Davey Johnson wasn’t going to end his career as a top-tier Sports Junkies guest without creating one more headline.
The Nats skipper made his final regularly scheduled appearance on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning, and was asked if he had read John Feinstein’s latest, which posits that the Nats failed in 2013 partly because they shut down Stephen Strasburg in 2012. He said no, so it was summarized for him.
“I say he’s an idiot,” Johnson said. “You do what is best for the day. I live by that rule, and Mike Rizzo lives by that rule. I mean, look at RGIII. You’re still suffering for decisions you made on him, running him out there.”
Then Johnson was asked whether the Nats would have beaten the Cardinals in the NLDS had Strasburg been available.
“Probably,” the manager said.
(By saying this, of course, he did more to back up Feinstein’s original position than anyone, ever. But whatever.)
(Feinstein responded via e-mail: “Does this mean Davey doesn’t want to come on my radio show to do the ‘One-on-One’ segment to look back on his great career? Guess that idea is a bust.”)
And would the 2012 Nats have won the World Series with Strasburg?
“Well, I don’t know about that,” Johnson said. “You know, we had a little different ballclub this year, guys. It wasn’t the same crew. We had some adjustments to make, a couple of new key players, the bullpen a little bit different, the starters.”
This led to lots of internal bickering among the Junkies, who have long disagreed about the 2012 issue. So eventually, Johnson was asked again whether the Nats would have won the 2012 World Series had Strasburg not been shut down, and now his answer had changed.
“I just say probably,” he answered. “Your best pitcher? I mean….”
But the Giants?
“Yeah, well we manhandled the Giants,” Johnson said. “I think we were 5-1 against them.”
Later, Johnson was asked for the best player he ever managed.
“I’ve managed so many great ones,” he said. “I usually go with Barry Larkin, and if I had him a few more years, I’d probably say Ian Desmond.”
Desmond, better than Cal?
“Oh yeah,” Johnson said. ” You know, the way he’s playing right now, he’s awfully good…Cal Ripken’s a great player. He was slowing down when I had him.”
The final question concerned whether Johnson ever partied with his 1980s Mets.
“I mean, we had more beer cans after the plane landed than any team in history,” he said.
Whoever gets this job next will have large sports-radio shoes to fill.
JOSHUA MORGAN DOING THE CRAB
Joshua Morgan doing the Crab at a charity event, via WRC’s Dianna Russini.
REGULAR SEASON GAMES IN COLE
Amazing news from Mark Turgeon, via Alex Prewitt: the Terps coach wants to play an annual winter-break game in Cole Field House. “We’re going to have to put some money, scoreboard, court, fix up the seating for us to do that,” Turgeon said. “I want to do it over Christmas break. Instead of playing a team on Dec. 21 at Comcast, playing a game on Dec. 21 in Cole Field House — I think we’ll fill it up and fans will be real excited to do it.” YES.
POPS MENSAH-BONSU IN WIZARDS CAMP
George Washington legend Pops Mensah-Bonsu is going to Wizards camp. This means the two best players from George Washington’s dominant 2006-2007 team will have both auditioned for the Wizards. (Mike Hall played for the team on and off a few years ago.)
DRIVE OF THE NIGHT
MASN awarded its ‘Drive of the Night’ honors to Ryan Zimmerman on Tuesday night. Zimmerman’s “drive” was an infield chopper that rose maybe an inch past the outstretched arm of the pitcher. Of course, it also broke up a no-hitter.
COMMERCIALS AT FEDEX FIELD
Lots of negative headlines in Redskins land lately. Here’s another, from the diehard fans at Hogs Haven. Writes Ken Meringolo:
Once again, we are seeing an incredibly high volume of commercials at the stadium, played over the loudspeakers at an incredibly high volume….Every professional team sells advertising. But based on the experiences that Kevin and I have had at Nats Park and Verizon Center, it seems that FedEx Field is unique in the way they broadcast commercials. You are more apt to see a corporate sponsored “Kiss Cam,” or a dentist-sponsored “Smile of the Game” cam at these other venues. At FedEx, they are just straight-up showing commercials.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Nats are in St. Louis at 1:45 on MASN. Maybe this time the good guys will flirt with pitching immortality. All radio and TV listings are here.