DCSB: Do the Nats need more jerks?

Look how happy three of the nicest, sweetest Nationals are in that photo above. Better yet, look at this. ; Aw. Now read Thomas Boswell’s provocative (I was provoked!) column about…
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Ryan Zimmerman celebrates. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

Look how happy three of the nicest, sweetest Nationals are in that photo above.

Better yet, look at this.

Aw. Now read Thomas Boswell’s provocative (I was provoked!) column about one of the issues potentially plaguing these Nationals: They’re too bloody nice! An excerpt:

The Nats need about 10 more players with Adam Eaton’s attitude and 10 more pitchers with Scherzer’s mound-stalking presence. Right now, they’re about 20 short. And have been for the past seven years. Okay, 20 is an exaggeration. If the Nats’ whole team was as intense as Mighty Mouse and Mad Max, the place would combust. But a few more would help.

Many readers chimed in, enthusiastically agreeing with Boswell that “the Nats need more edge, some abrasive personalities,” and “a little paprika in the recipe,” and more players with their hair on fire, which sounds painful, not that I have much experience with hair, flaming or otherwise. (Also: paprika?)

Boswell knows a baseball clubhouse the way I know a cheese counter, so I’m not inclined to disagree. (I generally just look at the bobbleheads in players’ lockers and feel uncomfortable when I’m in a clubhouse.) But this all feels sort of wistful, a desire to find an explanation that’s eluded all of us and will likely continue to elude us in the coming weeks.

Because hair-on-fire Scherzer was on the mound for the worst inning of the season last fall. Hair-on-fire Eaton missed almost the entire season, and the Nats seemed to perform just fine. Hair-on-fire Werth (can you imagine?) … well, do you remember his 2014 playoffs, or his 2017 playoffs? Stephen Strasburg’s hair might as well be made of ice, and he seemed to do okay last fall. I worry more about his arm (and his shoulder) (and wrist) (and pinky toe) than his hair.

I want an explanation for the disappointment, too, and maybe Boswell’s is the right one. But being nice didn’t stop the Nats from that improbable comeback win last night, in a game they had no business winning, with their playoff hopes still hanging by the tiniest thread. Maybe the Phillies are even nicer? Maybe Zimmerman watched a PG-13 movie before the game? Or maybe there’s something else going on here, something harder to explain? I’m gonna keep blaming the camels.

By the way, I can’t tell you how swell it is to get all of your emails every day. It gives me something to do besides work … er, it keeps me in touch with our beloved readers and their hopes and dreams. Tessa, the newsletter boss, insists I will start to care deeply about this newsletter, and while that’s TBD, I already sort of enjoy your warm, sweaty, electronic embrace. (And yes, I read all your fascinating messages about Redskins coverage, and about D.C. sports coverage in general. I will respond at some point.) So just email me whenever, or find me , and let’s do it again tomorrow. — Dan Steinberg

(Although in truth, Jane, our 2-year old, is home from daycare the next two days and I’m gonna be doing some heavy-duty parenting. So I might have to call in the reserves on the newsletter. Think good thoughts for me.)

(PS: Make sure to make time to read about the insane amount of food it takes to feed the Redskins.)

Quick hits:

  • Derrius Guice loves Maryland’s interim football coach.
  • Kirk Cousins says he turned down $90 million guaranteed from the Jets to join the Vikings.
  • Alfred Morris appears to have locked up a roster spot with the 49ers.
  • D.C.’s official pro tennis player continued his breakthrough season with an upset at the U.S. Open.
  • The Delle Donne injury looked so ugly.
  • The new trend: Stanley Cup Caps corn mazes.
  • Monumental Sports announced a multiyear extension with Lexus, which will keep naming rights of the suite level on F Street and the arena’s parking garage.
  • Is high school football in trouble?
  • The highlight of my first auction draft last night was the Doritos Sweet Chili chips, which are, at worst, the second-best kind of Doritos and if you don’t agree you are wrong and I want to bathe in Doritos Sweet Chili dust. Also, zero Redskins wide receivers were taken and I wound up with Alex Smith whoops.
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The Nationals’ lack of edge makes it easy to push them over one
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Nationals closer Sean Doolittle says latest bullpen session is best yet
On Tuesday, Doolittle threw a 30-pitch bullpen and mixed his fastball with secondary pitches.
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Redskins optimistic about defensive line despite starters having not played together in preseason
Redskins have Matt Ioannidis back, but starters on defensive line won’t play together in a preseason game.
By Kareem Copeland • Read more »
Robert Griffin III readies to face Redskins with ‘nothing but love’ for his former team
The QB says he has learned from the youthful on-field mistakes he made with Washington: “I was a little reckless.”
By Mark Maske • Read more »
A tragedy followed by a debacle: Maryland football to kick off without answers
We still don’t know enough about what went on inside the Terrapins program, and a lack of transparency doesn’t inspire confidence that we will.
By Barry Svrluga • Read more »
Maryland football is four days from season opener, facing grief that is ‘never going to go away’
Interim coach Matt Canada said the Terps have tried to separate their focus on the game against Texas from the death of teammate Jordan McNair.
By Emily Giambalvo • Read more »
Mystics lose Elena Delle Donne to knee injury, fall in Game 2 of WNBA semifinals
Washington all-star is helped off the court, then Atlanta Dream evens series with 78-75 win.
By Gene Wang • Read more »
Former Caps assistant Lane Lambert celebrates with the Stanley Cup after wedding
Lord Stanley’s trophy had a busy day in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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