September 19, 2014

All the Ghosts of Baseball Past Deserve Their Moment This October in Washington, DC

September 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It was a compelling celebration of the moment for the Washington Nationals after after their 3-0 win over the Braves in Atlanta clinched a second NL East title in three years. But reflection is the default mental state for those of my generation and it was not long before I was thinking back on all […]

Closer By Committee in DC?

September 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

“Closer by committee” is used only to describe a dysfunctional reality. It has no upside, no silver lining and when spoken in early September, it can mean nothing good. So when Matt Williams announced that the Washington Nationals were relieving Raphael Soriano of his ninth inning duties, and seeking a new answer so late in […]

Something Smells Rotten in the TV Rights Dispute in DC

August 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Maximizing profits and income is what businessmen do. But somehow, when they are caught doing it as baseball owners it takes on an uglier dimension because they operate in a protected environment. MLB, Inc. is an enterprise that operates outside the scrutiny to which normal business owners are subject. The largely un-examined, private country club […]

In the Moment in Washington

August 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Ten wins in a row in the tenth season in a row? Are the numbers and stars aligning? Has anyone called the fortune teller yet, or maybe we should just “pinch ourselves and squeal and know that it’s for real, the hour that our ship comes in?”* Baseball returned to Washington, DC in 2005 and […]

Where Washington Is Always in First Place

August 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

CBS reporter Sheryl Attkisson opined that in today’s world our best journalists could not bring the corrupt and crazed Richard Nixon to heel for the vast sins of Watergate. Perhaps, but for my money there is one department at The Washington Post that never lost its Woodward and Bernstein edge, where the ghost of Shirley […]

Does the Long Winding Road to October End in California?

August 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Over at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, they analyze anything that moves, but they keep a nice presence in the world of sports and their piece on the recent Jon Lester trade looks at the notion that this season is shaping up as a significant outlier. The Lester trade is unusual because it is rare for a small market […]

Could a Washington Baseball Hall of Fame Museum Unite the City’s Baseball Legacies?

July 14, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

There is still a hole in the middle of the Washington, DC baseball tradition that is thirty-four years wide and many of the great moments in the city’s bountiful Major League Baseball history remain lost inside it. Much of that memorable history occurred at old Griffith Stadium and when it was torn down after the […]

When Will Baltimore Be Forced to Quit Stealing TV Revenues in the Mid-Atlantic?

July 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It is easiest to steal money when no one is watching. And so Peter Angelos has had easy pickings for almost a decade as he took TV revenues away from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) that broadcasts games for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals on local cable outlets. Television revenues are the name of the game […]

The Kid Returneth?

June 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Referencing Bryce Harper as “The Kid” is more than a play on his youth, but one that also brings to mind the great hitter Ted Williams who likewise was a star from the first moment he stepped onto an emerald diamond at age 20. Williams, known as the “Kid” for many years in Boston, generated […]

A Legacy for the Man Who Ended Joe DiMaggio’s 56-Game Hitting Streak

June 13, 2014 by · 3 Comments 

It is July 17, 1941. The Cleveland Indians are playing the New York Yankees and the Tribe’s manager, Roger Peckinpaugh, brings Jim Bagby into the game in relief of Al Smith in a precarious situation in the eighth inning.  Smith has pitched well, though he trails 2-1 to the Yankees. Then in the top of […]

Ryan Zimmerman Is Playing for the Urgency of Now

June 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

After Stephen Strasburg signed with the Nationals late in the summer of 2009, he was introduced to the Washington fan base in a ceremony at Nationals Park. There on stage to greet him was Ryan Zimmerman, the face of the team. As Zimmerman posed for pictures welcoming the young pitching phenom aboard, he was one […]

Touring Target Field With Clark Griffith, II

May 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The picture below shows the statue of Calvin Griffith that sits just outside the main gate of Target Field in Minneapolis and next to him is his son, Clark Griffith, II who was named in honor of family scion, Clark Griffith who took over the old Washington Nationals.  “I was a consultant on the statue,” […]

Surprising Parity in the NL East

May 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Its lack of predictability makes baseball fascinating and the changing cast of heroes who step forward each game make it an everyman’s delight. The Atlanta Braves were supposed to be in big trouble due to the injuries of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. GM Frank Wren picked up Adam Harang and Ervin Santana and several […]

Will a Better Bryce Harper Emerge in the Second Half?

May 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Bryce Harper has significant value to the Washington Nationals franchise whether he is on the field or not. The merchandising of a star means that he makes money for the team even on the dl. But there are legitimate questions about Bryce Harper’s value as a marquee player that only will be answered later this […]

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper: Pat Boone and Elvis

April 23, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

Mike Trout is all smiles everywhere he goes at Nationals Park, whether it is during the game as he settles at first base after a single, or in the dugout with his team mate Albert Pujols, who has just hit his 500th home run–congrats big fellow. Bryce Harper by contrast has found little to smile […]

Tampa to Montreal? Trotting Out the Same Old Tired Narrative

April 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s almost comical, the idea of moving the Tampa Bay Rays to Montreal, but a lot of people have been talking about it with a straight face. MLB has fewer new plot lines than Hollywood and the one where the Commissioner’s Office comes in all Snidely Whiplash and threatens to move the team unless a […]

Alexander Cartwright, The Life Behind the Baseball Legend, by Monica Nucciarone

April 16, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

The Spring 2014 edition of the Baseball Research Journal came in the mail just as I was finishing Monica Nucciarone’s fine book, Alexander Cartwright, The Life Behind the Baseball Legacy. The Journal includes an article by Richard Hershberger about Alexander Cartwright, which examines the proposition whether Cartwright “invented baseball.” Having just read Nucciarone’s book, it seemed to […]

Playing for the Name on the Front of the Jersey

April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

On Thursday night, at Nationals Park, the ace of the Washington Nationals staff answered anyone who had been naive enough to question where his fastball had gone. It was back and it was beautiful to behold. He looked every bit the part the ace of a very talented mound corps in DC in his most […]

There’s No Fooling the Radar Gun

April 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A traffic judge in Prince George’s County once said that “you cannot fool radar because radar spelled backwards is still radar.” So when Stephen Strasburg wants to quibble about his fastball velocity and say the problem is with the gun, tell it to the judge Stephen. Strasburg’s fastball velocity has been in steady decline since […]

Opening Day 2014

April 5, 2014 by · 3 Comments 

Opening Day. The celebration of American culture resounds more than the play on the field as the giant flag is unfurled during the National Anthem. There were no jets flying overhead this season as in years past because budget concerns have taken precedence over the pomp and ceremony befitting a great nation parading forth its […]

Can Matt Williams Manage the Expectations

March 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Who Me? That was the collective reaction of the Washington Nationals in 2013 as they came out of Florida with their ace Stephen Strasburg on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the magazine predicting a World Series win for the team. Last season proved that something was missing in the Nationals clubhouse and Davey Johnson […]

Medlen’s Misfortune is Everyone’s Misfortune

March 18, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

As the 2012 season drew to a conclusion, Stephen Strasburg’s absence from the rotation of the Washington Nationals was one of the more hotly debated issues. Often those heaping abuse on the Nationals decision to bench their prized right-hander contrasted their decision with that of the Atlanta Braves where Kris Medlen was still taking the […]

Roger Peckinpaugh, Joe Cronin…Ian Desmond?

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

During the two decades when the Washington Nationals fielded quality Major League teams (1912-1933), the infield was invariably anchored by excellent shortstop. Clark Griffith, as manager and owner of the team during those years, valued the gritty ballplayer who could do it all and his on-the-field leaders included such great players as George McBride, Roger […]

Trading the Snow for a Bag of Balls

March 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The snow has shut down pretty much everything today, but there are box scores pouring forth on electron beams originating in Florida and Arizona and the weatherman says the outlook is for continuing box scores for at least seven months. The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles played their first exhibition games over the weekend in […]

Building a Better Mousetrap in DC

February 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Traditional analysts give great credence to building the proper batting order, while statistical analysts regard it as a secondary consideration at best.  Examining the performance of individual ball players over a lifetime yields little evidence that batting order is significant.  Was Ted Williams a better hitter when he hit third or fourth in the lineup?  […]

Anticipating Something Better from DC in 2014

February 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The expectations of baseball fans that begin to stir as the winter days slowly lengthen have a long, cruel history in Washington, DC. The collective winning percentage of all teams stretching back to 1901, when the Washington Nationals fielded one of the founding franchises in the nascent American League, is .458.  The new kids on […]

Ain’t No Cure for the Wintertime Blues

January 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The snow is piled up and it hasn’t been above freezing since last weekend. What’t the cure for the wintertime blues? The Bob Davids annual SABR meeting in Rossyln, Virginia is about as good as it gets. The Bob Davids Chapter is the original SABR chapter, the largest and most active and this year’s meeting […]

Watching the Money Flow

January 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the many things missing in the discussion about the new contract for Clayton Kershaw–a mere $30 million annually–is how much money the Dodgers have to throw around. The money the Dodgers got from Time Warner for media rights last season–reputed to be $7 billion over 25 years–gives the old Brooklyn franchise $280 million […]

Giving Thanks for Baseball This Holiday Season

December 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s hard to find ‘Peace on Earth,” but if you look in the right place this holiday season, you will find baseball in about as cheerful and bountiful a spot as it has been in many years.  That aura of bonhomie is worth celebrating.  It has many origins, but certainly begins with the new found […]

Thanksgiving Pardons and the Washington “Americans”

November 27, 2013 by · 4 Comments 

In 1937 the  Boston Redskins professional football team moved to Washington and began to play their games at old Griffith Stadium, where baseball was still king. The Redskins, as they are unfortunately still known, were owned by George Preston Marshall who earned opprobrium in many circles for refusing to integrate his football team and using […]

What Could Bring the Scherzer Rumors to Life

November 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The GM meetings this coming week will likely just be a first chance for some of the first off-season rumors to get wings or disappear. One that has a chance to grow is the notion that the Tigers would trade Max Scherzer. Rumors about Scherzer’s departure have been met generally with skepticism. Why mess with […]

Will the “Big Marine” Be Running Basic Training for the Washington Nationals Next Spring?

October 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“When he talks, people listen.” Reggie Jackson said that about Sal Bando. Reggie attributed Bando with running a very tight clubhouse for the very contentious but always successful Oakland Athletics in the first half of the 1970’s. Matt Williams–the newly minted manager of the Washington Nationals–has that same reputation. He was a championship caliber third […]

It’s Still Farm to Table in St. Louis

October 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The St. Louis Cardinals secured the right to play for their 12th World Championship on Friday night, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games out of six. It was not exactly David and Goliath although the Dodger salaries are almost double those of the Redbirds. More important is the standing of the city itself. The […]

News of Baseball’s Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

October 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Baseball is big news these days. It made the holy grail of journalism, the Sunday edition of the New York Times, where Jonathan Mahler asked the question “Is the Game Over?” Mahler’s symphony of woe is reminiscent of the premature reporting of Mark Twain’s passing by the New York Journal in 1897. News of baseball’s […]

Strasburg Redux

September 25, 2013 by · 5 Comments 

Washington has many fine sportswriters. Atop the list are Tom Boswell, Tim Kurkjian, and until recently John Feinstein. Last season Feinstein was one of the louder voices calling for the Nationals to keep sending Strasburg out every five days in September. And now he is using the failure of the Nationals to make the playoffs […]

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