Places I went in 2012

Alexandria, Va.
Arlington, Va.
Ashburn, Va.
Bluemont, Va.
Burke, Va.
Fairfax, Va.
Falls Church, Va.
Leesburg, Va.
Mount Vernon, Va.
McLean, Va.
Purcellville, Va.
Vienna, Va.
Washington, D.C.
Burnham, Pa.
Claysburg, Pa.
Harrisburg, Pa.
Lewistown, Pa.
Baltimore, Md.
Dickinson, Md.
Rockville, Md.
Welden, N.C.
Wilson, N.C.
Avalon, N.J.
Stone Harbor, N.J.
Tuckahoe, N.J.
Conway, S.C.
Murrell’s Inlet, S.C.
Pawley’s Island, S.C.

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Redskins-Cowboys prediction and remembrances

Sunday night’s Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys game is big — the NFC East gets decided by the winner and the loser probably goes home. The Skins can still make the playoffs with a loss, but winning is much easier.

Here is look back at the rivalry over the years, as of about 2010:

NFL Films no longer thinks this is no longer a Top Ten rivalry which is kind of stupid. The second video on that link shows when they thought it was #1.

NFL Films also remembers a 1989 flag football game between alumni of the two teams. I’d love to see one of these regularly. I’ll expand upon that sometime, but wouldn’t it be great to see a bunch of old guys go after each other with Joe Gibbs and Jimmy Johnson on opposite sidelines?

Who Washington Nationals rookie of the year Bryce Harper is cheering for is one of the big questions for Sunday. He was wearing RGIII socks the other day. CONVERT BRYCE!

Darrell Green and Michael Irvin are friends (The Post).

Thomas Boswell is excited and cherry-picking stuff to predict a new golden era for D.C. in this rivalry (The Post).

By the way, if I was NBC, I’d start Sunday football with the NFL Films music from 0:25 of this video and show lots of clips of critical matchups over the year — “40 Men” speech, Sam Wyche’s “Die you dogs, die!” Kenny Houston tackling Walt Garrison, Clint Longley finding Drew Pearson, Roger Staubach finding Tony Hill in ’79, Dexter Manley KO’ing Danny White, Darrell Green catching Tony Dorsett, No Danny No, Troy Aikman to Rocket Ismail, Santana Moss comeback, Chris Cooley’s 3 TDs, etc.

Prediction — DC teams tend to let us down and I think the Cowboys will be smart enough to throw on Angelo Hall – because he’s got no D. At least, that’s why I’d do just keep throwing to Dez Bryant on Hall all night long. I expect Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to play well, but I just have a feeling it won’t be enough. FedEx Field should be pretty loud though.

THEN THERE WAS THIS

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Nats new batting practice cap leaked

Washington Nationals Batting Practice caps
First look: new MLB batting practice capsUniWatch on ESPN
The latest MLB batting practice caps have been leaked to Paul Lukas of UniWatch. The Washington Nationals version is above, along with the previous version.

I guess we now know what the Opening Day giveaway is going to be. I don’t care for it – I never liked the contrasting (usually white) front panel on a cap. The back of the cap is blue. Of course, whether it looks good or not is fairly unimportant, since not even the Nats players like wearing their BP caps:

Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper

UPDATE 12.28.2012: In case you were wondering what players think about BP caps, Nats Enquirer noted what Ian Desmond had to say.

Batting practice caps exist to sell more merchandise, yet they are typically ugly. The only decent BP cap the Nats ever had was the original one with the interlocking DC on blue with a red brim. Otherwise, they are nothing I’d want to wear for anything other than yard work to keep the sun out of my eyes and my good cap from getting dirty.

By the way, the New York Yankees new BP caps (they have two) are really awful too.

New York Yankee home batting practice cap

New York Yankee road batting practice cap

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Model train displays in Washington D.C. this holiday season

If you have a young child and even if you don’t, there are a couple of model railroad displays in Washington, D.C. worth checking out this Christmas season.

Union Station traditionally has a display which was changed last year: D.C.’s Union Station changes holiday model train displays.

PC030305

After that, head on down to the U.S. Botanic Garden which has an outstanding model railroad.

The famous Garden Railway in the East Gallery will feature model trains running through an imaginative Enchanted Forest, with fanciful fairy dwellings along the rail line, all created with plant materials.

P1010519

Be sure to save the Botanic Garden for last, it is the best layout I’ve ever seen. Here is what I wrote about it last year: Looking back at the US Botanic Garden holiday model trains

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2012 Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles Q&A and prediction with @scrappled

The penultimate game of the 2012 Washington Redskins regular season is this Sunday in Philadelphia against the Eagles. As always, for the second meeting of the year, I bring in @scrappled to talk about his beloved Iggles. You may remember him from the 17 different blogs he’s run over the years and his many appearances on this site.

WFY: So, if the Eagles do the unthinkable and fire Reid, Philly sports radio meatheads are going to be getting in fights with each other over which one of Buddy Ryan’s sons to hire, aren’t they?

@scrappled: Possibly, but we know this ends with Rich Kotite, Jr. taking the job in mid-January.

WFY: In all seriousness, what in the name of John Spagnola happened to the “dream team” that is a few games under .500 since the 2011 season? Was Philly foolish to go all in on Michael Vick?

@scrappled: Name it, and it’s gone horribly wrong. The defense has been awful for any variety of reasons. The defensive backs can’t cover or tackle. The sacks piled up by Jason Babin and Trent Cole have completely disappeared. Andy Reid refuses to lean on LeSean McCoy’s talents. Special teams are terrible. They’re seriously not a good football team in any part of the game. The Eagles are essentially one notch above the Jaguars.

WFY: What are the Eagles strengths, where could they cause trouble for the ‘Skins?

@scrappled: Alex Henery kicks a hell of a field goal. That’s about all.

WFY: Rookie quarterbacks are awesome! I’m just going to assume that Nick Foles has been a revolutionary superstar that has motivated the team to success no one believed they had in them, right?

@scrappled: Dead ringer for Napoleon Dynamite when he has his helmet on. In all seriousness, he hasn’t been bad considering that McCoy’s been out of the lineup for the past few weeks. The offensive line has lurched toward occasional competence lately, as well. Put it this way, I’m intrigued. I don’t look at the guy and think that there’s no way he can play at this level.
WFY: If Santa Claus makes an appearance at the game, will he be booed?

@scrappled: It’s tradition, man. If Santa shows up at a pediatric cancer ward, he gets booed.

WFY: What if it turns out the man wearing the Santa suit is…Buddy Ryan?

@scrappled: He’d probably try to choke one of his elves, thinking it’s Kevin Gilbride.

WFY: What are your best/worst Eagles-Redskins memories?

@scrappled: It has to be the infamous Body Bag Game, right? Anytime Brian Mitchell is forced to play quarterback, the world wins.

WFY: I understand from a previous Q&A that the owner’s now-ex wife was a proponent of the midnight green look. Is there any talk that a return to the true Eagles look of kelly green and silver happening? Seems like the end of the Reid era would be a great time to go back.

@scrappled: Doubtful. The owner isn’t exactly the type of guy who celebrates the franchise’s history, and that old shade of green isn’t something you see much in modern uniforms as the primary color. Loving that ketchup/mustard look for the Skins, though!

WFY: Which team do you think has a brighter future, the Eagles or Redskins?

@scrappled: Oh God, the Redskins by a mile. The Eagles have so much work to do in so many areas. They have to figure out what’s up with Foles, rebuild the offensive line, and completely change the defensive philosophy after the dumpster fire of the past two years.

WFY: Now that I have aggressively trolled your Iggles (thank you transcendent rookie QB and his quality backup!) have I jinxed the Redskins or are the Eagles just so committed to quitting on Andy Reid that it doesn’t matter? Who wins on Sunday?

@scrappled: The Eagles will be spunky for a total of 15-20 minutes during the game. That’s about all. Unless the Skins just blatantly give the Eagles two or three touchdowns via turnovers or special teams, it should be a comfortable win.

WFY: P.S. How much do you miss blogging?

@scrappled: Not for one single minute, at least not for a site that gets a million page views per month. I’m better off creating a Tumblr for Harrisburg sushi joints than ever going back to the admin/mod life.

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D.C. distilling: Green Hat gin

A New Green Hat in Town: DC’s First MicrodistilleryWashingtonian
Following the trend microbrewery openings in and around Washington, D.C., a microdistillery has opened up. Green Hat, named for Capitol Hill Prohibition bootlegger George Cassiday’s signature headware, is producing gin and rye.

In 1920, fresh off a tour of duty in World War I, the West Virginia native walked off a French freighter and into one of the worst job markets in US history. With Prohibition in full swing, a well-paid friend explained that bootlegged booze was bringing a pretty penny. Especially with DC politicos.

(George) Cassiday would wheel his heavy luggage, overfilled with liquor, into the House Office Building, tip his trademark topper to the door guards, and make his rounds of discreet bureau drawers and library shelves—responding to 25 calls a day, on average, from thirsty lawmakers.

Cassiday got busted and moved his bootlegging to the Capitol lawn, eventually having to start making his own. That’s the story that Michael Lowe and son-in-law John Uselton are building a brand around at the District’s first legal distillery since before Prohibition. Their gin is available at several liquor stores, including Ace Beverage where my friend Joe works. I haven’t tried it yet, but probably will when the weather warms up again.

Another distillery, Catocin Creek in Purcellville, Va. distills white and rye whiskeys, gin, and brandy. I have not tried that either, but want to do so sometime in the New Year.

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NJ Turnpike expansion between exits 6 and 9 moving right along

DSC_0264
Photo by I.C. Ligget – The control cities are weak, should be Del Mem Br/Baltimore/Washington

Working to end the bottlenecks
The Inky
The extension of the New Jersey Turnpike car-bus-truck lanes southward to Exit 6, the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange is progressing well.

Billed as the biggest ongoing roadway project in the United States, the undertaking will transform the turnpike into a 12-lane highway from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Connector at Exit 6 in Burlington County to Exit 9 in New Brunswick, where it is already that wide.

Trucks and buses will be restricted to the three outer lanes in each direction; only cars will be allowed in the three inside lanes in each direction.

Currently, about 130,000 vehicles a day use the 35-mile turnpike stretch in the work zone.

With a price tag of $2.5 billion – all of it from tolls – the widening work has created thousands of jobs on and off site since work began in 2009 and is costlier than any individual highway project that was undertaken with federal stimulus funding.

The Turnpike Authority’s chief engineer, Rich Raczynski, says the project is two-thirds complete and on target to be finished by fall 2014…

…Actual planning for the project dates to 2004, and Raczynski said the intervening financial crisis had worked in the authority’s favor.

“The economic collapse helped us,” he said. “The heavy-construction industry in the state of New Jersey basically dried up, and we were the only ones pushing work out at the time. “When you get contractors who are desperate for work, they really sharpen their pencils,” Raczynski said. “We’ve been averaging 20 percent below our estimates with the bids we’ve been getting. The actual project cost right now is lower than we anticipated.”

Left unsaid (why is it always left unsaid?) is that a big reason for the widening is the realignment of Interstate 95 along the far eastern portion to the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the New Jersey Turnpike. That project, which dates back to the 1980s, continues to move along slowly. Steve Anderson of nycroads.com noted there was no apparent construction underway there yet.

So, the NJ Turnpike is going widen 35 miles of roadway — essentially a whole new road parallel to the existing one in 10 years. The PA Turnpike is taking over 30 to build an interchange and parallel crossing of the Delaware River. #NJFTW

OFFICIAL WEB SITES

A HAT TIP TO STEVE ANDERSON FOR THE LINK, CHECK OUT HIS COVERAGE

WMATA finally sells all black station t-shirts, but a model Metro train still isn’t available

Long ago, I noted that the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority needed to sell solid black Metro station t-shirts for all stations. I learned today through DCist (linked through Greater Greater Washington) that all black Metro station t-shirts are available. That’s great, though $24.95 is a little steep. I might still have to get a Pentagon City station t-shirt, even though I moved out over 5 years ago. I still use that station the most after all and I still love the old neighborhood.

While these t-shirts (and the Metro shower curtain) are is a step in the right direction, WMATA needs to go a little further. Like many other people, we now put a model railroad around our Christmas tree. I can’t be the only one who would love having a model Metro train (H0) to circle my Christmas tree every year. While this isn’t Metro’s first priority, I’d still love it see it happen and I think a lot of Washingtonians agree with me. Here is the contact information to ask Metro to license a model train!

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Nats TV rights: MLB trying to fix the Angelos problem

MLB seeks creative solution to MASN rights fees dispute between Nationals, OriolesThe Post
After a long period of no news on the Washington Nationals television rights compensation some new information has come out:

Hoping to find a solution to the dispute between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles over the value of the Nationals’ television rights, Major League Baseball has asked a private investment bank to seek potential new owners for the rights that are now held by the regional sports network controlled by Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

Allen & Co., a New York-based investment bank, is seeking buyers to acquire the two franchises’ broadcast rights from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A new owner would essentially separate MASN and Angelos from the Nationals by creating a new regional sports network.

Fox Sports and Comcast are candidates to purchase the rights, according to one of the individuals. Both companies, Fox Sports in particular, have delved heavily into the regional sports network market.

Frankly, I’m kind of surprised MLB is being this aggressive. On one front, Bud Selig is never aggressive about anything, though coddling Angelos and the Orioles is a core competency. Cowardly Selig won’t use the “best interest of baseball” power to do right by Washingtonians, Nats fans, the District of Columbia (which made an enormous investment in a new ballpark) or baseball overall. Instead, Selig uses his power to coddle cowardly Angelos, who doesn’t believe that Baltimore will sufficiently support his baseball team. So, Selig gave Angelos 90% of the Nats television rights to Angelos. The Nats franchise picks up a 1% stake in MASN annually, but the deal as currently constructed limits them to owning no more than 66% about 25 years from now. Angelos still has to pay the Nats a rights fee annually (the same amount goes to the Orioles), but he’s trying to lowball it. While some huge market teams are getting close to $100 million annually, Angelos wants to limit both teams to around $35 million. Even Orioles fans see through this as nothing but Angelos trying to enrich himself (WNST) instead of building a successful franchise.

What I am kind of surprised by here, other than the delay in getting something figured out, is that MLB is trying to solve the problem now. That’s not Selig’s style first of all, but secondly Angelos is in his 80s. Ted Lerner, the principle owner of the Nats, is even older. I thought a figure for the next five seasons would be determined , everyone would grumble and the decision would be deferred five years from now when the players are likely going to be different. I wasn’t even opposed to that strategy necessarily, because I think it would favor the Nats since a new commissioner probably wouldn’t have pay so much deference to the Orioles ownership.

Overall, I’m glad to see more discussion about the situation of late. I was kind of out here on an island pointing out the bad faith out of Baltimore — fans used to be resigned to it and the D.C. media wasn’t doing anything about it. The latter may be due to the Orioles fanboys that seem still linger, but thankfully, this problem is finally getting some traction. I think it’ll be ugly and I hope that the longer it goes the better it works out for the Nats.

More:

THOMAS BOSWELL: Dodgers’ spending spree means it’s time to get MASN deal doneThe Post

Then again, Angelos may be going even harder:

So Peter Angelos is digging in his heels over Nationals TV rights… – Nats Enquirer

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