Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ryan's hope


I promise this will be the last night I do this. Really.

It's all over but the posturing, apparently, and it looks so certain that Preston Wilson will become a Washington National that the analysis has moved on to whether the trade is hammered out soon enough for Wilson to join the team in Milwaukee tomorrow. While the Wilson situation has been so fluid that nothing would surprise me if it were to appear in tomorrow's paper (well, I'm pretty certain he won't be caught teaching Tom Sizemore the ins and outs of the Whizzinator), I am presuming that the trade will be consummated.

I commend you to any and all Nats' blog for thorough takes on Preston Wilson---many negative, a few positive, and most skeptical at best.

Well, I do not support the deal, for whatever that's worth, and instead am devoting the next one minute and twenty-two seconds for passionate advocacy of one Ryan Freel. Sure, Freel is currently on the disabled list, but he's pretty close to starting a rehab assignment---which means he's, what, two weeks away, tops? We can wait.

I know, I know; Freel isn't going to pop a few homers and vulture a school of ribbies, like Wilson will. On the other hand, Freel can do so much more than that, things we need, like: get on base; play different positions; run; hustle; and play some mad defense. He's Harold Reynolds' top "Web Gem" guy from the first half of the season. Harold Reynolds! That's imprimatur, baby!

And sure, Freel isn't a particularly expensive. Jim Bowden can't give-and-take and haggle and wheel-and-deal on a $500,000 difference in salary, unlike with Wilson, if for no other reason than that Freel doesn't even make $500,000 from now to the end of the season. Heck, Freel won't even make $500,000 for the entire season, and it's not even close; the guy is only due another $200,000 or so out of his $405,000 salary for 2005. And where's the fun in that, right? On the other hand, Bodes could pocket some cash and turn it into two months' service time of a decent starting pitcher or a better reliever than Mike Stanton.

And, okay, the Cincinnati Reds don't particularly like Jim Bowden these days; according to a recent report, the current Cincy GM won't even return the former one's phone calls or emails. Clearly, Bodes needs to do something to ingratiate himself back into the Cincy inner-circle. I can think of no better olive branch than the rights to a young man named Ian Desmond. Why, Desmond's even comparable to Derek Jeter! Now that's what I call a sure thing!

Oh, and throw in Zach Day, too, if the Reds want him.

At any rate, I have literally exhausted my supply of Ryan Freel references. I can do no more.


____________

New Nats' blogs keep popping up, as you see by my "blog roll" on the sidebar to the right. A couple of them are neatly described here. Welcome to all.

I would also like to point out a "change in status" on the sidebar. As one of those people who is predisposed to neat and tidy classifications (I'm one of those guys who will never start a "1" on an outline if there won't be a corresponding "2"), I have debated for awhile where to place the Eucalpytus blog on my sidebar. Brick over there has a really fascinating blog on a number of subjects, including the Nats. The diversity of his topics led my to dwell on how to classify the blog from the very beginning of my blog's existence. In other words, is it a "Nat blog" or a "Good blog"? (Not that the two are mutually exclusive!)

Well, I think Eucalyptus is just as integral to the "Natosphere" as my blog is, and that's an excellent indication that Eucalyptus is a "Nat blog," methinks. For instance, a lot of us have running features on our blogs (you guys know what mine is, of course), and Brick has one of the coolest: using the Sean Lahman database, Brick regularly notes DC baseball-related birthdays and provides concise yet fascinating biographical information. Why, just looking at the July 5 entry, who would have known that Bump Hadley's name was Irving? Who would have known that a Bump Hadley even existed?

Plus, Brick has stepped up his Nats-related focus in the past month or two, so I think it's a no-brainer: Eucalyptus is a Nat blog, and I have classified it as such.


___________

I had to rush out of town early this week and, as such, missed both the Home Run Derby and the actual MLB All-Star Game. While missing any game broadcast by Tim McCarver is no punishment whatsoever, I wish my trip to the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater area had been under better circumstances. Unfortunately, my cousin, Dee Staats, passed away late Friday night after a lengthy battle with cancer. Dee was my cousin, but she was old enough to be my aunt. In addition, I probably regard her that way because I used to spend summers with her family when I was a boy, and she was one of the nicest and most loving people I will ever meet; as a result, I regard her as a courteous and generous elder---someone I have always respected, and whose memory I will always treasure.

While I did not see Dee much as I slid toward adulthood, I was always comforted to hear her kind, enthusiastic voice and took tremendous humor and satisfaction in her holiday updates. She leaves behind a loving husband (a man whose courtesy and good nature were a perfect match to hers), two adult daughters, a new grandson, and---judging by the incredible throng of people, family and friends, famous and not, who paid their last respects and broke bread in her memory---more people whose lives were bettered by Dee than I could possibly count.

I am honored to be among them.


__________

Dee, as the wife of a long-time baseball announcer, no doubt knew and influenced more people than she could count. She was known and loved not only as the wife of Dewayne Staats but as a respected and accomplished person in her own regard. Thus, she is mourned and remembered both as an individual and as one-half of a loving and intractable union.

So too, I would imagine, is the case of Freda Wright-Sorce, wife of long-time DC radio personality Don Geronimo (real name: Mike Sorce), one half of the "Don & Mike" duo on WJFK-FM. Freda, who died suddenly on Sunday in an auto accident, was also a radio veteran; a recurring bit on the D&M show, every now and then, was to play some of Freda's old air checks from the Clemson University student radio station.

Moreso, though, Freda was known as an incredibly patient and understanding spouse for Don, on whose show she appeared via telephone nearly every day. While no doubt some of the interaction was part of the show's act, Freda's call on a typical afternoon comprised patiently listening to Don's hijincks, trying to reason (or whine) him out of a stupid decision or attitude, and then come to an equitable resolution by the end of her phone call---at which time Don and Freda would both state their love for each other before hanging up. That last part appeared to be no act.

The relationship Don and Freda demonstrated served as a basis---it always seemed to me---for all the relationships on the show, which struck me from the first time I listened as having a snarky exterior but a heart of gold. Listening to co-host Mike O'Meara struggle with the news during the open of Monday's show was a fitting reflection of these relationships.

I cannot recall when I first listened to the D&M show; it must have been in college, after it moved to WJFK and became nationally syndicated. Although I am noted among fellow Nats' chatters for having a pretty mellow tongue, I appreciated Don and Mike and their gang even in their most vulgar moments---probably because they possessed both wit and heart.

Don and Freda presented that kind of relationship on a routine basis, but it never seemed routine. They introduced listeners to their son Bart, whose growth from boy to young man has been a staple of the show, but the attention never seemed exploitative.

They all made a good team, and their team lost one of its integral members in a shocking manner. My best wishes to the Sorce family and those who loved Freda like we (above) loved Dee.

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