Photo by Joe Glorioso for The Sports Capitol
TSC Newsletter: Gortat hunting 'respect' after leaving Wizards in peace
BY TODD DYBAS | SEPT. 20, 2018
Marcin Gortat knows the deal. He’s older, the league is changing, and, damn, did he blow some easy shots at the rim certain nights.
But, here’s the thing: He wants you to hear him out. He’s thankful for his time in Washington. Things changed while he was here. He deserves some of the credit for that (and yes, John and Brad really helped, too). By most metrics, Gortat was an above-average center for five years. He was durable. The city worked well for him because it could accentuate his Polish connections. And, he was fun. Admit it. Even you haters.
Ben recently went to Orlando to speak with the bald man himself. They chatted about the good times, and bad, the rumors and relationships. No, it wasn’t so terrible between him and John. Yes, things could be better. He’s moving on. So, what you have is a 34-year-old traditional center at a crossroads following his departure from Washington.
“I want to get back and fight for my respect like I’ve been doing for the past 12 years,” Gortat told The Sports Capitol. “My feeling is the last year that opportunity was taken away from me, to fight for my respect, to fight for my name. That’s just how I feel.”
The Nationals split a two-game series with Miami. Not many saw it. Just 7,726 in that zany ballpark to see Stephen Strasburg strikeout 11 in six innings. He allowed two runs. Bryce Harper walked five times. Anthony Rendon collected two more hits to extend his career-high on-base streak to 27 games. The Nationals won, 4-2.
Todd called friend-of-the-program Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com (You know, the “S” in the acronym stands for “sports”, as does the word “sports”, guess they really meant it) to talk about these Nationals. The outfielders all have their futures intertwined with each other. Joe Ross and Erick Fedde are trying to work their way into the rotation. And, Rendon’s future is complicated by Harper’s future (What isn’t?). These topics and more are explored in the latest Mound Presence podcast. Listen here.
Some odd Nationals news also popped Tuesday. They have reached a deal with Fresno, yes, that Fresno, in California, as the team’s new Triple-A affiliate the next two years. Uh, strange for a team based on the East Coast to have a Triple-A partner on the other side of the country in the Pacific Coast League. Miami also has a team in the PCL. But, they play in New Orleans. It’s a mere 2,821 miles from Nationals Park to Chukchansi Park, home of the Grizzlies. Best of luck to sudden callups.
The Capitals were back on home ice Tuesday for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup. They lost, 4-2, to the Boston Bruins and are 0-1-1 in the preseason after playing a depleted Bruins team twice. Few big shots participated Tuesday. Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen played. Alex Ovechkin and others did not.
Coming Wednesday: D.C. United plays a friendly with CD Olimpia at Audi Field. The Redskins are back at it in Ashburn. We’ll hear from Alex Smith, Jay Gruden and folks in the locker room. The Nationals are in timeout. Not because of their bad record. They just have a rare day off before the Mets are in town to start the season’s final homestand. For kicks, to the shins, we just looked: Fangraphs gave the Nationals a 93 percent chance to make the postseason on April 3. It’s 0.2 percent today. Sad-face emoji. OK. Talk to you soon.
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Ben, Brian and Todd