – Frank Killen – 29 (1892 Senators)
K – Hank O’Day – 186 (1888 Nationals)

* indicates league leaders

So what have we learned here? Well much like the Nats of today, the Washington teams of the past had some pretty impressive position players, but their pitching was suspect. Additionally, baseball was in serious flux at the time, allowing for multiple, non-related franchises to grow and disappear in the same city. And if anyone ever tells you that the original Washington Nationals or Senators are now in Minnesota, you can tell them the real story. But what’s most important is that there exists a list of players, some of them very good, that can proudly be considered part of the heritage of the Washington Nationals.

  • If this kind of classic baseball is of real interest to you, check out this greWhere They Ain’tat book, Where They Aint. It’s about the 1890s Orioles, who had Wee Willie Keeler and John McGraw and 2 other HoFers, eventually became the New York Yankees, and helped invent modern baseball.
  • Finally, for a funny look at baseball from 1864 look at this Conan O’Brien clip. It’s a little earlier than the guys listed above played, but really hilarious.

Conan at Bat

Sources for this article include Baseball-Reference.com, the BR Bullpen and Wikipedia. It’s amazing what you can learn from those places. Also any place that is linked within this post was probably used as a source.


Winning games and losing players

May 21, 2007

So the Nationals lost 2 out of 3 to their “rival” in the “Battle of the Beltway.” It’s hard to see how the O’s are rivals right now, and really Baltimore is far away enough from 495 that it should be the “Battle of the BW Parkway” or the “Mixin’ just south of the Mason Dixon.” Any other suggested names for this 3 game set are welcome (just click “comments” at the bottom and give us some good ones), because the Battle of the Beltway just seems inaccurate. But that is besides the point. The nice thing about the weekend was they won the last game. If you are gonna get beat in a series it feels much better to steal one in the end than to win at Kearns Runthe beginning and not finishing with a series victory. But either way, don’t let this little weekend series get to you. The Nationals have actually been playing quite well over the last week. They finished up their homestand at 7-3, something that seemed somewhat unlikely. 7-3 at home is what a mediocre team needs to do to get over the hump. Even though the Nationals haven’t yet reached mediocre, this is the kind of thing that they could build upon. The way they won was equally impressive, pitching well (excluding a game or two), and were able to score runs.

What may be most interesting about these wins is that neither Church, Zimmerman, Lopez or Kearns hit that well. But they did have timely hits to help the team win. The nice splits came from Christian Guzman who hit .324/.390/.432 over this span. Give credit where credit is due, Guzman had a great time back at RFK. What may be truly remarkable is that OBP. 4 BBs in a 10 game stretch is nice, especially for a guy who has had more than 30 of them only once in his career. If he keeps this up, he’ll be the comeback player of the year. Keep your fingers crossed, because up until now the Nationals management are the only ones who thought this could happen. We remain unconvinced that this is longterm.

Hitting their strides?

Zimmerman and Lopez have struggled at the plate all year, and this week wasn’t much better. Zimmerman hasn’t hit great all season, but on the home stand he bat .211, with an OBP of .238. However, his slugging has been .526 over this time, putting his ISO (isolated power) over the span at .315 compared to .139 for the rest of the season. It’s nice to see his power has returned and hopefully his numbers will come around as the season progresses. Lopez hit .184/.225/.289 over the 10 game homestand, with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks. Not at all impressive, and except for one game, downright awful. He has been on a decline since when he was hitting .302/.365/.332, where he only needed one or two HRs to have really impressive lines. Instead his power has gone up (ISO has climbed from .30 at that time to about .100 right now) but everything else has gone down.

The two of them combined are getting 2/3 of the Nationals first 3 ABs every game. They are going to be #1 and #2 in terms of PAs for the team when all is said and done. The season is no longer new. It’s almost June, they need to step it up in order to help this team win. What’s nice for Zimmerman is when he isn’t hitting he still is a gold glove caliber fielder and can take solace playing in the field. Lopez on the other hand, has never been a top notch fielder and is asked to flip flop positions. Talent alone makes Zimmerman the one more likely to return to form, the fielding situation only takes away more from Lopez’s chances. Felipe will get there eventually, but be prepared to wait a while.

And of course, the bad news

Over the last few weeks, the Nationals have started to look like the Yankees. No, they haven’t paid $20+ million for an old Red Sox from the 1980s (besides, its the Nats, they would have probably gone for Mike Greenwell) and no, they aren’t a suddenly winning championships. The 2007 version of the Yankees send starting pitchers out as cannon fodder, not wondering if they’re gonna get hurt but when. 20 year old or 38 years old, Yankees pitchers are pulling hamstrings or getting nailed by line drives. The Nats, trying to emulate the winningest team in pro sports have succeeded in losing 4 starting pitchers. Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann, John Patterson, and Jerome Williams are all on the DL. Much like the Yankees, most of these injuries are only serious in the fact that they have forced the Nationals to start some guys they didn’t envision as starters. Micah Bowie starts on Monday, while Simontacchi and Chico get starts and then? Then they don’t know. If Bowie struggles greatly on Monday, Thursday and Friday’s starters will be question marks, otherwise for now, it’s just Thursday’s. Hopefully Simontacchi and Chico can do well enough.


Sweeps Week!

May 15, 2007

Offense out of nowhere

Not really out of nowhere, but the Nationals offense managed to score runs in their first sweep of the season, amidst their longest winning streak of 3 games. A sweep of the Marlins SweepMarlins is just the kind of thing that Washington needs to do if they want to stay out of last place. Yes, they were still 4 games behind Florida despite the sweep, but it’s a step in the right direction. Until this past weekend, they have been able to hit the ball some, but their ability to drive in runs, to hit with runners in scoring position has been atrocious. This was a little change from that. They left guys on base, but they also knocked some in. They have also hit a few HRs, which is the best way to make sure runners aren’t left on. 4 HRs in 4 games is their best stretch since Apr 4-7. Either way, it’s nice to see most of the players actually getting hits in the same inning. As stated before, it’s alot easier to hit a few HRs than to try to string together 3 or 4 consecutive hits every time you want to score more than 1 run. And another win tacked onto the end against the Braves, thanks to a stellar pitching performance from Bergmann and a slightly scary but effective save from Colome, makes it 4 wins in a row.

Lopez and Zimm

Lopez hit a HR in 2 games in a row this week, which is nice to see. He isn’t a 25 HR a year guy, but he has shown no power since coming to DC, and he has SOME. He and Zimmerman are both hitting about .250/.300/.350. This is atrocious for both of them. Nothing about their past would make you believe these are anything other than long slumps, but as they are getting the majority of the team’s ABs Zimm Slam it is hurting the team. The Nats need Zimmerman to hit with more power and to raise his average a bit. The power from Lopez is nice, but he should just be getting on base more. If he can’t, then he is batting in the wrong spot in the lineup. Not that there is anyone better. This team is bad enough and hitting poorly enough, maybe they should go with the stat-geek’s dream lineup of descending OBP. How does this order sound? Church, Guzman, Schneider, Langerhans, Young, Belliard… ok enough of that. Hopefully this past week, including Zimmerman’s grand slam, will help them break out of their slumps. Because these guy’s aren’t playing even close to their ability, so don’t think of this more than slow starts, simultaneous slumps.

Mud on OUR face!

Since Guzman and Logan came back, the Nats have put together some real offense. Obviously these guys are the key, right? Sorry, but no. Until Sunday, Guzman, since he’s been back, has an adequate for him (but replacement level) .261 AVG and .320 OBP. Nothing nauseating, and let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for having to take a month off. But as expected, his 0 extra base hits drag down his numbers and give him a ridiculously low OPS of .581. Sunday and Monday he hit a triple each day. If he can bat .300 (he’s NOW hitting about .370 in one week), that’s about the minimum you would need from him to have an acceptable OBP, since he rarely walks. Remember, he is batting second, which means he should see the second-most number of ABs on the team, so it’s important he gets on base. In terms of power, he is not a HR hitter, and never was, but if he can hit 15 triples and 25 doubles, his SLG will still be below .400, but it won’t be horrendous. And it’s still unlikely to happen. Remember this is a guy who has the second lowest VORP in the majors in 2005, and has only had an EqA above .260 one time in his career (which is, to remind you, the average for all hitters all time).

Either way, as we saw before, the entire team stepped up. Guzman was part of the run scoring bonanza and must be given credit for it. Perhaps what has happened is, as all the other Nationals are aware of his abilities at the plate and realize they have to step up their hitting to compensate. Also, with Guzman in, the player with the highest batting average on the team (assuming those who have less than a handful of ABs don’t count), Belliard, sits on the bench. Not that Belliard has been spectacular, but he has shown a history of being a good bat for his position. And even if they are trying to trade Belliard, then he should get enough playing time to have other teams see him. Logan hasn’t played much yet, so it remains to be seen how his presence will affect the team.

A word on Hill going to the DL

Damn

And finally to Bergmann

Bergmann pitched great on Monday, taking a no hitter into the 8th before giving up a HR. Spectacular outing even without the historical significance. If Bergmann and Hill are as good as they have shown so far, this team may have a better pitching staff going into the future than anyone imagined. They probably aren’t quite this good, but they could very well be two quality starters for this team for a long time.


Ryan Zimmerman is gonna be the best player ever (on the Nats)

May 10, 2007

The Nationals are in the midst of an 8 game losing streak. It is rather painful, but they have fought hard against what is currently the best team in baseball (Milwuakee) and have been in most of these games until the end. Hitting with runners in scoring position still eludes this team, as if the aren’t sure if you’re allowed to go to first base if someone is already on the bases. You are, guys, just go ahead and do the same thing you normally do when you’re at bat. The starting pitching hasn’t been bad, at times it’s been very good. But with no run support and a bullpen that has struggled lately, they have been losing. They lost 8 of 9 on this road trip, but are back for hopefully better things as they kick off a 10 game homestand.

Finally someone said something nice

For those of you who are down on Ryan Zimmerman, take heart in knowing that Sports Illustrated is not. They have a list powered by stats geeks and often-referred-to-by-TNR Baseball Prospectus profiling the top 50 players in Major League Baseball. One National made the list, and he was listed all the way up at #11:

No. 11. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals, Age 22

All right, so the numbers this year aren’t great. Let’s remember that Zimmerman is just 22, an age at which Mike Schmidt was still toiling in the minor leagues. Zimmerman isn’t going to be Schmidt — Scott Rolen and Brooks Robinson are better comparables — but he’s going to be very good for a long time. The last third baseman to have more than 100 RBIs in his age-21 season was Eddie Matthews in 1953. Zimmerman isn’t panicking at the plate; in fact he has cut down on his strikeouts from a year ago. And his glovework is always fantastic. The hits are going to come.

Nice to see that someone still realizes there is nothing to worry about with him. And he is Zimmerman can do it all8 for his last 21, bringing his average up to .255. Since April 16, when his average was down to .180, he is batting .297. This is about what you’d expect, not a particularly hot streak. When he goes on one of those, you’re gonna see why everyone thinks he’s so great. Also watch him field ever, and you realize why. This team is very lucky to have a player of his caliber, as you watch him more you realize that he is the kind of complete player that the Nationals can build a team around. And the guy is right about Zimmerman not being Schmidt. Ryan would need like 25+ years to hit 548 HRs, and hopefully he’ll never have that mustache.

Back to the normal what the hell are they doing moves

The Nats called up Tony Batista this week. Really? Why? With Guzman getting all this playing time were the people at the clubhouse buffet line getting lonely? There is no point to this whatsover. Batista is not a game changer. Yay, he can play first. So can Langerhans, maybe. So can Kasto, maybe. If you want a placeholder for that spot on a team going nowhere, don’t put in someone who is 33 years old, makes Dmitri Young look thin and has more than enough MLB service time to prove that his .250 career average is high for his abilities right now. Don’t bring up fat old guys who you don’t want to be playing in a month when your 1B comes back let alone guys you don’t want in a year. Even if he hits well, what does it do for the team?

Christian and Nook

They’re a combined 3 for 21, with 1 walk and no extra base hits. Expect this to improve. Statistical evidence suggests they should be about 6 for 21, with 1 or 2 extra base hits and 1 or 2 walks. So you have something to look forward to there. In other words, neither guy is as bad as they have started, as tempting as it is to say that “told you so” right now. Still all their past play suggest that they aren’t going to be much better. If only some sort of magical confluence of Guzman hitting well for 2 months, a contending team needing a shortstop, Bowden thinking straight and the other GM not thinking straight occurs so the Nats make a Guzman for pitching trade, this will all be worth it. Otherwise, the one year Guzman had a respectable OPS, he weighed 25 pounds less and had to hit 14 triples to do it. Don’t expect a “new approach to the plate” or anything to fix that. He doesn’t have the plate discipline or power to be anything but below average unless he hits .315. Even then it is gonna be close. Logan is fast enough to do what Guzman used to do, leg out enough liners to bring that slugging up to respectable. But at 27, he’s probably never going to learn to walk, so expect more Willie Mays Hayes than anything else with him. Except that kind of play was much more acceptable in the 80s, before everyone hit at least 10 HRs a season.


Trading Sideways

May 7, 2007

The trade of Chris Snelling for Ryan Langerhans is an interesting one. Langerhans hasn’t started out hot, but he can potentially be a good hitter for this team. Baseball Prospectus had him projected to hit .266/.363/.451 this season. That would be reduced Ryan with a fake hatwith his home games at RFK, but it’s not bad. The question is… why? For his career he is a .242/.336/.378 hitter. What the sabermetricians at BP like about him is his walks. History has shown when a batter walks alot, and Ryan does, his natural ability to lay off bad pitches develops into a natural ability to hit more good pitches and his power will go up as he learns to hit better pitches. That doesn’t necessarily mean more HRs, it could easily mean more hits shot in the gaps. Langerhans strikes out a fair amount, but not at an alarming rate. What he does is give the Nats 4 legitimate major league OFers, which is important. Also, if Logan, who should be back this week, doesn’t play well, there is no excuse to start him. Church in CF, Langerhans in LF, and Kearns in RF is immediately their best OF, but we’ll probably see Church move to LF and Logan at CF for at least a bit. Additionally, Langerhans is a superb defensive player, while Snelling is not.

So what are they losing with Snelling? Well, at first reaction, Snelling has barely played in the majors, so he is much younger, right? Wrong. Langerhans is 27, Snelling is 25, not a big difference. Chris is projected by BP to hit .271/.359/.456, numbers that are strikingly similar. This so far has been considered a trade where the Nats are downgrading their offense a bit and upgrading their defense. Well, that is on potential alone, because Snelling’s offense has yet to be seen in the major leagues. The trade actually seems to benefit the Nats, they may be similar players but Chris has yet to prove he can stay healthy long enough to do anything which begs the question…

What’s wrong with Ryan Langerhans?

Probably nothing, as the Braves starting LF he was an atrocious 3 for 44 with 6 BBs. Yes, a bad start, but it seems odd for the Braves to dump a starter after a poor month. Then, the A’s ship him out after only a week, 2 ABs. Is Langerhans hurt? Is there something with his attitude? Not according to Jim Bowden. He said that he called Billy Beane as soon as Langerhans arrived and tried to arrange a trade, while at the same time praising Ryan’s makeup and character. Still while it seems that Washington got the better end of this deal, we’ll see how this plays out, but even the casual observer has to look at this with a skeptical eye. Most likely just trust Bowden that he has been interested in the guy for a long time (he’s seen him play enough on the other side) and convinced Beane that they were trading basically equivalent players. And frankly, the age difference of 2 years could be a big factor, because the A’s and their low payroll they can resign Snelling for cheaper. What is promising about Langerhans is that despite not hitting, he still has an OBP .100 points higher than his AVG. If he selectivity goes away, he’s worthless with that bat, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Something else mentioned on the Nats broadcast after the trade… he allegedly can play 1B well. He has never logged any time there in the majors so maybe that happened when he was slugging .518 in AAA. Ability to play 4 positions makes him a more valuable player and a possible relief for a slumping Dmitri Young. They also brought up the fact that maybe Bowden is stockpiling OFs because he has a trade waiting in the wings. If we had to venture a guess it would be Church, he’s hitting the best, and apparently is liked (personality-wise) the least. While losing him would do significant damage to the lineup, there will be no criticism of the idea until it’s seen who he’d be traded for. Of course, all of this is speculation anyway. What would be nice is if they realize with Langerhans out there they no longer need Logan’s stellar defense, and can sit him as a reserve.

A few other notes

Even when Hill gets roughed up, he still pitches well. Patterson is unsurprisingly back on the DL, it’s possible he’s been hurt all year so far, but we will probably never know. Cordero blew another save, he needs to get himself back into shape because this team is going to get most of its wins in save situations. If he can’t make it, Rauch has the makeup to be a closer. Don’t be fooled by his high ERA, he had 2 bad outings, other than that he’s been relatively lights out. If someone can be “relatively” lights out. This week we get to see the lineup with Guzman and Logan starting. What is really scary about this isn’t that their lineup will suffer offensively, but there is always a chance with .275/.300/.350 hitters that they have a 3 day hot streak. If either one does it as they get back, Acta and Bowden could be brainwashed into thinking a hot streak is a sign of improvement. Then fans may have to sit through months of the two proving why we never wanted them to start in the first place.


And now for something completely different

Last week through a bit of chance, a great website was stumbled upon by TNR. It is simply a collection of logos for all teams in every major sports. Sportslogo’s site is great, and of course baseball has some great ones. Included in this paragraph are somMr Rede of TNR’s favoritesBrewers Fat Kegman from the past… a fat kegman swinging for the Brewers, a dancing Reds baseball head from 1960 (indicating that Mr. Met isn’t as original as we thought), and a ridiculous Phillies logo that somehow ended up being the official logo for 13 years. They have everything from official logos to cap designs, and even have stadium logos and anniversary logos and Expos eMbpatches. Also Phillies Kidssomething of note, according to sportslogos.net, the old Nationals logo, from when they played in another country actually DID have a purpose to the red “e” and the blue “b” letters in the cap. It stood for “Expos de Montreal Baseball” which seems about right. The other sports logos are complete as well, and seeing the old Capitals logo restored old feelings of how much better it is than the present debacle.

And the next time the Nationals wear throwback jersey’s can’t they do a “W” logo based on the old expos logo? It would be brilliant. Something simple like this would suffice:Expos W

Or even better, a feeble attempt to eliminate the “elb” and replace it with “dc”. Moderately poor, but you get the idea:

DC Expos

Apologies for the crudeness of the logo, but our graphic designer was out this week. Because he doesn’t exist.


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