Ask Boswell: Jim Joyce and Armando Galaraga's perfect game, Nats, Strasburg, MLB, Redskins and more
Thursday, June 3, 2010; 11:00 AM
Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell was online Thursday, June 3 to take all your questions about Stephen Strasburg's impending debut, the Nats, the blown call of Jim Joyce that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game, Major League Baseball and the Redskins.
A transcript follows
Tom Boswell: Lets get started!
No questions from Jim Joyce, please.
Rockville, Md.: I get uncomfortable everytime I hear someone in baseball -- including media -- state with such unflinching certainty that Ken Griffey Jr. played his entire career clean. How can they know for sure? Is this just a case of him being well-liked? Seems to me he shows as many signs as most players who have been caught cheating -- not only his prodigious output, but his body certainly changed over the years, and he repeatedly had to come back from injuries.
Tom Boswell: I know Griffey as well as any player I've ever covered. He's clean. In '98, when everybody was talking about McGwire and Sosa, he joked to me that his bats were thicker than his arms.
I may write a column for this weekend about how Griffey's whole life, including his suicide attempt in the minors when he was 17 -- he swallowed over 250 aspirin and, he told me, was "27 points above critical" -- are an open-book explanation of why he would never cheat just to break records.
After the suicide attempt, he realized that the vast expectations, from childhood, from everybody around him -- including much talk before he was drafted No. 1 overall that he would break Aaron's home run record -- had become an almost unbearable burden. "I felt like everybody was yelling at me," he said.
He resolved this life-threatening situation by turning his hat around backwards. Really. That was his outward expression -- and constant reminder to himself -- that he would, henceforth, play the game for joy, fun and self-expression and never again for records, personal honors or fame. We talked about this for hours one day for a long Playboy profile of him that I did in July '98. If you can find it and read it, I think it will explain everything -- including my interview with Barry Bonds about Griffey, one of his best friends, but his biggest rival. Even though I wrote it just before McGwire-Sosa exploded, I was stunned to reread it last night. Without knowing it, just laying out the vast difference in personal background and temperament between Griffgey and Bonds predicted how they would react to what was coming.
Maybe I can come up with a link later.
Time Well-Spent?: At the end of spring training, one of the reasons the Nats said Strasburg needed some minor league time was so that he would learn how to deal with base-runners. Did he get that training/experience...or was it really all a ploy to delay the major league time/major league contract?
Thanks, Tom. You are my (writing) hero.
Tom Boswell: There were concerns that his move to the plate was too quick -- 1.1 seconds -- and damaged his stuff to the plate a bit. They wanted him to get in jams, get knocked around some. It didn't happen, or barely. As far as I can see, all it's done -- from a pitching education point of view -- is get him to neglect one of his great pitches, the changeup that looked so fabulous in his exhibition starts. It's the only pitch some of these AA and AAA guys had a chance of hitting for power. So there were games he barely threw it and never a game where he really got to work on it and keep it sharp. I hope he throws plenty tonight. He may not need it against the Pirates. Lord, are they bad. But he'll need the 95-98 sinker and changeup, as well as his best pitch (his two sliders), very soon.
Also, the Super 2 consideration was important. But since everything pointed in the same direction -- 10 starts in the minors, like Mark Prior -- it was a no-brainer to do it the way we've seen play out.
Potomac, Md.: Hi Bos,
Ian Desmond had three errors in last nights game and leads the league with 14. Does he not play today?
Tom Boswell: Desmond is on a pace for 42 errors. Nobody in baseball made more than 25 last season. That speaks for itself. Desmond is a wonderful talent and should play shortstop where his range is wonderful. Some of his errors have some because Dunn, hard as he tries, is utterly immobile. His footwork is non-existent. He goes into his stretch way too soon and gets locked up so he can't move laterally at all. So wide throws that a quick 5-foot-9 first baseman could shift and catch with his foot still on the bag, so past Dunn before he can blink for errors. Also, last night's double error is the kind that can be corrected fast. Don't make the "phantom tag" of 2nd base on the DP when you are a rookie, because they won't give it to you. (And he was way too far from the bag.) And the throw to first was silly. There was no player. The throw almost went directly over the base, but Lannan tried to catch it on the run and it went behind him. He's no acrobat either. So, for me, his 14 errors, three of them in the first four games, feel more like 10. You have t play him, live with it and see how he progresses. But it unnerves a team and it unnerved the Nats. They need to get over it today in an important afternoon game. They want a 4-6 roadtrip and a 27-28 record to come home.
Desmond's worst mistake, and he knew it instantly, was the 9th inning grounder when he tried to make a selfish ESPN webgem play behind 2nd with a crazy flip to Guzman when he simply should have thrown to 1st for the first out of the inning. He sceamed into his glove about 10 times and knew he'd blown it. Capps held the lead, saved his bacon and Desmond gave him a big hug in the post-game handshake line.
I'd play Guzman this afternoon, not as punishment but just to take a lttle pressure off. Waver would put him right back out there. He thought a good player's biggest days often came when you showed confidence in him and gave him a chance to atone immediately.
But these errors are exacly why it's the right idea to spread Desmond, Guzman and KLennedy over both SS and 2nd. It gives Desmond some time to clear his mind and not try to play 157 games.
He's going to be good, maybe very good. But I wish the Nats would stop talking about "Jeter." It's crazy. Let him get his errors down to 20-25-a-year. Which may take until '12. But I think it'll happen. ven with the errors, he's better than I thought he'd be. That's how fine his range and athleticism are.
A portrait of a pitcher as a wronged man: Ouch ! Will this go down in baseball lore as a perfect one-hitter ?
Tom Boswell: I just filed a column on Galarraga's Imperfecto which should be up on the web pretty soon, I suspect.
I think Bud should reverse the call in the best interests of the game. Everybody screams, "But what about the precedent it would set!"
Yeah, what precedent? That the next time an umpire blows the 27th out of a perfect game by two feet (then the pitcher gets the 28th out on the next hitter so that the bad call has no effect on the outcome) the next commssioner will reversethat call, too? Oh, you mean that precedent?
Come on, just do the right thing. By the time Bud leaves the stage at the end of the '12 season, everybody knows that baseball will have worked out its position on instant replay. That's going to be one of Bud's legacies. Whether he gets that mostly right or largely wrong will be very important. But reversing this call would be minor in comparison. Besides, while it wouldn't matter that much to Galarraga -- in the long run he'll get more fame, money and sympathy if the call isn't reversed -- it will change Jim Joyce's life. You can never erase the call. He'll know he "kicked the (bleep) out of it." But it will slash the aggravation and harrassment he'll receive enormously.
If you're commish, you do this for Joyce, a super ump, great guy and somebody (with no ump's union anymore) who works directly for you. Of course, it'll make Galarraga a little less famous.
Washington, D.C.: Tom,
I think you could argue that the almost perfect game last night should still be called a no-hitter. The official scorer should rule that the pitcher clearly beat the runner to the bag, an out should have been made, and that the umpire's perception of the catch being bobbled caused the safe call. The only apparent reason for the safe call that I see was that the ball did not appear to be caught cleanly(ie a snowcone catch). So if the play should have been made but was not, that should be considered an error and thus a consolation no-hitter.
Tom Boswell: Interesting idea. But Joyce took full responsibility. So that blows up scoring it as an error. Joyce's post-game quotes were amazing. Made you want to tear up. "This isn't 'a' call. This is a history call...I missed it. I missed it from here to the wall."
After he saw the replay, Joyce found Galarraga after the game and apologized. Everybody behaved so perfecly afterwards you could hardly believe it. Actually made me proud of the game that there are so many inernal codes of behavior that if just one person "acts right," then everybody else does, too. It's like a vituous chain reaction. Galarraga said, "Nobody's perfect....I give a lot of credit to that guy...You don't see an umpire, after a game, say, 'I'm sorry.'"
Leland, who cussed in Joyce's face for heaven knows how long -- Joyce said he'd have done the same thing to himself -- said, "That guy is a very, very good umpire."
Fairfax, Va.: Boz-
Many years ago I recall a minor league game in which a runner deliberately broke up a no hitter by allowing a ground ball to hit him. He was out but the batter records a hit. The president of the league (I think PCL) over ruled the scoring (more or less unsportsman's like conduct) and reinstituted the no- hitter. Bud shoud follow this example today
Tom Boswell: Interesting. Thanks. Doubt if Bud's on the chat today! Might be kinda busy by this a.m. But you never know what might make its way to his ear -- like the PCL example if somebody in his office gets wind of it.
Anonymous: Is there any real reason Bud Selig can't reverse the call and give Galaraga the perfect game? Rules can be changed, and this is a common sense change.
But I can't see it happening because of the 2002 All star game. Bud let himself be tied down by rules he could have changed. Why didn't he just allow pitchers who had already pitched to pitch again. Sure it's against the rules, but it's just an exhibition game and common sense dictated that the winner should be a team, not the rule book. But he did nothing. I suspect he'll do the same.
Tom Boswell: The "easy" way is for Bud to do nothing. And the "easy position" for the media pundits -- who now have to give their opinion in one minute, not one day (which was bad enough) -- is to say, "Tough luck. Don't do anything. Hey, I don't want my fingerprints on any tricky precedents. Oh, and let me jump up and down about how baseball needs more replay because that's a popular trendy position and I don't really care about the game all that much anyway."
Basebal's biggest problem is its pace of play. It drives me crazy. It's gotten to the point where I can only watch games on tape so I can jump 30 seconds to the next hitter or after foul balls and eliminate commercials. The sport better be very, very careful about having MUCH more replay beyond "boundary calls." It can survive those delays because thopse plays can change the score so dramatically.
I've got to admit, however, that the idea on no umpires at all is starting to grab me. I think the "box" image of the strike zone that you see on TV now or on MLB.com -- provided it was adjusted for the height/stance of the hitter - does a better job on balls and strikes than ANY umpire. I could easily live with a machine calling the plate. (On days Tim McClelland works home plate, it might cut an hour out of the game, too.)
One reason baseball can live with some imperfect is that, over 162 games, the calls really do even out. Or they even out enough that, with wildcards in the sport, no team should be able to say -- with a straight face -- "the umpires kept us out of the post-season."
Oh, to your first point, Bud can do anything he wants, declare marshall law, wahtever. Why Bud could even keep a team out of Washington for many years for no good reason except that he was scared of Angelos law suits, then put a team in Washington when baseball got a billion dollars out of it. ($611M for the ball park, plus the>$400M the Lerners paid to the other 29 woners to buy the team).
If Bud can cost us at least 10 extra years of baseball in D.C., he can damn well give Galarraga his perfect game and get this gorilla off Joyce's neck. And he can say, "Any commissioner who doesn't have the common sense and guts to apply my Selig Precedent in the future doesn't have enough good common sense to be commissioner."
washingtonpost.com: Here's Boz's column on last night's blown call ... and what Selig should do to fix things, fresh from the Sports desk: Thomas Boswell: Reversing the call would show baseball has common sense (Washington Post, June 3)
Washington, DC: I thought the O's offense was aneimic, but then I saw that the Diamondbacks hadn't scored a run in 31 innings. Add that to three, uh I mean two perfect games, another no-hitter, a guy with a sub-1.00 ERA with 10 wins, and the greatest pitcher prospect since the Kool-aid man bust through a brick wall, shouldn't we be talking about lowering the mound instead of a blown call by an umpire?
Tom Boswell: Scoring has fallen back to "perfect" -- 4.50 runs a game, give or take a hair. Thoughout baseballhistory, that's been considered ideal.
MLB is starting to look like the NBA where you always have a half-dozen patsy teams playing under .333, and some under .200, so that a large majority of teams "look like winners" because they are over .500.
I have never seen so many hideous run-differentials of teams that are being outscored by more than 1.5 runs a game. According to Pthagoras, Pittsburgh has had seven extra wins of luck! And they are still awful. The Astros are pitiful. The Nats should be ashamed of their last two loses, especially the 8-7 thing. Houston begged them to take that game. Baltimore, Cleveland and Arizona, as you say, too.
Herndon, Va.: Bos,
May I give a shout out? I'd like to thank Ken Griffey Jr. for playing the game the right way in an era when so many did not. And if you ate it, drank it, stuck it or rubbed it ... I'm talking about you.
Tom Boswell: Check.
And I just saw a report that the commissioner's office was deciding whether or not to take action on the Joyce call.
Bud, read the column! ;-)
It's up on the site now at washingtonpost.com ... and right above.
Sec314: While Bud's busy overruling calls, get him to overrule the check swing call on Berkman the other night and give the Nats the win.
Tom Boswell: Was that awful or what. Even worse when I saw it on re-replay before last night's game. If Fat Evis had hit that ball with his "checked" swing, it might have ended up in the Crawford boxes.
Those are the kind of plays that leave a mark and haunt a team for a period of time. It can change a whole chunk of a season. It's part of the manager's job to find some way to get the team's mind AWAY for that stolen game and back in the present. If Rig's got a full-blown (semi-fake) tirade in his repetoire, he should throw it this afternoon and make Bill Hohn eject him.
Hohn's ejection of Oswalt on Monday wasn't his best moment, but when Roy pointed at Hohn, shouted and, thus, showed him up, he was asking for it. The problem is that, since MLB stangled the ump's union and took over the Blue operation, the same MLB executives who control the umpires now are also, in some cases, team officials. So, when the Astros execs went balistic over Oswalt it had an intimidating -- and pro-Astro effect -- that would have happened when crazy Richie Phillips had their back. If Hohn had banged out Berkman, like he should have, the very next night to end a tough defeat, he really would have had reason to wonder if he was damaging his career. When MLB runs the umps, then the umps have to worry about angering any one one, or any one inflential exec, too much. Oswalt and Beckman, back to back? A lot will call Hohn "gutless." In fact, I did. I hope I didn't wake my wife. Though it';s the word I used after gutless that would have done the trick. But if you think about it, you can sympathize. A little. Almost.
Washington, D.C.: Thanks for saying that all the quotes almost made you wanna tear up. I found myself tearing up, and then thinking "what am I crying about?!" The video of the bottom of the 9th is so painful to watch, knowing the outcome. Starting with that amazing catch....I gotta say, Bud should make it right, but Joyce and Galarage are both stand up high class, forever and always for how they have handled this unfortunate circumstnace.
Tom Boswell: Yup.
Sec 114, Row E: The sin in this is how lazy Jim Joyce looks. Rewatch the replay. Pay attention to Joyce's feet and posture. Flat footed and really bored looking - it's the last out of a perfect game, wouldn't he be motivated to be a little more involved in the play?
Tom Boswell: Knowing Joyce's reputation -- voted second best ump in an '06 SI pole -- I'm sure he, like the other three umps, was thinking from the seventh inning on, "Please, don't let me blow one." But it looked like he turned his head at the last instant and only picked up the ball as it arrived at first base.
Interesting that the Don Denkinger call was also on a pitcher taking a flip throw covering first base. And the "missed it from here to the wall" amount of the mistake -- had to have been at least a-foot-and-a-half in the most damning freeze frames -- was about the same.
Anonymous: I have to agree with the earlier poster about Ken Griffey. It's not his fault, but because there have been so many shocking cheaters, the clean ones are tainted in our minds too. We sure thought all those other heroes were clean too.
I believe you that he's clean. But unless we all know every player as well as you know Ken, there will always be doubt in my mind about every player that is said to be clean.
Tom Boswell: You're right. It's too bad. I go back to Griffey, Sr., in Puerto Rican winter ball in about '76. He and Danny Driessen would start laughing and teasing eachother by the batting cage and once they got eachother started, they couldn't stop laughing. No words, just looking at leach other, knowing the other guy was going to keep it going. Once, I went away, came back after an inerview, and they were still laughing so hard that neither of them could get in the cage and hit. Griffey comes from an essentially happy and fun-loving family. Play hard, but play for the game itself. Bonds, whose father I really liked, but then I never saw him when his alcoholism was in lay, comes from one of the more dysfunctional, angry families you'll find. Bonds: Play for vindication, to "show 'em," to "stick it too em." "In the novel, character is fate." Don't remember whose semi-famous quote that is. Sometimes it works that way in life, too.
Vienna, Va.: Bos, is it just me or are you and the folks doing the 9:30 chat getting fewer Redskins questions and more Nats stuff? Usually, minicamp was worthy of tons of Colt Brennan questions. Is a sea change blowing?
washingtonpost.com: First Things First: Jim Joyce's blown call and more -- Barry Svrluga on the latest sports news (Washington Post, June 3)
Tom Boswell: It's June. (Not december.)
And, if so, it's about time.
Washington, D.C.: It's not unprecedented that calls are reversed after the fact. Olympic medals have been revoked and given to others. It rights a wrong, but doesn't fix it all as the original call steals from the eventual winner the glory and celebration at them time of the achievement.
Tom Boswell: Good point.
Silver Spring, Md.: Tom,
What's the latest on Jesus Flores? With an aging Pudge, I'm more and more concerned that Will Nieves is not a long term or even short term solution. Not just because of his lack of offense, but I'm not sure he works well with our pitchers. With Pudge, we have NO PROBLEM throwing strikes. With Nieves? Lots of walks!! Aarrggghhh!
Tom Boswell: I've seldom if ever seen anyone have such horrible injury luck from one foul bad. (And the rehab gone wrong.) No, nobody mentions Flores much. When you are a catcher and your throwing breaks that easily and stays hurt that long, you have to consider it a bonus if he ever comes back. Though I'm sure they'll say that they think he is coming back. This, for me, is now like Wang and his shoulder. Enough has gone wrong with both of them that, while I';m rooting for them, I'll believe it when I see it.
Washington, D.C.: Been having a discussion at work this morning -- I think it is so much worse if Joyce gets the call wrong the other way around. Can you imagine if the last out of the game, a batter is clearly safe (be it infield hit, or trap ball in the outfield), but is called out, giving him a perfect game? Any perfects or no-no's where this has happened on a final play (excluding ball/strike calls)?
Tom Boswell: There is definitely a tendency among official scorers, and perhaps umps, to make sure that, late in a game, you don't contribute to a "cheapened" no-hitter.
But, conversely, early in the game, scorers say, "Make sure the first hit is a good one." They don't want to give a cheap hit and have it be the only hit. Because, for example, the fielder will probably yell, "That was my fault, my error, not a hit" to be a good teammate. Then the scorer is the bad guy.
St Louis, Mo.: No question, really; just a comment: Saying that there's no need to reverse Jim Joyce's blown call because Galarraga already lost his ability to celebrate "in the moment" makes about as much sense as saying that prisoners who've been wrongly convicted and are then exculpated by DNA evidence shouldn't be set free because their chance to celebrate a "not guilty" plea in the courtroom no longer exists. You do what you can to right a wrong.
As you wrote this morning, Tom, Selig should overturn that call.
Tom Boswell: Beautifully made point. Wish I could have stolen it earler for my column.
Oh, that reminds me, I wanted to give the name of the Nationals Journal poster "BinM" who originally came up with "Clip, Store and Save" for Clippard, Storen and Capps.(Which I immediately stole, of course.) It was Robert Farrimond.
Great Falls, Va.: I've got my tickets for Tuesday and saw where the game is now sold out. Can you write a column for Tuesday morning asking everyone to be patient with this kid and just appreciating the moment for what it's worth - the very beginning of hopefully a long and extremely successful career as a Nat?
Tom Boswell: To a degree, I tried to do that in the column where I pointed out that in his first six starts, Roger Clemens ERA was over 7.00. And, in the middle of his second year -- with his overall ERA down to about 3.75 -- he had season-ending shoulder surgery. New ngland officially declared The End of the World. The next year Clemens went 24-4.
Be patient, folks. That knee-high sinker that he loves for 0-1 is designed to be hit, not missed. But they will be nights, like his last game, where some of those sharp grounders find holes or go down the lines for doubles. And almost nobody in MLB thinks anything of a 97 mph pitch if it's not in a good spot -- or if you are looking in the right spot. The guy who hit the homer off Strasburg in his last game on a fastball up-and-away -- to the opposite field, no less -- looked like a cartoon of a minor leaguer. Hey, I could lose a few pounds, too. But when he was rounding the bases, you thought, if THIS guy can hit a home run off Strasburg, then I better get used to the idea that he's going to have an ERA around or above 3.00, just like almost every other really good pitchers."
And a .500 record with a 4.00 ERA, like Lncecum as a rookie, wouldn't surprise me.
But I don't think it's possible for him, if healthy, to avoid becoming as good as Hanson Cane, Josh Johnson, Kershaw, Jurrjens last year, Gallardo. Can he become, someday, the pitcher he most resembles in stuff: Jimenez.
Hope so. Someday. But Jimenez, 26, needed several years, not a few weeks, to get there.
Centreville, Va.: I think you're wrong about what the "popular" move would be for Selig. According to the poll attached to your own article a huge majority want him to reverse the call. Personally, I don't see how this would help Jim Joyce. Reversing the call would not erase it from everyone's memory, and he would become known as the only umpire who made a call so bad that the comissioner had to step to negate it. Face it, he's screwed either way.
washingtonpost.com: Poll: Should Jim Joyce's call be overturned? (Washington Post, June 3)
Tom Boswell: Thanks for the poll mention.
What if Mookie Wilson's ground ball through Buckner's legs, after the ball was already in RF, had been ruled a foul off Wilson's foot. (Yeah, I know, very unlikely. Hey, this chat stuff is as fast as you can type! Don't demand too much.)
Buckner would have known that he choked what he thought was a huge play. So would everybody else. But I bet he would have felt a lot better -- and taken infinitely less grief -- if the Red Sox hadn't lost the game. Don't you think? So it matters whether he costs Galarraga -- the ex-National -- the perfect game.
Navy Yard: Last night, I was reminded of why I love baseball. From the way Griffey announced his retirement to how everyone involved in the perfect- game conducted themselves after out No. 28 was recorded, genuine grace, humility, and respect were on display.
Marc Fisher said baseball is our national pastime because it represents what we consider the best qualities in ourselves and we want to pass that on to each generation. Last night, that was certainly true.
Doesn't change the feeling on being punched in the gut I get every time I see Galarraga's face after out 27, but I hope the commissioner sees what I saw last night and does the right thing.
Tom Boswell: Thanks.
Rockville, Md.: I've read several attempts to explain the increase in perfect games over the years, but I still don't get it. The first 10 perfectos were spread over a period of 101 years, and included gaps of 24 and 44 years. The last 11 (+1 last night) have all occurred in the last 39 years, and there's never been a gap of more than 5 years. What's your take?
Tom Boswell: They are so rare that I'd simply say they are utterly random.
Three in a month's time is ... I don't even know what it is.
Money Mike: Hey Bos, the Nats are about to pick Bryce Harper on Monday. In two, three, four years, or whenever he debuts, what do you anticipate for the hype and media attention. Do you think it will measure up to Strasburg, or even be a bigger deal?
Tom Boswell: Flame-throwing pitchers -- will he throw a no-hitter tonight? -- are the game's biggest attraction. That's only heightened because they pitch every fifth day, or on the fourth day with Nolan Ryan came up.
Harper, if he and the Nats are so lucky as to see him develop that way -- would get plenty of hype. Like Heywood in Atlanta. How much impact has HE had! It isn't the Phils in first place any more.
Big Game Today: This really is a big game today for the Nats. The last thing they want to do is come home from a lousy road trip and then deal with all the Strasburg hoopla. Is anyone worried about a player backlash or is there equal anticipation in the locker room?
Tom Boswell: Strasburg is well liked, and genuinely liked, in the Nats clubhouse already. But, for a team that should be delighted if it goes 82-80 this season -- even WITH Strasburg -- I'd say this is a pretty big game. What's the point of battling all the good teams to a standstill for 50 games if you then lose three-out-of-four to the Astros, a team so bad that Oswalt says that he'll leave Houston to go ... well ... almost anywhere since he claims he'll waive his no-trade to come to Washington.
I'm not looking for that to happen. But after the $25M odffer to Chapman, I've learned not to underestimate this bunch too much. But that was for a 22-year-old.
Overland Park, Kan.: MLB.com is reporting that Galarraga is bringing out the lineup card for today's game. Joyce is the home plate umpire. Another classy move by the Tigers organization.
Tom Boswell: Got to check that out.
I always say the questions here are better than the answers.
Sorry, I just can't get to any more. See you all next week.
Lincoln Park, D.C.: Is it just my imagination, or is Nyjer Morgan not the player he was last year? He often seems to misread fly balls, and misreads pitchers while he's running bases. Could this be a hangover from his injury? Or what?
Tom Boswell: He's trying too hard. It took him a long, long time to get where he is. He started as a serious hockey player. He'll be 30 next month. He doesn't have that many years to use his wheels to make a career for himself. Also, he came late to baseball and doesn't know some of the nuances as well as you'd think. So he's a smart quick-witted guy who makes some dumb baseball plays. But the last three games he seems to have broken out of his hitter slump. I think he'l go back to his career average of .294 with a good enough on-base percentage. I don't know what on earth is going on out there in CF sometimes. I didn't think it was possible for an OFer to regress. i think he'll get that straightened out. The Nats are 100 percent behind him, really believe in him and like him. That ought to help.
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