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Church of Baseball, a half-Reds, half-Nats endeavor, takes a moment to wax nostalgic about Ken Griffey, Jr.

Reading the blog entry sparked a stray memory, and sure enough I found myself scanning the Ballpark Guys archives for that brief late July evening when some fanboys thought Griffey (or else "something big") might be coming to town.

No dice, of course---we already had Preston Wilson, after all.

* * *

I've been taking the unusual posture of trying to be somewhat fair to Jim Bowden in recent days. In particular, I perceive that we are all rather disappointed that we didn't luck into an inexplicable extra first round pick when Hector Carrasco bolted to the Angels. (When the Angels signed Jeff Weaver yesterday, the Dodgers took the first, No. 26 in the draft. The Nats had to settle for No. 70.) I mean, Bowden signs some guy out of . . . wherever---Korea, I suppose . . . and flips him into a second round draft pick? The only reason we were let down by that was the possibility of being free agency's version of the laughing heir. Oh well.

As it turns out, Bodes wasn't crossing his fingers, as we were, during the Weaver Sweapstakes (or, at any rate, one-team-negotiation). Nope; he's sort of relieved, actually:

"It's more affordable for our budget anyway," Bowden said. "I doubt we could have signed all three first-round picks anyway."

You know, the sentiment does sound sort of familiar:

The idea, Bowden believes, is to not overlook anything. When the team signed free agents Vinny Castilla and Cristian Guzman - thus giving up second- and third-round picks in this year's draft as compensation - the team reallocated those funds to international scouting.

While one could quibble whether this increased emphasis on international scouting has yet to bear fruit---much less bring in that mystery player Bowden touted around draft time last year---we can probably just be satisfied that, if the GM doesn't want the high draft picks, we don't need to want them, either.

All kidding aside, flipping Carrasco for anything better than a three-run ninth was pretty nifty, considering wherefrom Bodes found him. Come to think of it, not betting millions on a repeat performance was probably pretty wise, too.

Speaking of money, Capitol Punishment has been diligently estimating the payroll offseason. Current tally: about $60M.

* * *

Lots of attention is being paid to the Nats bench. Before you blogger-hatas out there pass it off as more mindless sniping, consider that it's only natural the Natosphere would focus on the bench---after all, it's been Bowden's offseason focus.

Various takes:

Random observation: it doesn't look like Daryle Ward is given much of a chance to break camp. Look at the current depth chart and you'll see why.

Related question: is he bound for New Orleans, or can he opt for free agency?

* * *

Ryan is among the most estimable of teh Natty bloggers, but I think he's pegged Bodes' position wrong with respect to Sammy Sosa's dis. Ryan's theory is that Cap'n Leatherpants doesn't deserve credit just because Sosa's inflated self-worth saved him from a mistake.

Ryan's got it all wrong, though.

Like just about everything else, I analyze this situation in terms of what would Die Hard do. You remember the end of the movie, right? Hans Gruber has accessed the vault and is directing his (remaining) minions to dump the riches in the get-away ambulance, and while he's at it, he's moved up to kidnapping: he's got the hero's wife, Holly---she of the mysteriously unbuttoning blouse.

And so John McClane comes limping into a final confrontation with Hans armed with---1988 movie spoiler alert!---two bullets and some packing tape. Protected by his faux security guard---the guy who looked like Huey Lewis---Hans has the drop on Holly:


Her hair, his beard . . .
must be the 80s!

The situation is entirely untenable for John McClane in everyone's eyes but the screenwriter's. Ah, you remember that feeling back when it was revealed that Bodes offered Sosa a contract, right? Oh no, why did he have to do that? Sosa would be a fool to turn it down!

Well, Bowden must've known that Sosa is a fool, just as, beneath the urbane Euro-trash exterior, Hans was really, really foolish. A bit of give-and-take banter exchanged---including the yippee-kie-yay line that good little bloggers like me don't repeat on teh internets---and all of a sudden McClane is going for the "laugh and laugh and laugh, and maybe the villain will start laughing, too" trick.

And Hans laughed. And then McClane shot him. (Oh, and he got Huey, too.)

Similarly, Sosa laughed at the offer, and Bodes in effect shot him down from there.

Now, you could say that Bodes didn't need to go through the drama of actually offering Sosa anything, but you could also say that McClane shouldn't have faced the Boss and his henchman with two remaining bullets (as a direct result of wasting five on the guy in the stairwell moments before).

But then you consider that Bodes, like an action hero, is just here to entertain.

* * *

That said, I agree with the sentiment offered by Harper and Brick: thanks for the arrogance, Sammy. Really---thank you! After all, for the plan to work, the villain actually has to laugh.

* * *

Finally, line of the day goes to National Interest:

How long after Ryan Church loses an eye in a freak darts accident before Frank Robinson disparages his "lack of toughness"?

My guess: right after he throws the dart.