The Nationals, the Metro and late night games

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Last week after that Nats-Mets game I went to, I noted the huge mob trying to take the Metro home.  But mobs getting the Metro after a game are one thing. There not being a train at all — and fans being forced to leave the game early to make the last one — is another issue altogether.

It popped up the other night during the rain delayed/extra inning Braves-Nats game, with a ton of fans leaving early in order to avoid being stranded in the District, far from their comfy Virginia and Maryland homes.  The question a lot of people had in the wake of that is what the Nats will do if, as seems likely, they make the playoffs. When the games start later and end later. And when they matter, rendering an early exit from the ballpark a really bad thing to contemplate.

Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog has been following this for a while and goes over the situation today.  The upshot: the Nats would have to pay nearly $30,000 an hour to WMATA to keep Metro running. Per hour. Per game. And they’d have to sign a contract and place a deposit, meaning that they can’t do it on ad hoc basis. Other stuff about the issue can be read here and here.

One possible response I anticipate is to slag on the fact that Washington’s Metro closes at midnight to begin with. Well, tough. It’s always been that way. It’s a decision that they made a long time ago, most likely because it allows time for maintenance and cleaning (their trains and stations are quite nice compared to subways in other cities). And, oh, because there really isn’t a demand for 24 hour Metro service in Washington like there is in other cities.

So, yeah, it’s a problem. But not one that the city should have to solve. Their trains were running like that long before the Nats moved into town.

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a pennant-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.