Nationals Baseball: Parks

Friday, July 29, 2016


Nats win. Mets lose. Marlins lose. Papelbon (and Perez and the defense) fails but Kelley comes through. Espy and Bryce have big hits. All in all a good night except for that Perez and defense thing.

On trades, some people are suggesting you are better off doing nothing. That trades can't be effectual enough (at least for a team in a good regular season spot like the Nats) to matter in the playoffs so why do them? And yet, the last 5 WS winners all made some sort of important trade and just last year the Royals made trades for Cueto AND Zobrist.  I'm not suggesting TRADES = WS. A lot of other teams in the last 5 years made trades and didn't win. What I'm saying is that  trading is not stupid just because of an overall value loss. Sometimes they work and it's always worth it to explore making your team better. Smart teams try when they have a chance.

And the Nats have tried! Last year they brought in Papelbon. That was a pretty clear gamble for several reasons and was probably not enough but it was something. And in 2013 they brought in Asdrubal Cabrera. It wasn't a game changing trade, but it wasn't a team that needed a game changing move.

Make an honest effort to get better in 2016. Don't just say "good enough" because of years you are assuming will be 2012s and 2014s that may end up be the next 2013s or 2015s.  That's all I ask.

Figure I'd use a lazy Friday to go over my vacation.  If you don't follow me on Twitter I took a few days to hit up Minute Maid Park and Globe Life.  Houston to Austin to ... well Arlington as I've been to Dallas a couple times before, will likely be again, so didn't feel the particular need for a day there and it made more sense travel wise. Got some BBQ in Lockhart, hit up LBJ Presidntial Library because that's how I roll (disappointingly only #4 of the 13 official ones - but to be fair some of them aren't exactly on the beaten path. I'll get them all eventually)

Minute Maid is a nice downtown park. It follows in the tradition of the standard new park format where you have your brick and you have your quirks, but it sort of falls flat in those regards. The quirks aren't really sensible. The train thing I know speaks to the former use of the location of the park but to an outsider doesn't feel like "Houston" at all. The hill with the in play flagpole harkens back to the days when unavoidable quirks caused dangerous play conditions, which I didn't think we wanted to get back to. They don't really detract, I liked the train, a lot in fact, but they don't make the park special in the way I think they were aiming for. Plenty of decent food, enough decent beer, and the enclosure was certainly welcome on a 100 degree day. Plus the enclosure seems to let in more light or at least give more of a view than other parks I've been to with the same feature. It's a fine park.

Globe Life I really liked. It's biggest issue is that it is not downtown, instead located in a town between Dallas and Ft. Worth in an area with amusement parks and the like. So you go to the park, not the city. But you can take a trolley there that runs from the hotels. Otherwise I think it's pretty great. It takes advantage of the space to be huge.  Expansive concourses. A Rangers Hall of Fame that goes on forever and is honestly way TOO big. Great team stores. Tons of food choices. Lots of crazy ones in fact. Great beer selection as with prices as reasonable as can be expected. The office background thingy is unique in a way that is special. I'd be kind of disappointed if they were to move to a new park. I understand the call to downtowns but I have been to enough ok parks located in city limits. Personally, I'd rather hit up a special one a little out of the city.

This makes #25 and #26. If you are curious. A quick review of my personal opinions others (some defunct) by division :

Camden Yards - Love it. You can see why everyone tried to copy it. Right size. Right touches. Feels like it was always there.
Fenway Park - Speaking of always there, a neat visit to a real neighborhood park. When I went it was also dirty, lacked amenities, and was uncomfortable to watch a game at. Like sitting on a barstool for a 3 hour performance at Carnegie Hall. But it's been like 15 years so things are probably better.
Old Yankee Stadium - All it had going for it was the field. Otherwise it was like all the other cookie cutter parks of the era. Cramped, concretey, closed concourses. If it wasn't "my" park I probably would have hated it.
New Yankee Stadium - A missed opportunity. I wanted it to be over the top and while it's big and impressive, has all you want and more, but it doesn't go ALL-IN. It's impressive but I wanted more. Greek statues of hall-of-famers. Gilded touches. Holograms. Yankee Stadium should be ostentatious. It should make you hate it if you don't root for the Yankees yet want to go back.
Tropicana - Bleh. I will say they do try their best to make it an experience. You can touch and feed rays! But there's only so much you can do with that.

Progressive - Good downtown park. I don't remember it being very unique but I remember liking the whole downtown Cleveland experience. I do like the toothbrush lights.
Old Tiger Stadium - I get why it had to be torn down, cramped concourses, obstructed views but it basically had the bones of the idea of all the things new parks go after.
Comerica - I like all the Tiger touches. Still think it should have been a version of the old stadium though.
US Cellular - Last of the old types of parks, in fairness it really kind of does all those ideas the best you can do. It's not great but given it's now unique status I kind of liked it more than some of the more boring attempts at the new park normal.
Metrodome - Terrible. But I did meet the organist!

Safeco - Nice. A bit removed from downtown but I remember liking it. Nintendo. Sushi.

RFK - I don't know. I found it kind of fun.  There was an energy there that I liked. I'm sure that was all "new team" fun and it would have been just hated come 2010 if they didn't move out.
Nationals Park - what do you want me to say? A bigger missed opportunity to not work in iconic DC architecture, location, views. "You can kind of see the Capitol if you sit up here and look out that way!" It's fine as is but one of my least favorite of the new parks. .
Marlins Park - I appreciate the attempt at making something uniquely Miami. I like the art deco concretey of it. I'm glad they went with that crazy sculpture. It doesn't all work but it's interesting.
Shea - Kind of charmingly rundown when I went. It felt very Mets. Oh it needed to be replaced but I could get why there was a certain love for it.
Citizens Bank - It's good, probably the thing I remember most thought is that all Philly parks are now essentially located in a giant parking lot at the edge of the city.  Needs more to stand alone.
TED - If you didn't like my Nats park review, take comfort in the fact that this is the worst of the new parks in my opinion. Seems devoid of any sort of feeling, like walking into an baseball themed amusement park. Best part about it is the parking lot where you can see the section of the wall Hank Aarons HR went over.

Wrigley - Like my review of Fenway but better. Not as uncomfortable.
PNC - Personal favorite.  In general with the new parks you want to be special, have a good location, and preferably be walking distance to stuff. This hits all three. Love the size. Love the view. Would love to see a series here
Miller - Fine. Has a slide still which is honestly a must for these guys.
Rieverfront - Kind of like Minute Maid in the "what is this for" Designed to look like a riverboat when I don't think anyone outside of Cincy thinks about that when thinking about the city, maybe not even people in the city. But certainly full of Big Red Machine stuff which is good

PacBell - A close #2 to PNC. Again just a great view and location, etc. etc.
Coors - Honestly - pretty damn good. There is no real view but it's walking from downtown and feels right in some way to me. Pine trees. Mile High Seats. Rocky Mountain Oysters. Right quirks.
Petco - Another pretty good one. Close to downtown. Like the big grassy field out there. Also got a personal tour there (I was only one on official tour) so that probably biases me.


Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

It's funny. In a way it feels like things with Papelbomb went downhill fast..

But if you take a step back and look back from late summer of last year, it actually has been like a giant snowball rolling downhill that kept getting bigger and bigger and now it is gigantic and exploding!

In a positive light, much better that this recent craziness is happening now right before the deadline... Instead of right after

G Cracka X said...

One nice touch of Nats Park is the 'openness' perception when walking to it from the Metro. Feels very inviting when walking up Half Street.

Dmitri Young said...

While maybe it could be better, I like Nats Park more than Camden Yards. Camden Yards is like a Kevin Costner movie. The sappiness and folksiness was cool 15-20 years ago, but the style doesn't age all that well to me. Seems like they tried a little too hard.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! Really great and informative stuff here Harper. Some time on an off day you should give us your personal reviews of the presidential libraries.

On the Nats, this HAS to be the last time we ever see Pap take the mound, right? (Please say yes). There aren't even fumes left in that tank; he looks even more done than Soriano did at the end. Even Mike Rizzo looked like he wanted to throw up on his shoes, which you almost never see from him!

JW said...

Coors is truly great. You do get a little bit of the Front Range view, would be great to have more, but it's still a beautiful stadium. Great food options, great beer options.

I didn't enjoy Comerica. I could walk from work at one point while living in the area, but to me the stadium feels cold. Plus the cars in the outfield? Weird. They might have stopped that, but it was weird.

The new Miami park has to be better than Dolphins Stadium. Not only was it awkward because it is a football stadium, but try going to a game there in late July/early August. You sweat so much it's like going swimming.

Harper said...

C&S - I hope last year doesn't make them gunshy - trading for a closer bc they didn't believe in the one they had - but it may. It's getting close to midnight here.

GCX - I've always just walked there.

DY - Nats Park strikes me as maybe a place that works for regulars but not so much for people that popin once a year or less.

Anon - All presidential libraries are great! and after you visit all presidents are great!

I assume Pap will be moved to a non-closer roll, but you will see him. The only question is whether they bring something in, promote Kelly, and/or "DL" Pap. My guess is the latter. DL him - give him 30 days to rest up. Come back for stretch run pen work to see if he can be used in big spots in playoffs.

Kenny B. said...

Agree with GCX. I really like the half street walk. It has a lot of good food, has a more modern vibe than most parks that all seem strive for that old baseball feel. The concourses are also full of great places to hang out and watch the game from somewhere other than your seat, which encourages you to see the whole park. And the Diamond Club bar (where most people don't get to go, unfortunately) is really cool. Haven't been there in a couple years, but it used to have the line score from the last DC World Series win.

I know DC has that whole neoclassical vibe around the mall, but a lot of the city is actually really modern architecture. So I think it's kind of cool that it fits in more with the city where people live/work rather than the city that tourists think of. My biggest concern is that it will end up looking dated pretty quickly, but they have done a good job of keeping it nice over the last 8 years, and making little changes to keep it fresh.

I agree that there are some missed view opportunities, but it's not like it's easy to come across reasonable real estate anywhere near the mall, and most of our landmarks are not very tall, so it's kind of impressive that you get much at all in the way of views. Nats park also secretly has some lovely views of the Anacostia from the concourse.

My biggest complaint about the stadium is actually the fact that there is a huge neon display of the Nationals block lettering wordmark that the team no longer uses. Maybe someday when the team is old enough and successful enough, that will look like a cool throwback (along with the interlocking DC logo that the team has retired), but at this point it just looks like a short-sighted decision to incorporate temporary iconography into the structure of the park.

I know it's probably not the best of the new parks, but it's mine, and I have grown to really like it a lot.

Chas R said...

Great stuff Harper, thanks for sharing. We moved to Texas a couple of years ago and have a partial season ticket plan for the Astros. The seats are in the Mazda Club level- kind of like Stars and Stripes Club at Nats Park. Much better than the regular seats. We like Minute Maid Park, but the right field line seats get pounded by the sun during afternoon and early evening games, even when the roof is closed.

Of course, we also love Nats Park- so many great memories there. But, you are right, what a missed opportunity. I will never understand why they didn't put the a view of the Capitol dome in the outfield.

Sammy Kent said...

Be fair, Harper. Ollie did walk the bases loaded, but he also got the second out. Kelly darn near walked a run in. The stupid shift with the bases loaded nearly cost us the game. If the worst thing on a double play ball is nobody covering second, the next worse thing is two guys covering at the same time. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!!

Nobody in the bullpen is worth a dang right now. Papelbum has got to go. As F.P. said, when your closer comes in with a three run lead facing the bottom of the order, he's got to finish the deal, and finish it with a minimum of drama. Giolito or Lopez for Miller or Davis. NOW!!!!!!!!

Vdub said...

I really like Nats Park, but agree they probably could have done a bit more to open up the skyline views of the city. I have heard the parking and traffic is pretty bad, but I take the metro in, and the metro access and stroll down Half Street is very nice.

I actually went to an O's game this year for the first time in about 15 years. I have to admit, Camden Yards is still pretty great. It is absolutely a band box, that was the first thing I noticed. It really felt small compared to Nats Park. But it is comfortable and has a really great flow. I was disappointed with the Esskay hot dogs though. I was really looking forward to getting one because I loved them so much as a kid. Apparently hot dog technology has changed over time because the Nat Dogs are way better in my opinion.

I loved Pac Bell/AT&T Park. It really deserves all the hype it gets from the commentators on TV.

Bjd1207 said...

I'm biased from having had my undergrad at Pitt, but I loved seeing PNC Park as your 1-seed. For Pitt football games we would play at Heinz field right next to PNC, and the buses would drop us off across the river so all the students would march across the Clemente bridge into the stadium.

A gorgeous campus close to the downtown section but separated enough by the rivers so that you don't have the downtown crowds. Great little food/bar/walking district between the parks, and as you mentioned just spectacular views from nearly anywhere in either stadium (being high up on the North Side helps), especially toward the Point.

Just quite literally nothing bad to say about the park

Anonymous said...

I love that both Camden Yards and Petco incorporate old industrial architecture within their designs. In the dome era these would likely have been pulled down, but they do provide a nice link to the urban past, and set a good example of historical preservation in a country which is often too cavalier in that regard.

BxJaycobb said...

Purely on television, PNC has to be the prettiest park. I mean, that place is gorgeous. I agree Nats park is way too....generic. Just so so generic. I can't think of one identifying or unique feature. Why wouldn't they take advantage of uniqueness of D.C.?
@Harper: Don't think any fan is saying we should not make a trade. That's crazy. You have to make a "we get hosed on value" trades at the deadline. It's basically the only kind of trade, particularly in a seller's market like this. But I would prefer:
1) not to get a pure rental.
2) not give up Turner or Giolito or (preferably) not Robles. If you can deal Lopez and Glover and a bunch of the lesser guys for somebody like Davis or Miller, do it. And frankly, if it takes Robles too, then that's the price of doing business.
I get the sense though that the front office views Robles as having an even higher ceiling than Turner or Giolito if it all clicks--but with much more variability in outcomes. So I DOUBT they trade him. I think Lopez is by far the most likely. His call-up had SHOWCASE written all over it. (Think about it---we didn't HAVE to call anybody up for his start...could have turned over rotation and had everybody on normal rest. Rizzo wanted to show him off. I almost guarantee he is the one traded of those 4.

mike k said...

You've never been to Citi Field? I thought you said in prior posts you were a New Yorker. If so you've had to have caught a game or two when the Nats came to town, right?

I've been to 10 or so ballparks. PNC has a great view, though the park itself is vanilla in every sense of the word. The Braves' chant, while IMO kinda racist, was my favorite experience at a ballpark where no team I was rooting for was playing. That and getting drunk and yelling actual obscenities at umps at a Memphis Redbirds game...I don't think that would be ok at an MLB game. Don't think I have a favorite stadium, though.

I agree with Bx that the Nats were showcasing Lopez. I also think their shopping him might be a reason why he hasn't been moved to the pen yet for this year.

Jay said...

Any chance we could trade Papelbon? Some pitching coach out there has to think they can "fix" him. I would DL time. His fastball velocity has dropped to 88 last night. It was 89 Tuesday night. Bob mistakenly called one fastball a slider. It wasn't a slider, it was an 89 mph fastball. Quite worrisome. I wonder if he is hurt again and doesn't want to say anything bc he is a FA next year.

I think they have to make a trade. One rumor has KC trying to package Ian Kennedy with Davis since Kennedy's contract was laughable from the minute it was signed. I'd do that if I were the Nats and thus give up less in trade. I'd then probably DFA Kennedy and just pay him not to play for us. Of course, it's not my money. Anyway, it is likely to be an interesting weekend. Unfortunately, I think the trade deadline is 4 pm Monday. We may still be waiting to see if they do anything.

Carl said...

I am up to 36 now, and honestly I didn't much like either Minute Maid or Globe Life. I went to Houston the year after they went to the World Series, and the game felt secondary to everything else that was going on. And I supposed I should have appreciated the roof with it being 93 outside, but it just felt wrong. As for the Rangers, I don't like that it's boxed in the whole way around, though not like there's anything there to have much of a view of.

(That said, this is not unlike identifying your 25th-favorite flavor of ice cream. Not something you'd order on your own, but if it's the only flavor on offer you're still gonna eat it and probably enjoy it.)

DezoPenguin said...

I have to agree with Jay -- I honestly think Papelbon is injured. His fastball velocity is down, even compared to earlier this year, and his breaking stuff couldn't seem to find the zone. That couple of MPH seems to have been the difference between "veteran savvy plus a little luck" and "batting practice." Maybe he wasn't fully healed when he came off the DL, or maybe he's tweaked himself since, but he doesn't seem right even compared to earlier this year.

Tradewise, I think Turner has to be off the table simply because he's not a "prospect" any more; he's the starting center fielder for the team with the best record in the National League. The whole dynamic is that "buyers" swap prospects or players that they have ready replacements for (eg. if someone wants, say, a Matt Belisle we can replace him with Glover) in exchange for improving the major league roster. Getting rid of a good player out of the starting lineup is what sellers do. Literally the only way I sell on Turner is if there's a guy named Trout coming back the other way in the deal to take his place...otherwise competing GMs should be told to go fish.

Lopez sounds like an excellent piece to center a trade around, though (with, if necessary, other, lesser prospects surrounding him to fill things out, and possibly someone like a Michael Taylor if someone thinks they can fix his K problem). He projects as less likely to be a starter long-term than Giolito and as a pitcher the risk is more volatile for him than for a position player like Robles (who might have a shot at being our new left fielder in 2018 after Werth's contract runs out). Plus, with Stras/Scherzer/Roark/Ross all signed relatively long-term and Gio around next year too, trading pitching prospects is dealing from depth instead of from positions of immediate need.

TWV said...

I tend to agree with Dezo. Turner is no longer a prospect, and while I wouldn't consider him a CF, he's still proven to be major league ready and helping our team NOW. He's off the table. In order to get Miller or Davis, we would almost certainly have to give up Giolito or Lopez. The Nats' need at closer is pretty dire right now, so Rizzo may not have much of a choice. As far as which one he gives up Giolito seem to have the better projections, but that TJ bug makes me hesitate t label him as "off limits". We have 4 solid starters for the next few years, so we really only need 1 of the two SP prospects unless they plan on transitioning one to the bullpen. As Dezo mentioned above, SP is the Nats' strength, both in quality and in depth, so trade a piece that we might not need later for a piece we definitely NEED now.

What I really want to see is Koda Glover back on the MLB roster. I know small samples and all that, but I was impressed with what he showed in his limited time.

JE34 said...

Re Papelbon, if Rizzo does nothing, there will be quite the hue and cry on Tuesday. Anxious weekend ahead. I expect we will see Pap go on the DL, and Koda Glover get an extended chance.

I wish we had a better idea of how long a post-TJ arm is good for. Look alive, Science! We don't have all day here.

The only time I've ever really NOT enjoyed a big league ballpark experience was a day game in my youth at the old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. I'm sure it was influenced by my seat: on the right field line, faced the 30 yard line of the Argonauts field, beyond the right field wall. Yuck. That dump is missed by no one.

I love my home park. I'd have designed it to look like it belonged in DC structurally (columns and facades and whatnot, like walking into the Old Executive Office Building or something)... and I'd bring back Hard Times Chili. And I'd pay whatever's required to make the area across from the home plate entrance navigable by car after a game sometime in the next 10 years. But I am not complaining.

Ole PBN said...

The fact that Nats park totally botched the view of the Capital is beyond me. Talk about one thing that no other park in the country can boast - and we whiffed on it. That in itself is very DC-sports-like though isn't it? Just missing the mark for some inexplicable reason? Haha options are good though.

DezoPenguin said...

Rumors flying about Giolito being offered straight-up for Miller, originally suggested by Morosi. Some other writers saying no. Specifically, some are saying that the Yankees would refuse a top-five pitching prospect for an (admittedly elite*) reliever, which is mindblowing. Which if true makes me just say, fine, go rent Melancon or something.

*It's kind of amazing how good Miller actually is. He's flat-out better than Chapman in virtually every statistical category other than HR/FB% -- and yes, K/9 is one of those stats that he's better in. He's under contract for an extra two years, he's successfully pitched both as a closer and as an 8th-inning guy without any drama or headcase meltdowns, he's had three years of solid success as a relief ace. (Plus as far as we know he doesn't assault women or fire off guns in his garage when he's angry, if that sort of thing matters to you. Which it does to me.)

John C. said...

Fun post! Concur 100% with PNC and Pac Bell in the top spots. It would be hard for me to choose between the two. OPACY I like but find a bit overrated. The seats in the LF and RF corners are not angled correctly, so you end up with a crick in your neck from watching the game over your shoulder for three+ hours. Love the warehouse and the BBQ, though. Interesting note: it may feel small, but it has a larger capacity (45,971) than Nats Park (41,313). Which makes their mediocre attendance for a first place club even sadder. But I suppose that's good, because I tend to find O's fans annoying in groups.

The points in defense of Nationals Park are completely legitimate - the city's low profile makes obtaining true monument views very difficult, so it's not like the there was another location that would have solved that problem. One possible exception that they talked about at one time would have been Rosslyn, on the site of the Riverplace apartments. But boy howdy, that would have been expensive - and can you imagine the parking problem? Oy. And at least Nats Park is (finally) doing some good in terms of renovating the neighborhood. Rosslyn is already developed out the wazoo. So you get a view of the condo construction on the North side of the Park instead.

One thing I do like about Nationals' Park is the open concourses. RFK was terrible in that regard - just concrete enclosed ramps. And the view on the river side is quite nice even though they took the DD away from the Yard.

In addition to RFK and Nats Park, my personal ballpark list includes (in no particular order): old Busch Stadium (first ballpark, back around 1970); Shea Stadium (for a Yankee game during the renovation in the 70's); Yankee Stadium II; OPACY; Memorial Stadium; Fenway Park; Wrigley Field; Pac Bell; Oakland County Coliseum; PNC; Exhibition Stadium (Montreal - baseball in French!); Mile High Stadium (boy, was that park huge; I sat in the 5th deck in LF); Tropicana Field; and Turner Field. Tropicana was just a sad dump, then when the current owners took over they put in a bunch of upgrades to the lighting and amenities so that now it's merely a dump.

Harper said...

JW - I could see that for Comerica. Maybe I just like tigers a lot. I think my favorite part of Coors is honestly the3 Falling Rock Tap House being right outside. Gotta be the best bar within a block of a major league park.

I've heard Pro Player was terrible.

KB - your architecture descrip fits in with the more "home park" than a "visitors park" idea. Yeah I know it would be hard to have a monument view, given what you say but still feels wrong in a way. What about a viewing tower then attached to the park?

Chas R - I kind of found the sunlight thing fun, made it feel less like being indoors. However if I went to 20 games a year I'm sure it would get old.

Sammy Kent - you may get your wish

Vdub - OK guess I gotta take the metro in next time. I didn't rank food but I think while pretty standard, the food at Nats park is pretty good.

BJD - The bridge walk in is great. I'm a big fan of Pittsburgh in general. Could go for a Penn Dark right now.

Anon @ 9:40 - Yeah - granted you do to have that in place, to start. A lot of places have the land because there is nothing worthwhile there.

Bx - they have the Cherry trees but they are too few and fleeting to be an effective visual (nice to walk by though). I think what gets me is the openness beyond CF suggests you look out that way but you really don't see anything special. Also I miss the giant baseball which in renderings made the circular sign over the red porch make sense.

I'm fine not giving up any of those though I see Robles as far enough off to be a question mark. A+ ball hasn't been kind to him but I like the contact.

mike k - I'm from NY (state) but don't live their currently. Though I go up enough to see family that not seeing Citi is totally on me.

That was the only thing that one might see as a positive at Braves park - the chant is something that EVERYONE does and it's a neat effect, if overdone. But that's not really a park thing. I think it'll work just as well (maybe better) in Suburbs Field.

Jay - doubtful Nats could trade Papelbon unless it was a dump deal with Nats eating money which I don't see. And that's nothing compared to what Ian Kennedy is owed. Yikes. Yeah I'd do it bc I think you can get a deal on Davis if you take Kennedy (and I'm always willing to give AL -> NL a try) but the Nats won't

Carl - any current ones to see?

See I liked the boxedness of Globe Life. I'd rather have that than a view of nothing.

Dezo - Turner can't be on the table for anything but a starting offensive player of same youth and talent. (I'd say a starterr but the Nats need offensive players more tha pitchers) which I don't know why a trade like that would happen. I like dealing Lopez. From what I've seen I'm not 100% sold he'd be helpful next season and if he isn't then you have time to find/develop another Lopez. He's a good prospect but not among best of the best.

TWV - The TJ combined with how he looks this year is an interesting combo. We talked about how the "8 years" limit works for a guy like Giolito and if you can't see him ready until 2018? That's kind of scary. I'd like to see Glover K more guys but given Nats pen, I'd be willing to let him work it out in the majors with the opportunity to advance in where he is used.

SM said...


Exhibition Stadium! The Mistake by the Lake, in my opinion, had one--and only one; and marginal, at that--saving grace:

The strip of relatively narrow foul territory on the infield meant you were fairly close to the first and third basemen. If you were seated even 30 rows up from either of the corner infielders, you could hear everything they said.

The yappiest of all was George Brett, who spent so much time bantering good-naturedly with the fans it made you marvel that he made any defensive plays at all, let alone sensational ones.

Otherwise, it was more corral than ballpark. I feel your discomfort even to this day.

Harper said...

JE34 - that's an impt point on the parks. I've liked every game I've been to. They are almost all good now. Saying Nats Park is not my favorite doesn't mean it's a D. It means it's a B-.

PBN - I don't know if it was botched or just not possible but if it wasn't possible and there wasn't any other place for the park it needed to do something else.

DP - I've been thinking and maybe the Yankees really want a hitter. If that's the case though the Nats don't have anything to offer. They won't/can't/shouldn't offer Turner and Robles may not be tempting enough. (Still Id do Giolito for Miller in a heartbeat)

John C - It's kind of a situation where if you know we can't get a view of the mall then having a view at all feels worse. Parking garages and a half glimpse of the Capitol in the distance? I don't know what the answer is - viewing tower, enclosed OF with artistic renderings, live cameras but it doesn't feel tied into the DC I think of as a visitor, nor does it give me a sense of place when I get there.

Tropciana has a feeling of being stuck in a bad marriage but making the best of it. Metrodome has a feeling of being stuck in a bad marriage and hoping to die soon.

mike k said...

Just throwing this out there...I think considering the shutdown decision, the willingness to draft TJ candidates (even beyond Giolito), and resigning Strasberg, I don't think the Nats agree that the shelf life issue for TJ pitchers is relevant anymore.

KW said...

The only thing dumber than Tal's Hill in Houston (originally Enron Field!) was the Astros putting Berkman in CF out there. Boy, was that an adventurous pairing. The Astrodome actually wasn't that bad and had been renovated just a few years before McLane blackmailed the city into a new stadium . . . with a threat to move to DC. Ken Lay led the public drive for a new stadium. Caveat emptor.

Donald said...

Harper -- saying you'd take Giolito for Miller in a heartbeat -- would you have done that before his major league appearances? Those are such small sample sizes that I'm not sure they are relevant. And outside of that, would you really want to trade what might be the #1 pitching prospect in baseball for a year and a third reliever?

That's where the risks lie. If Giolito is the next coming of DeGrom, Jose Fernandez or Strasburg then he's worth way more than Miller. If he's just another flash in the pan prospect then it's a steal.

I think the Nats need to budget for 2-3 new starters next year given injuries and contracts. This assumes Scherzer, Gio and Strasburg and/or one of Roark / Ross don't miss a ton of time.

It's a total crap shoot, but I think I would hold onto Giolito. Assuming the Nats don't offer enough for Miller or Wade, I'd bring up Glover at the roster expansion and give him as many opportunities as possible.

Harper -- any projections yet on the likelihood of the Nats making it into the second round or championship series? What's the relative gain in dealing now vs. in September?

Utec said...

Largely agree with your park comments. Been to all the current ones but AT&T and quite a few that have been replaced. Really did not like either Texas stadium. The proportions of Minute Maid were distorted and gimmicky and Globe Life was so enclosed there was no breeze in the Texas heat. I felt like a fly under a magnifying glass even for a night game.

The setting, materials and finishes of Nats Park are mediocre but the sight lines and concourses are very well done and it's a fine place to watch a game. It incorporates the best design practices if the new generation of stadiums.

Fenway is a terrific experience in a historic park that has been wonderfully updated. But you have to sit in a section with new seats. The old seats and legroom are intolerable. We loved the Tigers touches at Comerica. We particularly loved the fans we met in Detroit who were enthusiastic and knowledgeable and so warm we felt like members of their families by the end of the evening.

Bullpen breakdowns are so demoralizing. By the numbers the Nats bullpen is good, but the results have been a disaster recently. I vote for a trade of quality prospects for a quality arm. Its great to be competitive consistently but now's the time to go further.

Fries said...

As a DC transplant in Michigan, what kind of Tigers games have you all been to? Most of my experiences have been what I could only describe as Red Wings fans looking for an excuse to get belligerently drunk during the offseason. Though I'll give Comerica one thing and that is its beer selection. Good prices and way more options than most ballparks. Guess that could explain the drunken debauchery

Flapjack said...

This, from our friends at Fangraphs:

"The Nationals don’t have a bullpen problem. That unit, as currently constructed, is deep, features a top-10 weapon [Kelly], and contains two of the most promising fallback plans [Lopez and Giolito] a team could hope to have. What the Nationals really have, above anything else, is a leverage problem. The good news is, that’s the easiest kind of problem to fix.

In other words, the fancy stats say the Nats' bullpen problem is Dusty's to solve. It's true that Giolito has pitched himself into "sell high" jeopardy, but we shouldn't be surprised if he's traded for a bat rather than an arm.

Anonymous said...

Almost definitely a stupid question, but could we deal Gonzalez + non-top prospects (not Gio, Lopez, Robles, Turner) to NY for Miller? The Yankees' rotation stinks, the FA market for starters this winter stinks, and so if part of the Yankee's price on Miller is wanting to compete next year, well this would probably make the Yankees a better team for the relevant year, and then also make them better in the future. Plus you get around the prospects are unproven concern (Gio going forward is as predictable as Miller going forward).

For the Nats, losing Gio would hurt the odds of winning the division since there would definitely be a drop-off in starter quality (probably a big one), but I think Miller for Gio improves their odds of winning playoff games, since Gio wouldn't be starting. And given the standings right now (plus the Marlins probably playing over their heads and half the Mets' team is out for the season), I think the NAts are quite likely to make the playoffs regardless so this is a deal I'd make.

But I'm terrible, terrible at these trade proposal thingies, so I'm sure this is somehow really stupid. Someone want to explain to me why?

Carl said...

Harper asked "any current ones to see?"

My top three are PNC in Pittsburgh, Camden Yards, and Wrigley, for various reasons. (I have not been to AT&T Park yet--hopefully next year.) Kauffman in KC is actually pretty nice, Petco is cool for a modern station, and I do like Dodger Stadium--it's got that "What we thought the future would be like in the 50's" vibe.

I am going to Milwaukee in two weeks; after that I will only have five left (Miami, Tampa, Denver, Arizona, SF, plus the Braves' stupid new ballpark when that opens).

JE34 - I don't encounter many other people who went to Exhibition. I was there in 1979. Our seats weren't completely terrible, but the football/baseball setup did make for a weird view--the outfield fence with basically nothing immediately behind it.

NotBobby said...


That article combined with this one
Says that Papelbon plus Kelley and giving each rest could combine for a great closer. Very interesting if Dusty can handle not having a Closer.

DezoPenguin said...

Rivero and Hearn traded to the Pirates for Melancon. Well, we now have a closer. Losing Rivero hurts, given that he was young with good stuff (albeit having some hiccups this year), but we didn't give up any top prospects and Melancon, while no Miller, is better than any reliever on our staff in terms of this year's performance. And we keep all four of our top guys, which means that if someone like Glover or Lopez develops into a closer for next year we didn't have to mortgage the farm for them. This seems like a reasonable deal which should at least make us better for 2016 without stripping out too much future value.

mike k said...

mlbtr reporting Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn for Melancon.

I would've liked to see Rivero blossom for the Nats, but imo this trade is worth it. Especially if Melancon can be resigned for a reasonable amount. Nats got their top guy without giving up a top prospect.

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

Rivero COULD be just as good as melancon, plus 4 years of control. And Hearn who throws 100. But with melancon you do get security. It's an overpay, but eh, what're you gonna do... That's the way this stuff works

Fries said...


Kind of my feelings right now. I like his performance but between the fact that he's a rental, Nats won't resign him next year (most likely given his expected payday), and they gave up a MLB ready pitcher plus a solid prospect, I definitely feel like Rizzo went a little far.

Jay said...

Can we please stop playing Revere and Espinosa every day? Trade for an OF. Put Harper in CF (who has become very Espinosa-like in the last month) and put Turner at SS. If Murphy doesn't play then they can't score.