Ep 60-In A New York Minute

On this episode the boys talk Mother’s Day, Mike’s gripes, the Wiz playoff standings, Caps recent injury bug, the Nats recent failures, as well as some Locks and Upsets of the week.

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Mother’s Day + Mike’s Email Gripes – (1:18)
  • The Rewind – (13:47)
  • Wiz latest games + playoff outlook – (19:25)
  • Rangers fight, one game left in reg season, goalie for playoffs – (29:04)
  • Josh Bell continues to struggle, Nats have a rough week – (42:00)
  • The Final Lap (Rapid Reactions to latest headlines) – (56:00)
  • Trivia Question – (1:02:15)
  • The Moneyline (Betting Segment) – (1:05:03)

Episode 52-(2020 Chicken Sandwich Tournament: Final Four)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Chicken Sandwich Tournament. Eight Sandwiches, One Champion.

We continue the tournament with our final four:

#1 Chick-fil-A vs. #5 Wendy’s

and

#2 Popeyes vs. #6 Zaxby’s

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Episode 51-(2020 Chicken Sandwich Tournament: 2 vs 7 and 3 vs 6 Matchups)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Chicken Sandwich Tournament. Eight Sandwiches, One Champion.

We continue the tournament with our next two matchups:

#2 Popeyes vs. #7 McDonald’s

and

#3 Shake Shack vs. #6 Zaxby’s

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Episode 50-(2020 Chicken Sandwich Tournament: 1 vs 8 and 4 vs 5 Matchups)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Chicken Sandwich Tournament. Eight Sandwiches, One Champion.

We start off the tournament with our first two matchups:

#1 Chick-Fil-A vs. #8 Arby’s

and

#4 KFC vs. #5 Wendy’s

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Sweet Snack Championship w/ Michael Jenkins

We are joined by one of the hosts of “The Daily Line” on NBC Sports: Michael Jenkins. Jenks helps us make some of our final decisions in the snack tournament, provides some of his snack favorites, and lets us know what he is up to lately with no sports during quarantine!

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Episode 49-(2020 Sweet Snacks Tournament: Final Four w/ Special Guests)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Sweet Snacks March Madness Tournament. Four Regions, One Champion.

We finish the tournament with our Final Four

#3 Seed-Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies (Entenmann’s) vs. #1 Seed-Fudge Rounds (Little Debbie’s)

#6 Seed-Double Chocolate Frosted Donettes (Hostess) vs. #2 Seed-Butterscotch Krimpets (TastyKake)

We are joined by some special guests along the way:

TIMESTAMPS

  • 30:00-Whitney Vincent+The Dixon Family (Jennifer, Taylor, Ashley, and Makenzie)
  • 1:00:00-Will Simpson+Ian Holleran
  • 1:30:00-Michael Jenkins, Co-Host of “The Daily Line” on NBC Sports

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Episode 48-(2020 Sweet Snacks Tournament: TastyKake Region)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Sweet Snacks March Madness Tournament. Four Regions, One Champion.

We finish the regional round of the tournament in the TastyKake region with our 8 seeds.

  1. PB Kandy Kake
  2. Butterscotch Krimpet
  3. Chocolate Cupcakes
  4. Buttercreme Iced Cupcake
  5. Pecan Swirls
  6. Choc. Chip Cookie Bar
  7. Honey Bun
  8. B&W Krimpet

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Episode 47-(2020 Sweet Snacks Tournament: Entenmann’s Region)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Sweet Snacks March Madness Tournament. Four Regions, One Champion.

We continue the tournament in the Entenmann’s region with our 8 seeds.

  1. Fudge Brownie Little Bites
  2. Choc. Chip Little Bites
  3. Milk Choc. Chip Cookies
  4. Frosted Devil’s Donut
  5. Glazed Donut Holes
  6. Blueberry Little Bites
  7. Choc. Frosted Donuts
  8. Mini Pound Cake

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Episode 46-(2020 Sweet Snacks Tournament: Hostess Region)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Sweet Snacks March Madness Tournament. Four Regions, One Champion.

We continue the tournament in the Hostess region with our 8 seeds.

  1. Cupcakes
  2. Ding Dongs
  3. HoHos
  4. Twinkies
  5. Suzy Q’s
  6. Double Choc. Frosted Donettes
  7. Honey Bun
  8. Choc. Chip Muffins

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Episode 45-(2020 Sweet Snacks Tournament: Little Debbie Region)

Welcome to the greatest tournament ever created: The 2020 DC Crossover Sweet Snacks March Madness Tournament. Four Regions, One Champion.

We begin the tournament in the Little Debbie region with our first 8 seeds.

  1. Fudge Rounds
  2. Cosmic Brownies
  3. Swiss Cake Rolls
  4. Oatmeal Cream Pies
  5. Choc. Chip Cakes
  6. Zebra Cakes
  7. Honey Buns
  8. Pecan Spinwheels

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Episode 44-(NFC East Grades+Big Reveal)

The boys go through each of the NFC East offseason’s so far, as well as reveal some new snack-related content coming this week.

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • NFL NFC East Talk – (14:00)
  • Big Reveal – (1:04:00)

Episode 42-(We Got Stood Up)

The boys spend some time getting stood up by a fan wanting to interview them, Trent Williams recent news, and Caps playoff push.

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Trent Williams – (28:00)
  • DC Defenders – (42:00)
  • Caps – (55:00)

Episode 41-(Snacks or Sports, What’s More Important?)

The boys spend some time talking DC Defenders getting crushed, Caps turning the corner, and the Cookie Mount Rushmore.

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • DC Defenders – (13:00)
  • Caps – (25:00)
  • Cookie Mount Rushmore – (48:00)

Episode 40-(The Boys are Back)

The boys make their triumphant return to the airwaves after a brief hiatus. They try a few snacks and provide quick updates on the current state of DC Sports.

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Nats Update – (10:00)
  • Caps/Wiz – (34:00)
  • DC Defenders – (54:00)
  • Snack Review – (1:01:00)

 

 

Loudoun United – Segra Field Opener Fan Experience

Join us as we explored Loudoun United’s unveiling of the new Segra Field in Leesburg, VA. We reviewed the stadium experience rather than the play on the field. (Isn’t that what the people want?) Take a listen to the reviews and experience as we got some “field passes” somehow, and tried some local eats…

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Segra Genesis, A DC Crossover Night at the Pitch

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As you have probably heard us mention a few billion times, Mike and I went to the opening of Segra Field on Friday night for Loudoun United. Below is a recap of our experience. 

After picking up Mike at the Serone Estates, and after a few beers and wings to open up our stomachs a bit, we shipped off to the anticipated opening of Segra Field. It is a relatively pleasant drive as you near the stadium, traffic cones lining the roads, giant construction vehicles abandoned for centuries. That’s the great thing about Northern Virginia road construction, there appears to never be an actual deadline. The contracts must end just with a “?” as far as the anticipated date of completion goes.

As we passed Leesburg Airport, Mike mentioned to me that he had considered getting a pilots license once. I can speak for the rest of the planet when I say I’m glad he gave up that dream of flight.

We followed the trail of cars and slowly lurched forward, directed by Loudoun County’s finest and also by what appeared to be Loudoun County’s weirdest: those arm-waving guys that tell you where to go at concert/sports venues. What a job. Every car knows the direction to go, oftentimes there is literally only one way to go, and yet there is a man in a bright orange vest standing there wildly waving his arms, urging you to yes, indeed, go THAT way.

Funny enough, just as we were about to turn into one area of the parking lot, we were loudly informed to go down a different winding road. This went completely against the orange arm-wavy guy. There didn’t appear to be much order or sense in the reasoning, just a desire to create as much confusion as possible.

I don’t like pressure parking. That situation where there is a long line behind you and you have to just pick a spot and you MUST get it right the first time. I much prefer to find the most isolated grouping of empty spaces possible and ease my way in. But alas, in a stadium situation, the pressure is high, and as my front grill crunched into the end of the space I knew this would have to be good enough.

We set off on the long trek to the field, a small hazy dot in the distance. We had been told days earlier to enter through the East Entrance Media Gate because we had a small recording device for the podcast, which apparently means we both automatically earn Journalism degrees. The first issue we realized that while we both had taken Compass 101 in school, we had sadly slept through it entirely, and had no idea how to judge which side of the stadium was EAST. I politely asked a nearby attendant where the media entrance was, and he was so taken aback that he was expected to know that sort of information that he just kind of shuddered and walked away.

After minutes of walking and sweating, we found a small fold up table that was covered in lanyards so it appeared we were in the right place. The guy manning the check-in asked us what we needed, and I fumbled with my phone to show the email I had received from a member of Loudoun United.

“Did you talk to Kate?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Um no, I think it was a Chris..?”

This seemed to be the right name, as he handed us two blank press passes to write our names on. I considered for a moment just writing “Michael Wilbon” on mine, but my nerves got the better of me.

We were in. With press passes. We were MEDIA.

The first thing we wanted to test was just how far this newfound power could get us, so we approached the security guard standing at the field rope and immediately held our passes aloft. He squinted for a moment, probably thinking to himself: man, they just let anyone become “media” these days. He sighed, raised the velvet rope, and Mike and I stepped onto the turf.

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I will say, the field is pretty beautiful. Pristine, new, and us two boneheads were right there rubbing elbows with professional camera guys and people in suits.

After some more field pics, it was time to get down to the reason we were there in the first place: the food. Segra Field had around 7 or 8 food trucks lined up around the stadium for fans to peruse. We picked the first one, Grubbers, and placed our order. Mike was to sample the cheese dog, I was to dip into some chicken tenders and “chippers”. What we didn’t know was by placing that order we were settling into 45 minutes of standing and waiting for the food truck employees to remember how to make both of those extremely complicated dishes.

Whenever a group of people is waiting for slow service there is a mixture of amusement and impatience. Everyone is in the same boat, and yet people handle it differently. There are the people who decide that all of this must clearly be a mistake so they continuously go up to the window and say things like “How’s that hot dog for Ashley coming along? We’ve been waiting a while” as if the chef will throw away everything else they were doing and get you, Ashley, your hot dog.

My personal favorite in these situations is the “angry impatient guy”. There is one in every bunch, and we were not disappointed. This middle-aged polo-wearing fella had ordered his food and was NOT going to stand for any wait. He constantly scoffed and shook his head, his body vibrating with rage every time someone else received their goods. At one point he walked up and asked to exchange the water bottles he was holding because they had “gone warm from all the waiting”. What a guy.

We finally received our food and moved off to the side to stand and eat, because in all of the design of the stadium someone forgot to include somewhere to sit beyond the game seats.

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I was under a lot of pressure when I picked up my food at the window, so I didn’t put my usual three gallons of ketchup on, but it wouldn’t have mattered much anyway. The tenders weren’t good, and the chips were run-of-the-mill. Mike took a few bites of his cheese dog and opened his eyes wide in dismay. Grubbers, unfortunately, had missed the mark.

We were ready for Round Two with a different truck, but everything was packed. So we wandered, found another spot on the field to actually watch some of the game for once. We held up our flimsy piece of paper and yet again were granted access. I could sense stares from people in the crowd, likely thinking we were actually important people. This is obviously the furthest from the truth, and Mike and I, in fact, bring no value to the world.

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The crowd was electric. The game experience cannot be knocked, it was packed and loud and for sure would be fun if we were there for that. Instead, our food saga must continue, so we continued our journey, searching for another option to quench our ravenous hunger.

We trekked and trekked, getting weaker by the second. We then finally stumbled across a tent that was relatively empty. It was a dessert vendor, which is always a good option. I still can’t fully remember their name, something that is very evident on the podcast episode as I called this place five different things, but I THINK it was called something like “Aunt P’s Sweets & Treats”.

I ordered the Brownie ice cream cookie, Mike with the standard Chocolate Chip Cookie+ice cream.

I ended up with the better choice in the end, as Mike dealt with a salty crumbly mess that had peach-flavored ice cream in the middle. Mine was much more straightforward. Brownie plus vanilla ice cream, even Grubbers couldn’t screw that up. The great thing about ice cream sandwiches is when they get all over your hands and face and entire body.

The last thing we wanted to do before we left for the night, was to try to redeem the drink voucher that came with the tickets we bought, but the drink tent was moving at a glacial pace.

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There were multiple lines jutting out at all angles, with no real indication that anyone was actually coming away with a drink in their hand. The lines were moving so slow that one beer vendor guy stood in between two of the lines, selling beer to the people waiting. THAT guy is a salesman.

After waiting for 20 minutes, and getting flashbacks to our Grubbers experience, Mike turned to me and we both nodded our heads in agreement that we were ready to get the hell out of there.

We had dreamed of tasting five or six different cuisines while at the field, putting together copious notes and reviews, and instead we ate half a cheese dog and an ice cream sandwich and called it a night.

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We were defeated, but all-in-all it had been a good experience. It is a new stadium, it is going to have its hiccups and speed bumps. We’ll cut them some slack, plus there is always McDonalds Drive-Thru on the way home.

One day the DC Crossover will come back, ready to dine another day.

Loudoun United “Segra Field” Opener

We will be doing food, stadium, seat reviews and more this FRIDAY 8/9 at 7:30pm at the new Segra Field, home of Loudoun United! Come out and join us as we check out the new digs of our newest local soccer team…Audio from our adventure will be posted next weekend! We want to thank Loudoun United and their staff for letting us be a part of their big opening weekend!

Field Address: 42095 LOUDOUN UNITED DRIVE, Leesburg, VA 20175

Team Website: https://www.loudoununitedfc.com/

Clip of the Week – (Nutter Butter/Canada Dry)

We went into another rendition of our Snack Review with the new Nabisco “Fudge Covered Nutter Butter” and Canada Dry’s new “Ginger Ale – Orangeade Soda.” Go ahead and take a listen…

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Episode 39 – (Trent Williams, Nationals, Snack Review)

Will Trent Williams be traded? Will the Nationals stay in the Wild Card hunt? Who knows at this point….One thing we do know, SNACKS! Check out this episode as we give our ratings on the two brand new snack items on the grocery shelves!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Trent Williams Trade Possibilities – (10:00)
  • Nationals On The Road – (29:30)
  • Snack Review – (38:35)

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

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

Episode 38 – (Redskins, Wizards, Nationals)

Getting back into the “swing” of things (Get it? Mike was on a Golf trip?) we dive into Bradley Beal trade talks, the Nats last couple weeks and more! Come out to Loudoun United’s unveiling of their new stadium in Leesburg, VA on August 9th! We will be there recording food reviews and much more!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Trent Williams Absent – (16:45)
  • Beal being in a Deal? – (32:20)
  • Nationals Lately/Baby Shark – (42:15)

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

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

To Net or Not to Net?

 

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In the 6th inning of an Indians vs. Royals game just a few days ago, a 3-year-old boy was hurridly carried up the stairs, out of the stands, and eventually to a local hospital after being nailed by a line drive off the bat of the studly Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Lindor’s comments after the game reflected some of the same thoughts that have been echoed by other players around the league after these incidents happen. “I know it’s all about the fans’ experience of interacting with players and I completely get that. You want to have that interaction with the fans, getting autographs and stuff, but at the end of the day, we want to make sure everybody comes out of this game healthy, and we got to do something about it.”

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Baseballs are flying off bats at a historic rate, as well as a historic speed. Giancarlo Stanton, of the Yankees, hit a ball in March 120 mph off of Andrew Cashner. This is about as fast as a Tornado, or even a Skydiver falling towards the earth (I know, weird stats but I was curious to see other things that move at 120 mph). I, as a 26-year-old man, would find it hard to react to a 120 mph small object flying towards me, how is a child supposed to? How can you catch a Tornado?

As more children (and adults) have been struck by liners, teams have countered with new measures to implement netting extending from the dugouts now down to the foul-poles. The White Sox were the first to do it, our local Nationals have now done it, and the expectation is likely every major league team will install this at some point.

The players want it, the teams now want it (though they have dragged their feet a bit), but what do the fans think? Strangely, there has been a backlash.

I’m paying $___ to sit in this section, why should I have to watch through a net?

Just pay attention to the game, stay off your cell phones.

Parents should keep track of their kids better, or don’t let kids sit there at all

Not that many people are being hit, it’s not that big of a deal

I have yet to hear a compelling argument against netting that changes my mind about the subject at all.

If you have been fortunate enough to sit in the section behind home plate you have experienced the net view forever. Is it odd at first? Sure. Do your eyes adjust and eventually, the net makes 0 difference? Absolutely.

As for the phones, sure, people love those tiny Tinder-swiping Instagram-scrolling email-checking mind portals. What is your expectation? We ban phone usage from the parks instead? Restrict it to in-between innings only? How would that be enforced? Should you be paying attention if it is a right-batter and you have seats down the 1st baseline? Of course. But are you going to be locked in on every single pitch of every single at-bat for 3+ hours?

Let’s be real.

Baseball games are FILLED with distractions. Vendors popping up and down every row, conversations flowing on all sides of you, scoreboards with statistics filling every inch, the phones aren’t the only problem here.

Also, is it the 3-year-olds checking Twitter when the ball comes zinging their way?

Chicago Cubs v Houston Astros

Is there a magic number of kids being struck by balls for anti-netters to say, “Okay, we get it, time to put them up”?

The magic number should be ZERO.

Why wait until a fire before installing a fire escape? It HAS happened, and SHOULDN’T happen. This is preventable.

Plus, do we not want children to help the game of baseball grow? If we ban kids from sitting in those sections, the attendance rates will surely drop more than a handful of grumbling anti-netters not showing up.

Look, I get some of the other sides of this. You work hard, you save your money, you spend a s***-ton on expensive seats to see your favorite MLB team play and now you have to deal with this inconvenience. We are too soft as a country they say, what’s next, netting around the entire stadium? 

At some point, you have to just accept these changes. NFL bone-breaking hits are getting penalized, concussion protocols are getting stricter, nets are going up, it’s almost as if we want people to be…healthy? Be…okay? What a wild concept.

Call it soft. Call it wussy. Call it whatever you want, this will SAVE lives. Am I exaggerating? A few years ago a woman at Dodger Stadium died after being struck by a foul ball. It was the first foul-ball fatality in 50 years. 2 deaths in 50 years, not a bad ratio right? Do we think it will be another 50 years until the next one? With the juiced balls, and the stronger batters, and the more distractions? Should we really test that theory?

Let’s get a pitching machine cranked up to 120 and see what YOU can do.

My guess is, you won’t stand a chance.

A Salute to Steve

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“It’s been weird,” Buckhantz said. “I’ve just kind of been watching everything from afar, and it just feels a little weird to think that after 22 years since 1997 I may not go to training camp, I may not be involved in anything the Wizards do, I may not talk to the players, or you know, have meetings or any of that.

“It just feels really, really strange.”-The Athletic

Try describing the role of a play-by-play broadcaster to a non-sports fan.

So that person tells us what we are seeing already with our own eyes?…

And in a way, they are right. It is a strange job to grasp, but a role that somehow is interwoven into the heart of the sports landscape. They are with you at your team’s lowest lows and highest of highs. They gasp with you at amazing dunks and shake their head with you at sloppy mistakes.

They become part of your viewing family. You, me, and Buck. All of us sitting around and watching a franchise that just can’t quite ever get it right.

Steve Buckhantz has been that voice for Wizards fans for over two decades.

From Agent Zero game-winners to Javale McGee missed dunks to John Wall alley-oop passes he’s been in your home. You may not even have paid a lot of attention to him. And really, in broadcasting, that’s a good thing.

If he is a seamless integration into your viewing experience, he’s done his job. Provides a little bit of clarity, provides rising levels of excitement when necessary, and makes you feel a part of the action no matter where you are watching. That’s the gig. Mix in some analysis and stories from his counterpart and you’ve got yourself a broadcast team.

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But beyond the logistics and job duties is a person. And with any public-facing position, a lot of it comes down to likeability. Do I like this broadcaster? Do they seem nice?

Morals aren’t the qualification for basketball broadcasting, but listening to Buckhantz over the years you looked at him as the friendly optimist who was fiercely loyal to the team that he spent his career describing over the air. He combined his signature calls with a grandpa-esque demeanor. He was smooth, unruffled. He had fun. And we did too.

And now, unfortunately, things have come to an end.

NBCSports Washington will roll out their shiny new team of former Fox broadcaster Justin Kutcher in combination with a duo of Drew Gooden and Caron Butler this upcoming season. Things will be different, very different.

Kutcher is good, he’s been in the business a while himself, and he, unfortunately, has to bear the burden of replacing such a beloved figure in local sports. I am not envious of that gig.

Things are changing fast for the Wizards. Their long-time GM is gone, the team shuffles rosters around faster than a Vegas dealer, and the ownership group is focused on unveiling new Sports Books and higher-end dining options.

For a fanbase that already struggles with identity, the team seems to be providing no clear path to follow. Is the team tanking? Is the team going for a title? Who is the GM? Who is making decisions? So many questions, so little answers.

But Steve, we’ll miss the stability and grace you brought every single night on the air. Hopefully, this isn’t goodbye, but if it is we wish you the best of luck and we’ll think of you anytime a Wizards player hits a game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Dagger

 

Clip of the Week – (Pretzel Pieces, Fudge Covered Oreos)

Our clip of the week contains Snyder Pretzel Pieces (Hot Buffalo Wing) and Fudge covered Oreo’s….A revelation came about, but for which snack? Check it out!

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Episode 37 – (Snack Review, Nationals)

This time of year there are not a ton of sports going on so instead of doing a short episode, we swan dive straight into snack reviews! We get into the Nationals after their series with the Phils, but first we review Snyder Pretzel Pieces (Hot Buffalo Wing) and Fudge covered Oreos! Take a listen….

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Snacks Review – (18:30)
  • Nationals/Phillies Series – (45:05)

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

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

Episode 36 – (Wizards, Nationals, Grinds our Gears)

Back from a short hiatus, the boys dive into all the Tommy Shepard off-season moves for the Wiz and review the first half of the 2019 MLB season so far. Plus, Serone gets upset yet again over all the Ryan Zimmerman praise for ranking 289th in career RBI’s….

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Wizard Off-Season Moves – (17:15)
  • Nationals All-Star Break – (35:05)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (53:00)

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

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

Who wants to play Tea Party?

Let’s be clear here, I am going to try and keep this short and sweet because if my last article on this celebration crap wasn’t clear enough, then really why am I wasting my time typing instead of watching Season 3 of Stranger Things?

StrangerThings3

If you have been living under a rock, the United States Women’s National Team has advanced to the FIFA World Cup Finals taking place this Sunday with a win over England. Alex Morgan ended up grabbing her 6th goal of the tournament and celebrated with a little pinky action sipping tea. If you don’t get the reference, there is a search engine called Google. Here is the video:

There was tons of backlash of her celebration. Calling it “distasteful” among other things, is so idiotic I literally cannot stand these people. I am not one to use the cliches like “you hate us because you ain’t us” or “if you don’t like it, stop us.” But the fact that all these foreign outlets are so quick to talk, vlog and share their opinions of the smallest actions the USWNT does is kind of embarrassing for all of them. You got beat. You got your a** kicked. YOU LOST! Get over it, take it across the chin and enjoy the coverage of what the world has to offer us in women’s soccer! Let’s not get caught up in what the world thinks of the USA. Let’s get jacked up for Sunday and rock out with one of the best AMERICAN rock bands of all time!  USA….USA….USA!

 

Former Penguins, Capitals defender Brooks Orpik officially retires

Brooks Orpik has retired from the NHL after 15 seasons. The two time Stanley Cup winner won the Cup each with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. He tallied 18 goals and 176 assists over 1,035 regular season games in addition to 4 goals and 22 assists in 156 playoff games.

Matt Sunday/ DKPS

The player known in the Caps locker room as “Batya” (Russian for “dad”) receives lots of love and thank you’s on social media from his teammates,

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzI4Wuein6c/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Thank you, Brooks Orpik.

Bradley Beal Wants To Play With Lebron James

…in Space Jam 2.

I am here for this. Beal is maybe the most underrated player in the NBA and exposure from a box office hit (let’s be honest, you’re going to go watch it) would help propel him into stardom.

Not sure this even happens, but Beal would join Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, and WNBA Stars Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwunmike. Talk about star power, right Windhorst?

CBS Sports– “In all honesty, he’s been recruiting players to come and try to be in ‘Space Jam’ with him this summer,” Windhorst said, per Yahoo Sports, “and he hasn’t been able to close some of those deals. Some of the top guys he wants to come and be with him in the movie … [are saying], ‘You put me in the movie where you’re the star, I’m gonna be the one you’re dunking on.'”

Masai Ujiri Confirms He’s Staying In Toronto

Toronto Star- Raptors president Masai Ujiri says he appreciates the interest from other NBA clubs, but his roots are in Toronto.

Ujiri held an end-of-season news conference Thursday, in which he talked about his future in Toronto, winning an NBA championship and the growth of basketball in Africa and Canada.

Reports surfaced shortly after the Raptors won their first NBA title that the Washington Wizards were preparing a lucrative offer to lure Ujiri out of Toronto.

Ujiri’s wife is from Washington, and the Wizards were reportedly offering an ownership stake in the team.

 

This is obviously a huge blow to the Washington Wizards, who have yet to name a replacement to former GM Ernie Grunfeld. Ujiri was the name most talked about online and in the media when discussing front office candidates. Ujiri’s added NBA Champion to his resume this Summer to go along with a track record of helping franchises make the next step. He briefly worked as a scout for the Denver Nuggets before being hired by the Toronto Raptors in 2008 as assistant GM. He returned to Denver as GM and VP of Basketball Operations and won the NBA Executive of the Year award in 2013 before returning to Toronto as GM and President of Basketball Operations.

It is obvious why Ted Leonsis wanted Ujiri to run the front office. During his Toronto tenure, he took Toronto from 4th in the Atlantic to 1st in his first year, ending a five year playoff drought, won 5 division titles (including having the best record in the East in the 17-18 season), and ECF in 2016. He took a huge risk in firing Coach of the Year winner Dwane Casey and pulled off the steal of the year (and maybe century) by trading for Kawhi Leonard AND Danny Green without giving up any young pieces and just one protected 1st rd pick. The Wizards wanted him so badly, they were willing to give him ownership stake.

Washington Post- For several weeks, speculation has persisted about the Wizards’ interest in Ujiri. By late Thursday night, various news outlets detailed the proposed offers: close to $10 million annually, six years for $60 million or even a percentage of ownership and control over other Monumental Sports & Entertainment properties. The Post also reported on the Wizards’ link to Ujiri and that “a potential offer would have to include a pathway to an ownership stake.”

$10 million a year is a huge pay day, not to mention the ownership stake that was reportedly offered. Leonsis has since denied that any offer was or would be made, stating that he would “take his time” in forming the new front office. With the 2019 NBA Draft already in the books and free agency starting in five days, it seems that Leonsis is content to wait this out until the right candidate comes along.

 

Wizards 2019 Draft/Off-Season – (Chase Hughes)

We are joined by NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes to talk about the Wizards 2019 Draft Picks, Salary Cap implications and more! Take a listen for some great content!

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Episode 35 – (Nationals)

A shortened episode focused on the Nationals as they just concluded the biggest week in their season with a (4-2) record with one game against the Phillies being postponed until September. Trevor Rosenthal has been released and the bullpen lost two of three against the Braves…

Go check out our interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards Insider “Chase Hughes!” We discuss Wizards draft picks, salary cap numbers and even get into a bit of food discussion…

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Episode 34 – (Capitals, Wizards, Nationals)

The Capitals have made some moves and the Wizards are in a standstill whether or not Masai Ujiri will become the next President of Basketball Operations. Meanwhile, our Nationals have yet to make their run with the biggest home stand of their season this week! Plus, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) demolished Thailand last week as we get into the criticism of our ladies by the media. Take a listen!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Off-Season Moves – (16:00)
  • Wizards Draft Talk – (31:15)
  • Nationals Huge Week Ahead – (53:20)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:07:25)

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

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

Clip of the Week – (USWNT beats Thailand)

Check out the article by Serone on DCCrossover.com on his reaction to the United States Women’s National Team’s win over Thailand and the backlash thrown the teams way. We discuss everything about the score differential and celebrations in our “Clip of the Week!”

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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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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.

Episode 29 – (Redskins Draft, Capitals, Nationals)

After being under the weather last week, it is good to be back behind the mics yet again to recap the Redskins Draft, the Capitals disappointing 1st Round Exit, and what is the Washington Nationals debacle. Plus we get into some movie theater talk and pizza….

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Washington Redskins Draft Rundown – (21:00)
  • Washington Capitals Exit Reactions – (45:30)
  • Washington Nationals Debacle  – (1:07:00)
  • Grinds My Gears – (1:33:40)

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

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

Ranking the Top 10 Most Important Nationals

In certain sports there are players more important than others for the success of the franchise. Take Quarterback for example. You have the ball each and every down on offense to which you are more important than say the second tight end or the slot receiver. In baseball, you have superstars but role players will sometimes make or break your team when those superstars aren’t on their game. When it comes to this specific “Harper-less” Nationals club, it is something we have yet to see in over seven years of having that star on our team. These are my Top 10 rankings of importance of this 2019 Washington Nationals Active Roster.

  1. Max Scherzer – (Starting Pitcher)

    Multiple Cy Young awards (at least one in each league), leadership, durability, endurance, and most of all the confidence we all have with him on the bump is why this guy is my number one. He is a beast on the mound and no matter if he has a few bad outings or not, he is still the best pitcher in baseball. We are witnessing greatness, be thankful. MaxScherzer1

  2. Anthony Rendon – (3rd Base)

    The next great one is in our midst. Yes, we know he does not have that flair or flash that someone like Harper has, but he may have the most all-around game in this organization. Batting .371 this season and having an on-base percentage of over .450, he is in the Top 10 for each category. Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, he has a combined .309 batting average and a .409 on-base percentage. Can you ask for anything more? Oh wait, he is also one of the best fielding 3rd basemen in ALL of baseball. Three words: PAY THE MAN!anthony-rendon-usat-nationals

  3. Juan Soto/Victor Robles – (LF/CF)

    Combined at the third spot are our young guns in the outfield. These two were the main reason we let Harper go eat cheese steaks with all of those boo birds in Philly. Juan Soto came on the scene last year with little warning. He was on fire from the start and did not let up one bit coming up one spot short of Rookie of the Year. Robles on the other hand got hurt in the minors so we saw a lot less of him last year. Yet, we have heard his name around the majors and the Nationals organization for multiple years. The sight of having these two in the outfield for the foreseeable future gave Mike Rizzo and the organization confidence in not paying for the service of one Bryce Harper. They have had some struggles this year but think about it this way. When we were their age, we were in some bar somewhere not thinking of the exam we had coming up the following Friday. They are in the Major Leagues being leaned on by thousands. Give ’em some time!

    Soto Robles

  4. Stephen Strasburg  –  (Starting Pitcher)

    This rank may differ for some people but to me it is a no brainer. I am a Strasburg homer. I was at his debut and get pumped for each and every one of his starts. He is a monster on the mound and watching him buckle professionals at the knees or paint the black on a consistent basis is astounding to watch. Now yes, he does have injury concerns but if he was replaceable or not a big deal, why would we concern so much on his injury history? He may not be the prodigy we all thought he was but I will take starts like we just saw on Easter Sunday over any regular journeyman starter. Strasburg

  5. Yan Gomes/Kurt Suzuki  – (Catcher Platoon)

    This may come as a shock but do you know how important a catcher is to a baseball team? Just like the center position in football, the catcher touches the ball in 95% of the ballgame. Catching foul tips, people stealing, calling pitches, framing borderline pitches etc. The things a catcher does on a daily basis is a running list. I ranked these two additions to the squad this high because of the level of difficulty in the position and the performance they give. Our struggles over the years with Wieters was known. The Buffalo you say? Try having him run down the first baseline without pulling a hamstring or laboring to even get to the bag. I will take this platoon over anything we have had in the last five years. Suzuki has been one of my favorites for years. He always has a smile on and frames pitches with the best of them. Plus, with his limited time playing, he is leading the team hitting with runners on base going (6 for 15) with a .400 batting average and .444 on-base percentage. With Gomes primarily in the American League this is my first good look at his game and I am liking the presence he brings behind the dish. Nationals Baseball

  6. Patrick Corbin/Sean Doolittle  – (Starting Pitcher/Closer)

    Combining these two is kind of a cop-out but they equal the same importance. Having a third starter is pretty much on point with having a quality closer. 90% of your season series’ are three games. The playoffs, if you get there, is made for 3-4 man rotations. If you have a Max Scherzer you can throw him on short rest so that means you can go with a three-man rotation come playoff time. At this time in the season with a handful of starts from our main guys, Patrick Corbin has been most impressive. With opposing batters hitting less than .200 on him and a below 2.36 ERA, you CANNOT ask of anything more of your newest pitching acquisition. Of qualified pitchers, Corbin ranks in the Top 11 in the MLB of WHIP (Walks + Hits / IP) and ERA. Doolittle on the other hand has been needed A LOT more than he should be at this point. Yet, even with his over usage, he has a 0.90 ERA. Imagine if the Nats could get to the 9th inning only using him for save situations. Wouldn’t that be a site! Patrick Corbin

  7. Adam Eaton  –  (RF)

    Adam Eaton was a great addition for this squad a few years ago. Even though injuries have somewhat plagued him since he has been here, he has produced when he has played. Since the start of the 2017 season, he has a combined .302 batting average and a .407 on-base percentage. He has helped the young core in the outfield with leading by example and showing how a class act should be in the Major Leagues. Eaton provides a good bat at the top of the lineup and a good clubhouse presence for one of the youngest rosters in the league. Adam Eaton

  8. Howie Kendrick  –  (Utility IF/OF)

    If you think Howie Kendrick is replaceable, you’re sadly mistaken. People overlook Howie because he does not play everyday. You need to understand the importance of Mr. Kendrick as some people probably call him. He doesn’t hit moon shots like Harper or hit as consistent as Rendon, but my god having a career .291 hitter coming off the bench that has experience playing both infield and outfield is a rare commodity. Grabbing him back in 2017 is a move I will always applaud Rizzo for completing. He has constantly come up clutch for us in big spots. Focus in on this year for instance. He is getting on base 46% of the time, hitting .387 overall, and has a .467 batting average in the teams 10 wins. Along with that .467 average, he has four extra-base hits including all of his homers this season. Tell me some reasons he isn’t valuable to our team, I’ll wait….Kendrick

  9. Trea Turner  –  (Starting Shortstop)

    He is a tad low on my list because we have yet to see enough of him to evaluate his true potential. He has had less than 100 games in two of his first three seasons, and last year was really his breakout year in what was a down year for the organization as a whole. We’ve heard the potential on the base paths, the cannon from shortstop, and the above average hitting potential he has, but we won’t get the full taste of his potential until a larger sample size is commenced. Once he comes back from the finger injury, we will get to see what Trea Turner has in store. Trea Turner

  10. Matt Adams  –  (1B/OF)

    Big City! I have been favoring Matt Adams to start over Ryan Zimmerman for two seasons now. He has a far bigger impact, in my opinion, than Zimmerman. Since the start of the 2018 season, Adams has a batting average of .275 with runners on base and .351 with runners in scoring position. Comparing his stats to Zimmerman, he is 41 points higher with runners on and 128 points higher with runners in scoring position. He won’t be a clean-up type hitter but can come through in some bigger spots that Zimmerman has failed to do in recent years. But I think the biggest thing is the bat off the bench. It is very difficult to find someone to come off the bench with Home Run potential. With Kendrick taking the cake with the “hit in a pinch” bat off the bench, Adams is your big bopper. He is not the best overall baseball player but comes through when you need him. Matt Adams

Washington Redskins 2019 Draft Preview (Guest: Steve Johnson)

Steve Johnson from “Let’s Talk Redskins” on the Full Press Coverage Network joins the show to help preview the Washington Redskins 2019 Draft! We discuss Josh Rosen, Position Needs, and more!

Follow “Let’s Talk Skins:”

  • Twitter: @LetsTalkSkins & @FPC_Redskins
  • Host of Redskins Talk Show for Full Press Coverage Network
  • Website: FullPressCoverage.com/Redskins

Episode 28 – (Capitals, Nationals)

What will Ben’s “Native American” name be? Is there a better way to eat Hot Dogs that isn’t all bread? We answer those and more with the Capitals up one game on the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Nationals failing to take control of the National League East….Take a listen!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • More “Dances with Wolves” Talk – (22:00)
  • Capitals Up 3-2 on Carolina – (24:10)
  • Nationals .500 on the Season – (40:15)

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

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

Stop Killing the Fun

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In the 4th inning of yesterday’s White Sox vs. Royals game, twenty-five-year-old Tim Anderson launched a ball to the moon.

Let’s think of the stakes a little bit here. These are two teams at the bottom of the AL Central, it is a Wednesday day game in the middle of the week, and it is April. Reportedly 14,358 people showed up to a stadium that fits 40,000. This is not what you would call a “big-time” ballgame.

And yet, this longball did not please everybody.

Because in today’s game, if you “show up” an opposing player there are repercussions.

What exactly qualifies as “showing up”? Well, since these rules are technically unwritten, nobody really knows. Over the years we can muster any sort of exaggerated celebration after doing the thing you are paid millions to do falls under that category. A loud roar, a forceful fist pump, a flip of the bat, all of these are actions that some baseball players deem as “not allowed”. You CAN’T be happy. You CAN’T have fun.

There were multiple quotes after the game from a few Royals players.

“Keller did the right thing,” Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier told MLB.com. “He aimed for the lower body. Hit him. It should just be like ‘OK, go to first and move on.’ It shouldn’t have been as big of a situation as it was in my opinion, but I could be wrong. I don’t know.”

Well Hunter, THAT is exactly the problem in the first place. The “correct” response in the game to a guy celebrating a home run is to send a 90MPH+ fastball at him? Okay sure, and you said in the lower body, right? Because Keller, who has 12 walks in his last three games, is always super accurate right? Pitchers never miss their spots, right?

The issue is not the location of retaliation, it is the act itself. A batter has no recourse in the situation, no way to defend themselves. They are at the pitcher’s mercy in every at-bat they have, so basically we are letting one position dictate the rules of the game?

Baseball is CRAVING personalities. The game viewership is skewed much older than they would like. The younger fans need flash, they need emotion. Look at the competition: NBA has dunks and long bombs, NFL finally reinstated TD celebrations, NHL has big hits, home runs is one of the biggest draws to the game itself. Do you know any casual fan who is just dying to watch a 1-0 pitcher’s duel? The long ball is king, and the game is punishing those who wear the crown in a way they don’t like.

You know what would be a great way to get back at a guy who just took you deep? How about doing the thing you are supposed to do on your end in the first place: strike him out.

Don’t take the cowards way out. Why would anyone in their right mind respect that decision? Imagine explaining that entire fiasco to a non-sports fan:

Why are those two teams fighting?

Well, that guy hit a home run and celebrated too hard

Tim Anderson, to his immense credit, doesn’t seem to be fazed by the situation. He is going to continue to “give the fans what they want”. He understands that as a young flashy personality in the game he helps usher in new fans to find a reason to watch the 7-10 White Sox play the 6-12 Royals on a Wednesday afternoon.

The highlight clips of him getting hyped after demolishing a baseball may lead even one younger fan in Chicago to go “oh wow, that dude is COOL”. That fan may then decide let me watch the next time that guy comes up to the plate. Boom, a new baseball fan.

Regardless, there are a zillion games every week. A bunch of new highlights crop up every day. The Royals and White Sox weren’t even going to play again until the end of May, this was a passing moment of fun in a marathon of a season.

Brad Keller seems to think his job is to govern the sacred unwritten rules of baseball.

Time Anderson wants to put on a show.

At least one of them gets it.

 

“Mr. National” – Ryan Zimmerman

I know, I know. “Another rant from Mike about Ryan Zimmerman.” If no one will care to talk about the issue then I will speak my peace until someone besides Ben and I starts to take notice.

Zim is in the last year of his contract and it could not come any sooner. Television crews and some broadcasters out there put out some of these egregious stats such as; “When it is over 60 degrees with the Colorado Rockies in town, Ian Desmond strikes out over two times per game.” Now they have never said that specific thing, but this is very similar.

Around Opening Day, MASN put out this graphic that really “irked” me to say the least. It had the title “Mr. National” for the one guy people lean on every year to take us to the promise land….RYAN ZIMMERMAN? It had a very dumb stat that included his season averages for seasons he had over 500 at-bats (7 Total Seasons – Only 1 since 2013). Of course, they are all inflated. Problem is, if you discount this season and his rookie season, it totals 13 seasons. That leaves out six total seasons of baseball. This is a ploy to show everyone that he is so important to our organization rather than being a COMPLETE liability.

With that, I decided to do a little information seeking on my own. Below will be two stats on each line. First will be the last five seasons combined, and second will be four of the last five discounting his career year in 2017. Here are some stats of the last five seasons he has been a National (incl. 2015-2019).

Ryan Zimmerman Season Averages (2015 – 2019)

  • Batting Average:  .248   –   (.234)
  • On Base Percentage:  .319  –   (.309)
  • Home Runs:  16.2   –   (11.25)
  • Runs Batted In:  57.2   –   (44.5)
  • Extra Base Hits:   36.6   –   (28.5)
  • Runners in Scoring Position:  (122 for 471) = .234   –   (75 for 320 = .214)
  • Runners On Base:  (210 for 799) = .263   –   (126 for 544 = .227)

I always look at the positives for my team. But when there is a legit GLARING hole in our lineup or in our teams outlook, I am not going to stand around acting like it is “no big deal.”

RonBurgandy

Mike Rizzo has assembled this team to be a World Series contender for the last 7+ years and we have nothing to show for it whatsoever. I know Ryan Zimmerman was a bright spot for us when he was drafted back in 2005 (our first season). But you have to look at the recency effect and how he has produced for this team in big spots. Everyone looks at his 11 walk-off homers, his two Silver-Slugger Awards (2009,2010), one Gold-Glove (2009), and his career 2017 season. But what they don’t see are the season’s he did most of those in, where we didn’t even crack 70 wins. You have to produce when your team needs you. Plain and Simple. With this team making the playoffs four of the last seven seasons, poised to make it this year, changes have to be made. Legacy only goes so far when your play is mediocre at best. I just wish people would start to look towards our future rather than our lackluster past.

 

GO NATS!

The Roar of the Crowd

Tiger Woods Wins the 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National!

Who would have thought those words would have been said ever again? I am a HUGE Tiger fan. I remember sitting on my best friends couch as we grew up dozing off from holes 5-8, and then waking up for the late Sunday charge of Tiger in his victory red polo. It was something remarkable to watch. Professional golfers choking left and right. Plunking trees, dunking cannonballs into the water, three putting late, or even having to pull a Kevin Na and take forever hitting your golf ball just trying to compose yourself with the presence of greatness in your midst.

Everyone knows the whole saga that started back in November of 2009. We won’t enter into that realm because it was a decade ago. But, the one thing I will address is the sole fact that even though he was a “god” so to speak, to many people, that does not excuse him for his actions. I told my mom the other day, who is a above average sports fan, that “no one has forgotten what he had done in his personal life, but they have most likely forgiven him for his struggles.”

A man on top of the world with money, fame, stardom etc., comes tumbling down a never ending hill. When have we EVER seen someone of his caliber crash and burn in that magnitude? I think most of us can agree after his downfall, we saw the pain he went through to try and come back to golf. This includes, four total back surgeries, recording his worst ever score as a professional (85) in 2015, pain medication problems with an arrest on an alleged DUI etc. Too many things to count in a 10 year span. But this is going to be a positive outlook on what just transpired in Georgia this past weekend.

Seeing Tiger in contention is one thing. But seeing him in the final pairing on a Sunday in Golf’s “Super Bowl” was a completely different viewpoint. Making a charge on any other day than Sunday is fun to watch. But making a charge on Sunday, the final round, counting down the holes, is nerve racking. You can compare Sunday golf at a major championship to Game 7’s in almost any playoff of the four major sports. You have one single day, one game (or round) to make your move and claim the hardware.

Fast forward to his back nine holes. He started off the back nine scoring bogey and moving two back of Francesco Molinari of Italy. Meanwhile, no one really understands that at that point, there were seven golfers within three shots of the lead. With Molinari’s consistency, I was a bit worried at this point. On 11, Tiger found his shot in the trees but got a break with a nice angle to the green and made par. Still two back of Molinari.

Then this is where it got interesting. Molinari started to falter when he splashed his tee shot at the Par 3. At this point in the tournament with a two shot lead and seven holes to play, you can’t open the door for others. Everyone else has to make the move, so seeing Molinari go for the pin instead of playing it safe for the par, was baffling to me. Woods saw this, made par and tied for the lead. (Check out Francesco’s shot below)

Xander Schauffele made his move in the middle of the back nine tying Tiger and Francesco through 13 & 14. Then the Italian started to sink once more at the 15th hitting a tree branch, dunking the ball again losing more ground. Tiger birdied the Par 5 taking the outright lead with three holes to play. With Schauffele not going away, Tiger needed that inner focus we were used to seeing crossing into the millennium. And on the 16th tee box, we got re-introduced to the “old” Tiger Woods.

With a birdie at 16, that all but put the nail in the coffin for Tigers return to greatness. You have to believe that this will probably not be the Tiger of old, where he runs away with tournaments. But, golf just became relevant again with him in the mix. Watch out sports fans…..He’s Back!

Episode 27 – (Capitals, Nationals, Tiger)

The Capitals are up by two on the Carolina Hurricanes, the Nationals bullpen continues to struggle, Ryan Zimmerman is more of a liability than a car with no steering wheel, Serone’s boy Tiger Woods wins “The Masters,” and we once again get carried away talking about food and the good things in life…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Up 2-0 on Carolina – (19:00)
  • Nationals .500 on the Season – (43:15)
  • Tiger Woods Wins “The Masters” – (1:29:15)
  • Food is the Best – (1:35:45)

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

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

Episode 26 – (Skins, Wiz, Caps, Nats)

As we forget to start the show and reminisce on our shows history, we eventually get into some thoughts on Josh Rosen possibly to the Redskins, the Wizards draft position, Capitals series vs. Carolina, and the “Pig Pen” Nationals Bullpen that has stunk up the joint for most of the eight games so far…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Josh Rosen to Redskins? – (17:00)
  • Wizards Draft Positioning – (26:50)
  • Capitals Playoff Series vs. Carolina – (32:15)
  • Nationals Bullpen Woes – (51:30)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:18:40)

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

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

A List of Things I Trust More Than The Nats Bullpen

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The Nats Bullpen has been disastrous to start this season. A wonderful case in point was on Sunday when a 12-1 lead almost evaporated into thin air. Below I have listed things I trust more than the Nationals bullpen right now:

Oreo will keep cranking out hits

the most stuff

I mean the box says it all. Not “a lotta stuf” or “a large amount of stuf” but the MOST stuf. Throw away the Oreo cracker part and just give me ALL THE STUF. I’ve tried desperately to shop for this but haven’t had any luck. Instead, the shopkeepers keep asking me to stop crying and let them leave.

I will continue to tell people “Yeah, I’ll watch Game of Thrones soon” and not watch it

I have nothing against the show. I’m sure it is very good. I hear there is a lot of graphic sexual scenes, and a lot of dragons breathing fire, and some seat that has knives on it. This all sounds lovely. I mean, literally every baseball team has a “Game of Thrones” night at the ballpark now. I understand I am very very late to the party. I’ll just be honest: I’ll tell you I’m going to watch it soon, but I’m not going to.

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Papa Johns will continue to be an overrated pizza chain

Facts are facts. Dominos has stepped up their game with the crust. Pizza Hut created an entire section of their restaurant dedicated towards Wings. They are showing the effort. I appreciate it. Papa Johns meanwhile has what to their name? A little cup of melted garlic sauce in the box and a few peppers that I always forget are in there before I stomp the box to put it in the recycling and get stuff everywhere? Plus the Papa of Papa Johns was kind of a psycho.

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People will not let you leave the metro car before they enter

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It is supposed to be a relatively simple situation. The metro stops, the people who need to get off do, the people who need to get on then enter, then we move on to the next station. Instead, I have seen the two groups basically smash into each other, limbs everywhere, each side attempting to push forward. I assume this resembles Game of Thrones, but without the dragons.

There is that panicked moment, even when you know for sure you have plenty of time to exit the train before the doors close, when you worry that you won’t make it. Give credit to the operators, they don’t wait around. If just an arm made it on, then that arm is headed to Foggy Bottom, regardless of if the body made it too.

The Metro stop Foggy Bottom will continue to make me chuckle

I mean, come on. Foggy BOTTOM. That is hilarious.

Dairy Queen employees will never forget to turn the Blizzard over

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I mean look at that guy in the picture. Is he smug or what? “This is what you came to see right? This is the GREATEST SHOW” as he gives a quick flick of the wrist and turns that bad boy upside down.

I’ll be honest, I dream of the day the employee does that and the blizzard spills all over the counter. But it never. freaking. happens.

Disney Channel Original Movies were cinematic perfection and will always hold up

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Look at that tagline: Kid today. Leprechaun tomorrow. 

Incredible.

Some of the hits:

-Motocrossed

-Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century

-Halloweentown

-Smart House

-The Thirteenth Year

I mean you could put basically stack any of those up against some piece of trash like Suicide Squad. 

My dentist will never say “your gums look good”

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I’ve tried really hard! Okay, maybe not really hard. But I have those little floss pick things, and I bought the water jet thing, I swear I’ve done everything they’ve asked. But it’s just not good enough. I feel like I’m trying to impress my dad every time I visit the Dentist.

“Didn’t I do good papa? Don’t my teeth look shiny!”

The hygienist will sigh as she continues to poke as hard as she can into my gums, blood gushing like I just slammed my face on a railing. I smile in pain, red streams pouring through the gaps in between each tooth.

Nope, you need to do better. Now stick this gigantic piece of plastic into your mouth without crying, we need to take X-Rays.

I will never know how to dress “cool”

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I’ve never liked wearing unbuttoned shirts over t-shirts. They always flap in the wind as I walk. A lot of the clothes I  wear were given to me for free over the years from various sports teams or organizations. One time in college, my roommate raided the lost and found bin at the gym where he worked, that provided me enough outfits for the rest of the year.

I once wore a zip-up that I thought was “cool” in high school. I walked in proudly, strutting around. My friend immediately came up and starting listing all the things that made that zip-up the most unfashionable thing he had ever seen.

This Baby could save me in a fire

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Look at that guy. The confidence, the swagger. The boy is a HERO.

 

Those are all the things I immediately can think of that I trust more than the Nats bullpen right now. I’m sure I could go on all day, but this is a solid start.

Mea Kulpa-What Ron Kulpa’s Power Trip Tells Us About the Current State of Officiating

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I can do anything I want!-Ron Kulpa to Astro’s Manager AJ Hinch.

Baseball twitter has been ablaze since the incident, so I’m sure you’ve read ten stories about it already, but here is a good companion breakdown of the Kulpa incident from Twitter:

Being an official at any level, in any sport, is not an enviable gig. When I was 13 I donned the powder blue polo, dark pants, and cautiously stood behind a nine-year-old catcher who appeared to be fairly surprised that he was going to be behind the plate that game.

“Have you ever caught before?” I gestured towards his worn catcher’s mitt. He quickly shook his head. Wonderful.

I umpired only for a few seasons, much more satisfied with being up in the press box running the music and scoreboard. But even in my short time umping I knew it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the pressure of making calls, it was the constant swirl of annoyance being hurled at you at all times. From coaches, from players, from fans, at any given moment SOMEONE hated your guts.

It was an unpleasant feeling. And it didn’t seem to matter if you were doing a good or a bad job, they would be annoyed regardless. I remember one of the breaking points for me. Keep in mind I was again only like thirteen, but there was a play at the plate, bang-bang, and I called the runner out on the tag. Was he out? Who knows, but to me it sure seemed like he was.

Out trotted a grizzled 50-something-year-old coach, going ballistic.

No way was he out! How could you call that? He was clearly under the tag! That is a BAD call!

I decided immediately that the 15 bucks a game wasn’t worth being screamed at by this guy.

There are plenty of people that can get past the screaming and yelling, and make their way through the officiating circuit. You work your way up, go to clinics, attend camps, you get better, you gain more experience. Guys like Ron Kulpa have spent most of their lives doing a job that nobody wants to do. There is respect in that. And yet what Ron Kulpa did this week is part of the swing of officials in all sports to flex their reffing muscles, and show who is “boss”.

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If you are an avid sports fan you’ve noticed it. The ejections and technical fouls are coming hard and fast. Hell, Spurs coach Greg Popovich just set a record with his latest ejection.

We are in an age where officials everywhere are done being just rule-enforcers and are now the behavior-police. They seemingly are tired of being background characters, and now are itching for leading roles. Should we REALLY know the name Ron Kulpa? Do we REALLY buy tickets to see the Astros play, or do we buy them to see Kulpa ump?

My father umped for a while, and he reported back to me how militaristic the training sessions felt. How it didn’t feel like a cohesive plan to just enforce the rules and call a good game, it felt more like it is YOU vs. THEM. Them being the players and coaches.

Are there going to be times when an ejection is called for, when a player/coach takes it too far? Of course. Cursing up a storm, physically threatening, being an absolute nut, these are all things that I am completely okay with officials determining that particular person is not welcome on the field or the court at that time. We all lose our heads sometimes. But that should be a LAST resort, a final straw. Popovich was tossed before the Spurs even had a chance to score a basket.

I remember going to old RFK stadium to see the Nats take on the Cardinals. Albert Pujols was on the team then, and in his prime. We bought tickets to go see Albert, one of the greatest hitters of our generation. He was ejected in the bottom of the 2nd inning while discussing his previous at-bat with the field umpire. Just like that, our purpose of even buying tickets was headed off to the showers.

If the MLB truly cares about the players, about the fans, then Ron Kulpa should be suspended for a decent amount of time. Send him back to the minors, bring up someone else who isn’t here to look for fights. The goal of an umpire should be to call the best game he or she can, not to tussle with managers.

The MLB needs to send a message to Kulpa and to officials everywhere:

No, you CAN’T do anything you want.

 

 

Life of Luxury: A night spent with the upper class watching Bryce Harper’s return to DC

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When the Harper to Philly announcement was made, I had my phone out ready to go. I knew that the Phillies were going to come to DC on the 2nd of April, and tickets were a must. I purchased my usual 300 section, and was set. When the day finally arrived, I casually perused the StubHub listings to see what else was available. I spotted a pair of Delta Sky360 Club Seats, 7th row, behind home plate. These were typically $500+ per seat, but on a cold and rainy Tuesday someone was listing them for around $170 each. So I went for it. I sold my original tickets and snagged those bad boys. This was going to be a pretty big moment, why not live it up in style? Here is a quick diary recap of my experience.

I’m a big fan of getting to the ballpark early. Then again, I’m a fan of getting anywhere way too early. I think that comes from my mother. Growing up we would all pile into the car for Christmas Eve mass. I always thought it was strange that she would suggest we pack a book with us, but that was because the plan was to sit in the parking lot for two hours before anyone else decided to start getting their seats. I think even the priests were still sleeping.

The plan was to hop on the metro after work, get to the ballpark right when they allow you to start entering your seats at 5:30. Since we were going to be newbies to the home plate scene, I wanted to make sure to give us plenty of time to adjust to our surroundings and not look out of place.

My favorite part of riding the metro is the fact that the people who run the metro truly do not care about what the inside of the cars look like.

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My favorite seats are the weird yellow ones in the back. Sometimes they have a wall dividing them so you can pretend you are on your own little personal train and not the DC metro where the guy two seats ahead is throwing up in his mouth.

I also enjoy the game that the conductors play. It’s called “How terribly can I talk in this microphone to ensure nobody understands what I am saying?”

The move my wife and I typically do with Nats games is to take the train all the way to Capital South station and walk. It’s two stops past where most people get off to switch trains to the game, so you get a lot of confused and panicked looks from other Nats fans as they glance back at you when getting off. It involves having to walk a while, but it’s a fairly pleasant hike as you pass by million-dollar townhomes. In fact, it helped me mentally prepare myself for the sort of people we would be mixing in with at the “Sky Clizzub” (that’s what I have renamed the Delta360 Sky Club)

I’ll skip past the minor details of going through security and take us right to entering the clizzub. We had to enter some doors initially into a hallway with elevators that were supposed to take us down to where we needed to go. They must have been those types of elevators where they don’t actually work, so we took the stairs instead. BUT the stairs were carpeted, so I already knew we had entered a different rich world.

At the entrance there was a big machine to scan your ticket, and then a lady puts a wristband on you. I’m not sure why they needed to spend the money on a giant machine, when they could have given the lady a scanner, but then I remembered I was in the world of wealth.

I had done a little scouting ahead of time, and knew that it was basically a giant room with a bar, tables, buffets all over the place. Upon entering, a nice hostess escorted us to a small table that had plates and silverware. They even put the silverware in the correct order on the table which is something I constantly struggle with. It was slightly confusing because while the food was buffet style, there was still a “waitress” who could also get you things. So in theory, while the food was only 20-30 steps away, you could have her get it for you. Man, what a dream.

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I tried to take a picture of the food on my first plate, but I ate it already. There’s a chicken bone in the picture so you can get the idea. They had a few buffet sections in the middle with your higher end items like a meat board and potstickers. Then on the outside, because they know peasants like us occasionally make it through the gates, they had staples like pizza, wings, and a basket filled to the brim with chicken tenders. I snagged my first bud light of the night (classy), stacked multiple pieces of pizza on my plate (because I’m not a buffet amateur), and headed back to my seat.

I finished that plate within maybe 30 seconds, but wanted to give it a little bit of time before I got up again. My bud light seemed to disappear rather quickly, and the “waitress” asked if I would like another one. I nodded, but then she asked to see my ID. I thought this was a little strange. One, because I’ve looked 26 since I was 10. Two, I already had a beer. I hate to display my ID because I’ve been too terrified to go to the DMV and get a new picture, so it is still my 15-year-old mug. I had so many great ideas and hopes and dreams in that photo, now it gets laughed at by bartenders across the country. I seemingly passed the test because she went to fetch me another brew. Meanwhile, I went to fetch me another plate.

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I decided to class it up a bit and added a few potstickers and one thimble-full of rice (healthy). These chicken tenders were 100% different than the normal ballpark tenders offered. These must have been a different breed of chicken. Or perhaps these were actual chicken tenders, not whatever they sell at the normal vendors.

After finishing up this plate and beer, my wife and I hopped over to view the batting cages. The club has a giant window where you can watch the players hit a few baseballs in preparation for hitting baseballs in a game. We got to see Victor Robles and Matt Adams hit, which was a delightful treat.

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I tried to get their attention to see if it was cool if I took a few hacks, but they mostly ignored me. I should have kept one chicken tender to wave in their direction. I also forgot to mention that if you watch a lot of Nats games you may notice the two guys that sit behind home plate at every game. Those are the Itkin brothers according to an article I read. We were sitting at the table nearby them so my wife snapped a quick stealth picture.

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I think they are multi-millionaires, which is why I thought it was strange that one year they were apparently voted “fan of the year”. I don’t think you should give millionaires a “fan of the year” title. Save that for someone who survived the DC metro, walked a bunch of blocks in the rain, and ate your not real chicken tenders.

The game was delayed so I used my time wisely. I scarfed down a small bag of popcorn, a soft pretzel, a few mini cupcakes, and then my stomach started hurting. But I couldn’t show any sort of pain in front of the other club members, so I just fought through it.

My favorite part about rain delays is how many times fans will go up to random employees and ask if they know when the game is supposed to start. This question is usually met with confusion, as if the front office radios down to every single Nats Park employee all the pertinent information. Let me go ask the janitor about Howie Kendrick’s injury recovery.

The delay ended up only being until 7:45, which gave me plenty of time to eat another hot dog. There was literally a small shelving unit whose purpose was purely to hold hot dog buns. It was nicer than any shelves I have at home, and it was for buns.

It was finally time to start taking our seats, so we awkwardly waited while a nice lady took a very wet rag to wipe off our wet seats. It wasn’t effective at all, and I accidentally slipped her five dollars instead of just a few bucks.

 

There were a TON of Phillies fans all over the place, including all around us. This was great because they are widely known as super rational and kind fans, so I was sure we would be fine. In fact, I expected us all to be arm-in-arm humming songs by the end of the game.

 

I snagged a vid of Harper’s first plate appearance

The great thing about these seats too was a person comes around and takes your order so you don’t have to miss a pitch! I requested another hot dog and beer, as my stomach pleaded with me to stop the madness.

The game itself was not noteworthy and I don’t care to write about any of it. But my friends and family texted us constantly to let us know we were on the TV shot. I considered various things I could do to go viral but instead just crossed my arms and looked displeased.

Once the Phillies scored their 100th run of the game, we left. I considered snagging a few more hot dogs for the road but thought better of it.

Overall the experience was truly incredible. I mingled with the 1%’ers, ate my weight in food, and also got to watch some bad Nationals baseball. Maybe I’ll get back to those seats again someday. But for now, I’ll be dreaming of those cupcakes…

 

Episode 25 – (Caps, Wiz, Redskins, Nats)

With no special episode for the first time in weeks, Serone & Simpson are back to the status quo going over the Capitals clinching their playoff spot, the Wizards hopefully losing more to get better draft stock, the Redskins front office woes, and the Nationals opening series loss to the rival Mets. Plus, the fun stuff which includes: Pine Pony Express, Ben’s love for American Idol, and Mike’s hatred of Ryan Zimmerman continues…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Clinch Playoff Birth – (18:30)
  • Wizards Draft Position Update – (30:25)
  • “What If” Redskins Front Office – (45:15)
  • Nationals Series Opening Loss – (58:50)
  • Mike’s Zimmerman Rant – (1:15:45)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (1:38:40)
  • Ben’s Thoughts On Serone’s Groomed Dog – (1:52:52)

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

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

 

Washington Nationals Season Preview – 2019

You have to love technology right? Due to the technical difficulties, our Season and Outfield Previews are one week old, yet still good listens. Check them out here!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

Well, that was ugly: Thoughts and Grades on the Nats Opening Series

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It took a heroic effort from Trea Turner on Sunday for the Nats to avoid an opening weekend sweep by the Mets. Let’s dive into some grades:

Starting Pitching

Grade: B-

Scherzer (0-1): 7.2 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 12 K’s, 3 BB’s.

Strasburg (no decision): 6 innings, 7 hits, 4 ER, 8 K’s, 2 BB’s.

Corbin (no decision): 6 innings, 7 hits, 2 ER, 4 K’s, 2 BB’s

Overall the starting pitching was okay. Scherzer and Corbin both gave the Nats a chance, and even Strasburg recovered after a really shaky first inning.

This isn’t a great sign from Strasburg in his first start, especially with the Mets hitting .292 against him. We have spoken highly on what we hope will be a “comeback” year for Stras, this did not make me super confident yet.

Corbin shined in his debut, a lot of fly balls, some hard contact, but overall was impressive on a very windy cold day in DC.

Scherz was Scherz. He struck out a ton, gave up signature opening inning bomb, and put his team in a position to win a ballgame and they spoiled a great outing.

Bullpen

Grade: D

Yikes. This was the area I was worried about from the start, and this was the area that let the Nats down this weekend.

Barraclough: 1.2 innings, 2 hits

Sipp: 1.1 innings, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB

Miller: 1 inning, 1 hit, 2 K’s

Suero: 1 inning, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB

Grace: 0.2 innings, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 K

Rosenthal: (didn’t register an out) 4 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB

Doolittle: 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 K’s

As a bullpen, they combined for a 12.27 ERA.

Rosenthal, Suero, Grace, and Sipp all had the most trouble this series. I’m genuinely scared about this bullpen situation. There are no go-to arms. Barraclough and Miller handled things well, and Doolittle got thrust into a scary Sunday finale, but overall this is a bad look for yet another Nats team that is lacking reliable bullpen arms.

We’ve heard this song and dance before.

Offense

Grade: C+

Obviously, the opening day game was dreadful offensively, but the Nats were able to turn it around and put up 14 runs total in their 2nd and 3rd games in the series.

Turner: 13 AB’s, 5 hits, 4 Runs, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K’s, 4 SB, .385 avg, .429 OBP, .923 SLG

Eaton: 12 AB’s, 4 hits, 2 Runs, 4 K’s, .333 avg, 429 OBP, .333 SLG

Soto: 12 AB’s, 3 hits, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K’s, 1 SB, .250 avg, .308 OBP, .333 SLG

Zimmerman: 12 AB’s, 2 hits, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K’s, .167 avg, 231 OBP, .250 SLG

Rendon: 11 AB’s, 4 hits, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K’s, .364 avg, .462 OBP, .455 SLG

Robles: 11 AB’s, 5 hits, 3 Runs, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K’s, .455 avg, .455 OBP, 1.000 SLG

Dozier: 10 AB’s, 0 hits, 3 K’s

Gomes: 7 AB’s, 2 hits, 1 Run, 3 K’s, .286 avg, .286 OBP, .429 SLG

Suzuki: 4 AB’s, 0 hits, 1 RBI

Adams: 3 AB’s, 0 hits, 2 K’s

Robles and Turner both with fantastic starts to the year. The speed with those two, plus Eaton’s ability to reach base sets the Nats big boppers up with plenty of RBI opportunity. Unfortunately Zim, Soto, and Rendon were not great out of the gate.

Too many K’s for young Soto, Zim is useless at the plate, and Rendon with a slow start. Again I declare I want more opportunities for Matt Adams. I’m tired of Davey using him in late-inning situations, give the man a full start and let’s see what he does.

Honestly, Trea Turner salvaged this series. If it wasn’t for him destroying the baseball, stealing bases, and saving the day this would have easily been a 0-3 team.

Overall

Grade: C

This was supposed to be a great tune-up opportunity for the Nats before they have to welcome back their former star Bryce Harper, and instead it exposed some immediate flaws with the way this team is built. Offense does not matter if your bullpen can’t contain the other team, and the Nats failed. Saturday and Sunday were both very winnable games (the Nats obviously did take Sunday in walk-off fashion) and now they take on the red-hot Phillies.

It is not time to panic, but this was not exactly the way this team needed to start in order to relax their nervous fanbase.

Next Series:

Nats vs. Phillies

Tuesday, 7:05 PM

Scherzer vs. Eflin

Wednesday, 1:05 PM

Sanchez vs. Nola

“Diehard” Fans Are Disappearing

You want to know what “Grinds My Gears” in the world of sports nowadays? You don’t? Then click off this page because I am going to tell you anyway.

The typical “diehard” fan is fading away. You have people jumping on bandwagon’s left and right in every sport, to where there are close to ZERO true fanbases. You can say places like Philly, Chicago, or even Seattle have the closest thing to “real fans,” yet the numbers still have dwindled. I mention those places because either there is nothing else to do in their town but go to games, they have held on to legacies like “Wrigley Field,” “Michael Jordan,” “We love Rocky! (even though he’s a fictional character),” and/or they want a team so bad they pack Seattle Sounder games with fans to show they’re interest. But sports are now used first and foremost as a social event rather than a rooting interest.

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You see people go to games only to post how “cool” they are going to the game! As you can tell by the example above, no one cares about the game. No one cares about Juan Soto’s triple down the line, or Strasburg’s knee-buckling filth. They only care about eating their churro and Cold Stone waffle cone. Now I love me some ballpark food, but I won’t be posing with a footlong in my picture or doing the “duck face” to post on Instagram.

Now don’t get me wrong. Not everyone has to be sitting down with their lunch pail the following day talking about the box score from last night’s win. But it seems to me that when you look at the spectrum from “diehard” fans who know the players, the game, the rules and enjoy the atmosphere of the event compared to people who show up in business suits to meet with potential clients, or the people who have enough money to sit court side but spend all night texting their friends “am I on TV!?” is favoring the latter.

It irks me a bit because I have never really experienced the days in the ’90s or early 2000’s when technology wasn’t readily available as it is today. I was born in 1991 and went to many Oriole and Redskin games but at that time I wasn’t old enough to get the full affects of the atmosphere itself. I go to too many games where the chatter is about some random bullsh** and not the ENTERTAINMENT that is right in front of you. The closest game, I attended, where the atmosphere was buzzing mostly about the game was Stephen Strasburg’s debut in 2010. You could just hear the sounds of the crowd from the first inning to his last pitch. (Check the Video Below) Now I may be a lunatic with all of these words but the ballpark to me is a safe haven and I want to go to games with people that are invested or at least want to learn the art of the sport, not to get a slushie and corndog to take pictures with.

 

2019 MLB Pre-Season Award Predictions

As of a few days ago, professional sites started putting out their 2019 MLB Pre-Season Awards in loo of Opening Day. This gripe will have to be saved for another day but honestly, I understand the Phillies made some good moves this off-season. But the Nationals have arguably the best starting rotation, the favorite for 2019 Rookie of the Year (spoiler), two candidates in the Top 10 of MVP considerations and made improvements themselves with depth and their bullpen. I don’t understand how the NL East is so split. I could see it being close and favoring the Nationals more often than not, but some that I have seen have been way too heavily on the Phillies. They have a great starter in Nola, backed by a great lineup but I still don’t believe the Phillies did enough to surpass Washington’s complete team.

Below are predictions from three major sites in the sporting world. Though all three sites have similar data, ESPN has the best interactive article so let’s pinpoint on that. They have a panel of 31 experts, that will vote, that range from former players to baseball insiders. Because we focus in on the Washington Nationals, let’s stick to the National League.

ESPN.com Predictions

MLB.com Predictions

NBCSports.com Predictions

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NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP

Listed for the National League MVP are nine players who are viable candidates. Two of those nine are Nationals (Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon). Soto was second in Rookie of the Year voting last year but as a 20 year old, he will have to prove he won’t hit a “sophomore slump.” Rendon is one of the best all around ball players in the Majors. He’s quite but handles himself with class and shows his work ethic out on the diamond. Though, I do not think either will win the award outright, they both should be proud to be recognized in this magnitude. Out of the 31 experts, two have selected Rendon or Soto to be the NL MVP. Might not seem like a lot, but in comparison, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant only received two each. After 34,000 fan votes, the two Nationals players combined for 4% of the votes.

Serone’s Prediction: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

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NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG

National League Cy Young voting has six viable candidates for the award, led by Jacob deGrom of the Mets & Max Scherzer of the Nationals. Scherzer has been in the Top 5 of voting dating back to 2013. He won it with the Detroit Tigers back in 2013 and since being traded to the Nationals he was 5th, 1st, 1st, and 2nd in voting. deGrom, though winning it last year, has yet to be in the top six in voting. I understand Scherzer’s age is increasing, yet he has not shown any signs of slowing down. Out of the 31 experts of ESPN, Scherzer had 18 of the votes while deGrom was tied with Aaron Nola of the Phillies with five each. After 30,000 fan votes, the 3-Time Cy Young winner only received 28% of the votes. Even with his pedigree he only manages that small number?

Serone’s Prediction: “Mad Max” Scherzer (Nationals)

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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

National League Rookie of the Year voting was almost as similar to the Cy Young as they come. I think all Nationals fans have heard of Victor Robles. He has been our prized possession for years now, developing from a teenager in the minors to now our everyday center fielder. This may be Mike Rizzo’s favorite player on the Nats because of the sole fact that he was coveted by so many teams being a Top 4 prospect in all of the Majors. Out of the 31 ESPN experts, almost half (15), voted for the youngster to take home the award. Coming in second, tied with five each were Pete Alonso (#51 MLB Prospect) of the Mets and Nick Senzel (#6 MLB Prospect) of the Reds. And with that, after 23,000 fan votes, Robles received 23% while Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres got almost 30%. I wasn’t even aware that the Padres had that many fans.

Serone’s Prediction: Victor Robles (Nationals)

 

 

Game 1 Recap: Nats get blanked on Opening Day

Game 1

Well, this is not great…

Only Game 1, yada yada yada, super long season, yada yada yada.

Bottom line is, the Nats seemingly carried issues they had last season with scoring runs into the very first game of this season. Not a HUGE deal, but a noticeable one.

The Good

-Scherzer was brilliant: 7.2 IP, 2 Hits, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, and 12 K’s. He also gave up his obligatory solo homer.

-I sometimes forget just how solid Trea Turner was for a turbulent Nats team last year. He started off this season in a great way. The shortstop went 2 for 4, with 3 stolen bases.

Besides that…there wasn’t much to be super excited about…

The Bad

-Anthony Rendon continues to be stymied by deGrom. 0 for 4 on the day including 5 runners Left on Base

-Speaking of that, the Nats 3-4-5 combo of Rendon, Soto, and Zimmerman went a combined 0 for 11 on the day, stranding 9 total runners.

-The Nats ran themselves into a bad 5-4-2-5 double play in the 3rd inning that should have been an easy scoring opportunity.

Overall

Look, it’s a long season. Opening Day is no indication of how the season may go (I mean look at my Detroit Tigers, they got an almost no-no from the skeleton of Jordan Zimmermann and a 10th inning homer from a rookie, THAT won’t hold up over 162 games).

What I didn’t like is the familiarity in this game to last year’s team. Lack of production on offense, wasted strong starting pitching, and really no production from the new guys yet.

Don’t freak out, but I think its perfectly fine to be disappointed in that Opening Day showing.

Next Game

Saturday

Nats (0-1) vs. Mets (1-0)

1:05 PM Start

Noah Syndergaard vs. Stephen Strasburg

Nats Opening Day Lineup Analyzed

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Here is what Davey is going with for Opening Day tomorrow:

  1. RF Adam Eaton
  2. SS Trea Turner
  3. LF Juan Soto
  4. 3B Anthony Rendon
  5. 1B Ryan Zimmerman
  6. 2B Brian Dozier
  7. C Yan Gomes
  8. P Max Scherzer
  9. CF Victor Robles

Martinez specifically wants this lineup to put runs on the board, and having the speed combo of Robles, Eaton, and Turner in a sequence is perfect for that.

Before you get too excited and jacked up for the first game let’s remember who this lineup is facing: Jacob deGrom.

Let’s take a quick look at how that lineup has done vs. deGrom in their careers:

Eaton: 3 for 10, 2 RBI, 4 K’s

Turner: 7 for 25, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 K’s

Soto: 1 for 3

Rendon: 2 for 23, 1 RBI, 6 BB’s, 7 K’s

Zimmerman: 5 for 24, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 8 K’s

No data for Dozier it looks like, or Gomes

Robles: 1 for 5, 3 K’s

Not terrible surprisingly enough, except for Rendon. The only worry spot for me continues to be the production from the first base position. Zim gets the nod for opening day, but will we see Matt Adams get more and more opportunities to replace the veteran? Can the Nats finally get production from the catcher position as well? Something they have been missing since the departure of Wilson Ramos?

Overall, I like this lineup. A lot of speed, some great contact hitters, and hopefully a bomb every now and then. Let’s see who gets off to a nice start in the opening day series.

We Must Evolve the Game

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We’ve heard it all by now.

Baseball is boring

The games take too long

Nothing ever happens

Jayson Stark, a prominent writer for The Athletic and analyst from MLB Network, recently participated in a roundtable discussion on the most under the radar topic regarding baseball.

Stark: I think it’s the never-ending challenge of creating a sport, in the 21st century, with more action. Every time I bring this up, baseball fans overreact to it, in ways that illustrate how difficult this is. You almost never hear football fans complaining that the NFL has ruined the game that Red Grange used to play. But any time you suggest that baseball ought to at least be able to experiment with ideas that could make the game more entertaining, millions of baseball fans react as if you’re doodling on the Mona Lisa.

I love baseball as much as anyone I know. But I’m totally open to trying all sorts of these ideas — not to make games “shorter” because it isn’t about “time of game,” but to move toward a sport where you don’t have to wait 4 ½ minutes in between the average ball in play. Why do I think this story is under-covered? Because it feels as though the focus is either on time of game or on individual rule changes, not on the big picture. It’s about action, not games that take 3 ½ hours. And we can’t seem to get our audience to understand that’s the biggest issue in the sport. Why is the Home Run Derby the highest-rated baseball event on cable between Opening Day and Game 162? Because something happens! And it happens every few seconds.

It’s about the action. THAT is the biggest issue in the sport. But there are more issues beyond just the action, this goes much deeper than that.

I’m too tired to watch the end

I fall in the line of your average baseball fan. I support my teams, I watch as many of their games as possible, but life and work get in the way sometimes. What also gets in the way is the fact that most of us work your standard 9-5 shifts, sometimes even earlier. I get up at 6:30AM, many friends of mine start their day even earlier.

Your average MLB start time is 7:05 Eastern, the average length of the game in 2018 was 3 hours, 5 minutes, and 11 seconds. That would put your end time roughly around 10:15PM. That’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. You stay up to watch the end, or you don’t, I don’t know about you but I don’t have 3 hours every day to give to a sport that plays on an almost daily basis. 162 games, that’s 486 hours of baseball.

That’s 20 DAYS of your LIFE.

Why give that to a sport that doesn’t seem to care about you? They bring you to the ballpark only to charge you $10 for a beer and $5 for a hotdog that likely costs them less than 10 cents to make. Stations like MASN spit in your face when you protest that the other sports give us streaming options here in 2019 where we can view our teams on our phones, our iPads, our Playstations. You want a “choice” on how to watch this game?

Guess what, They don’t care about you.

Kids don’t watch baseball

A 2016 article in Fox Sports cited the median age of baseball fans at 56 years old. Can you blame kids? Look at their options. Basketball presents offense on almost every trip down the court, big dunks, exciting threes, nonstop action. Football ironically enough is close to baseball in average length of time of a game, and yet it just seems like it moves much quicker. You know that as soon as the team breaks the huddle something is going to happen. Hockey is similar to basketball, fast-movements, flying across the ice, big hits, action. Soccer, the mortal enemy of most baseball players growing up, goes long periods of no scoring but all the while the ball is moving, tackles are being made, shots are being attempted.

In baseball we are waiting for the batter to ready himself for battle, the pitcher to receive the sign, the batter to change his mind that no, in fact, he is not ready to do the thing he is paid millions of dollars to do, he needs more time. The pitcher wants to discuss with his catcher the strategy they have gone over at length beforehand. Oh look, another ball thrown outside the zone, we are now at six minutes and nothing has happened.

This is a problem.

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The baseball purists stomp their feet, pound their chests, this is how baseball is meant to be played. How dare you question that? How dare you want to change anything about this beautiful game? The game ends when it ends, they scream, kids and potential fans be damned.

I love baseball. I played baseball. I hope my kids play baseball. I get why others don’t love to watch or play baseball. I find the strategy exciting, the individual talent levels off the charts, its a difficult game, one of the hardest, but I get it. I get the disdain.

Even as a player there was plenty of times my mind wandered as I stood in the outfield, begging for a ball to be hit my way, give me something to do. I’ve fallen asleep watching baseball on television, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

How do we fix this? We must swallow our pride, accept that this game is beautiful to some and boring to others. At times in my life I stress about how the world doesn’t adjust to us, we need to adjust to the world, but with baseball this is adjustable. This is sports, this is a game, we have options. Put a guy on second base to start extra innings. Give me a pitch clock. Speed it up. Just TRY something. If it doesn’t work, fine, scrap it and try something else. But soon enough the age of immediacy will collide with the slowest moving game out there.

Baseball MUST change, baseball MUST evolve.

Before it is too late.

 

Bryce Harper/Philadelphia: Special Edition (Guest: Jessica Towne)

Take a look into the Philadelphia Phillies acquisition of Bryce Harper, and inside their locker room as Jessica Towne (@RunThisTowne13) joins the show to break down everything about our arch rival in the National League East!

Follow Jessica:

Twitter: @RunThisTowne13

Contributing Writer:  “ProSportsNotes.com” and “Wild Fire Sports”

Co-Host of “The Madness Podcast”

 

Episode 24 – (Capitals, Wizards, Redskins)

The Capitals are starting their playoff preparations and the Wizards are finally starting to tank. Plus the Redskins apparently don’t draft players to fit their scheme’s according to Doug Williams. Makes total sense! Check out all of our special edition episodes on the Washington Nationals as well!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Capitals Poised For Playoffs – (02:15)
  • Ben’s Food Dilemma – (11:00)
  • Wizards Lose Four Straight – (12:45)
  • Doug Williams Comments – (21:20)

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

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

Ian Mahimi has suddenly reappeared and so have I

Like a phoenix from the ashes, Ian Mahimi has returned. The Wizards prized signing of the summer of 2016 (4 years/$64 million. Yuck.) has seen game action for the first time since Feb. 4. With Thomas Bryant playing well off the bench and the acquisition of Bobby Portis, Coach Scott Brooks decided to bench Mahimi despite Dwight Howard being out indefinitely (he’s obviously not playing again this season).

Is there anyone with a better gig than Mahimi? Collecting paycheck after paycheck while not having to play a single minute? Sounds like good money if you can find it.

Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) OFFICIAL Bracket

WarrinerBracket

Notable Upsets:

  • #11 Belmont over #6 Maryland & #3 LSU
  • #12 Murray State over #5 Marquette
  • #7 Wofford over #2 Kentucky
  • #6 Iowa State over #3 Houston, #7 Wofford, & #5 Auburn
  • #12 Oregon over #5 Wisconsin

Final Four:

  • #1 Duke – #1 Gonzaga – #1 UVA – #6 Iowa State
    • Championship: #1 Duke vs. #1 UVA
    • National Champion: #1 University of Virginia
      • Tiebreaker Score: 72-68

Follow Jonathon:

Twitter: @Bracketologist3

Website: http://www.MakingTheMadness.com

March Madness 2019 Special Edition

Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) of “www.MakingtheMadness.com” joins the program to give us insight and analysis to all things March Madness! Questions about your bracket? Who will get upset? Check the timestamps below for all your bracket information.

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) – (2:50)
  • Snubs and Surprises – (6:50)
  • Intriguing 1st Round Games – (10:15)
  • Cinderella Potentials? – (18:45)
  • What is your “game binging” setup? – (25:51)
  • Warriner Official Bracket Reveal/Game Breakdowns – (27:29)
  • Show Closing – (1:11:15)

Nationals Infield Preview – 2019

Second special edition episode of our Washington Nationals Spring Training Preview! Check out how the infield spots check out in our minds. Plus, will Anthony Rendon become the new “Face of the Franchise?” Take a listen…

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Episode 23 – (Capitals, Wizards, Redskins, DC United)

Is walking needed in life? We are getting close to floating chairs like in the Pixar movie “Wall-E.” Landon Collins is a Redskin, the Caps staying the course and the Wizards aren’t doing anything exciting once again. Check out the latest episode and stay tuned for our Nationals infield preview to come!

Lastly, we have Jonathon Warriner of http://www.MakingTheMadness.com coming on the special edition episode talking everything March Madness! He will give some insight and information for some teams you may not know about in this years tournament!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Talk – (0:00)
  • Capitals Staying True – (13:15)
  • Wizards still trying to win? – (24:25)
  • Redskins New Additions – (39:50)
  • DC United Discussion– (57:30)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:04:25)

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

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

On Deck: Big Week of Audio Content

On tap this coming week we will have Jessica Towne (@RunThisTowne13) from Philadelphia’s “Wildfire Sports” on the program to discuss all things Bryce Harper and National League East. Plus, we will have College Basketball writer Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) joining the show to give us his breakdown of the NCAA March Madness bracket after “Selection Sunday!” We will also have our Washington Nationals Infield Preview and our good friend Danny Nokes (@DannyNokes) of FOX Sports 910 Richmond giving us a breakdown of Virginia Tech’s first round matchup and his takeaways from the Atlantic-10 Tournament in Brooklyn!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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Virginia Tech/ACC Tournament Preview 2019

Danny Nokes of FOX Sports 910 in Richmond joins the program for this special episode focusing on Virginia Tech Basketball and the ACC Conference Tournament as a whole. Plus we dabble into the Atlantic-10 Tournament focused on Virginia Commonwealth University & George Mason University.

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Nationals Season Preview: Five Random Thoughts on Pitchers/Catchers

As we continue our season preview (check out the podcast episode we did here: (https://dccrossover.com/2019/03/04/dc-pitchers-catchers-preview-2019/) I wanted to add some other key thoughts as a companion to our preview podcasts. For this installment, I’ll go over five random thoughts regarding the Nats Pitchers/Catchers. 

1. I’m terrified about the Nationals Bullpen

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Overall the Nats are getting glowing reviews regarding their off-season acquisitions, and deservedly so. But an area that still absolutely terrifies me is the bullpen.

Per RotoChamp (and various other projections) here is the current setup for the bullpen:

Closer: Sean Doolittle

Relievers: 

Kyle Barraclough

Matt Grace

Justin Miller

Trevor Rosenthal

Sammy Solis

Jimmy Cordero

Koda Glover

(other candidates include Kyle McGowin, Tanner Rainey, and Austin Adams)

Last year’s Nats were just “okay” in the pen. They gave up the 6th most Home Runs (81), were near the bottom of the league in strikeouts, and as a team were middle of the pack in ERA (4.05).

For a team that is trying to contend for a World Series, they didn’t do a lot to improve in this area. Barraclough is an innings-eater and brings some value, and Rosenthal is more of a low-risk gamble but is coming off a major injury and hasn’t been good for 4-5 years.

Koda Glover has already been bitten by the injury bug early in his career and left a spring training game with forearm tightness, Sammy Solis is only around because he is left-handed, and a lot is riding on guys like Matt Grace and Justin Miller to repeat their strong 2018 campaigns.

I’m nervous, the bullpen has constantly been an issue for the Nats and Mike Rizzo as they shipped out Madsen and Kintzler last year after a failed season. A lot is riding on Doolittle who is also coming off a shortened season due to injury.

Rizzo either needs to make a few more moves, or cross his fingers and pray this group can get the job done.

2. I think Strasburg will beat the projections

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves

Everyone is very hesitant to give Strasburg the benefit of the doubt that he will come back strong in 2019. I get this somewhat, last year wasn’t disastrous but it also wasn’t great (10-7, 3.74 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 156 K’s, with opponents hitting .309 on balls in play). He got hit around a bit, and only pitched 130 innings.

In both 2016 and 2017 Strasburg tallied 15 wins each season, with his 2017 campaign being in contention of a Cy Young with a 2.52 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He was dominant, and most projections say he won’t get back to that level this season. I’m seeing a lot of 12-8 records with an ERA in the 3.50 range but I think a fully health Stras can get back to his 2017 form.

That is the key though: fully healthy. Strasburg made his spring debut early this week and looked good (2 scoreless innings with a couple strikeouts). The big thing last season was the disappearing velocity, but his fastball topped out at 94 in his Spring debut so hopefully he can push that up a tick before the season starts.

I think a healthy, confident, Strasburg can rebound from a roller coaster 2018 season and snag 14+ wins with a sub 3.30 ERA.

3. I like Justin Miller and you should too

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In case you wanted a quick background on Miller:

This was a guy that signed with the Nats in a minor league deal last year, and worked his way up to the big club. Prior to last year he had pitched sparingly, 42 innings in 2016, 33 innings in 2015, and 8 innings in 2014.

Last year for the Nats here’s what Miller was able to accomplish:

52 Innings, 3.61 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 60 K’s, 17 BB’s, 12.8% Swinging Strike percentage, 83% of runners Left on Base, and opponents only his .254 on balls in play against him.

Miller has a 94-95 MPH Fastball, decent slider, and solid changeup and really held together the broken bullpen last year with his performance. He is known to be a good clubhouse guy as well.

Unfortunately, right now he’s got an injury that could possibly keep him from being ready for Opening Day, but when he gets back I’m sure he’ll go back to having a key role in this questionable bullpen.

4. The Nats don’t seem to think Pedro Severino is ready

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Pedro Severino had a pretty bad 2018 (to be fair, so did the Nats as a whole). With an injury-prone Matt Wieters also playing the same position, Severino had a great opportunity to solidify himself as the catcher for the immediate future. Instead he hit .168 in 70 games, with only 2 HR’s, 15 RBI, with a .254 OBP and .247 Slugging.

You can see in the highlight reel there is still potential obviously, and he is still very young:

The twenty-five-year-old now has to wait a bit, as the Nats bring in Yan Gomes and bring BACK Kurt Suzuki to split time at catcher.

Neither is expected to blow away the league offensively but both are improvements over last year and Suzuki brings Veteran leadership and already was a beloved National before.

Severino still will have time to grow, but the position has now gotten a little more crowded. My gut is the Nats simply don’t think Severino is ready whatsoever to take the reigns, the trust just isn’t there yet.

5. Please for the love of god can we just pick a 5th starter

On the 1st, Hellickson was quoted discussing his desire to solidify the 5th spot in the Nationals rotation: https://www.federalbaseball.com/2019/3/1/18243361/jeremy-hellickson-wants-fifth-spot-washington-nationals-rotation-wants-to-go-deeper-in-starts

And to be fair, he probably has earned that after a strong run in 2018 (5-3 Record, 3.45 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) but it appears Davey Martinez has not fully decided on that 5th spot. Joe Ross is clearly the guy with the highest upside, but he is only some months removed from his full recovery from surgery, and Fedde didn’t have a great 2018 but then again he only threw 50 innings and is still young.

I would love for this spot to be solidified out of camp. Here is how the guys are doing so far (though Spring Training stats themselves don’t mean THAT much)

Joe Ross: 5.2 Innings, 5 K’s, 1.59 ERA, 1.59 WHIP

Erick Fedde: 5.1 Innings, 5 K’s, 11.81 ERA, 3.19 WHIP

Jeremy Hellickson: 5 Innings, 7 K’s, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP

Based purely on that it is clearly a two-dog race between Ross and Hellickson for that 5th spot. Do you lean on the younger, higher upside Ross? Or do you go with the 31 year old Hellickson who performed last year when the Nats needed a band-aid?

Please just make a choice and stick with it, we know this rotation tends to get banged up anyways so I’m sure whoever doesn’t make the initial rotation will work their way in. What I don’t like is any idea of working in different guys constantly. Pick a man, let them perform, and adjust from there.

DC: Pitchers & Catchers Preview – 2019

The first special edition episode of our Washington Nationals Spring Training previews. Up to bat first are the Pitchers and Catchers. We discuss the additions of Corbin, Sanchez, Gomes, and Suzuki to the club. Take a listen and come back next week as we breakdown the infield for our Washington Nationals.

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Episode 22 – (Capitals, Wizards, “Grinds Our Gears”)

What is it with Alaska? What about Gas Attendants? Where did they all go? Take a listen to this condensed version of the podcast. Check out our Washington Nationals position preview special editions!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Shenanigans – (0:00)
  • Capitals Surging – (11:55)
  • Signs of Grunfeld Downfall? – (21:55)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (38:52)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (50:00)

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

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

BREAKING: Bryce Harper signs with Philadelphia Phillies

And there it is. Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies. Now let me start by saying this whole article may be an overreaction to what has just transcribed a few hours ago, so I apologize if some of my thoughts are irrational.

I have loved baseball my entire life. The sound of the lawn mower cutting those last few blades of grass in the outfield. The smell of the freshly manicured ball field dousing your senses. The subtle noise of the crowd chatter in the background. Honestly, there is nothing like going to a baseball game. You can like whatever sport you want. But baseball is in a class of its own.

Fast forward to 2009. In comes Stephen Strasburg throwing lightning and hearing the thunder of the crowd. I was there against the Pirates when he threw for 14 K’s and electrified this city. Then it happened. The following year, we drafted BRYCE HARPER. The golden boy had landed in D.C.

BryceHarperYoung.jpg

The anticipation of Harper grew and grew. Strasburg was one thing, but the hype for him was not compared to the intrigue an everyday player who was labeled “the chosen one” brought to the table. After a couple of years, the Nationals surprised us all and headed to the post-season. Then this happened:

Every year since 2012, we have been one of the favorites to win the World Series. Yet, we have been one of the most disappointing teams year in and year out since that year. Missing the playoffs multiple years, and not making it passed the National League Division Series in four tries, even though having one of the best “on paper” rosters in the league was heart wrenching. Yet, one thing remained, Bryce Harper.

With Bryce Harper, anything was possible. Eyes were always on Washington D.C., because we had the rights to arguably one of the Top 5 players in all of baseball. Other cities didn’t get that type of recognition because Harper was an icon at his young age. The hair, the Sports Illustrated Body Issue (see below), the sound bites, and above all else, the monster bombs he hit over countless fences. You never knew what could happen because ANYTHING was possible with this guy.

HarperBodyIssue

So here we stand as a franchise, poised to make a deep run this year and for multiple years to come. The average age of the core group for this team is only 22.25 years old (Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Carter Kieboom). That takes into account over half your outfield and infield with only those five guys. Mike Rizzo has built this team for the future and it has started to come to light. The only question, where was the face of our franchise going to end up?

The Nationals offered a “fair” offer at first. (Nationals Initial Offer For Bryce) The Lerners, Rizzo, and the city wanted Bryce back, at first. Then, rumors swelled and the debates began as time passed. “Where will he go?” – “Does he want to stay in D.C.?” – “Is he only in it for the money?” – “Doesn’t he want to win?” These were just some questions that arose in the beginning portion of this Free-Agency period.

But, the vitriol start to arise with the fan base after Bryce turned down Washington’s initial offer. People’s rationale started to decline. Everyone did not understand that if they were in his situation, with his talent, upside and prowess, we would want to get fair market value as well. Now I am not going to say I was happy Bryce was shopping with other teams, because I honestly wasn’t thrilled about the idea. Yet, I saw the bigger picture about how our team was constructed and decided to let the whole Harper thing fizzle out.

After over four months of discussions, four months of back and forth’s, four months of almost pure torture, Bryce Harper has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Did we expect him moving on? Yes. Did we expect other teams in this sweepstakes? (i.e. Yankees, Cubs, etc.) Yes. Would we have rather him go to any other team besides one within our division? YES.

SERONE’S TAKE:

Okay, here is my view on what this whole process has boiled down too. I wavered so much during these last four months debating in my head the pros and cons to having or losing the face of our franchise. But then it happened. It actually happened. The Phillies were the last team in the running to swoon over “our guy.” Now I could honestly care less about how much money yada yada yada. I am more so hurt by the fact he decided to take the job in Philadelphia, the city in which dreams are shattered because of their fan base. Take a look at some examples of what I am talking about.

NHL PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

(Fans throw TRIBUTE BRACELET OF LONG TIME OWNER on ice and at players)

NFL PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

(Fans pelt opposing fans with countless snowballs for many minutes)

MLB PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

(Fans throw Duracell Batteries and Trash at JD Drew)

Who would ever want to play in front of these fans? I literally hate when Philly fans try to say things like: “Oh we are just passionate people!” or “We love our teams!” No, no you don’t. I am a diehard Redskins, Nationals, Capitals and Wizards fan and you don’t see me throwing beer on a Houston Astros fan or a Miami Dolphins fan. You don’t see other fan bases doing these things year in and year out. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good fans out there but the majority ruins it for everyone. Would you ever wear a rival jersey in one of their stadiums? Would you ever jump in a pool with piranhas? They are classless and literally will scold you until you break down. I am not sure if Bryce was only in it for the money or not but wanting to play for these fans and that city over ANYONE OR ANYWHERE else is a gut-wrenching blow.

It is free-agency, I get it. But you have to think of your legacy at some point, right? I loved watching Bryce. Every at-bat was something to get excited for. But now, it is over. He has pulled an Anakin Skywalker and turned over to the Dark Side. We are Obi-Wan Kenobi and he is Darth Vader.

The D.C. hero has now become possibly one of the most hated sports figures for all of our nations capital. He went from Washington D.C’s sports “Mount Rushmore,” to our evil Thanos. The rivalry has been ignited once more, now with even more despise and more hatred. I loved Bryce as a baseball icon, but now he is gone and we have to deal with it. Enjoy your next 13 years Bryce. My last thought comes from one of the best movies of all time. There is only one thing left to do now. (Clip Rated: R for Strong Language)

 

Let’s Go Nats!

Episode 21 – (Capitals, Wizards, Nationals)

The duo is back on the mics from the brief hiatus of the holiday weekend. Spring Training has begun and the boys are ginned up. Join in on the action as Ben talks about the “Lovers Kit” from his hotel during Valentines Day. Also, we discuss a Frenchmen getting 4-Months in prison for a brilliant theft attempt, and answer a few Spring Training questions for the Nationals!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Trade Deadline Acquisitions – (19:10)
  • Wizards Terrible Defense – (38:45)
  • Spring Training for Nationals – (1:00:00)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:33:00)
  • Long-Time Guest “Ian Hollerin” – (1:43:30)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (1:45:50)

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

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

 

Is it weird that I literally don’t want Bryce Harper?

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks

Am I an idiot? Bryce is one of the best hitters of our generation right? The Millenial Mickey Mantle? The Vegas Golden Boy? I should be kicking myself for even CONSIDERING the idea of not wanting him on the Nats right? RIGHT?!

And yet…I am.

bryce bryce

Look, the credentials speak for themselves. Six all-stars, Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, with an absolute TEAR of a 2015 season.

But as a Nationals fan I have the ability to see more than the numbers. Some of the characterizations are unfair. Coming out of high school, and in his early years in the MLB, the guy had a really bad rep.

Umpires baited him, media-types pounced, and overall Bryce was the “crybaby” in a lot of eyes.

Going beyond some of the unfair criticisms lies a small grain of pitching mound sand of truth. The guy cares ALOT. He is emotional, he is combative, that much is a fact. You watch a season of Nats games and you can see it both on the field and with occasional camera shots to the dugout.

Is it a problem? Max Scherzer is intense too, right? Here’s the difference. When I see Max Scherzer giving his all and being a psycho on the mound, I see it as “I am doing everything in my power to help my team win”. When I see Bryce lose his mind I see “I am doing everything in my power to help ME win.”

I’m not in the dugout, I’m not in the clubhouse, I can’t REALLY speak to his abilities as a leader. But I think a fan perspective is worth something, and I have not ever looked at Bryce as the “Leader” of the Nats. We look to Zim, or to Max as leaders.

Bryce cares about Bryce. Is that a bad thing? No. Is it bad for a team that is trying to contend for a championship? In my opinion, yes.

As much as I envy the World Series champs from previous seasons, look at the guys on those squads.

world series

Those were TEAMS. Those guys worked as a UNIT. Did they each have their own stars? Of course. But it was not one guy leading the charge. And the stars that were at the front, would you put them in the same realm as Bryce as far as competitive and combative attitude? I don’t think so.

The point is, I look at this year’s roster without Bryce Harper and I’m excited. I don’t see one guy leading the charge. I see a cohesive unit. I see young studs mixed with guys in their prime mixed with crafty vets. Without Bryce, I don’t see this weight hanging over this team.

If you resign Bryce to a monster contract you will forever have the “Is he worth it” debate for the next decade. It won’t be about the Nationals, it will be about the scrutiny of every action Harper takes, every at-bat he swings and misses. Everyone will constantly be doing calculations “Oh look, is that ground out worth ___ million dollars?”

Without him I’m looking at a unit that can play free, maybe fly under the radar and surprise some people.

None of this is taking into consideration any of the financial impact or handcuffing of the team. The shuffling of the outfield, and any other logistical impacts along the way. This is one fan’s opinion, purely on emotion and gut feeling.

I think Bryce Harper is an incredible talent. I think Bryce Harper could be a hall-of-famer. I think Bryce Harper could win multiple MVPs in the future.

I just don’t want him.

A few Nats get completely disrespected by MLB Network’s Top 100 List

MLB Network concluded their Top 100 list last night, naming the Top 10 Players to finish off the list.

How is the Top 100 list compiled? MLB Network’s research team, in conjunction with the show’s producers, use statistical analysis to rank the Top 100 players in MLB for the 2019 season. (It’s different from the Shredder, which is used to determine the network’s annual ranking lists for the Top 10 players at each position.)

Let’s take a quick look at which Nats made the cut, and who got absolutely disrespected by the analysts:

#89-Sean Doolittle (Last Year: Unranked)

Sean Doolittle

No doubt Doolittle is finally being considered one of the more elite closers in the game right now. A few pitchers that were ranked higher than him: Kenley Jansen, Ohtani, and Mike Clevinger. Ohtani supposedly won’t even touch the pitchers mound this year, and will bat occasionally as a DH later on in the season. Is that enough to bump him higher than a healthy closer? I guess so.

#84-Trea Turner (Last Year: #47)

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Jean Segura barely edges out Turner and nabs #83 somehow, and I don’t understand the huge drop in ranking for Trea. Turner has had some really nice moments, and he’s had some bad spots as well. Still young, still a ton of potential, but he hasn’t established himself as a consistent stud yet. But a 40 spot drop seems drastic. He still hit .270 with close to 20 bombs on a team that underperformed. This seems like too big of a drop.

#80-Stephen Strasburg (Last Year: #28)

stephen-strasburg-shoulder-injury.jpg

Strasburg has had a roller-coaster career. One season he’ll be on fire, the next he’ll be struck by the injury bug and find it hard to stay on the field. Strasburg’s 2017 season was freaking SOLID. 15-4, 2.52 ERA, and his own version of MJ’s “Flu Game” in the playoffs

Last season was not great for Stras, and I think the league continues to overlook him after his initial entry was filled with so much hype. But to go from 28th to 80th?????!! Especially being completely healthy heading into a season with a loaded pitching rotation and re-tooled team. Another head-scratcher.

#78-Patrick Corbin (Last Year: Unranked)

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Nats fans are going to like what they see out of Corbin. He’s a guy coming off a really strong 2018, and earning himself that big contract. I love having his lefty arm in the rotation. I’m fine with this ranking. We’ll have more to say about this as the season progresses.

#36-Juan Soto (Last Year:Unranked)

Soto-780x520

Again the logic here is not adding up to me. Soto put together an INCREDIBLE 2018 campaign, of that there is no doubt. But is his freshman year enough to vault him into the top 40 players of the LEAGUE?? I love Soto, I think he is going to be fantastic for a long time, but can we make that declaration already? They have Soto higher than guys like George Springer, Charlie Blackmon, Cody Bellinger, etc. I love the enthusiasm but this seems a little much.

#21-Anthony Rendon (Last Year: #35)

rendon_bats_ddeb0b7c_15mtv4jy

I’m perfectly okay with this ranking. Rendon had stealthily moved up the ranks season after season and he’s one of those sleeper talents. I like a 14 spot rise for him after putting together yet another strong season.

#5-Max Scherzer (Last Year: #11)

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Mad Max is the heartbeat of the Washington Nationals. A grunting, swearing, sweaty, workhorse of a heartbeat. He IS a top 5 player in this league. On his pitching days he is the best player on the field, he controls the game entirely.

All hail Max.

Agent Zero ready to set Big 3 League on FIRE

gil

Today’s current crop of Wiz fans may have forgotten just how dominant Gil was in his prime. The man would also have THRIVED in today’s social media dominated NBA with his wild thoughts and antics. This guy was a WEIRDO.

Don’t sleep on the Big3 league. Old studs, reignited by competition again, trash-talk, etc.

I will be SHOCKED if Gil doesn’t put at least 50 shots per game.

Also let’s not forget this man was getting paid long after he stopped playing for the Wiz.

All hail Hibachi.

Where does Ryan Zimmerman rank among MLB 1st Basemen?

zimmerman.png

In November of 2018 Will Leitch of MLB.com wrote an article about the Top 20 First Basemen and ranked Ryan Zimmerman #15. This put Zim in front of guys like Josh Bell, Justin Bour, and Brandon Belt. This astounded me. I remember the pretty incredible 2017 campaign for Zim wherein he batted .303 in 144 games. But here we are in 2019, and the 34-year-old is coming off an 85-game .264 average season with one year left on his Nats contract.

It has been chronicled heavily on the podcast( Click here to download) of Mike and I’s disdain for the rope that the Nats give to Zim. So it begs the question: Is Zim the worst first baseman starting in the MLB this upcoming season? Or am I just a know-nothing jilted fan talking out of my ass? Let’s take a look.

The first thing to do is start with the nerds. Let’s take a look at the projections:

2019 projections

As you can see the bottom is what Ryan did in 2018, and the five lines above that are possible projections by various sources. The consensus appears to be that he will have a pretty similar season to 2018 numbers-wise, obviously a bigger sample size with him in theory playing more than 85 games in 2019.

Personally, I like Composite’s projections, so let’s use them as an example:

.266 avg, 21 HR, 57 R, 68 RBI in 406 at-bats.

I want to start in the NL East, and look around the other first basemen inside the division. This is based on MLB.com’s projected depth-chart as of today:

Braves-Freddie Freeman

Phillies-Rhys Hoskins

Marlins-Pete O’Brien

Mets-Todd Frazier (but really Pete Alonso)

Immediately place Freddie Freeman and Rhys Hoskins WAY above Zim in pretty much any sort of category. Now we are left with Pete O’Brien (who sounds like the guy that helps me with my taxes) and the shell of Todd Frazier with one of the top Mets prospects Pete Alonso waiting on the wings.

Here’s the Pete Alonso mixtape in case you were wondering:

Don’t bother looking up Peter O’Brien, just know that he may one of the few Zim has beat. So far the only first baseman I would rank lower than Zim is O’Brien.

Current Ranking of Zim: 4th (of 5 Teams)

Now let’s dive into more of the National League starting with the NL Central:

Cubs-Anthony Rizzo

Reds-Joey Votto

Brewers-Jesus Aguilar

Pirates-Josh Bell

Cardinals-Paul Goldschmidt

The Central is LOADED with First Base talent. Immediately place Rizzo and Goldy above Zim. Votto is up there too, especially for Fantasy Baseball owners. That leaves a non-household name in Aguilar, and Bell.

Aguilar has CRAZY pop, 35 dingers last year, and in 2018 really broke out. His potential immediately vaults him above Zim.

Bell is an interesting case because I would put him in a similar boat to Zim, and the projections do as well. Bell underachieved last year coming off a pretty solid 2017. I think the power numbers will be better than Zim, as well as the average.

Current Ranking of Zim: 9th (of 10 Teams)

I’ll zip through the NL West

D-Backs-Jake Lamb

Rockies-Daniel Murphy

Dodgers-Max Muncy

Padres-Eric Hosmer

Giants-Brandon Belt

Murph and Muncy are easily placed above Zim. Hosmer is probably looking at a 20+ bombs .270+ avg season as well, so put him up there too.

Jake Lamb had solid power numbers in 2016 and 2017, and last year wasn’t able to do much only playing in only 56 games due to injury. His power should be back, so he should double (maybe triple) Zim’s homer numbers. Belt is very very close to Zim. I will actually give Zim the SLIGHT edge for Zim because I think he can beat Belt out this year.

Current Ranking of Zim: 13th (of 15 Teams)

The American League! Let’s go to the AL East, where things may surprise you a bit.

Orioles-Chris Davis (You could make a case for Mancini)

Red Sox-Mitch Moreland 

Yankees-Luke Voit

Rays-Yandy Diaz

Blue Jays-Justin Smoak

For all the hype the AL East gets, the position of First Base isn’t loaded here. I would put Zim above Chris Davis, but lower than Mancini. Moreland and Yandy Diaz aren’t great options either.

Let’s go ahead and say Mancini represents the O’s in this scenario. Zim ranks higher than Diaz and Moreland to me.

Current Ranking of Zim: 16th (of 20 Teams)

On to the AL Central:

White Sox-Jose Abreu

Indians-Jake Bauers/Carlos Santana

Tigers-Miguel Cabrera

Royals-Ryan O’Hearn

Twins-CJ Cron

The ghost of Miguel Cabrera is still better than the ghost of Ryan Zimmerman, so I’ll give him the edge.

The Cleveland situation is a tad unfair because the Indians plan to platoon between Bauers and Santana, but Santana is still better numbers-wise than Zim.

As for Ryan O’Hearn and CJ Cron, O’Hearn is young and projecting for a .250-type season. Cron is coming off a 30 bomb year that earned him a spot with the Twins after being released on waivers by Tampa Bay. So put Zim over O’Hearn, but slightly behind Cron.

Current Ranking of Zim: 20th (of 25 teams)

Our last division is the AL West:

Astros-Yuli Gurriel

Angels-Albert Pujols/Justin Bour

Athletics-Matt Olson

Mariners-Ryon Healy

Rangers-Joey Gallo

Here’s a fun shift the Astros did on Gallo

Gallo, Olson, and Gurriel are easily picked higher than Zim on any sort of fantasy or real life rankings. Pujols and Bour will probably share some time at first, but gotta think Bour will get more actual starts there and Pujols nears the end of his career.

Honestly, the only guy you could put lower than Zim here is Healy. A strong 2017 lead into a mediocre 2018 for Healy.

So after all of that here is where we stand:

Final Ranking of Zim: 24th (of 30 teams)

Looking through the Nats pipeline, there isn’t a lot of excitement at the first base position either once you get past Zim and Matt Adams. I was wrong, Zim is not the WORST first baseman in the MLB, but it still doesn’t look great.

Let’s take a look at a player on the list of Nats Non-Roster Invitees: Tres Barrera

C-Tres Barrera

tres

Per FederalBaseball.com, the 24-year-old Catcher (drafted in the 6th round in 2016 by the Nats) is “solid defensively”, handles pitchers well, and leads the defense.

In 2018, Barrera hit .263, with 6 bombs, 24 RBI, and 68 hits in 259 AB’s. Barrera currently sits 14th in the Nats prospect list per MLB.com (list was from 2018, new prospect list comes out this month). The consensus seems to be his bat has pop, but sometimes pulls the ball way too much and doesn’t have much self-control at the plate.

As you can tell in this video, he’s a strong dude with a lot of raw power, the question will be if he can be consistent and work his way up through the Nats ranks.

Overall this seems to just be a good experience builder for Barrera, don’t expect him to be on the big squad for a few years, if ever.

Let’s take a look at a player on the list of Nats Non-Roster Invitees: Henderson Alvarez

RHP-Henderson Alvarez

image_resize

If you recall, and likely you don’t, the Nats signed Alvarez to a minor league deal back in November of last year. Alvarez, 28, pitched in 2018 with the Phillies.

He had a 4.30 ERA in 14 2/3 innings for Philly. His last GOOD season was in 2014 where he went 12-7, 2.65 ERA in 187 innings pitched (per Federalbaseball.com).

A lot of old glory years for this guy, including a no-hitter:

This is purely one of those low-risk invites that could lead to some depth pitching-wise if needed. The guy throws a Fastball, Sinker, Curve, Slider, and Changeup, mainly relying on his Fastball and Sinker.

Basically, this is a guy who’s promising career was derailed by injuries, and now has a chance to showcase himself with a Nats spring training squad. My guess is the Nats could stash him somewhere in AAA and wait for the inevitable injury bug to strike the rotation at some point and have Alvarez give the team a few starts.

Overall, nothing to be too excited about, but keep an eye on Alvarez’s numbers here in Spring as he hopes to climb his way back to the big time.

UPDATED: League says NOPE no travel for Beal

UPDATE: Sam Dekker weighs in:

Here is a look at the play everybody’s been talking about:

 

I don’t care what the league says, there is literally no way in the world that wasn’t a travel. I love Brad, but you can’t possibly watch that play and think “nope, that is clean”.

Bryce unfollows multiple Caps players

Let’s take a look at Bryce’s twitter:

bryce

Of the 24 follows for Bryce, only Mike Trout and Braden Holtby make the list. This is clearly a sign that he’s signing with Philly right? RIGHT?!

Episode 20 – (Super Bowl, Capitals, Wizards, “Smoothie Review”)

Have you ever ordered something off of a Facebook Ad or similar then regretted it immediately upon receiving that said thing? Take a listen and find out what Ben’s “Fast Blast” smoothies have turned out to be. In addition, Super Bowl recap, Wizards trade deadline and more…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Recapping Super Bowl LIII – (22:40)
  • Capitals Improving Play – (43:20)
  • Wizards Trades and New Faces  – (1:00:00)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:26:16)
  • Ben’s “Fast Blast” Smoothie Review – (1:48:15)

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

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

Episode 19 – (Bruce Allen, “KFC Food Review”)

Breaking down the first Bruce Allen presser in over 588 days took us a bit but we took down each question asked by reporters down in Mobile, Alabama. For our next food review we went with the KFC Limited Time “Famous Spicy Chicken Bowl” for only $3. You cannot beat a deal like that, plus the fact it was one of the best fast food items we have every had in our over 27 years of existence on planet earth. Take a listen…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Bruce Allen Presser Breakdown – (28:20)
  • Capitals Half-Way Point – (1:34:33)
  • Wizards Coming Around?  – (1:43:26)
  • Food Review “KFC Famous Spicy Bowl” – (1:54:03)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears/Pine-Pony Express” – (2:05:31)

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

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

State of D.C. Sports

A quick look at what 2018 held for D.C. Sports

By J. Batka

Capitals

The Capitals were by far the best D.C. Sports story to come out of 2018.  After years of playoff disappointment, Alex Ovechkin and company finally broke through and ended the Washington D.C. championship drought. What ensued was one of the greatest parties D.C. has ever seen which included fountain swimming, Stanley Cup keg stands and one epic Nationals game that saw the team crush beers until the final out.

After an off season filled with partying, the Capitals could have been forgiven for a “championship hangover” going into the 2018-19 season. That’s the real kicker; the Caps are red hot and show no signs of slowing down. Truly, the Caps are the pride of D.C. sports…. Now for the other teams.

Redskins

For years the most popular team in the D.C./ tri- state area was by far the Redskins. But 2018 just may go down as the year that the fan base officially quit. TV ratings were down, ticket sales continued to decrease and the number of opposing team’s fans seem to double or even triple in the past 3 years climaxing in one terrible home field “advantage” in 2018.

What makes the Redskins 2018 season even more bitter to swallow is that this team was in first place. Sitting at 6-3, the Alex Smith led Skins seemed destined for at least a wild card spot in the playoffs. However, after Smith’s season ending injury, which eventually led to Mark Sanchez starting a MEANINGFUL game in December, it was clear this team would miss the playoffs for the 4th time in 5 years under Jay Gruden.

But probably the most jarring thing that Redskins fans should be worried about is the recent front office firings. Like a cold-hearted Montgomery Burns, Dan Snyder fired multiple business personal less than a year into their employment. Shows them for trying to fix the team! Unfortunately, between an arrogant front office and many quarterback issues leading into the offseason, 2019 is not looking bright for the Redskins.

Nationals

The highlight of the D.C. baseball summer was by far the successful hosting of the All-Star Week festivities which culminated in Bryce Harper wining the homerun derby in dramatic fashion. The winning of a meaningless contest being the highlight of your season tells you all you need to know about how the Nationals faired in the games that mattered. 2018 saw the rise of a young and talented Atlanta Braves team who eventually went on to win the NL East. The Phillies also looked like contenders for the majority of the season and have money to spend this offseason, how aggressively they spend that money has yet to be seen. The point is that the Nationals are no longer the perennial favorite to win the NL East and contend for a world series; other teams are catching up if they haven’t already.

Of course, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room, the free agency of one Bryce Harper. Harper may decide to leave D.C. and if that happens the Nationals are actually in a good position for life without Harper. One of the good stories that came out of 2018 was the emergence of young outfield star Juan Soto. Combined with Adam Eaton, Victor Robles, and Michael A. Taylor, Soto would lead a crowded outfield sans Harper. Adding Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez will go a long way in bolstering a starting rotation that frankly underperformed (unless your name is Max Scherzer) in 2018.

Wizards

What can you say about the year that was 2018 for the Wizards that you can’t say about 2017? Lets see if all these check out…

  1. John Wall is hurt
  2. The team plays no defense
  3. Ernie Grunfeld continues to make trades that seem like he is picking names out of a hat.
  4. Beal is reportedly unhappy
  5. They could play well enough to get close to the 8 seed in the East which will lead to no major changes in the offseason and another year of the “we are good on paper” argument.

Is that about right? The Wizards seem to be caught in mediocrity and for the first time in years, there is no Lebron James led team in the East that makes the finals every year. Unfortunately the Wizards are unable to bring in high quality talent. This past year Grunfeld went out and got Austin Rivers to help out the bench. Rivers was traded well before the All-Star break because, eh why not? The Wizards need to blow it up and start again, if they were smart, they would be doing everything in their power to tank for Zion Williamson but that would require them leaving mediocrity, a place their owner Ted Leonsis, seems to be happy with.

2019 should continue to be bright for the Caps. The Nats continue to reload and have a chance at a good 2019 if they can compete with the Braves. The Wizards and Redskins however…. well let’s check back in 2020 shall we?

Episode 18 – (NFL, Nationals, Capitals, Wizards)

Back together again with football, beer and a whole new food review for the masses, check out the duo as they converse about food, old PC games, and wedding gaffes from friends hired as DJ’s. With more plans to come for the near future, that include but are not limited too, video elements, more guests etc., check back each and every week for all the new things we have in store!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Food Review (“The Habit Burger Grill”) – (19:30)
  • Redskins Update/NFL Championships – (37:12)
  • Nationals/Kris Bryant Discussion  – (53:32)
  • Capitals Struggles – (1:09:00)
  • Wizards Current Outlook – (1:23:13)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears/Pine-Pony Express” – (1:36:10)

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

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