2007-09-13T05:07:44.455-04:00Before anyone asks: No, I was not in Miami yesterday.
2007-08-08T10:14:09.781-04:00I didn't want it to happen. And I certainly didn't want it to happen against my favorite team.
2007-08-07T10:01:54.220-04:00Second video in a continuing series:
2007-07-27T09:45:07.246-04:00Nats 7, Phils 6
2007-06-13T11:07:58.710-04:00Washington Nationals Draft ListRoss DetwilerJosh SmokerMichael BurgessJordan ZimmermannJake SmolinskiSteven Souza (yes, he plays baseball too)Derek NorrisBrad MeyersJack McGearyPhilip "P.J." DeanAdrian AlanizMark GildeaPat McCoyBill RhinehartCraig StinsonSteve ShepardDan LyonsPatrick ArnoldChris BlackwoodLuke PiskerSawyer CarrollJeff MandelDaniel CookAnthony BennerJake RogersDavid DuncanRicky NolanChris BerroaKelvin ClarkAaron SeussBoomer WhitingJustin PhillabaumZack PittsDave StewartDan KillianJeffrey McCollumKenn KasparekAlex FloydMartin BenoDevin DragShane ErbCaleb StaudtKai TuomiIden NazarioGarrett BassMike MartinezClint PridmoreTravis ReaganRyan CisternaJeffrey WaltersKyle GundersonJake DuggerLindon Bond[...]
2007-06-04T14:22:46.064-04:00One thing about having children I've always looked forward to is the joy of taking them to ballgame. And although she's too young to have appreciated it, Little Rockette made her debut at yesterday's rain-soaked slopfest of a ballgame at RFK.We planned this trip probably as far back as a month ago, as it was the first non-premium weekend game when we were available. (I'm pro-"teh plan", but I'm not paying premium prices for this team.) Plus, bringing the little one to a day game was bound to be a little easier.But, of course the rain made this one interesting. We were planning to leave for the 45-60 minute drive to RFK around 12 pm or, giving us plenty of time to leisurely make our way to our seats in Section 506. However, we waited it out at home until 12:30, hoping to hear news about the status of the game. Without any definitive news, Mrs. Rocket and I decided to go for it - it wasn't raining that hard and we weren't going to risk letting the tickets go to waste.After meeting Little Rockette's godfather outside the main gate, the four of us made our way inside just in time to see Josh Bard's first inning home run on the TV monitor. Damn.We settled into the seats right around when Guzman led off the bottom of the first inning, immediately bypassing our assigned seats for a row farther back under the overhang. But the swirling winds were bringing some light rain back into our faces, so it wasn't long before we moved even father back, maybe a half dozen rows in front of the old football pressbox.Little Rockette was content to stay in the baby carrier backpack on her mom's lap for the first few innings, looking around and absorbing the sights and sounds in front of her. But it was still a little wet and colder than we expected in the upper deck, so I decided to go hunt for a blanket at the team store.While I was off being a dutiful father, I missed the best part of this otherwise crappy game - Zimmerman's Hondo-esque blast into Section 533. I stopped and watched the replays on a TV monitor near a concession stand. Poking around the team store for a blanket, I saw the other interesting occurance of the game - the home plate umpire refusing to award Kevin Kouzmanoff first base because he leaned too far into the pitch.When I returned to our seats without a blanket, (45 bucks?! Yeah right! I'll wrap her in my jacket instead) Little Rockette was out of the baby carrier and acting pretty fussy. Apparently the fireworks for Zimmerman's home run had spooked her a bit. Plus it was also about time for her to eat.After she had most of a bottle, Little Rockette was calmer. I parked her on my lap and draped my jacket across her while we watched the Nats squander scoring opportunities and play horrible defense. Perfect way to introduce a young fan to Nats baseball.After a late inning trip to the ladies room with mom, we put her back in the baby carrier on my chest for the last few innings, where she soon fell asleep. (Frankly, I don't blame her!) I put my jacket on over the baby carrier and zipped it up as much as possible to try to keep her warmer. She stayed asleep as we made our way through the exiting horde to our car in Lot 8.All in all, it was an uneventful game made a little more adventurous by the weather and the challenges of bring a five month old to the ballpark. Little Rockette handled the experience just about as well as anyone could expect. I'll save the ticket stubs for her and perhaps try to get Zimmerman or Manny Acta to sign one for her. Hopefully someday that's something she'll enjoy. I can't wait to take her again, especially when she's old enough to appreciate the experience.[...]
2007-05-19T22:43:14.064-04:00So tonight, the graphic scoreboard on the Nationals broadcast read "O's/WSH."
2007-08-03T15:13:56.770-04:00More MASN bullcrap, and another reminder that the Nationals still have the ugly hand of the ogre up north in their affairs.
2007-05-18T11:16:12.913-04:00(image) It's bad enough that we have to witness the abomination that is interleague play, this weekend the Baltimore Orioles and their fans come to RFK. If you're going to the stadium this weekend, be sure you're up to date on your shots.
2007-04-21T12:32:43.895-04:00(My stupid computer froze and ate an almost finished post. You'd think with my infrequent blogging, the blogger gods would make it easy for me to get a post up. But noooooooooo...)
2007-04-04T16:41:14.982-04:00Time to dust off the ol' blog and post some thoughts that have been rattling around my head the last 24 hours.In the wake of Monday's Opening Day drubbing at the hands of the Marlins, a prominent storyline emerging from the media, the Natosphere and the message boards was the horrible fan experience at RFK on Monday. The complaints ranged from the truly disturbing (Raw hotdogs?!) to the comical (WHERE THE F%$# WAS THE KETTLE CORN?????????).For some reason, the focus on the fan experience and not the debacle of a baseball game really bothered me. I expressed that in the comments at Capital Punishment and at YudaChat, which more or less caused people to vigorously defend their complaints.Well, I've thought about why these complaints bother me so much, and I have a few theories.First, let me say right off that some of the more egregious complaints, such as raw hotdogs or a 90 minute traffic jam in the parking lot, are fully understandable. Whoever is responsible for such issues -- whether it be the Nationals, Aramark or DCSEC -- need to be held accountable.But I believe the overwhelming number of complaints and dominance of this storyline across several forms of media -- newspapers, blogs, message boards (and not just the notoriously nitpicky BPG), and radio shows -- speak to a larger issue. As the third year of baseball in DC begins, I still believe that Washington is an immature (or "rusty," if you prefer) baseball town. This cuts two ways, against both the fans at large and the franchise.The Fans: Admittedly, I'm going on hearsay, but apparently after Monday's game, nearly every caller on Sportstalk 980 complained about concession lines and poor service at RFK. And the comment sections of St. Barry's National Journal were full of the same.Not that some of the complaints aren't fully understandable, but not being able to get a hotdog is what bothered fans about Monday? Really? They didn't notice Patterson's stinktastic performance on the mound? They didn't notice the tape measure dingers by the Marlins that landed well into the upper deck? They didn't notice two of our starting players limping off the field with injuries?Maybe I'm the strange one, but when I go to a ballgame, I'm most concerned by what happens on the field. (EDIT: I've ranted about this before. The first time was the third to last paragraph of my Opening Night 2005 post.)Again, if a lot of what people say happened actually occurred, then that's bad and it should be rectified. (Even though RFK is a nearly 50 year old facility with a single freight elevator and antiquated infrastructure.) But I'd hope there'd be more outcry over the fact that the Nats stunk up the field Monday (and Tuesday too).Perhaps the fans have already come to terms with the very real possibility of the Nationals being historically bad in 2007. (I haven't.) But I'm not so sure that's it. The service and the fan experience at RFK has been a common complaint of Nationals fans, even in the midst of the joy of the 2005 season.Look, the Nationals fanbase is still relatively young. What I'm worried about it is Washington developing a "Chavez Ravine" -- arrive in the third, leave in the seventh inning, Blackberry in one hand, premium cocktail in the other -- attitude about baseball.Maybe I'm expecting too much out of today's baseball fan, but the rampant complaints about service when the state of the team is so alarming don't give me a lot confidence about the future of our fanbase.The Franchise: Stanley, Stanley, Stanley. You swept into town last summer preaching the wonders of the fan experience, touting your brisket, knockwurst, bockwurst, bratwurst, sausages, chili, barbecue, crabcakes and more. You've preached the wonders of "Teh Plan!" (w[...]
2007-02-20T17:30:42.423-05:00Our old friend Jose Vidro reports to Mariners Spring Training...
2007-02-15T14:17:51.311-05:00(image) ...from today's Post:
2007-02-13T06:41:47.774-05:00With apologies to the great Ernie Harwell...
2006-12-25T16:47:13.827-05:00(image) Well, the newest Nats fan has entered the world. Little Rockette was born at 2:22 am Friday morning, weighing in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces.
2006-11-14T17:49:08.339-05:00Well, Mrs. Rocket and I finally made it to a game together during the 2006 season. We bought a pair of $5 rollback tickets in Section 506 for Saturday's game and piled in the car to make the drive into DC from the hinterlands of Prince William County. I had gone to two previous games this year -- Opening Day by myself and a game in July with my brother -- but Mrs. Rocket wanted to go to a game too, a request I was more than happy to accommodate.When you go to only one game out of a 81 home game schedule, you stand a good chance of seeing a pretty unremarkable game. Lord knows we've all sat through boring, poorly played games featuring quadruple-A lineups and retread pitchers. While the Nats have certainly been throwing on the field a fair share of such players in the waning weeks of 2006, Saturday's game was pleasantly remarkable for a number of reasons.First and foremost, it was a quite a joy to see Soriano finally reach the 40 homer, 40 stolen base mark. After Alfonso led off the bottom of the first with a single, it was plainly obvious to everyone in the park that he would be off toward second once the hitter worked a favorable count. Sure enough, he took off on a 2-0 pitch and slid into second without a throw.As we all stood up to applaud, I reflexively looked toward the scoreboard fearing that it would be scored defensive indifference. However, there was nothing to worry about, since it was clear on the replay that the catcher stopped his throwing motion because he didn't have a good grip on the ball.Although the Nationals' season has been rather anticlimatic, there was something special about being in the ballpark for a milestone that has been achieved only four times in history.And I'm glad Mrs. Rocket witnessed it as well. She's shown an increased interest in the Nats this season. During most of season when the WDCA Friday night games were all most of us had on TV, there was many a Friday afternoon where she called me at work and asked me to remind her what channel the game was going to be on that evening. In addition, the TV has been tuned to MASN when I have gotten home from work the past few evenings. So I'm thankful she got to see an historic moment like Soriano's milestone.Almost as significant as witnessing Soriano's 40th steal was the opportunity to FINALLY boo that rat bastard Paul Schrieber. If you need a refresher on the origins of my hatred of this sorry excuse for an umpire, click here, here and here. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly easy to explain to Mrs. Rocket why I consider a silly umpire my baseball nemesis, especially for a call that he made over a year ago.If only I really could squash him like the little bug that he is.And no one's surprise, including my own, I bellowed at him over a few strike calls from my lofty perch in Section 506. I wonder if that schmuck ever did get his peanuts.So we saw Soriano get his 40-40, and I finally got to boo my nemesis. A pretty fulfilling experience for a game that attended because it was one of only ones that could fit in our busy schedule. Now if only I had had the presence of mind to put down my $8.75 plate of nachos to go after the t-shirt the NatPack shot into our section. I chose to protect my food and watch as the t-shirt bounced off the railing in front of the row before me and down to the walkway below. Oh well. The nachos were worth it.And yes, I'm fully aware that not only has it been eight weeks since my last post, this post is about a game that happened four days ago.[...]
2006-11-14T17:49:08.246-05:00Subtitle: "Short answer yes with an if, long answer no with a but."Jim Bowden took seven hours of my life yesterday, and I want them back! Seriously, it was a bit anti-climatic to get all worked up in anticipation of the 4 p.m. trade deadline yesterday and then have nothing happen.My desire before the trade deadline was to see Soriano traded if Bowden and company could get a return that was significantly better than the two compensatory draft picks we would receive if Soriano signed somewhere else as a free agent at the end of the season. (The Nationals have a farm system almost completely bereft of talent. Since the best way to infuse talent into a major league team is to have young talent waiting in the wings, the Nationals needed to restock the farm, even if it means sacrificing someone as popular as Soriano.)Now that Soriano is here to stay for the rest of 2006, here -- in my typical milquetoast manner -- is my opinion presented in the form of "ifs" and "buts".If Jim Bowden only received offers for Soriano that were not a significant upgrade over the compensatory draft picks the Nats would receive if he signs with another team, then a hearty bravo to Jim Bowden for sticking to his guns.But if Cap'n Leatherpants put himself in an impossible negotiating position with his blowhard huckster antics, then I personally want to punch the bag of douche in the face. Nobody really know for sure what Bowden was offered, but if he turned down a B+ package of prospects because he wanted to make out like a bandit and make himself look good, then Bowden truly failed.If the Lerners and Kasten are willing to sign Soriano without diverting resources from the extremely crucial task of rebuilding the farm system and without shortchanging the rest of the payroll, then by all means, re-sign the man and make a ton of Nationals fans very happy.But if signing Soriano to a market contract means we eat up a ton of our budget and don't have the necessary resources to get other things we need, (pitching, pitching, pitching) then it's time to let Fonzie go to the highest bidder and see what we can do with the draft picks.If the Nationals are ready to get some more pieces to complement Soriano, then they should sign him and see if they can make a brief run at contending while the rest of the franchise is rebuilt.But if Bowden still thinks that signing one superstar will solve everything (see: Griffey, Ken Jr.) then it's a very dangerous proposition to resign Soriano and ignore the other glaring holes on the roster.If Soriano truly does love Washington and the Nationals, he will realize the franchise will have a hard time meeting his open-market value because there are so many other holes to fill. He'll realize he may have to settle for less than what the Yankees, Angels or Dodgers might be able to pay him. He'll realize the Nationals need flexibility in personnel to build for a long-term future, and he'll give up his desire to have a no-trade clause in his next contract. There are already some promising signs on that front.But Soriano tends to change his mind a lot, yet be stubborn about things at the same time. Remember he was never going to play left field, until the prospect of losing paychecks changed his mind. Then he was going back to the American League to play second base, until he made the All-Star team and became a hero to many DC fans. I do believe he's sincere right now when he says he loves DC and craves stability and comfort. But an offer of $100 million from an elite tea[...]
2006-11-14T17:49:08.152-05:00(image) ...for now. (You may have noticed I took down the "Fire Me" banner.)
2006-11-14T17:49:08.063-05:00Why the hell should I care about a team that's going to be run by this crazy-ass douchebag?
2006-11-14T17:49:07.978-05:00Well, winning is fun, isn't it?Honestly, I can't say I've been watching very much or even listening. Life is so busy right now. I have a new job with weird hours and a commute that leaves me literally with only one hour of non-work time at home per weekday. With a newlywed wife and a baby on the way, it's awful hard to justify spending much of that hour on baseball.But I do read Svrluga's game stories and the message boards on most days. I watch as much as I can of the Nats rare appearances on DCA 20, FOX and ESPN.So I'm not completely ignorant of what's going on. And I do have stuff to say from time to time, but I rarely have time to post it here on the blog. When do I have the chance, sometimes my thoughts are old news.There's a lot going on with the Nats, and here's some of what I think about Alfonso Soriano:Soriano is having an unreal year. He's making all of us who decried the trade look a little foolish. I think it was a questionable trade when it was made, but sometimes these things work out.It would be great to keep Soriano, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking it's simply a matter of the Lerners making a huge offer. Soriano has to want to stay here.Soriano would be stupid to give up his free agency and sign before the end of the year. He's likely going to test the market.If it becomes clear he won't sign before the trade deadline, the Nats would be irresponsible not to explore every possibility for a trade. There are plenty of teams who could use his bat and could offer us a nice package of mid- to top-line prospects. As much as we like the guy, we have to think about the long-term future of the franchise.If we test our luck in the free agency market with him, we could lose him for only draft picks. And since the teams who would be most likely to sign him are good teams, it would be a lower pick in the first round.If Soriano is indeed traded, Nationals fans CANNOT take this as evidence that the Lerners are going to be cheap and that Washington is doomed to lousy teams like the Senators. Franchises that are CONSISTENTLY competitive build good young players in the franchise. Trading Soriano is a rare chance to get 2, 3 or 4 good young players to be part of a consistent winning tradition. It would NOT mean the Lerners are giving up and planning to make this team another Kansas City or Tampa Bay type franchise.Sure, we all want to win right now. And there's a small chance we could stay really hot and get into the mix this year. But if we lose Soriano after the year with only a low first round pick to show for it, we will have missed a huge chance to add a handful of players who can be part of a consistent winning tradition. I'm certainly willing to suffer through the rest of 2006 and 2007 in order to build a franchise that can win consistently over many years starting when the new stadium opens.It usually takes around 90 wins to make the playoffs. With a record of 28-33 before Friday night's game, the Nats would have to go 62-39 over the rest of the season. That's not easy. Hanging on to Soriano in order to try to win in 2006 (with the risk of losing him in the off-season) would be pinning much of our hopes on 2006. That would be irresponsible.[...]