Results tagged ‘ Nationals Park ’
Like the legend of the phoenix…
Even a rookie reporter on the baseball beat will quickly learn the primary difference between a Major League clubhouse after a win and a loss. Following defeat, there is almost total silence, just the hiss of showers in the distance, the shuffling of feat and the murmurs of somber postgame interviews. But following a victory, the clubhouse stereo blares any number of upbeat tunes, often a similar playlist over the course of the season.
Deep into the 11-o’clock hour, following Washington’s 4-3, rain-delayed win Wednesday night over Miami – the second straight single-run triumph over the Marlins – there was a new song pulsing through the home clubhouse at Nationals Park: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” It was probably pure coincidence, but the lyrics seemed to have something of a connection to these Nationals, fighting an expiring schedule and tall mathematical odds in a final push to rise from the dead and claim the last postseason spot.
We’ve come too far to give up who we are…
As the huddle moved towards Ian Desmond, whose RBI-single provided the game-winning run in the seventh inning, Jayson Werth snuck over to the stereo, pumping the volume back up. Werth, whose homer had tied the contest in the sixth, had been intentionally walked in front of Desmond. The shortstop admitted that “it was probably the right move” for the Marlins to make. But following an hour and 12-minute rain delay, after which the Nationals coughed up their early lead, only to come back and win, you get the sense that maybe it’s worth sticking it out to the end, just to see if this team can get hot enough to find its way back to October.
So let’s raise the bar…
The Cardiac Nats, that scrappy bunch that eked out one- and two-run wins all of last year, seem to have been at least momentarily resurrected. Quietly, Washington has won seven of eight and 13 of its last 18 games. Since the beginning of play on August 9, the Nationals have gained 2.0 games on Cincinnati, 2.5 on Atlanta, 3.5 on Arizona and 6.0 on Pittsburgh, the four teams currently in front of them in the NL East and Wild Card chase.
There is still a lot of work left to be done to even sniff the possibility of claiming one of those spots. It would take a run of epic proportion to do so, and probably some misfortune to befall one of the teams within striking distance. But hey, this is baseball, and you never know what might happen.
We’re up all night to get lucky…
It was a tough task, but we’ve whittled down our field of over 500 entries in our #NatsCaveCrasher Instagram Contest to five deserving finalists. Now, they’ll go head-to-head Saturday at Nationals Park, putting their photography skills to the test for a chance to win that all-expenses-paid trip for two to New York City.
Each finalist will receive a shot sheet of things to photograph and upload to Instagram during Saturday’s game against the Mets and the NatsLive Free Postgame Concert featuring Gavin DeGraw. We’ll then compile each finalist’s portfolio into a gallery here on Curly W Live, where fans will have 48 hours to vote for their favorite. The grand-prize winner will be headed to see the Nationals play the Mets and visit the MLB Fan Cave on September 10-11, while our runner-up will win four PNC Diamond Lounge tickets to a future Nationals game.
Before we host our finalists, though, let’s take a look at what makes these Nats fans worthy of a chance to crash the Cave.
Meet the Finalists:
Hometown: Chevy Chase, Md.
After moving to the DMV in October 2009, Andy latched onto the Nationals as buzz began generating around Stephen Strasburg’s 2010 debut. That 14-strikeout performance was enough to hook this Nats fan for life. Though his favorite player is Bryce Harper, Andy also claims “utmost respect for Jayson Werth’s beard,” untucks his shirt after every Rafael Soriano save and does his best to hit the high notes during A-ha’s “Take On Me” during the seventh-inning stretch.
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Jodie moved to Washington around the same time baseball did in 2005. Having never had a team to root for growing up in Kentucky, she immediately called the Nats her own. Torn between Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond for who tops the list of her favorite Nationals, Jodie ranks Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS as “one of the best sports moments I’ve ever witnessed in person…I felt like Washington became a baseball town that October night,” she said.
Hometown: Oxon Hill, Md.
Free tickets from participating in a blood drive brought SueAnn to her first Nationals game in 2009. The rest is history has her love of baseball and the Nats has grown exponentially since. She counts the Nationals division clinch last year among her favorite memories and was in the crowd when Michael Morse brought a champagne shower to the left-field stands.
Hometown: Springfield, Va.
Nick’s destiny as a Nats fan was cemented the last time Washington hosted a Major League ball club. His dad was a Senators fan, having attended the last game at RFK Stadium on September 30, 1971 and the Nationals’ first exhibition game on April 3, 2005. Though Nick braved Philadelphia while attending college at Temple University, he’s undaunted in his Natitude — even outfitting the city’s Rocky Balboa statue with a Jayson Werth jersey.
Hometown: Fredericksburg, Va.
Jonathan had never been to a Major League Baseball game before the U.S. Navy stationed him at Washington Navy Yard in 2011. A whim brought him and his wife to Nationals Park for the first time that year, sparking their now-mutual love of baseball and the Nationals. Now, their nightly ritual involves switching on the Nats game, but nothing compares to being in attendance for Jayson Werth’s walk-off in the playoffs. “I will never forget the vibe in the stadium at that moment,” Jonathan said.
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Pittsburgh Pirates (60-39) vs. Washington Nationals (48-53)
RHP A.J. Burnett (4-7, 3.07) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-3, 2.89)
Washington turns to Gio Gonzalez to snap a season-high six-game skid and get back into the winning column for the first time since the All-Star break. Gonzalez has won his last four decisions, and his 2.04 ERA (21 ER/92.0 IP) since the beginning of May is second-best in all of Major League Baseball.
1. Harper LF
2. Lombardozzi 2B
3. Zim 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Werth RF
6. Desmond SS
7. Span CF
8. Suzuki C
9. Gonzalez LHP
Gonzalez is 9-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 13 starts against NL Central foes since joining the Nationals (2012-13). Washington is 12-1 in those Gonzalez starts.
Jayson Werth’s two-run, ninth-inning shot on Wednesday night at Nationals Park was his fifth home run in the last four games. He became the first National to go deep five times in a four-game span since Adam LaRoche turned the trick on September 3-6, 2012 during a four-game sweep of the Cubs. Incidentally, Adam Dunn hit 5 home runs in a three-game span for Washington, July 7-9, 2010. Werth’s 1.157 OPS in July paces all of Major League Baseball.
BELOW THE SURFACE
The .539 winning percentage (278-235) posted by the Nationals Minor League system currently ranks fourth among MLB’s 30 franchises. Washington trails only Houston (first, .576), Texas (second, .566) and San Francisco (third, .543). The Nationals system has registered winning records each of the last five seasons (2008-12), but has never finished among the top five.
As you may recall, we gave away the opportunity to blog with us for a day as part of the 13 Days of NatsFest. And while it’s been six months since then, we didn’t forget about our winner. Her originally planned date got washed away by the rain, but we were able to get her out to Nationals Park Friday night for the first game of the season’s second half. This is the story of her experience behind the scenes at the ballpark.
by: Michelle Hendley
The Nationals were back from the All-Star Break, rejuvenated and filled with optimism for what the second half can bring. The majority of the players were healthy for the first time in what seems like a century. Errors were down and hitting was up. Yesterday’s pitching match-up, featuring former Marlin Ricky Nolasco and Washington ace Stephen Strasburg, was a rematch of Opening Day. Though the late July heat was stifling, the excitement was clearly evident on the field, and everyone was hopeful that the team could pick up some momentum heading into the second half.
The excitement was palpable for me as well. While I have been to many Nationals games as a spectator – probably more than I could count – this was the first time that I had experienced the game up close and personally as a member of the press. As someone who grew up in a sports-mad family, working in the media for a professional team is as close to a dream job as I could get. Whether it was related to me being scared or me being realistic (probably a bit of both), I took a job in another field immediately after college. However, in the back of my mind, I always did wonder what path pursuing my dream would have taken me on, and today was the day for me to find out. Who knows what I may decide to do after that?
While the crowds gathered outside, eating at the food trucks and playing games, I started by observing Davey Johnson’s pregame press conference. Well, to be completely honest, I started by disregarding the GPS and getting myself a little lost on my way downtown. But I digress. Davey injected his trademark bit of humor into the briefing as we got updates from him. He was incredibly optimistic about the prospects of the team heading into the second half, telling everybody that, “We are right where we need to be.” He’s definitely got a point. With the exception of Ross Detwiler and his lingering soreness, he’s got as close to an Opening Day lineup as he has had since, well, practically Opening Day. Davey wrapped up his presser, and I headed down to batting practice.
Now, to say it was hot was probably the understatement of the decade. It was hot in the sense that I could have probably fried an egg on the warning track. While I was prepared for several players to hit in the air conditioned, indoor batting cages, I was surprised to see all of the players out there taking their hacks. I had been told that Bryce Harper’s batting practice was not necessarily just worth seeing, but worth hearing. It really was. If you ever find yourself in the park early enough to catch him, take the time to do so. The best way I can describe it is that the sound of the ball hitting the bat echoes like a sonic boom. It’s really impressive – but so is pretty much everything he does.
I settled in the press box for the start of the game. The view is really beautiful, although I caution you if you’re afraid of heights. You could see the vast majority of the field perfectly, allowing me to get a good grasp of everything that was going on during the game.
As the game progressed, I had a feeling that even though rest and a seemingly fresh start can really boost morale and infuse positivity, they aren’t necessarily magic. All bad things don’t turn into good things overnight. The most you can hope for is progress, and although the Nationals lost, they definitely showed progress. In tough conditions, Strasburg pitched superbly. The Nationals made several defensive gems, and put nine hits up on the board. Historically, Ricky Nolasco has had a lot of success against the Nationals, but they put up a great fight. There is a lot to build upon in this second half, and the team needs to continue to look forward. As Davey said, wrapping up his postgame presser, “Tomorrow is another day.”
You can’t keep looking back and talking about what you could have done differently – a lesson that applies to both baseball and life. All you can do is to continue to improve. I think the team is learning that. And I think I am as well.
The Fourth of July may be in the rear-view mirror, but there’s still plenty going on at Nationals Park this weekend. As you may have heard, we’ve added an additional performer to our 2013 NatsLive Free Postgame Concert Series. That means we’ve packed back-to-back postgame concerts in this weekend. Thompson Square will perform following Saturday’s 4:05 p.m. game vs. San Diego and on Sunday, award-winning group Third Day will take the stage after the 1:35 p.m. contest.*
The husband-and-wife country duo of Kiefer and Shawna Thompson has made a splash in Nashville with hits like “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” and “If I Didn’t Have You.” Their chart-topping songs have earned them GRAMMY consideration and distinction as country radio darlings.
Now on their 12th album, Miracle, the Christian rock group infuses rock anthems with life-affirming lyrics that have resulted in an impressive body of work. Third Day has earned four GRAMMYs and has released several Gold and Platinum albums.
After breaking onto the scene with 2003’s Chariot, DeGraw has enjoyed a steady stream of success with his self-titled 2008 offering, a live album Free, and 2012’s Sweeter. Hits like “In Love With A Girl,” “I Don’t Want To Be” and “Soldier” are pop radio stables.
Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry bring with them a new album, a new label and a new sense of purpose for a duo recognized as on of country’s most enduring acts. They’ve delivered 14 Top 10 hits since emerging in 1999, but Rebel On The Run looks poised to be Montgomery Gentry’s best since their debut.
For additional concert information, visit nationals.com/natslive.
*Must have corresponding game ticket to attend FREE postgame concerts. All promotions and events are subject to change. Some restrictions apply.
Colorado Rockies (38-38) vs. Washington Nationals (37-37)
LHP Jorge De La Rosa (7-4, 3.21) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (2-5, 3.34)
The Nationals saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday, but still have the chance to take three-of-four from the Rockies and win the series in the finale. The matinee start will pit Ross Detwiler in another battle of southpaws, after he helped Washington beat Colorado lefty Jeff Francis in Denver last Thursday to win that series.
1. Kobernus CF
2. Rendon 2B
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Werth RF
5. Desmond SS
6. Marrero 1B
7. Suzuki C
8. Lombardozzi LF
9. Detwiler LHP
Anthony Rendon is batting .367/.397/.533 with a home run and seven doubles in the 15 games since his return to the big leagues. He has hit safely in 13 of those contests, racking up seven multi-hit performances. His overall batting average (.329) and on-base percentage (.387) rank second among Major League rookies, trailing only Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
The Nationals have gone 11-8 against left-handed starting pitchers so far this season, compared to a 26-29 against righties. Conversely, the Rockies are just 10-16 when opposed by a southpaw.
HOT AT HOME
Adam LaRoche has hit safely in 18 straight games at Nationals Park, going 27-for-65 (.415) with six walks, two doubles, two triples, three homers, 16 runs scored and 13 RBI over that span.
Colorado Rockies (37-36) vs. Washington Nationals (35-36)
RHP Roy Oswalt (0-0, -.–) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-3, 2.44)
Coming off a rousing, extra-inning win to close their recent nine-game road trip Wednesday night, the Nationals return home to face a familiar foe in Colorado, just one week after finishing a series against the Rockies in Denver. Washington took two of three in that matchup, but the club is just 4-12 against the Blake Street Bombers in 16 contests between the two at Nationals Park.
1. Span CF
2. Rendon 2B
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Werth RF
6. Desmond SS
7. Lombardozzi LF
8. Suzuki C
9. Zimmermann RHP
WERTH THE WAIT, NATS WIN LATE
Jayson Werth’s RBI-single with two outs in the ninth inning sent Wednesday night’s game to extra innings and Ian Desmond’s first career grand slam ended it in the 11th as the Nationals rallied to top the Phillies, 6-2. Desmond’s slam rendered his seventh game-winning RBI, tying him for the Major League lead among shortstops in this category with Troy Tulowitzki.
IAN’S GRAND OCCASION
Desmond’s 11th-inning grand slam was the first hit by a visiting player in extra innings in Philadelphia in over 73 years, since Reds right fielder Ival Goodman turned the trick, also in the 11th inning, on May 17, 1940 at Shibe Park.
In 12 games/40.0 innings dating to the June 8 series opener vs. Minnesota, Jim Lett’s bullpen is 4-3 with four holds, three saves (zero blown saves), 40 strikeouts and a 1.80 ERA (8 ER/40.0 IP). In that span, the bullpen has lowered its season ERA from 4.06 to 3.67.
Did you know that Ian Desmond has played 52 straight games at arguably the game’s toughest position without making an error, and that he’s batting .344 with four homers in June?
How about the fact that Bryce Harper still leads the club with 12 homers, and that his .973 OPS would rank third among all qualifying players in the National League?
Are you aware that Adam LaRoche put together a career-high 16-game hitting streak in May, a month in which he batted .330 with seven homers and 19 RBI?
Did you realize that Ryan Zimmerman is in the top five in the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, home runs and RBI, despite having played in just 57 games?
There are plenty of reasons to Vote Nats before the All-Star balloting is over. Your last day to vote in-park is June 25, and the last day to vote online is July 4. Vote early, vote often, and always Vote Nats.
Read more about this year’s candidates in this homestand’s Inside Pitch, available now at Nationals Park.
A momentous event took place among the crowd of 36,155 at Nationals Park last Wednesday night. While most fans settled in for just another evening of baseball along the Anacostia, some of the most powerful members of our government convened not to draft or debate policy, but to come together in a relaxed setting to get to know each other as human beings and take in a ballgame.
Partisan politics can hinder progress in Washington sometimes, which is why Representatives David B. McKinley (R – W.Va.) and Diana DeGette (D – Colo.) decided to try to bridge the two sides of the aisle through baseball. Admittedly, they didn’t know what kind of response they would receive for the first-ever Congressional Night at Nationals Park, but they were pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
More than 100 Members of Congress RSVP’d for the event, along with more than 450 of their staffers. While Democrats and Republicans will face off against one another in the annual Congressional Baseball Game tonight, Thursday, June 13 at Nationals Park, this event gave both sides a chance to come together, as colleagues instead of adversaries, to enjoy America’s game.
As evidenced here, baseball brings people together in a special way like nothing else can. We sat down with representatives McKinley and DeGette as they arrived at the ballpark to discuss how this all came about, and what they think they may be able to accomplish through the common ground of baseball.
Curly W Live: What was the genesis of this whole thing? How did it start and whose idea was it?
Congressman David B. McKinley: We just thought we ought to get together. I think too often the American public doesn’t think we know each other, and I think we can do a better job of it; I don’t think we get along very well either. So, we figured let’s get together and break down those walls. Because it’s hard (to disagree) after you have a drink with someone, or have a hamburger, once you get to know them a little bit. This was a positive step and (Congresswoman DeGette) was our first choice. That’s who I wanted as the co-chair (for this event). And we’re going to have over 100 congressmen and 400 staffers, so we’ll have over 500 people here on our first effort.
DeGette: We’re on the same committee together (the Energy and Commerce Committee). It’s his second term, my ninth term, and we’ve been sitting there for a couple years thinking — and there are probably people on both sides thinking — there’s a lot we could do together if we only got to know each other better. So when Dave came up to me on the floor and said, ‘Hey, will you co-chair this game?’ it was really perfect. And, he didn’t know this, but I’m a huge baseball fan and I’m a Colorado Rockies season ticket holder.
CWL: How did the specific idea for baseball come up?
McKinley: I think it’s just a good time, you get to be outdoors here and it’s convenient for Congress. We want our Congressmen to get to talk to each other.
DeGette: And, you know, baseball’s our national sport, so of course it’s the logical choice.
CWL: How long in the making has this event been?
McKinley: Probably a couple of months.
DeGette: And the Nationals have been very, very helpful to us.
CWL: This is a first-time event, but what do you hope to build off this to bring back to the Hill?
McKinley: (We want to) start to break down barriers, just so we talk to each other, because we don’t do that. There are not functions where Congress gets together. This is a beginning. DeGette and I first met when we went over to Normandy on D-Day to place a wreath there, and we realized that we can have a conversation. We don’t have to be adversaries. What we want to do is get more people doing the same thing.
DeGette: And, you know, we can’t agree on everything, but we have enough trust in each other now. When we disagree, we don’t have to beat around the bush. We can say, ‘Hey, you know, I can’t do that, but maybe we can do it this other way.’ I’ve found that in all my years in Congress that actually can be really beneficial.
CWL: Does the ballpark provide a safe haven where you can check that at the door and everybody can get along?
DeGette: Oh, absolutely.
McKinley: I think so. But again, I’m just so delighted. This morning, we had 101 guaranteed tickets of congressmen and at least 400 staffers. How many thought we would have over 500 people on the first time?
DeGette: For our first one! So what we hope is that word will get around about how great this is, and then next year we’ll have 1,000 people.