First, nothin’-but-readers on my colleague Jenna Johnson’s scoop on the hedge fund billionaire who said women can’t be good traders in global markets if they have kids, because babies are a focus “killer.” Paul Tudor Jones (if you have enough money you get to have three names) told the audience, “As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it.” Discuss! (We’ve been desperate for old rich men to give us their insights on the work-life balance dilemmas faced by women.)
Here’s my Friday Fix piece. This is something I’m doing on a week-to-week contract. Meaning, maybe never again, but we’ll see. Today’s is some counter-programming, offering a defense of civil servants who get harangued and badgered in congressional hearings. It’s probably just more chum in the water, but onward.
Anyway: This weekend I’m going to my eldest daughter’s college graduation and obviously the main thing on my mind is whether I’ll be able to watch the Nats games from Ohio. The graduation ceremony itself is late morning on Monday so there shouldn’t be a conflict, which is good, since I’d hate to miss my daughter getting her diploma simply because Harper was batting.
This team is a game over .500 but strangely disappointing. Adam Kilgore recently pointed out that the Nats never come back to win a game when they are trailing after the 6th inning (I’m not sure if that’s changed since Kilgore posted it May 16 and I invoke the Friday before Memorial Day rule that says I don’t have to track it down). Boz points out today that the schedule favors the Nats, with much of the rest of the season filled with games against powder-puff teams. But here’s the disturbing line in Boz’s number-laden column: “They have been outscored 185-159.” So, that’s a problem. If you want to win the World Series you have to be a team that scores MORE runs than other teams, not less. MORE is better. It’s a MORE RUNS-focused league. You definitely don’t want to be a team that, over the first two months, has scored 26 FEWER runs than the opposition. Admittedly, a lot of that was in one blowout a while back, but still.
The other disturbing trend noted by Boz is that the Nats aren’t good at hitting, fielding and running the bases. So that doesn’t leave much that they’re good at. Pitching. Spitting. Adjusting the cup. Autographing baseballs and game-day programs. I’m sure they’re champs at finding good parking spaces in the players’ lot. I haven’t checked the stats on locker cleanliness.
This season, one watches the Nats nervously. Any ball hit to 3rd makes us hold our breath as we watch Zimmerman ponder which throwing motion he’s going to use this time in his attempt to get the ball to 1st. I’ve seen Final Jeopardy contestants make quicker decisions. Then you have Strasburg, who is awesome, but also just one Zimmerman error away from a meltdown on the mound. And then there’s Harper and his awkward relationship with the right field wall. First he smashes into it face-first as though he had no idea there was a wall anywhere within the same zip code; then he flinches and misses a game-ending catch even though he’s not even on the warning track. Then he makes spectacular plays in right field. Say what you will, the guy makes you watch. In fact this whole team makes you watch. So I’m guessing this weekend I can catch them on national TV, in between the obligatory proud-papa stuff.