Monday, June 29, 2009


ABOVE: Neal Huntington found himself in an impromptu game of "Deal or No Deal" late last week.

The Washington Nationals are apparently in dire need of a leadoff hitter with excellent defensive skills. They're also looking for someone who would be a good clubhouse guy and who most importantly, maintains a clean-shaven head.

ABOVE: Throw a Pirate hat on him and he looks just like Nyjer Morgan. But unfortunately Scatman Crothers is way past his prime.

Since the Nationals canned G.M. Jim Bowden earlier this year, Assistant G.M. of Operations, Mike Rizzo, is handling things on an interim basis. Rizzo apparently is trying to make the most of his opportunity with the Nationals, so he used an ingenious new method to search for a new leadoff hitter. He fed all of the ideal qualities he was looking for into his computer and came up with a name to go after:

ABOVE: In "The Shining", Crothers plays a black man who gets the bejezzus scared out of him by ghosts and a psychotic winter watchman, portrayed by Jack Nicholson. He ends up as another "redrum" victim as foreseen by little Danny.

Unfortunately, after inquiring about Crothers availability, Rizzo found out that alas, the actor who was most famous for playing the part of the caretaker in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" had unfortunately already passed away in real life.

ABOVE: After checking out the grave site, Rizzo knew that he had to expand his search.

"How could my computer betray me so badly," Rizzo snarled at his monitor?

A couple keystrokes later and the adjustment was done. Scatman out, Nyjer Morgan of the Pirates in! "Now we're getting somewhere!" But who to offer to pry away the fleet-footed left fielder?

How about a head case who has never approached his lofty potential, Lastings Milledge? What's that GM's name over in Pittsburgh, Huntington?

"Hello operator, I need the number for the Pittsburgh Baseball Club in Pittsburgh PA."

Seconds later, Huntington was on the phone...

"Hello Neal-o old chap. Mike Rizzo, Washington, here. Ah, I was interested in talking trade with you. I need a lead off hitterand noticed that you have at least two on your team and you need power. How does this sound to you? We'll offer you Lastings Milledge, a left fielder who is just starting to blossom and who is clearly a five-tool guy, for Nyjer Morgan. We feel that Nyjer could be a good fit for us and it would be a great opportunity to get a big potential power bat into your lineup. What do you think?"

"I think if I made this deal even up the people of Pittsburgh would burn me in effigy. Not some stuffed likeness of me mind you, but me personally. Did you see how crazy they got when I traded Neal McLouth for three guys?"
"What, you think the name Lastings Milledge wouldn't be enough? This kid's a helluva player with gigantic five tool potential."

"That's just it, Mike. He has potential. Let's see, he's hit 25 home runs and 113 rbi in four seasons!"

"Well your Nyjer has hit only three home runs and 41 rbi in three years! So what?"

"Hey, you called me. If you want Nyjer, it's going to take more than Milledge. Besides, Nyjer's popular in the clubhouse. I'd be trading a good clubhouse guy for a bad one. You'll have to do better than just Milledge. If you really want Nyjer, I need a good young arm. How about Craig Stammens?"

"Craig Stammens? Neal did you guys start selling reefer at your park (laughing)? Craig Stammens? No way man!"

"Hey Mike, he's a young pitcher, but let's be honest, he's not exactly the next coming of Sandy Koufax either. I mean, in five minor league seasons he has a 1.36 WHIP! His 3.81 ERA isn't that bad but he's 30-32 over five seasons. Not overwhelming stats."

"Well Neal, I guess we agree to disagree. Of course I hope we can keep this conversation just between the two of us....maybe some other time!"


"Damn those Pirates."
Thumping fingers on desk.


"Operator, I need the number for the Atlanta Braves Baseball Club in Atlanta, Georgia..."
ABOVE: Don't expect to see Nyjer out of a Pirate uniform anytime soon. At $391,000, he's a Nutting salary treasure: He plays hard, the fans like him, the players love him and he's cheap!