30 years ago, 75 years old Luke Appling hit a homer at RFK Stadium


Last night was the 30th anniversary of 75 year old Luke Appling hitting a home run off Warren Spahn in the 1982 Cracker Jack Old Timer’s Baseball game. I was hoping to embed the video of it — there used to be a pretty good clip on youtube, but it’s gone. This ESPN retrospective video has Appling’s homer at 10:37.

Appling, a Hall of Fame shortstop with the Chicago White Sox, was never a power hitter and the left field stands were in football configuration, but the homer was one of the great moments in RFK Stadium history.

FURTHER READING

Old Dog With New TricksSports Illustrated

Luke Appling and the 1982 Cracker Jack GameMisc. Baseball

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If you give the Nats two intentional walks in the 10th inning, you deserve to lose on wild pitch, Mets

After Tyler Clippard blew his first save of the year (wiping out Ross Detwiler’s excellent scoreless outing) the Washington Nationals had to come back against the New York Mets in the bottom of the 9th. They did, tying it at 3 (Danny Espinosa with the RBI single) but couldn’t get more.

In the 10th, the Mets got the lead runner on. He scored and the Nats needed two runs.

In the bottom of the inning, Jhonatan Solano singled and advanced to second on a Steve Lombardozzi bunt. Bryce Harper then tripled to knock in Solano and may have scored if he was not covered by David Wright after sliding. Then, the Mets walked Ryan Zimmerman (because who wouldn’t walk Mr. Walk-Off with the winning run on third?) and then walked pinch hitter Ian Desmond. I was thinking, really, two IBBs? That’s just setting yourself up for a wild pitch Mets; you karma. It took an extra batter though, since Adam LaRoche grounded to first, erasing Harper. That also meant Zimmerman was on third and on a 1-2 count to Tyler Moore (who homered earlier) that the pitch went wild and Zimmerman scored on it. Again.

Here’s the rally video (should be embeddable, grrr)

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Nats, Marlins, Rockies and the ’93 expansion curse

When you think about it, the Miami Marlins (previously Florida) and Colorado Rockies have been giving D.C. trouble for over 20 years now. Back in 1991, D.C. fell short to South Florida and Denver in the ’93 expansion derby. If I recall correctly, Denver had the promise of a new sales-tax funded ballpark and South Florida had Blockbuster Video/Waste Management chairman Wayne Huizenga (and his 50% ownership of Joe Robbie Stadium) behind them while D.C. had, um RFK Stadium. Baseball finally returned to Washington in 2005, but the results against the two expansion teams that won in ’93 haven’t been pretty.

The records:

 YEAR:     W-L     Win %  
 2011:     7-11    .389     
 2010:     5-13    .278     
 2009:     6-12    .333      
 2008:     3-14    .176     
 2007:     10-8    .556     
 2006:     7-11    .389
 2005:      9-9    .500

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The Marlins played in a stadium (that changed names seemingly bi-annually) that was perhaps the least pleasant weather wise in the NL. I don’t know that the South Florida humidity made much difference though, there were some terrible Nats teams over the years and that doesn’t account for home losses.

The Marlins expansion partner, the Rockies have also had a strong record against the Nats:

 YEAR:     W-L     Win %  
 2011:     3-4      .429     
 2010:     3-5      .375     
 2009:     0-6      .000      
 2008:     3-4      .429     
 2007:     3-4      .429     
 2006:     0-8      .000
 2005:     4-2      .667

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The Rockies play in the mile high setting of Denver, though that doesn’t account for home losses either. Two really bad seasons against the Rockies brings the Nats overall record down, but they only took the season-series against the Rockies once, in 2005.

I wasn’t thrilled when I learned the Nats would have the All-Star break bookended by this troublesome teams. They managed only one win against the Rockies (who are in last place in the NL West) in the series before the break after splitting a four game series at Coors Field earlier. The Nats finished the season series 3-4. Against the Marlins, the Nats just split a series which is an improvement against the Fish. Washington is just a game behind in the season series with Miami, so things may be getting better. Perhaps the change of venue and “name” have helped the Nats. But a 4-5 record doesn’t inspire confidence just yet, even if seven of those games were in Miami.

The Nats are now 2½ up on the Atlanta Braves, who picked up two games this week in the NL East. Those historical worries weren’t unfounded.

Tonight, Ross Detwiler faces Jon Niese of the New York Mets in Nationals Park. The Mets are starting to fall off a bit and this series is a chance to start putting them away.

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Penn State: The Freeh report comes out today

Penn Staters are facing yet another dark morning of the soul today. I don’t have high expectations that the Freeh report will result in anyone being exonerated, any opinions being changed and certainly not any healing. We’re still where we were in November:

I don’t know when and if I’ll read the report or comment on it.

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From “let Cherrydale burn” to Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper Invited to Become Volunteer Firefighter in ArlingtonARL Now
In a recent Q&A on the MLBlogsNetwork Curly W Live, Bryce Harper mentioned that if he wasn’t a baseball player he would probably be a firefighter and elaborated that he was “going to get my EMT and do the firefighting thing” in the offseason. The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department in Arlington has invited him to train with them after the season. We’ll see if he takes them up on it. After all, he’s thinking about living here year round…

Cherrydale F.D. has a history with D.C. baseball, dating back to at least 1924 when Washignton won the World Series. Seventy years later, legendary Post sportswriter and columnist Shirley Povich recounted in his column 1924: When Senators Were Kings :

The next day, of course, it was up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House for the World Series champions, the streets lined by tens of thousands. The city’s joy was best expressed, perhaps, by the enthusiasm of the men on the hook-and-ladder float of the Cherrydale, Va., Fire Department, which flaunted a huge banner that read: “Let Cherrydale Burn.”

h/t D.C. Sports Bog’s recent post Nats will wear 1924 uniforms on turn-back-the-clock night on the Povich story

Harper was also the cover story in USA Today this morning: Bryce Harper’s dream: ‘Jeter’s the guy I want to be like’. That’s well worth a read.

Bryce Harper, USA TODAY cover boy

“This is such a great city to play in, I love D.C.,” says Harper, who even before his first home game joined an impromptu stickball one day in the shadow of the Washington Monument. “I love my team. I want to play for the Nationals, 15 to 20 years, if I can. That’s the greatest thing about Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, staying in one place.

“Jeter’s the guy I want to be like. What I love about him is that he’s not just the captain of the Yankees, but he’s the captain of baseball. He plays the game a certain way, and he’s so good for baseball. Really, he is baseball.”

Maybe, one day, Harper could find himself as the next face of baseball, representing the next generation.

Again, Harper, is just 19, so let’s not get too invested in anything he says now. Even if he is an All-Star.

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Derecho Common: Well played Port City Brewing

Local beermaker brews derecho-inspired beverageWTOP
My “hometown brewery,” Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Co. was without power following the June 29 derecho. They were apparently able to get by with minimal losses, but one batch was interrupted.

He says one batch of lager beer – roughly 120 kegs worth – fermented differently than the brewers originally intended.

“It turns out that there’s actually a style of beer called ‘California common beer’ or ‘steam beer’ that is intentionally fermented this way, and so our lager beer will end up being a California common beer,” Butcher says. “We’re going to call it ‘Derecho Common.’”

The beer will be available on draft only in the brewery’s tasting room and in restaurants and bars around the D.C. area that were affected by the storm.

I’ll admit I’m curious and will try and have a sample next month when it becomes available.

Additionally, the storm and threat of losing lots of beer seemed to generate more buzz for Port City than anything to date.

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Nats: Will Bud Selig send a future MLB All-Star game to Baltimore instead of D.C.?

THOM LOVERRO: In this area, battle is to be host with mostThe Wash. Examiner
The Washington Nationals are expected to bid for the 2015 All-Star game, the next one available to a National League team. The Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins, who began playing in their ballparks in 2003 and this season, respectively, are also expected to put in bids. However, Loverro points out that the Baltimore Orioles are looking at the 2016 All-Star game as well, which could complicate matters since MLB doesn’t like to have All-Star games in the same region too often. Given that Bud Selig has coddled the Orioles and their owner, Peter Angelos over the years, an all-star game in Baltimore instead of Washington is probably even money.

I’m mostly interested in the events that come with the All-Star Game, rather than going to the game itself or even watching it. By 2015, my son will be at an age where the All-Star festivities would be most enjoyable. Waiting until 2017 is probably even better. That’s if he decides to like baseball of course.

D.C. has held All-Star games in 1937 and 1956 at Griffith Stadium and 1962 (one of two) and 1969 at D.C./RFK Stadium. Baltimore held one in 1958 and 1993. The latter provided this interesting theory:

Of course, as long as Bud Selig is commissioner, Camden Yards may never host another All-Star Game. He thinks the fallout from 1993, when Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina warmed up and American League manager Cito Gaston failed to put him into a 9-3 win, led to managers feeling they had to use all of their players. That directly resulted in the 2002 debacle in which both teams ran out of pitchers in an 11-inning game that ended in a 7-7 tie.

Like I said, interesting, but Selig has protected Angelos to a fault and rewarded Angelos with 90% of the Nats TV rights in an 11-hour corrupt bargain just before the 2005 season.

Speaking of the Nats TV rights, no word on when Selig will decide what Angelos has to pay the Nats, starting next year. I expect it in the offseason, even though it was supposed to be done by June 1.

UPDATED 07.10.2012:
Here is a Nationals Journal (The Post) take on it – Nationals making push to host All-Star Game in near future

The thinking within baseball is that Nationals Park will get the game soon, possibly within five years. There are some obstacles and other teams that could step in front. Petco Park in San Diego and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia still have yet to host the game. Wrigley Field, which turns 100 in 2014, could get the game. As the 25th anniversary of Camden Yards creeps up, the Orioles could make a case.

The bottom line is, an All-Star Game in Washington is a good bet. The Nationals absolutely want to host the game and Commissioner Bud Selig cares about a thriving Washington market.

I’ll believe when I see it.

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Nats radio: Post Magazine profiles Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler

Washington Post Magazine cover featuring Nationals radio team Charlie Slowes and Dave JagelerFor Washington Nationals radio team Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes, baseball’s in the air | GalleryPost Magazine

“There are 30 teams and two radio guys per team, that’s 60 jobs,” Jageler says. “You’re more likely to be U.S. senator than a play-by-play announcer.”

The voices of the Washington Nationals, Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler are profiled in the Sunday magazine. It is a great read about two great broadcasters.
They Get It.

I hope this feature leads to big, long contracts for them, Charlie & Dave need to be here for a generation (or two!).

I bet the pancake chain feels doubly foolish that they didn’t re-up this season now.

Sadly, none of their interns could be reached for comment.

A video is attached as well:

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