With this being the first post in this blog and the season is already halfway over, it’s only fitting that we take the time to sum up what we’ve missed. I’ve assembled a list of ten things that can explain the disaster that can only be known as the 2009 Nationals season. So without further sugar coating, here it goes.
10. Lastings Milledge: All Star?
When will Bud Selig finally realize that fan voting will never give us a true All Star Game? Well apparently, fans of a popular Boston Red Sox message board called The Sons of Sam Horn decided to do something to bring it to the Commisioner’s attention. After realizing that someone at Major League Baseball headquarters obviously hadn’t checked a Nationals box score in awhile, fans at the forum decided to start a campaign to put Lastings Milledge into the All Star game despite being in the minors. Soon afterwards, fans all over the baseball world caught wind of this remarkable protest and started spreading the word. Luckily for Mr. Selig and the National League, it didn’t prove to be enough as Lastings Milledge fell incredibly short of reaching the All Star Game. Let’s hope that baseball decided this was too close for comfort and change the way the All Star Game is run. Heck, maybe they’ll get rid of the every team deserves an All Star rule while they are at it.
9. Does Adam Dunn have more Pop than the Nationals?I don’t know if I should be impressed with Adam Dunn or if I should be embarrassed for the Nationals. Never before in the history of baseball has anyone ever come close to showing more muscle than their entire team, and that includes the Barry Bonds steroid induced 73 home run season. At the time I am writing this, Adam Dunn currently has 24 home runs and thanks to the New York Mets, the Nationals have 28 wins. So the question I ask you is what’s more likely, will Adam Dunn find his stroke or will the Nats manage to stay competitive? My money is on Adam Dunn seeing how the Nationals only get six more games against the Mets.
8. Joel Hanrahan Finally Wins a Game….Too Bad he’s a Pirate
This won’t be the last time you have to hear Joel Hanrahan’s name in this list. Unfortunately he plays a much larger role in this 2009 Nationals season than we would care for. After being among the worst relief pitchers in all of baseball, Joel Hanrahan finally was given the opportunity to disappoint an entire new fan base when he was traded along with Lastings Milledge(hey we’ve talked about him) for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett on June 30th. Nationals fans everywhere, well the 4 square blocks they currently occupy, could finally rest easy knowing they’ll never have to see Hanrahan’s name in another box score. Or so they thought. On July 10th, the Nationals resumed a rain delayed game from May 5th against the Houston Astros in which Joel Hanrahan was the last pitcher to pitch for the Nats. The Nationals ended up winning in their first at bat after the game resumed(coincidentally the winning run was scored by Nyjer Morgan) making Joel Hanrahan the winning pitcher. Go figure that it takes trading him to another team for Joel Hanrahan to finally make a positive impact on the Nationals. Maybe we should consider trading Julian Tavarez and Joe Beimel while we’re at it.
7. The Greatest Little League Rotation of All Time
It’s a story that both shows the current ineptitude of the ball club as well as the promise for the future. I’m not sure if there has ever been another team in history that has had so many rookies in their starting rotation as the 2009 Washington Nationals have. Currently the Nats have had four rookies as mainstays in their rotation and that number could go up if J.D. Martin sticks around with the club for awhile. Heck, the staff’s elder statesman John Lannan is only 25 and has a whopping 2 years of major league experience. As expected, the starting pitchers have looked…well like rookies, but at least they have shown some promise for future years. Shairon Martis started the season hot going 5-0 thanks to strong run support before eventually falling back to Earth. Throw in super prospect Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals could have the best staff in all of baseball in a few seasons.
6. Adios Manny Acta
All it took was a record of 158-252 since 2007 for Manny Acta to finally get the boot. Was it really all his fault? Probably not but someone has to be the scapegoat. Acta had managed to somehow survive through the dreadful 2008 season in which the Nationals lost more than 100 games so it seemed as if it was going to be impossible to get rid of him. Well, it was hard but not impossible. Winning less than 30% of your games by the All Star break was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was about time they made the change but was Jim Riggleman and his sub .500 career record really that much of an improvement? Well apparently he must be as the Nationals have now won 2 in a row for their new manager.
Check back later for the Top 5 Storylines of the 2009 Washington Nationals season to date.