Sports Fix, The Features

Season Wrap-Up: The Nationals

Photo courtesy of
‘Friday Night Fireworks’
courtesy of ‘MudflapDC’

The baseball season is over and done with.  Hockey starts Friday, and Basketball in a few weeks. The beginnings of winter are incumbent upon us to respect, and the end of the baseball season is a part of that winterizing process.  This was a season of growth for the Nationals in many ways, and there’s a lot to respect in terms of significant process. There’s also a lot that we’ll have to see changed in order for this to become a contending franchise in the next decade.

This is a turning point for the Nationals, and there’s a real opportunity for this club to take what it’s spent the last five years working on and put it to good use.  The Nationals are not a complete franchise, right now, but in two or three years, they could be a .500+ club with a shot at the Wild Card.  Will they get there? I hope so, but I fear for the worst.  Losing the head of their front office will be a big test for this club that has relied upon his experience so extensively.  There is, as in many cases, both crisis and opportunity in this change.  The Nats finally have a solid GM in place, someone who can handle baseball operations and contract negotiations without giving away the farm, in Mike Rizzo, and the addition of Andrew Feffer as the Nats’ Chief Operating Office this past off-season gives them someone who understands the intricacies of running the ballpark operations side of things for the Nationals.

Stan Kasten is right: DC could be a baseball town. There’s an audience, yes, but they’re going to have to be shown that the product’s worth watching.  This season? It was too volatile to promise to a good audience.  If the Nats want to draw 2-2.5M fans each year, they’re going to have to put out there something that people want to watch.  And generally speaking, those people shouldn’t just be in from out of town.  Let’s take a look at the lineup this season and see how everyone did, shall we?

 

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Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Nats take night off against Houston, drop game 8-2

Livan Hernandez looks disgusted with himself
Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network

The Nationals appeared to have left their collective team heart elsewhere Monday night when playing the Houston Astros in Washington. It’s painfully obvious at this point in September that whatever underdog grit this team had after going 20-15 to start the season is long gone.

Livan Hernandez looked sharp on the mound retiring all six of the first batters he faced, but that two inning no-hitter took a turn for the worst with some deplorable defensive plays in the fifth. The worst of it all is that the Nationals scored two runs in the top of the first. They were winning to start things off but couldn’t hold on for dear life.

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Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Nyjer Morgan

Photo courtesy of
‘Nyjer Morgan diving to first’
courtesy of ‘MudflapDC’

If you decided to turn off last night’s Nationals game when they went down 10-3 after just three innings, I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest.  However, it turned out to be one of the craziest games the Nationals have ever played, featuring multiple plunkings by the Marlins’ pitching staff, a bench-clearing brawl, and six ejections drawn out over 9 innings.  By the end of the seventh inning last night, both managers were sent to the showers, along with four of their players.  It was the sort of game that had a performance art feel to it, as if you were just waiting to see what might happen next.

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Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Nats drop finale to the Giants

Drew Storen on the Mound

On a picturesque July Sunday, the Giants came out swinging.  With the series on the line in the last game before the All Star Break, they’d get a pair of walks and a pair of singles off Livan Hernandez to jump out to a 2-0 lead.  Livo was reaching for the corners but not finding them in the first, throwing six pitches to both Posey and Uribe looking for that elusive third strike call.   In the third, the Giants would lead off with back to back singles from Sanchez and Huff, followed by an off-the-wall triple from Buster Posey. On the triple, Nyjer Morgan would take a difficult route to the ball, which would bounce just behind him, and back into center, letting Posey advance to third easily.  Ishikawa would sacrifice him home, letting the Giants come out to a 5-0 lead after the third. Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Nats Fall to Royals, 1-0

stras.jpg
Photo by Ian Koski / Nationals Daily News

Looking for the sweep today, the Nationals brought out their ace, Stephen Strasburg, to cement a winning streak and build some momentum, going into the weekend series against Baltimore.  Sadly, the team’s offense couldn’t deliver, in a game fraught with mistakes and misplays, in some cases over-sliding bases, and in others sliding too early, and they fell without scoring, 1-0.

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Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Nats With Bats Revive Stats

A humid Washington evening in the early days of summer is a bit of a difficult environment for baseball.  You never know when a storm will break out.  Tonight, the Royals were the recipients of a pair of storms: one from the Nationals’ bats, and the other from Mother Nature herself.  A 49-minute rain delay couldn’t shake Luis Atilano, who picked up his sixth win of the season in 5 1/3 innings.  Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps would do their eponymous routine on Clipp & Save T-shirt night here at Nats Park.

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Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Nats Complete Sweep of Bucs

Photo courtesy of
’155/365′
courtesy of ‘brianmka’

The weather on Thursday night was about as perfect as you can find in June in Washington, a great night at the ballpark. The Nats were looking to complete the sweep against the Pirates, hoping for their first of the season. Zach Duke stood in their way, 2009 All-Star, and starting pitcher for the Pirates. No, he’s not Stephen Strasburg, but ¡Livan! Hernandez is the Nats’ current #1, and he was on to devour some innings tonight to finish the homestand. Continue reading

Essential DC, Fun & Games, History, Special Events, Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

BREAKING: Strasburg may Start June 4

Photo courtesy of
’4TH’
courtesy of ‘MissChatter’

The rumor mill has it that the second comi…. I mean Steven Strasburgs’ major league debut will be on the June 4 game against the Cincinnati Reds. For those of you living in caves, Steven Strasburg is one of the hottest prospects in the history of major league baseball, and certainly the top for 2010.  The Nats picked him up with their first round draft pick last year and sent him to the minors for some conditioning. In the minors he’s pitched just over a 1 ERA with around 1 strike out per inning.  That’s scary.  His start promises to be one of the biggest events in Nats history. The game will sell out, so buy those tickets quick.  At this point, the cheap seats are already sold.

The Daily Feed

Please Ripken, Save the Orioles

Photo courtesy of
’0G1G3481′
courtesy of ‘Keith Allison’

We don’t cover a lot of Orioles “news’ because…well…we have our own team now, and the Orioles have been the laughing stock of professional sports for over a decade. But as a life-long fan of the birds, and what some could call DC’s AL team, I just had to write about Cal. Our beloved Cal. The Iron Man. The nicest guy ever. The guy my friends and I grew up idolizing. Could it be? Could it be true that Cal Jr. is coming to be our savior and turn around the obnoxiously bad Baltimore Orioles? Front office, club house, I don’t care. Just give me Cal.

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The Daily Feed

Last chance for tickets! Let Teddy Win!

If you haven’t bought your ticket to join us for Let Teddy Win! at Nationals Park, make sure to get it before tomorrow at noon when ticket sales close.

The weather report is in, and Wednesday is looking mighty nice for a baseball game.

Join us at 5:30 p.m. on April 21 as we cheer on Nat’s mascot Teddy Roosevelt with the founder of LetTeddyWin.com, plus a behind the scenes tour of Nationals Park, Nats stadium character trivia, and prizes.

Let Teddy Win! Get your tickets now! This could finally be his big night. Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed

Merry Christmas From the Nationals

Photo courtesy of
‘Matt Capps’
courtesy of ‘KitAy’

The Nats have had an active off-season that just got more active. This morning at 1am, approximately, they agreed to a 1-year deal with closer Matt Capps with undisclosed terms. Capps is the third pitcher the Nats have signed this week (Eddie Guardado and Jason Marquis being the others) and will take over the closer duties for the team in 2010. The Nats have been uncharacteristically active this off-season, and appear to be making a run at .500 baseball for 2010.

The Daily Feed

Pudge Rodriguez Joins Nationals

Photo courtesy of
‘Ivan Rodriguez’
courtesy of ‘jmd41280′

In addition to the trade to the Yankees for Brian Burney, the Nats signed catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to a 2-year, $6M deal to backup Jesus Flores. From what they’re saying so far, Pudge will be Crash Davis for the Nationals, tending to the young pitchers and leading Jesus Flores toward stardom. The price, in addition to his salary, is likely the release or trade of Wil Nieves (Who? Wil Nieves!) as he’s the third catcher on the Nats’ 40-man roster.

Hard to tell right now if this is an upgrade. Pudge had his worst season ever, and so we’re now paying him twice as much as he made last year. That part doesn’t seem to be as wise a deal.

Look for more moves from the Nats as the winter meetings continue.

The Daily Feed

Don’t Miss the Big Green Bus

Photo courtesy of
‘school bus’
courtesy of ‘unai pascual’

The Big Green Bus is coming to Saturday’s Bethesda Big Train baseball game. This summer, 15 Dartmouth students are driving this bus, powered by waste vegetable oil, across the country to raise awareness and spur action on climate change.

You can see them at the 7:30 p.m. game at Shirley Povich Field in Cabin John Regional Park. Wear your Bethesda Green t-shirt, or buy one there, and you can get a free ticket as long as their supply lasts.

The Daily Feed

More baseball draft picks.

Alex Ellis/The GW Hatchet

photo courtesy of Alex Ellis/The GW Hatchet

Reader Robert Lintott pointed out to me that GW had a student baseball player picked in the recent MLB draft as well, in round 13. Pat Lehman hails from Jersey originally, so he’s not one of our native sons, but he adopted our city for four years and was drafted by the Nationals. Congrats Pat – hope you’re happy to be staying in the area.

George Mason’s record number of players drafted in one year bumped to six when Shawn Griffith was drafted in the 37th round. Griffith’s a Florida boy like me, though he hails from the Gulf coast in St. Petersburg.

The Daily Feed

GMU students and area natives drafted by MLB

Photo courtesy of
’0610-3689′
courtesy of ‘jodycl’

Five George Mason University students, three of them local to the area, were picked in the MLB draft yesterday. Left Fielder Scott Krieger is from the Towson, MD area and was a 19th round pick. Jordan Flasher is a pitcher from the Manassas, VA area and was a 21st round pick. Justin Bour was picked in the 25th round and hails from Centreville, VA. Congratulations to them and to GMU, which has never had five players drafted in a single season before.

The Daily Feed

Oh hai, Teddy

Photo courtesy of
‘Teddy and Teddy’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

It’s too early for giant-headed past presidents. Still in my morning pre-coffee stupor, I got off the escalator at Chinatown only to be greeted by good ol’ Teddy, the running prez. He was handing out 25% off coupons to the Memorial Day weekend games, which is always nice. He also informed me that there are post-game fireworks this Friday and free hats to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday. Thanks, Teddy. Now, if only you were handing out coffee…

Sports Fix, The Features

Sports Fix: Hangin’ By A Thread Edition

Photo courtesy of
‘Rock the Red’
courtesy of ‘afagen’

Capitals
2nd Round: 2-3, facing Game 6 on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

It’s down to the raggedy edge again for the Caps. After starting 2-0 against the Penguins, the Pens have picked up 3 running, two of them in Overtime. The Caps are short on momentum right now, and that may well be their undoing. Ovechkin has been en fuego, and leads the NHL in post-season goals, but a pair of costly mistakes have cost the Caps their lead on the series.

Tonight, they’ll face elimination in Pittsburgh, much as they faced it two weeks ago in New York. Varlamov will need to be superlative, and the Caps will have to play aggressive & razor-sharp hockey. The good news is, Brashear’s coming off the bench after the end of his suspension, so that’ll return some hard-hitting power to the Caps’ side. The puck drops at 7pm, and can be seen on Versus. C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS! Endanger the Penguins!

Nationals
Record: 10-19
Last Two Weeks: 6-6
Place: Last in the NL East

Well, we’re still the worst team in major league baseball. But, in the last two weeks, the Nats have played a lot better than their opening two weeks. Shairon Martis has been pretty much amazing, his last outing with a 5-hit complete game over the Cardinals last week. Jordan Zimmermann’s still 2-1, and though his ERA is over 5, he’s still got a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. And, of course, mid-season number-one-draft-pick-to-be Stephen Strasburg threw a no-hitter last week against Air Force. If the Nats can get together with a decent deal with Scott Boras, he’ll be up and pitching in DC by the end of the summer. Ryan Zimmerman’s got a 28-game hitting streak as it stands right now, as well. Get that up to 30 games and maybe he’ll get the credit he’s due. The Nats have three more games on the road against the Giants before coming home for a long homestand. Just think, 9 more wins and they’re at .500.
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Sports Fix

Sports Fix: Hail to the Victors!

2877666816_a18c0c4eb7.jpg
Crazed Fan by Leediehr

26-24. Sorry, Cowboys, no 4 & 0 for you. The Redskins looked quite good in Dallas today, with Jason Campbell starting to look like the Quarterback that the Redskins had hoped he’d become. Two TDs and 230 yards, all without a single pick. Clinton Portis came up big with 121 yards over 21 carries. It was the kind of victory that kept the TV on and the fans cheering right down to the last play. Fortunately, Shaun Suisham’s leg was up to the task, with four Field Goals and a pair of extra points.

Great day for Jim Zorn, and for the Skins as a whole, with the last Redskins Regular Season Game in Texas Stadium coming up a big victory for us. But that’s not all the sporting news…

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Featured Photo, Life in the Capital, Sports Fix, The District

Featured Photo

this jersey says it all by dharmabumx

As August comes to a close, we should all be thankful for the amazing weather we’ve had this summer in DC. Sure, there were a few weeks with temperatures in the high 90′s and Vietnam-like humidity, but for the most part we’ve had many reasonable days in the 80′s – perfect weather for baseball and beer. Well, pretty much perfect weather for anything and beer, but when I look at this photo I want to Metro over to the Nationals stadium, buy a ticket, gorge myself with a halfsmoke from Ben’s, and wash it down with a really expensive cup of beer, all the while knowing that our team is destined to find a way to lose.

With only a month left of baseball for the Nats, why not go drink some beer in our new stadium? Might as well get as much out of your tax dollars as you can. They host the Dodgers tonight through Thursday followed by a series against the Braves through the weekend. Be sure to memorize the lyrics to Sweet Caroline for an extra good time.