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UPDATE: Nats upset at Simmons for injuring Escobar

Apr 28, 2015, 12:30 AM EDT

AP

Updated at 12:30 a.m.

ATLANTA — Yunel Escobar is expected to miss a day or two after his left hand was cut in multiple places on a late, hard slide by Andrelton Simmons during Tuesday night’s game that left several Nationals teammates fuming over what they perceived as a dirty play by the Braves shortstop.

“That kid’s a good player,” Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said of Simmons. “He plays with a lot of energy. But he’s got to be way smarter than that. That was ugly. It looked ugly. I’m sure when he goes back and looks at it, hopefully he learns from it.”

“Andrelton plays with a lot of energy and is a good player, but that’s a B.S. slide,” right fielder Bryce Harper added. “That’s something you don’t do. It’s just not smart. If he goes and looks back at it, he might see that it wasn’t a good idea.”

The play in question occurred during the bottom of the fifth inning of what wound up an 8-4 Braves victory at Turner Field. With Simmons on first base, Nationals starter Doug Fister uncorked a wayward pickoff attempt that rolled all the way to the tarp stationed along the right-field stands. Second baseman Danny Espinosa retrieved the ball and fired a one-hop throw to third, where Escobar was waiting and had Simmons out by two steps.

Simmons, though, came in hard and late, and his right foot slammed into Escobar’s glove, knocking it and the ball away and leaving his hand bloody. In obvious pain, Escobar was escorted off the field by assistant trainer Steve Gober, unable to finish the game.

“It just happens in the game sometimes,” Escobar said through interpreter Nilson Robledo, adding he expects to miss one or two days while his hand heals.

Escobar and Nationals manager Matt Williams wouldn’t directly give their opinion on Simmons’ slide, but several others in the clubhouse didn’t hesitate to criticize their opponent. And on the field, they appeared to try to exact some revenge when rookie reliever Rafael Martin’s first pitch in the bottom of the seventh got a piece of Simmons in the back before scooting to the backstop.

Atlanta outfielder Jonny Gomes, who came out of the dugout to argue, was ejected after the plunking. Martin and both dugouts were given warnings by plate umpire Bill Welke.

“I don’t even want to get into it,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters after the game. “I thought Simmons, he just slid a little late into third base, that’s all. We all know and have seen him play, and sometimes he can slide a little crazy. There was nothing malicious about it. I’m surprised, really, with how they reacted. But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.”

“I was just going hard and trying to go right for the bag,” Simmons told reporters. “It’s bad that somebody got hurt. Hopefully it’s not that bad, but I was just trying to play hard.”

This is the third injury Escobar has suffered since joining the Nationals over the winter. He strained an oblique muscle during spring training and missed three weeks. He also missed two games earlier this month with a mild groin strain.

The Nationals had no choice but to play Espinosa at third base and Dan Uggla at second base when Escobar was out with the groin injury, and they’ll likely need to do the same if he can’t play Tuesday or Wednesday, barring the promotion of another infielder from their farm system.

  1. natfan33 - Apr 27, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Escobar caught the ball properly using 2 hands, but failed to keep his right hand on the ball/glove during the tag. Learn this in little league.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 27, 2015 at 9:10 PM

      I agree. For those of you that are calling it a dirty play by Simmons, I have to ask you why? He isn’t trying to hurt Escobar. He went for the mitt and ball with a hard-nosed slide, but perfectly legal. If he hit his legs, it’s dirty, but not if he hits the glove. Gosh guys, go watch WCAC high school baseball with the likes of Dematha and St. John’s and you’ll see that kind of play a few times a year.

      • Mc - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:39 PM

        What a clown you are. Just what I’d expect from a fan of this disgraceful team. He want in two steps late with no intention of getting the bag but simply dislodging the ball, which is 100% illegal- at every level. The fact that he went in spikes up indicates a desire to injure as well. That is the kind of play that ends careers. It would be an automatic ejection at most levels and should result in a suspension here.

        Imagine if Harper had done the exact same thing into Simmons at second – the Braves bench would have instantly cleared.

      • NatsNut - Apr 28, 2015 at 5:38 AM

        Mc, you could have just as well made your point without the name-calling.

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        Mc u r a clown. It’s not illegal at all. Fact is he dislodged the ball and was safe. No fine will occur proving your ignorance. Trying to dislodge a ball is every sliders goal.

    • curlydub34 - Apr 28, 2015 at 2:05 AM

      Tagging with two hands would have subjected his throwing hand to injury. In all my years of playing ball, I’ve never been taught/never seen someone apply a tag with two hands except for a catcher. Just because a play is legal, doesn’t mean it isn’t dirty…

      • nats128 - Apr 28, 2015 at 6:24 AM

        +1

  2. dclivejazz - Apr 28, 2015 at 2:07 AM

    Looks like Simmons didn’t mean to hurt anybody and Escobar shrugs it off. As much as I don’t think it was a clean play, in comparison to others, it might be time to move on. Hopefully Simmons will enjoy further karmic payback, but the Nats probably feel the case is closed with the boink Martin delivered to Simmons.

  3. robertjhanke - Apr 28, 2015 at 2:10 AM

    Cry baby Nationals at it again. 20 games and Scherzer is already complaining about having to swing a bat. You’re making 210 million and you cry about having to play the full game. Maybe if you weren’t so money hungry, you could have stayed in the AL where you play half of the game.

    Now that was a stupid play by Simmons, but the dude wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. The slide was his only chance and if Escobar could have kept his glove on, he would have been out and there wouldn’t have been any problem. Of course, using a glove isn’t exactly the easiest thing for the Nats. Desmond should learn how to use one before he calls something ugly

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 3:34 AM

    “…that’s a B.S. slide,” right fielder Bryce Harper added. “That’s something you don’t do. It’s just not smart. If he goes and looks back at it, he might see that it wasn’t a good idea.”

    Interesting what Bryce had to say as he is a hard-nosed throwback himself. My first thought was that it was a late slide intended to go after his glove with spikes up to get the intended result.

    The good news is that Escobar wasn’t seriously injured.

  5. nats106 - Apr 28, 2015 at 6:16 AM

    If there was video of Ty Cobb available it might have looked like that. I thought the spikes were high, but maybe this will wake these guys up. I’m with w34 just because it’s legal….

    I’m upset too. I’m also upset because the DOA doesn’t work when your team arrives DOA.

  6. nats1924 - Apr 28, 2015 at 6:28 AM

    Nats need to be worried about a lot of things. The way Simmons slides into bases should be the last right now.

    We stink

    • Guapo - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:51 AM

      +1. Well put.

  7. nats1924 - Apr 28, 2015 at 6:37 AM

    correction, Nats & Zimmerman should be upset by not catching the throw from Fister – If he did there’d be no Escobar injury.

    too many pre-madonnas on this team.

    • nattyboh1 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:28 AM

      Prima donna:

      a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance.

      • nats106 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:29 AM

        Hey, I’m pre-Madonna!

    • unkyd59 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      pre-madonnas…. That’s a good one… I hope it was spell check…

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:08 AM

        No, it’s a joke from last season, someone else’s honest, if illiterate, mistake.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 6:56 AM

    “My first thought was that it was a late slide intended to go after his glove with spikes up to get the intended result.”

    I agree with everything you say except for what you might consider what the desired results were. Simmons was trying to dislodge the ball and reach the bag safely. A player can do that without intending to hurt the defending player. Unfortunately Yunel’s hand got cut on the play, but I honestly don’t think that there was intent by Simmons to injure him. Simmons has never been known to be a dirty player. And Mc (peric)? There is no rule against sliding feet first into an opposing player’s glove.

    Now, am I surprised at the Nats for being upset? Heck no, and I hope that they use it to their advantage by lighting a fire to their butts and start playing together as a team. The play in question came about as a result of one more set of sequences where they looked like the Bad News Bears. But I am reminded of the 1977 ALCS with the Yankees and the Royals. The Royals had a one game lead on the Yankees and in game two momentum seemed to be on their side when in the 6th they tied it up as a result of a hard-nosed takeout of Willie Randolph by Hal McRae breaking up a double play and allowing the runner on 3rd to score. McRae wasn’t ejected, though many thought that he should’ve been. But the play seemed to fire up the Yankees and they came back and won the game and the series. Many baseball fans despised Billy Martin, but Martin used the MsRae play to ignite his players. My hope is that Matt Williams can use the Simmons play as a catalyst to rally his team to start playing better baseball. It could be the spark to start the fire.

    GYFNG!!!

    • Mc - Apr 28, 2015 at 12:43 PM

      I swear there’s an academic paper in the inverse relationship between actual knowledge and the smugness and certitude of the comments. This attitude that players should just suck it up and be tougher is just galling when it obviously comes from people whose closest interaction with the game is obviously that one time you almost caught a foul ball in your beer cup.

      This was a dirty play, plain and simple, even if it had been technically legal. It’s dirty to go into second spikes up, even though it’s only specifically barred up through NCAA. Every player respects the fact that no out is worth a players safety – every player not managed by Fredi Gonzales, that is. But the issue for those on this blog who actually care about the rules is “was it a legal play?”

      It is unambiguously illegal at all levels through NCAA as the runner has an obligation to avoid malicious contact, but it’s more of a judgement call at the MLB level, though I assert its pretty clearly interference there. Contrary to repeated assertion, it is not legal to try to dislodge a ball from a tag being applied. Google 2004 ALCS and A-Rod to see a recent application of the rule. The basic framework is a batter or runner cannot interfere with a fielder making a play. In the case of a batted ball, intent is unnecessary- the fielder’s right is absolute, but in the case of a thrown ball, the umpire must find an intent to interfere. That was demonstrated here by Simmons’ illegal slide. In a legal slide, the player contacts the ground before the base. Go watch the video. Simmons launches himself directly at the glove, aimed past the base. He only contacts the ground because he is deflected by his contact with the player. Sadly, he did not break his ankle by contacting the base at full speed, but that was just dumb luck. It was a wildly dangerous play and he certainly knew it. No decent manager would tolerate, much less defend, that play. But, this is the Braves, so there you go.

      What I will never understand is the reflexive defense of such an obviously dirty play. I hope none of these commentators are around developmental baseball, and teaching kids that kind of crap is acceptable.

      • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        Just noticed this comment while going back to look for something. Agree with you 100% as my comment the next day showed. Well argued and absolutely right.

  9. laddieblahblah - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:05 AM

    Simmons is a punk. That is the most transparently obvious attempt I have ever seen of one player deliberately trying to hurt another. I have probably seen more baseball games than almost anyone else on this blog, and for a longer period of time. I was watching and listening to Brooklyn Dodgers broadcasts BEFORE Vin Scully joined the broadcast team (Red Barber and Connie Desmond, at that time).

    Ty Cobb and Eddie Stanky, two notoriously dirty players, used their spikes just as Simmons did yesterday. They even went to the trouble of sharpening them into pointed weapons to deliberately amplify the cutting effect. What Simmons did is nothing new, but has been dirty ever since that tactic was first used. If Simmons had torn a ligament in Escobar’s wrist he could have ended Yuni’s career.

    I used to respect Simmons, but i will not make that mistake, again.

    “For those of you that are calling it a dirty play by Simmons, I have to ask you why? He isn’t trying to hurt Escobar.”

    Joe, I give you credit for being smarter than that. That has been a dirty tactic used by dirty players throughout the history of the game. If they are doing it in high school, then today’s high schoolers are being taught to play dirty. Kids in H.S. also use steroids, too, Joe, so does that legitimize its use by major leaguers, as well? I would suggest that the ML cheats who use steroids have legitimized its use in the eyes of high schoolers as being the more appropriate take. The same goes for dirty play.

    “Escobar caught the ball properly using 2 hands, but failed to keep his right hand on the ball/glove during the tag. Learn this in little league.”

    So its Escobar’s fault that Simmons deliberately planted his spikes in Yuni’s glove hand wrist? You want to try hanging onto a baseball in those circumstances, do ya? In basketball they have the “hard foul” rule for stuff similar to what Simmons did, but the rules in baseball lack a similar recourse, just as the “turnover” is a legitimate stat in basketball while the numerous and costly “birdbrain” plays of recent Nat vintage are not accounted for in baseball. Just because baseball does not have rules against such dirty tactics does not excuse their use by a dirty player. Put the blame where it belongs, and it most emphatically does not belong to Escobar.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:23 AM

      I’ve said my piece. Baseball players slide into the defender’s gloves all the time. 99% of the time the glove doesn’t get knocked off resulting in the guy getting cut. And come on, laddie, comparing Simmons and Cobb is a stretch. Nobody is sharpening spikes here. Simmons did start his slide late, on that I agree. Real late. But I guess I stand alone in believing that he was guilty of nothing more than trying to play hard.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:26 AM

        BTW, I never said that Yunel Escobar should’ve used two hands.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:02 AM

        Joe, on MLB Radio last week on the Brett Lawrie slide they reiterated the unwritten rules of the game where playing hard stops when you endanger a fielder.

        This play crossed that line. Simmons was out by a mile if he doesn’t kick the glove off of Esco’s hand.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:03 AM

        laddie, I will add one more thing. In MLB hard plays, even seemingly vicious plays, happen every day by players trying to break up a double play, or to dislodge a ball on a steal attempt. It’s part of the game. They are trying to win, not hurt the other guy.

      • knoxvillenat - Apr 28, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        No Joe you don’t stand alone as I agree with you completely. IMHO the Nationals right now are a frustrated underachieving team and their anger at Simmons is misplaced. I’d rather they focus on their inability to seemingly play a good clean ballgame than what I see as an unfortunate result of a good hardnosed baseball play.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      Laddie, glad you weighed in and I also compared this to Ty Cobb last night.

      After the Brett Lawrie barrel roll slide we have to see the difference between hard play and reckless where the chance of injury is very high.

      Spikes up with a late slide which puts a player in danger like this play is the reason they changed the rules concerning catchers.

      Just lucky Escobar’s wrist wasn’t broken.

      Hearing players like Bryce weigh in is all you need to know.

      What hasn’t been mentioned is that instant replay has caused plays like this to be more dangerous. Before IR you had the umps calling the runner out if the throw beat the runner and you’d tag up high. Now you have to get the tag on there before the foot gets in instead of holding your glove higher and tagging further up the body.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:17 AM

        Ghost, I don’t think spikes up had much to do with the rules concerning catchers.It was more because players were slamming into the catchers with linebacker like hits resulting in broken legs and concussions. A player can still aim his cleats at the ball and the catchers glove on plays at the plate. And though there may be a rare instance when the catcher gets hurt from it, it’s just that, rare.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:21 AM

        Right, catchers have shin guards and their mitt is thick. They have more protection than an infielder.

      • rayvil01 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:22 AM

        Good comments. That was a dirty slide. Back in Legion ball I’ve seen runners called out for that even though the ball came loose.

        The instant replay effect is something I hadn’t considered.

        The other side of that is that Simmons could have broken himself up on the bag with that slide. He was lucky. Were it Bryce you’d be hearing howls of how immature he is.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:52 AM

        If it was Bryce it would be front page news! The double standard!

      • laddieblahblah - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:24 AM

        Missed last night’s thread, Ghost, but that was really legalized assault and battery which is excused solely because it occurred during a sporting event. It reminds me of a BB player who has the ball stripped at mid-court and then takes out his own blunder on the opposing player (the ball stripper) by a hard foul to the opposing player as he goes for a layup/dunk at the other end of the floor. BB has learned that such abuses must be dealt with. Simmons should be suspended for what he did, but neither he nor the Braves will be given so much as a “hard foul” call.

        BTW Joe, I was not referring to your comment but to natfan33’s regarding the use of 2 hands when catching the ball and applying the tag.

        “laddie, I will add one more thing. In MLB hard plays, even seemingly vicious plays, happen every day by players trying to break up a double play, or to dislodge a ball on a steal attempt. It’s part of the game. They are trying to win, not hurt the other guy.”

        Joe, I have been watching the game long enough to distinguish “hard play,” such as Desmond’s clean slide into 2nd, and dirty play, such as Simmon’s coming into 3rd late, at an accelerated speed, and with his spikes high enough to dig into Yuni’s arm. Those are 3 factors which identify that play as dirty. You are entitled to a contrary opinion, of course, but every Nat in the dugout knows what Simmons did was dirty, even if it was not, by baseball’s inadequate rules of play, not strictly illegal.

        How do you know that Simmons did not intend to hurt Escobar, by the way? I can tell that he was by his explicit actions, described, above. He screwed up, and his choice of remedy was to deliberately go after Escobar’s tag arm with his spikes high, his running speed elevated, and his slide timed to maximize the impact his spikes made on Escobar’s arm. If you intend to dig your spikes into another player’s wrist, at the greatest velocity you can muster, then you are, by definition, intending to hurt him.

        I mean…Duh!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:54 AM

        Bingo, slide times to maximize impact. Exactly what he did with the late slide.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:39 AM

        laddie, Simmons slid into third. His cleats hit the top of Escobar’s glove. The glove came off resulting in the cleats cutting Escobar’s hand. He didn’t slide into his arm. He didn’t have sharpened spikes. So, what are you saying that the runner should do at the spur of the moment? Try to slide under the glove? Stop in his tracks? I don’t get either of your”s or Steve’s positions.We just have to agree that we disagree.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:56 AM

        Joe, he was beat. He knew it and instead endangered Escobar who had his glove down.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:13 AM

        “What hasn’t been mentioned is that instant replay has caused plays like this to be more dangerous.”

        Exactly right.

        And I’m still mad at Pete Rose for pointlessly wrecking Fosse’s career.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:16 AM

        I can’t tell if you’re serious or sarcastic.

        The Rose missile into Fosse was equally dangerous to both Pete and Ray and unfortunately Ray was badly injured.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 28, 2015 at 11:04 AM

        Serious and unironic.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 12:44 PM

        Nice. Thanks

  10. micksback1 - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:13 AM

    dirty pal from a dirty player on a dirty team, with that said, this is hardly rose-harrelson, LOL

    loud of the Caps and wiz, they take the sting off this lousy underachieving baseball team which is simply not fun to watch.

    I feel bad for the Lerners, I wish the no account players had the passion that the owner has to win

    SHAME ON THESE CLOWNS!!!

  11. Another_Sam - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    IMHO who cares about this – or about anything else regarding this club – until they solve the problem of wretched, unwatchable performance?

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:28 AM

      Maybe if it was your wrist and your career, you might feel differently. I am not just a fan of Nats baseball, I am also a fan of the game. To me, playing it the right way is the only way. If you don’t care about that, OK, but many of us do.

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        Plz. A wrist?? With a glove? Go watch hockey for 5 min. Sheesh.

  12. micksback1 - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    my heart goes out to all the people of Baltimore, i am sick to my stomach. damn these young punks, why why why!!! now the young man who died by illegal, brutal police force is an after thought

  13. peewilly - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Absolutely bad slide by Simmons. He basically jumped spikes-first onto Escobar’s hand. He wasn’t aiming for the bag. Also, infielders should never tag a sliding runner with two hands if they can avoid it. No reason to put your throwing hand in harms way.

    Simmons was plunked in the arse, should be a done deal unless the Braves try some kind of “that’s not how you play the game” BS. Simmons scored anyway which is the ultimate payback.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:34 AM

      The timing of plunking Simmons was stupid. It was a 5-2 game at the time. The Nats weren’t out of it. Why put the leadoff hitter on base to start an inning in a game that you are behind in, but not out of? That’s just cutting your nose to spite your face. Not to mention that it led to another Ian Desmond error on a sure double play ball, ultimately putting the game out of reach.

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        5-2

        Yes they are way out of it….

      • peewilly - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        Agree about the timing of plunking Simmons. Never intentionally put on the leadoff hitter in a 3-run game.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 28, 2015 at 12:57 PM

        Don Corleone nodded. “Revenge is a dish that tastes best when it is cold,” he said.

  14. Another_Sam - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    Now that I’ve ranted I’ll say: Escobar should have held the ball. Sure, it’s a questionable play but Seamhead is right; its baseball. The subsequent plunking should end it. IMHO of course.

  15. section309 - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    I guarantee werth will not bounce back this year. Shoulders don’t heal fast and he’s on the decline. Best option other than DL is to rest him several days a week and play Taylor who has more power, bat speed and will likely be more productive than an injured Werth at this point. Span should also be spelled too. While raw, Taylor performed while up here and will only get better. This lineup misses his power and speed.

    • jfmii - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:43 AM

      Guarantee?

  16. natsjackinfl - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    To everyone that says Simmons executed a dirty play, please, what was he supposed to do, give himself up and accept an out?

    He executed a hard baseball play that has been made for over 100 years. Yes he slid one step later than normal and he did end up with his upper body on the base in order to get maximum force at the point of the tag but that was his only baseball option to help his team.

    Sorry that Escobar received minor injuries to his hand but he had to expect a hard slide.

    If the Nats played anything like professional baseball they wouldn’t be attempting to stave off advancing base runners because of their ineptitude.

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      “…that was his only baseball option to help his team.”

      No, it wasn’t. He could have opted to get himself into a rundown, instead. Given the level of defensive ineptitude of the Nats infielders lately, he may well have ended up scoring in the resultant confusion.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:42 AM

        Come on, laddie, the guy was going full tilt boogie. He couldn’t have opted to do any such thing.But you are right in that if he could of then the Nats would’ve figured another way to let him advance.

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:31 AM

        Laddie that’s just ignorant. Come on!

    • peewilly - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:23 AM

      He gave himself up when he decided to go to third and was out by 4 steps. What he’s supposed to do is slide to the base, not leap onto the guys hand. Happens all the time when guys are decidedly out.

  17. Candide - Apr 28, 2015 at 7:49 AM

    Off-topic: It looks like there won’t be any baseball at OPaCY for a week or two, and they’re making noises about letting the Orioles play their home games here in DC until peace is restored in Baltimore.

    Would love to see the Nats tell the Orioles owners, “Fine, we’d love to help our friendly rivals up the road. We’ll be happy to help out – as soon as you show us you intend to do something about that MASN contract.

    “The sooner you show us you intend to be reasonable about that contract, the sooner we can move to welcome the Orioles to Nats Park.

    “Your move.”

    I know, it’s taking unfair advantage of an ugly situation. But remember, this is the guy who was as ugly as he had to be to keep us from having baseball here for 31 years. No ball in Baltimore for a couple of weeks compared to no ball in DC for three decades.

    • NatsNut - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:02 AM

      Haha, Candide. That was the first thing that came to my mind too. Lerner: “Oh really? NOW you’re interested in cooperation?”

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        Let ’em play at the Key’s park. After all the club acts minor league.

        Seriously, if it is possible to switch to Nats Stadium it would be the right thing to do, but the logistics of getting staff in to man the stadium staff,concessions, and parking lots would be daunting.

      • sec105rowwseat28 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        No it wouldn’t. The situation is no different than when a Nats game gets rained out and they have to scramble to play a day-night doubleheader the next day. They manage to staff the stadium then, don’t they? Most all of the parking, concessions and other support staff are part-timers, many of whom live in DC and don’t have full-time jobs to get in the way either. Okay, they might be short on food inventory in the park since they’re between Nats home stands, but they can surely get enough hot dogs, burgers, fries and beer in there quickly to feed whatever fans do show up. On the baseball/broadcast end of things, both teams are basically the traveling road team and they have the drill down for that.

      • nattyboh1 - Apr 28, 2015 at 10:19 AM

        Sec105, that’s a totally different scenario. When they have to play a doubleheader, staff is already planning on working at the stadium that day. When they’re on a 10 game road trip, staff has no reason to believe they’ll be working at the stadium for the next week and a half. I don’t know what they do, but would imagine at least some of them have other commitments during this time.

    • sec105rowwseat28 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:24 AM

      No. The MASN situation is irrelevant and insignificant in regard to what is going on in Baltimore right now. There is such a thing as being a good sportsman, being a good neighbor, taking the high ground, and it completely trumps your “an eye for an eye” proposal. Besides, having Orioles games in Washington while Baltimore is under curfew would provide an interesting experiment based on the crowds they draw. How many Orioles fans really do live in the Washington metro area? One of the two sides to this argument could end up really surprised by the result.

      • nats128 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        As much as I dislike Angelos I agree with you as to taking the high ground and being a good neighbor. I think it will be to much for Angelos to swallow some pride and ask to play a game at Nats Park.

      • dclivejazz - Apr 28, 2015 at 11:05 AM

        Agree that the high road is called for in this situation. It probably won’t be necessary though.

  18. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    With regard to Fister. He just doesn’t look like himself. Last year, and (I think) earlier this year, he was hyperactive and hyper-aware, giving directions to the infielders before each inning, etc. These two starts, he seems to plant himself on the mound, starting in at his catcher (shaking off a lot of pitches), hurrying his delivery, not looking smooth or in control at all. According to Pitch f/x, he only threw one four-seamer, and 70% two-seamers, which is not his usual mix (usually it’s more like 10-15% four-seamers/60% two-seamers).

    That combined with his lowered velocity (about 2 mph) makes me wonder if he has some kind of injury he’s working through, so that just throwing his pitches takes all his energy and focus, none left over for positioning fielders or making good pickoff throws. “Let me get this done and get to the treatment room…”

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:08 AM

      His regression I fear has started. Like Haren, let the velocity be what it is and allow the movement to get you your outs. Too many stinkers last night.

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        Harren?? You mean cy Harren that shut us out?

      • nats128 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:50 AM

        Cy Stults last night looked better than Kershaw 😉

  19. micksback1 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    The Escobar play is so irrelevant to the state of the Nats. To put reality in perspective, the Nats are fortunate to have a pipe line and they may need to do to ot sooner rather than later as it is clear, the core players on this team all aged at once. This happen to the 92-93 Wash football team, they were picked to go to the Super Bowl in 92 and fell to 9-7 and then the rest was history. all the analysys were wrong. Go back further to the Bullets after the 1979 season, they were picke dto win it all when they got Kevin porter back in 1980, but, Hayes and Unseld got old that year and again, all the experts look foolish.

    This happens and its happen to the Nats. The positive is that in baseball you have a farm system unlike the NFL and NBA. This why the Nats will recover quicker. I am afraid R Zim, Werth, Span and few others just are not that good and Fister may have aged as well. Nats win 80 games, I will impressed. Top that off with a poor manager and this is why you have the disaster before our eyes.

    Looking forward to watching Cole pitch

  20. Nats Fan Zee - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Intent or not, this incident should serve to fire up this team … Let’s see what we have on the field tonight.

    • nats128 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      With AJ Cole pitching, Im not feeling great about the chances.

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:44 AM

      Agreed. If you cannot be motivated when the bad guys have so little regard for you and your teammates that one of them will deliberately attempt to hurt one of your players, then I don’t know what will do the job. Watched Matt’s presser last night, just to hear if there were any serious injuries to Escobar, and was relieved to learn of nothing more serious than cuts to Escobar’s wrist and a lingering soreness. Let’s hope that is all it turns out to be.

      For those of you who do not believe that Simmons’ play was dirty, MW would not comment, one way or the other, when asked about it. Matt played AS caliber 3rd base, and if he thought that play was clean, he would have said so, IMO. But he didn’t. As significant, IMO, as the dog that didn’t bark.

      He also said he had called a team meeting after the game. It appears to me that he is both embarrassed and upset. If he was ever going to call a team meeting, last night was just about the perfect time. It is one thing to be beaten, it is another to be punked by a dirty play and a dirty player.

  21. nats128 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    The vast differences in manager decisions was on display last night.

    Similar situations with a man on 3rd and drawn in infield with less than 2 outs and one manager put on the suicide squeeze to perfection and the other manager had his player swing away into a groundout.

    Similar situations with a man on 1st and a player who can handle the bat on the hit and run. One manager saw it executed to perfection with a single getting his runner from 1st to 3rd and the other manager didn’t put the hit and run on.

    Some of this is also on the player. Late in the game, the Nats had bases loaded and 1 out and a chance to change the course of the game. With Span batting and a rookie relief pitcher with 11 MLB appearances, all the Nats came away with was 1 run. Thats better than 0 runs but it just wasnt

  22. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    BTW, this might make you a little more open to lending Nats Park to the O’s.
    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/04/27/orioles-vp-angelos-makes-profound-statement-on-twitter-following-baltimore-protests/

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      I take it that’s Peter Angelos’ son?

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:55 AM

      Well stated, but I wish the O’s and every other baseball team just stuck to baseball. The voters decide what’s best for themselves, and express that decision every November. I have my own opinions about all of what was said by the O’s executive in those remarks, but refuse to divulge them on a baseball blog.

      • rayvil01 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:56 AM

        +1 Nicely done.

      • nats128 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:05 AM

        +2 keep the politics to politics

      • jfmii - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:16 AM

        I disagree. The fact that the game is cancelled proves you can not separate reality from baseball. You want to bury your head in the sand, fine.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Apr 28, 2015 at 12:03 PM

        I agree and will leave it at that

    • rayvil01 - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:59 AM

      Actually, no it doesn’t. The two have nothing to do with each other.
      Bad enough that all those Ho’s fans come into the park twice a year. Them playing a “Home” game here with all their prison orange? Gag me.

    • jfmii - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:13 AM

      Wow, thank you for sharing

  23. Doc - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    Now if the Nats would just get mad at being in last place, 8 games out!!!!

  24. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    Escobar was straddling the bag. Bad position. He was holding the glove palm up, ball sitting in the top of the mitt like a sno-cone Bad technique. Any part of the glove holding the ball makes an out. He held the ball out there like a target with plenty of time for Simmons to aim right at it. No attempt to protect the ball or himself. (E.g., the “swipe” tag, which Ramos has notably failed to master.) Again, bad technique. I do believe Simmons was going for the ball, not the glove — which was pretty much a bonus. Those must be hellacious cuts to warrant sitting out a couple of days. (I’m not saying they aren’t serious but it’s his glove hand and what are batting gloves for, anyway?)

    As I said somewhere last night, Escobar’s defensive short-comings are becoming apparent. The throw Zimmerman saved was a perfect screwball with about a two-foot break. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before.

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:59 AM

      Escobar’s technique on that play is irrelevant. Simmons was going to spike him no matter what. If he wasn’t holding his glove in front of the bag in position to make the tag, Simmons could have gone for his leg, which would have been worse, and you would be criticizing him for not applying the tag in the usual manner for runners sliding into a base.

      • nats128 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:26 AM

        I think they call it a no win situation for Escobar and just fortunate he didn’t break a bone in the finger or wrist.

  25. Eugene in Oregon - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    I will defer to others on whether the slide was legit or not. I am much more concerned about the overall malaise that seems to have infected the team. I tend to believe in the randomness of hitting (less so pitching and much less so fielding), and the notion of returning (eventually) to the mean. But I also know that the mean itself can shift downwards for various reasons. I remain hopeful that that hasn’t happened with the Nats, but I’d like to see a little contrary evidence sooner rather than later.

    • nicefellow31 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      Yeah. Dirty play or not not, I’m more interested in hearing from the players why they are playing with no fire and not hitting worth a damn. I also want to know why they need something “to kick start them”. I would think the possibility of winning the World Series after experincing disappointments in previous playoffs would be motivation enough.

  26. alexva6 - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    “Nats upset…” understood, no reason not to be upset. drilled him next time up (properly I might add). move on.

    I would hope the Braves will move on too.

  27. Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:48 AM

    You know, it’s a funny thing this baseball thing. Two weeks ago in the game against the Red Sox Pablo Sandoval rolled into Desi breaking up a double play. Panda was at least 2 feet out of the baseline. He took Desi’s legs out from him and it was fortunate that Ian wasn’t hurt. Now, I thought that was a dirty play that interference should’ve been called on. I thought that because Pablo had gotten hit again that he was intentionally trying to hurt Desmond.

    • AlexandriaNatFan - Apr 28, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      There’s a difference between leading with your knees or other softer part of your body, compared to metal cleats into a leather glove and fleshy hand.

      Desi’s slide into second the next inning was the hard kind of slide that is appropriate. Simmons’ was just dangerous.

  28. habs3 - Apr 28, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    I can’t understand why MZ led with the Simmons slide story. The more compelling story is the disarray of this team. I use the word disarray because it was nevermore evident by example set by the team leader, Werth. After each strike out or pop up he strolls back to the dugout with this “walking dead” expression on his face. What kind of message is that sending the team? IMO he is basically conveying the message that he does not care.

    God this team stinks. It is a downright embarrassment. Show some effort. Show that you care. .

    • dclivejazz - Apr 28, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      Werth has had that expression after strikeouts since day one. It almost looks like he’s reviewing the AB in his head, possibly for future reference. It’s no big deal.

  29. stoatva - Apr 28, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    When you’re playing like the Nats are playing, you’re gonna get bullied.

  30. scnatsfan - Apr 28, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    I cannot believe we are in last place

  31. AlexandriaNatFan - Apr 28, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    Bottom Line: Just because the slide was legal doesn’t mean it’s not dirty. It was absolutely dirty and he absolutely intended to slide as late as he did. The appropriate response was to plunk him on his thigh/butt next time up and that’s what happened. End of story.

    Sort of. The only thing left to happen is to have this light a fire under these Nats’ butts.

    Finally, Fredi Gonzalez continues to be a goon. Nowhere in his comment to reporters did he express concern about Escobar at all. And if he was truly surprised, then he’s either an incompetent manager or naive. Any manager that lets one of his coaches assault one of his own players publicly in the dugout and then lets them stay on is a joke of a leader. (And I’m saying this as a former Braves fan of the early 90s…Terry Pendleton era…shame to see how low he’s sunk now.)

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