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2016 Nats vs. Mets Q&A with Eric McErlain

It’s a later than normal Q&A and prediction with New York Mets fan Eric McErlain (not pictured), long time guest prognosticator on this site. Is he still basking in the reflective glory of last year’s Mets NL Pennant? Can his Amazins catch my Washington Nationals? Let’s find out:

WFY: The Mets are 9 games back in the division, but I just saw the standings and saw they are 1.5 games back for the second Wild Card after a strong 8-2 over the last 10 games. Here in D.C. we know Matt Harvey’s gone for at least the season, but I understand other pitchers have been injured too. How have the Amazins been getting by? Does the schedule and current health of the team have you optimistic they can find a way into the postseason?

EMc: Yeah, Harvey was lost for the season early on after pitching horribly early on. The team has since struggled to find somebody, anybody to take his spot in the rotation. By this time, they had expected to have Zach Wheeler back, but he’s had a setback and is unlikely to return before next season. Steven Matz is currently out and Jacob deGrom has had to skip a turn after getting crushed in back-to-back starts. Jim Henderson has missed a lot of time, and Jonathon Niese headed straight to the DL more or less as soon as he returned from Pittsburgh. The recent surge has been keyed by Jose Reyes and Yoenis Cespedes. Without those two, these team would be totally dead in the water.

WFY: Flags fly forever! They won their first pennant in 15 years. For all the troubles this year and potentially to the longer term, is it worth the tradeoff to win one World Series game? Also, it seems the Mets win the pennant every 15 years or so which can’t be too bad.

EMc: Are you kidding? I went to 13 games last season in Port St. Lucie, Washington, Baltimore and Queens. The Mets won all 13, including Game 3 of the NLDS vs. the Dodgers and Game 1 of the NLCS vs. the Cubs. Losing the World Series stung as much as any of the other losses, but the memories were more than worth it. Even as good as Michael Fulmer is with the Tigers, I take the trade for Cespedes again without any hesitation.

WFY: How is the offense going? Is Jay Bruce the Yoenis Cespedes of 2016?

EMc: It’s one of the worst in baseball. In addition to the pitching injuries, David Wright and Lucas Duda have been lost for the season, and a passel of other players, including Cespedes, have missed time. It’s as bad as I’ve ever remembered it being. As for Bruce, he started slow, but has started to pick up of late.

WFY: How big is this series with the Nats being perceived by Mets fans? Also, some bad weather may headed up the East Coast, does this help the Mets get another some time off or are you hoping the Mets can keep play through?

EMc: Now that the team is in striking distance of the second wild card, every series is critical. Nobody thinks the Mets can catch the Nats, but the Nats could certainly hurt the Mets something awful. As for the rain, I don’t care. Play the games.

WFY: Jose Reyes is back – is it awkward to have him on the team given his offseason domestic violence allegations?

EMc: Just because I cheer for the team doesn’t mean I approve of the man.

WFY: As the late John McLaughlin would say: PREDICTIONS! How are things going the rest of the regular season for the Mets and Nats?

EMc: I’m not sure the pitching can stay healthy the rest of the way. I’m sure they’ll hang in there, but fall short.

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New Penn State blog Roar Lions Roar is going to run up the score

Remember back in 2011 when a bunch of Penn State football bloggers joined together and took over Black Shoe Diaries? It was great, nothing but dancing under overpasses drinking Dr. Pepper all season long, nothing troublesome at all!

Some of those dudes are back at it again with a new site, Roar Lions Roar. Chris Grovich (publisher emeritus of There’s Something About Hazleton) is at the top of the masthead. It’s about the present and the future that we wait:

When we decided to launch this project in conjunction with our colleagues at the amazing independent Ohio State site, Eleven Warriors, we wanted to focus on what we actually like about Penn State athletics. As we noted throughout our discussions about RLR, this is supposed to be fun. That’s why we don’t write, report, or drop fiery editorial takes about the Jerry Sandusky scandal. We don’t care about statues or the Board of Trustees. We concentrate on the present and future of Penn State sports.

I think the former Iowa SB Nation folk are tangentially involved as well at goiowaawesome too in case you were worried the IPA, Wilco-listening B1G blog demographic was limited. Can a Slow States resurgence be far behind?

Let’s face it, it all stopped being fun almost five years ago and Penn State football isn’t even appointment television for me any more. I don’t know if it ever will be again, but perhaps RLR will get me more into it.

RLR is also really into tuddies which sounds creepy. It’s the newest shorthand for touchdowns. But yeah, it sounds creepy.

There’s more of course, like the RLR Store because who doesn’t want $28 t-shirts? I’m sure it’s not just some plan to do something like raise money to put up a BILL O’BRIEN 15 WINS billboard along US 322. I’m sure Grovich isn’t about to quit any day now too.

So, give RLR a try and keep reading whatever Penn State stuff you’ve been reading, they are still doing there thing.

#buckleup

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Frank Howard enters Nationals Park Ring of Honor

On Friday, Washington, D.C.’s all-time home run leader, Frank Howard was added to the Ring of Honor. He’s the only non-Hall of Famer in the ring which is no longer restricted to just that membership. Howard is also immortalized in a statue (that the D.C. Fine Arts Commission installed) and in the Hall of Stars (Events DC) all of which are around Nationals Park. It’s a bit confusing, particularly when Montreal Expos are included.Signing his rookie photo

I was hoping his #33 (worn 1969-1971, before that he wore #9 which he gave up for Ted Williams) would be retired as well. Back in 1992, his #33 was “retired” before an (rained out) exhibition game between the New York Yankees (he was hitting coach) and the New York Mets (whom he managed for a season). My wife and I met him in 2007 a Maker’s Mark event in Northwest.

There were tributes to Hondo in the D.C. media this week that are worth a read:

DAN STEINBERG: Senators legend Frank Howard is humbled and thrilled to enter the Nats’ Ring of HonorThe Post

THOM LOVERRO: Frank Howard was a gentle giant, but fearsome at the plateThe Wash. Times

Howard also appeared on nationals.com beat writer Bill Ladson’s podcast:

I’m glad to see that the Nats found a way to give Hondo a night, though they erred when they didn’t hire for a goodwill ambassador job when they arrived.

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Nats undefeated when Olympian Helen Maroulis throws out first pitch

Another night, another Olympian visiting the Washington Nationals.

On Wednesday night, Katie Ledecky threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park for the third time. On Thursday, another Olympic gold medalist from Montgomery County, Md. performed – wrestler Helen Maroulis made her debut. I will add video of the pitch when it becomes available.

Maroulis proved to be a much needed stopper for the Nationals. Following her first pitch, the Nats shutout the Baltimore Orioles, 4-0, ending a four-game losing streak.

She also lifted a victorious Teddy up (Let Teddy Win) after he won the Presidents Race. He fittingly won on the centennial of National Park System.

Meanwhile, on the diamond, Max Scherzer threw eight shutout innings and played some impressive defense.

Max Scherzer makes an impressive no look, between the legs snag

Jayson Werth homered and Bryce Harper knocked in two with a double.

There aren’t any Olympians scheduled for tonight – Washington Senators great Frank Howard will be in attendance as his name is added to the Ring of Honor.

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