Friday, February 11, 2005

TGIF Odds and Ends

Pravda's take on our bully; Wayne-Knight-looking-freaked-out conspiracy theory possibilities

---The penultimate entry in MLB.com's award-winning "Around the Horn" series concerns the bullpen. It's generally a positive review, ending with the proposition that "if the team can take a lead into the seventh and eighth innings, the Nationals might be tough to beat."

I think I agree. I suffer from a weird form of cognitive dissonance on the point; I know relatively little about the guys in our bullpen, yet I feel confident about the bullpen. Go figure.

The numbers mainly support this confidence. Sure, the article cites an initial 1-14 record by the relievers---which, without investigating more, I'd surmise was equal parts mediocre pitching, one of those things (you can't really trust any particular reliever's won-lost record anyway), and Rocky Biddle.

Well, the first two parts eventually worked themselves out, and Biddle was thrown in the proverbial wood-chipper. And, wouldn't you know, the Spos' 4.00 relievers' ERA was better than the 4.06 relievers' league average, at least according to STATS' free site.

I don't really know if Cordero and Ayala are for real, and Osuna is good for a month or two on the ol' DL. On the other hand, maybe we have three stud anchors here, maybe Eischen is sound, maybe Joe Horgan(whose minor league performance
certainly didn't seem to preface anything exceptional in the bigs) will continue his solid LOOGY work.

The pen certainly doesn't lack for options, as the article notes, and it doesn't even reference Danny Rueckel, who I proferred yesterday as a possible sleeper pick for some quality innings. Bill James once wrote, in an essay about the 1986 starters for the Oakland A's, that sometimes having too many options is a curse, but as much as I love James, one essay is not gospel and the situation is probably distinguishable anyway.

Furthermore, I recall Robinson putting together solid bullpens in the past (see, e.g., 1989 Orioles), and I have every confidence that he'll do it this year.

---By the way, I sometimes have a dickens of a time creating a link to articles on the Nats' official MLB.com site that's not broken. Maybe the links are too long, or they contain strange characters, or whatever. I know as much about computers as I do about the finer points of Ethan Frome. Any suggestions on this problem? (To be clear, not the Ethan Frome problem; I swore that off in 10th grade.)

---The Natfanatics have carved out a pretty neat little niche in our blogging community. In fact, it's not really so little at all; they're, after all, the official website of the Nats Fan Club, carry at least two or three site-specific columnists, offer a veritable bevy of technical treats, etc. It's a site well worth visiting.

In addition to those interests, Natfanatics also picked up on my little "conspiracy theory" that might, perhaps, just a tad serve to offer a marginal justification for TK Stack Money's Thursday column (yeah, what I'm still trying to say is that, yes, it sucked). Well, they took the idea and ran with it:

Interestingly, the folks over at Nationals Inquirer follow in the footsteps of their namesake, suspecting a conspiracy of sorts between good-cop Tom Boswell and bad-cop Tony Kornheiser. We like it! We'll be watching
the Inquirer for their next big break - the truth about Peter Angelos. Is he
really the love child of Marge Schott and aliens from the planet Remulac-7?
Sorry Basil...couldn't resist. We await your return volley sir!


Well, my return volley is to bestow upon you an award. I like your theory, and I find it strangely credible. So would Wayne Knight's character from JFK---who, in a notable sequence from the film, assumes an increasingly uncomfortable and spooked countenance as Kevin Costner ticks off the (Jim Garrison-and-Oliver-Stone-filtered) facts of Oswald's past.

So, congratulations to the Natfanatics, inaugural recipient of the "Wayne Knight is officially freaked out" award. While I anticipate that future winners will tend to be baseball owners claiming financial ruin, I must say that the Natfanatics have treaded into a fertile area of conspiracy---an area where, if they do not watch their backs, the full weight of the Commissioner's Office and the asbestos litigators lobby (and the good souls of Remulac-7), will bear down.

And, by all means, check into Natfanatics on a daily basis. It's required reading for a Nat fan!

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