Nationals Baseball: Yay! Nonsense!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yay! Nonsense!

I almost posted yesterday that I wondered when the Nats' "brawl" with the Cardinals would get taken by some no-talent reporter as a sign of the Nats having toughness/scrappiness/redassness/true grit/black swan/ecksteinian power/etc. etc.

Man, I wish I would have posted that.

Oh Boswell, it was just 11 short months ago when you were proclaiming that LAST year's Nats were full of fight and vigor and crackerjacks and CheezIts. What happened?

I'll tell you what happened. They lost. A lot. And teams that lose a lot simply don't care. They don't have that fight in them, obviously. You must have been mistaken about that new spirit. You shut up and never mention again how you thought that year's team had a different attitude. Then you bring up the same argument again the next season and again and again ad infinitum until the team wins. Then you talk about how you KNEW this year's team seemed to have a different attitude. Calvin would be proud. Not this one. This one.

I'm not even going to bother to rehash the whole column here. It's just a bunch of macho quotes that sound tough and mean nothing. The team philosophy version of "being in the best shape of their lives" columns. One paragraph though, does warrant a bit more discussion.

They will soon. In theory, there are now a dozen Nats, including old pros Pudge Rodriguez, Jason Marquis and Hernandez, who should be quick to tell ’em the correct way to play the ultimate game of detail. In baseball, pregame preparation and in-game concentration over six grueling months can separate teams of equivalent talent by a dozen games.
First - all the guys you named WERE ON THE TEAM LAST YEAR. If you are so sure they can make the team play better by uttering a few words about what they've learned facing the Ol' Hoss Hershiser or "White Whale" Hrbek then why didn't they do this LAST YEAR? And yes you brought in Werth and LaRoche... who take the place of Dunn and Willingham who have roughly the same experience.

Second the idea that preparation and concentration can make a dozen game difference actually makes sense... if one team is preparing and concentrating and the other team is just randomly showing up surprised that baseball is taking place that day. In reality all teams are preparing and concentrating. Some a little more than others, true. But to the point where two teams with .500 talent would find themselves winning 87 and 75 games respectively? I submit to you sir that that is utter nonsense. If teams are that far apart it's not the prepartion, it's not the concentration, it's the TALENT.


Section 220 said...

I think it's reasonable to assume that, as in all other human activities, leadership and grit and scrapitude and other ecksteinian virtues have some impact on how a team plays. I just think that stuff matters probably LESS in major league baseball than in other endeavors, because these guys all have a certain amount of scrappy grititude, which they needed to make it through the minors and to perform successfully in front of tens of thousands of people. So, sure, have a couple Gritty McScrappys on my team in my office may make projects move more smoothly, but only to a certain extent, and probably less in MLB than in my office. Does that make sense?

Unknown said...

Great response to Boz's "piece".

What I want a real reporter to do is follow up on WHO are the guys that need to be talked to??

We have a pretty good list of all the experienced guys who are ready and willing to give the young kids a stern talking to, but who is it that needs this talking to?

Desmond and Espinosa don't seem like bad attitude guys. Is Ramos a jerk? Morse??

Was that a long article to say a dozen guys are ready to yell at Nyjer Morgan?

Hoo said...

"Was that a long article to say a dozen guys are ready to yell at Nyjer Morgan?"

Yes. And maybe LaRoche! No Dukes saga anymore but team still has Morgan that had meltdowns on par with some Dukes on field performances.

The more salient piece from today's Post is dealing with how the Willingham trade is looking more and more crappy everyday. We moved a cheap, everyday position player for a minor leaguer and a reliever who is currently a negative asset by taking a roster spot from a better pitcher at this point in time.

Harper said...

Sec 220 - absolutely. It always is funny to think how much we base our opinions on what we see in the majors ignoring everything that came before. Eckstien was a STUD hitter in college (like .330 / .440 / .510) as well as he'd have to be to make the majors, but in the collective's mind he's "scrappy", because of what we've seen on TV. Some latin american player fights through poverty, overwhelming odds in his home and in the minors, gets to his first playoffs and goes 1 for 15 and he "can't handle the pressue". It's crazy.

ckstevenson - to be fair to Boz, at this point he's much more "columnist" than "reporter". and I agree with Hoo. It's a Morgan thing, at least in part.

Hoo - Depends on Willingham's health. If he goes down before the break, it's more of a push.

bdrube said...

Boz is HACK. He may have been a good sports reporter 20 yars ago, but he has been coasting on his reputation for many years, just like othe so-called luminaries in the ComPost "news" room like Woodward and Broder.

This kind of utter BS is why I stopped reading the ComPost altogether and now get all of my Nats news (and other news) exclusively from the 'Net. :)

Bryan said...

Spot on. Nice post.

Columnist or not, reporter or not, a basic job description of both jobs should be to cut through this kind of "scrappy" talk. Let the players spin that, let the casual, quasi-baseball fans spin that, but columnists are supposed to cut through that.

Hell, the writer for MLB can write that. Someone employed by a major newspaper ought to do better.

I understand he can't be contrarian 100% of the time, but he ought to at least call himself out when the time comes.

Sec314 said...

I wondered if you meant this one:

Wally said...

Dude, you are too reserved for a blogger. You need to feel more comfortable sharing with us how you feel. You know, take a position. I can't tell if you are pro-Boz the columnist, or anti-Boz the humanoid.

You had me at the first Calvin. (Rob-Lowe-from-Parks-and-Rec) "Literally" my favorite strip ever, and my 4 yr old is Calvin become flesh and blood.

PS I enjoyed the 'Wally was right' post, too.

Anonymous said...

I hope it is nonsense otherwise our talent is 12 games less than the record of last year which makes them an even worse team.

Harper said...

bdrube - I think that's a little harsh. I think that the Post beat writers (except for what's his name - the one that didn't want to do it) have been good.

Anon - that's also a bit much. The talent level (outside of Strasburg) is really close to the same and healthier. They should be a few games better.