As media critics continue to pick over the gradually decomposing carcass of the first half of this Nats season, more and more faults will be discovered. Former Postie and current MLB.com columnist Richard Justice offered a few more during a recent conversation with Sports On Earth’s Will Leitch. (Audio here.)
This started when Leitch suggested that the Nats were among baseball’s most disappointing teams at the All-Star break, and that they were running out of time to turn things around.
“It feels that way,” Justice agreed. “The pitching’s been okay, despite everything. Strasburg gets a lot of headlines, but he’s been okay. It’s amazing the decline in offense. And I think expectations are part of it.
“That’s one of the things I like about the Tigers, and I like about the Cincinnati Reds,” Justice continued. “They have tough fans, they’re expected to win every year, and they don’t cry and whine and blame others when they lose a game. The Nationals have gotten to be whiny this year. It’s like, oh, the media did this….
“They added a leadoff hitter, a center fielder, in Span. They deepened the bullpen. I mean, they were a good team. I thought Dan Haren was a good signing, because I thought he made that middle-age adjustment. But you know, you’re right, if LaRoche doesn’t get it going, if Harper doesn’t go crazy and Span [too], they have too many small problems that you can’t fix it. You’re talking about making a big trade for a bat or a starter or something. Maybe the kid Anthony Rendon will take them.
“But Tom Boswell of The Washington Post wrote a couple days ago, they don’t need a trade, they need a psychiatrist. And I think it pissed the players off. And maybe they need it. You know what, I thought about this — Davey Johnson’s a friend of mine, but maybe they need somebody to come in and put a foot on their butt. Because they’ve got a chip on their shoulder, but that chip is not translating to the field. And it’s so many little things, you can’t look to one thing.
“But they do have pitching and I think their bullpens’ going to be okay, so they’ve got a chance. And certainly when you look at Atlanta, you don’t say well we’re afraid of that team. Because unless the Uptons and Hayward get going, they’ve got some issues too.”
If Boz’s column made them mad, maybe we need to write stuff to make them happy, because mad doesn’t seem to have worked very well.
(Via Eric Fingerhut, who continues to write interesting things about our sports coverage here.)