Patriotism or Abashment

First off, I want to acknowledge the opinions of anyone reading this. You have every right to not like what transpired just a few days ago.

Did anyone know the Women’s World Cup was starting this week? I love sports and I wasn’t even aware that it was going on. Who do we blame? Media? No. The media only focuses on what “moves the needle” and not what the minority of people want to hear. But one thing that did move the needle this week, the United States Womens National Team (USWNT) absolutely punishing Thailand in the World Cup 13-0. Now, when this game was airing, I was at work and saw a 3-0 score at halftime. My first thought, “Okay, we got this game in the bag and that’s great!” Come to find out just a short hour later, our girls kicked them in the teeth and added another TEN…..TEN GOALS to make it 13-zippy. You would think the American public would be ecstatic because our Men’s team can’t even seem to beat the easy countries nowadays. And yet, the big defeat of the Thai women brought on more scrutiny than ever. Most were not upset about the score, but more so about the celebrations after each score. Here are my thoughts on the goal amount and celebrations.

Background of this video, that same panel (TSN in Canada) had a different, immediate reaction video following the game that said things such as:

  • “If you’re going to blow away a team, do it with humility. They did not.”
  • “…this was disgraceful from the United States. I would hope they could’ve won with humility and grace, but celebrating their 8th, 9th, 10th goals the way that they did was really unnecessary.”
  • “As a Canadian we would never, ever think of doing something like that.”
  • “For me, it’s disrespectful and disgraceful. Hats off to Thailand for holding their heads high. Their first time on a World Cup stage….I would love to be there to just hug them all.”

What a joke telecast. First off, they are comparing Canada to the United States which is completely unfair, especially to the American young women who scored their first goals in a World Cup. “I would love to be there to just hug them all” has to be the most idiotic thing ever said on television. What are you going to do? Hand them orange slices and Capri Sun’s for their effort? If you want respect, you earn it. The Thai women earned their respect by showing up against the USA and playing a full match. Yes, they got the doors blown off in an embarrassing fashion but that doesn’t mean they want you to send them well wishes as if a natural disaster just struck their country. This is the WORLD CUP. The tournament of all tournaments. Welcome to the best of the best Thailand. You got an unlucky draw and got the best team in the world in your first game, tough luck. You know who else in women’s sports got tough luck? (All American’s for the record.)

  • Lindsey Vonn. One of the favorites in multiple skiing events and was injured or banged up for the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
  • Kerri Strug. Vaulted her way to a Gold Medal in the team event after busting her ankle in the 1996 Olympics.
  • Mary Decker. One of the best track runners in US Women’s history. She was too young for the 1972 Olympics. Got hurt before the 1976 Olympics. Couldn’t compete because of the United States boycott from Moscow in 1980. And finally collided with another runner in the 1984 games and was unable to finish the race.

Kerri Strug

I am not one of the Thai women that participated in the game. So honestly, I do not know if they want sympathy or not. But competing on the World Cup stage is a huge accomplishment. (Again, ask the USA Men’s team how their last World Cup on their couches felt.) For the people who say “why didn’t you let up?” The United States was not going to let Thailand receive a beat down then let up in the last 20 minutes. Why let the Thai women wallow in their defeat during the game while you pass back and forth? That would be the most disrespectful thing ever. Those takes from media members are absurd. Everyone is there to compete and win the tournament. This isn’t a recreational game you see down at the local sportsplex. You’re not going to let up whatsoever to make sure the feelings of your opponent are suffice. Did the Seahawks start taking a knee to run the clock in the 2014 Superbowl up 36-0? No. Because that is the cream of the crop, and to win a Superbowl is the ultimate achievement in the worlds most popular sport. So if your argument is to “lighten up” or “pull back on the reigns,” you are as soft as a My Pillow from Mike Lindell.

My Pillow

Now on to the last point which is where the most outrage was brought up: The Celebrations. I did not agree with some of the women’s celebrations. Let’s get that out of the way right now. Head Coach Jill Ellis needed to tell her players to not let up but be respectful after scoring. Ripping her for “losing control of her team” is out of line in my opinion. If you put yourself in her shoes, do you tell the young women to tone it down after scoring the goal of their life? Absolutely not. But Megan Rapinoe? Come on. What the hell was that leg kick thing? I don’t like how you are 33 years old, have scored many goals on this stage and have to rub it in the faces of your opponent with a choreographed celebration. Mallory Pugh is 21, Rose Lavelle is 25. You are 33 and scored the 9th goal of the game. Go ahead and do your airplane thing and head back to your position.

I disapprove of “excessive celebrations” when up by a huge margin. That is something that I agree with most people on. If you are the Monmouth basketball team of a couple years ago or the Iceland National team who are having fun during the game after a good bucket or nice goal, cool. But those celebrations were not during blowouts. If you want to use the term “act like you been there before” go ahead. But some of these ladies haven’t been there before so I won’t go to the full extent and call these women “classless” or a “disgrace” like the Canadian women did on that telecast.

In conclusion, we all have to come to the understanding that this tournament is not like March Madness or a major sports playoff hunt. This tournament comes once every four years. These men and women have waited their whole lives to wear that American shield with the stars and stripes draped across their chest. If you want to celebrate like you just won the Superbowl, World Series or any other championship you can think of, go ahead! Veterans can act as role models as well. Rapinoe should have celebrated but in a different fashion being one of the veteran captains of this years squad.  I think I can speak for everyone, even non-sport fans, that we have an increased interest in the sports that have our nations flag involved. All eyes are focused in on you and that includes the youth in that respective sport. You can not know what the f*** is happening on the field and still go crazy when a goal is scored. It’s about our patriotism in the end and that is all their is to it. So let’s all put that game aside and root for our ladies representing our nation over in France. I’ll leave you all with a little song by the one and only Toby Keith…

After rough start, have the Nationals turned the corner?

By Jeremy Batka

This weekend marks the start of a very important 11 game home stand for the Washington Nationals. If the Nats have even the slightest hopes of post season baseball in 2019, they need to start beating the teams in front of them—but before we get there, how did the Nats get back to playing meaningful baseball?

Let’s think back to Memorial Day weekend- not the hamburgers or hot dogs, but the National’s record and sad state of affairs. Hovering around 10-12 games under 500, far from the first place Phillies, it almost seemed like Davey Martinez’ club was already out of playoff contention before the Memorial Day weekend charcoal had even cooled.

But since losing 4 straight in New York against the Mets, something unexpected has happened, the Nationals started to play better baseball. It started with taking 3-4 from the Marlins in an extended weekend series which led to the Nationals reeling off wins in 12 of their next 17 games. So, what changed so quickly?

Part of the reason for the Nationals underwhelming and downright ugly start to the 2019 season was a rash of injuries including Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman may not be the most shocking name to hit the injured list but you certainly don’t expect his backup, Matt Adams to join him there. Add injuries to Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, and Howie Kendrick and you’ll start to understand why the Nats fell so far below 500.

It wasn’t just injuries though- the nights when the offense provided a few runs they were most often givien back fairly quickly. The bullpen has by far been the greatest weakness of the 2019 Washington Nationals. Boasting the highest ERA in the NL for a long time in the early half of the season; outside of closer Sean Doolittle, they struggled to find an out. You had good starts from Corbin, Strasburg and especially Scherzer wasted due to the inability of the bullpen to get outs.

So as the Nationals enter their most important home stand of the season (so far) which includes matchups against the Phillies and Braves both of whom they are chasing, why should Nats fans have any faith that their winning ways will continue?

The truth is the Nats turnaround (or slight version of…) is a product of simply playing better baseball. The defense is not committing as many errors and the offense is providing timely hits. This, plus Strasburg, Sanchez and Scherzer having some great starting efforts without the bullpen giving the runs right back.

Turner took some time reaching 100% getting back from injury but he enters the long home stand on fire. Rendon is also hitting well lately and getting on base at an All-Star rate. Even the bullpen has produced some help for Doolittle as Tanner Rainey seems to be a strong 7th  or 8th inning option hitting mid to upper 90’s routinely.

Don’t pencil the Nats in the 2019 post season yet but they certainly have started to play better baseball since Memorial Day. Will they be good enough to make a run at the teams in front of them?

After this 11-game home stand, we may have our answer.

Episode 33 – (Redskins, Capitals, Nationals)

Behind the mics once more, we discuss McDonalds touch screens, Lunchables and the Trent Williams saga for the Redskins! Take a listen…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Trent Williams – (15:00)
  • One-Year Anniversary from the 2018 Stanley Cup – (30:10)
  • Nationals Lately – (41:00)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (59:15)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Clip of the Week – “Lunchables”

What is your favorite Lunchable? We are working to attain a sponsor for our podcast and hope that a flavorful snack product can be just that! Direct Message us on Twitter if interested: @Serone16 and @TheDCCrossover…We are happy to do business with any of you!

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Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

The Snarling, Muttering, Foaming Wonder of Max Scherzer

max for article

That snarl is the first thing that catches your eye. It can appear at random, sometimes in the first few innings, other times when the tank is just begging to be empty. Every team has gotten familiar with it at this point. Cincinnati being the latest victim to experience the psychotic stare from 60 feet, 6 inches away.

It is truly remarkable the company Max Scherzer keeps now, in his 12th season, among the greats.

We’re talking Randy numbers, we’re talking Nolan numbers, Clemens, you name it Scherz is there.

Did Dodgers fans know what they were getting when Koufax took the mound? Do we Nats fans realize what we are witnessing right now? In the words of the great Andy Bernard, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.’ THESE are the days we’ll be telling our kids about.

In a season of futility, with the Nats straddling the line of “Blow it all up!” and “We can still win the division!” there stands a lanky 34-year-old who is the walking definition of leave it all out there on the field. He grimaces. He snarls. Sometimes he even foams at the mouth, a junkyard dog just waiting for the steak to be thrown through his doggie door.

Hell, even his own manager faces the wrath on a start-by-start basis:

Unfortunately for Max, every pitcher has a ticking clock that constantly is waiting for the end. He isn’t there yet, but the retirement devil is doing burpees, just waiting to claim its next victim. The scary part is will he get a chance to pitch another World Series game before that happens? His last was in 2012 for Detroit. Ask around and I don’t think any Nationals fans are confident that they’ll be purchasing their World Series tickets any time soon.

So alas, we must instead just soak it in. Soak in the spitting, raging, lunatic that pitches now not only with his lightning right arm, but with his full and entire heart. I’d take Max Scherzer over any of the Bellingers, Harpers, or Yelichs of the world.

THAT’S the face of the franchise.

And that face is scowling his way into the Hall of Fame.

Clip of the Week – (My 600lb. Life)

No sports on the tube? Turn on TLC. There is bound to be an episode of “My 600 lb. Life” on the television. Today, we get sidetracked watching “Holly’s Story”…

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Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

 

Episode 32 – (Redskins, Nationals, “Two-Point Conversion”)

Back from the Memorial Day weekend, we jump back in to Redskins OTA’s, Kuznetsov in the news and what the Nationals have been up to the last two weeks. Plus, we get a tad bit distracted by the show “My 600 lb. Life”….Take a listen!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Redskins OTA’s – (18:15)
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov in the News – (36:10)
  • Nationals Lately – (45:00)
  • “Two-Point Conversion” – (1:14:20)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Episode 31 – (Redskins, Wizards, Nationals, Pine Pony)

We had to reschedule our interview with Rashad Mobley, but it did not stop us from touching on all D.C. sports of the week! We discuss another 20 minutes of food and randomness (our specialty) to start and get into Dwayne Haskins audio, Wizards Lottery let down and more…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Dwayne Haskins Audio – (23:35)
  • Wizards Lottery Let Down – (41:20)
  • Nationals Lately – (58:35)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (1:29:00)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Episode 30 – (Wizards, Nationals, Food Game)

If you want “old school” Serone & Simpson, this is the episode for you. With the Nats and Wizards being the only ones with real importance at this time, we got into MAJOR discussions of many foods that we wish were part of our daily diets. Even though this is a sports podcast, we still enjoy the food conversations almost as much as we like eating the food itself…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Wizards Draft Lottery – (25:00)
  • Ryan Zimmerman Comments/Nats Talk – (38:50)
  • “This or That” Food Game/Food Tangents – (1:04:00)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

The Art of “Small Ball”

If you are a Nationals fan, you have to notice something different about this years team. Yes, Bryce Harper is not here. But if you look at this club more in depth, you can see it is not “just a new cast in this 2019 play.”

SportingCharts.com defines “Small Ball” as: An offensive baseball strategy that favors situational hitting and base running tactics over pure hitting in an effort to make efficient use of scoring opportunities in any given situation.

Personally, this is my favorite strategy in all of sports. I am a more strategic type of coach rather than a “set the lineup and release the hounds” type. As a Nationals fan, this is the first glimpse since the start of the Bryce era that we have had to follow the “small ball” model over the model of “get some guys on and let Harp crush a 450 foot mammoth shot to the upper deck.” In 2019, our lineup is focused more on batting average hitting rather than home run hitters.  Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Howie Kendrick, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Adam Eaton and company aren’t going to go out there and be the new Ken Griffey Jr. hitting over .300 with 30-40 homers every year. My gripe is more so with Davey Martinez than the players, but I do acknowledge that it isn’t all him and that the players have to execute as well.

With that in mind, “small ball” has to be executed with precision and accuracy. This is one reason, of the many, why I think Davey Martinez is getting criticized every day. To master this art, you have to set the tone in the clubhouse first and foremost. While Ben and I were coaching some rising High School players, everyday I emphasized two words: Responsibility and Accountability.

  • Be RESPONSIBLE for your job and what you need to do on the field.
  • Be ACCOUNTABLE for your mistakes.

Those two things are, what I think, most important in not only baseball, but any team game that deals with multiple pieces on the field at once (i.e. Football, Basketball, Soccer etc.). My biggest critique is the lack of energy and passion that has been set in the Nationals locker room thus far. There isn’t any fire on the bench to get guys amped up. We see errors, bad at-bats, and countless mistakes being made that you learn in Babe Ruth leagues. Not being able to lay a bunt down, striking out when you need to put the ball in play,  and bobbling routine grounders happens to professionals, but it seems like it happens more often than not with this ball club. We are 26th in Major League Baseball with 27 errors on the season. We have 12 in our last 10 games. There just isn’t any energy getting this team right or rejuvenating the passion on a nightly basis. We always have to understand that it’s a game and games are supposed to be fun, yet this team looks to be miserable at this point. The culture starts from the top and Martinez’ best friend type approach is starting to wear thin with each loss.

Strasburg speaking about the Nationals struggles

Next up, you have to manage each game with more strategy than just analytics. The “eye test” is so underrated in sports. You have a high baseball intelligence? Use it. For instance, you see Jeremy Hellickson out there with nine strikeouts in the 5th inning and a low pitch count, don’t take him out for a “lefty/lefty match up.” You have Brian Dozier get on base with Wilmer Difo batting (.232) up next, you bunt Dozier over getting him in scoring position allowing him to have a higher chance of scoring on a base hit. Most fans and on lookers would prefer you make a baseball decision rather than look at a booklet that says Difo has hit changeup’s well lately. We all want the same thing and that is to score runs. With a depleted lineup, you need to score a few runs and let your horses in the rotation bring it home. Putting excess pressure on Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin to always “great” and not just “solid,” is something you never want.

Davey Martinez

Lastly, you have to move runners “station to station” by singles and doubles, not home runs. You may get a long ball here and there, but when runners get on, you have to get base hits to move them around. Washington is in the bottom third of teams in the stats LOB (Left on Base) and Team RISP Average (Runners in Scoring Position). We are currently leaving over seven runners on base per game, while only hitting .246 with RISP. With that, you have to look at how you’re setting your lineup. Two guys that are performing horribly with runners in scoring position are Ryan Zimmerman (2 for 21 – .095) & Brian Dozier (2 for 17 – . 118). Notably, both of them are more known for power numbers instead of hitting for average and on-base percentage. Dozier has hit an average of 29.6 Home Runs per season dating back to 2014 with a career .323 OBP. Zimmerman has had five seasons with 25+ Home Runs and career .343 OBP. They are not made for small ball. Let’s look at their replacements stats.

First, Matt Adams is Zim’s replacement. Though his OBP isn’t that impressive, Adams proves himself with RISP (5 for 18 – . 278 – 11 RBI’s). For Dozier, Howie Kendrick is first man up. He is the prototypical small ball player. Kendrick is hitting (12 for 33 – .364 – 13 RBI’s) with runners on any base and (6 for 16 – .375 – .419 OBP) with RISP. Not to mention he gets on base at a .382 overall OBP which is top two on our team. Those numbers are considerably better and should show Martinez and coaches that to execute this strategy every night, you need to play the guys that fit the system more than ones that are getting paid more or have name recognition.

Howie Kendrick 2

To recap, this is what I believe Washington needs to do in order to succeed with this new squad:

  1. Set the tone in the clubhouse.
  2. Have a good balance of “eye test” and analytics.
  3. Produce a lineup that is more built for the type of baseball you play.

I was all for the Davey hire before the 2018 season. But the failure in the win column and lack of strategy almost every night has put my panic meter at a steep incline.