September 24, 2017

The Sad, Sad Truth and the Dirty Low Down

August 31, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

When the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convened for its annual convention in Manhattan at the end of June, the New York Times put it front-and-center on the sports page. Sounds like a good thing, but the article featured a photograph of several graying seniors sitting in the first row of a plenary session […]

Can Tropical Wind’s Ever Blow Strong for Cuban Baseball Again?

August 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Cuba is a complicated issue and most American fans don’t have the time. For those that do, there is author Peter Bjarkman, faithfully trying to peal back the layers of intrigue and politics until there is only the love of the game that Cubans and Americans share. Peter Bjarkman’s recently published book, Cuba’s Baseball Defectors, […]

Dusty Watches from the Wings with a Grin

August 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It was another trading deadline where Hollywood and Broadway got all the press. The rest was just community theater. The Dodgers walked away with the biggest prizes and the Yankees did well in a supporting role. But for all of the ink that Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray will generate, Washington Nationals manager, Dusty Baker, […]

The Wisdom of Current MLB Policy Toward Cuba, Central and South America

July 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Recent Henry Chadwick Award-winning baseball writer, Peter Bjarkman, came on the Seamheads Podcasting Network both in 2014 and 2015 during a very different time. President Obama’s easing of travel restrictions with Cuba seemed to herald a new era for Cuban baseball and ideas of innovation and hope sprang anew. Fellow SABR-member Pete Cottrell and I […]

Excuse Me, Is This a Bullpen or an SNL Skit?

June 15, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you read between the lines on the Nationals 40-man roster, you can find some pretty neat stuff. Look past the names like Strasburg and Scherzer and there you will find guys like Jimmy Cordero. Jimmy had a nice 2015, but having him on the 40-man in 2017 is like having Alec Baldwin running for […]

Feeling the Draft and the Summer Breeze

June 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A new facet of the 2017 season reveals itself in June. There is the College World Series that begins on June 17th and the Super Regionals are set to begin with no small number of surprise teams making the field of 16 teams left standing. Davidson, Missouri State, and Sam Houston are among some of […]

Maturity and More Pugnacious Approach Will Yield a DC Summer Blockbuster

May 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Bryce Harper charged the mound on Monday and for the most part baseball fans across the country applauded. That ovation, however meek or mild it may prove, still marks a sea change in how Harper is perceived by baseball zealots of every ilk. Yes, the boos rain down when he comes to bat at numerous […]

Rick Ankiel, The Phenomenon, A Review

May 15, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Rick Ankiel was a rocket streaking through the St. Louis Cardinals minor league affiliates as an 18- and 19-year old. His first season, 1998, he climbed to High-A Prince William after launching from Low-A Peoria. He compiled a 2.63 ERA over 161 innings and notched 222 strikeouts against 50 walks that season. His ascent was […]

Sitting in the Catbird Seat

May 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington Nationals find themselves in a National League East Division race suddenly bereft of cloase competition. The Mets’ embarrassing pitching riches have been squandered or become simply embarrassing. Matt Harvey has joined the lovelorn, but is at least healthy. That is something Noah Syndegaard, Jeurys Famila, Steve Matz, Seth Lugo, Lucas Duda, David Wright, […]

Whiplash in DC

April 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Leaving Nationals Park on Saturday afternoon, the chants of “Let’s Go Mets,” still ringing in my ears, I realized I was suffering from “whiplash.” It is a tragic condition that can strike without warning when your team goes from winning nine out of ten games on a daunting road trip to losing two straight at […]

Is THIS the Season the Nationals Finally Get Over the Hump?

April 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

No doubt the New York Mets will find it easy to look beyond an early season sweep by the Washington Nationals at Citi Field last weekend. But the games still count and seven wins in a row are seven wins to the good regardless when they come. The early season results suggest that the Nationals […]

Previewing the Washington Nationals and the NL East for 2017

March 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Let’s start from the premise that the Washington Nationals can win 92 games and win the National League East. Hardly and groundbreaking look into the future, nor is the idea that they won’t beat the New York Mets by 8 games again this season. The Mets and their very fine pitching staff will prove more […]

“Leo Durocher, Baseball’s Prodigal Son,” by Paul Dickson–a Review

March 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Paul Dickson’s wonderful book, Bill Veeck, Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, is a personal favorite. So when I sat down to read his newest work, Leo Durocher, Baseball’s Prodigal Son, it was with some trepidation. Like many, I do not remember Leo Durocher fondly, although for the life of me, I could not tell you why. Yet […]

Are the 2017 Nationals a Late Blooming Winner?

February 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s been a long strange trip to pitchers and catchers for the Washington Nationals. It has been an off-season like no other and since we really haven’t had that many it is not much of a horse race. Remembering those first few off-seasons is instructive. Going back to the Jim Bowden years and watching he […]

Can the Same 2016 Nationals Realistically Beat the Cubs in 2017?

October 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, there are going to be big changes coming to Washington that spring from a fulcrum point in early November. But not THOSE kind of changes. There is a whole other kind of transition team that–beginning in November, after the last pitch of the 2016 World Series–will look to build a better future for the […]

A Tale of Two Cities

October 9, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In the 1930’s two adolescent boys worked the score board at old Griffith Stadium: Bowie Kuhn and Ted Lerner.  Both grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs and both came up watching the slow demise of the old Washington Nationals as they went from perennial contender to the goats of baseball for thirty years.  Kuhn […]

Planting the Flag

September 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington Nationals have all but clinched their third National League East title.  Their 1-0 win at Nationals Park last night over the Mets planted a flag square among the throng of New Yorkers there for the game. With a scant 16 games left to play in the 2016 season, the Nats have a 10 […]

Mike Rizzo Gives Nationals Chance to Win it All on Back Nine

July 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington Nationals got their man today when they traded for Mark Melancon of the Pirates. The trade is not yet official, but apparently Washington has dealt Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn to Pittsburgh for Melancon. The trade constitutes is a Coup d’etat right here in Washington, DC.  The ruling elite who predicted that Washington […]

What the First Half is Saying About the Second

July 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The first half is in the books. Can it be trusted? It has great legs and whispers sweet words to us, but is it telling us the truth about what will happen in the second half? The Washington Nationals have been down this road before as have we all. Best first half in team history […]

Bullpen Barbie Dolls

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington Nationals pitching staff reminds me eerily of my daughters’ doll collections when they were very young.  They were lucky enough to have a collection of American Girl dolls.  Each one had a special place of reverence in their bedroom. Those were the starters. American Girl dolls came with distinctive names and back stories. […]

What Happens with the DC Strangler in Rehab

June 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

On Sunday the Washington Nationals were behind to the Phillies 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning. The bases were loaded for Jayson Werth with two out and two strikes when he singled to center field to plate two runs for the walk-off win. Talking to MASN commentator Dan Kolko about what it had […]

Rule 4 Draft and Baseball on Television

June 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of my favorite MLB, Inc. events is the Rule 4 Amateur Draft and it is getting better all the time. There are no ratings for the 2016 event that I could find, but personally, I watched much more of the proceedings than any year previously–in case anyone is listening. The first round talent seemed […]

Old Dogs and New Tricks in DC

June 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The season flies past like a train gathering speed as it leaves the station. The cold spring days are a memory and the ball is starting to carry in the early summer heat. Mookie Betts and Cory Seager are etching their names into the list of young sluggers to be taken seriously, but in Washington […]

Strasburg’s Emergence Worth the Wait?

May 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There were a half dozen TV trucks outside the Altoona Curve’s stadium, all aiming their signal at the stars. The stands were packed and all the attention was focused on the first of the “Once in a Lifetime” talents the Washington Nationals signed after wandering in the desert for three seasons. Stephen Strasburg was hyped […]

The Strasburg Signing is a Twofer

May 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The recent road trip for the Washington Nationals is a microcosm of their season so far. They played ten games in three cities against teams that want to be in the playoff picture come late September. They won five and lost five, sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis, beating the World Champion Royals in Kansas […]

What’s New About the 2016 Nationals

April 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Many of the players are the same but there appears to be something very different about the 2016 Nationals. Bryce Harper is at the center of the lineup and like everyone on the team, he looks as if he may have an even better season in 2016 than his MVP season last year. What is […]

Knowing When You Have Reached the Promised Land

April 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For forty years Washington Baseball wandered in the wilderness, maybe longer. Yet deliverance is upon us–the Washington Nationals have the best record in the early going of the 2016 season and the team as a whole is playing well. Are those who have suffered for so long ready for their own redemption? Rumors popped up in […]

When Past is Prologue and When it Ain’t

April 4, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

Watching the ESPN opening night game between the Royals and Mets, the conversation was understandably about whether the two teams would make the post-season again in 2016. The Mets have a great rotation, a lousy bullpen, and a lineup that is better than the one they began 2015 with. But was the second half of […]

Out of Options Heading North To DC

March 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It is nearing the end of Spring Training, rosters are being finalized, and final cuts made. Players around the leagues who have impressed during the spring but do not have a path to the Majors are being sent to minor league camp unless of course they are “out of options.” The Washington Nationals have plenty […]

From the “Tired” Seats Arose a Mysterious Stranger

March 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The vast electronic sports pub was abuzz with Bryce Harper’s heartfelt soliloquy about our “tired” national pastime. Youth has been fettered, Harper complained, by the rusty traditions of yore. Harper sang the opening bars of his song thusly: “Oh to cavort and cavil, like Lebron flying through the air;  free us to go from first to […]

Saying Goodbye to Ian Desmond

February 29, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

When the news that Ian Desmond signed with Texas was announced in the Washington front office, there must have been cheering all round. He nets the Nationals a first round pick in the June Rule 4 draft, the nineteenth pick overall. There had been worry that Desmond might not sign until such date as it […]

Trea Turner Comparables

February 21, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Jimmy Rollins stands only 5′ – 7″ but to date he has fashioned a 16-season career that saw him bat lead-off for the Philadelphia Phillies over a span in which they went to the playoffs five consecutive seasons and carried home a World Series Championship in 2008. Speed and sure hands were his best skills […]

Critiquing the 2016 Projections for the Washington Nationals

February 12, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

We are more than six weeks from the first official games of the 2016 season. Then, the day to day performance of players in the long grind of the season will determine what of these hot stove fantasies has any meaning whatsoever. No disrespect intended, but FanGraph’s “ZiPS” and “Steamer” projections are very handy to […]

Bob Davids SABR Chapter’s Annual Meeting

January 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The SABR members of the Mid-Atlantic gathered together yesterday to test the proposition that one Washington area chapter, so conceived, could long endure without its Baltimore contingent. No shots were fired and more than 125 persons attended the very excellent and entertaining session, including many first timers. It was altogether fitting that new officers having […]

Three Times at Bat For the Nationals and Nothing to Show

January 23, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Washington Nationals made offers to all three of the elite free agent outfielders on the market: Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Yeonis Cespedes. In at least two instances it is clear from the press reports that Washington offered more money than other clubs in on the bidding. But all three players went elsewhere. The […]

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