Guess what’s back. Back again. The recap’s back. Tell a friend. (It’s the recap, the off-field recap is back).
Tag Archives: Dusty Baker
There are few metaphors grand enough to do justice by the magnitude of Dusty Baker’s life experience. He recounts smoking a joint with Jimi Hendrix, calls President Obama a friend, and served six years in the Marines.
Ohhh boy. Oh man, oh man, oh man. Oh boy. Oh man. Hooooo boy. The postseason is upon us, y’all. Friday night, Max Scherzer will duel Clayton Kershaw and the backs of our seats will be neglected. As the christening of the postseason became closer and closer through the week, the Nats prepared on the field while they stirred up excitement off it. Now that the NLDS is brushing against our fingertips, it’s time to recap.
It’s been a week since the Nationals clinched the NL East with a win against the Pittsburgh Pirates and with the Philadelphia Phillies surpassing expectations by not blowing a ten run lead. In this week since, Bryce Harper has been sidelined with a thumb injury and Wilson Ramos’ ACL may have put his last play as a National in the books. Baseball can be one cruel mistress, but sometimes you can find light at the end of the tunnel. As luck will have it, there are pictures and videos of your favorite baseball team clinching a division title for the third time in five years. Lookit.
As I watched Wilson Ramos land awkwardly and crumple to the ground pointing at his knee Monday night, a lot was going through my mind. I was mad that the Nationals had to play in the sloppy conditions in DC that night. I was frustrated with Dusty Baker for not giving Ramos more time off. I cursed the baseball gods who clearly had a hand in sending first Stephen Strasburg then Daniel Murphy then Bryce Harper and now Ramos to the bench with injuries. I wondered how many people weren’t watching the game because they were doing something much more important like watching the presidential debate. I hated the Diamondbacks and their stupid jerseys. I missed Jose Fernandez, because anything related to baseball makes me miss Jose Fernandez this week. But most of all, in the midst of all that emotion, I feared what this injury might do to ruin what has been an amazing season of baseball in DC.
The resumé of Dusty Baker is one that elicits sharp debate. Depending upon one’s interpretation, he’s either an under-appreciated leader with over 1,700 wins and an impeccable ability for handling a clubhouse, or he’s notoriously prone to bad in-game decisions and just happens to be in the right places at the right time.
Baby humans, baby dogs, and gold medals are probably among the world’s greatest natural healers. The Nationals dropped four games in a row this week, once again leaving the burden of healing on off-field things.
The Nationals lost Tuesday night. Hold your vitriol for a moment, though, there is at least one positive to take out of the game. Before getting to the positive, let’s start with a few caveats. “Optimal” batting orders can mean something like 10-20 extra runs per season, one to two wins at best. The Nationals are on the road against the Indians, meaning the pitcher doesn’t hit and the Nationals get some extra lineup flexibility with a DH in the lineup. Finally, Dusty won’t commit to Tuesday night’s lineup long term.
But man, I loved the Tuesday night lineup. Here is why, on a position-by-position review:
When I watched Jayson Werth‘s epic post-game interview where he referred to Jonathan Papelbon as the “DC Strangler,” I couldn’t help but think to myself, man, this is a great team. They seem like they are having a blast out there
That got me to thinking: What makes a successful team, and do the Washington Nationals have those same traits?