Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports

Sep 30, 2013

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

Past Ask Boswell chats

Mr. Boswell Did the players and coaches in the Oakland/Washington game actually get paid for what seemed to be one of the ugliest NFL games in memory? MVMD

I also thought it was one of the ugliest as I was watching it on TV. My feeling was that the Skins were very lucky to come from being down 0-14 and that if McFadden hadn't been hurt they might well be 0-4.

But when I watched the game again, I changed my mind. Granted, the Raiders are a bad team playing with a backup QB, etc. But I thought Griffin looked much better the second time than on first watching. He's moving better every game and, after taking a lot of hits in the first month will probably welcome the bye. He's missing a few throws that he hit last year -- including one deep ball up the right sideline late in the game that PManning or Brady would have considered a 50-yard handoff. But I thought his 18-of-31, 227 yards, NO interceptions was an accurate measure.

The difference between the NFL's rating (91.7 for RGIII, which is good) and the ESPN QBR  -- which is done like many MLB stats, for example, WPA/Li which tries to measure how much does each play change the "win expectancy of a team" as well as the "leverage" in the game situation -- is huge that one of them, either passer rating of QBR, is WAY off. RGIII QBR was 38.1  on Sunday (bad). Though Flynn's was 6.1! Awful.

My biggest takeaway, however, was that Kerrigan, Orakpo and Cofield (each had two sacks apiece) really showed the pass rush pressure that the Skins might be able to generate. With Rob Jackson (LB) and Jefferies (D-line) coming back from suspensions against Dallas, the defense might not be as bad as it looked the first three ames.

The Raiders tried every way possible to lose. But it's still hard to win on the road when you give up a punt-block TD and fall behind 14-0. The Skins were only a 3 1/2-pt favorite. This was more than a must-win, it was also a pretty decent win that may point to the ability to contend in a bad division. If they'd gone 0-4 it would have been hard even to say that much.

So, enjoy it. It was a decent win with some good signs inside it. Nothing great. But it'll make Dallas week interesting.

Davey Johnson isn't really going to be a "special assistant" to Rizzo next year, is he? It sounds to me like he's done with this organization and done with Rizzo, as much good history as he has with Rizzo.

We'll see.

Davey was good as a consultant before he was maanger, especially in eyeballing talent in spring training. Considering how difficult much of the season was, I'd say Davey and Rizzo probably kept their relationship together as well as you could expect. But there were cracks.

The last week it felt like Davey really retired. I've wondered if he could be talked back by another team. Right now, I'd guess, "No." But the Nats didn't quit on him. The last 1/3 of the season they went 34-20, a 102-win pace. And after the All-Star game, they were second in the N.L. in runs scored. Of course part of that was probably firing Eckstein, not because he was bad but because the team needed a "reboot" and memory of failure. I suspect Davey's main problem -- how hard he took Eck's firing -- will mellow with time. Or it should. Hard to say it didn't help, maybe a lot.

Rizzo was generous in the closing weeks when Davey kept talking about not having LHers in the bullpen to start the season, etc. He took a little heat -- not much, but a little -- off himself and pushed it toward Riz. Mike took the high road. They should be fine with eachother. But, as I said, we'll see. They should keep the '12 memory intact. You always want the good parts of a franchise's history to remain intact  -- a reference point, a good memory. Never let good end up as bad if you can possibly help it.

That was a terrible loss yesterday to a beat up Bills team, with the $100 Million QB looking like a rookie. Any thoughts on the start to the SB Champs this year?

Bet the Ravens didn't expect too many five-interception games when they gave Flacco the big bucks. He was unlucky on one or two but he stood up and took the blame afterwards, as he should have.

It was fun being a fan for one day on Sunday, watching every game, getting to slo-mo whatever I wanted, etc. The Ravens have fallen back quite a good distance. I don't think Ray Lewis is simply being self-serving to say they have a leadership gap. They look like a .500, or slightly better team to me.

You're right that an enormous focus will be on Flacco, the price paid and the others who couldn't be afforded so they could keep him. That fake team picture of the Ravens with Flacco alone in a set of high school bleachers -- like the usual team photo but with nobody else in it but him -- was a funny off-season image. But the five INTs certainly brought that idea back to mind.

What has Cal Ripken Jr. ever done to make you think he would be a good manager without any managerial or coaching experience at any level? He was never even the leader of the Orioles. He wasn't even good at being coached. As you said during his playing career, he was his own hitting coach, and he really needed outside advice rather than his own.

There's obtuse and then there is your opinion. Which breaks new ground.

I've seen other comments like this lately. Remind me again, what universe does your information come from?

Ripken was raised by a manager, played as if he were a manager in uniform, was always the leader of the Orioles, or else was the leader in tandem with Eddie Murray and probably knows as much about baseball at the granular and the theoretical level as anybody in the sport in the last 50 years. Few, if any, get along better with other players, press or fans. Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, among others, grew up with him as a hero. He's as nice as he needs to be when nice is called for. He's as much a hard-ass as he needs to be when that's the order of the day. He's got good judgment but also has enough temper.  

So, naaah, he'd probably make a terrible manager.

You NEVER know who will be an excellent manager and who will have a major flaw until they get the job. But the "leaders" for the Nats spot are -- 1 and 1a --probably Matt Williams and Randy Knorr. They'd probably both be good. But neither has managed in the majors. To be blunt, Ripken's on field exerience would put him well ahead of Knorr for any meaningful definition of experience-pertine ntt-to-managing.

Could the Nats get Ripken? Would he come back? Is he just playing with the idea, rolling it around in his mind, getting a sense of how the baseball world feels about it? Maybe that's all it is. If I had to bet, I'd bet he won't be managing anybody next year. But if he did, and the Nats passed him over for any other manager with a 0-0 record as a MLB manager, I think they might regret it.

I assume Girardi, who did an excellent job, will be back with the Yankees. Few leave the Yanks, especially when they have played and won a title there, even if the pinstripes look like they may be out of the playoffs next year. If Girardi is in the mix, that would require a re-think. If Mike Scioscia were to be available, would he want to come to any East Coast town? Doubt it.

The Nats are in a VERY strong position, made even stronger by their 32-16 finish. If they want Williams, I'd be shocked if they don't get him. If they decide to stay in-house with Knorr, then that will be received well by the current Nats who know and like him.

Baseball came hard to Ripken. He changed his batting stance about 1000 times. He was a studen of the game, not a high draft pick and, in a sense, was the ultimate grinder. BUT he might have trouble accepting the work habits of normal humans. That's an X Factor.

Some will say, "But Cal would never take a job in Washington, only in Baltimore." I doubt that very seriously. Perhaps Cal is one of the five ex-Orioles on earth with exceptionally warm feelings for current ownership. But I don't think so. And Buck has done an excellent job, so there's no reason to think he's going anywhere.

I suspect that would really entice Ripken would be a job running a team, not managing it. And that job doesn't exist in Washington.

But whenever you hear anybody make a SERIOUS negative character attack on Ripken as a potential manager, you can assume that the charcater flaw is probably in the bizarre eye of the beholder.

Do you think his head coaching days are over at the age of 38?

Well, you can hope.

So, Boz, the Caps season starts tomorrow night. With the acquisition of Grabovski, the addition of Tom Wilson--and trade of Perrault--how do you see the team shaping up this season?

I've said before that moving from a very weak division to a very strong one has a major impact in any sport. Never discount that. The Caps start will a major negative bias to their season.

Sorry for the baseball example, but consider the A.L. East and N.L. East. The Nats "beat" the O's for best record this year -- 86-76 to 85-77. But the Nats played 65 teams with .500 or better record, 97 with teams under .500. The O's played 101  -- yes, 101 --games against teams at or above .500 and only 61 against "losers."

Cut the Caps, who haven't made MAJOR changes or upgrades, some slack. They are really moving up to a much tougher schedule.

Lived in the Beltway when Friedgen just got to the Terps, and there was a lot of excitement about football at the school, especially in 02', is the same level there this year and this game?

I'm amazed to see Maryland in the Top 25, even for an hour, and happy for them. (Yes, my Md-grad son keeps me constantly informed.) If Randy Edsall turns out to be an excellent college football coach at Md -- on the level of Bobby Ross, Jerry Caiborne or the Fridge -- it will probably be the MOST wrong I have ever been about any local sports personage (and I've been wrong about plenty of 'em).

I'm glad I never wrote a column about Edsall, just a few snarky chat comments. He seems like a good person, just came across to me as a hopelessly over-his-head coach. It never hurts to be reminded how bad your own judgment can be. And I hope for Maryland's sake that I keep being reminded.

I'm not a fan of Cleveland, but it sure would be nice if Terry could stick it to the Red Sox. When you don't have a team in the fight, it is always nice to cheer for the underdog.

Another example of "everybody" being wrong. Everybody said, "Wait for a good job with a good team, Terry. Don't curse yourself with a losing (68-94) team. You deserve better."


Lets look at a couple of team progressions because a couple of managerial characters either were Nats mangers (Manny Acta) or wanted to be Nats managers (Bobby Valentine wanted to be anybody's manager).

The '11 Red Sox went 90-72 with Francona. Oh, so he's a bum. They get the brillaint Valentine and they plummet to 69-93. Sometimes, I get one right. I said the LAST person the Nats should hire as manager was Valentine. Now, with John Farrell, the Red Sox improve by 29 wins in one year with a team that is unrecogniable in many ways.

Francona takes a team that was 65-91 under Acta (who left with a couple of weeks left). and finishes 92-70. This is an example of Only In Baseball. Or at least it feels this way to me. For ONE YEAR you can do m ore incredible things in baseball than any sport -- platoons to strengthen weak offensive positions, uncovering undervalued talent in your own system, a couple of smart trades, better morale, better fundamentals every day for six months, changed self-image, sharp managing that improves record in one-run and extra-inning games and....oh....yeah, some luck.

The Indians leading HR hitter this year: Nick Swisher, 22. Second, Carlos Sanatan (Catcher) 20. RBI leader: Jason Kipnis (84). Number of .285 hitters? None. BUT, due to playing everybody, emphasizing bench, finding fill-ins for the injured, platoons, the Indians had TEN players with 10 homers and another with nine.

15-game winners? Cleveland had none. (I just typoed "Tribe" and said, "Wow! Tribe? Really?") But Corey Kluber was 11-5 and Chris Perez saved 25 games.

So, yes, I'll be rooting for the Indians, A's and Pirates. And the Rays over the Raners today. This could be the greatest year ever for underdogs, great managing, team esprit and only-in-baseball post-season stories.

(And the Nats will be watching. They should remember this.)

How much of a difference do you think it makes having a manager like Randy Knorr, who is so familiar with the players and organization, versus someone like Joe Girardi, who has a history of success managing at the major league level? I'm personally hoping for Cal, but doubt Rizzo goes down that road.

Familiarity is great as long as the vets with big reps or big contracts don't sell him out if there are a few crises -- and there are always problems -- and they don't work out well or are unpopular with some players. That's the argument for "stature" -- like Davey, Girargi, Ripken or, to a degree, Matt Williams.

But the Nats are a VERY home-grown team. When you look out to '15-'16, they may be even more so if they replace Soriano, LaRoche with internal prospects. And they may replace Haren and fill out their rotation with Tanner Roark (wow, another bulldog 7-3-1-0-0-3 game on Sunday to finish with a 1.51 ERA) or Jordan Taylor. And Gioliti and others arms are coming.

Rizzo has a tough call. There are several that look strong to me. BUT they will NOT all turn out to be good managers. The odds are against it. And, as the previous post about the improvements under Francona and Farrell show, managers can matter -- especially in their first year when they bring their best ideas into play. (That's why Davey was so important to 98 wins in '12. That was the year of the positive Davey Impact.) 

Is the America's Cup comeback - eight straight must wins- the greatest comeback ever in a sporting event ? If not, what else comes to mind?

I would love to know if this is one of the greatest comebacks ever or one of the most over-hyed Cup Bought By a Billionaire stories ever. New Zealand has less than five million people. They are all (supposedly) sailing lunatics. We had to hire away THEIR superstar captian to beat them. Ellison spent gillions.

But I have a LOT of Annapolis friends who think this is beyond amazing. I have NO IDEA. One of my friends was on an U.S. Olympic sailing team and sails boats for/with Ted Turner. He is a TOP sailor. When I've gone out with him I just try not to fall overboard -- and at least tie the boat up to the dock without him having to tie the knot again after I've done it wrong. He REALLY tries to help me understand a LITTLE about sailing. Yeah, good luck with that. Trust me, astrophysics is easier. It's a seperate world.

But I would love to read a great piece on whether this America's Cup was Great Sport or just the opposite (or somewhere in the middle). I wonder, in this intense world of strong opinions, whether there is anybody who has the distance on the subject to do a fair but truly expert job?   

A month ago, nobody wanted to play the Dodgers. Now, without Kemp, do they still have a realistic chance of reaching the World Series? Also, what are the chances that we'll see another blow up in the event of a Dodgers home run celebration (not that Hanley Ramirez or Yasiel Puig are prone to showboating)?

Perhaps you have heard how important it is in baseball to "be the hot team" at the end. And "you can't just turn it on and off." Though the truth is that some teams have cruised to the finished, looked lame and then played great to win a Series.

But the Dodgers have looked like a team that's ready to lose in September. In Sept they are 12-15, were 15th in MLB in ERA (3.63) and scored 60 (SIXTY) less runs -- 162 to 102 -- than Boston or Oakland.

Who finished hot? The Cards (19-8), A's (19-8) and Nats (18-9, ooops). The lowest team ERAs in September were the Cards 2.71, the Nats (2.73, yes, second in baseball, go on and cry), Cleveland 2.84, A's 3.021 and Reds (3.09).

Puig hit .205 in his last 88 at bats, but with six homers. The league is figuring him out, but he still crushes mistakes. Sure looks like the Dodgers cooled off too soon. But Kershaw may be the most dominant pithcer in the post-season. The Cards are hot and good. The Braves have fallen off, have two .180's hitters in BJ Upton (flop of the year) and Uggla. Pirates are sentimental pick but probably not ready. Reds just got crunched by Pirates for a week. Cards-Dodgers would be a suitable, high-quality, NLCS. I haven't made pick yet, but that would be classy. Pirates more fun.

Or the Braves could advance and help everybody with the proper speed of home runs trots. (Though I loved the McCann road block.)

BTW, you can bet the Nats hated to see Henderson Alvarez get his walk-off wildpitch no-hitter yesterday. He's hit two Nats with 3-0 fastballs in the back -- they think on purpose -- and he's building that rep.

Thoughts on Manny Machado and his injury? See it happen live or see the highlights? Think he'll win a Gold Glove this year? How improved do you think he'll be next season?

Both my son and I have had similar knee-cap, petella dislocated injuries. Mine was eons ago when they didn't know how to treat it right. It ended my (ha) career. I could still move my knee cap around behind my knee three years later despite doing all the rehap stuff they suggested and, even with a knee brace, was never a fraction as good as basketball, etc., after that. My son hurt his about 13 years ago. NOW they know how to deal with it -- put weight on it as soon as you can stand it, like the next day, not (as in my case) don't put any weight on it for six weeks, at least. Nice way to atrophy everything in your knee.

So, I'm a half-baked authority on this injury. Manny will be fine. He was very lucky. He did not even appear to have a dislocated kneecap, like mine. I assume he'll be 100 percent by spring training and have no long-term impact. 

RGIII looks like he continues to get better, a little more nimble, confident of his knee, with each game. He's among the true "mobile QBs" right now. BUT he has definitely lost a step in pure speed. That matters. Will he ever get it back? Big question. And if he doesn't -- far too soon to say that, like a YEAR too soon -- how will it imapct Shanny? If the final verdict is "never quite the same," that is going to go on Shanahan's record in All CAPS.         

Would you rather be the Dolphins or the Chiefs right now? The Chiefs are 4-0, but they've feasted on the NFC Least and Jacksonville. And Miami? Is it possible to know if either of these teams is actually good right now?

I sure enjoyed watching every play of KC taking the Giants apart yesterday. They look inspired (especially at home) and like a pretty good team. Skins are lucky to face them at FedEx. And they'll be a handful even there.

To paraphrase Bert Sugar, Brady's receivers aren't even household names in their own households. So which QB is having the better season so far: Brady or Manning?

We're lucky to get to watch them both in the same era -- two of the all-time greatest. So far this season, it's not close. Brady 7-2 TDs to INTs. Manning 16-0!!!! QB rating: 138.0 to 87.4!!! Completion percentage: 75.0 to 58.9!!!

Right now, I've never seen Manning throw quite this well, especially the deep ball. He puts 'em where you just CAN'T miss 'em. His arm strength is all the way back.

When he meets the Skins secondary in four weeks in Denver, they should make Peyton wear a blindfold. Or at least a Pirate patch over one eye.

Unfortunately, I assume it's Skins fans who will want the blindfolds.

Just ignore reading too much "into" that game. (If you can.) 

Amazing that everyone pays little attention to the Braves...yes, the latter part of the season the gnats were on a 102 win pace, but baseball is not a snapshot sport. Explain to me why, then, there is so much belittling of the Braves as being a .500 team with a couple of great streaks? Can't have it both ways!

You won't hear that from me. I think they are a 94-win team that won 96 year -- on merit. They also overcame injuries, especially Hudson. Great pen. One of the model franchises.

As I have written many times, ALL 90-win and 100-win seasons are built on plus-10 streaks, like 13-2, 16-3,  etc. There may be a few exceptions. But VERY few. 

Hi Boz, Will Zimmermann be promoted to No. 1 in the Nats rotation based on this year's performance? How does that work? The Nats annointed Strasburg as the ace of the team, but he has yet to earn it. Actually, it might be good for Stras to drop down to No. 2 or No. 3. Thoughts?

I'd start Zimmermann on Opening Day because he is polished, sets a tone of being in control.

It's easy to shake your head at Strasburg and I was doing it again in his last start when he opened up a two-run inning by walking the No. 8 hitter then hitting the pitcher in the foot with a curve when he was trhying to sac bunt. But the facts are the facts.

Even on the scale of his large talent he had a good season and showed progress. In all of MLB, not just the NL, he was 13th in ERA, 6th in batting-average-against, sixth in OPS-against, 8th in Walks-plus-Hits-per-Inning and 10th in K/IP. His run support was awful or he'd have won 14-15 games.

In "hardest to hit, he was sixth and slightly AHEAD of Matt Harvey. Only ones harder to hit (BA-vs) were Jose Fernandez (!), Darvish, Kershaw, Scherzer and Bumgarner.

Yet almost EVERYONE agrees that there are a bunch of areas where Strasburg can become better. And he's improved a few of those -- like composure after a teammate's error and holding runners (well, a little better). He WORKS to get better, too.

He has quirks and can seem like a mystery at times. But what happens if he DOES actually have a VERY good seasonand gets some run support? He's reached 25 -- supposedly a symbolic age -- without another major arm injury.

The Strasburg Story is still intact, even though a few young pitchers like Fernandez, Harvey and, of course Kershaw who is only 25, may seem ahead of him now. Strasburg probably has the best TWO off-speed pitches of anybody in baseball -- slider and change. But I sure hope Harvey gets 100 percent back because he may have the best five pitches with command and fierce attitude in a LONG time.

What's your gut tell you on how the Nationals will fill out the back end of the rotation next season? Let's go with the assumption that Detwiler will be healthy and the No. 4. Seems the organizational depth has returned after the Gio trade. With Taylor Jordan, Nate Karns, Tanner Roark, Robbie Ray, Matt Purke, Sammy Solis and a couple other lesser known names that worked their way through this season the internal competition would be stiff for the No. 5 spot and still go pretty well toward the goal of having an 8 deep rotation between MLB and Minors. Will they go that route, or look to leverage a couple of those arms plus say a Danny Espinosa, Chris Marrero, Tyler Moore or others in a monster play for David Price or another more established guy? The plus there of course would be to build an epic MLB proven rotation, but then that depletes your depth again and they probably go thru 2014 with just six, maybe seven MLB quality starters. Are there any quality free agents that make sense for the rotation?

There is at least one key Nats everyday player who would love tyo see a several-for-one trade for Price, on the idea that Roark, Jordan, Karns, Moore, Espy may be similar to Peacock, Milone, Norris before the Gio trade. There is NOTHING like a multi-year MLB trade record -- like Gio had. Milone is a .500 pitcher, Peacock had a nice finish in Hoston this year. But Nts love the trade.

BUT it is hard to pull those off.

Yopu always have to see if unproven pitchers can come back the NEXT year with the same combination of stuff AND command that they had the previous year. Can they duplicate their mechanics after an off-season?

But I do have a firm opinion that Roark -- even though  he can't POSSIBLY be as good as his numbers this year in 54 innings, he can't even be half as good -- is still the pitcher that you MUST get an answer about.

He throws 92-93-94 but is sneaky fast. That was the first tip-off on Jordan Zimmermann when he first came up. He "jumped at the hitter" and was sneaky fast, even at 95-96. Everybody was late, couldn't square up. He had a quiet motion that didn't scream "speed" and the ball came out of his shirt. (You can see that if you go to spring training before the games start!). Roark has an even quieter delivery, looks like he's trying to spot the ball, but he freezes people (like Goldschmidt yesterday) for a called third strike on a two-seam fastball on the outside corner. Good hitters are just locked up. That's a gift. Roark also has FOUR pitches that he has trusted in every start.  He gets to his changeup the third time through then order and it is THERE. He can ignore it for 50+ pitches, yet still command it when he needs it. Will he be able to do that next year. Can he throw "get-me-over" sliders early in counts to get ahead and leave them up in the zone and get away with it? He has so far. On Sunday he had a 16-to-1 ground ball to strikeout ratio. He seems to love to compete, doesn't look physically exhausted late in games even after he has gotten a base hit himself, run the bases, has a dirty uniform.

BUT his minor-league numbers, and AAA numbers, even though they resemble Mike Boddicker at the same age, do not say "Future Standout." They say, "Maybe a fifth starter or bullpen help."

I like Jordan's poise and funky windup, Karns has a live arm but ires. But you just have to find out to what degree Roark's '13 stats -- okay, only 54.2 innings, but better across the board than any starter in baseball -- are a lucky fluke. Some IS good luck (only one HR) and unfamiliarity. But not all of it. All I say is, "Find out."

Nine years in, would you agree that MLB must be thrilled with their decision to move the Expos here to DC? They sold a near worthless franchise for $450 million, got a $600 million new park for free, the Lerner family are solid, quiet owners, attendance has been good to very good, with lots of high rollers buying season tickets, and two young stars, Harper and Strasburg, playing in a big media market. And the supposed threat to Baltimore has proven empty. all that remains is to extricate the Nats from their MASN imprisonment and yet another team will enjoy a huge local tv contract. Selig and MLB must be giddy with glee at how well this worked out for them. What say you, Mr. Boswell?

Yes, within the game, that's how it's seen.

Another example of Selig being terrible in an important area for a decade or more -- first labor relations, then PEDs and, along the way, indifference to baseball in DC --then ending his career looking like he knew what he was doing all along and it was part of a master plan.

Believe me, it wasn't a master plan. Bud DOES love baseball. That has guided him through a lot of short-comings. All I know is that if there is anybody I'd want to split a $2 lottery ticket with, it's Bud. The guy could probably buy the ticket, absent-mindedly leave it in his pocket, have the pants get lost at the dry cleaner, have the dry cleaning store burn down, then find the lotery ticket, blown by the hot winds of the dry-cleaning inferno, land back on his front porch with a hand-written note from God on it saying, "Bud, please don't misplace this ticket again."

And, the next day, he'd win $100M.

Latest example: MLB now has, by far, the most nearly-perfect post-season format of any U.S. sport -- given that it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a great format in leagues with 30-to-32 teams.

And who pushed for wild cards and then, last year, for the WC-WC game that creates excitment this week and really, really rewards the division winners, just as it should be, while also bringing back drama to the division races?

Yup, Bud.

I have a question about baseball silent etiquette, which never occurred to me before. Anticipating the Nationals last series against the Diamondbacks might have playoff implications, I purchase tickets to the last three games in Phoenix several weeks ago and traveled there to attend games with a transplanted Nationals fan. In the second game of the series I had very good seats three rows off home plate slightly on the first base side. In the next to last (meaningless) game of the series Chad Tracy hit a seventh inning home run. As he approached home plate, I noticed the Dbacks catcher Montero clapping his right hip three times as Tracy approached the plate, Was that some sort of applause for a former teammate for a job well done, and if so, is that common in basebase?

Yes, probably.

And "Yes."

They all know each other. They all root for those who are deserving and against those that they deem as undeserving.

And sportswriters often feel much the same way.

Boz, Will Bud's departure help speed up the MASN decision, or will he just kick the can down the road?

Some think the decision will come soon after he's gone. First order of biz for next commish. Unlesss there is a factor I don't know, I think Bud owes it to everybody to get his hands dirty and finish the job himself.

Bud's first, second and third rule is, "Wait, wait, wait, maybe the problem will just go away. Or somebody will have a good idea. Or I'll just get lucky. Meanwhile, I'm going to go eat lunch for the 100,000 straight day at the same little hot dog and ice cream place."

I tried to find Bud's fav spot when I was in Milwaukee recently but failed. You have to spend some time in  Milwaukee to understand Bud. Lets just say there's no rush to find the next exciting activity. But the people are great. And ALL the food is unhealthy but delicious. 

"There's obtuse and then there is your opinion. Which breaks new ground"-- Boswell, with this arrogant response to a poster, you lost me as a reader.

Once a year I get to say, "Obtuse." And that was after I edited myself.

Sorry to lose you.

Being that the MLB playoffs are starting this week, do you think the Tigers have what it takes to win their first Championship since 1984?

They'd be one of the teams I'd really enjoy seeing win. Truly great core stars, great manager, deserving town that loves baseball.

Boz, Your response to the earlier question on the America's Cup reminded me how much I LOVED Angus Phillips article on America's victory last week. It was so descriptive, literary, and rich... his weekly outdoor columns are greatly missed! Thanks for all YOU do to keep a similar high standard... you too are a joy to read!

I thought that was one of the most exciting, knowledgeable and well-written pieces I've read in forever. Felt like standing up and cheering for Angus. And he did the hardest thing -- the story started great, then never lost its pace or energy. It just kept getting better.

Don't you think Zimmermann has benefitted from pitching in Strasburg's shadow? He seems like the kind of kid who doesn't care about the spotlight that he's sure to get if he is annointed the team's "ace." (I think Strasburg starts opening day.)

Yes. And I know Jordan would agree becxause he's said things like that. But he's ready for the spotlight.

Way past time to get out of here and write a column. Very sorry. See everybody next week.

Here's another take on Cal Ripken as manager (not a criticism, but a question): as a position player, how well would he be able to set up a pitching staff, and handle it? It would seem that a former catcher (like Knorr) would have a better understanding of that, but would Cal?

Catchers have a good history. Super-duper stars don't. But Cal was the Everyman of superstars.

In This Chat
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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