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Cesspool on the Potomac

First things first: say it with me: "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Jim Bowden has got to go!" It was bad enough when the other 29 teams treated the Montreal Expos as their personal punching bad, even going so far as to prohibit the team from making late-season call-ups. That was all supposed to change when the Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals. Who would have thought things would get worse?

At least when they were in Montreal, MLB kept up the façade of keeping the team intact for the benefit of future owners. But once the team was in Bowden's hands in Washington, all bets were off.

Since he took over the GM's job 18 months ago, he has all but destroyed this team with nonsensical moves like trading Brad Wilkerson (and others) for Alfonso Soriano -- without checking whether Soriano would play left field, signing Cristian Guzman and Vinny Castilla to multi-year deals and ditching Tomo Ohka because he had one run-in with Frank Robinson.

He started the 2006 season with Brandon Watson in center field and Wiki Gonzalez at backup catcher, even though it was obvious neither would hit a lick. Then he sent them to the minors, ripped the remaining roster, and said more heads would roll. Then he went out and got arrested and charged with DUI while the Nats were on a road trip in Florida.

If you were a player -- let's just pick a random name out of a hat, say Sidney Ponson -- and you played badly for two years, then got picked up for a DUI, do you honestly think you'd still have your job? Sidney Ponson found that out last year when the Orioles voided his contract and he spent five days in jail. The answer, in case you were wondering is, no, you don't get to keep your job.

MLB is treading some dangerous waters here. They want somewhere in the range of $450 million for the Nationals franchise, but in six months there could be nothing left, and Jim Bowden, wheeler-dealer that he is, could cost the other 29 clubs $100 million. In a sport that's all about money, you'd think they'd try to do something to avoid that.

How 'bout some Gigantes?

Ouch. The team is batting .242 with a .701 OPS. The pitching staff has an ERA of 5.21, and has walked 59 opponents while striking out just 74. Despite the "depth" of the starting rotation, Brad Hennessey and Jeff Fassero made back-to-back starts this week and Tyler Walker had one of his trademark "pouring kerosene on a fire" outings, blowing a four-run lead in a third of an inning.

The G-men may be 8-5, but they've already been shellacked 6-1, 14-6 and 8-0. This is not the hallmark of a good team. It's the hallmark of a team that was going to struggle to stay above .500 if Barry Bonds didn't return to MVP levels. Things don't look good for the Giants…Let's cross our fingers and give them a few weeks to sort it out. Otherwise 2006 could be a disaster that makes 2005 look like The Love Boat.