It was another bitter weekend at the Inquisition.
After the Nationals completely left Yu Darvish on the table (didn’t even make a try for him) it left a bad taste in my mouth. I just couldn’t understand why. A starting pitcher, professional baseball ready, was available. It was a Nationals need. Why GM Mike Rizzo and the Think Tank couldn’t put two-and-two together I don’t know. It was just yet another missed off season opportunity. They have a list, they have needs, why aren’t they fulfilling them to make the team “better” than 2011? Is third place the golden peak they climb for?
I let myself get a little hopeful when it was said someone put in a $2.5 million bid for Norichika Aoki. The 29-year old Japanese center fielder was a batting champion in his homeland and has a .329 lifetime batting average in Nippon Professional Baseball. Holy sh*t. A center fielder who can hit! Another Nationals need! And $2.5 million isn’t going to break the Lerner’s bank so the Nats should be all in on Aoki.
Nope, it seems to be another pass. The Washington Nats have turned into the Washington “Nots.” “Nope, we are sorry. The Washington Nationals are NOT interested in the services of your player, Mr. Agent, even though he would greatly improve our team’s chances. He can play, but NOT in Washington.”
Disheartened, I turned my attention this weekend to holiday festivities like putting up the tree, evicting a squirrel that had been living in the lodge with no food or water the past five days and holding a Christmas party for the hillbillies around here. So I spiked my egg nog, put on Cotton Eyed Joe and stared into the fire as a couple hellraisers started taking shots of White Lightning and I thought on the situation in Washington.
Why the hell are they making absolutely no deals for players that obviously would benefit them? Why would they undershoot Mark Buerhle? They haven’t even gotten their feet wet in the International market– unless you count Rizzo’s late night trips to the International House of Pancakes as foreign diplomacy. What is the Nats game? I pondered on this for awhile before realizing maybe the answer has been in front of us the whole time: either the Nationals are the next Pittsburgh Pirates and will go through their history as a team on the cheap or– they truly have unfathomable faith in the players they have. They truly believe the young riff-raff they have dragged through their system mixed with guys like Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth and peppered with low-cost, low-rate misfits can and will win the division or at least pull a Wild Card.
They believe Ian Desmond will cut down on the errors and actually hit the ball in lead off. They believe in Danny Espinosa. They have all the faith in the world Michael Morse is the real deal and not a Seasonal Cinderella. They believe the rotation will hold together and the bullpen will shut the door on the offensively potent rosters of the NL East. They utterly, truly and maybe hopelessly believe they are contenders– and there is something overall admirable about that. They “believe” which really is a wonderful thing. This team finally believes in itself.
At about this time the TV was on and while someone was flipping through channels it landed on a segment of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and suddenly my mind was knocked off track by the knowledge, by my belief, that if I was in Middle Earth I would be a dwarf. And I wouldn’t be just any dwarf, I’d be a dwarf who rides a bear. Can you think of anything more epically cool, but absolutely terrifying?
I would be a master miner and iron works worker. I would use fire, harnessed deep in my mountain palace, to mold tools and weapons of no equal. In my spare time I would go to my stable of bears and ride them out into the wild mountains searching for treasure and possibly helping a human or slaying a troll every so often. I would call myself Lord Burl Bearclaw and I would be one bad ass dwarf. I’d grow a beard that would put Werth to shame and be worthy of its own Twitter handle.
The idea was strangely romantic. I believed I could really be a dwarf of epic proportions. So I watched the rest of the movie. Then I went on to start reading “The Hobbit” and researching dwarves and looking at Google pictures of them. I also started researching bears so to find which one would be the most appropriate steed for my needs. I even considered signing up for that nerdy World of Warcraft thing so I could live my fantasy on the Internet.
But then I realized, “Wait a minute, I am not three feet tall. I am slightly claustrophobic and could never live in a cave. Can people even ride bears? Oh, and dwarves don’t even exist!” Needless to say, I was crushed. Just as crushed as I am about the Nationals. The belief you can do one thing or are something is grand, but just because you believe it doesn’t necessarily mean you are it. What I have spent over 800+ words trying to say is:
I am not something as hot as a dwarf riding a bear– and nor are the Nationals for that matter.