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Spring Training: - Game 15 Game Thread: Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals.

Uh? I'm Sorry...Was That A Joke, Mr. Boswell?

I first read about this in a post by Steven of the rechristened FJB entitled, "Jim Behaving Badly", which pulled a quote from Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell's 3/12/09 chat transcript entitled, "Ask Boswell", where Mr. Boswell responded to a question about whether or not he'd read's Buster Olney's article, "Is Strasburg the Best Prospect Ever?", (which is about San Diego State starter Stephen Strasburg, and the scout who told Mr. Olney the soon-to-be Nationals' #1 pick and ace (No pressure!) was in fact, "The best I've ever seen...and it's not even close."), by stating, as Mr. Boswell did:

"Yes, I saw this piece and enjoyed it.

"I hope the scout isn't the same one who told Buster in March two years ago that the Nats might "lose 130 games." Although that scout quote certainly helped make 73-89 seem like an accomplishment.

"Ironically, the Nats were trying to lose 105 games in '07 to get the No. 1 overall pick. (Bowden, among others, would say it.) They 'blew it.' Only got No. 9 overall. Then, when they were trying to get near .500 in a new ballpark last year, they lst 102 and got the No. 1 overall __and maybe Strasburg!"

Now there are a few ways you can take a joke in sort of a "gallow's humor" vein, between a GM and a reporter, who might laugh off mounting losses by saying that they were trying their best to get the #1 pick, (which is essentially what I resorted to around loss 80 of 102 last season with my "Countdown to 100 losses"), or it could be seen as a joke in response to Mr. Olney's "source's" hyperbolic assessment of the Nationals' potential loss total, or, and I stress, or...coming from a writer, like the Washington Post's Thomas Boswell, who said goodbye to the Former DC GM with a fairly scathing article entitled, "Responsibility Is His Own", wherein he wrote:

"Jim Bowden was never going to be the Nationals' ultimate general manager, the man who, the franchise hoped, would oversee a potential champion. His methods were too suspect, his moods too unpredictable, his reputation too checkered, his enemies in the game too numerous."

...In that light, one could take this "revelation" as one last kick on the way out the door to a departing GM who chose to blame the press and their anonymous sources for forcing his resignation, rather than accept any blame for his own forced departure. Either way, shouldn't Mr. Boswell have added an, "I'm joking of course, they weren't 'trying' to lose" or couldn't he maybe have written, "(Bowden, among others, would say it jokingly)," but no, Mr. Boswell just leaves it out there:

"Ironically, the Nats were trying to lose 105 games in '07 to get the No. 1 overall pick. (Bowden, among others, would say it.) They 'blew it.'"

....Since I couldn't judge Mr. Boswell's tone well, (darn impersonal internets, maybe he could've used a smirking emoticon?), I couldn't decide whether to be incredulous or accept it as sarcastic, so my reaction, was, "They were trying to lose? Really? To get which player #1 overall?" (ed. note - "What? That's the first question I asked...even did a quick google..."):

...Which player might the Nationals have been going for if they were in fact literally trying to lose (which I doubt) is unclear. High school shortstop Tim Beckham went first in '08 to Tampa Bay, third baseman Pedro Alvarez second to Pittsburgh, first baseman Eric Hosmer to Kansas City and then the first pitcher Brian Matusz to Baltimore...and the Nationals were going to pick a pitcher first, right? We all know who the Nationals ended up selecting ninth overall in 2008...and know why DC's choosing 1st and 10th overall in 2009...

I guess I'd just like someone to say to me, "Of course they weren't trying to lose." That'd make me feel a whole lot better...

?'s For The DC Faithful...

That's just Mr. Boswell being funny, right?

With all the bad thoughts you may have had about the Former Nationals' GM, did you ever for a moment think the Nationals were trying to lose?

Sunday Game Thread...

The Washington Nationals welcome one of baseball's top pitching prospects, Rick Porcello, and the Detroit Tigers into Space Coast and counter with Collin Balester on the mound in a Sunday start at the Nationals' Spring home. The Tigers took Porcello with the 27th pick in the 1st Round of the '07 Draft, out of Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, New Jersey, and gave the 6'5'' right-hander a 4-year/$7.285 million dollar major league deal. (ed. note - "What is Strasburg going to ask for?...If that's a contract for the 27th pick, what does the consensus #1 deserve?")

Balester started against the Tigers in the second game of Spring Training, throwing 2.0 scoreless with a walk and K...Porcello came on in relief in the same game and allowed 2 hits and what would end up being the winning run in a 2-1 DC victory.

Here's what Collin Balester thinks about when he's not pitching.

It's a 1:05 pm EST Sunday start for baseball in Viera, Florida. 

Sunday Reading...'s Bill Ladson profiles DC outfielder Justin Maxwell, who is the next in line for a Rick Eckstein swing tuneup, in an article entitled, "Maxwell has all the makings to excel"...There were stories all over the internet, including Washington Times' writer Ben Goessling's, "Part-time prospect ready for full load", and Brian Oliver at the Nationals Farm Authority's, "A Few Minutes with Jack McGeary" about Nationals' prospect, Jack McGeary, DC's 6th Round pick from 2007 and the decisions he's made recently regarding his development and education. Mike Henderson at Nationals has an article entitled, "Dumbluck" about former Nationals' starter Tim Redding getting shut down by the NY Mets. All the way around the world in Tokyo, Japan, estoppel.08 at 1500 South Capitol St. is keeping an eye on Stephen Strasburg in a post entitled, "Strasburg Watch #4"...We've Got Heart is down in Florida for Spring Training...and Dave Nichols writes at the Nats News Network about the, "Nats News Network's Unbelieveably Quixotic Spring Training Schedule", which is just about thee most ambitious Spring Training vacation I've ever seen...and in case you somehow missed this...Devil_Fingers from Driveline Mechanics, the SBN blog with, "An Unconventional Look At Baseball Scouting" posted, "Division-by-Division 2009 Projected Starting Pitching Rankings By WAR: NL East".