Our alternate universe of a Washington Nationals “Opening Day” is the Wild Card game on MASN!

Open Day graphic by Steve Mears

We were all supposed to be awake now and preparing all of our senses for the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and touches for Opening Day baseball in Washington, D.C. There is nothing like it as you approach the park in anticipation with all the pomp and circumstance for this special day as the smell of popcorn and half-smokes grilling waft through the air while fans are clamoring as they are lined up at the turnstiles to enter into our baseball paradise.  The weather report today is glorious for Nationals Park at 60°F and mostly sunny with a slight breeze and is the type of weather you hope for on an early Spring game.  This was the original Washington Nationals invitation to their fans for what was supposed to be a special Opening Day:

“Opening Day is Thursday, April 2! We will unveil our 2019 World Champions banner as part of the pregame ceremonies prior to our 1:05pm game against the New York Mets. Join us as we begin the quest to defend our title!”

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Win the World Series; Open the Season at Home

Max Scherzer warms in the bullpen as the World Series flag blows in the wind; Photo by Steve Mears for TalkNats

Seems like a no-brainer, right? A team that wins the World Series should get to open the next season in their home ballpark, not on the road.

Well, if the season had gone as planned, the World Series Champion Washington Nationals (really enjoyed typing that) would have opened on the road against the Mets. And then a week later, had their home opener against the Mets (more on that later).

MLB has to change the schedule because of the Corona Virus, so the folks responsible for the schedule should make sure that the Nationals open the season at home.

And in future years the winner of the World Series should be guaranteed that they open the season at home. That is not hard to do. Continue reading

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Zim walks-off the opening of Nationals Park a dozen years ago today!

Mr. Walk-off has provided many game-enders in style!

The Washington Nationals closed up RFK Stadium with some hope. First year manager Manny Acta seemed to over-achieve with that 2007 team that lost 89 games, and that was considered progress as the team was looking to increase payroll going into the opening of the $600+ million Nationals Park for the 2008 season. The stadium opened a dozen years ago today to mixed reviews on the architecture and ambience. It was a design done by MLB and signed off by the DC government that was footing the bulk of the bill which meant it was going to be done with corners cut. The Lerner family purchased the team in 2006 from MLB on May 3rd of 2006, and the groundbreaking for Nationals Park was set for the next day. With the Lerner’s expertise in construction, they would have liked to have been more involved in the design, but as they say it was before their time. Over the years, Nats Park feels like home with the postseason banners, signage, and the Ring of Honor. The Navy Yard district is built up with restaurants, bars, and hotels and is now a destination spot anchored by the World Series champs! Continue reading

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Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste – Lets Change The Rules

Rahm Emanuel was famously quoted as saying:

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

The quote is all I’ll say on politics or politicians. Lets talk about what changes you would make in the MLB rules (and more, like the schedule) if you could. But first some background.

When Ghost started this site he enlisted a few folks (like me) to get involved. Given my background in technology and analytics I focused on those two areas. At the same time a colleague and I were considering writing a book on a particular feature of SAS Software (widely used for both data management and analytics). We needed data, and lots of it, to use as the sample data for the book. I convinced my co-author that the MLB Game Day data would be exactly what we needed. Not being a baseball fan, he was initially skeptical, but after I showed him how much data there was (and how complicated it was), he bought in. Continue reading

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The #Nats cut 6 players today! Difo still standing!

It is Michael A. Taylor‘s birthday today; Photo by Craig Nedrow

At a time you would expect the butterflies to be swirling in the mid-section of players as they approached the pre-game of Opening Day which has been postponed most likely for at least two months due to COVID-19, the Washington Nationals made cuts instead. In total, six players have been sent to Minor League camp while still on the 40-man roster and getting paid as they were before this move. Given all of the horror and disruption in our lives due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the proper perspective these “cuts” are nothing earth-shattering and at some point these cuts were expected and were going to be made. Although these moves were widely anticipated,  it is really about the unusual timing that is a bit odd. Maybe it was done so fewer players were kept hanging during this long break. There are now thirty-six players in camp with ten more cuts to go to pare this roster down to the requisite twenty-six for the real Opening Day. Notables remaining in camp are 19-year-old prospect Luis Garcia, and top prospect Carter Kieboom as well as NRI veteran utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and of course Wilmer Difo who is on a non-guaranteed $1 million deal.  Continue reading

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Opening Day is finally here delayed until further notice!

Opening Day graphic by Steve Mears

Today was supposed to be that day you leave work or school early to attend Opening Day in the annual ritual. Due to COVID-19, our collective yearning for Opening Day will be delayed for a month(s) or more. We all know that absence makes the heart grow fonder. As we wait for baseball’s real schedule to begin, we will spend our time on staying safe and healthy. The priorities of making it to the start of baseball in good health is what should count.  Continue reading

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Today was supposed to be an exhibition game at Nationals Park!

An empty stadium this week. Homeplate gate at Nationals Park; Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

The MLB baseball schedule halted at 4 pm EDT on March 12th in what could only be described as an unnatural disaster with the Coronavirus becoming a global pandemic. There has been no baseball since, and the future of the 2020 season is a complete unknown at this point. These are the unthinkable catastrophes much like 9-11-2001 was when baseball was halted. The best laid plans are no match for a terrorist attack or a killer virus. Today was supposed to be a Washington Nationals home exhibition game scheduled for 4:05 p.m. against the “Nationals Futures.” In two days was the scheduled Opening Day festivities and game on March 26 in New York City against the Mets at Citi Field. Next week was described as “Championship Week” with the home opener in Nationals Park and the World Series banner unfurled. The players were going to be receiving their World Series rings in a ceremony and there were other championship events scheduled. Continue reading

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This book is titled Buzz Saw by Jesse Dougherty; A story of the power of positivity and of believing in yourself!

While Steve Mears’ advanced copy was read pool side, Erika C. provides the review!

In case you haven’t heard, the Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series, and they managed to do so against almost every odds in the books. After an abysmal start, the ball club was staring at a 19-31 record on May 23, with just a 1.5% chance of winning the World Series, and there were calls for second year manager Dave Martinez to be fired — immediately! The team faced a choice — they could either fold and go home, or stay in the fight and chase a championship. Over the next four months, the team rallied together and found a way to defy the odds on their way to a World Series title. Continue reading

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Major League Baseball is opening up their video library to all with key games on YouTube and the MLB app!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

Every 2018 and 2019 MLB game is now unlocked on the MLB.TV channel and their MLB app! Free to all for a limited time of course. You can watch all 105 wins from the Nats magical 2019 World Series run from Trea Turner‘s walk-off to Howie Kendrick‘s World Series clanker off of the Minute Maid Stadium foul pole. On YouTube, they have gone back a little further to 2014 through 2017 for some of the most memorable individual performances in Nats history including the three no-hitters and Max Scherzer‘s 20 K game. Interestingly, Wilson Ramos caught all four of those historic games.  Continue reading

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The line of destiny started with one Juan Soto at-bat and a lesson learned by Anthony Rendon!

Different directions for these players; Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

One of life’s lessons is learning from your past. Baseball calls that the learning curve part of the process. Last year, were you paying attention on August 17th to what happened? You might be thinking of the Sean Doolittle blown save where he could not protect a 3-run lead and exited with a deficit of one run at 12-11 in an eventual extra innings loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. Juan Soto might have changed the divine line of destiny for his entire team, but if Anthony Rendon did not learn from a previous decision to chase high fastballs, Soto probably never gets his chance. Continue reading

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