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Bryce’s Broad Street beatdown

May 23, 2012, 4:24 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper connects for a third-inning triple off Roy Halladay.

PHILADELPHIA — It was early March in Viera, Fla., when Bryce Harper and Rick Eckstein were chatting around the batting cage at the Nationals' spring training complex, talking about how to approach certain big-league pitchers. Harper brought up one prominent NL East hurler in particular, and stunned his hitting coach with his intimate understanding of a pitcher he'd never actually seen in person.

"This is what he's going to do," Harper told Eckstein that morning. "And when he does it, this is where it's gonna go."

The pitcher in question was Roy Halladay. And when finally presented the opportunity to face the two-time Cy Young Award winner Tuesday night, Harper stepped to the plate knowing exactly what to expect from the Phillies ace.

"I've been watching him for about three years," the 19-year-old outfielder said. "He throws a first-pitch curveball to so many people, and they just let it get over the plate. So I was just really trying to get something up in that situation and get something going. We had twoRead more »

125 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Clip&Store - May 23, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    Nats fans that are gonna be at the game tomorrow, unite! Like this and comment or message me where your sitting just for the heck of it, who knows, maybe we'll run into each other tomorrow!

  2. Clip&Store - May 23, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    sorry, meant to post that to fbook lol. but post here where your sitting if your gonna be there!

  3. John - May 23, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    He doesn't need his tires pumped. But, pretty soon, Harper will be in a league of his own. Maybe he should be the batting coach.

  4. Clip&Store - May 23, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    BTW, i'll be in section 422. high, behind home slightly towards the nats dugout wearing my harper jersey, so if you see me, give me a yell and say you saw me on here! haha

  5. Grandstander - May 23, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    JZimm put in the reverse jinx. Finally facing an All-Star pitcher, the Nats decide to give him some run support. Figures.Whoever sprung for Bryce Harper's media trainer guy is worth every dime, I feel like he's trolling the Phillies harder with every compliment he gives.That's the way you get under people's skins.

  6. Jon Wheel - May 23, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    I was there for this game, and by game's end someone had thrown a beer at me. This means 1. Philly fans are disrespectful and 2. they are frustrated about what's taking place in their own building. I'm loving it and I'm so excited to see where this is all going.

  7. Unknown - May 23, 2012 at 5:17 AM

    Agree with Grandstander. Bryce is playing this like a pro. The young laddy is growing up in front of us!Nattydread

  8. Eugene in Oregon - May 23, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    MicheleS said…WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO! We won another Series!! Beat the Phillies!!!!!!!!!May 22, 2012 9:46 PM————————————-What she said. Squared.Just had a chance to watch the game on replay. So nice not to have to resort to bourbon, Maalox, Lisinopril, or whatever in the 9th (that's not meant as a dig at the erstwhile closer, but rather a positive comment on run support).

  9. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    "That's a guy that you've been watching for your whole life," said Harper, who was 5 when Halladay made his big-league debut in 1998.Tick.Tock.

  10. baseballswami - May 23, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Bryce said something about -even when it's not full, it's loud. I think that was a subtle jab at the bandwagoneers. They might still be technically having sellouts but there are definitely bare spots. Weird how quiet it was, though.

  11. frankc - May 23, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Rivalry? are you serious? the phillies have won that division for at least last 5 years and won a ws. They have second highest payroll in baseball. nats have no fans, play in an awful market and have accomplished nothing. its may! win a few divisions before you type the word rivaly. makes you seem so desperate to seem relevant.

  12. frankc - May 23, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Rivalry? are you serious? the phillies have won that division for at least last 5 years and won a ws. They have second highest payroll in baseball. nats have no fans, play in an awful market and have accomplished nothing. its may! win a few divisions before you type the word rivaly. makes you seem so desperate to seem relevant.

  13. Dave - May 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    LOL. Well, frankc, I don't know whether we Nats Insiders are desperate or not. I'd tend to think not. We've waited 7+ years for a winning season.But coming onto a Nats blog to fulminate the morning after the Nats won their sixth straight game in Nationals Bank Park does indeed seem a bit desperate. (And double-posting over a six-minute span seems a little bit like jumping up and down and yelling.)Yes, the Phillies have won the division several years in a row. But since 2008, their post-season accomplishments have steadily diminished. This is a fact that cannot be denied. I think we're all just hearing the tick-tock reverberating in our ears.

  14. NatsLady - May 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Stuff I like to read:Nationals 5, Phillies 2: A lot of folks in the Bryce Harper/Philly threads of the past few days have said stuff about how, for all of the talk, this isn’t truly a rivalry. I tend to agree. For it to be a real rivalry, one team can’t dominate the matchups so thoroughly. The Nats take the fourth of five meetings so far this year, and have beaten Philly six straight times in Citizens Bank Park.–And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights Craig Calcaterra

  15. UnkyD - May 23, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Frankc: first place= relevant. Sorry your Philthies have jumped the shark…

  16. rabbit34 - May 23, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    And, that is how you keep Philly fans away from Nationals Park. GO NATIONALS!!!

  17. rabbit34 - May 23, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Frankc….That thread you're holding on to is getting mighty thin! All those division wins and the WS win…..doesn't mean anything now, does it??!!

  18. Get Some Players - May 23, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Clippard is the closer now? Our long nightmare is over.

  19. Unknown - May 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    One area the Nats have struggled in is closing out series they have an opportunity to sweep. They are 0-8 with one rainout in these games so far this season — a sign that they still are learning what it takes to be a contending team. The quotes above from the players concern me in that the club, like the last time they played the Phillies, appears satisfied and comfortable just winning the series. Playoff teams sweep series when they have the opportunity. The Nationals have another chance today.

  20. ChiefWJ - May 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Actually, the obituary on the Phillies was said by Davey, in his comment on Zim's injury:"I need you for three games in Atlanta.They're the ones on top, and we need to put our best foot forward down there."

  21. MicheleS - May 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Unknown.. TOTALLY agree, when you have the Phillie neck pinned to the ground with your spikes, don't let up to let them breathe, push harder to take their heads off!

  22. MicheleS - May 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Frankc.. hmmm.. philly fan trolling a Nats board. Who Knew! Seriously, TICK TOCK…

  23. hiramhover - May 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Nicely done, Bryce–and said nicely said!Remember back to ancient times (in late April) when Bryce's AAA stats didn't look that great, and some folks–inc. me–weren't sure what it meant for his major league performance?Here are his lines, comparedAAA: .250/.333/.375 and 1 HR in 72 ABMLB: .264/.343/.471 and 2HR in 87 ABI know it's a limited # of ABs, and I know he'll have his ups and downs. But this kid is PFB.

  24. ExposedinDC - May 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Frank, you are right, it is not a rivalry, the phillies need to win a little bit more for it to be considered a rivalry……trade cole, trade victorino….start the rebuild, we will see you in 3 to 5 years

  25. Water23 - May 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Hey Theo T.S.,Hmmm… Lingering shoulder injury this year, Lingering abs injury last year and I forget what the lingering injury is from two years ago but I am beginning to see a pattern. I do hope I am wrong and Zim is able to shake this injury bug but the comparison to Segui is somewhat true. When Zim is healthy he is excellent but alas not able to stay on the field. Zim take some glucosamine, wheat grass or what ever vitamins needed and let's see the FoF healthy for the rest of the season!!!!

  26. ehay2k - May 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Oh, the joy of waking up to find a phan phutilely, phrantically, and desperately trolling on our site. Rivalry? We just beat your ACE with our number 3, and it wasn't even close. We scratched our best player (Zimm), were still without our beastly power bat (Morse), our best OBP guy and field general who would feast on the staff he knows so well (Werth), and any starting closer. And the phans knew they were beat in the 4th inning when they booed their own team. Get used to booing your team at home phans, and if you can still stomach the journey, a few of you can come to Nats park and pay for our stadium just so you can boo your team here too! I guess in that respect, the Nats are redefining what CBP South actually means, by slamming you at home. (But please don't get so drunk that you fall down and go to the hospital, missing your bus ride home.)

  27. baseballswami - May 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Just some morning thoughts about baseball in general. What's the deal with the high-payroll teams being so bad so far this season? Are they just weighed down by huge contracts with old guys they can't trade that are no longer productive? I would love to read some analysis on that issues. I player I have watched a lot, Buster Posey – came back from a very serious injury, people said he shouldn't catch anymore – walked right back on the field right where he left off. That makes me feel very optimistic about some of our injured guys, WHO I MISS AND WANT BACK! Sorry for the shouting – this dl thing is frustrating. Philthy Phaithful ( not?) are going insane. Some of them who are related to me have expressed that their troubles today started last year – they played their starters into the ground until they gave out, didn't give innings to their backup guys and now they are dealing with the consequences. Interesting theory.Last night kind of felt like the battle of the substitute players at times. Ours were better.

  28. Theophilus T. S. - May 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Phillies fess to fielding extra security for Harper. Sounds like they know their fans. Think Fenway puts in extra security for A-Rod?

  29. Doc - May 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Nice article MarkMeister!I liked the link to ST conversation with Eckstein and Harper. Showed how The Kid thinks….and thinks, which along with the great physical skills is going to make for a great career.The conversation also gives us some insight into Rick Eckstein and how he thinks. For those who find the need to criticize this guy, I would note that it takes a hitter first and and a hitting coach second. I mean, who would you have more coaching success with in the batting cage, Mario Mendoza, Babe Ruth…or our current phenom Bryce Harper?And frackc, your team's success is now in the past tense. Over the next few years it's the Nats and the Braves. Maybe you should switch sports???

  30. MicheleS - May 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Just saw some Phillies comments about how they HATE Pence?? Really? WOW, He is one of the youngest guys on the team and they want to throw him under a bus already?

  31. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Just wondering: if the Nats aren't relevant, then why is a Phillies Phan even bothering to post here?makes you seem so desperate to seem relevant.

  32. Theophilus T. S. - May 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    In defense of nothing in particular . . .. I know both teams have had grievous injuries, but the lineup Manuel put on the field last nite — Pierre, Schneider, Luna, Galvis, Fontenot and the three guys he rolled out after Halladay — looked the lineup for a Spring Training road game. A sign that (A) Phillies have traded so many prospects for pitchers they have nothing coming up through their farm system but guys who play as regularly as Bernadina; (B) they've spent so much money on aging (and, therefore, injury-plagued) players there is nothing left in the bank to go out and buy replacements. A cautionary tale. Let's grow our own!

  33. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    frankc: if we're _irrelevant_ then what are _you_ doing here?

  34. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    On another note: yay, Buster! :-) I player I have watched a lot, Buster Posey – came back from a very serious injury, people said he shouldn't catch anymore – walked right back on the field right where he left off.

  35. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    DC Wonk, in re. that Coke, my next in-person game will be on June 17. :-)

  36. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Just for the record, Schneider wasn't in the lineup until Ruiz was ejected.

  37. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Theo T.S. — great point. And that it exactly why the Nats did the right thing is not signing guys like Fielder who want extra-long contracts. The Phils are stuck with some of those guys for a number of years into the future.

  38. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    >DC Wonk, in re. that Coke, my next in-person game will be on June 17. :-) Now if I could just remember who owed _me_ a coke . . . June 17 . . . hmm . . . Father's Day vs the Yankees . . . I was there when Zim hit that walk-off against the Yanks on a Father's Day in the past . . .

  39. Steady Eddie - May 23, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    And Nats catchers take note — Posey tagged a guy out by standing a little up the line and swipe tagging him as he went by, avoiding a collision.

  40. ehay2k - May 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    So, will E-Jax step up tonight, and pitch deep? Even more important, will he step up, and abuse the bandbox that is CBP to hit a HR, just like Stras hit in DC the other night? Because you just KNOW they are talking about it. And you KNOW E-Jax understands that this park gives him an opportunity to knock one out. As for the Philthies, you can't complain at all about our bench when you look at theirs. And it's not like they are afraid to spend. As the phlailing frankc noted, "they have the second highest payroll in baseball." I guess if you reach deep into your pockets, you can afford Nix and Orr.

  41. fast eddie - May 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    ehay:You point out that we were minus Zim, Morse and Werth. Don't forget the Phils are without Utley, Rollins and Howard. It'll be a dogfight all year but I still think the Braves are the team we need to beat in the NL East.

  42. Water23 - May 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Theophilus,And speaking of growing our own, how are recent draftees doing? Meyer and Purke make for some nice depth to develop and play down the road!!!Pitching, Pitching and more Pitching – Sweet!!!!

  43. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Unknown wrote:One area the Nats have struggled in is closing out series they have an opportunity to sweep. They are 0-8 with one rainout in these games so far this season — a sign that they still are learning what it takes to be a contending team. The quotes above from the players concern me in that the club, like the last time they played the Phillies, appears satisfied and comfortable just winning the series. Playoff teams sweep series when they have the opportunity. The Nationals have another chance today. That's true . . . but . . . Last night's game was winnable. Halladay has not been sharp this year, and, as I pointed out before the game, the Phils are 4-5 (now 4-6!) in games he starts.ButCole Hamels is, imho, the one true ace they still have. Phils are 7-1 in games he starts. In his eight starts, he's surrendered 2 runs or less six times (and the other two, he only gave up three runs). He's pitched at least seven complete innings 5 times.The Phils are old, and their pitching staff is nowhere near as formidable as it once was. But Hamels didn't get that memo. He's their only starter that scares me.We're going to need a second-consecutive gem from EJax, I would think. Getting a hit from LaRoche would help, too. (And a hit from a rested RZ, we hope?)

  44. ehay2k - May 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    fast eddie, I was just pointing our that the phans complain their team is depleted, but so is ours. I think the difference is that when our guys come back, they will still have something in the tank. Utley will never be who he was (knees don't heal, they get replaced.) Howard will not be a semblance of his former self until next season (the nature of the injury.) I believe that Rollins is the only one who can come back and be who he was. Hell, Davey pulled Zimm just to make sure it wasn't a total blowout. Ok, I jest. As DJ said – he needs Zimm healthy for Atlanta. And that is the epitaph on the philthies "Division Winner" tombstone.

  45. Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Rocking chair will get you,oh you won't know what hit you,Tick Tock, Tick Tock…Was it worth it to leave Doc in for some many pitches and innings last year so as he could get complete game victories? Chase Utley was a beast, but the operative word is 'was'. You guys just extended Jimmy Rollins to a long term contract when he got no viable offers from anybody else when he tested the FA market. Though still a very good SS, Rollins is a bozo at the plate way too often. We didn't think that he was worth 2 years, but you signed fragile Laynce Nix to a multiyear deal? Jim Thome? Not worth commenting about, other then he and Matt Stairs should be watching the games together, on the sofa, beers in hand. Ryan Howard? Maybe he comes back, maybe not, but you guaranteed him big money for a long time. Polonco, though having another. Good year at third looks every bit of his 37 years when running the bases. Cliff Lee? The nicks and bruises are starting to take longer to come back from.Hunter Pence? A better then average player that is not a superstar capable of carrying this team in Utley and Howard's absence. Chooch Ruiz? Having an all star quality year, but he's no spring chicken. And his back up should be collecting Social Security. You guys also let the one older guy that is still producing, Ibanez, go to the Yankees, and they thank you for him. Oh, yeah, how did that Freddy Garcia trade work out for you? You know the one where you gave up Gavin Floyd and some guy named Gio? Juan Pierre is an aging mercenary. You have no future in LF right now. What's that you say? Mayberry Jr? He has never seen an outside curve that he didn't like, but too bad he doesn't hit them very often. Cole ? He's already booking a ticket out of town. Your farm system? Let's just say it smells like it's been over fertilized. No, you may come back and make it interesting this year, but you can throw away the Ray Ban Wayfarers because your future isn't looking too bright.Tick Tock, Tick Tock…Another Joe Seamhead Editorial GYFNG!

  46. UnkyD - May 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Comment of the day, so far: I guess if you reach deep into your pockets, you can afford Nix and Orr.

  47. LoveDaNats - May 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    There is no sweeter feeling than beating the Phils except perhaps, sweeping the Phils! Really a great feeling last year at CBP. I used to crow about it on my FB status regularly. I haven't this year though. It feels different. We are clearly the superior team and the Phils are definitely in trouble. It almost feels like our young dudes are beating up on some old men. It's an odd feeling really…..actually empathizing with Phillies fans, only because I've been there so long. Beaten and demoralized. It's great to be on the other side and let them have a taste, but I'm finding it hard to be in-your-face to my Philly friends and relatives. Scoreboard speaks for itself.

  48. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I've lost track, seriously. :-)That remains one of my fave in-person games. The previous day's game is up there, too. At that one, my hubby wanted to leave after Damon's grand slam. I talked him out of it. He was glad we stayed after the Nats came back against Rivera. (We lost the first game, eh, not a fave.)A DC Wonk said… >DC Wonk, in re. that Coke, my next in-person game will be on June 17. :-) Now if I could just remember who owed _me_ a coke . . . June 17 . . . hmm . . . Father's Day vs the Yankees . . . I was there when Zim hit that walk-off against the Yanks on a Father's Day in the past . . . May 23, 2012 8:41 AM

  49. fast eddie - May 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Seamhead:Great analysis of the Phils line-up. Sounds like you've had your quota of caffeine for the morning!How 'bout a similar break-down of the Braves?BTW, last night was a relative "laugher". Nice to get my heart rate back down to normal range after all the 1-run games.

  50. Knoxville Nat - May 23, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Picking up on some comments made by others last night regarding LaRoche looking tired. Might I suggest that with an off day tomorrow and Hamels pitching for the Phils, tonight would be a good time to give ALR a day off? Let T Moore play first base and have LaRoche ready and fresh for the Braves and Marlins series.

  51. stoat - May 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    at this point you have to question the likelihood that the phillies can retain hamels for 2013, or pence for 2014. and that is a doomsday scenario for our friends to the north.

  52. whatsanattau - May 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Come on guys, we're supposed to act like we've been here before. No spiking the ball, dancing, and pulling out a sharpie or a cell phone. Just set the ball down gently, raise eyes and fingers to the sky and say things like "it's great to be here", "we just want to take it one game at a time", etc… (happy dance and woooo hooo in private) … no taunting the Philly Phans or urinating on their jerseys.

  53. whatsanattau - May 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    oh what the heck …. WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  54. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 23, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Got the brooms out to sweep Colbert and Co. I think it's going to be easy. This Phillies lineup is putrid. This team got old overnight. Victorino batting third tells me all I need to know. I think EJack has about a 10 percent chance of no-hitting these bums. And, Davey, when you're reading this, how about ordering EJack to stick one in Colbert's ear when he comes to plate? Hope you're having a nice breakfast, Davey. Stay away from the Scrapple. It's bad for you.

  55. Candide - May 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Okay, the Nats have three of their starting position players on the 60-day DL and FotF was down for 15 days (and maybe again now?). Their two closers are also on the 60-day.Yes, Philly is banged-up also, but can anyone seriously argue that they're as bad off in that department as the Nats?And yet the Nats are hanging on to first place, and Philly is struggling to get out of last.This all tells me that the Nats are the flat-out better team, whether both teams are hurting or both teams are healthy.Watching Philadelphia reminds me of watching the Yankees in 1965, the year the whole team suddenly showed its age after almost winning the World Series the year before. They had only two regular position players under age 27. This year, the Phillies' lineup is loaded with guys in their 30s.In short, I think a complete Philadelphia collapse, as the daily grind of the season takes its toll, is a lot more likely than a Philadelphia resurgence.

  56. ehay2k - May 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Mark Z, can you ask Espi about his at-bat when Ruiz got tossed? I just saw a clip on MLB Net's Quick Pitch, and when Chooch starts jawing, Espi looks at him, looks at the ump, then coolly strolls about halfway to the dugout. Did Espi hear anything? If so, what did he hear and when? By walking so far away, was he just trying to stay out of it? Or was he making sure he was not a distraction in the box, so Ruiz wouldn't have to focus on the next pitch so he could talk his way out of the game? Lastly, was Espi whistling a little "just minding my own business tune" as he walked away?The clip, if anyone hasn't seen it, is priceless.

  57. Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Thank you, fast eddie,but I can' t knock down the Braves, as they have been doing it right,and I think we are taking more then a couple of pages from their book of how to build a long lasting , winning organization. If we ever get a fair shake from the MASN deal,look out! With what MLB gave us, team and farm wise, followed by Bowden's ineptness, it is just unbelievable how great a job Mike Rizzo has done.

  58. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 23, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Candide said: "Watching Philadelphia reminds me of watching the Yankees in 1965, the year the whole team suddenly showed its age after almost winning the World Series the year before."Exactly. Plus, now they want to throw Pence under the bus? Great. Prediction: Jolly Cholly doesn't see the end of the season with this dysfunctional bunch.

  59. ehay2k - May 23, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    We want Manuel to finish the year – that way he can fry the staff completely!

  60. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    >BTW, last night was a relative "laugher". Nice to get my heart rate back down to normal range after all the 1-run games.Indeed. I'd love to get used to a couple of "boring" ninth innings!

  61. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    whatsanattau said… Come on guys, we're supposed to act like we've been here before. No spiking the ball, dancing, and pulling out a sharpie or a cell phone.Agreed . . . and I think we would be/would have been gentlemen (and ladies) about it, if frankc didn't poke at us.BTW, I didn't realize (till I just looked it up now) that Halladay has led the league in complete games 7 times, including the last four years in a row, and IP 4 times.

  62. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    I have been espousing this theory of getting into the batters box for years with a PLAN. This is what sets Bryce Harper apart from the pack. He always has a plan and it gives him a slight edge in the constant battle and daily grind.Great read Mark!

  63. UnkyD - May 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Ehay2k: just watched the clip. You're right, hilarious… Espy being "valorous", as in the old saw about discretion…hehe… Like he didn't wanna get any on him…

  64. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    I dunno, I thought the replies were reasonable and relatively polite.

  65. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I have been espousing this theory of getting into the batters box for years with a PLAN.Amen. And "see the ball, hit the ball" is not a plan.

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Can I tell you that last night was one if the best nights sleep I have had in months.

  67. Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    whatsanattau said…Come on guys, we're supposed to act like we've been here before. No spiking the ball, dancing, and pulling out a sharpie or a cell phone. Just set the ball down gently, raise eyes and fingers to the sky and say things like "it's great to be here", "we just want to take it one game at a time", etc… (happy dance and woooo hooo in private) … no taunting the Philly Phans or urinating on their jerseys.May 23, 2012 9:23 AM———————————————– From the time I got off the bus in Philly for the very first Nats game in Philly seven years ago we have been taking abuse from Philly both on the field, and in the stands.This Grumpy Old Man of Baseball has tried to get to every home Nats/ Philly game possible to stake a claim on our turf. I purposely sat in sec. 140 in RF a couple of weeks ago to cheer Jayson Werth, only to listen to the Phans boo the Special Olympics kid throw out the first pitch, and then listen to them cheer when Werth broke his wrist. So please excuse me if I enjoy just a little bit of smugness on this day, and yes, I do think that we should step on their necks tonight, metaphorically speaking, of course.

  68. fast eddie - May 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Seamhead:You state we're emulating the Braves on "how to build a long-lasting, winning organization". Do you credit Stan Kasten for that?I'm relatively new to NI, but I've read a lot of anti-Kasten postings based on his time here.For the record, here are the team salaries for the NL East:Phils–$174m.Miami–118m.Mets–93m.Braves–83m.Nats–81m.Could the two best teams have the lowest payrolls??

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Soul, for Espi and Ank that may be their first step plan ;) but this is what McGwire talks about in his philosophy of working the count and getting your pitch you can drive. It's hard enough hitting a stationary golf ball. Hitting a spinning baseball where you want it to go is something few can do.Didn't mention last night that JZims single started the rally. A rally has to start somewhere.

  70. peric - May 23, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Harper as a hitter versus Ankiel … stark difference between the two already! Have to wonder when management will get around to freeing Corey Brown. Perhaps they are waiting to see how he has fared by the All Star break? Ankiel continues his pattern of a long home run when a pitcher makes a mistake otherwise a swinging out. As far as the Nats Plan, for this team to match the Philies as "king of the mountain" and surpass them they have to stick with the program, stay the course, a course in which developing young prospects is a co-King along with winning games. Both done in lockstep. The Philthies aren't doing that …. yet. Atlanta does it and they aren't going to be easy to get past.

  71. JaneB - May 23, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    The Phillies fans are nuts (we knew that) to hate on Hunter Pence. Probably at the same time MichelleS was posting that she liked the guy, I was saying the same thing to my husband. They should be happy to have him. I love that Bryce is saying nice things about their team. I love that we can appreciate their good players, even if we want to beat them every time we see them. I can't picture that happening the other way 'round.Looking forward to EJax tonight.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Check when most of Ankiels hits occur. Low stress situations except the one hot streak he was in.On Corey Brown, now is the time but it won't happen. The could've swapped him for Moore and Morse for Nady next week. Perfect time to get Brown in CF.

  73. Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Peric, Corey Brown is out of options, so if they bring him up there's no turning back.

  74. erocks33 - May 23, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    I agree with Knoxville from earlier. I think Davey will give ALR tonight off and let Tyler Moore play first base. Davey has stated previously that he likes to give some of his starters a game off prior to a scheduled day off so that it gives them 2 days to rest up. And with a big series coming up in ATL this weekend, I think Davey will want ALR refreshed and raring to go.So prepare to see Lombo in LF, Bryce in CF, Nady in RF, with Zim (or Tracy) at 3B and Moore at 1B. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Maldonado behind the plate to give Flores an extra day off as well.

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Nats need the same formula tonight. Hamels is a tough pitcher. 2nd time they will face him.

  76. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Agree. Also, it's not like we're going onto Phillies blogs and commenting on their team. Rather, we're responding a Phillies Phan who is commenting on a Nats blog. Just think of it as protecting the house, just as we would do at our ballpark. ;-)Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said… I dunno, I thought the replies were reasonable and relatively polite. May 23, 2012 9:48 AM

  77. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    otoh, I was probably commenting to my husband that Pence is goofy-looking and has a goofy-looking swing. For the record. :-)JaneB said… The Phillies fans are nuts (we knew that) to hate on Hunter Pence. Probably at the same time MichelleS was posting that she liked the guy, I was saying the same thing to my husband. They should be happy to have him.

  78. whatsanattau - May 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    No disrespect to Bernadina, but I suspect that as long as he is on the team, Brown stays in Syracuse. I suppose an injury could change that, but the role of young left-handed outfielder is pretty much locked up at present. I believe most here would advocate for Moore and Nady to be sent down when Morse and DeRosa return, but I believe it is possible that after Moore, it will be the Shark. Bernadina won't make it through assignment waivers. So they will likely try for a waiver trade if that happens. And yes I know that some would argue Nady is an obvious choice, but he's right handed and is arguably the better choice for the bench. I like Bernadina, but they can't keep Brown down forever and the Shark has pretty much proven his ceiling is low.

  79. whatsanattau - May 23, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    BTW, in case the subtlty was lost on anyone, I was totally spiking the ball while suggesting we act all dignified etc….

  80. NatsJack in Florida - May 23, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Joe… you've hit on the problem with Brown. There's no doubt he deserves a shot but what happens to his playing time when Werth and Morse return? The plan has been for Harper and Werth to share roles in RF/CF during Harpers learning process and that makes is tough on Brown.Between Bernadina, Ankiel, and Brown somebody gets DFA'd and the other two become bench/role players. It's more like Brown is insurance against an injury right now and they want him playing everyday until absolutely needed.

  81. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Nah, better to speak with their bats and gloves, I think.On the unhappy Ruiz, I seem to remember noticing a sad/mad face while watching yesterday's game. Not sure, but I think it may have been caused by Harper's SB. Couldn't find a video highlight to verify just now, though.And, Davey, when you're reading this, how about ordering EJack to stick one in Colbert's ear when he comes to plate?

  82. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    D'oh! Adjusting snarkdar now. :-)whatsanattau said… BTW, in case the subtlty was lost on anyone, I was totally spiking the ball while suggesting we act all dignified etc…. May 23, 2012 10:23 AM

  83. Section 222 - May 23, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Joe, as I understand it, Brown has an option left. Didn't someone here contact his agent about that a month ago or so?MarkZ, I heard the Harper spring training story somewhere else last night, but it was Rick Eckstein who asked Harper what he would do against Halladay. Still a very impressive and interesting vignette, but that puts a little different spin on it, right?Check out Kilgore's post this morning. Now here's a question for the masses — If Clipp is lights out as a closer, which we all know he will be, how do you tell him he's going back to being the setup guy when his younger roomie returns? I completely buy the sabermetric argument that Clipp as our best reliever is more valuable in high leverage situations in the 7th and 8th (check out this great Posnanski blog on that) but if he's been waiting for this opportunity for years, as Kilgore reports, and he excels, can you really give him what he thinks is a demotion when Storen comes back? At the very least, you'd want to have a transition period to let Drew get acclimated to major league pitching, right? This is going to test Davey's managerial skills in a number of ways.

  84. Theophilus T. S. - May 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Joe Seamhead — My understanding of Brown's option status is that they could bring him up and send him down as often as they felt like it — this year. This is his last option *year*. The issue with bringing him up,to me, is you have absolutely no idea what you're gonna get. His history says he'll take 30-60 days — or longer — to acclimate to the next level of competition. I can't really see leaving him in the lineup for a month or two just to find out whether this AAA rampage is a mirage.I'd be really happy if Brown turned out to be a daily Ankiel w/ a .270 BA but the Nats have a pennant (of some sort) to win and can't waste (any more) time on experiments.

  85. Mickey Vernon - May 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    They should rename it PHOBADELPHIA.

  86. That old-school, prestigious way of Scooter - May 23, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Ladies and gentlemen, in honor of tonight's starting pitcher.Just take that old brushback off the shelfI'm gonna po-lice this game myselfToday's rookies drive me up a dang wallI like that old-school prestigious ballDon't try to take my changeup downtownYou'll never even hit a drive to the wallIn one at-bat I'm gonna make you sprawlI like that old-school prestigious ballStill like that old-school prestigious ballDrilling a rookie just soothes me, y'allI'll reminisce with my good buddy QuallsOn that old-school prestigious ball[instrumental break]Won't go to throw to a teenagerI'd rather make him wear my middlin' fastballThere's only one good way to pitch at allStart playin' old-school prestigious ballCall me a chicken, call me what you willSay that I'm fake tough standing here on the hillToday's rookies drive me up a dang wallI like that old-school prestigious ballStill like that old-school prestigious ballDrilling a rookie just soothes me, y'allI'll reminisce with my good buddy QuallsOn that old-school prestigious ball

  87. Knoxville Nat - May 23, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Just saw where the Tigers have designated Ballystar, and the Twins Marquis for assignment. And to think that not so long ago they were part of the Nats present and future! My we have come a long way haven't we.

  88. UnkyD - May 23, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    How is Brown out of options? His MLB debut is listed as sept of last year?

  89. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Scooter, a masterpiece!

  90. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    That was most awesome, Scooter. :-)

  91. ehay2k - May 23, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Hmm.. I see overstock.com has a good selection of rocking chairs. Maybe the phillies should re-furnish their dugout? Those benches look to be hard on old bones. Would hate to see Polanco go on the DL for bedsores.And yes, I am rubbing it in, but I think in a helpful way, just in case any phans come and read this blog. ;-)

  92. Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I stand corrected on Brown and the options. Wrong on my part. Sorry.

  93. ehay2k - May 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Scooter, that was just amazing. Need to make a vid and post it on youtube.

  94. Theophilus T. S. - May 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Just counting noses but — assuming you bring up Brown and get rid of Bernadina (by trade or otherwise, replacing one LH w/ another) — when Morse and Werth come back you've got Werth, Harper and Morse in the starting lineup, and Ankiel, Brown, Nady and DeRosa in reserve, and Lombardozzi available in a pinch. Nady or DeRosa has to be kept — as a RH bat — still seven guys who can play the outfield. At that point, if not sooner, I think Brown has to be sent back down, so what have you accomplished by bringing him up for a couple of months?

  95. Section 222 - May 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    How come people are calling tonight's Phillies' starter "Colbert." That seems like an insult to a very talented comedian. Or is Colbert his actual first name? I think I saw an interview with Hamels in which he gave Harper kudos for showing him what he's made of after the intentional plunking. I'm going to predict that Harper continues the payback tonight by hitting one out of the cozy confines of the baseball field formally known as Citizens Bank Park, now renamed Nationals Park North, or, more affectionately, Harper Valley.

  96. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    ehay, there's a very nice Phillies rocking chair here.And this site has a good selection of clocks (Tick-Tock).

  97. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    222, good one! The right-center gap as Harper Valley…

  98. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    222, it's his name. You know, like Claudette. Old school… :-)

  99. Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Oh,my, "Harper Valley" ! I love it, Sec.222. It would make for a great name for the bleachers at Nats Park.

  100. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    And the fans gathered there would be the PTA.

  101. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Or, in Philly, the PIA.

  102. Candide - May 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    On the Ruiz ejection:Looking at the replay repeatedly here, it looks to me like the pitch was slightly outside, but Ruiz "framed" it right over the middle of the plate; look how he snaps his mitt back the instant he catches the ball.I thought at first the ejection was justified, on the "arguing balls/strikes = automatic ejection" but then I looked up the rule. It says someone leaving the dugout or leaving his regular playing position to argue gets an ejection (after a pro-forma warning). Ruiz did neither, so I suspect he quietly said something that can be found in George Carlin's famous list of seven forbidden words.My favorite catcher-ejection story involves the Senators' Clint Courtney, who was warned repeatedly to stop arguing. Ump finally told him the next time he opened his mouth, he was out of the game.Whereupon Courtney proceeded to draw a vertical line in the unoccupied batter's box after each pitch. When he got to the fifth pitch, he drew a slash through the four vertical lines, and got tossed, possibly the only known occurrence of a player's being ejected for abusing the ump without speaking a word. I read this story once years ago, but can't find it anywhere on teh interwebs, unfortunately. So as a history prof of mine once said, "If it isn't true, it should be."

  103. MicheleS - May 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Scooter you are AWESOME!And Yes 222 Cole is short for COLBERT!

  104. Sue Dominus - May 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Check out Kilgore's post this morning. Now here's a question for the masses — If Clipp is lights out as a closer, which we all know he will be, how do you tell him he's going back to being the setup guy when his younger roomie returns?The oldest rule in the books. A player doesn't lose his job on account of injury. Storen was the closer when he got hurt, so he's the closer when he comes back.

  105. Steady Eddie - May 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Section 222–Good Q on the Clip and Store dilemma. Could make a very strong argument that using only one closer not named Rivera on a winning team will burn him out too fast/shorten his career.Davey could let Clip take every third save opportunity from Druuu and let Stammen take every other high leverage fireman chance from Clip, thus reducing everyone's overwork while keeping those three in the roles that suit them best.

  106. Section 222 - May 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I can't take credit for Harper Valley — saw it on twitter last night — a guy named Hugh Kaufman (@AltaKocher) apparently coined it. I like the idea of calling the right center gap at Nats Park Harper Valley. Although batter's eye might end up being the more appropriate location for it.I imagine Cole's family pronounces his first name different than the comedian Stephen's. So that's good.

  107. SCNatsFan - May 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    section222, I understand your trepidation about what happens when Storen returns, but you have to hope Clip is a professional and understands the situation; I know that is easier said then done but Clip has to realize if he wants to close it won't be in DC. Clip needs to decide if he wants to be an all star set up man here or a closer somewhere else; I don't know if there is a right answer to that question.

  108. Steady Eddie - May 23, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Sur — True, but tell that to Wally Pipp. Or his descendants. Point is that this is a winning team that will often have trouble greatly out scoring opponents, so there will continue to be a lot of save opportunities. Besides, Druuu wouldn't lose the job, just soul possession (TM) of it in an increasing frequency situation. Do you really want Druuu saving at a 60-game pace?

  109. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    And the fans gathered there would be the PTA.Of course, they'd have to dress the part: miniskirts and big hair.

  110. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Harper as a hitter versus Ankiel … stark difference between the two already! … Ankiel continues his pattern of a long home run when a pitcher makes a mistake otherwise a swinging out. Uggh, no kidding. Even my daughter-the-rabid-fan-of-two-weeks already knows the drill. When he came up in the second inning with a man on third, we knew he'd do one of the only two things that wouldn't score the run: strike out or pop up.Compare to LaRoche, in the middle of an oh-for-almost-a-week streak, when Harper was on third. He kept fouling pitches off, and finally flew out to CF for the sac fly.They should play clips of those two at bats, side by side, in front of Ankiel repeatedly.Or (gasp) when they showed one of the big Phillie guys (was it Pence?) who actually, literally, choked up on the bat with two strikes.

  111. Knoxville Nat - May 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Candide,I recall an instance several years ago when the O's were playing in Oakland. Eddie Murray was playing first base and Ken Kaiser was the first base ump. Oakland batter (RH hitter) makes a "check swing" and the catcher (Dempsey?) asked for an appeal to Kaiser. Looked pretty obvious to most viewers and the O's announcers that the batter went around, or so we thought, but Kaiser gave a safe sign. Murray, apparently in disbelief, must have jumped 3 feet in the air and turned around but did not appear to say anything. Kaiser ran him right away which brought Earl out of the dugout (I think it was Weaver)who promptly got run out as well.

  112. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Ruiz and hp ump Cederstrom had an extended conversation; you could almost see Cederstrom saying "What did you call me?" at one point.

  113. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    My favorite getting-tossed story was seeing Jose Canseco in his rookie year, after getting rung up, go through a very elaborate "training" of the home plate ump, drawing lines in the dirt of where the strike zone was, where it should be, all like he was talking to a small child who had never seen baseball before. Blue patiently let the show go on, arms crossed, while Lon Simmons in the radio booth was dying of laughter.

  114. Sue Dominus - May 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    I thought at first the ejection was justified, on the "arguing balls/strikes = automatic ejection" but then I looked up the rule. It says someone leaving the dugout or leaving his regular playing position to argue gets an ejection (after a pro-forma warning). Ruiz did neither, so I suspect he quietly said something that can be found in George Carlin's famous list of seven forbidden words.There have been many instances over the years of players or coaches in the dugout getting tossed for too much chirping over balls and strikes, without warning and without them ever leaving the dugout. So Ruiz could very well have been tossed last night because his chirping over ball/strike calls reached the ump's limit on that Espinosa pitch. No need to blame any "magic word."As for that, this book although not well written does have some interesting tidbits in it. Aside from the MF or possibly CS words, which most players or managers even in the heat of argument are probably not going to direct at an umpire, there really isn't a "magic word" that will get you tossed. You can even get away with questioning a particular call by the ump, but as soon as you start questioning his umpire skills in general you cross the line. So you can tell an ump that he just made a horsesh*t call, but you can't say he's a horsesh*t ump. (And BTW, "horsesh*t" is apparently the expletive of choice in baseball even though it's rarely heard anywhere else.) Of course, with umps as with everything else, YMMV. Which is why sometimes you'll see guys get tossed for just looking at an ump the wrong way or farting in his general direction.

  115. JD - May 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    NatsJack, I think that the Nats Brass want to see Brown sustain a level of excellence for a long time before making a move. They want to be relatively sure that he is a bona fide major leaguer before they make the move because he has never really done this over a long period. From a major league personnel stand point I don't really see a problem. With Morse in left and Harper in right you are really just moving Ankiel to the bench where he belongs. You may be costing Bernadina a roster spot but I think that at this point we all know what he is which is no a full time regular; I would explore Bernie for a backup catcher trade (Red Sox?)

  116. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 23, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Or (gasp) when they showed one of the big Phillie guys (was it Pence?) who actually, literally, choked up on the bat with two strikes.I think Pence actually does that all the time, which is not to gainsay your point about Ankiel.

  117. JD - May 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    I agree that in his own way Clippard has been our most valuable reliever over the past 3 years; more dependable than Storen, Capps etc. However the issue is that Closers make more money because of the overblown importance of the save stat in arbitration and FA discussions. If Clippard is lights out as closer it will be hard to take that role away from him because it will be like taking money away from him.

  118. Candide - May 23, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Sue Dominus said…So you can tell an ump that he just made a horsesh*t call, but you can't say he's a horsesh*t ump.See Crash Davis, who repeatedly shouts at the ump that he made a "c**ks**kin' call." Ump doesn't run him until he calls the ump "c**ks**ker."Vaguely recall a story about Weaver abusing an ump, screaming something along the lines of, "If I were to call you a c**ks**king motherf**king a$$hole, you'd have to run me, wouldn't you? If I were to say you missed the call because you had your head stuck up your…" and so on. Don't remember if he did get tossed.

  119. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Absolutely. On another note, I had a link regarding, er, magic words in the instant analysis post.Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said… Of course, they'd have to dress the part: miniskirts and big hair. May 23, 2012 11:09 AM

  120. frankc - May 23, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    its called twitter. i realize that and baseball are new to the 74 nats fans. please realize its may!!! its way too early for anyone to get all excited. phillies were out 5 games two of the last three years and won going away. not sayin that will happen this year but just yrying to make a point.

  121. natsfan1a - May 23, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Meanwhile, in the new post…

  122. NatsJack in Florida - May 23, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    JD….see, I agree with you a little bit but I think they've seen enough of Bryce to feel like he needs a veteran presence next to him in the outfield.I doubt you'll see him next to Tyler Moore or Lombo in the outfield for awhile.

  123. whatsanattau - May 23, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    74 motivated Nats fans is all it takes to back a winner. A stadium full of Phillies fans still watched their team lose.

  124. That old-school, prestigious way of Scooter - May 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Of course, they'd have to dress the part: miniskirts and big hair.Done, and done.

  125. That old-school, prestigious way of Scooter - May 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Oh, I forgot what I really wanted to say: tanks for the positive feedback on the song, y'all.

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