When I first started this blog, I knew that I didn’t have the pedigree to talk about the performance of individual players, the ins and outs of all things SABR, earned run average (I should figure out how to calculate that sometime) or any of the other stuff that is the heart and soul of most baseball blogs. To emphasize that point, last night I sat with my good blog buddy Mike Henderson, and during the Nats four run rally in the eighth inning, I pointed out to Mike that Marlins pitcher EulogioÂ De La Cruz’ ERA was 18.00, and that “. . . balls were beating strikes 16-15.” Honestly, I understand the statistics, but I don’t care about them. What I do care about (and I believe qualified to comment on),Â and what I watch is how the organization lives and breathes.
Apparently other people do too… and a considerable amount of blog space has been dedicated to the topic. Unfortunately, I think almost all of it is bunk. I am not saying that it is wrong, but I am saying that it isn’t based in fact.
Let me be clear at the start – there is nothing debatable about the quality of the Nationals on-field product. It was, and is, completely miserable. Pick your standard, and the Nats were at or near the top of being on the bottom – it is nice to excel at something, I suppose. But to be honest, people don’t seem to be complaining too much about the on-field product, except as it relates to how the organization functions. For example:
The Nationals suck because Bowden is incompetent.
The Nationals suck because the Lerners are cheap.
Those two statements seem to cover about 80 percent of the critical voices. Maybe more -Â to be honest, I sorta glaze over when I hear this kind of thing.
Here’s the thing – Neither of those two statements is proven (or for that matter, provable, by most standards) and most likely, neither is correct. But either or bothÂ are being assumed as the basis for criticism of the Nationals organization. I say it is unfair and unwarranted – certainly in the face of what is known about the organization.
I have been stewing about this topic for a while. My frustration with the inflammatory criticism (in contrast to what I believe is warranted criticism) has severely affected my ability to enjoy the season – it is like having your neighbors playing with their chainsaw and lawnmower when you’re trying to trying to watch It’s a Wonderful Life.Â I’ve wanted to get this off my chest, but get sucked into a whirlpool of electronic baseball despair whenever I start.
At Mike’s suggestion, I am going to write a short series of blogs that, if not refute, at least address the issues of the Lerners and Bowden.
But I am going to start that tomorrow… because tonight I am going to watch the Nats. No matter how bad it gets in the field, it beats the hell out of 1972. And 1973. And 1974. And…