The Most Pointless NatsFest Recap Ever But With Guinness

[Editor's Note: The following prose actually has no point. It is perhaps the most boring recap of the 2013 Natsfest you will ever read. We didn't want to spoil the surprise or anything for you, but you won't get much out of this recap other than some behind the scenes NQ Writer protocol in action. Basically: if you fail to get a story, end up in a bar. That is a secret of the blogging trade and our agent pulls it off quite nicely.]

Like many other Nats fans, I consider Saturday, January 26th a very special day.

It marked the highly anticipated arrival of Natsfest 2013. This event provides a great opportunity for players to interact with fans and vice versa. The event had batting cages where you could hit balls. You could get your photo taken with both mascots and players. There were Q&A sessions where kids could ask the players questions. There was also an amusing game of Jeopardy  where Jayson Werth, Ross Detwiler and Drew Storen faced off in a battle of wits and brains. And, most importantly, William “Bill” Taft was introduced as the fifth racing president. It would be highly unrealistic to think that no one in the NQ would attend Natsfest in 2013. So I figured I would take this opportunity to share my experience and what I learned.

Before I go into details on the events that transpired on Saturday, I deem it necessary to give you a back-story. On Tuesday, January 22nd I attended the Washington Capitals home opener with my friend Dylan and saw them face off against the Winnipeg Jets. While racing to our seats to avoid missing the first puck drop, I had an unfortunate incident where I blew out my knee and most likely tore something or other in my knee. But hey, I made first puck drop! That’s what really matters!

Saturday morning around 11:45 in the morning, I receive a call from Dylan claiming he had an extra ticket to Natsfest and wanted to know if I was interested in joining him. Here are the four things I learned:

  1. Gio Gonzalez was apparently not invited to Jordan Zimmermann’s wedding.
  2. My knee is still sore.
  3. Jayson Werth has a beard.
  4. Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant is a great place for all Guinness lovers such as myself.

I would say I spent a grand total of about 20 minutes in Natsfest as my hosts did not want to wait in any lines. So my experiences at Natsfest were limited and all I was able to really see was Kurt Suzuki and Steve Lombardozzi signing autographs and Ian Desmond taking pictures with fans. I also overheard Gio Gonzalez say he was not invited to J-Zimm’s wedding during a back and forth in front of thousands of Nationals fans. Don’t worry Gio, you will be invited to my wedding!

The vast majority of my times was spent at Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant surrounded by Guinness and obnoxious Georgetown students celebrating a basketball victory. You would think there would be a ton of hot college babes, but that was not the case unfortunately.

But hey, Guinness is awesome!

It Is Sexy To Be Jayson Werth Today

Finally back on blog after a week of family issues and marital bliss hell. Usually I would feel bad missing out on so much Nationals stuff and events, but after the Nats lost to the Cards in St. Louis 12-4 and then 8-0 at Nats Park, I really didn’t feel the absolute need or desire to jump on blog and talk about the Nats taking a s**t on the field in front of everyone.

Let’s face it: the Nationals haven’t been playing playoff baseball. It is more like they are teaching a clinic on public defecation. Sloppy mistakes, dropped balls, bad base running, crappy pitching and no hitting. Stupid mistakes. Hardly worthy of the NL East Champs. I will go as far as to say the Nationals have been completely lucky and that includes Tyler Moore’s winner in the first game. It is only by the grace of God the Cardinals have been close to equally as sloppy.

The Nationals are in serious need of a game changer (no, not Jason Marquis) and on Thursday night in a sold out sea of red, the Nationals might have gotten it. In the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 1-1, David Wells stepped into the box and after six minutes and 13 pitches, Wells took the 13th offering from St. Louis reliever Lance Lynn and deposited it in the left field bullpen for a walk-off homerun, a 2-1 victory and a ticket to a final Game 5 showdown with the defending World Series Champions.

Of course, Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth did all that last night and not David Wells, but Wells did attempt to support “his boy Jay” on the TBS postgame by sporting some gnarly Werth dreads (picture above).

Well if the Nats were looking for a Manny Acta-ish “spark” then certainly Werth provided it. It is hard to believe the momentum is not with Washington going into Friday night’s game with a sold out crowd and a remarkable playoff game win under their belts. They even survived the bush league antics and calls of Jim Joyce who is known for f**king up the program. But looking over this series and seeing how the team has played, you’ve got to wonder and worry if Lady Luck just happened to stop by for a one night stand once again.

Jayson Werth and the team certainly don’t believe that is the case and they’ll get to prove it on Friday night. It has all come down to one game. ONE game. A win they advance to face the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS. A loss and– they stay home. One game. Honestly, I believe if the Nationals can win tonight, they will advance over the Giants and to the World Series.

Major props to Adam LaRoche who added the other solo home run in the game, Ross Detwiler who stepped in and stepped up and held the Cards in place and of course, our nemesis, Werth for his amazing walk off blast, the first postseason walk off in franchise history.

One more game, boys, one more game. Your destiny is before you. Time to take it.

With A Rebel Yell, They Cried Moore, Moore, Moore

The Washington Nationals pulled off a particularly sneaky turd of a victory during a 3-2 romp with the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday where runs were turtleheading all game, but not really entering the bowl. The win secures the first Nationals playoff win in what seems like a gazillion years.

The majority of the game was pretty much in the Cardinals hands as they led 2-1 for five innings. The Nationals had committed two errors, starter Gio Gonzalez was all over the place, Jayson Werth left the bases loaded twice and the Nats offense seemed to have missed the plane to St. Louis. Then, in the top of the eighth rookie Tyler Moore stepped in.

With two on (thanks to a Cardinals error) Moore stood firm at the plate, staring down reliever Marc Rzepczynski. Before taking his stance, Moore raised his bat to the St. Louie sky where it was struck by lightening giving the wood a strange, glowing blue hue. Moore then spit a black as night wad of chewing tobacco on catcher Yadier Molina’s cleat and turned to do his duty. With a 2-2 count Moore sized up on a pitch not worthy of a Hello Kitty pitching machine and unloaded. The crack of the bat was immense, the St. Louis crowd went quiet as they watched the ball sail and sail and sail–

Okay, maybe it wasn’t as romantic as that. Moore came in sent a ball into right field that dropped in for a hit and a two-run single to take the lead late in the game. Pitcher Tyler Clippard survived the hold, Drew Storen closed the door and pitcher Ryan Mattheus threw only two pitches in one inning of work and somehow got three outs and the “W” to put the Nationals on top of their playoff series with the Cardinals 1-0. Game 2 is Monday at 4:05 P.M. EST.

Now looking back on it, maybe it wasn’t such a turd of a game. It had thrills and chills that you sort of expect in games like this, but at the same time both teams didn’t play like playoff teams. Hopefully that will be remedied in Game 2 which find the Nats in the all too familiar position of having a chance to put the boots to the throats of the defending World Champions. A Washington win Monday and the St. Louis arch might fall down. However, the Nats have been known to show a little mercy and take their foot off the gas in situations like this, which they shouldn’t and it is a bad habit.

Nice guys finish last or end up blogging in some backwoods underground fortress using terms like “sneaky turd.”

Natstown, What Is Best In Life?

The 2012 Washington Nationals have this on their resume: NL East Division Champions. #1 Seed in the Playoffs. Arguably the best team in baseball these days.

Over on the Philadelphia Phillies 2012 resume: Absolute sh*t.

The Nationals finished off their 2012 regular season campaign by beating those mentioned Phillies by the score of 5-1 at Nationals Park. Needless to say D.C. is abuzz and anyone in Philly is having a hard time fapping these days.

I understand disappointment. Trust me, I’m a Nats fan. I do better than most. But sometimes disappointment comes off as just raging jealousy and stupidity such as in the case of Phillies blunderhead Jimmy Rollins. After Wednesday’s game he was quoted as saying:

Rollins said if Phillies had been healthy all season, Washington would have been second place team.

Oh, okay Rollins. By that logic then if the Nationals remained healthy all season, they would have still beat you and won over one hundred games.

There is a thing called losing with grace, but obviously anything “Phillies” and “grace” go together like oil and water. But the Phillies do pair well with “losing.”

Thanks for the image idea, Jimmy. See you in the postseason– oh, that is right: we won’t.

 

The Presidents Race Died Today

During the middle of the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game between the NL East Division Champion Washington Nationals (that has an awesome ring to it, admit it) and the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nats held the traditional President’s Race with cartoon caricatures of Abe Lincoln, Tom Jefferson, “Gorgerous” George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt. It started with all the charm and tomfoolery of the 500+ races that came before it, since 2006 when the current incarnation of the races appeared, but this one ended differently than all the others.

Teddy Roosevelt, who had never laid victory to one single race, did today with the help of some sort of Philly fanatical creature or something. However it happened, Teddy’s 525 winless drought came to an end on this day in the year of our Lord 2012 and brought happiness and ecstasy to fans who took time out of their day to actually pay attention to this sort of thing– and with one race, completely killed the whole President’s Race concept.

Thank God. Now we can move on to more important crusades like bringing back the Teddy Rough Rider to Nationals Park.

Look, the Races were what they were. Between-inning entertainment hinging on a gimmick to entertain the kiddies. Now that the gimmick has been exposed I have a hard time believing anyone will honestly be giving a sh*t anymore. What is the point? I’m sure they’ll try to spruce it up with other presidents and other storylines, but let’s be honest: I think the charm is gone– unless of course they hold the races with starving lions released on the presidents’ heels.

And I have to be honest: I put the President’s Races in the same boat as the infamous “Wave.” And don’t try and sell me the wave takes place during play and the Race doesn’t. It does. The same monkeys bashing the wave are the same people gushing and wondering on social media or out loud in the stands innings before the race if “today Teddy wins one for the gipper!” If it is two outs, bases loaded and Strasburg is dishing I don’t want to hear, read or think of that sort of caca-poo-poo. The races are distracting. It sort of takes you out of the game a bit.

Recently we had a Philly columnist go on the saddest-sot sort of rants that contained the most shameful display of sore loserness I have ever seen in print for public consumption and colorful language like:

“..[Nationals Park] game day is a succession of desperate gimmicks broken up by nine innings of baseball.

I give the author no credit for writing anything close to a well thought out or highly researched piece, but while taking in the media, blogs, radio, TV, etc. about the Nats in the days leading up to Clinch Night, I had to wonder if on some distant planet the article might have the smallest tad of credence when I was bombarded by Teddy pieces, Teddy news segments, etc. The team was about to make history and take it’s first division pennant and we were talking about mascots?

[Insert Picard Faceplant Photo Here]

I am thinking a tad bit deep here, I know. I am just trying to think objectively here about the Races if I had to. I can see where some might accuse the gimmick of becoming bigger than the game at points just as I can see where people might be annoyed by the Wave. I accept both as just part of the game. The Wave isn’t going to go away much like the President’s Race (or another gimmick that has evolved from it) isn’t either. Or booing. Or that one guy who never learned to not get up during innings. Or Clint.

Congratulations to Teddy, but his victory came with a price. The Races are technically “over.” What comes next for them I haven’t the faintest clue. It isn’t because I am not in the know (I’m not), but because I’m going to go back to paying attention more to the game.

Did you hear the Nats are in something called the postseason?

I’m going to Wikipedia right now to look that up.

NATIONALS CLINCH NL EAST TITLE: Beer And Bloating The Morning After

Oh, God…

Sweet Jesus…sweet, sweet, baby– it wasn’t a dream.

A awoke this morning in NQ Headquarters, laying on the floor in nothing but boxers and a t-shirt that had a picture of Top Gun’s Iceman on it. Extra Gold beer cans laid crumpled everywhere, the place looked like a wildebeest love lair, there was a deflated blow up doll in the corner with a tremendous amount of eye black applied to it and all the cages I keep my staff in are empty. This means a mob of delirious drunks, perverts and freaks have been loose on the fair streets for an unknown amount of time. It might be too late already.

Not sure what the last thing I remember is. I remember we put in the movie Highlander and I remember nothing after the scene where that unfortunate actress had to have sex with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery comes leaping over them on a horse– but that is all I remember.

I do however remember why my night came to that point and you can’t wipe the smile off my face.

The Washington Nationals clinched the 2012 NL East Division title with an exciting 2-0 loss to the former NL East champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. Yeah, you read that right. A loss. A stunning loss where starter John Lannan was a tad bit too hittable and the Nationals offense was puke. However, north in Pittsburgh, the Bucs pulled off a surprise 2-1 victory which systematically, mathematically and officially eliminated the Atlanta Braves chances of catching the Nats for the division.

I won’t lie: it isn’t exactly the magical, Hollywood way to win a division title. Of course you would have loved to see the Nats wipe the floor with the former champs (now chumps) and perhaps biggest rival. I don’t know what it is, maybe it is the basic wear and tear of the season or the slowing power of eventuality, but in my mind the Nats seemed a little shaky closing out the season. They didn’t seem as strong. Hopefully I am wrong and they plow into postseason like a howler monkey on Viagra.

But my God– it took eight years for this to happen. Eight long years. Add in that during those eight long years, five of those years were devoted to this blog. Posting almost everyday, traveling countless hours, spending dough, the constant sex, drugs and rock and roll– it is like almost finishing a marathon.

But plenty of work is still to be done. There are bigger fish to fry than teams 15-games back. WE ARE IN THE POSTSEASON, BABY! NL EAST CHAMPS! Ride the storm and millk it for all it is worth. Riot in the the streets of Natstown, I want a constant riot and party. Fling me some beads, I’ll show you my lumps.

Congratulations to the 2012 Washington Nationals. Call me sometime you big time, NL East champs, you…

It Took 79 Years To Hear These Two Words Again: Nats. Clinch. Boom.

Okay, so maybe three words that are then followed by pervy squeals and ungodly, savage sounds that would make a woman’s tennis match sound like the choir at a Catholic Church– but forgive me, forgive Natstown, forgive us.

Last night was 79 years in the making–

The Washington Nationals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 at Nationals Park to secure, to guarantee, to CLINCH a spot in the 2012 Postseason. Washington has not earned or hosted postseason baseball since 1933. The night was made possible by six strong innings of work by starter Ross Detwiler and RBI doubles from Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa as well as a dominate ninth inning shutdown by closer Drew Storen.

What words are there? It is the day Washington baseball fans have been waiting for for decades. Yes, Davey Johnson, there is still more to do and accomplish. Yes, there are a few Negative Ninnies out there posting stories on how it isn’t that big of a deal because the team only claimed “a Wild Card.” Obviously those people weren’t around during 2008 and 2009. You wouldn’t be writing or spewing such rot if you were. You just don’t understand, you can’t understand what this team went through and what they had to deal with (or what little they had to deal with in some instances), but that is okay. Thursday night’s clinch wasn’t for that type of nag. Thursday night’s clinch was for every fan that has been coming out since 2005. It was for every old timer that kept the flame of Washington baseball alive in the years D.C. didn’t have baseball. It was for all those fans that had to sit through all the Reddings, Livos, Simontacchis, Dukes and Stairs. It was both for the new fans, the Johnny-Come-Latelys and the obsessive season ticket holders. It was for the all guts, no glory (or paycheck) bloggers.

In it’s entirety, it was a clinch for Washington D.C. and it officially announced: Baseball is back.

Let the celebrations begin and celebrate we will shamelessly. We’ve earned this. The team and organization might have had a professional and low key celebration with sparkling apple juice and bear hugs in the locker room afterwards, but fans deserve strong drink and intoxicants. For too long we’ve drunk to drown our sorrows. Today, we drink to victory, not absolute, but victory for the organization just the same. A plateau has been reached and there will be no going back.

Really, as a guy who has dedicated the past five years of his life to this blog and following this team around from Pittsburgh to the Space Coast of Florida and beyond, I am on Cloud 9. Nothing has wiped the smile from my face today. Not even the fact I completely missed out on playoff tickets this morning. I spent over 40 minutes on the phone this morning trying to order tickets and when it came to my turn and basically everything was sold out, I still was smiling while saying, “Well that sucks, that you for your time.”

Not sure I’m going to Stubhub them or not, but we’ll see. There is something tempting with the idea of locking myself in a room with a few cases of beer, strip down to wearing nothing but my undies and Nats hat and watching the playoffs on TV allowing myself to be as belligerent as I want with the best seat in the house. Gotta make the best out of every situation you’re in.

The 2012 Washington Nationals surely have.

I’ll Take A Nats Sweep But Hold The Lann-yo

Whoa guys, whoa– it is a posting!

Indeed. I have returned from my two week adventure that took me across this great nation as far as Boulder, Colorado and through places like Chicago, Denver, Dodge City and Columbus. Jim Morrison once sang, “The West is the best” and he might very well be right. It is just wild out there. Dinosaurs, indians, cowboys, elk so big that one could feed a whole family for a winter, endless mountains and certain areas had coupons in magazines for cannabis, CANNABIS! Cannabis coupons. Something I thought I’d never see.

I did nothing baseball related except check the scores and knock one stadium off my bucket list: Wrigley Field. When I went to Chicago I caught a Cubs game against (oddly enough) the Colorado Rockies and I have to say it was the worst game I have ever seen. It was like watching the 08/09 Nats play a minor league team. I might have actually known five or six players from both teams combined. Those two teams are a train wreck and they both played like it. Add in a three hour rain delay, a constant drizzle, a gigantic pole right in my line of sight and you have all the makings of a miserable game. I was introduced to Old Style beer and that took some of the edge off, but still…

Over here in the East fortunes have been better, especially for the Washington Nationals. The NQ went on break and somehow blessedly missed the whole Strasburg Shutdown Drama, but tragically missed the Nats rookies pulling a U.S. Woman’s Olympic team. The team maintained their NL East dominance and their hold on the best record in the MLB. Astounding. Odd as it is, I am still waiting for the bottom to drop out from under them even though there is hardly enough season left for them to do it. Incredible season anyway you write it.

The Nats on Wednesday night finally did a little boots to throat and made a statement to the NL East they aren’t going to give anything away without a tooth and nail fight by putting the finishing touches on a sweep of the New York Mets 2-0 and increasing their lead over the second place and Wild Card sucking Braves by 8.5 games. Home runs by Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond put the nail in the coffin of a struggling New York team that looks like they were put together by haggling in Chinatown.

Of course there was the performance of starter John Lannan, making his third start this season in the place of the recently shutdown Strasburg. Lannan went 5 2/3 innings without giving up a run, improved to 3-0 on the year and is probably soaking his body in a bath of champagne while being fed strawberries from three partially nude D.C. vixens as we speak and rightfully so– for the moment.

After Wednesday night’s victory, I mean moments after, I saw Lannan referred to in these ways by various fans on social media and “pro” news outlets. Stop me if you stomach gets a little too queasy: John Lannan is “Nats MVP.” John Lannan just “pulled a Strasburg.” John Lannan just did a “Stras impression.” John Lannan– “ACE.”

I understand in the excitement of the moment of absolute victory people say and do the most bizarre things, but if people are waking up this morning believing this sort of rot, then there seriously needs to be some head checking going on. Strasburg. Lannan. There is no comparison. None. Those two names should never be talked about together unless you are reading the team roster out loud. End of story.

Lannan has produced a 3-0 record by going against three different teams (Braves, Mets, Marlins), two of which are sitting in the cellar of the NL East. Don’t get me wrong, I will gladly take the wins, but I’m not about to start saying I want Lannan anywhere near the rotation in the post season or even beyond this season. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t this guy begging to be traded at the beginning of this season when he found out that his portfolio of up and down seasons wasn’t enough to cut it on the team anymore? The guy has never pitched below a 3.70 and unfortunately was coddled in Washington to think he was something he wasn’t out of necessity.

I am ecstatic the Nats got the sweep and moved ever so closer to NL East glory and I am thankful Lannan pulled it off and contributed, but MVP? Ace? Let’s leave those titles to guys on the team who actually deserve it and who have been here since Game 1 and battled through the thick and thin without complaining. We know what John Lannan brings to the table. We went through years of it. Three scattered wins in one season doesn’t change that fact and certainly doesn’t erase Lannan’s initial desire to leave because the front office didn’t grovel at his feet as they did in years past.

You might think I’m being a bit harsh on John Edward Lannan and perhaps I am. Welcome to the Inquisition. But Washington finally, FINALLY has something going and to put the brakes on it so we can just insert a guy who didn’t want to be here and who some think we “owe” for trudging through the early dark ages of this team (as if we don’t “owe” Ryan Zimmerman the universe) I think is ill advised. From how I read it Lannan will probably just miss post season rosters and after that, who knows? I think a move in the off season would benefit everyone to tell you the truth.

Lannan deserves gratitude for his past service, but nothing more. Much like Livan Hernandez, it is time for this team to shake off the components of what didn’t work in the past and thrive in what is being held for the future.

We can send Lannan a fruit basket and balloons if it makes people feel better. Maybe even include some cannabis coupons.

Nationals To Offer Pre-Game Kick In The Nuts By Honoring Larry Jones

“Hey guys! The Washington Nationals want you to come early to Wednesday night’s game so they can honor none other than famous Nationals Atlanta Braves legend Larry Jones, right there on the field of Nationals Park during a decisive series against our NL East rivals! Doesn’t that sound great? Plans for the night include tributes, keg stands on the third base side, Build-A-Bear toga options, a special Pimp & Hoe Party in the Presidents Club and of course, kicking Nationals fans in the nuts throughout the night! Gosh golly, wowy-wow-wow!”

Of course none of that is happening– except the Nationals honoring Braves third baseman Chipper Jones during a pre-game ceremony unfortunately. The WWN has the info and original tweet.

Just when you thought the Washington organization finally “gets it” they pull a boneheaded stunt like this. I mean, Larry is an NL East rival whose team the Nats are currently playing in a decisive three-game series that very well could determine, in the long run, which of these teams get the pennant. The Nationals have beat the Braves twice and are going for the sweep Wednesday night and perhaps putting a nail in Atlanta’s coffin. Team support and pride has never been higher and the Braves are ripe for a complete bashing.

So let’s honor one of their players on our home turf and give them something to play for. How nice. I bet they’ll have Chipper Jones shirts for sale in the team store too.

Rather than demoralizing the hell out of the rival closest to our place in the standings, the Nationals once again put it in neutral and take their foot somewhat off the Braves’ throats in a pointless and meaningless gesture such as this. It really reminds me of honoring Expos players because really, who gives a flying sh*t? They never played one game in Washington. None of their exploits took place on a baseball field in D.C. So why is this type of crap being thrown in my face and the faces of fans who are building something special right here, right now in Washington D.C.?

Larry Jones, are you kidding me? I tend to remember a night in 2008 when Jones hit the first home run in Nationals Park history and the fans booing the everlasting hell out of him. Where was the respect then? And before anyone says it, NO: I do not expect or require any other team to do something this ridiculous when Ryan Zimmerman or a National retires.

Bad move, Nats. Anyway you spin it, it is a bad move.

If you want to honor someone, then honor the 10th man and all those fans who are flocking in mass numbers to the ballpark these days. Many of them have endured a lot since 2005. A whole lot more than Larry “Chipper” Freaking Jones.

Hell, Matt Stairs went through hell and back in his short time in D.C. I vote for a Matt Stairs Night.

UPDATE: Rumor has it ALL ballparks will be holding pre-game ceremonies to slobber all over Larry so the Nats slip out of the way of the bullet– sort of.