INT. NATIONALS DUGOUT - PRE GAME
MATT WILLIAMS: So you guys sure you put last night out of your head?
BRYCE HARPER: Come on.
WILLIAMS: I'm serious!
DANNY ESPINOSA: I have, skip!
HARPER: Shut up, Danny. No one likes a suckup.
WILLIAMS: Actually I do. Thank you Danny. By the way, you're benched tonight.
ESPINOSA [WHILE GRATING TEETH TO DUST]: Sure thing, skip!
HARPER: Look, I don't really see the point here, skip. We're professionals. We're over it.
WILLIAMS: Oh really? Rafael, are you over it?
[RAFAEL SORIANO continues carving a lifesize statue of Ben Revere in the corner, with strange runes covering the batting arm.]
HARPER: He's clearly fine.
WILLIAMS: And are you over your error, Anthony?
ANTHONY RENDON: Oh sure, skip.
WILLIAMS: Great. Hey, where's Tyler?
RENDON: Getting some extra practice fielding...
WILLIAMS: Love it!
RENDON: ...six feet underground.
WILLIAMS: ...what was that last part?
WILLIAMS: ...okay. But I'm sure Matt is over it, right Matt?
MATT THORNTON [TURNED TO STONE BY THE GORGON'S STARE OF HIS IMMINENT CAREER COLLAPSE]: ....
HARPER: Not that we needed a lefty specialist anyway, right skip?
WILLIAMS: Quiet you. Anyway, look guys, can we all agree that we need to look forward? Bryce, can you at least agree that we need to think about this game tonight as opposed to the brutal and demoralizing loss yesterday?
HARPER: Look if I say yes, will you stop talking to me like my contract demands?
WILLIAMS: Of course.
HARPER: Siiiiiigh, fine. Everyone, Mark-
WILLIAMS: It's Matt.
HARPER: Mark here has a point. Let's all focus on how good we are as a team and not on the parts that let Ben Revere hit a home run, or the parts that allow the worst team in our division to tag us for five runs in the last two innings.
HARPER: Shut up, Danny, you're out of your element.
Look, at the very least, can we all just enjoy the fact that the Phillies are definitely not making the playoffs while we definitely are?
[The team cheers loudly.]
WILLIAMS: But don't forget, we haven't made the playoffs yet.
HARPER: Uh, contract, Mark?
WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.
EXT NATIONALS PARK - GAME TIME
WILLIAMS: Come on guys, let's show them our Natitude!
[Tanner Roark holds Phillies hitless for two innings.]
WILLIAMS: Hey, all right!
[AJ Burnett also goes two innings without allowing a run to score.]
WILLIAMS: Well heck, we're makin' him work at least.
[AJ Burnett gets a hit.]
[Jimmy Rollins gets a hit. Chase Utley gets a hit.]
[Ryan Howard gets a hit, and two runs score.]
WILLIAMS: This actually is bad.
[Nationals remain scoreless through the fifth inning.]
WILLIAMS: You idiots are making me look like a dummy first year manager!
[Nationals manufacture a run.]
WILLIAMS: Oh, wait never mind! Good job guys!
[Domonic Brown hits a home run.]
[Bullpen phone rings, and WILLIAMS, confounded, goes to pick it up.]
HARPER: Hey, skip? It's Bryce.
WILLIAMS: Wh- How are you...?
HARPER: Just wanted to tell you: you're terrible. Just like the worst.
WILLIAMS: Now, see here!
HARPER: Whoop, gotta run -- have to lose to maybe the worst team on paper in baseball. Talk later.
WILLIAMS: Why, you insufferable piece of-
[The Nationals muster one more hit the rest of the game, but also hit into a double play and lose 3-1.]
WILLIAMS: -...well, I'll be.
INT NATIONALS LOCKER ROOM - POST GAME
WILLIAMS: Well that was just a miserable showing.
TANNER ROARK: I did pretty good, skip.
WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, Roark, you did! Good...meaning bad! Get it? It's the opposite of what you said!
ROARK: I...don't think I get it.
WILLIAMS: Well do some thinking on it on the bus down to triple A!
HARPER: Don't worry, Tanner, Mark here's not really going to send you to AAA. That's just his go-to threat.
WILLIAMS: And you!
HARPER: Oh damn, is it that close to 8 already? B Harp is gonna miss him the Saturday rerun of The Soup. I'm out.
[HARPER vanishes in a cloud of endorsement deals.]
WILLIAMS: Doesn't anyone care that we lost tonight?
ESPINOSA: I do, skip!
WILLIAMS: No one likes a suck-up, Danny.
ESPINOSA: I bet the White Sox will treat me better than this on their bench!
WILLIAMS: So no one cares?
JERRY BLEVINS: Well, I do, skip.
WILLIAMS: Jerry "pitched the last two innings of a loss" Blevins? Why do you care?
BLEVINS: I just love baseball. I love the feel of the field. The taste of the air. The passion of the crowd. Even the rivalry we have with the Phillies. I love it all, even when we lose. As long as I feel like we did our best to be The Washington Nationals we know we can be, I know we're on the right track.
WILLIAMS: Blevins my boy, that's...that's...
BLEVINS: Yeah skip?
WILLIAMS: Just super unconvincing. Thanks for trying. You can all hit the showers.
[Everyone exits, leaving WILLIAMS mid-stage, alone.]
WILLIAMS: Is this the lowest a division leading manager can feel?
GEORGE: I don't think so. You could be married to a heckling cow of a woman.
MARTHA: I won't have you speaking of your mother that way, George.
GEORGE: Oh wonderful bon mot, Martha. Did you come up with that on your fifth or sixth martini?
MARTHA: At least I can count my martinis: have you started having to use toes for your mistresses, husband mine?
WILLIAMS: Guys, uh, if you can have your dinner party somewhere else, I need to think.
MARTHA: I think we just found out who's afraid of Virginia Woolf, George.
WILLIAMS: Alone at last, I can finally express myself freely. Admit the last niggling doubt, the last unsaid thing in the back of my tormented mind.
[He looks around cautiously.]
WILLIAMS: I really, really hate the Phillies.