We made it through thirty-three series previews while being able to hold true to our promise to provide an interview with a team insider prior to the start of each series. Unfortunately, we won't be able to deliver that again for this series (at least not with a mascot) - as we refuse to speak to the Nationals new mascot, an Youppi was not available to speak to us.
In place of Youppi, we were able to line up someone else. Someone else very special who is playing a key, but previously undiscussed, role with the Nationals this season. Actually, our interviewee is relatively new to the Nationals. Since the Nats entered the funk that they are currently in, the Nationals have brought in a specialist to help the team break out of their doldrums, which have cost them their previously healthy lead in the National League East (and they're now relegated to second place - but still leading the Wild Card chase).
Who is this specailist, you ask? Well, he's someone who has been highly successful - but in a field completely unrelated to baseball. The Nationals have contracted the services of a man with a PhD in Behavioral Correctional Sciences. Essentially, his mission is to get to the root of the Nationals current problems and get them fixed.
In exchange for granting us this interview, our interviewee asked us to protect his anonymity. Therefore there will be no images of him or personal questions in this interview.
: Thanks for stopping by FishStripes. We really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you.
Let's jump right in. One of the Nationals stars this season has been Livan Hernandez. As always, he's been extremely reliable and he works deep into games. He was, quite deservedly, an All-Star. But last week Hernandez diagnosed himself as requiring season ending surgery. Then, just a few days later, he came out and pitched pretty well against the Braves - and looked pretty healthy in doing so. What's the story there?
: Well, Livan is an interesting guy. I spent some time with him and helped him to diagnose the problem. He actually just needed one little tweak, and we've incorporated it into his daily routine. He didn't need surgery; he just needed a little more cowbell.
: Alrighty then. What about Cristian Guzman? He's been horrific. The rumor is that GM Jim Bowden is trying to lure Barry Larkin out of retirement. What's wrong with Guzman? His offense is simply anemic.
: Actually, we looked into that. Guzman is not anemic. But he has been sick. He has a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.
: This is going nowhere fast. I'd get into more specifics with you, but I can see that there's simply no point. Can you succintly sum up for us what the Nats need to do in order to turn things around and play like they did throughout June?
: Sure, it's simple: they just need more cowbell.
: Hopefully they won't find any cowbells in Miami.