Sunday, July 24, 2005

Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?

Chicago columnist opines Nats are done

From the desk of Phil Rogers:

---> The Livanster's agnst hasn't been ironed out, and it's directed at one Jim Bowden---well, maybe:

Hernandez clearly has had it with general manager Jim Bowden, although he's not talking about the cause of his anger.

---> Cristian Guzman stinks:

There's no hiding the Nationals' biggest problem, however, which has been the season-long fog surrounding shortstop Cristian Guzman.

---> Barry Larkin isn't coming back:

Bowden has been talking to his special assistant for two months, but so far Larkin is enjoying the plush feel of his couch. He's smart enough to know August isn't the time to get your hitting eye sharpened.

And that's all, folks; it was more of a blurb than a column. Let's just go ahead and insert the "Your mileage may vary, and probably will" caveat on this one, too. For one thing, it's published today but is already out of date. (Guzman's back in the lineup.)


At the other end of the Natty Nats spectrum, we have Richard Justice's Friday column in the Houston Chronicle. Justice's theme is that Nats' fever has spread pervasively, to the extent that fancy Georgetown dinner patryists huddle in the kitchen to watch the Nats on television. (At least they can watch on television!) The article has goosebumps-inducing quotes from Brad Wilkerson ("It's a privilege to play in an atmosphere like this") and Phil Wood ("I've got tears running down my cheeks during the national anthem. I look at the guy next to me, and he's crying, too.")

Actually, Justice goes a mite overboard on the theme. Oh sure, he mentions the recent slump and how the one-run magic is reversing itself. Still, . . . well, read:

Bowden did a terrific job rebuilding the roster with a $48 million payroll last winter. He spent wisely and got a third baseman (Vinny Castilla), shortstop (Cristian Guzman), outfielder (Jose Guillen) and starting pitcher (Esteban Loaiza).

You can debate the amount of credit to be distributed to Bodes, and you can advocate he deserves to stay on the beat when the new ownership is installed in 2176. But read the above paragraph---particularly the first two acquisitions---and you tell me if you'd use the modifier "wisely."

Justice hits the nostalgia angle on all fronts. Not only are there the sunny vignettes, but he helps rechannel our past unrequited hate:

And the suits who run baseball didn't want a team here. The Baltimore Orioles became a mega-franchise by drawing fans and television ratings from Washington.
Commissioner Bud Selig was opposed to baseball in Washington. And then he had no choice because the owners were forced to buy the Expos, and no other city came close to matching Washington's offer.

Ah, good times. Good times.

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