Yes, children—minus Strasburg, this Nats rotation DOES have good postseason chances

Let’s try this again.

Assume the Washington Nationals will stick to the script and implement, some time in September, the exclamation point of the Strasburg Plan. Period dot period. Assume, too, that there’ll be enough blue murder screaming over the Nats torpedoing their own postseason chances. Maybe even some conspiracy theorists demanding a formal investigation, perhaps into whether someone isn’t buying the Nats off bigtime to tank. (Would the conspiracy theorists surprise you, really?)

Now, shove all that to one side and look at the Nats’ rotation without Stephen Strasburg.

Zimmermann—Without the Stras, he won’t be leading a rotation of pushovers . . .

Beckett—Ill Seen, Ill Said

Afforded the chance to do so by WEEI’s Rob Bradford, who seems one of the less cannibalistic among sports radio heads, Josh Beckett had a few more things to say about the end of his Boston tour. A few perhaps inadvertent misstatements to the contrary, since Beckett wasn’t always forthcoming with reporters after his losses this season, the righthander didn’t exactly come across as a mere fuming brat. MassLive.com’s Ben Shapiro caught the point almost at once:

Roar of the conqueror, in the 2007 World Series . . .

Daffy Doc Guillen

Well, now. That’s the way to heal the wounded.

Daffy Doc Guillen, explaining the finer points of delicate orthopedics . . .

It’s time for this organization to move on and be tough on the players. We’re not going to go through, ‘OK, let’s wait for another month. It might be better.’ It never happens. Agents and doctors and different opinions make guys take a different way. Now it’s time for the Marlins to take our way. I don’t care about opinions. That’s the way we’re going to do it from now on . . . I expect everybody here to be healthy for spring training and ready to go, because if not, they’re going to be surprised . . . Guys play bad, have surgery, rehab, and I’m the one who is going to get fired. We paid them a lot of money for them to play for us. They’ve got to respond to us—to the Marlins.

Sobering Up with the Red Pox

Remember when Idiots weren’t bad things?

In the wake of the 2004 World Series, I wrote, for a since-defunct publication, “[S]omething seems not quite right about the literature of the Boston Red Sox turning toward triumph and away from tragedy.” Specifically, I was reviewing Faithful, Stewart O’Nan’s and (yes, that) Stephen King’s collaborative, end-to-end chronicle of viewing that year’s extraterrestrial Red Sox. And I was trying to say this: A near-century’s literature of transcendental disaster, usually upon the brink of the Promised Land but not necessarily exclusive to it, could only become a literature of transcendental triteness, now that the Red Sox had won a World Series, in my lifetime and every other Red Sox Nation citizen’s.

Ballspeak: What Do You Mean "We," White Man?

Roger Clemens, after he pitched pretty damn fly for a fiftysomething guy with an indie team last week, tells the Houston Chronicle that’s about it for the time being, anyway:

Who’s we?

Not at this point. That could change in a couple days, but right now we haven’t talked to any of the guys or anything like that. This is good for it, good exercise. We’ll do a little cardio and try to get some more of that soreness out. It’s good soreness though. We came out of it all right and everybody had a good time, so that was the key.

Castro Sentenced to Seven Years

Castro—Seven-year contract; or, seven-year sentence, depending on your point of view . . .

OK, I’m being a wisenheimer. But Starlin Castro will get seven years—to play for the Chicago Cubs. (OK, there are those who’d consider that a prison sentence . . . ) Seven years and, we can presume, delicious dollars enough. Whether that’s a contract or a sentence depends on your point of view and, of course, the Cubs’ coming fortunes, or lack thereof.

Bedard Walks the Plank, and Other Steps and Missteps

Slipping in the National League Central (thirteen losses in their last eighteen games), the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to end the Erik Bedard experiment. They’ve released the lefthander—whose fourteen losses tie for the Show’s most this season—after he began what some think was a predictable struggle once he reached 100 innings pitched. SweetSpot‘s David Schoenfeld seems to have it right on the proverbial money:

Bedard—days done as a quality starter?

I thought it was a reasonable gamble. While Bedard has often been injured throughout his career, he’d always managed to pitch well when he did take the mound. All the Pirates had to hope for was that Bedard would remain healthy into July and then they could flip him to a contender for a prospect . . . 

Needing and Feeding Vin Scully

“Will you still need me/will you still feed me/when I’m 64,” warbled Paul McCartney, a little more than midway through the Beatles’ landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Los Angeles Dodgers have decided they will still need and feed Vin Scully for a 64th season in the booth.

To hear Scully say it, it was a halfway meeting between the new ownership’s determination and Scully’s heart’s desire that secures Scully for 2013. “I’m really grateful, more than anything else, I should be on my knees every day,” he said, “giving thanks for the opportunity to do what I love to do, and to do it for so long.”

Trout Fishing

Mike Trout just keeps swimming right along. He’s probably a lock as the American League’s Rookie of the Year; at this writing he’s forging a powerful Most Valuable Player case, though Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers might give you an argument about the latter. And while it did get ridiculous to see a number of scribes, who should have known better, writing as though the lad is a Hall of Fame lock or close enough thereto, you’ve got to admit that as rookie seasons go Trout’s could end up among the best of them—if it hasn’t already.

You Shall Not Crucify Baseball's Lingo on a Tower of Babble

There are times—in cyberspace or otherwise—when stumbling upon something you missed when it first arrived can sting rather than charm. Especially if it’s a fine essay on baseball jargon, and you discover you’re just as guilty as everyone else of making mincemeat out of it.

The essay in question is Allen Barra’s, from The Atlantic, in June. He took a good, long look at what’s become of baseball’s language and was not amused. More saddened than infuriated, Barra decided, with apologies to Yogi Berra (whom Barra admires for his syntax as much as his baseball virtuosity), that he wished baseball people really hadn’t said half the things they’ve said since, oh, around 1980.