Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Moment of 2011

US Presswire photo
Wilson Ramos' June 21 walk-off homer against Seattle was a high point of the year.
There really are only three things that happen in the baseball world during the final week of December: 1) Front offices are closed, resulting in a decided lack of Hot Stove news, 2) Hall of Fame ballots are due, which means I better get cracking on mine and 3) Baseball writers desperate for material resort to posting year-in-review stuff.

Guess what that means? It's time to vote for your favorite moments of the year in NatsTown!

We'll break this up into three parts over the next three days. Today we'll look at the candidates for Best Moment of 2011. Tomorrow we'll run through the choices for Worst Moment of 2011. And then on Friday we'll break out the Strangest Moments of 2011.

Here are my finalists for Best Moment of 2011...

1. JUNE 21: WILSON RAMOS' WALK-OFF HOMER VS. SEATTLE
After reeling off eight straight wins to put themselves on the precipice of a .500 record, the Nationals suffered a tough loss to the Orioles on June 19 and then two nights later found themselves in a 5-1 hole to the Mariners with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. And then ... magic. Jerry Hairston singled in a run. Michael Morse roped a comebacker off closer Brandon League, forcing the Mariners to bring in a cold David Pauley to finish the game. Danny Espinosa greeted Pauley with another RBI single. And then Wilson Ramos sent a pitch soaring into the night, a three-run, walk-off homer to cap the greatest comeback in Nationals history and give his team its ninth win in 10 games. The Nats would go on to win their next three, putting themselves two games over .500.

2. JUNE 27: DAVEY JOHNSON NAMED MANAGER
Of course, that wild winning streak became noteworthy not because of all the dramatic victories but because of Jim Riggleman's shocking resignation moments after the Nationals swept the Mariners. Chaos and confusion reigned for several days as the club tried to figure out how to clean up this mess. Then, a 68-year-old former World Series-winning manager who hadn't won a big-league uniform in 11 years returned to the dugout and brought instant credibility and respect to the organization. Few teams could experience a midseason managerial resignation like that and actually emerge in a better place, but in hiring Davey Johnson the Nationals managed to do just that.

3. AUG. 15: NATS SIGN TOP FOUR DRAFT PICKS
In what has become an annual mid-August tradition, the Nationals front office (not to mention the full media corps) gathered at the ballpark into the wee hours of the morning waiting to see if the organization's top draft picks would sign before MLB's midnight deadline. This year's deadline day didn't feature the No. 1 overall pick as was the case in 2009 (Stephen Strasburg) and 2010 (Bryce Harper). But in some ways, this deadline day proved more dramatic, with the Nationals signing all four of their top picks (Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin and Matt Purke) in the final minutes before midnight, shelling out a combined $16.5 million in the process. "We're the talk of the industry right now," Mike Rizzo said. "This just solidifies us as, to me, one of the great scouting and player development organizations in baseball. We feel really good about ourselves tonight."

4. SEPT. 6: STEPHEN STRASBURG'S TRIUMPHANT RETURN
Three hundred eighty-one days since he last set foot on a major-league pitching mound, Stephen Strasburg was back in his rightful place. And anyone unaware of what had transpired over those previous 381 days would never have known the right-hander was making his first start back from Tommy John surgery. With a fastball that topped out at 99 mph and his trademark curveball baffling opposing batters, Strasburg tossed five scoreless innings against the Dodgers and let the world know he was officially back. By the end of the month, he had made five successful starts, posting a 1.50 ERA and a ridiculous, 24-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

5. SEPT. 20-22: NATS SWEEP FOUR-GAME SERIES IN PHILLY
For all the progress the Nationals made over the course of 2011, many wouldn't have considered this franchise to have truly made progress until it overcame perhaps its toughest hurdle: Beating the hated Phillies, kings of the NL East for the last five years. So this four-game sweep over three September days at Citizens Bank Park proved as cathartic a series as this team and its fans had experienced in quite some time. It also ensured the Nationals would finish the season with a winning record (10-8) against Philadelphia, no small accomplishment.

So, those are my five finalists for Best Moment of 2011. Now it's your turn. Vote for your top moment in the poll in the top right corner of the screen, then give your explanation in the comments section...

149 comments:

Carl the Big Fool said...

I liked the 10-0 whoopin' of the Cardinals in June.

natsfan1a said...

I guess we're talking on the field? Because my #1 hands-down is November 11, when Wilson Ramos was rescued. Will have to cogitate a bit re. the game-related items.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Not even close. The sweep of the Phllies. I loved evey second of i.

Mile High Nats Fan said...

All great moments, no doubt, but I think the one people will still be talking about in 2 to 3 years is August 15, 2011.

NasJack in Forida said...

it.

Anonymous said...

When the Nats swept Philly, we knew we were no longer a doormat in the NL East. Although the Phillies had clinched and werent playing all out, it was still up lifting to get a sweep.

MicheleS said...

Carl.. I was at that game.. It was a thing of beauty!

I would also include Zimm's Walkoff Grand Slam after that LONG rain delay against the Phillies!

Anonymous said...

Liked the Z-Man's walk-off grand slam against Philadelphia.

NatsNut said...

I was at the Ramos walk-off game and I still get chills thinking about it. That game and the 4-game Phillies sweep are tied for me.

natsfan1a said...

I always give the nod to my in-person experiences, and one of the season's peaks for me was on June 24, when the Nats went over .500 with a sac fly from Laynce Nix in the bottom of the 9th. I was sooo happy to have them at that mark in late June. Of course, the happy buzz didn't last long, as we were milling happily around the team store afterwards only to look up at the monitor and see Rizzo on the postgame show, with a caption about the Riggs resignation. So it was a top moment (for me), followed shortly thereafter by a WTH? moment.

Of Mark's moments, I'd go with the sweep of Philly at CBP (but next time MASN needs to include more bummed-out fan shots :-)).

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Maybe not the best, but one of my top five favorites, was Milone's first-MLB-pitch home run.

But the Phillies sweep was pretty good...


captcha: "worses" -- save them til tomorrow.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

and it was spring training, but Danny Espinosa's Ridiculous Bazooka Arm throw gave us some idea there was some real hope coming.
In case you forgot:
Youtube: Danny Espinosa has a howitzer

ehay2k said...

Great moments, all. I also liked the little things like Zimm's and Flores' returns to the field, the Shark's awesome tumbling catch in CF, the debuts of Peacock and Milone, and Morse's 30th HR.

This was a great year to be a Nats fan! I look forward to 2012.

Anonymous said...

Off the field . . .

1.Wilson Ramos being freed.
2.Gio trade.
3.Rendon falling to 6.
4.Purke pick and contract.
5.Wang signing.
6.Gorz tender.
7.DeRosa/Cameron signings.

Excited for 2102.

dfh21

Doc said...

My "Best Momement(s)" of '11 were any time that Mickey Morse stepped up to the plate!

Gooooooooooooooooo Nats!!!

Anonymous said...

In which year I will be 136 yrs old. Oops, 2012!

dfh21

Original Nats Fan said...

all great moments, but sweeping the Phillies in their park was priceless.

Todd Boss said...

For me it's Tommy Milone's homer.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Let's see that again!

The Shark, The Catch (there's a commercial before the replay)


capcha: "perpholla" -- even the software thinks that was a felony

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

[dfh21] said...
Excited for 2102.
.... In which year I will be 136 yrs old. Oops, 2012!



Good. For a minute there, I thought you'd become a Cubs fan.

Jim Kurtzke said...

Zim's walk-off against the Phillies

Doc said...

2102 is shaping up as a good year for the Cubbies--they'll no longer have Zambrano's and Soriano's contracts to worry about

J. said...

My favourite was Danny Espinosa's walk off HR against the Cards.

Anonymous said...

June first - John Lannan's win against the phils. The phans were all wearing their citizen's bank south shirts and laynce nix made"the catch". Very close, tense game - "the catch" saved it. It was so sweet. Zim's walk off against madsen late at night also makes my list, as well as the winning streak.

Anonymous said...

Doc - please share - what's up?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Anon 11:30.... read..... the year is 2102....

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Livo calling his shot against Jair Jurrjens, then giving the fan his bat.


capcha: "pulukke"
Who you callin a palooka??

Anonymous said...

Oh - now i get it-duh! It'll probably take that long, too.

Gonat said...

natsfan1a said...
I guess we're talking on the field? Because my #1 hands-down is November 11, when Wilson Ramos was rescued. Will have to cogitate a bit re. the game-related items.

December 28, 2011 10:28 AM
_______________________________

+1 It was like a family member was taken

Natslifer said...

I was there for Ramos' walk-off and SS' return. In hindsight, the Ramos walk-off was more exciting. Stras' return was more than workmanlike but seemed almost... normal in a really good way. I'll give the nod to the sweep of the Phils because it was a team performance top to bottom and despite being after the Phils clinched was significant as it set the tone that I believe undid the Phils in the playoffs.

Gonat said...

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/the-80-89-win-club.html

This is a great discussion point talking about trends of teams if you look at the 7 teams including the Nats that didn't make the playoffs and had 80-89 wins in 2011.

Look at the Braves in particular of what they have and haven't done. I think the Angels on the list made the biggest moves to trend up. The Nats just getting healthy is big. The Dodgers are certainly going to make it interesting in the West.

MicheleS said...

The DeRosa signing is now official according to the Nats website

dickinsonpoet said...

Without question: Davey taking the helm. This ushers in a new period in the Washington Nationals when winning is going to be expected and not just a distant hope.

Anonymous said...

dickinsonpoet - you are dreaming if you think Johnson is going to be some kind of savior. The roster is decent now and i just hope he doesn't manage it right into a train wreck. You seem to be forgetting how awful he was at managing the pitchers until he had extra ones. Also his pathological refusal to give up an out and use a sacrifice to score a run no matter what the situation is will kill you in close games. Don't hold your breath.

MicheleS said...

Umm Anon 12:04..

What about when Davey did that suicide squeeze with Morse and Ramos - the one that almost got Morse beaned and then he did it again.

Also like the Morse Hacking Some Gorse moments. Those were always fun!

Anonymous said...

Name-calling and insults. It's what I got.

MicheleS said...

Hey..

What about the Matt Stairs Walk Off! It was his one shinning moment in DC!

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Most of what a manager does to earn his paycheck happens off the field, but in-game stuff is almost all the fans see, and some get the impression that's all there is. Understandable. But every good manager has said something to the effect of "Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher."

Natsochist said...

Have to agree with lending more weight to moments I was there for - which makes The Shark's catch my undisputed #1.

natsfan1a, spot-on with the off-the-field moment.

UNTERP said...

I tell you what. i was at the game when Zimmerman slaughtered a ball out of Wrigley Field, out of left center field into the yard across the street from the stadium. I stood in the left field corner bleachers as I watched it sailed into the front yard over a seven foot iron fence, as this kid darts into the yard to beat this older guy to the ball. Seconds later the kid emerges with it in hand and heaves it back into Wrigley into the field of play. The whole spectrum was special.

But the Ramos rescue tops it all...

Anonymous said...

Riggleman wanted Desmond to be a utility guy, but Johnson talked him out of that? I did not know that. I presume that would have meant that Riggs wanted Espi to SS and maybe a platoon at 2B last year?

Riggleman wanted to start Cristian Guzman at shortstop ... again. Instead Guzman became his "super utility" guy. Guzman ended up hitting a bunch of single, few if any extra base hits and a dearth of walks. Then Rizzo traded Guzman to Texas for Roarke and Tatusko in July. The following year he was out of the game. No more JimBo to keep giving him extensions.

Espi at second base? Riggleman put Guzman at second base when he found that the FO had overruled him and placed Desmond at shortstop. That in turn served to irritate left-handed hitting Adam Kennedy who Rizzo had acquired to start at second for Riggleman. Kennedy got more than a bit rusty. Riggleman had a very hard time finding a slot for Michael Morse in his lineup even though, according to Goesling, he was Morse's biggest proponent to the front office. Jim its kind of hard finding out what Morse could do when you stick him on the bench instead of right field for the most part.

No anonymous 12:04, Johnson isn't a savior. What he is is someone who is perfect for a developing young team and system like the Nats currently have.He is a manager who isn't afraid to try to fit developing top prospects into his lineup. To evaluate them and find out what they have. It makes the GM's job a lot easier because now he has a complete book on his close-to-major-league ready prospects. Now, the GM is certain about what he has and what he might need to acquire outside the organization. This is something Riggleman many times seemed to refuse to do. He wanted to play his veterans so that "he wouldn't lose them". Of course it depends on the veteran. If your name is Adam Kennedy you are the odd man out.

Riggleman belonged with a team like the Phillies. Where almost everyone is a long-time veteran. Even the pitching.

Anonymous said...

The Ramos rescue should hold a special place as the best thing that ever happened to a Nat. Let's just create a category for it since everything else is jut a game.

DL in VA said...

Desmond stealing home versus the Cards.

TimDz said...

While the Hiring of DJ and the draft signings were seminal moments this season, and the Ramos kidnapping and safe rescue (mentioned earlier) definately put things in its proper perspective, the best on the field moment in my eyes was the Ramos blast that capped the comeback. I have gone back several times this off season to the blog post that replayed the calls by MASN, the Nats Radio Network and the Mariners play by play (no way.....No Way.....NO WAY......).

Wally said...

Mark said ...Vote for your top moment in the poll

Ram Moose is loose!

Wally said...

Watching the Espinosa howitzer made me remember that Ankiel throw to get the guy at third. Probably the best throw I have ever seen on a baseball field

Dawn said...

On the field I have a few in no particular order...

1. Wang's return, he had worked very hard and I really looked forward to him getting back on the mound.
2. Livo and Pudge on the field anytime, but April 29th stands out with Livo's bunt, Pudge gunning down Reyes, Desi's triumphant return after becoming a dad, Storen striking out Willie Harris in the 9th.
3. Last game of the season against the Marlins, great way to go out and keeping us wanting more in 2012.

Nats Time to Remember said...

I was at the Zimm walk-off against Philly, the Ramos walk-off, and Strasburg's return. But for me, the greatest moment of the year was our wildest game, and wildest win of the season, against the White Sox, in Chicago, on 24 June, 1 day after Riggleman quit.

We had the game in the bag but gave up 3 in bottom of the 9th (including a 2 run HR) to put it in extras.

Both teams scored in the 10th. Tied again.

We went up 1 in the 12th, but like a heavyweight fight, the ChiSox through a haymaker and homered to tie it again.

After leaving 27 men on base, we scored 4 in the top of the 14th and held on to win.

This game also featured the most insane umpiring of the season, including a rare and awful call reversal which burned the Nationals and got our temporary skipper thrown out of his first game.

In addition to being, by far, the most exciting Nats game of the season, it also told the baseball world that the Nationals would hang together despite the Quitter Riggleman fiasco.

Wally said...

From MLB radio:

"As far as are we going to dab our toe in (the Prince Fielder) water," Rizzo said, "Those are decisions we make early on in that process and we've more or less decided that Adam is going to be our first baseman. Unless something extraordinary and out of the ordinary happened, that's how we're going to go into spring training."

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Watching the Espinosa howitzer made me remember that Ankiel throw to get the guy at third.

Dave Sappelt, after Werth got turned around and it it off the wall. Ball was in the air a good 280 feet, right on the money. Tie game, ninth inning, too.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

*it HIT off the wall.

What is with this epidemic of dropped words? I blame Kilgore.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Nats Time to Remember said...

Good one!

jd said...

I don't remember the date (late august). We were playing the Phills in the rubber game of the 3 game series and the stadium was packed with enemy supporters. 2 outs and a 1 and 2 count on Desmond facing Bastardo. All of the Philly fans are on their feet screaming for the final strike because Bastardo was really dealing.

Home run Desmond; every one sits down except Sam and me. One inning later the Nats win on a walk off HBP as Sam and I are arguing with the silly ushers trying to get us to sit down.

Great ride back home to NJ.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

@jd, it was Aug. 21. Lidge hit Gomes with the bases loaded in the 10th to push across the Nats' winner, 5-4.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

A Turning Point
Mark's writeup post of the 8/21 game.

sjm308 said...

I agree that being there makes it more special. That would limit my choices to Zimm's walk off, and the return of SS. I was at the first SS game and that to this day is my most special moment as far as crowd excitement, but seeing him come back from the Tommy John and work so efficiently gave (and gives) me great confidence in what lies ahead for this club.

Scooter said...

jd brought up one of my favorites: Desmond's homer to keep the Phils game going. In the poll, I voted for Strasburg's return, but y'all's comments have reminded me how great that sweep of the Phillies felt.

Really, I think my most memorable moment was the Seattle game where Riggleman quat. I was there, which makes the memory stronger. But it was an exciting win -- I think someone said a Nix sac fly -- and then I'm getting in my car when JaneB texts me to ask what the heck is going on with Riggleman. Crazy day.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

2011 was great. The top one has to be sweeping the weeping Phillies at their park. I was at the game when Bastardo hit Gomes. That was sweet also. Bring on 2012!!

Wally said...

Here's Ankiel's throw. What I had forgotten is that looking at it in slo-mo (X-mo? - keep it under control, FP!) it wasn't even close. From a sure triple to a clear out - damn, resign that guy.

http://mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18557059

Mark Belanger said...

June 19- Orioles routed the Nats 7-4. JJ Hardy crunched a home run off Gorzelanny. Mark Reynolds smashed a Coffey pitch for a homer. Jayson Werthless went o for four and was owned by Chris Jabbathehutakusmazkus.

Dryw said...

Now that I have a little distance from the 50% of the time that I was depressed about Nats' losses, I kinda love the whole gosh-darn season! Thanks to everyone for sharing some of those beautiful moments that didn't make Mark's list. We had some good ones, didn't we!

Unkyd said...

Hi, Poopy!

N. Cognito said...

Wally said...
"Here's Ankiel's throw. What I had forgotten is that looking at it in slo-mo (X-mo? - keep it under control, FP!) it wasn't even close. From a sure triple to a clear out - damn, resign that guy."

They did resign that guy. They didn't offer him a contract.

Greatest moment had to be July 1st: Matt Stairs walk-off single. Nobody thought it would happen, probably including Matt.

sm13 said...

I go with the sweep of the Phils. It makes us feel like we are legitimate contenders. Close second is Stras's performance in the final game.

Anonymous8 said...

I'm with Wally!!!! The RAM-MOOSE is LOOSE and Free and Safe!!!!

The Joker said...

A sad day for the Nats was September 26, 2011, the last game played by the great Brian Bixler. Replaced Marrero as a pinch-runner, played first, struck out and participated in a double-play. Bye-bye, Brian.

Natslifer said...

Ahhh... thinking about the Phils series reminded me of the series after that against Atlanta at home. Last game, last three innings of sheer dominance by HROD, Clippard, and Storen. HROD has the best inning of his year painting both sides of the plate with fastballs and curves. Braves catcher tries to bunt on strike 3 because he knows he has no chance.

Poopy McPoop said...

I wonder if Prince would like Boog's barbecue? Nice way to gain another 50 or so ...

PMP's fave O's moments of 2011 said...

....crickets....

Anonymous said...

Of the 5, Strasburg's return is the most important to this team in my opinion. We were hearing for weeks "Don't expect miracles. It takes a while for the pitchers command to return after TJ surgery." 2 walks in 24 innings? Can't wait till he gets his control back.

The final game against the Marlins was the best. Even against a dispirited, last-place club, 6 innings, 1 hit, no runs 100mph fastball, etc. was nothing short of magic. I think we are gonna see the once-in-a-generation pitcher that we we've been expecting.

PMP's off-field fave moment said...

When they hired top GM choice Dipoto, er, LaCava, er, Duquette.

Andrew said...

UNTERP said...
I tell you what. i was at the game when Zimmerman slaughtered a ball out of Wrigley Field, out of left center field into the yard across the street from the stadium. I stood in the left field corner bleachers as I watched it sailed into the front yard over a seven foot iron fence, as this kid darts into the yard to beat this older guy to the ball. Seconds later the kid emerges with it in hand and heaves it back into Wrigley into the field of play. The whole spectrum was special.

But the Ramos rescue tops it all...

December 28, 2011 12:16 PM
---------------------------------
On the Zim HR, you have part of the story incorrect. A ballhawk named Dave (older guy as you referred) retrieved the ball and the kid who threw "the ball" back was not throwing the HR ball back.

Dave taped it all on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQpGysQ-Bzs

I actually own the HR bat Zim used and Dave still has the HR ball and it is still on eBay for $2,000

Scooter said...

Ooh, Natslifer, that was one heck of an inning by Rodriguez. How about the game at Arizona -- gosh, I can't remember all the back-and-forth, but Ramos took about 19 years to circle the bases on his extra-inning homer. "I wasn't hurt. I just wanted to see those guys get mad."

(And way to feed the troll, numskulls.)

pahou said...

my nomonee for a top two best off the field moment came on August 29. Mr. Z dont we get a holiday picture of Brian?

David said...

Wang's great start vs the Mets is one of my favorite moments. Two years of hard work and patience finally coming to fruition.

natsfan1a said...

Ooh, good call by pahou.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Naah, gotta go silver medal for Brian. Sorry.

UNTERP said...

Andrew said...

I stand corrected. That was quite a slight of hand so to speak. In the video, it showed the kid retrieving the ball and the older guy in the yard watching. Then I saw the kid seem to go into a bag (but I can't really tell), and emerge with a ball. I can sort of see an exchange take place. But to be truthful, I wonder if the baseball being sold on eBay is the fake, and the kid still has the ball. Be that as it may. You can see how I got this wrong. I was hoodwinked!

natsfan1a said...

Isn't silver second? I'm cornfused.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Naah, gotta go silver medal for Brian. Sorry.
December 28, 2011 4:00 PM

natsfan1a said...

'cause pahou slotted it as #2, I think.

hallwagner said...

why isn't the 6 run ninth inning capped off by a ryan zimmerman walk off grand slam vs. philly on here? by far my favorite moment of the year

Joe Seamhead said...

Zimm's walk off to beat the Phills , Desi's 2 out, 2 strike HR to tie it in the 9th, Nome's HBP to send all those Phillbillies back up 95 with their tails between their stinky legs. Was there for that whole series. It was very, very sweet, as a part of a small minority in our own house, to see them leave with
But, seeing Riggs and his double switch era come to an end beat all for me.

Glover Park fan said...

Enjoying the posts and memories. Agreed about the last home game and HRod's inning. At one point I thought the radar gun was stuck...

Anonymous said...

Honorable mention-- Drew Storen getting two saves in one day - I think to get to 40.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

natsfan1a said...
'cause pahou slotted it as #2, I think.


Ah, so he did. I misunderstood his post, evidently.
Another one stands corrected...

NatsNut said...

Regarding Strasburg, did anyone else notice him shake out his arm and wince a little on his final out on 9/28? It's at the end of his highlight reel of his last start. Anyway, it's subtle and may mean absolutely nothing, but the image is burned in my brain enough that I'm still holding my breath on him.

Young Pitchers said...

re: NatsNut said...

'shake out his arm and wince a little'

i didn't see it. timecode pls?

sjm308 said...

I had forgotten about HRod's inning and the catcher trying to bunt with two strikes. Just imagine if he can capture that kind of stuff for the year? I realize he has not shown it in winter ball either but it sure is fun when he is right.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

hallwagner said...
why isn't the 6-run ninth inning capped off by a ryan zimmerman walk off grand slam vs. philly on here? by far my favorite moment of the year

The outlook wasn't rosy for the DC nine that day.
The score stood 4-2 with but an inning left to play...

Tim said...

1) Six stolen bases against the Cardinals early in the season. That was a fun game to watch.
2) Ramos HR
3) Morse hitting the ball off the train track or window at Minute Maid.
4) End of Sept games: Braves, Mets, Phillies... that was a fun stretch.

Worst... Hmmmm.
Strangest? No-brainer. He's managing in AA ball.

Anonymous said...

@Young Pitchers - go to http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=19778249&c_id=was and look at 52-53 seconds in. Definitely something there - we should all sweat it out over the next 53 days until pitchers and catchers report. Or better yet, postulate conspiracy theories - like "Rizzo was so willing to give up four top prospects for Gio because he knew Strasburg would start 2012 on the DL" - remember sports fans, you heard it here first. From me - anonymous.

DFL said...

Let us not forget the Opening Day with the miserable winter-like weather. Makers of the schedules should do a better job making sure southern and Pacific teams get the bulk of the first three weeks of April's home games.

SonnyG10 said...

All the moments you selected Mark were great and I could have voted for any of them, but I give the edge to “sweeping the Phillies”. Even if the Phillies weren’t at their best, it was still a great accomplishment for the Nats. They had to be good over several games to accomplish the fete as opposed to doing something good for a single game.

skidge said...

I went to only 4 games last season (yeah, I know...), but they included the game on the day Riggleman quit and the one Natslifer mentioned, with HRod, Clippard, and Storen. Just amazing. (And I'm going to Spring Training this year---seeing two games!)

MicheleS said...

On the Strasburg shaking arm/wince..

I saw the rehab starts at Hagerstown and Potomac (plus either watched live or on TV all the other starts). He did that shaking arm/wince thing at every game. It made me want to throw up everytime, but I am hoping it is just a twitch.. (She says while praying and doing the sign of the cross like a good lapsed Catholic does).

Anonymous said...

Hey MicheleS - just remember, it's no longer "and also with you" - now it's "and with your spirit" - now you know everything you need to go back to church!

Sunderland said...

" He did that shaking arm/wince thing at every game."
Just one more thing me and Strasburg have in common. I do that when I eat pretty soppy and spicy chicken wings.

NatsLady said...

Ramos rescue, of course.

Don't forget Tulo flying Clip to the All-Star Game in his private jet, and then this little note:

Tyler Clippard became the first pitcher in Major League history to earn a win in an All-Star Game or a posteason game facing only one batter and allowing a hit.

(Thank you, Hunter Pence.)

Maybe this belongs on the "Strangest Moments" category. But I loved it!

Also the Desi HR that sat them Fillies down. I was at the game. And the 14-inning game that the Nats won after three blown saves. Yup, that was fun.

NatsLady said...

Also loved seeing Wang pitch against the Cubbies in Wrigley Field, and knowing in that moment why Rizzo spent so much time and money on him.

Enjoyed a game with family White Sox vs. Twins, posting here a bunch of times on how poor Adam Dunn was doing and how Denard Span looked. (That's sort of a Nats memory, it counts for me.)

Also, I was at the game where Storen didn't get traded and he got a standing ovation... Really great for him and for the fans who are getting more involved by the minute.

That is some bullpen we had, Coffee Time, HRod, and the Lotto upgrade in Philly... And Davey telling Rizzo if Clip goes he goes... and the Smurfs--strange or great? Ah, I could go on and on...

Wally said...

Anonymous said...
Hey MicheleS - just remember, it's no longer "and also with you" - now it's "and with your spirit" - now you know everything you need to go back to church!

That one is taking a long time to work its way into the rotation out here in Fairfax Co!

Navy Nats Fan said...

Really? In my parish, most of the congregation has already moved beyond the confused state to saying "and with your spirit" in a forceful and self-righteous manner, shaming those who are coming to church for the first time since the transition (beginning of Advent). Holier-than-thou indeed....

Sunderland said...

Tomorrow we should do our own personal best NatsInsider 2011 moment. Mine would be a toss up between a rant about what an idiot Rizzo is and short essay on brilliant Rizzo and his blessed eye for discernment.
Or hiding my envy that NatsLady went to Wrigley.
One of those three.

Annie S. said...

Luckily I don't run into that type of attitude in the church of baseball.

Anonymous said...

Still think CF is not as important as improving what was almost a
pathetic offense in 2011. Adding an impact left-handed bat or even
a couple of reasonably productive LHB's might give the Nats a decided
advantage in the NL East. Maybe. Bottom line: the Nats do need that left handed bat of Fielder's ... but everyone agrees that they should not lock themselves in for 7-10 years.

Best 2011 Nat's bats I'll list the top 3.
Michael Morse: 575 PA, 0.393 wOBA, 36.3 bRAA
Ryan Zimmerman: 440 PA, 0.360 wOBA, 15.2 bRAA
Wilson Ramos: 435 PA, 0.345 wOBA, 9.4 bRAA


Looking at LaRoche when healthy and last year:
Adam LaRoche 2011: 177PA, .260 wOBA, -9.3 bRAA
Adam La Roche 2010: 615 PA, .370 wOBA, 0.00 bRAA

LaRoche is completely average. Almost flatline. He won't make
the Nats worse and he won't make them better offensively.
His defensive WAR might end up higher.

Here are two potentially available LHB's.

Prince Fielder: [LHB]: 692 PA, .407 wOBA, 49.9 bRAA elite
Seth Smith [LHB]: 533 PA, .345 wOBA, 11.6 bRAA pretty good.

(I think everyone would be happy if Smith's number are what Harper generates after his first major league season. He won't be happy unless it looked like Prince ... but ... I can't see him doing that in his first season.)

Internal solutions

Someone mentioned Jason Michaels who is an RHB: and so not really a solution.

Jason Michaels: 169 PA, 0.252 wOBA, -9.8 bRAA
puhleeese what are you thinking!!!??

Here are the left-handed bats.

Roger Bernadin [LHB]: 337 PA, 0.305 wOBA, -4.2
Corey Brown [LHB]: 459 PA, 0.326 wOBA, -2.6 bRAA in AAA
Bryce Harper [LHB]: 136 PA, 0.333 wOBA, 0.0 bRAA in AA
296 PA, 0.439 wOBA, 25.6 bRAA in A

... and actually someone in A ball ended up with better stats than Harper. Its why Rizzo was willing to risk trading Derek Norris:

David Freitas [RHB]: 500 PA, 0.401 wOBA, 27.7 bRAA.

natsfan1a said...

I went there, too, some years back, on a trip to visit my Chicago baseball buddy. :-) Oddly enough, they were playing the Mets that day. (Cubs won.)

Or hiding my envy that NatsLady went to Wrigley.

Anonymous said...

Collin Balester on Intentional Talk. The guy is whacked. Was there nobody else who would come on the show with them in the off-season?

natsfan1a said...

They've had lots of guys on, but I think they like the funny/offbeat ones best. Heck, they've got one of those co-hosting the dang show. ;-)

Ebby Calvin said...

Well, you can't allude to Miss Savoy without providing the entire oration:

I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring... which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hitting under .250... not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I've got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. 'Course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. 'Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball - now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake? It's a long season and you gotta trust it. I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.

Alnatsfan said...

Sweep, sweep sweep!

Gonat said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/prince-fielders-price-is-not-right-for-nationals-right-now/2011/12/28/gIQA5wZCNP_story.html

Tom Boswell took his medicine. NOT THE RIGHT TIME FOR NATIONALS ON PRINCE FIELDER

MicheleS said...

Gonat.. you beat me to it!!!!

Crash Davis said...

Well, I believe in the soul. The cock. The pussy. The small of a woman's back. The hanging curveball. High fiber. Good scotch. That the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional Amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

MicheleS said...

Crash Davis.. the single best line in a movie..

"And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days"

Jim Bowden said...

Hey, in my church we pray for Jesus's buttocks and for his family. And if we fart on the plane, we confess.

whatsanattau said...

I always feel cheated when I don't have time to post on these things until late in the day - most of the really good stuff has been hashed, rehashed, and re-re-hashed by COB. But of the available choices, I cast my vote for the Philly series. I was, however, very, very thrilled when Davey was named manager. I had numerous thrills at the park, in front of the TV, and listening to the radio - frequently as a result of one of Michael Morse's homeruns. I'm sure someone mentioned Ramos release as a very special moment. There were also a couple of Ankiel throws that wowed me. And while the signing of the top four picks at midnight was very cool, the day of the draft when Rendon slipped to pick 6 was probably bigger for me - what a gift.

Previewing some bad moments - Zimmerman's ab pull slide into seconds and the loss that sealed the losing record. The strangest? Hands down, the moronic resignation of Jim Riggleman because the contract he signed was not for enough money.

Gonat said...

MicheleS, can you believe Tom Boswell? Last week it was spend-spend-and-spend-more and being overly critical of the Lerners. A day later praising the Lerners and the Gio Gonzalez deal that most here felt great short-term move but a questionable long term move.

Now you got this DON'T SPEND, its not the right time to get Prince Fielder. With Beltran gone, Prince Fielder is the last top Free Agent standing. The back-n-forth vibe from Boz is incredible.

Section 222 said...

Great to see this post and the comments after a Nats free day of travel. I'm tempted to nominate Stairs being released and Riggleman quitting as my top two moments of the year, but that would be too snarky for this season of good will toward men.

I'm voting for Ramos's walkoff from Mark's choices, although I think Zimmerman's walkoff grand slam (set up by Desmond's game tying homer in the 9th) might have been even better. I happened to have been in Philly that weekend and getting to hear the despondent Phillies' announcers call those last few innings was well worth staying up for after the long rain delay. The Nats won 2 of 3 in that series, which might have even been more impressive and more important than the sweep in September. (Isn't there some famous saying about baseball in September being pretty much meaningless?)

A few of my other favorite moments:

1. Gomes' walkoff HBP in that same series. Check out the expression on his face after Lidge hits him. Priceless. That was the day after the disastrous Saturday night game when the Phillies' fans basically took over Nats Park. Sweet payback.
http://mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18292811&c_id=mlb

2. The Nat's amazing rally against the Cards on June 14, Zim's first game back after his injury. Pujols and Berkman had both homered off of the as usual ineffective Yunesky Maya, but the Nats put 6 on the board in the 7th inning, 4 with 2 outs. Nix drew a bases loaded walk after an epic 11 pitch at bat.
http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=15895629&c_id=mlb

3. Clippard (or K-lippard as Carp dubbed him that night) strikes out six on a row on only 22 pitches against the Marlins on May 17. Just wow.
http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14559565&c_id=mlb

4. Ankiel throws a strike from the left-center field wall to rob Jose Reyes of a triple on April 28. (Of course, he was actually safe, but it was still a great throw and a great tantrum by Reyes.)
http://mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14238339&c_id=mlb

Section 222 said...

The latest Boswell column makes about as much sense as the last one did. Let's take his best arguments:

1. Logjam of big bats in the outfield -- That's what trades are for, if it comes to that. Would you rather have Jayson Werth or Prince Fielder in your lineup?
2. Where to put Rendon or Zimmerman if they can't throw -- I don't know, but if Zim has to play first, he's no longer a superstar. He's a very good hitter, but he's no Prince. Rendon hasn't seen one big league pitch, and we're not even sure he's healthy. You're really going to pass on one of the five most productive hitters in the National League to save a spot for him at a position that's not even his?
3. If the Nats want to be more active, they can extend Zim and get Cespedes -- Extending Zim is a given. It can't be the excuse for not going after a top free agent. Even if Cespedes pans out, he's not going to hit 40 HRs and have an OBP over .400.
4. Let's save the big money for Bourn, or BJ Upton -- Seriously?

I totally understand that it's by no means assured that the Nats can get Prince even if they try to get him, but I'm getting really tired of the so-called experts trying to convince us that we are better off not having him even if we could get him. Quit insulting my intelligence.

Oldguy said...

Go to go with Wilson's walkoff. I remember standing up and yelling "That's gone!" From the sound of the bat hitting the ball, it had to be.

Anonymous8 said...

The A's traded their All-Star closer Andrew Bailey + 4th outfielder Ryan Sweeney who looked like a top OF to-be 2 years ago and still had a .345 OPB last year and traded both of them to the Red Sox for Red Sox traded right fielder Josh Reddick and two prospects -- 20-year-old third baseman Miles Head and 19-year-old righty Raul Alcantara.

Miles Head was promoted from Low A to High A and didn't do well with his promotion nor is he a good defensive player.

Alcantara was the 15th prospect on the Red Sox depth chart.

Josh Reddick is a low OBP outfielder in fact lower than Sweeney.

The Red Sox to me got a closer at a good cost to them. Reddick has been a high ceiling player who hasn't lived up to his MiLB status of years past.

I don't see where the A's thought this made sense for them and this was the type of trade I wished the Nats had made with Gio instead of bending over.

LoveDaNats said...

Thank you! Thank you! So many great memories of a wonderful season! I'm sitting here reading all this with a sh*t eating grin on my face from pure pleasure.
But nothing beats sweeping those Phils. I'm looking forward to seeing it again in 2012. It could happen. BTW.....my Christmas gift from hubby is 4 days in Viera in March. Best gift ever.

Waddu eye no said...

222 -
Thanks for the links

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I agree it wasn't a high-cost pickup for the Red Sox, but I think it's apples and tanning lotion to compare it to the Gio trade. Bailey is a reliever, albeit a good one, with an injury history, not a at-least-third starter who took the ball every fifth day for the last two years, and is team-controlled for the next four. Probably would have been nice to get Sweeney with Gio, as he can play a fairly credible center field. Beane saves a couple of million bucks on the deal, mainly, I guess. Odd sort of salary dump, but he's an odd guy.

Section 222 said...

Waddu -- My pleasure. The search function for the videos on mlb.com is pretty darn good.

Tim said...

" Re - lead off. We have the same problem at lead off that we have had at several other positions. The organization puts someone out there (berni in cf, a cast of several at lead off) and they just don't let them learn the position. Playing any role or position in baseball takes a looooong time to learn, not a month or two. Even rick ankiel - sure he strikes out a lot , but he is a relatively inexperienced hitter - having been a pitcher before.There is just no opportunity given for a learning curve. If you really expect Desi to lead off then he has to be put there for at least a full season and he won't actually be good at it for several seasons. At Lombardozzi has some experience. It really irritates me when they appoint someone and say it's their spot ( bernie again) and then pull them when they don't perform like a veteran right away. Again - it takes multiple seasons, not games, to really learn a role or position. There is no instant gratification in baseball. To quote Annie Savoy --"it's a non-time kind of time""

I think some of you guys dismissed the point this Anon was making last thread. The response were this is the big leagues these guys need to be able to perform. That is what we want. I agree. But the above post is very realistic in telling what we have.

Don't like desi at lead off? Fine, neither do I. But what is the alternative? So far we have not found one. And FWIW he does seem to be getting better...

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

And in all fairness, this was the second-best catch all year, IMO. Sorry for the quality, it was the only one I could find quickly.

Yeah, yeah, I know--but it was a really good play.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

1. Gomes' walkoff HBP in that same series. Check out the expression on his face after Lidge hits him. Priceless. That was the day after the disastrous Saturday night game when the Phillies' fans basically took over Nats Park. Sweet payback.

Oooh, either I didn't notice in all the excitement, or I've since forgotten, but the pitch that went off Gomes' elbow pad got Ruiz right below the collarbone, missed the padding completely. That had to hurt.

Scooter said...

Sec3, that catch by Morgan was 2010, yes? Is that was the "Yeah, yeah" was for?

And you're right -- that catch was splendid.

Section 222 said...

Sec 3 (still my favorite moniker) -- That catch is from last season, right? Yes, it was a great play. Nyjer had his moments.
Here's the MLB.com video.
http://mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=9340341&c_id=mlb

At least we got Cutter Dykstra for him...

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Sunderland said...
Tomorrow we should do our own personal best NatsInsider 2011 moment.


I nominate the coining of the phrase "hacking the gorse" as one of the highlights of 2011. Not mine, just my favorite.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Found it! Best NatsInsider moment of 2011. No-doubter.

Section 222 said...

"Playing any role or position in baseball takes a looooong time to learn, not a month or two. Even rick ankiel - sure he strikes out a lot , but he is a relatively inexperienced hitter - having been a pitcher before.There is just no opportunity given for a learning curve. If you really expect Desi to lead off then he has to be put there for at least a full season and he won't actually be good at it for several seasons."

Sorry, but this point was just as unconvincing the second time around. Just how long should we put up with nearly the worst leadoff hitter in the league? And we think Desmond will grow into the role, why? Because he looks like he should be a better hitter than he is? Because he's turning into a leader clubhouse? Because he showed some pop in his September call-up three years ago? Because he showed some improvement this September?

Desmond was a worse hitter last year than the year before in just about every category. I'm willing to allow for a learning curve for some period in the field if you move to a new position. But at the plate, you either produce or you don't. If you don't, unless you are a Bryce Harper who everyone is sure will eventually get it, you either move down in the lineup, to the bench or to the minor leagues. Or you're traded if anyone else will take you. There's no room on a good team for someone to drag the team down for a year or more while he "learns to be a leadoff hitter," while striking out 139 times and having an OBP of .298. That's crazy talk.

Now, Desmond did show some improvement in the last few months. That entitles him to a shot at the leadoff spot if we have no better options come Opening Day. But does it mean he should be put there and not displaced all season if the improvement doesn't continue? Or that the Nats shouldn't look for better person for that spot in the lineup. No way.

natsfan1a said...

I believe it started here, at 12:43.

Can I second the nomination even though I was a party in the initial discussion?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Sunderland said...
Tomorrow we should do our own personal best NatsInsider 2011 moment.

I nominate the coining of the phrase "hacking the gorse" as one of the highlights of 2011. Not mine, just my favorite.
December 29, 2011 12:11 AM

natsfan1a said...

Ooh, that was a good one, for us and for the about-to-grow Z family. :-)

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Found it! Best NatsInsider moment of 2011. No-doubter.
December 29, 2011 12:38 AM

NatsNut said...

Watching Nyjer's great catch again makes me think.. no, I mean it makes me KNOW, that there is no way in heck Jayson Werth makes a web gem catch even remotely resembling it. =(

MicheleS said...

Gonat.

Boz is definetly in multiple personality mode or Flip Flop mode. Sometimes I think he reads this blog and sees all of us go back and forth on these moves and writes a column based on that. And don't get me wrong. I love Boz.. I love when he throws on the rose colored glasses and waxes on about how great baseball is. I love when he takes shots at the O's and at the Nats. But wow, this last week has been a ride with him.

I will say this much.. I can't wait for the columns the last week of July when the Nats are making a push and Boz's head starts to spin with any possible moves that Nats need to or actually will make.

captcha.. expul.....hmmm.. Sec 3 can figure that one out for me

MicheleS said...

I also want to nominate July 4 with Werth running around the bases and then scoring on Marmol's wild pitch. I was sitting next to a Cub fan that day and he called it. Literally sat there and said "Marmol is going to go wild" and as he finished his sentence the ball goes bouncing around and Werth scored.

Classic Cubs and since I grew up going to Wrigley, I have too much experience with that emotion.

Unkyd said...

1A: I found this gem to the right of the column you linked to, on a thread announcing that Morse and Slaten had avoided arb:

DFL said...
Although Morse's utility is of great value and his signing important, I hope Nats fans don't expect Morse to be the second coming of Mark DaRosa. Morse was an afterthought for most of his career, a spray hitter of little distinction in Seattle, and cut loose from that light-hitting squad. More than likely than Morse hitting .300 and blasting 25 home runs is that Morse returns to form and hits ten or so home runs in utility duty. That would be a positive.
January 18, 2011 1:11 PM
---------------------

Prolly not far from what most of us thought... Pre- Gorse Hacking sentiment...

Anonymous said...

unkyd --that just goes to show you how unpredictable this game is. I bet dfl is more than happy to have been wrong, though.

NatsLady said...

According to the is list, Jayson Werth had a Web Gem sometime before July 15, 2011... I'll leave you all to look it up...

http://www.webgemscoreboard.com/2011/07/web-gems-by-player-through-july-15.html

And now we have the second coming of DaRosa and DaRosa. Wow.

Section 222 said...

Unkyd said re: Morse: "Prolly not far from what most of us thought..."

Actually, lots of us thought Morse was going to be a great hitter if Riggleman would only give him a chance and stop double switching him out of games after he hit home runs. Thankfully, LaRoche went down and he had to leave him in. The rest is history.

Unkyd said...

I'll confess to being ignorant at the time if this comment, but after seeing him RAKE through ST, I was just as confused at Riggs' questionable utilization of him, early on....

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

MicheleS said...
captcha.. expul.....hmmm.. Sec 3 can figure that one out for me


It's editorializing again, saying somebody complains too much due to arrested development; I won't offer an opinion on who it is referring to--us or Boz.

Could be worse--could have said "reten."

natsfan1a said...

Or maybe somebody could be subject to expulsion? Or still feels the pull of the Expos? Anyhoo, there's a new post.

NatsNut said...

Yes!!! I second the nomination. Good one.

MicheleS said...
I also want to nominate July 4 with Werth running around the bases and then scoring on Marmol's wild pitch.

Ira said...

I have to note that contrary to Mark's assertion that the Nats wound up in a better place after Riggleman quit. The team had a worse record under Johnson. As a season ticket holder, I judge the state of the team by actual wins and losses.

hondo69 said...

Ira, if you seriously believe that the Nats would be better off going forward with Riggleman than Davey Johnson, your baseball IQ has to be hovering close to ZERO!!

That lifetime LOSER Riggleman couldn't carry Davey's jock! No manager in the history of the game has a WORSE W-L pct. for the length of time that he managed. Riggs' teams constantly underperformed as he was unable to get the maximum out of his players over the years.

Anonymous said...

Morse taking his curtain call at the end of the season and also ANY time Mikey Mo came to the plate!!! Can't believe your top 5 didn't have one mention of the best offensive player on the Nats!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a couple of days late....my best moment was the last home game with Atlanta. There were 30,000 NATS fans in red going wild...Henry just finished an awesome 8th...and then Drew finished the game. I looked around and for the first time thought this is what a winning home scene looks like.

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