Category Archives: Washington Nationals

MLB team that returned baseball to D.C. in 2005. They play in the National League eastern division.

jordan-zimmermann-nohitter

Jordan Zimmermann throws first DC no-hitter since 1931 in Nats final regular season game

Monday is the 10th anniversary of the announcement that baseball was returning to D.C. What happened on Sunday morning might be one of top three highlights of that decade — Jordan Zimmermann pitching a no-hitter for the Washington Nationals:

103 pitches, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 runner advanced to first on a wild-pitch strike three and then got promptly picked off. Here is the final out, a diving catch by defensive replacement, LF Steven Souza, Jr., as told by four different broadcasters:

That’s a really good call by Bob Carpenter. It was thrilling to watch.

Zimmermann recorded just the third 9-inning no-hitter in D.C. history. Other no hitters (as seen on Washington D.C. Baseball History Facebook group):

Walter Johnson – July 1, 1920 / 9 innings
Walter Johnson – August 25, 1924 / 7 innings, game was called due to rain.
Bobby Burke – August 8, 1931 / 9 innings
Jordan Zimmermann – September 28, 2014 / 9 innings

Ian Desmond hit a second inning homer and that was all Zimmermann needed for run support.

A great game deserves a great gamer:

Thomas Boswell finally saw a no-hitter:

The only two moments that compare to this — Ryan Zimmerman’s Nationals Park Opening Night Walkoff in 2008 and Jayson Werth’s Game 4 walkoff in 2012.

So far.

This was an exclamation point to a 96-win season with home field advantage in the NL playoffs. Zimmermann’s performance gives Nats fans a roaring crescendo to the regular season. The tension of the playoffs can wait for several days as it will surely happen, particularly when the opponent is determined by the NL Wild Card play-in game.

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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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dc-means-division-champions

DC is division champions – Nats win second NL East in 3 seasons

Almost ten years after baseball returned to the nation’s capital, the Washington Nationals have won the National League East title for the second time.

The win not only clinched another division title but rubbed it in the face of their season-long challenger, the Atlanta Braves, clinching at Turner Field.

Ian Desmond, who was on the roster for that cold RFK Stadium exhibition game in March 2005, was the star of the night with a 2-run blast and another run scored on a wild pitch.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

The last milestone is home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They’ll probably go for that tomorrow with a lineup of September call-ups as they look to sweep the Braves.

FURTHER READING
Washington Nationals clinch NL East title with 3-0 victory over the Atlanta BravesThe Post

On Baseball: Washington Nationals can celebrate the present — and their futureThe Post
Barry Svrluga, original Nats beat writer:

Think about that for a moment. This good foundation, this good franchise, from where there was — rather recently — nothing. Maybe this is a good time to remind everyone that 10 years ago this very night, Washington did not yet have a baseball team. And that in the winter of 2004-05, the franchise had its accounting operations in Montreal, its baseball operations in Florida, its upper management at a Georgetown law firm and the guts of a fly-by-night, do-everything staff in trailers in the parking lots of RFK Stadium. Until now, the idea of sustained baseball success in Washington was somewhere between a blind hope and an abstract theory, with obstacles to overcome that should not soon be forgotten.

Did I hear Battle Hymn of the Republic playing as I read that column?

The best Nats selfies from the NL East celebrationThe Post

Nats are NL East champions again, eliminating Braves in AtlantaThe Wash. Times

Nationals clinch NL East with victory in AtlantaCSN Washington

Nationals players react to winning NL East on Twitter CSN Washington

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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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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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flickr photo by above Joshua Bousel used under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license

Nats apparently win arbitration with MASN, Angelos, Orioles

Major League Baseball Embroiled in Explosive Legal War Over TV Deals (Exclusive)The Hollywood Reporter
Over MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s stern warning, the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles hurl accusations at each other and have stepped into open court spilling secrets.

Break out the popcorn! The corrupt bargain that gave Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles the Washington Nationals television rights may be unraveling.

What’s been kept under wraps until now is that on June 30, the MLB committee adjudicating the dispute issued its decision, which favored the Nationals. That prompted attorneys to swing into high gear and Commissioner Selig to attempt to get out in front of the situation.

“I am deeply saddened by the fact that you have not been able to resolve amicably the pending broadcast rights dispute,” wrote Selig in a letter to Angelos and Nationals owner Ted Lerner, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

Selig doesn’t think either side is working in the best interest of the game, but c’mon Bud, if the Nats won they are entitled to the spoils of victory, so there is this:

I want there to be no doubt that, if any party initiates any lawsuit, or fails to act in strict compliance with the procedures set forth in the Agreement concerning the [Revenue Sharing
Definitions Committee of Major League Baseball]‘s decision, I will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions available to me under the Major League Constitution.”

The Nats can’t initiate a lawsuit to rightfully claim what is theirs?

On July 1, Stephen Neuwirth, an attorney at Quinn Emanuel representing the Nationals, responded by telling MASN that thanks to the decision, the club was owed an additional $10 million for rights-fee payments due on April 1 and June 1 and warning of an impending deadline of default.

Two days later, Neuwirth provided formal notice of defaults and warned MASN to cure the defaults lest the team “seek all appropriate remedies for nonpayment, including (without limitation) termination of MASN’s license to telecast Nationals games.”

His threats didn’t achieve the desired result, so on July 7, the Nationals petitioned the MLB Commissioner’s Office to confirm and enforce the June 30 decision.

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.

What would victory mean for Nats fans?

  • Switching to a new channel (which if it’s completely new, could mean higher fees and/or service interruption)
  • The satisfaction over beating Angelos & Orioles (though Angelos won the moment his channel aired a Nats game)
  • More team revenue so good players are easier to retain and obtain

The funny thing is, the impact on the Orioles is probably minor, since Angelos clearly isn’t investing the MASN money in the team.

Like I said in February, Ted Leonsis must be watching with great interest — he could be the biggest winner out of all.

I’ll may add to this as more comes out.

Angelos got control of the Nats TV rights, got his own network with two teams, but is getting burned because cable television rights have skyrocketed. His deal turned out to be a bad one which is a little bit of karma. He wanted to intrefere in the affairs of another team and it might burn him. It’d serve him right.

MSM STUFF

Nationals-Orioles MASN dispute goes public - WTOP

In debate over MASN rights, MLB rules for Washington Nationals, but fight continuesThe Post

flickr photo by above Joshua Bousel used under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license

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Just one Nats-Brewers question with @LeavittDC

I’m really busy and haven’t gotten to offer many All-Star break #halftakes on the Washington Nationals. Wisconsin expatriate @LeavittDC isn’t even in the country right now, so he’s spending even less time focusing on the Nats or the Milwaukee Brewers. I still needed to get one burning question in with the DC series starting this evening.

WFY: Is having to cold call people and apologize for using PEDs is a bigger deterrent than suspension, fines and loss of reputation?

@LeavittDC: I’d make a lot of unpleasant phone calls for $105 million. He’s handled things very well, though. I suspect the phone call that was even more awkward — although, again, he can cry into his pile of money — was the one from Aaron Rodgers announcing that their friendship and business partnership was over. I don’t know how dear the 8-Twelve MVP Bar & Grill was to Ryan, but that public divorce had to have been awkward. Back to your question, it’s not a deterrent, clearly, but if players knew they are risking not only their professional reputation but personal friendships… crap, I can’t finish that sentence. They’d cheat anyway.

* * *

We’ll try to do better next season, but let’s not forget the most important thing:

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