Archive for the ‘Nationals’ Category

MASN Looking For Nats And Os Fans For Ads

You know those MASN Defining Moments ads? Where a crazed Nats or Os fan retells their favorite baseball moment?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkoireYWwMY[/youtube]

Well that could be you!

I ran across this Craigslist ad looking for fans to make their next season’s worth of promos.

The Philadelphia Casting Co. is looking for Nationals and Orioles fans to audition in Baltimore tomorrow and Monday (hopefully you won’t be snowed in!) Auditions will be held Sunday afternoon and Monday, Feb 8th in Baltimore and in Washington, DC on Monday February 15th. 15 lucky Nationals fans and 15 fortunate Orioles fans will be chosen to appear on-camera in promos, if you get called back you pocked a cool $150. If you actually get chosen for a shoot you get $350. Not too bad for 30 seconds of fame. They are looking for people of all ages, 18-80.

Callbacks are in Baltimore on February 20th & 21st.
Shoot dates are March 1, 2, 4, or 5, TBD.

The ad recommends that you have, “a natural passion for the Os or Nats.” Might be hard to find in this crowd of ho-hum sports fans.

If you are interested Email a picture to:  project@philacast.com for an appointment- include email, cell, and location you would be able to audition in (Baltimore or Washington, DC.)

Nationals: Are they LOVEABLE Losers Now?

Hee-Haw.

Hee-Haw. A seething commentary on the state of the Nats, or are these guys just a couple of Asses having some fun?

Even on the tail end of a 100+ loss season, it is nice to end with a sweep of a division rival complete with walk off grand-slam to send the fans home for the year.  It seems like years (not months) ago that the DC Metblogs crew stopped out to the stadium for opening day-and yet that is just what bad baseball is, a long season.

Over this past year though I’ve come to realize something about at least myself with regards to bad baseball-I’m okay with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to good baseball (or at least the .500 baseball we had our first season) finally coming to town-but baseball has really started to take a foothold in this town.  How can I possibly say that when the ratings are awful and the park is nearly (or more than) half empty every home game?  I think the above photo is part of that evidence.

The fact is that, good or bad, the Nationals are part of the landscape in DC now.  The new stadium isn’t ALL that new, the players aren’t all just faceless fill-ins, guys like Zimmerman and Strassburg are intent on committing to play in DC, NATS FAIL took off this year, and two fans decided to dress up like Dunn-key’s for the game.  It’s not great when your team is the joke, but at least people are laughing and not just walking out.  Apathy still reigns with regard to the Nationals and the larger DC community, but I think its fair to say that the hardcore fans are there now.  The people who want to watch baseball, rain or shine, good or bad and are otherwise committed to team are established.  That base is here now, and everyone else is at least aware that there is a team to go see if they want to.  Attendance next year probably still won’t be what everyone wants it to be, but I expect that at times it will spike (When the Opening Day, Strass pitching, etc.) and with a team that will finally, probably start playing better baseball (at least .400 I would guess) my hope is that this team is finally turning around.

And if they don’t-well they are at least a good laugh every now and then.  Something for the casual fan to kvetch about at the water cooler without really knowing what they are talking about (It’s easy to pick up on the fact that the “Nats Stink”), and a great place for the newly committed fan to go and watch a ball game and commiserate with some others that know what the score is.

I imagine later this year we’ll do a full recap of the season and a look forward to the next, but for now I just have a vaguely optimistic feeling about this club based on the appearance of a couple of jack-asses.  Go Nats.

The Strasburg Deal: A Washington Historical Perspective.

JS

In 1907, a young farm boy from Kansas took the field in for the Washington Nationals (although everyone called them the Senators) and began the greatest career a pitcher has ever had in baseball history.  Over 5,900 innings pitched and just over 2 runs earned per game.  417 wins, 110 shutouts and 531 complete games.  3,508 strikeouts.  Twice he was the American League MVP, and near his seventeenth year in the league, he won a World Series (the only one Washington has ever known).

Walter Johnson is a member of the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame and  is considered by many to be the most dominant pitcher ever.  And, according to this article from the NY Times 1914, he was offered the incredibly rich sum of $20,000 a year over three years to play in Chicago.  Now Clark Griffin, owner of the Nationals/Senators fought this with Johnson who didn’t honor his contract with Chicago-returning to Washington for the sum of $12,500.

Adjusting for inflation, the far more generous sum of $20,000 works out to $430,702.  Assuming his twenty year career earned him $20,000 a year (which it certainly did not) he would have made $400,000 dollars all told (That’s $8.6 million converting from 1914 to 2009 money).

Last night, Stephen Strasburg signed a 4 year $15 million dollar deal including a $7.5 million dollar bonus.  In one fell swoop, a 21 year old pitcher who has never taken a major league field has already surpassed the career earnings of one of the game’s (and certainly Washington’s) greatest sports legends.  By the end of next year, whether he does well or not, he will have earned more than the Big Train’s adjusted career earnings as well.

Of course this isn’t a particularly fair comparison-baseball at the turn of the century is a completely different animal than baseball today.  And to put Walter Johnson’s career in front of a young guy like Strasburg and say “Do this”-well you might as well ask a flashlight to out perform the sun.  That said, this deal is done.  Boras and Co. have made this young man very rich, and expectations will be (and should be) high even without comparing him to Johnson.

As unfair as it is, I am making the comparison anyway-and I will be expecting monumental things from Mr. Strasburg.  Or at least $15 million worth of pitching over the next four years.

Deadline Looms for Nats and Strasburg

Will Strasburg sign?

Will Strasburg sign?

Good Friday morning DC Sports fans, this is the opening bell for Stras-watch here in the District.  While the club will struggle in Cincinnati trying to take a few off the Reds this weekend, the front office is likely beating its head against and even harder to do (and certainly more costly) task-signing #1 draft pick over all Stephen Strasburg.  The deadline for signing picks is End of the Day Monday, and while the Nats don’t play that day they will certainly finish either winners or losers.

The problem seems to be on the player/agent side, and not on the club.  Although all signs seem to point to the Nationals willingness to pay Astronomical money for the prospect, Scott Boras and said prospect are holding out for “Ludicrous Speed” type money.  This comes out smart on both sides of the ball-Pitchers are notoriously easy to completely miss on-and even though he’s been hailed as the best pitching prospect since Kerry Wood or Mark Prior…well look what happened to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.  So Stras is smart to want his money up front, and the Nationals are right not to give everything over to this guy.

I agree with Zimmerman’s comments in that this is the kind of guy the club needs to sign.  The problem seems to be the Nationals have made a habit of biting off a bit more than they can chew lately.  You have to applaud the gusto it takes to try sign a guy like Mark Teixeira or to not take a pass on the #1 pick and shoot for the stars-but there is clearly something rotten in the Nations Capitol, and the Major League ball players can smell it.  The really great players want to go to the really great teams, and not just ones that are willing to pay.  And yet, the Nationals cannot get better quickly without signing at least a few of those really big players-even draft picks.

Most people seem to think he will sign sometime late Monday.  Really, the Strasburg’s signing will hinge on whether he wants to play this year or not-and I would guess (with no real information at all, of course) that he does.  Going back to school, or playing independent ball is not going to pay anything and risk injury.  Even slightly less than you want is better than nothing, and Boras and Strasburg have to know that.

Hopefully Tuesday night’s game against the Rockies will not just be a welcome home for the Nationals, but also welcome to the Nationals for Mr. Strasburg.

DC Video: Teddy Makes Sportscenter, But Not In A Good Way

Some more video for you this morning.

In Teddy’s ongoing quest for a President’s Race win, he had a rough turn last Friday when he was decked by one of the Pittsburgh Pierogies during a relay race around the park. While the sight would of been a highlight to those watching the game, the clip made Sportscenter and traveled it’s way around the whole ESPN family, becoming topics for both PTI and Around The Horn. I didn’t know the incident was so scandalous.

The part I particularly like from the Sportscenter clip is the freeze-frame graphic tell everyone that Teddy still has yet to win a game. Way to rub it in ESPN.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiMfloNF670[/youtube]

Nationals: PLEASE SIT DOWN DURING AN AT BAT!

Dear Washington DC Area Baseball Spectators,

This might be the "kid needs to potty" exception to the rule, but I doubt it.

This might be the "kid needs to potty" exception to the rule, but I doubt it.

PLEASE SIT DOWN DURING AN AT BAT!

As you may know, record crowds are coming into Nationals Park this week for the slaughters games against the Baahhhhston Red Sox.  Don’t believe me?  Look here:

dsc02218

Not just Sold Out-but SUPER Sold Out...I guess?

(Now if someone can tell me how we’ve sold out games before but this is the largest attendance at the park, I’d appreciate it.)

With that many people at a baseball game you have to expect that there is going to be some bustle at places like the Metro and the beer lines.  Add to that the fact that both Nationals fans and (good amount of) Red Sox fans are new to baseball (ahem… Bandwagon?) it’s understandable that some of the finer rules of baseball etiquette go right out the window.  So allow me to help out by giving you one of the most basic rules you can learn-

you need to sit your a#$@ in your seat when people are playing.

Take a look at this picture:

photo2

I paid to see a game-not your Jersey...

Do you have ANY idea what is going on?  The Pitcher is clearly ready to throw the ball-but what is the batter doing?  If the pitcher had started his wind up just a second earlier than this-you’d be missing the swing at the plate.  I know to a lot of you it feels like “nothing ever happens” in baseball.  That it moves slow and you just spend most of your time talking and eating and drinking-and that’s fine.  But seriously-there’s a F$#&#ng game going on and while you are:

1.) Standing in the aisle looking for where your seat is

2.) Standing up to take an above your head picture of you and your bff for facebook

3.) Standing up to take the beer order of everyone in front of you

4.) Standing up to do Christ knows what

and while you are doing that I can’t see what the hell is going on.  My friends and I?  We come to watch a game as well as socialize and if every 2 batters I have to say “KEEP IT MOVING” or “I CAN”T SEE!”  it ruins my time (and the other people too).

It just baffles me because it isn’t as if people are getting up during the “boring” at bats, but on several 3-2 and 3-1 counts with a few outs and runners on last night (during at 4-3 game…well, until the 8th inning) THAT is when some folks decided they needed to get peanuts…PEANUTS!

Again-not not totally your fault.   The ushers at Nationals Park barely know what they are doing either.  They should be treating this like the Caps or Wizards game where they hold traffic during the action, but they don’t.

So by now you probably think I’m some sort of seating fascist or something.  That my best case scenario would be to have you sit 20 minutes before the first inning and not get up until the game was over-and that’s only partially true.  There are valid reasons for getting up during an at bat, and more to the point there are simply better times to get up.

1.) An emergency-about to hurl?  Your kid gonna wet his pants like right now.  Or something actually serious-go ahead and Keep your head down if you can, but feel free to get up.

2.) Rally!– Anytime after the seventh inning stretch in a close ball game (or if you’re the home team and you’re behind) you can stand and cheer for the team team in an at bat.  This is acceptable because, rather than being completely ignorant of the game, you are simply more engaged than other fans.  Plus-you’re likely standing before the at bat takes place-so there is full warning that you plan on watching the game from your feet.  People behind you are just going to have to stand.  (Note-this works for particularly big at bats earlier in the game as well).

3.) Between Batters/Half innings/Switching Pitchers: The preferred time for all people to get up/get back to their seats.  After the batter has struck out/hit safely and they are switching batters/teams in the field-there is a natural break in the game.  Now is the time to get up and do your thing.  If you realize during Adam Dunn’s 2-1 count that you’d like a Bud-just wait a second.

Same if your friend “txtd u to come dwn 2 sect 212 b/c ther r 3 seats!”- Head down between the first and second out, and then get in your seats after the inning is over.

4.) Standing Room Options- Can’t remember all of this or can’t be bothered to care?  Then by all means park yourself at the scoreboard bar/Red Loft/along the railing behind the seats and stand and move around to your heart’s content.  No sitting/standing/view obstruction rules apply in the wild west of the concourse area.

Or if you’re really rich or you business is there just to impress some clients, you’re probably in the box anyway-where nobody really knows anything about baseball or cares.  You could probably do cartwheels right against the window in there and no one would notice because nobody ever looks out them (until someone who is half paying attention mentions casually this might be an important part of the game).

Hopefully that helps a bit and it didn’t come off to harsh.  Any problems with my rules, other exceptions or other pet peeves regarding fan etiquette at a ball park feel free to leave in the comments.

Nationals: Getting His Acta Together

ph2006111400938

It appears that reports of Manny Act’s termination were greatly exaggerated.   See one source said “he’d be fired soon” and then half the Internet (okay, so half the Internet doesn’t care about the Nationals-I’m exaggerating) has him out by the end of the week.

Of course he’s not fired.  Not yet anyway.  Of course every manager is “not yet” fired, so take that for what you will.  Of course they are by far the worst team in baseball and not going to get any better anytime soon.  The fact that Acta is done after this year is about as certain as it being hot in August around here-but I wouldn’t count on it soon, or at least until the All-Star Break.  Reason being is several fold:

a.) He’s on the road, during the AL East part of the schedule.  The Nations eyes are on the Nationals and it would be incredibly unseemly for Ted Lerner (who still needs some popularity points around these parts) to pull the trigger on Manny while on the road.  You’d have to be the New York Mets to do something like that.

b.) Fans don’t care: Most people don’t watch the Nationals, and those that do aren’t really pointing the finger at Manny Acta.  Why?  Well if you watch the games its never really an issue of Acta making bad calls or hunting down awful free agents.  He’s just the fall guy in this position, surrounded by the worst bullpen in the Majors, an inconsistent hitting , the most errors of any team in the league, and a front office that is still feeling the ravages of what happened to the Expos.  They are only just now finally starting to build a team (Lerner has only owned the team for just under three years) that has the backing of all the players involved.  Acta has some thing to do with the woes of the Nats (I’d particularly blame him for an Error filled team) but he’s not even close to the biggest clog in this broken machine.

Point being-no one is calling for his head, and people aren’t going to show up to games just because he’s gone.

c.) Who are you going to replace him with? Riggleman?  He’s the answer?  If he’s just going to be the “interim” manager why not keep Manny Acta?  What is the bench coach going to possibly bring to this team that Manny Act doesn’t (or that Riggleman isn’t bringing in his current role.)  Unless Joe Torre is the bench coach, I see this only disrupting an already disrupted team and doing no good for nobody.

And I wouldn’t expect Joe Torre to do any better.

d.)The Team Likes Him. If there were reports of the team fighting in the clubhouse, or players speaking out about managerial decisions to the press that might be a reason to cut ties with him sooner rather than later.  All signs indicate Acta at least keeps these guys together and showing up for work.

Don’t get me wrong-Manny Acta will be fired, and it’s certainly the right thing to do.  Progressively worse seasons, worst record in baseball-he’s done for, and he should be.  But I’m fairly sure he’s done the best with what he has available to him and that everyone in the front office realizes that.  They’ll give him as long as they can before letting him go.

Nationals: It’s No. 10, not No. 1

 

The "Anchorman" will be #1 for sure, but who'll be #10?

The "Anchorman" will be #1 for sure, but who'll be #10?

 

 

The Nationals could be in a position to make some serious Fireworks this Tuesday, and I’m not talking about the kind that could burn a Fire Chief. No, Tuesday is draft day-and a special draft day at that.  The Nationals, by virtue of having the worst record in the bigs last year and being unable to sign last year’s first round pick, will pick twice in the Top 10 tomorrow. So while Mr. Stephen Strasburg is both far and away the best pitcher available and is destined to be drafted by the Nationals #1 overall, it’s the fact that the Nationals can sign a second stud this year that makes this make or break.  Strasburg, all by himself, would probably come in next year and have a shot at winning 18-20 games-which would make the Nationals about the 5th worst team in the league.  Signing two starting pitchers that come in and produce?  Well now you’re talking 30ish wins, the ability to maybe turn some of your lower end starters into bullpen guys and maybe you’re making a little noise.  Given that the Nats aren’t going to finish any better than about 29th this year, Pencil them in for another Top 3 pick in next years draft and, with a little luck, a very serious pitching staff come 2011.

Strasburg is the given-it’s the guy they take next that is the difference between having a slightly better team and maybe a good team.  Pay attention young Nationals fans-this is the year.  This is when they have their chance.  This is when you can look back in a few years and say “oh yeah, the moment they signed Stras and __________ I  knew they’d have a chance.”

You laugh. I can hear you.  But the basement isn’t as far away as the rest of the league thinks it is, and tomorrow’s draft could be the first steps up the steps to the ground floor.

So who will #10 be?  Well Mike Leake seems to be someone the Baltimore Sun says they can sign.  MLB.com also says the Nats will try and go cheap with #10, shooting for Drew Storen out of Stanford.  Mr Rizzo over at Nats park says they aren’t playing that game-they are looking for a good player, not just one they can sign.

I’ve also seen Alex White on a few sites, but the real problem is this:  There are too many players to keep track of.  Unlike football, baseball pulls from college teams, players from other countries and a lot of high school players as well.  Couple that with the fact that truly rabid fans will pay for info on players for their fantasy league (meaning you have to pay for a subscription to some web site to get any info) and it’s hard to get a read on just who is that good after the first few guys.  Thankfully the Nationals pay for people to figure this all out, and hopefully they’ve done their homework.

It’s a powerful day for the Washington baseball team tomorrow, and those going to the game will be invited to a party of sorts.  Let’s hope that the Nationals give us something to cheer about.

Sports: Hey Man, are you on Druuuuuggsssss???

Okay, quick caveat before I get into this: Can we get some of the Scripps kids to go down to Nationals Park and teach them how to spell?” Seriously-if some of these kids don’t have jobs by the end of the week teaching the college educated marketing people that mess this stuff up I will pul owt mah hare. Srsly.

Oh, and a refresher on where to find the letter “W” wouldn’t be a bad tip either.

Back to the story though, watch this: Note: Link and Video are same-in case one doesn’t show up.

Also-Thanks to Metblogs reader “RowdyYates” for the vid link!

Yesterday this story about a drug dealer who got busted in Florida broke. He mentioned both the Nationals and Capitals (but not the Redskins) as teams he had sold drugs too.  Or, more accurately-he had sold them to Nationals and Capitals players.  After he said this he promptly shut up and said nothing else.

This is like a stranger coming up to you and saying “uh yeah, your mom has been cheating on your father” and then walking away.  It’s shocking, provoking and, ultimately, not worth the attention it will demand from you.  The Capitals have already denied the allegations, and frankly if the Nationals are on ‘roids it would be a sad, sad thing indeed-none of which is the point.

The point is that a person with a lot of incentive to lie (no better way to string along your prosecution and set yourself up for a deal down the road then to implicate sports teams in drug use) and is not a particularly trustworthy source (ahem, drug dealer) has kinda/sorta probably made up a story.  Or, at least that’s how I’ll view it until something more comes along.

The trend with athletes seems to be going through team doctors or close family sources-not just some guy in Florida.  Further-these might be members of the farm teams of either club, or people long since traded away (this guy has been at it at least ten years now) and not regular starters we have come to know and love (and loathe).

That said-if someone on these teams needs to take the fall, I hope it’s the Nationals bullpen.  It might be the best way to get them off the team.  For now though, my diagnosis is a bunch of baloney (or bologna) and to limit your intake as much as possible.

DC Daily Item: Rain Delaying the Inevitable

Filling in for Patrick while he’s taking a well deserved vacay:

 

Via Deadspin-take a look at this wonderfully symbolic view of the Nationals season from last Saturday’s night game against the Phillies.  Stinking wet, heavy tarp-you run forward until you get stuck, run back, run forward and get caught by an air bubble only to finally finish a little to late to protect the field.

If you’d like to brave the possibility of rain, the “Beltway Series” (I honestly can’t believe this merits a wikipedia page) is currently underway against the equally unimpressive (but our city is better than theirs) Baltimore Bore-ioles at Nationals Park.

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