Jul 26, 2010

The Nats' struggles continued in Milwaukee, but Strasmas comes again Tuesday. Unfair, these expectations, but natural. Let's talk Nats or anything else you'd like as we begin Kirk Hinrich Day in D.C. That's right, you heard me. Kirk Hinrich Day.

The Nats' struggles continued in Milwaukee, but Strasmas comes again Tuesday. Unfair, these expectations, but natural. Let's talk Nats or anything else you'd like as we begin Kirk Hinrich Day in D.C. That's right, you heard me. Kirk Hinrich Day.

Please, sports radio, quit saying that Alex Rodriguez will make history when he hits his next home run; his 600th and will be the 7th person to do so. It's no more history than when he became only the 7th person to hit 599 home runs. And please stop with the "walk-off single" with a man on second. Home runs are walk-off; everything else has to be played or run out. And please, for heaven's sake, I don't want to hear another "hit a walk-off single in the top of the 9th." They were game winning singles, or doubles; not walk-off. And good morning Tracee.

And good morning to you, too! I hope you feel better having got all that off your chest and now you can tackle Monday with a song in your heart!

I'm completely against hazing as I know of bad experiences in college but c'mon, carrying helmets and making you sing at dinner is barely hazing. It's a way to be part of the team and get a little bit of initiation. Dez should grow up and carry the stupid pads. Otherwise, they'll get him another way. Expect to be duct-taped upside down on the actual upright.

It seems a crazy thing over which to draw a line in the sand. He'll definitely get it now. The Skins do the helmet thing and I don't see what the big deal is. Of course there is bad hazing but you don't hear much of that at the pro level. I always regretted that in "Brian's Song,"  Gale didn't sing "I'm a Jayhawk."

...is gay. Can't quite watch the show w/ the same interest knowing that.

Eh, doesn't bother me. I had no plans to marry him. I just like looking at him.

This is one of those weird third hand reports, but I wanted to see what you thought of it. College kid interning for Syracuse told friends that Strasburg was a jerk. Obviously, this is contrary to what everyone else has said, so I was wondering if maybe the kid is exaggerating because of the hype, or if there's a chance staff people get to see his bad side, because we all have one at times.

Well, not EVERYONE has said he's a nice kid. I, for one, have never written that. He may or may not be, but I don't know and don't pretend to. My glimpses of him are not a fair barometer so I have quite deliberately avoided making a judgment on his niceness. I, too, hear things. I think he's an incredibly talented pitcher with a brilliant career in front of him. That's as far as I'm willing to go.

Did you see the (unsolicited) assessment of the WaPo Sports writing staff in the new Washington magazine? They gave a nod to First Things First. I don't necessarily agree with their analysis, but it made me wonder...is the part about Tony K being your hero really true?

No, I haven't. Washingtonian emailed me when I got the job, I replied, but never heard back, so no one there has ever spoken to me. I am a friend of Mr. Tony, I love and respect Mr. Tony, but "hero"? No. I have very few heroes, and none you've ever heard of. Risky business.

More comment than question. I'm a diehard O's fan from my time out there growing up, but I've semi-adopted the Brewers since I moved up here. I'm basically apathetic towards the Nats, but I know so much about them from reading you, Boz and Cheese Boy, so I was very interested in this series. So let me be the first to say you guys are welcome back any time; such generous guests! Seriously though, despite the sweep I could still see why there's reason for Nats fans to be hopeful (though I admit I only watched two of the games closely; way too much beer to process anything but the walkoff on Saturday). I see the Nats as a team on the rise and the Crew as a team on the slide, so I'm still jealous. Oh, and thanks a lot for saving Stras for Tuesday. I still haven't seen the dude pitch and now I'll have to wait till next year unless I get lucky and catch his day when I'm out at Nats Park later this month.

Well, Nats fans may disagree this morning about "team on the rise," but in general that's probably true. The rise is slow, however. Sorry you missed Strasburg; I think he's worth watching even when he doesn't have his stuff. Hope you get your chance!

It's great they built a nice stadium for DC's single A team but I did hear MLB wanted to DC to have a MLB team. Any news on when????


Will Trent Williams get signed before training camp begins? He has said previously that if he does hold out, it would only be for one day...can we believe him?

I think we can believe him but I wouldn't put money on it. I think we'll see him there. He didn't strike me as the type, from what everyone said of him, to hold out for long. Camp in four days!

Tracee: Let me say that I don't share your optimism about the Nats at all. Seriously, since they arrived, they are 135 games under .500, most of that under the new management. They hired the cheapest Manager and GM they could find, rent the stadium, and have a payroll that is chump change compared to the rest of the division. You can say they are building from the minors, but 32 teams are doing that! Can you see any reason at all to think that there is really a "plan" to make this team a long-term winner, rather than a long term money-maker for the Lerners?

It's so rare that I'm optimistic. I don't think Mike Rizzo is the cheapest GM they could find, for starters. Their payroll will grow, because it will have to. It's low right now because they have some pretty young players. If I have a nit to pick, it's that the building through the minors is not working as they hoped, which is why I'd rather they kept Dunn. I see no reason Stan Kasten and Mike Rizzo would be working to make Mark Lerner more money. I understand your pain, but I do think better days are ahead. I really do.

So a friend of mine who happens to be a neighbor of Ryan Zimmerman claims that he doesn't curb his dog. Could there be jerkier behavior than that? I mean, c'mon Ryan! You scoop up grounders all the time! Plus, he's been a Nat his entire career, so you know he's used to dealing with poo.

A rare criticism of Ryan Zimmerman. If you're a professional athlete walking your dog, you HAVE to clean up afterward, because you know it's going to get out if you don't. I'm surprised we haven't seen this on youtube yet.

The role of a manager is to put people in a position to succeed. I don't fault Willie Harris for his error--I fault Riggleman. Why does Zimm need a day off when we're just coming back from the All Star break and today is a day off? Riggs decisions lately show me why he's bounced around so many organizations. Nice guy but not a good manager....thanks for the vent.

Quite possibly too nice a guy. How about the kerfuffle about Dunn visiting Uecker in the broadcast booth during the game? Anyone want to weigh in on that?

Die hard O's fan and no props to Jon Miller this morning?? Shame ... Jon was the soundtrack to my summer of '89. Eskay dogs and "Why Not?" T-ham ... was this before your time here?

I had a bit of overlap with Jon Miller and it helped me with my Ernie Harwell withdrawal. He is the last of the velvet voices, IMHO.

I believe your colleague Michael Lee has referred to them as the Superfriends.

Yes, which I like very much. Maybe for consistency I'll take up that banner. Although it is laudatory and I was looking for some derision.

I love you guys in the Sports section but, with the exception of your column, yesterdays section was probably one of the worst in memory. I know you guys are trying to drive traffic to the web but why did Shenins fantastic Strasburg article not appear in Sunday rather than Monday? It's a slow period in Sports but the thin section yesterday was reminiscent of what I'd see in Omaha and not DC.

As a former editor, I can answer that. The last Sunday before the NFL kicks in is traditionally one of the smallest because you can bank that space for the fall, when you have so much going on you can't possibly get it all in. We can request a different space number every day. We don't always get what we want, but close. So you can really adjust space by the sports schedule and in fact with our rapidly diminishing budget, you have to. So you'll see some small  Sundays, but not in October, when you have the baseball playoffs, NFL, college football, etc. No one wants a tiny section but these are the realities.

Why should anyone care whether he is a "Jerk". Isn't what matters is that he is somehow 5-2 on a team that is 15 games below .500? Shouldn't D.C. fans be more focused on why there team stinks (and looking to hold those responsible accountable) rather than why their very best player may look at someone askew?

Well, I agree with that. They can't all be Cal Ripken, staying after games to sign autographs, etc. I love watching him pitch, period. But a lot of fans want the players to be great guys. Some are, some aren't, and even that is subjective because we can only judge people on how they treat us.

I hope you all read Sheinin's story this morning. That was a great and interesting read.

Yeah, I'll say yes. Just because they're foundering right now doesn't mean they aren't rising. They need to upgrade SS and CF, and they need their developing young rotation to hurry up and develop already. Then they can bring in a shiny veteran ace and they will be a hot pick for a wild card berth. By contrast, the Brewers' rotation is an ancient disaster, and their best hitter is on his way out the door. They have some pretty good young talent in the system but it's further away than the Nats' youngsters.

My fear is that they won't upgrade SS -- I think they think Desmond is the guy. I do think he'll be better next year defensively but then, he'd about have to be. Balester, Detwiler ... they need some of these young guys to break through. You really realize what studs Stras and Storen are when you see some of these other guys. I also wish they'd give Wilkie a chance in the bullpen.

My guess is the Riggleman doesn't have Dunn in Saturday's lineup.

Well, that's possible. I clearly believe otherwise but my God, it's a guessing game. The last time I told the Nats what to do, it was "don't fire Manny Acta." Can't remember how that one turned out.

Ok so you threw in your 2 cents about keeping Dunn, but how about predictions. Which of the following players will be with the team for 7 pm game full of Phillies fans on Saturday: Adam Dunn (Yankees), Willie Harris (Twins), Matt Capps (?), Josh Willingham (Padres), Livan Hernandez (White Sox)

Hmmmm. I have to say Dunn, since I already said it. I'm going to say Willingham and Livo too. Harris and Capps could be gone (thus ensuring they will retire as Nats).

I smell a little snark in there, myself, given the phrase was originally connected to, you know, cartoon characters...

Yes, it indicates childishness, but I was looking for something that indicated ego. However, I do like it. So maybe that's our winner.

The parking attendant in my office building has a cousin, by marriage, who swears that Wil Nieves doesn't recycle his plastics. Or maybe the story was Doug Slaten stiffing the waiter for a tip at the Outback. Or was it Ian Desmond tearing the tag off his pillows? No matter. Such jerks.

Okay, I'm cracking up.

I can't believe you actually printed his question! He was beyond mean-spirited. I don't mind people being critical of the Nats but back it up with comments and/or constructive suggestions. He was just a troll (who also couldn't bother to proofread his entry for grammar). For Mr. Troll's info, they have not build a nice stadium for DC's Single-A team. Pffizner Stadium could use a lot of work, although I believe that they are talking about doing major renovations.

He was testing my sarcasm meter, that's all. Deep breaths.

How's that for an ego-riddled nickname?

Yikes. I'd be afraid of the lightning strike.

Originally I thought Lee had it with that name but that sounds too much like we're praising them. I will just be referring to them as "those guys". It's not like you won't know who I'm talking about in context.

You can all call them anything you want. I do still like Nazgul so I might use that one.

I give up. I thought I knew the Nats pretty well, but who the heck is Wilkie? Brad Wilkerson? He's probably available, but unlikely to help in the 'pen...

Sorry, Josh Wilkie. He's been in Syracuse forever. GW grad. I wrote about him last year.

Kirk Hinrich came out for Kirk Hinrich Day, and double parked his car...

You guys crack me up.

The Pep Boys, Manny, Mo and Jack.

Too positive, I think.

Tracee, Why should I spend my money and time on being a fan of the Nats? It seems like the owners are more committed to the bottom line then wins and losses. Yesterday, another front line starter, Haren, was snatched up for very little in a salary dump by the D-backs. Why couldn't we have been players in that trade to have a real Ace to pair with Strasburg? If we come into our next season and expect Zimmermann and Detwiler to be out #2 and #3 starters, then the season is already a lost cause, IMO. Am I crazy?

It's true that if these young pitchers don't come through, the Nats have problems. But surely between Olsen, Wang, Marquis, Zimmermann and Detwiler at least one of them will be helpful. Right? I don't know, you might not be crazy.

On a local station (not sports talk) they just said it's not too early to do your "Strasmass shopping", Right in line with a comment heard after the last game he ptiched from a caller who suggested that the city be renamed every time he pitches to "Stras-ington DC.

I think he's a great young talent and a lot of fun to watch. I also think the hype is getting kind of nauseating. 

Tracee: I hate to break it to you, but Desmond made 30 errors or more every season in the minor leagues, for 6 years. He isn't suddenly getting better now...what you see is what you get. So the real question is, do we want a .250 hitting shortstop that leads the league in errors? I don't understand why people suddenly think he will get better, when he has been playing exactly like this for more than 6 years.

I'm not the only one who thinks he can be a ML shortstop. But time will tell...

There was a guy who hit .196 with 136 strikeouts and 17 errors in his first year in the bigs. But the Phillies decided to give Mike Schmidt another chance, anyway...

And there's the other side of the argument. Okay, I've run long yet again. Need to get ready for Kirk Hinrich Day at Verizon. I'm sure the mayoral proclamation is being printed up even as I type... Thanks, everyone, for joining in today.

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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