Don’t look now, but former commissioner Bud Selig is a Hall of Famer. This is like the cobra inviting the mongoose for a dinner date. Selig was the first owner to become commissioner after he engineered the putsch that threw Fay Vincent overboard. And violated the intent of the office when he stepped in.
Their 30th anniversary seems to be more sober than an awful lot of the team was. But Allen Barra is right. Three decades ago, the New York Mets steamrolled the National League on the regular season, then wrung their way through to a World Series triumph the hard way, against a pair of tough enough teams from Houston and Boston. There was and remains nothing wrong with that. There was nothing like a pair of hair-raising postseason sets to remind people that even teams as good as those Mets have to work, good and hard, for their prizes.
For those curious, and who aren’t always abreast of ancient history, this journal is named for an Original Met (sort of: he was acquired during an in-season deal), Marv Throneberry. God rest his soul in peace, his earnest personality and comic opera play in 1962 earned him the nickname Marvelous Marv.
I said it last October, when the Washington Nationals imploded in a division series Game Five they had practically in the bank. And I’ll say it again, John Feinstein be damned. (Only kidding, sir.) The Strasburg Plan had nothing to do with the Nats going no further than the division series last year. And it had nothing to do with them going nowhere but home when the regular season ends this weekend.
Apparently, not everyone was happy when the Washington Nationals signed Rafael Soriano in the offseason. And at least one Nat suspects the signing was a kind of punishment levied against Drew Storen, the now-former closer whose struggling thus far has finally landed him back in Triple A, sent to Syracuse after the Nats split a doubleheader with the Mets Friday.
Storen can begin his rehorsing knowing that fellow reliever Tyler Clippard, thought to be his best friend on the team, has his back. “You know, you basically send a guy a message this offseason, for having one bad game, that he’s not the guy for the job. He’s only human. I mean, it’s going to get to anybody,” Clippard told CSNWashington.com.
Mark DeRosa, inactive for the division series but still regarded as one of their team’s leaders, should have spoken the final word on whether the Strasburg Plan ended up costing the Washington Nationals a trip to the National League Championship Series at minimum. The Plan, he tells the Washington Post, is now “irrelevant.”
Jayson Werth went home Wednesday night to flip on the Orioles-Yankees American League division series game and got a powerful enough message from a former Philadelphia Phillies teammate.
“I got a little something last night,” he huffed happily Thursday afternoon. “Watching my boy Raul Ibanez do it, he gave me a little something today.”
Ibanez, of course, blasted a game-tying bomb in the bottom of the ninth and a game-winning bomb in the bottom of the twelfth. Nowhere near twenty-four hours later, Werth—the high-priced Nat who’s struggled to live up to his mammoth deal for most of his time since—showed just what Ibanez gave him.
The easiest thing on earth to understand is that Stephen Strasburg isn’t thrilled with his shutdown. The hardest thing on earth to understand, for an awful lot of people still, is why the Washington Nationals stuck to the plan with the postseason dead in their sights and the World Series a distinct possibility. Somewhere in between is a point too often bypassed, whether you favoured or objected to the Strasburg Plan.
They’re named after baby bears. Thursday night, they behaved like babies. And one of the infants in the middle of it, who actually began as one of the field’s diplomats, still insists on taking the low road.
“You’re up 7-2, Lendy Castillo’s pitching, it’s 3-0,” harrumphed Chicago Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger. “You don’t swing in that situation. Things happen.”
Let’s see. It was the fifth inning. The Washington Nationals, who’ve already played with a little more than derring-do to build that 7-2 lead, have the bases loaded, two out, and Jayson Werth at the plate. Castillo, a Rule 5 player who isn’t used much otherwise, hoping to impress his brass, but not exactly doing a fine job of that thus far, has fallen behind Werth 3-0.
All of a sudden the Chicago Cubs seem to have a new slogan: You play baseball, we’ll play basebrawl. Not that it’s going to stop the Washington Nationals from finishing what they started Thursday night, a 9-2 drubbing to complete a four-game sweep. But by cracky it’ll make us feel like men’s men to teach you a lesson, you miserable pudknockers!
Yep, that’s the way for a team who got outscored 31-9 over the four games in Washington to show the world who the men are in this game. Let that upstart Harper brat pick himself up, dust himself off, and roll all over us, will you? Let’s see how smart he looks when we knock him on his ass after we’re so far down in this game we wouldn’t be able to get back up with a rocket.