A Let Teddy Win photo of William Howard Taft used with permission

Here comes the Fat Presidents Storm!

CAPITAL WEATHER GANG: D.C. area forecast: Significant snow tonight, then more extreme cold and snow chances as week goes onThe Post
BeltwayLand’s biggest snow storm of the 2014-2015 winter to date is expected to begin later today, perhaps in time for the evening rush hour. We could see 4 to 8 inches in the immediate D.C. area, including inside the Beltway.

Related: BeltwayLand Snowplow information

We’ve had several Presidents Day storms (WJLA) over the years – especially 1979 (and last year we had the Pitchers & Catchers Day Storm which could happen again), but the bulk of this one will be on Fat Tuesday, so I got thinking we ought to call the Fat Presidents Storm. Obviously, William Howard Taft, seen above, is the spirit animal of this weather event.

I have never wanted a Washington Nationals Racing Presidents bobblehead so much. If the Nats don’t have a photo of Taft outside of snowy Nationals Park tomorrow, it’ll be a social media fail. For those with Taft bobbleheads, I expect to see it out in the snow too; perhaps we can measure the accumulation in how many Taft bobbleheads deep.


Racing Presidents in Snow, pre-Taft

Photo from flickr user Teddy Roosevelt. Visit Let Teddy Win for all your Racing President coverage.

I want to go skiing tomorrow. Real bad.

It’s 49 days until Opening Day

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8 weeks until Nats Opening Day

Fifty-six days from now the Washington Nationals first game of the years should be in the record books. We’re closer to the start of baseball season than the end of it and it’s a good feeling, but not as good as when it’s actually here.

I note that baseball is 8 weeks away because I need a convenient headline, but I’m not quite willing to celebrate “Truck Day.” As far as I can tell, “Truck Day” was something the Boston Red Sox created to celebrate the departure of team equipment to spring training. It’s just a little forced to me. I buy into the symbolism of “Pitchers & Catchers Day” (especially when it snows up here) because it means we’re really close to wonderful things like daylight savings time and “best shape of his life” stories, but Truck Day is too far.

In other news, the Nats are outfitting DC Little League and adding Frank Robinson to the Ring of Honor, according to District Sports Page’s Tom Bridge. The photo in this post is by him by the way.

Max Scherzer is overpaid, his contract is weird (Deadspin) and I’d rather they have locked up Jordan Zimmermann, but this should help them stay competitive. Of course, pitching wasn’t the problem in the 2014 NLDS was it? Still, hard to argue with making a strength stronger and Zimmermann is apparently ready to leave D.C. as soon as he can according to internet rumors which are verifiable 100% of the time.

The 40% Detroit Tigers-based rotation has a Michigan friend of mine grumbling.

So, nobody asked new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred why the Nats need to subsidize Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles while he was visiting the Dream Academy, but at least James Wagner of The Post asked what’s going on with the TV rights fight. The question that I would have liked him to ask is why the Nats their own television rights at all — why are they less of a team than the 29 others? Why does MLB think we’re less of a fanbase? I don’t know how many opportunities will present themselves to ask him point blank.

The Nats and White Sox have a big differential in weeknight and weekend attendance (Fangraphs). The obvious answer is because so many fans are coming from Northern Virginia (so, in a way, it’s a a commuter tax!) and the obvious solution is more targeted marketing to people who live in the District and close-in suburbs. Will it work? Maybe. It’s a good idea either way.

The Nats spring training home appears to be moving down I-95 as West Palm Beach is courting them and the Houston Astros for a complex (The Post). This would have been really handy circa 1990 when I used to visit grandparents down that way. That being said, I’m more inclined to visit spring training at a location on the I-95 corridor rather than I-75.

Jayson Werth is doing time on the weekends for driving too fast. I thought he’d get out of it, but instead he got his sentence reduce to 5 days and that’s good, he’s being held responsible for being stupid and dangerous. It will be interesting to see how he addresses this publicly given that he wouldn’t talk to reports following his NLDS performance he hit .059. Either way, who cares what John Feinstein says? Odds that the @bravesorganist plays “I Can’t Drive 55″ — 1:1. I’ll laugh. He might too.

Ryan Zimmerman
, first baseman, will be weird, but makes a lot of sense. Let’s hope nobody on the infield gets hurt though. Or the outfield or catcher. If history is a guide, there will be lots of injuries from running the bases.

Parking lot P is gone, according to JDLand.

Bryce Harper — now available, ladies. It’s always said when things don’t work out. Nice job on the golf course though:

Tickets go sale on February 19. Would somebody please help me pick up an Opening Day ticket? I’ll get you a local beer too.

We’re ten years into the Nats. That was really fast and we’ve come a long way as a fanbase, but the franchise has come even farther. I’m so glad my sons get to grow up with a big league baseball team. I think I’ll be tweeting out my inaugural season coverage 10 years after it happened to commemorate a decade of DC baseball.

It’s 56 days until Opening Day

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R.I.P. Ed Sabol

Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, dies at age of 98 – NFL.com
Ed Sabol built NFL Films from the ground up in the 1960s and turned pro football into a myth. He and his son Steve, were brilliant propagandists (I say mostly with affection) who helped turn the NFL into the biggest sports enterprise in America.

Here is the “A Football Life” on Ed Sabol:

Since it’s up, here is the episode about his late son, Steve:

These videos will surely be taken down soon, so enjoy them now.

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Flag Day miracle: Wegmans opening Kingstwowne-ish location June 14

Wegmans Alexandria location to open in JuneNBC Washington
DESTINATION SUPERMARKET SHOPPERS REJOICE!

Remember exactly five years ago today when I said Wegmans was opening south of Alexandria? We finally have a date – June 14, a Sunday.

So yay, I finally TEH GR8EST GROCERE STORE EVAH! Kind of nearby.

The mailing address will be Alexandria, but’s it is about 5 miles south of the city limits. I wish the post office wouldn’t do that – call t Kingstowne or Belvior, but not Alexandria.

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Gannett thinking of selling Tysons headquarters again

Gannett exploring sale of Tysons headquartersThe Post
My former employer of many years, Gannett Co. Inc. and publisher of USA Today is thinking of selling its Tysons (McLean mailing address) headquarters again. This seems to come up at least once a year, but now it’s official from the CEO’s mouth. They simply do not need all the office space with a very different business model than when the building was designed in the 1990s. The company splitting in two – broadcast/digital and newspapers (with none of the company debt) as well.

The building location could be a bit of a disadvantage — while Tysons is seeing a lot of new construction, most of it is right along the Silver Line and 7950 Jones Branch Drive isn’t within a half-mile of a station. The World Bank was rumored to be interested at one point, but that fizzled. ExxonMobil and SAIC is also looking to unload their Fairfax County campuses. I’m not sure the amenities like a walking path around a large stormwater retention pond are that big of a selling point. I do miss “walk time” with my former colleagues though.

As for a new location, the opportunity to move back to Arlington is there since that office market is depressed right now. For about 19 years, USA Today was headquartered at 1000 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn and Gannett spent 15 years next door in the twin tower at 1100. The tallest building in that skyline is vacant (Wash. Biz Journal) and probably wouldn’t mind a big brand name tenant. The current Corporate Executive Board building will also be vacated when that organization moves into a new tower at the site of the old Orleans House.

It seemed like half my colleagues lived in Ashburn so they might have a retention problem with a move like that, though the Silver Line might be finished out that way by then. Of course, selling the current Gannett/USA Today building and then leasing space could be an option. I’m just a spectator on this one, but had I still been with Gannett I’d have been hoping for move.

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Sheetz replacing the old Big Easy space in downtown State College

Subtitled: When your favorite bar from college is turned into a convenience store

Beer without gas: Sheetz to open store in downtown State CollegeCDT

Five things:

  • When I was at Penn State, my favorite bar was Tony’s Big Easy. It was an attractive space that served the best cocktails (but they were…SIX DOLLARS) in State College and played swing, salsa, jazz. It was the bar in Happy Valley with the most little black dresses. I loved it.
  • After graduation though, the music got more generic and it started to sound like every other bar in town. It wasn’t Jock Jams bad, but the product differentiation was lost.
  • Years later, there was a fatal stabbing outside of it. It eventually lost it’s liquor license.
  • Now, it’s becoming a 24-hour convenience store. It’s going to be a huge success.
  • That headline
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washington-coliseum

Wizards should investigate Washington Coliseum for their new practice facility

Welp: REI is moving there (Urban Turf) which seems like a pretty good use of the space, particularly for the spelunking crowd.

The Washington Wizards seek a new practice facility. They have been using Verizon Center auxiliary courts since the arena opened, but team owner Ted Leonsis wants a separate building. The model for this is his Capitals, who moved to what is now called Kettler Capitals Iceplex, a two-rink facility built on top of an Arlington County parking garage adjacent to Ballston Common Mall. The project was financed by the county and the Capitals rent and operate it. The modern amenities, convenient location to the core of the Caps fanbase and new rinks have been a positive for the team and the community. It’s not surprising that he wants to see if that can be reproduced for his basketball team.

The other morning as I was getting off the Red Line at NoMa, which should be called Swampoodle, (Ghosts of DC) station I looked over at the old Washington Coliseum and had a thought — could that be re-purposed into a new Wizards practice facility? Opened in 1941 as Uline Arena, Miguel Uline built it for his Washington Lions hockey team. The Lions uniforms inspired the Caps’ winter classic kit.

In the late 1940s it was the home of D.C.’s original basketball team, the Capitols, led by head coach and D.C. native Red Auerbach and the NBA’s first African-American player, Earl Lloyd. Oh and it also hosted the Beatles in their first public American concert in 1964. The ABA’s Caps played there for one season too and the album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits’ cover photo was shot there. It’s been in developmental limbo for many years and currently acts as a parking garage.

The Coliseum has more practical advantages beyond history of course. Located a block from Metro (and only three stops from Gallery Place-Chinatown station which Verizon Center is on top of) is located in an upcoming neighborhood, visibility (thousands of commuters pass it daily) and is an existing footprint. A Clinton Yates column expressed concerns about permanent neighborhood disruption when Shaw was proposed (The Post) as a site.

Turning the Coliseum into a 21st century practice facility isn’t a silver bullet by any means. The building is owned by Douglas Realty would undoubtedly need significant renovations whether it is sold or leased. There would almost certainly need to be a parking garage, weight rooms, plumbing and probably food service built there as well. It’s not my money to spend and I suspect Leonsis would rather the District finance it rather than him. Whether it is economically feasible, desirable or even available, it is worth looking into, because this could be a real opportunity for the franchise as well as the District.

LEARN MORE

Ghosts of Hockey, Basketball and Rock 'n' Roll – Ghosts of DC.

Before Ovechkin: The Washington Lions and Uline Arena – Ghosts of DC.

A Brief History of the Washington Coliseum/Uline Arena – Beatlemania – Curbed DC.

Photos of The Beatles first appearance in America at Uline Arena (Washington Coliseum) on Feb 11, 1964 two days after their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

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