Category Archives: Nats/Expos 2004

BALLPARKS I HAVE SORT OF BEEN TO

It began innocently enough back in ’99. I was on my last spring break, visiting friends in Colorado. One particular afternoon, we strolled over to Coors Field, home of the Rockies, and my friend took a photo of me standing in front of it.


Photo: Owen Price

As you can see, there is nothing extraordinary about the photo. If anything, it is not terribly flattering. I really did not think anything of it at the time and put it in album with all of the others from the trip.

Three years later, my girlfriend Erica and I, were out near Pittsburgh for a wedding. The day after we had checked out and had a half hour to kill before the next occasion of that weekend. Since we did not have time to take in much of the Steel City, we wound up parking at the sports complex on the city’s North Side. Without thinking of the Coors Field photo, I got a photo taken of me in front of PNC Park, the home of the Pirates.


Photo: Erica Marker

Again, no big deal and it too was added to the photo album. Fast foward to 2004. I found out that we were going to a wedding in Vermont and it was decided that we would take the whole week off and stay up North. We added Montreal and Boston to the agenda and I looked to see if either the Expos or Red Sox would be playing that week. It would turn out that the schedule was not in our favor in either city on the days we would be there, so I joked that I would have to get another photo in front of a ballpark that I had never been inside. With that epiphany I decided I would make it my quest to get photos in front of as many ballparks I had never seen a game at as possible. With that decided, we made a slight detour on the way back from the Jersey Shore through Philadelphia. In addition to getting Philly cheese steaks at Jim’s, we made a very quick stop in front of the Phillies new yard, Citizens Bank Park.

On April 4, 2005, I crossed Citizens Bank Park off the list when I attended Opening Day. It was Phillies vs. Nationals in their first game ever. You can read about the experience here and view the 33 photo gallery of my trip here (pops up).


Photo: Erica Marker

A month or two later, we were at it again. This time, we were in Montreal, home of the Expos for at least the rest of the month. This would be most satisfying.


Photo: Erica Marker

I displayed a Senators pennant because for five years, myself and other Washingtonians have coveted the Expos. It was apparent that Nos Amours did not have a future in Quebec and the most logical place to relocate them was D.C. I could not resist the urge to do this and thankfully, 23 days later, Major League Baseball announced the Expos would be coming to the Nation’s Capital (pending funding, etc.). I did not do this out of spite, but out of hope that my city would get a team of it’s own. I have nothing but good things to say about Montreal, it is a wonderful city and Olympic Stadium is a facinating structure. The tower is accessible offers stunning views of the city and is accessible via a furnicular and is worth doing if you find yourself up that way.

Lastly, (for now) I have Boston’s Fenway Park, home of the hated Red Sox (I am the son of a former Yankees employee). We were in Beantown just four days after Montreal and jumped off the T for a quick walk over.


Photo: Erica Marker

I added another ballyard in late 2004.


Here I am standing in front of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C. I have never seen a regular season MLB game there.

After years of waiting in vain, I finally got to see real baseball in the Nation’s Capital on April 20, 2005. The Nats beat the Braves on a Wednesday night. It was joyous. Here is my blog account of that evening.

I have seen exhibition baseball there on a couple of occasions. Fortunately, starting this year, I should be able to remove this from the list as the Montreal Expos have relocated to D.C. and been renamed the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season.

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BALLPARK LEGISLATION SIGNED

Baseball’s return becomes officialThe Wash. Times

It is official for this year. There is a clause in the legislation that requires the council to find a new location if the cost review, done around March 15 (beware the Ides of March!) exceeds a certain amount. So, there is still the possibility of trouble beyond 2005. Hopefully, it will not come to that point and they can make it happen. You probably already saw the article from The Post yesterday.


Nats, Perez in Holding PatternThe Post

Not much has changed in the pursuit for P Odalis Perez. Former Reds star Jose Rijo is reported to be recruiting him, an indication that he will be named to the Nats coaching staff next week.

Nationals’ Siegle no stranger to politicsThe Wash. Times

Tony Siegle, the Nationals’ assistant general manager is profiled. Throughout his baseball career he has been involved with politicians, so Washington seems like a natural fit to him.

CAGERS GO 1 – 1 IN ARIZONA

Smith’s career high leads Nittany Lions to victoryCDT

The Nittany Lions men’s basketball team went 1 – 1 at the ASU/azcentral.com Hoops Classic to bring the season record to 6 – 6 with one non-conference game remaining. Hopefully, they can win 10 games this year, with the mediocre record to date, a winning season would seem impossible.


‘BURGH EX-PATS

Ex-Pittsburghers see more activity, diversity in Washington, D.C.Post-Gazette

Ever notice that every other person you know around here claims to be from Pittsburgh? Here is an article from a series about why, from the paper of record in the steel city.

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ODDS & ENDS

  • On Monday, I went in search of an official Nationals road cap, size 7 1/2. I looked all over D.C. and was unsuccessful, but I did get a Christmas ornament, shot glass, and mini pennant at the team store. It was great to visit RFK and walk around, I don’t think I have been there since the 1996 HFStival. RFK may be the prototype for the round, cookie-cutter stadiums of the 60s and 70s, but it still has a decent amount of character, equaled only be the post-football Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Hopefully, the Nats can make it rock again.

  • Mayor Anthony Williams is featured in the latest Washingtonian as a Washingtonian of the Year. He is photographed standing at the future location of home plate. I have to believe that this was done before December 14. He is quoted as saying he is willing to stake his political career on baseball. Guess what Tony, you just did. He also signed the ballpark legislation today (The Post), making it official.
  • I updated my D.C. baseball portal. There are more links, a few more images and links to some of my favorite blog posts on the subject. There will be a blog-wide “best of 2004″ (I hope) in a few days. Also, last week I added a bunch of other Nats blogs to the navigation.
  • Eddie Layton, longtime organist at Yankee Stadium died on Sunday (The Times). He retired last year. He started with the Yankees back when my mother worked for them. NPR has a couple of reports on him here and here.
  • Marion Barry (file photo) is profiled by The Post. His record of incompetence is included. I like to think that the fact he is against D.C.’s ballpark bodes well for it being built.
  • If you can find it, check out “Backfire” on public radio. It is a great satirical program that runs every year and includes an ABC correspondent, plus Buck Henry, Jane Curtain, and Tony “Really, I’m not Chris Hitchens” Hendra, aka Ian Faith in “This is Spinal Tap.” It is very funny, dry, humor. Let me know if you find out when it will be broadcast.
  • Joe Queenan’s new book, “Queenan Country,” was reviewed in The Times on Sunday.
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  • BOXING DAY!

    WWN wishes you and yours the very best Boxing Day.


    NATS FIRST CHRISTMAS

    Broadcast Interrupted For Nationals’ SpotlightThe Post

    Another profile of the trigger-happy GM of the Nats, Jim Bowden. He’s better than Pat Gillick, how?


    George SolomonWith the Shenanigans (Hopefully) Over, It’s ‘Play Ball’The Post

    Our favorite Nats cheerleader lets us know what Shirley Povich, Sam Lacy and Morrie Siegel would have thought about the struggle to bring the Nats here.

    Baseball fight full of lessons for D.C.The Wash. Times

    A breakdown of what went down with the ballpark process.

    Potential Nats Owners Are Going to BatThe Post

    A number of groups want in, but demands by Peter Angelo$ loom large.

    The Nats online store now has a batting jersey for sale. Sure, it’s garish, but it does have the interlocking D & C, so that is very cool. If they get a blue one, well, I would not be able to control myself and I would have to buy one. Also, if you are trying to go to the store at RFK, you cannot enter the parking lot from the SE Freeway entrance, it is still closed. I tried to go there on the way up to Pennsylvania the other day and was turned back.

    GUESS THE COLUMNIST

    So, here’s a column dedicated to the principles set forth and furthered by my 85-year-old mom in Columbus. Her motto and I’ll try to get it verbatim: “It doesn’t cost you anything to be nice to people.”

    See, I’ve always objected to that philosophy. Being blindly nice costs me. I can’t complain. I can’t find blame. And I come from a long line of blame-placers. These are intrinsic qualities that I must constantly be on alert to douse.

    But I can do it for one day.

    So, did you figure out who wrote this column? Confirm your suspicion here.


    MORE ON THE LIONS

    Ron BrackenNittany Nation looking at Williams as this year’s program saviorCDT

    Esteemed CDT sports editor Ron Bracken throws some cold water on those who think the recruitment of Derrick Williams will make autumn Saturdays in Happy Valley important on a national scale again. He cites examples of recruits who panned out and ones who did not and reminds us all what a crapshoot this whole thing is in the end.


    Nittany Lions freshman looks to lead teamCDT

    Meanwhile, on the hardwood, frosh G Mike Walker is making things happen, they say. The inevitable Joe Crispin comparison was made only once.

    OVERPROTECTIVE PARENTS

    Trek to school not like it used to be USA Today

    This is an article from last week about how kids no longer walk to school. A number of reasons are noted, mainly overprotective parents. This is just stupid, let the kids walk to school so they can learn some independence and self reliance. I walked to school for seven years and preferred that over the bus any day. It is a great way to stay in shape too. When I stopped walking to school, I put on weight for a few years.

    We need to make playgrounds more dangerous too. Not super dangerous of course, but put in some risk so kids might scrape their knees and learn about physical risk without serious consequences. It will pay off in the end.

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