I got a hundred people down here
and they're all covered in glass.
A Federal Baseball moment of silence, if you please, for actor Paul Gleason, who passed away over the holiday weekend. Gleason, 67, fell victim to mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer that is linked to asbestos. (If you've heard of mesothelioma, you've probably seen James Sokolove's commercial on cable television. If you've heard of asbestos . . . well, you've already heard of Peter Angelos.)
Gleason was best known for his role as the principal in "The Breakfast Club," but I contend his finest performance occurred as deputy police chief Dwayne T. Robinson in "Die Hard." Dwayne T., the man in charge ("Oh, you're in charge? Doesn't look like you're in charge of jack-[squat] from up here.") of the hostage situation at the Nakatomi Tower, was the perfect storm of tough cop and buffoon cop: totally incompetent in every conceivable detail, but with five-star attitude.
Toward the end of the movie, Gleason's character had mellowed a bit, primarily because the FBI had arrived on the scene, commandeered his men, and left him with nothing to do. So, he spent the remainder of the time hanging around with Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson), a competent cop who had been the target of his belittling inferiority complex previously. The FBI guys, in an attempt to double-cross the "Euro-trash" terrorists, sent helicopter gunships (rather than transports) to the roof of the tower. But they ran into a matter of inconvenient timing, as Hans Gruber blew the roof just as they approached it.
When the agents met their fiery demise, Dwayne T. Robinson, observing from below, remarked, "Wow. Looks like we're gonna need some new FBI guys," inspired a rather sudden and horrified look from Powell.
From here on in, whenever the Nats lose yet another pitcher to injury, I'd request that, as a tribute to Paul Gleason, we remember his character's words.
Because, let me tell you, that's what it feels like.
- Over the weekend, the Nats won big on Friday night, lost a close one on Saturday afternoon, then won big on Sunday. After taking two out of three from the Dodgers, the Nats basked in a 7-3 homestand, a complete reversal of fortune at RFK. (The Nats are now 10-13 at home.)
Alfonso Soriano continues to his blistering pace, including at home. He is now hitting .300/.352/.605 on the season, which is immensely valuable, no matter the language, no matter the position, and no matter the park. One should have little doubt that this hot performance would make it harder to re-sign him for beyond his season, even if the new Lernasten ownership were inclined to commit to a long-term deal. It's one thing to discuss whether it would be wise to lock up Soriano; it's an entirely different discussion to evaluate whether and why he would choose to remain with the Nats. No matter, though, Soriano has been excellent thus far.
- The Nats fell---and fell big---yesterday evening in Philadelphia, 11-2. Mike O'Connor suffered the defeat, leaving in the sixth owing to injury. But it was the bullpen that took the brunt of the Philly onslaught: Gary Majewski, reversing course from a resurgent May, was torched for three runs in an inning; Joey Eischen, in yet another Release him, now! performance, retired nary a single batter, walking two men; and Santiago Ramirez and Saul Rivera mopped up ineffectively.
The Nats straddle the unofficial one-third pole at 21-31. (The official one lies two games from now.) At current, the Nats' projection is anywhere from 63 to 69 wins. Provided the team isn't completely blown up between now and the July/August trade deadlines, I think the Nats will beat that, though still lose close to 90 games.
- When it comes to the Nats on TV, I can't win for losing. Because of the idiotic blackout rules, I can't take in practically any Nats games here in Richmond; we're part of the Angelos "territory," after all. Yet, on Saturday afternoon, we received the Atlanta game during FOX's exclusive Saturday afternoon broadcast window---despite the fact that the Nats were playing simultaneously.
Instead, I watched about five innings of the Harrisburg-New Hampshire game on something called CN8. Of note, I saw my boy from '05, Danny Rueckel, pitch two scoreless innings. Sweet. In addition, I watched someone who bore the same name as former Mets' star Edgardo Alfonzo play a horrible brand of baseball.
Furthermore---and of interest to readers here---guess who did the play-by-play? None other than "Dave1.0," Dave Shea. One of the criticisms of Shea last season, when he was a member of the Nats' radio duo, was that he wasn't always as prepared as he should have been. Saturday was perhaps a reflection of this: he blanked on the first name of Washington's starter that day (former Harrisburg Senator Shawn Hill, who pitched quite well in his big league debut) and, in a rather humorous moment, initially misidentified the pitching coach as the manager, who trotted out to the mound to talk to "Rick Rueckel."