Nationals Baseball: Baseball, baseball tonight. Baseball Tonight!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Baseball, baseball tonight. Baseball Tonight!

A game that matters.  The first one since the Nats wrapped up the World Series, the longest we've gone without a game... ever?

We know the big question hanging over everything is the virus. Can the season last once travel begins? Is it ok that these players are being made to do these particular things for entertainment? Is it ok we are diverting some resources to this? It's up to you how you want to view these things and how it effects your season. Here we'll move past it for the time being until the sport forces it back into question (hoepfully not)

What does a 60 game season mean?  It DOES mean more variabilty. It DOESN'T mean it's likely a great team misses out of the playoffs or a terrible team makes it in. Could it happen? Sure, especially given injury/illness. But those are few and far between.  Remember the Nats run last year was historic, not typical. More likely a WC team might be knocked out in favor of another potential WC team that would have faded over 162.

The Nats I think are helped by this. They are mostly an older team and they pushed their starting pitching incredibly hard last year. A less demanding season is a help.

I personally will think of the team that comes out of it (assuming the season goes ahead without much of a hitch) as a champion. Maybe not JUST like every other season but a champion nonetheless. All that matters is the W as they say.

NL East moves - in case you forgot

Braves - Braves lost Josh Donaldson and let Dallas Keuchel walk. They signed Will Smith and Chris Martin for the pen, Ozuna, and Hamels. American hero Nick Markakis has opted out

Phillies - finally gave up on Maikel Franco, let traded for Corey Dickerson walk. Questionably brought in Zach Wheeler to be the ace. Didi Gregorious as a one year improvement on Franco. Will have McCutchen for a full year. Possibly most importantly though swapped Gabe Kapler for Joe Girardi.

Mets - Lost Wheeler and the never clicked there Todd Frazier. Brought in Betances, Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, Marisnick

Marlins - lost Castro to the Nats. brought in Dickerson, Kintzler, Cervelli, Villar.

None of the NL teams are definitely worse. Atlanta probably has the biggest worry about sliding as Donaldson was great, but their season was always going to hinge on their ample youth. Mets and Phillies basically tread water in talent which isn't necessarily bad but most likely to end them up back where they were.  The Mets are hoping for that healthy SP season that never seems to come.  The Phillies are hoping the across the board stats depression from last year was a luck and Kapler combo more than talent settling. The Marlins are better but competitive would be surprising even over 60.

I think the Nats are slightly worse (hard to lose Rendon and not be) but I think the moves of the division work in their favor so let's toss some nonsense out there

WSN 35-25
PHI 33-27
METS 32-38
ATL 31-29
MIA 25-35

20 comments:

cass said...

This is a team that, with one or two exceptions, is supportive of a regime sending anonymous secret police to American cities to kidnap people off the streets and beat up and use illegal chemical weapons on moms. A team supportive of a regime committed to violence against trans people and anyone who isn't white.

Fuck this team and this terrible season that is leading to delays in covid testing for high risk patients (including former baseball journalists/executives) and healthcare workers and their families.

I was a fan of this team for 15 seasons - I was at the name unveiling at Union Station, at RFK the first weekend, in the rain when they won the world series, at the parade. But I am done. I've followed to blog for all 15 seasons and kudos to Harper for blogging this many years. But I am done with this team and major league baseball. Fuck fascism and the majority of players on this team that support it.

Zimmerman11 said...

That’s what I came here for, a little light banter about the World Series champions on opening day!

billyhacker said...

I am looking forward to Fauci tonight.

Anonymous said...

At risk of prolonging exposure to a troll's comments, is there any evidence that the team or its management are aligned with the Administration?

I vaguely remember that Zimmerman played golf with Trump once, but that was hardly a political statement. That it might be construed that way might reflects Ryan's naivete. Ditto, as champions they were received at the White House and many went. Again, hardly strikes me as a bold political statement that justifies abandoning the team.

Something I don't know about?

Anonymous said...

This comment stream is so sad. We get to watch our team defend its title. It's really not more complicated than that. Let's enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous cass said...

This is a team that, with one or two exceptions, is supportive of a regime sending anonymous secret police to American cities to kidnap people off the streets and beat up and use illegal chemical weapons on moms. A team supportive of a regime committed to violence against trans people and anyone who isn't white.

Fuck this team and this terrible season that is leading to delays in covid testing for high risk patients (including former baseball journalists/executives) and healthcare workers and their families.

I was a fan of this team for 15 seasons - I was at the name unveiling at Union Station, at RFK the first weekend, in the rain when they won the world series, at the parade. But I am done. I've followed to blog for all 15 seasons and kudos to Harper for blogging this many years. But I am done with this team and major league baseball. Fuck fascism and the majority of players on this team that support it."

Hahahhahaha!! Nothing like a completely unhinged, totally off topic political rant to get the season started.

Which begs the question. Do crazy people know they're crazy?

Harper said...

cass - maybe they would have acted differently now? I mean I do think if there was for some reason a parade today (forget COVID for a moment) the tone would have been more subdued but yes they are generally straight ticket Republicans, most white guys in sports are (and I imagine a higher percentage of POC than in the rest of the country). It's just how it is and it has to do with upbringing, geography, treatment of players while they are growing up... You aren't going to untangle it. The alternative is just watching basketball and picking a few athletes to support in individual sports.

I'm not sure if these sports seasons are delaying testing that much. We're doing 100s of thousands a day and these may be pushed by $ that otherwise wouldn't be there. (You could argue that's an issue but really it's an issue why we aren't doing millions a day by now) It's all something for sure but it's at the margins.

But we all make our own choices. Hope you find something to replace it that makes you happy

Z11 - here's something lighthearted - I don't like the hats. I don't like a full gold W outlined in black. I think it should be a white W outlined in gold. I do like the gold top button

billyhacker - even though i think it's nearly completely safe I don't think he should be doing it because people are generally dumb and will equate it in a "you are doing what you want, so I should do what I want" way. We don't need that right now.

Anon - cass isn't a troll. He's been here a long while.

I don't think there is much more. Maybe a stray statement here and there. I assume he's saying going to the WH was tacit support. That's one thing and you might write that off that as being special moment (though not whatever Suzuki did). Corbin, Zimm, Trea, Suzuki, Werth, Hudson all golfed with him and while not a political statement it's hard to believe you'd have strong negative feelings toward the admin and would do that. An adult in a small group doesn't pose with Trump if you think he's a garbage person. For those with strong negative feelings toward Trump it's hard not to think much less of a person for doing that.

Harper said...

Anons - we all have things that are important to us in different measures and draw the lines we draw for those reasons. It's not like cass is going to come in here every day and rant and rave. A long time comments guy letting his feelings known is fine. You can still enjoy the game I would hope

Robot said...

There's no fans at these games, correct? That's going to be weird.



Nick said...

Soto's out with the 'Rona.

Quite frankly for his sake I wouldn't blame him if sat the whole season. Yeah whoever wins the WS will be "champions," but the questions about legitimacy will forever taint it, rightly or wrongly. All that said, I will definitely watch tonight with my new Scherzer World Series jersey to boot. Might as well win it all again this year!

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

Soto hurts. Assuming he's out only for a week, that's only 7 games, but as fangraphs pointed out, getting out of the gate hot is so much more important in a short season. Luckily, as Harper pointed out, the Nats superiority in pitching can carry them in a short season as well

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/panic-at-the-12-game-mark/

Harper said...

Robot No fans - though Fox is going to try to computer generate them. We’ll se how weird it is. I’ve heard differing takes

Nick / CP - comparing to last year the Nats pushed a bad start about as far as it can go. That would translate to about 18-19 games this year. That feels more real to me that 12 games. I think the outsized influence of shorter runs will balance it. But still - you got a month.

SM said...

Wait, what? Baseball?

There's no baseball. I live in Toronto.

Harper said...

Eh it’s not like you could go

Robot said...

These new rules are stupid.

Nattydread said...

In years like this, it's hard to keep sports and politics separate, so like Harper, I appreciate Cass' rant.

Sport figures can be linchpins or obstructions of change. Think Jackie Robinson. Think Muhammad Ali. Think how long it took Dan Snyder to revise the name of this city's football team -- and think about all of the arguments about that one in bars on on forums like this.

It would be great if baseball stars could be better at helping drive change. But you grow up and realize differently. And from the one's I've met, its especially true of white baseball players.

So my ask is that they play baseball, do it well, and keep their political views to themselves and off the field. Its entertainment, its something to which I come to get away from a crazy reality. When I see them off the field, wearing different political colors than me, I give them a pass.

I don't expect baseball players to change the world. I just expect them to be gentlemen on the field, upholding the rules of play, fighters for my city, elite entertainers.

Hebrew Hammer said...

Ok. Can they ALL also keep their political views to themselves? Or just the ones you disagree with?

Anonymous said...

The funny thing about comments like that: "Can't they all just stick to sports?" is that these folks seem to really believe that there isn't an objective right or wrong to these issues. Like the color line was a just a 50-50 thing, and everyone had their own opinion about it, and that's just politics, so leave me alone and vote how you want.

There are lots of political positions I don't agree with for which I could respect someone's advocacy. But there are also many political positions that are immoral and unacceptable.

And it's a tragedy that most advocates of conservative forces in our era's politics (especially, but not exclusively, in America), have chosen positions and ethical systems that simply belong outside the bounds of civil discourse.


Anonymous said...

"And it's a tragedy that most advocates of conservative forces in our era's politics (especially, but not exclusively, in America), have chosen positions and ethical systems that simply belong outside the bounds of civil discourse."

Oh please. Get over yourself.

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