Jerry Hairston Jr. Was Caught Blowing Balls Again

I am sure baseball players have an arsenal of scurvy cheats and short cuts they use to try to get the game to do something in their favor. I’m positive they do. It would be naive to think they didn’t. I’m sure they have some thrown together DIY handbook that they hide under the first step of the dugout steps or something and pull it out when they need a trick of the trade.

Jerry Hairston’s favorite cheat is perhaps ripped right out of that handbook.

On Thursday former Nationals benchman Jerry Hairston Jr. (now with Dodgers) was caught trying to “blow a ball foul” that was bunted down the line during a Spring Training game against the Royals. This is hilarious enough by itself (Deadspin has the video) if it wasn’t the first time Hairston Jr. tried to pull this stunt.

For avid Nats historians, you might remember back in April of 2011 in a game against the New York Mets, Hairston got caught dead bang doing the same thing in Nationals uniform. Just for your files: it didn’t work then and it didn’t Thursday. The guy sucks at blowing.

Which is sort of sad because Jerry Hairston Jr. is a blower. He is a chronic blower. He just can’t stop blowing. Mark my words, he will blow again. He blows. If he can’t blow, what else can he do?

(Photo from @KegsnEggs)

Michael Morse Will Not Be President Of The All-Star Game

Well, it is over. It is all over.

The results of the “Final Vote” for the final All-Star roster spot are in and in a shocking twist– Shane Victorino from the Philadelphia Phillies won it for the NL. Actually, it wasn’t much of a surprise, it was expected considering every bandwagon fan and frat boy across the Nation was being predicted to stuff the hell out of the ballot box for that joker. Really? An injured Victorino an All-Star? Only in America. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. The All-Star Game is one gigantic circus sideshow anyway.

What was shocking was a Washington National actually made the Final Vote ballot and even though he didn’t win and he’ll be hitting the links with the rest of the Nats (except Tyler Clippard who actually will be attending the All-Star Game as a participant), first baseman Michael Morse should be proud. Alas, a huge Twitter campaign to #VoteMorse and an over-expensive, tacky t-shirt no one in their right mind over the age of 20 would be caught wearing weren’t enough to get Morse past fourth place in the overall voting, but hey: a Washington National was considered.

That is a helluva lot better than in past years where they were straight ignored.

However, as one Nationals dreams of All-Star greatness are crushed to a pulp, another one’s dreams are being toyed with– again. Nationals rookie second baseman Danny Espinosa was sort of considered an All-Star snub, but with New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (voted in) going on the DL, there might be a chance, however slim, for him to sneak in. Jerry Hairston Jr. leads the charge:

“Sixteen and 50 for a second baseman,” Hairston said, referring to Espinosa’s home run and RBI totals. “That’s an all-star. Write it down.”

No problem, Hairston. We just did.

BOOYAH!

–In Brief Relief

Speaking of @DannyEspinosa18 — Danny Espinosa has joined Twitter. Twitter him.

The Yanks and Nats Might BURNett One — Various reports are saying the New York Yankees might actually have interest in Nationals reliever Sean Burnett… yeah, we think so too. How could it?

Your Nationals Dispatch: The Snark And Shark Edition – UPDATE

I know I usually dish out a hefty amount of snark and story at the start of these things, but tonight I am going to bypass that and just get to the meat of the thing.

No? You want snark? Fine. Snark, snark, snark, snark, snark, snark. Snark, snark. Snark. Snark, snark, snark, snark. Snark, snark. Snark. Snark– snark. Snark–

And I also gave you a Shark in the banner pic before we turn you to–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

When Dan Steinberg Jacks Your S**t -Today Dan Steinberg on the D.C. Sports Bog posted a wonderful article on Roger Bernadina’s “Shark Club” and how the speedy center fielder got the nickname “The Shark.” Wonderful article. Fine word usage, good grammar, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had read something similar somewhere close to- oh say- five freaking months ago. But where? Where did I– oh yeah. How about  HERE and HERE — on this very blog.

Fine. It happens. The “big media writers” sometimes dup stories, but what gets my goat is Steinberg tweeted us this morning apologizing that he didn’t mention our work in the article which indicates he had prior knowledge of their existence and he still didn’t give credit to the original source. Being that it is “Social Media Day” (ridiculous) and after the amount of bitching and whining “big media” does about how bloggers having no dignity or boundaries, how we are all loose cannons with no journalistic integrity and are shunned because we don’t follow some stuffy old fart newspaper room rules and how we are taking their stories and jobs  like they are the only ones that should be in on the big joke– well, I give you Exhibit A that the door swings both ways there. He can’t even link after the fact? Shameful.

This whole situation crushes me. I love Steinberg’s work and I (did) read the Bog every morning. It is like reading all of an author’s books, worshiping him and then going to a book signing only to have the scribe drop his trousers and take a dump in the flap jacket of your copy of his favorite work. Sorry, this has been bothering me all day and I just want to get it off my chest right away.

UPDATE: It is alright, everything is okay. Dan and I talked it out and settled it in the only way civilized men do: cage match and beer. And not necessarily in that order.

Strasburg Is Throwing Balls…Of Curve - Pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg has made another significant step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery: he is throwing balls. That curve. Throwing them at only 50% the Nationals ace is excited to finally be throwing curve balls in his rehab process and they keep getting better the more he throws them.

And every time he throws one, the tent getting pitched in my pants gets larger. At least I think that is why. Some sort of strange psychic connection or something.

Wang And P-Nats – Nationals starter– I guess he is a Nationals starter even though he hasn’t ever thrown a pitch for the team in a real game, Chien-Ming Wang will have a second rehab start at Potomac with the Potomac Nationals (or P-Nats) this Saturday in Woodbridge, VA. Not only will fans get to see the Nationals Wang in action (perverts!) they will also be subjected to a lot of cool things like the first 1,000 fans at the Pfitz will receive a free Abner Doubleday bobblehead and the P-Nats will be wearing the throwbacks of the first Washington baseball team in existence.

If the NQ didn’t have to attend some pesky and annoying Nationals doubleheader on Saturday we’d totally be there. Being responsible sucks.

Jerry HAIRston Jr. Has A Hairline – Fracture. In his right wrist after he got hit by a pitch in the hand on Wednesday night. He is expected to be out for a month. Hairston Jr. blames the shadows at Angels Stadium for making it difficult to see the ball and calls the conditions there “dangerous.”

Like is he implying there are shadow monsters out there in California or is he just excited he picked up Michael Jackson’s eighth studio album? I can’t tell. I’m too tired and full of snark.

And that is Your Nationals Dispatch.

 

Forgive Me, Nats For I Have Jinxed

It is my duty this morning to beg forgiveness from you, loyal readers of the NQ, from the Washington Nationals, from all of Natstown and especially,  starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. Forgive me, for I have committed the most heinous of baseball sins: the jinx.

I take full responsibility for the Nationals 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last night, FULL responsibility– along with Jerry Hairston Jr. and Danny Espinosa for their damning errors late in the game and the stone dead Nationals offense who seemed to lose their hitting ability like you lose your keys in the couch. So I guess that means I actually take QUARTER responsibility, but I’m willing to take it all because I did something I knew I shouldn’t have done.

It was in the fourth-inning and starter Jordan Zimmermann was going hot. He had a perfect game going. He didn’t have the strike outs and finesse of Cliff Lee, but Zimmermann was getting the outs and Lee had already given up a hit to Danny Espinosa to end any potential no-hit bid. Jordan Freakin’ Zimmermann was out-pitching the Phillies Cliff Lee. It was beautiful. You felt there was some magic brewing there in Nationals Park among the legions of drunken and abusive Phillies fans that were short-bused to the Nation’s Capital from the most toxic city in the States. You felt like it could end up a very special night.

Then– I blew it.

I was working on the SBNationDC storystream for the game at the time and keeping tabs on the action when my editor Mike Prada contacted me and said that Zimmermann had a no-hitter going and I should probably update the stream. Now, I am a superstitious-type breed when it comes to baseball. I have my quirks, I have my rituals and I usually follow the mystical laws of the game to appease whatever baseball deities that are out there. One such law is: when a pitcher has a no-hitter going you do not mention it. You don’t want to be the one to jinx it.

In my heart, I knew this was true and if I updated with “No. 27 has a no-hitter going” type post, not only would I be punished for my insolence, but also all of Natstown would pay with me. I wanted to say no, I wanted to say, “No, I will not mention it and be that guy,” but I was hired to do a job, my editor wanted it and besides, Bill Ladson had already tweeted it in the third-inning anyways. So I wrote the story up and had it posted by the last out of the fifth-inning.

Moments later, Carlos Ruiz took Zimmermann deep to lead off the sixth-inning, mere moments after I posted.

My God, I have not felt so miserable in my life. A lot of factors went into the loss, I know. Cliff Lee pitched brilliantly, you can’t take anything away from him. The Nationals defense without Ryan Zimmerman looks like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. Regardless of what GM Mike Rizzo says, there is an offensive offense problem in D.C. You can even argue Zimmermann was left in just a tad bit too long and question bringing in a somewhat inconsistent Drew Storen to take on a bases loaded, no outs situation. That falls on manager Jim Riggleman.

But the jinx? That falls on me. Totally falls on me and I am so sorry, Natstown. I have been miserable since the sixth-inning last night. I’ve tried everything from a couple of Coronas to a video of a soccer player kicking an owl.

I just can’t shake the feeling of shame and bad luck.

 

 

Old Dog Line-Up Doesn’t Teach New Tricks

The Nationals left budding young stars Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa out of the starting line-up yesterday and instead went with what the NQ labeled “The Mentor Line-Up.” Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora, veterans of the league, were inserted instead and with grizzled Jason Marquis on the mound, The $126 Million Dollar Man in right field, Gold Glover Ryan Zimmerman at third and a cast of hardcore coaches controlling the bases, victory was inevitable at Sun Life Stadium.

This cast of characters were incubated in the fires of the MLB. One day, when they stuff baseball players and put them up as displays in museums, guys like Hairston Jr., Bo Porter and Matt Stairs will be there holding clubs in one hand and dragging the hair of a voluptuous cave woman in the other. This was the old school crew. They’d show these young kids a thing or two about playing the game of baseball.

Wait, did I write victory was inevitable? Scratch that. The Nats ended up losing in extra innings to the Florida Marlins 3-2.

Third base coach Bo Porter continued to look confused manning his role by mis-signaling Jerry Hairston Jr. and having him get rundown on the way to the plate in a crucial play that might have eventually led to a Nats run if not for the gaffe and Jayson Werth, the guy who now has a gigantic banner of himself on the parking garages at Nats Park (and our banner pic today), waved off Danny Espinosa on a fly ball, proceeded to drop it which eventually led to the winning run in the 10th. In other words, typical Nationals baseball from both the young and the old.

You can’t teach old dogs new tricks and apparently those old dogs don’t teach the pups new ones either.

“That play needed to be made there in that spot,” Werth said. “Totally my fault. In that situation, you want to be sure you could get the out. My read was, I wasn’t totally sure if Espy was going to get it. So I called it. I had a chance to catch it. I didn’t, and it cost us the game. I take total responsibility for that one.”

As he should. As Porter and Hairston Jr. should for their miscommunication. As should Riggleman for leaving starter Jason Marquis in one inning too long. As should Drew Storen who still doesn’t look like the killer closer of the future the team is trying to sell him as. I felt real bad for Storen. I was on Nationals.com at one point last night and suddenly a “Live-Game Look-In” popped up on my screen and I was watching three or four minutes of the game and it came on when Storen was pitching and the look on his face when I first started watching said it all: he knew it wasn’t going well for him. The world was coming down hard. His had a look of both fear and defeat. Everyone was waiting for the guillotine to drop.

Unfortunately, the guillotine dropped, but not on Storen, Riggleman or the salty old-dog’s necks, but on reliever Sean Burnett who inherited a bases loaded, no outs in the bottom of the 10th situation– which he almost got out of. Almost. He finally conceded a single which brought in the winning Fish run, but he was able to get one out of way out of the worst jam possible. Burnett had some grapefruits. At least he can take that away from this game.

The morale of the story: Just because you scraped the bottom of the barrel and found some vets doesn’t mean their “mentorship” to the young guys (or themselves) will translate to the field. “Mentorship” is highly overrated on a baseball team and should never be a reason to have a guy fill up a slot on the roster– unless the guy can mentor AND produce. The Nationals have had close to a 0.0% success rate when it comes to these type of players and frankly, Natstown is getting tired of the yearly articles proclaiming it is good that these guys are here “teaching the young guys.”

Whatever happened to the days of being here to just win baseball games?

Maybe that line of thought expired when the Georgia Peach retired in 1926 and Babe Ruth became a candy bar.

 

 

This Jerry Hairston Jr. Post Took Me Five Hours Because Internet Sucks

You didn’t hear it first here folks, but the Nationals have signed Jerry Hairston Jr. to a one-year contract. Nats PR:

The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with super utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. on a one-year contract. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.Hairston Jr. is a career .257 (927-for-3608) hitter with 192 doubles, 59 home runs and 341 RBI in 1148 games with San Diego, New York (AL), Cincinnati, Texas, Chicago (NL) and Baltimore spanning 13 big league seasons.

The 34 year-old Hairston Jr. has hit a career-best 10 home runs in back-to-back seasons, including 2010, when he received 430 at-bats from the Padres and responded by batting  .244 with 13 doubles and a career-high 50 RBI.

Hairston Jr. earned a World Series ring with the Yankees in 2009. During his career, he has played every defensive position except pitcher and catcher, with the bulk of his innings coming at second base, shortstop and center field.

When I think of a guy that has been on a bunch of teams, doesn’t really have one set position, has enough stats to warrant him being on a Major League, doesn’t have enough stats to warrant him being on a Major League team, probably has had a run in with performance enhancers once or twice and eventually hit pay dirt and picked up a ring by, for one reason or another, landing on a team that is fortunate enough to win one– I think of Jerry Hairston Jr.

He is a Super Journeyman, super-utility guy that will be using his superpowers for the Nationals bench. The Clark Kent of ballplayers and as the press release so sneakily fit in, he has a ring– which means really nothing. He can show it off in the Nats locker room and be like, “Oh, hey guuuuuuys! Look what I have!” And all the Nats will run over to his locker all giddy and shoving each other to get a view of their heart’s desire and when Zimmerman gets too close, Hairston Jr. will plant that ring right into #11′s forehead and imprint that diamond studded Yankee logo into his skin and say, “So you will remember it! Now get your own!”

Hey, it could happen and admit it: that was a good read. You know what else is a good read? Bill Ladson’s Twitter where he is absolutely gushing over picking up Jerry Hairston Jr. When he tweets things like this, it is so sweet I want to puke. And just in case you didn’t already know, Hairston Jr. is getting over a fractured right tibia injury he got playing with the Padres in 2010. Just something to keep your eyes on.

Another thing to keep your eyes on: Spring Training. Hence why the banner photo is not Hairston Jr., but a shot of Space Coast Stadium in Viera. God, I can’t wait for it. The NQ will be there for all 15 home games this year. Besides, I’ve heard things like if you take a picture of Hairston Jr. and look at it your face melts like that guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I didn’t want to risk it.