Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nats' King Gets Fired Up and Other Bad Nats News
Not such a great day for the Nats yesterday, as they lost their seventh straight game and suffered through another pathetic offensive performance. Which I guess is understandable, given the offensive capabilities of the players they had out there. Batting sixth - Brian Schneider, who had two hits which raised his average to .216. Batting seventh - Robert Fick, whose two hits raised his average to .194. Batting eighth - Nook Logan, who got no hits and is hitting .167. Pitcher Jason Simontacchi brought of the rear, and he, of course, is batting .000.

Interestingly, Brewers' starter Dave Bush was 0-2 last night, and he's still hitting .214. So when you pitch against the Nationals, not only do you get a break when you face the pitcher. You get a break for pretty much the last half of the order.

Jason Simontacchi pitched decently, for a chronically injured journeyman who it's not fair to have any expecations of. I was listening to WTEM Tuesday afternoon, and they (DC's sports radio station!) have so little interest in baseball or the Nationals (they were able to squeeze in a segment on peer pressure and office happy hours, though, based on an article in the Post on April 22) that the guy who does the sports updates during the Sports Reporters couldn't even be bothered to figure out how to pronounce Simontacchi's name, repeatedly calling him Simeontacchi. Jeez.

The Nats' roster was shaken up somewhat yesterday. Chad Cordero went on bereavement leave to be with his dying grandmother. That's good for the Chief, and that really is sad.

Josh Wilson, he of the Little League-like error to assist ratio, was sent to the minors. Hopefully we'll never see him again. And Tony Batista was called up. I can't really think of anything to say about him. He'd be easy to bash, but, given this team, well, it's worth a shot.

To me, the most interesting thing about yesterday was the Nats' decision to ban alcohol in the home and visiting clubhouses at RFK, as well as in the visiting clubhouse when they're on the road. Nats' brass was able to turn the death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock into a way to save them a couple of thousand dollars over the season! Great move!

While I'm cynical about the teams' motives, such a ban is not unusual in the major leagues, and several teams (like the Yankees, who we know are clearly not pinching pennies) have recently changed their policies. Which is why the reaction of rotund Nationals' pitcher Ray King is so moronic. The Post's Barry Svrluga reported that this move was met with eye-rolling by some Nats. The move really got the goat of Ray Ray, who presumably is on the team, in part, for veteran leadership (he and his 9.95 ERA would be pretty easy to replace). King goes 6-1, 240, and for those of you who may just be casual baseball fans, he's one of several Nationals who you look at and say "Wait, that guy's a professional athlete?" Yes he is, sports fans, and he makes $850,000 a year. And he's pissed that there's no longer free (light?) beer in the locker room. Bob Cohn and Mark Zuckerman, of the Washington Times, reported that King said "It's really becoming a mockery to where you hate the accident had to happen, but the accident didn't come from him coming out of the clubhouse. It wasn't because he was drunk in the clubhouse. ... How many stadiums can you walk out of and walk to a bar?" He also blathered "Most of the time when we're on the road and we leave the clubhouse, we're getting on the bus or in a taxi. I just think it's a situation where they're trying to do way too much. We don't have a salary cap, but they can do whatever else they want." Yeah, you know, they can do anything, like tell you not to drink at work.

Sometimes you'll read a profile of a particularly high-achieving player and his great work habits, and you'll find out that after a game, he lifts weights or does cardio. Or if he's Gilbert Arenas he shoots 10,000 jump shots. Not Ray Ray. He wants his beer, he wants it as soon as the game ends, and he doesn't want to have to pay for it.

This team is driving even the players to drink, evidently.

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