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Losing 4 Straight Isn't A Concern; Rendon's Ejection, However...

Now that a few hours have passed since the Nationals lost their fourth straight game, I can say via the benefit of a great meal and a power nap that the team has nothing to worry about losing four in a row.

But they do have something to be concerned about with umpiring crews.

First, the losing streak. Anyone with an ounce of common sense (which we as sports fans are not exactly known for) realizes that unless you go oh-for-April, losing early in the season doesn’t matter. The Nats will be just fine. The only thing that does give me pause is the fact the Nats looked unbeatable the first four games of the season, then turned on a dime and saw their bats fall asleep as they lost four straight.

In a best-of-7 series, avoiding the snoozing-bats-for-4-game syndrome is something Nats teams have not been able to accomplish in their playoff appearances of the past 6 years, so every time it happens, I do find myself thinking “aren’t we past this yet?” But as previously stated, there is plenty of time to figure this out, and better to have slumbering bats in April than October.

Now, to the umpiring. Yes, it was a terrible call on Anthony Rendon. Yes, Major League Baseball should discipline umpire Marty Foster for throwing Rendon out of the game despite Rendon not saying a word and only dropping his bat in frustration. No, that will not happen in a million years.

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He's Smart. Talented. Annoying. And Today, In The HOF

If you have followed sports in the state of Virginia, and spent any time in the western part of the state, you undoubtedly know the name Doug Doughty. Sometime later today, Doug – who has been writing for the Roanoke Times for 44 years – will be recognized for his great work and will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

I’ve known Doug for over 40 of those 44 years. It would be an understatement to say I’m proud of my old friend, and that the honor is well-deserved. As is the case in such situations, there are stories in newspapers today listing all of his accomplishments over those 44 years.

I, conversely, will now tell a few tales that are NOT in those stories.

I knew of Doug when I was a student at Virginia Tech, but didn't really get to know him until one fateful night during the Richmond Times-Dispatch basketball tournament, where the Hokies and UVA were playing. It was the 70s, and I was working my way through school as a sportswriter for a weekly newspaper called the Blacksburg Sun. After the first round, everyone filed their stories and then went to the media room to imbibe in strong drink, strong stories, and needle each other. As a youngster, I went to watch the likes of Bill Brill, Bill Millsaps, Jennings Culley, Doug and the other top sportswriters in the state. As the hour wore late, however, my youth served me well and I outlasted just about everyone in drink and storytelling. 

I paid a hard price, and when I woke up in the hotel sometime after noon, I felt horrible. Knowing I had to work that evening, I forced myself downstairs to eat something. With my head on fire, I looked across the restaurant and only one other guy was there, wearing sunglasses, eating breakfast. At 3:30 PM. It was Doug, so I went over to his table, paid him a compliment of professional respect for surviving, and a friendship was born.

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I'm Pulling For RGIII, But Not Because He's A Football Player

I have read with interest the news of Robert Griffin III signing with the Baltimore Ravens, because regardless of his missteps both on and off the field over the years, I like the guy.

His time with the Redskins were both amazing and frustrating, as he may end up being the most polarizing athlete to ever play in D.C. To fans that liked him, he could do no wrong; any other player who took playing time from RGIII – mainly Kirk Cousins – they gave zero credit to.

Perhaps it’s just the way things are in the current electronic village known as social media, but when there was the battle of Sam or Sonny for Redskins QB in the 70s, you liked one or the other; you were not required to like one and absolutely hate the other. But that was RGIII vs. KC in Washington.

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WadeJohnson
My wife Becky, ran into him and his wife in Chesterfield Town Center mall. He had his hoodie up over his head obviously trying to... Read More
Monday, 09 April 2018 11:11 AM
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If Nats Aren't Careful, Spanky May Not Be In Our Gang For Long

I can’t help but watch Adam Eaton the first seven games this season and think “if the Nationals aren’t careful, we’re not going to have Spanky in our gang much longer.”

Eaton has started the season like a house on fire, and I get it. He wants to play every game, every inning, take every chance and do all the things he didn’t get to do last season. After major knee surgery, he had to sit and watch last year, and this year he’s going to make up for lost time.

But somebody has to stop him.

If you’ve ever had the type of knee surgery Eaton has had (I have), you work hard in rehab, you lift weights, you walk, you run and you get to the point where you can play sports. Your knee is structurally fine. But only a year later, it still hurts. You still occasionally limp. Midway through the second year, it finally feels normal, but for now,  you learn to deal with it, all the while telling everybody your knee couldn’t be better.

You can see this in Eaton. He’s getting big hits and running the bases, but late in games he’s favoring his good knee. He’s trying not to think about it, but I don’t see how you can avoid it. And this is where your manager needs to save you.

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Recent Comments
Dave

Proving...

...that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then
Saturday, 07 April 2018 5:05 PM
Chris G.

So true

Great observation Dave, I noticed him gimpy right out of the gate. Need to treat him like Zimm and give him at least 1 day off pe... Read More
Saturday, 07 April 2018 2:02 PM
Dave

Or Bryce...

His explosion hasn't happened yet. But you know it's coming one game
Saturday, 07 April 2018 3:03 PM
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Eating Some Of These Sandwiches WILL Make You A Po' Boy

While waiting for the Nationals’ home opener to start, I found myself browsing through Twitter, reading of everyone’s experiences in the cold downtown near the Navy Yard. Over about a 10-minute timespan, the pics you see at the top were posted, and you couldn’t help but notice the contrast.

On the left are pics posted by The Washington Post’s Scott Allen, whose assignment today was to go around and sample all the new foods, with no worry of their cost. Today, it was good to be Scott Allen. But Scott, while giving his reviews of the culinary offerings, also posted signs that showed the prices. Scott posted another pic of his meal of a Nashville hot chicken sandwich and some mac and cheese, and while I’m sure it was wonderful, it looked no different than what I could get at Chick-Fil-A.

According to my math, Scott paid $22 for those two items. Usually when I spend that much for an entrée’ at lunch, they bring a steak knife and serve it with dishes like potatoes lyonnaise. Dire Straights must have been thinking about this meal when they sang, "Money for nothing and the (Nashville Hot) Chicken ain't free"...or something like that.

While these pics were coming over Twitter, the pic at right from Augusta National was posted. There is no more exclusive ticket on the planet than going to see The Masters. They could literally charge whatever they wanted and people would pay it. But they don’t. The make a fair profit and leave it at that. Just like when you would go anywhere in the South, a sandwich is 3 bucks. A drink is 2 bucks, etc., etc.

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Just When I Thought I Wouldn't Be Needing A Snowblower...

Yesterday, I finally fixed my snowblower, which had choked on a large edition of a Washington Post I had accidentally run over two weeks previously. I jokingly said I needed it to snow one more time to see if I really had repaired everything.

Then I looked at The Weather Channel app this morning. And they did not seem to get the joke.

Their forecast (as you see above) says the high on Saturday will be 36, the low will be 26, and that there is a 100 percent chance of snow. No hedging, no small crack of escapability in the forecast, 100 percent. Dead. Sold. Certain.

How much? The Weather Channel is saying 5 to 8 inches. Not flurries, not the usual spring slushy mess that is over before it begins. Five to 8 inches. A real storm. And that evening, it’s like an infomercial on a cable channel late at night: Wait, there’s more! The chance drops to 50 percent, but it’s for an additional 1 to 3 inches.

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Chris G.

No Snow in April, I refuse to ...

February warmest ever, March colder with snow, now this in April---Kammerer just trying to drive up ratings. HAS to be global war... Read More
Wednesday, 04 April 2018 9:09 PM
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Yes Tim, I Know They Play 162, But Still....

I’ve slept on it, but this morning I have the same feeling.

Last night’s Nationals game kind of annoyed me.

It’s not that they lost to the Braves – the team was going to eventually lose some time – but it was the cavalier way they sort of gave it away. There were moves that could have been made that might have turned what ended up being a lost cause into something salvageable. But new manager Dave Martinez just sort of went with the flow. Which is the part that annoys me.

You can’t really blame starting pitcher A.J. Cole. He is what he is – a serviceable, at best average pitcher who at times can give you a couple of really good innings. But the Nationals keep believing if they keep sending him out as a starter, maybe one more chance is going to make a difference. As the noted philosopher Harry Callahan once stated, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

His manager needs to know those limitations too. When someone told Oilers Coach Bum Phillips that his prized running back Earl Campbell couldn’t even finish running a mile, Phillips replied “when it’s first and a mile, I won’t give it to him.” Last night it was first and a mile, and Martinez still kept giving Cole the ball.

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So Close, But So Far In Finally Being On A Jury...

For all of my 61 years, I’ve wanted to be on a jury. And probably half a dozen times, I’ve gotten something in the mail while living in three different cities, called the number they ask you to check the night before, and been told my services were not needed.

Last night, I got another chance. This wasn’t necessarily the night you wanted to be a winner because the NCAA Championship game was going to be on until after midnight, meaning getting up early to go to a courthouse the next morning would not be ideal. But when I called the phone number printed on the jury duty summons, they said Groups 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 AND 8 would need to show up. Numbers 9 through infinity could stay home.

Mine was No. 8.

Let me first say if you’ve reached the stage of life where you’ve retired (like I did two months ago) and you get used to getting up when you want to and easing into the day, that alarm going off at 5:50 AM is a bit of a jolt. I left the house at about 7:20 AM for the trip to neighboring Leesburg, reasoning that it’s one thing to be late to a business meeting; it’s another thing entirely when where you’re going they have people at the entrance with guns and handcuffs. This one I needed to be on time or early too.

Very early in the process I noticed just how addicted I have gotten to my cell phone. You can’t bring one into the Courthouse, so I left mine in my car. I parked at the parking garage across the street from where I thought I needed to go, then walked to where I thought the entrance would be. It wasn’t there and the Loudoun County Courthouse is one huge block where if you walk the wrong way, you’re going to pick up a couple thousand steps on your Fitbit making a lap around the grounds.

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With Win Tonight, Nats Can Make History Starting Out 4-0

If you’re impressed that the Nationals have started the season 3-0, well, don’t be.

Don’t get me wrong; they’ve been very impressive, and they never even trailed the entire three-game series at Cincinnati. But if history is any indication, starting out 3-0 hasn't really meant anything.

This is the fourth time the team has done it since moving from Montreal to the most powerful city in the world. The Nats also accomplished this in 2008,  2013 and 2014. How did they do in 2008? Well, after winning those first three, the Nats lost 9 in a row and 15 of their next 17. They would lose 102 games, the franchise’s worst record since the 1976 Montreal Expos ended the season at 55-107. It was the worst ever in Washington, but only until 2009 when they lost 103 games.

In 2013, the Nats went from 3-0 start to buzz saw in Cincinnati and never found themselves in first place again. They lost 15-0 on a Friday night, would bounce back and win 7-6 the next day to keep them in first place (where they had been every game of the season), then lost the Sunday game 6-3.

The loss knocked them out of first, then they returned home to sweep a 3-game series against the White Sox (but gain no ground on the Atlanta Braves). The Braves then came to Nats Park, swept the Nats, and the rest of the season involved looking at Atlanta’s back bumper. Twice they got within a half game of the Braves, but never got back to first, finishing at 86-76. I will always remember that season due to how many times Nats fans on Twitter would say “it’s only April” when the team struggled, followed by “it’s only May”, “it’s only June”, etc. No one wanted to admit the team just didn’t have it that year, hoping instead that in time, they would turn the switch on. They didn’t.

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