Miss Chatter: Nats Fall After Bloody Pregame Omen

Miss Chatter: Nats Fall After Bloody Pregame Omen

Thursday, May 21, 2010 1:30pm

By Miss Chatter

Foreshadowing of the game to come? Competing for the most buzz against last night's shockingly bloody Grey's Anatomy? Just what happened in last night's 10-7 loss to the Mets? Those among other questions like how did the Nats drop from 2nd in the NL East to 4th so quickly are rattling through my brain today.

Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner has been known to shag balls in the outfield of Nationals Park during batting practice on occasion decked out in a full Nats uniform (photos). Reactions to this practice have varied among fans from shocked embarrassment and laughter to envy and understanding. Some fans expect their team's owner to emote a stiff suit presence, not play with the team like a kid. Others say heck, that's what they'd do if they owned an MLB team! Of course, none of those others are rich or connected enough to actually buy an MLB franchise, I presume. My first thought when I heard the news he needed stitches last night after missing a fly ball was a simple "awesome" because, well, how often do you hear of such a thing happening?

While Lerner was chasing down balls in the outfield prior to last night's game, things went horribly wrong. According to Adam Kilgore at Nationals Journal:

Standing in right field, where the sun made it difficult to see, Lerner settled under a fly ball. The ball barely glanced off his glove and drilled Lerner, 56, on the bridge of his nose, right between the eyes.

"I've never seen blood gush that fast out of someone," said one Nationals player.

Squick! While I of course wouldn't wish harm on anyone just for an entertaining story, I'm happy to report I've heard Lerner is fine. Now he also has his own entertaining story to tell. I've Googled and Googled (well, after being temporarily sidetracked by PacMan) and can't turn up any other examples of owners playing on the field in full uniform. If you know of any, please do share! I'm going to go ahead and guess that Mr. Lerner wasn't wearing the athletic spec stylings of Tyler Clippard or Luis Atilano.

Not that the specs helped Atilano much. He left the mound rather unceremoniously before completing the fifth inning after giving up 7 runs. One of those runs was unearned due to an error. Last night was in fact a comedy of errors, concluding with Ryan Zimmerman's cleat getting caught on the edge of the sod on the infield, causing him to fall during an otherwise easy (for him) play. Even manager Jim Riggleman felt for the fans, stating in his postgame interview, "I feel bad that the fans who came out here and saw us play bad, because the fans have been great," ... "I wish they had seen us play good baseball."

Unlike the Braves, who managed to win yesterday on a walk-off grand slam after being down by 8 runs against Cincinnati at one point, the Nats couldn't get the job done in a similar situation in the 8th. Thinking about the Braves game still gave me a glimmer of hope. Coming back late from so far down can be done and Dunn was the perfect batter to make it happen. While it wouldn't have been a walk-off and would have tied rather than put the Nats ahead, Dunn powering one out at that point would have turned the game around and made the fans who left regret the decision. Instead, he flew out and the spark died.

Watching the standings had become a new regular activity of mine while the Nats kept jockeying for second place in the NL East. First they fought it out with the Mets and landed on top. The Marlins crept in to share the spot with the Nats for a while. Since then, the Nats slipped down to fourth and the Braves stealthily moved into second, slotting the Marlins into third and the Mets last. I just knew the Braves team couldn't be discounted this early in the season.

Now the Nationals begin interleague play with the Orioles, possessing a far worse record at 13-29. With the bloodshed of yesterday behind them, hopefully the Nats can take all three games in the series and begin clawing their way back up the standings list or standings-watching will have been a short-lived new hobby of mine. Scott Olsen, "the kid from Crystal Lake", as the Marlins announcers said when they were in Florida (tickled me since I'm from there as well), goes on the mound tonight and has pitched solidly lately. But please, anybody not covered under the CBA, stay off the field. That might have been the bad luck that set the tone for the game.

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With his rookie contract in rearview mirror, what's next for Redskins WR Jamison Crowder?

With his rookie contract in rearview mirror, what's next for Redskins WR Jamison Crowder?

ASHBURN — By now it's well-documented that the Washington Redskins' season did not go as planned, and you can say the same for fourth-year wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

Crowder, 25, was limited to just nine games due to a lingering ankle injury for most of the season, and then a separate late-December wrist injury. He finished the year with 29 catches for 388 yards, well off his career norms.

The Redskins have received plenty of production from Crowder (221 catches, 2,628 yards, 14 touchdowns) at a discounted price during his first few years in the NFL. That is about to change.

“I’m comfortable here,” Crowder said. “Obviously, I have a really high interest level in coming back. It’s going to be in discussion with my agent. There hasn’t really been much discussion as far as right now.”

Washington's 2015 fourth-round pick raced out of the gate in his NFL career setting a Redskins rookie record for receptions (59). Barring a contract extension in the next two months, Crowder will be free to sign with any team in March and there is no guarantee that he will return.

That would leave the Redskins even more desperate for proven options at wide receiver, arguably the most disappointing position on the team during a second straight 7-9 season.

Josh Doctson led Washington receivers with 44 receptions, the lowest total since 1998 when Michael Westbrook had a team-high 44 among the pack. Given that uncertainty at receiver, where Paul Richardson also missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, Crowder’s teammates want him back.

“Got to pay him,” running back Chris Thompson said. “I mean – that’s the business side of it. I really, really, really do hope that we can get him back. He’s been a key part of this offense since he’s been here. I’m excited for him. He’s really gonna help himself be in a better situation for him and his family and his kids and his future. He’s made a good resume for himself that he can make himself some really good money. I hope that it’s here.”

Crowder missed those seven games with a right ankle injury sustained in a Week 5 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He spent time in a walking boot. After three consecutive years of 59 catches or more, Crowder dropped to 29 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

“You want to keep the nucleus of the team together at all costs,” Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams said. “But it’s the NFL and it’s always easier said than done. I try not to get into the whole free agency deal because those guys got to make business decisions for them and their families.”

The Redskins could decide that slot receiver Trey Quinn, a seventh-round draft pick in 2018, could fill Crowder’s production at a much cheaper price and allow them to upgrade the position through the draft or free agency. But that will come at a risk.

Crowder has proven to be one of the league’s better slot receivers when healthy. Quinn was on IR twice with a high-ankle sprain as a rookie. Acknowledging that injuries to quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy hurt the overall production of the group, can the Redskins really afford to let more talent leave the building at wide receiver?

Having completed the final year of his rookie contract, Crowder admitted the uncertainty of his future feels a little different.

"Yeah, I guess you could say it's a little weird. I just don't know, you know, what's going to happen right now. I just have to kind of wait and see what's going on."

Despite the unpredictable nature of Crowder's situation, he didn't mince his words on where his hopes lie going forward.

"I have a really high-interest level in coming back."

Brian McNally contributed to this story.



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Greg Manusky is back, but what about the rest of the Redskins coaching staff?

Greg Manusky is back, but what about the rest of the Redskins coaching staff?

The Redskins made some very public overtures to other defensive coordinator candidates, but on Wednesday news emerged that incumbent Greg Manusky would retain the job

That settles the biggest potential change in the Redskins coaching staff, as head coach Jay Gruden got word he would stay in his role a few weeks back

Washington's defensive performance didn't mandate that Manusky must go. In fact, this year's group played some of the best defense of any Redskins group for a while, at least early on. Things fell apart for the defense in the second half of the year, though. 

What is known is that Gruden and Manusky are back for 2019. What isn't will be what other changes happen. 

The Redskins already need a new special teams coordinator after Ben Kotwica took the same job with the Atlanta Falcons. That's one big hole. It could be filled by assistant special teams coach Bret Munsey, and some buzz has grown about Seahawks assistant special teams coach Larry Izzo as well. 

Elsewhere on the staff, there was speculation defensive backs coach Torrian Gray would be let go, but that hasn't happened. Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti got permission to speak with the Packers about the same job, Grant Paulsen reported

Two of the most experienced coaches on the staff might bring the biggest questions, as reports have shown that Bill Callahan and Jim Tomsula might be on their way out from Redskins Park. 

Losing either coach would be a major blow. Callahan is an intense presence around the facility and is disciplined in his approach to offensive line play. The Redskins run game could use some work though, and Callahan has deep connections with Zac Taylor, who's expected to be the Bengals next head coach. 

Tomsula might be the most beloved coach on the staff.

The Redskins' young defensive linemen speak glowingly of 'Jim Tom' and would hate to lose their leader. At the same time, the group recognizes Tomsula has been away from his family and might want to get closer to them in Florida. Manusky and Tomsula are good friends, and the decision to keep the defensive coordinator could help keep the defensive line coach. 

Stay tuned.