Potomac Nationals Want To Be Closer To Ozzfest

Oh Lawd…it is Monday, nothing is happening and I am absolutely sick. “Sick” as in physically ill, not “sick” as in totally awesome (which I am that too, but don’t like to brag). I’ve been chewing alka-seltzer tabs raw and trying to “sweat the cold out” by drinking brandy, putting on sweatpants and Nationals hoodie and turning up the heat in the lodge.

Being sick sucks, but then again it is good. It helps strengthen the immune system and it gets this sort of thing out of the way before 2012 Spring Training. Yes, finally confirmed it: the Nationals Inquisition will be in attendance for a fifth consecutive year. It sadly won’t be a full month blitz like in 2011, but you should expect the same sort of ST reporting about the games and times we do have. Right now we are down for these games:

  • March 7th vs. St. Louis Cardinals
  • March 8th vs. Houston Astros
  • March 10th vs. Mets (Split-Squad)

I will be bringing OddNat with me. It has been awhile since he and I went on a Nationals romp and we will also be hanging with Space Coast Legend, Rich The Mets Fan so who knows what debauchery we’ll get into and what games we might try and sneak into our schedule.

As I said, I’m sick and there is literally nothing going on today as of yet Nats News wise, but I just thought I might throw this out there: the Nationals Single-A club the Potomac Nationals held a Hot Stove Banquet at the Hyatt at Fair Lakes on Sunday and it was announced they were looking at the option of moving the team from Prince William County and I-95 to somewhere along I-66.

Currently the P-Nats play in Pfitzner Stadium (or “The Pfitz) which is an aging, rundown beer dive of a minor league park that everyone hates, but secretly loves because, well, it has been there forever. Sort of like the Constitution: people bitch about it all the time, but it is all we know.

Personally I would hate this because the NQ’s NOVA Headquarters is only 15 minutes from the Pfitz. But that is me being selfish. I’d still gladly drive up I-66 to catch a game or two, but I don’t look forward to potential traffic.

Can you imagine rush hour, a P-Nats game and Ozzfest at Nissan Pavilion all taking place at the same time?

That would be an interesting driving experience.

James Skelton Marks Another Nationals Move to Put Heat on the NL East

The Washington Nationals signed catcher James Skelton to a minor league deal Monday afternoon.

The 26-year old hit .221/.360/.346 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2011 in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Skelton is a minor league traveler since being taken in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers. He has also seen time on the farm with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates. Look for him to continue his whirlwind tour of the Major League Farm System with the Washington Nationals as nothing more than organizational depth.

An interesting side note to Skelton is he was a 2008 Florida State League All-Star during his time with the Lakeland Flying Tigers but was unable to be included on the All-Star roster due to injury. The player that took his place? Wilson Ramos.

Yep, that is it. That is all we have in the tank. Absolutely nothing is going on in Natstown right now. Everyone is inside, boarded up, liquored up and bracing for what seems to be an oncoming storm. This literally is the biggest baseball news we’ve had in a week. REAL BASEBALL NEWS– regardless of how little it will actually impact the team and organization– it is REAL BASEBALL NEWS.

It feels good. You get tired of all the facial hair and silly Youtube posts after awhile. When a staff member passed me Skelton’s file and the news I nearly crapped myself.

I thought I discovered Atlantis.

(Photo from Pbase.com)

Danny Espinosa is a Dirtbag Going to a Dirtbag Dinner

Yeah, I said it. Washington Nationals second baseman is a Dirtbag. A total Dirtbag. A screaming Dirtbag. And he is going to a Dirtbag dinner.

What a Dirtbag.

Espinosa is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the 2012 Dirtbag Leadoff Dinner on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at The Grand in Long Beach to help usher in and grow interest in the 2012 season for the Long Beach State baseball team.

Espinosa was a two-time All-Big West selection at shortstop for Long Beach State, hitting .303 with 11 home runs in his three seasons with the Dirtbags. Espinosa led the Dirtbags to two NCAA Regional appearances, hosting the Regional round in both 2007 and 2008 before being drafted in the third round of the MLB draft by Washington.

Way to go, Dirtbag!

Espinosa is expected to give a speech on his rise to the MLB and will most likely mingle with the crowd. If you will be in the area and have interest in attending contact Long Beach State Athletics at (562) 985-4662.

I’ve been to one of these before at the University of Virginia in 2004. In hindsight it was the single most awesome and terrible night of my baseball life. The keynote speaker that night was Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and he brought his brother along, Billy Ripken. They talked baseball and hammed it up as we ate relatively decent chow. After dinner, Cal pushed back his plate and simply said, “So who wants me to sign something?” Of course, the whole place did and he stayed and signed pretty much everything and anything someone threw in front of him. Billy too. Class acts, both of them.

It was great. Ripken was and continues to be my favorite ballplayer of all time. It was a real treat for me to get two feet away from him and get a ball signed.

The bad part of the night took place a little earlier though and at the time I did not realize it. The UVa baseball team had an autograph session and gave out free posters to be signed. I went around the U-Shaped table and got every player’s signature, rolled it up, went back to my table and ate dinner. When I went to meet Ripken I left the poster on my seat. When I came back, the janitors and wait staff had already cleaned the table… including my poster.

Some time later a team appropriately named the Washington Nationals got a player from UVa who went on to the Majors. You know him. I know him. That is right: the great Mike Ballard. Of course, a few months after the UVa dinner another guy was drafted by the Nationals. Some third baseman who went by the name of Ryan Zimmerman.

So some janitor chucked my Ryan Zimmerman sig before Ryan Zimmerman was Ryan Zimmerman. He or she just tossed an item that I would’ve held dear and valuable into the trash just like that. That is why I toss as much garbage, waste and crap on the floor as I can anytime I am in public. The janitorial profession shall pay for my suffering.

So if you decide to invite me to your house or wedding it just isn’t me being a dirtbag. It is me putting my foot down for justice.

Your Nationals Dispatch: Chewing The Late Night Bacon Edition

I’m sitting in the NQ lodge tonight chewing on a piece of slightly raw bacon, looking over recent Nats news and breaking in a new pair of glasses that were delivered barefoot up the mountain by the hillbilly who I guess could be considered the “postman” in these parts who only shows up once every two weeks. I gave him a shot of White Lightning for his troubles and kicked him out the door.

I apologize if anything is misspelled or grammatically incorrect in this posting. It is like I am looking through a fishbowl currently.

I usually save these types of posts for the morning, but for the next couple days I might be hard to come by as I have made contact with the local shaman and he will be taking me deep into the woods to a spiritual place where we will take some strange potion of herbs, twigs and mushrooms in order to enter inside myself and find the deeper meaning behind the off season. Perhaps I will be able to psychically know what free agents the Nationals will be getting this year, I don’t know, but it certainly beats constantly reading and ranting on “What if…” articles, “Why the Nats Should Go After [INSERT PLAYER NAME]” pieces as if.

If I survive I should return to the Lodge with a greater understanding of this whole Hot Stove business. If not, then this might be the very last–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

Nationals Are About To Extend Contract With Penis Jokes – The Nationals and starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang are close to a deal that would keep the towering Taiwanese pitcher in Washington says a report and are only now trying to figure out the “contract language.” Wang has made it clear he wants to stay in D.C. because he feels a loyalty to the team who stayed loyal to him while he recovered for nearly two years from shoulder surgery. Wang says money will not be an issue.

What does this mean? It means the Nationals will potentially retain a great, veteran pitcher with plenty left in the tank and who wants to actually stay in D.C. and they will also usher in a whole new contract of penis jokes every time Wang starts. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Mr. National Continues To Look More Sketchy And Crooked - Former Nationals starter and now free agent Livan Hernandez is in trouble with Suntrust Bank. Anything dealing with numbers looks scary to me so I will just say Hernandez was sued by Suntrust over a line of credit and promissory note the bank claimed he breached- and he lost. Now Livo has to pay $258,595.76 $469,387.22. Add this on top of his legal troubles involving him being a straw buyer for a known and convicted drug lord and now Mr. National doesn’t really look like the type of guy you want your kids to idolize or base a baseball’s franchise off of.

Hernandez and the Nationals haven’t had serious talks about him returning to D.C. and I doubt at this juncture they ever will. He is finished in Washington and he leaves as crooked and twisted as any gin-fiend politician wobbling drunk out of a Capitol Hill slaughterhouse.

Bryce Harper Can Maybe Make The Team Out Of Spring Training– In Some Universe: Top Nats prospect Bryce Harper is shredding the Arizona Fall League and has been named to the Rising Stars Game (sort of a mini-All Star game for minis) on Nov. 5th. All this has gotten people talking with some believing he can make the big team right out of Spring Training 2012.

My thoughts on it? Not going to happen. Unless the ground cracks open and swallows the Nationals outfield in Viera I just don’t see the Nationals making that move. Doesn’t seem GM Mike Rizzo’s style and it is a move that would reek of desperation at not finding a legit outfielder to fill the role until Harper is indeed, truly ready. I guess a lot could change between now and then, but I would not place a bet on that particular cock in this cockfight.

Some Weird Food And Hair Over There - Several Nationals including Michael Morse, Chien-Ming Wang and Collin Balester are over in Taiwan taking part in an exhibition game and from all reports the Nationals are big hits over there, probably because of the influence Wang has on his own country. Wang is like Bat-Super-Jeter-Man over there.

I just wanted to post two pictures for your amusement. First, here is a photo of Collin Balester looking like Justin Bieber. Michael Morse and a Screech doll included as well. Second, here is a photo of some food some of the players were trying. I am told this is a 100-year old egg which, if true, would show the Taiwanese people have incredible patience when it comes to gourmet. In America, we don’t appreciate things like that. We’d just go down the street to the local dog park and pick it up for dinner. We call it fast food.

And that is Your Nationals Dispatch.

Yet Another Bryce Harper AFL Home Run Brings Happy Postal Tidings

Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper jacked another homer in the Arizona Fall League Friday night, a two-run blast that helped the Scottsdale Scorpions defeat the Salt River Rafters 9-5. Harper has tagged a long ball in three consecutive games. He has gone deep in four of his last six games and has hit safely for nine straight games. On Friday he went 1-for-4 with two runs, a walk and two strikeouts to put his AFL average to .259.

Not bad for a youngster who missed the last 40 games of the regular minor league season with an injury.

“I felt pretty good … They got me a couple times, I got them once,” [said Harper]. I don’t know if I would say that I feel locked in. I still have some flaws to work on and I have to look for pitches I can drive. I need to let the game come to me.”

Mainly those flaws seem to be off-speed stuff. He still seems to get bit on the off-speed pitches. He can devastate the fastball and any pitch a pitcher foolishly leaves up, hanging or plain flops over the plate, but coming from a guy who has watched more than his fair share of baseball: I don’t think that is going to fly in the Majors. However, Harper has more than enough time to figure things out and from all indications he is doing just that.

In other Bryce Harper news: remember when Harper decided it would be a good idea to look like the Dread Pirate Roberts by sporting a similar stache? Well, there are hints that it is back and already in a Collin Balester-esque move Harper has created a Movember account. Movember is a charity organization where people donate money to men’s health issues and more based on the awesomeness of one’s facial hair in the month of November.¬† Good luck to No. 34 on the stache and donations.

Oh, check out what I woke up to this morning on my doorstep. It (finally) came just in time to celebrate another Harper bomb. Going to sport this to the bar the first chance I get. I’m going to walk in there with gobs of eye black, slap my hand on the bar, order a bottle of tequila and just wait and let the ladies flock to me.

Yeah, I can see it now. It is all so vivid. I wish my dreams were like real life.

I’d be riding a bear to work everyday.

Bryce Harper Opens Can Of Whoop Ass, My Scottsdale Hat On Back Order

Top Washington Nationals prospect and baseball’s #2 prospect Bryce Harper finally woke up in the desert of the Arizona Fall League and put on a show Tuesday night. After starting the AFL season sluggish, Harper went on a 3-for-4 tear collecting his first 2011 AFL home run, three RBI, two walks and fell a triple shy of the cycle.

He did all this in an impressive Scottsdale Scorpions come from behind 10-innings win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs 11-10.

Well, it is about time. Some were getting worried with Harper’s slow start. Not me. He is a notorious slow starter and I believe in Bryce Harper in a sort of Bruce Wayne to Harvey Dent sort of way. The 19-year old prospect is like a gas guzzling Hummer or Bowser off Super Mario Go-Kart. Slow at the starting line, but you get him going and open him up he will wail. He needs to keep it going and he will be fine. I still fully expect to see Harper in Nationals uniform in 2012, but it won’t be out of Spring Training or to start the season.

I would totally throw on my Scottsdale Scorpion hat that I have been desiring for awhile and finally ordered but it seems no matter where I ordered it from it is on some strange two to four week back order which I simply can’t believe happens in this day and age. Back order? Who the hell allows products to be put on back order these days? After back order is the hat going to be delivered to me pony express? Will I have to take my musket to the door when the dusty, rough-looking postal worker brings it to my prairie home? What year do we live in here?

1997?

Your Nationals Dispatch: Drive By Edition

Ahhhh… good to be back in NQ Headquarters this morning.

I’ve spent the last week acclimating and getting used to having a new baby in the house. If you haven’t heard (as if I haven’t glorified it and sang it to the heavens above already) my son was born on Oct. 4th happy and healthy. I took a week off to adjust and just relax as much as I could. Now I am back on the beat and ready to deliver to you the Nationals news, commentary, smart-assiness you all come here for.

And as I sit here at my desk among my Nats bobbleheads and a photo of Matt Chico, I am ready to dive right in and bring you– nothing. Literally, there is nothing really hot going on right now in Natstown. That is because it is the post season and the Nats aren’t in it. Maybe next year, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Man, are you kidding me? The one day I come into HQ and actually want to do some work and there is nothing? If you think I am about to admire my own prose doing one of those ridiculous fantasy analysis’ on players or a 2012 prediction sort of thing you have another thing coming. My days are now filled with dirty diapers and endless Youtube scavenging. I have little time for anything else.

However, I always have time for a Nationals Park drive-by (above. “Take picture, take picture!”) and a little–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

Nationals Getting Ready To Take Back What Is Theirs? – Adam Kilgore over at the Nationals Journal writes the Nationals have hired a media consultant, Chris Bevilacqua, to help increase the Nats share of the rights fees produced by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN). As we know, part of the agreement in the Nationals moving to Washington from Montreal was that Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, after making such a mindless and pointless hissy, would get 90% of MASN. The Nationals held the other 10 % which grows at about 1% per year and now sits at 13%. The Nationals now look like they want to fill their coffers with a little bigger piece of the pie.

Is this the first step towards independence for the Nationals? Maybe. Hopefully. They playing field will never be balanced for Washington until they get the revenue they rightfully deserve and earn just like other MLB teams. This little aggressive maneuver comes at a great time as the 13% Nationals are on the rise while the 90% Orioles are in the toilet and in disarray. Kick’em while they are down. Bold and savage. That is how I like to do business- at least in the restroom.

The Future Might Be Wally Backman – The guy with the really cool name, Mike Puma, writes that Wally Backman (currently managing in the New York Mets minors) might completely ditch the Mets organization and jump ship to Washington to become Davey Johnson’s coach man at third base. Backman was with Johnson on that infamous 1986 Mets World Series team. Backman also has a plethora of past problems that range from DUIs, bankruptcy, domestic altercations, and arrests– which makes him almost too perfect the candidate for the Nationals.

If any of this is remotely true, what becomes of current third base coach Bo Porter? He is held up as a possible future manager although no one can tell me exactly why he has such a following other than he is a nice guy. Something to keep our eyes on. As for Backman, I can’t blame him for wanting to jump out of New York. I mean, who is ridiculous enough to actually want to go work for the Mets….

Jim Riggleman Wants To Work For The Mets – Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha! Can it get anymore perfect?

The Desert Is A Harsh Place Even For Phenoms – The Arizona Fall League is in full swing, but Nationals phenom Bryce Harper can’t necessarily say the same. He hasn’t been swinging all that well, at one point going 0-for-13. However, he broke that finally on Monday night getting his first 2011 AFL hit, walk and RBI. He is now 1-for-16.

I’d ask if anyone is worried, but then I keep remembering he is young, hardly a rookie, getting over a hamstring injury and is in the process of playing some of the best young studs in the country. It is like gambling money on tadpole races or something.

And that is Your Nationals Dispatch.

Some Nats Go From One Season To Another

I find that every Nationals blog has a sort of niche that you go to if you are interested in things like players hair or fails/mispellings and that is fine. If you can make bananas out of bottle caps you open a banana farm. It makes sense- I think. I take pride that the NQ sort of hits a little on various niches, but the one I see more often than not popping up on here is the “Hunting Niche.” Nationals players seem to like to hunt, deer hunt especially, and we post that sort of stuff here.

Not that I mind. I too am a hunter and enjoy mixing business with pleasure.

A little while back we mentioned Double-A Harrisburg Senators third baseman Adam Fox is one of those in the organization that trades glove and bat for a 30-30 and a bottle of deer estrous at the end of the season. Above is a four minute preview of Fox’s upcoming DVD “Fever” where he, his absolutely stunning wife and associates go into the woods of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri with no sponsors, no nifty-Matrix style slow down effects, nothing but their own wits and cunning to bag the big bucks.

The NQ totally wants to get our hands on this, but unfortunately after tweeting Fox he informed us production on the production is a little behind and that he would probably put it together after bow/rifle season and hopefully have it out by the Spring or Fall of 2012.

Bummer, but I understand. When you are out in those woods that is the only place you want to be and you don’t worry about anything else. Good hunting, Adam Fox.

We now just have something else to look forward to in 2012.

Editor’s Note: If you like blogs, Adam Fox has a hunting blog over on Team Surra Outdoors.

Nationals Minor Leaguer Adam Fox Makes Deer Hunting Serious Business

Nationals minor leaguer Adam Fox (currently third baseman for Double-A Harrisburg) has two passions in life: baseball and deer hunting. He takes both very seriously and that can be seen in this photo of his deer hunting gear. Holy Gander Mountain! He looks like he is about to go to war to wipe out the whole species!

We really need to get him and Adam LaRoche together if just to get them hunting together. I would totally go for a documentary on an all-Nats deer camp. That would be insane.

Here is a video of about Adam Fox and his deer hunting exploits (as well as some shots of the mud clean up of Harrisburg’s flooded stadium) and you can follow Adam Fox on Twitter at @adamfoxer.

How Strasburgian Of Him

It is Friday, it is College Colors Day and I have a whole lot on my plate today so I won’t be posting much in the next 24 hours. That means you will have to wait for tomorrow for the “Three Reasons Why We Should Destest: New York Mets Edition”, but I wanted to post a little on this because, well, it is Stephen Strasburg.

Strasburg finished up his last rehab start Thursday night with the Harrisburg Senators. He pitched six scoreless innings giving up one hit, no runs, no walks and striking out four. He hit one batter with a pitch, but that was erased when said batter tried to steal second on the mythical Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez who was Strasburg’s battery mate. On top of it all, Strasburg’s performance earned the Double-A Senators their first Division title since 1997. And he pitched on an island. Apparently Metro Bank Park is situated on an island in Pennsylvania. Yeah, you got that right, I know. Amazing. Baseball legends are born this way– on islands.

Whether everyone is ready or not or he is ready or not, Stephen Strasburg is headed back to the Washington Nationals this Tuesday, Sept. 6th at Nationals Park against the L.A. Dodgers.

“The work isn’t done,” he said. “I need to keep on grinding, finish the rest of the season strong, go into the offseason healthy and see what kind of pitcher I am in 2012. Still learning a lot out there, learning how to have the right routine to go out there and feel fresh every fifth day. I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to go up there and dial it up every time to get guys out.”

How Strasburgian of him.