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Elijah Dukes’ new life

Feb 12, 2011, 3:27 PM EST

When the Nationals released Elijah Dukes last spring, it was appropriate to wonder whether the talented-but-troubled outfielder would ever get another opportunity to play in the major leagues.

Nearly one year later, that opportunity has yet to come, and it's pretty clear it will never come for Dukes, who at 26 is now embarking on entirely new journey: as an aspiring rapper.

The Tampa Tribune has a fascinating story online this morning about Dukes, who is trying to make a name for himself as rapper Fly Eli and also opens up about his final days with the Nationals. Dukes claims he sometimes smoked marijuana before games and that teammates (he wouldn't name who) sometimes brought marijuana and cocaine on the team's charter plane.

Dukes told the Tribune he believes his abrupt release by the Nationals in March came about only because he told a psychiatrist assigned to him as part of Major League Baseball's employee assistance program about theRead more »

  1. Doc - Feb 12, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Good scoop Mark!Looks like MLB is into their typical obfuscation and lying mode again. Dukes says he told the psychiatrist, but MLB says that he never did tell the psychiatrist. Why would he admit to telling the psychiatrist, if he didn't believe that the pyschiatrist told MLB!And who's running the Nats' ship, that in 2010-11 is letting cocaine and pot to be passed around to the players??? Nothing has changed in the underworld of MLB since drugs reared their ugly heads 30-40 years ago!

  2. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 12, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    I haven't done any scooping here, Doc. All I did was link to the Tampa Tribune article in which Dukes alleges all this.

  3. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    I don't buy Dukes' story. If the psychiatrist working for the EAP disclosed any information about this (assuming Dukes disclosed it in the first place), it would likely violate confidentiality laws. There are strict limits placed on what may be disclosed by a mental health professional without the patient's consent, even in an EAP program. Certain employers (MLB in this case) may define other exceptions (e.g., drug use in an EAP program for pilots, for example), but the employee is informed of these up front when they consent to be seen. The exceptions would generally have to be related to safety on the job (see drug and pilots above). Disclosure also depends on the state where the person is treated and the discipline – psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker – since they are subject to different laws in each state. I'd also be curious to know what the parameters of the MLB EAP program is and whether there are certain things, like drug use/abuse that players agree will be disclosed by their treatment provider if it is mentioned during treatment. Dukes could have just as easily gone out an seen someone privately (I'll assume he had good insurance through MLB and the financial resources at the time to pay for the balance not covered by insurance). Seen privately, he would have received the full protection of state and federal privacy laws, rather than the slightly less protective parameters of an EAP program.

  4. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    I don't think it's a stretch to believe some players smoke(d) pot and a few either do or talk about cocaine. And the story is very carefully worded in that MLB/Manfred says the doctor didn't say anything directly to the Nats. But it implies the Doc did say something to MLB and it doesn't feel like a stretch to believe MLB told the Nats (which you'd have to believe is very well lawyered through the EAP).The real thing here (as it will always be for the next 2-3 years as the roster turns over) is that it adds another layer into the conversation when Mike Rizzo talks about getting high character guys on the team now – another layer to why Bowden was such a horrible GM. The next time you read a stat about how few players are left from 2 years ago, be happy and know that we are definitely headed in the right direction.Natslifer

  5. Feel Wood - Feb 12, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Bowden liked high character guys too. It was just a different kind of high.

  6. Big Cat - Feb 12, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Young athletes, plenty of money, plenty of free time….hmmmmm. Some reportedly brought drugs on airplane. I wouldn't doubt it. As I wouldn't doubt that some of the players regularly abuse alcohol. This would not only be the Nats, but all the teams.Fly Williams?….oh no, that was a legendary basketball player from Austin Peay. Fly Eli is his new name. Remind me when his CD comes out. I will rush to the store to buy it

  7. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    I'll bet one of the names of the songs is "Da Man Held Me Back"

  8. BinM - Feb 12, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Natslifer: The EAP Councillor couldn't have said anything directly to WSH management – That would likely have violated client privacy priviledges. They would however, report to MLB on who they were seeing & how often (for billing purposes), but probably not about the specifics. MLB would likely share the list of clients being seen by their EAP staff with teams; Since Dukes already had a couple of 'red-flags' with the Nationals' FO, they mave have kept an even closer watch on his behaviour. A possible drug violation at that point would have cost him a 50-game suspension (after testing), per the MLBPA drug policy agreement. I still think his outright release stemmed from on-field / dugout / clubhouse behaviour than from being "ratted out" by someone from the MLB EAP. If Dukes thought otherwise, he should have challenged the release through the MLBPA.

  9. Theophilus - Feb 12, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    I can’t imagine the Players Association agreeing to waive doctor-patient confidentiality except possibly in the context of a positive test and mandated treatment. So that part of Dukes’s story is pure hokum. On the other hand, there is no reason to doubt that he smoked weed in the on-deck circle, and little reason to doubt he had a posse of fellow stoners. There is enough detail in the Tampa Tribune story to believe that somebody (or some-bodies) in the Nats organization know exactly who he is talking about.That leads to a more fundamental question: have all of those idiots been purged from the team? Looking at the 2008 and 2009 rosters, the worst under-achievers are gone – and have continued to underachieve. On this, strange as it might seem, JayB and I are in agreement. This story is about Bowden filling the roster with people of poor character and Acta being rolled by the players. Maybe it’s about F. Robby complaining so bitterly about the jerks he was required to manage – several come to mind – that the powers that be decided to kick him to the side of the road.In this, there is a message of hope. There may be a couple of guys on the current (supposed) 25-man roster who might whine a little bit about playing time but no obvious knuckleheads – with one notable exception and I doubt that his knuckle-headedness is chemically induced (and may be treatable with therapy in Syracuse).

  10. sjm 308 - Feb 12, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Not sure how Doc ties the 2010 – 2011 season with something that if it even happened was the year before. I Also feel its foolish to think that no MLB players are dabbling in pot. Doc, Rizzo & riggleman don't tuck these guys in at night. I find Dukes suspect on this as far as doing stuff on charter flights etc. but again we would be sticking our heads in the sand to not think some of our "heroes" might be doing something illegal. Am just finishing up the Mantle Book "The Last Boy" and it is amazing what he and Whitey Ford and Billy Martin etc got away with. One great story about a Tiger clubhouse guy taking them drinking the night before a day game and staying up with them until 6:30am. He came in the next day proclaiming he had taken care of Mantle and Ford. Ford pitched a 9 inning shut out and The Mick went deep twice.Back to Dukes, can anyone tell me if MLB tests for marijuana? When I coached at the Div. 1 level it was one of the easiest and cheapest drug tests, and we were always sending two or three athletes each week for a pee test. I can't see pot as performance enhancing so maybe they don't. Still have a hard time believing most of Dukes claims about being blackballed.

  11. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Last Spring Training Dukes' hotel room was 2 doors down from mine. He kept the "Do Not Disturb" sign on his door at all times and the aroma of marijuana could be smelled while walking past the door. He just never was a max-effort type of guy. "Blackballed" by baseball? The guy did it all on his own. 100% wasted talent.

  12. Anonymous8 - Feb 12, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Anon @12:48, you say wasted talent but he was suffering from knee problems which I believe was the main reason for the demise. Sure add in his attitude and work ethic and you have an under achiever.

  13. Sunderland - Feb 12, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Players are only tested for marijuana if the MLB Health Policy Advisory Committee determines they have probable cause (evidence of using, possessing or selling within the past 12 months).

  14. BinM - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Let's face it – Dukes is old news. JayB was right in questioning his level of effort when he didn't play Winter ball in 2009. He entered camp in probably less than top condition, and with the recurring child-support financial problems as well. Rizzo released him for what he observed in the field / dugout / clubhouse, not for other reasons hinted at in the Tampa article. Part of the proof of arrested social development in individuals is to deflect the blame for personal failings to others, as I understand it. Here's a near-perfect case, imo (he now believes he was released because an EAP advisor "ratted him out" as a recreational drug user). A sad tale overall; I wish him well as an individual on his new career choice, but hope to never hear of him again on the Washington sports beat. It's old news, imo.

  15. Anonymous8 - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    BinM, wrong again. Dukes played winter ball in 2009 and then his father passed away so he left Winter Ball with permission from his team. Get your facts right.

  16. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    I'll bet Lastings Milledge could burn a doobie or two.

  17. Sunderland - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Anon8, he left winter ball with permission to leave, agreed. But (according to Sheinin) Dukes was expected to return to the DR within a week. And yet he never went back, with plenty of season left.Did he not go back 100% of his own choosing, or did Licey not want him back? To my understanding, this has never been fully settled. Regardless, he needed winter ball, and he did not play winter ball (he was on the Licey roster for 4 games).

  18. SonnyG10 - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    What a shame. I hope Dukes gets his life together, but I'm glad he's not our problem any longer. I had high hopes for him.

  19. Theophilus - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    It amazes me how legends live on. Goessling on MASN describes Dukes as "a talented outfielder with an impressive power stroke." Nonsense. If he'd ever demonstrated either outfield talent or an "impressive . . . stroke," he would have gotten at least the F. Lopez tour of ML organizations after leaving DC. To the contrary, even the most desperate of teams didn't give him a snort, er, I mean, sniff.(An illustration how CSN got the better part of the Times breakup.)

  20. Feel Wood - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    I don't know, Theophilus. Dukes's power stroke looked pretty impressive to me the night he hit a walk-off home run to the deepest part of center field in the bottom of the tenth inning to beat the Cardinals 10-9. Thursday June 5, 2008 at Nationals Park, in case you're keeping score. It also looked good the night he hit two homers against the Dodgers, which may have been overshadowed a bit by Guzman hitting for the cycle in the same game. Thursday August 28, 2008, again at Nationals Park.Clearly if not for all the off-the-field stuff before and after his time in Washington Dukes would still be banging around the bigs like Lopez and Milledge are.

  21. Anonymous8 - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Sunderland, thanks for acknowledging. It just irks me when facts are screwed up.Opinions we can always debate but when we have facts, let get it straight.Dukes is the perfect post-mortem case study of a guy who overcame so much in a life stacked up against him just to fall back in. If he can support his family and 6 kids (according to TBO) and get into a fulfilling life then great and as I always have, I wish him well.

  22. JayB - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Sunderland is exactly correct A8 you are wrong. BinM, I disagree that it is old news. It was less than a year ago and IF indeed this team that lost 300 games in 3 years had a drug problem it would explain a lot about why they played like they did not care….Acta has a lot to explain in my view…..but he will be out soon in Cleveland anyway.

  23. JayB - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    A8 what are you talking about….Dukes played 4 games in fall of 2009 in the DR league…he was expected to return after his approved leave. Rizzo said he expected Dukes to return and play…..somewhere along the line and confused in a Spanish translation that Mark NEVER got to the bottom of……Licey said either they did not want him or Dukes did not want Licey…..bottom line is he choose to to work the rest of the winter and sat on his mom's porch……he did not come to camp early in fact he did not show until the very last hour as I recall Media reporting….Then Rizzo cut him with no plan B….those are the facts that seem to be so important to you…..learn them.

  24. JayB - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    "not to Work"

  25. Theophilus - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    Feel W. — I guess I'm taking issue w/ the term "impressive." Dukes hit 31 HR in 824 AB — approximately 1 for every 27 AB. He is a 248 lb. guy who occasionally connected w/ a fastball and what happened was what the laws of physics predict. "Impressive stroke" means something you can replicate more than ten times per season. 'Course it's pretty hard to tell the difference between a fastball and a change-up when your eyes are glazed over. And has to his outfield "talent," he probably led the ML over his career in getting hit on the head.

  26. Mark'd - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    JayB, where is A8 wrong? Fact is he played in Winter Ball with Licey. It is a different set of facts that he didn't return and none of us know the real answer. Get over it.My burning question is, where do I get the CD?

  27. Anonymous8 - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    JayB said… Sunderland is exactly correct A8 you are wrong._____________________HUH???? Can you read? Sunderland agreed with me so what are you talking about? Sunderland just went on to say that he never returned which I agree with.Sunderland said… Anon8, he left winter ball with permission to leave, agreed.

  28. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    This seems like something for the sports bog …

  29. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    I would think anyone, stoner or not, might find it difficult to return to work only a week after the death of his father – no matter how much he might have wanted to do so when first getting the news of his father's passing. Emotions develop over time, especially grief and loss. There's a good chance that this is what was going on with Dukes's failure to return to the Dominican last winter. Only a heartless bastard like JayB would even think to suggest otherwise at the time, much less keep harping on it over a year later.

  30. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    "This seems like something for the sports bog"You mean the sports bong, right?

  31. WhatsaNattaU - Feb 12, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Drugs in America? In sports? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

  32. phil dunn - Feb 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    All of this makes Kasten's and Rizzo's assurances last year that Dukes was not released for behavioral issues look pretty ridiculous. In fact, it makes them look like liars.

  33. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Dukes will be extremely lucky to make it to age 30.

  34. natscan reduxit - Feb 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    … there are times in life when the things of the past should stay there. I liked ED when he played for the Nats, and I'm sure there are a lot of good things about him, on and off the field. But he's off the field for good now, and my attention is strictly on the field…. I thank you Mark for linking us to the story, but as for me, I'll take a pass.Go Nats!

  35. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Theophilius, You must be talking about Nyjer(k), in your knucklehead statement. If so, you are on the mark. He was a Bowden-type acquisition but Rizzo did the acqiuring. I doubt he lasts the season.

  36. phil dunn - Feb 12, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    natscan reduxit–Almost everyone liked ED when he was with the Nats, solely because he came her with so much hype. The sad truth is—he was a huge flop.

  37. Anonymous - Feb 13, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    We need to get some baseball started. It's getting testy in here lately.

  38. JayB - Feb 13, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Yea it sure would be nice if we had some reporters in Florida this weekend. Mark, I know because I was there once at the reporting day…..not much for fans but I would think it would make for good stories to be there as they all rolled in….when are you going?

  39. Theophilus - Feb 13, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    To: Nats Redux & Phil D — the notion that "everyone liked ED when he was with the Nats" is revisionist history crap. Mark Z should whip out whatever was written in the Times at the time: everyone, including the public, knew (A) Tampa Bay sent him down because of behavior as much as his strikeouts; (B) about his wife, three concubines and six children; (C) his police record. Bowden et al shrugged because he cost "almost nothing" and had lots of potential — they said. In fact, they hired a full-time enforcer to keep Dukes out of trouble and get him to the ballpark before the umpire threw out the first ball, and wouldn't let him talk to the press by himself because they were afraid he'd throttle a reporter. "ED" stands for Explosive Device. Every day was like counting backward to zero.Nor do I believe for a second — as has been alleged previously on this blog — that all of his teammates thought he was a fine fellow. Dugout dust-ups were reported, then denied the following day. Although allowances need to be made for some of his teammates, particularly those unnamed in the Tribune article, how many do you think were happy knowing their chances of winning depended in part on a rightfielder who thought he was Bob Marley?Gimme a break.

  40. WhatsaNattaU - Feb 13, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    changing call signsnatbiscuit out …

  41. Anonymous - Feb 13, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    Uhhmmm in Morgan's defense … I sincerely doubt that Dukes would last a minute in a hockey rink. Not even that. The guy is a real athlete. Morgan's big glaring weakness (besides a perfectionist streak that makes him freak at times) is that arm. The arm is way to weak for the outfield IMHO. It appears to be below average. Other than that his hitting appears to be very streaky. His ability to walk, and his plate discipline questionable. All hallmarks of a good lead off hitter. Morgan is the superior athlete to Dukes.

  42. The Late Bob Marley - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:11 AM

    What did I ever do to you, Ted? Leave me out of it.

  43. Nattydread - Feb 13, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    If I remember correctly, a certain overweight diabetic first baseman who won Comeback Player of the Year was initially assigned to "mentor" Mr. Dukes. I could see them having some interesting "mentoring" sessions…And yes, Bob Marley was a fine sportsman, too. Leave him out of this.

  44. Anonymous - Feb 13, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    I'll remember ED's wing. Last year up close in ST I saw him making breathtaking throws from the warning track. I hope he gets himself together but his baseball days are surely behind him.

  45. JayB - Feb 13, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Yup Steven@CH must have some interesting Spins right now….Miss those….Steven would always say that character and clubhouse chemistry does not matter much if at all. That raw talent is all that matters. That (Acta) Managing a clubhouse or a team does not matter just WAR stats……This team underachieved all aspects of the game and Sabre Stats for 3 full years during this time frame. Look at the clubhouse chemistry and leadership…..Acta/Riggs..(the two cheapest managers in baseball)….Lenny Harris (card shark), Lastings, Lopez, Young, Morgan…..list of problem attitudes is very long bu that is a start…..IS anyone surprised by the TB article or that many of these guys were high on the field OR AT VERY LEAST PLAYED LIKE IT (see MLB leading error rates for years)?

  46. JayB - Feb 13, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Mark,Are you going to ask Nats FO, ownership and Players from that time frame about Dukes's claims of drug use on trips, in hotels and before games? Is this a story that should be investigated? Or this just water under the bridge and a non-issue? Is this Dukes just being Dukes and are we to believe he is lying….Like Jose Canssaco was wrong about PED in Baseball when he went public to sell his book? That was all just BS right?

  47. sparky - Feb 13, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    JayB – "IS anyone surprised by the TB article or that many of these guys were high on the field"A better question: Is anyone surprised that JayB would stretch things so much that now he's now stating as fact that many Nationals were playing stoned.

  48. JayB - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    I watcher 3 full season ticket seasons of 300 loses….MLB Leading Errors and stupid plays, forgetting number of outs,picked off 1st base, dropped pop ups and players running into each other, not calling balls in the OF………It makes a great deal of sense……Dukes, Lastings, D Young, Lopez and Lenny Harris….those are my views based on their play/work ethic….my view only.

  49. WhatsaNattaU - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Character may not win games, but character does matter.

  50. Anonymous - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    "A better question: Is anyone surprised that JayB would stretch things so much that now he's now stating as fact that many Nationals were playing stoned."Recall that Elijah Dukes on the Nationals was about as isolated as JayB is on these blogs. He wasn't a clubhouse leader or major influence on what happened with teammates. Who was in Dukes's sphere of influence? Milledge, Dmitri Young, who else? Lenny Harris? He was gone after 2008, which BTW was Dukes's best season. If it was Lenny Harris influencing Dukes, then they should have kept Lenny Harris around.Also note that nowhere is it stated that Dukes was smoking in the clubhouse before home games. That's because he was doing it at home before coming to the park – the one place where he had the least contact with anyone else from the team. Dukes was isolated from the team, not corrupting the team.Yes, JayB, Dukes may have played stoned. But you're posting stoned if you think that extended to any other Nationals. Although maybe you ARE posting stoned. That would explain a lot.

  51. Wally - Feb 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Some tweets out there that the Nats are moving Harper to CF

  52. Calle Real N20 - Feb 13, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Dukes hopes to start a rap career. A great way to do that is to establish 'street cred' by claiming to have done dope before games and having a bad rap in the eyes of baseball's establishment.If you believe a word Dukes utters in this regard I have nice bridge I'd like to sell you. It's in Brooklyn.

  53. JayB - Feb 13, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Dukes has proven to be honest and plain speaker in the past….I do not like what he has to say about his life and his decisions. They are very often reflect negative about his choices but if you read what he has said about the gun text, drugs, illegitimate children, unpaid child support, his mother's drug use……I think he tells the truth to a fault if I was his adviser.

  54. BinM - Feb 13, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    @Wally: Why wouldn't the Nationals take a look at Harper in CF? It's been a weak spot since the franchise came to DC. Harper has a cannon for an arm, but may lack range in CF; He's at least worth a tryout there, as well as getting continued work in RF.

  55. JayB - Feb 13, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Harper was CF on team USA…I am sure he can play it…..Jason W the body…either one would be good at it

  56. Wally - Feb 13, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    @ BinM – I am not against it at all, it just seemed to be 'tweeted' about as more than a look, actually a position shift, so I was just passing it on. There is some theory that it is easier to get reads from CF then either corner, which may help his adjustment too. If he can play CF effectively, it increases his overall value to the team (to get that bat from CF), and I am all for that.

  57. sjm 308 - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    I see no reason for Harper not to get several shots at CF both this spring and during his first year. I think it makes perfect sense, especially if Bernadino can prove his value (almost said worth but the pun is just too awful) in LF. I really think Harper will be in the majors before he turns 20 and can't wait to see what happens this year. On another note, while I did not play against Roger Clemens, I don't see how the chemistry of the clubhouse can be questioned. I realize certain posters just have to continue their rants, but the person I know who actually works in the clubhouse has never seen a problem with Nyjer and other players. Believe it or not, the one who was not all that well received (especially by the rookies) was Kennedy who was pretty much old school on hazing/bullying whatever you want to call it .Nyjer was pretty much just a clown and immature, but not a trouble maker. We are going to hear pretty much all year how this is still the Lerners fault and how Riggs is not capable, but for now, I wish to think positively and look for great things. I am not expecting Nyjer to thrive and actually hope they struck lightning with Brown but I am not going to make statements where I have no proof either.(will grant him that Acta & Riggs were the lowest paid mgrs) One last quote from JayB that I just can't let pass. "ED has proven to be an HONEST and plain speaker in the past." Hmm, not sure the courts or his ex-wife & various other women who had his children would agree with that. ED is gone Go Nats!!

  58. BinM - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    @JayB: Yes, Dukes clearly grew up on the hard side of life, was given a chance to improve his lot through his physical gifts and athletic skills, but failed in the long run. Sadly, due to a combination of physical problems (knee & lower-leg injuries), or self-indulgence / arrested development (Child support to multiple women at 25 years of age, the involvement with weed), he failed to "cash in" on those gifts. You were among the most vociferous in calling out his work ethic, IIRC. If other players on the Nationals' roster "enabled" his slide toward irrelevance through drugs, more the shame on them, and I'd hope that MLB catches up with them eventually. I personally see this as a train-wreck purely of his own creation – The Nationals even assigned a 'watchman' to him for over a year, who apparently couldn't keep him out of trouble either, given the Tampa article. With multiple suspensions / fines / lawsuits over five years on his history, this amounts to a possible feel-good story with a probable bad ending for Dukes.

  59. Mark'd - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    I am not a drug guy so I wonder if Dukes shows up at Nats Park high at 2:30 for a 7:05 game, does a marijuana high last for more than 3 or 4 hours?

  60. BinM - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    @Wally – Wasn't arguing the point, but agreeing with the tweet reports. Harper is worth a look in CF, particularly if he's flanked by corner OF with good range. Additionally, the more varied experience he has in the minors, the better off the Nationals are in the long-run, imo.

  61. sparky - Feb 13, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Mark'd, the only accurate answer is that every person has a unique metaboism. This is true for how our bodies process fats, proteins, alcohol, drugs, everything.For me, I smoke pot during the day, I'm not the same the rest of the day. My performance would be negatively impacted in a 7:05 game from a 2:30 joint.

  62. Anonymous - Feb 13, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    There goes JayB posting stoned again.

  63. JayB - Feb 13, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    ABM….grow up or get a new place to act like a middle school boy.

  64. TMI, dude - Feb 13, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    What's the deal with JayB throwing out a BM with his posts? Is he like a monkey in the zoo, flinging his feces?

  65. JamesFan - Feb 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    60 something comments on a guy who has nothing to add to the 2011 Nats. We must love a soap opera more than baseball. I'm glad Dukes is gone. He had his chance. Nats are better without him. Lets move on.

  66. Anonymous - Feb 13, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Three … days … must … hold … on …

  67. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    @ BinM – I am not against it at all, it just seemed to be 'tweeted' about as more than a look, actually a position shift, so I was just passing it on.The problem is (and to a lesser extent now with Eury Perez) is their relative youth. Body changes could bring diminished speed and quickness as they mature. In some cases power production might go up. There are still a lot of "if's" to both equations. Another reason to let Harper percolate in the minors for a couple of years. Once he reaches AA and if he starts to really dominate there then you know you really have someone pretty special. Until then its better to project Corey Brown into the outfield in place of say, Roger Bernadina or Nyjer Morgan as a starter. He is a more mature five-tool potential who appears to be in excellent shape and ready to go. Let's leave Harper to Player Development for now.

  68. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    One thing I am almost dead certain that Rizzo, Clark, Kline, et al hope for in Harper in the here-and-now; that he will generate some spark to the "wave" of prospects he will join. There has been some who have described both Destin Hood and Eury Perez as "slacking" in their play. A prospect of Harper's caliber hopefully will bring forth their very best effort in every single game and every single learning experience. In other words instead of worrying about who has the better "man purse" they will worry more about bringing "game" every night.

  69. Piero - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  70. Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - Feb 14, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Off topic: Read yesterday on "Fanboy Looser" that the Times is bring back its Sports Page and that he, "Looser(some of you may know his real name), will be the Sports Editor. Anyway, I put in a plug for you Mark. Any thoughts on going back?

  71. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    I buy Dukes story. You would think what is said to a psychiatrist would be confidential, yet MLB shot down that by saying he didn’t tell the psychiatrist that story. What they didn’t say was that is between the psychiatrist and Dukes. With all that said, if Rizzo released him for that reason, I’m fine with it. We all knew at the time, there was more there than meets the eye.

  72. SCNatsFan - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    I'm really excited because what the world truly needs are more rap stars.

  73. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said…Off topic: Read yesterday on "Fanboy Looser" that the Times is bring back its Sports Page and that he, "Looser(some of you may know his real name), will be the Sports Editor. Anyway, I put in a plug for you Mark. Any thoughts on going back?Thanks, but I'm very happy with my new full-time gig at I've gotten to know Mike "Fanboy Looser" Harris well over the last year, though, and I know he's going to put together a fantastic sports staff at the Times, including perhaps a couple of my former colleagues.

  74. SpotsyNats - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Mark,Just curious…is Dukes eligible for any kind of MLB (MLBPA?) pension? I'm not sure when players get vested.

  75. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    Track 1: 1st pitch – "I di'nt hit da curb ball, DAM!"track 2: 2ND pitch – " WAT DA HAIL WAS DAT'track 3: 3rd pitch – "Yo, yu out mofo" – oh yeah, well suk my (RADIO EDIT)"





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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