Sports Fix, The Features

Thoughts on Opening Day 2013 at Nationals Park

courtesy of philliefan99

The Washington Nationals rang in their ninth year of DC baseball on Monday afternoon in front of a record-setting regular-season crowd of 45,274. They went on to defeat the Miami Marlins 2-0. The day’s events celebrated both their historic 2012 run and the start of a highly anticipation 2013 season.

An Ideal Scenario

2012 was the most successful year in Nats history by far. The Nats touted the best record in all of baseball with 98 wins and 64 losses, four players made it to the All-Star game, several players earned Silver Slugger and Golden Glove awards, Manager Davey Johnson was named Manager of the Year, Bryce Harper won the National League Rookie of the Year Award as a 19-year-old, Executive Vice Present of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo was named Executive of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the BBWAA, and they won their first National League East Division Title.

Despite the inevitable growing pains endured during their first few years and the dismal losing records posted in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the Nats are headed in the right direction thanks to Rizzo building this team from the bottom up. Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Features

Everything’s Not Lost: A Nats Postseason Reflection

2012 10 01 - 5478-5486 - DC - Nationals Ballpark
courtesy of thisisbossi

The 2012 Washington Nationals can and will be remembered in a few different ways. Some will see it as a successful season riddled with historic milestones achieved by a team who competed well beyond anyone’s spring training predictions. Others will remember it for the gut-wrenching two-run loss induced by a ninth inning collapse versus the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in Game Five of the National League Division Series after being up 6-0.

But maybe there’s a happy medium between the two extremes?

Washington baseball in the modern era organically evolved into a devotion-based fan obsession upon the May inception of #Natitude. The play-on-words marketing strategy, endorsed by the Nationals’ Chief Operating Officer Andy Feffer, peaked people’s interest enough to follow the team on its journey toward becoming a contender. And this is all in addition to the incredibly devout season ticket holders and fans who’ve been supportive of the team since 2005 — the Nationals’ inaugural season.

Since that time, the already active community of voices in support of the team on Twitter has increased in size, seats in the ballpark were filled willingly, and a Photoshop trend became the norm for expressing one’s thoughts surrounding the team and its players. Record attendance numbers and television ratings were tallied. The Nats made it to the playoffs for the first time in team history. These are all positive changes when compared to season’s past.

Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Features

2012: A Year of Growth for the Washington Nationals

Photo by Rachel Levitin

2012 is upon us – as is the start of the Major League Baseball season – and the Washington Nationals are a team on the minds of many.

Last week I found myself at Reagan National Airport talking baseball during the Harvard-Vanderbilt March Madness game. During that game, I discovered a strange truth: a DC-based Cardinals fan told me, flat-out, that he was more excited to watch the Nats this year than his beloved Midwestern red birds. At first I thought this guy was a fluke of nature but upon further review I realized he wasn’t.

There was a piece in Chicago Magazine this week that brought up the topic as well:

“I’d rather root for the Royals, Nationals, or Marlins this year than the Cubs or Sox. Those teams have new players worth watching, some works in progress that should be interesting to follow.”

While it’s important to remember how poor the Chicago baseball clubs are likely to perform this season, the quote also sheds light on how baseball fans outside of DC view the Nats. At the risk of sounding cliché, 2012 is a good year (if not the best thus far) to be a Nats fan.

That, of course, is the optimistic route to choose.  Continue reading

Fun & Games, Sports Fix

Nats Back Below .500 as Bucs Blast Marquis

‘Clippard Pitches’
courtesy of ‘MudflapDC’

If, as the old baseball truism goes, the baseball gods have given the Washington Nationals 54 wins, 54 losses, and 54 toss-ups, than Sunday afternoon’s 10-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates unquestionably falls into the second category. Jason Marquis faced just 13 batters and recorded only four outs. Hundreds of fans were still milling around in the centerfield plaza, trying to decide whether to find their seats or find a hot dog, when Neil Walker scampered home on Lyle Overbay’s RBI double to give the Pirates an 8-0 lead and cap off a five-run top of the second inning that, for all intents and purposes, ended the competitive portion of the afternoon’s entertainment.

“I left too many balls in the zone,” a grim-faced Marquis said after the game. “There wasn’t enough late action on my balls.” To his credit, Marquis didn’t make excuses, nor did he hide behind the double play that probably should have been recorded by the very second batter of the game. After allowing Alex Presley to lead off the game with a sliced single to left field, Marquis induced Chase d’Arnaud to tap a ground ball back to the mound. Trying to start the pitcher’s best friend, Marquis rushed his throw and put it at second baseman Danny Espinosa’s feet. It was a difficult play to be sure, but one that Espinosa could have (if not should have) made. Instead, the throw skipped into center field and Presley picked himself up and went to third, later scoring on an RBI single by Nate McCutchen. Walker and Overbay followed with RBI base hits of their own, and the Pirates led 3-0 after half an inning.

“It didn’t have any effect [on me],” Marquis said when asked afterwards about the botched play. “They’ve been doing a good job defensively, they’ve spent the whole year battling, and are trying to make plays.”

“Things like that shouldn’t be able to affect you,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “He just didn’t have it today.” Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Nationals Beat Phillies 7-4

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘oddlittlebird.’

The boos of Philadelphia Phillies fans targeted toward Jayson Werth didn’t stop the Washington Nationals from winning Tuesday night’s game 7-4. Division rivalry aside, the Nationals had to prove they could handle one of Major League Baseball’s best teams on a night where their men in the corners were sidelined with stints on the disabled list.

Continue reading

The Features

Tips For Discouraged Nats Fans

Photo by Max Cook / We Love DC

NatsTown, we know you’re down in the dumps. Dibble’s gone, which in the eyes of some is a victory in itself, but so is that other guy. You know, that guy everyone was taking about for a year and needs Tommy John’s surgery? Yeah, that guy.

Here are the facts: You’re fans of the newest team in Major League Baseball. In the inaugural 2005 season, you were ecstatic, vibrant, and full of hope. Now, much like the team on the field, you’re feeling deflated and flat. That jolt of energy experienced in June has escaped and all because of a silly elbow tendon.

It’s times like this that try the fan’s soul. Hence, a friendly reminder: One man doesn’t make a team.

It’s easy for outsiders to say, “Nats fans dropped like flies once Stephen Strasburg got called in for surgery.” Don’t give them that chance.

Here are some suggestions on how to handle the rest of 2010 and how to cope with young Stephen out of the lineup: Continue reading

Adventures, All Politics is Local, Entertainment, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, News, People, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Michelle Obama To Throw Out First Pitch At Tonight’s O’s Game

Photo courtesy of
‘It’s Michelle!’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

If you’ve got tickets to tonight’s Baltimore Orioles game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Camden yards, be sure to get their on time because Michelle Obama will not only be bringing the heat as she fires out the first pitch, but also increased levels of security.

Mrs. Obama will be escorted to the mound by kids from the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program and the Boys and Girls Club. The RBI program started John Young, a former Major League Baseball player and scout, provides disadvantaged youth with the opportunity to learn and enjoy the game of baseball. Originally a local program for boys in South Central Los Angeles, the program, now in its 21st year, has grow to more than 200 cities and as many as 120,000 male and female participants a year.

Sports Fix, The Features

Five Baseball Lessons From Thomas & Billy Heywood

Billy Heywood Played Here
The HHH Metrodome, Summer 2009
Photo byRachel Levitin

Billy Heywood could be integral toward the Nationals having a better than sub-par season. Don’t know who Billy Heywood is? He’s the first and only 12-year-old baseball manager whose team lost to a guy who notched 300 wins in the 2009 season (against the Nationals at Nationals Park) aka Randy Johnson in the 1994 film, Little Big League.

Sure – Billy Heywood is a fictional character from a 90’s sports movie made for children. That is but a mere technicality. Writer Gregory K. Pincus captured what was great about baseball through a 12-year-old boy who, if he were Jim Riggleman right now, would know how to knock some sense into our Nationals before the season gets them down.

Here are five lessons the 2010 Nats could learn from Billy Heywood and his grandpa Thomas:

Lesson One: There’s 162 Games, Don’t Forget

Thomas Heywood: Okay. It’s only May. A lot can happen. [On the Twins losing record] … You’re not making excuses because the Twins are losing? You’re not front runners are you?”

The correct answer in this scenario is: “No way, I’d rather see the worst team ever than go to my grandmother’s,” according to the movie. I agree. As much as I love my grandmothers, going to a baseball game on a school night was always a can’t miss opportunity.

Anything can happen between April and October. Anything. That’s what’s great about baseball. That’s why even the team that loses the most deserves support. They’ve made it through the minors. It took most of them awhile. They deserve fans just as much as the next guy.

Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Breast Cancer Survivors And Advocates To Be Honored On Mother’s Day At Ballparks Nation-Wide

Photo courtesy of
‘Life’s a bitch !’
courtesy of ‘pfala’

Major League Baseball and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization,  have teamed up to launch the 2010 Honorary Bat Girl contest. The contest was created to recognize the women who have fought hard to battle breast cancer. For the next six weeks, women are encouraged to share their inspirational stories.

Men and women over the age of 18 will be able to read these stories and vote for who they think should be this year’s Honorary Bat Girl. The woman chosen will receive two tickets to the Nationals game vs. the Florida Marlins on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 9) where they will take part in the pre-game activities which include being honored with a pink ribbon during an on-field ceremony.

“The Nationals are excited to participate in the Honorary Bat Girl program as it allows us to reach our fans on a personal level,” Nationals Vice President of Communications and Community Relations Chartese Burnett said. “We encourage our fans to share their triumphant stories at and we look forward to hosting the winner at Nationals Park.”

All testimonials must be entered online and can be submitted by breast cancer survivors or advocates of the cause.

The contest ends April 13.

Entertainment, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, News, People, The Daily Feed, The District

Who Would Win In A Fight?

Photo courtesy of
‘Battle of the Beltways’
courtesy of ‘brianmka’

The Nationals’ Screech? Or the Orioles’ The Bird?

Well, in the battle over D.C. TV ratings, our neighbors to the north have won. According to the Washington Business Journal, “D.C. is the only TV market in the country where a team from another city (the O’s) gets better ratings than the hometown team.”  That’s sad.

What’s sadder still is that the two teams combined for 201 losses. :(