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I was in the car last night when Nick Johnson strode to the plate in the last of the tenth inning. The game was tied, nobody was on, and there were two outs. Wouldn't it be great if Nick ended it? I thought to myself. Then I added, As unlikely as that may be.

The last time I had entertained such thoughts was two Sundays ago, when Ryan Zimmerman did, in fact, end the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run bomb, vanquishing the Yankees. A lot of bad stuff had happened since then---nine losses in ten games, Patterson injured again, Bodes being retained permanently.

Okay, just joking on that last one---sort of. I suppose.

Anyway, sure enough, Nick launched one deep into the night, and Dave2.0's voice blessedly cracked at the ball's apex.

Gone, baby.

* * * *

Here are a couple of interesting and perspective-laden (I hope!) takes on the Bowden news. Yes, they're worthwhile, despite being from bloggers. Go figure:

Beltway Boys:

The second scenario is that Stan Kasten is an honest man and he truly believes what he says. He was reported as saying that he has told those close to him "from day one" that he wanted to retain Bowden, and that he feels that Bowden's stewardship of the Nationals during this "difficult time" has been excellent. If he believes these things, then he would have no reason to keep Bowden on a leash. In the few articles I could find about his hiring of Scheurholtz in Atlanta, Kasten's flowery prose regarding Scheurholtz was eerily similar to what he said about Bowden.

It's easy for us on the "outside" to mock the decisions of those on the "inside." Perhaps Bowden's poor player personnel choices occurred because his hands have been tied and was not able to do his job properly, both in Cincinnati and here in Washington. Of course that's possible, and I'm willing to give him a "fresh look" in the coming months.

Nats Triple Play:

On one level, this was entirely expected. The Lerners and Stan Kasten gave every indication that Bowden would at least finish out the season. Now it looks as though he'll get at least a year or two to demonstrate that he can be an effective general manager. And you know what? I'm fine with it. I think Jim Bowden's a pompous, narcissistic dumbass, but what the hell do I know? The Lerner family, who just paid significantly over fair market value for this pitiful excuse for a franchise, hired uber-experienced sports executive Stan Kasten to run the franchise. Kasten, who at least knows what a good GM (John Schuerholz) looks like, hired Bowden. Maybe they know something I don't. In fact, I really hope they do know something I don't. Everyone involved praised Bowden's "analytical mind." If he actually has one, that's great, maybe Kasten will force him to use it.

In fairness, I've chopped off the less optimistic---or, at least, understanding---sections of both posts. I did so not because they aren't worthwhile and relevant; they are, and I encourage you to read them. Instead, they capture a germ of truth---something none of us can deny: Ultimately, we don't have one hell of a clue. We either trust those guys in charge to know what they're doing, or not. If not, it's certainly within our rights to complain, or mock, or expose what we believe are less enlightened aspects of management---or, I suppose, decide not to root for the team, as one poster at Baseball Primer has apparently done.

But the truth is so stunningly obvious it sometimes escapes us---or, I suppose I should rephrase, it sometimes escapes me: it's out of our hands.

* * * *

Speaking of out of our hands . . . One time, somebody asked me to define faith. I had no good answer.

But now, I think I've got it: relying on Pedro Astacio. Go Pedro!