Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Nationals should honor retired Expos numbers

PHOENIX — The Nationals will be opening the doors to their Montreal
past next Tuesday night when they honor Andre Dawson before the game
against the Marlins in Washington. Dawson, who was inducted into the
National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, played his first 11 seasons
for the Expos, the franchise that moved to the nation’s capital after
the 2004 season.

Dawson and fellow Hall of Famer Gary Carter will
be at Nationals Park next week. Tim Raines, who is managing the independent Minor League
Newark Bears, has also been invited.
 
It would be fitting if the
Nationals recognize their retired numbers. Before the team’s demise
after 36 seasons in Quebec, the Expos retired three numbers representing
four of their key players: Rusty, The Hawk, The Kid and The Rock.

Rusty Staub and Dawson each wore No. 10, Carter wore No. 8 and Raines wore No. 30.

A
local rap artist named Annakin Slayd, who attended Expos games at Olympic Stadium as a kid
until the time the team left, produced an emotional video about the team’s
history that’s worth watching.

The Hawk, though, hasn’t been told whether his number is being re-retired and the Nationals haven’t been definitive. Like Carter before him, Dawson went into the Hall with the Expos logo engraved on his plaque.

Since
the move, the Nationals have allowed other players to wear those numbers. It would be
like the Los Angeles Dodgers using the numbers of their retired Brooklyn
players or the San Francisco Giants disregarding the memories of their
New York era. That hasn’t happened. Those retired numbers still stand.

It’s time for the Nationals to put their retired Expos numbers in mothballs
with that period of franchise history, honoring Rusty, The Hawk, The Kid
and The Rock.

Giants hanging in there with 10 games to go; Sabean, Bochy should both return in 2010

PHOENIX — No matter what happens to the Giants in the National League’s Wild Card race, they’ve had a wildly successful season.

Coming off 90 losses in 2008, the Giants at least secured a .500 record with their 5-2 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field on Wednesday night. At 82 wins with 10 games to play, that’s already 10 victories better than ’08. Coupled with a Rockies loss to the Padres in Denver, the Giants are four games behind in the Wild Card race, tied with the suddenly surging Braves.

“We’re still breathing, we got help,” manager Bruce Bochy said after the game. “We’re running out of games. We know that, but there’s still hope.”

The Giants head home to play the Cubs this weekend, while the Rox get the NL Central-leading Cardinals at Coors Field. The Cards need a win or a Cubs loss to capture another division title. The Braves, meanwhile, get three vs. the 99-loss Nationals in Washington.

What the Giants have done should be enough to secure the jobs of Bochy and long-time general manager Brian Sabean, whose contracts both expire at the end of the season. Bill Neukom, the team’s new managing general partner, has told both men they’ll be evaluated with everyone else in the organization this offseason. Here’s hoping that the process doesn’t take long and neither of them are left dangling. They are both consummate professionals. Thus far, Neukom has kept his word and there has been silence on the subject internally and externally.

The Giants haven’t made the playoffs since 2003, but that’s not for lack of effort. In the post-Barry Bonds era, Sabean deserves credit for resisting the trade of his young pitchers — Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Brian Wilson — for more grizzled veterans. With his future and job on the line, it would’ve been easy to take the “win it at all costs now” route. But Sabean didn’t. He stayed the course and the Giants should reward Sabean by staying with him.

Bochy has done one of his best managerial jobs this year, keeping a team with a thread-bare offense — the Giants’ 112 homers are next to last in the 16-team NL  — in contention for a playoff spot. But that’s not surprising. In his 12 years managing the Padres and now three with the Giants, Boch has always gotten the most out of every club. He won four division titles and the 1998 NL pennant in San Diego and was on a two-year playoff streak when he up and left the Padres for the Giants with one year left on his contract. The Giants owe him a debt of gratitude for coming and an extension for a job well done.

It’s tempting in this era of  instant Twitters and instant success to look elsewhere. But is anyone better out there? Ask Astros owner Drayton McLane, who fired GM Tim Pupura and manager Phil Garner only two years after a World Series loss to the White Sox. McLane brought in Ed Wade and Cecil Cooper. Since then the Astros have continued to falter and Cooper has been dismissed. Sometimes it’s better to stay the course.

The Giants still have an outside chance of making the postseason. If they tie the Rockies after 162 games, they’ll host a one-game Wild Card playoff at AT&T Park by virtue of a 10-8 head-to-head record with Colorado. If they don’t, there’s nothing to hang their heads about.

“Our goal this year was to go to the postseason,” Bochy said. “We all thought we had the team here to do it. But no question, as an organization we wanted to make an improvement. That’s something we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to play winning baseball and now we’ve done that.”

And so, the architect and the manager should be rewarded accordingly.

 

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