Monday, September 20, 2010

"Why would you come see us?"

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
With a paid crowd of only 10,999, there were plenty of empty sections.
As they trickled out of the clubhouse and began warming up for tonight's game, it quickly became obvious to members of the Nationals that they'd be playing in front of a minuscule audience.

"Before the game, we could tell the crowd was down," Jim Riggleman said. "It had all the elements that would cause that to happen."

Indeed, a Monday night contest in late September against a low-profile opponent is a bad combination and leads to small gatherings. Of course, the overriding factor has nothing to do with the night of the week, the time of the year or the name on the visiting team's jersey. It has everything to do with the home team's record and the manner in which it performs on the field.

The Nationals set a new franchise low tonight when only 10,999 seats were sold to paying customers. Then they went out and played down to the crowd, slogging their way through an 8-2 loss to the Astros that featured a seven-run fifth inning in which three errors were committed.

This, of course, was the Nats' fourth straight loss, their 10th loss in 12 games and their 73rd loss in 115 games since hitting their highwater mark of the year (20-15) way back in May.

Is it any wonder so few people turned out to watch it in person?

"We've got a lot of entertaining guys," the always-honest Adam Dunn said. "But you look at our record, why would you come see us?"

No argument here. The Nationals haven't given their fans many reasons to show up for a while now, certainly since Stephen Strasburg's elbow popped. Sure, there have been some nice moments along the way -- Ryan Zimmerman's July 31 walkoff home run against the Phillies, a 14-5 thrashing of the Cardinals on August 28, Danny Espinosa's two-homer game in a Labor Day blowout of the Mets -- but there have been far more sub-par performances than encouraging ones.

The storyline to many of these losses start sounding familiar. Starting pitcher can't make it through five innings. Lineup can't sustain any momentum. Defense boots the ball all over the place.

We saw all three during tonight's loss, with a fifth-inning defensive meltdown as ugly as anything we've seen all year. Three errors (one charged to Dunn but probably Livan Hernandez's fault, one charged to Willie Harris, one charged to Roger Bernadina) led to four unearned runs.

"We should be able to play better than that," said Harris, who dropped a routine line drive hit at him in left field. "Those errors, those are stupid errors. Those are errors that we cannot make, myself included."

The shame of it all is that the Nationals make nearly as many highlight-reel plays in the field as they make errors. Espinosa and Zimmerman made a pair of spectacular plays on successive at-bats in the sixth inning tonight. Of course, by that point they were already trailing 8-2, rendering their excellence moot.

"We had a terrible inning," Riggleman said. "The next inning, we're making plays. Espinosa and Zim made great plays. The previous inning, it just didn't look like the same club."

If it seems to you like the defensive miscues come in bunches, you're right. The Nationals have actually played 70 errorless games this season, posting a 32-38 record. That means they've committed all 120 of their errors in only 80 games, a staggering rate that has resulted in a 30-50 record.

Overall, the Nationals' record now stands at 62-88. Which means they'll need to go 8-4 the rest of the way to reach 70 wins. A 6-6 finish would result in 68 wins. A 1-11 finish would prevent a third consecutive 100-loss season. Amazing that we even have to point that out right now.

In one sense, it really doesn't matter what the final record says. Is a 70-92 club really all that much better than a 65-97 club? Not when progress is being measured more by individual improvements than collective ones.

By just about any reasonable measure, the Nationals will be in better shape at the end of 2010 than they were at the end of 2009. They've identified Ian Desmond as a legitimate piece to the long-term puzzle. They've seen enough from Bernadina and Michael Morse to believe each will play some key role (whether starting or off the bench) in the future. They've seen Espinosa reach the majors and not look fazed by the bright lights. They've acquired one of the top young catchers in the game in Wilson Ramos. They've assembled a talented, deep and young bullpen led by Drew Storen, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard that has a chance to be really good. And they saw Strasburg captivate the entire baseball world, something that won't happen again until late-2011 or 2012, but still should happen again.

But here's the problem: In slogging their way toward the finish line, the Nationals are doing a pretty good job of masking the actual progress they've made this year.

"You worry about that a little bit," Riggleman said. "The fans have supported us so well. It's been great support here. I think people have gotten excited about some of the nice players we've put out there. But when you lose too much, people are going to get disillusioned with it.

"We can't let that happen. We've got to keep playing with energy, keep playing hard, battle for nine innings and not take innings off. The other club's going to get you if you do that, and that's what happened tonight. We can't allow it to happen if the atmosphere around the ballclub is that progress isn't being made. Because we know progress is being made. But every now and then, we take a step backwards."

It's those backwards steps -- and there have been plenty of them lately -- that lead to that disillusionment. It's being felt across the fan base right now, a fan base that keeps wanting to believe things are getting better, but more importantly wants to see tangible signs of that improvement.

For those few souls who were part of the wrong kind of record-setting crowd tonight, there were no positive signs, only another uninspiring performance from a team that looks like it can't wait to get through these next two weeks.

Can you really blame all those who didn't show up?


Anonymous said...

Yawn. Riggleman's excuses are tired. Matches the effort the team is giving too. Zzzzzzzzz.

Anonymous said...

Riggleman and Acta both are 62-88. Heck of a job Riggs! Remind me of how Riggs is an upgrade again....

Anonymous said...

"Is a 70-92 club really all that much better than a 65-97 club?" Good mantra for when season ticket renewal's are due.

Aussie Gus said...

Thanks for the story Mark. Even if people can't be bothered watching and the players can't be bothered playing, at least you can muster the energy to provide us the game summary.

Dave said...

Sheesh...and I've got tickets for this mess for Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

I like Riggs. He's a good baseball guy, but its time for a new face, a new voice. Its the same ol drone every day. You know that old saying "They've stopped listening." Riggs would be a good buffer, a guy who sits down a young player and explains why the manager is benching him. I think Rizzo might be bringing him back cause he will play who Rizzo says. Kinda like Vinnie and Zorn. Jeeez.....did I just compare Riggs to Zorn?

JayB said...

Good question to Dunn Mark, as one of those fans who has paid a great deal of money to the Nats over the years (and will in the future too), thank for the post it is the story that needs to be told....thank you.

dcdingo said...

Thanks Mark. Your stories usually capture my mood. It's going to be hard to keep my season tickets syndicate together for 2011 the way they have played in 2010, even though on paper they are an upgrade on the past two years. Ugh, it all looked so promising. The Strasburg injury was a huge blow. Is Nationals Park on an aboriginal burial ground? Oh, wait, that was my old football team, the North Sydney Bears. Last won the premiership in 1922.

Bill B said...

You know, if the Nats would either dramatically reduce ticket prices, or switch to real-time market pricing, like some other teams have, I bet they'd put more butts in the seats. I was out in San Fran in July on business. Real-time market pricing. Tuesday night game against the Marlins. I got really nice seats for $20. And you know what? Big crowd. It's Econ 101.

JayB said...

Interesting Idea....not one that the Lerners would ever choose....they are into Long Term Leases and lock in customers (season ticket holders) just like their real estate could you see them spending any money on the tech tools to make that happen....not me..

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bill B., that's interesting re "real-time market pricing". I hadn't know that. Makes alot of sense. But it would take some energy and effective executive foresight and initiative to install that for the Nats, qualities the Nats FO doesn't seem to possess, or perhaps the Lerners agreement with MLB and MASN doesn't allow local control without Selig's and Angelos' blessing.

N. Cognito said...

Dave said...
"Sheesh...and I've got tickets for this mess for Wednesday."

You said "tickets" - plural. How many? I have one for Wednesday. If you give me all your tickets and throw in $20, I'll give you my single ticket. Throw $40 and you won't have to take my ticket.

Anonymous said...

ok - so it was Monday night ( Monday night football) in September ( no kids - school night) , against an opposing team that has few fans in the area ( ie - not Boston, Chicago, Ny, Phil) with two teams who are not in the hunt, at the very end of another losing season. Not hard to figure this one out, folks. Oh - and for all of those couch potatoes - the premiere of Dancing with the Stars - sheesh.

N. Cognito said...

Way too much bad baseball.
Getting beat is one thing. They are beating themselves with poor baserunning decisions, horrid fielding, pitchers' inability to get out the poor hitters in the other team's lineup, and especially with hitters getting themselves out a whole hell of a lot.

I feel for those who can't sell their season tickets. I am fortunate that my season tickets are a good value - great location at a very affordable price. The first thing I looked at when the 2011 schedule came out, was re-sellability. Next year is fabulous. Very few poor drawing weekday games. 14 weekends instead of the usual 13. It makes renewing palatable.

Anonymous said...

The Lerners do at least one form of "real time market pricing." There are half price deals available for good seats for most every game - especially the midweek games with low attendance. They don't do a very good job of publicizing this, though. Typically it comes in the form of e-mails to people who are already on their ticket buyers list. As a STH, I hear about these things all the time. But since I already have my ticket, I'm not in a position to jump on their offer.

Feel Wood said...

Riggleman needs to go. Not because he's a bad manager - even though he may well be that - but because at this point he has all the gravitas of a substitute teacher, and the team is responding accordingly. Until he or someone else is given a longer term contract to manage this team (two years minimum, three years would be better) he's still just Interim Jim. And with an interim manager, everyone is just treading water, trying to keep their head above water until the rescue ship arrives. Aside from any consideration of managerial styles or personality, I'm convinced that one of the biggest factors in the Orioles turnaround under Showalter is that everyone knows that this manager is going to be around for the long haul. It's sink or swim with him, so better quit treading water if you don't want to drown.

Notice how the Nats season took a nosedive right around the time it was revealed that Riggleman didn't really have a two year deal, and that there is an easy buyout should they decide not to bring him back next year? Rizzo's tepid comments about Riggleman's contract renewal contribute to the impression that he is not the guy that Rizzo wants managing this team for the long haul, and the players know that and are responding accordingly. Much is made of the similarities between the Nats and the Tigers of the early 2000s, and how Alan Trammel built that team until they needed a real manager to put them over the top and they hired Leyland. But the thing is, without more than his continuing interim status Jim Riggleman will never be the Nats' Alan Trammel, much less their Jim Leyland. Is Jim Riggleman worth more than interim status, though? I think not, and apparently so does Rizzo. That's why they need to hire a real manager and give him a real contract if they ever hope to start making some progress.

Anonymous8 said...

"Why would you come see us?"

Great question. Answer: I have season tickets and since my seats are paid for I either don't use them, give them away, or show up.

Tonight there is no Monday Night Football so I will show up and hope for a better showing than last night...........

CBinDC said...

The marketing has been suspect all year ....but the treatment of the fan base has been worse.

I have only received a few emails for ticket deals and those seats are the same sections each time but if you compare the offers this year to say 2005 or 2006 they are fewer and often repackage with no real benefit.

The giveaways are less and the amount smaller .

As example of another team getting ahead of the marketing curve I received from the Rangers ..the Texas one.... a 50% ticket coupon as a thank you for voting for a Ranger player in the All Star voting....the Nats have not YET responded to my email and calls over the disaster of Opening Day.

How can you run ads that only repeat that Sunday is Family fun pack offers or Party Nights on Thurs - Sat games ......these are the same as in April ...when at least they looked like a team playing PRO baseball and not my family reunion softball team after a case of beer.

How about this all parties concerned ....try addressing the fan base in an honest manner and give us the suffering fans a few things to show you care. Because after 7 seasons it feels and looks as if you DO NOT and no one wants to invest in a relationship that the party does not appreciate.

The stands were not full not just because the team is awful but we are tired of paying to be abused by the results.

JR said...

The "official" ticket prices for good seats are too high. The Nats did designate this series with "Value" pricing. But, big deal -- $2 or $3 off a $25 or $30 seat. Still, it is true that 40% and 50% discounts are readily available for many sections. And it has to be offensive to Season Ticket Holders to see their seating sections discounted to $18 when they paid $30 a seat for their tickets. That awkward balance between keeping the season ticket holders happy and still selling more tickets is difficult. And as long as good seats are readily available, then the value of purchasing season tickets will decline. The 2 for 1 offer in 2011 is a step in the right direction, but maybe cutting the season ticket prices in half would be better.

I love a Monday night game against an unpopular team because I know that I can get sweet seats behind the on deck circle for under $20 on Stub Hub. Last night's Fifth Inning was abysmal, but besides that one bad inning it was an enjoyable game experience. Great weather, great seats, ballpark food -- what's not to like? Espinosa and Zimerman's great defensive plays and Livo's great first four innings. So, that's why I come to see the Nats play, even at the end of a poor season. But I am happy to just attend 15 games a year.

CBinDC said...


Did a quick search found that at least this not the lowest attended game in DC this year the Wizards had two games lower......BTW only two games lower!

March 9th 2010 against Houston... 10,499

April 4th 2010 against NJ Nets...... 10,112

I do not think the players deserve this BUT maybe a few in the of the higher ups do!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I went out last night with my mother-in-law (perfect revenge that, right, guys?). In fact, we're pictured in Mark's picture of Section 135 down the right field line. Except for that abysmal fifth inning, it was an OK experience. The ushers actually invited us to move closer to the field. I'm a fairly hard-core fan, but even I left after the eighth inning. Just like Kennedy, Harris, Nieves et al, my season is over.

Wake me when they re-sign Dunn and get a couple of pitchers who can last past the fifth inning.

Blaming this all on Riggs is like blaming Watergate on the three goons who broke into the DNC. Follow the money, people. This body rots from the top ... Lerners, StanK, et al.

Three-hundred losses in three seasons. Take a bow, StanK, take a big bow.

CBinDC said...

Do you know what TED the GREAT did when faced with a team that was struggling to get a good fan base after years of losing ......he offered free seats .....he cut the ST price to almost half ...he listened to the fan base as to what they wanted and then DID IT .....and when he could not he explained why ...clearly and sometimes with humor....YES he has now the best damn team in town ...and YES it will be so for MANY YEARS ....why with a whole year sold out again does he try to over charge and say hey they come regardless...NO ......HE DOES NOT

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

Mark - so the season ticket base is less that 11,000!!??? Haven't StanK and others including most of the media reported in much higher than that!?

Looks like all of the bandwangoners have abandoned ship, cannot wait to share the park with real fans however small the number is!

actual attendance last night less than 8k!

Anonymous said...

Looks like Little Baby Stephen is not too happy he won't return calls from his pitching coach or the Nats PR department. I would not be surprised if he comes back out of shape and surly!

Mark Zuckerman said...

Harper ROY 2012: No one from the Nats (not Kasten, not Lerner, not anyone) has publicly revealed what this year's season-ticket base is. But it's been pretty clear all along the number falls somewhere in the 10,000 range. They had a couple of crowds in the low 11,000s back in April against Colorado, just slightly more than they drew last night.

And for those wondering, the season-ticket base for the Nats' first season in 2005 was around 22,000. For their first season at Nationals Park in 2008, it was around 18,000.

N. Cognito said...

I was on my way out after the top of the 5th. On my way, I stopped at the top of 114. The usher invited me to take any seat in the top half of the section. I stayed a little longer. I was outta my seat and on my way to the car before Adam Dunn got back to the dugout after his bases loaded whiff.
Striking out is one thing. That was a horrible at bat.

N. Cognito said...

Another fan thrown out of the ballpark last night for throwing a homerun ball back onto the field.
Come on Stan! Ted! Mark!
Sure some of us don't agree with your methods for building the ballclub, but throwing out fans that throw back homerun balls is sheer lunacy.

natsfan1a said...

That, or Sheinin is not too happy because he wants to continue/finish work on the book that he's said to be writing about SS, so he publicly calls the kid out. Who wouldn't be grumpy after potentially career-ending and, at the least, career-altering surgery?


Anonymous said...

Looks like Little Baby Stephen is not too happy he won't return calls from his pitching coach or the Nats PR department. I would not be surprised if he comes back out of shape and surly!

phil dunn said...

The sad state of affairs is all about ownership and until that changes, the Nats will continue to be the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NL East.

Back in 2006, when the Lerner family bought the team, we fans were directed to be patient. Well, we are still hearing the same tune as the franchise morphs into the pathetic Senators of the 1960s and early 1970s. Stan Kasten was supposed to be a franchise building genius because of the Atlanta Braves past success. The truth is that the brains behind the Braves success were Bobby Cox and John Schererholtz. Kasten was nothing more than a glad handing figure head who was also president of the Hawks and Flames. He ran both of those teams into the ground. Then we heard about Mike Rizzo being the genius who developed the "great" Diamondback's farm system. The Diamondbacks have never won anything with that farm system and they are currently in last place in the NL West with a worse record than the Nats.

Let's put the rose colored glasses aside and recognize the sad state of affairs with this deeply troubled franchise. Think ownership, think Pirates, think Orioles. Those two teams, along with the Nationals have one thing in common---tightfisted and incompetent ownership.

Anonymous said...

natsfan1a said...
"That, or Sheinin is not too happy because he wants to continue/finish work on the book that he's said to be writing about SS, so he publicly calls the kid out. Who wouldn't be grumpy after potentially career-ending and, at the least, career-altering surgery?"

Screw Sheinboy. He's an Angelos slurper.

carolync said...

It's very hard to find evidence that progress is being made. This team needs 140 hits, 34 doubles, 8 triples and 19 home runs to match the totals of the much-maligned 2009 team. Last year's team batting average was .258; this year's stands at .255. Last year's OBP was .337; this year's stands at .321. Granted, last year's team had the most errors in baseball while this year the Cubs have more than we do.
Ryan Zimmerman is an exciting player. The end. Espinosa can possibly become an exciting player when we see him more. Who are the others, Adam? Desmond has been torture to watch - he has 8 more errors than any other player at any position along with numerous other bumbles and mental errors.
I'm far more discouraged about this team than I have ever been. We used to give our unused season tickets for free to known Nats fans in our neighborhood. Lately, no one will take them.

N. Cognito said...

phil dunn said...
"The sad state of affairs is all about ownership and until that changes, the Nats will continue to be the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NL East."

I'm not dismissing the sad state of the on-field product, but just how long do you think it takes to build a team from nothing?

The Great Plains during the Dust Bowl was more fertile than the Nats minor league system after MLB finished pillaging it. Some people always like to point to 2006 as the starting point for the Lerners, but it was really 2007 when the Lerners had a serious impact on the draft.
That's 4 drafts. It takes most players 4-5 years to make it to the majors, and even then, another 2 years to fully demonstrate their major league potential. The Ryan Zimmerman's, the players that get to the majors in 1 or 2 years, are the exception.

The Free Agent signing/not signing discussion is certainly a worthwhile argument, but looking back, all of the free agent "classes" have been barren. It's fairly safe to say, the very few, prime free agents, were not going to sign with a rebuilding club. Pudge signing with Tigers was a rare exception. For the most part, all that was left for the Nats were question marks. There were a few players they might have been able to get, if they had tried and paid enough, but they would have only bought a few more wins and the past several seasons would still be depressing.
The real test of the Lerners, to see if we become the Pirates or Royals of the NL East, will be when it comes time to re-sign the younger guys to their first free agent pending contract. If they're trading all those guys, when they are signable (don't have absurd contract demands or aren't intent on testing free agency) THAT will be seriously bad news.

Steve M. said...

I was disgusted by watching the lack of energy in Livan in the field last night. He is a veteran player and really caused his own avalanche last night when he didn't feel the need to run hard to cover first. Dunn look to 3rd on the play but had plenty of time to make the play to 1st but where was Livan? Jogging to first.

Then Willie Harris misreads another ball in the outfield that blew the game open.

When is Riggleman going to start benching some of these veterans for not hustling?

Anonymous said...

The Orioles are only two games behind us in the stands. I was really hoping we wouldn't be the worst team in the area for once. But now I'm beyond angry, I mean this is embarrassing, and unless they make some major changes to the team I will NOT be renewing my season tickets (something I thought I'd never do because I wanted to be loyal, but enough is enough). I am actually embarrassed to be a Nats fan right now and I'm probably not gonna make it to any more games this year.

N. Cognito said...

I have one ticket for Wednesday - an exchanged season ticket, and my two season tickets for one of the games against Philly. I'm probably gonna blow-off the Wednesday game and my other tickets are on StubHub.
From attending 50 games in 2005 (yeah, that was overkill, but tickets were cheap and after 30-some years...) to less than 15 this year.

We still have a shot at the 3rd pick in the draft. It'll be tough, but I have confidence in this group

Anonymous said...

On natsfan1a and Shenin,

Most kids that age just "text" each other ... its almost considered "rude" to talk on the phone. It can be kind of annoying. Or they use facebook.

I personally find texting, facebook, and phone calls kind of annoying ... unless I have to ... so I can certainly understand Stras's attitude especially after coming off of major surgery.

Steve Carlton.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks, Anon @ 11:53. It did occur to me later that there might be some sort of generational technology gap there.

citizen16 said...

I was at the game last night...I'm in Mark's photo sitting in right field. My brother and I bought Five Guys, sat down nearby and never ended up going to our regular seats.

The only players on the Nats who seemed to care last night were Zimm and Espinosa. They made a couple of great plays.

I'm beyond words at this point about Willie Harris. That error off his glove was horrible...he should have been DFA'd right then and there. Willie seems like a nice guy, but he has to be one of the worst players in baseball this year and Riggs continues to send him out there night after night. Bernadina, who I like, seemed completely out of it a lot of the night. And that brain freeze at first base between Livo and Dunn is inexplicable.

Based on the fact that I was there last night, it's pretty safe to assume that I'll go watch the Nats regardless of how bad they play. I have a partial season ticket package, and I'm going again on Saturday with my kids for our last game of the season...there's no way I'd bring my kids back to the ballpark next week when the only people there will be Phillie fans and DC Metro police. I learned that lesson on Opening Day.

We've been told since the team arrived in 2005 that we have to be patient. Okay, I've been patient. We've had the same results over the past 3 years, but the team still has no reliable player other than Zimmerman. Espinosa has provided a spark and could be an answer in the middle infield. But it's all still about potential, could and should with this team. I don't see much progress.

They went the whole season without a Right Fielder or 2nd baseman. The Nats only had a legitimate #1 pitcher for the short time during the season. I don't think many of the Nats pitchers would be a #2 or #3 on many other teams. Add on the injury to Willingham, the inconsistency of Morgan, the lack of a backup catcher (when your starter is 38 years old) and a rookie shortstop and this is what you get.

DC will support a baseball team. It's time for the Lerners to put a crowbar in their pockets and start spending some money. If they will spend the money to put a competitive product on the field, more people will come to the games, more will watch on TV and they'll generate more revenue. If it's all about the bottom line, they need to spend money to make money. If it's about the public trust (as the Lerners have said in the past), then they need to put a respectable product on the field regardless.

I'd suggest they go out this off season and get a legitimate right fielder (like Jason Werth), get a legitimate ace pitcher, get another pitcher who can do what Marquis was supposed to do and then get some veterans to come off the bench who have a respectable OBP. The middle infield and CF positions are still all works in progress that need to be addressed as well.

With that the team might be able to get to 81 wins next year. Then the next year, they need to add another 2-3 veterans again to take the team to the next level.

Even I am starting to lose patience after all of these years. It's time for some really bold moves.

DMan said...

Oh Boy!!! I have tickets for 4 MORE debacles, er games! Keep those losses coming! Every bad season gets me closer to the actual true equivalet seats I had at RFK as more sections are opened to partial plan holders. So much for having pledged my allegiance...

SpringfieldFan said...

Why did I stay for the whole game last night? Why am I going again tomorrow night, and to two other games this homestand? Because I love this team. I love this game.

And most of all because two weeks from now, these guys will be out of my life for 5 months. And that sucks worse than anything that happens during the season.

Anonymous said...

They went the whole season without a Right Fielder or 2nd baseman. The Nats only had a legitimate #1 pitcher for the short time during the season. I don't think many of the Nats pitchers would be a #2 or #3 on many other teams. Add on the injury to Willingham, the inconsistency of Morgan, the lack of a backup catcher (when your starter is 38 years old) and a rookie shortstop and this is what you get.

Make that legitimate 1, 2, 3 slot rotation pitching missing. Stras was still just getting started and his pitch count was limited. So ...

The MI and catcher have now been addressed adequately. Lombardozzi may be ready as soon as next season to add to the mix. Kobernus, Hague and others are on their way. Kennedy is still an option.

CF is still an issue. True dat. But that is more because of Morgan's lack of arm. He has a very, very weak arm. He seems like he could be more consistent at the plate ... but he really should be in left field. Bernadina is a natural left fielder. Harris is barely able to play left field and looks lost in right and center. Morse and Willingham are probably better left fielders. Eury Perez, JP Ramirez, Destin Hood, and Harper of course are still a year or more away. But they are getting closer. Michael Burgess should be closer but he looks a year or two away. Clearly both CF and RF are still issues which need to be addressed after Dunn is extended.

The September doldrums? That's all on Riggleman's shoulders. If Showalter can do it then so too should Riggleman? Right?

Steve said...

I'm kinda divided between the "I'll miss it" stance of SpringfieldFan and the opportunity to boo the boys for the kind of dogging it that made up the 5th inning last night. (I swear Harris was jogging after that ball until after it was past him -- then he started running.) I'd rather cheer them than go all Philly on them, but they are stinking up the joint, and that means those of us in the stands should let 'em hear it.

Golfersal said...

Sorry to say you missed the mark big time on this story.

It's not about what the future is for the Nats, it's about the fans and how sick and tired we are of a crappy team plus having to pay high prices for something that is subpar.

You look at your posts, look at the 40 people that are writing for this story, you can see that the news isn't the Nats but the news is the fans.

Going to the game tonight because I am tired of not being able to sell my tickets on Stubhub. The Nats are so bad that my 15 year-old son doesn't want to go. To show how bad it is, he would rather stay in school on Thursday instead of coming with me for a 4:35 game. Tonight I am taking a fried who buys the dogs and beers, he even joked and said that game wasn't worst the cost of by $15 dogs and beer.

This is the problem and I will bet you that a lot of season ticket holders will leave and not renew tickets for 2011.

You have a pretty good fan base in this blog, how about a survey and doing some stories from the fan's prospective? I would bet you other newsoutlets would be interested in your findings and you can get some added press for doing that.

Your a smart guy in getting stories, can't believe you are missing on this one.

sec3mysofa said...

Don't get me started ...
I'm still sitting on freebies from April.
N. Cognito said...
Another fan thrown out of the ballpark last night for throwing a homerun ball back onto the field.
Come on Stan! Ted! Mark!
Sure some of us don't agree with your methods for building the ballclub, but throwing out fans that throw back homerun balls is sheer lunacy.

Sec3MySofa said...

Golfersal, maybe you could interview each of the fans tonight, and do your own story.
Use a dictionary, though, OK?

JaneB said...

Throwing back the HR ball is GOOD fanship! What are they thinking? Does this mean the guy who threw back Strasburgs first pitched dinger, faster than a hit coal, got thrown out? I'm shocked. Genuinely.
I'm with SpringfieldFan: NO Nats is way worse than losing Nats.

natsfan1a said...

Maybe I don't have my finger on the pulse of journalism, but I'm thinking that news outlets wouldn't necessarily jump at the idea of Mark's surveying and then reporting on our viewpoints (but if they are, they can read our blog comments for free).

natsfan1a said...

...if they are "interested," that is

JaneB and Springfield: Lord help me, I will miss my Nats when the season is over (and I'll be at both games this weekend). ;-)

Anonymous said...

Caps first home preseason game is just a week away. First home game is the 9th of October.
With the Nats never in the playoffs and the Caps choking in the playoffs, the transition between the two is fairly smooth.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully there's a silver lining to Riggleman's incompetence. The second pick in the draft after the Pirates.

Anonymous said...

Losing baseball isn't necessarily bad baseball. A well played game is a joy to behold, whatever the outcome. With this team it's not the record so much as the lack of enthusiasm and on-field performance. Regularly spotting opponents big leads early in the game with poor pitching and sloppy fielding isn't good baseball. Only on rare occasions does the team hit like a team--rallys are routinely killed by bad at-bats and double plays. This year, we've made a lot of opposing pitchers look like Cy Young himself. It makes my day when the Nats play well and win a game, but it's painful to come out to the park and watch what the Nats have been offering the last three weeks. I worry about the future, because it seems to me that a team with promise would be playing these last weeks for pride--"we're better than our record and the rest of the League had better watch out when we step on the field next year." It's painful to have knuckleheads like Buster Olney routinely tear down our team....and be right. There's only so much pain a fan should be expected to endure. Come out to the park in September to see the team fold like a cheap lawnchair...ehh...not so much. Not when I can turn off the TV when our guys have booted another one.

Anonymous said...

I was in the section where a fan threw back the home run ball. They immediatly tossed the fan, causing a family of five or six, who were actually rooting for the Nats, to leave the game. Great job from a great franchise.


How 'bout Torre coming to Washington?

OK, I'm going to make a wild prediction, Torre will become the Nats new manger!

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