Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chad Cordero

When I first heard the words on WTOP late this afternoon--I Nearly Drove Off The Side Of The Road. Then, I hurried home to find out that Bill Ladson at had broke the story. Finally, at 5:35PM, Our Washington Nationals confirmed everything. "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" was No Longer A Washington National. "Hail To The Chief" would no longer be played again in the 9th Inning of any home ballgame. Chad Cordero had declined an assignment to The Minor Leagues and had elected Free Agency. Our Now Former Number 32, with The GREAT Flat Brim Cap, may never trot out for one of his "Chief Cardiologist" Saves Again. First thought: How am I going to break the news to The African Queen? She loves "The Chief". To say "adore" would be an understatement.

Many Fans of Our Washington Nationals may live on every Win and every Loss, but as much as Sohna wants to see DC's Team win each and every game, she just as much wants to see Quality Personalities. And Chad Cordero is one of the VERY BEST. Off & On The Field Of Play, this young man has The Right Stuff. Chad showed up for every Charity Event in Washington. And he has spent his own time, and money, to help others. That Fact is well documented on Nats320 and should never be understated.

Yeah, we both knew that Chad Cordero was going to be Non-Tendered by Our General Manager Jim Bowden. The Flap over that incident is well known. But as is always the case, AS A FAN, you can only WISH everything turns out for the better. We can only hope that "The Chief" returns healthy donning a Nationals' Uniform, once again. But, as A Fan, we don't control the roster moves. And as Sohna and I have come to learn over the past four years since Baseball Returned to The Nation's Capital--Major League Baseball Is A BIG BUSINESS. Deserved Opportunity, Or Not, does not always factor into the final team decison.

So sadly today, arguably, The Most Popular Face of Our Washington Nationals, not named Ryan Zimmerman--and you could debate "The Chief" has more fans--is no longer a member of Our Team. Yes, I know, The Baseball Operation's Decision has merit.

But it still hurts. It really does.

The losing of a beloved player is the HARDEST PART OF BEING A FAN. When you spend so much time getting ATTACHED to A Player, it is very hard to see one go. That is why it became very important to get in touch with Chad Cordero this evening to see if he would talk to us about his, in essence, newly found Free Agency.

As always, it takes a little creativity for that to happen on our part. Fortunately, it did. A few phone calls later this evening, Chad Cordero spoke to me from his home in Southern California. For 20 Minutes we chatted about today's announced decision, his recovery from shoulder surgery (torn labrum) and what is in store for his future as a Major League Player. Gracious as always to The African Queen & I--he answered every single question I pondered.

With that, here we go with My Conversation With Chad Cordero.

How are you doing after all this? (SBF)

“I am not doing too bad. I’m OK. I am just getting something to eat right now.”

What is your reaction to basically being put on waivers and now having declined an assignment to The Minor Leagues? (SBF)

“I was kind of shocked to be put on waivers. I was just expecting to be non-tendered in December. This makes everything (business wise) kind of move up. I am a Free Agent now. It will be very interesting.”

Are you upset to be leaving Washington? (SBF)

“Yes, I am. This is the only Organization I have ever known. And I have had some great years here. I have made a lot of good friends. For the organization, and me this year was a little bit tough. I am going to move on, but I am not going to close the door. So, who knows, I still might be back in Washington.”

So just to make sure that Washington Fans know this—you are not closing the door on DC? (SBF)

“Right, exactly. I am not going to close a book on it. I am not going to say I am definitely not going to go back there, because—hey—I would love to go back there. I just need to find the right fit for myself, and what my agent thinks too. So, we shall see.”

You told me before we started you visited with Dr. Lewis Yocum for a check up today (Dr. Yocum performed Chad’s surgery in Los Angeles a few months ago). What were the results? (SBF)

“Everything is looking good. He actually talked to my agent (Larry Reynolds) today while I was in the office and Dr. Yocum said everything is looking good. He said my arm strength is excellent right now and my recovery is going really well. So basically, from what he was saying, I am on schedule (for recovery), if not a little bit ahead. So, everything is looking good.”

When do you think you can possibly start to work out again? (SBF)

“I can start doing some of that stuff right now. I just can’t do a whole lot. I still can’t do bench press and real heavy lifting. But, I can start running now and I start throwing in about two weeks. So, in about two weeks, I should have everything going again.”

With everything that has gone on—with Jim Bowden inadvertently saying you will be non-tendered this summer and this waiver wire maneuver that, even when they possibly contacted you earlier, came out of the blue, how does that leave you feeling? (SBF)

“Honestly, it’s a little shocking. And it’s kind of hard to take. But, this is the business side of baseball. I wish they could have handled it a little bit differently. This is baseball and that is just the way it is. But, I don’t hold any hard feelings and anything like that. This is an organization that treated me very well, up until this year.”

You just touched on something that Sohna and I have come to realize in the past couple of years—the business side of baseball is far different than being on the field—isn’t it? (SBF)

“Exactly, it’s the hardest part. It’s stuff that you just don’t realize, or even think about when you first come up. And then when you get up there (to The Majors), you realize just how much of a business it is. You have to understand what teams must do to compete, the types of moves they have to make in order for them to stay under budget and then how you (Chad Cordero) factor into that equation. It’s very important to understand that.”

Does all that make playing baseball less fun? (SBF)

“No, not at all. Baseball is still fun. I am still playing the sport for a living. It’s the greatest thing ever. Anytime you have the chance to be a professional athlete or do anything like that, it’s a great thing. I would never say baseball is not fun to play. It’s still a lot of fun to me.”

Yes, baseball is definitely not a 9 to 5 Job. (SBF)

“Exactly.” (Both of us busting out laughing)

So, where do you go from here? Do you wait for your agent to make things happen? How does it work? (SBF)

“My agent can start talking to other teams, I think tomorrow (Friday, October 31st). Then, when I start throwing again, he will start talking to teams even more.”

You sound confident? (SBF)

“Yeah. I am very confident. My arm is feeling great. I am in no pain. My arm is feeling a lot better than it did during the year, so there is no reason to think I cannot come back. It’s feeling good and from what Dr. Yocum was saying—everything is right on schedule.”

Just to be clear—whether it’s in Washington or not—you are going to be playing Major League Baseball next year you feel? (SBF)

“Definitely, yes. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be pitching in The Big Leagues. Actually, I just can’t wait to start throwing and get ready for the season again.”

How frustrating has the last year been for you? (SBF)

“It’s been very frustrating. This is the first year I have ever been hurt. There have been times when my arm has felt tired some times in the past, but never had anything quite like this. It’s been kind of tough. To just have to sit on the bench when there is no chance for me going in (to the game) and playing—that was hard. And after the surgery, it was even harder on me. But, at least for me, it’s better that it happened to me now (at 26 years of age) than later because if it happened when I was in my 30’s, who knows? I might not be able to come back from that. I am still in my 20’s. I should be able to come back even stronger.”

Youth is definitely an advantage. If the same thing happens to me at 49 (SBF’s Age), I would NEVER BE COMING BACK!! (SBF)

“Yeah, you got that right!! (Both of us chuckling)

Being on the sidelines, and being popular and not being able to play, sometimes breeds some jealously, and sometimes even some disrespect. I read most everything about The Nationals and I see comments that are borderline disrespectful about you, and some downright out of line. I am sure you have read some of this. How do you take that? I know it’s hard. (SBF)

“For me, I don’t even think about it. If people have that opinion that they don’t like me, or whatever, it doesn’t bother me at all. They don’t know me. Not everybody is going to like me. So, that is just the way I think about it. If somebody doesn’t like me, Oh Well, there are many, many more that do. It doesn’t bother me.”

Looking back and looking at the fact you may not be back in Washington. There has got to be some great moments to cherish in your career here? (SBF)

“Being a part of bringing baseball back to Washington that very first year was great. To be playing in The Nation’s Capital before enthusiastic crowds every night was one of the greatest things ever. And there is so much to do there. Between The Smithsonian (Museums), The Monuments, The Capitol and The White House. DC is a special place to live and to be. For me to play there and be a part of bringing baseball back to Washington was great--real satisfaction.”

Those first 81 Games of 2005 in Washington were pretty unbelievable. (SBF)

“Yes, they were special and a lot of fun.”

I have lived in DC my entire life. I have gone through The Redskins, The Bullets & Wizards and even The Capitals, but I don’t think I have ever seen this city so excited over one unexpected moment in my life, than those first 81 games of 2005. (SBF)

(Chuckling) “Yes, it was cool. Good memories.”

Switching gears a little bit--has it been tough seeing your “Montreal” friends leave Washington, especially now when you are one of those too? (SBF)

“Yes, it sucks to be one of the remaining Montreal players here. I think this past year we only had 5 or 6 of us left. Now, maybe one or two? It sucks to see that, because we all went through so much (during the last years as Expos). There are people from Montreal that still follow us. Now, basically, all of us have been traded away, released or signed elsewhere. Yes, it’s kind of a weird thing to see. But, I also think, when they all leave (Washington), most are all doing pretty well.”

Somebody told me recently that 1/3rd of the hits on the website still come from Canada. (SBF)

“(Chuckling) I actually believe that. There was still a big following in Montreal. They just for some reason didn't come out to watch. The people who were baseball fans were really big baseball fans. They loved the game. And I remember seeing a father and son who sat right behind the dugout in Montreal for every game, they still come down to spring training for a couple of weeks every year and I see them. It’s pretty cool to keep in touch. There was a big following, it just for some reason, didn’t take attendance wise.”

Yeah, I agree. Montreal was a good baseball town that got ruined by all the politics and the stadium issues—the cheapness just killed it. (SBF)

“Yes, you are right.”

Final question—and it’s not too tough. I know you are engaged (to Jamie), is the date anytime soon?

“Yes, a week from this Saturday (November 8th).”

It’s that soon? (“Yes”) Well, Congratulations. (SBF)

“That’s very kind. Thank you very much.”

OK, I will let you go for now. But Sohna and I just want to say one last thing to you: “We will miss you. We find you to be one of the most fun players and we have enjoyed watching you play over the past four seasons. We really mean that. You are fine young man. We are proud to have met you.”

“Thank you so very much.”

You know, this is the hardest thing about being a fan--seeing the players go away--leaving Our Team.

“Yeah, I know and I understand. Give my best to Sohna.”

With that, Chad Cordero and I bid adieu. Our Impromptu Conversation Had Concluded. The African Queen and I can only wish him the very, very best. Because, when Our Washington Nationals have been at their very best--"The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" has many times led the way. More importantly, Our Former Number 32 is a Stand Up Guy. Win or Lose, he stood at his locker every single night to face the music (from the media). And for me, I will be forever grateful. Every single time he ran into The African Queen he stopped to say hello, no matter how rushed he was. "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" is a Professional and we will always remember Chad Cordero for his assistance in helping to bring Baseball Back To Washington, DC.

As far as Sohna and I are concerned--we can induct Chad Cordero as the first member of Our Washington Nationals Hall of Fame--right now. We mean it. He deserves it, because he earned it with his honest efforts. There is no question, "The Chief" is a wonderful young man.

Good Luck To You--Chad Cordero. May your Big League Career continue for many successful seasons.

PS--That interview was totally off the cuff. I had no planned questions. Chad and I just talked for 20 minutes.

The Official Word On The New Uniform Unveilings

Our Washington Nationals sent out a press release this afternoon confirming November 6th at 12Noon for the New Jersey & Uniform Unveilings at The ESPN Zone in Washington, DC. Our Manager Manny Acta, along with Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes will join in the festivities. As usual, Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes will Host The Ceremony.

Here is The Official Press Release

Washington Nationals Unveil 2009 Jerseys at ESPN Zone on Thursday, November 6 at 12:00pm

WHAT: The Washington Nationals will unveil their new 2009 regular-season jerseys at the ESPN Zone on Thursday, November 6 at 12:00pm. Nationals Manager Manny Acta and outfielders Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge will take part in the event, moderated by radio broadcaster Charlie Slowes. Following the program, Acta, Dukes and Milledge will participate in a 30-minute autograph session. The event is open to the public and the first 50 guests to arrive will receive a Nationals promotional item at the conclusion of the event. The jerseys will be available for purchase exclusively at the Nationals Park Team Store, located on Half Street Southeast in the ballpark’s Center Field Plaza, Thursday, November 6 through Sunday, November 9.

WHO: Manny Acta Nationals Manager

Elijah Dukes Nationals Outfielder

Lastings Milledge Nationals Outfielder

Charlie Slowes Nationals Radio Broadcaster

WHEN: Thursday, November 6, 2008

12:00pm – 1:00pm


555 12th Street, NW

Washington, DC

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Conversation With Phil Wood Part Two

This is The 1000th Post in The History Of The Nats320 Blog. How fitting the subject matter is an interview.
They may well be just a "Third Year" Expansion Team, as Phil Wood stated in yesterday's post, but they are still Our Washington Nationals. And they have a Fan Base always curious about the next move, or moves, Our General Manager Jim Bowden may make over the course of this upcoming off season--in rebuilding Our Franchise. Staying on the same subject line of possible roster moves as we ended Part One, Phil and I continue our chat discussing what trades might be possible this winter.

With that, here we go with Part Two of My Conversation With Phil Wood.

What can people reasonably expect Jim Bowden to do over the next few months leading up to The Winter Meetings and Spring Training? Recently he said The Nationals were going to be active. (SBF)

“Well, I am sure he is talking trades, but in terms of what people want and what people reasonably want to give up—you are not going to want to give up Jesus Flores or (Ryan) Zimmerman or (Cristian) Guzman.”

Jim said something last night that was sort of scary. He said to get a one or two starter you have to be willing to say that no one on your roster is untouchable. (SBF)

“I can tell you this. I don’t think Mark Lerner would ever sign off on a deal to trade Zimmerman. If you were offered a deal that would bring you a number one or number two starter and a good catcher prospect, then you might think about moving Jesus Flores. There were offers on the table down the stretch for Guzman that would have brought in some prospects just to rent him, basically (before re-signing). Then, he ended up getting hurt again and that killed that. Are you solid enough with middle infielders that you can afford to swap him (Guzman)? He signed for basically cheap money (Two Years-$16 Million).”

“They are loaded now with guys that can play middle infield, but in terms of having an everyday player? Not really.”

Alberto Gonzalez is a great fielder, but probably not much of a hitter, I would think. (SBF)

“He certainly has played better for Washington than he played for (The Yankees—SBF)—No The Justice Department. (Laughing about former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales--some fans call Our Number 12 The Attorney General)

“In terms of outfielders, a lot of the scouts love (Roger) Bernadina. They think that Bernadina can be a leadoff hitter for a lot of clubs in The Major Leagues. He’s a good fielder. No power, but the kind of guy who can get on base and steal a few. He might be of interest to some clubs and I think he might be someone you are willing to part with.”

“But top of the rotation guys are few and far between in terms of being available. Would they trade John Lannan? I hope not. It would be almost like trading away a guy and only getting his replacement back. (Especially since they control him for 5 or 6 more years—SBF) Exactly.”

From everything I've heard, Jordan Zimmermann is going to be a big part of Spring Training next year, whether he makes the team, I don’t know. (SBF)

“I think he has to make the team. I really think he has to. I think that Jordan Zimmermann has to be on this club next year because, again from my perspective, why would you not have Zimmermann on this club if you were willing to bring up (Collin) Balester?”

How do you see their bullpen now? It’s so much in disarray now after being the strong point for the first three years in Washington. (SBF)

“It’s unfortunate. I know they are going to non-tender (Chad) Cordero. But will there be people lined up to sign him? I don’t thing so. I think he might have to come back and sign a minor league contract and hope it works out. Coming off his type of surgery, who is going to risk a million dollars on him? I don’t see it.”

Do you see Joel Hanrahan as a real successor in the closer role? (SBF)

“Absolutely, sure. (Bowden raves about him—SBF) I like him too. I said last spring that if they trade Jon Rauch, because there was talk of trading Rauch early last season. If they trade Rauch, I think this guy (Hanrahan) has the makeup and pitch selection to close. He loves doing it. He really kind of thrives on it.”

“The other guy who I would not give up on is (Jason) Bergmann. Bergmann had a stretch last season where he was really good and then he got really bad again. He’s got a big league fastball. He’s got a big league curveball. He lost a little command, but he’s just 26 years old.”

I live in the fish bowl of The Nationals. I hear or read about everything good or bad with the team and the negative can sometimes overshadow the positive here. Outside of DC, what do others think of The Nationals? (SBF)

“There is a tendency that negative stuff gets spread out far and wide. And there are a lot of people who believe there is something in the water here. That a baseball team in Washington will never win. That, well, it’s Washington, they’ve always been terrible, The Senators were terrible and The Nationals will always be terrible. Again, I think that’s the same mindset that existed about Tampa Bay. There’s a surprise factor in a few years with The Nationals. People will say: ‘Gee, I didn’t know they had that guy? That other guy is pretty good too.’ It’s one of those things, that nationally, where the perception is they seem to always be destined for the 102-loss season. People look at that Won-Loss Record and that is all they see. They don’t really look behind it and see how that happens. Well, it happened because they used a couple AAA Guys and Career Backup Guys and they did not play with a Big League Roster this season.”

“Then, ‘it must have been because they were too cheap!!’ Cheap didn’t have anything to do with it. It’s one of those things where perception is reality and people perceive them to be bad because they perceive Washington to be bad. The whole issue of ‘nobody went to the games!’ I don’t know about that, nearly 2.4 Million people seems fairly decent to me. And a big part of that was the horrible marketing job that the club did. All we heard last off-season was there was not going to be any parking. You will not be able to park there, so you will have to take the subway or not go. A lot of people who make their season’s plans based upon that are going to say: 'We are not going to those things because there is no place to park.' That killed them."

"I think the local media has killed them to a large extent as well. It really ticks me off, here is The Washington Post, which when I was growing up had the greatest baseball writers out there. And while Tom Boswell certainly ranks in that category, you have a guy as the beat writer (Chico Harlan) on The Nationals who did an online chat and was asked about why the first base coach has a stopwatch—and had no idea why. Well, that is inexcusable. Sorry, that is just inexcusable.”

“But this is again typical of all the people (who cover the team). They understand the object of the game and they think that is all they have to know. I live in the Baltimore Market, the radio show I do is on a Baltimore Radio Station, but it’s also on MASN. We get some decent calls from people in Baltimore and we get some good calls from people in the Washington Area, but the big part of it over there is that many don’t know it’s on. I did the show on 980 (WTEM) for about a year and a half. Then, when Dan Snyder (Owner of The Washington Redskins) bought the radio station (to promote his team), the guy he brought in as Program Director tells me: ‘We just can’t see moving forward with this show that is just about one sport.’ I felt like saying--What if the sport was football? Would you change your mind on that? It’s certainly not because I was making too much money. I did it as cheaply as I possible could, because I did the show basically from my house. So, I didn’t have to drive down there (to Rockville). I cut them a deal on the price, but that show was great fun and it was Baseball and Rock & Roll. And I don’t think there was anything like it on the air or around the country. I could do that show there (on WTEM), but I can’t do that show where I am right now (1300AM WJFK) because I am doing it with two other people. That show (on WTEM) consistently got great calls and they would comment how there was nothing quite like it on the air. And how nobody else in town really seemed to have the passion for baseball—which is absolutely true (when it comes to local broadcasters).”

“Sportscasters in the DC Market are in love with The NFL--which pulled off the greatest con job in the history of man. My epiphany about The NFL: I was out this summer listening to a Baltimore Sport Talk Show and the host for the show was saying he had been out to Ravens Training Camp. He saw Demetrius Williams make two great catches down the right sidelines. The ball must have traveled 50 yards in the air. Now, there was no one playing defense (chuckling). So basically, all by himself, he ran down the right sideline and caught these balls. Well, if I went on the air and I said: I went to Batting Practice and saw Anderson Hernandez hit two bombs into the seats—people would laugh in my face. But yet football has convinced people that anything they do is important. Whatever shoe they are lacing up, that is worthy of a sidebar story.”

“Years ago, (Former NFL Great Coach for The Washington Redskins) George Allen took hundreds of old NFL Broadcasts and was asked how much real action was in an NFL Game, it’s a three hour broadcast. The average was slightly under 12 minutes. You are sitting in the stadium for three hours, or watching on television for three hours and you are getting 12 minutes of action. Yet, The NFL has convinced people that it’s end-to-end action. It’s the greatest game out there.”

“Baseball is the hardest game to play. Football players don’t play in The Minor Leagues. They go to college and play and they go right to The NFL when they are 21 or 22 Years old. You don’t do that in baseball. Baseball is too hard. And I think it’s the difficulty, the degree of difficulty baseball represents, is part of the reason why you have fewer kids playing baseball now because kids these days don’t want to do hard things. Kids these days want to sit at home with their controller in their hands and that is the extent of their athletic participation and it’s really unfortunate.”

Getting back baseball in Washington. (SBF)

“The core is here, but the one thing that people always want to do is mention The Senators in conjunction with The Nationals. Well, you know what, 33 years passed between the end of one team and the start of another. It was like there was never baseball here to start with. So pointing to The Senators as meaning anything at all now is pointless. Their failure to thrive on the field and at the box office has nothing to do with The Nationals. As I have said before, if you don’t win, people don’t show up. It’s that way throughout the game. One need only look at Baltimore to see a team that use to draw huge crowds, sell out all the time, and now struggle. They didn’t draw 2 Million Fans this season. And why? Because they have been losers for 11 seasons.”

Yet a lot of people will say that is The Washington Effect? (SBF)

“Well, you know what, there was no Washington Effect in 2005. Both teams drew very well and The Orioles Attendance stayed the same from the previous year. So something that was brand new (DC Baseball) and it didn’t have any impact on The Orioles. There was a new stadium in Washington this season, but that did not get people from Baltimore to drive down to see it. The people in Baltimore kind of just threw up their hands and said ‘Let me know when they (The Orioles) start winning.’

Does The MASN Deal help or hurt The Nationals? (SBF)

"I'd say it's been a financial benefit to the Nationals, but still too many people seem to have a problem finding the game when it's on MASN 2. I think the ratings have been terribly skewed because of that. It simply doesn't make sense that you could have 29,000 people in the park and only 9,000 watching on TV."

How about Manny Acta, is he on the hot seat? (SBF)

“I tend to think not. I don’t think anyone blames him for what happened last season. People thought he was a genius when he won 73 Games the previous season with a club most people thought wouldn’t win 50. I don’t think he got stupid in the off-season. He was not playing with 52 cards (A Full Roster). He was forced to do some things he didn’t want to do. But I don’t think he is on the hot seat at all. I will say this: If Jim Bowden would leave the club, a new GM might say he wants his own guy in here. You never say he is going to be here forever and ever, but if Manny were suddenly available, he would have an offer in 24 hours. I think there are clubs who have managers who would bring in Manny over their own guy.”

The New York Media has been saying The Mets, The Mets, The Mets. (SBF)

“Yes, that true. If he were available, I think Manny would have been their choice over Jerry Manuel.”

Finally, last question: I see possibilities and always say things are half full, yet so many others say things are half empty and getting worse with The Nationals. (SBF)

“Its certainly better to have a club than not have a club. If the average fan could talk to the people I talk to on a weekly basis, I think their opinion of this club would be different. It’s very difficult to do what The Rays did--to go from the worst record to The World Series in one season. It could be argued that Tampa Bay is a year ahead of schedule. The Nationals have a plan. Why people believe you need to deviate from that plan and simply throw money at a free agent you might be stuck with is beyond me. It’s not their money, I guess, but it’s not really how the game works anymore.”

With that final answer, My Conversation With Phil Wood about Our Washington Nationals concluded. Yet, we are not done--not by a long shot. Talking about the current state of Major League Baseball in Washington, DC was just half our chat. As I mentioned yesterday, Phil Wood is considered one of the foremost authorities on The History Of Washington Baseball. He grew up in D.C. during the waning years of The Original Senators--before they moved to Minnesota and became The Twins. And he lived and died, as only a young fan could, through all 11 Seasons of The Expansion Senators--now The Texas Rangers. For a good 45 minutes we had a wonderful conversation about Our Beloved Lost Ball Clubs. That Two Parter coming this weekend to The Nats320 Blog.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Conversation With Phil Wood

He's been called Washington's Pre-eminant On-Air Baseball Authority. Some would say Baseball Historian. Phil Wood has dedicated his Professional Career to his love of Baseball, and Major League Baseball in Washington, DC in particular. Yes, Phil grew up in The 1950's a Washington Senators Fan, in Old Griffith Stadium. A DC Native, he followed his beloved Nats through all their trials and tribulations--from The Days of Mickey Vernon and Harmon Killebrew to those last days of Frank Howard and Ted Williams in 1971. He has always maintained his love for Major League Baseball in The Nation's Capital. Now, 50 Years after his love affair with DC Baseball began, Phil Wood still finds himself covering Washington's newest re-entry to Big League Ball--Our Washington Nationals.

As a Columnist for The DC Examiner, Regular Contributor to MASN's Nats Extra and his weekly radio show now heard on WJFK--Baltimore's 1300AM each Saturday, Phil Wood continues to pass on his vast knowledge of The Great Game. Who better than to truly get the off season going on Nats320 than to sit down and chat with Phil Wood. Who doesn't want to talk baseball with this nice man? We had met twice previously, although we didn't really know each other. But we both knew we share a love of Washington Baseball. Recently, I contacted Phil to see if he might have time to discuss not only Our Washington Nationals, but his experiences and joys of the now Long Gone--Washington Senators. Phil Wood readily agreed and we met last Thursday for an extended lunch in Arlington, Virginia.

First up will be a two parter on Our Washington Nationals. The Current State of Our Team and the direction it's heading. I think we covered it all, including The Media Coverage. Then, later a mesmerizing 45 Minute discussion on The Washington Senators. Phil will talk about his experiences at Griffith Stadium, DC & RFK Stadium and his many encounters with some of DC's Greatest and Not So Great Players. He may maintain the greatest collection of Washington DC Baseball Memorabilia in a private collection. It's a great read for anyone that loves The History Of The Game. There is alot to cover, so with that, here we go with Part One of My Conversation With Phil Wood on Our Washington Nationals.


Where does this team stand right now—The Nationals? (SBF)

“The Nationals are like a third or fourth year expansion team. The team that moved here (from Montreal) was a shell of a franchise. That they managed to go 81 and 81 that first year was remarkable. In fact, A MIRACLE! (Both of us chuckling) Because the farm system was plucked clean. They had not drafted well. They had been run on a shoestring in Montreal. So, it was amazing that they went 81-81. MLB still owned the team in the off-season of ’05 & ’06. They still had not awarded the franchise. And the smartest thing they did, obviously, was draft (Ryan) Zimmerman. That got things off to a decent start, but it still was not enough of anything.”

“So, as you look at where they are now, I think you can really only date them to the start of the first full year The Lerner’s owned the team. Again, right now, they are a third year expansion team. There were some growing pains along the way. I think, in general, they have drafted well. Mike Rizzo (Assistant General Manager) was a great hire from Arizona. And I would not look at them like Tampa Bay in 2005. That was a club with some good young players but no one really thought they were that close to a World Series and here we are three years later.”

“I don’t think they are as far along as Tampa was in 2005, but they (The Nationals) got some good players. They have SOME GOOD PLAYERS. Unfortunately, they have invested so much money into First Base and have a couple of guys there that might not be able to play (Nick Johnson & Dmitri Young). I would hope in the off-season, they would go after a first baseman. I wrote in my column in The Examiner a couple of weeks ago, a guy I would take a hard look at would be Nick Swisher. He had a low batting average this season, but still produced a lot of offense. He seems to have, essentially, lost his job with The White Sox. He is signed long-term at reasonable money. He seems to be, based on his website,, seems to be the type of guy who is interested in getting involved within the community, as much as he possibly can get. He’s a switch hitter. He can draw a walk and he’s pretty good defensively. I would look at a guy like him and I would look at a guy like Mike Jacobs in Florida. The Marlins have like 17 Guys that are arbitration eligible and they are still operating on a shoestring. So, a lot of those guys are going to get dealt.”

“But obviously, you’ve got your left side of the infield set for a couple of years with (Cristian) Guzman and Zimmerman. You’ve got (Jesus) Flores who is a future All-Star. I am kind of on the fence about (Emilio) Bonifacio, but every scout I have talked to says he will be a solid everyday player. He, maybe, needs to reign in his enthusiasm on running the bases a little bit. (Laughing) And figure out exactly how far 90 Feet is? But, he’s got some skill. I like (Elijah) Dukes. (Lastings) Milledge is the type of guy, and I wrote of column about this. He reminds me a lot of Mike Devereaux. The old centerfielder from The Orioles. A guy who is very athletic, but his instincts for baseball are not really there. Maybe he might get better; maybe he will grow out of that. And again, I defer to scouts on a lot of this stuff, and most of the scouts I talk to think he will be a 25 Home Run Per Year and 90 RBI Guy. But, probably as a leftfielder, not as a centerfielder.”

“(Austin) Kearns, god, he is like the box of chocolates. You just don’t know what you are going to get. I like him. I think he’s got some skill, but I think his swing as he follows through—he falls toward the left-handed hitters box. To me, there is a balance issue there with his swing. I know that Lenny Harris (Former Hitting Coach) addressed that and for a period of time when he came back off the Disabled List he hit the ball better. Then, he kind of fell back into it again. They’ve hired a new hitting coach (Rick Eckstein) who had some success at (AAA) Columbus. I will give him (Kearns) the benefit of the doubt. He’s owed a lot of money. So there is not much you can do with Austin Kearns at this point in time.”

“I really like John Lannan a lot. I really like Shairon Martis a lot. I like Tim Redding personally, but he’s not your first starter. He’s a fifth starter and in that role he is fine as that fifth starter. He had a good first half and bad second half (in 2008). But I tell you what, no one is more of a gamer than Redding--everybody loves his makeup. Collin Balester is a work in progress. I guess the experience he got in The Big Leagues (in 2008) will serve him well down the road. But, you have to ask yourself, is Balester a future top of the rotation guy or is he Pete Broberg (former Washington Senators hard throwing prospect)? Let’s just wait and see.”

“Some of these kids they have in The Minor Leagues, and I read Scouting Reports from guys who are Professional Scouts. Some of these guys they (The Scouts) really love. (Adrian) Alaniz is one. Look, Washington gambled with that deal they made with Jack McGeary, but Jack McGeary this past year in the Gulf Coast League looked like Cy Young. I think that Jack McGeary is going to be a Mike Mussina Type Pitcher once he gets to The Major Leagues. To me, that was a shrewd move (on the part of The Nationals) by making a creative contract.”

“Also, the Aaron Crow Situation does not bother me one bit. At no point has The Crow Camp ever disputed The Nationals version of events. So for fans to continue to jump on The Nationals for not signing him is not right. I read where a guy in Baseball Prospectus wrote that it was a failed gambit on The Nationals part. Well, it wasn’t a failed gambit on The Nationals part. In the end, they offered him more than any other pitcher would have received as a bonus. And I talked to guys in baseball, guys who played in the game—Jim Palmer, Dave Johnson—guys who can say you know what? —Whatever he wanted that he didn’t think he was getting—he would have made it up on the other end. That was a really shortsighted decision by him (Crow) and his agents.”

“He (Crow) better dominate in that league he’s in. Now the point is, that league only plays 90 Game Schedules. He pitched one inning after he signed with Ft. Worth and next year, before the draft, their season does not start until, I think, late May or early June. He’s probably only going to get one or two starts anyway. His agents protected him by not letting him fail miserably, but if he makes a couple of starts down there and doesn’t pitch well, he will have cost himself some money. At this point in time, I don’t see anybody, unless they have this in the back of their minds. This is something that occurred to me recently. Stephen Strasburg who is the best pitcher in the country, as far as collegian goes, he’s the guy you would give $8 to $9 Million to—up front. He’s the guy. And so if The Nationals draft Strasburg and sign Strasburg for huge money, then Crows Agents can say: ‘Well, we are half that good, we want $4.5 Million or $5 Million.” Again, who knows, but those type of arguments seemed to be used these days in politics on a daily basis.”

“Would I rather have Strasburg than Crow, yeah. Would I like to have them both—absolutely. But to me, Aaron Crow is the type of guy who apparently thinks he can play the system. In the long run, is he going to be better off being drafted by Seattle or San Diego? Who knows, but the point is, The Nationals would have been a much quicker route to The Big Leagues. And if he gets drafted high again next season, I am guessing he will not be offered what he was offered by Washington.”

I was talking to Ryan Zimmerman about this exact issue. He said what Crow failed to realize was that you make your money AFTER you make The Big Leagues. (SBF)

“That right. And that’s what everybody says. You make it (the big money) on the opposite end.”

You sort of touched on this before we got started—the angst of some fans in Washington. Do you think it’s called for? (SBF)

“No, I don’t think it is called for. I think part of it is the rise of popularity of fantasy baseball because all of these guys that play fantasy baseball think they can run a club. They really don’t understand the various shades and nuances of the game that don’t show up in the numbers. Certainly, I understand the value of walks and hits per innings pitched. I understand that and the value of OPS. But there are stats beyond that. Every scout will tell you that a kid’s makeup is as valuable as their skills. That’s one of the reasons I think Ryan Zimmerman is going to be The Face Of This Team from here on out because his makeup is so solid. People who have seen him since High School will tell you he’s the closest thing to (Cal) Ripken, Jr. that's come along since Cal—and smarter. He (Zimmerman) is the perfect guy to have as the face of your club.”

“I look at some of these websites, these fan sites and read: ‘The Lerner’s are cheap!’ Really? They just spent $450 Million, the most expensive stand-alone ball club in history. They did not get a ballpark with that. All they got was the franchise for $450 Million. That doesn’t sound like cheap to me. Have they cut corners? Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. But the bottom line is they drafted smartly, other than Crow they signed all their top draft picks. The idea that they could have spent more money in the free agent market? For Who? Give me an example of who they could have signed that would have come to Washington?”

“Would Mark Teixeira come to Washington? I think he would, but he’s not giving anyone a hometown discount. And if you invest $20 Million Dollars into one guy, what does that do to the rest of your roster? The Nationals Payroll this year was $20 Million Higher than Tampa, for crying out loud. I just don’t get it (the angst). If you want them to sign free agents, give me an example of who they could sign and what role they would play in the future of this team? Would I like to see them sign a guy like Derek Lowe? Yeah, Derek Lowe would look great as the veteran ace of this pitching staff, but I don’t think he would come here. He could end up with The Yankees.”

“Every year Bill James puts out The Top 25 Young Players in The Game and defines it as players under 25 (years of age). Well, Zimmerman is on that list this year. Then he lists the teams in order, one through 30, in terms of teams that have the best young talent. Now, I think, The Nationals rank 23rd and The Orioles rank 24th, but The Yankees rank 29th. The teams at the top are Tampa Bay and Arizona. But when you look at the teams that have, essentially, used the same plan—the same one The Nationals are trying to use now—it works. It works and it requires some degree of patience. Listen, at my age having gone through the entire Senators Experience—I am a patient guy.”

“I remember somebody saying years ago: ‘Losing Builds Character’. Then, I have more character than anybody. A Senators Fan for 50 Years. It’s just remarkable to me, the people who seem to believe that you can solve your problem in baseball by throwing money at players. There was a time when that was true, but that time has passed. It is not like that anymore. Look at The Tigers. $100 Million Payroll and they finished last (in the AL Central). Seattle, $100 Million Payroll and they finished last (in the AL West). It goes beyond being able to pay huge dollars for free agents. If there was a Reggie Jackson out there and you were the right kind of club where you needed one guy to come in and juice up the offense—then you would sign a Reggie or Mark Teixeira.”

“Now there is some rumor The Brewers will trade Prince Fielder. (To The Nationals—SBF). Well, you know what, Prince Fielder can swing the bat, but Prince Fielder is a tub. And that would concern me. Listen, I remember when Prince Fielder would go on the road with his dad, Cecil, when his dad was playing. As a kid, Prince was 4 Feet Tall and 4 Feet Wide. He was an absolute butterball and still is, despite being a little taller now. He is still huge and guys like that are going to have hip problems and knee problems. Look no farther than Dmitri Young for crying out loud. He’s got diabetes. He’s got some back issues.”

“It would be lovely to get a big name to come in here and kind of juice up attendance a little bit, but that guy is not out there this off-season. You could probably trade for some veteran who had some name recognition, but in terms of making a huge difference in terms of wins and losses, not going to happen. When this season began, before anybody was injured, I said based on the players they had, I thought this club would win 75 or 76 games. But once they started dropping like flies--that was obviously not going to happen. I really think they put together a club with a reasonable payroll for who they are. And I completely understand wanting to maintain the payroll in that $45 to $50 million range at this point in their history. In terms of making a big splash this off-season, signing a free agent, I don’t see it, unless you get someone like a Ben Sheets to take a real incentive laden contract with a small guarantee. But he’s going to find some tough sledding out there to get some huge guaranteed money.”

With that answer, Part One of My Conversation With Phil Wood ends. Tomorrow, in Part Two, Phil and I will continue to chat about The Upcoming Off Season, which Players currently in our system are Key to Our Near Future Development, some interesting thoughts about Our Manager Manny Acta and some insight into Media Coverage of Our Washington Nationals, among other topics. All that upcoming in Part Two Of My Conversation With Phil Wood.

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Teddy Marathon Pix

"Teddy" Crossing The Finish Line

Maybe after completing The 33rd Marine Corps Marathon yesterday, "Teddy" can be the first patient for Our Washington Nationals New Team Medical Director. Dr. Wiemi Douoguih would have quite the specimen to work with to begin his new career journey. Either way, "Teddy" was quite the persona Sunday on the race course, and thanks to USCDERRICK and Our Washington Nationals, a few more pictures of Teddy at The Marine Corps Marathon were sent my way late this afternoon.

Now I am digging the RED Socks and Black Running Shoes. Enjoy!!

All Photos--USCDERRICK (All Rights Reserved)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And He Didn't Finish Last

According to The Marine Corps Marathon Official Website, (Search Race Bib #28796) "TEDDY" finished in 17,917th Place in The 33rd Running of The Marine Corps Marathon. 18,261 Runners Finished Today's Historic Race. Out of 11,120 Male Runners, Teddy Finished in 10,940th Place.

Any way you look at it, he did surprisingly well.

And Thanks to Our Good Friend, Janet Wamsley, there are pictures to prove it. "Teddy" running Sunday Morning through Arlington, Virginia and The District of Columbia. I know it's hard to believe, but "Teddy" DIDN'T Finish Last. I am expecting some more pictures from some other friends, I could not attend the event as I am back out on The Presidential Campaign, but when I receive them, I will certainly post them up.

So Officially, "Teddy"-Did-Go-All-The-Way!!

Way To Go "Teddy"!!

Many, Many Thanks To Janet Wamsley for sharing her nice pictures of "Teddy" running The 33rd Marine Corps Marathon. Janet, your effort is very much appreciated by Sohna and I.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Uniforms Unveiling

According to The ESPN Zone in Washington, DC, they will host The Official Unveiling of Our Washington Nationals New Uniforms. Thursday, November 6th at 12PM at their 12th and E Streets NW Location. Washington Players attending to be announced later. In the past, Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes has always hosted.

No Official Word From The Team Though.

Friday, October 24, 2008


We have Internet service problems in our neighborhood right now. Sohna and I are actually surfing the web on DIAL-UP. I can't tell you how ancient it seems. Hopefully, this will be solved by the weekend. We can only hope!! In the meantime our access is a little slow right now.

I was told he will run the entire race--all 26.2 Miles of it.

So, while Our Washington Nationals were announcing their new Coaching Staff for 2009, I found myself at The Capitol Hill Hyatt on New Jersey Avenue, NW trying to coach some sense into "Teddy". You see, as was reported yesterday, Our Lovable Loser is posting up for The 33rd Running of The Marine Corp Marathon this Sunday and "Teddy" was on hand at today's Press Conference to help hype the event.

But as we all have come to learn, understanding the concept of "RACING" has not exactly been "Teddy's" Forte.

Of course that has never waned his popularity. "Teddy" showed up with his Secret Service Protection in tow this morning and immediately set off to the podium and the microphone for the obligatory Photo Op. What A Politician!! They Never Forget What's Important. A few "Bully, Bullies" later, Our Lovable Loser and I got together for a little strategy session. Yes, it was time to find out if "Teddy" Gets It.

First--We Did A Little Stretching
Followed by an in-depth conversation about The Concept Of A Race. How Teddy should run "The People's Marathon" on October 26th. For a while it looked like he understood and was getting into the possibilities.

Unfortunately, once the lessons were complete--it was clear--"Teddy" had no idea what I was talking about.

What a surprise.

That being said--"Teddy" was pumped when he received his Race Number for The Marine Corp Marathon--Number 28796--from "Miles"--The Marine Corp Marathon Mascot.

So, the big question tonight? Will "Teddy" Go-All-The-Way, or will #28796 Fail To Cross The Finish Line after 26.2 Miles this coming Sunday, October 26th for The 33rd Running of The Marine Corp Marathon. I tried to "Coach 'Em Up", but it's hard to say whether "Teddy" will ever get it?

PS--What If He Won?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Teddy Running The Marine Corp Marathon

Our Lovable Loser--"Teddy"--has apparently committed to running The 33rd Annual Marine Corp Marathon this Sunday on the eve of Teddy Roosevelt's 150th Birthday. Now that should be the sight!!! Will "Teddy" use a Segway, a Motorbike, or some other contraption to lap the field? Will The Strict To Form Marines Put Up With His Antics?

It's a Good Idea and the pictures of "Teddy" RUNNING The Marine Corp Marathon should be pretty good.

Here is the Complete Press Release From Our Washington Nationals

WHAT: Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy will participate in the 33rd Annual Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 26 at 8:00am.

On the eve of his 150th birthday, Teddy will compete in the race known as “The People’s Marathon” with the hope of showing everyone that it is not about winning or losing, but it is about finishing the race. Teddy will also appear at the Marine Corps Marathon Press Conference on Friday, October 24 in support of all race participants.

For more information on the Marine Corps Marathon, please visit Media interested in attending Sunday’s race must be credentialed.

WHO: Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy

WHEN/WHERE: Friday, October 24, 2008


Marine Corps Marathon Press Conference

Hyatt Regency Washington

400 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Sunday, October 26, 2008


Marine Corps Marathon Start Line

Route 110 near the Arlington Memorial Bridge Overpass

Arlington, Virginia

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nationals Insider On WFED

Heading home from covering Barack Obama's appearance in Leesburg this afternoon, I received a text message from a friend of mine pondering whether I was listening to Jim Bowden on the radio? Having no idea what he was talking about, I replied where?

Apparently tonight on WFED, 1500 AM beginning at 7PM, Byron Kerr hosted a Special World Series Edition of Nationals Insider. Our General Manager Jim Bowden was on the program for the full hour answering questions. Also, Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes, Assistant General Manager Bob Boone and Reliever Joel Hanrahan joined them for parts of the program for interviews.

Picking up the conversation 15 minutes into the broadcast, I quickly wrote down and paraphrased some of the more interesting comments I heard. If you happened to listen to the first 15 minutes, please chime in with some additional comments. I would love to know what else was said.

Here are some of Jim Bowden's comments:

He said he's recovering fine from his recent cancer scare.

JimBo also said that agreements are in place for most of the 2009 Coaching Staff, but no official announcement will take place until everyone's contracts and deals are completed.

John Lannan and Jordan Zimmermann advanced the most this past season in growing as Professional Pitchers.

If you are trying to win--you can't have untouchables (on your roster)--if you want to win. Anytime you have a chance to add a number one or number two starter via trade--you have to do it (make a trade--even if it means giving up someone special in your system).

On Elijah Dukes--had one of the best RBI's Per At-Bat Stats in the game. Came along way at the plate this past season. Has tremendous potential and is improving off the field as well. A lot of people are rooting for him to succeed.

Are you in the market for a Power Hitting First Baseman or Outfielder? We are looking for a four hole hitter, preferably lefthanded, but we are not going to be picky about position. Talking to Cubs Manager Lou Piniella earlier in the day, Lou mentioned to Jim how Chicago is also looking for a left handed power bat this off season because The Cubs were exposed this off season with their right handed dominated batting order. So getting a power lefty is important, more so than position.

We are open to all types of discussions this winter. We have already started trade discussions. Normally all this comes to a head, ending up at The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. We will be active.

On Joel Hanrahan--Joel did a terrific job this year. He has a 97 MPH Fastball and unhittable slider. He just blew some batters away. When you have that dominating stuff, there is no reason to not develop into an outstanding closer. You are going to see this pitcher get better and better. No one has the raw stuff this guy has. He's going to be good for a long, long time.

On Ryan Zimmerman's Contract Extension--We will work together to get a long term deal with his agents. It’s going to happen. There is no doubt about that from both sides. Zimmerman is here for the long term. We are going to continue to work hard for a long term deal and we will get it done, count on it.

On first base with Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young: Doctors feel NJ will be healthy come spring and will be 100% ready to take the field. Dmitri is on a mission to fight diabetes. You are going to see a ready to play and proud man. One who can play to his potential. Same for Nick Johnson.

Assistant GM Bob Boone on Washington's Players in The Arizona Fall League

Ross Detwiler made some adjustments and has done extremely well. Looks more like the pitcher he was in College at Missouri State. Randy St.Claire has personally worked with him.

Adam Carr and Zech Zinicola have done well in Arizona. Both have also made some adjustments and look to compete for roles next spring in Viera.

Corey Van Allen is pitching in the Futures Game Friday Night.

Bill Rhinehart and Ian Desmond still have futures in Washington.

Leonard Davis was moved to AAA so he would see pitches other than fastballs. And proved he has the ability.

Best Quote Of The Program from Bob Boone: All players usually have basically the same talents and abilities. The Difference: Youngsters have the ability but can’t repeat it on a consistent basis. That’s the difference between talents on The Major League Level and The Minors. When they start to repeat that success then they realize their potential and become quality players.

During his time on the air, Charlie Slowes mentioned that in his home in the Tampa Area for years and years, all of his neighbors parents wore the baseball caps of the teams of their youth--Yankees, Cardinals, Red Sox, etc. And their kids wouldn't support The Rays because they were so terrible. Now--everyone is wearing Rays Caps and tickets are being sold for astronomical prices.

Charlie also mentioned how Tampa Bay completely changed the makeup of their team to reach The World Series. The Rays now based on speed and pitching, less power. Jim Bowden completely agreed with him.

Finally, Joel Hanrahan on being Closer and Washington's Bullpen

Difficult Year for adjustments for many of us. Chad Cordero being lost early hurt the entire staff. Steven Shell, Marco Estrada and I switched from Starters to Relievers. We had to get use to a new situation. As a starter, I was nibbling on the corners. In the bullpen, I just threw out the pitch count and got a little extra mph on my fastball. I like the pressure on me and the adrenaline rush of being out there.

That pretty much sums up the 45 minutes of Nationals Insider which I heard. If you heard more than I paraphrased, please chime in. Interestingly, throughout the entire program, Byron Kerr kept giving a toll free number to call for fans to ask questions. No one called, not a single person while I was listening. Maybe it would have helped if Our Washington Nationals had sent out an Email to ALL SEASON TICKET HOLDERS--to let them know about the program. Even I didn't know about it, if not for a friend letting me know. Since Washington was pitching Season Ticket Sales for 2009, maybe they could have promoted this event a little more.

I made the effort to listen, although finding out at the last second. I am sure many others would have tuned in to the program as well--if they knew about the airing. The Entire Broadcast could also be heard on the 1500AM Website Live. Not sure if this program will be repeated.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Best Wishes Jim

Cancer is not a funny matter. Sohna and I only wish the fullest of recoveries for Our General Manager Jim Bowden.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

2009 Uniform Changes

Over the past few months some rumors have surfaced concerning possible uniform changes for Our Washington Nationals in 2009. Additions and Subtractions were mentioned this past August during Our Conversation With Stan Kasten, although nothing was confirmed. Yesterday, I was able to follow up on this matter and received an update from a Majestic Representative. As you may know, Majestic is The Official Uniform Supplier of Major League Baseball.

There will be Five Separate Uniform Tops for 2009.

Two of which will reportedly remain the same as previous seasons.

The Blue Curly "W" Batting Practice Jersey is back for a third season--along with the BP Curly "W" Batting Practice Cap.

The Home White "Nationals" with Gold Trim and Red Curly "W" Cap is back for a 5th Season.

The Red "DC" Alternate Jersey is Retired, so will it's matching "DC" Red Cap.

In it's place will be a Red Curly "W" Alternate Jersey.

Now the big change, something I did not expect, but my source tells me is true. The Gray "Washington" Away Jersey from Years 2005 to 2008 is Retired.

In it's place will be a Gray "Washington" Script Away Jersey. A capitalized Curly "W" with "ashington" in lower case script. This design is similar to The Washington "Senators" of the Mid to Late 1960's and Early 70's. The script will also contain a swooshing line extending from "N" in the last word of "Washington" and back under the entire City Name. Interesting note--The Gold Trim is reportedly GONE from this particular Script "Washington" Jersey Front. But, no confirmation on whether the Jersey Back Numbers will have Gold Trim.

Here is a picture of an Old Senators Jersey as Reference. That's Former Washington Senator Fred Valentine with his actual Authentic Senators Jersey from his playing days in the late 60's in DC. This picture taken at a 2007 Kids Clinic at RFK Stadium.

Finally, for special occasions, a Blue "DC" Jersey with Patriotic Red/White & Blue Stars & Stripes (all contained within THE "DC" Logo) will also be worn in 2009. What is not clear to me or my contact--is what Cap Washington will wear with this Special "DC" Jersey.

Washington wore those special Patriotic Red/White & Blue Stars & Stripes Caps last season. But I don't think those Curly "W" Caps would go with a "DC" Jersey.

Sorry, I don't have any pictures on the new items, yet.

Hopefully, Our Washington Nationals will have a Fan Get Together to Show Off & Promote The 2009 Uniforms this winter--Just like MLB did when they owned Our Franchise in 2005 & 2006. In November of 2005, Modells at Springfield Mall was the place for Charlie Slowes, Gary Majewski and Jose Guillen to unveil the Red "DC" Alternate Jersey and Blue "DC" Batting Practice Jersey (Now Also Retired). A STANDING ROOM ONLY HUGE TURNOUT--I might remind you--was in attendance. It was a BIG EVENT. The excitement in the crowd was FABULOUS.

Just like the January 2006 Get Together with Charlie, Dave Jageler, Guillen, Ryan Zimmerman, Brian Schneider, Bryan Watson and Tony Beasley at Champps Restaurant in Pentagon City. That seems like EONS Ago. But I remember both of these events fondly. Fans were really, really excited and WANTED TO BE THERE. So did Our Players. And it's worth stating again, Guillen and Schneider were terrific at posting up for Public Team Events, seemingly every single one of them. I miss both them as Washington Players for that alone.

Anyway, if I find out more info on the uniforms and caps, I will pass it along. I did ask about the Blue "Nationals" Away Cool Base Jacket and whether that might change with the Away Uniform. The Majestic Rep did not know of any differences at this time.

Hope that information is helpful.

PS--As I have stated before, I love The Curly "W" Logo, but I also have a heart for The "DC" Logo. When Our Washington Nationals played their Inaugural Season, do you remember the Frenzy over the "DC" Batting Practice Hat? That cap and the "DC" Patch with Washington Nationals surrounding it (both worn in 2005) are still favorites of mine. Personally, I hope Our Washington Nationals DO NOT completely faze out "DC". Those two letters should always be an important part of Our History.

Washington Uniform Drawings at top of post--from Wikipedia
All Other Photos Nats320 (All Rights Reserved)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Coming Back After Nearly Being Pronounced Dead

Was there anyone left at Fenway Park, or throughout most of America watching on television tonight, who had not all but buried The Boston Red Sox while putting The Tampa Bay Rays in The 2008 World Series? The Rays were solidly up 7-0 with just nine outs to go--and couldn't close the door on their very first American League Pennant.

What a comeback by The Red Sox!! What a collapse by The Rays!! As much as I want Tampa Bay to win--you have to give Boston HUGE CREDIT and you also have to worry about The Rays. Carrying such a big lead--late--in a Championship Clinching Game--you just can't lose that lead, and that game, in a such a devastating way.

Boston's dramatic come from behind, bottom of the 9th 8-7 Win is a Momentum Changer--even if both teams must now head back to St. Petersburg for Game Six.

Opportunity was lost by The Tampa Bay Rays and The Nearly Pronounced Dead Boston Red Sox now live to play another day in 2008. Baseball once again showing tonight why it's The Greatest Game. You never know what's going to happen and you should never leave early.

What an amazing final three innings. Incredible Turnaround. One that needs to be savored for its magnitude.

If Boston comes back to take This Series--Baseball Lore was written tonight.

Unbelievable really. A Tremendous Game.

Tonight's InGame Photo (AP) Chris O'Meara

PS--When Boston came back to tie and eventually score the winning runs, the TV Pictures of Fans jumping up and down High Above from The Green Monster Seats and Right Field Roof Pavilion had to make you wonder whether someone was going to fall off in joy. The Celebration was wild and understandably out of control. That sight was even better than The Red Sox Dancing on the field. Good Television because the scene playing out was one of those unexpected thrills. A Moment In Time to Relish. Great Stuff.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Procedural Moves

Our Washington Nationals sent out a press release late this afternoon stating three moves were made affecting the 40 Man Roster. Outfielder Ryan Langerhans and Pitcher Lavale Speigner cleared waivers and were outrighted to AAA Syracuse. But in another to move a player to The Minor Leagues--Washington lost out. Pitcher Charlie Manning was claimed off waivers by The St.Louis Cardinals.

36 Players are currently on Washington's 40 Man Roster.

Here is the complete press release:


The Washington Nationals today announced that outfielder Ryan Langerhans and right-handed pitcher Lavale Speigner cleared waivers and were outrighted to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. The Nationals also announced that left-handed pitcher Charlie Manning was claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made these announcements.

The Nationals now have 36 players on their 40-man roster, not including five players on the 60-Day Disabled List.

Langerhans, 28, batted .234 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 73 games with Washington this season, and hit .310 with three home runs and 31 RBI in 62 games with Triple-A Columbus. Speigner, 28, appeared in seven games with the Nationals, going 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA, and went 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in a combined 35 games (one start) with Columbus and Double-A Harrisburg. Manning, 29, had a 1-3 record with a 5.14 ERA in 57 relief outings with the Nationals, after beginning the season with Columbus where he had six saves and a 1.95 ERA in 19 appearances.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dr. Shaffer--Gone

Looking through emails tonight (still on the campaign beat), Our Washington Nationals sent out a team press release announcing Dr. Benjamin Shaffer, Washington's Medical Director and Team Orthopedist has resigned.

Interestingly, Dr. Shaffer is just beginning his 10th Season with The Washington Capitals as Head Physician.

Not much of a surprise to me, this decision, considering the delays that have taken place over the past few seasons in quickly determining injuries for Our Players. Team President Stan Kasten told Sohna and I in late August that he was concerned about this ongoing issue, as well, and would be asking the same questions this off season.

Obviously, some answers were found and a determination was made by Our Washington Nationals. Curious to see what the next step might be? Washington has already fired their Strength and Conditioning Coach. Have Our Trainers past the muster?

Here is the complete Team Press Release

The Washington Nationals today announced that Dr. Ben Shaffer, Nationals Medical Director and Team Orthopedist,has resigned his position as team doctor.“I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to provide care to the Nationals players and organization the last three years,” said Dr. Shaffer. “From a time standpoint, this responsibility has required an enormous commitment and I have decided to focus my energies on my family, my practice and the other professional teams I work closely with.”Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden responded, “I know I speak for the entire organization in recognizing Dr. Shaffer’s invaluable contributions to our players’welfare and his orthopedic expertise. His departure is a real loss for our organization.”

By the way--sorry for the delay is posts of late--Presidential Campaign Trail, Financial Crisis, World Bank & IMF Joint Meetings and Canadian Election (Canada is choosing their Prime Minister today--October 14th). Honestly, there has just been little free time for us.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Phillies Respond

We received a phone call late this afternoon from The Highest Reaches of The Philadelphia Phillies. Their Front Office was calling to express their concern and horror over Our Incidents at Citizens Bank Park on September 27th. As promised, The African Queen and I had expressed our pointed opinions, in writing, about our treatment from their Fans that NL East Clinching Day for The Phillies, as well as CBP Security and The Philadelphia Police. Point By Point, we spelled out that saturday afternoon in a letter to the team.

The Philadelphia Phillies called in response, first to apologize, but also to state they are taking these incidents seriously. In fact, they were "Horrified" over what happened to us. And their efforts will not stop with that phone call. The Phillies Front Office wanted to let us know that an investigation has been opened and is currently underway. Top Management is directly involved. They will be back in touch with us soon.

Just wanted everyone to know that All Is Not Quiet On The National League Eastern Front.