Sunday, June 05, 2005

Say what?

Steve Phillips? Monty Hall? What's the difference?

On today's noon edition of Baseball Tonight, Steve Phillips raised the "red flag" on every team in the extraordinarily tight National League East. For the Nats, Phillips isolated three problem areas, the essence of which were:

---> Jose Vidro: injured.
---> Cristian Guzman: sucks.
---> Jose Guillen: hasn't hit in the clutch.

Like he did with all other NL East teams, Phillips then identified three guys the Nats could acquire from an also-ran. (For instance, for the Braves, one was: "Bob Wickman, a natural fit." Oh boy.) The three players Phillips suggested the Nats target were:

---> Eric Byrnes (Oakland)
---> Randy Winn (Seattle)
---> Raul Ibanez (Seattle)

Let's cut to the chase of this idiocy, shall we? Phillips isolated three problems, two of which concerned the infield, and he recommended . . . three outfielders. Sheer genius!

Do these guys even think?

(Anecdotal evidence they do not: Last Saturday, Joe Buck on FOX declared that the NL MVP race was a showdown between Derek Lee and Albert Pujols; he said this---with a sense of surety, I might add---on Memorial Day weekend, for crying out loud! The next night, as I noted previously, Joe Morgan expressed shock that the Boston Red Sox had a high on base percentage.)

I hate to belabor this, but Phillips should have recommended a guy like Ryan Freel---someone who can fill in anywhere as necessary on a team depleted by injuries, who can provide some quality plate appearances (i.e., get on base) at the top of the order when needed, and someone who can add some speed to the mix. Or he could have recommended a big bopper (not realistically, of course). Or he could have recommended a solid starter laboring for an also-ran. Or he could have recommended relief help.

Nope. He singled out three outfielders---recommended them to a team that, of course, has two entrenched starters (Wilkerson and Guillen), plus the National League Rookie of the Month (Church), plus a seemingly more-than-capable fourth outfielder (and hothead, I guess) in Marlon Byrd.

Sure, Byrnes, Winn, or Ibanez might help (well, I wonder about Ibanez), but to what end? If Phillips had thought about the Nats for more than, oh, five seconds, he would have come to the conclusion that they need infield depth.


Welcome back to Whiner's Alley, folks!

Last week, Washington Post sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz Ogonkwe Rutherford Takagi Jefferson von Lichtenstein published a short but respectful piece informing Nats' fans why it is that the Post commits the horrible atrocity of covering the Baltimore Orioles. I hate to play this card, but it's obvious to anyone with a reasonable mind that this coverage does not take away from the Post's coverage of the Nats even one tiny bit; furthermore, it's pretty obvious to anyone not embittered beyond the point of reason that the Post's coverage of the O's is a natural consequence of its northward circulation base. On top of that, Garcia-Ruiz said that the O's coverage tested well in the Post's survey areas, and I see no reason not to take him at his words or cast conspiratorial or fellow-traveling aspirations at him.

Well . . .

Today, the Post published letters from Nats' fans displeased or unsatisfied with Garcia-Ruiz's explanation. I didn't fully realize, this, but it's rallying time here. I'm a bit far away, but I hope Chris Needham, and Ryan Moore, and Yuda, and Yurasko, and Rocket, and Brian, and D, DMCj, DM, dexys_midnight, and the entire "D" gang load up on the ammo. It's war, people!

You don't believe me? Here's a couple of snippets:

It most definitely is your place to choose sides in this rivalry. Now choose. Are you Washington or are you Baltimore?

It's up to institutions like The Post to uphold the honor of D.C. by banishing Angelos forever.

Uphold the honor, Post! It's duelin' time!

Just to be sure, you want us to rally in favor of dual coverage, right?
Not really. I mean, MORE BASEBALL = GOOD THING. But it's not like this issue is really worth much consternation either way.

So I was being sarcastic there. You don't need to rally against anything, though I sense some people think you should in order to prove your salt as a Nats fan.

I just don't think the coverage of the O's by the Post is a really a substantial thing to rally against, though. On top of that, the people who complain to/about the Post and its O's coverage come across as exceedingly whiny and irrational. It's not becoming.
No, I agree with you. The Nats coverage is excellent, so the O's coverage feels like good, bonus coverage (and the fact that it is AL centric also helps). So I am totally behind you. However, I apparently am way too tired this early in the week, since I missed the sarcasm. Wow. I am out of it.
Your point that it's AL centric is well-considered. It's only natural that a big paper like the Post would want companion coverage of both leagues, like the NY papers, the Chicago papers, the LA papers, and the Bay Area papers have.

The Post is big and arrogant. I can certainly understand and appreciate that.
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