Nats Trade Milledge, Hanrahan

3 comments:
Nationals' interim GM Mike Rizzo seems to be a little less risk averse than his predecessor, the all-knowing Jim Bowden. While Bowden failed to capitalize on trade markets in years past for such players as Alfonso Soriano, Chad Cordero, Dimitri Young, and Ronnie Belliard, Rizzo went out today and assembled what I think may turn out to be a decent trade for the Nats, if not for the balance of this year, certainly for start of the 2010 season.

The Nationals traded OF Lastings Milledge, who was demoted to AAA-Syracuse early on in the season, and reliever Joel Hanrahan to the Pittsburgh Pirates for CF Nyjer Morgan and left handed reliever Sean Burnett, a former first round draft pick.

This trade makes sense for the Nats on a number of fronts. First, while Willie Harris has done an admirable job as a stop-gap in CF, they are in clear need of an established everyday center fielder who can makeup for the lack of ground that corner outfielders like Dunn and Willingham bring to the field. At 29, Morgan is still relatively early on in his career, and can get on base and run extremely well. Having Morgan as the everyday leadoff hitter may help Chrstian Guzman increase his disappointing RBI total.

Burnett is shaping up to be a decent reliever. And lets face it, the Nats need some improvement in the bullpen, no matter who it is or where he comes from. I expect a lot of experimentation to take place in the rest of 2009 as the Nats try to figure out how best to solve their bullpen woes. Hopefully Hanrahan, who has been downright miserable in a variety of situations this year, will find better luck in Pittsburgh.

From the Nats perspective, one starts to wonder what future moves might be coming down the pike as we approach the trading deadline at the end of July. Will Nick Johnson be moved to a contender? What does the acquisition of Morgan mean for Willie Harris, who has arguably been one of the Nats' most solid players of late? We'll have to see how things shape out, but hopefully Rizzo can start to assemble some additional pieces with an eye towards next year.

If you are a Pirates fan, you have to start to wonder about the team's recent personnel moves. After dumping all-start OF Nate McLouth in a trade to the Braves, the Pirates were busy sellers today. Apart from the Morgan/Burnett trade, the Pirates also traded utility-man Eric Hinske to the Yankees for two minor leaguers...for a team thats only 6 games out in the NL central, seems like they're trying to swindle their chances for contention in 09.

Soccer Fever

No comments:
I can see the headlines now: USA Takes Brazil to the Brink - Soccer Fever Grips America. Umm. No. Well not quite. In just one day I've read a lot of stories and heard a lot of sports talk radio posing the same question: Is this the event that pushes soccer into the mainstream in this country? The answer is a resounding....maybe. Just the fact that I was asked to write this blog (by a normally soccer hating Sports Guy) says something about the reaction people have had over the last week to the incredible run by Team USA in the Confederations Cup. People were excited. People tuned in. ESPN actually moved the broadcast from ESPN 2 to ESPN. But let's get one thing straight. This country gets excited for big events, not for soccer. The casual fan gets fired up every four years for the World Cup but soon returns to the familiar comfort of his football (the American kind), basketball, and baseball. And the excitement from this game will fade just the same. Soccer was supposed to explode in this country any number of times over the past 30 years only to fade back into obscurity. More kids start playing soccer every year but most of them quit before they ever get to high school. No, soccer is not on the brink of passing baseball (or more appropriately football) for the national pastime. But it is growing in popularity every year thanks to an ever growing Latino population and an ever improving US National team. Maybe the excitement from this game carries over to next year's World Cup and the US makes another more improbable run there. Maybe that steam lasts to when the US hosts a World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Maybe in another 30 years we'll look back and say this was the moment it all began to happen. Maybe....but probably not. Anyway, aren't there some Redskins OTAs to catch up on?

I Thought Fenway was in Boston

No comments:
While many expected the world-famous Boston Red Sox to stride into D.C. and sweep the lowly Nationals, the Nats managed to escape with some respect, bringing their offense alive in the series finale Thursday against veteran and future hall of famer John Smoltz in his season and Red Sox debuts. Game 1 of the series was a classic Nats failure, with the bullpen throwing away an otherwise solid outing from John Lannan in an 11-3 BoSox drubbing. Game 2, a John Lester/Craig Stammen matchup, was slightly more competitive, with the Nats falling 6-4, a differential that we've seen many times before and will likely see many times again in this long and painful season.

Regardless of the play on the field, the Nats managed to draw record-breaking crowds in all three games of the series. Rob Dibble, Nats color commentary man and resident idiot, attributed this to the hype given by the Nats' marketing team (if you are on their email list you have received no less than 4 messages per week since the season began about this series) as well as the decision to open up extra grandstand seats and standing room areas that are not typically available (as they are not needed) for most other games at Nats park. Listening to Dibble explain his theories on why the Nats were drawing so well against the Red Sox was amusing, but in many ways was like trying to understand rocket science. Like many of the things Rob Dibble says, listening to this pointless rambling caused MASN viewers to laugh, shake their heads, and turn down the volume on their televisions a little bit.

My theory of why the Nats drew so well is simple. Let me begin by disclosing my utter hatred towards the Red Sox. I understand and appreciate the impressiveness of what they have accomplished in the last five years, but thats about it. They have cultivated farm system talent into a perennial contending team and have established a legion of fans rivaling those of the Yankees and Cubs, seemingly overnight. Having said all this, my sharp disdain for the Red Sox rivals how I feel about Duke basketball, the New England Patriots, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

We all know that DC is a transient down. Political staffers and government appointees come and go with changing administrations, others tire of the humidity, traffic, and cost of living, while still others feel that larger cities such as New York and Chicago offer more diverse experiences. Regardless of all this, one thing has been constant in D.C. over the last five years. A steady increase of New England (and in particular Red Sox) fans. There are bars that proclaim themselves to be "Red Sox" bars, hanging banners and offering specials during Red Sox games. Not a day goes by that you don't see someone on the Metro or the streets of D.C. wearing some sort of Red Sox garb.

The only thing I can think of to explain this is that there is a general view that being a Red Sox fan is cool, even if you aren't really a fan. We all know that there are plenty of tools in D.C., and at my latest estimation, roughly 97% of said tools are Red Sox "fans". Were they there for the many years that the Red Sox were terrible? Probably not. Do they remember anything prior to 2004, when the BoSox came back from a 3 game deficit to beat the Yankees? Nope. If you asked 10 D.C. area fans who their favorite all time BoSox player was, I'm guessing the responses would go like this: Papelbohn, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youklis, Youklis, Ortiz, Pedroia, Beckett, Ortiz, Lowell). Ted Williams? Carlton Fisk? Jim Rice, Johnny Pesky? Carl Yastremski? Anyone heard of them?

While I rest my case on die hard fans who have suffered in the bad times and celebrated during the good, I guarantee that had you been at Nats park this week, the majority of so-called "Red Sox nation" knows little of what happened with "their team" prior to the year 2000. Could they name anybody else on those late 1980's Red Sox teams besides Jim Rice, Roger Clemens, and Wade Boggs and Mike Greenwell? It would be an interesting experiment to try sometime.

My thought is that the majority of DC's "red sox nation" consists of girls who think a pink red sox hat looks cute and guys who like sporting a warn BoSox baseball cap while drinking at an Irish bar because its cool to do so. Lets just be thankful that the closest the Red Sox will get to D.C. over the next several years is Baltimore, and even that seems dangerously too close in my mind.

The D.C. Sports Guys 6-22-2009

No comments:
Kevin and Big J talk about the U.S. Open, MMA, and the great week in Washington sports.

The video from earlier today somehow got corrupted. If we can fix it, we'll post it tomorrow, but for now here is the audio.

As always, send your comments, suggestions, or ideas to mailbag@dcsportsguys.com


Intro
U.S. Open: 00:01:30
MMA: 00:19:30
Capitals/NHL/Nationals/Stallworth/NFL: 00:51:25
End

D.C. Sports Guys will be LIVE at 6pm

1 comment:
The D.C. Sports Guys will be live 6/22 at 6pm. To watch the live feed and send in real time comments go to: http://www.dcsportsguys.com.

Nats Showing Pitching Improvement in Yanks Series

2 comments:
Well, the Nationals return to D.C. tonight for a 3 game series against the Blue Jays and on the heels of a six-game interleague road trip in which they went 2-4 in games against the Rays and Yankees. While most would view this record as typical of the Nationals' 2009 season, many may be surprised to see that those 2 wins came against the New York Yankees, the team with the highest payroll and most continual hype in all of MLB.

As a Yankees fan, I was expecting a fairly easy time with the Nationals, and by that I mean a 3-game sweep. Although the Yanks' pitching (both starters and relievers) has been suspect at times, I expected that the games would play out as most games involving the Nationals do. The Nats put some offense on the board early and jump out to the lead, only to have the late inning relievers give up a multiude of gophers and the defense seemingly shut down.

The Yankees took the series opener 5-3 in a pitching matchup that featured Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia against the Nats' Shairon Martis. Coming in to the Bronx, the Nationals had posted only 16 wins, 5 of which belonged to Martis. He is a strong young righty who showed his strength against a potent Yankees lineup. The Nats' bullpen unraveled late and the Yankees took advantage, sending in Mariano Rivera to close out the Nats and take game 1.

Games 2 and 3 featured strong performances by Nats' pitchers John Lannan and Craig Stammen, respectively. Lannan, a native New Yorker who grew up a Yankee fan, stymied the pinstripers, going 8 and 1/3 in a 3-2 win. In a rain-delayed Thursday game, Craig Stammen earned his first major league win, shutting out the Yankees 3-0. Oh yeah, that was the Nats' first shutout of the season.

Pretty embarassing for the Yankees, who round out the interleague schedule on the road against the Marlins, Braves and Mets. Coming into Wednesday's game, the Yankees were 23-0 in games where they surrendered three runs or fewer. Now they are 23-2. In their six interleague games against the Nats (the other three came in 2006), the Yankees are 2-4.

For the Nationals, this series will still likely play a meaningless role in what has been and is likely to continue to be a dismal season. We did get some glimpses of things to look forward though in the Yankees series: young starters being economical with pitch counts and going deep into games, an infield defense that actually made some impressive plays, and smart baserunning all around.

The Nationals return home tonight for six straight, three against Toronto and three against the Red Sox. They then finish up the interleague session with three games at Camden Yards vs. the O's. With the amount of bandwagon Red Sox fans in the D.C. area, there is no question that the atmosphere at Nationals Park next week will be very much like a game at Fenway. But, at least its getting some fans in the seats. Who knows, maybe we'll be surprised and see the Nats take another series they aren't supposed to.

Weighing In: Donte Stallworth

No comments:
By now everyone has heard about the plea deal Donte Stallworth and the State of Florida agreed upon for his traffic incident where a pedestrian was killed. If you just read the headlines, which are scripted similar to, “NFL’s Stallworth gets 30 days in jail for a DUI resulting in the death of a pedestrian,” and immediately close your browser, it sounds like the gravest miss-carriage of justice, EVER. Outside of the written word, ESPN and ESPN News touch on the story by announcing that “Stallworth was given only 30 days in jail for killing a pedestrian while intoxicated.” How could Florida pander to an NFL football star in the way it has? How could Michael Vick get years in prison for killing dogs and Stallworth gets 30 days? How is Donte Stallworth any different than the person who crashed into Angles’ pitcher Nick Adenhart?

Looking at the facts, or reading complete articles in this case will reveal to us why this isn’t the worst injustice since O.J. went free.

The Facts:

  • Donte Stallworth had a BAC of 0.12 driving in the left lane on the MacArthur Causeway.
  • The MacArthur Causeway is 6 lanes, 3 traveling in each direction.
  • The victim, trying to catch a bus was running across a section MacArthur that did not have a cross walk.
  • Stallworth flashed his lights at the victim before he was struck.
  • After striking the victim, Stallworth came to a stop and called 911 immediately.
  • During and after the incident Stallworth has cooperated with investigators and the wishes of the victim's family.

The facts above that make this case different from other cases are the ones that place the victim, Mario Reyes, in a place where he wasn’t supposed to be. Now before I go further, I want to acknowledge that Stallworth made an extremely bad decision when he decided to get behind the wheel of his car having the equivalent of 4-5 beers in his system. There is no reason, especially for someone with money and resources to spare, not to grab a cab, call a friend, or do anything that keeps them from being behind the wheel of a car in that situation. With that said, a person trying to run across 3 lanes of traffic outside of a crosswalk could be hit by anyone, intoxicated or not.

Some argue that if Stallworth had time to flash his lights then he should have had plenty of time to avoid Reyes altogether. If Stallworth had not been intoxicated he would have had more time to react. That’s definitely possible, but to use that defense, one must also consider the other possibilities. Most traffic lanes are about 12ft. wide. A person walking casually could clear that distance in about two seconds. That leads me to believe that if Reyes was in Stallworth's lane when Stallworth flashed his lights, there was either less than two seconds to react to seeing Reyes, or that Reyes was standing still in the lane. A third senario would have Reyes coming from the far right lane towards the median. In that case it's more likely Stallworth flashed his lights before Reyes was in the left lane (as he was crossing the 2 outer lanes), Reyes didn't notice the flash and Stallworth ultimately does not stop in time. None of the reports I can find specifically state where on the causeway the incident happened, but I would believe one of the above scenarios is close to accurate based on what I have been able to put together.

The victim being in a precarious place is what makes this case different than Vick’s or Adenhart’s. With Vick, people need to remember that he didn’t go to jail for killing dogs. Vick went to jail for running a multi-state gambling operation and lying to the Federal Government about it. The drunk driver who ran into the car Adenhart was riding in, had a suspended license for a previous DUI, ran a red light, plowed into a stopped vehicle, fled the scene, and has now pled Not-Guilty in the case.

Stallworth, for what it’s worth, has also done everything right since the incident occurred. He started by giving full disclosure about what happened the moment Cops arrived on the scene. He told police where he had been and how much he had to drink. More importantly, Stallworth has not tried to buck the system. He pled guilty, and has already worked out compensation for Reyes family. According to CNN, “Stallworth reached an ‘amicable’ financial settlement with the Reyes family” and will have to adhere to the following:

  • 30 days in Jail
  • Lifetime license suspension.
  • 8 years probation
  • Must submit to random drug testing and drug and alcohol counseling for the entirety of his probation
  • 2 years house arrest – Allowed to play NFL Games

Roger Goodell has also come forward and said that Donte Stallworth has been suspended indefinitely from the NFL. Chris Mortensen has said that he thinks that this suspension will be longer than year possibly 2 or 3. I however, do not think that will be the case. If Stallworth doesn’t play football then the Reyes family won’t be able to collect on the money they have agreed to. The terms were not disclosed, but I would assume that it is in millions of dollars over a given amount of years. If Stallworth is in prison, he won’t make the millions that he will need to pay the Reyes family. Vick went bankrupt after being in jail for a little under two years. I don’t see that happening in this situation. I feel a year suspension would be on the high side.

Greivis Vasquez keeps fan's love/hate relationship with Terps basketball alive

No comments:
In what should be no surprise to anyone, Greivis Vasquez will be returning to Maryland to play in his senior year. After exploring the draft, Vasquez realized that no NBA team wants to deal with a top 10 ego wrapped in mid-level talent. For Maryland fans, another season of loving to hate their team is right around the corner. Another season of explaining that they really do like Terps basketball, but hate the fact that Vasquez is their best player. Another season to hate the way he pounds his chest after making layups, hate the way he drives the lane with no clue of what he wants to do with the ball, hate the designs he shaves into the scrub on his face, hate how he talks trash to players and and the fans, and finally, hate that there is no one else on the team who can fill his role.

The DC Sports Guys 6-12-2009

2 comments:





After watching game 7 of the Stanley Cup, T.J. and Kevin both grab a mic to participate in the first ever live D.C. Sports Guys. Both vent about Pittsburgh's win, then move on to congratulate Hershey on their Calder Cup victory. Also in this edition, the Guys talk about Capitals off-season moves, the KHL, Redskins voluntary workouts, Nationals failure, the NBA finals, golf, tennis, and even about a kid who survives being hit by a meteor.

As always, send your comments, suggestions, or ideas to mailbag@dcsportsguys.com


Intro

End

D.C. Sports Guys going LIVE!

No comments:
The D.C. Sports Guys will be going live after the Stanley Cup finals. Just go to http://www.dcsportsguys.com after Game 7 tonight to watch and listen to the D.C. Sports Guys.

The DC Sports Guys 5-31-2009

No comments:
After an extended Memorial Day break from the show, The D.C. Sports Guys are back. In this edition Kevin, TJ, The Wolfman, and Big J break down the NBA and NHL playoffs, take a look back at the Nats / O's series and wrap up UFC 98.

As always, send your comments, suggestions, or ideas to mailbag@dcsportsguys.com


Intro
NBA: 00:01:30
NHL: 00:23:20
MLB: 00:51:40
MMA: 01:17:45
End