Let’s face it. You don’t really like baseball (yet). Or maybe you do like baseball, but you don’t feel like you know very much about it (yet). The point is you find yourself out of your depth when the conversation turns to the Nats and you wish you could just throw out a few things and sound like you know wassup…
Whether you want to fake it til you make it, or just fake it, we got you covered. Nats101 presents Talking Points, a weekly series designed to take advantage of the BSing nature of Washington D.C., and make you sound like a seamhead on your very first try. Whether you’re a casual fan or just having a casual encounter with the sport, give the following sound bites a try.
“I know its only Spring Training, but I really like what I see out of Danny Espinosa. I don’t know if he’ll start this year, but he’ll make the team for sure.”
This is a great little tid-bit. First of all it makes clear you are aware that Spring Training is going on, and that it has something to do with players earning their spot on the team.
Second-it’s a bit of a controversial position, but a realistic one. Espinosa showed promise a few years ago absolutely stunk the joint out last year. He hasn’t got a ton of hits in Espinosa, but his mechanics (how he swings the bat) does look better.
Whoever you say this to will probably go on and on about how terrible he was last year, and all the strikeouts, etc. When they do blow off their points and remind them he was injured (wrist and shoulder), he is an elite defender, and if he can “find his power stroke” again, he’ll be a fine “bat of the bench.”
If folks mention Anthony Rendon, the guy who will likely start at second base instead of Danny Espinosa, you’re allowed to like him. He’s a good player and a young kid and probably deserves to start-but that doesn’t devalue what Espinosa might mean for the team over the course of the season.
“You know, I was skeptical of the Matt Williams hire at first, but I really like how aggressively he’s managing the team. This could be just what the guys needed after ‘Club Davey.'”
Ah yes, you clever baseball fan. You’re totally smart enough to know that the Nats needed a little discipline after last year when manager Davey Johnson retired in his mind about 6 weeks before the end of the season. A senior citizen with senior-itis shouldn’t be managing a baseball team.
This bald guy, Matt Williams, from Arizona? He’s eager to prove he’s got what it takes in his first year managing the team. Players are stealing bases left and right*, and that’s all part of the new aggressive Nats. (*well actually they only steal bases in one direction, counter-clockwise, but yeah).
Most folks will agree with you on this one, so for a little added trivia throw out there that Washington won its only World Series title under another first year manager, Bucky Harris-who was still playing on the field at the time too!
WARNING: This is a bit of a test question for the person you are talking to. You may get a very heated response, so be careful.
Folks who like the trade for pitcher Doug Fister are likely to be worried that the inflammation will get worse, or something is wrong. This is because they know the trade to get him was unbelievably one sided (in favor of the Nationals) and assume something must go wrong.
The rest of the people believe the Nationals are complete idiots because they gave up Steve Lombardozzi, patron saint of “little engines that could,” for this guy from Detroit they never heard of. To put it nicely, these people…think with their hearts. I’ve written about the psychology of loving Lombo repeatedly, I won’t rehash it now.
The truth is Steve Lombardozzi was one of three players sent to Detroit for Fister, and he was kind of the “add on” to the deal.
You don’t want to get to argue with these people about the merits of Lombo because they believe he is the second coming of Ty Cobb. Their position is roughly “I really love my 1999 4-door sedan with the oil leak and 200k miles that doesn’t get warm in the winter. I would never sell it for $250k.”
While, yes, we all DO love our beat-up little cars, not one of us would pass on a quarter million dollars for it. (Doug Fister is the quarter million dollars in this scenario).
Again, don’t engage these people on this topic and say something about how its a shame and move on.
“So, do you guys read Nats101.com? It’s such a good blog!”
Look, I’ll give you other Twitteratti and great Nats blogs names to throw out there over the coming weeks, but right now I’mma get a bit shameless here. Follow the blog by clicking the follow button or entering your email address at the top right of the page. Follow us also on Twitter (@Nationals101) and Facebook (facebook.com/Nationals101). And then tell everyone that’s what you do and they should do it too cuz the site rocks.
The Nats101 Website was created to introduce new fans to baseball-particularly in a city relatively new to the idea of having a team. As such, we’ve directed much of our commentary towards trying to make smarter, more inclusive and congenial baseball fans.
A few years later though, and many of you who started this journey with us are kind of “caught up” if you will. Combined with the folks who already liked baseball, the demand for “explain this to me!” has dwindled a bit. While we’ll still focus on that plenty (and there is always something to learn) it’s clear we need to up our game a bit.
As such, it’s time to go on the offensive a bit. Rather than wait for folks to come to us, it’s time we took the message of baseball to them-and what better place than to start in the MASN Comments section on Facebook. While all of Twitter was rejoicing in the stunningly good trade the Nationals made with the Detroit Tigers for starting pitcher Doug Fister, the relative backwater township (that is probably any comment section, actually) of the Facebook MASN post on the trade was enraged. Unjustly so.
And so, with the help of MASNCommenter (A genius idea that is only funny because of how truly out there some people are) and some paraphrasing here and there, I am going to explain the trade for Doug Fister in a way even a commenter can understand. (I hope).
Last week, Davey Johnson said changes would be coming, and he might as well have said ‘Winter is Coming.’ The House Lerner did some serious Spring Cleaning a few weeks before the official start to summer much as we suggested on Monday. Of course, lots of people had the exact same suggestions, so not gonna break my arm patting myself on the back here.
Let’s start with the easy ones. Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke were both Designated for Assignment. If you’re not sure what that means, you can check out our podcast from last year on DFA or wait until I do a post on it later today/tomorrow. For now though, it basically means they have been cut by the team and can be claimed by another club. If no one claims them they are free agents and can sign where they like.
Third, Danny Espinosa was placed on the 15 day Disabled List. He is going to visit with a specialist today and then figure out what to do for his health there. Teams will look at his bust up wrist and have a look at the torn rotator cuff while they are at it. What’s more based on comments from Rizzo and Johnson, and the fact that he cleaned out his locker, it seems almost certain that he won’t return directly to the club but go to AA or AAA to work on his swing.
Which is why Anthony Rendon has been called up. He’s going to get time with Steve Lombardozzi at second base, which I am a bit skeptical about. Guy’s only played 3B, and had about 3 games in AAA Syracuse at 2B, so he is going to learn on the job. Plus, defensively, he’s going to replace Danny Espinosa’s elite level defense, so there was going to be a drop off already. Still, if he can hit it will help-and maybe it’ll end up giving Danny some props when folks see how not-routine some of the balls hit to second are.
Oh and lastly, the Nats won! For the first time all year, the Nationals came back from a deficit after the 6th inning to win a game. Plus, they tagged a reliever with a blown save and had a walk off win. Woot!
Singular topic this time given how big yesterday’s story was. Plenty of stuff to write/talk about this week, so please stay tuned! We are in our house and should be back to a more steady content stream presently.
Welcome to “Get To Know a Nat.” There are currently 39 men on the 40 man roster, and we’re going to give you the straight scoop on all of them! Not sure where to start with player and season previews? Not ready to jump into heavy metrics? Just want to get to know the players, what they do, and what to expect from them in 2013? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Name:Stephen Paul Lombardozzi Jr. Nickname(s): Lombo DOB: September 20, 1988 Twitter?: @S_Lombo1 From: Fulton, Maryland Role: Bench Player Positions Played: Primarily Second Base Hand: Switch Hitter, but throws Righty With the Nats Since: Drafted in 2008, Debuted in 2011
I have a special little place in my heart for Steve Lombardozzi. He was the first player in my first Spring Training last year that I saw and got to say “Jeez! Look at him! That guy is going to make the club this year!” Plus, you know, he had a long Italian surname (which always makes me feel good). Sure enough, Lombo worked his way up to the Nats as a bench player, playing in to 126 of the Nats 162 games. He had himself a very nice little year, even helping to rattle the cages for the “replace Danny Espinosa” contingent in the fan base. (I talked about that more on the Espi post and won’t reiterate here).
In 2013, Lombardozzi won’t have the luxury of being a pleasant surprise. His performance as a utility infielder will be depended upon this year. The Nationals will need to give guys breaks, pinch hit and otherwise utilize Lombo to get their team through a very long season. What’s more, the new-look Nationals aren’t as easy a fit for Lombo as they used to be. Still, the Nationals will find ways to use Lombardozzi, and when they do he’ll need to perform like he did last year.