Category Archives: Nats/MLB 2012

District Drafts - Local beers at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.

Local beer is a part of DC’s past and now it’s present and the Nats are helping

We are three years into the greater Washington D.C. brewing revival and things are going well. The Washington Business Journal covered it in a recent issue.

With craft brewing boom, D.C.’s beer scene returns to its regional roots

The one thing that today’s beer businesses have in common with the District’s brewers of old? A regional focus.

The heyday of Washington brewing was probably in the 1850s and 1860s, when tons of breweries sprung up to produce lager for the many Union soldiers stationed around the city. Eventually, the smaller, family-owned breweries closed, leaving about six huge breweries serving the region.

Those breweries were well known and respected businesses, according to Peck. Their founders also owned real estate, started banks and operated rail networks. Robert Portner, whose brewing company sat where Trader Joe’s is now located on Washington Street in Alexandria, distributed his beer by rail throughout the south.

The largest Washington brewer, and the only one that survived Prohibition, was the Christian Heurich Brewing Co. (Heurich sold ice during the 1920s to keep his business solvent.) Booze may have been able to flow freely, but that didn’t mean all was well for the brewer. One side effect of “The Noble Experiment” was the strengthening of huge, national beer companies.

“By the 1930s, there had emerged a national media market for advertising, so the ones who best competed in that were the national brewers, rather than the regional brewers like Heurich,” Peck said. “The smaller brewers couldn’t compete, and the national beer market really consolidated in the years after Prohibition.”

Make sure you read the rest of the story, along with this one, How the Nats are feeding D.C.’s beer industry:

Nationals Park. The home of the Washington Nationals, which first, added local craft beer offerings to its concessions last year with two District Draft carts featuring local brews, is adding two more carts this year. And some local craft beers will be sold on draft and in cans throughout the season at the Red Porch and at other Baseline Brew locations throughout the stadium.

The Nationals expect to increase the amount of craft beer sold at the District Draft carts by 50 percent — from about 40 kegs per home stand last year to at least 60 kegs per home stand this year.

“I don’t expect it to double, but it’s going to be tough to tell,” said Jonathan Stahl, senior director of guest experience and hospitality operations for the Nationals. “What we don’t know right now is are we just spreading the same crowd from last year or are we going to be appealing to a broader audience. I think it’ll be somewhere in between.”

I’ve been working on a story on the local craft brew industry — Shameless plug: The story comes out in our Friday print edition — and the demand from the Nationals repeatedly came up during interviews.

The stadium will feature beer from most of the big names in local brewing: D.C. Brau, 3 Stars Brewing Co., Atlas Brew Works, Port City Brewing Co., Mad Fox Brewing Co. and Flying Dog Brewing Co.

The relatively new Atlas Brew Works might have the biggest presence, with plans for its beers to be featured at both the carts and on draft at the Red Porch during each home stand.

There is even more exciting Nats beer news:

In addition to offering more local craft beer throughout the stadium, the Nats are also launching a new promotion: Firkin Fridays, which will feature two local beers in cask on Fridays of each home stand. First up on opening day, April 4, will be beers from D.C. Brau and Flying Dog, although the exact beers haven’t been finalized yet.

Yesterday, Atlas Brew Works announced that a new beer brewed exclusively for the ballpark – Atlas Brew Works Teams Up with the Washington Nationals to offer The 1500 South Cap Lager Exclusively at Nationals Park:

The 1500 South Cap Lager, named after the address of Nationals Park, is a 4.8% Helles lager that will be a great compliment to a sunny day in the stands. “The 1500 is an American spin on a traditional German style pale lager. It features light malt notes and earthy American hops,” said Will Durgin, Atlas’ Head Brewer. The beer will be available at locations throughout the three levels of the ballpark the Red Porch Restaurant in Center Field Plaza.

I am eager to try it, though I wish the press release came out on a day other than April 1.

It’s great to see the Nats are embracing the local brewing scene and probably good business for them too. Given a choice of marked up beers available, I’m inclined to support the local one, even if it’s a dollar or two more.

Nationals Park is said to be the 5th best ballpark for craft breweries (WTOP) and that was before this year’s upgrades. There are new foods available too (DC Sports Bog, The Post), though I’ll stick to Ben’s half-smokes.

It’s a great time to be a beer drinker and baseball fan in BeltwayLand and I think it’s only getting better.

UPDATE

I’ve added DC Sports Bog’s post about the beer in the ballpark: The local craft beer at Nats Park

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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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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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12-12-12: DC Sports

On the twelfth minute of the twelfth hour of the twelfth day, let us celebrate some of the number 12′s who have played for D.C. pro teams.

Peter Bondra
Peter Bondra, Washington Capitals 1991-2004


Alfonso Soriano, Washington Nationals 2006


Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins 2012

Okay, #11 was a little more impressive…

Soriano photo from misschatter on flickr

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Nats: A look back at John Lannan

John Lannan was non-tendered last week, ending his Washington Nationals career. Unheralded coming out of Sienna College, Lannan needed about 2 years to go from an 11th round draft pick to a starting pitcher. His Nats debut proved to be one of the more memorable during those early years. Pitching in Philadelphia, Lannan hit too consecutive batters Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Hunter Wendlestat threw Lannan out prompting then color commentator Don Sutton to go off on a rant:

20070726 – Lannan Ejection – WAS broadcast from Rocket 1124 on Vimeo.

I don’t remember how it started, but the meme John Lannan – American hero was born. Following the Nats in those days wasn’t easy and making a folk hero helped fans cope. Lannan went 2-2 in the 2007 season. He also held Barry Bonds, then sitting on 755 career home runs, hitless in four at-bats in a no-decision.

In 2008, Lannan made 31 starts and went 9-15 on a 100+ loss team. His ERA was 3.91 though. Lannan would start on Opening Day in 2009 and 2010. He pitched “out of position” and held his own for a while before being demoted in 2010. After returning from a stint in Harrisburg, Lannan was a better pitcher and finished that season strong. In 2011, no longer needed to be the #1, Lannan set his career high for wins with 10 against 13 losses and an ERA of 3.70. Lannan, a pitch-to-contact pitcher continued to induce double plays and even increased his velocity. He also hit a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium.

Lannan looked to be the #5 in the rotation for a the 2012 Nats, but simply got beat out in Spring Training by Ross Detwiler. Unhappy at the time and understandably so, Lannan asked to be traded, but was denied. He struggled in AAA Syracuse for a good portion of the season, seemingly validating the decision. However, Lannan came up big during his brief call-ups though, coming through with two big wins before being sent down immediately after each time. In September, he took Stephen Strasburg’s spot in the rotation and finished up the season 4-1. Though he was off the playoff roster, Lannan finally got to be part of a winning team.

The decision to let Lannan go is smart one — he made $5 million last year to ride buses for 5 months and it would be bad faith for the Nats to make him do that again. In a more perfect and sentimental world he would have been pitching for the Nats the year they won the pennant, but that isn’t the way it worked out. He won’t get $5 million a season wherever he winds up next, but he should get a multi-year contract. Lanan was a bridge between the brutal seasons and respectability and for that Nats.

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Nats will finally stage a winter fanfest in late January

It took 8 years, but the Washington Nationals are finally staging a winter festival for fans — NatsFest

WHEN

Saturday, January 26, 2013
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

WHERE

Walter E. Washington Convention Center (Mt. Vernon Square Metro)

ADMISSION
$20 Adult ticket
$10 Child ticket

$15 Season Ticket Holder Adult ticket*
$5 Season Ticket Holder Child ticket*

ACTIVITIES

$20 Adult ticket
$10 Child ticket

$15 Season Ticket Holder Adult ticket*
$5 Season Ticket Holder Child ticket*
Player Autographs (pre-purchased voucher required)
Player Photographs
Mascot Photographs
Q&A Stage
Face Painting, Balloon Art, Inflatables & Caricature Art
Nationals Merchandise
Nationals Authenticated Memorabilia
Exclusive Kids Events
Interactive Games
Live Batting Cages
On Deck Lounge
Food Court
2013 Tickets & Virtual Ticketing Demonstration

Good to see that the Nats are overcoming their learning curve sphere a little bit. I’ll have to see what else they come up with before I decide whether to go or not. I’m kind of on the fence because $20 is a bit steep for the chance to spend even more money. Also, I might be skiing that weekend. The schedule seems a little compressed too, but baby steps…

I suppose a post-NatsFest happy hour is the most appealing part of the whole idea.

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D-Span: Nats get Denard Span from Twins for prospect Alex Meyer

Since time immemorial, Washington Nationals general managers have craved a centerfielder who could lead off. Why GMs Jim Bowden and Mike Rizzo were so insistent for those two skillsets combined is a mystery that may never be fully understood. That led to experiments with the likes of Nook Logan, Lastings Milledge and Nyjer Morgan. Now, Rizzo believes he has acquired the player once thought to be an impossible dream. Denard Span (Baseball Reference) is coming to D.C.

Span, previously with the Minnesota Twins, was actually born in the nation’s capital(Nationals Journal, The Post) when his mother went labor earlier than expected. Speaking his mother, he hit her with a foul ball in spring training once (Nats Enquirer). She was fine (twinsbaseball.com).

Naturally, the newest Nat will be known as D-SPAN. It is probably only a matter of time before Brian Lamb is asked to comment.

Denard Span - D-SPAN

Back to the field, the ramifications of Span’s arrival are many and let’s just say, if you were looking forward to Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche playing together again, you will probably be disappointed. Morse won’t be a starting outfielder with Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper manning the corners and Span in center. That means he has to supplant LaRoche at first or be sent elsewhere. LaRaoche is unsigned at this point, but the Nats still want him. This, and what losing another pitching prospect in Alex Meyer, means is explained well here: Ripple effects from the Alex Meyer-Denard Span trade (Nationals Journal, The Post). It seems like a solid trade that screams the Nats are in “WIN NOW” mode which is a pretty good sign.


Rizzo: Span will “come into his own” in WashingtonCSN Washington

TWITTER REACTIONS

HOW TWITTER WAS WON TONIGHT

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R.I.P. Eddie Yost, former Washington Senators third baseman, coach

‘Walking Man’ Yost passes away at 86nationals.com
The “walking man” Eddie Yost, perhaps the greatest #1 in D.C. baseball history if not all D.C. sports history, died yesterday three days after his 86th birthday. A third baseman, Yost led the American League in walks four times during his playing days with the 14 seasons he played for Washington Senators. His on-base percentage with the Nats was .389. He never hit above .300. He finished his playing career with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels.

Yost was a third-base coach with the expansion Senators from 1963-1967, managing a game in 1963 after Mickey Vernon was fired and Gil Hodges took over. Yost followed Hodges to the New York Mets in 1968 and was the third base coach there through 1976. His final job was with the Boston Red Sox through 1984. Yost was a native New Yorker.

OBITUARIES:
Eddie Yost, the Washington Senators’ ‘Walking Man’ of the 1950s, dies at 86The Post | Eddie Yost, Baseball’s Walking Man, Dies at 86The Times

RUSS WHITE:
My Friend EDDIE YOSTD.C. Baseball History
Long-time Senators beat writer remembers Yost.

Eddie YostBaseball Reference

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I’m not taking the Nats elimination too hard (maybe I should be?)

The end of the Washington Nationals 2012 season in the final game of the NLDS was sudden and cruel for the team and fans. An early 6-0 lead powered by a Jayson Werth lead-off double, a Bryce Harper triple and later a home run, along with homers from Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse had the Nats leading the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals with 18 outs to go and a visit from the San Francisco Giants for the NLCS looming.

The Nats slowly came undone — as described so expertly be Barry Svrluga in The Post. While not an all out sense of dread, the mind wandering to thoughts of a “mayor’s bet” with a friend in San Francisco fought with the the insecurity of a 6-0 lead, then a 6-3 lead and so on. It was a group loss with pitching breaking down from starter Gio Gonzalez to closer Drew Storen and just about everybody in-between. A double-play ball yielding only an out here and there as the Cardinals pecked away at the Nats lead. An insurance run in the bottom of the eighth wasn’t enough either. Storen had the Cardinals down to their last strike over and over again, but couldn’t seal the deal. The loss is his according to the record books, but he’s not on an island. Davey Johnson’s managing was curious, not terribly engaged late and his decision to put in Edwin Jackson seemed like he was trying to hard. Why put in a starter coming off of two subpar outings after a couple of days of rest? I really wonder if Davey was too tired in the dugout. At 69 years old, having dealt with serious health problems too, the late start may have taken a toll. Nobody in the bullpen retired the first batter of an inning either, just brutal.

The loss, not inevitable, but not surprising as the game went on was tough. The 12:29 a.m. finish wore me out and the next morning came quickly. I hardly had time to pout though – an energetic 4 year old bouncing off the walls, floors and parents prevents that. He cared not that the Nats loss, though he had celebrated the walk-off win the night before. Perhaps he had the right idea and whether by design or as a way of coping, I pretty much went along with it. There is another factor too – the events at my alma mater over the last year or so have forced a perspective on mere wins and loses and how much they matter. Trust me, I’d gladly be in the position of other Nats fans who are still hurting over a shocking elimination. Maybe I’m still in the “derrrrrp, we have a team mode” and need to get over it too.

In the end, the Nats had an astonishing regular season, beating my wins prediction by 12. They were in first place most of the year, but ran out of gas late. Nationals Park came alive and BeltwayLand embraced the team more than ever. Being “the Nats guy” in the office was fun and an icebreaker for the first time. It is never easy going into as Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler say, “the season of silence” (particularly with the Capitals locked out) but the good overwhelmingly outweighed the bad.

Spring training is about four months away, Opening Day, less than six…

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Nats: Jayson Werth hits walk-off homer to beat Cardinals in 2-1 thriller, push NLDS to Game 5

Last night goes down as one of the great nights in the Washington Nationals history. Following 9 innings of 1 run (unearned) pitching by Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the 9th inning. The outfielder, oft-maligned for his enormous contract, faced 12 Lance Lynn pitches – 10 after taking the first 2 for called strikes and worked a full
count. A fascinating stat:

Prior to the 13th pitch, Charlie Slowes hinted to his partner Dave Jageler that Werth had been in this sort of situation before.

Werth’s home run was the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. The
Slowes call on the Washington Nationals Radio Network summoned the home run (DC Sports Bog, The Post. ) is required listening – Slowes saw it coming.

Werth’s homer created pandemonium at WWN headquarters. The four year old resident — the same one who wanted to “play baseball” before the game and wound up pitching a hollow plastic ball to his father (holding his son’s hollow plastic bat) for a little bit was bouncing around yelling “THEY WON!”

Throughout the day, few Nats fans made the effort to conceal their anxiety following yesterday’s 12-4 beat-down. Elation prevailed as the series would be extended to the full five games.

It would not have gotten that far without the performance of Detwiler’s career, to date. The Missouri native pitched 6 innings with no earned runs and more pitches than he had ever thrown as a major leaguer. Zimmermann made his first relief appearance since his days at A-Carolina League Potomac and struck out three, hitting 97 m.p.h. Clippard struck out three and walked one. Storen pitched in danger a little bit, but Ian Desmond, atoning for the earlier error that contributed to the Cardinals one run, made a running, back-handed overhead catch in left field to end the ninth inning.

The Nats prevailed on two solo home runs — a runner never reached scoring position. While unorthodox, that proved an effective way to deal with awful hitting with runners in scoring position during this series. Kyle Loshe pitched well for St. Louis and has nothing to show for it but some attaboys in the dugout.

The series concludes tomorrow with Gio Gonzalez facing Adam Wainwright for a trip to the NLCS to face the San Francisco Giants who came back from 2-0 to win 3 straight on the road to eliminate the Cincinnati Reds.

DOES THE CREDIT GO TO “THE MAN IN THE DUGOUT, NOT ON THE 25-MAN ROSTER?

Mark DeRosa, who is not on the 25 man roster, but still with the team, read aloud the famous “Man in the Arena” speech. He closed it by saying, “do you know how said that? Teddy expletive deleted Roosevelt.

Teddy Roosevelt speech spurs Nationals to Game 4 victoryLet Teddy Win
Mark DeRosa read Theodore Roosevelt speech to Nationals before Game 4The Post

ADAM KILGORE WITH A GREAT DEADLINE RECAP

NLDS Game 4: Jayson Werth homer wins it for the Nationals in the bottom of the ninthThe Post

MARK ZUCKERMAN WITH THE HISTORICAL ANGLE
Nats live to see another dayCSN Washington

And play again the Nationals will. They’ll be right back on South Capitol Street at 8:37 p.m. Friday for a winner-take-all Game 5 of what has become a remarkable series between one young ballclub that posted the sport’s best regular-season record and a veteran-laden squad trying to retain its World Series crown.

And they’ll do it in front of another sellout crowd that experienced more dizzying highs and terrifying lows over 2 hours and 55 minutes Thursday — not to mention over the last five days — than three generations of Washington baseball fans ever hoped to realize.

JOE POSNANSKI WRITES ABOUT FEARLESS LEADER

Davey – Joe Blogs

THE FIRST DRAFT

My wife asked to wear my Nats jersey to work today. She wants to go to tonight’s game, so if you have a pair of tickets, let me know.

I’m still nervous…

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