Where Are You Conine?'s Blog
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The Washington Nationals are my NL team of choice primarily because of proximity rather than prowess. A team that has never been above .500 is a tough team to care about, but as I've said before, I like the hometown boys, and once the mess between Peter Angelos and the new Washington team got straightened out, I had no guilt buying my Nats jersey and watching them play on MASN2. The Nats have been busy this offseason with a lot of trades and tons of talk about their outstanding minor league system. While far from being contenders this year, they're touted as a team to watch in the future. This week though, they introduced two of their new superstars to the press. First, Elijah Dukes. This guy is a former Devil Ray who was supposed to make a big splash in that warm Florida sun due to his supposed abilities, but who instead drowned because of personal drama. Domestic abuse, drug abuse, restraining orders, suspensions, and arrests have all plagued the last couple years of his life. The Rays dropped him fast, and the Nats scooped him up, gave him a counselor, set up Dmitri Young as his mentor, and promised the fans he would change. Tough to believe when he gives his first press conference as a Nat wearing a t-shirt with a skull on it instead of a Washington jersey. Then there's Lastings Milledge. The Nats traded Ryan Church for him (who I really liked) and he's slated to be the Nats center fielder this season. You might remember Milledge as the Met who, after hitting his first ever major league homerun, opted to high-five fans in the stands rather than step back in the dugout. His arrogance overwhelmed him and went on to talk trash in the media, record rap songs, and piss off his teammates so much so that they left notes saying "Know your place" on his locker before games. He became an enemy of Mets fans, who booed him on the field even though he played quite well for them. Now he's a Nat. The point? Between Dukes, Milledge, and Young, the Nats have more criminals and headcases on their team than the Ravens. The trouble other teams try to get rid of, the Nats are clamoring to take in. Maybe they'll win a few games, but will these guys keep it straight long enough to make those wins keep coming, or at the very least to win fan favor and fill seats in the stadium? Most importantly, let's remember the lesson Cal Ripken taught the world. Being a great athlete is about more than big hits and impressive stats; it's about a sense of self-respect and discipline, something I fear these so-called "future stars" will never understand and that I wish baseball had more of.

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