Good morning, NatsTown. At least, I hope it's a good morning for all of you considering the events of the past three days in Baltimore.
I'm at Dulles, waiting for my flight to Atlanta -- great matchup tonight between Stephen Strasburg and Tim Hudson -- so I don't have time to put together a comprehensive morning post. But I did want to broach one subject: Whether it's time for someone inside the Nationals' clubhouse to speak up and whip everyone into shape.
I asked several players about this after yesterday's loss, and the opinion was unanimous: No, there's no need for a team meeting or anything like that. Yet.
The thinking among players is that such closed-door meetings are necessary if there's clearly an issue with effort. No one believes that's an issue right now. If it does become an issue, then a players-only meeting might need to happen.
One question I'd have, though, is this: What player would take charge in such a situation? In other words, who is the leader of this team? It's not in Ryan Zimmerman's personality to do it. Same for Adam Dunn, Adam Kennedy and Cristian Guzman. Ian Desmond seems like the type who might be a vocal leader, but not at this early stage of his career.
The likeliest (and maybe only) choice seems to be Ivan Rodriguez. He's been praised by former managers and teammates as a leader, but the opportunity hasn't really presented itself yet with the Nats. Perhaps if this losing streak continues, Pudge will decide it's time to speak up.
So here are my two questions for all of you as I depart for Atlanta: Do you think someone needs to speak up at this point, and if so, who?