Friday, May 29

I Need to Start Writing About the Nats Again

Let's be honest; this place has been pretty dead lately. Writing about the inglorious trainwreck that is the Washington Nati(o)nals would at least pass the time. To some extent, I could just start writing about the Nats again on here and I don't think anyone would really notice. (Well, at least not until August. Or whenever James and I finally get around to unveiling the multiple ideas we have for blog - yes, we have IDEAS. We'll see if anything actually comes of them.) Still, I don't think that would really do them justice.

Here's what it comes down to - I'm a bit arrogant about my writing. I have the ability to be a pretty decent writer when I put my mind to it. Admittedly, that doesn't happen as much as I'd like it to, and lord knows that I've been prone to mail it in on some occasions. (Check the weekly ACC posts from last year for that, although I'm not going to lie - the profanity-riddled awesomeness of writing those posts was fun, even if the post's readability resembled that of a Fanhouse commentator) In a vacuum, this doesn't mean anything, but I feel the background's needed for a couple of reasons. The first reason is writing about the Nats gives me a relevant topic during the college football offseason. The second - and this is the big one - is that there are some terrible writers out there writing about the Nats.

I'd say that the two most prominent writers associated with the Nats' blogosphere (the wilted flower that it is) both have this problem. At this point, I'm convinced that one of them has a broken caps lock key; it's the only explanation for his random capitalization of words that either don't deserve capitalization or don't deserve emphasis. The other ...well, the other found these two magic formatting functions called bold and italic, but he has no idea how they work, so he just kind of uses them on their own. It's jarring, and quite frankly that site is unreadable (he also does the random ellipses thing, which I find more annoying than most - we're not all 15 anymore, guys. You're writing on the 'net, you don't have to make it sound like you're trailing off). Also, it looks like he's picked up random quotation marks, making him have something in common with Finger Quotin' Margo. Obviously those aren't the only two guys; there are more than a few out there, but since Needham folded up shop and is now freelancing for NBC Washington on the side and MissC went into her current role there's been a dearth of decent content. (NFA Brian is still out there doing his thing, which is quality but I'm not sure I'd classify it as following the Nats in the sense I mean.)

What this means to me is there's a void of quality writers covering the Nats. In theory it wouldn't be hard to ascend the ranks of Nats bloggers, although there's still the sticky issue of generating content and getting people here. (Obviously those are both issues I haven't figured out how to get around yet, although this site has directly and indirectly led to a couple of writing gigs for the staff here, so that's a plus.)

There's also a second, bigger issue: this team is terrible. God-awful. Announcers openly speculating about the #1 pick being on the big-league team in July terrible. 3 games up on the race for the #1 overall pick in 2010 already bad. 11.5 back of first place already (and 6 games back of 4th) and the only ML team under .350 bad. They're the worst-fielding team in MLB according to UZR and RZR. If you prefer traditional metrics, they have the worst ERA in the majors as well. The offense hasn't been bad, but half the power bats are in the lineup at the expense of the defense - Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, Ronnie Belliard, and to a lesser extent Elijah Dukes and Willie Harris (CF versions only) have all been god-awful in the field. Functionally, there's not a lot you can do when you're handcuffed that badly on defense - and if the Nats didn't know that Dunn and Willingham were both butchers they did a worse job scouting than even I can imagine. I haven't even begun to bitch about the relievers, who make the defense seem palpable. No lead is safe puts it mildly.

So we'll see if I'm compelled to write about the Nats; my instinct says no. It's bad enough to see a terrible team blow game after game, but it's another matter entirely to have to write about it day after day (or week after week). I started writing this post a few days ago; since then, they haven't won a game. At this point, it's morbid curiosity to see if they can challenge the elusive 41-win mark. Maybe I'll follow it.