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/

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

 

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.

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 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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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)

 

 

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.

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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.

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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!

Agent Zero ready to set Big 3 League on FIRE

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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?

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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

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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”.

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

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

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

The First Unofficial Redskins Depth Chart

One thing to note here: On the Redskins official website , Kelley is actually listed as the third RB, followed by Perine. Byron Marshall was placed on IR earlier this week, allowing the Skins to sign Josh Keyes who played for the Houston Texans this offseason.

Adrian Peterson of course gets the nod for RB1 with everyone else where they were expected to be except for one player. Danny Johnson will be returning kickoffs.

I’m excited for this team. Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson are officially off the injury report. Fingers crossed that it stays that way for the foreseeable future. That may be wishful thinking but the injuries last year were brutal – 22 players on IR, Trent Williams did not practice all year, Norman out multiple weeks with broken ribs. My optimism may be at an all time high for this squad. HTTR.

106.7’s Chad Dukes to ride Bullpen Cart on Friday

After Dukes was burned by the Nats for scheduling his first pitch to coincide with Kate Ledecky’s (we wrote about that here, the olive branch was extended).

This Friday Dukes will ride the Cart after the 2nd inning as the Nats take on Milwaukee at 7:05PM.

 

Redskins’ 53 Man Roster Projection 1.0

Offense


via Getty Images/Patrick Smith

Quarterbacks: Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

No surprises here. Smith was always going to be the starter and McCoy is a backup who can get you through 5-6 games without ruining your season should QB1 go down. As much as Kevin Hogan would be a nice addition to this team, he is the odd man out as the Skins’ usually only carry 2 QB’s on the roster.


via CBS Sports

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs, Samaje Perine

No surprises here either. Byron Marshall will be the odd man out. Injuries will likely mean the coaching staff elects to keep 5 backs.

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson (18) during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md. After five seasons in Dallas, Claiborne is getting a fresh start with the New York Jets and focused on staying healthy and being a No. 1 cornerback for his new team. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
via AP/Alex Brandon

Wide Receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Cam Sims

Doctson is the incumbent WR1, with Richardson opposite him and Crowder holding down the slot. Harris has impressed throughout training camp and will earn a spot. Sims has performed well in preseason action edging out Brian Quick. Mr. Irrelevant, Trey Quinn, hasn’t done much to separate him self from the pack.


via Washington Post/John McDonnell

Tight Ends: Josh Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

Reed, when healthy, is an elite tight end. Davis is also a reliable target who can fill in as a starter should Reed go down (Reed has never played 16 games in his professional career). Sprinkle has been solid this offseason and no one else has done much to challenge him for the third TE spot.

usatsi_9776619.jpg
via USA TODAY

Offensive Line: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Geron Christian Sr., Tyler Catalina, Ty Nseke, Kyle Kalis  

When healthy, this is a top line in the league. It will be interesting to see whether the coaching staff elects to keep 8 linemen like last year or add another for depth purposes. The latter seems more likely.

Defense

Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne
via AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Defensive line: Jon Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, Anthony Lanier II, Ziggy Hood

This defensive line will be young and hungry. With the exception of Hood, everyone on this line will be 25 years old or younger.

0613-zach-brown-minicamp-day-1
via Garrett Campbell/Washington Redskins

Inside Linebackers: Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight, Shaun Dion Hamilton

Zach Vigil looks to be the odd man out here. Spaight has shown improvement this preseason and can play on special teams, while Hamilton is a raw prospect that can develop into a starter. These four guys will see plenty of action this week against the Baltimore Ravens.

Image result for ryan kerrigan
via LetsGoRedskins.com

Outside Linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Not much to say here, this is likely to be the strongest unit on defense with Kerrigan and Smith returning. McPhee was added this offseason to boost depth.


via Keith Allison/Hanover, MD

Cornerbacks: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Adonis Alexander, Danny Johnson, Greg Stroman

A young group led by Norman. Dunbar and Moreau are no surprises. Alexander has the size and speed to play safety as well. Johnson has made the most of his opportunities in preseason action. Greg Stroman will look to immediately contribute as a return man on special teams.

Image result for dj swearinger
via Washington Post/John McDonnell

Safeties: D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everrett, Troy Apke, Quin Blanding

Washington would be best suited to keep 5 safeties as Apke may need more time to develop as a backup and a little competition from Blanding might help speed things along.

Special Teams

Image result for Dustin hopkins
via HTTR4LIFE.com

Special Teams: Dustin Hopkins (K), Tress Way (P), Nick Sundberg (LS)

Again, no surprises here. This unit returns from last year.

Quick Hits: Broncos Beat Redskins 29-17 in Preseason Game 3

gallery_xlargevia San Francisco Chronicle

Game 3 of the preseason is always the most interesting from a fan’s standpoint because this is the game where starters play more than they normally would. Rather than a long boring recap, I wanted to touch on a few points to watch out for as the season continues.

Offense

Alex Smith – 3/8 passing, 33 yards. Not exactly what you want from your starting QB, albeit against a very good Broncos secondary. It looks like the Smith is still working on finding a rhythm with his new corp of receivers – Vernon Davis had 4 targets out of Smith’s 8 passes. We’ll see what happens when Coach Gruden finally opens up the playbook for Smith week 1.

Adrian Peterson – The player everyone had eyes on and there have been no less than 100 articles on him in the last 48 hours. I’ll keep it brief – 11 carries, 56 yards and in less than a half of actions is good. All Day still has a quick step, great vision, and is big enough to fight for extra yards after the contact. He’s played his way into a starting role.

Offensive Line – The good news is that everyone is healthy and if it stays that way, this line will continue to be one of the best in the league.

Simmie Cobbs Jr. – 1 rec, 18 yards, 1 TD. Simmie has gotten more reps with Maurice Harris and Cam Sims out. He is competing for a roster spot with Brian Quick(DNP) and Trey Quinn(1 rec, 2 yards, 4 targets).

Defense

Da’Ron Payne – Payne was Washington’s first round pick and he is playing like it. Payne is big, athletic, and strong. Right now, he’s the run stuffer in the middle of the Skins’ defense but don’t sleep on his pass rushing skills. He’s back playing next to Jon Allen. One of these guys will have to be double teamed and the other is going to be a handful for the poor lineman who has to take him 1-on-1.

Tim Settle – A fellow Hokie, Settle has a special place in my heart. After a great training camp where he forced his way into the defensive line rotation, Settle was the star of the week 1 preseason game against New England. He had a quieter game this week, but did show good push up front and had a pass knockdown.

Side note: One of the picks acquired from Denver in the Su’a Cravens trade was used on Settle.

Quinton Dunbar – Listed as the number 2 corner on this roster, Dunbar beat out Orlando Scandrick for the job. He’s shown some flashes of potential and it will be interesting to see how he develops in his first season starting full time.

Montae Nicholson – I’m not sure what to make of Nicholson. He has the size and speed to be a starting safety (and he will start at FS to begin the season), but he will be tested in coverage often.

Fabian Moreau – I have high hopes for Moreau (see future number 1 corner). With Kendall Fuller shipped away to Kansas City (I’ll bite my tongue on that topic), Moreau is looking to fill into the role nickel cornerback. He has good length and explosive closing speed, as evidenced on the pass break up again Emmanuel Sanders below. Moreau has a ton of potential and should be very exciting to watch grow.

Troy Apke – Apke projects to be a special teamer. He has great straight line speed but is questionable in coverage. Apke is a player on the bubble, he will get a lot of snaps next week.

Special Teams

Tress Way – Still one of the best punters in the league. Full stop.

In conclusion, there is no need to overreact to this overall ugly game by the Burgundy and Gold. There were bright spots, there were bad spots, but that is what the preseason is for. Many key players were out: Zach Brown, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, etc. The d-line and pass rush will be great this year and hopefully mask any shortcoming in the secondary. The offense still needs to find it’s identity but Smith has yet to see live action with all his weapons available (Crowder and Doctson sat out). This team has a few kinks to work out.

The Athletic Unable to Poach Washington Post Writers

sports

You can read the article here

Deadspin wrote up a piece regarding The Athletic, the subscription region-based digital sports website that has been notorious of late of snagging sportswriters left and right.

DC is the next target, but apparently, things have not gone as planned.

Some key quotes from the story are below.

On the failed execution of the plan:

A variety of reporters at the Washington Post and in the D.C. area, who spoke to Deadspin about The Athletic’s efforts, described a failure to execute an audacious plan to pillage one of the last good sports desks at an American newspaper (even as the newsroom within which that desk is situated goes to war with its cartoon plutocrat owner), an inability to entice other notable reporters with roots in the area, and a failure to either notice or care that a ready-made operation with deep local connections was right there, ready to be absorbed. The end result is that The Athletic’s entrance into the nation’s capital, one of the biggest sports markets in the county, has stalled before it even started. 

On the reporters approached:

Sources at the Washington Post say the Athletic has approached, and failed to hire, sports editor Dan Steinberg, Capitals reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan, Redskins reporter Kimberley Martin, columnist Barry Svrluga, Nationals reporter Jorge Castillo (who recently announced he was going to the Los Angeles Times), soccer writer Steven Goff, and college sports, tennis, and WNBA reporter Ava Wallace. It’s unclear whether Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes and Wizards reporter Candace Buckner have talked to The Athletic and if they are considering—or have accepted—jobs at The Athletic. (Update: Sources familiar with the situation say Janes and Buckner were also approached by The Athletic. They are both staying at the Washington Post.)

The story goes on to discuss the connection with Bezos and how that may have played into the ability to thwart the poachers. It also discusses the other digital sports media competitions that already have footholds in the area.

The Athletic’s mission is to destroy newspapers as we know it. For now it seems, the DC Sports Newspaper scene is safe. We’ll see how this evolves as The Athletic grows.

By the way, hey The Athletic, our talents are for sale!!!