Results tagged ‘ Curly W Live ’
Here at Curly W Live, we rarely – if ever – discuss politics, despite residing at the epicenter of our nation’s government. We’re far more likely to engage with you in a debate on the latest exploits of George, Tom, Abe or Teddy than any sitting President. But as The District and the country as a whole catches its collective breath following Inauguration Weekend, there is no time better than the present to take inventory of the transformation of our national pastime here in the Nation’s Capital since the last inauguration.
Four years ago, a 23-year-old Gio Gonzalez had just been traded – from the Chicago White Sox to the Oakland Athletics. Stephen Strasburg was halfway through his junior year at San Diego State. And a 16-year-old Bryce Harper had enrolled at Southern Nevada College, but had yet to see a pitch from anyone other than a high schooler.
My, how far we’ve come.
The Nationals became the first team to add 10 or more wins in three consecutive seasons over a span that did not include any strike-shortened campaigns. Coming off their 59 victories in 2009, they improved to 69 in 2010, 80 in 2011 and a Major League-best 98 last year.
Given the previous franchise high-water mark of 81-81 during their inaugural campaign, any winning season at all in 2012 would have marked the best in the franchise’s annals. Needless to say, the Nationals exceeded everyone’s projections, except perhaps for skipper Davey Johnson, who guaranteed a playoff berth all the way back in Spring Training.
But the past was all about potential. The present and future are about raised expectations.
Now, Washington has added defensive wizard and leadoff man Denard Span, the most tested, capable fifth starter in the league in Dan Haren, and one of the game’s premier closers in Rafael Soriano. One could make the argument that each of the Nationals units – the starting rotation, bullpen, catching corps, infield, outfield and bench – rank among the best in the game.
Johnson returns for his second term with a core group of rising stars, many of which are just entering their prime. In fact, 10 players – Danny Espinosa, Gonzalez, Harper, Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore, Drew Storen, Strasburg, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann – are under team control through at least 2016: four more years.
The last four years of Nationals baseball have brought plenty of change. The next four promise an equal amount of hope.
But whether you identify as red or blue, as long as you’re rocking the Curly W, you’re wearing our colors. And regardless of your interest or involvement in politics, everyone can agree on one self-evident truth: with pitchers and catchers reporting for the 2013 season in just 20 days, it’s good to be a Washington Nationals fan.
First of all, wow. We expected a solid response to our post, but suffice it to say that the depth of knowledge and passion for the game and our team in your nearly 100 submissions was overwhelming, and proves that the future of this fan base is strong with fans like yourselves leading the way. That being said, it made our task that much more difficult to narrow down to one single winner. Before we do that, a couple notes for the rest of you.
We will, as we have in the past, host a Blogger Day at some point this season (date TBD, as of now) at which we will be more than happy to host those of you who blog regularly about the Nationals. We’re happy to talk about taking guest contributions from each of you as we continue to expand what we do here on the electronic/social media side of the organization. However, for this particular opportunity, someone else stood out.
Next, we were thrilled by the diverse demographics of our applicants. We had students, teachers, twenty-somethings, fifty-somethings, moms, dads and fans of old and recent converts all apply. Particularly notable was the fact that, by our count, roughly a third of all the applicants for this particular opportunity were women, a great showing from our female fan base.
Before we get to the actual winner, here are a few of our favorite lines from your comments:
My alarm clock is Charlie Slowes’ call of Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in Game 4 (it was a little shocking at first to wake up to “SWINGANNNALONGDRIVE!” but I got used to it) – Dan McKeever
I love baseball, and so does my family. My kids have been going to games since they were 3 weeks old. – CDR Jeff Bennett, US Navy
Our 2-year-old is the biggest Nationals fan. He recognizes the word “Nationals” in the paper. He considers his “Inside Pitches” his “Nationals Books” … He even knows to do the shark when Roger Bernadina’s at bat music plays. – Allison Marcus
I rooted for Preston Wilson (he beat the Phillies!), Jamey Carroll, Nook Logan, and Lastings Milledge (he was misunderstood!). – Robert Hay, Jr.
By my estimation, I am the second biggest Nats fan in the world, only behind my younger sister Katie, who still does not believe that Ryan Zimmerman is married and off the market. – Matt Gilman
Ability to incorporate spot-on sports movie references. Angels in the Outfield? Check. Field of Dreams? Please. The Sandlot? You’re killing me, Smalls! We’re even willing to start the Mighty Ducks chant. – Kate and Lauren
I still believe Dippin’ Dots can become the ice cream of the future. – Jack ‘O Beam
Your posts were full of compelling reasons to be chosen and engrossing, entertaining writing all around. But after careful, exhaustive consideration, our panel chose the winner:
Growing up in a sports obsessed family, but being completely unathletic (not to mention female) journalism was my ticket to being in the middle of all of the action. It didn’t matter that every team I rooted for was struggling to remain relevant – I still threw myself into learning as much about the players and game as I could. Internships, classes, you name it, I’ve been there. However, I finished college at probably the worst possible time. The economy was in the tank, and media was in a holding pattern. Would the jobs still be there? Being scared, I grabbed the first job offer I had – which was in a completely unrelated field. It was the right choice at the time, but I’m stuck in my mid 20s now wondering what if I had gone after my dream? The Nats have given my family a new way to bond. I would love if they gave me a second chance on a dream I gave up on, even if just for a day. – Michelle
Well Michelle, we’re all about making dreams come true, so here’s your chance. Hopefully we’ll see the rest of you at NatsFest next weekend and at the ballpark throughout the season!
We love baseball, you love baseball. We write about baseball all year long, both during and between the seasons. Maybe you do too, or maybe you have just always wanted to, but have never had the forum for it. Either way, here’s your chance. We will pick one lucky fan to join us in the press box for a 2013 Nationals home game and write a post for Curly W Live.
You’ll even get your own byline on one of the top MLB Pro Blogs, one that reaches hundreds of thousands of readers per year. Not bad, right? All you have to do is state your case in the comments below. Keep it under 250 words, then check back at the end of the day to see if you’ve been chosen. See below for additional details and a link to the official contest rules. Good luck!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Enter by 3:59:59 pm ET on 1/16/13. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C. who are at least 18 years of age (and of legal age of majority in jurisdiction of residence). TRANSPORTATION TO/FROM THE GAME AND LODGING NOT INCLUDED. Limit one (1) entry/comment per person and per email address. Void where prohibited. See Official Rules, which govern, for complete details.
“The Sun Monster got me.”
Those were Bryce Harper’s words after the natural conditions at Nationals Park colluded with the Milwaukee Brewers to defeat the Nationals 6-2 on Sunday afternoon. With the harsh, mid-afternoon sun bearing down on right and center fields in the middle innings of day games in D.C., any ball hit with a high enough trajectory to clear the top of the seating bowl in the eyes of the outfielders is susceptible to disappearing against the blinding backdrop.
Harper and Jayson Werth took turns battling the brutal glare on Sunday (Sun-day?), mostly unsuccessfully. Harper lost a ball in the mid-afternoon glare that dropped for a double, with the Brewers scoring the first two runs of the game in the fourth inning. He later managed to fight off the sun just enough to make a catch on which he fell to his knees. Just when the Nationals may have thought they had weathered the worst of it, another would-be routine fly ball was hit straight into the sun’s path at Werth, again dropping as the outfielder had no chance to pick up the white ball against the blinding glare. Milwaukee would take advantage again, posting a three-run inning.
But the Sun Monster giveth, and the Sun Monster taketh away. That’s the lesson the Brewers learned on Monday along the banks of the Anacostia.
With the go-ahead run already in, leading 2-1 with two outs (again in the fourth inning), Werth lofted a fly ball out to right-center field. Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez drifted over, but could not find the ball until it was nearly on top of him, diving futilely at the last moment as it clanked off his wrist and dropped to the turf. Two runs scored on the play, but it was after Harper followed with a walk that the Nationals took full advantage. Ryan Zimmerman belted an opposite-field, three-run shot, his 24th of the season, to cap a six-run frame on the way to a 12-2 blowout victory.
Werth acknowledged that the sun tends to be at its brightest this time of year, as well as in the earliest part of the season. We here at Curly W Live are certainly not astronomers, but we find it interesting that such a time would correspond roughly with the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (the latter of which fell on Saturday), perhaps accounting for the sun being on a particular trajectory that ends up blasting right and center fields at these particular times of year. Regardless of the reason, it will be something to keep an eye on, or shade yourself from, as the Nationals face the prospect of either mid- or late-afternoon start times during the postseason.
Here at Curly W Live, we are putting our own spin on the traditional “10 Questions” format this season. To mix it up a little, we will ask players, front office members, coaches and prospects nine questions we think you’d like to know the answer to, then take our favorite submission through Facebook and Twitter from the fans for the final question. Stay tuned all season long for the chance to ask your favorite National whatever you’ve always wanted to know. Today, we bring you Jordan Zimmermann.
1. You grew up in Auburndale, WI (pop. 738) and attended Auburndale High School. Describe “Bring Your Tractor to School Day.”
We have one day out of each year where the kids can bring their tractors to school and park them right in the parking lot. It’s kind of a neat thing for the guys who live or have worked on the farm. Unfortunately – well, fortunately I guess – I didn’t live on a farm so I drove the car to school.
2. Do you ever get any cheese jokes about your fastball, with people knowing you’re from Wisconsin?
No, but a couple guys around here call me “The Cheesehead.” That’s about as far as it goes with the cheese jokes.
3. You went to school at UW-Stevens Point. How big of an adjustment was it for you coming to a major city like D.C.?
It’s definitely been an adjustment since I got drafted playing in bigger cities. I started up in Vermont which is not that big. I’m from a town of 750 people so any city is going to be huge compared to that. Getting to D.C., I lived on the outskirts – I never really lived down town. I stay in the Alexandria/Arlington area and just find an easy way to get to the ballpark and get home. I’m not much for traffic, so it’s one of those things where I need an easy commute.
4. How many times out of 10 does someone spell your name wrong?
People spell my name wrong ALL the time. I think a lot of people get me mixed up with Ryan Zimmerman and he has one ‘N’ at the end of his name and I have two at the end of mine. I used to correct people all the time but I am getting to the point I just let it go and no one knows the difference anyways.
5. Did you know there was a Jordan Zimmerman (one “n”) who pitched for the Mariners in 1999?
I’ve gotten some fan mail from a couple people where I open it up and there is a picture of this guy, who is not me. I just sign the card and send it back. (No, not really)
6. Did anyone ever call you JZ growing up? What about after Jay-Z became popular?
I never had a nickname Jay-Z growing up at all. I’ve had a few other nicknames but not Jay-Z.
7. What’s the background on the number 27?
I didn’t really have a choice on the number 27. When I got to Spring Training, I went into Wally’s (clubhouse manager Mike Wallace) office and he said, “What number do you want? We have 27, 33 and a couple other numbers left.”
I said, “Well, I guess I will take 27.”
8. How did you feel about your “immaculate inning,” where you struck out the side on nine pitches on May 6, 2011 vs. the Marlins?
I just got through the first guy and got through the second guy and then the umpire kind of gave me a generous call. I threw one up and in and I was lucky enough that he swung at it and I got out of the inning. I didn’t even realize it until after the game when they brought it up in the post-game interview.
9. What do you think would be a good nickname for the starting staff?
I’m not sure about nicknames but since we all throw above 90/92 and Stephen can throw above 100, something with flames, I guess. Flame Chuckers, or something (laughing).
10. Fan Question, from Joshua N. via Facebook: Are you guys in the starting rotation having as much fun as it looks like you’re having?
Definitely. We’ve got a young staff and we’re all around the same age. It works out that we can joke around with each other and we can pick each other’s brains. We’re having a great time and we’re all pitching pretty well now. So far, so good.
Here at Curly W Live, we are putting our own spin on the traditional “10 Questions” format this season. To mix it up a little, we will ask players, front office members, coaches and prospects nine questions we think you’d like to know the answer to, then take our favorite submission through Facebook and Twitter from the fans for the final question. Stay tuned all season long for the chance to ask your favorite National whatever you’ve always wanted to know.
Our “District 9” series starts off with the newest member of the Nationals rotation, one Giovany A. Gonzalez, better known to his fans as “Gio”. The left-hander made his way to Nationals Park on Wednesday for the first time since his December 23 trade from Oakland, and Curly W Live caught up with him prior to his introductory press conference.
1. What is the significance of the number 47?
Well, 47 was the number I got when I got called up. I figure it’s given me so much luck, and my family loves the number, so I was more than happy to get it.
2. Who had the most influence on you outside of baseball as a kid?
Absolutely my parents, my mom and dad. They were my heroes when I was a kid.
3. What is your favorite sport outside of baseball? Your favorite team?
Since I’m from south Florida I grew up watching the Florida Marlins, now the Miami Marlins. I grew up watching the Miami Heat. I watched a little bit of hockey here or there, the Florida Panthers. If I was to pick out one specifically it would be the Miami Heat. I watched those guys ever since I was a kid.
4. What is your favorite ballpark?
My favorite ballpark in baseball would have to be… well, absolutely Washington now (laughing).
5. What is the best team you’ve ever played on?
I have to say Oakland, the team that gave me an opportunity to play and gave me the chance to be who I am today. I always have to give credit to the team that gave me a shot to perform in the Major Leagues.
6. How would you describe your curveball on a clock?
I would have to say it’s a 12-6 curveball.
7. What was your most memorable strikeout?
Well, it was my first Major League strikeout, which was David Eckstein. It was call-up day in Toronto.
8. Who has been the toughest out so far in your career?
There are a couple of guys who are impossible to get out. But to narrow it down? It would be tough. I don’t want to narrow it down to one guy, there’s a variety of guys. Hopefully we don’t have to face them anymore. They’re mostly in the American League anyway (laughing).
9. What tourist attraction are you most looking forward to visiting in Washington D.C.?
I definitely want to see the White House.
Fan Question: (From @jeguerin via Twitter) Are you excited to bat regularly now that you are in the National League?
I’m excited to work with my dad on that. I’ve had no clue how to swing a bat the last six years, so hopefully my dad can help me win a Silver Slugger award. [I haven’t batted other than] Interleague Play against the Giants, mostly. You’ve seen my strikeouts, they’re pretty bad (laughing).
Bonus Question: (From Taylor T. via Facebook) Have you had any mumbo sauce yet?
Mumbo sauce? No, I have no idea what that is. I guess I’m going to have to try this mumbo sauce.