Tag Archives: Best of 2012

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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Redskins vs. Browns Q&A with Vince Guerrieri

This week’s guest prognosticator is Vince Guerrieri, a newspaper editor in Northern Ohio as well as the author of Ohio Sports Trivia. He has begun writing a second book, about the Fremont-Sandusky high school rivalry. Poking around on his Web site, I saw that Vince also contributed to Tim Russert’s Wisdom of Our Fathers. He is also a Cleveland sports fan.

WFY: Well look at that, the Cleveland Browns have a little streak going. What in the name of Gerald McNeil is happening on the shores of Lake Erie – are they getting better, lucky or both?

VG: A little of both. The Browns had the good fortune to play the Steelers’ third-string quarterback at home, and play the Raiders and Chiefs, two teams that are going nowhere fast. But then again, the Browns have demonstrated an aptitude to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so any win for them is a good win. At the same time, they’ve got the youngest team in the NFL, they’re getting good production out of the rookies (Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson…and Josh Gordon looks like a steal), and Joe Haden’s back to do good things on defense.

WFY: Did you have any expectation in 1995 that Art Modell was going to move the Browns? What was it like during the end of that season after the announcement? What about the 4 years before the new Browns arrived?

VG: None whatsoever. Negotiations were ongoing, but Modell himself said he wasn’t going to talk about a new stadium until after the season. Word leaked out very shortly after the World Series (which featured the Indians for the first time in 41 years), it just pulled the rug out from under a season that could have been good. The Browns were coming off a playoff berth (and a playoff win, the most recent in team history) and Bill Belichick had assembled a pretty good team and a pretty good coaching staff (although defensive coordinator Nick Saban left for Michigan State. I wonder what he’s doing now?). I went to the Browns-Steelers game the weekend after Thanksgiving. It was my first and only game at Municipal Stadium. The place was like a wake. Ads were pulled, the crowd was muted (even the Steelers fans that bought scalped tickets were low-key). People called me like it was a death in the family.

The three years before they came back (or as I call them, the three years the Browns went undefeated) weren’t too painful. We knew there was an end in sight, thanks to the deal brokered by a hotshot lawyer for the NFL named Roger Goodell (I wonder what he’s doing now?). After word got out of the move, lawsuits started flying. The city was going to sue Art Modell for breaking the lease, and season ticket holders were ramping up toward a class action lawsuit against the Browns and the NFL. So Goodell and the NFL worked out the settlement that the Browns could keep the name, colors and records, making the Ravens for all intents and purposes an expansion team, and the next expansion team would come to Cleveland if the city built a new stadium.

WFY: Are you pleased that Randy Lerner cashed out and sold the Browns to Jimmy Haslam ?

VG: Y’know, I was never a Lerner hater. He was the anti-Modell: He wasn’t spending other people’s money, and he had no problem staying out of the football side. But it kind of became obvious that he held on to the team for as long as he had to (when Al died, he left it to his son as long as he owned it for 10 years, and the deal was approved by the league almost 10 years to the day of Al Lerner’s death) and was highly disinterested in it. He bought Aston Villa; he inherited the Browns (and made Holmgren the de facto owner, representing him at NFL meetings).

Haslam seems like a decent guy (although if he and Joe Banner are dumb enough to hire Mike Lombardi, I’d almost rather have Lerner back) and will definitely take a more active role in the team. We’ll see if that’s better.

WFY: How has Browns fandom changed since your childhood, both personally and throughout Ohio?

VG: It’s actually become less painful. In the 1980s, the Browns were tantalizingly close to the promised land, losing three AFC Championship games and a couple other heartbreaking playoff losses. Now, well, dead bodies don’t suffer. I’ll sit and watch the games, swear a little, and wait for cartoons on Sunday night. Besides, they moved. Nothing sports-related will ever hurt that bad again.

WFY: Is it tough seeing the Baltimore Ravens as a model franchise? Do you hold a grudge against them or did that go away when Modell sold the team?

VG: It’s hard for me to consider any franchise whose public identity is so deeply intertwined with a guy who escaped prison time as a model franchise, but they definitely do a lot right on the field. And I think that’s a tribute to Ozzie Newsome, the Browns hall of famer who actually started in the front office of the Browns before the team left. I can’t begrudge him any of his success. He was a great player and is a great guy.

I’d still root for North Korea if they played the Ravens. My wife’s a Steelers fan, and the common ground we have on NFL Sundays is despising the Ravens.

WFY: Did you ever see a game at Municipal Stadium? It looked great on TV, but in person the sightlines couldn’t have been too great in the lower level. How is Cleveland Browns Stadium?

VG: Municipal Stadium was actually the first stadium built toward multipurpose use, in 1932. It seemed to have better sightlines for football than baseball, which is really damning it with faint praise. Regardless of the sport, you were quite distant from the action.

Browns Stadium, built on the same site, is kind of like new Yankee Stadium. There are lots of places where it’s an improvement over the old venue, but it just seems a little more sterile. Something seems missing. Of course, if the Browns string together a couple 10-win seasons, it might come back. Who knows?

WFY: After 2 winning seasons and one playoff game since 1999, are the Browns headed in the right direction yet? How big a deal would a Browns championship be? How did the Browns manage to not win a conference championship with Joe Jurevicius?

VG: Jurevicius was on the best team the Browns have had since they came back, that 2007 team that won 10 games but didn’t get into the playoffs (the 2002 wild card team had nine wins) because 1. Derek Anderson started to believe his press clippings and started making rookie and second-string linebackers for the Bengals look like all-pros (that win would have given the Browns the division) and 2. Tony Dungy decided to give the Colts Week 17 off, and Jim Sorgi couldn’t beat the Titans, which would have given the Browns a wild card. The Colts, the top seed in the AFC, went one-and-done in the playoffs. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

The problem the Browns have had is no real consistency in coaching and the front office. Tom Heckert’s been able to put together a couple good drafts, and they appear to have improved defensively from Rob Ryan to Dick Jauron. I think they’re on the way up, but we’ll see if Heckert keeps his job. As I said, I do not think Mike Lombardi would be an improvement. He had some monumentally shitty drafts for the Browns in the 1990s, culminating in the 1995 draft, which has been declared the worst draft in team history by Draftmetrics. The first-round pick was traded down (Lombardi supposedly talked Belichick out of taking Warren Sapp) and the Browns ended up taking Craig Powell (I wonder what he’s doing now? No, seriously, I do). But his journalism contacts (he’s written for Pro Football Talk and Sports Illustrated) have left him dialed in enough to get blind items dropped about him being the next general manager.

WFY: Other than occasional orange pants and jerseys and an unnecessary return to gray facemasks, the Browns uniforms have been static. Do you like them? Was the Browns wearing nothing but white jerseys last season a microcosm of Lerner’s ownership tenure? Are you concerned the uniforms will be modified (ESPN Cleveland)?

VG: Love ‘em. I went to Bowling Green State University, which is where the colors allegedly came from (the Browns held training camp there for the first five years of their existence). A lot of the lasting memories fans have of the Browns is of them wearing white uniforms. They experimented with brown pants in the Mangini era, and I wasn’t a fan. I wouldn’t mind seeing orange pants again, if they were the Cardiac Kids flat orange from the early 1980s and not the bright orange they’ve worn for a couple preseason games recently.

I’m not too concerned about modifications, because it sounds like they’ll be relatively minor. As long as they keep the colors, it should be all good.

WFY: Who is the greatest Brown of your lifetime? I know Jim Brown gets the overall nod. What about the expansion Browns?

VG: Of my lifetime? Ozzie Newsome, no question. Followed closely by Clay Matthews.

As for since 1999, there’s only one player who’s been with the team that long, and he’s been brilliant: Phil Dawson. It’s kind of funny: Dawson’s proven himself to be so great (he now has the team record for field goals, consecutive field goals and field goals in a game) because the team’s offense is so bad. If it was a better-scoring team, nobody would have any idea who he is.

WFY: Where do you get your Browns coverage? Do you listen with the sound turned down and the radio turned up?

VG: I live in Northwest Ohio, which is technically Lions country, so I’ll listen to the game sometimes because it’s not televised (like this week). I love Jim Donovan, and I’m glad he’s doing better after getting treated for leukemia.

Tony Grossi covered the Browns going back to the 1980s for the Plain Dealer, but left the paper after he accidentally tweeted his real thoughts on Randy Lerner (he thought he was sending a direct message, and used the words “pathetic” and “irrelevant”). Tony’s departure might have been a good thing for him, given that the Plain Dealer is going to lay off a third of its newsroom workforce. He’s at ESPN Cleveland, and continues to break news there (he broke news of the sale and Joe Haden’s suspension for Adderall). Tom Reed at the Plain Dealer is the new beat reporter. I used to work with him in Warren, so I make it a point to keep up with him as well.

WFY: Is your hometown of Youngstown divided between Browns and Steelers like other parts of eastern Ohio? Did Bernie Kosar tip it to the Browns?

VG: It’s a fair split. Youngstown’s halfway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. In the 1980s, there was a sizeable contingent of 49er fans too. The DeBartolos, the team owners, were from Youngstown and their corporation was headquartered just outside the city limits in Boardman. At one point, all five of their Lombardi trophies were on display there. Before he worked for the 49ers (and Browns, later on after the magic was gone), Carmen Policy was a mob lawyer in Youngstown.

I don’t think Bernie (a Boardman graduate) tipped it so much as the Browns were doing better at that point. There were more Browns fans in the 1980s, Steelers fans in the 1990s and 2000s. There was also a lot of overlap between Bernie’s career and that of Jerry Olsavsky, who was a Chaney graduate who played linebacker for the Steelers.

Also, I feel I have to mention this, even though I have no idea what impact, if any, it had: The Steelers drafted Congressman and noted convicted felon Jim Traficant out of Pitt in the 1960s. Infer from that what you will.

WFY: What were the biggest traumas of being a Browns fan?

VG: Um, THEY expletive deleted MOVED. Everything else pales in comparison. Browns fans did everything right. The Browns had the highest local television ratings in the NFL the year before the move. The stadium was regularly filled (no small feat, since it was one of the biggest in the league). People wore the shirts. They held up their end of the bargain, and for their troubles they got to watch Art Modell, the man who went into hock to sign Andre Rison because he would be the game-changer and then pleaded poverty and moved the team, hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy while getting a home team that should be on one of those demotivator posters for “ineptitude.”

WFY: What is the best part of being a Browns fan?

VG: You know how when you go through something absolutely awful you feel closer to the people who shared the experience? That’s what being a Browns fan is like. You really feel like you know every other Browns fan personally.

WFY: Brownie the Elf, discuss.

VG: Um… I’m not sure what to say, although if Art Modell was against it, I’m for it. At least it’s cooler than Steely McBeam.

WFY: I suppose it can be argued that no team has more natural rivalries in its division than the Browns. The Ravens, we’ve already mentioned. The Steelers are the next close big city. The Bengals are in the same state. Am I on to something here?

VG: Eh, could be. But for it to be a real rivalry, the Browns actually have to win a few games. The Browns had a winning record in their rivalries with the Steelers and Bengals through 1996. In recent years, they’ve been so bad that both opponents now have the winning record. Stat of the day: No AFC North team has ever lost to the Browns and gone to the playoffs in the same year.

WFY: What would be the quintessential gameday meal and beer for Browns game?

VG: Since Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena opened, lots of restaurants have opened downtown catering to a game-time crowd (I like City Tap or the Fourth Street Bar & Grill). For me, though, I’d make a pilgrimage to the Great Lakes Brewing Company for a couple beverages and something to eat – or get a hot dog at the game liberally covered in Stadium Mustard.

WFY: Do you find yourself thinking “oh, what might have been” with Robert Griffin III, drafted one spot before the Browns pick?

VG: Eh, a little, but I can’t find a whole lot of fault with Trent Richardson, who they got with the third overall pick. He’s a beast of a runner, and has good hands out of the backfield as well. I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea that Colt McCoy wasn’t the answer at quarterback, and really wasn’t happy the Browns burned a first-round pick on a 29-year-old. But Brandon Weeden’s arm strength – the main difference between him and Colt McCoy – has proven particularly valuable, as he’s thrown five long touchdown passes to Josh Gordon.

WFY: Who wins Sunday and why?

VG: Browns, 24-20. They’re on a roll, and either RGIII plays injured (doubtlessly affecting his mobility, his main strength) or doesn’t play at all.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

MUST SEE: John Riggins: A Football Life at 8 p.m. on NFL Network

Tonight, the NFL Films series “A Football Life” features Washington Redskins great John Riggins. It is absolute must see viewing for any Washingtonian, whether they were a fan or not, and of course all football fans.

Twelve minutes of the documentary are already up at ‘John Riggins: A Football Life’ – Sneak Peek. It is really good, even though it is mostly information that isn’t new, but with Riggins describing some things.

The NFL Films producer Dave Douglas told DC Sports Bog – More on the NFL Network’s John Riggins documentary all about it:

In my 35 seasons here, this has been by far the most enjoyable show I’ve ever worked on,” Douglas told me this week. “It’s not even close. Not even close. It’s not just John’s material and stories. Once you talk to him, and meet him, and have a couple beers with him, you realize how wonderful and real he is.

I can’t wait to see the whole thing. I’m half-hoping that some of the myths surrounding Riggins are elaborated on. One of them was he partied too hard before a game and asked his linemen, the Hogs, only to block well enough for him to get about 3 yards — he didn’t think he could run any farther. Naturally, they didn’t listen and he ran for something like 150 yards. From what I gathered, it was in January 1983 during the playoffs, the game he bowed to the crowd. Then again, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Transplants to Washington, this is part of the reason people still love the Redskins and have put up so much from Dan Snyder. Hopefully, Snyder will see this documentary and go make peace with the Redskins and “get him back in the family.”

When I was a kid, I met Riggins in the Vienna Mister Donut (RIP). I got his autograph, complemented him on his preseason game analysis. He was shy, but accommodating to an autograph request. That was probably at least five years after he stopped playing and he still looked like he could play.

Here is another Riggins feature, probably from around 1988 or so, some of the clips are used in “A Football Life”

Another one:

Oh, look at this:

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

2012 Redskins vs. Eagles Game 1 Q&A and prediction with Kevin McGuire

Once again, Kevin McGuire has returned to answer some questions about a Philadelphia team: the Eagles are in town to take on the Washington Redskins. This season, McGuire is a local football blogger for CBS Philly.

WFY: What in the name of Marion Campbell is going on in the City of Brotherly Love?! How hot is the seat that Andy Reid is sitting on? Does he just have to prepare the team better?

KMc: Andy Reid’s seat has never been hotter after dropping five straight games for the first time in his lengthy career. Usually I would be wiling to give a coach an excuse when his offensive line has been decimated by injuries and the starting quarterback has been banged up as much as he has, but ultimately what it all comes back to is Reid has failed to do what he always says he has to do, which is put the team in a better position to win.

WFY: Reid’s failures have stretched beyond preparing the team with X’s and O’s. The problem extends to player management with poor talent evaluation in the draft and free agent signings either running out of steam or just not bringing back the return expected. It also has to do with a struggle to fill the coaching staff with coaches capable of helping out with the management of the team.

KMc: Reid is quickly running out of excuses and scapegoats, which has me seriously thinking anything short of a miraculous Super Bowl run will lead to a coaching change in Philadelphia this off-season.

WFY: Is Michael Vick still expected to be out on Sunday? How much of a factor has he been in the Eagles decline from a “dream team” to the current situation? Is Nick Foles ready or will it not even matter since rookie QBs always beat the Skins?

KMc: All signs point to rookie Nick Foles getting his first start this weekend. Vick was held out of practice on Tuesday and the team continues to monitor his status while preparing Foles to lead the offense with first team reps in practice. Vick has done himself no favors with turnovers, but I also point the blame on an offensive line that has given him no protection all year long. Vick does hold on to the football too long, but that could be because he has to run for his life as well. As far as I am concerned, it does not matter if Joe Montana, John Elway or Sonny Jurgensen is under center because there is no protection from the offensive line. Until that is fixed, it does not matter who is the quarterback.

WFY: I understand from a previous Q&A that the owner’s now-ex wife was a proponent of the midnight green look. Is there any talk that a return to the true Eagles look of kelly green and silver happening? Seems like the end of the Reid era would be a great time to go back.

KMc: That has always been the story I have heard when it comes to the change to midnight green, of course it had plenty of marketing and financial influences driving the change as well. Unfortunately there has not been any talk about a return to the Kelly green despite the wishes of many fans in the area (myself included). Personally I agree, a change in color scheme with a return to a more traditional look would be great to see as a new era gets underway.

WFY: Sports radio is bad everywhere, but from what i understand, it is really bad in Philly, so I like to think that the callers are arguing over which of Buddy Ryan’s sons needs to be hired. Am I on to something there?

KMc: You still get a knucklehead from time to time who wants nothing more than a head coach like a Ryan brother to fire up the team the way Reid does not, but I think fans have finally come to grips with the reality that the Ryans just are not great coaches. Instead we are hearing names like Jon Gruden and Chip Kelly starting to be mentioned more and more from fans. Bill Cowher has his name mentioned occasionally as well. I have even heard the name Bill O’Brien – yes, THAT Bill O’Brien – mentioned couple times by fans this week. Oh boy…

WFY: Best part of being an Eagles fan? The worst?

KMc: The best part is, when the team is winning, the passion and glee shared by fans who may not even know each other. The season that saw the Eagles head to Jacksonville for the Super Bowl was a blissful time for the region. If and when the Eagles finally bring home a Super Bowl, this city will erupt in euphoric fashion. The Phillies estimated 1 million people attended the 2008 World Series parade. I think despite being in February, an Eagles Super Bowl parade would match it.

The worst is obvious. Having to deal with negative fan stories, one after the other. Eagles fans will never be able to hear the end of the Santa Claus story or the booing of Donovan McNabb at the draft or the Michael Irvin injury. In fairness, some stories have been exaggerated but all have cast a rightfully dark image of the fan base as a whole.

WFY: What concerns you about the Eagles playing the Redskins?

KMc: Robert Griffin III. The Eagles have a weak secondary and struggle to bring pressure to the quarterback. Against a mobile quarterback with an arm and footwork like RG3 should be very scary for Eagles fans this weekend.

WFY: Which team do you think has a brighter future, the Eagles or Redskins?

KMc: Right at this moment the Redskins have a brighter future just based on having a player who may be the franchise quarterback for years to come (I am a huge RGIII fan). That said, depending on who the Eagles end up hiring as head coach, I think that could sway me back to the Eagles just because I find it difficult to buy in to Dan Snyder’s management of the Redskins.

WFY: Who is the #1 team in Philly right now, Eagles, Phillies, Flyer or 76ers?

KMc: Things are rough right now. The Eagles stink. The Sixers are awaiting the eventual debut of injury-riddled Andrew Bynum and fans are losing patience with them in the meantime. The Phillies ended the season on a disappointing note (congrats to your Nationals of course) but could be back in 2013 with a healthier core. The Flyers would be the best team right now, if only they were playing hockey.

For the time being I would suggest the Phillies are still on top, only because the Eagles have squandered an opportunity to take over the top spot in the meantime.

WFY: Prediction for Sunday’s game?

KMc: I think the Eagles have to win a game at some point but I see nothing to instill any confidence in picking them to win on the road this week. Everything I would bet against is found on the Eagles. An imploding offensive line, a non-threatening defense that lacks the ability to tackle and a rookie quarterback making his first start, and doing so on the road.

I’m not exactly big on what the Redskins bring to the game either, but until the Eagles win a game to snap this losing streak I just cannot say they should win any game they play until something changes.

KMc: Redskins 20, Eagles 17

WFY: Redskins 24 Eagles 16

In keeping with the spirit of Philly native & Phillies minor leaguer Glenn Brenner’s original Guest Prognosticator series, I’m going to ask you to pick a winner of each NFL game this week (please just bold the winner).

KMc’s picks:

Dolphins vs Bills (posted before the game)

Browns vs Cowboys

Buccaneers vs Panthers

Bengals vs Chiefs

Packers vs Lions

Jaguars vs Texans

Jets vs Rams

Cardinals vs Falcons

Saints vs Raiders

Chargers vs Broncos

Colts vs Patriots

Ravens vs Steelers

Bears vs 49ers

WFY’s picks

Dolphins vs Bills

Browns vs Cowboys

Buccaneers vs Panthers

Bengals vs Chiefs

Packers vs Lions

Jaguars vs Texans

Jets vs Rams

Cardinals vs Falcons

Saints vs Raiders

Chargers vs Broncos

Colts vs Patriots

Ravens vs Steelers

Bears vs 49ers

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Redskins: The only thing worse than wearing the Steelers 1934 throwbacks would be losing to them

It is old news, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are wearing these on Sunday when they host the Washington Redskins:

Technically, those are “inspired” by the 1934 uniforms, back when they were the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL. To me, it makes them look like convicted bumble bees that broke out of prison and started running a 5K or something. Or this guy:


No te gusta indeed

Or is this just an elaborate homage to Christian glam metal band Stryper?


Still in rapid rotation on WDVE?

Of course, the only thing worse than having to wear that uniform or watch your team wear that uniform is watching your team LOSE to the team wearing those uniforms. So, don’t screw this up Redskins.

Q&A with guest prognosticator The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus coming up at 2 p.m.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Yale adds merit stickers to football helmets

Yale football helmet stickers
I noticed on Saturday that Yale is now putting little Bulldogs on their helmets, presumably for good play. This is the first time I can recall it. Since the photo is not as clear as I would have liked, here is a look at the graphic I believe they are using:

This is the logo Yale is using as a helmet sticker

Yale upset Penn, 27-13 at the Yale Bowl on Saturday. I watched the second half with my dad, an Old Blue. He’s not real excited about the helmet stickers.

OTHER IVY HELMET NEWS

Princeton reversed their colors on their famed winged helmet as well which was news to me. I prefer the black helmet with orange wings over the current version — orange with black wings.

PREVIOUSLY

Yale football helmet goes retro: “Y” no longer outlined

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

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…

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Nats broadcaster Charlie Slowes finally has a team worthy of his abilities

Longtime Nationals broadcaster looks forward to playoffsWTOP
WTOP talks with the voice of the Washington Nationals, Charlie Slowes. Present at the creation, Slowes’ “Bang Zoom go the Fireworks!” “and a curly W is in the books” quickly became a part of the D.C. area vocabulary. He and his partner since 2006 Dave Jageler kept us entertained through years of bad baseball and are now finally getting to call a playoff team.

Prior to his working for the Nationals, Slowes spent seven years with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1998 to 2004. Add it all up and Slowes has been calling big league baseball for 15 years. This year marks his first winning season.

“It’s a lot of bad luck involved there,” he said. “But when the games are great and the team is winning, the storylines take care of themselves. These games are easy to broadcast. Maybe it’s the reward for having gone through everything we did when the games were nightmares, and you didn’t have good pitching and you didn’t play good defense and you had to find other ways to captivate the audience.”

I’m glad the Nats are finally as good as Charlie and Dave. Hopefully, we’ll get a full month of classic calls from them.

One thought — maybe it was those pancakes ads holding the Nats back. Who knew?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)