Washington Nationals: In The AFL, New Assistant GM, Unluckiest Fan.

AFL Update: Desert Dogs Hit Hard...

Chris Marrero, the Washington Nationals' first baseman of the future, hit his first home run of the fall for the Phoenix Desert Dogs' first run of the '09 AFL season. Unfortunately, the Desert Dogs were already down 5-0 to the Mesa Solar Sox by the time Marrero's homer sailed out off Steve Hirschfeld (a right-hander out of theTwins' system) in the Desert Dogs' fifth. Marrero ended the game 1 for 3 with a walk, a run scored, the HR and his first RBI. Danny Espinosa got the start at short for the Desert Dogs, going 1 for 4 with a sac fly and a two-run single for 3 RBI's...And a Nationals' prospect whose name I either missed or didn't recognize while putting together yesterday's Arizona Fall League PreviewJosh Wilkie, was the first DC pitching prospect to see action in Arizona.

Wilkie, an undrafted free agent out of George Washington University who signed with Washington back in 2006, gave up a leadoff single and a one-out walk before a throwing a wild pitch to put runners on first and third with one down in the fourth after he'd replaced Phoenix starter Ryohei Tanaka, a 6'0'' right-hander out of Ishikawa, Japan and the Orioles' organization. Wilkie, who completed his 2009 campaign with a combined (7-5) record and a 2.64 ERA with 65 K's and just 17 walks in 71.2 IP between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, ended up allowing 4 runs in this afternoon's outing, all of them unearned after an error by Danny Espinosa

Final Score: Solar Sox 10, Desert Dogs 6 - MLB.com Gameday.

BACKPAGE: 

• Roy Clark Leaves Atlanta Braves For Washington's Nationals.

• SI.com's Phil Taylor On the Unluckiest Of the DC Faithful.

Desert Dogs now 0-1.

• Roy Clark Leaves Atlanta...?

MLB.com's Mark Bowman put a story up on MLB.com at 4:54 pm EST entitled, "Scouting director Clark leaving Braves", to announce that now-former Braves' Scouting Director Roy Clark had informed Atlanta of his intention to leave the organization he's worked for since 1989 for what Mr. Bowman describes as, "...the opportunity to oversee the player development and scouting departments," in Washington as the Nationals' assistant general manager. At the time Mr. Bowman published the article, however, "The Nationals (hadn't) yet made a formal announcement." 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer David O'Brien confirmed Mr. Bowman's reports and Mr. Clark's destination twenty-minutes later when he posted an article entitled, "Braves lose scouting director Clark to Nationals", in which he wrote that, "Clark told the Braves Tuesday that he had accepted a post as Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel." 

As of 9:35 pm EST Tuesday, still no official announcement from the Nationals...

Cover_medium • SI.com's Phil Taylor On the Unluckiest Of the DC Faithful.

The Washington Post's D.C. Sports Bog writer Dan Steinberg wrote last week about Stephen Krupin, "...a Ph.D. who works as an economist at the Department of Labor and moonlights as a statistics analyst/columnist on ESPN.com and Baseball Prospectus," and also happens to be the, "The Nats' Unluckiest Fan", as Mr. Steinberg titled his post. (ed. note - "Nice possessive apostrope, Steinberg!"). Mr. Krupin watched the Nationals go 0-19 in the 19 games he attended in 2009, as Mr. Steinberg reported, and now Mr. Krupin's story's gone national, as SI.com writer Phil Taylor took notice and dedicated his most recent Point After column in the October 19th, 2009 newsstand edition of Sports Illustrated to Mr. Krupin, who's cruelly been upgraded to the status of the, "Unluckiest Fan In America". Ouch...

Just how unlucky was Mr. Krupkin? As SI.com's Mr. Taylor writes:

"A number-crunching cousin of Mr. Krupkin's calculated that the odds of his 0-19 season were 1 in 131,204, not all that different from the chances of getting hit by an asteroid, which, come to think of it, might be less painful than watching your team lose every time you show up." 

Phil Taylor's column accurately captures the feeling of watching the Nationals lose a game in DC, as he relates how Mr. Krupin, "...realized what a ritual it had become," to file out of Nationals Park to the familiar sound of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds", which is the soundtrack to the shame-filled walk out of the park after every home loss, and that's when Mr. Krupin had another realization, as Mr. Taylor quotes Mr. Krupin explaining:

"That's when it hit me...I had absolutely no idea what song they play when we win."

At least we know, thanks to Mr. Krupin, that we're all suffering together...

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