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Harper breaks through with walk-off homer

Aug 7, 2014, 6:35 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Whether there was any validity to the story or not, Bryce Harper once again found his name carried through the mud in the national media this week. He was slumping, yes, but a stint in the minors? Come on.

His manager, Matt Williams, technically the spark that produced the controversy in an interview with 106.7 The Fan, was direct in shutting it down on Wednesday. He came out in defense of his star player, a 21-year-old with whom he’s already had his fair share of moments with as a rookie MLB manager.

Harper stood quiet throughout the next 24 hours, even as the debate of how to fix his swing dominated ESPN and MLB Network’s nightly talk shows. He bottled it in and responded by blasting a walk-off home run in the 13th inning of the Nationals’ 5-3 win over the Mets on Thursday.

The pitch was a 91 mile per hour fastball by Carlos Torres, just over the outside edge of the plate: exactly what the two-time All-Star was hunting for.

“I was just trying to barrel something,” Harper said. “It got to the point where I was just trying to get something out over and try to punish it. I got a pitch that I could drive and I was happy with the result.”

Harper had already been presented two chances to put the Mets to sleep on Thursday. He struck out swinging in the bottom of the ninth and singled in the 11th, only to see Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Lobaton retired right behind him.

Harper finished the day 2-for-6 after starting it 0-for-3. The final hit was the big one, of course, and Harper knew he had it right away.

“I knew it was gone, I felt it,” he said. “It was a ball that was outside that I hit pretty well. Torres got me last night on a curveball down and in, so I didn’t think I was really going to see anything over the dish. He’s got a pretty good cutter. All I was thinking was to try and hit a ball over left-center and try to win the ballgame.”

Can one swing bust a slump? Harper sure hopes so. The Nats’ outfielder was 4-for-27 (.148) in his previous eight games.

“I’ve gotta keep battling, keep grinding and keep coming in trying to work hard,” he said.

“Get my swing back where it needs to be. Hopefully in the next month and a half I can get it going. Everybody’s been picking up my slack pretty much. Everybody’s been swinging the bat well. Hopefully I can get it going.”

It was the Nats’ first win this season that came on a walk-off home run, and the second of Harper’s career. This one earned him not one, but two Gatorade baths from teammate Ian Desmond. Harper just happens to be a spokesman for the energy drink.

“I think Gatorade’s going to be pretty happy about that,” he said.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Let’s hope Gatorade gets several more opportunities to be highlighted over the coming two months.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:13 PM

      Splish-splash!

  2. veejh - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    I can now wear my Harper jersey in public again. Bout time.

  3. Eric - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Well done Harper!!

    • sjm308 - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Amen!

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    At least Harper will dominate the nightly sports shows for the right.

    That was a great ending.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Phil Wood in his postgame said Bryce is hurting and needs days (plural) off that the thumb is still bothering him.

    • Smyrcok - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      Ghost and follow up on that? Was that Phil’s thinking or did the team say?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:50 PM

        Totally thinking that’s Phil. Phil always has his own theories.

      • Smyrcok - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:57 PM

        Thanks. Meant to say “any” follow up. Sounds kinda demanding with “and follow up”. Any idea how much pain one should be feeling this for removed from surgery? That wouldn’t be very good if true, to my (not) knowledge.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        Has to be feeling pain but only he knows how restrictive it is. I only remember that one night he had that pad taped onto his bat but it was gone the next day.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        Phil Wood was leading the charge to send Bryce back to the minors on his show Tuesday night. Most of his post game was spent on why he thought Bryce was brought back too soon from his thumb injury..

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:07 PM

        Carry-over from the last post, but Smyrcok, your “reaching base alive” was the POD.

      • Smyrcok - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:14 AM

        I appreciate that Soul Possession! I was pretty pleased with myself to tell you the truth

  6. unkyd59 - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    Now, put him in the 5 spot, tomorrow, drop Desi to 7, and watch the magic!!!

    • bowdenball - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      Desi? The guy who hit the two-run HR in the second inning and an RBI single in the 4th, and who walked to lead off the 13th ahead of Harper’s walkoff?

      Desi is coming around too. Even Lobaton is looking good lately, or at least not terrible. With the exception of a few rough bullpen outings, this team is starting to click on all cylinders at the perfect time.

  7. Hiram Hover - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Happy for the team. Happy for Bryce.

    Happy happy joy joy!

  8. unkyd59 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    So….. Who’s the best lead off batter in baseball…? ;-)

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      Well, let me guess, it ain’t BJ Upton!

  9. Candide - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    “I’ve gotta keep battling, keep grinding…”

    DRINK!

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Bryce Harper did this walkoff on Mike Trout’s 23rd birthday. Still hard to imagine Bryce is still only 21.

    The biggest difference has been health which has stifled Bryces progress while Trout has stayed healthy and improving year over year.

    My money is still on Bryce to get the ring first.

    • veejh - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      I’ll drink to that.

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    “Joe Seamhead on August 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm
    Phil Wood was leading the charge to send Bryce back to the minors on his show Tuesday night. Most of his post game was spent on why he thought Bryce was brought back too soon from his thumb injury..”

    As Chase says in his 1st paragraph above “Come on”. Phil being Phil.

    • 6ID20 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      Not true. I heard the segment. Phil was asked the question about sending Bryce down, and after pointing out several historical examples of great players who WERE sent down early in their careers (he mentioned Jim Thome and Willie McCovey, but neglected to mention the obvious Mickey Mantle) he told the caller that in this modern age there is basically no chance the Nats would ever do that. He also mentioned that Harper should have had a longer rehab assignment than he did before coming back, and IMHO Phil is spot on with that assessment. After the 3 HR game he was rushed right back. Another week or so of rehab games would have served him and the team better.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        6ID20, I just copy and pasted Joe’s post. I didn’t listen to any of yesterday’s radio postgame. Maybe Joe heard a part you didn’t.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        That wasn’t the way I interpreted it. I thought that he alluded pretty clearly not only that he should’ve had a longer rehab,but also that he would benefit from a MiL stint, though he did say it was unlikely in this day and age, as you said. Whatever. And we’ll never know if hitting AAA pitching for another week would’ve helped him, or not, though you and Phil seem to think so.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        Ghost of Steve M. – Aug 7, 2014 at 7:20 PM
        Phil Wood in his postgame said Bryce is hurting and needs days (plural) off that the thumb is still bothering him.

        Ghost,what day did he say this?

      • 6ID20 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        It certainly wouldn’t have hurt.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM

        6ID20, I may have misinterpreted Phil. I was driving and trying to deal with massive traffic fiascos from numerous road closures, and lots of jockeying for position with lane changes, but yes, he did say that back in the day the likes of McCovey & Thome got sent back down after having had great rookie years, and that they didn’t use to worry about hurting a player’s feelings. And he wondered when all that changed because there were many players that benefited from time spent in the MiL working their kinks out.I took that as he was inferring that Bryce might benefit from it, but the chances were slim that it would happen. He was adamant that he felt it was a mistake to have rushed him back so soon, which he reiterated several times on the show.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Joe, Phil’s comment about Bryce’s thumb was near the very end of the post-game.

        Of course you had to listen thru his patting himself on the back that he knew the game was going to end on a HR. I wonder who he told that to before it happened.

  12. Eric - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Great interaction between Harper and Span at the end of this clip. Some boring homer precedes it, if you’re into that sorta thing.

    http://www.mlb.com/r/video?content_id=35162415

    • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:40 PM

      Holy moley — check out the slo-mo replay at about the 0:37 mark. Harper is swinging so hard his helmet almost came off during the swing. Does he always swing that hard? Was he swinging harder than Ian? Do folks that intentionally swing for HR’s often get them?

      Really — check it out.

      • Eric - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        I dunno, but look at how he keeps his head down, watches the ball all the way to the bat, then watches it fly off. Good stuff.

  13. stoatva - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Oof. Grand slam by Ryan Howard puts Phillies ahead of Astros, 6-5 in 8th.

    Bo, wouldn’t you really rather still be 3rd base coach here? Come on home.

    • ArVAFan - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:31 AM

      Yeah, he could take over Henley’s barely-used stop sign. Should be in pretty good condition, although it would be considered “game used” since I have seen him use it at least twice this year.

  14. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Pirates are clobbering the Marlins, but a scary event–Fish reliever hit in head by comebacker, carted off the field.

    http://www.sportsinjuryalert.com/2014/08/marlins-injury-update-dan-jennings.html#.U-Qre_ldWSo

    • Eric - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      Ugh… Hope he’s OK.

      Wonder if pitchers will ever be wearing full headgear (including mask).

  15. Section 222 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Just saw JZnn’s interview after the game. If anyone’s looking for a Werth Garden Gnome, JZnn has one in his locker!

  16. Eric - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    Is it 7:35 p.m. yet?

  17. David Proctor - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    By the way, 90% of managers would’ve had Bryce bunt in that situation, especially with his struggles. In fact, the Mets announcers were upset that Matt was “putting him above the team” by letting him swing. Kudos to Matt for letting Bryce swing. Matt showed faith in Bryce and Bryce repaid him. That’s a confidence builder. A bunt isn’t.

    It’s also a lesser percentage play, but that’s another story…

    • Eric - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      Interesting…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:02 PM

        I thought Desi should have been stealing and go from there. Bryce could then work on pulling the ball.

    • Doc - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      Somewhere in the universal divide, Earl Weaver is smiling and telling the Mets’ announcers that they don’t know winning baseball from popcorn.

    • Doc - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      Somewhere in the universal divide, Earl Weaver is smiling and telling the Mets’ announcers that they don’t know winning baseball from popcorn.

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    The Nats had that looooooooong home losing streak in extra innings that was finally broken by the win today.

    • rayvil01 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      Good! !

  19. David Proctor - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    “The best-case scenario for the Nationals — sweeping the Braves — would give them a 71 / 2-game lead with 46 games to play. If the opposite were to happen, the Nationals’ lead would be slashed to 11 / 2 games.”

    Sweeping may be greedy (I would not object however). I would settle for 2/3 and leaving Atlanta up 5 1/2 games.

    • Eric - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      A sweep would put us up 7.5 and I believe would also push them down under .500. That would be epic.

      But yeah, I would be thrilled with 2/3 and 5.5 up.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        One game at a time, anyone?

      • chazzmichaelmichaelzz - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:44 AM

        A sweep would leave the Braves reeling. 11-game losing streak, 7.5 back, and under .500. It would be nice to make them feel demoralized, but I’m hoping the Nats simply win the series.

      • Eric - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:27 AM

        Eugene, I’m also well aware of the fact that we’ll be 1.5 over even if *we* get swore. Overall point? We’re in a good place headed into Atlanta.

  20. ArVAFan - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    Change of topic, but I was wondering if someone was going to do a “Roark’s first year in the Bigs” article. Here it is for your reading pleasure. Short version: he’s not Kershaw, but he might be Doug Fister. I’ll take that, and twice on Sundays! (Especially possible since he’s been getting coaching from Fister during the 3 games when neither of them are pitching. Saw them sitting together on the end of the bench yesterday, but not close enough to overhear the conversation.)

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-year-in-tanner-roark/

    • masterfishkeeper - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      It’s a great article, and it also includes a nice dig at BJ Upton, who I hope is leading off for the Braves this weekend.

    • Eric - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      What a great read, thanks for sharing!

  21. laddieblahblah - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    Way to go Bryce!

    “Harper is swinging so hard his helmet almost came off during the swing.”

    Mantle used to swing so hard he would go to the ground whenever he missed. According to some baseball historians, he hit over 30 HRs farther than 500 feet, at only 5’11″ and 195 lbs – about Anthony Rendon’s size. Mark Maguire, at 6’4″ tall and 240 lbs., hit 15 HRs over 500 feet, none of them over 515 feet. Mantle hit a about 20 further than that. And Maguire was juiced, as we all know now.

    You have to be a special talent to hit a baseball while swinging as hard as Mantle did. Bryce has it, IMO. Don’t forget, his left knee was operated on last off-season, and that is his plant leg. I suspect that may be one reason he went back to the crouch in his stance, flexing that knee, and abandoned the straight up approach that seemed to work so well for him when he tried it (the Werth “stack and jack” stance). Keeping that knee straight in the “stack and jack” may still be a bit uncomfortable for that knee.

    I don’t think we will see Bryce at his best until next spring, when all the dings and hurts will finally be behind him, assuming he doesn’t get hurt, yet again, before then.

  22. Muddy Ruel - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    There’s a misleading headline in the Post this morning re the MASN-Nats dispute. It says a NY court strikes a blow for the Orioles when it enjoined the Nationals (and MLB) from executing an arbitration panel’s June finding for the Nats; but what the court really said was to keep the status quo until an August 18 hearing on the merits. Okay, maybe it’s the first time MLB has been enjoined but that doesn’t seem like much of a “blow” and MLB says its the Nats that the court is enjoining in any case. Anyway, it seems to me from 30,000 feet that the Orioles are — Angelos-style — refusing to adhere to the terms of the agreement they signed in 2005 whereby the parties agree that an arbitration panel would settle any disputes. The Angelos refuses b/c the court didn’t agree with his view of he financials. MASN and Angelos apparently don’t mind alienating Nats fans.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      Here’s my take. Angelos wants to drag this on as long as he can. He also wants to scare MLB into action to play a game of “chicken”.

      If MLB is scared enough he hopes they will pay the difference to the Nats which is probably $60 million more than Angelos wants to pay. MLB currently pays out a large percentage of the $110,000,000 to each team as part of MLB Advanced Media deal that shared amongst all teams and could decide to take that $60 million out of the split of national TV rights and $60 million from 30 teams is $2 million less which is better than a team opening up MLB to public inspection.

      Angelos has much more to lose than just the MASN payout because of the stipulation that Orioles and Nats would receive the same annual TV fee amounts, the MASN profits are not part of team revenue as it’s exclused but annual local TV rights are.

      Read this chart for the Orioles:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2013-10-23/mlb-team-values.html

      If you believe that chart was accurate for 2013, the Orioles received $20 million in a revenue share payout from the wealthiest teams. If the Orioles got the matching local TV rights, they would no longer receive that $20 million in revenue share and if you look at the Mets who had revenue in 2013 of $265 million ($55 million more than the Orioles), they actually paid out revenue share of $27 million. If those charts are accurate, the Orioles would no longer get their supplement of revenue share but would have to pay out revenue share to the poorer teams. That could be a swing of $50 million.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/competitive-balance-lottery-pays-out-12-draft-picks?ymd=20140723&content_id=85923640&vkey=news_mlb

      The Competitive Balance Lottery gives teams that have either one of the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools one of six additional choices after each of the first and second rounds. Additionally, any other clubs that receive revenue-sharing funds are eligible for the supplemental second-round selections. With the extra $60 million of local TV rights, the Orioles would vault up and no longer be considered one of the smallest revenue teams and it’s unclear if they would still qualify as being in 10 smallest markets and they could lose their lottery pick.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      I think this is what happens when sports writers report on legal matters.

      To be fair, your average legal reporter might not do any better if s/he had to write a gamer or series preview.

  23. adcwonk - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    MASN and Angelos apparently don’t mind alienating Nats fans….

    Well knock me over with a feather!!

    Anyway, it seems to me from 30,000 feet that the Orioles are — Angelos-style — refusing to adhere to the terms of the agreement they signed in 2005 whereby the parties agree that an arbitration panel would settle any disputes.

    That’s correct. The aribtrator ruled, the Angelos didn’t like it, and so he got the court the put a “hold” on the ruling. One might say that this is a blow against the Nats, because all this is going to drag out even more. And because we know that Selig is a spineless wimp who’s knees quake when any of the teams threaten to sue MLB.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      My post disappeared. Probably too long. I will post in sections.

      Here’s my take. Angelos wants to drag this on as long as he can. He also wants to scare MLB into action to play a game of “chicken”.

      If MLB is scared enough he hopes they will pay the difference to the Nats which is probably $60 million more than Angelos wants to pay. MLB currently pays out a large percentage of the $110,000,000 to each team as part of MLB Advanced Media deal that shared amongst all teams and could decide to take that $60 million out of the split of national TV rights and $60 million from 30 teams is $2 million less which is better than a team opening up MLB to public inspection.

      Angelos has much more to lose than just the MASN payout because of the stipulation that Orioles and Nats would receive the same annual TV fee amounts, the MASN profits are not part of team revenue as it’s exclused but annual local TV rights are.

      Read this chart for the Orioles:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2013-10-23/mlb-team-values.html

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:21 AM

        If you believe that chart was accurate for 2013, the Orioles received $20 million in a revenue share payout from the wealthiest teams. If the Orioles got the matching local TV rights, they would no longer receive that $20 million in revenue share and if you look at the Mets who had revenue in 2013 of $265 million ($55 million more than the Orioles), they actually paid out revenue share of $27 million. If those charts are accurate, the Orioles would no longer get their supplement of revenue share but would have to pay out revenue share to the poorer teams. That could be a swing of $50 million.

        http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/competitive-balance-lottery-pays-out-12-draft-picks?ymd=20140723&content_id=85923640&vkey=news_mlb

        The Competitive Balance Lottery gives teams that have either one of the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools one of six additional choices after each of the first and second rounds. Additionally, any other clubs that receive revenue-sharing funds are eligible for the supplemental second-round selections. With the extra $60 million of local TV rights, the Orioles would vault up and no longer be considered one of the smallest revenue teams and it’s unclear if they would still qualify as being in 10 smallest markets and they could lose their lottery pick.

      • Eric - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:27 AM

        FWIW – I’m 90% sure that when a post disappears it’s because it’s been reported, either by accident, due to someone having taken offense to something, or due to mischievousness.

      • nats128 - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        Interesting. According to the chart, the Barves at $225 million are at 0 revenue share. Anyone above pays out and anyone below them receives. Both the Orioles and Nats receive and both with the new TV payout would not only lose that revenue source but then start to payout.

        It would be much smarter for the Orioles to make the Nats a 50/50 partner in MASN so they can insulate there profits from that revenue formula. Both teams have alot to lose if the formula changes. Orioles have much more to lose than the Nats.

        How come nobody has brought this up Ghost?

      • TimDz - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        “It would be much smarter for the Orioles to make the Nats a 50/50 partner in MASN so they can insulate there profits from that revenue formula. Both teams have alot to lose if the formula changes. Orioles have much more to lose than the Nats.

        How come nobody has brought this up Ghost?”

        I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but I truly think that the Anti-Christ (Read: Peter Angelos) doesn’t want to merely “win” this battle, but wants to obliterate the Nationals in the process. He always had a false claim to the “territory” and Spineless Selig caved for fear of a nasty lawsuit that would expose all of MLB’s supposed dirty secrets and threaten their antitrust exemption. He is an evil little troll with an ego the size of Texas and the money to bully just about whoever he wants.

        On the bright side, he is a bit of an old geezer and, once he dies, I believe the “agreement” does not transfer to any new ownership (I am not 100% sure on that one, but I swear I read that years ago)…I am not sure what would happen if the family (I’m assuming he has children) were to retain the team.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        Nats128, since not 1 of the 30 MLB teams publicly disclose, Bloomberg is estimating revenue and revenue share and maybe the media really needs to delve into how much impact it will have. At the end of the day, it’s all a guess.

        The Nats would be also benefit from a better split of MASN rather than as a TV rights payout. You gain $60 million in your left pocket but then you are losing $11 million in revenue share from your right pocket and then you are paying out $30 million in revenue share payout. MASN is now losing money so you aren’t getting a partner’s payout. Looks like the Nats net gain is $15 million and the Orioles probably lose $80 million between the revenue share accounting and fundinga gigantic loss in MASN since they are a 85% partner right now.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        “TimDZ said He always had a false claim to the “territory” ”

        Tim, I have felt the same way. He never owned the territory. In fact when he bought the Orioles in 1992, it wasn’t with any geographic concession. He claimed it but the Washington market was occupied before the Orioles relocated from St. Louis in 1954. When Short stole the Senators away from Washington in the 1970′s just leaving one team in the region, it wasn’t as if the Orioles owned new territory. It was always there for further expansion or relocation, but it was Angelos who blocked every effort for this to happen. MLB caved, pure and simple and now MLB has to make it right.

      • 6ID20 - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        When the Senators left town, the Orioles probably were awarded their territory as far as TV rights are concerned. Every square inch of the US is blocked off to a particular team or teams for TV blackout purposes. If the Senators’ territory didn’t go to the Orioles when they left town, it would have had to go to some other team. It wouldn’t have been left uncovered.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        It’s possible but why would MLB ever want to formerly do that? It makes no sense to guarantee geography. If the YES Network wanted to broadcast in DC in a deal with Comcast, who would care much like WGN and TBS who are on almost every cable offerings across the country.

    • laddieblahblah - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      Tort liability is Angelos’ bailiwick, but contract law is where the Lerners live.

      Angelos doesn’t think he is obliged to follow the requirements of the contract he signed with MLB, i.e. they have arbitration authority over disputes such as this. He can refuse to accept the findings, but he is then, arguably, violating the contract he signed with them.

      Both the law and the facts appear to be against him on this one. The Lerners are holding the winning hand. The Lerners have played this one very smart, letting the league run interference for them. The league will have to testify in their favor, since the league has already investigated, with its own members (3 of them, anyway), and found that the Nats were being screwed, in so many words. Plus, the Lerners got the league to pay them $25 mn in hush money to avoid a lawsuit, which should be more than enough to cover the Nats’ legal, which they could then re-collect from Angelos, should they be awarded legal fees as a result of a favorable judgement.

      Angelos is dealing with some savvy operators who are way out in front of both him, and the league.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      MASN/Angelos, to be clear, aren’t saying we refuse to play by the rules of the contract we signed. They’re claiming MLB and the Nats violated the rules in how the arbitration was set up and carried out.

      I am predisposed to think Angelos is full of sh!t, but I honestly don’t think any of us knows the contract and situation well to say so authoritatively in this case, because MLB and the parties involved have done a lot to conceal the particulars.

      Once they take this to court, tho, they can’t hide so well any longer (which of course was one reason toothless Bud didn’t want it there).

      I have faith in the courts to sort this out, and if MASN/Angelos are really fully of sh!t, to say so pretty quickly once they consider the merits of the case.

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        grr, my cyber kingdom for an edit key:

        “knows the contract and the situation well ENOUGH to say so authoritatively”

  24. micksback1 - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    one more day at the beach and then I’m back, I know knoxville nat misses me, lol

    have a chance to get on line this morning and post, before I hit the beach one last time I thought I would share this even though it is almost a week old. I had a chance to watch the Nats on TV verse Phils last Sat night. What impressed me was how praising the Philly broadcasters were on the Nats and they were generally nice guys, showing Nats fans in the stands and their insight on MLB was quite impressive. I was bale to watch the O’s games as my sons, who are O’s fans were able to get it on line. I had to suffer through their taunting as the game’s outcome materialized. Heard about harper’s homer on the beach and was elated! Heard Stammen really stepped up too

    what a difference one year makes, last year while on vacation, I believe Nats were 7 out

    • adcwonk - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Welcome back, sorta.

      During a MASN glitch, that Phillie’s pitcher got thrown out for mouthing off at the ump. When I saw the MLB replay, they (obviously) only had a video feed from Philly. The play-by-play man (whoever he was) happened to be doing all the talking at the time, and he, never-not-once indicated the ump was being unfair (in fact, he explained that getting thrown out for showing up an ump like that is perfectly normal), and, when Philly manager came out, said, “he’s probably going to get thrown out, too”, which he was.

      In short — the Philly guy seemed nice, knowledgeable, and completely objective.

      In shorter: I agree with your assessment, Mick!

  25. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    The revenue-sharing points are very interesting but I still think the real economic stumbling block is that MASN doesn’t have — and without significant investment won’t have — enuf revenue to pay the Nats the “market” fee, let alone the same fee to the Oreos. If forced to pay what the arbitrator ordered MASN would go bankrupt and a whole chain of dominoes would start falling. What MLB failed to account for in slapping this deal together was Angelos’s managerial ineptitude. (There’s another Harvard MBA exam question — why you can’t optimize a major business organization without a significant upfront infusion of invested capital.)

    This is not the only unforeseen consequence of the MLB revenue sharing arrangement. Tampa has thrived on the field for years — since 2008, anyway — notwithstanding a lousy stadium, lousy attendance and a lousy TV deal, but making a profit solely through the revenue sharing plan. For that reason they have never been highly motivated to do anything — except whine — about their lousy stadium or sign any of their players to big dollar deals. Why risk a penny if the rest of MLB is writing you a big dividend check at the end of the year and, to boot, your team is eating other teams’ lunch on the field with everybody else’s money.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      Yes it could go bankrupt in the short-term if the owners of MASN refuse to fund it. They would have to work on higher cable fees to stay afloat otherwise.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      I think that you underestimate Angelos in his “mismanagement” of MASN. By investing little in the product (and anyone who has seen MASN’s 1970′s newscast level of production values knows how little MASN is putting into its product) Angelos’s expenses remain low. The poor production values and his treatment of the Nats as the red headed stepchild on the network hold viewership down, which gives him a justification to lowball the rights fees.

      This is quite possibly the method in his madness. Because the rights fees are split evenly between the teams. By keeping the rights fees low he makes sure that the O’s walk off with the lion’s share of the money.

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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)...

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