For a while back in February, it seemed a week couldn’t pass without someone from the Nats saying something about the playoffs. Davey Johnson probably was the boldest, during an interview with Comcast SportsNet’s Kelli Johnson, who asked him if it would be a failure if the Nats failed to qualify for the postseason.
“No question in my mind,” Johnson said then. “You know, and they can fire me....I mean, we should make the playoffs. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
At that point, of course, the Nats had never even finished a season with a winning record. Johnson’s comments therefore got a decent amount of national attention. Now, his team enters the All-Star break 15 games above .500, with a four-game division lead and the best record in the National League.
So Johnson sat down with Johnson again. (Please watch it here.) And she asked him about the way things have gone.
“Well, this is right where I expected us to be, if I didn’t muck it up along the way,” he answered.
Then Kelli asked Davey how much his own confidence had dragged his team along.
“They expect to be good, and they expect to play good,” he said. “And if I didn’t expect them to play good, they’d think I was an idiot. I might be, but I knew that they had the capability of being a very good ballclub. And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come back — I wanted to see them grow into the job and realize how good they were.”
And finally, Kelli asked Davey if the bar has now been raised from making the playoffs to winning the division.
“I’m not gonna be happy with anything less, and I’d hope the fans and ownership wouldn’t be happy with anything less,” Johnson said. “We’re no secret in the National League, to anyone in the National League. I’ve talked to opposing managers. Even [Bruce] Bochy the other night, when we wore those 1924 uniforms, said to me ‘Johnson, what, do you have another push-button club over here?’ I said, here lately I do.”
Pretty sure not being happy with anything less than a division title is managerial Natitude.
BECAUSE YOU DON’T READ THE PAPER...
The Nats lost their first-half finale on two wild pitches, and enter the All-Star break with a winning percentage slightly below their 2005 standard.
The team’s top pitching prospect got two outs in six pitches during the MLB Futures game thing.
Some alumni and staff from Maryland-Eastern Shore are trying to resurrect the school’s long-dormant football program.
All-Met guard Nate Britt left Gonzaga to spend his final prep year at Oak Hill Academy.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Raging egomaniac Bryce Harper, discussing his All-Star berth:
“I was just excited Chipper [Jones] got in and David Freese got in there. I don’t think anybody was going to really miss me. They have a lot of big leaguers and whatnot there, so I don’t think the fans would have been upset me not being there.”
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT I
This isn’t local, but Andy Murray’s tearful speech after losing a terrific Wimbledon final to Roger Federer was gripping.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT II
This isn’t local either, but the on-field reaction to insane thunder during Sunday’s Twins-Rangers game was immensely dramatic. Via The Big Lead.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT III
Here is an awkward celebration from two Nats fans after one grabs Ian Desmond’s home-run ball. Via The D.C. Sports Nexus.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
N/A. Sorry. I guess there’s a big episode of the Bachelorette. All TV/Radio listings are here.
The Big Lead reported last week that USA Today had hired former Post Maryland reporter Eric Prisbell as a lead college hoops writer. Some Terps fans reacted with class, like the guy who wrote “I hope his plane crashes” or the gent who wrote “I hope that [very bad word] gets stabbed in the eye with a fork.” Anyhow, my congrats to Eric.
A British aid agency won more than $150,000 on Sunday thanks to a tennis bet made by a dead dude.
TWO THINGS FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
David Carr: “While the rest of us were burning hot dogs on the grill last week, the newspaper industry seemed to be lighting itself on fire.” Uh, yay?
Mark Bittman on cutting down America’s commitment to consuming milk and dairy products.