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Looking for Stairs to climb

I've referred several times to "sample size," that is, how many at-bats or innings pitched should a team have to see before deciding whether a particular player is going to help them or not. After 22 games, the Nationals likely aren't ready to make any drastic roster decisions. Their more significant free agent signings - Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche - have similar offensive numbers

Desmond's valid distraction

There's no way to know what's going through Ian Desmond's head these days. I'm sure if you sat down 100 expectant fathers, you'd get 100 different stories of the pre-birth stress they all encounter. The difference is the other 99 aren't everyday major league baseball players. A ground ball or a throw to Desmond over the past couple of weeks results in a lot of

The late Mr. Schaefer and sports venues

I'm a little tardy in getting around to this, but with the passing of former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer, I'm reminded of my own brush with the charismatic politician. I first came to Baltimore in the fall of 1982, hired at WCBM Radio to do afternoon sportscasts, Baltimore Colts pregame and postgame shows, and color analyst work for Baltimore Skipjacks American

Future center field options

I certainly agree with MASNsports.com's Ben Goessling that Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton would be a solid fit for the Nationals in center field. He's another Virginia native who's just entering his prime. He's got some power, can steal some bases, and can play some defense. Plus, he's a longtime pal of Ryan Zimmerman. Upton will be expensive to obtain, but the Nats might be a

These misses are hits, so far

Last winter there was some hand-wringing and "oh no-ing" when the Nationals failed to ink either Brandon Webb or Justin Duchscherer, two free agent pitchers who were coming off of injuries. The former signed with the Rangers and the latter with the Orioles, and as of today, neither right-hander has appeared in a big league contest. Webb, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009,

Bobo Osborne 1935-2011

Larry "Bobo" Osborne, first baseman for the 1963 Senators, passed away Friday at the age of 75. He'd been a scout for the San Francisco Giants for the past 19 years. Osborne, a lefty swinger, had 10 home runs through June 6 of '63, but hit only two more for the season, and none after July 15. For the season, he hit .212 with 12

Starting pitching holding its own

OK, I grasp the fact that 11 games is a pretty small sample, but 5-6 against the teams in your own division at this point is respectable, and you've got to be somewhat impressed with the starting rotation the first couple of times through. Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Jordan Zimmermann all have ERAs under 4.00, and a cumulative ERA under 3.50. (I'm

More Nats programming arriving Saturday

In case you haven't heard, more Nationals-flavored programming is coming to MASN. Beginning this Saturday, April 16, at 10 a.m., I'll be hosting "Nats Talk" on MASN. It's a two-hour viewer participation program that will focus mainly on the Nats, though we'll touch on other subjects involving the game as a whole. Many of you know that I've been on "Wall to Wall Baseball" with

Replacing Zimmerman no simple task

How do you replace Ryan Zimmerman at third base for the rest of the month? You don't. Zimmerman's abdominal strain comes at a particularly bad time. He's red-hot with the bat on a team with a cumulative .217 average at the moment. I know, it's a pretty small sample size, but nonetheless, between his bat - and glove - he's irreplaceable with any one player

Is Ramos another Battey?

There comes a time when the veteran All-Star recognizes his skills have eroded to the point that he's no longer an everyday player. That's happening now with Ivan Rodriguez, and while his receiving skills are still well above average, he's recognized the inevitable and seems to be adjusting to the idea of backing up Wilson Ramos. Rodriguez was originally signed to be a part-time player

Fan behavior under scrutiny after Dodger Stadium attack

What can baseball do to prevent future incidents like the recent attack on a Giants fan at Dodger Stadium by a couple of alleged Dodgers fans? Bryan Stow was seriously injured, and has shown signs of brain damage at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. His skull was fractured, and his neurosurgeon said Stow suffered frontal lobe bruising, as well. Stow's family said they don't blame

The viability of Major League Baseball in Florida

The announced attendance tonight at Sun Life Stadium was 10,402. The actual attendance was somewhere between 10,000 and 402. On TV, it couldn't have looked much emptier. The Florida Marlins will open a new stadium next season on the site of the old Orange Bowl. The new park will seat 37,000 and have a retractable roof. The new park will either show that South Florida

The virtues, not the sister act

Patience and Prudence were a sister act in the 1950s who had two hit records: "Tonight You Belong to Me," and "Gonna Get Along Without You Now." Patience and prudence are also two virtues that sometimes seem in rather short supply around NatsTown. While sitting in my new postgame radio perch at Nationals Park on Sunday - we're right down the leftfield line under the

Opening day and NatsFest observations

I don't think anything particularly earth-shattering came out of yesterday's opening day 2-0 loss to the Braves at Nationals Park. We've seen Livan Hernandez throw similar games many times. I doubt you need any additional proof that a pitcher need not throw very hard to get the other side out consistently. When you can change speeds as much as 20 mph from pitch to pitch,

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