Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Nats Journal:
"Hill reported nothing other than what he now considers normal soreness. The only ball that appeared to be a "hit" against him was on his last pitch, which Milledge grounded up the middle."

Times Chatter:
"No, the guys facing Hill today were Lastings Milledge, Wily Mo Pena and Elijah Dukes. None of them made solid contact, unless you consider a broken bat blooper to center by Milledge solid contact. "All right, we went 1-for-11!" Milledge exclaimed at the end of the round."

"Swing after swing, stroke after stroke--not much serious contact by Washington's Top Sluggers. Escobar on finally lofting a meager pop just to the outfield grass--raises his arms in Triumph!! "I Own You!!, he yells at Hill. Knowing full well--Shawn was the one in control this afternoon."

"Hill had a blazing fastball and broke several bats during the session. Outfielder Alex Escobar was the only hitter who was able to manage a base hit."

At least they all agree that Hill was pitching.

No, I have no point. (what else is new though)


  • That's hysterical.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/26/2008 11:58 PM  

  • Does this say more about our inability to hit or Hill's ability to pitch?

    By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 2/27/2008 12:00 AM  

  • I'm slowly becoming convinced that SBF is a less baseball-informed version of DeNiro's "The Fan".

    I'm also becoming convinced that Shawn Hill will make it through June before suffering an injury that Bowden and Kasten will poo-poo but will ultimately sideline him for the rest of the season.

    I mean, at this point can't we write the script before the season even begins?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 12:06 AM  

  • Hey Chris,

    I would be interested in your reflections on Barry's Lopez article in today's paper. I for one have been very vocal about his attitude, approach and effort. You consistently have said that it was just a bad year and that a smile is not a stat and thus no index or measure of his worth.......It seems to me that Barry's work on this (finally!) shows Lopez is admitting he did not give effort, he did not work, he did not have his head in the game (all the thinks I and many others observed last year). Yes, not a stat but a major factor it seems in evaluating his worth to the team?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 5:48 AM  

  • This says nothing about our hitters or pitchers.
    In every Spring training, the bats always start out slow. The pitchers have been in camp a week longer, and it takes a lot longer to get the timing of a swing down than it does to just simply get an arm loose.
    IMHO, I think our starting pitching is gonna get shelled this year. hopefully our new, improved(?) offense will score enough runs to keep us in the games.

    By Blogger Rob B, at 2/27/2008 8:20 AM  

  • The point of this wasn't to make a statement about the hitters or pitchers.

    Each of these accounts is of the same event, yet we've got two different batters getting the hit and three different types of hit.

    trendline -- I'll take a closer look at the Lopez thing sometime.

    I didn't mean to imply that he always busted his ass, just that much of what people are ripping him for is attitude. He DOES have the problem in that he's not a very instinctual player, so he makes some reallllly bone-headed decisions, but that's not necessarily from a lack of effort.

    Logan, for his faults, generally hustled. He just wasn't a smart baseball player.

    We can rip Lopez for the same, but I think much of the issues of his attitude are overblown. I'm a grouch, and I sometimes screw up at work... but I'm trying. Doesn't mean I'm a terrible employee!

    (cue the fake Chris' boss comments...)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 8:46 AM  

  • Maybe you should have titled this "Vantage Point" instead?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 10:08 AM  

  • Not sure, but I think these excerpts may reference two different batting practice sessions, both thrown by Hill.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 10:23 AM  

  • These were all reported on the same day, presumably describing that day's actions. I think the 'second' batting practice line in that refers to the one he threw the other day. I don't think they'd have him throw twice in a day, especially given his arm problems.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 10:26 AM  

  • "Each of these accounts is of the same event, yet we've got two different batters getting the hit and three different types of hit."

    That's what happens when you have no fielders and the total lack of a game situation during batting practice. There's really no such thing as a "hit" (unless of course there's a fence and the batter hits it out). In this situation, a "hit" is totally a judgment call on the part of the observer. Thus I really don't see any inconsistency at all between these various accounts. No one got good wood on the ball against Hill during this session, but there were a couple of balls that could have ended up as hits if it had been a game situation, and different observers made different judgment calls as to which of these were "hits". So I would accuse you again of stretching too hard to make a point, except you pre-empted that by admitting up front that you had no point. So let me just make my point about this post before anyone accuses me of not having one. Was it interesting to get different perspectives on the same session from different observers? Of course. Also very informative. But gosh, anyone who thinks it's hysterical must be very easily amused.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 2/27/2008 10:59 AM  

  • Sam,

    Why call it something else, when the thing Chris called it was perfect?
    I guess he could have called it "Vantage Point", but Chris' post uses a term that already exists. It's the Rashomon effect. I haven't seen "Vantage Point", but maybe it's loosely based on the movie that the term came from, "Rashomon".
    Jesus, I spent waaaay to much time defending the title of a post. My bad!

    By Blogger Section 138, at 2/27/2008 11:02 AM  

  • ABM-- you don't have an email address on your blog. Shoot me an email, please.

    Phish -- Sam was (likely) exasperated that a few of the other commenters didn't get the title and that I had to explain the point. Vanishing Point is the cheap knock-off of the movie, so he was suggesting something a little more... modern... that'd make sense to more people.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 11:05 AM  

  • ABM,

    The four accounts, which appear to be describing the same event but do not harmonize (and in some details vary greatly), are reminiscent of the Rashomon effect. I really doubt Chris was going for a deeper point or belittling any of the four writers, all of whom do a good job doing what they do. The post might also have been an implicit recognition that spring training is a more relaxed time of taking in impressions rather than crunching numbers or parsing details.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 11:08 AM  

  • Erm.

    As Chris said, I was just joking re folks missing the point. I wasn't really exasperated as much as teasing. I thought it was all in good fun.

    But for the record, I'm with you phish.

    And yes ABM, I am VERY easily amused.

    And it's a good thing too. Have you read this blog lately?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 11:31 AM  

  • Well, I wasn't aware of what the Rashomon effect was until I read the Wikipedia link (I just thought Chris had misspelled Rushmore or something), but now even knowing what it is I still don't think this situation is an example of it. There really aren't any contradictions between the various accounts, since only the results of a handful of pitches are cited in all the accounts put together, and how many pitches did Hill throw all together, forty or so? The Milledge grounder and the Milledge broken-bat blooper could easily have been on different pitches since different commenters mentioned them and as I said before they would probably have different definitions of what constituted a "hit". And I certainly would hope that whatever happened both Escobar and Milledge would be claiming themselves to be the stars of the show, such as it was. So for me, calling it a Rashomon is a stretch. I'd say it's more like the old story about the group of blindfolded guys groping an elephant and all coming away with a different idea of what it was they just felt up.

    And my blog now has a contact link on it for anyone who's interested. How long that lasts will probably depend on how much spam or other undesirable e-mail it ends up attracting. A warning, though: Anyone who wades through my blog would probably need to be very easily amused, or bored shitless. Or both.

    Finally, to compensate for all the useless words my comment about the Rashomon thing has generated here, I'm with trendline on the request for some chatter about the Lopez article. He has basically come out now and admitted he was phoning it in all last year, as I and many others have been saying all along. (Lopez phoned it in, that is, not trendline.)

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 2/27/2008 12:05 PM  

  • The report that has Escobar getting the hit has to be wrong. I'm sure he must be hurt by now, right?

    By Blogger John O'Connor, at 2/27/2008 12:27 PM  

  • And I thought all along that Rashomon was a new Japanese pitcher that Jimbo just picked up off the scrap heap.

    On a more serious note, should I draft Hill in the 3rd round of my fantasy league based on his performance or just wait and get him in the 24th? What does Barry think?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 12:29 PM  

  • Chris, no response to Ladson's most recent mailbag? He has Dukes putting up 40HR 100RBI numbers...... THIS YEAR!!!

    Will this guy get a clue?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 1:05 PM  

  • I agree that the story is Lopez....not sure what the rest of this about......Chris, has in the past and again today minimized the attitude and effort issues....I think when Lopez himself starts to point to them as reasons for his poor performance we need to listen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 1:19 PM  

  • To defend my good friend Bill Ladson a bit...

    He doesn't say that Dukes will hit 40, just that he has that potential when he develops. That's not that far off, even if I wouldn't bet on it.

    He does say that 100 RBI is a possibility if he plays every day... that's possible, also, I suppose... but he won't play every day, so no use worrying about it.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 1:19 PM  

  • I might write something on Lopez later, but...

    I minimized the attitude issues in that I didn't want to run the guy out of town on a rail like some here and at BPG did. He's got alot of talent, and the foot-up-his-ass treatmene the Nats are giving him seems to be working. If the Nats are going to push .500 or beyond, he has to play every day and hit his career numbers.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 1:25 PM  

  • Chris,

    Thanks for looking at Lopez again....I hope at least....why does he need to play for Nats to push over .500? His defense is weak as I recall your postings from the winter.....We need a SS who can cover ground more than anything. Lopez is not going to beat out Ronnie at 2nd Base....Belliard turns the DP better than any 2nd in the National League and he is a leader....something this team needs on the field every day!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 1:33 PM  

  • 1) of the three MI, he's the best hitter. Ignore what he did last year. Look at career numbers and age.

    2) Yes, his defense stinks, but so does Guzman's. Lopez is enough of a better hitter to be more of an asset at SS than Guzman. (Now at 2B, it's a bit tougher)

    3) I'm not sure I'd call Belliard a leader... haven't seen too much evidence of that in what I've read, but...

    4) as far as Belliard's ability to turn the DP, he's above average, but hardly elite based on the actual DP totals. (some of that is bc the Nats are mostly a flyball staff, but they also -- because of how many baserunners they have -- give fielders more opportunities)

    but DP turning is half the battle. he still has to range to balls. he plays deep bc with his age and size he doesn't have the lateral motion. he's a solid 2B, but he's not a gold glover out there.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 1:45 PM  

  • Where do I sign up to get the Nats to put a $4.9M foot up my ass? Hell, for that money I'd even take it for the full year, like the contract says. Even if I have to pay $35 a day for parking, I'd still come out ahead in the deal.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 2/27/2008 1:47 PM  

  • Well, the day that you're one of the best 30 at what you do in the world, we'll chip in to get you a diamond-encrusted Timberland!

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 1:49 PM  

  • Now were talking some baseball......Ronnie seems to lead by example, he plays hard and knows situational hitting. I agree Guzman is the weakest SS defense.

    Our best hope is that Lopez plays well enough to trade him by April 1 for some young defense SS options.

    Oh and I really question is Lopez is in the top 30 at SS or 2nd Base....why is he on his third team at 25?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 1:59 PM  

  • Well, name 30 SS better than him. :)

    I'll wait!

    He's definitely towards the back of that 30... but he's a major league player.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 2:02 PM  

  • Ok.....I give....but I do not want to have the bottom 3 or so on my team....SS is the most important none pitching position on the field. If you have the bottom 15% performers you are going nowhere.....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 2:36 PM  

  • Fair enough.

    I'd rank him as the best middle infielder on the team though.

    If he and Belliard are playing SS/2B, the team will be better off for it.

    (I really wish they had signed Adam Everett in the offseason though...)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/27/2008 2:37 PM  

  • Sorry for the random exclamation, but.........Spring Training Games are live on Gameday Audio!!!!!!!

    Unfortunately, the only audio for tonight's 7pm Nats game is apparently the Spanish language affiliate while tomorrow's GW game won't be on the radio.

    Our first radio game is against the Marlins at 1pm on Friday. Blame the post for missing the first two :((.

    By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 2/27/2008 3:01 PM  

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