Skip to content

In search of a Nationals All-Star

Jul 15, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

AP AP

MINNEAPOLIS — Maybe I’m just a softie, but the All-Star Game has always held a special place in my heart.

Where else can you find this kind of assemblage of baseball talent, outside of perhaps Cooperstown for one summer weekend, the sport’s best and brightest stars all gathered together in one place for 48 hours?

You couldn’t take three steps at Target Field yesterday without bumping into baseball royalty. Over here, it’s Derek Jeter, in his 14th (and final) All-Star Game. Over there, it’s Mike Trout, in his third (and certainly not final) appearance in the Midsummer Classic. Walk down Nicollet Mall and see Clayton Kershaw strolling with his family. Oh, and that older gentleman drawing a crowd everywhere he goes? Meh, just Hank Aaron.

This is where the very best baseball players in the world are recognized for their immense talent, showcased for all to see.

And yet, as I walk around town, I can’t help but feel a particular void. Something is missing here, something that is preventing this event from feeling complete.

Something like a large contingency of Washington Nationals.

I’ve covered plenty of previous All-Star Games in which the Nationals were afterthoughts, recipients of one token player selection because that’s what MLB requires. Like the year Cristian Guzman represented the franchise. Or the time Matt Capps did.

Those teams, though, didn’t deserve more than one All-Star. Few last-place clubs do.

These current Nationals, on the other hand, went into the break tied with Atlanta atop the NL East, owners of the league’s third-best record (51-42), best run differential (+61) and given a whopping 80.3 percent chance of reaching the postseason (according to Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds report).

Yet the Nats are persona non grata at this All-Star Game, forgotten by just about everyone in attendance.

For proof of that, just start asking real, live, All-Stars if they can name the Nationals’ representatives here in town.

“I’m not sure,” Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco said.

“Uh,” Pirates super utilityman Josh Harrison replied. “To be honest, I don’t really know.”

“For the Nationals?” Padres right-hander Tyson Ross asked aloud. “Um, honestly, I’ve got to plead ignorance on that one.”

Come on. Surely somebody here knows which National or Nationals are All-Stars.

“I do not,” Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said. “I … I … I don’t know.”

“I don’t,” Royals closer Greg Holland admitted. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”

Don’t worry, Greg. It could be worse.

Asked if he knew how many All-Stars the Nats had this year, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones laid the biggest egg of the day.

“I think … uh … I know Jordan Zimmermann is,” Jones said. “But he’s not participating due to his injury. Um, I think that was the only one. I know Espinosa, he was on the final ballot, having a great year.”

OK, Adam, we’ll give you partial credit for correctly knowing that Zimmermann was initially named to the team but was scratched over the weekend after suffering a biceps strain. But whatever credit you earned for that went right down the toilet when you mistook Anthony Rendon for Danny Espinosa.

To be fair, I put all these guys on the spot, and anyone can get flustered when put into that situation. So don’t hold this against any of them.

Point is, there is perhaps no team less in the spotlight here than the Nationals. I mean, for a full 24 hours over the weekend, they literally were not going to have anybody in Minneapolis representing them, with Zimmermann replaced not by a teammate but by Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez.

Not until Tyler Clippard was named as Julio Teheran’s replacement on Sunday afternoon were the Nationals assured of having anybody in the Twin Cities. And it doesn’t even appear as though Clippard was high on NL manager Mike Matheny’s wish list.

“Clippard is one of the Nationals that is having a good season, obviously,” Matheny said when asked how he came to that decision. “And there were a couple of Nationals that were not available. But really wanted each team to be represented, and Tyler was one of the pitchers who has had an outstanding season and should represent that team well.”

Matheny never specified who those “couple” of unavailable Nationals were, but it stands to reason Rafael Soriano was one of them. The veteran closer, owner of 22 saves and an 0.97 ERA, made it clear he wouldn’t accept an invitation to replace another All-Star after getting left off the initial team last week.

Poor Clippard, then, feels something like Plan G, the guy way down the depth chart who was the only one to say yes.

“Matt [Williams] called me in the office [Sunday] morning and asked if I was interested in representing the Nats,” Clippard said. “And I said, of course. I felt like we definitely needed some representation here. It was going to be a bittersweet situation if the Nationals didn’t have anybody in uniform in the All-Star Game. So I’m happy to do it.”

Who wouldn’t? Clippard, who actually wound up as the winning pitcher in the 2011 game, can now say he’s a 2-time All-Star, an honor that isn’t just bestowed on anybody.

But as was the case three years ago in Arizona, Clippard is all alone at the All-Star Game. No teammates. Nobody else wearing the curly W cap.

It’s unfortunate, because the Nationals genuinely deserve more attention than this. They may or may not be one of the best teams in baseball. But they darn well aren’t the worst.

Walk the streets of Minneapolis this week, though, and you might just forget this is a first-place club and legitimate World Series contender.

The entire baseball world has come to town to celebrate the sport’s best players. Well, the entire baseball world, minus one well-known city on the Potomac River.

 

  1. MicheleS - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Mark, would be curious as to the take of the other players/manager on the Nats as a Team, not just the lack of All Stars. Seems like a lack of respect or is it apathy?

  2. Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    To be fair, Hunter Pence gives the quoted response (I don’t know) to the question, how many all stars do the Nats have?

    He then goes on to correctly–if hesitatingly–name Zimmermann and Clippard.

  3. natsbro - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Interesting article Mark..pretty surprising (to me anyways) how uninformed some of the players are. “I know Espinosa, he was on the final ballot, having a great year”..I mean cmon..this guy is your competition! I guess maybe position players only know pitchers, and vice versa…i don’t know.

    • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      Yes, someone suggested that the players would be informed voters, and that they sit around watchng MLB.tv all day in the clubhouse. I disagree.

      Maybe they have MLB.tv ON in the clubhouse, but how much attention is paid to it, except by guys like Greinke? Players (IMO, correctly) focus on their own game, and leave the scouting to scouts and the stats to the stat department. Then they all meet before each series and game to go over the opponent. In their downtime they’re off to hunt or golf or be with their families and forget about baseball.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        I still think players would do a better job picking for their league. They know who was a point of emphasis from scouting before a series. They know was a tough out.

        But, it’s not surprising that they are clueless on who is on what AS team.

      • 6ID20 - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        AL players vote for the AL all stars, NL players vote for the NL. Adam Jones plays in th AL. He can be forgiven for confusing Espinosa and Rendon.

      • dcwx61 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        yes, you don’t want any decision to be in the hands of one person or manager.
        Give us an alternative to the current situation.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      Pretty sure he was thinking – “the guy who plays 2B” – and the wrong name came out.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        +1

      • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        Yeah. And we just played them last week! I love me some Adam Jones, but not voting for NL All-Stars.

  4. natsjackinfl - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Unfortunately, whether it’s fair or not, the national concensus is that the Nats are a team of under achievers. Us fans fully understand the number of games missed by important starters due to injuries, however the rest of the country sees our pitching staff and compares it to the over achieving staff of the Braves and snickers.

    Fair or not, that’s what’s out there and I for one, hope that the organization takes this as disrespect and pounds every body the rest of the season.

    • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      You now what? Let ‘em snicker. There’s always lot of snickering, in every division, the minute any “contending” team stumbles. You should read what commenters are saying about how the Cardinals, yes, those Cardinals, are handling certain situations. Everyone’s got a narrative. The Tigers were in trouble and the Royals were gonna surge–until they weren’t.

      I notice now that Bryce is back under Werth’s thumb he’s keeping his mouth shut.

      • Brookstoor - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        +1 NatsLady. The same people that foist the expectations on a team are the same people that relish in tearing them down at the first stumble. We stumbled into a virtual tie for first place in our division at the all star break.

  5. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    The odd part is commentators look at Clippard being the Nats’ lone rep as if it were somehow the Nats’ fault. Other than Soriano declining as a matter of principle–which I fully support–exactly WHO didn’t select more players? Fans didn’t vote Rendon (or LaRoche) in, nor did Matheny select either. How about Doug Fister? The fact is that after Strasburg and Harper (and MAYBE JZimm and Jayson Werth) nobody even knows who’s playing for the Nats.

    With Harper injured for two months and the glamor worn off Strasburg, the Nats don’t have those “name” players that attract votes from fans of other teams, but you’re going to tell me Matheny couldn’t find a place for Rendon and Fister?

    However, from a selfish point of view, I’m glad everyone’s resting. Rendon got tired last year, and pitchers can always use the time off. I’m a little worried about Gio and his shoulder.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Of course, you could say Nats fans deserve at least some of the blame, for not voting in their own guys.

      Baltimore homers voted in Matt Weiters even tho he’s on the DL. And you can’t tell me Josh Harrison was voted in by well informed fans around the league–or those just blinded by his supernova stardom.

      • Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        Who exactly were we supposed to vote in? ALR? Good luck outpolling Goldschmidt who actually deserves the nod. Desi? Didn’t deserve to go, and beside, what chance does he have over Tulo? Rendon at 2B, when he’s playing 3B for most of the year? No Nat had a chance for starting berth this year except for Harper, and he got injured. It was up to the manager and the players to recognize our guys and they whiffed. And they must pay! :-)

      • emdash01 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Josh Harrison wasn’t voted in, I believe – he was one of Matheny’s selections as a backup. Only the starting lineup were voted in by the fans, and it’s hard to argue with most of those choices, at least for the NL.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        What does “deserve” have to do with it? This is the ASG we’re talking about….

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        emdash

        You are correct about Harrison. My bad.

        Weiters did win the fan balloting, tho. So did Aramis Ramirez, who is one choice I could easily argue with for the NL.

      • 6ID20 - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        A lot more people than just Baltimore would have had to have voted for Weiters to get him in.

    • Steady Eddie - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      “The fact is that after Strasburg and Harper (and MAYBE JZimm and Jayson Werth) nobody even knows who’s playing for the Nats.”

      This is the core reason why the Nats are getting the level of indifference that they are at the ASG.

      Modern media, especially sports media, run on the branding — in the case of sports media, megastar — narrative. If the Nats’ two brand stars, Harper and Strasburg, can’t be written about as either “they’re being amazing” or “they are failing miserably”, there is no narrative to feed, and they move onto the next team. Harper has been out on the DL too much to say anything meaningful about his performance this year. Strasburg has been just inconsistent enough to take him out of the “being amazing” category, but not nearly so much as to put him near the “failing” category.

      I don’t disagree with NatsJack that as far as MLB is concerned, there is an edge of disrespect, and from the Selig’s/Angelo’s coterie, a continuing undertone of punishment for Rizzo’s overslot signings etc. But the big three American sports live on the publicity game, and it’s the default of anything to say for the media (especially MLB TV) about Harper or Strasburg that allows the disrespect room to run.

    • dcwx61 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      again, the choice of a pitching staff and backup was left in the hands of one selfish man.
      Shame on you, MM.

  6. Scooter - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    That picture made me laff.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    This whole All Star thing takes me back to a conversation that was often discussed on here near the end of 2012 regarding who was the team MVP for the year. There was no consensus as to who it would be because there wasn’t one guy that was the team’s MVP. 2014, like 2012, is a testament to the fact that Mike Rizzo, and his staff, have put together a team of very good players that are playing very good baseball together as a team.And like in 2012 there have been different MVP’s at various times in 2014, but for the first half of the season “most valuable” has been spread between 6 or 7 guys at different junctures, in my opinion.
    Now, get some rest, fellows. Though you’ve kept pace, the hardest part of the marathon is yet to come.

    GYFNG!!!

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Just look at Oakland. It’s taken 2 years of winning a division no one thought they could win and now a third year with the best record in baseball and 7 guys get on the squad.

      Just win and the accolades will come.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM

        And they are West Coast and not getting shafted by the perceived West Coast bias. I applaud their type of success. When they signed Coco Crisp for leadoff he transformed the lineup. Cespedes and Donaldson have added the power and the back of the lineup is finesse guys and their catching tandem are killing it. Kazmir is anchoring the pitching staff and then they get Hammel and Samardzijia to make themselves the team to beat.

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Coming up this weekend for the Brewers series, Joe. Hope we can meet up, as usual.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        You sitting in your regular section?

      • natsjackinfl - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Friday and Saturday I’ll be in the usual area. Sunday I’m in 218.

  8. jd - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    I don’t buy that there is a big conspiracy against the Nats. I feel that Rendon and Soriano deserved to be on the team on merit, I think Rendon was hurt by the fact that Matheny took his own guy (which most other managers would have done the same) and Soriano was hurt by the fact that there were so many relievers having great years.

    • Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      +1

      The best paypack would be for the Nats to win the NL pennant this year. MW can then put several Nats on the team next year and blank the Cards.

    • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      I agree with this, mostly because I don’t buy consipiracy theories very often and there’s no evidence of one here. In general, you would have a hard time finding a fanbase that doesn’t think some of their guys got snubbed.

      • Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        It’s not that some of our guys got snubbed. All of our guys got snubbed.

        Putting Clippard in was just a way of mollifying us DC crybabies. “There, there, don’t cry; here’s a piece of candy. Now go sit down and let the big boys play.”

  9. Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Someone wrote here yesterday that the players don’t really much about guys who aren’t in their division because they don’t play them often enough . Kilgore’s great piece about the respect for Clip around the league kind of lays that to rest.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/2014-mlb-all-star-game-for-nationals-reliever-tyler-clippard-a-perfect-set-up/2014/07/14/93f47676-0b5d-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      I laid out the last 3 off-seasons what certain players had to do on their winter vacations. The biggies were Clippard adding a pitch with movement and Gio developing a changeup and Detwiler reworking his breaking pitch.

      Unless you’re Mariano Rivera or Dickey, you better have more than 2 “plus” pitches.

      Fister can throw 6 different pitches with multiple looks and he’s not a fireballer.

      I’m happy for Clip. He’s been a favorite of mine since the Nats got him, and he’s learned from experience that hitters get paid to hit and his fastball off of his changeup was not working until he threw a twist back into his repertoire.

      Take note.

    • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      It was probably me who said that, and I stand by it. They guys who are quoted are either (a) other setup men or (b) had a particular at-bat against Clippard that sticks in their mind. I love Kilgore’s article, but it doesn’t support the cause that players would be much more informed voters than fans. As HH said, Jones remembered we have a top second baseman (actually, two top second basemen, defensively) but he couldn’t remember Rendon’s name.

      Here is what I suspect players know/think of the Nats by reputation (other than when they’re actually competing against them).

      Span – good centerfielder, can steal. Not an All-Star. I thought he was a Twin.
      Rendon – seems like he can hit. Don’t know much about him.
      Werth – overpaid. Seems to be having a good year. Getting old. Not an All-Star.
      LaRoche – above average guy, not an All-Star.
      Ryan Zimmerman – injured a lot, can’t throw. Above average hitter. Not an All-Star. Shame about his shoulder.
      Bryce Harper – overrated. Injured.
      Ian Desmond – has some power but is not comparable to Tulo. Not an All-Star.
      Wilson Ramos – not sure. Seems like he’s injured a lot, but can hit homeruns.

      Strasburg – can strike you out, but he’s no Kershaw or Wainwright. Maybe next year, or the year after, or the year after.
      Zimmmermann – yeah, I’d watch out for this guy.
      Gio – has his good days, but not an All-Star
      Fister – I can hit this guy. Ooops, maybe not. Anyway, doesn’t strike out a lot of guys. Not an All-Star.
      Tanner Roark – who?

      Bullpen – yeah, they got some guys there, tough bullpen, not sure who they all are. Heard of Clippard, their closer’s name begins with “S” I think.

      • 6ID20 - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Desmond, Gio and Ryan Z have been All Stars before. If they were having better years they’d be in this year too.

      • Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Funny stuff NL. I guess I just disagree about the players being no more informed than the fans who sit at their seats and punch out dozens of ballots for their home team favorites. (Matt Weiters?). Random guys put on the spot by Mark don’t represent the knowledge of the whole league. If they’ve faced a guy a few times, including Tanner Roark, they know who he is. This is their livelihood after all. And MLB Network is on in the clubhouses for hours on end. Not to say that some guys aren’t more informed than others, of course.

      • chaz11963 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        HAH! Good one NL.

  10. Eric - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    The only response to this situation is to eat a hearty helping of face for the next 2.5 months and beyond. IMO, it’s not the worst thing in the world to be in first place and have a kind of “underdog” aura foisted upon you.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      +1

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      +1 – Especially when you feel that the ‘underdog’ status is undeserved and a bit of an insult.

  11. Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Kilgore on the HR Derby is worth reading as well. He’s earning his paycheck out there.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/giancarlo-stantons-mammoth-home-run-livens-otherwise-listless-home-run-derby/2014/07/14/c383a57e-0bcb-11e4-8341-b8072b1e7348_story.html

    That shot by Stanton was colossal.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Clippard is so cool.

  13. natsjackinfl - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Haven’t seen any comments on this yet but how about the chance that Detwiler has at becoming a starter as he gains command of that split he’s been working on?

    A third pitch could work wonders getting through a line up a third time.

    He sure has looked a lot more confident lately.

    • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      He certainly has. I’m a afraid it may be a Clippard situation right now, though. As he gets more and more valuable in his present role you don’t want to take him out of it. But if Gio’s shoulder means another trip to the DL, I’d say give Det a shot (and you know I’m not a big fan). The worst that happens is you put him back in the bullpen and bring up Treinen.

  14. tcostant - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Just heard Mark on 980am that he has his annual meeting with the Commish at noon. He says he will ask about the All-Star game here, I rather he ask “Will the MASN conflict be resovled before you leave office”

    PLEASE

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Yes, both are major topics. 2017 has to be Washingtons year for the ASG17.

    • Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      Even if the question is asked, you’ll get a non-answer. “Both sides are working towards a resolution that will be beneficial to all the parties concerned. I remain hopeful of a satisfactory outcome.”

      • tcostant - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        That answer will tell me what I want to know, if he plans to resolve before he leaves office. Your answer clearly would say that if they don’t agree it could still be in limbo.

        There was a report in late May on Fox Sports that stated that that a group of owners would recommend a bidding rate.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        Sounds right to me.

        I can imagine some folks, in Bud’s situation, might make the tough choice here. It’s your last year, and maybe that gives you a little added leverage. However much political capital you have, you might as well use it up, because soon it expires anyway. Plus, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s one less steaming pile to leave for your successor.

        Bud does not strike me as such a leader. He strikes me as the kind of leader will be content to ride his victory lap into the sunset and leave the steaming piles for others to deal with.

  15. Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Simple solution to the ASG balloting: Make NatsLady the Czar (Czaress?) of All-Star Game Selection. She’s eminently fair-minded, respects the game, and knows more about the players than 99.99% of the voting fans.

    • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Czarina (or Tsarina), I believe, is the correct term. You may commence bowing as of this moment. ;)

      • Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        I think “Czarina” is the WIFE of the Czar.

        Empress. Like Empress Catherine the Great. There ya go.

    • tcostant - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      I agree and be fine with NatsLady picking it. She did a great job above on every Nat.

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    If you watch Baseball Tonight and MLB Network, the talk gravitates to top plays and top stories and the players generally follow what the general sports fan follows which is the sensationalism of headlines.

    The Nats are included a lot in both and some bad and some good. Mostly with Bryce, it’s been controversial but it’s kept the Nats in the headlines.

    Rendon flies under the radar and prefers to do so. His only bad stretch started the day Frandsen had that interview heard around the world on Bryce vs Rendon. Rendon immediately went into a funk. I said at the time that wasn’t a coincidence. The mental side of the game takes it’s toll along with the physical grind.

    Not a surprise that other players couldn’t name Rendon. It all depends when they faced him. I don’t think he cares. 100 runs scored and 100 RBIs and a 6 WAR will get him MVP votes and he probably could care less as he wants a ring.

  17. Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    This: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BslvR6DIEAA-8c8.jpg

  18. natsguy - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    I actually think the lack of respect could play into their hands. MLB All Star game is a crock and I won’t watch it anymore. The Nats need to remember this all season and make the rest of baseball remember who they are.

  19. natsguy - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I think Nats should just boycott the damn ASG. The MASN question is very important.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Not the players’ problem.

  20. Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    NatsLady recommended we watch a documentary, “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” a few days ago.

    I propose we all watch it instead of the ASG. What a kick it would be if DC was the only demographic in the country where a Netflix documentary got more viewers than the All-Star Game.

    • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      Candide, Word Press is gonna delete your post. Put up the link without the title, or something!

      • NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Anyway, I gotta watch Clip’s inning (or batter) if he gets it. Duty!

      • Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        You said that the other day, but the post stayed there. Maybe because it’s part of a URL?

      • Candide - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        But just in case:

        NatsLady recommended we watch a documentary, “The Battered (rhymes with ‘grasswords’) of Baseball” a few days ago.

        I propose we all watch it instead of the ASG. What a kick it would be if DC was the only demographic in the country where a Netflix documentary got more viewers than the All-Star Game.

  21. 6ID20 - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    To be fair to Matheny, the Clippard question was asked by Adam Kilgore at his stuttering stammering worst. Matheny’s first response was to ask Kilgore to repeat the question because, and I quote, “You lost me there.” Even on the repeat, it’s likely that all Matheny understood was the word “Clippard.” So he riffed on that. Can’t really blame him for that.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      Agreed. It was awful. Kilgore must’ve seen Heidi Watney and lost it. He made a fool of himself as he sounded like he got lost in his own words.

      The only part I understood was “ADAM KILGORE WASHINGTON POST”.

  22. stoatva - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Reading a fascinating book by Tim Wendel, called “High Heat.” The principal theme seems to be how difficult it is for young men gifted with the ability to throw a baseball at prodigious rates of speed to harness that gift and realize the kind of career that’s expected of them. The best struggle and finally overcome, most never do.

  23. Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Not a surprise that other players couldn’t name Rendon.

    If they could name him, they’d probably mispronounce the name anyway.

    • stoatva - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      Like “tendon.”

  24. adcwonk - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    In defense of the All Star Selections

    sort of . . .

    As was alluded to above: the Nats have a great *balanced* team, but nobody really sticks out compared to all starts. Consider: nobody in our starting lineup is even hitting .290 — nobody! And except for Ian’s 16 (and he’s second in the league in errors, 4th in K’s, and is batting .243), nobody has over 13 HR’s.

    Combine that with the fact that the Nats *are* under-performers thus far — what do we expect?

    That’s not to say the Nats don’t have a great team — but it’s great because it’s balanced (having guys like Ian and Ramos batting 7th and 8th) — not because it has guys who are on track for 40 HR, .335 BA.

    In other words — we have 8 guys in the lineup who are, like B+, while many of the other teams have a player or two that’s an A, and other guys who are C and D.

    Does that make sense?

    OK — pitching is a bit different — but, for starting pitching — it is somewhat similar. We don’t have a Kershaw or a Wainright — but we do have 5 starters under 3.60 (can any other team claim that)? And three under 3.10 (!) (but all of them are 2.90 or higher).

    For relievers: well, Soriano was the obvious choice, that really was a blown pick. Clippard and Storen are worthy, too, but there’s just a few reliever spots on the team, and the competition there is pretty darn good.

    As I’ve written before: let it be a real burr in the saddle of the Nats, let them get a chip on their shoulder, let them feel dissed — and take it out on the rest of the league in the second half.

    A World Series win would change the view of a whole lotta other players and fans and media for next year . . .

  25. Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Good post wonk. I honestly don’t think any of our starting position players have such a strong a case for the ASG that you could call it a snub. Maybe Rendon should have been picked as a reserve, but he’s had one half of a strong year. Espi did that too and look where he is now. Maybe Carpenter didn’t really deserve it, but he did win the batting title last year.

    Pitching is another story. Stras, Fister, and JZnn had a good case to be picked, as did Soriano, Storen, and Clip. It’s unfortunate that Matheny didn’t pick Soriano initially, along with JZnn. If he had, we wouldn’t be wasting all this electronic ink bellyaching about the lack of respect for our favorite team. Well, maybe we would anyway.

    • David Proctor - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Why is last year relevant in selecting who is an All Star this year? Rendon had a significantly better half than Carpenter, there’s really no justification to putting Carpenter in other than he’s a Cardinal.

      • adcwonk - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Because career matters (whether it should or not is a different subject ;-) )

        Carpenter has played more games at 3b this year then Rendon has in his 2-year MLB career.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Second-half stats are routinely overlooked in the following ASG selection in most cases, I think, except perhaps (and I’m totally speculating here) by the fans, and only then because there is such a lag time in their awareness, and an understandable prejudice toward playoff teams, not to mention the added exposure that brings.

        But logically, shouldn’t post-ASG stats count toward the next year? Why should a guy who has a great second half, possibly during a stretch run (i.e., “clutch”) by his team, not be recognized? Why punish a guy who may start slow every year, but finish with great numbers, be left out entirely?

        I mean, besides our general short attention span, and collective media ADD?

      • David Proctor - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Okay, but by that logic, Werth certainly deserves to be in.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        Why punish a guy who may start slow every year, but finish with great numbers, only to be left out entirely?”

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        People — fans, players, media, all of them — vote outside the strict limits of the season in question, and they always have. I don’t know that, for instance, Ernie Banks or Willie Mays necessarily got voted into their last All-Star games on merit of that season alone; I’m guessing not. It’s not a real game, it’s an exhibition, and who people want to see should matter to some extent, if not be the only determining factor.

        So I’m OK with that part of it, FWIW.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        Okay, but by that logic …

        That’s the problem. It’s not a logical process. Anybody gets to vote for anybody they want, for any reason they want.

        The voting–and I include the player voting and manager’s selections as well as the fan voting–is conducted with imperfect and down right mistaken information by biased parties.

        It’s not surprising that they get it wrong sometimes. It’s surprising that they get it right as often as they do.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        Okay, but by that logic, Werth certainly deserves to be in.

        I’m not sure I agree in Werth’s case this season, but the point is, if he did deserve it, then yes, he should be in.

      • Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        Do you think Jeter would have been left off the team if he hadn’t been voted in? Think Chipper Jones deserved to be on the team in his last year? Past performance has some relevance and you know it.

    • adcwonk - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Pitching is another story. Stras, Fister, and JZnn had a good case to be picked

      But it should be noted that none of the three are top 10 in WAR, or ERA, or WHIP. It’s not as clear as guys like Kershaw or Wainwright.

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      I thought Johnson in Atlanta was the leading hitter last year.

      • Section 222 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:43 PM

        Actually it was Cuddyer. Carpenter tied for 5th with Werth. Who knew?!

        The point remains the same. I don’t think Rendon was a clear choice for the All Star team, as good as his first half has been.

  26. David Proctor - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 3m
    Bud Selig says “I would say there’s a good chance” there is resolution in Nats-O’s MASN talks before he leaves office in January 2015.

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      “I would say there’s a good chance … but then I would be lying.”

      Fixed.

  27. nats106 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    GIven the number of players on the D/L the first half of the year, it’s not too surprising no position players were selected. Despite that, I hope that being “dissed” for non-selection translates into “Chip on the shoulder” for the rest of the year and into the post season.

  28. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Nats’ cause vis a vis MASN not helped by recent ratings showing Os outdrawing on TV by 3-1. Some of that may be related to the AS “snub.” There is simply no one on this team that’s compelling to watch — at the present time, anyway. Rendon is a possible exception but then, more people drink Bud Light than champagne.

    I don’t know, of course, what media are being measured. If they’re not measuring MLB.TV, or some other delayed or streaming medium, then it might be there is a greater penetration of people in DC in higher income brackets.who own three or more internet-served gadgets. But you can’t justify the scores of millions Nats fans are expecting for numbers that look like MLS viewers.

    • adcwonk - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      It helps the O’s that they play the Yankees and Red Sox a lot.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      but then, more people drink Bud Light than champagne.

      Good one.

      “Drinking Bud Light” should be a euphemism for something. Maybe “grotesquely credulous; believing statements from sources known to be disingenous, like politicians, or MLB Commissioners, that weren’t even intended by the speaker to taken as factual.”

    • 6ID20 - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      There is a clause in the MASN agreement that requires the same rights fee to the Nats and the O’s. Relative TV ratings are irrelevant. Both teams get the same amount.

  29. mlblogsnatsboy - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Tell me that there is no one on the Nationals more worthy than Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Todd Frazier, Matt Carpenter, Josh Harrison, Charlie Blackmon, Madison Bumgarner, Tyson Ross, Henderson Alvarez, Julio Tehran, Francisco Rodriguez or Tony Watson.

    This is a complete joke. The worst part, as many have noted before me, that it decides home field advantage for the World Series, and Nationals players (or rather, player) has less of a say in that than do players on the Cubs, Rockies and Marlins.

    • adcwonk - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      OK, since you asked for it, I’ll take the first one you listed:

      Starlin Castro: .276/.326/.440
      Ian Desmond: .243/.294/.432

      Errors at SS:
      Castro: 11
      Ian: 15

      K’s & BB’s
      Castro: 69 & 25
      Ian: 111 & 22

      ============
      Sure, why not, I’ll look at the second guy you mentioned:

      Anthony Rizzo: .275 /.381/.499
      LaRoche .279/.383/.457

      HR’s:
      Rizzo: 20
      ALR: 12

      ==========

      I don’t think it’s a complete joke to pick Castro and Rizzo over Ian and ALR. You could make a case for either, but it’s not unreasonable to pick the former.

  30. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Quick, name the Angels other All-Star representative.

    This is a team that is TWENTY games over .500, and has not let Oakland run away with the division. Oakland has seven guys. The Halos have Mike Trout and—?

  31. Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Do away with the must-have-every-team requirement.
    Expand the rosters to 40.
    Keep the fan vote, but for a guaranteed roster spot only, not starting lineups. Let the manager pick who starts.
    Don’t let the manager pick rosters–get a committee; maybe include the manager, and a BBWAA member, a player rep, maybe a SABR member …. ooooh, whoever is in the MLB fan cave gets a vote on the roster too, that’s good!

    There! I fixed it.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      #FIXED–ADDITION

      The committee members all have to be from different cities/markets. Better representation that way.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 73 53 --
ATLANTA 67 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 10.0
NEW YORK 60 68 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
THU: OFF
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 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: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter