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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates- 2008 Game 67 of 162. "Conflicting Stories Out Of DC? (ed. note - 'And It's Got Nothing To Do With Scott McClellan.')"


"Acta confronts Dukes in Nats' dugout" by's Bill Ladson.

"Power display chares emotion: Acta, Dukes get into tiff." by Washington Times writer Mark Zuckerman.

Washington Post Staff Writer Chico Harlan doesn't reference last night's "incident in the dugout" between Nationals' Manager Manny Acta and DC outfielder Elijah Dukes in the title of his article, "Milledge Caps Off A Long Night", but Mr. Harlan does acknowledge the incident, writing:

"After the homer, a television camera caught Acta and Dukes engaged in what appeared to be a spirited conversation."

What were they having a "spirited conversation" about? If you haven't heard by now,'s Bill Ladson elaborates further on the "incident" in his article, "Acta confronts Dukes in Nats' dugout", in which he reports:

"The confrontation came a few minutes after Lastings Milledge hit a two-run homer, scoring Dukes ahead of him. According to baseball sources, Acta was not angry with Dukes for showboating with Milledge near home plate after the home run. There was a miscommunication in the dugout. Dukes thought that Acta didn't want to shake his hand."

The "showboating" Mr. Ladson refers to is a coordinated hand-slapping routine Dukes and Lastings Milledge did before entering the dugout, which is admittedly the kind of thing I see the Mets' players (ed. note - "I'm looking at you, Reyes!") do all the time, which I personally dislike, or would at least would rather not see on the field, but relegated to the dugout, but as Mr. Ladson notes, that was not the cause of the disagreement between the player and Manager, and Mr. Ladson goes on to point out that this is not the first time Manny Acta has publicly addressed an issue with one of his players, reminding readers of his "talk" on the mound with Jason Bergmann, and the "discussion" between Mr. Acta and catcher Jesus Flores in the same game.

Washington Times writer Mark Zuckerman in his article, "Power display charges emotions", appears to offer evidence contrary to Mr. Ladson's assertions, recounting:

"The story of this Nationals victory should have been entirely about the power display put on by the majors' least-productive offensive club..."

...but instead it ended up being about...

"...the aftermath of Milledge's homer, which featured manager Manny Acta chastising outfielder Elijah Dukes who had begun the rally with a double off the right-center wall) for displaying too much emotion, (which) put at least a slight damper on the evening's proceedings."

...And Mr. Zuckerman has a link at the end of this article to a "Chatter: A Nats Blog" post entitled, "Acta-Dukes? What Happened?" in which Mr. Zuckerman states, "I managed to catch glimpses of the incident as it was happening, though not the entire thing," but after some investigation, Mr. Zuckerman pinpoints the moment when the trouble seems to have started, right after Milledge's home run:

"...both players retreated to the dugout, where teammates (and Acta) awaited to give both guys high-fives. It appeared that Acta was pointing toward the outfield as Dukes entered the dugout and the two didn't greet each other. Moments later, Dukes kind of patted the manager on the backside, prompting Acta to turn around and say something. Dukes moved toward the far end of the dugout. Acta followed him back there and appeared to have some strong words for the young outfielder."

From there the argument we've all seen by now took place, and after the "incident" Elijah Dukes angrily took and played the field for the end of the ninth, at the conclusing of which he neglected to slap his Manager's hand, prompting what is basically described (if I may interpret, Mr. Zuckerman's words, "Acta smirked and nodded his head,") as a look of indignation from Manny Acta, which also, by my reading of the situation, is the way Dukes was reacting to a perceived slight on the part of his Manager.

Will anything come of this? What was the real cause of the "incident"? Is this the kind of thing that's going to make the Nationals' Management decide to end their relationship with Elijah Dukes? What happened in the "closed-door meeting" with Mr.'s Acta, Dukes and GM Jim Bowden? Does anyone else think Manny Acta looked as out of control as Elijah Dukes? Will Dukes be in the lineup tonight?...Oh that's right...

With all the drama, I forgot...There's a game tonight...

On The Hill...

John "Cool Hand" Lannan (4-6, 3.47 ERA) vs Ian Snell (2-6, 5.65 ERA)

Pirates' Blogs For A Pittsburgh Perspective --

Buc's Dugout - The SBN's Pittsburgh Pirates' blog.

Bucco Blog- One of my old favorites.

7:05 pm EST at PNC, the second of three, between DC and Pittsburgh. The Nationals look to win the road series, and after hitting 5 long balls, maybe the teams' bats have finally woken up? Not long now until we see...