City Desk

Nats MVP: Chico Harlan

If Barry Svrlugla's reward for covering the Nats last season was to be the lead reporter on all things Michael Phelps, Chico Harlan deserves a front-row seat at the Second Coming. Since taking over from Svrluga earlier this season, Harlan has ably covered a team that is now re-threatening 121 losses.* Moreover, Harlan has reveled in the kind of gallows humor that comes only with covering a cellar-dwelling, quadruple-A-ish squad. Witness his brutal assessment of reliever Luis Ayala, back when the team's 10-game losing streak was merely a three-game skid: "A reliable setup man in Montreal's and Washington's bullpen since 2003, Ayala this year has become a 6-foot-1 white flag. He appears, the game ends." And Tampa Bay Rays reporters don't get clubhouse-interview gems like this:

Asked after his most recent start — his fourth consecutive game with at least four earned runs — to describe his last month, [Tim] Redding settled on a precise assessment:

"Horse[expletive]," he said.

Redding might want to take some interview tips from Teddy, a member of the Nats organization who also loses a lot. In an interview with KidsPost today, he found a way to be more positive than Manny Acta:

Are you ever going to win a race?

[Gives a thumbs up.]

* Update 5:03 p.m.: Using a little something called "basic arithmetic," I realized that the Nats are mathematically eliminated from losing 121 games this season. It's totally on the table for '09, though.

Photo by Flickr user Scott Ableman

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  • http://blog.letteddywin.com Presidents Race: Let Teddy Win!

    Thank you. Couldn't agree more. I wrote back on May 29 that Harlan's writing has been a welcome compliment to the team. Nationals fans need all the smiles they can get, and Harlan writes like a clever fan, one who hopes for the best but has to explain the failures with a wink and a nod. My favorite early Harlan line:

    "Milledge and Dukes are both 23. Peña is 25. Whether they flourish or flounder, they will play. Sometimes, they will play games like this one."

  • Paul

    >* Update 5:03 p.m.: Using a little something called “basic arithmetic,” I realized that the Nats are mathematically eliminated from losing 121 games this season. It’s totally on the table for ‘09, though.<

    118 losses is nothing to sneeze at though. That's what they'd have if they don't win again.

    ...and the way they're playing, it's entirely possible.

...