September 2010

Natstown Visit

I went to see the Nationals and Astros play late yesterday afternoon. It was a rare 4:35pm start which meant, in theory, I didn’t think I’d run into much traffic. So much for thinking that!

Yesterday really hit home why it’s fun to be so close to Washington DC and able to see some of our favorite former Senators. The Nats used four pitchers in their win yesterday starting with Ross Detwiler, then Craig Stammen, followed by Drew Storen and then finally Collin Balester. All four of them have appeared on City Island sometime during the past four seasons.

Offensively, Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa both hit home runs for the Nats (along with Mike Morse).  Bernadina and Espinosa are both former Senators as well. Joining them in the starting line up was Justin Maxwell in center field. Ryan Zimmerman (a former Sen) was a late scratch.

I don’t know about you, but it’s fun to me to go down and watch them and see players that we’ve seen here. For years and years the Senators were great, winning championships, but fans didn’t much of a chance to see those players in person in the big leagues unless they wanted to travel to Philly, NY or Pittsburgh, when the Expos were in town.

Now you have 81 chances to see these players in Washington DC. Last night driving down, getting into DC, it struck me just how amazing it is to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, the White House, US Capitol, WWII Memorial, and much, much, more on the way to a ballgame! I thought going to San Francisco and seeing or driving over the Golden Gate Bridge was pretty cool, but it’s nothing compared to driving through so much history.

Of the current Nats roster, 13 of them played in the minor leagues for the Senators. several of the remaining Nats players appeared on City Island as part of the Sens opposition and they are: Tyler Clippard – Trenton (2006 & 2007) (he threw a no-hitter at then Commerce Bank Park against the Senators); Nyjer Morgan – Altoona (2006); Sean Burnett – Altoona (2003); Wilson Ramos – New Britain (2009); Alberto Gonzalez – Trenton (2007); and Willie Harris – Bowie (2001).  Including Jason Marquis, he rehabbed with the Sens this year, half of the current 40-man active roster either played for the Sens or against the Sens.

Getting back to yesterday, the Nats won 7-2 and are now 65-88 which doesn’t sound great, but, it means the first time in the past two seasons they won’t lose 100 games. And with a decent last week, they could win 70+ games which would represent a pretty nice increase from the past two seasons in which they’ve only won 59 games.

Sometime in the not to distant future, the Nats will be in a pennant race with a whole lot of former Sens, now won’t that be fun!

Have a great weekend everyone! I have two more Nats games to attend… go Nats!!!

Random Thoughts on a Great 2010 Season…

So I log on here and see that May 21st was my last entry? Wow. I had no idea it had been that long since I wrote something. Every time I write one of these I say to myself I’m going to write more.
I have been thinking about sharing some random thoughts all season long and now, I can’t remember half the random thoughts I was thinking about, but here are a few:

  • When I used to pay money to go to games I paid to watch the games. Since when did things change to the point that if you don’t receive an autograph, the “game” experience is bad?
  • Speaking of autographs, when Strasburg was here there was a lot of chatter about how many he didn’t sign. Okay folks, I’m guessing I was around him a lot more than any of you and I’m here to tell you he signed a lot. He signed every day without fail. He didn’t sign at the same time everyday, but he did sign.
  • Speaking of Strasburg, he started the season as a 21-year-old with a ton of expectations both on the field and off. Raise your hand if you were mature enough to handle everything he has had to handle at 21? It’s easy to knock a professional athlete because they make “millions” but what does the money have to do with anything? I saw a pretty good guy here for a month that was dealing with a ton.
  • Lastly on Strasburg… I expect him to come back better than ever. He is very competitive and is going to work very hard to come back to the Nats.
  • Randy Knorr and staff did a great job this year with the baseball team. They went through nearly two completely different teams, yet managed to keep them together and pointed towards the playoffs. And though winning/losing isn’t the ultimate goal of a minor league manager, he also had many players promoted. The Nationals are a much better organization with him around, that’s for sure.
  • Troy Gingrich really worked hard this year as the Sens hitting coach. They went from hitting about .235 as a team through most of the first half of the season to finishing at .251, that is quite an accomplishment.
  • Randy Tomlin did another solid job with the pitching staff. The Senators used 21 different pitchers to start a game this year. Twenty. One. That is a ton. Several different pitchers were used as closers but no matter what, the Sens kept pitching well. That is a testament to Randy. The Sens lead the league in ERA this year with a 3.51 ERA.
  • Atsushi Toriida and Tony Rogowski rounded out the terrific staff by keeping the players fit, healthy and ready to play. It wasn’t an easy year because of all the bumps and bruises

Off the field was amazing as well. The Sens staff led by Kevin Kulp and Randy Whitaker did a great job all season long keeping things together and going. Emily Winslow spearheaded a terrific 2010 Eastern League All-Star game. Aaron Margolis is the man behind the drape when it comes to our game entertainment and video production. I’m going to write more in few days about the rest of my co-workers and what a great season they had.

Now onto some interesting tidbits, or maybe not so interesting. People want to know what it’s like to be a ballplayer, how much time is spent doing things, at the park, etc. Well I took some time last week and came up with the following information. This information applies to me, but it also applies to them as well.

  • We spent approximately 185 HOURS this year on the bus. That is nearly 8 full days.
  • Approximately 1400 hours at various ballparks
  • Nearly 500 hours on the air between pre-game/post-game/game
  • There were 157 days from the start of the season to the last day (including playoffs) and there was a game on 146 of those days (147 including the All-Star Game)
  • Approximately 42% of our time was spent at the ballpark or on the bus during the season and that does not count the countless number of hours wasting time at the hotel on getaway day

And I wouldn’t trade any of that for another job 🙂 Something can be said for loving what you do and where you do it at. Coming to work at a ballpark sure beats just about anything else.

I would love to hear from you and my email is  I’ll be writing my thoughts on the players in the next couple of days and more about the milestones achieved by the organization this season.