Monday, March 28, 2005

A Jim Williams exclusive!!!

Hey, the TV deal is close! Really close! No, I mean it! It's close!

I guess one way you scoop your competition is to predict something will come to pass and then repeat it continually, faithfully, persistently, and doggedly until the damned thing actually comes to pass. Then you can truly say you were first with the news.

Has it always been this way? Was there some intrepid "journalist" like Jim Williams way back when, 150 million years ago, who said,
"Guys, Laurasia is nice and all, but pretty soon this land mass will be three continents, and they'll call 'em Europe, North America, and Asia. . . . Well, no, it's not going to happen TOMORROW. No, not next week or next month or next year, either. But my sources are good. Just TRUST me." And sure enough, one fine morning . . .

Anyway, Williams adds another image to
Bob DuPuy collection---which is quickly turning into a barrage of imagery unparalleled since Marty Blank characterized his previous decade as a cross between a Horatio Alger story and the Donner Party. Let's review:

---> Just over a week ago,
Capitol Punishment Chris referred to DuPuy as "Grimace."

---> This past Friday, poster "Hondo9" from the Ballpark Guys forum turned the word "DuPuy" into a verb, meaning "to act more slowly than continental drift." Can he use it in a sentence? Sure: "Avoid 270 this morning. You'll find yourself hopelessly Dupuyed for hours!"

---> And today, Williams adds his two cents on DuPuy: "Dupuy, who has shown the patience of Job in this six-month long compensation soap opera, . . ."

A bloated, uh, Thing from fast-food commercials; a traffic jam; an Old Testament figure. Just about sums it up, eh?

By the by, Williams' sentence concludes thusly: " . . seems tired and ready to end it once and for all." This is appropriate, because:

a) lots of Nats' fans, myself included, are tired us this; and,
b) it had better end PDQ, both for the Nats' sake and
for the sake of whatever credibility Williams still has.

Yesterday was not a good day for the Nats. Let's run though the checklist:

Uninspired play? Check.
No. 2 starter hurt? Check.
Manager p.o.'ed? Check.
Clubhouse meeting? Check.

As for uninspired play, it doesn't get much more suspect than the effort of Endy Chavez, whose roster spot, mind you, is holding onto dear life just because Inning-Endy is speedy:

In the eighth, center fielder Endy Chavez hit a shot to center that looked like it might be a triple, but Chavez slowed down coming around first, settling for a double.

As for the No. 2 starter hurting, well, that's Tony Armas, of course. Don't worry, though; according to Armas, his yanking (so to speak) for a groin injury was just "precautionary."

But Robinson, who is typically cautious with injured players, said he wasn't
sure whether the right-hander will be able to make his next start, which is
scheduled for Friday and is supposed to be his final tuneup for the regular

As for the p.o.'ed manager, what say you, Frank?

"This phase we're in right now," Robinson said, "is not a good phase." [. . .]
"It's the time of spring training where you're supposed to be doing the hings
to get ready for the season," Robinson said. "And it wasn't just this game.
We've been a little sloppy, a little lax, as a team the last four or five ballgames. I've been -- not ignoring it -- but holding back a little bit."

As for the closed-door team meeting, not much to say:

Sunday, he chose to talk to the team. Robinson said he didn't yell. "We just
talked," catcher Gary Bennett said. The players seemed to agree with Robinson's assessment.

Two things to note here:

1) If the injury to Armas is more than precautionary---and, not to be blithe, but this is Armas we're talking about here---then it might delay at least one tough choice concerning the composition of the pitching staff and, I'm guessing, give big Jon Rauch a ticket north for a spell. And there's no need to rush Armas; it's better to ensure that he's pain-free and, as a consequence, mechanically-sound.

2) For some reason, when I read the Post story this morning, I recalled Jim Bouton's early assessement of the Seattle Pilots in Ball Four. No, I'm not anticipating that this team will be doomed to Bud Selig's ownership (heck, that's already happened . . .), but if you've read Bouton's book---and I suspect many or most of us, as baseball fans, have---recall how positive his prospects for the Pilots were during the early spring. The Pilots were playing reasonably well, and Bouton noted something like, "Hey, with the way this team hits, if we can get at least decent pitching, we can make a race of it." (I'm not suggesting that the pitching is the problem, and the Nats' offense is a juggernaut, by the way.)

But, in pretty short order, reality set in with Bouton, and after awhile (a short while) he was pitching to get traded---anywhere: Detroit, Washington, even back to the Yankees. (He did eventually get dealt to Houston.) Reality will set in with this Nats team, too. Let's just hope everyone---I'm looking at you, Jose Guillen---takes it smoothly.

At least Robinson is an old pro whose not prone to making a fool or side-show out of himself. Remember the manager back in the early 90s---was it Tom Runnels or Greg Riddoch?---who showed up for a spring training in military fatigues or something and called an exhibition game a "must win game"? I don't think F-Robbie will do that.

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