Friday, July 21, 2006

The Nats and the D.C. Government: Too great expectations?

Boswell gets it right (sort of)

"If you are one of about 110,000 people who are expected to attend the Nationals' "grand reopening" at RFK Stadium for their three-game series against the Cubs this weekend, try to focus on the new cuisine at the stadium -- crab cakes, "riblets," chili, kosher knishes, burritos, stuffed potatoes, beef brisket, fresh popcorn and microbrews. The "Texas sausage" is nice.

But for heaven's sake, whatever you do, don't look at the team. And don't ask, "How's that new stadium coming along?" "

Reading the rest of the column though, he fades as it goes on. Kinda like the Nats last season.... (yes, I know, that was a cheap shot...)

I don't know what he expected of the Nationals this season. With the excitement of being in a new city and the decimation of the starting pitching staff, personally I would have been happy with another 81-81 finish. It was painfully obvious last season that the Nats had issues not only with talent but with depth too. They lost too much pitching in the off season and while the bench was upgraded, that isn't the same as improving your depth. I don't think anybody likes the idea of Daryle Ward playing 30-40 games at first base and we all saw what happened when Matt LeCroy stepped behind the plate.

But beyond that; Guillen is done for the season , Patterson might be back, Vidro hasn't been himself this season, and neither has Livan. Cordero hasn't had much of a chance this season, though early on he blew opportunities and still walks a tightrope. Majewski was inconsistent and now seems to have fallen apart in Cincinnati, but how badly is the bullpen missing Luis Ayala? Brian Schneider has had a respectable year and (knock on wood) Nick Johnson has stayed healthy so far. Ryan Zimmerman and Alfonso Soriano have been the lone bright spots for this team. A rather famous individual (who shall remain nameless) who I had gotten to know said of a potential Soriano trade "If they trade him, there'll be nothing left to see out here." It is hard to disagree with that. However, why anybody was thinking that this team could contend for the Wild Card again is beyond me.

I shouldn't beat up on Boswell too much and I won't. He's been a voice of sanity about baseball in Washington, D.C. for a long time. However I only bring this up because in a Washington (Com)Post chat last year with Boswell I asked him if the Nats were setting themselves up for a big fall a'la Ron Wilson and Ralph Friedgen by coming out of the gate too strong and setting expectations for Act II way too high. Bos responded by saying "what do you want them to do, start losing?" Maybe I'll ask him if he wants to revise and extend those remarks...

As for the ever embarrassing D.C. Government, is anybody surprised in the least by this? Seriously, if these guys were just merely incompetent, it would be a miraculous improvement. People who complain about D.C. deserving statehood should be forced to explain just how any of this is proof that D.C. deserves even the right to self-governance. I don't blame Mayor Williams for washing his hands of this ugly mess and stepping down.

But you know what is downright HIGH-LARIOUS? I've heard rumors that once the Nats have their new stadium built and opened, D.C. United has their long awaited new stadium built and opened, and RFK is demolished, that the D.C. Government is going to try to get the Redskins to move back into the city. Most likely at the RFK Stadium site. Why would business in their right mind try to work with the D.C. Government right now?

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