Hearing about Jose Guillen's linkage to HGH shipments brings back a lot of memories of his time with the Nationals. It also leads me to make an admission. Sometimes, at night, when it's been a long day, and the world is so cold; when I find myself alone staring at a copy of Barry Svrluga's "National Pastime" (still available at new and used booksellers - makes a great Christmas gift!) with a cup of warm Sleepytime in my hands; sometimes, I miss the old Nationals.
I miss watching the smoke pour out of Jose Guillen's ears whenever he saw the uniform of a team that let him go. I miss Frank Robinson shouting out weird tatical decisions while falling asleep on the bench. I miss Livan deciding suddenly he was going to take his knee, made gimpy from an ever expanding gut, and go home. I miss Vidro ranging two steps to his left and then falling down with his glove stretched out toward a ball 12 ft away from him dribbling into the outfield. I miss Wil Cordero talking about his guns while hitting .100. I miss Jamey Carroll being David Eckstein light (which yes, is like a Diet Coke Zero). I miss the Nats deciding in Spring Training that they were going to emphasize getting on base...for their center fielder...when he led-off... and if his name rhymed with "Bendy Guavez." I miss Matt LeCroy making Gary Bennett look like a four-armed Johnny Bench that was granted super speed when he was struck by lightning at his crime lab. I miss the inexplicable 1st place in July team that caused Tom Boswell's head to explode straight through 2007. I miss Boswell claiming that Guzman, in the midst of one of the worst seasons in modern times, was leading the Nats to the playoffs with his mere presence. I miss Chad Cordero's hat...but I don't miss the run of also-rans tossing BP that we had to watch before seeing it...but I do miss Mike Bacsik grooving pitches... to everyone. I miss Soriano using his star power to act like a jerk in Spring Training, and guys like Clayton and Lopez just acting like jerks period. I miss Jim Bowden flailing wildly, using any means necessary to satisfy the greatest need for attention I have ever seen in another human being.
In other words, I miss the Nationals when they were bad. Or really I miss them when they had no idea what they were doing. This mildly competant, moderate spending team DC has now, well, it just doesn't have the flair of the early Nats. They go out, generally play well enough to lose, and go home. Surely covering a good team that wins, which is the goal the team is moving toward, will be nice, but I kinda wish the transition could have been directly from losing spectacularly to playoff contender. This is easy for me to say, because I'm far more a blogger of the team than a fan, but maybe if you look deep down inside of you, there's a small part that misses these things too. It's the same part that is glad Nyjer Morgan is still on this team, tossing out stupid nicknames and starting fights for no reason.