The NQ apprentice, Dr. W, is down in Viera this week taking in Nationals Spring Training for the first time and he is sending us constant reports and photos that we will be posting up on the NQ as soon as we get them organized.
First up comes a disturbing story of a recent string of thefts coming right out of Space Coast Stadium involving what is known as “The Pit” and bags of Nationals gear and autographs belonging to kids. In three instances someone has stolen bags belonging to kids while they wait down by the field waiting for players to come sign items. Apparently, these thefts have made officials at Space Coast and the Nationals nervous enough to consider closing down the Pit to the public and not having players sign before games.
“The Pit” is a concrete slab just to the right of the Nationals dugout at Space Coast Stadium. It is supposed to be a walkway for grounds crew, media and photographers, but one of the many perks at SCS is they open this walkway to the public before the game so fans can get right down on the field and possibly get autograph and meet-and-greet opportunities with the players.
It was here Dr. W was suddenly thrust into this story as he was somewhat accused of being the perpetrator (as I’ve written before, weirdness always seems to follow him) even though today (Tuesday) was his first time ever at Space Coast Stadium. Here is his report:
While down in the Pit for the first time today there was a Nationals or Space Coast official named “Thomas” who was talking with fans about a recent string of thefts that were happening down in the Pit and it was enough for them to consider shutting the Pit down and telling players not to sign.
Three kids have had bags of memorabilia stolen right from under their noses while down there. SCS knows of these thefts and believe the stuff is being hawked by a regular autograph seeker.
It was at this point Thomas turned and sternly pointed at me and said, “You’re an autograph regular. I think I have seen you quite a bit.”
This, of course, is nuts because this was my first time in Viera and SCS– like ever– and I informed him so.
So there is some jackass in Viera now looking to spoil a good thing for everyone. It would be a damn shame for the Pit to be closed for it offers wonderful opportunities for kids and fans to make contact with their heroes.
I guess the morale of this story is: keep your eye on your gear at all times and if you see some cowardly a**hole nabbing things from little kids, report them to the proper authorities. This poltroon needs to be stopped.
When I first heard the Washington Nationals acquired pitcher Gio Gonzalez I was like many: quickly on the computer Googling “Giovany Aramis González.”
My first exposure to him wasn’t an article telling of his feats or a Youtube video of this kid mowing them down. No, it was a photo, a telling photo, that spoke to that psychotic inner fan in all of us, that belief that fan and player have made some sort of cosmic connection. It was a photo of Gonzalez at some sort of Marvel Comic gig standing with Iron Man.
More on that in a moment…
By now most if not all of you have been well versed in what is going on in Miami right now. If you want the nitty-gritty details, I’ll turn you over to the nuts over at Federal Baseball who either have the Jedi Library at their disposal or they are just really good researchers. The quick version is a PED clinic known as “Biogenesis” (based out of Miami, that blight of a city) is accused of having connections selling various MLB banned substances to (wait for it) MLB ballplayers– one of these possibly being one Giovany Aramis González.
Christ, here we go again. Chemistry is goddamn witchcraft I tell you…
Gio’s name appears five times in notebooks of receipts and orders that have been turned in as evidence. In some instances it is by himself and in others his name is written by that of his own father. None of the substances listed next to Gio’s name appear on the MLB Banned Substance List.
The Gonzalez Family firmly denies any wrong doing or Gio knowingly taking any illegal or banned substances or even having contact with the company. The Nationals released a statement that they remain mum. The MLB remains deeply involved in the investigation and any actions or official word are forthcoming. Read the Federal article. It is all there.
This is all devastating news on several fronts. The herpes on the game that is steroids still lingers waiting for someone to scratch. A young Cy-Young candidate on a young and rising team has been accused of cheating which is neither good for the team, the fans or Gio himself. His career now holds a stain that he won’t be able to get rid of. Even if investigators and the MLB come back and declare him completely innocent, you know there will be those douchebags at every turn who you couldn’t convince of his innocence even if you threatened to feed their children to rabid crocodiles.
If Gio is guilty, how absolutely disappointing and terrifying. If innocent, tragic. Everything Gio has fought for and bled for stamped out. His very character pulled through the mud by the sins of the game that are catching up with it.
It is that character where the answer lies.
If you look over the evidence that is known and provided, Gio Gonzalez is innocent and the threat of a 50-game ban is crap- or should be. Nothing on the banned substance list was listed next to his name and his father admits contact only for himself with BioGenesis and Gio had no association with the organization or anyone in it. They have nothing on Gio except some alphabet soup labeled next to his name in some notebooks from a disreputable business.
Back to Iron Man– it takes a special sort of geek to take his love of comics and superheroes into adulthood and put it out there on display for all to see. I should know: I am one of them. Comic book lovers share a deep connection with their graphic work of choice be it Batman or Iron Man. It is like these heroes become a part of our lives and oddly enough we become or “take” certain things from them and apply them to our own lives. I make no apologies in confessing I learned more morals, ethics and the desire to just be a good person in life from Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing adventures than I did from the Bible.
I am going completely out on a limb here and say it was probably the same for Gio. His heroes in ink (like those in real life) made their mark upon him, even subconsciously. Everyone wishes they could be a superhero: that pillar of fortitude that fights for justice and liberty with incredible powers and a strict code of responsibility. Gio Gonzalez has come closer to being a superhero than many of us. A baseball player from Hialeah, Florida making good, making the Majors and bringing style and greatness to a franchise in Washington D.C.
Something about this whole Miami thing just doesn’t make sense when Gio is in the equation. A guy who grew up reading about heroes, loving his heroes and eventually becoming one to many I can’t see doing something like this. It is a tarnish, a kryptonite of sorts to Gio’s character. Something like this would hurt him more than it would hurt us or anyone else. It doesn’t mesh with the little kid reading comics inside him. I don’t think he would do it for this reason and that is why I believe him when he says he didn’t.
Is this stupid? Naive? Completely off? Probably. Maybe. But I don’t care. To me, it just feels right. I’m going on gut here, NQ readers. I guess I feel this way because I would be devastated if I was in his position. I would feel ashamed. I would feel like I let down the people of Gotham.
The chemistry that makes up Gio Gonzalez I believe is already set in ink. That is why it is safe to believe in Gio Gonzalez.
Superman will never stop fighting for us. The Batman will never kill the Joker. Spiderman will never shun his responsibility. Professor X will never cease in his quest for equality. Giovany Aramis González would never take steroids and betray the trust a team and community have in him.
I believe in Gio Gonzalez.
[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:
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 times like these that I sincerely hope the Washington Nationals organization reads this blog. I cannot think of a better place for them to gather key information on how to create a positive environment and experience for their loyal fans. News has recently broke that the Washington Nationals will be adding a fifth president to the infamous Geico Presidents Race. Adding a fifth president will add an exciting new dynamic to this 4th inning tradition.
Or will it……?
Let’s not ignore what this is really about, the Nationals are desperately trying to keep the intrigue of the Presidents Race alive. Despite what many think of the race, I view it as a local tradition that I look forward to each game. To me, it is essentially like singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during the Seventh Inning Stretch. However, with any special event there is a level of intrigue that must be maintained. In the case of the Presidents Race, the mystery behind Teddy Roosevelt’s first ever victory was what kept the intrigue alive. By having him win, the race essentially die– or at least it should have died.
The Presidents Race will likely become the equivalent to that lousy sequel to what was once a great flick. It has transformed from Bruce Almighty to Evan Almighty; from The Godfather to The Godfather Part Three. After a certain point you just have to quit while you are ahead. Despite my pessimism towards the future of the race, there are a few possibilities to keep the level of enthusiasm toward the race alive. Here is my list of ideas on who the fifth president should be, why, and what about them could be done to make them a successful rookie in the majors:
If the Nats go with one of these ten options, I am fairly confident that the Geico Presidents Race can maintain its luster and popularity. However, for some reason I just do not see that happening. I hope everyone enjoyed the Presidents Race while it lasted.
Now that Teddy won, the Geico Presidents Race’s attractiveness will most likely be dead like nine of the ten presidents on that list.
(Photo jacked from Silver Underground)
I almost titled this post “The “P” on John Lannan’s Philadelphia Phillies Hat Will Stand For Penis,” but I made the editorial decision not to call it that. Not because of the word “penis” because the word penis will always have a home on this blog, but I figured it was the first posting here in a long time and we maybe wanted to ease back into it.
I know, I know…
Where have we been? Are we alive? Are we dead? Was the result of the Nationals 2012 playoffs too hard to bear? Does our planet needs us? All will be answered– later.
But first here are some photos of two Philadelphia Phillies fans kissing the NQ Apprentice, Dr. W, while wearing a Jayson Werth mask. Apparently chicks in Philly continue to want to make beard with Jayson Werth.
Basically, the story behind this is there is no story. One day Dr. W declares he is going to try and get some Phillies fans to come all the way from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. to give him a kiss while wearing a Jayson Werth mask. I was like, “Okay, knock yourself out.” With the Nationals out of the playoffs I lost the will to blog. He could have blogged about two tortoises having a three-way with Wilson Ramos’ cup and I wouldn’t have cared.
But a few days later, here we are– it has come to this. Incredibly he got two Phillies fans to come down to D.C. and show their secret devotions and inner-Philly fantasies. They drove all the way from Philly to prove it. Glory!
For their hard work and dedication, they get to make blog. Thanks ladies. To my apprentice: never wear that again. You look like a serial killer.
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.
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.”
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.