Category Archives: Video

For posterity, Katie Ledecky and the Nats

Swimmer Katie Ledecky visited Nationals Park last night for the Washington Nationals home game since she returned from her 5 medal (4 gold) performance at the Rio Olympics. The Bethesda-native threw out the ceremonial first pitch with Bryce Harper standing by her side, holding her medals.

Ledecky joined the TV booth in the third inning to talk about it as well.

This wasn’t her visit to Nationals Park. In 2014, she threw out the first pitch before NLDS Game 1.

Okay, so the results of those games haven’t been great, but that’s not on her. Last night, she do throw a strike (The Post) or at least close enough for Dave Jageler to have a strong opinion.

In 2012 though, she threw out the first pitch and the Nats went on to clinch the first winning season for D.C. baseball since 1969 with a win over the Chicago Cubs.

Ledecky also played in a celebrity vs. Wounded Warriors softball game in 2013 (DC Sports Bog, The Post)

Noted DC Sports sentimentalist @bogcommenter made another observation:

Someone pointed this out: she was 8 when team came here. A first generation Natskid. https://t.co/lYIrrCRxPt

— InternetContrarian(@bogcommenter) August 24, 2016

Ah, the passage of time. This is the 12th season since baseball returned to the District and we’re to the point where people old enough to vote don’t remember life before them.

Ledecky’s also known for her Capitals and Wizards fandom (NHL.com) , but she’s apparently got split allegiances now with her uncle owning the New York Islanders (NHL.com).

If you’d rather watch her swim than throw out ceremonial first pitches, go right ahead.

Further reading
Katie Ledecky’s First Pitch RuledThe Nats Blog

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Nats Opening Day videos from Hoover to Obama

Despite the spring equinox, the season never really arrives in the U.S. until the familiar cry of “play ball!” rings out. In Washington the grand and ancient tradition is carried out as President Johnson arrives to throw out the first ball as a thousand shutters click…”

To celebrate the home opener, I’ve put together a youtube playlist of Opening Days in Washington over the years, starting with a silent movie featuring Herbert Hoover. There’s some more highlights of recent vintage as well:

For generations, the traditional start of the American League season begin in the District of Columbia, frequently with the President throwing out the first ball to the assembled Washington Senators. Presidents Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson included in black and white newsreels included on the playlist. Footage of Richard Nixon, a big Senators fan, couldn’t be found — newsreels were over by then and the Senators were by the end of Nixon’s first term. Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush (the elder) and Clinton would throw out the first ball elsewhere, while oddly enough softball player Jimmy Carter never did, at least for Opening Day.

The tradition resumed, albeit sporadically and not always on true Opening Day, in 2005 when the Washington Nationals were reborn as a National League team. Now, it’s a first pitch, from the mound to a specific player rather than the first ball from the stands to a group. George W. Bush made two home opener appearances – 2005 at RFK Stadium and 2008 on Nationals Park Opening Night. Barack Obama, wearing a Chicago White Sox cap and Nats jacket threw an eephus pitch in 2009.

Hoping for a return to an annual Washington Presidential Opening Day is unfortunately a fool’s errand. Between other presidential duties and MLB stretching out Opening Day into Opening Week, the tradition is unlikely to return. At the very least, MLB could award Washington a regular Opening Day slot, but they tend to be more sympathetic to Baltimore on such matters.

There are a few other on-field highlights as well as a pregame hype video. Hopefully, more Opener video will find it’s way onto youtube.

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UniWatch: DC is 14th best dressed sports city

Once again, Paul Lukas of UniWatch has ranked the uniforms of the big 4 sports leagues and is now organizing it by city. In the past, I’ve tabulated those rankings myself, so I’m glad he spared me the work.

Lukas broke the rankings into two tiers — 3 or more team cities and 2 team cities. He also considered the venues of the teams as part of the overall aesthetic.

D.C. (Nationals, Capitals, Redskins, Wizards) came in 14th (again) out of 20 3 or more cities. Here’s the UniWatch list:

Boston
Pittsburgh
Chicago
Philadelphia
San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose
New York/New Jersey
Toronto
Detroit
Dallas
St. Louis
Los Angeles/Anaheim
Miami
Twin Cities
DC
Phoenix
Cleveland
Houston
Denver
Tampa/St. Petersburg
Atlanta

Wait – no way are we worse than Miami, the Twin Cities, St. Louis (who won’t be on the three team list after the Rams move back to L.A. or perhaps London if that fails), Dallas or Toronto. So, at worst we’re #9. No bonus points for everybody wearing a shade of red at least some of the time either?

That isn’t to say that our teams could use some improvement. The Nats need to drop the front numbers and reinstate the interlocking DC and navy road cap. “Capitals” needs to be capitalized and some more red on the road whites is in order. The Wizards stand out despite the limited palette of a basketball jersey, but how about some block numbers? The Redskins, well that’s a whole thread of it’s own, but I’ll suggest they return to burgundy pants with the white jerseys. The ketchup and mustard look has grown on me though.

UPDATED: On DC Sports Bog (The Post), Clinton Yates defended DC’s uniforms.

While Lukas is SO VERY WRONG on D.C.’s ranking, he did get something right that too many area MSM’s don’t:

I also considered lumping Baltimore and DC into one metro area. But after consulting with several fans from both cities, I decided to treat them as separate entities. This meant that DC made the primary list of 20 big-market cities and Baltimore was relegated to the list of two-team cities.

As for other cities…Chicago would be my #1. Too many NFL teams messed up their uniforms and hold their city back. I’m looking at you Eagles and Broncos. Oh and when the Rams head back to L.A., they should add some gold jerseys.

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Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” was turned into a TV series featuring a Washington baseball team

New to me — through Mark Hornbaker’s Washington D.C. Baseball History Facebook group, I learned that Jim Bouton starred in a sitcom based on his book, Ball Four. Unlike the book that detailed his time on the Seattle Pilots, the team here is called the Washington Americans. The opening features a shot of RFK Stadium:

It apparently lasted five episodes, though the whole season was filmed. Harry Chapin sang the opening song and former Oakland Raiders great Ben Davidson made his triumphant return to Washington (he played for the 1962-1963 Redskins), so it couldn’t have been all bad. I’ll admit, it’d be fun to have an Americans replica jersey.

Has anybody milked a book for as long as often as Bouton did with Ball Four?

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