Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports

Oct 07, 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

They averaged 9.7 yards a play against the Broncos' defense! What are they going to do against the 'Skins?

Is 19.7 possible?

Nobody is allowed to play defense in the NFL anymore under the new flag football rules. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this Skins defense could play under the old maim-'em rules.

Seriously, that 51-48 game was about as much fun as it gets, especially with the last Romo pick. Who else could throw for 500 yards, five TDs, break Cowboy team records then IN A TIE GAME when he doesn't absolutely have to make a second-down play, throws a certain game-loser interception? It was the ultimate Romo moment.

But the part that should concern the Skins is the 500 yards. That was a Boys loss that has to leave them 1) angry and 2) more confident that they are a pretty good team and should win the NFC East. Will they? Don't know, but it certainly helps a team if it honestly thinks it can and should.

Do the Skins feel that way about their chances in the Least? The late-late games last nite, a 10-point Raiders win, makes you think that the Skins were fortunate to miss Pryor last week (2 TDs vs Chargers and looked good).

I did think the Skins in general, and especially the Kerrigan-Orakpo-Cofield pressure and RGIII's gradually increasing mobility/confidence in his knee were reasons to think their worst games were behind them.

The next question: What will the Broncos avg gain per play be when the Skins go to Denver?

This jabber of mine about how it's so easy to see what will or should happen is, of course, ridiculous. I saw Hoge on ESPN this a.m. "award" a win to Denver in 10 of its last 11 games. In the NFL, turnovers change everything. The luck of a good game plan -- one that is a perfect match for what the other team had decided to do that week -- can generate a big first-half lead that holds up. It's a wonderfully unpredictable bounce-of-the-ball big-play league. Just three or  four plays can change a whole game and you say, "THEY lost to THEM?" Doubt the Pats expected Tom Brady to have a game w/out a TD pass.

After this past weekend's comments, do you think the Nats should really make a run at this guy?

As his manager Joe Maddon said, Price's tweets will be the core of their '14 pre-season media-education course on "things not to do on twitter."

But Price's stuff was mild and will be forgot in a week if it's even remembered now. He bragged about his accomplishments -- Cys, etc -- and knocked a couple of TV analysts ("SAVE IT NERDS). If that's the worst he ever fdoes, so what?

It won't knock down his trade value by two cents. The Nats are one of many teams that would love to have it. Doubt they have the "Prospects Package" to get him. As I've mentioned, Nats vets like to fantasize about another Gio-type 3-for-1 trade for a dominant-stuff pitcher like Price of Jeff Samardzija.

The players talk about all the same scuttlebutt stuff that we do. They just seldom admit it.

With Coach K's comments and FSU running up the score, it seems as if there is a concerted effort by the remaining ACC teams to "stick it to Maryland" for leaving for the Big 10. I'm still slowly accepting the coming change which won't be real until I head up to Madison next fall to watch the Terps play the Badgers. Is there really that much anger at MD for leaving? Is there concern about losing the DC/Baltimore market and more Big 10 recruiting on the East Coast?

First, FSU is still just as bush league as they have always been, running up the scoring by throwing on almost every down when they were up 49-0. I know that is the norm among "factory football schools" these days to try to move up in the bowl picture. But it's still a stain on any school, imo. But I suspect that FSU is just tickled to death with 63-0 and won't worry too much about stains.

Next point: The ACC has very few foes that are at FSU's level, so Maryland, over the years, took a limited number of risks of getting slaughtered like this. In the Big 10 they will have MANY more chances to be stomped into paste on the other team's cleats. The Terps are going to have to learn that, if you don't want your program in future years to start looking like a joke you have to keep fighting and make your awful games end up 42-13, not 63-0. 

As to your point, sorry not to get to it faster: The "entitled" Carolina teams, which think they own the ACC (because they always have), just got in the bad habit over the years of making cheap cracks against Maryland. Which was another reason the Terps loved their handfull of mega-upsets of Duke, Carolina. So, Coaach K is part of a long "pop off" tradition. Also, nobody likes to be dumped. And the college that pulls out of a league when it doesn't have to is dumping that league.

On Md-FSU, I watched the game looking for three things: can they matchup in physical strength, in athletic talent at skill positions and will they be outcoached?

When it was 14-0, I was surprised at how decent Maryland looked despite the score. They weren't badly outhit. Their skill players looked competitive. And the only bad mistake was an FSU snap over their punter's head.

THEN after the cheap hit KOed C.J. Brown -- and that would have been worthy of a penalty in the '60's, '70's or any decade -- Maryland just lost heart. Not immediately. But as the game got away they just got steamrolled. I suspect that Edsall jacked them up with "upset" talk. He's not the kind of guy who strikes me as capable of sending a message of lets-beat-'em-or-at-least-not-get-slaughter. In fact, how WOULD you send that message? But some teams don't let 14-0 and a QB injury turn into 63-0.

I guess I'll have to put Randy Edsall back in my "still has to prove he belongs in the semi-big-time" category. But if Brown is OK -- the last I saw was "future status unknown" -- Maryland can rebound against its current schedule.

Boz, please, please, please tell us Rizzo isn't going to even consider Dusty Baker for the managerial opening. Sincerely, The Nationals' Starting Rotation

No, I don't think you need to worry about that.

After listening to Dennis Eckersley on TBS it just makes me wish he wanted to manage, which he doesn't, of course. His "Ecklish" is just a better language than the rest of us speak.

And his knowledge of the game is exceptional. He just has a feel for it.

Also, Pedro Martinez is a BRILLIANT analyst. One of the best I have ever heard. He has GOT to stay on TV if they can induce him to do it. Of course, he's made so much money he probably doesn't need a full-time gig. He could manage any team right now -- provided he could "handle people." That would be the Big X Factor. But he's so respected, tough and smart. Again, no indication he's interested in managing at all.

For me, Cal Ripken is interesting to listen to -- wondering if he'd make a good manager. Often, he just sounds like a smart, analytical former player but not necessarily a manager. I don't know how to explain that. He's big on the physicval techniques of doing things. But over the weekend he was good in talking about in-game strategies, pitch sequences, when to steal and why. Cal's a wonderful person, athlete (and interview), but it IS tough to extrapolate who'll make a good manager -- especially a rookie MLB manager with a team that's supposed to contend. And Matt Williams, Randy Knorr and Cal (if he even wanted the job) would be in that category.

Hi Bos! It should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain that, after Romo's interception with under two minutes left in a tie game, their only hope of sending the game into overtime would be to let the Broncos score. Points had been fairly easy to come by, and there's just not much sense in playing defense and letting the clock run out when a FG is a near certainty. So question there some unwritten rule, some secret memo discouraging teams from doing this? Integrity of the game, sportsmanship, blah blah blah. You play to win the game!

Dallas had to make that "let-'em-score" decision on ONE play. Third-and-short from about the two-yard line. Do you stand aside, which teams have done in the past and which is perfectly OK strategy, or do you try to hold them and force them to kick a field goal with about 90 seconds left (as I remember).

Well, if you hold 'em, you only have to kick a FG to force OT  -- WAY easier than needing to score a TD. And if you TRY to stop them and fail and they score a TD it's the same result as LETTING them score -- so that's OK, too.

The ONE thing happened, which couldn't be planned or anticipated, that PERFECTLY screwed the Cowboys -- the Broncos BARELY made the first down, but DIDN'T score. Just a nice ROTFLMAO moment for me. The Boys did exactly the right thing...and it killed 'em.

Very disappointed when they let Francona go instead of the divas. Now they're winning with a team that it seems Tito would love to have.

Seems to me that Terry is a bigger figure as a manager now, making a winner out of the Indians, too, thn if he'd stayed in Boston where plenty of stink was in the air and he might not have succeed even if all the beer-and-chicken guys were gone.

And the Red Sox AND Boston and the remaining Red Sox like Pedroia, Ortiz, Lester are better off now with the air clear, a new regime and Farrell leading them to a very possible World Series trip. Boston has a good chance to sweep the Rays today.

BUT the game to watch TODAY at 3 p.m, or tape, or sneak off work to see, is the PIRATES with a chance to knock the Lordly Cardinals out of the DS with a win today -- the Cards fastball-change-up rookie Wacha vs Morton in Pittsburgh. Crowd will be insane. Gifted rookie (who came within one out of no-hitting the Nats in last week of season -- on mound for Cards to get a Game 5 back to St. Louis.

I heard a Foxnews host (yes, that was my first mistake) say that the Redskins shouldn't change thier name because it would hurt the Cowboys vs. Redskins rivalry. Being from Dallas, I would argue that this rivalry really isn't what it used to be. The Giants and Philly trump whatever rivalry the Boys have with the Skins. Would you agree? Also, what is so difficult about changing the name up there? The Redskins just doesn't scream Washington. Why not the Washington Senators or Washington Presidents? Each helmet could be a profile of one of the Presidents. It would be awesome.

I think we are approaching the time when it is so obvious that the Skins will change their nickname, whether in five ays, five months or five years, that we might as well start thinking about what the new nickname should for whenever that time comes. 

I got an e-mail from a Skins fan this morning who suggested Washington Natives. I laughed, until I realized it would give Washington two teams with the same nickname: Nats.

When the POTUS says that you really oughtta think about changing a name, it's gotten pretty mainstream because Presidents don't say ANYTHING on sports topics unless they think it's a near-certain winner for them with way more than 50 percent of the public.

Skins fans in this area may not know what is, apparently obvious to the President: People OUTSIDE this area have no idea why we don't "get it." I thought this recent piece hit some important points and rebutted some arguments which aren't as solid as they seem at first glance. 

How many festive gatherings on a beautiful Sat.. afternoon were ruined by the Terps' putrid performance down in Gainesvlle? I don't think any of us expected a wn, but a record breakng shutout was a major downer.

Even for Maryland football, which has always had a knack for The Big Letdown just when you start to believe a little, it WAS hard to believe that this matched the biggest margin of defeat in the HISTORY of college football by a ranked team.

Guess seeing No. 25 on Maryland inspired FSU. I had to talk my son through it on the phone. "They aren't THAT bad. Brown and Diggs are legit. They look like they've got some better athletes." Of course, that was at halftime. In the second half, he didn't call back to chat. The next day, he said, cryptically, "Well, I guess watching them in the Big 10 for the rest of my life is going to be big fun." 

How about that Sonny Gray? Two and a half years ago, he was pitching in the College World Series. Now, he is toeing the same rubber as Justin Verlander in the playoffs and matching him pitch for pitch.

One of the best pitching duels I've seen in years. He's got a Camilo Pascual curveball! He was five-time all-star who was three-time strikeout champ with a very good fastball but an amazing curve. Like Gray, he was only 5-foot-11, 170.

BTW, the A's must have fielded the SHORTEST lineup in that game in decades. Three 5-foot-10, Gray 5-11, three 6-0 and just two guys over 6-0 (a 6-2 and 6-3). First guy to come off bench, Calaspo, was 5-9! The ump C.B. Bucknor looked a foot taller than every Athletic who came to bat.

The "C.B" stands for "Could've Been" for the way he calls balls and strike by guesswork, coin flips, signs from the heavens.  

I was watching the Dodgers/Braves game at a local sports bar where everyone (obviously no Braves fans) agreed that the tomahawk chop is so obnoxious we can never ever root for the Braves. One man, a lifelong Ynkee hater, said he would root for the Yankees if they ever played the Braves. Given the brouhaha over the Redskins' name, and to a lesser extent the Indians' Chief Yahoo logo and other Indian names and symbols, where's he outrage over this practice, wich I personally find much more objectionable?

As the link I ran a couple of questions earlier points out, many, many Native-Americans who get interviewed have SO MANY problems, and are treated so badly, that the idea of a sports-team nickname-change as a "cause" just seems ludicrous to them. Just the act of asking them about a sports nickname shows that the questioner has no idea what the first HUNDRED questions SHOULD be if you really cared about Native Americans.

No doubt there are ultra-PC folks and headline bandwagon jumpers who are loving jumping into this argument and milking it. That doesn't change the fact that many people knew it was inappropriate 40+ years ago.

It is ironic that the Braves think they are so classy, and feel free to dictate the etiquette of home-run trots, but they have no problem with the "Chop."   

Boz - As disappointed as we are not to be watching the Nats this October, who knew my family and I could have so much fun rooting against the Braves? Has Atlanta bumped Philly out of the dubious role of Washington's most detested division rival? Sure feels that way in our house.

Oh, yeah.

Nats now have a FEW real rivalries. Not classics yet. But just wait a couple/few years. Not just Braves but after their post-Game 5 comments about the Nats choking, the Cards are an easy candidate. If that stuff had been said in a RedSox-Yanks, Giants-Dodgers, Cus-Cards context, it would have been branded into the clubhouse wall. It's okay if Nats players or fans, etc., say they choked. For thed other team, it's not wise -- though it's their right -- to say it.

But there'll always be a special place for the Phils and their fans in the hearts of Nats followers -- the folks who booed down the Nats home introductions on Opening Day. Nats had a season they hated and finished 13 games ahead of the Phils.

The last couple weeks of this regular season featured a veritable orgy of media and player/manager commentary employing the mathematically mistaken formulation of so-called "games over .500". Inescapable local examples included the Nats finishing at least "10 games above .500" and Davey Johnson finishing at least "300 wins over .500" for his MLB managerial career. I even heard a sports-talk radio call-in show where a caller correctly pointed out that the Nats finishing 86-76 did not actually represent "10 wins above .500" since .500 in a 162-game season is 81-81, so they finished 5 games over .500, however the host dismissed it by saying that since 76-76 would be .500, therefore they were indeed "10 games over", neglecting to acknowledge that 76-76 would imply a truncated 152-game season -- obviously meaningless. Tom, I realize this might be a tired and seemingly trivial subject, and that everyone understands what is meant. But in a sport that's in part distinguished by practically priding itself on the extent of its mathematical geekery, the complexity of which far exceeds this basic error, why is this malapropism of "games over/under .500" so universally conflated with what baseball people really mean when they refer to this stat, which is W-L differential (or in everday language, how many more or fewer games did you win than you lost)? It shows a lack of thought that I don't normally associate with the game. [For those of you reading who may doubt the correctness what I'm saying, do the thought experiment with a hypothetical 2-game season, where the only finishing possibilities are .000 at 0-2, .500 at 1-1, or 1.000 at 2-0. In this case, the only winning season is 2-0, but would you subtract losses from wins and say it represented "2 games over .500"? Of course not, because that would imply the .500 baseline was 0-0, something which makes no sense as it would indicate zero games played in the season, when in fact 2 games were played. The correct answer is 1 game over .500, since we already stipulated that 1-1 represents .500 and 2 minus 1 = 1. Well, the same rule applies for however many games you play in a season, whether it's 2 or 162. What this example really demonstrates is that the stat you actually want to talk about is W-L differential. "Games above/below .500" -- especially if done correctly -- is a relatively meaningless stat by comparison, and therefore logically speaking the terminology ought to be dropped as either incorrect or irrelevant.]

Of course you are correct.

But, like a zillion nice folks who have written or e-mailed me over the decades with corrections of such inexact or inaccurate malaprops and miscalculations, I can only say, the score is: You 1, Universe 0.

Which, of course, means that the next time you defeat the Universe in an argument, the score will be 2-0. And YOU will be "two games over .500!"

(I couldn't resist.)

Normally your logic is true about running up the score, but when Maryland told the ACC to go to hell, they should have expected this kind of treatment. Maryland deserved this beatdown because this was the last chance for FSU to tell them so.

Well, that's a point. But I doubt FSU gives much thought to Maryland football given the record between the two teams. If your cumulative score against an opponent is 3,876,901-to-7, is it really likely that you'll think, "Oh, we're up 49-0  -- FINALLY we have one last chance tgo stick it to 'em.

I think it was just the 'Noles being the 'Noles.

Can I respectfully decline to have Cal Ripken as manager. For me, I want someone who has either coached in the majors or managed in the minors. I get that he's a great baseball mind - but there's a wide gap between having that knowledge and being able to manage a team from February thru October.

Yes, you may respectfully decline.

I was disrespectful to a chatter last week real life I am sometimes a jerk...and...he/she had a really dismissive tone of voice about Ripken. See how graciously I drop a subject when I am wrong and don't have to have the last word! (Not)

How can we have an America's Cup golf match with our flag displayed improperly on all their bags and yardage cards. That was done on purpose by some idiot. Please help us Tom.

Somehow, despite my lifelong love of golf, I managed to miss most of the President's Cup -- well, except for the "rally squirrel." When you schedule opposite the NFL, college football, the opening of the NHL season and MLB playoffs, you are begging to be ignored.

At any rate, when I saw the squirrel that had climbed up on U.S. captain Davis Love III's shoulder, my first thougth was, "How can you say that pro golfers aren't 'wooden.' This squirrel obviosuly thinks Davis is a tree."

(BTW, Rally Squirrel is a Cardinals baseball thing, complete with Rally Squirrel T-shirts.)

Is there any truth to the story that Dan Snyder is starting to hear all the calls that the "Washington Redskins" is an offensive nickname for the team and that he is considering changing their name to the "Landover Redskins?"

Okay, we have a winner for 10/7/13 Before Noon.

I think it might have been a small mistake -- but totally in character -- when he decided to say, unprovoked, that the nickname would "NEVER" be changed and you can put that in capital letters.

How about the Washington All-Caps? The Washington Never-Say-Nevers. Okay, I'm tired of this. That didn't take long. Back to sports. 

With the book coming out, and the documentary airing tomorrow night, how glad is Roger Goodell that they settled with the former players? Of course, if the excerpts are to be believed, the NFL should expect more lawsuits to be filed.

I suspect that "League of Denial" will be a must read.

If the NFL tries to smear the authors if they find a couple of tiny mistakes, just remember, that is one of the NFL's methods: Avoid the Issue, Attack the Messenger.

Just as MLB and the MLB union were dead wrong on PEDs, the NFL has been completely wrong -- and UGLY wrong -- on this for decades. They're getting what they deserve. But the PLAYERS in the NFL didn't get what THEY deserved -- which was accurate information. It is NOT enough to say that, "Well, come on, everybody knows football is dangerous." As just one example, NOBODY knew that repeated normal football blows to the head -- not concussions or KOs --have a HUGE cumulative effect over the years.

I played organized football from 10-through-17. I played for an incredibly good and safety-conscious coach. But everybody's a product of their times. On the varsity, we had tons of bull-in-the-ring, two-a-days for a week in August at a football camp in West Virginia, three "pre-season" games which were as dead-serious as regular season. And we had at least two full-pads 11-on-11 scrimmages each week in season.

I'd really have second thoughts about doing it again. I had injuries playing every sport EXCEPT football where I never had anything beyond strains, sprains, bruises, jammed fingers, etc. But I thought the only real danger was "see what you hit" (bull your neck) so you don't get your neck broken. Nobody ever heard of the danger of repeated normal football contact. That's going to impact the popularity of the game at the lower levels for a LONG time. Looking back, there was NO PURPOSE to playing tackle football before the eighth grade. We were never even physically able to start running the varsity systems. 

All those "PeeWee leagues, as Sally wrote so well, should gradually become extinct. They probably won't, but as she pointed out, if the parents of the Mannings and Tom Brady thought that football before age 12 (I think) was useless for learning football but potentially dangerous, why do it?

Which has happened less frequently in baseball history: that a 1-2 team comes back in a 5-game series or that a 1-3 team comes back in a 7-game series?

I'm going to take a wild guess that it's hard to win three in a row than two in a row. Trailing 1-2 in a 5-game is comparable to trailing 2-3 in a seven game series.

The difference is that the last two games of a five-game series (in current format) are in different parks. The last two games of a 2-3 series are in the SAME park. So it IS interesting to consider that difference. 

FSU is in Tallahassee. As a displaced Gator, please don't confuse us with that cesspool up north.

I read right through that mistake in the question. Sorry.

Tragically, I have never been to either town.

(I am compelled to say that Gainsville has a magnificent reputation or I will never be able to speak to my former sports editor George Solomon again. Okay, now I have gotten myself well and fairly into the soup: No doubt Tallahassee is fabu-delux, too.)

I love it that somebody said if the NFL team based in the Maryland suburbs of DC were to change their name, it would hurt the rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. If anybody knows history, you'd see that in the end (as well as many battles), the cowboys always beat (and beat badly) the Native Americans. Maybe that's not a pattern we want to continue.


Tom, What odds do you place on Giardi leaving the Yankees to manage the Nats? Do you think he is a good manager or a bit overrated from being in New York?

Everything in New York sports is always overrated. Or underrated as soon as the town turns on you. No NYC sports evaluation is ever accurate. Take that as a baseline.

From casual comments, I assume that Rizzo respects Girardi and thinks he had his best season as a manager this year because the Yankees won 85. I've been exposed to Girardi a lot but don't know him well at all. Smart, a stat-guy, background as a catcher, didn't blow his mind to manage in NYC. But I still think Cashman offers him too much money for him to leave. Joe's had such pat hands with huge payrolls in his good years that it's hard to evaluate him.

Invert the question. In his six years as Yankee manager, his players earned ~$1.2-billion. But one only one World Series. Does that make him a good manager? Or something of a disappointment?

In six of his seven years as a manager, he had the top payroll in baseball and has a career winning percentage of .566. Davey Johnson managed six different franchises, none of them in string condition when he inheritedthem and most mediocre-to-poor, yet is the only manager in history to finish first with FIVE different team. And Davey's career win percentage is .562.

There only one thing that's 98% certain in the Nats managerial search: They won't get a manager who is as good in '14 as Johnson was in his career. Was '13 THAT MUCH of an "off year" for Johnson? I doubt it. He'll be very hard to replace.

Boz - I know that MLB Umpires have the strongest union on the planet but how...HOW.. do notoriously terrible umpires like CB Bucknor and Country Joe West get the plum post-series assignments? Don't the umpire powers that be review their season's work prior? The pictures they have of Selig must be incredible!

West is good on balls and strikes. But I was still surprised to see him working a Game 1 behind the plate. An awful big ego to put in charge of such an important game.

I have a hard time blaming FSU for running up the score. Blame the college football system where team perception actually impacts your postseason chances. Absolutely obliterating a ranked, undefeated opponent looks really good. If you want to have a shot at the championship, you have to look like it. Running up the score in the NFL would be bush league. In CFB it's just the cost of doing business in the BCS.

It's a wonderful world.

Hi Boz! What was your first story for the Post and what year was it? Thanks!

Nov of 1969.

Don't read the rest of this unless you want to put up with my "memories."

I think it was a DeMatha-Carroll H.S. football game. I think I was allowed to write eight paragraphs (or maybe six) and got a byline. They do that the first week so you see your byline and get hooked. I didn't get another assignment that'd get a byline for months. Instead, hey, kid, answer the phones, get coffee, strip the wires, mark up the agate.

I remember the game well. Many high school games don't have programs with players and numbers. On the most important play of the game, late in the first quarter, one of the teams changed QBs and I think he got intercepted or fumbled and the other team won. (I could pretend I remember which team was which, but I won't. Anyway, I was proud that I noticed the QB switch because you just walk up and down the sideline "keeping score" of every play and it's easy to miss switches and different numbers that are in the game. So, I thought I'd done a good job.

It turned out that it was NOT the second string QB who replaced the first string QB. It was the second stringer who was replaced by the third stringer! So the most important fact in my story was wrong.

Nobody ever noticed. Nobody mentioned anything. But the next year I covered the same game and I was talking to one of the coaches, I think it was Maus Collins of Carroll (but it's all a blur) and I said something about screwing up the QBs the year before and I was sorry. Anyway, whatever coach it was said, "You played for Sleepy, right?" Meaning St. Stephens coach Sleepy Thompson, who was a legend and a friend of a million other coaches. I probably said, "Yeah, but I wasn't much good."  "If you're one of Sleepy's boys, don't worry about it," the coach said. "You're all right." 

Playing for Sleepy, and him putting out the word that I was "OK," probably did for more for me than my own efforts. In DC high school sports it was like somebody saying, "You played for Don Scula, right." Except Sleepy was a great basketball coach, too. So, it was like you'd been exposed to Dean Smith, too. Legends like Morgan Wootten and Joe Gallagher could wait to help me. And Sleepy was a referee for top Interhigh basketball games, too. So his name was magic in the city, too. Some people have "family connections" or "inherited money" to help their careers. I never knew it, but my leg up was that I had Sleepy. Still one of my heroes.    

Hey Tom. Might be out of your wheelhouse but I"m a big Pirates fan and I'm pretty excited that once they finally did make the post season Bud has decided to play some of their games this series during the hours I have to be at work. I was able to take off Friday but couldn't do it today to watch the game. Is there somewhere online where I can stream the game without infecting my work computer with any sort of virus.

Sorry about the 3 p.m. start. What an amazing game if they win. Sorry, no advice on safe ways to stream, except that MLB will let you pay for just about anything on your computer. But not game-by-game.

Any chatter have an answer?

All I hear is that AL MVP race is between Cabrera and Trout. "Crush" Davis led all of MLB in home runs (by 9), extra base hits (by 21), total bases (by 17) and RBI. He was second in slugging percentage and second in on-base plus slugging. Davis did all of that while facing more games against better pitching staffs - Yanks, Rays and BoSox all ranked above league avg. in BOTH ERA and WHIP. I guess WAR is working against him ( still don't understand WAR. If you got to two different sites - baseball reference and fan graphs - you get 2 different WAR numbers). Also, Davis is only the second player in HISTORY to have at least 53 home runs and 42 doubles in one season - the other was Babe Ruth.

If it makes you feel better, there in no one in the MVP race except Cabrera. Even Trout has said he's out of it. I think Davis should be second because the Birds stayed in the hunt so long largely due to him and Angels were <.500. It's widely assumed, and I agree, that Davis will and should be second for MVP.

Yes it is inevitable. No question. But to what? The simple answer would be the Washington Warriors. You can keep the colors, logo and song without (I think and or feel) offending the native American population. BTW why did the government stop making the Indianhead nickels back around what 1938/39?

Yeeees, I remember the day they changed that damn nickel. Come on, gimme a break! (I doubt they changed it because it was considered an insult. If they put you on the money, that's good, right?)

Warriors has always been one of the suggestions.

As supportive as I am about changing the name, having President Obama offer his opinion probably just delayed the name being changed by another decade. Dan Snyder was a Romney donor and probably sees red when he hears the President speak.

Point. We'll see.

In a world where literally does not literally mean what it means anymore, I think we all have to concede that "games over .500" means the incorrect (mathematical) thing. But, I could really care less. ;)

Anothe "Care Less" precinct heard from!

Have a nice day making certain that you use "less" and "fewer" correctly. (It will NEVER be second nature to me. And I have no idea why.)

"The next day, he said, cryptically, "Well, I guess watching them in the Big 10 for the rest of my life is going to be big fun."" Welcome to the life of a WVU fan in the Big 12 - it hurts!


It's hard to believe anyone would think the Cardinals are a rival based on one game, whatever the chatter. The Nats *did* choke, especially the manager.

Johnson made one questionable quirky decision -- letting Gio Gonzalez pitch to Yadier Molina with the bases loaded in the fifth. I guess he wanted to boost Gio's confidence for future starts. But Gonzalez was IMPLODING. It was 6-3. I fully expected a three-run double. I thought it was awful managing. Molina flied out to right -- hit hard, I believe, but not sure.

Johnson made other DECISIONS -- some of which worked, some of which didn't. He did not make any other MISTAKES. They were simply tough calls with no "right" answer." And, to save everybody time, first base was occupied until Kozma had two strikes, so the "why no IW to Kozma" is actually a tough percentages/gut decision. Hitters with two strikes are usually <.200 hitters. A hitter like Kozma with two strikes would be even worse. Why let the Cards bring up a pinch hitter -- no matter who it is -- with NO strikes? Also, if you deliberately walk the bases full, then Storen, who's already walked two guys in that inning, has no margin for error.

Why didn't Desmond make an excellent play on the hard-hit ball off his glove that Descalso hit to tie the game? He's made that play many times. More critical, why didn't he bat it down and keep it in the field so only one run, not two, could score? It hit his glove.

A hundred things get forgotten, including the eight Nats walks in Game 5. But the conventional (and often lazy) way out is to "blame the manager." Sometimes it's also the proper analysis. BUT VERY SELDOM.

When you hear fans talking about managers with great career records making awful mistakes to lose the season, the mostly likely bet is that the fan has no clue.

Pee Wee leagues and CYO leagues have to get the boys early or they will lose them to soccer. Interesting I played rugby from age 12 to 50 and never suffered a concussion. I didnt see too many concussions and I played on the US team. Football helmets could learn a lot from auto racing helmets. I also raced cars in the SCCA. The equipment a player wears in organized football is part of the problem. It makes some players feel invincible.

Interesting. (Funny, I always felt more like the target of the guy who thought he was invincible.)

Just wondering why the name Bruce Bochy doesn't come up as possible Nats skipper. Mr. Bochy grew up and played ball here in northern VA. With his resume, think he would be considered. What do you think?

A quick google of "News of Bochy Fired by Idiot Giants" gets no hits for any looney activity this a.m. by SF. 

So, Mr. Bochy, an exceptional manager, is, I assume, unavailable.

I would like to take out my frustration by blaming the disappointments of this season on Ryan Mattheus. Okay with you? He underperformed as badly as anyone early, and he sabotaged his season, and perhaps his future, by punching a locker with his bleeping pitching hand. Then he blew the 162nd game, wasted Tanner Roark's great start, cost Davey the win for the last game of his career (maybe), and cost the team the difference between 86 and 87 wins (which seems significant, I don't know why). The problem is that he's too cheap to get rid of, being still a year short of arbitration. So he can't just be released. I guess he could be traded, but probably not for much. Do you know whether he is out of options?

Some players have a black cloud over them for an entire season. That was Mattheus after the punch. When Johnson brought in Mattheus in last game I couldn't believe it. "He's going to blow your last game. Who doesn't know that?" So I guess Davey went out in character, managing to help players get over humps, show confidence, rebuild his career because he thinks he has really good middle-inning groundball stuff.

But, yes, Johnson did think that the Mattheus injury was one of the little downfalls that hurt more than was usually said. (But I think he was still the last pitcher he ever brought into a game.) 

The cowboys didn't defeat the Indians consistently. It was the Army, both the cavalry and infantry, that defeated the Indians. And if we are looking to associate our NFL team with a force that wiped out both cowboys and eagles, how about the Washington Industrial Capitalists?

Sports, a never-ending source of amusement.


Mr. B: Any thoughts on the Nats making a run at the Cuban 1B Jose Abreu. Personally I'd love to see him land here, though everything I know is based on hearsay.

I'll try to keep an eye on it. The Nats certainly went hard after Chapman. (Unfortunately, it was Maya they actually landed that year.)

Again also respectfully, while Ripken may have all the baseball knowledge to manage, I want someone that really pines for managing. Shows a real interest to be involved in the game day to day. As an example look at Mattingly. Mattingly put in the time as coach. Demonstrating that he wanted to be there day in and out. Ripken may have as much or more knowledge than Mattingly, but I want him in for the long haul.

Now THAT is a good point. I always enjoyed talking to Don when he was a coach. There was just no way he was going to be away from the game he loved.

If somebody isn't passionately certain that they want to do something, if they don't give off the sense that they simply HAVE to do something, do they have the correct disposition for such an agonizing job?

Cal's position seems to be, "Well, I might. If everything was just perfect and you asked me real nicely." He's so honest that he ought to ask HIMSELF if this is a tip-off that maybe he isn't 100 percent all-in. If you aren't, how could your players be? (I still think he'd make a good manager.)

I've mentioned this before because it's so vivid. I once asked Gene Mauch what the worst day was for a manager. I was young. I guess I thought he'd say, "The day you have to tell a great veteran that his career is finished."

Mauch said, "The day you realize that you care more than they do."

In part that's self-serving. But it is also true because ALL managers are a self-selected group of people who just care to an almost-insane consuming level about the game and winning. Not as a wacko a group as NFL coaches. But off-the-chart "caring" is essential.

Thank you for making the point about the dangers of normal football contact being dangerous over the long term. Do you get the sense that the NFL is trying to limit the issue to concussions, which seem easier to manage in the long-run? Your point essentially says football doesn't work as a sport.

Yes. Concussions keeps it simple.

It's the repetitive-blow syndrome (can't remember the exact term) that is the big long-term issue. IOW, will football someday be viewed by kids growing up the same way that serious BOXING was viewed when I was a kid. Sure, you learned to box at the Boys Club. But I didn't know a single person who aspired to be a "prize fighter." We'd have said, "Are you nuts? You'll end up punchy."

Will that ever happen, even to a degree, with football. Don't know. 

Tom, I use MLB Gameday, which is free, and which provides almost real time info, and will also provide actual canned video for the scoring plays. You can follow along pitch by pitch. Not the same as streaming, but beats working.

Thanks. Good point. I use that a lot.

MLB has a cheap post-season radio package.

Another good answer. Thanks.

How did the Nats allow themselves to share a logo with Walgreens? With all but a small differnce, it is basically the same. Hardly a threat to the play on the field but also undermines the impact of their look. Someone was asleep at the wheel.

My wife once asked me that!

I said something lame like, "I think they are a LITTLE different."

So Mr Boswell are you going out to Belle Grove Plantation to cover the Sheepdog Finals . Competition begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Come see over 200 of the nations smartest and best athletes and their humans at sheepdog trial. Trial will have over the best sheepdogs in the North America. and these athletes work for a pat on the head and good job. And they dont need PEds.

Consider your "ad" published.

Thomas Boswell, "Carroll wins on Late Safety." The Washington Post, 16 November 1969.

Thanks. I'm REALLY not sure I want to read this one! (Since, without reading it, I probably identified the wrong player as being tackled for the safety.)

You can stream playoff games via for a fee, sort of. By "sort of", I mean that you don't get full TBS feed. Instead, you get multiple single-camera view, more or less as if you were the directory down in the truck. I found this so annoying last year that I'm not doing it this time.

Maybe better than nothing for our Bucs fan.

How about Washington Pigskins? They would still be the hogs, could still refer to them as the skins, pigskin=football. Seems obvious to me.

Been mentioned many times. People just don't warm up to it enough. Maybe its a HTTR problem: "Pigs on the warpath, fight for old..."

That's it for this week. Lotta fun. Thanks for great questions.

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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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