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Waiting it out

I imagine waiting out a nearly three-hour rain delay is a bit like waiting to catch a flight that's been delayed. You wander around the airport/clubhouse looking for something to occupy your time and try not to eat too much junk food out of sheer boredom. The modern day big league baseball fields have state-of-the-art drainage systems that allow the game to be played the

Lannan's liner; Livo lingers longer

Take one of, if not the best pitchers in the National League, and have him face an .059 hitter. More often than not, the pitcher will prevail without breaking a sweat. Not today, however. John Lannan doubled his RBI total for the year - and raised that average to a sizzling .081 - in the second inning at Nationals Park this afternoon by doubling in

The likely suspects

A guy comes up to me at the MASN set in center field this afternoon and says "The Nationals need to figure out who's responsible for Strasburg's injury and fire that person immediately." Really? Let's see, who's on the list of suspects in this crime? How about Domonic Brown, the Phillies' hitter at the plate when Strasburg felt the pain that took him out of

Strasburg joining the TJ fraternity

The news today that Stephen Strasburg is likely out for the next 12-15 months for Tommy John surgery can't be much of a shock. For a 21st century pitcher who throws that hard, it seems almost an inevitability. The list of successful returns from the TJ procedure is long and impressive, and includes two guys you've seen this week in opposing uniforms: Ryan Dempster of

A lack of energy, or the no-Lou factor?

Nationals' players were on the field early this afternoon, for an around-the-mound meeting, and some remedial infield; call it what you will. Likely a response to Monday's less-than-stellar effort against the Cubs, it hasn't seemed to make much difference midway through tonight's contest. The easy thing to say is that the Nationals are in a team-wide funk, but one scout suggested to me that you

The throwin' Colemans

Okay, I'm old. That fact hit home tonight watching Casey Coleman pitch for the Cubs. Casey's dad, Joe, pitched for the Senators 1965-70, and I saw him throw many times. Joe's not much older than I am - he was Washington's first ever first round pick in the 1965 draft out of high school, the third player taken overall. Later he was involved in the

S.S. Strasburg in dry dock

I wouldn't get too worked up over the decision to put Stephen Strasburg back on the DL. After the discomfort he felt in Philadelphia the other day and the reams of evidence - anecdotal and otherwise - that young flamethrowers are especially prone to debilitating arm miseries until about age 24, it just makes sense. Some have offered the subpar - for him, anyway -

Nats re-up with Chiefs; are there Squirrels in the future?

Staying in Syracuse is a solid move, particularly since there doesn't seem to be another available AAA franchise in the Eastern Time Zone. Assigning or retrieving players to/from upstate New York is, geographically, pretty simple. A new 2-year Player Development Contract with the Chiefs was inevitable. The Nats' arrangement with AA Harrisburg is also up for renewal, as is the Giants' PDC with Richmond. I've

The preliminary diagnosis...

...is a strained flexor tendon in Stephen Strasburg's right forearm. I'm no doctor, and the actual diagnosis won't take place until he undergoes an MRI on Sunday, but it seems to be something less horrific than many of us originally imagined. Nonetheless, you have to wonder whether or not the ballclub will take this opportunity to let him watch the rest of the season from

Stars behind bars

Should a jail sentence preclude someone from consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame? The current Roger Clemens saga prompts me to ask that question. Clemens is really in trouble this time with a multi-count federal indictment - and I'm quite serious in raising the issue, based on a conversation I heard today on a radio talk show. A caller thought that a player's post-career

Defying the odds

In 15 of his 25 starts this season, Livan Hernandez has allowed 2 or fewer earned runs. Think the Nationals will tender him a contract offer for 2011? I know it won't be viewed the same as Dmitri Young's 2007 season, which earned him the NL Comeback Player-of-the-Year Award, but seriously, why not? His peripheral numbers belie his won-lost record. On a good club he'd

Bobby Thomson: a Giant loss

"The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" Russ Hodges' classic radio call of what's become known as "The Shot heard 'round the World," still resonates with fans who weren't around when Bobby Thomson connected off of Brooklyn's Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds in October of 1951. The man who hit the ball, sadly, has passed away at the age of 86.

Little doubt a deal would get done

That the Nationals would sign Bryce Harper was never in much doubt. That they would give him a major league contract at age 17 is somewhat surprising, but not overwhelmingly so. The exact details of Harper's deal aren't yet known, but industry sources have insisted for weeks that he'd get the biggest deal ever given a 17-year-old. If it's in that $10 million range (as


The deadline approaches. Just eight-plus hours to go. Without getting into specifics, I expect there will be a deal done with Bryce Harper. They've already signed most of their top 25 picks, some to well above-slot contracts, so if Harper wants to play, he'll sign. Waiting a year has no real payoff for the player; the team, however, gets a compensatory pick the following year

It was 44 years ago today...

Driving down 295 today I grabbed a quick glance to my right to peek at RFK Stadium. Forty-four years ago tonight I was sitting on the 400 level between home plate and third base, although the Senators were in Cleveland that night. I was there to see the Beatles make their final appearance in the District, a show that also featured a band from Boston,

Call it schadenfreude

Schadenfreude is defined as pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. I can't help but think that there are more than a few Nationals' fans who've experienced a little schadenfreude over the struggles of pitcher Aaron Crow this year in the Kansas City farm system. In case you've forgotten, Crow was the Nats' first round pick in the 2008 draft. His representatives, the Hendricks' brothers

A look at how the baseball has changed over the years

Over the years, Major League Baseball has used many different versions of baseballs, and Phil Wood recently brought out his collection to show the differences between the various balls. Phil also asked Tyler Clippard to compare each ball, and you can watch the video below to see how baseballs have changed over time.

Doing a Dunn deal

I'm getting a lot of mixed messages from fans regarding the Nationals re-signing Adam Dunn. For every three fans who tell me the ballclub "absolutely" has to sign him, there's one who bemoans the club not trading him last month. On the plus side, I'm not hearing the old, tired "he'll allow more runs with his poor defense than he'll drive in..." I assume those

A short night for Strasburg

Four-and-a-third innings. Six earned runs on six hits, all for extra bases. Not exactly what anyone expected in Stephen Strasburg's return from the DL tonight against Florida. In all fairness, he didn't look real comfortable out there tonight. Chalk it up to rust from not playing in a while, but dollars-to-doughnuts, somebody somewhere will surmise online that he's really, really hurt. C'mon, they're not going

The high, hard one

Stuart Miller's "Keeping Score" column in yesterday's New York Times - "A Slow Burn Over a Reluctance to Call High Strikes" - is well worth your time. Miller's point is that the game could be sped up considerably if umpires made a concerted effort to call the high strike. The top of the strike zone as currently defined is the "horizontal line at the midpoint

Nationals' fans at the National

I spent several hours this weekend at the 31st National Sports Collectors' Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center. I've attended many of these in years past when I was a far more active collector, and inasmuch as itwas in my own backyard, I trekked down there a couple of times. Lots of Nationals' fans were in attendance, and I spoke with several of them. Collectors

Echoes of southpaws past

Extra innings haven't been kind to the Nationals this year. Last night's 3-2 loss in 10 was just the latest misfortune. That Sean Burnett's record is now 0-6 - with a sub-3.00 ERA - must surely remind some fans of Darold Knowles. Knowles, like Burnett a lefty, went 2-14 with the 1970 Senators. Sounds pretty awful, until you notice that his ERA was 2.04, and

Bullpen a variety show for now

When the Nationals traded Matt Capps to Minnesota, manager Jim Riggleman indicated that he'd prefer not to appoint a specific closer from the remaining bullpen arms. He'd use a committee approach and go with the hot hand. So far he's done just that, though it's a pretty tiny sample. The Nats are 2-2 since the trade, and only one of the wins had a save

Another feeble argument

Incredibly, there are still some people out there who are sticking to a very tired and pathetic argument that Washington didn't deserve a major league team. They don't show up very often anymore, but when they do, their diatribes are no less tiresome. A caller to this past Saturday's "Wall-to-Wall Baseball," the show I appear on with Tom Davis and Dave Johnson every Saturday on

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