Episode 31 – (Redskins, Wizards, Nationals, Pine Pony)

We had to reschedule our interview with Rashad Mobley, but it did not stop us from touching on all D.C. sports of the week! We discuss another 20 minutes of food and randomness (our specialty) to start and get into Dwayne Haskins audio, Wizards Lottery let down and more…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Dwayne Haskins Audio – (23:35)
  • Wizards Lottery Let Down – (41:20)
  • Nationals Lately – (58:35)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (1:29:00)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Episode 30 – (Wizards, Nationals, Food Game)

If you want “old school” Serone & Simpson, this is the episode for you. With the Nats and Wizards being the only ones with real importance at this time, we got into MAJOR discussions of many foods that we wish were part of our daily diets. Even though this is a sports podcast, we still enjoy the food conversations almost as much as we like eating the food itself…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Wizards Draft Lottery – (25:00)
  • Ryan Zimmerman Comments/Nats Talk – (38:50)
  • “This or That” Food Game/Food Tangents – (1:04:00)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

The Art of “Small Ball”

If you are a Nationals fan, you have to notice something different about this years team. Yes, Bryce Harper is not here. But if you look at this club more in depth, you can see it is not “just a new cast in this 2019 play.”

SportingCharts.com defines “Small Ball” as: An offensive baseball strategy that favors situational hitting and base running tactics over pure hitting in an effort to make efficient use of scoring opportunities in any given situation.

Personally, this is my favorite strategy in all of sports. I am a more strategic type of coach rather than a “set the lineup and release the hounds” type. As a Nationals fan, this is the first glimpse since the start of the Bryce era that we have had to follow the “small ball” model over the model of “get some guys on and let Harp crush a 450 foot mammoth shot to the upper deck.” In 2019, our lineup is focused more on batting average hitting rather than home run hitters.  Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Howie Kendrick, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Adam Eaton and company aren’t going to go out there and be the new Ken Griffey Jr. hitting over .300 with 30-40 homers every year. My gripe is more so with Davey Martinez than the players, but I do acknowledge that it isn’t all him and that the players have to execute as well.

With that in mind, “small ball” has to be executed with precision and accuracy. This is one reason, of the many, why I think Davey Martinez is getting criticized every day. To master this art, you have to set the tone in the clubhouse first and foremost. While Ben and I were coaching some rising High School players, everyday I emphasized two words: Responsibility and Accountability.

  • Be RESPONSIBLE for your job and what you need to do on the field.
  • Be ACCOUNTABLE for your mistakes.

Those two things are, what I think, most important in not only baseball, but any team game that deals with multiple pieces on the field at once (i.e. Football, Basketball, Soccer etc.). My biggest critique is the lack of energy and passion that has been set in the Nationals locker room thus far. There isn’t any fire on the bench to get guys amped up. We see errors, bad at-bats, and countless mistakes being made that you learn in Babe Ruth leagues. Not being able to lay a bunt down, striking out when you need to put the ball in play,  and bobbling routine grounders happens to professionals, but it seems like it happens more often than not with this ball club. We are 26th in Major League Baseball with 27 errors on the season. We have 12 in our last 10 games. There just isn’t any energy getting this team right or rejuvenating the passion on a nightly basis. We always have to understand that it’s a game and games are supposed to be fun, yet this team looks to be miserable at this point. The culture starts from the top and Martinez’ best friend type approach is starting to wear thin with each loss.

Strasburg speaking about the Nationals struggles

Next up, you have to manage each game with more strategy than just analytics. The “eye test” is so underrated in sports. You have a high baseball intelligence? Use it. For instance, you see Jeremy Hellickson out there with nine strikeouts in the 5th inning and a low pitch count, don’t take him out for a “lefty/lefty match up.” You have Brian Dozier get on base with Wilmer Difo batting (.232) up next, you bunt Dozier over getting him in scoring position allowing him to have a higher chance of scoring on a base hit. Most fans and on lookers would prefer you make a baseball decision rather than look at a booklet that says Difo has hit changeup’s well lately. We all want the same thing and that is to score runs. With a depleted lineup, you need to score a few runs and let your horses in the rotation bring it home. Putting excess pressure on Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin to always “great” and not just “solid,” is something you never want.

Davey Martinez

Lastly, you have to move runners “station to station” by singles and doubles, not home runs. You may get a long ball here and there, but when runners get on, you have to get base hits to move them around. Washington is in the bottom third of teams in the stats LOB (Left on Base) and Team RISP Average (Runners in Scoring Position). We are currently leaving over seven runners on base per game, while only hitting .246 with RISP. With that, you have to look at how you’re setting your lineup. Two guys that are performing horribly with runners in scoring position are Ryan Zimmerman (2 for 21 – .095) & Brian Dozier (2 for 17 – . 118). Notably, both of them are more known for power numbers instead of hitting for average and on-base percentage. Dozier has hit an average of 29.6 Home Runs per season dating back to 2014 with a career .323 OBP. Zimmerman has had five seasons with 25+ Home Runs and career .343 OBP. They are not made for small ball. Let’s look at their replacements stats.

First, Matt Adams is Zim’s replacement. Though his OBP isn’t that impressive, Adams proves himself with RISP (5 for 18 – . 278 – 11 RBI’s). For Dozier, Howie Kendrick is first man up. He is the prototypical small ball player. Kendrick is hitting (12 for 33 – .364 – 13 RBI’s) with runners on any base and (6 for 16 – .375 – .419 OBP) with RISP. Not to mention he gets on base at a .382 overall OBP which is top two on our team. Those numbers are considerably better and should show Martinez and coaches that to execute this strategy every night, you need to play the guys that fit the system more than ones that are getting paid more or have name recognition.

Howie Kendrick 2

To recap, this is what I believe Washington needs to do in order to succeed with this new squad:

  1. Set the tone in the clubhouse.
  2. Have a good balance of “eye test” and analytics.
  3. Produce a lineup that is more built for the type of baseball you play.

I was all for the Davey hire before the 2018 season. But the failure in the win column and lack of strategy almost every night has put my panic meter at a steep incline.

Episode 29 – (Redskins Draft, Capitals, Nationals)

After being under the weather last week, it is good to be back behind the mics yet again to recap the Redskins Draft, the Capitals disappointing 1st Round Exit, and what is the Washington Nationals debacle. Plus we get into some movie theater talk and pizza….

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Washington Redskins Draft Rundown – (21:00)
  • Washington Capitals Exit Reactions – (45:30)
  • Washington Nationals Debacle  – (1:07:00)
  • Grinds My Gears – (1:33:40)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Ranking the Top 10 Most Important Nationals

In certain sports there are players more important than others for the success of the franchise. Take Quarterback for example. You have the ball each and every down on offense to which you are more important than say the second tight end or the slot receiver. In baseball, you have superstars but role players will sometimes make or break your team when those superstars aren’t on their game. When it comes to this specific “Harper-less” Nationals club, it is something we have yet to see in over seven years of having that star on our team. These are my Top 10 rankings of importance of this 2019 Washington Nationals Active Roster.

  1. Max Scherzer – (Starting Pitcher)

    Multiple Cy Young awards (at least one in each league), leadership, durability, endurance, and most of all the confidence we all have with him on the bump is why this guy is my number one. He is a beast on the mound and no matter if he has a few bad outings or not, he is still the best pitcher in baseball. We are witnessing greatness, be thankful. MaxScherzer1

  2. Anthony Rendon – (3rd Base)

    The next great one is in our midst. Yes, we know he does not have that flair or flash that someone like Harper has, but he may have the most all-around game in this organization. Batting .371 this season and having an on-base percentage of over .450, he is in the Top 10 for each category. Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, he has a combined .309 batting average and a .409 on-base percentage. Can you ask for anything more? Oh wait, he is also one of the best fielding 3rd basemen in ALL of baseball. Three words: PAY THE MAN!anthony-rendon-usat-nationals

  3. Juan Soto/Victor Robles – (LF/CF)

    Combined at the third spot are our young guns in the outfield. These two were the main reason we let Harper go eat cheese steaks with all of those boo birds in Philly. Juan Soto came on the scene last year with little warning. He was on fire from the start and did not let up one bit coming up one spot short of Rookie of the Year. Robles on the other hand got hurt in the minors so we saw a lot less of him last year. Yet, we have heard his name around the majors and the Nationals organization for multiple years. The sight of having these two in the outfield for the foreseeable future gave Mike Rizzo and the organization confidence in not paying for the service of one Bryce Harper. They have had some struggles this year but think about it this way. When we were their age, we were in some bar somewhere not thinking of the exam we had coming up the following Friday. They are in the Major Leagues being leaned on by thousands. Give ’em some time!

    Soto Robles

  4. Stephen Strasburg  –  (Starting Pitcher)

    This rank may differ for some people but to me it is a no brainer. I am a Strasburg homer. I was at his debut and get pumped for each and every one of his starts. He is a monster on the mound and watching him buckle professionals at the knees or paint the black on a consistent basis is astounding to watch. Now yes, he does have injury concerns but if he was replaceable or not a big deal, why would we concern so much on his injury history? He may not be the prodigy we all thought he was but I will take starts like we just saw on Easter Sunday over any regular journeyman starter. Strasburg

  5. Yan Gomes/Kurt Suzuki  – (Catcher Platoon)

    This may come as a shock but do you know how important a catcher is to a baseball team? Just like the center position in football, the catcher touches the ball in 95% of the ballgame. Catching foul tips, people stealing, calling pitches, framing borderline pitches etc. The things a catcher does on a daily basis is a running list. I ranked these two additions to the squad this high because of the level of difficulty in the position and the performance they give. Our struggles over the years with Wieters was known. The Buffalo you say? Try having him run down the first baseline without pulling a hamstring or laboring to even get to the bag. I will take this platoon over anything we have had in the last five years. Suzuki has been one of my favorites for years. He always has a smile on and frames pitches with the best of them. Plus, with his limited time playing, he is leading the team hitting with runners on base going (6 for 15) with a .400 batting average and .444 on-base percentage. With Gomes primarily in the American League this is my first good look at his game and I am liking the presence he brings behind the dish. Nationals Baseball

  6. Patrick Corbin/Sean Doolittle  – (Starting Pitcher/Closer)

    Combining these two is kind of a cop-out but they equal the same importance. Having a third starter is pretty much on point with having a quality closer. 90% of your season series’ are three games. The playoffs, if you get there, is made for 3-4 man rotations. If you have a Max Scherzer you can throw him on short rest so that means you can go with a three-man rotation come playoff time. At this time in the season with a handful of starts from our main guys, Patrick Corbin has been most impressive. With opposing batters hitting less than .200 on him and a below 2.36 ERA, you CANNOT ask of anything more of your newest pitching acquisition. Of qualified pitchers, Corbin ranks in the Top 11 in the MLB of WHIP (Walks + Hits / IP) and ERA. Doolittle on the other hand has been needed A LOT more than he should be at this point. Yet, even with his over usage, he has a 0.90 ERA. Imagine if the Nats could get to the 9th inning only using him for save situations. Wouldn’t that be a site! Patrick Corbin

  7. Adam Eaton  –  (RF)

    Adam Eaton was a great addition for this squad a few years ago. Even though injuries have somewhat plagued him since he has been here, he has produced when he has played. Since the start of the 2017 season, he has a combined .302 batting average and a .407 on-base percentage. He has helped the young core in the outfield with leading by example and showing how a class act should be in the Major Leagues. Eaton provides a good bat at the top of the lineup and a good clubhouse presence for one of the youngest rosters in the league. Adam Eaton

  8. Howie Kendrick  –  (Utility IF/OF)

    If you think Howie Kendrick is replaceable, you’re sadly mistaken. People overlook Howie because he does not play everyday. You need to understand the importance of Mr. Kendrick as some people probably call him. He doesn’t hit moon shots like Harper or hit as consistent as Rendon, but my god having a career .291 hitter coming off the bench that has experience playing both infield and outfield is a rare commodity. Grabbing him back in 2017 is a move I will always applaud Rizzo for completing. He has constantly come up clutch for us in big spots. Focus in on this year for instance. He is getting on base 46% of the time, hitting .387 overall, and has a .467 batting average in the teams 10 wins. Along with that .467 average, he has four extra-base hits including all of his homers this season. Tell me some reasons he isn’t valuable to our team, I’ll wait….Kendrick

  9. Trea Turner  –  (Starting Shortstop)

    He is a tad low on my list because we have yet to see enough of him to evaluate his true potential. He has had less than 100 games in two of his first three seasons, and last year was really his breakout year in what was a down year for the organization as a whole. We’ve heard the potential on the base paths, the cannon from shortstop, and the above average hitting potential he has, but we won’t get the full taste of his potential until a larger sample size is commenced. Once he comes back from the finger injury, we will get to see what Trea Turner has in store. Trea Turner

  10. Matt Adams  –  (1B/OF)

    Big City! I have been favoring Matt Adams to start over Ryan Zimmerman for two seasons now. He has a far bigger impact, in my opinion, than Zimmerman. Since the start of the 2018 season, Adams has a batting average of .275 with runners on base and .351 with runners in scoring position. Comparing his stats to Zimmerman, he is 41 points higher with runners on and 128 points higher with runners in scoring position. He won’t be a clean-up type hitter but can come through in some bigger spots that Zimmerman has failed to do in recent years. But I think the biggest thing is the bat off the bench. It is very difficult to find someone to come off the bench with Home Run potential. With Kendrick taking the cake with the “hit in a pinch” bat off the bench, Adams is your big bopper. He is not the best overall baseball player but comes through when you need him. Matt Adams

Episode 28 – (Capitals, Nationals)

What will Ben’s “Native American” name be? Is there a better way to eat Hot Dogs that isn’t all bread? We answer those and more with the Capitals up one game on the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Nationals failing to take control of the National League East….Take a listen!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • More “Dances with Wolves” Talk – (22:00)
  • Capitals Up 3-2 on Carolina – (24:10)
  • Nationals .500 on the Season – (40:15)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

“Mr. National” – Ryan Zimmerman

I know, I know. “Another rant from Mike about Ryan Zimmerman.” If no one will care to talk about the issue then I will speak my peace until someone besides Ben and I starts to take notice.

Zim is in the last year of his contract and it could not come any sooner. Television crews and some broadcasters out there put out some of these egregious stats such as; “When it is over 60 degrees with the Colorado Rockies in town, Ian Desmond strikes out over two times per game.” Now they have never said that specific thing, but this is very similar.

Around Opening Day, MASN put out this graphic that really “irked” me to say the least. It had the title “Mr. National” for the one guy people lean on every year to take us to the promise land….RYAN ZIMMERMAN? It had a very dumb stat that included his season averages for seasons he had over 500 at-bats (7 Total Seasons – Only 1 since 2013). Of course, they are all inflated. Problem is, if you discount this season and his rookie season, it totals 13 seasons. That leaves out six total seasons of baseball. This is a ploy to show everyone that he is so important to our organization rather than being a COMPLETE liability.

With that, I decided to do a little information seeking on my own. Below will be two stats on each line. First will be the last five seasons combined, and second will be four of the last five discounting his career year in 2017. Here are some stats of the last five seasons he has been a National (incl. 2015-2019).

Ryan Zimmerman Season Averages (2015 – 2019)

  • Batting Average:  .248   –   (.234)
  • On Base Percentage:  .319  –   (.309)
  • Home Runs:  16.2   –   (11.25)
  • Runs Batted In:  57.2   –   (44.5)
  • Extra Base Hits:   36.6   –   (28.5)
  • Runners in Scoring Position:  (122 for 471) = .234   –   (75 for 320 = .214)
  • Runners On Base:  (210 for 799) = .263   –   (126 for 544 = .227)

I always look at the positives for my team. But when there is a legit GLARING hole in our lineup or in our teams outlook, I am not going to stand around acting like it is “no big deal.”

RonBurgandy

Mike Rizzo has assembled this team to be a World Series contender for the last 7+ years and we have nothing to show for it whatsoever. I know Ryan Zimmerman was a bright spot for us when he was drafted back in 2005 (our first season). But you have to look at the recency effect and how he has produced for this team in big spots. Everyone looks at his 11 walk-off homers, his two Silver-Slugger Awards (2009,2010), one Gold-Glove (2009), and his career 2017 season. But what they don’t see are the season’s he did most of those in, where we didn’t even crack 70 wins. You have to produce when your team needs you. Plain and Simple. With this team making the playoffs four of the last seven seasons, poised to make it this year, changes have to be made. Legacy only goes so far when your play is mediocre at best. I just wish people would start to look towards our future rather than our lackluster past.

 

GO NATS!

Episode 27 – (Capitals, Nationals, Tiger)

The Capitals are up by two on the Carolina Hurricanes, the Nationals bullpen continues to struggle, Ryan Zimmerman is more of a liability than a car with no steering wheel, Serone’s boy Tiger Woods wins “The Masters,” and we once again get carried away talking about food and the good things in life…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Up 2-0 on Carolina – (19:00)
  • Nationals .500 on the Season – (43:15)
  • Tiger Woods Wins “The Masters” – (1:29:15)
  • Food is the Best – (1:35:45)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Episode 26 – (Skins, Wiz, Caps, Nats)

As we forget to start the show and reminisce on our shows history, we eventually get into some thoughts on Josh Rosen possibly to the Redskins, the Wizards draft position, Capitals series vs. Carolina, and the “Pig Pen” Nationals Bullpen that has stunk up the joint for most of the eight games so far…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Josh Rosen to Redskins? – (17:00)
  • Wizards Draft Positioning – (26:50)
  • Capitals Playoff Series vs. Carolina – (32:15)
  • Nationals Bullpen Woes – (51:30)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:18:40)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

A List of Things I Trust More Than The Nats Bullpen

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The Nats Bullpen has been disastrous to start this season. A wonderful case in point was on Sunday when a 12-1 lead almost evaporated into thin air. Below I have listed things I trust more than the Nationals bullpen right now:

Oreo will keep cranking out hits

the most stuff

I mean the box says it all. Not “a lotta stuf” or “a large amount of stuf” but the MOST stuf. Throw away the Oreo cracker part and just give me ALL THE STUF. I’ve tried desperately to shop for this but haven’t had any luck. Instead, the shopkeepers keep asking me to stop crying and let them leave.

I will continue to tell people “Yeah, I’ll watch Game of Thrones soon” and not watch it

I have nothing against the show. I’m sure it is very good. I hear there is a lot of graphic sexual scenes, and a lot of dragons breathing fire, and some seat that has knives on it. This all sounds lovely. I mean, literally every baseball team has a “Game of Thrones” night at the ballpark now. I understand I am very very late to the party. I’ll just be honest: I’ll tell you I’m going to watch it soon, but I’m not going to.

BHMBGOTIRTHWNMS_p_2048x

Papa Johns will continue to be an overrated pizza chain

Facts are facts. Dominos has stepped up their game with the crust. Pizza Hut created an entire section of their restaurant dedicated towards Wings. They are showing the effort. I appreciate it. Papa Johns meanwhile has what to their name? A little cup of melted garlic sauce in the box and a few peppers that I always forget are in there before I stomp the box to put it in the recycling and get stuff everywhere? Plus the Papa of Papa Johns was kind of a psycho.

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People will not let you leave the metro car before they enter

metro

It is supposed to be a relatively simple situation. The metro stops, the people who need to get off do, the people who need to get on then enter, then we move on to the next station. Instead, I have seen the two groups basically smash into each other, limbs everywhere, each side attempting to push forward. I assume this resembles Game of Thrones, but without the dragons.

There is that panicked moment, even when you know for sure you have plenty of time to exit the train before the doors close, when you worry that you won’t make it. Give credit to the operators, they don’t wait around. If just an arm made it on, then that arm is headed to Foggy Bottom, regardless of if the body made it too.

The Metro stop Foggy Bottom will continue to make me chuckle

I mean, come on. Foggy BOTTOM. That is hilarious.

Dairy Queen employees will never forget to turn the Blizzard over

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I mean look at that guy in the picture. Is he smug or what? “This is what you came to see right? This is the GREATEST SHOW” as he gives a quick flick of the wrist and turns that bad boy upside down.

I’ll be honest, I dream of the day the employee does that and the blizzard spills all over the counter. But it never. freaking. happens.

Disney Channel Original Movies were cinematic perfection and will always hold up

Disney_-_The_Luck_of_the_Irish

Look at that tagline: Kid today. Leprechaun tomorrow. 

Incredible.

Some of the hits:

-Motocrossed

-Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century

-Halloweentown

-Smart House

-The Thirteenth Year

I mean you could put basically stack any of those up against some piece of trash like Suicide Squad. 

My dentist will never say “your gums look good”

child-dentist-office-happy-08-feb-2017.jpeg

I’ve tried really hard! Okay, maybe not really hard. But I have those little floss pick things, and I bought the water jet thing, I swear I’ve done everything they’ve asked. But it’s just not good enough. I feel like I’m trying to impress my dad every time I visit the Dentist.

“Didn’t I do good papa? Don’t my teeth look shiny!”

The hygienist will sigh as she continues to poke as hard as she can into my gums, blood gushing like I just slammed my face on a railing. I smile in pain, red streams pouring through the gaps in between each tooth.

Nope, you need to do better. Now stick this gigantic piece of plastic into your mouth without crying, we need to take X-Rays.

I will never know how to dress “cool”

Dressing-cool-for-guys-images

I’ve never liked wearing unbuttoned shirts over t-shirts. They always flap in the wind as I walk. A lot of the clothes I  wear were given to me for free over the years from various sports teams or organizations. One time in college, my roommate raided the lost and found bin at the gym where he worked, that provided me enough outfits for the rest of the year.

I once wore a zip-up that I thought was “cool” in high school. I walked in proudly, strutting around. My friend immediately came up and starting listing all the things that made that zip-up the most unfashionable thing he had ever seen.

This Baby could save me in a fire

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Look at that guy. The confidence, the swagger. The boy is a HERO.

 

Those are all the things I immediately can think of that I trust more than the Nats bullpen right now. I’m sure I could go on all day, but this is a solid start.