Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lost In Translation

Steinbog relays video and background of Manny Acta's first "blowup". Who cheesed him off? Nope, not Levale Speigner, Nook Logan or Tony Batista. But Mark Zuckerman, for a story he wrote last week, after the team was pounded into submission by the Dodgers.

Zukerman's lede was relatively non-offensive: "As impressive as their recent resurgence has been, the Washington Nationals have known all along one dirty little secret: Most of these wins have come against lesser competition."

In his rant, Acta seemingly doesn't realize that there are alternate definitions and contexts for the word lesser. Acta wonders why a team that was supposed to be the worst team in the league is now playing lesser teams, as if Zuckerman were implying that the wins were coming because the Nats were suddenly better. Instead, Zuckerman was likely implying that the lousy Reds and Cardinals teams they beat were easier opponents than the Mets or, as it turned out, the Dodgers and Padres.

Click over for the video. It's good stuff. Manny Acta, try as he might, really can't pull off the tough guy. When he decides to get tough, he seems almost apologetic, and then stands up, puffing out his chest and holding his arms in a pseudo-menacing pose. He can't quite pull it off though, especially when one realizes he's standing on a riser!

I half expect him to break into a "Gosh-diddly-darn!" halfway through.

The weird thing to me is that he took offense to the wrong part. What he should be upset with is Zuckerman's assertion that the team "knows" they're playing lesser teams. I doubt anyone in that clubhouse believes that, even in the back of their mind. You need a special kind of confidence/arrogance to succeed on that level, and there's precious little room for that kind of thought.

I'm reminded of an interview I saw with Manny back during spring training where the wind was making it difficult for him to hear the questions. And the ones he was able to hear, he was having a hard time understanding, especially those asked with a sense of irony. It seems like that was as much a part of the misunderstanding as anything.


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