Posted on 15 September 2015 by WNST Staff
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Posted on 15 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Let me start by saying, “Screw the Washington Nationals.” Hands down, the worst people I dealt with in Major League Baseball. And the stadium isn’t much better. It’s a Philadelphia knockoff and that’s really not saying much. The neighborhood around the place isn’t getting any better as a destination for games. Most Nats fans thought the good news was that the team was going to be decent with a clear commitment to winning. But, then July happened to them in the NL East standings. But the stadium has a plastic feel and kinda makes me want to snooze off. The vibe is reminiscent of everything that went wrong when the Orioles moved from 33rd Street and recruited the wine and cheesers and readers of The Washington Post back in the 1992. Major League Baseball left Washington twice during the decade of my birth and the only thing that brought it back was the ineptitude of ownership in Montreal, combined with the despair and greed of the MLB owners. And a decade later, all of the money is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos in Baltimore. Mr. Angelos has made $2 billion off MASN and the Orioles since the birth of the Nationals. And the stadium is nothing special, not a place anyone would say you need to see in your lifetime. The only time I’ll enter that place is when the people who mistreated me are fired or gone – or maybe when Bruce Springsteen puts the band back together again and decides to play this place that made Peter Angelos even wealthier. Or maybe if Billy Joel or the Caps come back to play a game. But, the Washington Nationals are dead to me. Looks like they’ll be golfing in October, too. And that won’t hurt my feelings. Hey, I’ve had no problem disliking the Washington Redskins over the past three decades, right? Oh, and their stadium sucks, too…
On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/
Posted on 07 June 2014 by WNST Staff
The Washington Nationals concluded the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft on Saturday afternoon, selecting 30 players to round out this year’s draft class.
Over the course of the three-day draft, the Nationals selected 21 pitchers (seven left-handed pitchers, 14 right-handed), four catchers, 10 outfielders and five infielders.
Among the players the Nats selected Saturday was first baseman Ryan Ripken (Gilman) out of Indian River State College in Florida.
Ripken is the son of former Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame SS Cal Ripken. The younger Ripken was drafted by the Birds in the 20th round of the 2012 Draft before passing on the opportunity to accept a scholarship to play baseball at South Carolina.
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Posted on 23 April 2014 by Robert Canady
I fear Peter Angelos may have been correct. About ten years ago when he was trying to block Washington, DC from getting a Major League Baseball team, he was quoted as saying, “There are no real baseball fans in D.C.”
I remember thinking at the time, what an out of touch old coot he must be. I lived in the District for a while and worked there for many years. I was a baseball fan, admitting like a lot of people in the greater Washington, DC area I had grown up elsewhere and found myself here due to my career path. I still followed my hometown Cincinnati Reds, and became a regular at Camden Yards.
However after attending a game recently between the Washington Nationals and St Louis Cardinals, I might have seen a glimpse of what Angelos was talking about. The day had everything a real baseball fan could hope for, one of the first warm Saturday’s of the year, both teams contending for first place early in the season and the promise of a successful season laid out ahead.
Walking into the stadium it seemed like I was going to be in for a real day to remember. We made the obligatory walk around the concourse and saw the multitudes of food options, browsed the Clubhouse store and pondered a couple Nationals apparel items.
One thing that struck me was the huge number of fans in St. Louis caps and jerseys. Now anyone that’s been to a professional game in DC, knows it’s not unusual to the see the opposing teams colors and logos, after all DC is one of the more transient cities in America. And the Nationals in the past have even taken to marketing to the opposing teams fan base. But the number of Cardinals fans seemed unusually high.
However, the real shock came once we were settled in our $40 seats on the field level. I was surprised and bit taken aback to see the people directly in front of us holding an infant that couldn’t have been more than three to six months old. The couple spent the majority of the game with one of them attending to the baby in one way or another, and I don’t think mom or dad were in their seats together for more than one inning of the entire game.
In addition it appeared grandma and grandpa came along to experience the site of baby fan witnessing her (I’m guessing by the pink towel) first Nationals game. Grandpa actually appeared to be trying to watch the game. Grandma must have set a Nationals Park record for IPhone photos taken and uploaded to Facebook.
During the game, we were fortunate to witness, several bouts of crying, knee bobbing, burping, and of course the time honored 5th inning tradition of breast feeding, seriously!!
Now, I’m making an example of the couple that happened to be right in front of us, and may be nice of people. But in our section we saw no less than four other parents with babies that were young enough that they needed to be carried in either a carrier or strap on baby pack, or whatever those contraptions are called.
Why would anyone think bringing a baby that young to a three hour long, outdoor activity packed with 40,000 people is cute? It’s not, it’s selfish and self-centered. Nationals Park apparently has a doggie zone where you can bring your dog and several times throughout the game fans along with their pups are featured on the video board. I guess we were in the baby zone but missed the sign.
Now before I get labeled a baby-hater which I’m really not, some of the adults weren’t much more tuned into the game. Two young 30-something guys that sat right behind us, spent the majority of the game talking about problems at their office and how they seemingly had all the answers. Well not all the answers, one of them asked how the Cardinals had scored their last run? Which is somewhat understandable, we were about 300 feet from home plate after all.
All around us it was a constant swarm of non-baseball watching activity, such as groups getting up to “go for a walk.” Countless trips in and out of the rows to check out a different concession item, well I can’t put too much blame there.
It just seems that nobody sits in their seats anymore, and I didn’t notice one single person around me keeping score with the complimentary scorecard that is still given out.
When the Nationals threatened to tie or win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, most fans paid little more than obligatory attention. It took a few guys in the front row to turn around and shout and motion for people to stand up and get excited.
I know I’m from a different era. My fandom began over 40 years ago. I grew up outside of Cincinnati, Ohio in the late 60’s and stayed into the 80’s. My formative years of baseball were following the Big Red Machine that would lose to the Orioles and the Athletics in the 1970 and 1972 World Series respectively. Before winning back to back titles in the 1976 and 1977 against the Red Sox and Yankees—column interruption for Oriole fans to cheer—as I became old enough to drive myself to games, the defining moment of many baseball addicted youths at the time.
After college I moved to cities with no baseball teams first Tampa then Raleigh, yes there actually was a time when Devil Ray…excuse me Rays didn’t exist. Tampa was the spring training home of the Reds at the time, and I eagerly awaited every late February when pitchers and catchers would show up followed shortly by the full squad. By this time in the 80’s , Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Manager Sparky Anderson had been replaced with the likes of Dan Billardelo, Ron Oester and Russ Nixon, and the Reds regularly finished in last place of the National League West, behind among others the Los Angeles Dodgers their hated rival at the time.
After the teams left Florida, I took out a mail order subscription to the Dayton Daily News which would arrive in a timely fashion three to four days later and I would devour the box scores and latest—well as latest as they could be—stats. It’s now with all the details that are available on MLB.Com, bsaeballreference.com and other sites, a through baseball geek can find out what his favorite player is batting on Tuesday nights, against left handers after having chicken-cordon bleu for a pre-game meal. Back in 1984, I was happy to find out three days later that Dave Concepcion had gone 2-4!!
So enough of convincing that I grew up a baseball fan and remain a baseball fan. I arrived in Washington the same year that Camden Park opened and made the drive up from Georgetown for several weeknight and weekend games those first couple years. Hmmmh…I was in DC and I was a baseball fan. But this is when Angelos was still relying on ticket buyers from what he now considers enemy territory.
The game against the Cardinals was a sellout crowd of 44,000. Drawing over 2 million fans to Nationals Park each year as they have, the number may say there are enough fans to support the team in DC. But after what I experienced this past week, I have to wonder if Angelos had a valid point.
Posted on 26 February 2014 by WNST Staff
What had become a yearly complaint among many Orioles and Nationals fans has finally been addressed.
Since its first full year of operation in 2007, MASN had used a combined broadcast team for interleague games between Baltimore and Washington that was largely met with disdain and criticism from fans who preferred a team-specific telecast. However, the network announced Wednesday that the Orioles and Nationals will each broadcast separately when the teams meet at Nationals Park on July 7 and 8 and at Oriole Park at Camden Yards July 9 and 10.
Gary Thorne and Mike Bordick will call the action on the Orioles broadcast while Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo will handle broadcasting duties for the Nationals edition. The home team’s broadcast will be found on MASN while the visiting team edition will be shown on MASN2 for each of the four games.
With both clubs contending over the last two years, criticism of the combined format had increased as fans felt the outcomes of games were too important to give off such a feeling of camaraderie. Others pointed to the continuing dispute between the Nationals and MASN over the television rights fees that has stretched over the last couple years as an argument to not present such a jovial front between the two teams.
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Posted on 28 May 2013 by Luke Jones
(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)
WASHINGTON — As rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman was making his second major league start on Tuesday night, the Orioles continue to wait patiently on the recovery of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
Chen was eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, but the Taiwanese southpaw has yet to pick up a baseball as he rehabs a strained right oblique injury in Sarasota. The 27-year-old exited his start in Minnesota on May 12 after throwing five shutout innings and was officially placed on the disabled list two days later.
Oblique injuries are problematic with a high rate of setbacks because it’s difficult for training staffs to determine whether the muscle has truly healed until the player begins throwing again. Manager Buck Showalter and Chen both expressed the need to be cautious to make sure the lefty is healthy for the duration of the season.
“There’s a little progress, but not anything big,” Showalter said. “Little by little. It’s so hard to handicap that, but he’s doing OK.”
Chen is 3-3 with a 3.04 earned run average in eight starts covering 47 1/3 innings this season and had been the club’s most consistent starter at the time of the injury.
In other injury-related news, second baseman Brian Roberts has begun hitting off a tee and is on schedule for the projected six-week recovery laid out after he underwent surgery on his right hamstring nearly three weeks ago.
“He’s on schedule,” Showalter said. “He started increasing his baseball activities, his tee work, and soft toss, and he felt fine. I know him, he wants it to happen tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s ‘if,’ it’s ‘when’ with Brian.”
Infielder Wilson Betemit has finally begun some baseball-related activity as he is now playing catch and could continue to increase his level of activity. He has been sidelined since March with a Grade 2/3 PCL tear in his right knee and originally expressed hope that he would return in eight weeks.
With the Orioles struggling to find production at the designated hitter spot for much of the season, Betemit would be an ideal option against right-handed pitching after batting .302 and posting an .859 on-base plus slugging percentage against right-handed hurlers last season.
“Wilson’s a little bit of a forgotten guy in this [lineup],” Showalter said. “He did a lot of good things for us last year and we’re looking forward to getting him back.”
Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden (left thumb) caught five innings in an extended spring game on Monday and could be ready to go on a minor-league rehab assignment within the next few days. He will catch once again on Wednesday after serving as the DH in Tuesday’s extended spring training contest.
Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop will get a second opinion on his lower back in California on Wednesday after executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette revealed last week that the 21-year-old is dealing with a stress fracture in his back. That type of injury would likely keep Schoop sidelined until after the All-Star break, according to the initial prognosis.
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Posted on 24 June 2012 by Luke Jones
For much of the afternoon on Sunday, it looked to be a lost weekend for the Orioles.
Scoring only one run in Saturday’s narrow loss and being shut out through the first seven innings in the series finale against the Washington Nationals despite a strong out from Jake Arrieta, Baltimore appeared on the verge of dropping a series in which it held Washington to five runs while continuing an anemic offensive stretch over the last nine games.
But just like we’ve seen on numerous occasions this season, the Orioles snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after Matt Wieters crushed a Sean Burnett fastball into the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. Jim Johnson’s 22nd save gave the Orioles their seventh victory when trailing after seven innings and another improbable win.
Admitting he nearly decided to rest Wieters but deciding against it with Monday’s day off, manager Buck Showalter said it all in describing what was another dramatic finish at Camden Yards. Only he didn’t sound nearly as surprised as anyone else who watched the Orioles go 1-for-33 with runners in scoring position over the last seven games.
“That was fun at the end,” he said unassumingly and with little outward emotion.
The more we watch the Orioles through the first 72 games of the season, the less it seems to make sense. The flaws are apparent in the numbers and with the names Showalter is running out there on a daily basis.
Counting on their offense to help make up for their deficiencies in the starting rotation, the Orioles managed just 17 runs over the last nine games while actually receiving good starting pitching for the most part. Yet, they still found a way to go 4-5 over the stretch.
The lineup struggles to manufacture runs and relies too heavily on the home run — four of their five runs over the three games were scored via the long ball — but how do you really expect the offense to thrive when you see names such as Steve Pearce and Ronny Paulino and Steve Tolleson filling spots in Showalter’s order while Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold have been sidelined by injuries?
Defensively, the Orioles leave plenty to be desired, with players out of position and certain spots such as third base seemingly without an answer. Center fielder Adam Jones knows it better than anyone as he looks to his left and right and sees converted infielders manning those spots on most nights.
The starting rotation has struggled once you get past Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen, desperately needing more consistency from Arrieta, Brian Matusz, and Tommy Hunter. But Sunday was an encouraging sign as Arrieta continued his resurgence after looking like he was on the fast track to Triple-A Norfolk just two weeks ago. He’s now given up just six earned runs in his last three starts covering 20 innings (2.70 earned run average), looking more like the pitcher who dominated in an Opening Day victory than the one looking completely lost earlier this month.
The bullpen has remained the foundation of the Orioles’ success, and it pitched three more scoreless innings on Sunday to keep the club in the game after Arrieta failed to receive any support during his six strong innings of work. Johnson receives the notoriety at the back end, but Showalter trusts his entire bullpen — even Kevin Gregg hasn’t been as bad as fans want to admit — to pitch meaningful innings when the situation calls for any given name.
While certainly better than what we’ve seen in recent years, those parts don’t sound like they add up to a team that’s 10 games above .500 entering the final week of June.
The common phrase used in recent weeks has been the Orioles are “running on fumes” with everyone simply waiting for a swoon to begin, whether it was losing seven of eight right around Memorial Day or a humbling sweep against the New York Mets last week.
But the Orioles are never too high or too low, a dramatic difference from past seasons. Players downplayed the offensive struggles throughout the weekend — almost to the point of sounding cavalier about it — but were businesslike in reacting to Sunday’s dramatic win. Most credit goes to the players’ performance on the field, but Showalter has truly changed the culture after years of everyone in town talking about it needing to change.
“There was a good vibe in our dugout today,” Showalter said. “You could tell how much this game meant to them, and it was frustrating for them because we were so close a few times. It’s setting the table, like in pool, and you just can’t make the shot sometimes.”
Wieters did in the eighth, sending the Orioles to their 41st win of the season. It doesn’t mean the organization is there yet by any means, but it’s easy to forget the club didn’t collect its 41st win of the 2010 season until Aug. 13 — 10 days into the Showalter era. Yes, the standard has been incredibly low for 14 years, but that doesn’t make what the current club is doing any less encouraging.
The Orioles manager is the first to tell you he isn’t a magician. The change and success haven’t come overnight as last year showed us, but it’s time to stop dismissing what they’ve been able to accomplish over the first three months of the season.
Have they been lucky? Maybe, but does it really matter?
It’s a club with obvious flaws that may ultimately prevent it from playing October baseball, but every improbable win and unexplained success now makes it easier to hang around in August and September.
More than anything, it’s exactly how Showalter described Sunday’s game.
It’s been fun.
Posted on 12 June 2012 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: WNBA-Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Tennis: ATP Garry Weber Open (Tuesday-Saturday 1pm from Halle, GER on Tennis Channel)
10. Bonnie Raitt (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Beach Boys (Friday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Neil Diamond (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Dave Matthews Band/Gary Clark Jr. (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Martina McBride (Wednesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Reel Big Fish (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Of Montreal (Thursday 8pm Recher Theatre); Lindsey Buckingham (Thursday 9pm Baltimore Soundstage), Lisa Marie Presley (Friday 8:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Kelly Bell Band/Cris Jacobs (Saturday 7pm 8×10 Club); Robert Cray Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Grouplove (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Cult (Tuesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Bouncing Souls (Tuesday 7:30pm Black Cat DC); Ziggy Marley (Wednesday 8pm Howard Theatre), Little Richard (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Keane (Thursday 8pm Strathmore); Rush “Clockwork Angels” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)
I’ve already established that “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is the greatest Beach Boys song of all time. Now I point out that I’m an absolute hack because I also enjoy this clip from Full House…
A lot of people know I’m a significant Dave Matthews fan. But do you know that I’ve proclaimed my all time favorite Dave Matthews tune to be THIS?…
And if you go see DMB don’t stay in the parking lot too long. Gary Clark Jr. is freaking AMAZING. You may remember him from a collaboration he had with Ray Lewis a few weeks back at the NFL Draft…
Wait…The Cult? Isn’t that the band that does the song from that commercial in that Super Bowl?
9. Star-Spangled Sailabration (Wednesday-Monday Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Locust Point); “Rock of Ages” and “That’s My Boy” out in theaters (Friday); Gilbert Gottfried (Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Richard Lewis (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Gary Valentine (Thursday-Saturday DC Improv)
Ryan Chell and I are going to see That’s My Boy Tuesday night. It will probably make six billion dollars and everyone involved will get new cars. It used to piss me off because I don’t really find Adam Sandler’s shtick to be funny anymore, but there are a couple issues involved. One-Adam Sandler sat down with us at the Super Bowl and was really nice. He even opened up about my idol Chris Farley, which is something I found out later he really never does…
Two-over the past few months I’ve developed a unique friendship with Happy Madison star Peter Dante, who might be the best human being on the face of the planet. He’s the guy on the right below…
So now I hope the movie is funny and they make a billion dollars. Damn you, nice guys.
Posted on 20 May 2012 by Luke Jones
WASHINGTON — A funny thing happened as I got off the Metro and made the long walk from beyond the center-field entrance of Nationals Park to the media entrance behind home plate.
Even though Sunday was set up for a Washington victory with the Orioles having already taken the first two games of the series — there’s a natural inclination to let down when you’re a team inexperienced with winning — and facing the phenomenal Stephen Strasburg for the first time, that didn’t seem to matter.
I expected the Orioles to win on Sunday, for no good reason other than the fact that I felt they were better than their opponent. It’s a feeling I haven’t had in quite some time.
Sure, I’ve predicted the Orioles to win their expected share of games over the last decade and a half. As bad as they’ve been for as long as I can remember, it’s not as though they’ve gone 0-162 every season since 1997.
But this was a different feeling, a swagger rather than confidence based on an isolated matchup or simply expecting the law of averages to swing in the Orioles’ favor.
Maybe that law was simply moving in the opposite direction Sunday to snap a five-game winning streak as the Orioles lost to the Washington Nationals in a 9-3 final. Held to just two hits after the second inning, Baltimore was in trouble in the third inning when right fielder Nick Markakis couldn’t secure what would have been a diving catch as Bryce Harper’s two-run triple put the Nationals on the scoreboard and an early 3-0 lead evaporated soon after.
Starter Wei-Yin Chen pitched the worst game of his young major league career, giving up six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings to take his first loss of the season.
But even after the Orioles fell behind 6-3 and were in the midst of having 15 straight hitters retired at one point, you still thought they could mount a comeback. When you already have six wins when trailing after seven innings — the Orioles had five all last year — people tend to keep watching.
“We never quit. All the way to the end, we had the bases loaded,” said center fielder Adam Jones, referencing the ninth inning after the Orioles had fallen behind 9-3. “It shows we’ve still got fight. We’re happy we won the series, but we’re not content because we want the sweep.”
We’ve heard similar statements from Jones and other Orioles when times have been good, but it just doesn’t sound as hollow now with the club standing at 27-15 and owning a two-game lead in the American League East.
The Orioles have the best road record in baseball at 15-6 and had won nine straight away from Camden Yards before falling on Sunday afternoon. Their 4-1 mark on this most recent trip gives them three straight winning road trips for the first time since 2005.
The prosperity looks even more impressive when you look at all the Orioles have endured. Of the 14 series they’ve played in 2012, only five have come against teams currently with a losing record — two of those teams (Oakland and Boston) are just a game below .500.
Injuries have taken their toll in the month of May as four players from the Opening Day roster currently find themselves on the 15-day disabled list. The club made 22 individual roster moves in a week’s time just to balance the health challenges and the strain put on the bullpen after a number of extra-inning contests.
A plethora of excuses have been there for an Orioles collapse, but this group has yet to take the bait as we approach the final days of May.
Instead, they simply keep winning.
“I just like the heart and hustle,” Jones said. “Everybody shows up here every day, not everybody’s going to feel good. We’ve got injuries; that’s everybody. This group of guys shows up every single day and never makes excuses.”
I’m not ready to deem the Orioles legitimate contenders who are a certainty to be in the pennant race come September, but I have gotten to the point where I no longer believe it can’t happen.
But there’s no rest for the weary as the Red Sox come to town having won eight of their last 10 games to climb out of a deep early-season hole under new manager Bobby Valentine.
“There are some good things that happened on this trip, but now we have to turn our thoughts to Boston,” manager Buck Showalter said. “They’re playing well and it looks like they won again [Sunday], so I know they’re going to be a foe.”
When you haven’t won anything in this century, you’re always going to be under the microscope as observers wait for the first sign of trouble. The Orioles will deal with that reality for the entire 2012 season — or at least until they return to their “normal” spot in the basement of the AL East.
But after watching terrific baseball over the first 42 games of the season, I’m no longer bracing for the inevitable collapse. Until they begin proving otherwise, I actually believe the Orioles are going to win every time they take the field.
It won’t happen every day as we saw on Sunday, but Showalter has made his players believers in the clubhouse and that faith is spreading elsewhere in what’s been the franchise’s best start since 2005.
As we’ve learned how contagious losing can be over the last 14 years, that winning feeling can begin to spread just as quickly.
And it makes for a fun walk to the ballpark.