Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's hard to be a columnist

I understand it must be hard to be a sports columnist.  Really.  Are there enough topics, enough interesting storyline available to fill two or three 1,200 word columns a week.

Not only do you need content but you have to drum up some interest, some controversy too.

Even if your logic and conclusions are thinly supported by the evidence.

Of course it's Boswell and his latest screed.

Soon, the Caps were the worst team in hockey, the laughingstock of the '70s. For nine years, they couldn't even make the 16-team playoffs. Then, when they did, the Caps spent the '80s being dubbed the chokers of April. The Caps' hardcore fans, enough of them to support a franchise, loved the team. But nobody else cared. The media, knowing a stock joke when they saw one, played the Caps for chuckles, just like the Nats now.

I'm sure this is the story line as you and Kornheiser sat around the white wine and brie dispensers in the Post's news room.  Would the history of the Caps be different had Pat LaFontaine hit the post in '87

I suppose the Stan Kasten-led Atlanta Braves with 14 straight playoff appeareances but just one WS title was an abysmal failure too?

So, the Capitals lost the capital for 33 years.

Lost the capital?  Hmmm.  What does that mean?  Hockey wasn't a top draw in Washington?  Really.  Does Bos even remember 1998?  And as for the subsequent years of suckage, you can't win 'em all.

If the Nats wants to avoid another dangerous step down the old Caps path, then they must act decisively. They should start next month by drafting Stephen Strasburg No. 1 overall -- then sign the San Diego State right-hander with the 100-mph-plus fastball. In the Nats' minds, as almost every scout, he will either be, or become, the legit No. 1 that Acta wants.
Please. Take me down the Caps path of 10 straight playoff appeareances.  Losing three Game 7's and losing three series you led 3-1 is a fluke.  Curses don't exist, Harry Frazee wasn't responsible for Bill Buckner's bad knees and the Billy Goat tavern didn't have anything to do with Bartman.  The goal is: build a consistant winner.  If your goal is to win multiple championships, you will be sorely disappointed (see Yankees circa 2001-2009)

Pitchers make risky high picks. Since the draft began in '65, no pitcher taken in the first 10 overall picks has had a Hall of Fame career.

My head hurts.  It really does.  Since 1968 (giving the first class in '65 three years to reach the majors) how many pitchers have been selected to the HoF?  44.  25 pitchers have been inducted who can by any reasonable strech be called the draft years.  Of those this is the list of the pitchers inducted by the writers: Gossage, Sutter, Eck, Ryan, Niekro, Sutton!, Fingers, Seaver, Carlton, Perry, Palmer, Jenkins, Wilhelm, Hunter, Drysdale, Marichal and Bob Gibson. 17.  I don't even want to count how many pitchers make up the set of top 10 draft picks since '65.  It's 43 drafts so it's 429 players (Danny Goodwin if you don't know why its not 430).  But, let's say it takes at least a 10 year career (and five more retired) to get to the HoF.  That means 1994 is the latest any pitcher could have been drafted in the Top 10 and be in the Hall right now.

So we're down to 289 players.  40% of these picks as pitchers let's say.  That's 116 players (rounded up). So you mean to tell me that not one of these 116 pitchers cracked the 17 who are in the Hall?  Out of how many pitchers in the draftable era?  I am truly shocked and appalled.  Those baseball executives are total idiots.  Or perhaps we have the logical fallacy of appealing to authority and the authority if full of crap.

Next, the Nats need to admit to themselves that looking out over the next several years, they don't have a top-flight closer, or perhaps even setup man, in their entire organization. Yesterday's blown leads of 8-4 after six innings and 10-9 in the ninth are the latest evidence. Facing a problem doesn't solve it, but it opens the way. Making a trade, signing a free agent or using their No. 10 overall draft pick in June for a young closer is needed.

Yes.  Let's spend massive resources toward two pitchers who will pitch perhaps 160-170 of the nearly 1,500 innings necessary to complete a regular season.  Brilliant.  Inspired.  How that working out for ya TWGMIBB?  J.J. Putz the answer?  Tough to get F-Rod innings when Oliver Perez and Livan! are not leaving any high leverage situations laying around.

Closers and setup guys are failed starters who can get guys out for an inning or two and no more.  You ride them hard when they are good and dump them when their arms a fragged out (Jon Rauch anyone?)

But if, like the old Caps, they dawdle, they could be in the wilderness a long time. The Nats are in their fifth season in town. A window of opportunity is a horrible thing to waste. If empty seats could talk, they'd say it's closing fast.
Dawdle?  It's that's what's going on?  Was dawdling what the Caps did after the Jagr disaster?  No.  What they did was get rid of high salary old guys and get as many low salary young and talented guys as possible.  It's called a plan. Somtimes plans work and sometimes they don't.  But a plan is better than say whatever in hell Snyder is doing!

Speaking of Snyder, it's always been a truism that this is a Redskins town.  How did that come about?  A sustained period of excellence.  And hey, look around.  Is this still a Redskins town?  How many playoff wins in the past 15 years?   How many Terrible towels in Fed Ex field?

Winning=fan support (period)  Win and everything is good, lose and your are the Coyotes.  This is magnified by our location where winners and losers are made everyday and the fan base is used to sucking up to winners and jumping on bandwagons.

Build it and they will come.  You can't "lose" a town.  Win and they will love you. Lose and they won't.  It ain't rocket science.

1 comment:

  1. this was pretty much the post i was going to write this evening. well put.