Nationals follow Phillies' example again, fire hitting coach

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"So you're telling them to swing the bat, like... Rick? Are you... listening? Like this, Rick." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Nationals have a history of simultaneously loathing and following the Phillies.

Washington has scooped up a brevy of former Phils in hopes of achieving the success that has eluded them: Eric Bruntlett, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Jayson Werth...

They reprogrammed Lidge, one the greatest heroes of the 2008 World Series run, to say the 2012 Nationals were “probably the most talented team I’ve ever been on." [SPOILER: They were not.]

The Nats even recently acquired a guy whose entire career is based on being able to hit only the Phillies. And today, the Nationals continued the tradition.

Back in 2010, the Phillies were in the middle of losing six out of seven games. The offense was restless. The people were angry. Someone had to be fired. Would it be Jimmy Rollins, in the middle of a .227 slump? Or Greg Dobbs, whose folk heroism as a pinch hitter had died down to a sickly .202?

No. It was their hitting coach, Milt Thompson, on July 22, 2010, who took the hit.

Flash forward three years - to the day - and the Nationals, in the middle of losing six of their last seven (or eight of their last ten), have relieved their hitting coach Rick Eckstein of his duties after falling out of second place.

So if the Nationals are that interested in emulating the Phillies, they shouldn't be concerned; the Phillies have a deep, deep history of traumatic moments for them to draw from.

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