Now that the All-Star break is over and the Nats kicked off the second half of the season with a W over the Fish in Miami, I want to take a few minutes to answer some emails from you Nats viewers - I always welcome you touching base with me any time you choose.
Jerry from College Park wanted my assessment of Nats first baseman Adam Dunn. I for one hope the big slugger from Texas stays with the ballclub. Not only is Adam the only player in major league history to belt 20 homers or more before the All-Star break eight straight years, but the guy has done a nice job defensively at first base. Dunn has worked hard to become better around the bag at first and it shows. His strikeouts could be reduced, no question about that. But with Dunn in the lineup there is always the possibility of him blasting another home run.
Martha from Bel Air wanted to know about my athletic background - what, if any, sports did I play? Make certain of one thing: never can I be compared to my partner, the Silver Fox. I quaterbacked my high school football team, shot way to0 much on the basketball team, and pitched for coach Jack Clark at North Miami high School in Florida. I was not nearly as good a pitcher for Clark as one of his other right-handers who came along a few years after me, Steve Carlton! Funny how Coach always reminded me of that every time he saw me!
Dr. Sydney Cohen of Atlanta wanted to know how it is working with Ray Knight, one of his favorite players of the 80s. As you can see every night we're together, Ray and I have a ball on MASN. I can not begin to tell you how important it is to have an on-air partner you not only work well with, but who is someone you enjoy being around after the lights and cameras have shut down. MASN has given us the opportunity to inform and entertain Washington baseball fans for four years, and believe me we look forward to it every day.
Barry in Potomac is a big fan of Nats manager Jim Riggleman, as I am. Like all of us, the first half numbers could have been much better. Does the old cliche, "We beat ourselves" come to mind? Riggleman's ballclub leads the majors in one-run games and ranks second in games decided by two runs or less. The errors committed before the All-Star break were staggering in numbers. I for one can not see that continuing over the next three months. Stephen Strasburg continues to give the club an opportunity to win every five days. But there is only so much one pitcher can do. Other guys have to step up and get the job done on a more consistent basis. If not, they will find themselves on the outside looking in.
Lets hope it's going to be a good second half of baseball and the foundation continues to build for the future.