The Word All Nationals Fans Should Know This Morning

Learn it, know it, and don’t feel one bit bad that you are feeling it right now.

The big, bad, Philadelphia Phillies with their “Phantastic Four” and most wins in baseball couldn’t even advance out of the first round of the playoffs. Beaten, shutout and blanked by the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 on Friday night. Oh, and Philly favorite Ryan Howard might have torn his Achilles tendon. Karma is an absolutely beautiful thing. Seriously, I am thinking of becoming a Buddhist thanks to it. It couldn’t have happened to a better team.

I am going to go as far as to say it completely negates any sort of bad feelings I might have that Phoney Boloney Plush actually produced a meaningful hit to put the Brew Crew one step closer to the World Series (video here complete with Nyjer dropping F-Bomb in post-game). You know, what? Good for him. Enjoy it while he can because I’m pretty sure St. Louis is absolutely jacked to the point no one is stopping them now. I’m going to predict a St. Louis/Detroit World Series even though the idea of a Texas/Milwaukee WS is sort of tempting just so I can see how those amateurs over at ESPN handle it. They would go freaking nuts considering no one of much glorified substance is on the Rangers or Brewers and all of Bristol’s meal tickets have been eliminated.

Look at me, I’m ranting and it is college football day.

I apologize. I’ve had a huge week: sold my car, had a son, nailed a big job interview, my subscription to Sports Illustrated kicked in, the world is completely overacting again to something Bryce Harper did and the god damned Philadelphia Phillies face planted.

I really don’t know how life can get any better.

EDITOR’S PERSONAL NOTE: I want to thank everyone for all the well wishes, congrats, messages, flowers, etc. concerning the birth of my son on October 4th. The family is home happy, healthy and safe. He is a handsome lad which I hope to groom to one day either be a Jedi or a Nationals lefty specialist. As for the business of this blog, I am taking a few days to adjust to the new arrival so posting here and on Twitter will be scarce, but I am hoping Monday or Tuesday I will be back on the beat.

Again, thanks for all the kind words and messages and all your support.

Here Is Video Of Livan Hernandez Sucking Up To Marlins Fans

He can play anywhere in the world, but here, at Sun Life Stadium in Florida… is home.

Trust me, if it was up to me Livan Hernandez would have been sent packing back to home before now. However, what else is he going to say? It was the last game at Sun Life Stadium, last game of the Florida Marlins, they throw an All-Time Marlins shin-dig. Pudge Rodriguez was there too because he too won a World Series with that team, but I can’t find video of it right now. Good thing too because I’d watch it, shed a tear and cry into the winds:

“ET TU PUDGEIS?!”

Dr. Victor Von Strasenburg

It is a beautiful thing to watch when a team has a pitcher, not a thrower, come on to the mound and work his science. A pitcher who treats his craft as knowledge, the field as his laboratory and opposing batters as lab rats is just such a joy to watch. Every game is a chance to unlock the secrets of the universe for this type of scientist and on Wednesday afternoon, as the sun hit its apex and then started to descend down on Sun Life Stadium, the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg was putting on a mind-blowing clinic.

Strasburg earned his first and only win of 2011 in the Nats season finale against the Florida Marlins by pitching six innings of one hit ball giving up no runs. He walked his first batters since his return from Tommy John surgery, two rats he passed on, but he struck out and put down 10. His breaking pitches were absolutely wicked, precise and dissecting. His fastball hit 100 mph on the radar gun at least once. Thanks to him, the Nationals won 3-1 against a Florida (now Miami) team that has constantly had the Nationals number. Perhaps with Strasburg in the ranks more often now, that number is about to change.

But No. 37 did more than just give the Nationals one more win before going out into the 2011 sun set. He sent a proverbial jolt of electricity through the corpse of the 2011 Washington Nationals.

The Nationals aren’t on their way to the playoffs, they are on their way to their families, golf courses and strange clubs with secret, plush stalls in the bathrooms. But with the way many a fan and writer are on Thursday morning you might think they are. I’ve heard premonitions of a “historic 2012 in the making,” that the Nationals have finally “turned the corner” and are no longer “the league whipping boys.” It is a great to believe that. I want to believe that. But do I actually believe that? Ehhhh… I want to so much, but once again this is the Washington Nationals we are talking about.

This is the same team that couldn’t hit a lick with runners in scoring position. This is the same team whose starting pitchers took almost 75% of the season to finally get on line and in a winning rhythm. This is the same team who still has Doug Slaten in the bullpen, a bullpen in obvious need of help because you can’t be throwing Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen out there every game. The outfield is a mess, the first base situation is a question mark as is what the heck is going on behind the plate with the catcher position– the more I think about it the more I realize how absolutely incredible it is the Nats finished where they did.

The Nationals go into 2012 with a whole lot of potential, but potential doesn’t guarantee a team anything when every team’s records go back to 0-0. Strasburg said it best and I think has the best attitude than anyone who has been printing pretty prose and optimistic brew-ha-ha:

“After today, it’s all water under the bridge. I’m going into the offseason [and] I still have a lot of work to do…”

He was talking about his own personal performance on Wednesday, but I think it could wisely be applied to every aspect of the 2011 Washington Nationals as they change into the 2012 version: 2011 is over. It is water under the bridge. It means nothing now. We made progress, but we didn’t get the job done. We aren’t where we want to be. That means we have a lot of work to do.

I apologize if you came on the blog this morning hoping for a rip-roaring rah-rah posting talking about how I plan to purchase 2012 Washington playoff tickets in a historic, corner turning, no-Nats butt whoopin’ next season, but if you have been around here long enough you know I am not going to milk you and your emotions like a cow.

I’m a blogger. Not a farmer.

The Nationals Just Got Slatened

The life and times of Nationals reliever Doug Slaten is one of a man who does little, but yet, does so much– and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Take Tuesday night’s game for example. He was charged to come into the ninth inning (are you nuts, Peanut Butter Mouth?!) to simply get three outs. THREE OUTS to end a baseball game and set the Nationals season record at .500 with the possibility of a winning record if they could win Wednesday night’s game as well. He got two of the three measly outs simple enough, but this is THE Doug Slaten we are talking about. One out away from extra innings Slaten served up a nice meaty fastball on his first pitch to Bryan Petersen who politely deposited it into the empty Sun Life Stadium seats for a Marlins 3-2 walk-off victory.

You gotta stand and give a hand to Slaten who once again bungled another positive outing for the Nationals and ended the team’s chance at an epic milestone when talking about the Washington Nationals. A winning season. 2011 could have been the first winning in Nationals history since the team came over from Montreal in 2005. Glory was theirs for the taking. But nope. The Nats got Slatened.

I like how you can go on Slaten’s Wikipedia page and some nut job wrote in, “Slaten would start off the 2011 season by not giving up a single run until his 15th appearnce…” Only a Doug Slaten fan would write that and believe it. Yeah, Slaten’s stats say he didn’t give up any runs, but in actuality he did. There was a string of epic failures for Slaten when he came in to relieve a pitcher with runners on base and he would allow those runners to score. The runners were credited to the starting pitcher, not Slaten so for awhile, to the blind and stat happy, Slaten looked like gold.

Bryan Petersen pulled down Slaten’s pants last night and painted his jock yellow right on the mound and finally exposed Slaten in a big game to the world– though it was it was a Nats and Marlins game and no one was probably watching. The guy completely let down his team, he let down a fan base craving for respectability and he has been doing it at a consistent clip all season. I’ve said it twenty times and I will say it again: Doug Slaten is the Matt Stairs of the bullpen. Why is he even there? What has he done to warrant such responsibility in a key situation in a key game? Is it because he is a southpaw? I bet I can find a lefty beer vendor or security guard in the stands that could get Bryan Petersen out.

So, Doug Slaten for the Washington Nationals in 2012?

Read the banner.

NATIONALS CLINCH THIRD PLACE IN NL EAST, DESTROY THE EMPEROR!

The New York Mets lost to the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 Monday night therefore allowing the Washington Nationals to clinch third place in the NL East in 2011. It is the highest place the Nationals have held in the standings since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005.

Freaking awesome.

I had no idea what to post exactly for the banner pic so I posted the most awesome celebration in the galaxy– of all time. I know, I know. I will get a couple people bitching it is merely the re-cut, but hey, that is what third place gets you these days.

Hayden Christensen.

Congratulations to the 2011 Washington Nationals!

When The Beer Cans Start Changing Color, The Off Season Is Upon Us All

Well, finally.

The blog has had a few quirks with it that my staff and I have been trying to iron out the past few days. It wasn’t something so big that I couldn’t post, but it was enough to annoy me to the point I didn’t want to do anything until it was fixed. It was that Adonis DNA of mine. Tiger blood. Then of course, I suddenly had a premonition.

When the NQ geek squad was on the cusp of solving the problem, I went to the NQ fridge to grab a brew. I opened the icebox and holy hell! The cans were blaze orange and a forest was growing off them! It was then I suddenly realized: when the beer cans begin to show fall colors, the off season is close. I felt bad. A lot had happened in Natstown recently. A four game sweep of the Phillies, the changing of some lottery numbers in the bullpen, Danny Espinosa hitting franchise record-tying and breaking home runs, the Nats looking to reunite C.J. Wilson and Doug Slaten, checking out and laughing at the Miami Devil Marlin Rays new supposed logo and Stephen Strasburg getting his first loss of 2011. I had a lot of material to put out on the blog, but with the blog not working and the Realtree beer cans staring at me from the fridge– it was too much.

I felt the pull.

So I went to Radford, VA to haunt old haunts and I took my shoes off and walked barefoot down the shores of the New River. Have you ever done that? Just took off your shoes and reconnected with the earth? It naturally adjusts you. “The Earth is an Indian thing…” wrote Jack Kerouac once. I have no idea what it truly means, but I am going to try to take this off season to try and live by it. I am going to try to reconnect with my primitive roots.

The Nationals should spend the off season off the links and drinking wine and reconnecting with their primitive baseball roots. If I have figured this right, there is simply no way Washington will finish in the NL East cellar this season. The team is 76-80 with a two game lead over the New York Mets for third place in the NL East with five games to go. Unfortunately for the Nats, the final two series of the 2011 campaign are against teams that make honey and money beating Washington. Regardless of where they finally end up, third or fourth, they have shown astounding progress. Cynic or not, you have to be proud of the boys this season. As I said way back in Spring Training, the 2011 Nationals are a team of mystery because you really couldn’t get a solid sense of what GM Mike Rizzo built here. As the season closes, we still don’t know what exactly this team is. Are they still miles away from contention or a few pieces off?

Either way, sitting back and patting themselves on the back this off season isn’t an option. To reach the top of the mountain, they need to keep climbing, not camp out on a plateau. This off season I intend to do things a little differently. I intend to reconnect with nature, hone my writing craft, be a better father and learn to spray that potpourri stuff in the air a little more after using the bathroom to the benefit of everyone else.

The Nationals need to reconnect with why they play the game, hone their skills, be a better baseball team and treat 2011 as the season they got off the crapper and finally said, “I’m going to climb that god damn mountain to the top!”

Nationals Take Part In New York City Massacre

Good morning, NQ faithful. Good morning, good morning!

And what a glorious morning it is. There is a chill in the air in Central Virginia and the NQ Headquarters Mr. Coffee is going hot. I love this first kiss of Fall. It causes me to want to write dramatic prose and be creative and junk. Perhaps we’ll get to that in a bit. But first…

This fine, Friday AM finds the Washington Nationals sitting in sole possession of third place in the NL East after committing murder in the streets of New York City Thursday afternoon. They delivered a 10-1 butchering to the former third place team, the New York Mets. For the first four innings it looked like it was going to be another tight game as both teams didn’t give much and Nats rookie starter Tommy “Gun” Milone was dealing. However, the Nats opened up scoring in the fifth and never looked back. Shortstop Ian Desmond went 5-for-6 with three RBI to help the Nats get a four game sweep of the Mets at their own Citi Field and causet the New York Post to post things like this.

It is being called “The New York City Massacre.”

Or it is at least by this blog. It was brutal. It was a butchering. One team rose while the other miserably fell. There haven’t been a whole lot of high points of the 2011 season for the Nats, but you can probably can count this as one. It might not last. They may revert back to the Crappy Natties at anytime. They might fall back tonight, tomorrow, three days from now or maybe they will stay in third. Who knows? But for now enjoy and mourn for those who lost their pride in the New York City Massacre.

The one guy I think about the most in these trying times is Rich The Mets Fan. I imagine right now he is sitting in his palatial Florida beachfront palace staring out the window at the banana trees growing in his yard. He is ragged looking- his Mets jersey unbuttoned and in disarray, dark bags under his eyes as he hasn’t slept a wink since the final out of the game, a bottle of cheap rum, empty, sits beside him. He just drank straight from the bottle. In his right hand between his fingers is a Torano cigar, still slowly burning, but almost ash. He hasn’t taken a puff for the past hour or so as he is distracted by whatever is in his mind. In his left, he thumbs a small cross he grabbed off the wall…

Okay, I gotta stop. I could go on all day painting a picture of a man whose baseball team’s reality finally caught up with him. I’ve got other things to do. Oh, and one more thing I wanted to point out:

I was totally going to Photoshop NYC into the background of the Texas Chainsaw image in the banner, but for some reason the NQ Photoshop program won’t open this morning. Yet another thing on the to-do list. I just wanted to let you know because I don’t want you to feel I am just sitting around here.

I’m trying, people.

 

Your Nationals Dispatch: Raw Dead Parrot Edition

The Washington Nationals are on a four game winning streak and we’ll get to that in a minute, but I have to convey why I think they are on a four game winning streak. I think it is because I’ve been blasting ‘Raw Power’ by Iggy and The Stooges every night for the past four nights. Is it coincidence? I doubt it. It is a killer album and it is full of the raw violence, anger and general “F it” attitude the Nationals should be playing with right now.

The 2011 season is just another of lost hopes and dreams. There will be no playoffs, no playoff run and only scrounging for a better place in the standings of a miserable NL East that has Team Douchebag sitting at the top of it. There is no consolation prize and there should be no satisfaction. This fact should drive the Nats mad and put the desire in them to take it out on every team they face from here on out. Modifying a line from one of RP’s popular tracks, they should be “the world’s forgotten boys, the ones who searches and destroys…”

Powerful album. And I’ve been playing it four days straight while the Nationals have won four straight. Oh yeah, I’m feeling it. I’m feeling–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

And Here Is A Monty Python Reference In Honor Of Brad Peacock – Every other week I get an e-mail from someone who complains that the “Nationals Inquisition” rarely has Monty Python references. The NQ was built on the love of Nats baseball and Monty Python. So in honor of rookie pitcher Brad Peacock’s first MLB win in his first MLB start last night, a 2-0 shutout of the New York Mets where he went five innings, giving up only two hits, no runs, three walks and striking out two- I give you the Dead Parrot Sketch:

The Nationals have won 70 games, the most in a season since 2007 and have put themselves in a tie for 3rd place in the NL East with the Mets and going for a possible four game sweep on Thursday. That should drive Rich The Mets Fan crazy. I’ll post the Dead Parrot Sketch for every Peacock (pictured) win. Satisfied, you elderberry smelling hamsters?

Nationals “Polegate” Is A Complete Waste Of Fun – The Washington Nationals have installed removable poles and netting that will be put up during batting practice and taken down before every game at Nationals Park in hopes of– we aren’t totally sure. It is an apparent response to a fan who fell to his death in Texas while trying to catch a ball this past July which in itself makes no sense because the fan fell 20 feet from an outfield wall, not get hit by a baseball straying from batting practice. With no major reports of BP causing injuries, a portable batting cage that already solves majority of stray ball problems and the fact most of the stadium is closed off to fans during BP anyways just shows the Nationals are either going overkill on this idea or there are other motives.

Like being a bunch of killjoys and further alienating the fan base from the game. What is going to happen next? Velvet ropes around Teddy and the Presidents because they don’t want fans getting too close in case they fall over on top of them?

2012 Already? – There is nothing more boring than trying to write something witty and interesting on something so dull as the release of the 2012 Nationals schedule before 2011 is even over. So I won’t. The schedule has been released. Here is the article. Knock yourselves out.

Ian Desmond Earns Nomination For Roberto Clemente Award – You go boy!

Thank You – I want to thank everyone who nominated and voted for the Nationals Inquisition in CBS Washington’s Most Valuable Blogger Contest. The NQ didn’t win, but no matter. It was amazing just to know someone would nominate this rag. It is sad to see that a Nationals blog didn’t at least win it. Hockey and football indeed are the bigger sports in D.C. right now, but there is something “All guts, no glory” about Nationals bloggers. We should all have a pizza party.

And that is Your Nationals Dispatch.

Davey Johnson Channels Daniel Radcliffe To Get Lombardozzi RBI

The Washington Nationals defeated the New York Mets Monday night in the Big Apple by the tight score of 3-2. It was won in the seventh inning off rookie second baseman Steve Lombardozzi’s first Major League hit and RBI. The Nationals really squeezed this one out like a turtlehead, but a win is a win. No doubt the party was in Lombardozzi’s hotel room last night.

Post game, manager Davey Johnson had some kooky things to say about Lombardozzi’s big night:

“I thought it was great, and I thought it was a fitting inning,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I saw Harry Potter [actor Daniel Radcliffe] today [at an event in Manhattan], so maybe we have a little magic. Lombardozzi was 0-for-15. What a way to get your first big league hit, with a game-winner. It couldn’t be any better than that.”

Wow. Daniel Radcliffe. Harry Potter. Magic and sorcery. Lombardozzi– I totally see the connection. Brilliant, just brilliant. This marks the third Nationals manager in a row that either has relied on alchemy or black magic to win a baseball game. I seem to recall former manager Manny Acta constantly “waiting for a spark” though he never said what that meant nor did I think it ever materialized. Jim Riggleman was the same, always waiting around for something to pop out of thin air and I still have a sneaky suspicion that he used to hang crystals in the locker room and throw salt all over the place.

I really hope that the Nats won because Peanut Butter Mouth saw Radcliffe because that really changes everything. It is like if I one day see Keanu Reeves, I am hoping I can then suddenly can go back in time to gather historical dead dudes for my upcoming history report in San Dimas so I can save the band, get the princesses, eat the Ziggy Piggy and promote world peace.

If I still can’t get an A+ after all that, screw it. I’ll do Kung-Fu on Mr. Ryan and then leap over rooftops to safety and back to Zion.

I can’t imagine the trouble I’d get in if I one day saw Scarlett Johansson or Hope Solo eating at Five Guys.

Oh, Alright. Here Are The Nats Rookies Dressed As Smurfs.

I really debated posting this on the NQ because within only 10 minutes of the whole situation being mentioned and the photo posted: everyone in D.C. knew about it- no, no. THE WORLD, the whole world knew about it! So it is common knowledge the Washington Nationals hazed their rookies Sunday afternoon by putting them in white Crocs, painting them blue and then kicking them outdoors to sign autographs and take photos near the player’s parking lot.

Really, I am just posting this so I said I did and in case I need it in the future for blackmail or- something.

Sixteen players took part in the hazing and contrary to popular belief not all of them were technically rookies which is in itself hilarious because that only goes to show you a couple players have secret fantasies like dressing up as a Smurf for one. Collin Balester, Corey Brown, Danny Espinosa, Steve Lombardozzi, Chris Marrero, Yunesky Maya, Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, Wilson Ramos, Henry Rodriguez, Atahualpa Severino, Craig Stammen, Drew Storen, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Mattheus, and trainer John Hsu are all somewhere in the photo. Papa Smurf is definitely Strasburg. Wow, look at those blue abs! You know he made Wilson Ramos hot or shall we call him “Lady Smurf?”

I see Chris Marrero in there, third one in from the right. Damn, he is a big boy.

They must call him “Bruiser Smurf.”

(Photo from Jesus Flores’ Twitter)