Move On. Nothing To See Here. Ozzie Guillen Is Just Being A Jackass Again.

On one hand you can sort of understand Florida Devil Ray Marlins Miami manager Ozzie Guillen and his anger issues. I mean, he moved to the Florida Marlins during last off season riding a wave of optimism and hope. Here was a manager who once dumb lucked into a World Series title who signs with a team with a new name, new uniforms and brand new stadium that no one goes to. The Marlins struck first blood during the off season with huge signings, they get the front cover of Sports Illustrated and they are the stars of a reality TV program that no one watches. He got all this and yet his team still sucks.

So you can understand while he might be a bit anal, but it is all his fault and so not all acts of jackassery are completely excusable. Take his latest after the Nationals gave the Miami Marlins a 4-0 shutout on Sunday afternoon:

At the top of the fourth inning during the game Nationals All-Star rookie Bryce Harper stepped to the plate and apparently Guillen started going ape shit over something and talking with Bo Porter, officials and anyone who could stand his chalkboard-scratching rambling. He seemed to believe too much pine tar was too far up Harper’s bat so Harper switched them. Harper made an motion with his bat that Guillen took as Harper pointing to him and only him. So Guillen continued his verbal barrage much to the dismay and confusion of Nats manager Davey Johnson. At one point Guillen could be seen on tape mouthing “f*ck off” or “f*ck off, you c**t” or something of that super intelligent nature to either Johnson or Harper or the invisible people Guillen sees in day to day life.

After the game neither Johnson or Harper would comment on Guillen’s strange and childish antics and surprisingly Guillen also kept silent after the Nationals nailed his team down and gave them another loss that puts them 10 games back in the division behind first place Washington. Oops, I’m sorry. Of course, Guillen had something to say. Federal Baseball:

“‘I could have said a lot of [expletive] about this kid,’” Guillen told the Miami Herald reporter, “‘I’ve been praising this kid like everyday. The last three times they asked me about him, the only thing I said was he’s a great player. What he did [today] was unprofessional.’”

Spoken like a true manager– that is 10 games back and has to wear a hunting outfit 81 games a year. I think I had this awesome speech about taking advice from Ozzie Guillen on “professionalism” and a whole point to what I am saying, but I forgot it.

Nevermind. If it is forgotten then it must not have been important anyway, just like this issue. I file this one under yet another attempt by Ozzie Guillen to be a drama queen and make it look like he is doing something when the results completely say otherwise. Keeping his name in the papers, making it look like he is sticking up for his players when he isn’t placing Fidel Castro on some golden pedestal.

Was the pine tar too high on Harper’s bat? Did Harper “show up” the loud-mouthed old fart? Answer: 10 games. That is all I need to know about this whole issue, 10 games. Johnson and Harper are playing this issue perfectly by staying silent or just shrugging it off and not letting this attention whore feast. Guillen is dropping the ball and embarrassing himself, confused at his inner frustrations.

Maybe that is why his team is so far behind.

(Editor’s Note: The photo above is not Ozzie Guillen. It is a picture of a donkey. This blog is not responsible for any mystical, subconcious connections the reader makes with this presented data.)

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.

Davey Johnson Had Some Problems Seeing Things Last Season

Buster Olney over at ESPN gives us the scoop that Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson went in to have “cataract surgery on his left eye earlier this week, a fix for a problem that had reduced his sight to 20/200.”

Okay. That is fine. People do it all the time. Hell, I have mine done every 3,000 miles.

Except–

He [Johnson] said there were times last season that when he went out to challenge a close call that went against the Nationals, he’d ask others on the way out to the umpire if the call was actually wrong — because he couldn’t see it himself.

 

“I think this will help a lot,” he said.

Not that I remember a whole lot of calls going against the Nationals where their season depended on it, but you know, if they were in the playoffs, a bad call happened and Davey Boy didn’t see it– could have been worse. Can you imagine him walking up the dugout stairs and getting call advice from Matt Stairs or Doug Slaten or the water boy? Lordy. All I can say about that is:

But, hey! He got it fixed, hopefully with warranty and laser beams.

It would be great to have every one of Davey Johnson’s pressers turn into a Who concert.

Davey Johnson Is Totally Torqued

I just got back from some hardcore, manly backwoods parkour and I feel absolutely beefed. I mean, I am totally cock dieseled. So when I got back in front of the computer and opened up the NQ e-mail I was stoked to see a message arrive with full pyrotechnics, nu-metal music and promises of long sweaty nights with super models and lions.

This could only be one thing: the official announcement of Davey Johnson as Nationals manager in 2012.

And you know what? It was. Press Release:

The Washington Nationals today announced they have exercised Davey Johnson’s managerial option for the 2012 season. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Johnson will continue the on-field efforts he began on June 27, when he assumed the Nationals’ managerial helm.

“After a series of discussions, it became obvious that the Nationals would be best served if Davey Johnson would continue as manager,” Rizzo said. “Davey’s remarkable connection to the clubhouse and D.C. community during the season’s final three months was well received. His baseball acumen coupled with a proper off-season of planning, including a full regiment of Spring Training, should put our players in a position to succeed in 2012.”

Johnson’s 2011 Nationals closed strong, winning 15 of their final 20 contests to register the best winning percentage in the NL from Sept. 9 through season’s end. In more than half a season with Johnson at the helm, the Nationals went 40-43 and a D.C.-based big league club finished as high as third place for the first time since 1945.

Totally expected. Like since June expected, but now it is official and everyone has something to write about. Usually when you have a 68-year old guy getting a job extension like this they remain humble and behind-the-scenes because that is what old people do: be humble. Or at least they say you should be humble. My Grandmother hates this blog because I am too “unhumble.” But not Davey Johnson. Oh no. Johnson is absolutely torqued for 2012. Nationals Journal:

Asked how far the Nationals could go next season, Johnson responded with a high ambition for a franchise that has not had a winning record since relocating to Washington in 2005.“Winning the pennant. Winning the National League,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t have said that last spring. I didn’t think the talent was ready. After being there and seeing the progress that some young players made, I think we definitely can contend. I would be sorely disappointed if we didn’t do just that. The talent is there.

“I like the way we stack up against everybody in our division. I’m not just sticking out my chest and saying some hot air. My baseball instincts tell me that’s where we need to be, that’s where we need to go. And we can get there.”

No, you are not sticking out your chest and blasting hot air, Davey. Not at all. You are just throwing off any reservations and just telling the world you are totally torqued. You have gone over the line, entered No-Mans Land, gone past the point of no return. I don’t know if you realize this, but now that you have opened the flood gates of expectation people are now going to hold you accountable and to it.

It is like Christmas Eve, the fog is bad and some redneck shot Rudolph. Who will deliver the presents? Who will save Christmas?

I know! Da-da-da-da-daaaaaaa!

DAVEY JOHNSON!

Davey Johnson Is Ready To Jump Out Of The Nationals Manager Cake

Oh, whoa, hey! Nationals news!

Unnamed, faceless, mysterious, but possibly sexy sources say that the Nationals are on the cusp of announcing that current manager Davey Johnson will retain his job as Nationals skipper and the announcement could come as soon as the World Series concludes.

Oh, wait. Nevermind. I thought this was news. People have seen this coming since June.

“I want what’s best for this organization and what’s best for this team,” Johnson said. “In my opinion, what’s best for this team is to have me manage, that’s what I’m going to say. Now that I’ve seen it play out, it’s a challenge that I wouldn’t mind having,” said Johnson towards the end of the 2011 season.

Those are some stone cold, cocky words coming from the old man we call “Peanut Butter Mouth” around here. He is right. It is going to be a god damned challenge getting this team into contention shape and he is welcome to it. All incoming or retained managers spew the “I am up for the challenge” line and so far no Nationals manager that has said it has lived up to it. I might be going out on a limb here, but there is something about Johnson that says he is telling the truth and that perhaps he is the man for the job. I was not on the Johnson bandwagon went this began, but I’ve got to commend him for not having the clubhouse spiral into a circus clown class like it did when Acta and Riggleman took the reigns and that has to count for something.

I’ll step up and ride the pony with this crotchety old man for now. Something tells me the players really do respect the ole geezer and perhaps now things will finally organize and materialize for the Nats. It will be one less worry this off season.

Man, writing all that worked me up for some prunes for some reason. Does anyone have any prunes around here? Anyone want any?

Your Nationals Dispatch: A Night Of Joe Cocker Edition

Wooo! What a night!

Yesterday afternoon the Nationals finished off their final series of the season with the Atlanta Braves and the last home game of 2011 with a 3-0 shutout of the Choking Tribe. The NQ staff and I held a “Nats Irish Wake” where we weren’t sitting around moaning about the end of the season, but we were instead going hard on grilled chicken and cases of beer. It was wild and wonderful night where the frustrations, enlightenment and joy-joy feelings of the 2011 season all burst forth in primal, exaggerated emotions and actions. I captured some of the essence of the night in my most recent Monday Nats Feature over on SB Nation D.C. if you want to go check that out.

The night got damn rowdy after awhile and it was highlighted by my attempt to impersonate John Belushi’s impersonation of Joe Cocker (seen above). Like pickled slobs, arms around each others shoulders, we broke out into Cocker’s “With A Little Help From My Friends” and I through myself into a spastic twirl that nearly caused me to faceplant myself. For the rest of the song I just flopped around on the floor like a fish thinking I dislocated something.

Yeah, I totally haven’t been enjoying myself and the Nats season. I think the NQ will now hold a Nats Irish Wake every season on the day of the last home game. I was an epic time, almost as good as–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

Davey Johnson May Work For Food In 2012 – The Nationals will be conducting yet another MLB mandatory manager search in their quest to finally find a skipper that sticks to the bottom of the organizations pan. Names on the list include third base coach Bo Porter and Triple-A Syracuse’s Randy Knorr, but at the top of that short list is none other than the one and only– Davey Johnson!

I know, kind of boring. It reminds me of that Magic’s Secrets Revealed series that took place back in the 90s with a masked magician who did incredible illusions, but when it came time to reveal who he was it was the Magician Valentino, some guy no one had ever heard of and it was totally disappointing. Everyone was hoping it was Blackstone, David Copperfield or Bela Lugosi.

Meanwhile, Bo Porter Will Work For Food – Third base coach Bo Porter interviewed for the vacant 2012 Florida Marlins manager job on Monday. It is the second time Porter has interviewed with Florida and has history with the team as he worked for them from 2005 to 2009. Manager Davey Johnson commented that he hoped the interview went well for Porter, but hopes to keep the band together in 2012.

What is it about Bo Porter? No one can tell me any reason why he should be leading a MLB team other than he is “such a nice guy and deserves a shot.” I remember really early in the season Porter making some boneheaded calls on starting and stopping players on the bases. He has improved, but other than the times he throws himself onto the grass and flails around screaming for a player to slide, I just don’t see the excitement behind the guy. Feel free to educate me.

Mike Rizzo’s Christmas List – GM Mike Rizzo discussed what the Nationals potential needs will be this off season and what he will be asking Santa Claus recently and basically he is just pulling out his old list from 2010: an everyday outfielder w/bat, a front-line starting pitcher and upgrading the bench.

Considering it is the same list as last season and Rizzo is going to try again, you can make the safe guess Rizzo was very naughty last year.

The Nationals Right Field Is A Life And Money Sucking Black Hole – According to Thom Loverro. That also includes current $126 million outfielder Jayson Werth. Interesting read whether you agree with it or not.

Any article is possible gold if you can mention Jose Guillen, Austin Kearns and Jayson Werth all in the same article and not facepalm yourself.

Strasburg Will Be In The Dreaded Plastic Bubble In 2012 – The Washington Nationals will have future ace and total pitching freak Stephen Strasburg on an innings limit in 2012. Oh, we need to go to the tape and get the goods from GM Mike Rizzo himself because he is always in the know:

“I’ve already calculated it, semi-calculated it, in my mind with our medical staff and our pitching people,” general manager Mike Rizzo said Sunday. “We’ve already discussed it.”

Rizzo didn’t say what Strasburg’s limit will be.

STORY OF THE YEAR!!!

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.

Grab A Brew And Enjoy Some 9/10 Pregame-Pregame Nats Photos

Preparing for Danny Espinosa Bobblehead Day.

Livan Hernandez really loves man-purses and bracelets.

Drew Storen signing for fans and pimpin’ the Stanford pride.

Don’t try and run, Tyler. You can’t hide from the NQ paparazzi.

Roger “Land Shark” Bernandina.

Bomb sniffing dogs checking out the player’s cars. The dog stopped at Michael Morse’s to smell the “bombs” in his bat.

Manager Davey Johnson giving the peanut butter mouth to the media in the dugout.

Chilling before BP… before Jonny Gomes came in talking about “Slammin’ Sammy” and a whole bunch of crazy.

Photo Buffet Of Nats 8/1 Batting Practice

EDITOR’S NOTE: The NQ took in MASN’s Blogger’s Night At Nationals Park on Monday night and it was a pretty good gig. Here are a few pics from batting practice. Check back Tuesday throughout the day for more pics and stories from the event. Hey, I need sleep. Have a heart.

Matt Stairs Nearly Gets Stripped And Then Double Bubbled To Death

The Nationals pulled off yet another astounding walk-off victory Friday night over the Pittsburgh Pirates by the score of 2-1. If that wasn’t enough the winning run came off a Matt Stairs pinch-hit single in the ninth that hit off the right field wall. Alex Cora jogged in from third to score and made his way over with Rick Ankiel who was on deck to first base to join the traditional mobbing of the player who was responsible for the victory.

That is when it starts getting weird.

During the fracas Jason Marquis looked like he started to pound the beer batter out of Stairs’ beer belly and then Ian Desmond proceeded to try and strip Stairs right there on the field (pictured). Stairs went into the dugout to have a postgame with MASN’s Debbi Taylor and once there a bucket of Double Bubble Bubble Gum was dumped on him followed by a shaving cream pie to the face.

Watching Washington Nationals baseball is just getting too weird for me. Davey Johnson jockeys the mic pre-game and talks about hairy chested men and cheeseburgers and now Matt Stairs is getting beaten up, stripped, has bubble gum thrown at him and then lathered in Barbasol. No one ever told me that when I started a blog I would have to deal with such nonsense. It is like a friggin’ zoo around here. Thank God, the NQ will be at Saturday’s doubleheader to restore order to the madness and show these amateurs how it is done.

But hey, if hairy men, cheeseburgers and stripping Matt Stairs gets the Nationals a win and back to .500, who am I to stop them? Congrats to Davey Johnson for getting his first win as Nationals manager and his 1,149th in his career. Keep putting those together consistently and Mike Rizzo will probably buy you a Sasquatch if you want one.