Capitals Winter Classic at Nationals Park reactions

A couple of days ago, the Washington Capitals unveiled uniforms and the rink layout for the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park. On hand were Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby.

I had expected something with the Caps’ “Weagle” logo that combines the letter W with the Capitol dome, an eagle and the tip of the Washington Monument. Instead, they went a completely different direction, going with fauxback that evokes the memories of some minor league teams that called D.C. home (Monumental Network). My initial thought was they reminded me a bit of some of the Washington Senators logos (Sportslogos.net). Thinking a little more, I thought they looked like the kind of fauxbacks you might see in a place like Bannana Republic or some of those other casual fashion stores I don’t shop at, so maybe not a perfect comparison.

They did manage to squeeze in the top of the Washington Monument to the W. As one does.

Overall, they aren’t bad. They went with what I would call “Willard Preacher red” instead of the traditional red. The three stars on the chest and sleeves are a good touch that should be included on the regular uniforms. I don’t mind all the stripes either, though I won’t go as far to say that I like them. They even capitalized CAPITALS!

The design’s reaction has been mixed.

I think they are growing on me, but I’m in no hurry to go out and buy a sweater.

Like other Winter Classics played at ballparks, the rink placement is more about how it looks on TV than maximizing the best possible view for the most spectators. I would think that putting the rink along one of the baselines would probably make the most sense. That being said, if someone wants to help me get tickets, I’ll get over it.

Why did it take so long for this to get made official? Mark Lerner, a Nationals owner and Caps minority owner:

Multi-tasking, man. HARD.

There was of course cross-team tomfoolery

MORE READING
Wednesday Caps Clips: Winter Classic Attire Revealed; Capitals @ Bruins Game DayJapers Rink


For Barry Trotz and wife, transition to Washington centers around son with Down syndrome
The Post

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Remember when a Nats exec leaked the Capitals’ Winter Classic to Nationals Park news?

About three weeks @VCamillo_Nats, the twitter account of Washington Nationals Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Valerie Camillo sent out a tweet with a this photograph:

Untitled

I surmised that she had just leaked that the NHL Winter Classic would be at Nationals Park:

The tweet was quickly deleted, but got several retweets, though none from some of the MSM folks that follow me.

A week later, it was finally made official that the 2015 Winter Classic between the hometown Capitals and the visiting Chicago Blackhawks (washingtoncaps.com) would take place at Nationals Park.

A few thoughts:

Nationals Park which is literally just 15 blocks from the U.S. Capitol was the obvious choice from the beginning. I criticized the NHL and the Caps/Ted Leonsis for not picking the venue outright. Baltimore venues were even under consideration which would have been completely unacceptable. They finally got it right, but it took much too long.

It isn’t unreasonable to suggest that the 2011 Winter Classic in Pittsburgh is the high-water mark of the Alex Ovechkin era. They beat the arch nemesis Penguins in the rain that night, but shortly thereafter, Bruce Boudreau was fired as coach. Though the reached the second round under both Dale Hunter and Adam Oates, it seems like the last time the Caps did well on a big stage. Last season, they didn’t even make the playoffs.

The choice of the Blackhawks seems like an effort to get President Obama to a game, but the Chicagoan goes to Hawaii for the holidays, doesn’t he?

The logo for the Caps appears to have leaked today (Russian Machine Never Breaks) and it’s a surprise. A fairly simple W and three stars; a fauxback seemingly to a time well before the Caps existed. It looks more like something out of the Washington Senators history than the Caps. We’ll find out on Tuesday with tomorrow’s event when the uniforms are unveiled.

This is the Caps 40th anniversary season which makes you feel old.

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The newest Goodyear blimp is longer, faster and actually a zeppelin

My friend Chris tipped me off on this Wired article and video about the next generation of Goodyear’s airship fleet:

…Wingfoot One, a new airship that Goodyear designed along with storied airship builder Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (yes, the same zeppelin of hydrogen-filled Hindenburg fame). Zeppelin’s hopes for a high-tech, dirigible-driven future largely went up in smoke with the Hindenburg. But today’s helium-filled design could propel us into a new age of flight, minus the airborne conflagrations.

How Goodyear Revamped Its Zeppelin for a New Age of Flight


So, they’ll look different and fly faster.

Of course, there is a bit of a helium problem (NBC) right now. Perhaps using this scarce and expensive resource for birthday parties wasn’t the best idea. Oops.

On a lighter note, blimp pilots are rarer than astronauts:

Blimp pilots have a great vantage point, but lead solitary livesThe Post

Blimp pilots are kind of lonely, but they get a great view. I’m sure my mother, who worked for MetLife, appreciates that their blimp was featured too.

So, when does Tom Wolfe write about these brave airship pilots? He could call it The Light Stuff

I’ve mentioned it before, but growing up in Vienna, we lived below the flight path of blimps headed to Dulles Airport. Mostly, it was the Goodyear blimp, Enterprise, but once or twice it was the McBlimp. My mom called Dulles to ask about it and a presskit came in the mail a few days later. We should have kept that one. Here’s how west Texas reacted to McBlimp back in 1985:

Also, my grandparents also lived outside of Lakehurst, N.J. a major hub of airships, even after the Hindenberg.

So, I’m a blimp guy or airship enthusiast I guess. Naturally, the stories linked above was a must-read and even blog about…for posterity.

Now can we please let commercial blimps fly around BeltwayLand again? Maybe in October…

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Nats Fans 10 by Cathy T used under Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons

Nats clinch third winning season in a row, best stretch in DC since 1930s

Last night, the Washington Nationals won their 82nd game of the season, defeating the Atlanta Braves 6-4. The win clinched a 4third consecutive winning season. They have won 80 or more every year since 2011. They also went 81-81 in 2005.

The last time that happened in D.C. – 1930-1933 when the original AL franchise

				G	W	L
1933	Washington Senators	153	99	53
1932	Washington Senators	154	93	61
1931	Washington Senators	156	92	62
1930	Washington Senators	154	94	60

The ’33 Nats, managed by future AL president Joe Cronin, were the last pennant winners in the Nation’s Capital, failing to the New York Giants in the World Series that year in five games.

Walter Johnson managed the 1929-1932 Nats.

The 1912-1915 teams also had 80+ wins and winning records, but never finished closer than 6½ games back.

The Nats have as many winning seasons this decade than the post-WWII did Senator.

The current Nats lead the NL East by 9 games. The magic number to clinch the division is 10 as seen above. We’ve come along way since the “Nats Fans 10” sign near the scoreboard walk. What, were you expecting Ronnie Belliard?

A win this afternoon (4:05 p.m. baseball for the late work day and ride home!) over the Braves and the magic number goes down to 8. They have the best winning percentage in the league and are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the most wins in the league and have two games in hand. The 2012 Nats also had the best record in the NL.

What I’m trying to say — right now is a really, really good time to be a D.C. baseball fan.

Let’s hope that it’s the BEST time.

And Ryan Zimmerman is staking BP too!Nats Enquirer

Photo “Nats Fans 10” by flickr user Cathy T used under Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons

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oldmain

Do not forget why the NCAA had the leverage to drop sanctions on Penn State

I’m glad that Penn State’s sanctions are mostly gone and that the $60 million fine is staying in Pennsylvania. However, it must be noted that the failures of Penn State’s most powerful officials, including but not limited to Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Joe Paterno, to hold Jerry Sandusky accountable for showering with a minor on a Friday night in the football building in 2001 is what gave the NCAA leverage to create the sanctions in the first place. That can not be forgotten. The fallout that those individuals have dealt with is trivial to what Sandusky’s victims endured. Pretending that among those officials there was not a custom of keeping things in house is naive. That’s why their removal was necessary, regardless of previous service. Had each of them resigned outright within 72 hours, I believe the damage to the university would have been less significant.

Some are still angry that Penn State did not protect Paterno. I am, as I have been since Nov. 2011, angered that Penn State did not protect the boy in the shower.

I am also angry with Centre County D.A. Ray Gricar, The Second Mile, Louis Freeh, former Pennsylvania Attorney General/current governor Tom Corbett, NCAA, Mark Emmert, the Board of Trustees past and present, Dottie Sandusky and of course Jerry Sandusky. Nobody in power acted correctly in this scandal and accountability for all is important.

I know Pennsylvanians will take care of Corbett in November. Now, Penn Staters let’s move on, elect some trustees who care about the entire university, especially the students who attend it, and not just idolatry and vengeance.

May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.

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About the VMAs and being “old”

Looking back over Sunday night Twitter feed, one of the themes that emerged was “we’re old!” That’s because the MTV Video Music Awards was on. But not getting the 2014 VMAs is a feature, not a bug, right?

On the other hand, after a bike ride on Sunday morning, I turned on the car and I heard this song:

It wasn’t until the song was over that I realized it was on BIG 100.3, the classic rock station.

Welp.

It may have been amusing to get Kurt Cobain’s take on that, but he’s been gone for 20 years. I wonder what greatest Arlandrian alive, Dave Grohl thinks. Of course, Foo Fighters was CLASSIC from the moment the album dropped on July 4, 1995.

Now that the bandage has been ripped off, I’m sure we can look forward to hearing “The Sweater Song,” “Corduroy” and dread hearing anything by Bush or Live. Man those two bands were terrible and ubiquitous.

Though if they throw this in every now and then, I might be worth it:

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Nats sweep Pirates as explained by one video

The Washington Nationals swept the Pittsburgh Pirates this past weekend. This video of the Racing Presidents vs. Pierogis reflects how the series went very well.

The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus texted me during last night’s game:

TMBCE: There is outrage on the pirates radio network regarding the Presidents treatment of the Potato Pete pierogi during todays race…..

WFY: I know! The real Teddy would have shot him from 150 yards

I have to credit my brother for the historically accurate suggestion of how Roosevelt would have handled the situation in reality.

Let Teddy Win has the video from three angles: 3 Videos: Teddy Roosevelt levels Pittsburgh Pierogie Potato Pete

Oh and nice job, Asdrubal Cabrera, your rental is going well.


In The Post today, Thomas Boswell is drinking the Kool-Aid again: Nationals’ success during stars’ down years shows team will contend for years to come.

That of course sets up the “Sign Ian Desmond now or the window closes column” within the next 10 days, because Boswell.

■ ■ ■

A former Baltimore Sun reporter wrote a column telling Washingtonians that they should have a parade for Bud Selig for returning baseball to D.C. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Selig ignored what was in the best interest of his sport for a decade rather than possibly do something that would go against the best interest of one owner, which it didn’t.

When Selig finally allowed D.C. to have baseball, he did it halfway, bickered with the city over the stadium and delayed selling the team to local ownership for about 18 months.

No link for you, Loverro!

■ ■ ■

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Nats vs. Pirates Q&A and guest prognositication with The Maryland Bureau Chief emeritus

My friend Sam, who migrated back to Southwest Pennsylvania from Maryland a few years ago, joins us to talk about the Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates series that begins tonight.

WFY: After several years of teasing respectability and over 20 years of losing seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates advanced to the NLDS last year, but started off sub-.500. and had me wondering if the 2013 maxed out on this groups potential. They have been on fire the last couple of months and worked their way into contention for the play-in game if not the division; do you think they can get in?

TMBCE: Of course I think they can get in. Do I think they will?? Probably not. The Buccos didn’t go out and pick up another bat at the deadline or starting pitcher, although they made a nice bullpen addition yesterday with John Axford. The team is still batting a bunch of injuries, and the starting pitching is still a wee bit inconsistent. It will probably prove to be too much. However, it is nice to think they will have two straight winning seasons after 20 years of futility, so for that I’m really happy! The Buccos are trending upward in my view.

WFY: When I think of the current Pirates, I think of Andrew McCutcheon, Nats-killer and panda hater, but he’s out. How long? Who is filling the void?

TMBCE: Not only is Cutch out, but so is Walker (2nd best hitter on the team) as well as stud pitcher Gerrit Cole. Many of the regulars have missed significant time this year too, such as Marte and Martin. By far, the unsung hero through all this has been Josh Harrison (who we call “J-Hay!” around here). He was barely supposed to make the team out of spring training, and has been a utility player the last few years. But he has really stepped up!!!!

WFY: How has attendance been at the best ballpark I ever attended? Is the fanbase still energized? Have you made it out it to a game so far? I’m hoping to return for the 2015 Nats-Buccos series.

TMBCE: I’ve been to 2 games this year- a win and a loss. Attendance has been really good, and as of now, the projection is that the team will break the single season attendance record.

WFY: A.J. Burnett traded Primanti sammiches for cheesesteaks and signed for the Philadelphia Phillies in the offseason. How much is he missed and how is the rotation holding up? By the way, he got thrown out of his last start against the Nats for arguing with the umpire after giving up a big homer.

TMBCE: Some in the fan base miss, but its not universal. I for one do not miss him. He was a great team leader, but appeared to clash with Clint Hurdle late in last season, and never really appeared to take fondly to coaching. I have a lot of respect for what he did for the team, but I don’t want him back. Bigger than that, I think the Buccos need to re-sign Russell Martin in the worst way.

WFY: I said it last year that the PNC Park is the best thing about Pittsburgh. Normally, that’d be an insult to a city, but I’ll argue that PNC Park celebrates the Paris of Appalachia with the view of the skyline, bridges, river, hills, and proximity to the Golden Triangle. Am I right?

TMBCE: I have been to several current ballparks in my life: Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Jacobs Field in Cleveland (or whatever they call it now), and Fenway Park. PNC is by the best in my view. The most underrated place to sit is in the “upper deck” behind home plate. Its not really that high, offers a great view of the whole field, and a beautiful view of the city. Great prices for tickets too The next 2 parks I’d like to see are Wrigley Field and the Giants ballpark, which I hear is also outstanding.

WFY: What’s your favorite way to get to a Pirates game since it’s possible to go via automobile, bicycle, walking, light rail or boat?

TMBCE:My favorite way is to get the trolley (light rail) and get off at the Gateway Center stop, and then walk across the Clemente Bridge to the game. Its also possible to take the Trolley over to the North Shore and have a shorter walk to the stadium, which I will do in a pinch. But if I prefer the walk across the bridge. I am VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED to driving to PNC Park for any reason.

WFY: I know you avoid buying beer at the ballpark, but what regional offerings other than Iron City (which you questioned my purchase of last May)? I want to try a local craft beer the next time I am sitting in that magnificent edifice. I’ll even buy you one.

TMBCE: Maybe we should get the beer passport and participate in the local pre-game craft beer sampling that they have. I am not sure which ones are offered at the park, because its difficult for me to pay $10 for a beer that I may not enjoy. One local beer that I am enjoying this summer for the first time is the Rivertowne beers. They offer several in a wide range of beers, most of them I like (except for the really hoppy ones). Nicole even likes the Hala Kahiki (pineapple ale) offering, and she isn’t even a beer aficionado.

WFY: Any change to the Pirates standing in the Pittsburgh sports power rankings? How do the Stillers look for the upcoming season? What about Pengyunz?

TMBCE:A weird dynamic has happened with the Pens. A lot of the “new” Pens fans (the ones who just showed up when Crosby was drafted, much like the “new” Red Sox fans who just showed up when the Red Sox started winning) are put off by what has happened with the teams playoff struggles. They expect a Stanley Cup every year, and the playoff games are not always sold out anymore. I too am not pleased with their playoff performances, and agree changes are necessary. But a lot of the new fans are spoiled, in my view. All that said, I think the Pirates are catching up to the Pens in the power rankings. If the Pirates can sneak into the playoffs, and the Pens bow out early again, I think the Pirates overtake them. I expect a big year da Stillers–11 or 12 wins.

WFY: A sportswriter you have mentioned, Dejan Kovacevic, has started his own site. How is that going and have you subscribed?

TMBCE: Dejan is very knowledgeable about Pittsburgh sports but in recent years, has started to come across a bit too arrogant for my liking. He has plenty of connections and is well informed, but I was not sad to see him live the Trib and do not plan on subscribing to his new website.

WFY: So, do the Pirates sweep the Nats or just take two of three?

TMBCE: I think the Nats sweep, and I’m not just saying that flippantly. The Buccos offense is really hamstrung right now, and our ace (Liriano) isn’t pitching this series.

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nats-onesies

Nats: MASN, Werth, Harper, the dearly departed centerfield bat

No, I don’t blog much about the Washington Nationals anymore. I will let you figure out why.

When I last checked in on the MASN dispute, I noted that “I am uncharacteristically happy about this news, I’m so used to it being bad for the Nats. However, it could still blow up because Selig’s track record is coddling Angelos and to a lesser extent the Orioles.”

According to the most recent report from The Post the Orioles owe Nationals $55 million-$60 million in fees from MASN, MLB panel ruled. The Nats “big victory” over the forces of evil was about half of what they had sought out, so the of course Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles are still refusing to pay up, hence the dispute. In the end this whole saga will probably end with a whimper and not a bang. The hopes of the Nats being released from the corrupt bargain of outgoing MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s coddling of his friend Angelos seems to be a false one, a figurative towering fly ball caught just before the warning track.

By the way, since the Nats and Orioles are entitled to the same amount of money, Angelos want to keep it low so he can pocket more for himself. He’s even hurting the Orioles with this bargain. Also, the MASN camp is leaking more stuff to DC media. The Nats tend to keep tight-lipped which is letting others set the agenda.

Over at The Fingerman, Eric Fingerhut wonders why The Post, the most serious outlet left (cough, The Wash. Times, CSN) hasn’t dedicated more resources to this issue. I wonder too, particularly in light of some topics that are covered ad nausem. Not enough interest? Fear of offending Baltimore fan? Lack of interest in Nats fans? Are they Orioles fans themselves? It’s no secret that several people in the DC sports MCM are Baltimore fanboys. It isn’t even necessarily that they are covering for their favorite baseball team, just that they don’t recognize the problems that were foisted upon Nats fans by the cowardice and villainy of Angelos and the Orioles with Bud Selig’s support.

The biggest winner of course in all of this is probably Ted Leonsis whose Capitals and Wizards won’t be on CSN Mid-Atlantic forever. Without his teams, there is little point to having CSN Mid-Atlantic, so that channel’s willingness to make a sweet offer is high. MASN may also want to get Leonsis on board too as it could crush CSN Mid-Atlantic and monopolize all . For all of Leonsis talk of Monumental Network, getting a favorable deal with an existing RSN may be his ultimate goal.


Elsewhere in the world of Nats baseball, Jayson Werth was driving way too fast and is a danger to himself and others. We know this because natsenquirer.com scooped everybody else on it. It seems like the next story the MSM breaks on the Nats will be the first.


Matt Williams hasn’t upset me lately with a acute bad decision, but batting Bryce Harper sixth remains to be baffling. Speaking of Harper, good job by DC Sports Bog pointing out that the Braves reaction to walking through a letter in the dirt is…hypocritical. Oh and because it was awesome and I don’t tire of it, here’s Harper’s walkoff last week:

Oh and former Montreal writer — he’s not a bust, he’s recovering from thumb surgery.


Michael Taylor’s debut was what’s wonderful about baseball. Maybe the Nats will be okay when Werth is suspended for few games next year for reckless driving.


Theory on Stephen Strasburg: he felt he was getting squeezed on the strikezone by the umps, so he starting throwing his fastball over the plate more. Decreased velocity made it more hittable.


miss you bat

The windows-less building behind centerfield that was torn down had few months of glory, specifically, the mural of a bat. It’s going if not gone by now

The mural made the backdrop of Nationals Park much more interesting and let’s face it, a good backdrop is 50% of what makes a ballpark.

More later, maybe even a Nats vs. Pirates Q&A.

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William F. Yurasko's blog v.15 – Nats, Redskins, Capitals, D.C. life, transportation, not so much Penn State anymore,