Nats Fans Are All Over, But the Virginians are Closer

April 2, 2012

The Washington Post had a nice article on Sunday by Marc Fisher about the rise of the Nats, in both relevence and attendance levels. I was actually interviewed for the article, although my contributions were apparently left on the cutting room floor. Judging by the actual blogger quotes put in there, my mistake was not being hyperbolic enough (I am almost always guilty of this) and, perhaps, still being an active blogger. But I’m not here to complain, in fact, I was honored to just be contacted by a real journalist doing a real article. And I know how these things work, I certainly don’t take it as a personal affront.

During the interview though, Marc and I had a conversation about the attendance sources for the team, and he touched on it in the article when he wrote:

Nationals officials say fans coming to games are about 60 percent from Virginia, 25 percent from Maryland and 15 percent from the District. That means city residents are slightly overrepresented, Marylanders lag well behind, and Virginians make a strongly disproportionate contribution to city coffers.

I thought I’d pass along the gist of what I said. As a resident of the socialist utopia that is the state of Maryland, I feel that this needs some explaining. To me, it isn’t the lack of fans in MD or the higher number in VA that is driving this. It is plain and simple geography. Think about where VA fans are coming from compared to MD fans.

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A Better Nationals Park Experience

February 16, 2012

This past week some good Nats news has been reported. No, Bryce Harper hasn’t become a Redskins fan (for his sake, it might not be something we want), and it wasn’t revealed that Strasburg‘s UCL was actually replaced with enchanted carbon nanotubes. Instead, some plans were revealed to improve the area around Nationals Park.

Currently the area, while not horrible, isn’t a place where people hang out, and that is a shame. Having a good area near the ballpark is important – whether its the family oriented atmosphere around Camden Yards or the great bar/restaurant scene around the Verizon Center, the neighborhood can really improve the experience of going to the game. And it can convince more people to spend the day trekking down to the stadium.

From Bullpen to Fairgrounds

Most fans are familiar with the Bullpen just north of the stadium, that area in between the LF entrance and the metro station. It’s basically an empty parking lot with some taps, and its open for a few hours starting before and ending after games, on game days only. It’s fairly adequate for drinking, but it’s atmosphere isn’t especially inviting. It was called a beer garden, but it was a pretty poor representation of what a good one should be. And the latest post on the website seemed to show an improved Das Bullpen from last year. However, the Bullpen is apparently being replaced with the less-confusing-to-meet-someone-at Fairgrounds.

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Nats Pics from the Field

September 12, 2011

Saturday was blogger night, and I got to go down to the field during BP and take some pictures. I got some pretty good ones, here’s a whole bunch of pictures of your Washington Nats getting ready for the game. Click on any of them to see the full sized version:

Wilson Ramos getting his hacks in

The pitchers ready to get some time in the cage Read the rest of this entry »


Lannan’s Late Surge and Seat Counting

September 28, 2010

Last night, John Lannan went 5 2/3 innings and gave up 4 ER. For a Nationals pitcher in 2010, that wasn’t half bad. Of course, we know it’s not a very good start, but are you ready for some good news? That was his second worst start since coming back from the minors. BP gave him a game score of 41, only better than his 8/24 start against the Cubs where he gave up 4 ER in 5 IP. Since he’s returned from exile, he has been quite good. Including last night’s unimpressive outing, he’s gone 68 1/3 IP, with a mind-blowing (for Lannan) 47 Ks to 14 BBs and a 3.42 ERA. And most importantly, the team has gone 7-4 in those starts.

His K/9 of 6.2 is the best 11 game stretch since the last 11 games of 2008. Back when he was the de facto #1. He didn’t do anything like that even in his great 2009, where he finished the year with a career best 3.88 ERA. But more impressive than seeing him strike some guys out, is seeing out few he has walked. Simply put, his K/BB of 3.35 in this span is his best 11 game stretch ever. With someone like Lannan, who induces ground balls and doesn’t strike out as many guys as other pitchers do, he must keep his walks down. When he does, he can be very successful. If he doesn’t, it’s easy for a few grounders to leak through with a couple of walks and suddenly it’s a 2 or 3 run inning. But when that ratio is 3.35, what happens is teams need 3 or 4 hits in an inning, without hitting into a double play, to get more than 1 run on the board, and that is difficult to do.

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Blogger Day June 2010, Tons of Photos

June 7, 2010

Saturday was the first Blogger Day of the year so I get to go once again to the stadium and act like I belonged in the back rooms and media areas. Brian, who has gone in the past, once again went with me and this time he brought a really nice camera. He took a bunch of high quality pics that can be seen here. I also took some lower quality pics, that aren’t as good. I’ll put some of them here. We had great access, as evidence by the group talking with the Director of Baseball Media Relations, Mike Gazda, down on the field behind home plate during Nationals’ batting practice:

But let’s save that part of the story for later. First of all, the new person in the new position, Chad Kurz, Senior Manager of New Media, was either kind enough to or forced into babysitting the blogging crew all day. He was fully accessible to us the entire time, and escorted us all over the park, including the press room, where we started out. We got a chance to talk to Josh Willingham, Jim Riggleman, Director of Community Relations Israel Negrom, and a group known as the People All Stars Among Us. But first, we started off with a press conference with rookie bullpen ace Drew Storen.
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Busy Few Days Coming Up

June 4, 2010

The next few days are going to be Nationals’ filled baseball fun pack for me. Tonight, I am going to be one of the suckers at the stadium that don’t get to see Strasburg. But I will be seeing Livan. Tomorrow is the first Blogger Day of 2010 at Nats’ Park, and I was kindly invited again. I am supposed to get to go on the field during batting practice, see the new Diamond Club area, get a tour… lots of cool stuff. I’ll be taking pictures, and putting them up here soon. How much I write on Saturday is up in the air, I’m just bringing my iPad for posting. Monday is the draft, in case you forgot with all the Strasburg hubbub. Here’s yet another Bryce Harper article to get you fired up. Finally, on Tuesday, I was able to score tickets for Strasmukah, so I’ll be there as well. It’s all weather permitting of course, but expect a flurry of activity. Mostly it’ll be on the Twitter site, but there will be stuff here as well!


Blogger Day 2 Roundup

August 25, 2009

As mentioned in an earlier post, Sunday was Blogger Day II at Nats Park, and we were there. We got there around 11AM and were quickly brought in by Nats Director of Baseball Media Relations, Mike Gadza. We all squished inside the elevator and made our way to the press room, where manager Jim Riggleman had just finished his press conference with the real media folks. With us on the way was Bob Cohn of the Washington Times. You better believe I was quoted! As Kasten later said, it was a reporter doing a story on bloggers doing a story on baseball, and someone should write a blog about it.

We were given the opportunity to ask Riggleman some questions and without getting in to trying to quote, here were a few highlights:

  • He has been really happy with the hitting, their job is to establish consistent pitching now.
  • Hitting is great, it was hard to manage against the Rangers of the last few years. But those teams never sniffed the playoffs. But now the Rangers can pitch, and they hit much less, and they’re in the thick of the hunt.
  • It is a big concern for him to balance the workload of the young pitchers while getting good pitching so the team can win.
  • Media has changed drastically. Even when he was managing in a big city like Chicago, in the late 90s, there were 2 or 3 beat writes and a radio station. Certainly no blogging, and there just wasn’t as much scrutiny.
  • They are really working hard to improve the defense, going out and practicing before games, but this was actually Acta’s idea. The problem was under Acta, it rained so much early on, that they couldn’t consistently go out there.
  • He thinks Dunn has played well at first base. They’ve got to get him to read the ball a little better off of the bat, to help his range (the hole between 1B and 2B has been an issue), but he’s made all the scoops he should and has been energized by the switch.

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