A Posting On Harrisburg

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The Nationals Inquisition completed it’s grand runaround-cycle of the Nationals minor leagues by finally taking in a game of the Double-A Harrisburg Senators at Metro Bank Park on Saturday night in Harrisburg, PA. If there was ever a zombie apocalypse and you wanted to catch a baseball game during it, Metro Bank Park is the place to go as it is situated on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River downtown Harrisburg, chock full of family entertainment.

Sadly the Sens did not fare as well as this blog’s good time. They dropped the game 3-2 to the Bowie Baysox (Orioles affiliate). Luckily it was Bryce Harper Pillowcase Night so it prevented me from crying myself to sleep because there is no crying in baseball.

Be as it may and be it that there is a blog that is laying around for content, I have some thoughts on the game. I know, I know, you’ve been waiting all day and are dying to know the opinions of some doof with a keyboard. So here you are you impatient, selfish people. I shall list you to death:

  • So do remember Brian Goodwin? That kid drafted in the first round (34th) of the 2011 draft? Yeah, the young centerfielder is in Harrisburg and is leading off. Hopefully Saturday was an off night for him because from what we saw of him, he was not that impressive. In fact he sucked at the plate. The Bowie pitcher was no Cy Young and his off speed stuff was crap, but Goodwin just couldn’t lay off said crap and embarrassed himself a couple times at the plate.
  • Ahoy LeCroy! Matt “Beer Truck” LeCroy is Harrisburg’s manager and he seems to be fermenting well in the manager position. Had to roll himself out of the dugout during a botched umpiring call where one of his players got hit by a pitch but the umpire called strike three. Polite to the ump, no heat, no threat of getting thrown out– and no getting the correct call. Blue said the out stood.
  • Speaking of the umpiring crew, they blew goats and wooly mammoths. Both Harrisburg and Bowie got bad calls from a head umpire who couldn’t decide where the strike zone was and who made it obviously clear why he was umping Double-A baseball.
  • The Senators patriotic jerseys made them look like they were going to run the Olympic torch in the 1980s or shoot up steroids before taking on the Tour De France.

Okay, so that is a crappy list. Sue me. But there is one odd footnote to all this: Bowie Baysox fans (Orioles fans?) are just plain weird. There was this old fart decked out in O’s gear sitting two seats away from me and just kept giving me the staredown. I have no idea why. He would watch the action on the field and when there was a break he would turn his head and just stare at me without saying anything, but obviously something had his gump. He was in his late 50s it looked and probably had some sort of dementia. Every Bowie pitch was a strike in his book and every pitch from the Sens Taylor Hill was way outside the zone and should have been a ball.

Somehow the NQ always gets the freaks.

But great time in Harrisburg in a beautiful park–

Christ, this post sucks. I haven’t been active a whole lot this season for certain reasons and the rust is showing. I feel like Dan Haren pitching only three innings: I suck.

Forgive me.

The Beard Appears Ready For Action

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For the first time in quite a while I made my way back to Woodbridge, the area where I grew up. I did not go to shop at Potomac Mills nor did I go to eat some veal marsala at Roma. I did not go to revisit my childhood. I made my way back home because I heard on MLB Network, during Quick Pitch, that the Nationals’ grizzled RF Jayson Werth was in town for his rehab assignment with the Nats Single-A affiliate, the Potomac Nationals.

With a ball in my hand and P-Natitude in my heart, I got in my truck to see the progress Werth has made since injuring his hamstring. Let me be the first to tell you that Werth appears to be locked and loaded. He went 1-2 in the game with a hard-hit single (pictured above). Watching him warm up and watching him in the outfield revealed that he appears to be comfortable on the field and whatever discomfort he may or may not still be feeling is not slowing him down at all.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Werth on the Potomac Nationals was his presence. It is easy to feel the championship-caliber veteran presence Werth has to him when he plays in DC. But it is significantly more evident in the more intimate Pfitzner Stadium. Every time the ball left the barrel of a Salem player’s bat, you could hear Werth shouting in RF on how to field the ball. Whenever he walked back to the dugout, he was accompanied by the young CF, Michael Taylor, who was listening to Werth as if he were listening to a coach.

This is the kind of player Werth is. As much as he is a competitor on the field, he is also a mentor to the young talent that we can expect to know over the next few years. We all see his contributions on the field. We see the clutch hits, the home runs, the walk-offs, the long and collected at-bats, the beard, and his winning mentality. What many do not see is his off-the-field presence that is worth almost as much as his contributions on the field. It is for this reason that I would love to see Werth serve as a coach to this team when he retires from playing.

After the game, Werth delighted a lot of fans by talking with them and signing pretty much anything people put in his face. So Werth and I have crossed paths yet again and I was able to shake hands with the legend. I also managed to get a ball signed for a great friend of mine. Yes, the benefits for going French with the Werth mask keep pouring in!

Rest your weary heads Nationals fans, Werth will be back in no time and, from the looks of it, he will be back with a vengeance.

Cole Kimball, Randy Tomlin And Andrew Kown Explain “The Towel”

We’ve all seen it whether we were watching pitchers warm up in the bullpen before games, maybe out in the outfield at Nationals Park and certainly Spring Training in Viera, FL: “The Towel.”

You’ll know what I am talking about when you see a pitcher sets up and instead of throwing a ball, he has a dish towel or workout towel or a lucky towel and they go through their pitching motions with it without letting go. It is an odd sight seeing grown men whip the flimsy bit of cloth in the air with a “floof.” Ever wonder why?

Here is a news segment that was shot back in June where Cole Kimball, Randy Tomlin and Andrew Kown explain why they do it. Get a pencil and paper, these are trade secrets that will make you look like you know what you are doing.

That is what we do on this blog: unwrap the secrets of the universe.

The Sun Might Be Setting On The Hagerstown Suns

The Washington Nationals might have two minor league affiliates in Northern Virginia soon.

Already their Single-A affiliate, the Potomac Nationals, are in Woodbridge, VA however the NQ’s crack team of reporters (who just Googled it) has learned the Class-A Hagerstown Suns have signed a letter of intent to move the team from Hagerstown, Maryland to Winchester, VA.

This all depends if certain conditions are met by April 17th such as funding for a new stadium.

In honor of this landmark move, the NQ has posted the video above (WARNING: Some foul language) of the Suns tying a cellphone to a balloon, releasing it while it was recording and then having it crash into a power line and have it blow the transformer.

If these sort of shenanigans continue, then Winchester is in for a real treat.

Harrisburg Senator Mascot Attempts Chicken Dance With Blackface Pig In Dog Collar

Double-A Harrisburg Senator mascot, Rascal, was at a Polar Plunge recently to cheer on the crazy people who jump in the water at this time of year and drum up support for the upcoming baseball season. Seems innocent enough, right? Just go down there, sign some autographs, entertain the kids, be merry.

Rascal accomplished all that, but he added in a bonus: he attempted to chicken dance with a blackfaced pig that for some reason was spotted like a cow wearing a dog collar…what the hell is that? A Michael Myers cow-dog pig? Seriously bizarre. I am not sure what the artist was trying to convey.

Jesus, really? This is really all we have this morning? I’m talking to you, NQ Staff…really? Yeah?

Hell of a way to start the morning.

Mike Rizzo Tries To Be Brad Pitt And Signs Mark Teahen

Last week the Washington Nationals shocked the world by signing pitcher Edwin Jackson (who shunned the Pirates to come to the Nats) and then flipped the bird to Philadelphia fans who still can’t understand why no one likes them. Everyone braced for a follow-up this week and it finally arrived Monday afternoon as the next logical step is of course to sign infielder Mark Teahen to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.

Yeah, that Mark Teahen. He is still around. Last season, in 27 games with the Toronto Blue Jays Teahen totally Mendoza’d out with a soul crushing .190 batting average. He can play multiple positions however and is viewed as nothing more than another warm body trying to root himself onto the Nationals bench.

Really… Edwin Jackson to Mark Teahen. The Nationals certainly know how to run the gantlet of transactions.

Rumor has it GM Mike Rizzo got this idea after he read some book called “Moneyball” written by Brad Pitt who also recently portrayed himself in the movie of the same name. In the book, Teahen was supposed to become the next Jason Giambi.

This no doubt excited Rizzo and Rizzo looks in the mirror and thinks he looks like Brad Pitt so he put two and two together and waa-la!

We are lions!

Nationals Sign Rick Ankiel, Hopes His Billy Baroo Can Do It Again

“Davey, this calls for the old Billy Baroo… Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy…ha-hoo, Billy, Billy- this is a big one. Don’t let me down, Billy. I just signed a minor league contract with an invite…to…Spring…Training, Billy. Ahhhhh-ha-ha, Billy…”

While we are on this theme, have you heard the one about the Jew, the Catholic and the colored boy?

It’s a doozy!

Your Nationals Dispatch: Sick Day Make-Up Edition

I’m probably at 90% health right now after a vicious night of fever hallucinations so bare with me.

Actually, don’t. I have enough to catch up on today as is. I could tell you all about all the zombies, butter monsters and how the trees all came alive last night, but you don’t come here for that. Let’s just go straight into–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

The Nats Are Sort Of Number One – Baseball America released its 2012 Prospect Handbook and would you believe it? The Nationals have the #1 Farm System in MLB. The team has made some extraordinary strides in this department considering just five years ago they were ranked dead last. However, the catch is these rankings were made before the Gio Gonzalez trade where they gave up four prospects so they probably rank a little bit lower. Updated farm grades will be released in mid-March.

So the Nats don’t really have the number one farm system and they will fall in the rankings, but I don’t think they’ll fall too far. The 2011 Draft Class was a monster and all they really gave up for Gio was two September Cinderellas, a good catcher and a pitcher that “maybe” will turn into someone someday. I am sure Mike Rizzo’s Tommy Bahamas are bursting at the buttons with pride just the same.

Mike Rizzo Wrote An E-Mail – Not long after the Nationals Farm System was named “Number One” by Baseball America, Nats beat writer Bill Ladson somehow intercepted a top secret, coded communication from Mike Rizzo to various scouts and developmental heads in the organization thanking them for all their hard work. The e-mail comes straight from Rizzo’s bunker hidden deep in the catacombs of Nationals Park.

Actually, he probably just wrote it on his Blackberry or something. I just added all that cloak-and-dagger stuff because it sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is.

Nationals Sign Chad Durbin – Remember when former GM Jim Bowden was accused of doing too many trades with the Cincinnati Reds and former team president Stan Kasten had a hard on for anyone from the Atlanta Braves? It seems Rizzo has a man-crush on anyone who comes from the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals signed reliever Chad Durbin to a minor league deal with Spring Training invite. Durbin appeared in 56 games with a 5.53 ERA for the Cleveland Indians last season.

Rizzo trying to get the 2008 Phillies gang back together? Now when they bus the animals down from the City of Brotherly Puke to Nationals Park it will be like riding in a time machine for them. WEEEEEEEEEE!1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!

John Lannan Wants His Money – The Nationals and starter John Lannan had an arbitration hearing on Wednesday and the results of the meeting won’t be announced until sometime today (Thursday). The Nationals were offering Lannan $5 million while Lannan countered with $5.7 million.

Oh, so a guy gets his nose busted in 2011 by a ball hit right back at his face and suddenly he has delusions and contusions of grandeur. I once broke my nose on my computer monitor after headbutting it after a particularly bad Nationals performance and do I get paid more for it? No. Now that I think on it, it was a John Lannan performance. THAT GUY OWES ME MONEY!

UPDATE: The Nationals defeated John Lannan in arbitration. Lannan will now make a measly $5 million in 2012. Poor, Johnny Boy. How will he ever feed Tiny Tim and the rest of the family?

And that is Your Nationals Dispatch.