The Ryan Zimmerman extension felt like it was a long time in the making. As soon as Zimmerman signed his last extension before the 2009 season people were already dreading what would happen when it ran out, and now we know. When Zimmerman’s current contract runs out he will begin a new $100 million six year contract that also includes a team option for a seventh year. As a Nats fan I don’t think better news exists.
Zimmerman is the first true National. When the team came to DC from Montreal they were a collection of players no one had ever heard of. Sure their were rumors that Jose Vidro and Brad Wilkerson were decent players and Nick Johnson was once a highly regarded Yankees prospect, but other than that there wasn’t much in the way of a core. Soft tossing Livan Hernandez was the ace of the staff and in 2005 he was brilliant, but his best days were already behind him much like Vinny Castilla who started the 2005 season as the Nats third baseman.
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Now that Matt has introduced you to the world of sunshine and roses for the NL East clubs I am hear to turn down the Katy Perry blast the Slayer and whistle as the world burns. It might be true that a diet of crap can sustain a person just as long as a diet of rainbows, but we have entered the strange and wondrous land where all negative energy exists.
Without further ado we will start at the top and work our way down. The Phillies may have won the NL East last season but that didn’t stop them from having a rather negative ending. Once again Ryan Howard was the last out for the Phillies, but this time he ended up writhing on the ground in pain with a burst Achilles. The first domino to fall in the quest for Phillies failure is for Jim Thome to be the Phillies first baseman for the entire season. It might be the only scenario where Ryan Howard’s defense is missed as much as his offense.
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Ahh the NL East, home to my favorite baseball team, the Washington Nationals. Home to a few teams EVERYONE loves! Yes, there is nothing quite like finding that sexy young thing at the bar while having a few brewski’s with your friends. It is all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows everywhere. Here in lies the question, there are 5 teams in the NL East… So, what is the best thing that can happen for each one??? And here… We… GO! Lets do alphabetic order shall we?
The Atlanta Braves had something of, well, a pathetic September in 2011 and you can sure bet that all the guys who don the Tomahawk gear have already let those terrible memories fade into nothing. Just the other day, Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson was involved in a car accident and suffered a mild concussion. The word mild is a good thing, ideally this means he will be back to getting strikeouts and giving his team a chance to win. Considering the Braves have always had such strong pitching, we can expect that the Braves will have another solid year with all their good healthy pitchers tearing apart not only the NL East, but anyone that crosses their paths. Jason Heyward is healthy, and considering he is going into his 3rd year, we should see the end of the dreaded sophomore slump and more baseballs exploding off his bat. Craig Kimbrel is poised to have another high caliber season as the Braves’ young closer. With everything clicking for Atlanta, it is not hard to imagine the Braves in the playoffs yet again.
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When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
With pitchers now learning how to cover first base and when to back up home baseball is close at hand, and with baseball comes the true greatest of human emotions, hope and dread. It is these two emotions that make baseball fun, and fun is what it is meant to be. We might fancy ourselves scholars of the game but the reality is we’re fans. If we crunch out numbers and run our scenarios and end up right the best we can hope for is self satisfaction. The better approach to the sport of baseball is to sit back and enjoy the show.
That is why here at BS, W and over at Natsradamus something fun and exciting is about to happen. What we are going to do, at BS, W anway, is to stretch the bounds of reality. Move to the edges where the line between the improbable and the impossible are most blurred. Here we deal with reality as the infinite paradox that it is. We will take a look at the NL East and throw out all that stuff like logic and common sense. We will simply have fun.
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Tomorrow is the first in a string of milestones that will lead us to Opening Day. Tomorrow is the day that pitchers and catchers report. It is glorious news. The first step of many that let us know that the cold winter is breaking and that time will once again begin anew. That spring is here and soon we will be rewarded by getting to sit in the hot sun and watch real live baseball being played.
It has been a long winter. Let us remember back to the beginning of the winter when the Nationals were rumored to be after every free agent. Only one of those rumors turned out to be true and that was for Prince Fielder, but the Nationals didn’t end up with him as the Tigers outbid them at what might have been the last minute but perhaps if the Tigers never stepped in Prince would still be a free agent. Scott Boras was willing to wait that long so why wouldn’t he have been willing to wait longer.
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There’s a point in every story where it becomes tired and stale. With the Bryce Harper maturity issues we have passed that point long ago. The key points in fact that show that Bryce Harper is immature and needs to grow up are the facts he is 19, likes the Cowboys, Lakers, Duke, and Yankees, he tweets pictures of cars, and he once blew a kiss at a pitcher that plunked him.
Let’s go one by one shall we. First off Bryce Harper is 19 that is very hard to argue with as he was in fact born 19 years prior to this date in time. The reason people latch onto his age is because Harper isn’t the typical 19 year old and there is a fear that 19 year olds with money will end up like Todd Bridges or Dana Plato. To the best of our knowledge all of the bad things that these young stars suffered happened after they ran out of money, not while they still had it. Harper could end up in this situation but some crazy things would have to happen for his career to end before he reaches his 30’s.
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I am a big fan of Ian Desmond. I remember well when he became our everyday shortstop, then watching him start to grow as a player. Ian Desmond has had his share of moments in a Nationals uniform, good, bad, and nerve racking alike. Desmond though, has had some adventures when he has been playing defense. After his September callup in 2009 and throughout 2010, Desmond’s offense was not bad and he displayed some pop in his bat, but suffered from a slump in 2011. His defense has been one area that Desmond did improve upon in 2011, yet he earned more than one nickname that highlighted his defensive difficulties while playing shortstop throughout 2010 and 2011. Offensively, Desmond has shown some promise as well, and 2012 could be a critical year for the young shortstop offensively.
I remember well when Desmond made his Major League Debut, he displayed what I consider to be a rare trait, he displayed he was a true Washington National. We all remember how Drew Storen showed us that he was a true National as it was 1) very recent and 2) somewhat emotional for all the fans of D.C. I remember the night of 9/10/2009 well. I was still in college and was walking home from class eagerly anticipating the game for the night. I turned on my T.V. just in time to learn what the lineups where going to be and I noticed Ian Desmond’s name at the Shortstop position. I was excited as I was hoping to see a young gun trying to earn his keep on a big league club. The best part during the pregame show? The Nationals were going to be sporting their (then) brand new stars and stripes navy blue jerseys. In this game, the Nationals were playing the Philadelphia Phillies, and Ian Desmond would win me over in this one game. Ian Desmond got his first Major League hit, which was an RBI double off Joe Blanton. Shortly thereafter, Ian Desmond would rock a breaking ball from Joe Blanton to where the big boys go onto the red porch for a 3 run home run. How does this make Ian Desmond a true National, you ask? Ah-ha! Well in this same game, bottom of the 9th inning Ian Desmond would get yet another career first. Ian Desmond made a throwing error to first base that would put runners at the corners, leaving the Nationals up by 1 run. A crazy pitching sequence would ensue, our closer of the time Mike MacDougal would be lifted and Ron Villone was put in with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th. Ron Villone managed to roll a double play ball right to Ian Desmond, who would get the out at second, then throw to first to end the game. Bang-zoom, the Nationals had won it and Ian Desmond had a True Nationals MLB Debut, and the fact that we did it against the Phillies was the icing on the cake.
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