February 2010

Racing Presidents test their skills on the rink

The award winning, oversized, athletic, multiple-sport Racing Presidents took their show to New York over the weekend. They have raced in Pittsburgh against the Pierogies a few times but this time they competed on a different terrain–an ice rink but unlike Disney on Ice this was worth watching.

It was the second year in a row that the presidents made the journey to the Big Apple to race during the second intermission of the New York Islanders game in honor of Presidents Day. The Islanders invited the presidents back after last year’s race was so popular. There wasn’t a game scheduled for Presidents Day, so George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy strapped on their skates and made their appearance on Valentine’s Day.

Teddy originally pitched the idea of racing at a different venue because he thought it would increase his chances of winning. As you probably could have guessed… it didn’t change the outcome.

When they weren’t racing on the rink–they raced around Manhattan making their oversized heads prominent in front of every popular landmark in Manhattan.


Presidents in New York 1.JPG

Presidents in New York 6.JPG
Presidents in New York 5.JPG
Presidents in New York 4.JPG
Presidents in New York 3.JPG
Presidents in New York 2.JPG

Adam Kennedy provides stability at second base


Adam Kennedy 1.jpgThe Nationals came up short in the Orlando Hudson sweepstakes but the second place prize could be more productive–time will tell. The Nats signed second baseman Adam Kennedy once the snow settled on Friday. The signing also settled speculation that Cristian Guzman would play second and Ian Desmond would play shortstop. Kennedy will be the everyday second baseman and Guzman will stay at short. Desmond will likely start the season with Triple-A Syracuse so he can improve his defense.

The left-handed hitting Kennedy, 34, is a pro’s pro that will be great in the clubhouse, provide a positive attitude and will be a quality mentor for the young players.

After disappointing 2007 and ’08 seasons, Oakland gave Kennedy a chance to player everyday and he flourished. He batted .289 with 29 doubles, 11 home runs, 63 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 129 games with Oakland despite playing home games at pitcher-friendly Oakland-Alameda County Stadium. (There might be more foul territory than fair territory there and that isn’t a hyperbole.)

Kennedy is familiar with Manager Jim Riggleman and Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein from their time together with the Cardinals organization in 2007.

“I really like Adam a lot as a player,” Riggleman said. “He isn’t spectacular in any particular area of the game. He is just a solid pro to add to a nice list of pros that we have with Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Willingham and Nyjer Morgan.”

Kennedy is known as a strong defender and his 4.92 total chances per 9.0 innings ranked second among all AL second basemen (minimum 750 games) in the just-completed decade (2000-09).

Kennedy is perhaps best known as the MVP of the 2002 ALCS, during which he homered three times in Game Five to register just the sixth three-homer game in postseason history. Kennedy has twice reached the postseason, and is a .308 career hitter in 25 playoff games. He earned a World Series ring with Anaheim in 2002.

The signing of Kennedy all but solidifies the 2010 lineup with very few position battles taking place this spring. Right field is for Elijah Dukes to lose and Ivan Rodriguez will likely begin the season behind the dish as Jesus Flores recovers from right shoulder surgery. Of course, a lot can change between now and then… but not accounting for unforeseen injuries and assuming Guzman starts at shortstop, here is the projected Opening Day lineup two days before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training:

2010 Opening Day Lineup Projection :

  1. Nyjer Morgan – L
  2. Cristian Guzman – S
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – R
  4. Adam Dunn – L
  5. Josh Willingham – R
  6. Elijah Dukes – R
  7. Adam Kennedy – L
  8. Pudge Rodriguez – R
  9. Jason Marquis

Countdown to Opening Day: 10 till ’10

There are seven weeks (eight Mondays) until Opening Day on April 5 at Nationals Park. We are counting down the final few weeks of the offseason highlighting 10 memorable moments, jaw-dropping catches and walk-off wins. You have seen them before but you’ll want to see them again.

 Last week we acknowledged Justin Maxwell’s personal ability to defy gravity and fly in center field.

 This week we highlight Adam Dunn’s ability to get the job done. Click here to view it on NatsHD or here…
20090619 Dunn Walkoff 1B_hi.mpg … to view Adam Dunn’s walk-off single against the Blue Jays.

 The Nats were rolling on June 19. The starters were wheeling and dealing with a 3.11 ERA for the month of June and they had just returned from a series victory over the Yankees in the Bronx. Next up: the Toronto Blue Jays at Nationals Park. The game didn’t involve a rain delay but it was a rollercoaster ride of highs, lows and missed opportunities. The two clubs combined to go 2-for-15 (.133 BA) with runners in scoring position. The Jays left 13 men on base while Washington left 16. But in the bottom of the 11th with the game tied 1-1 and the bases loaded, Adam Dunn drove an 0-2 fastball to right field for the game winning hit.

 It was the Nats first walk-off win and extra inning victory of the season. Dunn got it done all season long. He led the Nationals with 15 game winning RBI and 30 go-ahead RBI.

Nationals Park after Snowpocalypes


 
Snow Park 7.jpgIt isn’t a great storm, if it doesn’t have a great name. There were a few clever names for the first blizzard that crippled the DC-area over the weekend: Snowpocalypes, Snowmageddon and the Great DC Blizzard of Aught-Ten. As if that wasn’t enough, round two struck Tuesday night. Like most sequels, Snoverkill wasn’t as impressive as round one but it was still like kicking a person while they’re down. Federal employees, along with all Nationals employees, enjoyed 38 hours (a four hour early dismissal on Friday, offices were closed Monday through Thursday and a two hour late start on Friday) of whatever you want to call it: cabin fever, isolation, boredom, telecommuting and/or quality family time.

The final numbers from Wednesday’s blizzard: 10.8″ at National (DCA), 9.3″ at Dulles (IAD) and 19.5″ at Baltimore-Washington (BWI).

National Airport recorded a new record–Washington’s new all-time record stands at 55.9″ (besting 54.4″ from 1898-99) while IAD is now at 72.8″ and BWI is leading the way with 79.9″.


 
 
Screech in the snow.jpg
Snow Park 10.jpg
 
Snow Park 8.jpgWith 16 days still left in February, DCA is just 3.3″ away from the February (and all-time monthly) record for DC set in 1899 of 35.2″. IAD has already eclipsed the 2003 Feb. record by 10.8″ and BWI has also eclipsed the 2003 numbers for Feb. by 8.7″.

The Ryan Zimmerman-Adam Dunn back-to-back home run totals for Snowpocalypes & Snoverkill are: DCA, 28.6″; IAD, 41.7″; BWI, 44.3″.


Snow Park 2.jpg

Countdown to Opening Day: 10 till ’10

There are eight weeks (nine Mondays) until Opening Day on April 5 at Nationals Park. We are counting down the final few weeks of the offseason highlighting 10 memorable moments, jaw-dropping catches and walk-off wins. You have seen them before but you’ll want to see them again.

 

Last week we highlighted Ryan Zimmerman’s 30 game hit-streak. This week we acknowledge a person’s ability to defy gravity and fly in center field.

 

Click here to view it on NatsHD or here…
20090523 Maxwell catch_hi.mpg … to view Justin Maxwell run like Usain Bolt and jump like Jordan to rob a home run from Adam Jones on May 23 against the Orioles. Maxwell is extremely athletic–he runs like a gazelle with long strides and has a spring in every step. He is an above-average fielder and plus-runner (41 stolen bases between Triple-A Syracuse and the Nationals last season) but he now has to prove he can make consistent contact during a full season like he did last September.

 

Nats Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein got the idea to lower his hands to chest level after watching video of other long-levered sluggers like Dave Winfield. The minor change made a major impact and helped his numbers sore in September. He played in 23 games and batted .306 (15-for-49) with three home runs and six RBI. This isn’t the only memorable moment Maxwell provided NatsTown in 2009.

 

Keep in mind Spring Training is just around the corner. The Nats report/workout dates are as follows: pitchers/catchers report on Feb. 19–that’s next Friday– position players report on Feb. 24 and the first full-squad workout is on Feb. 26.

Countdown to Opening Day: 10 till ’10

There are nine weeks (10 Mondays) until Opening Day on April 5 at Nationals Park. We are counting down the final few weeks of the offseason highlighting 10 memorable moments, jaw-dropping catches and walk-off wins. You have seen them before but you’ll want to see them again.

Click HERE to view it on NatsHD or here
Zimmerman’s 30 Game Hit-Streak.mpg … to watch highlights from Ryan Zimmerman’s 30 game hit-streak. He hit safely in 30 straight games from April 8 to May 12, batting .382 (50-for-131) with 11 doubles, eight home runs, 26 RBI, 11 walks and 26 runs. Even on May 13 when the streak came to a halt, he still had a productive day at the plate: 0-for-3, one-run and two walks. Zimmerman’s 30-game hit-streak was the longest posted by a third baseman since former Royal and Hall-of-Famer George Brett posted a 30-game hit streak from July 18 to August 18, 1980.

 

Keep in mind Spring Training is just around the corner. The Nats report/workout dates are as follows: pitchers/catchers report on Feb. 19, position players report on Feb. 24 and the first full-squad workout is on Feb. 26.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 562 other followers