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This is why they play the games.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader stayed up well past his bedtime to watch what turned out to be the longest (by time played) playoff game in the history of baseball. Early this morning, your Maximum Leaders beloved Washington Nationals fell to the Giants of San Francisco by a score of 2-1 in an 18 inning game that lasted a tad over 6 hours.

The Nationals now trail in the best of 5 series 2-0. Game 3 is played in San Francisco on Monday.

It isn’t looking good for the Nationals. But, the joy of baseball is the unexpected outcomes it produces. You have to play the games to find out how it turns out. You can’t just write off teams that are down or because an opponent looks better on paper…

Your Maximum Leader hopes the Nationals pull off a three game win streak against the Giants…

And that is best thing about baseball… The hope.

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter @maximumleader

Los Nationales

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure if his title for this post is correct. He didn’t study Spanish and for some reason can’t remember the Spanish rendering of the name of his beloved Washington Nationals that he looks at almost every night of the season on the backstop behind home plate…

Anyhooo….

Woo hoo! The Nationals clinched the National League East pennant last night in Atlanta after a victory against the division rival Braves. It was wonderful. Tanner Roark pitched great. Clippard and Storen came in to close out the win. There was (cheap) champagne, beer, and sparkling juice for all in the clubhouse after. (NB: Your Maximum Leader knew that Bryce Harper didn’t drink - due to his youth and religious convictions. But he learned last night that Denard Span does not drink either. File that away as a propos of nothing one thinks.)

Now the Nationals have to win more games to gain home field advantage for the playoffs. He hopes they can capture the best record in the NL (in case it comes down to a Nationals v. Dodgers series). We’ll see how that goes.

The questions facing the team, as your Maximum Leader sees them, are these: 1) What to do with Ryan Zimmerman when he returns? 2) What to do with Soriano? and 3) What pitchers to keep/start in the playoffs. As for #1, Zim’s status will have to hinge on how he looks when he comes back next week. It is hard to see him riding pine as a bench guy, but that might be the best place for him if he can’t get enough starts in the 11 remaining games of the season. As for #2, has your Maximum Leader mentioned how much he cannot stand - CANNOT ABIDE AT ALL - Alfonso Soriano. He is the WORST CLOSER EVAH! What makes him the worst evan? He pitches to contact. What in the name of Pete do you do with a closer that pitches to contact? Closers pitch heat. Closers strike you out. Pitchers don’t put the ball in play and hope that the defense makes the play. Your Maximum Leader would not shed a single tear if Soriano didn’t make the postseason pitching roster. As for #3, as your Maximum Leader sees it, the three best starters on the team are Fister, J. Zimmermann and Roark. You need to have Gio Gonzalez in there for a lefty. But if you look at the whole season of work, Strasburg is the weakest of the starters. His win/loss record is mostly out of his control (the Nats hardly ever support Strasburg offensively during his starts it seems). But Strasburg gives up the long ball early. We don’t need to have him start with the jitters and give up one or two runs in the playoffs and have to battle back. If your Maximum Leader was doing a rotation for the playoffs it would be Fister, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Roark, Strasburg.

Well… Those are your Maximum Leader’s baseball musings for now… More as things develop.

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter: @maximumleader

Something great is going on in Washington

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is very excited about something great going on in Washington right now. But he fears that commenting on it will jinx it.

He doesn’t want a jinx. He should just say that he will continue to drink dark & stormys and watch TV in his bedroom every night while watching MASN sports network.

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter: @maximumleader

Is this a post I see before me?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader makes two posts in two days. Think of it. It is like we are back to the halcyon days of 2004 or something…

Okay. That was a big buildup for very little payout. Your Maximum Leader apologizes in advance. (If anyone out there is reading this…)

So, your Maximum Leader forgot to note the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Hobbes last weekend. The man labeled on the right side link bar of this site as “Our Philosopher” would have turned 426 on April 5. Your Maximum Leader has not, until the very moment that he typed these words, bothered to think about the accuracy of the birthday given that it was prior to the New Style Act of 1750. Regardless… April 5th it shall be for your Maximum Leader.

Speaking of ole Thomas Hobbes… Your Maximum Leader has begun over the past years to feel he is getting more stupid. He is forgetting things he used to know. What is worse, he has a lingering knowledge that he USED to know something that he’s now unable to recall. Contemplating Hobbes’ birthday reminded your Maximum Leader that other than the “common” things that any student of history and government would recall; he’s forgotten much of the detail he used to know about Hobbes’ works. This could likely be remedied by a re-reading of Leviathan and other works. But there is some inertia or laziness that keeps him from getting motivated to do so…

This inertia has also manifested itself in your Maximum Leader’s Lenten observances. Your Maximum Leader has tried not to make a big deal of it, but he’s been doing much better at being an observant Catholic over the past years. Without trying to sound hypocritical, he’s been very outwardly observant. But there is a lot to be desired in his inner spiritual life. This Lent has been one of disappointment. Unlike many Catholics, your Maximum Leader doesn’t try to “give up” something for Lent; but rather (and the suggestion of a priest many many years ago) “DO” something that will improve and grow your faith and well-being. This year your Maximum Leader resolved to read & contemplate some of the writings of his name saint, Augustine of Hippo. The plan was to read from Augustine’s writings, then take a nice long walk to contemplate what he’d just read. Well, how many times has that pairing happened? Exactly zero times. He’s walked. He’s read (though very lightly). But the pairing has not occurred. This is a Lenten resolution that will likely have to outlive Lent in order to give your Maximum Leader a feeling of accomplishing something.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader is exceedingly pleased at how his Washington Nationals are performing out of the starting blocks of this 2014 baseball season. They have done well against the Mets and Marlins. They took 1 of 3 against the Braves with another series against the Braves (in Atlanta) coming up. He hopes they continue to be strong and get a nice cushion of wins under their proverbial belts before the middle of the season. These early wins are very valuable over 162 games.

If your Maximum Leader can find the motivation and time, he hopes to write a short essay on independence movements in Europe. It is something he’s been thinking about off and on with all the news out of Scotland, Catalonia, Venice and Ukraine…

That is all for now…

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter @maximumleader

Opening Day

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is excited that it is, once again, Opening Day for baseball in America. If there is a sign that spring will be here soon and summer will soon to follow, it is that baseball is underway in these great United States (and Canada… and Australia for two games last week which shouldn’t count but do…)

So, what does your Maximum Leader think is in store for his beloved Washington Nationals this 2014 season?

Well, after last year’s disappointment he is hoping to make the playoffs this year. Indeed, if it had not been for the heartbreak in the first round of the playoffs in 2012; your Maximum Leader would not have been terribly disappointed in 2013. This is to say that he hadn’t quite expected the truly strong showing in 2012 and thus 2013 seemed like a let-down. But 2014 should be a breakthrough year.

Here are some predictions…

The Nationals will win the NL East and make the playoffs. In fact, your Maximum Leader is confident that the Nats will win more than 92 games. He thinks they could be in the 94-96 win range in fact. He believes that the Nats will win their first playoff series as well.

Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess. Your Maximum Leader will not be so bold as to predict that the Nats will triumph over the Oakland A’s and win the World Series (as Sports Illustrated predicted), but if that comes to pass it would be one of the best sports years EVAH!

Your Maximum Leader thinks that the LA Dodgers will be hard to beat this year. The major stumbling block for the Dodgers will be chemistry in their own clubhouse. Spring Training stories of team meetings and self-destructive behavior among some Dodgers (*cough* Puig *cough*) might lead one to think that the highest payroll in baseball will not be enough to bring the pennant to Chavez Ravine. (In fact the highest payroll in baseball rarely guarantees anything.) St Louis is a perennial contender and this season is no different. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure what to think about the Atlanta Braves, who are the biggest threat to the Nats in the NL East. They seem to be weaker than last season, and pitching might be shaky at the start for the Braves. That said, the NL East is not a cake-walk.

So there you go… Your Maximum Leader’s baseball prediction… He’ll hope he’s a good prognosticator…

Go Nats!

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter @maximumleader

A quickie

Greetings, loyal minions. You Maximum Leader says something about a rebirth of his blog, and then takes a month off. What a lousy bastard your Maximum Leader can be…

Anyhoo…

Some quick thoughts for those of you who might be stopping in…

As some of you know, this is the year when your Maximum Leader’s home state, the great Commonwealth of Virginia, holds elections for statewide office. In all the years since he’s been eligible to vote, your Maximum Leader has generally been pleased enough (or even downright excited) by the quality of candidates for statewide office. He’s said it here before, all in all, he’s pleased with his state government. Well… The past few years his level of pleasure at his state government has decreased somewhat. But this year he must say without equivocation, the choices he has for statewide office are just terrible. Let him even go further. (Cover your eyes ye of low tolerance for bad language!) The choices he’s got for Governor suck big donkey dicks. Terry McAulliffe, the Democrat and former Clinton hack, is a miserable piece of shit. Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican and current Attorney General of VA, is a strident warrior in the culture wars who is a bit too strident for your Maximum Leader. Basically, your Maximum Leader can’t think of a pleasant thing to say about either man running for the chief executive office of his great Commonwealth. So as it is, he’ll be voting for Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for Governor. In the Lt Governor’s race your Maximum Leader will vote for Ralph Northam, a Democratic state senator and doctor, over Earl Jackson, a Republican and minister. Northam is a fairly liberal Democrat with whom your Maximum Leader doesn’t share many political views. Jackson is cut from a similar cloth as Ken Cuccinelli. Your Maximum Leader just can’t vote for him… And then there is the Attorney General’s race. Your Maximum Leader will vote, gladly, for Mark Obenshain, a Republican state senator and scion of a prominent Virginia political family, over Mark Herring, a Democratic state senator. Further down the ticket your Maximum Leader will continue to vote for (as he has in elections past) Bill Howell and Richard Stuart. Both are Republicans who represent your Maximum Leader. Howell is also Speaker of the House of Delegates and a very influential man in state government. Both Howell and Stuart are good people, which helps when casting a ballot. Further down the ticket… Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure for whom he’ll be voting for Supervisor and School Board member. He is leaning towards Meg Bohmke for Supervisor as she has been endorsed by many friends and acquaintances of your Maximum Leader. But endorsements aside, Bohmke has been on the School Board and hasn’t seemed to do too much in that role. So, there is trepidation in your Maximum Leader’s mind on this one. Your Maximum Leader will also vote for Scott Hirons for School Board. Mrs Villain taught the Hirons kids in school and thinks very highly of Scott.

So there it is… All your Maximum Leader’s endorsements for voting in Virginia this year… As if you all care…

In other news…

How about this Government shutdown? Well… A pox on all the Houses (and Senate and President). All share some level of blame for what is a bad situation. Your Maximum Leader firmly believes that there is a proper role for government. He also believes that government is a necessity for civilized society. The primary role of the government is to function and execute it’s role. Now your Maximum Leader takes a view towards very limited government at the federal level. He does believe that Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or whatever the hell you want to call it is a bad idea, is poorly executed, and doesn’t make a lot of economic sense. But really… The law was passed. A few elections have occurred since passage. And the Supreme Court of the US has made initial pronouncements in favor of the law as enacted. Basically, that is a lot of “upholding” and not a lot “repealing.” The Tea Party faction of the Republican Caucus needs to get together and think of some other tactic on addressing this law. Shutting down the government isn’t the answer. Failing to raise the debt ceiling is not the answer. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have high expectations for Congress. Indeed, they are very very low. But he does expect them to do ONE (and precisely 1) thing every year. That is to pass a budget. Even if the budget is “okay we’re just passing last year’s budget again without changes.” It is hard work, but it can be done. If you want a longer screed on this, send your Maximum Leader an email or tweet him (@maximumleader)

In more news…

At Professor Mondo’s suggestion your Maximum Leader has listened to a few episodes of Welcome to Night Vale. Your Maximum Leader can’t decide if he likes it or not. It is clever. But there is a quality to the narrator’s voice that puts off your Maximum Leader… He’ll probably keep listening for a while.

Like Robbo, your Maximum Leader didn’t blog much about his beloved Washington Nationals this year. He had high hopes for the team and did think they would make the playoffs. As we know that didn’t happen. Your Maximum Leader holds out high hopes for next year. He only wants his team to find a good manager and start winning. There is a lot of scuttlebutt about Cal Ripken Jr. being interested in the Nationals manager job. Your Maximum Leader pretty much agrees with Bos on Ripken for Nats manager.

Then there are the Washington Capitals… Your Maximum Leader’s hockey team are going to have a tough row to hoe to get to the playoffs in a newly minted “Metropolitan” Division in the Eastern Conference. He hopes it happens, but he wonders if the core of the team is getting a little old and the competition being a little too tough. He’ll be following closely how the season goes…

And finally… Your Maximum Leader would like to see the Los Angeles Dodger and the Boston Red Sox in the World Series… Then, being a National League guy, he would like to see the Dodgers win. But those Sox will be hard (VERY HARD in fact) to stop…

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter: @maximumleader

There’s always next year

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is still recovering from the 9th inning collapse of his beloved Washington Nationals. It has been years since your Maximum Leader has felt that passionately about a baseball game. (Indeed, the last time he felt as crushed by the outcome of a baseball game was Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Your Maximum Leader, then a Braves fan - as DC was still without baseball - felt miserable for days. NB: He was also crushed by Game 6 of that same series.)

Your Maximum Leader, although it was late at night and he was dead tired, couldn’t fall asleep after the end of the game. He felt miserable for the Nats players who had accomplished so much this year.

All your Maximum Leader can say is, there’s always next year. And Nats fans can hope that, like those Braves of the 1990s, the Nats are perennial contenders. (And unlike the Braves of the 1990s - we can hope they win it all more than once.)

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Hope springs eternal

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had ever intention of watching the Veep debate last night. But the best laid plans and all… He didn’t watch. Why you may ask? Well let your Maximum Leader tell you.

He was too busy celebrating a walk-off home run by Jayson Werth in an elimination game in National League Divisional Series. Werth battled for 13 pitches (13!) before he got the one he was looking for and knocked it into the visitor’s bullpen; thereby saving the Nationals’ season. Your Maximum Leader and his whole family were jumping up and down in the Villainschloss and creating all sorts of commotion. It was great. We were in such a state we didn’t want to ruin the mood - so politics was out.

Tonight will be the deciding game five in the series. We will be watching.

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Root, root, root for the Natinals

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes that in a few short hours he was at Nationals Park rooting on his beloved Washington Nationals baseball club in game 3 of the National League Divisional Series. The Nats did a good job by getting the split in St. Louis in the first two games. Now they need to close this out at home.

Some thoughts…

As many have commented, the team with the best record in baseball - and thus having home field advantage through the playoffs, shouldn’t have to play their first two games on the road. Your Maximum Leader knows that it is for this year only; but it is still wrong. It gave the Cardinals an opportunity to go home, get a little rest, and play in familiar surroundings. If you win a “play in” game, you shouldn’t get to recharge your batteries and collect your thoughts. You should have to go straight along and face your next opponent. That said, what is done is done…

On the other hand, your Maximum Leader thinks it might have been a little boon to the Nationals to open with the top of their rotation on the road. Sure both of our starters (Gio Gonzales and Jordan Zimmermann) were shaky… That was nerves (mostly) in your Maximum Leader’s opinion. The Cards have had Zimmermann’s number all season, so his rocky outing (in a drubbing we might add) was a combination of nerves and a problem with the Cards. The bottom of the National’s rotation does well at home and your Maximum Leader expects that they will continue to do so.

Your Maximum Leader is a bit disappointed that the Nationals are the day game in today. He doesn’t object to day playoff games, indeed he loves them. Your Maximum Leader feels that the Nationals got the day game to assure the Yankees’ game is in prime time. He understands the financial reasons behind this move; but he’d like to see a New York team get the short end of a scheduling stick once and a while.

Your Maximum Leader will be closely following the game once it gets underway. He will hope for victory for the Nats.
The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

RP III (560) and Natinals

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader needs to point out to you all that on this day in 1452, Richard Plantagenet, later the Duke of Gloucester and even later King Richard III, was born at Fotheringay Castle.

Your Maximum Leader has been planning a longish treatment of Richard III for this space. He wanted to discuss (monologue actually) Richard as a young man, Richard as Warden of the North for his brother, Edward IV; and finally Richard as King. Of course, this is more a concept in your Maximum Leader’s brain than an actual draft of anything. Your Maximum Leader realizes that he’ll need to work on this soon if he wants to get it done before the DNA results are in from the skeleton exhumed from the ruins of the Greyfriars Monastery in Leicester. (The DNA results that might show if the skeleton is in fact that of Richard.)

Anyhoo… Take a moment to toast our ole boy Richard on his 560th birthday.

The other big news around is very big indeed. The Washington Nationals are the National League East champions.

Allow your Maximum Leader to type that again…

The Washington Nationals are the National League East champions.

It makes your Maximum Leader so happy to type those words. Sure the Nats lost their game to the Phillies last night and clinched the division with the Braves losing to the Pirates. But hell, they have won 96 games this year. 96 games! Three years ago they won 56 (or so games). They should be happy and proud. Your Maximum Leader is already working over playoff possibilities in his brain. Just so you know, your Maximum Leader would prefer his beloved Nationals would face the Cardinals or Giants in their first series. (Assuming that the Cards beat the Braves in the wild card playoff and/or the Reds wind up with the best record in the regular season overall. This all assumes that the Cards don’t fold and the Dodgers don’t sweep the Giants in their final series. All of which could happen.) Your Maximum Leader can’t tell you how giddy with excitement he is. He is going to try and get himself some playoff tickets… He might also buy some playoff swag.

NB to readers: You all don’t really have any idea how big a deal it is that your Maximum Leader would consider buying playoff swag at this stage. After years of disappointment with his beloved (and now locked-out) Washington Capitals, your Maximum Leader doesn’t buy playoff swag. He normally holds out until his team “wins it all.” He has been burned too many times by his team getting into the playoffs and choking early. But this year he feels that he ought to take the plunge early…

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader is going to root (root root root) for his Nationals and hope they go far into October (and into November?)…

Carry on.

Rabbit

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader cries out “rabbit” in your general direction. (As it is the first of the month…)

Your Maximum Leader had a lovely day this past Saturday. Due to heavy rains in the area on Friday night, all of the baseball infields were too wet for play. Thus, the Wee Villain’s baseball game was cancelled. As it was an otherwise glorious day, your Maximum Leader took the Wee Villain, Villainette #2 and your Maximum Leader’s sainted father up to Washington DC. While there we walked around to all the monuments/memorials at the western end of the National Mall. We visited the Jefferson Memorial, the George Mason Memorial (which your Maximum Leader didn’t know even existed - and he must add it looks like it needs some TLC), the FDR Memorial (which he’d never visited before - and he likes), the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (another first - and the statue is out of proportion to the site and location - your Maximum Leader wishes another design had been selected), the Lincoln Memorial (the greatest of them all), the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the memorial for the signers of the Declaration of Independence and finally the WWII Memorial. It was a lot of walking on a beautiful day. A great time was had by all.

When not walking our nation’s capital, your Maximum Leader was watching baseball. He’s been waiting for the Nationals to clinch the National League East. It has not yet happened. He thinks tonight might be the night…

By the way Nats fans… Did you see Michael Morse’s “phantom home run” from Saturday’s game? Your Maximum Leader is having trouble getting the embed video on this site, but you can visit this site to see the “reset swing and home run.” In all your Maximum Leader’s years of watching baseball, he doesn’t recall seeing anything like this.

Anyhoo…

Longtime readers of this space might remember Smallholder. Smallholder is our resident farmer/history geek. Well… Smallholder called over the weekend to notify your Maximum Leader that he had won an essay contest sponsored by the Ladies Association of Mount Vernon. The theme of the essay was how George Washington’s farm practices were still relevant to the modern American farmer. The upside of winning this contest is that Smallholder is going to get a weekend at Mount Vernon geeking it out with the staff archeologist, staff archivist and such. Your Maximum Leader admits he is envious of Smallholder’s luck (and talent) in winning this cool weekend. Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled mylan cap in Smallholder’s direction…

And finally…

Your Maximum Leader has the (half) season finale of Doctor Who on the ole DVR. He can hardly wait to watch it. He thinks he’ll be a little sad as he knows this is the farewell to the Ponds. And your Maximum Leader (who is not fond of gingers on the whole) is very (VERY) fond of Amy Pond (played by the lovely Karen Gillam). Your Maximum Leader doesn’t want the Angels to get Amy…

Carry on.

A few of thoughts

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to forget how to blog if he keeps going on his intermittent rate of updating. Here are some thoughts and tidbits for your reading pleasure.

First off, in keeping with your Maximum Leader’s advocacy of King Richard III of England (per post below); you might be interested in knowing that archeologists believe that they have found the church in which Richard’s remains were buried after the King’s defeat and death at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Here is the article: Lost medieval church found beneath parking lot. Here is the first bit of the piece:

The hunt for King Richard III’s grave is heating up, with archaeologists announcing Sept. 5 that they have located the church where the king was buried in 1485.
“The discoveries so far leave us in no doubt that we are on the site of Leicester’s Franciscan Friary, meaning we have crossed the first significant hurdle of the investigation,” Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on the dig, said in a statement.
Buckley and his colleagues have been excavating a parking lot in Leicester, England, since Aug. 25. They are searching for Greyfriars church, said to be the final resting place of Richard III, who died in battle during the War of the Roses, an English civil war. A century later, Shakespeare would immortalize Richard III in a play of the same name.
After his death in the Battle of Bosworth Field, Richard III was brought to Leicester and buried at Greyfriars. The location of the grave, and the church itself, was eventually lost to history, though University of Leicester archaeologists traced the likely location to beneath the parking lot for the Leicester City Council offices.

The article continues to say that if the archeologists find Richard’s grave, he will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

Of course, your Maximum Leader’s readings have all pointed towards Richard’s body (bones mostly) being removed from his grave and thrown into the nearby River Soar during the Tudor dissolution of the monasteries. So it could be that Richard will not be found at all. Your Maximum Leader, for one, really hopes that they find Richard’s grave and are able to give him a proper royal burial.

Your Maximum Leader apparently bought too soon when he purchased Kindle Fires for himself (in June) and Mrs Villain (in August). Now Amazon has revamped and expanded the line of offerings in the Kindle Fire department. Your Maximum Leader is a little intrigued by the prospect of an HD Fire. The other interesting bit is the kid-proofing settings that are coming with the Kindle Fire OS upgrade. Villainette #1 and the Wee Villain frequently “borrow” one of the Kindles in the house. (The former to read books and the latter to watch videos.) It would be nice to put a filter on the items (mostly video content) that we could keep the kids from watching. Anyhooo… Your Maximum Leader should have waited and gotten the second Kindle later in the year when the new HD models were available.

Some commenters on the tablet computer market are writing that Amazon’s new Kindle Fires are game changers in the segment. Your Maximum Leader disagrees with this. He sees the Kindle Fire as an entertainment platform; whereas other tablets are computer surrogates with increased functionality. Perhaps most tablets are entertainment platforms and not computer surrogates to their owners… In which case, the new Fires might actually be game changers…

You might be curious to know your Maximum Leader’s thoughts on the recently completed national party conventions. He doesn’t have many thoughts on them. He didn’t watch anything beyond the recaps on morning newsfotainment programs (mostly ABC’s GMA to be honest). Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure how watching would benefit him at all. The candidates and their supporters are not adding anything of substance to national debate (such as it is). They are repeating tropes they’ve been trotting out for the past 18 months at least. Conventions are nothing more than pep rallies for the hardcore supporters. Your Maximum Leader can do without such pep rallies. He’s looking forward, without good reason by the way, to the Obama/Romney and Biden/Ryan debates. He is looking forward to them because there might be some real substance discussed at those events. He must emphasize the “might” in that last sentence. Debates are tightly scripted and rule-bound. That noted, they are live and extemporaneous to a limited extent. It is possible that one or both of the debaters might go off-script and something worthwhile come up. It hasn’t happened too often, but it does happen. So there is that.

So, you might be thinking, if your Maximum Leader wasn’t watching the political conventions; what was he watching. Why he was watching his beloved Washington Nationals baseball club. The Nationals continue to lead the National League East; and are battling it out for the best record in baseball (with the Cincinnati Reds). Your Maximum Leader loves baseball. He has always enjoyed watching the Nationals (in person and on TV). This season has been different. Your Maximum Leader tunes in (or arrives at the park) fully expecting to see the Nationals win a game. This has not been the case in past seasons. It is thrilling spectacle.

One of the things that makes your Maximum Leader so excited to watch the Nationals is the sheer potential of it. By potential he means that he honestly feels this team has no limitations on their ability to advance. Neither are they weighed down by history. Some of you out there might wonder what your Maximum Leader means by being weighed down by history. This is a hotly debated item. To explain further… Your Maximum Leader’s second favorite sport, ice hockey, serves as his example. His beloved Washington Capitals have been a great team for the past 5 years. But, they can’t get to the championship game in the playoffs (Division championship or Stanley Cup). The Caps are great to watch and exciting during the season. They make it to the post-season. Then your Maximum Leader expects them to make it to the second round and be eliminated. It has happened so many time in the team’s history it almost seems like a forgone conclusion. Your Maximum Leader is weighed down by negative expectations. It can be debated that the players (who come and go for the most part) feel this history as well. Players say that they don’t feel the weight of history on them as they are playing. But your Maximum Leader doubts that. The Caps potential seems limited - and will until they make it to a championship game. The Nationals aren’t like that. Baseball’s long history in Washington is punctuated by stretches of baseball’s absence from our city. While it is true that the Washington baseball club hasn’t make the playoffs since 1969 (the year your Maximum Leader was born) and hasn’t won in the playoffs since 1933 (before your Maximum Leader’s parents were born); it must be noted that there was no baseball in Washington from 1971 until 2005. So there really isn’t a history that weighs on the city or the players. This franchise can write its own history. Your Maximum Leader hopes it is great history at that.

Carry on.

61-40

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been lucky this baseball season. He’s been to 7 games so far with the prospect of at least 3 more by the end of the season. He’s enjoyed watching his beloved Washington Nationals in person and on the TV all season. There has actually been a surreal quality to watching the Nats this year. They just keep winning and sometimes winning in spectacular fashion. The pitching staff is nationally vaunted - and deservedly so. The team’s offense has performed where it needs to. Defensively they are very sharp.

There is good baseball in Washington.

The old saying in the Washington area, in the days of the Washington Senators, was “Washington. First in war. First in peace. Last in the AL East.” Since returning to Washington, that old trope has (more often than not) been modified to “Last in the NL East.” Well, minions… Today not only are the Nationals in first place in the NL East (as they have been for most of the season); but they are now the best team in the bigs. At 61-40 the Nationals are a half game above the Reds and Yankees.

Let us bask in the glory of baseball for a few hours at least…

Go Nats!
The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Well this is unexpected, and sort of sad.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a little sad by the performance in the last few games by his beloved Washington Nationals. They have been squandering great pitching performances with a lack of offense. The team just can’t get men across the plate. That problem is made worse by the absence of Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman. Calling up Bryce Harper is exciting, and may bear fruit, but it isn’t enough now.

Your Maximum Leader hopes the Nationals can string together some wins over the next few games and not completely waste their hot start.

In other sports news…

Your Maximum Leader will be in the Verizon Center tonight rooting for his (also beloved) Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. Your Maximum Leader thinks he’s drunk the Caps kool-aid. He is feeling good about the team’s chances in this series. The defensive style of play is well suited to the playoffs. By playing a simplified game and doing everything possible to minimize mistakes the Caps have been able to tough out enough wins to make it this far. Your Maximum Leader thinks that they could win this series and move on to the Conference Finals. If that happens, your Maximum Leader will be beside himself with joy.

Carry on.

Well this is unexpected.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, as you know, is a great fan of his Washington Nationals baseball club. Apparently said Washington Nationals have decided to call up (1st pick overall and potential offensive-stud-in-the-making) Bryce Harper from the minors.

Crazy. Read about it here on the Washington Post.

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

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