Ask Boswell about the Redskins, Washington sports

Oct 24, 2011

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about the Redskins' game, the Nationals, the rest of D.C. sports and more.

Past Ask Boswell chats

Boz: Great baseball - pitching and hitting and fielding - so what about Beck? I thought he did fine. He was rusty and not cocksure of himself. D'uh. Who wouldn't be? The fumble was bad but a learning experience (#10's just before the half was much worse), and the interception didn't look to be his mistake. It seemed injuries andillness played a significant part in this game. Only four starters are in their first-game positions. What's your verdict on Beck? Did you get to see the game?

Yes, to my surprise, the Redskins were on TV here in Dallas! I guess Cowboys fans love to see the Skins lose.

What we saw yesterday was a truly great quarterback __Cam Newton__ having a game that just took your breath away. I actually asked myself, "In a couple of years, are we going to be putting Newton in the list of Top 10 players in NFL history." I almost never go crazy over a player so soon. He's just an incredible package.

So it's hard to be fair to Beck when he's playing in such a shadow. But I was very encouraged by his play. I';d give him a "B" at least. MUCH better than Grossman. I'm really looking forward to 10 games of Beck.

I'm not yet a believer. But I've taken "doubter" off my forehead.

As the season moves along and guys go down, are we seeing a real lack of depth in their talent?

The Skins that their lack of depth was a huge problem. That's one legacy of Cerrato/Zorn/Snyder. They rebuilt the roster after Gibbs left and now Shanahan/Allen had to redo it all.

However, the injuries to the thinnest part of the team __the offensive line__ was just bad luck. And they will be hurt by it until Trent Williams comes back.

Sorry to see Hightower go down. If Torain, Helu and H'tower were all healthy, I thought that they had a pretty good running game with versatile styles. We'll see how long Hightower is gone.

All in all, I think the current injuries push us back on that sliding scale of 7-8-9 wins for '11. We're probably back to "7" now. But Beck was a big improvement over Grossman. I know, that shouldn't be hard to do. But give Beck credit. He did it, especially in a generally polished nimble second half.  

 

Bos, How much does the play-calling figure into the Skins lack of offense? Or is it really just failure to execute? (Insert Coach McKay joke here.)

Well, the Skins threw 37 passes again yesterday. But a lot of that was when they were trying to come back late. So the pass/run imbalance wasn't as bad as it looked at first glance.

The 82-yard seven-play drive in the 3rd quarter and the 80-yard 10-play drive in the fourth were about as pretty as you've seen from the Redskins in a while. Good blend of run-pass in the 1st TD drive. Next time they had the ball, two bad drops, especially one by Davis on what should have been a 15-yard gain; so they ended up punting. And the last TD drive __even though it was against a prevent defense__ Beck completed 7-of-10 passes.

Their problem on Sunday was the emergence of a great QB in Newton, not the play calling that was done for a fairly promising looking QB in Beck.

OK, so we know the Redskins are who we thought they were. So what would be the role of Bruce Allen now? He goes for weeks and isn't heard from, it seems. If Mike Shanahan is making all the decisions, as it appears, what does Bruce have to do?

The Shanny-Allen relationship seems to work fine. They had a good draft. It doesn't matter what the balance between the two is on decision-making as long as the results are satisfactory. Allen has the experience to make everything go more smoothly for everybody else. Before the Philly game I was chatting with him. He was in a great mood. I guess eight days, two loses and a bunch of important injuries can change that. Part of Allen's job, I assume, is to feel the pulse of the league and know what's available to strengthen parts of the team that have been delpleated __and do it quickly.

I know this is the redskin's chat but the Packers are undefeated. They've played some of their known harder competition and still come up on top. In the past you guys have always hated on the packers, is that still the case?

I've always been a Packer backer and, as soon as Rodgers arrived, a fan of his, too. So, I don't know who "they" are.

It's a great start for them and speaks well for Ponder that he could help keep them close to such a tough bunch.

What a day it was yesterday for seeing new QBs emerge! It's nice that Tebow showed what he does best __lead and  play his best in the clutch. But all the flaws he's always had are still there. He has a bigger wind up than Derek Holland.

Question: Over the next 2-3 years which would you rather have, Tebow or Beck. I know, "wait 10 games." Well, that's easy. Right now, I'll say "Beck."

Is there any question at this point that Pujols has joined Ted Williams and Babe as the three best hitters ever?

Yes, I think Pujols joins Williams on the short list of less than five hitters who rank behind Ruth. And I'm leaving out the cheaters.

I had friends at Game Three of the Series who are from Dallas. The wife was down because her Rangers lost. I said, "You didn't just see the Rangers lose, you saw Babe Ruth hit three home runs in one World Series game."

They seemed to feel a little better. Last night should add to their cure. Can't wait for Game Five.

Thanks for pointing out he did all his damage after the Cards were ahead in Game 3. We're so quick to pronounce "best ever..." these days that it was good to get some context.

What we saw in Game Three was the greatest hitting EXHIBITION in the history of the World Series. Perhaps similar to Ruth hitting three homers in Game Four to help the Yanks to a sweep of the Cards in the '28 Series. No pressure. Pujols last homer, the one that tied him for Most Hits, Most Homers and Most RBI in a Seriees game came with the score 15-7. It was great theater. But it wasn't meaningful to the game.

Reggie Jackson hit his three homers in a final deciding game of the '77 and they were all meaningful in an 8-4 contest. And his last was >40 feet longer than Pujols' 423-footer.

But Pujols is amazing, wonderful, anything you want to say. But that wasn't the most important monster hitting game in Series history. It was an individual exhibition in a game that turned into a laugher.

Okay, Game 5. Here's your plug for how often the winner of game 5 to take a 3-2 lead wins. Given who's pitching that critical game, who's your pick now?

Every sensible factor say to go with Carpenter who is 8-2 in his post-season career and poised over Wilson who is 1-5 in post-season a deliberately goofy. He really loves attention.Wilson, who has publicized 'what he looks for in a woman,' may have too much on his mind __like the money this game will or won't get him as a free agent.

But Wilson was decent in Game One. And Holland, a similar lefty, may have but the Cards in a little ittin g funk. That 16-run game?? On the bench, when the score gets huge, they sometimes say, "Save some for tomorrow."

I'll close my eyes, go against logic and say, at home, that Wilson outpitches Carp. Who wins the game? Different question. Lets watch and see.

 

Okay so Lance Berkman is quoted in the paper after Sunday's game to the effect that there are only a handful of lefties that can get 95 and higher fastballs over and therefore guys like the Rangers' Derek Holland, The Rays' David Price and the Red Sox's John Lester are in a special elite category among pitchers. What do your stats tell us about this righty/lefty comparison? Does coming with heat from the left side give a pitcher an edge over a right hander who can bring it at the same speed or higher?

Ah, another of the mysteries of baseball. I've never met a manager, pitching or scout who didn't think that a southpaw should get credit for throwing a mile or two higher than a righthander. That's one reason the Nats were so high on Detwiler and drafted him No. 6 overall. He could hit 93-95 as a skinny college kid.

One explanation might be that there are far more RH people in the world, so the number of lefties who can throw hard is lower. But that doesn't explain why they are effective. If anybody has a theory of why a LHers 94 is "better" than a RHers 94, I've love to hear it.

Bos - Was driving through New England recently and was listening to sports talk radio. Lot of talk about blowing up the team, including moving Becket and Ellsbury. If you are Mike Rizzo, are you calling Boston and what would you be willing to give up for either player who fits what the needs are - starting pitching and strong lead-off?

Let me tilt the question. If things stay messed up in Boston will Jacoby Ellsbury become a free agent just in time for the Nats to go after him aggressively. He reportedly didn't get close to a lot of vets after there was some criticism of him in '10. Ellsbury is free after the '13 season. Leadoff and CF. I think you look for perfect fits and refuse spend big money on "this guy is ALMOST what we need."

So first thing Shanny did was to dump Campbell. Was he the best QB on the roster under this coach?

I know it's too soon to judge Beck, buit I really liked what I saw yesterday. The Skins have had so many mediocre-to-poor starting QBs. I think Beck has a chance to be a hair above average. When you look at how many first-rate QBs there are in the NFL now, he can't hope to be in the top 10-12. But maybe he could squeak into the top 15. We'll see. But I liked what I saw. I was beginning to worry about the Shannys because their affection for Grossman was just bizarre. More power to him, but he's a classic steaky backup QB and absolutely nothing more. It took almost eight full games to figure that out?

At least now it will be worth watching Beck to see how he grows into the job. Or doesn't if the league gets a book on him. 

From training camp throughout the early part of this season, the Skins coaching staff and especially veteran players such as London Fletcher, Orakpo, Cooley and several others gushed about how 'this year's team is different' how the Skins 'wouldn't let a season collapse as has happened in the past' After starting 3-1 and following it with 2 losses to 1 win teams, having an offense that can't score consistently and a defense that got shredded by a rookie QB there has to be many questions about the direction of this years team. As the team plays progressively worse with each passing game, is there any reason to believe the words of the coaches and players about how much better this team is? On the surface it seems like many other Skins teams of the past several years despite the big talk and assurances that this franchise is turning the corner.

No, I disagree. At the end of Sunday's game, I thought: "They just lost to a QB who may someday be thought of as one of the best ever. And they unveiled a QB who looks better than anybody I thought they had."

Injuries have hurt them. But the progress is there. Shanahan isn't going to lose the room because of these two loses. The team should think that, if they can get some injured players back and the defense plays well against normal human QBs, that they'll be fine.

Wins and loses matter enormously. But they could go 6-10 again and still be an improved franchise if Kerrigan is an emerging star, Beck becomes a stable QB, etc.

But the schedule gets tougher and several teams on it look like meaner foes than they did back in August.

As much as I would like to, I can't. He's trying to make lemonade out of lemons. He inherited a sorry, undisciplined team from Jim Zorn who was godawful, and with his two years here, he hasn't been able to stock the team with good players because Cerrato and Snyder gave away high round picks for losers like TJ Duckett and Jason Taylor. If he indeed was the guy who called for the McNabb trade,then he deserves blame for that. Otherwise, it's going to take time.

Very well put.

All reactions to the Redskins do not have to be hysterical. The Skins were a mess. It takes time. And probably more than most around town would like. They got good breaks with injuries early __other teams had 'em, they didn't. Now that is evening out. But 3-3 is about who they are. No, they're not a playoff team. But I enjoy watching them now. They are an NFL product once again, not an embarassing joke being played on D.C.

Hi Boz, This is more of a comment than a question, but Mike Shanahan is quickly making me dislike him. Here's a memo Mike: You coach in a football-crazed town that is pissed off from 20 years of futility and growing very thin on patience! When you have final say on all football decisions, and your team sucks like this one does, particularly on the side of the ball that you supposedly specialize in, then you better believe the media has the right to ask you tough questions! Sorry for the rant, but I have a journalism degree and I understand exactly the kind of questions the media must ask, and it really ticks me off when Shanny gives that "how dare you question me" look every time a tough question is asked. When he showed up the reporter who asked about Beck starting next week, that crossed the line with me. A guy that has won 1 playoff game since 1998 is not immune to criticism.

Shanahan's manner borders on awful at times. He's touchy and that record post-Elway drives him crazy. After Zorn/Cerrato there was an enormous sense in town to give this guy a chance. Which means give him t-i-m-e. But the more arrogant he comes off after defeats, the more likely he is to find out that he won't be able to bulldoze the local media.  Last Monday, he actually cracked a funny joke on himself in his press conference  __acknowldging that he'd use stats to prove whatever he wanted them to say. That's a step. If he has a human side, and everybody does, he'd be wise to show more of it. I doubt he'll enjoy it if he starts getting questions that are worthy of the tone of some of his answers.

One of my favorite essays of yours was a piece you wrote in the early '80s, in which you identified four different managerial types throughout history: the Little Napoleon, the Peerless Leader, the Tall Tactician, and the Uncle Robbie. At the time you said the best examples were Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Gene Mauch, and Tommy Lasorda. As all four are gone from the scene now, whom would you name as the best examples to fill those four different sets of cleats?

Bobby Valentine would like to be a Little Napoleon. If he could get the right job. He stands in the middle of the press box here before games. Very friendly. You can see that, even while his TV gig is going well, he's ready for one more shot. But, man, is he a wound-up-tight guy. Like Martin and all Little Naps.

Ron Washington is an Uncle Robbie. Like your favorite uncle, encouraging you, patting you on the face like he did with Holland before Game Four.

The Tall Tactician can be brilliant but sometimes outthinks himself. Tony LaRussa has some Tall Tactician in him. But he's too multi-sided __and good__ to pigeon hole.

Peerless Leaders look great in the unifrom and can break your hand when they shake it. They do fine for a while, restore order. I'll think of one. But...on to the next question.

I welcome your suggestions for the various types.

The Nationals seem to be headed in the direction the Orioles need to go. Can you speak to what the Orioles should expect to get from their next GM? Thanks.

I assume Buck will be calling most of the shots,  regardless of what his title is, as Shanahan does with the Redskins. The O's need to scout and draft better __and jujst get luckier__ when it comes to young pitching. They had some youngsters who didn't work hard enough last winter. Brady Anderson is now in charge of making friendly visits to make sure off-season conditioning is done better.

A question and a comment. First, did last night's strike zone (called by Ron Kulpa, I believe) have any link to the dimensions of home plate (or any basis in reality, for that matter)? It seemed like the "corners" extended 6 inches in either direction from the edge of the plate, except when they didn't. A dreadfully called game, imo. This is the best that MLB's got?!? It seems to me the umpires have too much leverage over MLB, and the quality of the game-calling is the worst among major sports in the US. Second, the comment: I thought the way Ron Washington pulled Holland last night was classy. He still made the decision he thought he needed to make, but gave the kid the props he was due for his performance by appearing to let him argue his case, and did so in front of everyone watching. Nice.

For me, Kulpa had a good strike zone. But TV has a ridiculously poor "pitch track" machine. It's a joke. I'm right above home plate and TV's machinery just isn't properly accounting for the fact that the CF camera is NOT lined up directly at home plate. It's off to one side. So, you have to adjust for that. On TV, the tracker made it look like Holland was missing inside by 4-6 inches. In fact, he was right on the black.

Tupe, who is from St. Louis, got ripped unfairly for missing the call at first base in Game Three. He's not biased. Joe Torre had a press conference here essentially to defend Tupa's integrity and to point out the obvious __these umps view working the Series as a career highlight. Their families are here. The world is watching. "The only thing they want is to 'get it right,'" said Torre.

I sometimes wonder/worry that an ump during the resular season will hold a grudge. But in October the spotlight is just too bright. Every ump desperately wants to be right because they ALL know the name "Don Denkinger."

Tom, Rex Ryan certainly inherited a few traits from his loudmouth fat dad. I'll admit a find Rex amusing at times while I never hated another coach like Buddy. Any good Buddy/Gibbs stories to share? I'm pretty sure Gibbs hated Buddy too.

I'll just say, "You got that one right."

As the season wears on, it seems like the Skins defense has a harder time getting a stop and getting off the field. Several long, time-consuming drives on Sunday, what gives?

Cam Newton. That's what "gave" on Sunday.

Lets see how that defense does when it blitzes QB's less mobile than Newton and Vick. The Skins need to get through the next five games, when they are banged up, no worse than 2-3. And that won't be easy against Buffalo (4-2), S.F. (5-1), Miami (0-6), Dallas (3-3) and Seattle (2-4). The 49ers and Cowboys are at FedEx. And the Pokes ain't all that good. "On any given Sunday."

It's a big mistake to project the rest of the whole season EVERY MONDAY based on what happened 24 hours ago.

As a Cards fan, I'm resigned to losing him, but don't want him to go to one of the "Big[rich] 3." Of course if he went to the Rangers, there would then be the "Big 4." But he might hit 100 HRs and get 300 RBI's if he did that, and none in the regular season would be against the Cards.

Most of the St. Louis writers __and they are a smart bunch because that town may be more Cards-crazy than Washington is Skins-crazy__ think Pujols will stay in St. Louis. If I had to bet, I'd agree.

The Cards can offer him the same kind of "extras" for 3000 hits, etc., that the A-Rod got in his deal. I mentioned some other factors last week.

But here's what may matter most. In 11 seasons, Pujols has gone to three World Series, and may win two, in St. Louis. What other team has been in the Series three times in the last 11 years? Only the Yankees. And they have Teixeira locked up at 1st base for eternity. So, Albert can't say, "I'm leaving so I can go some place and have a chance to win." He IS winning. That's why the Cards love this run to the Series, and deep into it, so much. It puts Pujols in the position of Leaving For the Money. And that's not how Pujols wants to be seen.

Besides, even though 6-4-5-6 HR, HR, HR was amazing, his misplay in Game Two still may have prevented the Cards from being ahead 3-games-to-1. So, maybe Albert owes St. Louis a little something, too.

Oh, he may leave. But I think he stays.

The Rangers just got a $1.8B local cable TV deal (over many years). So they now have theb bucks to get anybody and they are (relatively) weak at 1st. But I don't see Pujols in a football town that's just learning to understand and love baseball.

And Dallas really is getting the baseball bug. (Well, two Series, they should.)

Figured you would like these: Q. If Tony La Russa had been alive during colonial days, would Paul Revere been permitted to finish his dash or would he have been lifted for a relief rider? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.) A. Pay the man, Shirley. Q. When Tony La Russa attends a wedding reception, does he demand different servers for the appetizer, salad, entree and dessert? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.) A. Pay the man again, Shirley. Q. Are you aware that Tony La Russa has been known to change bank tellers mid-transaction? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.) A. Yes, we have our first three-time winner in a single week!

Love it.

Tony looked really tired and "down" after Game Four. He can't help but transmit his feelings to his tyeams. He always has. The man just gives off his Vibe of the Day like a 60's "mood ring." (Hey, Tony's MUCH older than me, so he remembers mood rings.)

Does Tony, who has a theory about everything, think that Game Four was The Big One? You wouldn't think so. He has to like Carp in Game Five then home for 6 & 7, if necessary and Harrison (maybe) for Texas in 7.

But two-hit shutouts worry managers. Getting totally shut down is more likely to tip off a coming hitting slump than a 16-run game is to presage a hitting streak.  

My memory is a littly fuzzy, but didn't Reggie Jackson hit his 3 World Series home runs on the first pitch? And didn't he homer in his last at bat in the previous game, making it 4 home runs on 4 pitches?

It was four homers on four consecutive SWINGS. (Not pitches).

Thanks for the memory.

Monday morning skippering: You're going into the 8th inning. You've got a 4-run cushion, which is a good number in just about any stadium in the league. Holland just finished the heart of the Cardinals order in the 7th, and is sitting at 93 pitches. You've got a couple of studs in the bullpen who you love to use for the 8th and 9th innings. I know Holland's pitching a gem, but don't you have to think about game 7? You might not start him on short rest, but those last 23 pitches make his potential effectiveness in a prospective game 7 that much more questionable.

Very good point. I said the same thing at the time in the press box. Also, you want "Holland in 7" in the Cards heads, even if it's only for one important batter or one inning. And I would NEVER have sent him out for the 90th for the same reason.

Sentimental managing, I hate it.

Tell the kid, "We may need you for the most important outs of Game Seven. You were fabulous. We love ya. Now take a seat."

 

Tom, The Cap's are 7-0 and the best team in the league. Stanley Cup here we come.

I love bouncing around to post-season baseball and Skins, but it's really annoying that I'm not able to SEE the Caps great run to start the season. But it'll be fun to catch up when I get back.

Looks like the No More Caps Country Club atmosphere is helping. The Caps will never say it. But everybody knows it. They got called out. It was needed. And they are responding. (Oh, and goalie play is kind of important, too, isn't it.) 

According to the internet (plus or minus 50% error margin), about a quarter of MLB pitchers are LH. Let's say MLB batters face LHers about 25% of the time. So, MLB batters are less accustomed to LHers 94 mph 2 seam, 4 seam and cut fastballs, therefore a LHer's 94 is "better" because it is different. When I played tennis is HS, playing a talented LH opponent was entirely different. Spins, angles, bounces, breaks, etc. were difficult to get used to. Oversimplification?

Very good point. Thanks.

Bos, What are the odds of the following players returning next season: Livan Hernandez, Ivan Rodriguez, Chien-Ming Wang, Jonny Gomes, Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel. I think it's encouraging (to say the least) that they've all expressed a desire to return to the Nats. This team is coming together, Bos, and it's at the point where good players want to be a part of it.

I think Wang will be back. The post-season reminds you how important it is to have players who have proved what they can do, rather than prospects you HOPE will produce. I'd love to see Livan signed as an insurance policy. Davey likes those "hairy chested" LH and RH hitters on his bench. But are Gomes ands Nix too pricy for limited roles.

It's just too early to tell. They will probably be players who sign late after clubs know how well they did on their winter "wish list." But ALL of those guys brought good attitudes and were part of why that team finished strong and ignored a manager quitting.

Can any new GM help the O's, or is Peter the Great too much to overcome, even with Showalter in the mix?

FWIW, on the baseball trail, the Nationals are seen as an up-and-coming team with a good future (or better than good). The Orioles are universally seen as dead meat because of Peter.

A former Oriole manager came up to me, taped me on the shoulder and, after we'd chatted, he started a 20-minute rant, the point of which was: Even-YOU-don't-know-half-of-everything-that-guy-does-to- screw-up that-team.

I said, "I bet you're right."

Morning Boz! Well it's been a pretty good Series so far and, especially after last night, pretty much unpredictable. Every time you think one team has the advantage, the other comes right back to beat 'em. Good stuff! My question is this: has there been, in recent memory, a worse example of Series facial hair than Derek Holland's weird little whisp of a mustache? Seriously, have some pride, man!

He jokes about it and is actually proud that he's finally gotten as much of a 'stache as he's got.

Thomas , I am a diehard Redskins fan from the 1970's I am sick and tired of Dan Synder and the Shanahans getting the blame for the losses , I live in North Carolina and i had to endure that heartless game yesterday. While they have all made mistakes , i can promise you that all three of them given a choice of a butt whipping in the parking lot or a win , they would all take the butt whipping. i watched a arrogent rookie take apart a heartless team yesterday. i dont drive a Cadillac or Bently to the game, i drive an altima , i take pride in the Redskins and apart from God and my Family it is where my loyality lies , Us fans would give our left arm to just to be a towel boy in the Redskins organization, yet our team has no pride , i was sick to my stomach watching that yesterday , I have to listen on a daily basis crap from Cowboys , Eagles and Giants fans , you know maybe some pride in what they do might get them some more wins instead of acting like its a place to get a paycheck

Give this to many Redskin fans: year in and year out, with the exception of the Gibbs I era, it's possible that they care more about the team than SOME of its players care.

Not that it mattered at all, but why do Redskin quarterbacks over the years feel obligated to throw 4 yard passes on 4th & 5? When the game ended this way, I just thought that this is a symbol of a really dumb quarterback. Of course, the other guy is not any better.

Sometimes I think "How To Come Up One Yard Short Of The Sticks" is on Page One of the Redskins playbook. Every year under every coach.

While I'm sure their critics are all saying that nothing the Caps do will matter until the playoffs--I can't help but be thrilled at the start of their season. The Detroit game was a laugher and Vokun is looking like the real deal. If you're Boudreau, how do you keep them from getting complacent? I still worry about their lack of a somewhat talented enforcer--DJ King is heavy on the enforcer but light on talent. I think their lack of a scrapper like Matt Bradley may hurt them down the road.

Just enjoy it. If they weren't playing well, everybody would say, "Didn't these bums learn ANYTHING from the last few years. Wake up!"

So, they are playing great. Just give 'em credit.

Alex - Romania Hey Mr. Boswell..one question...I agree that the Redskins desperately need a QB for the future but how can you get one when you have a pick in the 10-20 region of the draft and you don't have enough value on your team to trade for a really good one ?

Yes, this is the Redskins own special hell. And with three wins in hand, plus the Dolphins ahead, they will have a hard time winning LESS than five games. So they are probably already out of "Luck."

No QB on the roster who can play, completely ordinary backs and receivers, decent TEs, a sieve of an offensive line, a non-descript D-line, good young outside linebackers, good veteran inside linebackers, and a weak secondary--did I leave anything out? This team is a lot closer--talent wise--to Carolina, Cleveland and St. Louis than it is to Dallas, Detroit and Green Bay, right?

Last year, a Skins defensive coach told me that the team had one player __only one__ who could start for the Steelers defense. So, they are aware of what talent they did, and didn't have on hand.

It is amazing that for nearly 20 years the Redskins have had one pathetic collection of WRs after another. Aging vets. Bad draft picks. Moss had a couple of wonderful years but he's lost his deep burst. Oh, well.

Adding talent is now Goal One. It takes years. You folks really don't enjoy hearing that, I bet.

Umpire Ron Kulpa has been uncomfortably visible during the last couple of games. After the correct call on the Kinsler steal in game 2, he completely blew the tag on Holliday at first in game 3, and a big inning for the Cardinals followed (still don't understand how he missed it - if the player is pulled off the bag toward home plate but tags the runner, there's almost no way the runner could be safe). Then last night Kulpa had a very bad night calling balls and strikes, giving (lefty) Holland about six extra strikes compared to how he called (righty) Edwin Jackson, including called strike threes on Holliday and Freese in the second inning (love pitch-f/x at brooksbaseball.net). I haven't looked at this critically, but maybe you have; how much variation is there in umpires' strikezones between right-handed and left-handed pitchers?

Thanks, I love brooksbaseball.net. You can get there off baseballreference.com. But they don't have it for post-season so I can't check Holland-Tupa yet.

I'll try to find a way to compare Holland/Jackson. I thought he called a perfectly good game.

I'm a big Pujols fan. BIG. Is he the greatest hitter SINCE Williams? Yes. But saying at this point that he's better than Foxx or Hornsby or Gehrig, I won't do.

That's why I said Top Five.  Some big folks roamed the earth in those days, I'm told.

I didn't think he was really supposed to be in the limelight. Maybe he's doing his job.

Thanks.

Isn't saying Beck could be a top 15 QB a little premature? Grossman has been identified as a streaky back up QB because he has played enough to show that is true. We don't have any idea whether yesterday was best Beck could do or worst. He could be streaky too, the rest of this season will help determine that. Anyway first round pick in next draft should be qb.

It's too soon to know. But I'm pretty sure my favorite Beck will continue to be Jeff. (Debut album "Truth" '68)

The Redskins season is only lost if you had super high expectations of this group. This is a long term work in progress to fix a decade of neglect on roster management and a disregard for the draft.

Thank you very much, Dr. Freud.

Thanks for all the great questions. See you next week.

Tom: Is this true or baseball urban legend? I remember hearing that, years ago, someone was waxing rhapsodic to Earl Weaver about what a talented skipper Gene Mauch was and Weaver, getting red in the face, said, "Yeah, he's the best manager who's never won nothin'!"

Lets just say that Gene was probably the inspiration for Earl's "play for one run early, lose by one run late."

For first time, I thought he sounded like an interesting coach in the post-game presser, not a robot talking about waiting to see the film or sticking to the safe platitudes. (And that one dismissive comment was understandable.)

I'm sorry. Obviously you don't see THAT on TV in Dallas. I will reserve judgment on Shanny's post-game aura until I SEE THE TAPE.

Good morning Boz, What does Theo have to do to duplicate his feat in Boston with the Cubs, i.e. a World Championship? Can he do it? How long will it take if he can? I think the opportunity to do just that was too tempting to stay in Boston where there was nothing really left to prove.

Just hope Theo isn't afraid of goats.

Tom, Tom, Tom, it should be FEWER than five games!

I have tried to get this through my thick head for years. And I keep getting it wrong. Sorry.

During the LCS, Adam Kilgore was tweeting some of your comments in the pressbox. It was great hearing real-time observations of the game--please consider getting a Twitter account yourself before baseball season starts next spring!

Yes, I'm thinking about that for next year. Is it okay if I just tweet all my sarcastic comments when I'm just home watching games, too? I'm afriad I often annoy the people around me in any press box with all my wise-guy remarks.  So, maybe, I might as well annoy others, too.

Jim Kelly: 14th pick in the '83 draft. Dan Marino: 27th pick in the '83 draft. Aaron Rodgers: 24th pick in the '05 draft. I won't even mention Joe Montana and Tom Brady.

Thanks. That was the hope with Campbell and Ramsey.

Sometimes those guys hit big. But not often. I've done the numbers. It's depressing. People know how to scout QB. Check out footballreference.com and just isolate all the QBs drafted year-by-year. You can get one picking in the middle of the pack. But you're odds at 1-2-3 overall are much better.

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Thomas Boswell
A Washington Post columnist since 1984, Thomas Boswell is known for the many books he has written on baseball, including "How Life Imitates the World Series" and "Why Time Begins on Opening Day."
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