Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The 5 worst days in Nats history

In my analysis of last night's game, I suggested that while the Nationals surely have had worse days in their history, yesterday's events would still probably rank among the bottom five.

Of course, that then got me thinking: What are the five worst days in Nats history?

I came up with a couple possibilities off the top of my head while driving home last night and thought of a few more this morning, but I'm sure I'm forgetting some. So I'm going to pass this query along your way and seek your input. What days over the past 5 1/2 years still stand out to you as the low points for this franchise?

Here's the only criteria: It had to feel like a terrible day at that moment. You can't look back in hindsight and say now that it was a bad day because of what transpired after it. In other words, you can't say the day they signed Austin Kearns to a three-year extension, or the day the Lerners bought the team. You weren't crying and cursing those events as they happened.

So, here are the handful of possible "worst days in Nats history" I've come up with. Like I said, I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty...

SEPT. 17, 2005: The Nats blow a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth to the Padres, essentially killing their last hopes at reaching the playoffs. After the game, Frank Robinson apologizes to his players for costing them the game with his curious pitching changes.

SEPT. 26, 2006: Nick Johnson breaks his leg after colliding with Austin Kearns chasing a pop-up behind first base at Shea Stadium.

AUG. 16, 2008: The Nationals fail to sign first-round draft pick Aaron Crow when serious negotiations don't begin until 11:44 p.m. When the deadline arrives at midnight, the two sides are $900,000 apart.

FEB. 18, 2009: The Nationals acknowledge that the Dominican shortstop they signed in 2006 for a franchise-record $1.4 million bonus was not actually named Esmailyn Gonzalez and was actually four years older than they believed. That revelation, combined with questions about team officials skimming money from the bonuses given to Dominican prospects, ultimately leads to GM Jim Bowden's resignation 11 days later.

APRIL 5, 2010: On Opening Day at Nationals Park, with President Obama in attendance after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch (in a Nats jacket and White Sox cap), the Nats get creamed by the Phillies, 11-1, in front of a sellout crowd that includes about 20,000 Philly fans who boo the home team.

AUG. 23, 2010: Stephen Strasburg is placed on the disabled list for the second time in a month. The Nationals proceed to get embarrassed 9-1 by a Cubs team whose manager abruptly retired the previous day. Jim Riggleman criticizes his players after the game for their lack of effort.

Those are the days I came up. What are yours? I'll try to compile them all later and publish a "definitive" list of the five worst days in Nats history.


Francopau said...

The time when Frank Robinson had to pull Matt Lecroy from the game because he couldn't throw out anybody on the bases ... Frank cried in his post-game press conference.

Richard said...

Good list. April 5, 2010, is number one for me for a lot of reasons. I might add one of those games they lost in Houston this year.

Sue Dinem said...

I think the Crow non-signing is a blessing in disguise, especially after claiming he missed last night's start in Woodbridge with "a strained oblique in my back." A rather odd injury considering that the obliques are located in the abdomen...

Anonymous said...

The Marquis 10 run first game against the Brewers this year probably deserves some consideration as well.

WFY said...

Nov. 2, 2004 - Jim Bowden hired.

Jan. 27, 2009 - Rob Dibble hired.

P. Cole said...

Maybe it's b/c I was one of the dozens of Nats fans in attendance, but 4/5/2010 filled me with venom and rage — and embarrassment.

HHover said...

I count 6 days there, Mark--are you trying to send a message: the Nats short history is so bad it's not possible to pick just 5 worst days ever?

I agree on all but 1--the Dominican recruiting fiasco. That was an embarassment, but not anything to cry over--nor was Bowden's departure. (I know you say the judgments can't be retrospective, but Bowden left so soon afterwards--and I recall his tail was pretty immediately being discussed as on the line--that I don't really count that as retrospective.)

Steven said...

Srsly Bowden getting the job has to be on the list.

Steven said...

I agree in hindsight it's hard to have the Crow non-signing on a list like this. It was still the wrong decision, but the outcomes have been positive. Ya know how that works sometimes where you luck out. Crow has been awful, and Storen seems he'll be a fine reliever. (I would have still taken Smoak.)

yatesc said...

One I'd put on the list:

Sunday, July 3, 2005
Nationals defeat Cubs in 12 innings, but blow out their bullpen in the process, setting of a massive slide that would take them from being up by 5 1/2 games to being 5.5 back a little over 30 days later. They winding up plummeting from 19 games over to finishing at 81-81, which is still their best season record in DC. Everything has been downhill since that game.

I am going to go shoot myself now.

P. Cole said...

Two words: Brian Lawrence.

Dave said...

9/26/06: When Kearns ran into Nick and broke his leg, it felt like the sky was falling.

4/5/10: After a GM change, drafting the pitching prospect of the century, and making other changes we were assured would improve the club, the front office oversells Nats Park to barbaric Phillies fans. Our own management rubbed our noses in a dreadful opening-day loss because of their craven search of the almighty dollar.

Those two are my "worst days" from your list, Mark.

On the other hand...

Not signing Aaron Crow was a huge blessing. Crow now sucks, and Drew Storen is the real deal.

And the Smiley Gonzalez scandal got Jim Bowden out of town for good. We've got problems now, but I shudder to think what Nats Town would be like with Bowden still at the helm.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Just to make sure you all understand the premise: You can only take into account how you felt at the end of that one day, not how that day looks now. Obviously, not signing Crow and ultimately getting Storen instead makes that day not so bad. But at the time, fans were furious and the organization took a beating. Same for the day the Smiley scandal broke. Even if it led to positive things, on that day, the Nats were embarrassed.

As for the day Jim Bowden was hired, were people really that upset? How many of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into at the time?

Dave Nichols said...

this year's opening day was the lowest point of the franchise.

there have been bad losses on the field and gruesome injury, but nothing tops the indignation of our trainers being booed and Ryan Zimmerman openly booed when receiving his gold glove and silver slugger awards by a bussed-in crowd of openly courted Philly fans, then having the President openly disrespect the team as well, THEN getting pounded on the field.

N. cognito said...

Mark Zuckerman said...

"As for the day Jim Bowden was hired, were people really that upset? How many of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into at the time?"

I was. I did.

Capitol Baseball said...

The Marquis 7 runs w/o recording an out in the 1st this season has to be on that list somewhere. That was a low, low point.

Also, Jim Bowden ever being associated with the organization. That's pretty low as well.

yatesc said...

Mark - Honestly, after that July 3 game (and knowing how fragile their bullpen was, and how tenuous their good play was) I was genuinely concerned about the season. That said, I had no idea it would go THIS badly ever since.

Yes, I really was that upset when Cap'n Leatherpants was hired.

Dave said...

@Mark Z: I did go back and re-read your post and think about your premise after I posted my comment.

I think I'd have to stick with it, with this amendment:

Opening Day 2010 is for me far and away the low point. It was a humiliation wrought by the Nationals' very own sales staff, with instructions from above. The game was miserable, but the Opening Day experience--for which people took days off work, bought expensive tickets they might now have otherwise, etc.--was completely profaned and perverted by the money-grubbing front office.

And to think of all the local fans who could not get tickets because they had gone to those Philadelphia drunks! Kasten should hang his head in shame for that day, but he never really, truly apologized.

The Nick Johnson injury felt like a true catastrophe when it happened. I remember being out in the car running errands when it occurred. My wife called me with an urgent tone, describing the accident. It was almost like a national disaster.

I didn't regard the non-signing of Crow as a bad thing at the time. He seemed like a self-absorbed jerk who was represented by a couple of buffoons. Turns out, that was pretty much it.

Likewise with the Smiley Gonzalez thing. It was embarrassing, but it was sure to get JimBo pushed out the door, so it didn't feel to me like a real low point when it happened.

NatsFanTom said...

The day Jesus Flores got hurt. Then the day Jordan Zimmermann's injury was announced. Those are much worse than any single game debacle (not that the 10 run first inning against the Brewers this year was any picnic)

Anonymous said...

The day the Lerners were awarded the franchise....and they brought Snake-Oil Stan Kasten with them.

Mark Zuckerman said...

I'm reminded by someone with the team who read this post that Nick Johnson's broken leg was followed by a train trip from N.Y. to D.C. that included a derailment near Wilmington. The team didn't get home til about 5:30 a.m. (Technically, that happened two days after Nick broke his leg, but I suppose you could lump it all together into one really bad weekend.)

Stew Magnuson said...

Unless Crow in the future blossoms and becomes a Cy Young Award winner, I think that was a great day. I'll take Storen, the compensation pick, over him any day.
That Opening Day 11-1 game is my personal "worst" day, compounded by the fact that the Lerners cleaned up selling tens of thousands of advanced tickets to hordes of obnoxious, low-class Phillies fans. And then their excuses as to why Nats fans couldn't get tickets to the game, just made it worse. Memo to the Front Office: Nats fans don't buy group tickets in January for bus trips to Nationals Park. We live here. (I'm still bitter as you can see).

Kevin Rusch, Section406 said...

Well, in my own little world, it was the home opener in 2009. It was a beautiful day, I was with my friends I met in our section at RFK in 2005, and it was opening day. And the Nats were even tied in the 7th inning.

Yet, it was all terrible. Every single one of us concluded we'd have rather been at a staff meeting. The top-to-bottom incompetence of the organization was just unavoidable.

Positively Half St. said...

I was devastated with Nick Johnson's injury, and furious about them failing to sign Crow. Those would have to be my top two. I actually didn't care that much about the Phillies at Opening Day this year, because I and all the other Nats fans who didn't go have no right to complain. The folks that were there have every right.

Anonymous said...

opening day was awful, seeing and hearing all those Philthie fans, watching the game on TV to see our team get their noses rubbed in it; also the Berkmann missed 3rd strike call was bad, Carpenter and I were still mad weeks later

alm100 said...

Opening day this year without a doubt is the low point for this franchise.

Don't agree w the Smiley day but yes when Crow wasn't signed, that was a black day (at the time).

I was there for that 9/17/05 game and yes, include it. There were other games that September before the 17th that I would include, in particular a Sunday when Frank palyed all the subs including Carlos Baerga at first base that I would put on the list but don't know the exact date. I hated going on Sunday because Frank always played the subs on Sunday. (I was a full STH the first 2 year).
The Manny years were 1 crappy blur - nothing stands out but going into that September in 05, at least on paper, we had a shot at the wildcard.

The Miss Iowa day when Strasburg didn't pitch should be included. Winning the game didn't make the depressing feeling go away. I thought that Batista should not have made the team out of spring training and it added to my misery that his performance might mean that he may even stick with the team next year (if Riggs is the manager).

bdrube said...

5/19/09 - Nats bullpen blows it's THIRD consecutive 9th inning lead at home against the Marlins. Nats lose all three games to drop to 1-9, effectively ending their season halfway through April and setting them on course to lose 100 for the 2nd straight year.

bdrube said...

Oops, I meant 4/19/09.

Sam said...

For me, originally being an Expos fan, the day it was announced that the franchise was moving was probably the worst day I have ever experienced in my life. I cried (yes, I'm not afraid to admit it).

I'm not sure if that fits into the threshold of the last 5 1/2 years. I think they announced it in 2004, anyway. Either way, that is the worst day I have ever experienced with this franchise.

Of course, everything turned out okay. Washington is a great town, though it still has a long way to go until it has the fan-base that the Expos had at its peak (1970s-1994).

LoveDaNats said...

Opening day this year was the lowest point for me. I have been to all the opening days since the Nats arrived but I will not go next year if they open against the Phillies. The front office will not change their successful ticket sales.
That said, one of the first games of the season 2009 ( I don't remember the date). The Nats were up three and Joel Hanrahan just had to go in and get three outs. The Nats lost that game and I actually started crying! I then realized I needed to get a grip. You need thicker skin than that to be a Nats fan.

Sunderland said...

Opening Day, 2010 is #1, easily.

Nominating April 19, 2009.

We're 1 - 9, having lost the first 2 of a home series to the Marlins. The night before, Joel Hanrahan had blown a save, giving up the tieing run in the 9th and we lost in the 10th.
On the 19th, we entered the 9th with a 3 run lead, and out trots Joel Hanrahan.
Marlinns went single, SB, single to cut the lead to 2 runs.
Hanrahan then serves up a 2 run dinger to Jeremy Hermida. Blown save, tie game.

We lose it by giving up 3 more in the 11th. The inning goes:
Wild Pitch
Error (3rd of the day), putting men at 1st and 3rd.
Ledezma come in to face, uh oh, Jeremy Hermida.
Yep, 3 run bomb.

Low point. For sure.

LoveDaNats said...

Thanks, Sunderland for supplying the date. 4/19/2009. Cried like a baby.

Anonymous said...

any of last year's blown saves with that awful bull pen

joemktg said...

I second Francopau's entry, but thankfully Matt's carving out a second career in the dugout.

Traveler8 said...

Last night at the park didn't seem so horrible to me, but I was happily celebrating my wedding anniversary to my terrific husband, so I expect I had stars in my eyes! (And, it did not rain, despite threatening!)

I would otherwise go with the wretched opening day experience this year as the worst - we knew it was bad, bad, bad at the time - not just the game, everything.

JaneB said...

I was just about to write about the game early in the seaon last year when it looked like FINALLY we would win and we got smoked in extra innings. So thanks for supplying more data on that, felloe fans.

I was in the stadium for the opening day this year against the Phillies -- and while I was angry at those fans (and I am always angry at them; to me the worst thing you can say about anyone is that they are behaving like a Philadelphia fan) -- I still loved that our guys were out there playing. But the Marquis day -- that first inning -- was the first time I felt physically ill at a game. Nick's injury took my breath away.

How about the best days next? WE have to turn our aura around too! The obvious ones -- the first game at RFK, the first game at National Stadium, every time we see walk-off homerun, Strasmas -- these should be a given. What were the times we watches these guys play when we were so proud of them, or at least delighted by them? Not as fun, I know, but still -- those are the moments I like to think about.

Anonymous said...

For me it was Saturday June 21, 2008. I went to the game against the Rangers with 7 friends. The friend to my right commented on a ground ball that Felipe Lopez didn't even try to catch. He recognized the lack of effort and he wasn't even a baseball fan.

I knew then that not only did we not have the right general manager or manager, we did not have the players we were lead to believe we had. And we were a lot further away from being good than I had thought at the beginning of the season. That was a very sobering moment and I think we are still trying to get or heads above water from the Bowden era.

On the flip side my son did get a foul ball.

ThrowsLikeSteveSax said...

I agree with the list. The Brewer debacle in April is top 10 ... didn't Craig Counsell hit a grand slam (his only bomb of the season)? It's a long day when that happens.

Craig Counsell?!

Jim Kurtzke said...

I'll echo many of those above who chose Opening Day 2010 as the worst day. Underscored how deeply misguided this franchise remains.

On a cheerier note, Mark, you should follow up this list with the best 5 days. The Strasburg debut ranks #1 with me.

Anonymous said...


Please tell me that you are not in any way associated with JayB. You couldn't be you are way too positive and up beat.

JaneB said...

Anonymous at 12:13: I'm not. I'm sending him good vibes, but to no apparent impact. Yet.

phil dunn said...

I would like to know what ever happened to the investigation of Bowden regarding skimming money on the Dominican player signing transactions?? That was certainly hushed up. Bowden conveniently disappeared shortly thereafter so should we consider that an admission of guilt?

The low point for me was watching Obama throw out the first pitch wearing a White Sox hat. That was both classless and insulting.

Grandstander said...

Opening Day 2010 is definitely the worst for me, personally. I was there with my mother and girlfriend, it was also hot as hell. My Mother, a Mets fan, got into a pretty vocal confrontation with a drunk Phillies fan and we had to move to avoid me spending the night in jail for assault. Ever since, I have not gone back for a Phillies game and probably won't again until all their bandwagon fans stop coming.

As far as your list goes, I'd take the Smiley Gonzalez saga off. It was embarrassing, but not anymore so than the the "Natinals" incident, which should probably be on that list. Smiley Gonzalez also led to Bowden finally getting the boot, which was one of my all-time happiest days as a Nats fan!

natsfan1a said...

Of those listed, my personal worst was when Nick Johnson was injured. For me, a game loss pales in comparison to a potentially career-ending injury. Somewhat uplifting factors that day: Willie Randolph rushing to comfort the fallen Johnson, and Mets fans doing a roll-call type cheer for the former (uh, and now current) Yank as he was carted off the field.

(And happy anniversary, Traveler!)

Dave said...

Lemons from lemonade:

OD 2010, I encountered a guy in Tortilla Coast who turned out to be Grandstander, wearing his custom-made Jesse English jersey.

Steven J. Berke said...

How about...Monday February 7, 2006 when the DC City Council voted to reject the lease for the (as yet unbuilt) Nats Park. That vote came at the dinner hour; it was reversed after midnight under ENOURMOUS pressure (not from MLB but from local developers). But I and a lot of other people went to bed that night wondering if 2006 would be the last season of the Washington Nationals.

Anonymous said...

In no particular order:

The day we trotted out LoDuca to be our starting LF

The LeCroy game

The day Soraino left town

The day JZimm go hurt and needed TJ surgery

Strasburg to the DL for the second time

Tim said...

for me, it was opening day 2010. coming off of 2 100 loss seasons, the philly game was the low point of my enthusiasm for the nats since being awarded the team.

btw, my high point is someone elses low point: 7/3/05: we were leading the division by 5.5 games at the halfway point.

nattaboy said...

Great post Mark. Gut-wrenchingly fantastic.

To me, the Crow and Smiley things were definitely low points for the frachsise, but not all that sad to me personally. I'd take the games that crush your hopes.

I'd also argue against yesterday. Probably just about all of us expect Strasburg to be back and healthy for next year, and it's not liked the Cubbies knocked us out of contention. If you're going for an embarassing blowout loss to a terrible team, I'm sure there's better examples.

But great (awful) list.

These shouldn't challenge the top 5, but came to mind:
-Patterson, Hill, and Cheif's demises
-Getting swept by the O's this year top end a 3-12 interleague stint that pretty much ruined the season
-Letting Soriano walk - felt pretty awful at the time
-Nights last year when we had the lead in the 9th but you were 100% positive we would lose the game
-Austin. Kearns.
etc etc etc

Richard said...

JaneB, thanks for mentioning the 5 best days to Mark for a possible next survey. I remember the Nats first year in DC when just sitting in the stands, whatever day was your first at RFC, and having MLB back in Washington made you feel great, emotional even in a positive way. I said then I didn't care if they were a winning team. I lied.

SpringfieldFan said...

July 4, 2005 vs. Mets
That '05 season started out so much better than I could have imagined. The Nats went into that first Independence Day in DC game with a record of 50-32. 50-32 in our first season! RFK was packed ... with Mets fans. Loud, obnoxious, drunk Mets fans. I shouted for my Nats until I was hoarse, but there weren't enough of us to make a difference.
And on that crushing, demoralizing Independence Day, we lost horribly, 5-2.

April 2, 2007. Opening Day.
CF Nook Logan gets hurt. SS Cristian Guzman gets hurt. And the Nats lose to the Marlins at home, 9-2.

Anonymous said...

how about:
the day F Robbie got fired
this year's opening day
Nick Johnson's injury
Strasburg's injuries
Ryan Zimmerman's trip to DL

I second vote for 5 best memories list

Anonymous said...

December 14, 2004. DC Council flubs the stadium deal and MLB shut down all operations in DC. Every day since has been good because we still have a baseball team to have these conversations about. Those days between council votes when it looked like it wasn't going to happen were the most gut-wrenching by far.

VCUAlum Kyle said...

Opening Day 4-11-06
Nats got killed by the Mets, the franchise did not sell out opening day (remember this was our second season), Dick Cheney could not even hit the plate from mid distance of the plate to the mound (haha), Soriano was our only ray of light/hope that day with a bomb to dead center at RFK, realization that 2005 was a fluke year & that us Nats fans were in for a long haul.

Souldrummer said...

I'm going to get roasted for this, but Opening Day was not but so bad for me. I wasn't at the game. I chalked it up to Kasten is a knucklehead (he's been on radio before last year's opening day), we aren't that great yet, and let's see if we can at least win one from the Phillies to get the season started at least decently. Of course, I didn't shell out for tickets or get shut out trying so I've got a different perspective.

Nick Johnson/Austin Kearns collision #1 for me
The infamous Frank and the bullpen #2 for me
I guess Smiley #3 for me.

The Strasburg injury is probably #4 for me.

Getting swept by the last place Orioles in Baltimore this year is #5 for me.

A lot of that list is because I'm having a hard time accessing how I felt on some of the way back moments. I wasn't as plugged into the draft and off the field stuff when Crow happened and was more happy go lucky guy watching games.
"Natinals" is an dark horse candidate because it's led to relentless you're a joke kind of stuff on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Opening Day this year (philly fans stink -- as in smell bad!!) has to be the worst in Nats history. Learn from Ted Leonsis blocking Pittsburgh fans from buying tix to Caps games!!!

Anonymous said...


SpringfieldFan said...

And I second NatsFanTom's nomination of the day Flores got hurt: May 9, 2009. The foul tip off his shoulder was just nasty, and his stats had been so promising to that point in the season.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I vote for Opening Dzy 2010 when StanK sold his soul to the 215 area code and had that low-life group sales lady whore herself out to the Philly crowd. As Dave wrote earlier: "And to think of all the local fans who could not get tickets because they had gone to those Philadelphia drunks! Kasten should hang his head in shame for that day, but he never really, truly apologized."

No, to StanK, this was just another opportunity at a money grab.

Next year, I'm tempted to buy a group of 25 tickets at the group rate, and immediately place them on StubHub, at 500 percent markup. Two can play this game, StanK.

But Opening Day 2010 gets my vote. I brought my 68-year-old sister to the game and, trust me, she heard language that day she's never heard before or since.

Thanks for the total game-day experience, StanK.

Feel Wood said...

The hell with the worst day in Nats history. How about the worst three-pitch sequence in Nats history?

Saturday May 11, 2008 at Nationals Park
Marlins already ahead 4-0, and Mike O'Connor has loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fourth. He goes to a 2-0 count on Cantu, Acta goes to the mound, pulls him and brings in Hanrahan. Hanrahan's first pitch is wild, a run scores. Hanrahan's next pitch is ball four, reloading the bases. Uggla comes up and deposits Hanrahan's first pitch to him over the left field bullpen for a grand slam. Nats go on to lose the game 11-0.

Mind you, this was before they anointed Hanrahan the closer.

Avar said...

The Smiley mess was pretty painful at the time.

I actually wasn't that upset about Crow at the time, maybe I should have been. Rizzon would have got that done but then again he might not have picked him to begin with.

I would say 4/5 this year was the worst because of what it said about the state of the fan base and the front office and the team. It was the multi-faceted blow.

NJ breaking his leg was pretty bad too. Somehow I knew he wouldn't be ready in Spring Training and of course he wasn't. Poor guy is snakebit.

Mississippi Snopes said...

June 23, 2007 would be on my bottom five list. Down by a run in the ninth against the Indians, Nook Logan overruns third for no conceivable reason and is thrown out, ending the game. I was sitting right at third base with Charlie Slowes on the radio: "What was he doing? Where was he going? What was he thinking?"

It was a moment I'll never forget and it made me realize what a long road the Nats had to go to respectability.

natsfan1a said...

Well, if you want to talk bad pitch sequences, how about Bacsik to Bonds? ;-)

Snopes, on the bright side, that Logan synapse lapse did give us one of the best calls ever.

Anonymous said...

my personal best Nat's moments, random order:
team awarded to DC after 33 years of no baseball
opening day 2005, just to have a team was so exciting
first game I attended at RFK, where I used to watch the Senators play--I cried
Zim's walk off homer vs Yankees, was it on Father's Day?
Zim's walk off homer vs Braves to open Nats Park
Strasburg's signing
Adam Dunn's signing two years ago
Strasburg's debut
Capps getting win in All Star game
winning last 7 games in 2009
Harper's signing

SpringfieldFan said...

So true, 1a. That goes on the "top 5 Nats radio calls" list.

natsfan1a said...

Anon @ 1:19, the final two games of that series vs. the Yanks are among my all-time fave games (and, I believe Zimm's moment was on Father's Day).

Bote Man said...

I vote for the entire 2009 Washington Nationals championship season, from Milledge falling flat on his face in deep CF allowing ex-Nat Bonifacio to score an inside-the-park home run to the last merciful out of the season.

Don't forget that 2009 included many of the disgraces enumerated above: Smilin Gonzalez + Jim Bowden's resignation, the Natinals jersey gaffe, fining Elijah Dukes $500 for being a few minutes late after making a PR appearance with a Little League team in Great Falls, Screech shooting hot dogs into the stands and covering fans with their shreds, the D.C. Fire Chief shutting down the fireworks for several days, a scout noting that Harrisburg had to be the worst AA team in the history of baseball...it just seemed to go from bad to worse last year.

Even Vin Scully noted, "Manny Acta must have a stomach lined with METAL to be able to watch his team play in front of him each day".

That's more than enough for me. I don't need 4 other things.

Bring on the top 5 BEST list. Nats fans have had enough torture to endure much more of this present list.

VCUAlum Kyle said...

That Nats do not sign with Richmond for a PDC.

To me this will go down as a HUGE MARKETING BLUNDER.

Virginia is DC's market because we will never have a pro team in the state with DC so close. That being said the Redskins to one hell of a job marketing in Richmond, Va Beach/ Tidewater area, Roanoke/Southwest VA area.

Having the Nuts = Nats relationship especially with Bryce Harper and A.J. Cole going to be in AA the next 2-3 seasons would have been huge in creating a larger fan base within the state especially the Central VA region.

You might think I'm crazy or just a sad fan but from a Marketing standpoint this is a HUGE BLUNDER that will set the Nats & Squirrels franchise back for years.

Feel Wood said...

Nominating April 19, 2009.

The 11 inning loss to the Marlins featuring Hanrahan's second blown save in two days was actually on Saturday April 18, 2009.

And don't forget that there wouldn't have been a save for Hanrahan to blow in that game had they not gone up 5-0 in the first inning, featuring a grand slam by (wait for it) Austin Kearns.

(Baseball-reference.com is your friend when trying to remember things.)

Anonymous said...

for a previous post: the game that frank robinson rested all the regulars on a sunday in 2005 was against jake peavy and the padres. i think he shut the nats out.
my moment comes from the another game in that series: when livan hernandez threw his glove and hat in the stands after being pulled. the fan did not give back the glove. the nats lost, and the next day livan said he was done for the year with an injury and i think he only won one game the rest of the year.

N. Cognito said...

VCUAlum Kyle said...
That Nats do not sign with Richmond for a PDC.

To me this will go down as a HUGE MARKETING BLUNDER."

Was Richmond available? Perhaps Richmond wanted to stay with the Giants.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, an AA team named the "Flying Squirrels" might hit too close to home for the Nas FO.

Anonymous said...

1. Tonight
2. Tomorrow
3. The day after that
4. The day after that
5. The day after that

N. Cognito said...

For this season, the 1-0 loss to the Royals has got to merit some consideration.

The 2009 season was the worst decade in the history of this franchise.

Anonymous said...

5 Best is Nats History:
1) Livan Herandez first pitch in Nats History
2) Zimmerman's Walk off Home Run on Opening Night 1st game at Nationals Park
3) Strasburg's debut and Nats record for strike outs
4) Game against the Angels when Frank Robinson had the umpires overturn a call & almost got into a first fight with Mike Scioscia, Jose Guillen it a homer for him.
5) Beating the Yankees at RFK both with the Z-man walk off homer and with Alfonso Soriano eating up Posada on the base paths, scoring after stealing second and third when Posada threw the ball into left field.

Feel Wood said...

And I second NatsFanTom's nomination of the day Flores got hurt: May 9, 2009.

In the foreshadowing department, how about the night in Sept 2008 when Chase Utley took out Flores at the plate, breaking his ankle? They had to drive the little mini-ambulance out on the field to cart him off.

JayB said...

Hey Mark,

Can you please delete the post above...not me....Opening day 2010 is the day. It was not 20,000 Mark it was at least 25,000 and more like 30,000 Phils fans who took over about 90% of my section. Booing our starting line ups and our training staff and Zim.....Stan Kasten should have been fired on the spot.

Anonymous said...

Mark, can you give us an update on the Smiley Gonzalez controversy? Wasn't Bowden supposed to be under federal investigation?

Anonymous said...

Opening Day 2010 is easily the worst day in franchise history.

Anonymous said...

May 13, 2009: 3 run walk-off by the Giants. For some reason, that one was the worst for me even though there were plenty to choose from.

Even Zim's hitting streak was no consolation.

Drew said...

But what does Debbie Taylor think?

LoveDaNats said...

Just for grins, remembering John Lannan's debut game when he was thrown out for hitting two batters, and breaking Utley's finger.

N. Cognito said...

Anonymous said...
"Opening Day 2010 is easily the worst day in franchise history."

Agree, though Kasten's failure to recognize his screw-up might actually be worse.

LoveDaNats said...

What an amazing exercise! All those horrible, repressed memories bubbling back to the surface. You'll notice there is no shortage of stories.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo anonymous: December 14, 2004 is BY FAR the worst. DC Council flubs the stadium deal and MLB shut down all operations in DC. I remember the trailer in RFK being shut down and it looking like this dream was just another false hope of many in 33 years between 1971 and 2004. The DC counsel bungling of the stadium issue in 2006 is a close second.

I'll take fighting Phillies bandwagon fans, blowing 6 - 0 leads to the Orioles, and getting tromped by the most annoying team in baseball (the Chicago Cubs) anyday over worrying about whether we are going to have a team.

Two other really bad times:

1. The series in Cincinnati in 2008, a four game Reds sweep where the Nats barely can score a run in 4 games, no Zimmerman, unquestionably the worst baseball I have ever attended.

2. The Baltimore series this year in Baltimore also qualifies. Fought bumper to bumper traffic for three hours to get to Baltimore to watch them blow a 6 - 0 lead to the worst team in baseball.

You can also throw in any one of a number of trades of Jim Bowden -- for me the Wilkerson trade was the worst (and I know people will argue with me but Wilkerson was the heart and soul of the '05 team). The Schneider/Church trade was really awful too. And (this isn't hindsight on my part), the signing of Dmitri Young was a nightmare for anyone who had followed Young previously.

Still, that day in December, 2004 when the trailers closed was the worst.

Anonymous said...

I think folks forget the Smiley thing and how gut-wrenching it was at the time. That was WAY more embarrassing than "Natinals" or any of the other myriad Bog-chronicled "Nats Fails." That one made the entire franchise look like amateurs - it, in one move, turned Exhibit A of the plan "Look we spent 1.4m on a Dominican prospect" into Exhibit A of a federal investigation. Not only were the Nats bad, they were possibly complicit in visa fraud and breach of contract. Made me question whether I wanted to raise my son as a Nats fan and called into question the integrity of an organization that would allow such conduct. The only day I ever felt like I shouldn't wear my Nats hat, and the clear #1 "worst day" for me. The only thing that fixed it was that they took such aggressive, immediate action to correct it. But by Zuck's rules ... at the time, it was clearly #1. #2 are all the days Frank cried as the manager. #3 OD, 2010. #4 Crow, because it looked like proof for the "Nats are cheap" crowd.
#5 Stras, because it was the first time I really said "Uh oh."

P. Cole said...

How about the day MASN and MASN2 were created and Peter Angelos laughed all the way to the bank.

New low points emerge every time I have to see one of those God-awful MASN commercials with the losers on the rooftop.

Anonymous said...

Peter Gibbons: So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life.
Dr. Swanson: What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Dr. Swanson: Wow, that's messed up.

Anonymous said...

Drew: Debbie Taylor just wants to know what you bring to the team and what everyone has learned from this experience.

Anonymous said...

opening day this year was pretty bad, and yes, i was there for the abuse. but i do remember the 10-run first inning started by Marquis as being a really serious low point. and it wasn't even just a 10-run inning - there were 10 runs scored before a SINGLE out was recorded, if i remember correctly. wow. really, i had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Mrs. Z. said...

Worst days in Nats history for the sportswriter's wife:

The day before Barry Bonds hit 756 off Mike Bacsik: I was waiting to make travel plans and had to see whether or not Mark would be following the team to SF or not.
BTW: Mark predicted, down to the day and pitcher, how Bonds would break the record: 'I think it will be Tuesday against Bacisk...he'd be a good guy to give it up; he's been around awhile so he doesn't have a fragile ego to be crushed and he's a decent enough quote...and Tuesday will give everyone a chance to settle into the series and still give us time to book your flight..' If you ever doubted Mark's genius, stop now.

The Jose Vidro trade: we had just pulled into the restaurant parking lot when Mark's editor called. We had to turn around and Mark had to borrow my computer. It was the offseason and they're still interrupting my life.

The day Mark bought a Blackberry

Trade deadline, every single year

Anonymous said...

I read Crow was not willing to have an MRI done so the Nats were not willing to offer a major league deal, is that true? If it is true I don’t think the Nats were wrong particularly with Storen being the comp pick.

nattaboy said...

Hows about worst Nats plays ever? Plenty to choose from. Tons of them.

-Nyjer's glove-slam this year
-Anderson Hernandez stands still and watches a throw go by him at 1st base after a bunt, 2 runs score and the Nats lose
-Milledge gives Bonifacio the ITPHR
-Chico throws a pitch into the 7th row in Florida
-Nook Logan ends the game going nowhere and not thinking
-Austin Kearns falling down on the basepaths twice
-Triple play with Nyjer and Livo standing still on the wrong bases
-Hanrahan gives up grand slam to Howard and later admits he was thinking that might happen
-Nyjer breaks his thumb on 2nd

Soooo many.

alm 100 said...

Remembered another one. How about the game last year when Kearns fell down between first and second. It was symbolic of the team's effort all year (all 2 and a half years) under Manny.
Thanks Anom 1:48 for the Peavy reference but how about a date for that terrible Sunday?

alm100 said...

Worst play nominations:
Guzzy slips in the mud in the ninth inning in 2005 and causes a loss.
Flop doesn't bend for a routine grounder last year.

nattaboy said...

alm100 - my parents were there for Guzman's muddy adventure. The way they describe the play and the whole game is just agonizing

natsfan1a said...

That was awesome, Mrs. Z. :-)

Alm 100, maybe Anon couldn't get a date, which might have colored his/her emotions that day. ;-)

Anonymous said...

What's really impressive is that I only get to around 10 games a year ... and I've gotten to see so many of these magical moments. Opening Day this year (my first Opening Day ever! Blech), blowing the game after Austin "Rally Killer" Kearns hit a grand slam (!) ... ah, the memories ...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the MASN references, Natsinsiderers (is that a word?). Truly terrible MASN ads and interview questions. I hate MASN! But it does some good to know you've not suffering alone.

JaneB said...

Drew, Debbie also wants to know what our approach was to making this list. What were we thinking as we pressed the keys into the keynboard?

SO nice to meet Mrs. Z. Hilarious post. She reminds me that one of my BEST memories was when we did not trade Adam Dunn.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should wait before picking ... the verdict on Strasburg is still out.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 3:51PM,

I like the MASN blogs. Mike Rizzo has written some eye opening things there and Ben Goessling makes a great blogger and beat reporter. Along with Byron Kerr, they both do a fair job of covering the minor leagues. Since the current Nats are pathetic ... one has to look for light at the end of the tunnel somewhere?

The WaPo appears to be working to catch up a bit ... offering fan blogs, more guys on the Nats beat lately? AK is good but he can't do it alone.

Steve M. said...

My worst day (timeframe) was when I knew my mancrush, Alfonso Soriano, was not going to be a National any longer on his way to signing with the Cubs. In hindsight, lucky the Nats didn't keep him.

My 2nd worst day was hearing the news of Jordan Zimmermann going under the knife. JZim may not have come to the Nationals with the expectations of Strasburg but when I saw him in Spring Training of 2009 I was blown away by the way his ball moved and the velocity he was bringing it at. I felt then that this kid was going to be an ace for the Nats and at this point I still do as a future #2 behind Strasburg.

My #3 Any thoughts I have on Strasburg's health. The good news is that guys like JZim have shown that you can make a healthy comeback from arm troubles.

My #4 was being humiliated in Baltimore and handed a sweep from the Borioles after being ahead in each game. I was at the Saturday and Sunday games and the capper was when an usher decided to tell me that the team with worst record in baseball whipped up on the Nationals and kept telling me to look at the scoreboard. Sure, I was running my mouth too and just left stunned. Simply pathetic.

#5 is any game at home against the Phillies. They are perhaps the worst fans in all of sports.

natsfan1a said...

Anon @ 4:07, agreed re. the MASN blogs (which I visited even before they were "in"). On the Post site, I think AK's really ramped up the volume as compared to Harlan (we won't get into comparisons to Svrluga, AKA the Blogfather - observes moment of silence). I'm not interested in the fan blogs idea, personally. Of course, the coverage on *this* blog is super! ;-)

Anonymous said...

1.) Opening Day 2010. It was the culmination of the "Natinals" brand, specifically the team was a culmination of errors and it became apparent that the Nationals were marketed for everybody else, not the Nationals fan.

2.) The termination of the Washington Times' sports section. I thought that Nationals news would just drop away and we would be forced with Nats320 or some other team sponsored blog for news and analysis. THANK YOU MARK!!!

3.) The day after opening day 2009 and the realization that the team stunk, but the prices and charm of RFK remained at RFK.

4.) The day the Lerner's bought the franchise. I and other friends of mine have lived in Lerner owned buildings and desperately wanted the Maloof brothers to win.

5.) And for the future, the day that Zimmerman and/or Strasburg walks away because the team will not have enough championship caliber players on it or the Nationals will not sign them to a fair market value. I hope that day never comes but with this franchise you never know!

DMan said...

For me the worst moment was this year's sweep in Baltimore. Just a disgraceful performance against a team that was making our friends in Baltimore begin to mumble about the '62 Mets. It was a watershed moment for me, the honeymoon of just being thankful to have a team again is over. After 5 years of garbage ball, I expect better. Anyone else out there feel the same?

Nattydread said...

They could have avoided the debacle last night easily. Marketing could have declared "Joe Coleman Retro-Senators Bobblehead and Nickel Beer Nite". Coleman's son could have thrown the opening pitch to his dad.

Frank Howard, Adam Dunn, Eddie Brinkman, Bryce Harper, Del Unser and Stephen Strasburg could have sung "God Bless America".

And no one would have even cared what the score was.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one mentioned the night this year that Jason Marquis started and got pulled with what was it? 5 runs on 0 outs? Hard not to feel frustrated when the stabilizing force on your rotation - and your number 2 starter - can't get a single man out.

Dave said...

@Anon 5:01, it was 10 runs on 0 outs, and somebody already did mention it. Check Anon 10:55 AM, fourth comment in this thread.

grclarkdc said...

1. Last night because it was like too many games in 2009 and 2008 -- and that's w/o the SS news (I stayed too long)

2. A Nats win -- July 5, 2005 -- 3-2 over the Mets to put them at 51-32. Guillen nearly clocks Loiza at the 3B line because Loiza didn't retaliate against Pedro, who had hit Guillen earlier. I thought a full scale fight was going to break out. I turn to my wife and say this isn't good. Just to confirm his selfishness, Guillen airmails a throw home late in the game that nearly goes over the backstop and almost costs the W, but the Nats hold on. I walk away with a bad feeling, but it's only one game, right? Little do I know this is the last game I'll see them win live in 2005 (out of 14 more) as they then go 30-49. The magic of 2005 (but not the bouncing stands!!) ended that night, and Guillen gets the credit.

3. The series at Baltimore in 2010.

4. July 24, 2009 v. SD as Nats start 2-7 under Riggelman, and look like Manny is still managing them -- as pathetic as last night.

5. Opening Day 2010 was bad, but aren't all games v. Phils?

Anonymous said...

High on my list

July 23, 2008 -- Jim Bowden announced his decision to non-tender Chad Cordero on a Redskins sports radio show - before he said word one to Chad's agent, family or to Chad himself.

A DC Wonk said...

I like the top five's that were listed. I have nothing to add except a personal story:

I was at that Father's Day game when Zim hit the walk off. The best part -- I was standing next to a Yankee fan who'd been heckling me!

(But, watching Strasburg's debut -- although it was on TV -- was even a higher high for me).

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Z, if there's anyone on this blog we love more than Mark, I'm thinking it's you. great posting. Trade deadline day will never pass without me thinking of you and other sportwriter's families.

I'll remain annonymous so Mark doesn't think I'm just trying to earn some points....

Sec3MySofa said...

Not much for picking favorites, but in every season, there's a point you realize, it ain't gonna be this year. As my Currently-Strawberry-Blonde-Cubs-Fan-Wife quoted the owner from Semi-Tough: "You're not gonna let me have it, are you, Lord? I'm a sinner and you're gonna [punish] me."
In 2005, it was sometime in August. This year it was the Baltimore series. The last two years I think it was in spring training.

Arlington Big Fish said...

Worst play ever (or at least the one that sticks in my craw the most): I don't remember the year or the opponent (Marlins, maybe?), but Mike Stanton gets called for a balk that sends the winning run home. The ultimate chicken-shit call of all time. If I'd been Stanton, I'd have chased that umpire all the way into the clubhouse.

Richard said...

Heckuva an article, Mark. I wonder if 116 posts is your record for responses (it's okay to count Mrs. Z's).

Dave said...

@Big Fish, I remember that game. It was Stanton's first appearance with the team, as I recall, and it was against Milwaukee. I think he committed the walk-off balk before he every threw a single pitch.

2007, probably?

natsfan1a said...

DC Wonk, the day before that, we were surrounded by howling Yankees fans (as we'd been for the loss the previous day). When Damon hit the grand slam, putting us in a big old hole, my husband wanted to leave. I talked him into staying. After the Nats came back all the way to win the game, we were on our feet and cheering like crazy. The Yanks fans up the row from us were ready to leave, and I told him they were waiting for us to clear the row. He was like, "Your point being?" as he continued to stand there and cheer. :-) That game and the Father's Day game that followed are among my faves.

Anonymous said...

27 time World Champions 1a. 27 time World Champions. But that story is sort of equivalent, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Z, I feel for you. Having dealt with Washington Times sports editors myself (circa 1981-83), I can relate. Let's look on the bright side now: no mas. This is the single greatest thing I've ever seen a sports writer do, and you can start with Shirley Povich on that one. Mark is the best. I'm staying anonymous too, but I'm a regular.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks, Anon. We can always count on Yankees fans to remind us of the championship tally. ;-)

Post a Comment