GET ME TO THE CHURCH ON TIME!!!

Tomorrow’s the day, folks! When the bell tolls 4:30 tomorrow, William F. Yurasko and Erica J. Marker will finally join together as husband and wife. Let us all raise a glass to them as we wish them many years of joy and happiness!


RAIN DELAY HOLDS NO SWAY

For Nationals, Win Is Worth the WaitThe Post
Despite last night’s pummeling rains and 2-hour rain delay, the Nats still managed to trump the Pirates 3-2 and take the series! I didn’t catch any of the game, but as a curious twist of fate, at one time I was considering going to this one (I chose the previous night’s game instead).

More from the Wash. Times: Worth the wait for Nationals

Nationals No-Shows Could Cost D.C. in TaxesThe Post
I’m not too worried about this, because any ball club is going to have unused tickets and lost revenue. It’s all part of what we call “business”.

They’re aching and amazingThe Times
With so many players hurt, you better believe they’re aching!


THEY PUT THE “RED LIGHT” IN RED LIGHT CAMERAS”

N. Virginia to turn off ‘spy’ camerasThe Times
Red light cameras, always a source of controversy in northern Virginia but put to widespread use in Montgomery County, are apparently going the way of the dodo in NoVa! The program expires tomorrow, and local governments don’t plan to renew the program.


Today’s postings brought to you by Deputy Editor Fritz Hamme.

NB: Neither William nor I will be updating the blog until the weekend, after the wedding and related festivities have come and gone.

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NATS EDGE PAST PIRATES, GUILLEN VISITS WAR VETERANS

Pirates lose to Nationals, 2-1- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A few good plays, a few sloppy errors, a few batters (read Guillen) hit by pitches, a few moments of auditioning for “Not So Great Moments in Sports” (anyone else remember that?) when all the outfielders converged to catch a fly ball but miss it (what would have topped that would be if they all would have collided) . . . normal night at RFK.

Drese Gets Good Start at Home- Post
More a recap of the series with the Pirates than of Ryan Drese’s performance.

More from The Wash. Times: Drese gives depleted Nats a boost

Guillen inspired by war veterans- nationals.com
Jose Guillen makes a very noble gesture and pays a visit to Walter Reed Army Hospital to visit war veterans, who give him inspiration on the field.

More from The Wash. Post: Guillen Visits Soldiers at Walter Reed

Good news in D.C.- Richmond.com
Richmond article asks a few good questions, namely why the Nats aren’t getting the national attention it deserves–because some still equate it to last year’s Expos. There’s a slightly biased tone to the article (possibly out of bitterness that Hampton Roads didn’t get a team?), but doesn’t overlook the challenges and obstacles the Nats face, like Peter Angelo$’s continued meddling or the conditions of RFK.

Church, Johnson out but not on DL- The Times
C’mon, why is everyone getting hurt? Also includes a bit on the DC Council’s continued politicking over the labor agreement for the new stadium.


FOOTBALL AWARDS

Nittany Lions put on ‘watch lists’- CDT
Five Penn State football players are nominated for awards, namely Dan Connor, Paul Posluszny, Alan Zemaitis, Michael Robinson, and Tony Hunt.


Today’s postings brought to you by Deputy Editor Fritz Hamme.

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ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO

I caught the Nats vs. Pirates game last night with my brother Christopher, Deputy Editor Fritz Hamme, Brad Stratton, and Pittsburgh area native Sam Basile. The photo above was taken by Sam’s sister, who happened to be at the game too. Not pictured was the ubiquitous Muha who was seated one section in front of us.

Anyhow, the Nats won 2 – 1. Both teams had shoddy fielding and good pitching. Ryan Drese gave up a 1st inning run, but the Nats overcame it by getting two off of zombie Josh Fogg. Drese went a total of eight innings before giving way to Chad Cordero, who got another save.

Sam and I agreed to our bet on the series too. The loser shall by the other a ticket to a Nats vs. Pirates game in Pittsburgh next year. A Primanti Bros. sandwich might be involved too.

That is going to do it for me for a while, Fritz will be taking care of the updates for a while because I will be busy getting married on Friday.

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INJURIES PILING UP AGAIN; BRAVES JUST 2 1/2 BACK

Nationals’ Johnson, Guillen Are InjuredThe Post
The Nats two best hitters are hurting. 1B Nick Johnson says his heel hurt more yesterday than on Sunday and is expected to be out for 3 to 7 days, which will keep him out of the Pittsburgh series and maybe more. RF Jose Guillen is day to day with a sore shoulder.

Hopefully, Ryan Church is feeling better and can play tonight. If that happens, Brad Wilkerson can start at first with Marlon Byrd taking his place in center. The other option at first is Wil Cordero who is about one bad series from going the way of Jeffrey Hammonds.

More from The Wash. Times: Johnson out up to a week


Nats Caught in a TV RundownThe Post
Another article about the TV situation, this time focusing on the Comcast perspective.

Unpopular successThe Wash. Times
Players (and bloggers) may dislike skipper Frank Robinson, but they play for him.

Issues continueto build at RFKThe Wash. Times
Another look at the issues that plauge RFK Stadium, issues we know well.

Soros’s Nats Bid Irks RepublicansThe Post
As mentioned previously, there are a lot of people who are not excited about George Soros, a billionaire liberal activist, being a minority investor in Jonathan Ledecky’s bid.

My former Congressman Tom Davis, (R, Va.) was quoted in yesterday’s Roll Call saying “‘Major League Baseball understands the stakes’ if Soros buys the team. ‘I don’t think they want to get involved in a political fight.’”

Congressional Democrats naturally added their own fifty cents.

In the end, I would be shocked if MLB sells the team to the Ledecky/Soros group anyway.

More from The Wash. Times: Three bid groups meet with MLB


Cordero continues to deliver for NationalsUSA Today
A profile of Chad Cordero reveals the mystery of his flat-brimmed cap, among other things. There is more in the next article too.

C. Cordero Could Tie a Saves MarkThe Post
If the Nats sweep and Chad Cordero gets a save in every game, he will tie the all-time record for saves in a month.

1925 World Series: A great story worth retellingPost-Gazette
The Pirates return to D.C. for the first time since the 1925 World Series, which was exciting, but largely forgotten.

Also see: Scouting Report: Washington NationalsPost-Gazette


Nats’ postseason vets hoping for repeat of pastAP/The Wash. Examiner

JIM WILLIAMSHow bad do you want Nats TV?AP/The Wash. Examiner
The latest from Jim Williams, I did not have time to read it though.
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LEARN TO TALK LIKE A ‘BURGHER

Going to a game (I will be there tonight in 551) this week ? Want to know what all the Pittsburgh transplants in the stands are saying? Go to pittsburghese.com and learn about the Western Pennsylvania dialect.

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LOOKING AHEAD

The month of June has been excellent for the Nationals. Heading into tonight’s game aganist the Pahrts, they are 13 – 1 at home and 5 – 4 on the road. They started the month a mere game over .500, but have since gotten to 13 over. They now lead the NL East by 2.5 games over the surging Braves. Thus far, the Nats have taken advantage of the scheduling about as much as a team can. Provided they win the Pittsburgh series, they will be in just about as good a position as possible entering the dog days of summer, which appears to be the most critical stretch of the season.

In July, the Nats play on 27 of 31 days, with July 11 – 13 off for the All-Star Break. Only 11 July games are at home, as oppossed to the 17 in June. August only 12 games at RFK, with a stretch of 13 game road trip in three times zone. That roadtrip is bookended by the only off days of the month.

If the Nats can stay afloat, they are in good position to make something in September and the first two days of October. They have 29 games scheduled in the last 32 days of the season, with 19 of them at RFK. July and August might be grueling, but they get rewarded in September if they can keep it going.

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QUICK PENN STATE SPORTS UPDATE

For some reason, I don’t have a lot of free time this week, so here are some quick Penn State sports notes:

  • Even more coverage of prospective freshman phenom WR Derrick Williams from Sunday’s CDT.
  • Another week, another basketball transfer. Marlon Smith is leaving the program.
  • Dave Jones of the Patriot-News lightens up the Penn State baskebtall situation by bring race into the discussion of Danny Earl’s hiring as an assistant.
  • Though not technically Penn State sports, the new State College minor league team, which will play on campus, has been trying to choose a new nickname. The semi-finalists for team nickname were Black Bears, Copperheads, Miners, Mountain Bats, Ridge-Riders, Sliders and Stags (my pick). My former professor Russell Frank does not care for those nicknames too much and offers a few suggestions.
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  • STICKING UP FOR YOUPPI


    The back page of ESPN The Magazine has a photo illustration of Nationals based on George Washington crossing the Delaware. It is a mildly clever take on the Nationals surprising success in their inaugural year in D.C.

    The uniforms need work, most of the players are wearing the wrong hats for their jersey — Esteban Loiaza’s cap is a version that does not even exist. Vinny Castilla looks like he is wearing one of the replicas that you can get a Foot Locker with the basic name and numbers. I can overlook all of that though. The thing that kind of annoys me is that they have Cristian Guzman sticking a harpoon into the head of beloved former Expos mascot Youppi. Was this necessary? No one I have talked to is happy that Montreal lost their team. I dare say there is even a little bit of guilt over taking another city’s team, though the further along we go, the more it gets suppressed. I don’t think the image is reflective of Nats fans attitude of the situation.

    Besides, there is no way Guzman could hit anything in the water either…

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    NATS LOSE FIRST GAME AT HOME IN FOREVER

    Armas Can’t Take The Fifth in LossThe Post
    The Nats feel behind 5 – 2 with Tony Armas pitching. He got yanked, Hector Carrasco came in and the team tied it up. Overworked Bobby Ayala got lit up for two runs in the eight and the game was lost. Sunny Kim gave up another two runs in the ninth, but the damage had already been done.

    More from The Wash. Times: Nats’ RFK run ends

    BoxscoreESPN.com


    A Tale of Nine InningsThe Post Magazine
    “It was the best of seats, it was the worst of seats, it was brilliant pitching, it was abysmal pitching, it was an evening of darkness, it was the spring of hope . . .”

    Eight writers cover eight different aspects of a Nats game last month. I still have to read it.


    MASN ads take aim at ComcastThe Wash. Times
    Once again, the benevolent Peter Angelo$ is reminding us that MASN is on our side. Riiiiiight. In an ad in yesterday’s Post MASN encouraged people to call Comcast and other cable companies to demand “our Nats TV.” I say, don’t do it, MASN needs to do their own dirty work. If anything, call (410) 685-9800 and ask why Angelo$ need to own the Nationals TV rights.

    Johnson injures heel while scoringThe Wash. Times
    Historically injury prone 1B Nick Johnson hurt his heel scoring in the 7th yesterday. No word yet on the MRI, but apparently it is only his heel that is bothering him. He is expected to be day-to-day. Manager Frank Robinson is not happy about how the injury transpired.

    More from The Post: NATIONALS NOTEBOOKRobinson Is Irked by Play at Plate


    DAN DALYIt’s telling that a loss at home is so unusualThe Wash. Times
    It is a real novelty to see the Nats lose at home these days. Hopefully, it will continue to be a novelty when it happens again. Hopefully that is a while off, especially since I have a grudge match this week with Maryland Bureau Chief Sam Basile’s Pahrts.

    Nationals livin’ large in their new D.C. homeBeaver County Times
    Speaking of the Pahrts, a Pittsburgh area paper looks at the Nats.

    With New Home, Nationals Work on a FoundationThe Times
    The old gray lady takes notice of our little ballclub.
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    LOAIZA GETS A “W” IN FRONT OF “W,” BUT THE HONEYMOON MAY BE ENDING FOR THE PLAYERS

    USA 3 Canada 0

    Nats, Loaiza Are in Good CompanyThe Post
    President Bush was on hand to see Esteban Loaiza get his third win of the season. Not satisfied with the run support he had been getting, Loaiza took matters into his own hands and knocked in two runners with a 2nd inning double. That would be all that he would need last night, but CF Brad Wilkerson hit another homer to add an insurance run the Nats would not need. Marlon Byrd made a great catch in left to end the game and help Chad Cordero complete an unorthodox 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 21st consecutive save and 24th overall.

    More The Wash. Times: Self-help project

    BoxscoreESPN.com


    Stadium break-ins plaguing NationalsThe Wash. Times & During Road Trip, Nats Players’ Cars Broken Into at RFKThe Post
    A dozen players have had their cars vandalized and broken into this season, mostly during the last road trip. Marlon Byrd is furious because his Escalade didn’t just get broken into, it got stolen.
    [This happening to] a major league baseball team in Washington, D.C., after September 11? It makes no sense. . . There was major league security when I was in [Philadelphia]. You had a guy sitting out there the whole time. . . Bottom line, it was a [expletive] job done here by the people who work here, a [expletive] job here. . . There’s no way that my car can be driven off the lot while we’re out of town, and I get here, and I’m walking around looking for my car. Whoever’s job it was, whoever’s supposed to be doing that job, did not do their job.

    This is not only bad because the players security has been shattered at their home stadium, but because it is bad PR for the RFK experience.

    Also, in The Wash. Times, the team indicates it is still not pleased with field conditions and concessions. Is the honeymoon between the Nats and RFK over? Fans are going to have to do their part to make the players feel at home.


    NATIONALS NOTEBOOKVidro Hits Snag During WorkoutsThe Post
    Add another few days to the rehab of Jose Vidro. His right patellar tendon, which was operated on last September, is sore. According to nationals.com , Vidro expects to resume baseball activities on Monday.

    THOMAS BOSWELLNo Deal Is Good DealThe Post
    Ryan Church, who is out for the Toronto series with a bruised shoulder suffered when he hit the wall while getting the last out in Pittsburgh, is the focus of the “thank God Zach Day got hurt or he and Church would have been sent to
    Florida for a Juan Encarnacion” column. Now that he is hurt, Church has a chance to prove himself to the team in how he reacts.

    Natural interleague rival no moreThe Globe and Mail
    The Canadian ambassador was at the Nats vs. Blue Jays game last night. This is probably the last series where the Blue Jays will be a protected rival of the Nats.