Friday, July 6, 2007

Looking Forward (Again) with the MAO of the Week (7-6)


We begin this MAO of the Week post with a bit of existential comedic stylings from Zippy the Pinhead, who in this strip simply cannot fathom the negativity from Griff, whom is often the voice of reality in Zippy's world. The DC Optimist loves Zippy not only because it makes us look intelligent and witty to pretend like we understand half of the strips, but also because we see a lot of similarity between the 'toon's titular character and Nationals Manager (and now 3x MAO of the week winner) Manny Acta. Staring at three consecutive series losses and mounting disabled listers already has General Manager Jim Bowden (ever the Griff in this cartoon), freaking out: "Is everything okay? No, everything is not okay," exclaimed Bowden when asked of the injury situation. I'm sure it was also a bit unsettling to Nats' faithful to see him pow-wowing with another person in a leadership position whose team is not currently looking so hot during last night's game either.
But never fear negativity fellow optimists, for we have a beacon of 'Tism that shines bright from the lockerroom like the recently opened-for-tourists Chesapeake Bay lighthouse. It has almost become a cliche (albeit a convenient one for a weekly feature), as once again the 'Tism master has kept our spirits afloat after another week of slumping Ryans to go along with general offensive ineptitude, as well as mounting injuries of the debilitating nature (based on the recent trends, I really hope Matt Chico is spending his offdays getting accupuncture, chanting, burning incense while lightly tapping gongs or some other form of spiritual cleansing). ChairManny, who seems to have earned the permanent label "perennially upbeat" from beat reporters, has again stood strong insisting that the Nats bat-woes are soon to be forgotten.

"It's not frustrating," Acta said of the team's offensive woes. "I don't get
frustrated by baseball stuff. We're going to snap out of it like we did before."
A very similar notion was expressed early on in the season by our very first MAO of the Week, Nats then hitting coach Mitchell Page. Page has since been on leave from the team in lieu of health concerns (an interesting pattern developing, no?) and has had his spot filled in the interim by former pinch-hit god, Lenny Harris. Would Page feel the same way about the team now? Last night line drives were being smacked directly at infielders, including Brian Schneider's 8th inning, bases-loaded rip. "You see all those holes in the field, and you wonder why you couldn't find one," said Schneid, echoing many of our sentiments. Yet despite this endless snakebite in the Nats bat, good always seems to pour from Manny's mouth, housed in that increasingly gray-flecked goatee. Sure Ryan Zimmerman is having a sophomore slump of epic proportions, but Manny knows this is temporary:
"Sure he's been up and down, but we know he can hit and field," the manager
said. "It's hard to keep learning at the major league level, and he's never
failed before. Yes, pitchers are adjusting to him, and now he must adjust to
them. We've told him, 'Don't try to do anybody else's job. Just do your own.' "
People may think that Manny, like Zippy, is just lost in the information gluttony this world is swarthed with, never looking into reality and seeing that the Nats, his personal managerial record, baseball in Washington and maybe even Iraq, could be doomed. But we don't agree with that notion. For there is "Big Sh*t Poppin'"(and lil' sh*t stoppin) in the Nats' future.

Today the Nats will officially introduce first round draft choice Ross Detwilder to the public, having signed him to a new contract that will fast-track his ascension into the major leagues. Being the first first-rounder to ink a deal with his respective team has the DCO feeling like this kid will be special. Bowden even has him eyeballed as a September call-up, barring some sort of John Patterson-esque elbow issues. Also in the fold for the wondrous future is Michael "The Meaty Legend" Burgess, our favorite Nationals prospect because of his prodigiously porky home plate returns. Nats need bats and Nats need arms. Both look to be on the way soon. So please stop worrying Jim. As for your hot-dog-eating game partner, well, we won't get into that.