Friday, July 22, 2005

My Rant

Lately I realized that I do not like the Washington Nationals. At all. I want to like them, and at first I really did: I was thrilled Les Expos were leaving Montreal, I thought DC was a great place to move to (for no other reason that to piss off Peter Angelos), I has happy RFK stadium would be used, and I liked the new name and uniforms. But they've gone nowhere but downhill in terms of likeability. Their first major acquisition was Jose Guillen. That's enough to dislike them, really. But they also started throwing money around indiscriminately, signing Cristian Guzman for like a bajillion dollars (Canadian; in U.S. dollars that's $4.2M/year), which was a little steep for someone with a .500 OPS. [Which makes him a very strong contender for Worst Player in Baseball. You think Bellhorn was bad? Guzman's career OPS is lower than Bellhorn's 2005 OPS.] Then they started winning...and things got worse. First off, people started talking about a Baltimore-Washington World Series. In May. Which was annoying. For a whole bunch of reasons. But more than that, they had no reason to be winning. They've done more than just outperform their Pythagorean (by 7 games now, but it used to be higher); they have been well above .500 despite giving up more runs than they've scored. Now, one serious bright spot is their amazing 23-year old, league-minimum closer, Chad Cordero (33 saves, 1.07 ERA, 0.97 WHIP), but he's already appeared in 49 games and his arm might fall off from overuse. Nonetheless, since they're winning, the sports media won't shut up talking about what a great manager Frank Robinson is. And then of course there's the fact that going to Nats games has become a big photo-op for politicians. So anyway, now that they're struggling (losing 8 of the last 10), I'm thrilled.

The reason I bring this all up now is because of this Washington Post article. I don't even know where to begin. You see, apparently "old-timer" National fans are starting to grouse about all the "bandwagoners". Seriously.
When the bandwagoners first showed up -- yapping on their cell phones, getting up for snacks during crucial at-bats and leaving two innings early to beat the traffic-- the old-timers among Washington Nationals fans tried to accept them.
Okay, the reporter's definitely writing this tongue-in-cheek, so it's a joke, right? "Die-hard Nats fans" don't really feel that way, right? Um, no, apparently they do...

"For those of us who have been there since the beginning, we know that sort of magical feeling -- how much energy the team draws from the crowd," said Colin Mills, president of the Nationals fan club.

After the invasion of newcomers, he said, "That magic just wasn't there in the same way."

And according to to those who've been around since the beginning, living and dying with the Nats for almost four whole months, these newcomers -- these Johnny-come-really-really-latelys -- sound terrible.
Dave Lanham, a regular at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, recalled a game when two men sitting near him spent inning after inning discussing a legal case. They couldn't keep track of what was happening on the field. One man asked, " 'How did Carroll get on base?' " said Lanham, referring to Nationals infielder Jamey Carroll. "I'm like, 'He walked!' " Lanham said.
Okay, first off, this Lanham guy is really bad at telling stories. Secondly, while talking law at a baseball game is not cool, he's pissed because they missed one play? What a bunch of boorish ingrates. Man, I used to consider myself a reasonably good, informed baseball fan, but apparently I'm actually a bandwagoner, because I've occasionally missed a play or two, while talking, or buying beer or food, or going to the bathroom. Not to mention those times I've showed up to the park so drunk that I, never mind.

Anyway, my point wait, I don't have a point. Turning back to the article, it then describes the travails of Hugh B. Kaufman, an administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency, who has seen his share of joy and heartache following the Nats through thick and thin. He could "feel bad vibes in the air at Monday's game against the Colorado Rockies". And then

The team lost that game, 5-4, after third baseman Vinny Castilla committed an error in the ninth inning. That did it. The next morning, Kaufman aired his concerns on fan message boards, asking others whether they had seen a " 'Bad' Element Starting to Come to RFK Nats Games?"

Others on the Internet boards agreed that they had felt something strange; The crowd was "flat," "lame," "out of sync."

As you all know, I'm a stud, so I know nothing about being "flat, lame, and out of sync", but it's quite clear to me that the crowd being all those things is what caused Castilla's error. Kaufman felt he had to do something about it. And so, naturally,
"I have to find a rubber chicken," he told himself.

Before Tuesday's game, he beheaded the chicken in a brief ceremony, then presented the decapitated bird to a pair of nearby Nationals players.
That "boom" sound you just heard was my head exploding. As I now have no head, I am unable to comment on this article further. Thanks for reading.


  1. Well at least the "old-time" fans will have the Nats back all to themselves once the Nats slip comfortably into last place by August 15th.

  2. Exactly. The Washington Expos.

    Though with a worse mascot. At least Youpi! was...different. The Nats have Screech . Terrible. Bad name, too -- remember Saved by the Bell?

  3. Whoops, link didn't work. But I found something even worse: an article about BOTH SCREECHES. I thought the Washington Post was supposed to be a good paper? Man, I hate the Nats even more now.

  4. This one was my favorite:

    Alexandria, VA: Do you keep in touch with any of the other cast members from Saved By the Bell?

    Dustin Diamond: I don't visit the unemployment office that much.

    Nice. Screech taking shots at his former cast members. Elizabeth Berkely was in showgirls and that one dud was on NYPD and lest us not forget Tiffani Amber Theissen.

    How dare this geek insult them

  5. That geek's brother? Mike D (Diamond) of the Beastie Boys.

  6. You know that's an urban legend, right? Sorry to disappoint.

    I could be mistaken, but I think I just saw Mr. T and Carlton Fisk hugging. Must've been another hallucination.

  7. Huh.

    Well, there goes that fun bit of trivia.

  8. Remember when I asked what % of the White Sox runs were scored via the HR. Based on the small sample size that is this series, I have an answer. Too fucking many.

  9. Well, one admittely crude method of figuring that out is to just look at HR/R... It is far from perfect, as it doesn't take into account men on base, but it gives a sense of how many HR's a team hits in connection to its total RS. Measuring that this year, 14.4% of the White Sox' runs have been scored by guys who hit a HR. The highest percentae belongs to the Rangers, at 17.6%, while the lowest belongs to the Nationals, at 8.6%. The Red Sox are solidl in the middle; 14th place, with 11.9%.

  10. Yeah, but as X points out, a really interesting question is those guys on base. If they get all those HR, are all the SB unnecessary? Are all their CS (they lead the league in that also) really costly? "Small ball with long ball" seems like a weird combo, and has to be done well for it to work -- if it can work at all. In the two games we've seen, they've seemed to do it all right, but that's just two games.

  11. I worshipped Curt whats-his-name until he revealed that he is a Republican.

    Now I stand back and wonder how those people ever got him.

  12. On a completely unrelated issue, actaully it is related. Ozzie Guillen is a dick. I wish nothing more that seeing this team crash and burn and then we can see how much a ise ass he will be.

    I know there have been some personality issues on that team that he has dealt with and apparently quite well, but jesus, if you gave Butch Hobson the best pitching in the league, I'm pretty sure he could coach a team (in that division) into first place.

  13. What did he say? I know nothing about the man.

  14. I'm too lazy to look it up and provide the links but the gist of his comments (and there have been a number of similar ones throughout the year) he is sick of hearing that his team is not that good. he was asked if now that they Sox and then the Yanks are coming to town if this will represent a true challenge to his team and he blasted the media about how the team has already played 90 something games and what were they? Triple A teams? Oh yeah and maybe it was taken out of context, but he said the Sox were a bunch of losers and chokers until last year. I think it was in the context of the fact that the White sox (and Cubs) have not won in just as long. But still, I think he is an ass. He had some shit last year with umpires and it just seems to me like he thinks he is smarter than everyone.

  15. Who Is Ruthie? Anyway, Ruthie, not to burst any bubbles, but there are a lot of major leaguers that are Republicans. A lot of them are from the bible belt which puts them on the conservative train to begin with...Add in that they make MILLIONS of dollars and "poof"...REPUBLICANS.

    Isn't that sort of shallow not liking someone because of their political leanings? Seems sort of Republican to me...If you don't like Republicans maybe baseball is not for you...

    And, I am fairly far to the left.
    Just thought that I would add my two cents on that...

    X, I am with you on the "crash and burn" hopes...I would love to the Guillen's team crash and burn. Mostly because I have noticed a trend in the media that has come over from the "alternative" music era of the 90s. Remember when it was cool to hear of that band first, but then when everyone heard of them, they sucked? That is what has happened with the Red Sox and the national press. And the Yankees and the national press. (Of course, I am rooting against the Yankees and seeing some of the negative press is fun), but let's face it...It is probably the Red Sox and Yankees returning to the playoffs (if the Yankees make it)...

    I can't stand this, "The Red Sox are struggling" crap. They are in first place and have no number one pitcher. Of course, this is because of division strength and other struggling clubs, but come on...They are a good team that is going to get better down the stretch when they settle in to Fenway for the stretch run...

    There is also something to be said about confidence. When the White Sox pounded on crappy teams to start the year and got that great record under their belt, it gave them confidence. It happens. I am in line with Earl when I say that they are overachieving. Tonight's starter, El Dookie, is 7 and 2 with an ERA over 5...

    There that's my rant for today. I probably would be much more calm but my daughter kept me up most of last night crying for no reason...My daughter was crying...not me...