Sunday, May 05, 2013
The latest Rohrshach test the swiftly emerging Umps Behaving Badly narrative:
Bryce Harper was ejected in the first inning of the Nationals’ 6-2 victory over the Pirates Sunday afternoon after he drew the ire of umpiring crew chief John Hirschbeck with his reaction to a check-swing third strike. The incident left the Nationals without their best player and, owing to behavior from Hirschbeck that Manager Davey Johnson deemed overaggressive, raised the issue of contentious relations between umpires and players.
With two outs and none on, Harper tried to check his swing on a 2-2 curveball from Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez. The Pirates appealed to Hirschbeck, the third base umpire, who rang up Harper. “He made the right call,” Johnson said.
Harper raised his hands in protest, with the bat over his head. Hirschbeck, in his 29th season as an MLB umpire, started yelling at Harper and walking toward him. Home plate umpire Bob Davidson chimed in from behind. Harper appeared to yell back at Hirschbeck and threw his bat on the ground. Hirscbeck pointed at Harper, who then threw his helmet. As Johnson sprinted out of the dugout, Hirschbeck ejected the 20-year-old slugger.
“I didn’t like that he put his hands up with the bat,” Hirschbeck said. “That’s kind of what I yelled at him. He continued and threw his bat. I kind of pointed like, ‘That’s equipment.’ And then, he still continued and slammed his helmet down. That’s when I ejected him.
“I was actually just being nice. Even the hands up in the air is showing me up, to me. I could have ejected him right then. I was nice enough to leave him in the game. And then he slammed his bat down. And then on top of that, he slammed his helmet. I had no other recourse, really.”
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Four for five, despite being on an IV drip right up until the first pitch and vomiting in the 2nd inning. Yeah, he’s a gamer.
[M]ake no mistake about it: Bryce Harper was still sick.
The 20-year-old phenom went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI and recorded three hits off Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco in the Nationals’ 6-1 win over the Marlins after sitting out the previous game due to a stomach flu that kept him up all night.
But Harper deemed himself well enough to play after a pregame IV, and he said he felt “solid as a rock” afterward. He simply wasn’t going to sit out Wednesday, even as bad as he felt on the field.
“I was still struggling. The biggest thing was trying to keep everything down and fluids down,” Harper said afterward. “I think getting in the box and swinging made my head spin a little bit. It was just a matter of trying to have good ABs and trying to get some knocks and trying to help the team out.”
Believe it or not, Harper said his worst moment wasn’t when he left the dugout to vomit in the second inning. He felt the worst after a sixth-inning double off Nolasco. He was bending over, sick and worn out, but he kept playing.
“I thought he was going to die every time he went up there and he got a hit,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
His last hit (shown in the video at the link) was the most impressive. Top of the 9th, two outs, already up 5-1, he hits an infield grounder…and beats the throw to first base, allowing another run to score.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Damn do I ever miss him.
In 2010, the Washington Nationals were hosting the Cardinals when hotshot rookie Stephen Strasburg learned he had a torn ligament and would be sidelined at least a year to recover from the necessary Tommy John surgery.
He said Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols both sought him out during that series to offer advice. But it was after his surgery that Strasburg heard from the greatest Cardinal.
“As soon as I got home from surgery I had a video message waiting from Stan Musial,” Strasburg said Sunday.
“It was a brief message about how big a fan he was. He said he knew in his heart that I was going to be even better and stronger. I was down in the dumps. I had never met him before and he reached out to me, gave me a lot of confidence.”
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Washington Nationals might have bitten off more than they can chew by naming William Howard Taft as their next racing mascot. If you aren’t familiar with the controversy, the baseball team features four mascots dressed as U.S. presidents that race around the Nationals’ stadium during home games to entertain fans.
“Teddy has handpicked the next president for the Presidents’ Race,” Nationals COO Andy Feffer told the newspaper on Friday, a day before the Taft mascot was rolled out. “There was a great amount of banter and discussion back and forth, but Teddy won out with his recommendation.”
On Saturday, the sanitized Taft mascot made its debut at a fan event, looking at least 100 pounds lighter than its real-life counterpart.
The reaction in the media, so far, is that even sportswriters who aren’t historians know the two men hated each other.
The Post’s Dan Steinberg asked a local historian how bad the blood was between TR and Taft.
Allan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University, told Steinberg that each man considered the other a backstabber, and they had no qualms taking down each other in a presidential election.
“The rivalry was as bitter as it gets in politics,” said Lichtman. “There’s nothing like the feeling of betrayal, and both men felt betrayed by the other.”
Monday, January 14, 2013
Washington Nationals players voted last year to split a full postseason share among personnel in the organization’s scouting and player development departments.
While there is precedent for such action by a team, it isn’t routine. Players more frequently include employees who are around the club every day, such as clubhouse attendants and bullpen catchers.
For every playoff team, the distribution of shares is voted on before the postseason begins by players who spent the entire year with the club. The Nationals awarded 49 full shares, each valued at $37,045.32.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said “a few key veterans” led the push to include the scouting and player development staff in the bonus pool.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Goodbye, Mr. Morse—you will be missed.
The Nationals and Adam LaRoche ended their offseason-long stalemate and agreed to terms on a two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.
LaRoche, the reigning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner in the National League, accepted the two-year offer the Nationals had on the table since the late fall. LaRoche had been holding out for a three-year deal, but he could not find one in a market stifled the draft pick compensation attached to him.
for his generous support.
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