Late night with the Nationals. I've gone to bed after watching a nearly 70-year-old baseball manager five years older than myself confront some 46-year-old bully who manages the baseball team in Anaheim, which represents Los Angeles, resulting in both dugouts emptying.
I think that was Frank Robinson, who was hitting home runs for the Orioles in 1970, when the bully manager was 11. And I think enraged Jose Guillen, the right fielder of the Nationals with a bad history with the bully manager, Mike Scioscia, was being pulled away from the scrum so minutes later he could hit a two-run home run to tie the game the Nats eventually won.
I think I saw most of this. Or was I dreaming? I thought pine tar works on bats better than gloves. Does Washington have a baseball team after 34 years in 2005? Is this baseball team in first place in the National League's premier East Division? Did this team recently win 10 straight games at its home park at RFK Stadium?
I think that was Mel Proctor and Ron Darling -- not Jay Leno -- talking in my ear as I drifted off. Am I watching Leno on UPN-20? Or is that Letterman on DirecTV-626, via MASN? Am I not getting Ted Koppel on WJLA because MASN switched him to ESPN2? Will both Comcast cable and MASN finally get together and sue me because I'm one of the lucky dozen viewers in the Washington area who sees everything, including Mike Tyson confessing "all" to two women in "Taxicab Confessions."
Will I wake up in the morning and see Peter Angelos and Linda Cropp standing at the foot of my bed informing me what went on during the night -- and these past 21/2 months -- was a dream and reality is a distraught Jack Evans holding his head in hands and D.C. Council commissars Adrian Fenty and David Catania asking who needs baseball?
Or will some discarded Texas Ranger, Ryan Drese, throw eight scoreless innings Wednesday night before Chad Cordero, Washington's best closer since Sam Rayburn, shut the door on the cranky Angels after tantalizing them by loading the bases with none out in the ninth, then getting the last three guys out to preserve a 1-0 Nats victory?
Was that Angelos turning the dial on his radio to WWZZ-FM-104.1, then throwing his remote across his bedroom because the Nats were blacked out on ESPN2 by his own bogus network -- and maybe he's frustrated like many area fans because no one knows what's going on with the Nats in TV land?
Did the Washington Post sports columnist and baseball guru, Tom Boswell, predict from Congressional Country Club in the middle of the Nats' 10th straight victory on Sunday that in a day or two Robinson would "do something to shake up his guys" because he doesn't want them to lose their edge?
"Frank will see they look too pleased with themselves," Boswell said -- one eye on Sergio Garcia and the other on Cristian Gooooozman.
Did Nats GM Jim Bowden violate the axiom set forth by the esteemed Crash Davis in the classic movie 'Bull Durham' -- don't mess with the streak -- by obtaining second baseman Junior Spivey for pitcher Tomo Ohka and signing Drese?
"You don't rest on your laurels," said Bowden. "We filled a hole at second, picked up a good pitcher and gave up someone [Ohka] who didn't want to be here. The risk, of course, is the clubhouse. But everyone loves these guys."
The team, of course, remains in the hands of Major League Baseball, as it has for the past 31/2 years until it gets sold this summer to a group -- hopefully one with local affiliation -- whose first act should be the serious consideration of rehiring of Robinson, Bowden and team president Tony Tavares. Anyone done better?
A run of bad stuff about the Redskins in the offseason is never good, especially since the local pro footballers annually win the offseason championship. But this offseason we've had a weekly Sean Taylor Reality Show -- including Sean missing voluntary workouts, not returning Coach Joe Gibbs's telephone calls, thinking renegotiation and, recently, doing his own version of the TV series "Cops."
But Friday, Gibbs gathered the players together at Redskins Park for a three-day minicamp, or Serious Organized Team Activity (SOTA), without Taylor but with everyone else, including rehabbed tackle Jon Jansen and two of Taylor's U-M buddies, Clinton Portis and Santana Moss. LaVar was there, too, trying to get his knee ready for training camp next month but not nearly as dapper as he was at last Saturday night's Mike Tyson fight.
Nevertheless, the mood was upbeat, the possibilities of reversing last year's 6-10 record running high, what with Patrick Ramsey set to direct what Gibbs hopes will be a more explosive offense that could include some use of the shotgun installed by new quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.
"When you're not successful, you'll try anything," cracked Gibbs as he explained his experimentation with something he'd avoided for years. "We want to be a better downfield passing team."
Prediction: The shotgun will never be used in the regular season.
Tackle Chris Samuels was very optimistic, promising, "We're gonna be awesome." Portis said, "We know where we failed last year." And Gibbs added, "The attraction of pro sports is you never know what's going to happen."
I'm psyched: 14-2.
Touching the Bases
* Last weekend was as good as you can get sports-wise in town, with the Nats on a tear, Sergio beating a great field in the Booz Allen Classic at Congressional Country Club and Kevin McBride taking out Tyson in the main heavyweight event before more than 15,000 at MCI Center.
The PGA Tour and sponsor organizers need to convince Congressional members they can give up their hallowed turf for two weeks a year to host this event. I believe money is often important in discussions of this nature, as well as a place for members to play a couple of rounds. What's the big deal?
And write this down: Tyson will fight again, although maybe not someone as big and strong as McBride. Tyson looked pretty good for five rounds, but wore out. Iron Mike needs to earn too much money to quit boxing, although Rock Newman, who helped with the promotion here, thinks Tyson will retire.
"It was a spectacular event," said Newman. "Someone would be wise to follow this up."
* Phil Jackson obviously not yet ready for a seat next to Feinstein at Red Auerbach's lunch table at the China Doll. . . . Orioles look great, but must improve marketing in Baltimore to increase attendance. . . . Wherever John Madden goes (NBC, in 2006), I'm watching. . . . D.C. United should have played English team, Chelsea, at RFK -- not at FedEx -- in late July. The pitch at RFK is fine, guys, why the pout?
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