Game Day 6-Pack: S that D, Shut it down


Please do not confuse this blog with the Washington Federals of the early 1980s that played in the now defunct United States Football League. No doubt their are a litany of die-hard fans who still morn the loss of that great franchise, but the topic of this discussion is baseball.

The topic of conversation is the 1st place Washington Nationals, which will never quite sound right, moderated by yours truly interviewing Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball. Will the Nats really shut down Stephen Strasburg? Should Phillies fans fear a Nationals invasion up I-95? Scroll down with your cursor and find out the answer to these questions and more!

1) Where do you stand on the Stephen Strasburg debate? Should the team be careful and save the young phenom from potential danger, or throw caution to the wind and ride his arm as far as it will take them?

Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed the surgery on Strasburg’s elbow, advised the Nationals on their plan for this year in his rehabilitation. Dr. James Andrews commented on the case and said he backed the course the Nationals are taking. Like Davey Johnson I accept that these decisions are being made by people smarter than me when it comes to the best way to approach the situation and I don’t see any reason why any of these people don’t have Strasburg’s best interest in mind. So as much as I’d like to see him pitch for the Nats if they make it to the postseason and as much as you want it for him for all he’s done to help the Nationals get where they are, if it results in him being healthy throughout his time in D.C., which has already been cut short by injuries, it will have been worth it in my mind. The problem is you won’t know if it was the right decision until years from now when he does or doesn’t have a long career, so it’s easy to think about the here and now and knowing he’d like to pitch let him do it and go for it, but that’s why there are managers, GMs and doctors to make decisions for the players long-term and on a day-to-day and game-to-game basis.

2) Look’s like National’s Ballpark is paying for itself already. Where would you rank it on the list of Ballparks in the country? 

Nationals Park is a great place to watch a game, there’s not a bad view in the park. I’ve sat all over the place and it’s really well designed in terms of sight lines. It’s certainly an improvement over Olympic Stadium where I used to go to watch the Expos, but I loved Montreal as a city. I love D.C. (I don’t live in Washington), but there’s not a whole lot to do around the park. I can only compare it to the parks I’ve been to. It doesn’t have the team museum feel that Camden Yards has. Doesn’t have the old time charm that Fenway Park has. Better than Olympic Stadium. I wasn’t sad to see Shea Stadium go, and Citi Field is a really beautiful ballpark where they’ve successfully relocated a lot of the franchise’s history. I actually love Citizens Bank Park though Nats fans and Phillies fans aren’t on the best of terms right now. Nationals Park is a fun place to watch a game, great crowd when it’s full. And the atmosphere has been electric now that people are catching on and paying attention to what’s happening with the team this year.

3) Some Washingtonians have mused that Davey Johnson deserves manger of the year. Is this just home town favoritism or has the old man really earned the hardware?

First of all, I wouldn’t recommend calling him “old man” cause Davey’s still got a lot of fight in him and he might not react well to that. The Nationals have the best record in baseball. They’ve led their division for most of the season, they’re 30 games above .500 after finishing just below .500 last season. There is an argument to be made for Dusty Baker and Clint Hurdle or Bruce Bochy, but right now Johnson makes a lot of sense as the manager of the year. 7 of the last 12 NL Manager’s of the Year have been first place teams from their division. Given the choice between Johnson, Baker and Bochy I’m going with Johnson.

4) WIth the Nationals rise to first place in the NL East and all of baseball, will Nats Nation be invading Philly and other rival ballparks?

I don’t think so, honestly, though there have been reports all season of more and more curly-W caps turning up wherever the Nationals go on the road. That might have a lot to do with both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg being big names in baseball and not just the nation’s capital, but I think they’ll need to have a longer, sustained stretch of success before Nats fans start to have that sort of traveling circus of fans.

5) Does anyone really enjoy the Presidents race during the 7th inning stretch? It just looks like an awkward parody of the beloved sausage race in Milwaukee. Ok, that one is awkward too.

This guy cares. Jayson Werth is apparently determined to see Teddy Roosevelt win the race, but honestly this is more of a sort-of family-friendly thing that entertained people when the product on the field didn’t. I’m not a big fan of the in-game distractions/attractions that any teams have be it the Presidents Race or the Phillie Phanatic’s whole act. I’m sure kids love it and find it interesting but it’s just entertainment.

6) Phillies fans are forever obligated to hate Jayson Werth until he retires, but have Nationals fans finally warmed up to the overpaid right fielder?

It took a little while for Nationals fans to get used to Werth, if I was to judge based on the tone of the conversation at our site and around the other Nationals sites that I read. However, as one young Nats player after another talked about the way he brought a new attitude and accountability to the clubhouse the thinking behind bringing him in on the enormous deal he got started to make more sense. The numbers he put up in his first season didn’t help, but the reality is that the Nationals knew they were overpaying to convince a player who could have gone anywhere to come to a team that was in the process of building a contender. Werth apparently bought into what they were pitching (and got more money than anyone else was offering), and just two seasons in it looks like Werth and the Nats may have been right that things were about to change in the nation’s capital. No one’s talking too much about how much money Werth’s making right now.