So we have established two points: 1) the Nats have Scroogelike and unpleasant owners who apparently would roast their employees and fans on a spit for cold hard cash; and 2) the Nats have abominably incompetent, obsequious, and biased announcers. But, if you never have to listen to MASN, as I do, you will never hear the dulcet tones of Baghdad Bob Carpenter or Francis Pravda Santangelo.
(Actually, I don’t either — I now simply turn the sound off so I don’t go all Elvis on the TV.)
This is supposed to be about my journey from mild Nats supporter to stalwart Nats hater. And the following guys, who are not on the current team, helped me get there.
When you are running out a crappy, minor league team in the National League, the detritus, flotsam and jetsam of baseball inevitably are drawn to your team like a fly to, well, you know. That’s because no one else is willing to take the girlfriend abusers, the failed phenoms, the substance abusers, but you probably are.
The Nats were losing 100 games a season and weren’t willing to pay anybody a real salary. So it becomes a marriage of convenience when a guy like Lastings Milledge is available. He’s got more upside, or at least hype, than most guys on your roster, and he has to take what pittance you offer in salary because he’s like Zach Mayo in an Officer and a Gentleman: “I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!” So you’re willing to take a flyer on the guy — maybe he turns it around, maybe he sells a couple of tickets, who knows? He can’t possibly be as bad as the guys you’ve got playing now. No skin off the Lerners’ nose, anyhow.
And when you’re pulling for your hometown team, like I was for the Nats except for 19 games a year, it just sours you on the whole team. Guilt by association, or whatever, but I can’t cheer for a team that features guys who are drug users, bad sports, bad persons, lazy, prone to assault charges, or general d-bags. It’s too embarrassing to be a fan of a team that features these guys. So here’s the past rogues’ gallery.
A Nat for the 2009-10 seasons. Where to begin? He’s the Nats’ Deion. Nyjer not only refers to himself in the third person, but doubles down by referring to himself as a pseudonymous third person called “Tony Plush.” Not making this up. In a 14-5 game, he ran out of the baseline and missed home plate in order to run over the Cardinals’ catcher who was standing without the ball five feet on the infield grass. When his manager apologized for his behavior, he attacked his manager for apologizing for his behavior. Google his brawl with the Marlins if you want. (Gaby Sanchez has a future as a strong safety.) Nyjer got an eight game suspension. He, of course, appealed. It was, of course, upheld.
I would really hate being a teammate of Nyjer Morgan and having to come out and duke it out to defend his asinine stunts or getting drilled later in retaliation for them (possibly getting hurt in either case). I’d sit on the pine when he starts one and just take the team fine, and watch with some quiet satisfaction as some frontier justice is being applied to his noggin.
There’s no nice way to say it, but Nyjer Morgan is just a glass bowl.
Okay, so he threatened to kill his girlfriend/mother of his children? Who hasn’t, amirite? No, this piece of —- found a home here in DC, no problem, immediately after making a death threat threatening not only the girlfriend, but threatening his own kids too. By text, which, while a novel use of technology to solve an old problem, probably isn’t what the inventors had in mind. A class act, even without his three other priors for assault.
The spin was that Dmitri Young was gonna mentor/sponsor him through his problems. Yeah. If one of your first moves as GM is you have to hire an ex-cop to babysit a player, that’s a really good sign that you shouldn’t have signed that player. His signing chilled my Nats-fan ardor very much indeed. He remained a National for two seasons, ’08-’09. Since leaving the Nats: contempt for failing to pay child support, driving suspended, and assaulting a different pregnant girlfriend of his. Great job, Dmitri.
Lastings just falls in the lazy, won’t run it out, overhyped phenom, wants to be a rapper category. Arrogant, too. Another charmer. I once saw him get thrown out in a game in his home run trot, because — D’oh! — he hadn’t actually hit a home run. Pretty funny.
Another winner — I’m sure everybody remembers the bushleague slapping play that got him fined and eventually released by the Braves. This is where he landed!
This may come across as petty, and it may be. Dmitri is not a bad guy, and was an All-Star with the Tigers. But the Nats gave him a second chance when he was out of baseball due to a combination of abusing alcohol and carbohydrates. Developed diabetes, too, and some legal troubles. He responded to the new chance like a champ, hitting .320 with some pop, and reportedly became an elder statesman in the clubhouse.
The Nats rewarded him with a 2-year $10 million dollar contract, which to the Lerners was basically giving him the crown jewels (the highest salary on the entire team was Chad Cordero at $6.2M). And Dmitri responded by… getting so fat he couldn’t play anymore. Played 50 games, got sent away to lose the weight, never did, never came back. But it was just another insult to injury to those rooting for the Nats.
I can’t stand guys who don’t respect the game enough to get in shape to earn their millions. Christian was our cubical shortstop. He was listed at 180; he weighed 230 or more. You could have flown in his uniform at the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival. Never ran out a grounder in his entire tenure. Once, Manny Acta replaced him mid-game after a particularly effortless jog to first. Lazy, fat and stupid is no way to go through life, son.
I know, I know. Enough of memory lane. You want some current guys to hate. Next installment, and you may be surprised, or maybe not.