Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Ins & Outs of 2008/2009

The African Queen and I hope all of you had a safe and Happy New Year. And as has become tradition at Nats320 over the past few years--it's time for the annual Ins & Outs Listings as per Our Washington Nationals. Please feel free to kick in with your own thoughts.

This listings in no particular order. With that, here we go.

In: New Nationals Park (The Most Important Event surrounding Washington Baseball in 2008)
Out: RFK Stadium.

In: A Fair Playing South Capitol Street Park.
Out: The Cavernous and Pitchers Heaven on East Capitol Street.

In: Gorgeous Views of The U.S. Capitol & The Washington Monument from The Gallery Level at Nationals Park.
Out: Yellow seats as far as your eyes would take you to the roof of RFK.

In: Ben's Chili Bowl, Five Guys, Noah's Pretzels, The Stars & Stripes Club Nacho Grande and Helmet Sundaes--among many others.
Out: None of which was available at RFK. And whatever happened to those Curly "W" Cookies?

In: Better line controls and happier concession workers (Keeping those fingers crossed)
Out: Some of those surly and untrained folks working the Nats Dogs Stands, among others, in 2008.

In: Nationals Park needs even more fresh foods and variety (We Hope).
Out: We just can't eat cholesterol soaked food every night.

In: Ballpark foods from Around The Leagues (hopefully)
Out: A 2008 Idea, much anticipated, that faltered badly and didn't happen.

In: The Free Nats Express Shuttle returns for 2009 from RFK.
Out: It was never out, because free parking and a ride to Nationals Park was one of the BEST AMENITIES for The Inaugural Season at Nationals Park.

In: Section 218 in The Stars & Stripes Club--our seats which we love.
Out: All those others that sit around us now texting on their blackberries, talking on the phone or chatting away--without any regard for the game being played in front of them.

In: Nothing like Club Level during a rain delay.
Out: Sitting outside trying to find cover.

In: New Uniforms: Script Gray Away in Red Lettering, Red Alternate Curly "W" and The Well Talked About Patriotic "DC" in blue with matching Wavy Flag "DC" Design.
Out: The Block Letter "Washington" Gray Away (also known to some as the Fuddrucker Style) and The Red "DC" Alternate and Matching Cap. Gonna really miss The Red "DC" Alternate. We really liked them, as well as the 2008 Blue Washington Block Letter Gamer Away Jacket. That thing was SHARP!! Our favorite jacket so far.

In: Anyway we can all just "Let Teddy Win!!
Out: Without him cheating!! Just once? And not winning against The Oriole Bird.

In: Pick 9A in the 2009 Entry Draft in Round One.
Out: Thanks to Aaron Crow, who along with his agents, never were serious about signing with Washington. You can't really start trying to negotiate in the final 30 minutes before a hard deadline. You have to lay some groundwork beforehand. Crow and his agents didn't.

In: Any player that never called Montreal their home.
Out: Just about anyone that played for The Montreal Expos as the team moved from Canada to Washington, DC. Nick Johnson and Shawn Hill the only two now left.

In: Signing Ryan Zimmerman to a long term contract.
Out: Anything else is unacceptable.

In: Washington stepping up to the plate in an attempt to sign Mark Teixeira.
Out: They didn't succeed, but other players and agents no longer look on Our Washington Nationals as a team to avoid.

In: A much better team in 2009.
Out: No way we lose close to 100 games in consecutive seasons.

In: Olsen, Willingham & Cabrera.
Out: Bonifacio, Perez & Redding.

In: Anderson Hernandez at second base (at least for now).
Out: The 2nd Baseman of The Future--Emilio Bonifacio.

In: A contingent of outfielders so large Washington could field an entire starting lineup with them.
Out: They need to work this mess out and decide who is really "The Future."

In: Milton Bradley? Seriously?
Out: Like why would he be a future for Our Franchise? Another bad attitude coming off a good season--after some fairly mediocre ones. If JimBo pulls the trigger on this deal, it better not be long term.

In: Nick Johnson back at first base, maybe Dmitri Young too (at least for now).
Out: Mark Teixeira--at least for a while, the suspense of whether he would sign with Washington was pretty good. Come on--you know deep down you wanted to see it, even if you realistically didn't believe it would happen.

In: Joel Hanrahan as Closer.
Out: "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game".

In: Willie Harris as A Fan Favorite--along with The "Z" Man.
Out: Chad Cordero--and not all of his own doing.

In: Farm System Youngsters part of our near future--Lannan, Balester, Martis, Zimmermann, Detwiler, maybe Bernadina.
Out: Casto, Maxwell, and Estrada.

Back In: "The Guz", "The Ballplayer" (TAQ's Lucky Number 10), "Bluegrass" & "The Attorney General".
Out: "The Wookie", "The Captain", "The Chief Cardiologist" & "FLop"

In: As coaches: Riggleman, Listach, Grissom, Eckstein & Knorr.
Out: Corrales, Tolman, Morales, Lenny Harris & Aponte.

In: A New Team Doctor--Dr. Wiemi Douoguih.
Out: Dr. Benjamin Shaffer.

In: Hopefully not a revolving door on the Disabled List again for 2009.
Out: The entire Opening Day lineup going down for some portion of 2008.

In: Plenty of Parking--you just have to pay for it.
Out: Metro is the ONLY WAY TO GO!!

In: More weekday, non-holiday day games for 2009.
Out: Just one and that was due to a rainout in 2008. Nothing like the feeling you are getting away with something--watching a baseball game while everyone else is at work.

In: A better product on the field in 2009.
Out: At times, Washington's 2008 starting lineups where pretty rough--thanks to constant injuries.

In: Even better starting pitching-we really need that.
Out: Because The Bullpen faltered badly in 2008. Losing "The Chief" was not the sole reason--but it was a big one. The relievers barely got on track all season.

Back In: Shawn Hill, and maybe for the last time.
Out: If he could ever get past his injuries, he would be a superior talent.

In: More Michael Hickley
Out: Another return of Ray King as The Situational Lefty.

In: A New President to Throw out the First Pitch.
Out: The new guy probably won't get booed as much as the last one--if at all.

In: Can we have some more Stadium Giveaways?
Out: Not just another tee-shirt.

In: HDTV Scoreboard, Monitors throughout the stadium, open views.
Out: None of which was at the Old Ballyard.

In: New Statues of Walter Johnson, Frank Howard and Josh Gibson coming in 2009.
Out: It's never out when you respect The History of Professional Baseball in Washington, DC.

In: Charlie & Dave.
Out: If anyone EVER pushes them out the door, Our Washington Nationals would never be the same. One of the best Radio Broadcasting Teams In The Business. We are very fortunate.

Thoughts of your own?

Happy New Year!!


Anonymous said...

How about IN: marketing by Metro that's positive about going to the ball game
OUT: season-long scare tactics and lies that make people think getting to the park is a hassle

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

In: text of PA announcements over bullpens
Out: announcements that sound like the platform announcements in Metro

In: Gifford’s Ice Cream
Out: Pepsi products

In: coffee on the 300/400 level
Out: reading the sign that says there’s a coffee cart outside 317/318

In: when the ball’s in play, stay out of the way
Out: taking pictures (and ignoring calls to sit down) when the game could change with one swing of the bat

In: season tickets that arrive, say, a week ahead of time
Out: wondering if tickets will arrive before the season begins

In: Got to Get Your Into My Life for relief pitching changes (I thought about Send in the Clowns, but with our 102 loss season “Don’t bother, they’re here”)
Out: Sweet Caroline -- the Red Sox are visiting this summer, enough said.

In: HDTV scoreboard
Out: ribbon scoreboards without balls/strikes and outs (Honorable mention to hospital ads when we can’t field a healthy team)

In: real President’s Races
Out: wondering if someone’s paying Teddy to lose so there’s something at Nats Park with a record that’s worse than the team

In: baseball related info as the last question in “What Year Was It?”
Out: Can’t be out at home with baseball history

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

In: DC Native Song 'Bustin Loose' during The 7th Inning Stretch (My Wish).
Out: Don't ever want to hear the "Rocky" Theme Song at Nationals Park--especially when The Phillies are in town.

Jeremy said...

In: Development finally continues on the vacant craters surrounding the stadium where heavily-anticipated projects to enhance the stadium-going experience had been started.

Out: Getting off Metro 30 minutes before the game, walking directly to Metro after the game.

Anonymous said...

In: More DC-centric music (Fugees, Chuck Brown, etc) in breaks.
Out: "Sweet Caroline" - I mean completely, never again, just stop it.

In: A greater focus on baseball-first, beginning with better on-field product.
Out: Clint, and some of the circus that falls under "total fan expierence".

An Briosca Mor said...

How about:

OUT: Clint. Please, make it so.
OUT: Sweet Caroline. It's a Red Sox thing. We can come up with our own stuff.

IN: Have a Home Run Derby to see if anyone can hit one into the big hole beyond the Centerfield Gate. Use a juiced ball and corked bats. What the hell, that hole's gonna be there for quite a while, so why not take lemons and make lemonade with it?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

IN: Baseball trivia on MASN that focuses on baseball that actually happened in Washington, D.C. rather than Montréal.

OUT: The canard that the only history this franchise that counts happened since 1969, and the only franchises allowed to reference what happened here from 1901-1960 and 1961-1971 are the ones that could not care less.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

IN: President Obama throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park---if not on April 13th, then later during the year.

OUT: Booing politicians just because they belong to the opposing party. Guys, some of the most die-hard Nationals fans are Republicans.

An Briosca Mor said...

I didn't boo Dick Cheney because he belongs to the opposing party. I booed him because he's evil incarnate. When W threw out the first pitch, I just sat on my hands.

IIRC, the only other person I've booed at either RFK or Nationals Park just on account of who he is was Barry Bonds. He's also evil incarnate.

Keith said...

IN: Politicians who take practice pitches. Even though I believe GWB went a long way towards destroying the country I love, I stood (quietly) as he threw out the first pitch in '08. GWB is a baseball fan, we were in a ballpark, and he stood on the mound and put it reasonably close to the plate.

OUT: Any politician who sees the first pitch as anything other than an honor and a privilege. I boo'ed Cheney because Cheney threw from 20 feet in front of the mound and still couldn't find the plate, not because he made America into a country that tortures people.

Anonymous said...

In: Nats fans provide appropriate cheers and team support
Out: Clint - please, get rid of him! (I am sure the he is a nice guy - use him in sales or something)
More Out: The Wave! Make is stop.

Anonymous said...

In: ice cream in tiny batting helmets (especially Nats ones!)

Out: ice cream in other containers

Kenny G said...

nobody mentioned the "nuts about the nats" theme song in the out section. add that and the game experience is that much better.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

To be honest, I booed Chaney, but it was because I thought that Bush was snubbing RFK and Nats fans. Considering that he showed up on Opening Night last year when he KNEW he would get booed, I owe Bush an apology.

Why do I have the sinking feeling President Obama will throw out the first pitch at Orioles Park next year?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

IN: Two additional flagpoles to the center-field side of the Red Loft which show the standings in the National League Central and National League West races.

OUT: The Washington flag flying all by itself at the very bottom. would it be asking too much to get the Nats to finish in at least fourth place again?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

One more thing. The Nats should keep in mind that there are a lot of people in this area who want to see this franchise destroyed. Some because they dislike the stadium deal. Some because they are self-loathing Orioles fans---the kind who insists Washington doesn't have "real baseball fans" and doesn't realize that they are insulting themselves. These people ALWAYS take the most negative spin on the Nationals, no matter what happens. Because of them, you hear people say the Nats couldn't sign Adam Dunn because they were "too cheap" rather than Adam Dunn made preposterous demands.

If the Nats were to stun baseball and win 50 of its first sixty games, these naysayers would be whining:

"Who cares that this team in my backyard is great! Washington's home team, the Orioles are still lousy! WAAAUUUGGGHHHH!!!!"

"Who cares about baseball? The ONLY sport Washington should root for is football! Go Redskins/D.C. United!"

Keeping that in mind, here's another hope I have for 2009:

OUT: Self-inflicted and avoidable PR disasters.

cheesemonkey421 said...

OUT: INJURIES!!!! Or, if they must continue, let the Nationals have good minor-leaguers that play like major-leaguers. You know. Like the Caps. They are by far the best team in Washington D.C. (currently 2nd in the East, 4th in the NHL), and they have had a ton of injuries, but their minor league call-ups have been very, very good.

OUT: Saying "O" in the national anthem. This is so retarded, and you all know the two reasons why. (If you don't: That is for Orioles fans and/or for people disrespecting the Anthem.)

IN: Full Time Line Score. If I'm keeping score, I want to be able to check on some numbers and see the scoreboard still intact between innings.

IN (definite): Better Pricing. Those outfield seats give a great view and are near good food. I've stopped and watched the game from behind the (empty) scoreboard pavilion seats when getting food, and they are great. However, lack of a scoreboard should lower the prices. And the prices are being lowered for the outfield seats.

Awesome: The extra Metro trains.

OUT: Excessively high visiting:home fan ratio. There are way too many Braves fans doing the tomahawk chop.

IN: Stuff around Nationals Park. When walking from Metro to the stadium, I don't want to feel like I'm walking through a dump and trying to find an oasis int the form of a stadium. I want to feel like I do when taking the longer walk from Metro Center to Verizon Center (for Capitals games) through that nice-looking area of D.C.

IN: The Nationals working to their full potential. They were by far the most underrated team last year because they were hurt. If they play like they can, they are at least an okay team.

IN, please: More TV coverage. I don't pay for any TV, so I just get the weekly game (Friday night). Apparently, even if I had a ratings box thingy, I wouldn't have counted in that survey where they estimated like 8,000 people watched the games on TV. Those results were wrong. They got a bad sample audience.

IN: absolutely no attempts at a name for the ballpark. Apparently, they were very close to selling the rights, but had to put it off until after the 08 season. I really don't mind Nationals Park, it's fine, but who knows what else could be said but not followed up on? ("A Modest Proposal," anyone? ==> I wonder who got that.)

OUT: Overpriced seats behind home plate. This will kick out the non-fan wimps who want to sit inside their presidents club and bring in the very rich, but still real fans. This means that empty seats visible on TV are OUT.

IN: Something for the space over the Red Loft. Part of could be part of what I want...

...IN: A great HR sequence. You know when the players take the field, there is that siren and it shows those rotating emergency style lights on the ribbon scoreboard? We could have some of those (a bit bigger) around the top of the red loft. When a Nationals player hits a homer, they light up and spin, as the siren goes off. Heck, we could add a horn in, like the Capitals goal horn. Fireworks can still go off. It would add to the excitement.

Still IN: Potential (key word) for people to be real fans while occupying suites. They put two rows of seats outside, so the only excuse for being inside is you are watching from behind the counter.

OUT: The sight of something other than the game on the TVs in the suites.

IN: All the stuff at the Center Field plaza (games and such) to have the games CLOSED during the game (at least from Middle to End). Every so often I am going to get snacks and sometimes (hurrying) I pass by that area. There are way too many kids passing up the chance to learn about/enjoy baseball. This means EMPTY SEATS.

IN: All that Center Field game stuff OPEN after the games. It would really ease exit crowds.

IN: Go down to your seat between AT-BATS, not pitches or during plays. And if it isn't between innings, make it quick.

Out: The Kiss-Cam. The Kiss-Cam seems to come and go, but when it is there it tends to find couples that don't feel the need to be on camera, or, at least as often, people who aren't an item but are siblings, cousins, etc. Sometimes I'm afraid it'll pick up me and my sister. I have no clue what I'd do. I don't have a sign to say NO YOU IDIOT, and I can't flick off the camera (well, I could, but I'd get kicked out of the stadium).

IN: Noise from sober fans. Maybe someone needs to emulate Sam Wolk and bring a horn (and strong lungs/lips) and blow three times, followed by LETS GO NATS! Or someone like Goat who can yell really loudly, but in a sober and supportive way, not a drunk way. We need a guy to "Break the ice" and go LETS GO NATS! [Echo: LETS GO NATS!] And Voila, a chant is born. (Alternative: N-A-T-S! NATS NATS NATS!)
Basically, I want positive noise for the Nats, not just some murmurs and random drunk guys screaming random stuff.

If you have no clue who I'm talking about check out these four links:

Horn Guy:


Now, I know I used several things from the Washington Capitals (and the goal horn from the sport of hockey), but they are definitely the most successful team in D.C., and the Nationals need help. And really, a Capitals game is the most exciting in D.C. right now (Look at their overall and home records, go to a game, and then you'll see what I mean).

I want Nationals Park to be the Place To Be this spring and summer.

Go Nationals!

natgnat said...

AMEN to Charlie and Dave. I'm one of those that has one ear listening to them even at the games we get to see live. They are FUNNY, ENTERTAINING, INFORMATIVE. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep these guys. If they go, will I still listen? "No, no I won't".

cheesemonkey421 said...

IN until they retire: Charlie and Dave. I can't get to nearly as many games as I want, and they make it fun and exciting to listen.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Anon at 4:51PM: Section 320 and this blog was born thanks to very fact we had the best cheering section at RFK Stadium. A very loud and well known cheering section right behind The Nationals Dugout. Every single night, we respectfully cheered loudly for Our Washington Nationals. Section 320 was the place on East Capitol Street. It's where "Let Teddy Win!!" Began. The players loved our chants--so did the family members. That changed when New Nationals Park came online. Price points and other wishes spread everybody out. Hopefully, we can somehow recapture that fire back in the near future. The passion from Section 320 at RFK in Section 218 at Nationals Park.