Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Every new beginning is some other beginning's end . . .

. . . YEAH!

Anyway, I started this thing on Wednesday, January 19. As my first post indicates, I didn't have any grand designs for Nationals Inquirer; in reviewing my content since then, I can only conclude I met such high expectations!

To every thing there is a season, of course, and at the sake of infusing mock-sentimentality, I'm here to note that NI is shutting down about 48 hours after the Nationals' season did. You see, in the recent past I received an offer to join up with the Sports Blogs Nation network. I was very flattered by the offer, mulled it over, and concluded, "Why the heck not?"

And here we are. NI is shutting down, but we're basically looking at the same blog---only it'll be better-looking. As the one who's looked at this blog the most in the past eight or nine months, trust me on that one!

So, here's where you can find me, starting . . . now: FederalBaseball.com. Thanks for reading in the past, thanks for continuing to read, and---most of all---thanks for being you, fans of the Washington Nationals. I like you guys.

Where do we go now, sweet Bodes of mine?


Remember when you played sandlot football as a kid, and one of the scrubs kept on insisting, every time you huddled up, that his play would most definitely work? Come on, guys, this'll work! Two plays later: I'm telling you, give this a try. I'll catch it, I promise!

I reckon Jim Bowden was one of those guys (that's why he's a GM who never played, right?), and he's got a plan. Ah, that's a relief!

And what, pray tell, does the plan entail? Here's what: GET A LOT OF GUYS WE DON'T HAVE TO DO THINGS THE GUYS WE CURRENTLY HAVE DON'T DO SO WELL.

Awesome!

"It's that simple?" you ask. Sure, baby. But if you don't think I'm doing his plan justice, I'll review it:

---> Get power hitters.
---> Get speed guy.
---> Get starting pitchers.
---> Get "power lefty."
---> Get veteran leadership.*

Results to follow.

Yep, that's it. Now, that's a plan, gang! If only the new owner(s)---if he/she/they actually exist(s)---would give Bodes the chance to implement it, he knows it'll work. (And, considering he thought the current edition was underachieving, despite its midseason 100-win pace, this time he's serious; he was just joking back then.)


* I wonder if Carlos Baerga is available . . .

________________

Retrospectives galore!

---> Harper assumes the third rail and blog-rolls the concept (good links in there), while also kind of subtly mocking the concept. He also says the Nats' season could have been so much more (rather than could have been so much less) and predicts the Stankees will win the World Series. Boo!

---> Capitol Punishment, in a transparent yet effective attempt to give the old comments meter a few extra cranks, requested nominations for Nats-specific MVP and Cy Young awards. Today, Chris releases his picks. Like many (most?) commenters, he praised Brian Schnieder but eventually named Chad Cordero the team MVP and John Patterson the team CYA guy. I guess I'm conflicted; Cordero's definitely worthy of something, but I can't wrap my head around a guy being an MVP of anything yet also losing a Cy Young award (of any sort) to another pitcher.

---> Yuda provides his list of the top games of the Nats' (current edition) inaugural season. He also wants to know your list. Obviously, that bizarre June game in the Los Angeles Suburb of Anaheim is going to rate highly on anyone's list. I'd also nominate an April game in Atlanta. After a rain delay, the Nats rallied against then-Braves' closer Danny Kolb (heh!), capped by a Schnieder double. That was probably the moment when I suspected that this team could be something special. In a sense, it might be a more appropriate memory than anything from the ten-game winning streak in June, since that early game only gave hints of glory, not the full-born fool's gold of June. Ah well . . .


_______________

New blogs!

I've been meaning to add these to the sidebar, and still will:

---> Just a Nats Fan
---> Curly W
---> ¬°Blog! (I've been really derelict in failing to add this one; sorry!)

There's another one (is it called "Nats Triple Play"?), but I can't find it right now. A little help here?

Monday, October 03, 2005

You're gonna make me lonesome when you go


The Phillies just plain spanked the Nats yesterday, yet it didn't seem like that mattered. It kept the Phils in the wild card race (the actual one) for a moment or two, and it ruined the Nats' shot at a winning season, but that was sort of tangential.

Sunday afternoon completed baseball's first season back in the DC area (and, more specifically, in DC) in over three decades, and I am overjoyed I had a chance to attend this final game of the 2005 season. The game itself was not tremendously memorable---aside from, perhaps, Ryan Church's upper deck homer and maybe my circuitous adventure trying to replace someone's beer I accidentally spilled. But I had a great time nonetheless, and this being only my third trip to RFK this season, I felt a good dose of vicarious pride and commitment at the end, after the final out was recorded, when the Nats---both on the field and on the video board---thanked the fans for a truly special year.

My satisfaction was all-the-more enhanced by the opportunity to take in the game with a couple of Nats bloggers. I can now add Chris Needham (Capitol Punishment) and Ryan Moore (Distinguished Senators) to the list of Nats bloggers I've met in person. The list now stands at four, but that's only if you count me. Otherwise, I had previously only met Brick Barrientos (Eucalyptus), with whom I enjoyed a June victory.

The Nats did not come particularly close to pulling one out yesterday, but as I noted (and, as with the game with Brick in June), that didn't seem to matter, at least on a certain level. I had a great time taking in the game with Chris (and his old college roommate, Shaun) and Ryan (and his better half, Karen). Thanks for a fun afternoon!


___________________

And now it's all over, at least until the Hot Stove League. All that's left are the dedications and retrospectives. Boz has a nice one today, but all in all, I prefer Rocket's.

Well, I might as well add one, I suppose. Periodically, I've employed the somewhat lame and probably cliched schtick of converting Bob Dylan's material for my own blogging purposes. I would give thousands of reasons why I do this, but usually it comes down to two factors: 1) I get lazy, and 2) I like Bob Dylan.

Maybe that's the case here, or maybe the old mumbler has provided a song that fits the occasion. If you're an old diehard who ached previously for the Senators II (or, if you're a bit older, Senators I) and year-after-year suffered in unrequired dismay, or if you're like me who cheered and supported great teams but maybe didn't find true sporting love until this season, this one's for you:

I've seen love go by my door
It's never been this close before
Never been so easy or so slow.
Been shooting in the dark too long
When somethin's not right it's wrong
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Dragon clouds so high above
I've only known careless love,
It's always hit me from below.
This time around it's more correct
Right on target, so direct,
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

. . .

Fortunately, though, we get to see our Nats again next spring.

ADJUSTED PLAYOFFS!



Load up the catchy rock music snippet, FOXSports. Hey, FOX Entertainment, prepare that memorable one-liner for your next hit show ("You're risking a patient's life!!!") ---or not ("Her father's the district attorney!!!"). While you're at it, bring back the cast of Girls' Club.

On second thought, hold all that stuff.

Why settle for "actual" playoffs, when we can have "should-be-actual" playoffs? "That can be done?" you ask. For sure:

THE ADJUSTED PLAYOFFS!

Yes!

These adjusted athletes play for more than passion, more than pride, and certainly more than the love of the game. If you can believe it, they also play for more than money. Something better is out there, adjusting itself. That something is the Goblet of Third Order Wins.



Well-adjusted!

Okay, here's how the game works: the adjusted participants are determined based on the Baseball Prospectus' Adjusted Standings; as luck would have it, the Adjusted Playoffs assume the same form and (nearly; see footnote) progression as the far-inferior "real" playoffs. That makes it easier, you know.

I have not yet decided what course the Adjusted Postseason will take---whether by running simulations on MVP Baseball '05, convincing a neighbor to play a game or two of RBI Baseball every evening, or seeing whether my dog selects the bush or grass in which to relief herself---but I've got time, because at current there's a hot adjusted wild card race yet to be determined. [UPDATE: SEE BELOW!]

Here are the adjusted entrants as of the moment. All of these teams can fly Adjusted Flags, proudly and forever:

---> New York Yankees (AL East adjusted champions)
---> Cleveland Indians (AL Central adjusted champions)*
---> Oakland Athletics (AL West adjusted champions)
---> Boston Red Sox (AL adjusted wild card entrant)
---> Philadelphia Phillies (NL East adjusted champions)
---> St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central adjusted champions)
---> San Diego Padres (NL West adjusted champions)

As teased previously, one race remains: NL adjusted wild card. Prospectus is still entering the data, apparently; I imagine the Houston Astros might over-adjust the New York Mets, but we'll have to see. [UPDATE: Final returns are in, and . . . CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW YORK METS, 2005 NL ADJUSTED WILD CARD!!!]

You might be wondering why there's such a thing as the Adjusted Playoffs, when the point of making the adjustments in the first place is to refine our perspective of who is stronger and who is weaker over a long season. However, I think the answer is obvious: to see if Billy Beane's adjusted $%#@ works in the playoffs.

So, check back in periodically to see how the Adjusted Postseason progresses. I'll provide the critical information on my sidebar, and game recaps will be placed in this space. Survive and advance, baby!

* Adjusted home field advantage throughout.

[Lest I give you the wrong impression, the idea certainly isn't original to me. It might not even be original to the Yudites, but that's as far as I'm attributing.]

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