I Love Me Some Peanut Butter Mouth And Nats Badasses

After former manager Jim Riggleman threw his career down the toilet and current manager Davey Johnson took over the reigns, Natstown knew they were getting something, but no one was sure what.

Sure, Johnson was on those ’86 Mets and he was highly respected in nearly all baseball circles and especially by GM Mike Rizzo who has wanted Johnson at the helm for years. But the guy looked slow, old and looked like the Cryptkeeper. The Nationals just didn’t suddenly start winning when he took over, change didn’t seem on the horizon. When he interviewed it sounded like his mouth was constantly full of peanut butter that was stuck to the roof of his mouth, hence his pet name on this blog “Peanut Butter Mouth.”

What damn fools we have been.

From all indications, Johnson has completely remade the team in his own image or at least injected it with some of his old man “Honey Badger Don’t Give A Sh*t” confidence and attitude. I mean, this old codger is a wolverine. He’s got balls. Need proof? Check out what he told CSN’s Kelli Johnson:

“When you look at this season, when it’s all said and done, will it be a disappointment, a failure in your mind, if this team does not make the playoffs?” CSN’s Kelli Johnson asked the manager.

“No question in my mind,” the manager said. “You know, and they can fire me.

“Strong words,” Kelli noted.

“Yeah,” the manager agreed. “I mean, we should make the playoffs. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Basically translated: “my boys don’t make the playoffs, you can have my job.” What absolute balls. That is the type of manager this team needs. Manny Acta and Jim Riggleman waited for sparks and went to psychic readings in hopes of unlocking the secrets of winning in Washington. Johnson is just set on going out there and doing it. Incredible. Totally badass.

You know what else is badass? A suave Tyler Clippard ‘mean mugging”animated .gif from Drew Storen:

Epic Win with a huge “Curly W.”

In News That Isn’t So Badass–

Jayson Werth Is Spastic – Jayson Werth attended the Daytona 500 the other night and watched from the pits, but now he is a bit in the pits himself as he missed Tuesday’s workouts due to back spasms. Manager Davey Johnson says he isn’t overly concerned, but Werth is expected to miss the first two exhibition games of the spring (vs. Georgetown, Houston) this weekend.

Tweet It Ain’t So, Bryce – Apparently, Bryce Harper might have deleted his Twitter account. That is okay because obviously his concentration is and should be somewhere else right now, but I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t entertaining as hell. If memory serves me correctly he took an odd hiatus before so perhaps Bryce will strike again in the future.

Bryce Harper And Stephen Strasburg Buddy Up For Nats Photo Day

It is team Photo Day in Viera on Tuesday morning and some of the photos coming out of the Sunshine state are pretty smooth and getting everyone excited. We’ve seen pics of the Four Horsemen of the NL East, Drew Storen and Wilson Ramos, but the one that is making everyone drool is the photo of Nationals phenoms Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg together, arms around each other, smiling.

That is the future, Natstown. Take it in and bask in the glory of family and the golden meaning of friendship– or something like that. I think that came from a Disney movie or something.

(Photos from NationalsPR)

Ryan Zimmerman Sizzles On A Hot Stove Segment Vid

Are we tired of talking about Ryan Zimmerman yet?

Nationals fans definitely aren’t. They finally found their baseball saint. They found their Ripken Jr., their Jeter, their rock, one to call their own. Home grown organic. Ryan Zimmerman is now considered like Moses and he will lead his people to Mount Sinai. Buy that authentic Ryan Zimmerman jersey and know it will be worth the investment.

Other fans and Keith Law–eh, not so much. They are already ready to put this story to bed and hope to keep those Nats down. Well, screw’em. The chickens are coming home to roost, ya’ll.

Here is Ryan Zimmerman on the Hot Stove.

(Again, special thanks to PC on the WNFF)

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.

Your Nationals Dispatch: Monster Weekend Wrap Up Edition

This past weekend was interesting for various reasons around the NQ. On doctor’s orders, I was told to take it easy because I was suffering from a surprise bout of exhaustion/fatigue. I took his orders and attended a Monster Truck rally in Baltimore. I bet you can’t think of anything more relaxing than that.

It was the most redneck thing I think I have ever done. Such an odd culture Monster Truck racing. It is the sort of thing that comes into being when the circus, the Home Shopping Network and Porky’s all come together to have a meal at a roadside truck stop. If you ever get the opportunity, I say give it a try at least once.

It was a big weekend for the Nationals too. Lot’s of intrigue. Let’s get to it shall we? Scroll down a bit more for–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

Ryan Zimmerman Becomes A National – The Washington Nationals and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman finally came to terms on a six-year/$100 million extension with a full no-trade clause on Sunday which pretty much makes the All-Star a Nat for his career. Mike Rizzo and Zimmerman held a press conference that had Manager Davey Johnson and 16 players in attendance, including young phenom Bryce Harper.

So after nearly three years of endless articles, complaining and fretting on the subject: Natstown finally gets their man… or they had him. They just get him longer now. Like, forever. A Nat. Three or four years ago you couldn’t find a player under the sun that wanted that said about them. Congratulations, Zimmerman. I dub you the true, “Mr. National.”

The BP Match-Up Of The Century That Didn’t Happen – Phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg was scheduled to face phenom hitter Bryce Harper in a live batting practice session that was for some reason dubbed by writer Mark Zuckerman as “potentially epic”– wait, a BP session? It did not happen however with Harper slightly disappointed and Strasburg as tough as nails:

“Was I looking forward to it? No, I’m just trying to get my work in,” Strasburg said. “It’s not like they’re out there trying to do these perfect matchups of like the top prospects of all time. He’s out there trying to get his looks. I’m out there trying to throw strikes. We’re on the same team.”

The Yin and Yang of phenoms both on the same team. Awesome.

Yes, Jayson Werth Has Beard – That is all.

Video Tribute Of Wilson Ramos’ First At-Bat Post Kidnapping – If you haven’t seen it, here it is. Gives you shivers when he steps to the plate and then tips the cap to a ravenous crowd. I can’t imagine what it will be like on Opening Day in D.C.

And that is Your (actually not as monstrous as I thought) Nationals Dispatch.

The End Of The Zimsanity?

Multiple reports coming in late Saturday night before the Witching Hour state that the Washington Nationals and All-Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman have made significant progress in their talks for an extension that would keep the 27-year old in Nationals uniform for his career. A final deal is looking to be reached either late Saturday night or on Sunday with a possible announcement Sunday as well. Bill Ladson Twitter:

From agent Brodie Van Wagenen: “We have made significant progress on an extension for Ryan that would ensure he plays for the Nationals for a long time, which has always been Ryan’s goal. We are working on a structure that will allow the team to continue to add talent and establish a winner which is another goal of Ryan’s. While there are still important aspects to work through, we bridged multiple important gaps on many major parts of a contract. Nothing is done until it is done, but both sides are optimistic that an agreement can be reached and Ryan can focus his energies on preparing with his teammates for the season.”

So that is it? The end of the Zimsanity? Maybe. But after all the worrying, griping, anxiety and fears that were built up in newspaper copy and 140 characters, this is the deep drama that was going to shake the organization to its foundation?

Downtown Abby has more cliffhangers than this.

More to come….

Zimmerman Thumps Chest, Does Not Get Banana– Yet

The “self-imposed” 10 a.m. deadline for the Washington Nationals to come to terms with All-Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on an extension that would keep the franchise face a National for his career came and went Saturday morning, but that is okay because Zimmerman in his team player mercy have allowed talks to continue until the end of the day. Bill Ladson’s bloggy:

“We’ve gone back and we’ve given them one other creative solution to bridge this gap,” Zimmerman said. “Today is the day, Saturday. It’s either going to get done or it’s not going to get done. Both sides are working to try to get over the last … couple of hurdles. We are both trying to be creative. It will be either yes or no, today. We’ll have closure either way.

Well thank god for that. The whole escapade has pretty much jumped the shark.

Zimmerman said he doesn’t want to talk about his contract after Saturday because he doesn’t want to become a distraction to the team.

Oh, please. It is a little too late for that. Many have already forgotten that Saturday is pretty much the first day of Spring Training. Workouts have begun, the grind has begun, for all intensive purposes the 2012 season as begun. The wave of optimism and energy the Nationals rode into Viera has been riptided and sucked out back to sea by this whole affair.

Anytime some ballplayer pulls this stunt it is annoying, I don’t care if its Zimmerman or Ty Clemente Ruth Jr. When a player thumps their chest, makes a demand and then cops out by saying he wants it done before the season starts so it “doesn’t become a distraction” it is bullsh*t. It immediately becomes a distraction and it becomes a further distraction if the player doesn’t get what he wants.

Don’t get me wrong: Zimmerman deserves an extension and yes, he more than likely deserves the no-trade clause that is holding this deal up. But to play the victim through the media? Totally un-Zimmermanish in my opinion. The guy is smarter than that. He knows the deal, he knows how baseball as a business works.

This whole issue of course is magnified by the media who has suddenly turned this into a massive drama that just isn’t there. Zimmerman doesn’t become a free agent until the end of 2013. The Nats have a whole season to make sure Zimmerman is of health and a whole other off season to get a deal done. There has been nothing to suggest the Nats and Zimmerman are just suddenly going to close camp and not work with each other on getting this done. It just might not happen Saturday.

I’m confident a deal will eventually get done before the 2013 season. It might happen Saturday afternoon, it might happen during the zero hour before the 2013 campaign, but it will get done. Too many variables and too much rides on it for the Nats to just suddenly blow it. The organization might not be the quickest to act nor the most efficient, but it certainly isn’t that dumb.

Or at least we hope not.

We’ll keep our eye on this story and report more when something actually happens.

Steve Lombardozzi Looks A Little Different

This photo comes courtesy of everyone’s favorite Nationals beat writer, Bill Ladson. The first question that comes to mind: Who the hell is that?!

The answer is Nationals rook Steve Lombardozzi. DAAAAAMN has he changed. He went from this:

…to looking like Matthew McConaughey in Reign of Fire. Our spies also tell us he put on a little weight so the man who was once a boy is– a man who was once a boy. Lombo is going to have a hard time breaking camp with the team come April, maybe he can land one of the highly coveted bench roles though that might stifle his development more than do him good.

At least now it looks like he could break your face if you meet him in a dark alley.

Elijah Dukes Arrested Again With Blunt In Ear And Pot In Mouth

It is baseball season again and all Nationals fan thoughts are on Florida. This is the time to think of oranges, green grass, alligators, Space Coast Stadium– and wondering if former Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes will get arrested again. I’ll give you one guess:

He did.

Dukes was pulled over early Thursday in Tampa after committing a traffic violation. The officer raced after Dukes, pulled him over and– well, let’s let the Tampa Bay Times take it from here:

Police said after the pulled Dukes over, they noticed a small bag of marijuana on his lap. He then tried to dispose of the marijuana by sticking it in his mouth as if he was going to ingest it. Then, after police removed the bag from his mouth and took Dukes into custody, they noticed a marijuana blunt “resting on his right ear,” according to the report. Dukes was booked just after 3:30 a.m. and was still being held at the Hillsborough County Jail Thursday morning.

Nice try, Dukesy. You failed at being a baseball player, a good father, a rap artist and a decent member of society and now you know you will never win a hot dog or chicken wing eating contest. This is such a horrible story. Can this guy fall any lower?

One thing is for sure: Elijah Dukes and Lindsey Lohan should never meet. It would be like putting together the Gatekeeper and Keymaster which would open the realm of Gozer the Gozerian.

(Special shout out to @Half_Street on Twitter. Outstanding at finding these former Nats bits of info.)

Eric Byrnes Has Some Kool Aid, Declares Nats 2012 World Series Long Shots

The MLB Network aired two things Tuesday night of interest to Nats fans. First, they had a Bryce Harper interview with Harold Reynolds which has everyone talking– I almost shut it off three or four seconds into the interview when Reynolds referred to Harper as the “Justin Bieber of Baseball” (puke). You can watch the full nine-minute interview with post analysis  HERE.

The second thing was the analysts on the MLB Network were asked to pick 2012 Long Shots to win the World Series and most if not all the picks were still relatively safe picks. Except for Eric Byrnes’ who went with the 28 to 1 odds Washington Nationals. They start talking Nats around 1:19 of this video. Billy Ripken especially chokes on his own saliva and calls Byrnes out for “drinking the Kool Aid.”

Strawberry, grape or fruit punch, Byrnes?

You got to hand it to him: ballsy pick.

(Special thanks to PC over on the Washington Nationals Fan Forum)