Papelbon’s apology amplifies the Nationals’ unreality

Papelbon's choke attempt . . .

Papelbon’s choke attempt . . .

Jonathan Papelbon struggles with at least two things off the mound, apparently. He isn’t as good as he thinks with public apologies, and he’s no historian of Washington baseball. He showed both when he faced the press at the Nationals’ Space Coast Stadium spring digs and owned up over trying to choke Bryce Harper in the dugout on last September’s Fan Appreciation Day.

It may have been nothing compared to the Nats themselves showing how out of touch with things like reality they may well be.

Our long Nationals nightmare is over . . . for now

The Nats have fired Matt Williams, who was in the dark about more than a few things . . .

The Nats have fired Matt Williams, who was in the dark about more than a few things . . .

Before the Washington Nationals lost their final regular season game to the National League East champion Mets, general manager Mike Rizzo promised he wasn’t going to leave people twisting in the wind. Rizzo’s words, not mine. Maybe he thought Nats fans had been forced into doing the twist too long this season already.

Monday morning Rizzo kept his promise—and how. He executed manager Matt Williams, just a year after Williams was named the National League’s Manager of the Year. The man who came into the season leading the prohibitive World Series favourites leaves it with his head in a guillotine basket.

Stephen Strasburg, the Long Haul, and the Short Thinkers

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.

Stay the Course with the Strasburg Plan

“It’s funny,” Stephen Strasburg told reporters Tuesday night, after he waxed the Atlanta Braves with six one-run innings, not even letting a rain delay affect him. “Nobody talks to me personally about it. Obviously, I can either scour the Internet or watch all the stuff being said on TV or I can just keep pitching and watch the Golf Channel, I guess.”

If Strasburg did any Internet scouting over last weekend, he might have seen the innings limit—the talk of which has dominated just about everything when it comes to the National League East and, really, most everywhere else in the Show—has now achieved what some might think the ultimate affirmation.