Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Alf-Ageddon Edition

Sheinin writes an interesting piece, wondering what the doomsday scenario is with Soriano. If he really refuses to move to second, what could the team do? Bowden's suspended a player without pay before. Will he need to do so again? Looking for quotes from labor lawyers? Give it a read! It's a pretty interesting read -- even if I can almost hear the BallPark Guys ripping Sheinin for being too negative.

Juiciest part? Bob Boone, who played an active role in the Union during the strike era of the early '80s, gave Soriano a history lesson:
According to a person present at Thursday's meeting, at one point Boone said sternly to Soriano that the difficult labor fights of that era were never intended to help a player refuse to move to another position.

"We fought for important rights. We went on strike for important rights," Boone said. "But nothing was ever said a player getting to decide where he plays. I respect Alfonso Soriano's plight. But I also respect [Manager] Frank Robinson and Jim Bowden's plight. And I also have to respect the talent of Jose Vidro. . . .

"There are plenty of ways this could end. There is a best-case and a worst-case scenario, but I don't think anyone wants to see the worst-case."

Sausage-making question.... if Sheinin is getting this second-hand, how can he quote Boone precisely? Either his source for that is Boone, or he listened to a tape recording. If it's a recording, isn't it a bit creepy that they're recording these meetings?

  • Kornheiser blathers about Soriano the way the guy at the water cooler does when he doesn't really know about sports. I'm linking only because I forgot to close the window after I read it the first time. Share in the misery.

  • Looking for a generic preview of the upcoming season? Sports Illustrated is there for you.

  • The League-run internet-only news service has one of its daily notes columns. In this edition you learn:
    --Soriano's avoiding the question we want answered by skipping the Nats first two games prior to him having to leave for the World Baseball Classic
    --Luis Ayala doesn't appear to be suffering from any elbow pain like he had the other day -- or at least enough to get him to skip out from the WBC.
    --The Church/Johnson to the Sox rumors, as I suspected, were drummed up by the writer in the Herald, as Bowden is denying them.
    --The Nats think that David Wells isn't healthy. Funny, I just thought he was big-boned.
    --Minor leaguer "Christian Guerrero" [sic] has left camp after three of his family members were killed in a car accident.
    --Livan Hernandez has a dog, which isn't surprising, but Robert Fick has a cat, which is. Robert Fick is a cat man? Who'd a thunk it?

  • Scott Hanson's blog had this nugget:
    I asked Brandon Watson -- a contender for the leadoff spot in the lineup -- what he goes home to first in...

    He said he didn't really remember, and hadn't been measured in a while... but he thought 3.6 or 3.7

    Okkkaaaayyyy...

    Ichiro is considered the fastest in baseball, and I saw an article where they said he was a 3.8

    Like Brandon said... he didn't really remember.

    Faster than Ichiro? No wonder Bowden loves him.

    He also says that Ryan Church is rooming with Ryan Zimmerman. I wonder if Frank will hold that against him.

  • For those of you keeping track of such matters, Bowden wore khakis, not nylon pants yesterday.

  • As promised, Mark Zuckerman, not to be confused with Pinchas Zukerman, answers your questions. Well, maybe not your question. I was going more for a second-person, plural effect.

  • Lest someone encroach on his turf, the master of the mailbag, marked his territory yesterday afternoon.

  • There's been a Spin Williams sighting.

  • And in what will come as a shock and disappointment to Distinguished Senators, Royce Clayton's dreadlocks are no more.
    "Dreadlocks were a spiritual journey for me. Now, it's a new start," he said. "I said I just want to come in and focus and, to me, it's like a symbolic reminder that I'm starting anew.

    "There were a lot of good moments and positive energy" with the dreadlocks, he said, "and this is a start of a whole new positive energy."

    As long as he doesn't lecture me on the healing power of crystals, I can live with that.

    Interestingly, the article notes that Clayton's in excellent shape, and that his marriage to an Olympic sprinter has helped focus him on his conditioning. I found another article that makes the same claim. Check the dateline on that one. He's hung around the league. Has he been any good though?

  • 16 Comments:

    • I kept scrolling...and more links kept appearing.

      You've outdone yourself this time sir.

      F-Off B is my favorite part of the day.

      And it sounds like something a man named Hector would say to his nemesis.

      -Caleb

      nationals.mostvaluablenetwork.com

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/28/2006 1:14 AM  

    • My guess? Sheinin got the direct quotes from another reporter from another organization. I'm not really sure a journalist would trust putting that much in quotes, if he wasn't present to hear it.

      Well, Bob Woodward probably would . . .

      By Blogger Basil, at 2/28/2006 9:39 AM  

    • Another news organization, I mean . . .

      By Blogger Basil, at 2/28/2006 9:39 AM  

    • They're good quotes though. I don't know why another source wouldn't have used them if that was the case.

      I dunno. Just struck me as odd.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/28/2006 9:41 AM  

    • "Church tells me he's getting along well with the 21 year old. Says he's a real down-to-earth guy."

      Not sure if I like mr surfer himself calling my fellow Hoo a down to earth guy...

      By Blogger Jamie Jones, at 2/28/2006 10:01 AM  

    • Who would Frank hold it against, Church or Zimmerman?

      Simon Oliver Lockwood

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/28/2006 11:40 AM  

    • Zimmerman.

      Can't you read my thoughts? Those generic pronouns aren't enough for you?

      Man, you guys are a demanding lot! ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/28/2006 11:45 AM  

    • I don't know why another source wouldn't have used them if that was the case

      No one else used them?

      I have no clue, then.

      By Blogger Basil, at 2/28/2006 11:51 AM  

    • Should it be a bigger story that the Nats didn't include an MRI as a part of Lawrence's physical? Boswell's doomsday column certainly suggests there were signs in his 2005 second-half. Do we know if it is common practice to include MRIs in standard physicals--particularly for pitchers? I heard on the radio that Bowden has said it would be "too expensive" to put every free agent through an MRI. Is this a general statement with regards to all of baseball, or is he making a dig at MLB's budget for the Nats?

      Ladson makes a good point (for once): it was odd for Lawrence to repeat in interviews that he hadn't been throwing during the offseason.

      By Blogger Natty Bumpo, at 2/28/2006 1:09 PM  

    • That's an intersting question, and one that I've avoided (here at least).

      I can't really fault the Nats for that. There was nothing in Lawrence's record to make them think that BL was an injury risk.

      Even if they had given an MRI, torn labrums are very hard to diagnose. Look at Jose Guillen, for example. They thought his was minor, but when they opened him up, it took several hours.

      With a contract as 'minor' (wouldn't you love to have that money?) most teams probably don't do MRIs. I'd imagine that's a team-by-team thing though.

      My first inclanation was to wonder whether the team was too cheap, which isn't a good sign. But it appears that it's not just them.

      Interestingly, one of the articles today raises the point that if SD had MRId Vinny, that they wouldn't have made the deal. The Nats thought they were making out! Who knew? :)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/28/2006 1:19 PM  

    • Thanks, Chris. My initial thoughts were certainly "cheapskate Nats!" Since then my rational side has soundly defeated my conspiratorial side. That said, I was surprised my usual source, the WPost, hadn't thoroughly pursued what seemed like an obvious angle. Thanks to your post, I'm now reading through the Zuckerman article which more or less gets at my concerns exactly.
      -- Kyle

      By Blogger Natty Bumpo, at 2/28/2006 1:56 PM  

    • Sheinin said in his chat today that the Nationals didn't ask for an MRI because they were worried that San Diego would ask back, and they didn't want anyone scanning Vinny Castilla's knees lest they see the duct tape and paper clips holding everything together and scuttle the deal (paraphrasing). Now, that's the first I've heard it put like that and it's sort of bizarre to think of a major league ballclub making decisions in so high-schoolish a fashion (either DC or SD in this scenario). Earlier today I read Bowden saying it cost $10K and you can't do them every time. So, nothing, but it's interesting.

      By Blogger Sam, at 2/28/2006 2:22 PM  

    • Remember, too, that BL's and Vinny's salary are a wash.

      Even though we won't end up getting anything from BL, we didn't need Vinny. It's really a wash now.

      Whereas before, Lawrence was going to provide actual value.

      So it went from a great trade to what amounts to a net nothing.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/28/2006 2:26 PM  

    • Oops -- I see I didn't read Chris' comment closely enough before commenting myself, as it does discuss the "don't let them MRI Vinny" point that Sheinin made in his chat. Sorry bout that.

      By Blogger Sam, at 2/28/2006 2:48 PM  

    • From the SportsIllustrated Generic Preview:

      Corners
      Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is a rookie. First baseman Nick Johnson is a veteran.

      Of course!!! It all makes sense now!!!

      By Blogger King, at 2/28/2006 6:45 PM  

    • That's some good stuff, King!

      Marlon Byrd is sort of young, but not a rookie, and sort of experienced, but not really a veteran.

      By Blogger Basil, at 2/28/2006 7:18 PM  

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