Results tagged ‘ Dave Jageler ’
After seeing the film “42,” Commissioner Bud Selig felt that it was very important for everyone, especially young people, to see the movie. So over the past few weeks, Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs teamed up to offer high school students a private screening and panel discussion with members of the baseball community about the impact of Jackie Robinson’s legacy on American history.
Last Friday, nearly 400 D.C. public high school students were treated to a special showing, followed by an open question and answer session with Nationals broadcaster Dave Jageler, EVP of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, center fielder Denard Span, first base coach Tony Tarasco and Kendra Gaither from the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Given the ability to ask nearly anything and everything, the students asked questions about the challenges of being a professional athlete, the impact of Jackie Robinson, and battling racial prejudice, both on and off the field.
In one of the best questions of the day, Rizzo was asked if he thought he could have made a move as bold as Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey’s in signing Robinson as the first African American player in the Major League Baseball.
“It’s difficult to put yourself in his shoes,” Rizzo admitted. “Not only was that a baseball decision, it was a social decision that sent ripples throughout the world.”
All the panel participants stressed the importance of remembering just how big of a story Robinson’s ascent to the Major Leagues was, and how his influence extended far beyond the playing field. After all, he made his debut in 1947, more than 16 full years prior to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” often thought of as the centerpiece of the American Civil Rights Movement.
“With the passage of time, there’s an opportunity for amnesia,” explained Gaither, whose work with the Jackie Robinson Foundation is an ongoing effort to fight such an occurrence. “A movie like this reminds us of what life was really like back then.”
For his part, Span expressed not only gratitude for the doors the previous generations opened that allowed him to do what he does, but also pride in the opportunity to so publicly celebrate Robinson’s legacy every April 15.
“It’s a day that I look forward to every year,” he said of MLB’s league-wide day of recognition, on which all players wear the number 42. “We get a chance to honor a special individual.”
When asked if they thought they would have had the bravery to do what Robinson did, Span and Tarasco had slightly different takes. While the current player expressed hope that he could have done the same, Tarasco was more forthcoming.
“Honestly, I don’t think I could have,” he said.
Ultimately, though, Robinson’s success signified something greater to Tarasco. His biggest takeaway from the film was that the spirit of the team won out over individual prejudice, a sentiment that will never be forgotten and will never go out of style.
“It’s not about who’s right, it’s about what’s right.”
— DC Public Schools (@dcpublicschools) May 11, 2013
Last Friday, Nationals radio broadcasters Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler attended an event at the Library of Congress which featured a great number of baseball artifacts on display. Many of the items were donated by Bob Wolff, the legendary Washington broadcaster who was part of the class inducted into the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame prior to Sunday’s game on the field at Nationals Park.
“There were a lot of articles related to Jackie Robinson, including a handwritten letter from Robinson to Branch Rickey,” explained Jageler of the collection.
Among the pieces of history was a single, typewritten sheet written by one legendary baseball man about another one who, unbeknownst to either at the time, would ascend to legendary status himself.
The page was a scouting report written by a then-adviser for the St. Louis Cardinals about a young, Minor League second baseman. It read as follows:
September 14 & 15, 1964
Rochester vs. Jacksonville
JOHNSON, DAVE (Rochester Infielder)
Tall, slim right hander now playing second base. 21 years old. First year player. Good looking fielder. Good batting form. A major league possibility. Try to include him in any possible deal with Baltimore.
Yes, that’s the same Branch Rickey, the one depicted by Harrison Ford in the recently released “42” about the life of Jackie Robinson, sharing his thoughts on the Nationals very own Davey Johnson.
Johnson, at age 21 in his first professional season, swatted 19 home runs while compiling a .264/.345/.458 line that season, also helping turn 62 double plays as a second baseman. Three years later, he would begin the 13-year Major League career that included four All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves and a pair of World Championships.
“I knew Davey would be very flattered to know that Branch Rickey thought he was a tradable commodity,” said Jageler, who shared the story with Washington’s manager last weekend.
Needless to say, Rickey had a good eye for young talent.
Every signature moment in this 2012 Washington Nationals season has composed its own storyline. With dramatic victories woven throughout the tapestry of a thrilling campaign, it would have been understandable to expect some sort of coup de gras to cap off a season’s worth of celebration. Maybe the Nationals didn’t provide the storybook clinching moment that television producers dream of, with a dog-pile on the pitcher’s mound, as they missed their first chance to wrap up the division title on Sunday in St. Louis. There was a pretty brilliant, sparkling silver lining, though, knowing that the team would return home leading by 3.0 games with three games left on the regular season slate.
That presented the opportunity to clinch the division at home against the five-time defending division champion Phillies, who had thrice celebrated their own glory with wins over the Nationals. But what if Washington didn’t win, and instead had to rely on Atlanta, one of the hottest teams in baseball down the stretch, to lose? Would that turn of events scrub some of the luster from Washington’s shiny division crown?
On Sunday afternoon, more than 24 hours before the division would be decided, Nationals broadcaster Dave Jageler refused to allow such a scenario to take anything away from the accomplishment.
“There’s no such thing as ‘backing in’ when you win 96 games,” he declared.
Based on the celebrations taking place on the field Monday night – after the Nationals 2-0 loss to the Phillies became a mere footnote in their 2012 National League East Championship season, thanks to the Braves 2-1 defeat in Pittsburgh – the players agreed. While they maintained their composure nearly two weeks earlier, following the clinch of the first postseason berth in D.C. baseball since 1933, they held nothing back upon taking the division.
They jumped around in jubilation, spraying each other with any beverage available. When Mike Rizzo was being interviewed live on MASN, Wilson Ramos emptied an entire bottle of champagne over his head. As soon as players huddled together in the clubhouse in celebration, Michael Morse unleashed a tidal wave of water from a Gatorade bucket into the middle of the fray. By the end of the night, Jayson Werth’s home white number 28 jersey was stained pink from his red undershirt bleeding through the mix of beverages.
“It was kind of odd,” said Werth, of the way the evening unfolded. “We’re getting beat, but we’re celebrating. But this team deserves this. We’ve come a long way.”
This was, after all, what Werth envisioned when he made the decision to leave the team occupying the visitor’s dugout for the final series of the regular season to join the Nationals before the 2011 campaign. He has become a leader on this Washington club, not only taking rookie Bryce Harper under his wing, but guiding the offense at the top of the lineup since his return from a broken wrist in early May. He is batting .308 with a .392 on-base percentage, scoring 32 runs over 53 games during that span, and his ability to continue to set the table will be key for the Nationals in the postseason.
“It’s gratifying, it’s quite an accomplishment,” he said, of winning the division. “We’ve come quite a long way in a very short time, and we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a good young club. I think we should do this every year.”
Before Werth’s strong stretch drive, and before Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse helped Washington assert itself as one of the National League’s top offensive clubs in the second half of the season, another veteran made his biggest mark on this team. Adam LaRoche carried the club through the early part of the year, on his way to matching his career-high in home runs with 32, sitting just one RBI shy of the century mark with two games to play. For his efforts, he will be rewarded with his first trip to the postseason since 2005.
“It means a lot personally,” said LaRoche as he gazed up from the field at the fans behind the Nationals dugout, still screaming and cheering nearly an hour after the end of the game. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the playoffs.”
Asked if he had forgotten the feeling of clinching, the mix of ecstasy, accomplishment and relief, he admitted that he had.
“You do, when it’s been this long,” he said. “You see the other team celebrate, you want to be out there and be a part of it. There’s a big difference.”
Amid the mess of congratulatory hugs, handshakes and post-game interviews, one tall, shaggy-haired man stood to the side, shivering in the cool fall night, his freshly printed NL East Champions shirt already steeped in celebration. Perhaps no man’s journey to standing on this field, literally soaking in the division title, was as trying as John Lannan’s, who took his first loss in six starts for the Nationals this season Monday night, despite pitching well yet again. It was his first start, the back-end of a doubleheader on July 21, that proved to be a turning point for Washington, stopping the division-rival Braves after they had narrowed the division gap to a game-and-a-half, never letting them pull any closer. Looking up at the fans, he was happy to enjoy every bit of the moment at hand.
“This has been awesome,” he said of the celebration. “These guys (the fans), they deserve it as much as we do. It’s something special. I’m just glad to be a part of it. The win would have been icing on the cake, but as soon as the champagne was popped, it was all forgotten.”
The man who seemed to be enjoying the moment the most, though, may have been Gio Gonzalez, who alternated celebrating with his teammates, family and the fans, ducking in and out of interviews. His Cy Young-worthy season has marked the difference between a team that may have simply been competitive and one that has brought the first division title to D.C. in 79 years. Coming from an Oakland team that never made the playoffs during his tenure, his first taste of such success left him living in the moment, riding the wave of emotion, not worrying yet about the challenges that lie ahead.
“This is unbelievable,” he exclaimed. “I don’t want to wake up, boys. I’m still dreaming.”
Here’s to hoping the dream doesn’t end until November.
Broadcaster Dave Jageler sat down with the back end of the Nationals bullpen prior to Saturday’s game to discuss their roles, the 2011 season and their baseball backgrounds. Clippard and Storen also took questions from the Stars & Stripes Club audience. These two roommates flashed their comedic wits and their verbose vocabulary—no “just happy to be here” quotes here. Have a listen for yourself: InsidePitchLive_ClippardStoren
Leading up to the game, it was time to head up to the press box, get situated in the radio booth and of course, feast on some press dining. The first thing you notice when you step out on the press level at Turner Field is its proximity to the field. At Nationals Park, the press box is located above all of the seating areas. At Turner Field, it’s located between the lower level and the upper deck. It certainly provides a different perspective on the action.
Dave and Charlie use this time to connect with the Braves radio team to exchange interesting notes or trends about their respective teams that may be useful during their broadcasts. The various broadcast teams around MLB are a fraternity of sorts, as Dave said this is a regular practice at the start of road trips (or when visiting teams come to Nationals Park).
Before the pregame show goes on the air, it’s time for a quick meal. From what we’ve heard, Turner Field has a good reputation when it comes to press dining, and we’re not disappointed. On day one, we keep it simple and opt for a made-to-order deli sandwich. Other choices include chili, sheppard’s pie, pizza, grilled vegetables and a salad bar. Sure, it’s an eclectic mix, but they try to find something for everyone. Everyone except for Bob Carpenter, apparently. He joins our table with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich in tow. We quickly develop a severe case of sandwich envy, but it’s nothing some soft serve ice cream won’t cure.
OK, let’s start this game before our full-on food coma kicks in…
Let the Game Begin
Once the game starts, everyone in the booth has a headset on, in constant communication with the producer back in DC. It can get somewhat confusing listening to the actual broadcast while miscellaneous prompts are also coming in simultaneously from the producer. Dave and Charlie have been doing this long enough that they keep everything in order.
Dave serves as the lead play-by-play man during the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, while Charlie handles the rest. The highlight of Dave’s innings tonight was Yunesky Maya’s first career base hit. Unfortunately for the Nats, Braves veteran pitcher Derek Lowe decided to pitch one of his best games of the season Monday night.
The post-game show consists of two main parts. Dave leads the first, which includes a recap of the game and the play of the game. Tonight, this segment was over about 10 minutes after the final out. Once he’s done that, he starts to pack up while Charlie takes over and gives a detailed rundown of the rest of the action happening around baseball. He spends about one minute on each game, covering each of the pitchers, key plays, playoff implications, etc.
From there, it’s time to head down to the post-game bus. Unlike the ride to the park, this bus is almost completely full with players, coaches, staff and broadcasters. It’s understandably quiet, but the Jets-Ravens Monday Night Football game is on the satellite TVs throughout the bus.
When we get back to the hotel, everyone scatters in different directions. We’re headed up to our room to recharge for another day tomorrow, when we’ll be following Strength and Conditioning Coach John Philbin. Special thanks to Dave Jageler for letting us tag along with him today. We hope you enjoyed his unique perspective, and be sure to check back soon for a link to a video blog of all the action.
After our workout with Dave, it was time for some authentic…California Pizza Kitchen. For those scoffing at the idea of pizza as a post-workout meal, take solace – we ordered our BBQ chicken pie with thin crust. Dave went with the Mediterranean Platter and Spaghetti Bolognese.
While we ate, Dave shared his wisdom on all things Nats. As someone who eats, sleeps and breaths Nationals baseball for seven-plus months out of the year, Dave brings a lot of unique insight to even the most casual of conversations. We talked about the promise of the young core of Nats, some of the unique personalities in the clubhouse, and the finer points of life on the road.
After lunch, Dave heads back to his hotel room to review the latest Braves news, stats, etc. Dave notes that each broadcast team is different, but he and Charlie Slowes pride themselves on the depth of their preparation for each game. It is certainly is evident in the broadcast. We’ll get to see first-hand later tonight.
Day 1 of the roadtrip officially begins with a workout with Nationals radio broadcaster Dave Jageler. He claims to have made working out on the road as second nature as brushing his teeth. If his pearly whites are any indication, we may be in trouble.
On the elevator down to the hotel’s fitness center, we’re trying to size up Dave and get a feel for what exactly we’re in store for. Is this going to be a couple light miles on the treadmill, or are we going full bore, P-90X? Dave tells us we’ll be doing a three part circuit of running on the treadmill, dumbbell squats and a modified push-up called a Burpee. The goal is to get through all three exercises, three times each, as fast as possible (without injuring yourself, of course) and with as little rest as possible between each set. It’s part of the CrossFit workout program.
Stay tuned for video from our workout, but let’s just say that Dave doesn’t mess around. He completed the full circuit in 37 minutes, and his shirt went from light grey when we started, to dark grey and fully soaked by the time we ended. He added a few miscellaneous exercises to the end, just for good measure. Kudos to Dave on totally shredding that workout.
We, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. Once we started, it was pretty clear we’d bitten off more than we could chew, and it quickly became a matter of survival. Our form went out the window and the prospects of lunch was really the only thing pushing us through.
Ahhh, lunch. That sounds more our speed. With that, it’s time to hit the showers, but we’ll check back in after we’ve got some nourishment. Any recommendations for good spots to eat in Atlanta?