A State Of The Blog Whatever

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Alright. The time has come. I am going to bare my ass to you all, my faithful ternion. For the past five years you have stuck with me, read my dribble and at least in my mind propelled this blog to the level of toilet porn which is farther than I ever thought it would ever reach.

You have probably noticed an extreme drop off of content on this blog over the past six or seven months. No, your old pal DangerNat hasn’t lost interest in the team or sport and no this isn’t some blog signing off post. It is just awhile back life sort of caught up with me. I was tired, put down, laid on, laid off and got myself into a rut. My wife started frequenting seedy bars and underground Chip and Dale joints while my kids started calling me by my first name and became Chipper Jones fans. Actually I am kidding about those last two parts, but my family life was suffering a bit I admit so perhaps you can understand that writing about rich athletes facial hair, bitchings and strangeness wasn’t really on the top of my list.

Deep depression set in. I was taking special Pez candies prescribed by my doctor and seeing strange, balding figures who where suffering their own midlife crisis and buying Mini-Coopers while trying to help me. It is like I became the poster love child to Zack Greinke and Ladycakes. Needless to say, I needed to get my shit together and thankfully I have or at least I am on the path to.

So I have taken the steps to begin a quest to become a mortician. That quest starts this coming Saturday (July 13th) as I start a position as a funeral assistant. Please, wish me luck.

That being said, I will be unable to do a whole bunch on the blog so sadly, there will not be an uptick in content, but there WILL be content. Just more spaced out and a little more selective. Don’t worry, if you like crap, there will still be crap too, but just selective crap. I have been working with my apprentice, Dr. W, who has been learning the ropes and growing by leaps and bounds. I am hoping (praying) he will continue to be interested in this sort of “all guts, no glory” type of blogging and help keep this blog alive by putting out more content. I haven’t given him a key to the apartment yet, but he is getting close.

I just thought you’d like to know. I sort of owe it to you. I also owe it to my staff and the blog itself which has been like a neglected baby the past few months and I’ve felt bad about it. I haven’t changed its diapers or anything.

So now you are all caught up.

And I am not kidding about the mortician part.

Bringing The Nats To The Nat-less

I just wanted to let you know the Nationals Inquisition will be on vacation for a couple weeks.

I’ve locked up all my staff in their cages, grabbed a couple Hunter S. Thompson novels, a case of PBR and my Nats cap and have struck out for Colorado. I’ve never been that far out West in barbaric and Nat-less America and the urge for adventure has grown just too great to ignore.

It all seems ill-timed considering the team is doing incredible things and are on the verge of winning a place in the playoffs and maybe even the whole damn division enchilada. Part of me feels like I should be putting more time into the blog, but I’ve had some life experiences these past few months that tell me I’ve got to do something like this.

Not completely sure when I’ll jump back on the blog. Probably around Sept. 11th-ish I am hoping. I don’t plan on taking a computer with me. I’d like to be completely off the grid, but may be a little active on Twitter or get a rare post in if I can find a computer and Internet signal. Until the NQ’s full return there are plenty of other Nats blogs to wet your whistle and keep you posted. Most of those are located on our right side bar.

So godspeed, Nats fans. I will bring the faith to the unfaithful while I am out West and will be keeping tabs on the Army of the Potomac and their movements. Natitude, my friends. Go hard.

Amen.

Jack Daniels Wants To Sue Us– But At Least They Like Baseball Too

I am a simple blogger with simple pleasures. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me happy. My obsessions include things like Nats baseball, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Liverpool and the Deadliest Catch. Also among my obsessions is Jack Daniels whiskey. I love Jack Daniels, love it. Even if they don’t love me or this blog–

I got a letter from the Jack Daniels company via UPS this week asking me to discontinue the Bryce Harper Black Label T-shirts. They printed the letter on some really nifty Jack Daniels paper stock and were most polite in explaining to me that if I don’t take them off the site they will sue my dumbass. In fact, a lot more polite than I ever thought when encountering this sort of thing. From Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc.:

…We are thrilled that you like our product– we are baseball fans as well. However, as I’m certain you can appreciate, under trademark laws…

I like how they try to butter me up using baseball as a connection point as if they aren’t some mighty giant with sledgehammer in hand staring down at me.

…To help us resolve this matter, we simply request that once the current inventory of shirts are used up or sold, use of this particular design will be discontinued. By doing so you will help us ensure that the brand will mean as much to future generations as it does today…

I’m flattered that they think this little Nats blog will completely erase the value of the Jack Daniels label. Really, the power I hold in my keyboard– or the power they want me to think I have before they squash me into oblivion.

I would like nothing better to take on a whiskey giant and have strange men in ten gallon hats and Rollie Fingers mustaches throwing bricks through my windows late at night buuuuut I have too much respect for this particular brand of Americana so I have indeed taken the Bryce Harper Black Label shirts off the site and have had them completely discontinued as they have asked.

I’ve got a few other shirt designs flying around in my mind and in time I will get to them, but I will not be doing a similar shirt in the future. So for all of you who were fortunate to purchase one of the shirts (and there were a bunch of you) thank you for the support and congratulations, you now have a collector’s item. For those of you who missed out– I don’t know what was wrong with you because these shirts were pretty damn cool and of good quality.

R.I.P Bryce Harper Black Label T-Shirts 2012-2012.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Alright, I figure you are all honest with me, so I will be honest with you–

You might have noticed a lack of updates recently on the blog and that the hedges need to be trimmed and the cobwebs wiped off. My apologies to the six or seven people who actually read this blog daily. I don’t mean to leave you out in the cold. But, your old pal DangerNat has been going through some things since coming back from Viera and it has been hard to get on the blog lately. Spending time with family, new job, getting ready for several events coming up, being kind of tired of baseball…

Yeah. You heard right. Being tired of baseball. Already. It is odd. Usually Spring Training is the time I am going hot and I can’t get rid of the baseball bug, but for some reason I came back from Viera sort of dreading the huge marathon that is coming up. Literally, the season preview issue of Sports Illustrated is on my desk, untouched and sitting there looking like a black mamba. I have files piling up at headquarters on Nats stuff, but every time I reach out to grab one I feel like I am being Force choked by Darth Vader. My loyal staff of apes and degenerates continue to work tirelessly like worker bees who know that sooner or later a heavy wind is going to blow the hive right off the branch.

Let me tell you a blogging secret. Most bloggers will admit this is the truth if you corner them with pitchfork and torch: all blogger’s look forward to the day we can go back to being “just fans.” We look forward to the days of not bringing cameras, notepads, gadgets and gizmos to the Park and not having to be as observant as a hawk about everything around us in case a story breaks or something happens. I admit, we admit, it is tiring at times and sort of takes some of the fun out of the game.

But for whatever reasons be it some of us want to break into journalism, some of us want to make a name for ourselves, some of us thought this blogging thing might be fun or we just wanted to drink and blog– we blog. We blog for you, we blog for us, we blog for our team.

I’ve been questioning my reasons lately and I’ve been taking a look at the blog to see if it has stayed true to itself from its original origins nearly over five years ago. To be honest, it sort of strayed. I started this blog as a reason to grab some brew and just talk baseball like a fan. Overtime it sort of turned into a whole new beast where I felt if it didn’t have fresh daily content, I felt I’d let my avid seven readers down and that began to hang on me to the point maybe this just wasn’t as fun anymore.

Let me just say, this isn’t meant to be a sob piece (too late) and this posting is meant more for me than for you really. The Nationals Inquisition isn’t going anywhere. I’m not giving up the blog and retiring it. Maybe one day, but not now. No, I am going to keep plugging along at my own pace and see if I can rediscover the blundering magic that made me want to do this in the first place. I want to take back control of the beast. I want to un-Beast Mode it.

So I appreciate you tolerating my drama, I appreciate you hanging around and I appreciate your patience as I work through some things. I’m going to start pumping out the material again and making this blog feel loved, but I’m going to do it on my own terms.

I’m going to have fun again– even if I have to dress in a bacon suit and shoot fireworks off while I blog to do it.

Strasburg Tries To Blow It By, Guy Who Got Shot Twice In Face Saves NQ

I confess: I’ve been depressed.

It has been hard getting back onto the blogging horse after our short stint in Viera. After being in the thick of it and then having to come back and rely on Youtube videos and second hand accounts, it sort of crushes a man’s soul and makes him question why he deals with all this sh*t to begin with. Seriously, it got so bad I actually sat down and was entertained by Beverly Hills Cop III for awhile. Beverly Hills Cop III– horrible.

Fortunately I was saved by Mike last night at Durty Nelly’s bar. Mike is a retired ex-cop who was shot eight times in the line of duty (including twice in the face) who said something last night that just touched my soul and put everything in perspective. He said: “My dick was harder than Japanese arithmetic.”

And so here we are…

Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals squared off against the Atlanta Braves last night in a Spring Training game under the lights and though the result didn’t end in their favor (Nats lost 6-5 in a hard battle), perhaps the most important lesson learned was by Strasburg who found something just as hard as Japanese arithmetic: getting over his own cockiness and pride.

The Burg gave up two home runs last night, the first in the first inning against Dan Uggla which put the Nats in a 2-0 hole. Uggla is comparable to a neanderthal so it was a bit shocking to see him get the best of Strasburg who is usually a lot smarter than to just plug a fastball down the middle to a fastball hitter, but that is what Strasburg did and later he admitted he was foolish because all he wanted to do was “blow it right by him.” In fact, he down right admits he was just throwing the ball rather than pitching. Nationals Journal:

“My arm feels great, so I’m almost over-throwing because it feels so good,” Strasburg said. “That’s one thing that I have to take a step back and remember what I learned from last year. You have to go out there and pitch. You can’t just throw it by guys.”

I’ve already had a few people ask me if I am “concerned” with the runs Strasburg has been giving up this Spring Training. Absolutely not. It is Spring Freaking Training. Strasburg and the team seem to know what is up and I can’t think of a better place to get those butterflies and jitters ironed out. Stras just has to become one with the mound again and check that cockiness at the door. The scorching Florida sun should make him more than humble to his craft by the time Opening Day hits. Absolutely no worries. This guy is still the stud we know him to be and is still as good as advertised.

There, that first blog post back wasn’t so hard. Thanks, Mike!

–In Brief Relief

–Bryce Harper Goes GQ – Nationals top offensive prospect Bryce Harper will be in the April issue of GQ Magazine and he has some incredibly choice beef quotes and photos. It should make the Nationals totally elated. He went from Twitter to GQ magazine. The kid certainly knows how to leap to larger platforms.

–Black Label Shirts On Hold – The NQ released several new items in our online store including a Black Label Bryce Harper shirt. The shirt actually was just starting to sell like hotcakes, but then Cafepress pulled it because of some problems they had with it. Everyone who ordered one should still get it, but any new orders will be pending or put on hold until we can can work out this mess. I should be on the phone with the company today or tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.

– Special Thanks – To all those who made our brief, but wonderful stay in Viera, well, wonderful. Thanks to Viera, Cocoa Beach and Indiatlantic for being generous hosts. Great thanks to Rich The Mets Fan and Susie for putting us up. Thanks to OddNat, Wiz, Barbara from Bunky’s, Space Coast Stadium and staff, Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals, Florida, America, Earth and anyone else I might have missed that had anything to do with our great time. Thank you, thank you.

King Gorzo Rears His Ugly Head Again

It is snowing. I can’t believe it is snowing. We are nearly 24 hours away from departing to Florida and Nationals Spring Training and it is snowing. It seems odd packing shorts, flowered shirts and rum into the bags as Old Man Winter takes a complete dump on us.

The Nationals played the first two Spring Training games of their 2012 campaign, both against the Houston Astros and both didn’t really end up like anyone expected. Houston beat the Nats on Saturday in Kissimmee 3-1. Bryce Harper recorded his first hit of the Spring against former Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez. Then Stephen Strasburg took the mound on Sunday and the Nats got a Spring spanking 10-2. Much of that comes thanks in part to reliever Tom Gorzelanny who took over for Strasburg in the third-inning and proceeded to give up seven runs in one inning, including giving up two three-run home runs.

Manager Davey “Peanut Butter Mouth” Johnson acted cute and took responsibility for Gorzo’s less than craptacular outing, but that is just smokescreen for the fact that Gorzo absolutely sucks and is more than likely the weakest link in the bullpen. The guy just cannot not give up home runs. It was the same story last Spring Training: Gorzo entered the game and must have given up at least a two-run home run in nearly every one of his outings.

It is Spring Training, that is fine, pitchers work on things, but then it followed him into the regular season. Three Nationals pitchers gave up more than 12 home runs in 2011. One of those pitchers is gone (Livan Hernandez, 16), another is possibly on the way out (John Lannan, 15) and one, Gorzo, should probably be kicked to the curb as well (he gave up 15 in 2011).

So is the NQ making Gorzo the first player officially on the 2012 “Bum Watch?” Yes, we are. The amount of jacks he gives up is just unacceptable. His stats show the more games he is a part of the more home runs he gives up– which are a lot. His job is to support his starter, get guys out and get out of the inning, not give away free souvenirs.

As mentioned before, the NQ leaves for Viera Tuesday. We’ll be there ready to do the blog the next day so prepare yourselves for a big blitz on the blog sometime late Wednesday. Photos, bullet point recaps,stories, weirdness– the usual staples of our Spring Training coverage. It is that time of year again.

I Hope 2012 and the Nats Look Like Something Out of Tron: Legacy

Well it is finally here, the beginning of the last year in existence according to certain cultures long lost out of their own existence: 2012.

Good-bye 2011, you long, brutal bastard. It was a year that had the Inquisition spending a full month in Florida following Spring Training, a couple blogger’s nights at Nationals Park, going to more baseball games than ever before and having Jayson Werth yell at us for taking his picture. If you would have told me four years ago I’d be here listening to Red Fang and writing on one of the best god damned Washington Nationals blogs out there– STILL– after all this time I would of called you nuts.

And you are. You are nuts. I have the proof below. I have the “Top 5 NQ Blog Posts of 2011″ right here in front of me, ready to be typed up. 2011 was a year where the Nationals rose in the standings, regained Stephen Strasburg, had their catcher kidnapped then rescued commando-style, found a loved workhorse was in league with guys who use drug mules, saw Bryce Harper blowing kisses and being awesome, Jim Riggleman freak out and go drinking and a whole plethora of other Nationals events which might make 2011 truly memorable– and none of the top five posts based on page views reflects that. This is what you came to the NQ for in 2011:

  1. Mr. Miyagi Week And Nats Weekend Recap Blitz

  2. According To Topps, Jayson Werth Is Still A Phillie Under The Photoshop

  3. Bryce Harper Is The Dread Pirate Roberts

  4. A Brief History Of Nationals Facial Hair

  5. Elijah Dukes Swears He Didn’t Have A Man Purse Of Drugs

So if I read this right, a majority of people came to the NQ this past year to attend Mr. Miyagi Week and read about facial hair, Jayson Werth and man purses full of drugs. That is absolutely nuts. You all are nuts– and I love it. When I started the NQ back in 2008 part of the reason I did it was because I wanted to bring in a new breed of Nationals fan into the fold. Seeing that Top 5 gives me faith that we are headed in the right direction with this thing. People might be actually starting to get it and that is cool.

You might have noticed but the Nationals Inquisition went through a little bit of a redesign recently. It is still a work in progress, but so far I am liking our new digs. The side bar needs cleaning up, we need a new “about” section and we will be adding some new NQ-related links to the top bar that we are excited about and hope to share with you in the near future. If you haven’t tried it yet, hit refresh on the page: the photos on the sides change. There are six original Nationals-related photos that will cycle through. Collect them all. An absolute shout out to Miss Natpenny who has been in charge of the redesign.

There will be a lot going on with the NQ in 2012, even though the world might end in December. We are lining up our schedules to some games throughout the year, we’ll be in Viera for a few days this March and we hope to continue to grow the site. Been a wonderful four years and it is much in thanks to you all and your comments and mailings of thongs and underwear.

I can’t say where the 2012 Washington Nationals end up. They will either be the greatest team in Washington since baseball returned or will be the biggest disappointment since the Teddy Roughrider was retired from Nationals Park, but however it might turn out: I really hope they look like something out of Tron: Legacy because that movie was awesome.

I want Stephen Strasburg to come to the mound on Opening Day in a cloak, stand on the mound in front of a sell out crowd and then place his hand down in the dirt to activate the 2012 season using his mind– then kick the sh*t out of whoever is unfortunate to be placed before him.

Strasburg Lives.

The Nationals will rise.

The Inquisition has begun…

Coming 2012.

Most Valuable Washington Blog? Sure, Why Not?

Greetings from Razorback Country.

The vacation has been going great. I’ve been chilling by the watering hole all day, absolutely devastated a local family fun center by causing a major wreck with the dual-rider go-karts, been on a wilderness safari in the middle of Northwest Arkansas and tomorrow I head over to the University of Arkansas to take in a Razorbacks football practice.

The best and worst part of it: no Nats. None at all. I’ve stayed true to what I said that I would totally stay away for a bit.

….

Okay, I lied. I actually stayed up late last night to see what noobs the team was able to sign and they signed who they needed which is great. But, I’m actually jumping on here just to tell you that the Nationals Inquisition was nominated for the CBS Washington Most Valuable Bloggers Awards and we wanted to give you the chance to vote for us and to thank you for the nomination. We didn’t really expect it or go gung-ho about it, so it is a bit of a surprise. But thanks.

VOTE HERE.

You can vote everyday so go hard often as you like and tell your friends. If you don’t vote for the Inquisition because you hate us or think us too sexy for your tastes, then at least vote for one of the other Nationals blogs that got nominated. Nats bloggers are the shiz.

Thanks again, readers. See you in a few days.

A State Of Nationals Blogging (It Is Arkansas)

Pull up a chair, faithful reader. I want to talk to you.

No, not the jewel encrusted, leather Lazy Boy with beer fridge built into the base given to me by his majesty Lord Xerxes. That is mine. Go over there and pull up one of those bar stools in the corner. Don’t worry about the duct tape, the staff wound it around the legs tight and well. It will hold it together. Those stools have served us well.

Your ole buddy, DangerNat celebrated his birthday yesterday. The celebration was tremendous. Everyone came out to the party at the Pfitz last night in Woodbridge to wish me well and take in a Potomac Nationals game. It was a sold out affair with over 6,600 readers reveling in what seemed a nearly endless flow of liquid malted wheat and barley. It was fantastic. Thanks to all who attended. Oh yeah, Stephen Strasburg was there last night and that might have had something to do with it, but he was only the frosting on a much bigger cake.

If you are wondering, I turned 31. One year past three decades in existence. It has been one hell of a trip to reflect back upon which I do every anniversary of my glorious first breath. What comes out of that reflection is a plethora of things that engage my life like politics, career goals, life goals, family and whether or not I just finally should replace the gutter on the house after a family of squirrels used it as a mating site. I also reflect, oddly enough, on sports, my sports teams and of course, the Nationals Inquisition.

Thinking deep on a Washington Nationals blog might seem relatively ridiculous because it is, but I will tell you a trade secret from this craft: every single Nationals blogger does it at least once at some point. The question usually comes as, “Why the hell am I doing this? What is the point? What is the endgame here?”

To be honest: I don’t know. The Inquisition really doesn’t have one. When I created the site I created it mainly for myself; kind of like admiring myself naked in front of a mirror sort of thing. That was back in ’07-’08. Years later, here I am still looking at myself in the mirror naked, admiring my blasted pecs, the curvature of my muscular calves and rubbing lotion into my keg that drives women wild– only now there are more people looking on with me and that creeps me out every time I think about it.

You might have noticed over the past few weeks a serious lack of updates and quality to some of the posts. You might have also noticed I’ve probably ignored, botched or downright crapped on a lot of Nationals news lately. Well, I have a confession to make: as much as it pains me to admit, I think I’ve experienced my first bout of “blogging burnout” in about four years. It is incredibly depressing and I feel bad because I know the NQ has some really fantastic readers and I want to deliver to you the best I have.

Lately, it hasn’t been the best I’ve had or at least in my view it hasn’t. I’m not sure what it is. Burn out, other outside blogging obligations, other obligations to other blogs, job, the water…I’m not sure. I love the Nationals and I love baseball and blogging so I am a bit confounded. All I know is it has lead over the past few weeks to neglect the blog a bit, feel a bit pressed and even yell at one of my favorite writers unjustly which only doubled my misery. Basically, I wasn’t having fun and I promised myself the day this crap stops being fun is the day I stop. No glorious good-byes, no five-gun salute. Just stop cold turkey.

I am announcing that the Nationals Inquisition is not stopping. Oh, no. You won’t be rid of this blog that easy, but what I am announcing (more like requesting from you, the loyal and sexy readers) that the NQ will be taking a week’s vacation to recalibrate and find ourselves again. I’ll continue my work with SB Nation DC and if big news breaks like Strasburg throws a no-hitter in Syracuse or Laynce Nix is abducted by space aliens during a game then I will try and jump on the NQ, but overall starting at the last word of this post, the NQ is on a little R&R for a week.

I am hoping to find the fun and enjoyment again after just taking a break. I want to think about the direction of this blog and Nationals blogging in general. I have a fear that Nats blogging is headed in a direction that we, the bloggers, aren’t realizing and in time might effect what we have created. I want to find a way to combat this, at least on my end of it.

I’ve decided to go where all Nationals bloggers go when trying to escape and think things out: Arkansas. So I am going to kick back next to a bog in the Ozarks with a glass of wine and Kerouac. I might visit a trout farm, go booger hunting or try and rattle up some razorbacks. I will do everything and anything, but Nationals baseball for a spell and try to find that old magic.

I am thanking you upfront for your patience and this break. I also want to give a shout out of thanks to Nationals Fangirl and Miss Chatter for talking it out with me on Blogger’s Night a week or two ago and making me feel like it is all going to be okay.

And it will.

The NQ is going to rock again. I promise– or rock for the first time depending on who you talk to.