Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Breaks Ground on Youth Baseball Academy

Tuesday’s sweltering heat didn’t stop the Washington Nationals from celebrating the official groundbreaking for the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Fort DuPont Park. Expected to be completed in the Summer of 2012, the Youth Baseball Academy will be comprised of three baseball fields, and a state-of-the-art athletic and educational facility with classrooms, community rooms, a teaching kitchen and indoor training facilities.

Emceed by MASN play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter, the groundbreaking ceremony featured a variety of dignitaries, including Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Chair Marla Lerner Tanenbaum; DC Mayor Vincent Gray; Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton; DC Council Chair Kwame Brown; Mickey Fearn from the National Park Service; DC Councilmember Yvette Alexander; William H. Hall and Greg O’Dell from the Washington Convention and Sports Authority and Kimball Elementary School Principal Sheil’a West-Miller.

Nationals Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo and shortstop Ian Desmond were also among those who spoke about their enthusiasm to provide children with the life skills necessary to become better students, better athletes and better citizens. Other players in attendance to lend their support to the historic event included Danny Espinosa, Jerry Hairston Jr., Adam LaRoche, and Drew Storen who took time out to play catch with children from Kimball Elementary School and Sousa Middle School, the two schools that border the Academy.

With a strong sense of excitement and anticipation for the Academy and its future benefits to the children of Ward 7, dignitaries joined members of the Lerner family and the Nationals to break ground, officially commemorating the beginning of construction of the Youth Baseball Academy.

The ceremony was a culmination of more than five years of planning, fundraising and collaboration between the Nationals and their political, civic and community partners. Modeled on the successful Harlem RBI program, the Academy will provide the children of Ward 7 the guidance, resources and support necessary to become resilient adults.

The Nationals look forward to the bright future that lies ahead.

Morse the Merrier

Michael Morse continues to fill in at first base while Adam LaRoche rehabs his shoulder. At the plate, Morse has been absolutely on fire recently, batting .382 with five home runs and 11 RBI over his last 10 games. Michael Morse is batting .386 (22-for-57) with 4 doubles, 6 home runs and 13 RBI in May. Among those with 55-plus plate appearances in May, Morse’s .389 batting average ranks third in MLB behind only the Rays Matt Joyce (.412) and Cardinals John Jay (.392). Morse has hit safely in a team season-high eight straight games at a .387 (12-for-31) clip with 2 doubles, 5 homers and 11 RBI. One more thing, Morse has hit safely in all 13 of his starts in May, going 20-for-48 (.417) as a member of Jim Riggleman’s starting 9.

Phillies:

Jimmy Rollins – SS

Placido Polanco – 3B

Chase Utley – 2B

Ryan Howard – 1B

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Domonic Brown – RF

John Mayberry – CF

Cliff Lee – P

 Nationals:

Roger Bernadina – CF

Ian Desmond – SS

Jayson Werth – RF

Michael Morse – 1B

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Ivan Rodriguez – C

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Brian Bixler – LF

Jason Marquis – P

 *Marquis has struck out the Phillies 58 times over his career.

 **Brian Bixler gets the start in left field today, while Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel get an evening off. Bixler has only appeared in one game against the Phillies in his brief Big League career, so it should be interesting to see what he does at the plate tonight.

Memorial Day Lineups

Phillies:

Jimmy Rollins – SS

Placido Polanco – 3B

Chase Utley – 2B

Ryan Howard – 1B

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Domonic Brown – RF

John Mayberry – CF

Roy Halladay – P

 Nationals:

Rick Ankiel – CF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jayson Werth – RF

Laynce Nix – LF

Michael Morse – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Alex Cora – SS

Livan Hernandez – P

 *Against the Phillies, Livan Hernandez is 12-11 with a 3.59 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 29 games started. Roy Halladay has, so far in his career, handled the Nats well—today’s matchup could easily turn into a pitcher’s duel.

 *Former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth knows how to handle his old team: he’s batted .279 with a .407 on-base percentage and .628 slugging percentage against them. He’s also hit four home runs off of Philly.

Run the Bases for Military Families

Ever wanted to run the bases at a Major League ballpark? This Memorial Day, you will have your chance as Nationals fans of all ages are invited to “Run the Bases for Military Families.” The event is held in coordination with Troy Yocum (www.DrumHike.com) an Iraq War veteran who is hiking 7,000 miles across America to raise $5 million for military families.

For the low-price of $20, fans can take advantage of a special holiday ticket deal that includes a Left Field Corner seat, a $10 donation to Hike for our Heroes benefitting military families and entry to run the bases after the game. Tickets may be purchased at the Team Store Box Office.

Fans who have already purchased tickets to the Memorial Day game against the Phillies may buy wristbands to run the bases for a $10 donation to Hike for our Heroes. Wristbands can be purchased at the Community Relations kiosk behind Section 107 the day of the game.

Honor Your Father

This Father’s Day the Nationals are helping you with your Father’s Day plans. We want to give your father the best Father’s Day present possible—a free trip to Nationals Park with the entire family and a chance to throw out the first pitch. The Nationals are recognizing select fathers that were All-Stars during the past year. One father who exemplified outstanding community service will be presented with the Spirit Award. It’s real simple to nominate your father. Just write 100 words or less describing why your father should be recognized and celebrated at Nationals Park. Simply send your submission to promotions@nationals.com.

Nats-Padres game one

After a road trip which was highlighted by a record-setting, six-homer, 17-run game over the Baltimore Orioles, the Nationals finally return home. John Lannan is set to take the mound against the Padres this evening.

 Padres:

Chris Denorfia – RF

Jason Bartlett – SS

Ryan Ludwick – LF

Jorge Cantu – 1B

Cameron Maybin – CF

Chase Headley – 3B

Rob Johnson – C

Alberto Gonzalez – 2B

Clayton Richard – P

 Nationals:

Roger Bernadina – CF

Ian Desmond – SS

Jayson Werth – RF

Michael Morse – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Brian Bixler – LF

John Lannan – P

 *In 33 career innings against the Padres, John Lannan has maintained as 2.73 ERA with 16 strikeouts.

 *Former Nat Alberto Gonzalez will face his former team for the first time this evening.

 *Clayton Richard will be making his first career start against the Nationals tonight.

Doug Slaten & Jimi Hendrix: Fellow Southpaws

When most people see Doug Slaten, they see the pitcher—a lefty specialist brought into the game to get a clutch out in relief. But what they don’t realize is that Slaten has picked up an interesting hobby that can be considered almost as difficult as pitching. He’s trying to learn how to play the guitar.

“I actually started this offseason. My dad’s played for a long time. I grew up in a musical household, but I never picked it up. So I went home this offseason and asked my dad to show me a few chords to start off with,” he said. “I started there and practiced this whole offseason.”

By the time Slaten got to Spring Training in Viera, Fla., he found his musical interests were shared by Nationals Minor Leaguer Josh Wilkie. Wilkie, who is currently pitching at Syracuse, also plays guitar and was able to teach Slaten a few things, but, as Slaten said, learning guitar is “a day-by-day process.”

Slaten, who is left-handed, said his first attempts on guitar were as a right-hander.

“I started off with a righty guitar, with my dad’s guitar upside-down. But that got too hard for me to figure out chords,” he said.

Slaten has another lefty as one of his guitar idols—Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix is famous for, among various other things, taking a right-handed guitar and re-stringing it for a lefty. Slaten said he considered attempting this at first, but resigned to purchasing a couple of standard left-handed guitars.

He now owns a Martin acoustic and a Schecter Tempest electric guitar. Schecter is more often than not associated with hard rock and metal music, but Slaten said the genres of music he tends to play don’t fall in line with that stereotype.

“I have a pretty eclectic taste in music,” Slaten said. “I grew up on a lot of old folk music and stuff like that, so I’m playing a lot of that. I’m playing a lot of folk and country-style stuff on the acoustic and more blues on the electric.”

But Slaten admitted that since starting to play, his tastes have begun to evolve.

“It’s changing a little bit. What I thought I’d play—the stuff I listened to and what I wanted to play—hasn’t really turned me on as much as other stuff,” Slaten said. “I do like Doc Watson, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and a lot of folk stuff.”

His current projects include learning “Little Wing” by Hendrix and “Shady Grove” by Doc Watson. But, as Slaten doesn’t read music or tablature, the process is a slow one.

“I’ve been trying to learn by ear a little bit,” Slaten said. “I’m getting better at hearing the notes and the chords. It’s also easy for me to just learn by watching someone else do it, so that I can just mimic that. I found a guy online and I signed up for his lessons, and that’s helped a lot.”

Slaten might not need lessons to do his day job well—but he still said it was far more difficult than his new hobby.

“I’m in the infancy stage of playing the guitar, but I would say that pitching so far is definitely harder,” he said. “I’ve been pitching for 26 years and it’s still hard.”

At 31, Slaten likely still has several years of pitching ahead of him. His future as a musician may have some prospects, though.

“I’ll go to California, out to Venice Beach, once I’m done playing ball, and squat down on the boardwalk with my guitar case to try and make some money,” he joked.

All rhetorical situations aside, Slaten said he’s not about to start a band, pack up a van and hit the road on tour. He’s not going to be seen in the local coffeehouse playing an acoustic folk set for patrons. For Slaten, it’s primarily a personal enjoyment—though his teammates may soon be entertained as well.

“I take it on the road. After the games at night, I come home and play for a little bit. One day I was going to bring it in here and play for a bit, but I’m trying to play a little better first before I have my first concert,” he said. “It’s mostly just for myself. It’s therapeutic.”

Harmon Killebrew 1936-2011

May 17 was a sad day for baseball in the Nation’s Capital. Shortly after the Nationals-Pirates game was called due to rain, the announcement was made that one of its legends had passed. Former Senators slugger and Hall-of-Famer Harmon Killebrew succumbed to esophageal cancer at the age of 74, just four days after entering hospice care.

 Born Harmon Clayton Killebrew in the small town of Payette, Idaho, he was a boy who would eventually be referred to as “The Killer”—a name that couldn’t be more inaccurate. It was like naming a poodle Rampage. It was a name derived strictly from his last name because Killebrew was the antithesis of a killer. He was taught how to be a great athlete by his father, Harmon Sr. He recounted in his Hall of Fame induction speech how, when he was a child playing ball with his father, his “mother would say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass and digging holes in the front yard?’ And my father would say, ‘We’re not raising grass here, we’re raising boys.’” Killebrew’s father would pass in 1953, a year before he would ever get to see his son play in the Major Leagues.

 For his career, Killebrew hit .258; he wasn’t ever considered a “great” hitter. But he was always a dangerous hitter: he hit 290 doubles with 1,584 RBI and 573 home runs for a .509 slugging percentage. He is currently 11th on the all-time home run list. Former Senators pitcher Dick Bosman would face Killebrew during their careers and recalled how difficult it was to approach the slugger.

“He could hit pretty much anything you threw out there at him. He could hit to right, he could hit to center and he could sure hit it to left,” Bosman said. “It was almost a guessing game as far as what you wanted to throw him and when.”

Killebrew was drafted by the original Washington Senators in 1954. Under the “Bonus Rule” that was installed by Major League Baseball at the time, Killebrew—then only 17 years old—was required to be on the active roster due to the amount he was being paid on his contract. He was the youngest player in the Major Leagues at the time. His rookie season, he only appeared in nine games; though in his first-ever Senators appearance, he belted out two singles and a double.

Two years after his debut, Killebrew’s “Bonus Rule” period expired and he was able to take advantage of more extended playing time in the Minors. He batted .325 with the Charlotte Hornets in 1956 and blasted 29 home runs with 101 RBI in ’57 for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

By 1959, Killebrew was the man to beat on the Senators. After veteran third baseman Eddie Yost was traded to Detroit, Killebrew took over that position. By mid-season, he had hit 28 home runs and was chosen to start the first of two All-Star Games that year. He would also be on the team in the second All-Star Game, as a reserve.

 At the end of the 1959 season, Killebrew had hit 42 home runs to tie Rocky Colavito of the Cleveland Indians for the American League home run title. It was the first of eight times he would hit more than 40 home runs, as well as the first of six times that he would lead the AL in home runs. He also placed 15th in the voting for the 1959 MVP award.

 Killebrew got off to a rough start to what would be his last year in DC due to injury, but quickly bounced back. In the 124 games he played in 1960, he hit 31 home runs; this did little to help the Senators, who went 73-81 en route to one of many second-division finishes.

 Following the 1960 season, the original Senators went to Minnesota and became the Twins. They were replaced in Washington by the expansion Senators that same year. During his time spent in DC, he hit for a .250 average with a .494 slugging percentage. He hit 84 home runs, three triples and 45 doubles for the Senators and drove in 215 runs.

 Killebrew placed in the MVP voting for the majority of his years in the Twin Cities, eventually taking that title in 1969—in a season where he played all 162 games.

 “The Killer” played for the Twins until 1974, when he was given his release. He played one year for the Kansas City Royals before he retired.

 Killebrew was a fan favorite in Washington, as well as in Minnesota, where they have retired his No. 3 jersey. A statue in his likeness currently stands at the Twins’ Target Field in addition to a large Gold Glove exactly 520 feet from home plate—520 feet being the distance of one of his longest home runs at old Metropolitan Stadium.

 Beyond his contributions to the game, he was also known as simply a great person to be around.

 “Everybody respected him, because he carried himself in a classy way. He was a quiet gentleman. He treated everybody equally, with respect,” Bosman said. “But he played the game hard. Everybody liked the guy, everybody spoke highly of him. I was fortunate to play against him.”

Nats recall Cole Kimball

The Nationals look to bounce back from last night’s disappointing extra-inning loss to Florida. Livan Hernandez takes the mound against one of his former teams. Livo won a World Championship ring with the Marlins in 1997 and was also the MVP of the World Series.

 Marlins:

 Chris Coghlan – CF

Omar Infante – 2B

Hanley Ramirez – SS

Gaby Sanchez – 1B

Logan Morrison – LF

Mike Stanton – RF

Greg Dobbs – 3B

John Buck – C

Anibal Sanchez – P

 Nationals:

 Roger Bernadina – CF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jayson Werth – RF

Laynce Nix – LF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Alex Cora – SS

Livan Hernandez – P

 *Ian Desmond is out of the lineup today after hurting his left quadriceps muscle while running the bases in last night’s game. Alex Cora starts at shortstop instead. In other injury news, Ryan Zimmerman has started jogging to rehab his recent surgery, though there is still no timetable for his return to the team.

 *In 33 games started against the Marlins, Livan Hernandez is 13-11 with a 3.73 ERA. He has fanned 138 while allowing only 15 home runs.

 *The Nationals announced today that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Cole Kimball from Triple-A Syracuse and have designated Brian Broderick for assignment. Broderick gave up last night’s go-ahead run to the Marlins. In 13.2 innings with Syracuse, Kimball did not give up a run. Kimball has gone 1-0 with five saves in 12 relief appearances this season for the Chiefs.

Nats vs. Marlins Game 1

The Nationals return home after a 4-5 road trip against some inter-division rivals. Tonight, they begin a three-game series against the Florida Marlins, who they took two of three games from last weekend in Sun Life Stadium.

 Marlins:

 Chris Coghlan – CF

Emilio Bonifacio – 3B

Hanley Ramirez – SS

Gaby Sanchez – 1B

John Buck – C

Logan Morrison – LF

Mike Stanton – RF

Omar Infante – 2B

Chris Volstad – P

 Nationals:

 Roger Bernadina – CF

Ian Desmond – SS

Jayson Werth – RF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Laynce Nix – LF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Tom Gorzelanny – P

 *Tom Gorzelanny is surely the right man on the mound for the Nationals tonight—he’s 2-0 against the Fish with a 1.80 ERA in three starts. In 20 innings against Florida, he has struck out 15.

 *Having spent much of his career within the NL East, Jayson Werth has seen a lot of the Marlins. He’s has 53 hits with eight doubles, a triple and seven home runs off of Florida in his career.

 *Against Chris Volstad, Adam LaRoche has batted .400 while walking twice in 12 plate appearances.

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