VIDEO: Gio Gonzalez Hangs With Hooligans

This is already a couple days old and you have probably already have seen it, but I might as well post it up anyway because D.C. United was nice enough to send this our way and this is my blog and I will post what I want.

Before he got pwned on Sunday by Atlanta, Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez took in a D.C. United game at RFK stadium on Saturday night. D.C. United. Washington’s professional Major League Soccer team. Yes, D.C. has a soccer team and they win more gear than pretty much all the other D.C. sports teams– at least they have in the past. Before the game Gio served as a cross-sport ambassador and met with fans, signed autographs and hopefully left before United was sent to a crushing, miserable 2-0 defeat.

From the video I see Gonzalez met with some of the local supporter’s groups or if you want to go all European on us, the “firms.” Definitely see some members of La Barra Barva and the Screaming Eagles. Great photo of a RVA-DCU rep. Gio probably hit the other groups too, like the District Ultras (my fav) and La Norte.

I love it when the Nationals get together with other D.C. sports teams to show support, especially D.C. United. I’ve been saying for awhile now that a Nats-United combo is potential gold. United fans are absolutely incredible and I wish that energy and creativity would translate over to baseball, but sadly I think baseball is stuck in the its own muck of snobbery and tradition to actually “get it.”

Oh, stop it. Don’t act like drum beating, singing and smoke bombs wouldn’t have improved the atmosphere at Nats Park this past weekend.

From all reports it sounds like more people attended a funeral rather than a baseball game.


Harper Jacks “Daniels” Two In Opening Day Victory

“He is going to hit it out again,” I said.

My apprentice, Dr. W, turned to me with an unbelieving look. And why not? Rookie phenom turned man-warrior Bryce Harper had already homered on his first at-bat of the young 2013 season, on the second pitch. The chances were slim of a repeat performance the very next bat and plus my logical mind was already in an alcohol induced fog ($9 beers!). Regardless, I knew it was coming. I was calling Harper’s second shot. Why?

Simply because a Jack Daniels ad had appeared behind Harper on the backstop wall. Jack Daniels– perfect. The stars were aligned. All I had to do was wait. Harper worked the count to 3 and 2 and I turned once again to my young apprentice.

“Here it comes. This is exactly where he wants to be. His pitch is coming.”

The rest is history. See the banner photo above. The Washington Nationals defeated the Miami Marlins 2-0 on Opening Day 2013 at Nationals Park. Harper became the youngest player in MLB history to jack two on his first two at-bats of the season and lead the Nationals offense while starter Stephen Strasburg delivered seven shutout innings. Rafael Soriano, with his badass bow-and-wind up collected his first save of the 2013 campaign.

Granted, it is Opening Day. It is perhaps one of the most worthless games of the season next to Spring Training games because what can you really tell about the season from the first game? But goddamn the team put on a terrific show. I imagine if you asked all the writers and jackals how they would script Opening Day 2013 this game would pop out of their magical tripe and masturbatory prose. You couldn’t have written anything so close to perfect for this game. The fans were great, the team was great and you felt the general excitement surrounding this organization. Speaking of which–

Judging by the jacked up prices from everything from parking to beer the organization knows this and is ready to use that to suck your wallet dry like some shyster vampires from Wall Street.

Couple notes, observations and rants from Opening Day– hold on, let me find my list. Lord knows if this makes any sense:

  • I was not impressed by the Opening Day hat giveaway. Boring. Didn’t scream “I want to be NL East Champions again.” I did however like adding another Rally Towel to my collection.
  • Team store wasn’t that impressive either. No swag in there that jumps out at me and says “MUST HAVE. CHICKS WILL HAVE SEX WITH YOU AGAIN.” I did spend a little while longer than I wanted to in the store because the music playing was bitching and suddenly I realized our old friend DJ Stylus Chris was working the tables live in the store. Nice touch. Good to see you, Stylus.
  • Beer was $9– I actually paid $9 for a Coors Light. I remember in 2008 and 2009 being raped on the field at Nationals Park. Now in 2013 I am being raped up in the stands.
  • Miami hardly made Washington break a sweat. Except for a Giancarlo Stanton double, the Fish really made no threats, or couldn’t. Strasburg was dominate, but not in the young fire baller sense. I think you could notice an ungodly amount of focus coming from that guy and a confident maturity. He is determined to be known as a true pitcher and not a thrower.
  • Flower. It was Flower that followed Bryce Harper to the plate both times.
  • Tyler Clippard hardly looked to be in proper form, but then again he escaped the inning with the score intact so maybe he is already in proper form. Look, it wasn’t pretty but I don’t care how they do it as long as they shut them down and keep the needle in the green.
  • Surprised they didn’t put Drew Storen out there for the close. That kid needs a boost, but so entered Rafael Soriano. Dr. W informs me Soriano was sort of a dick to fans at Spring Training this year. If so, that sucks, but man, that dick can pitch! I am absolutely in love with that little bow he does before going into the windup. It has an aura of arrogance, confidence and gentlemanly class.
  • That whole “Take On Me Thing?” Never again, please. Michael Morse is no longer here.

It was nearly a perfect day at the Park. It really couldn’t have gone any better– though we might want to keep watch on the offense a little and see if they’ll show up with Bryce Harper over the next few days. We need some lumber.

Sorry this report is a bit late. I was on the road all day yesterday and WordPress crapped out on me last night so I couldn’t do anything until they could replace the hamsters that turn the hamster wheels that make this service possible.

A lot on my mind as of late about this blog and the direction it is going, but ride the bear with us for a bit. The season just started and it started pretty damn well.

Nats Blue Ribbon and– Bratwurst

The NQ pulled up to the (full and closed) Yards to try and find decent parking today and head over to reader @Powerboater69‘s tailgate in said Yards, but couldn’t get in due to huge masses of people already partying and getting juiced like degenerates and fake rock star Washington politicians.

However, it wasn’t a total loss. As we pulled up, so did the Pabst Blue Ribbon truck to Nats Park. Baseball Gods, be praised! Glory! If that wasn’t a good sign about how the day was going to go, I don’t know what would suffice.

Tailgating was pretty tight. Beers and bratwurst. With Dr. W having season tickets I am seriously considering a future NQ Tailgate event which would probably include beer and– bratwurst. And hopefully chicks. Yeah, chicks. Any chicks wanna come drink some beer with this blog?

But thanks to Tom and the rest of those particular hooligans for the invite, beer and– bratwurst. Big supporters of this blog even though we totally suck. Also saw these flags in The Yards and thought I’d take a shot of them:

A NQ tailgate… the idea gives me both nightmares and wood.

It’s Time To Clear The Air On Jayson Werth

It is no mystery that Jayson Werth is a player of interest for every Nationals fan whether it is for good reasons or bad.

All of us are forever grateful for the walk-off solo shot in Game 4 last postseason and for the joy of seeing that golden beard for 162 games (barring injury). We all also see the impact he has on young players like Bryce Harper who practically idolize Werth for good reason. Despite all of these great things, Jayson Werth seems to maintain a reputation amongst a lot of fans for being somewhat cold and arrogant.

As I was sitting in the bar of my hotel knocking back a nice Sam Adams, I had a nice long talk with the bartender. I asked him if he served drinks to any of the Nationals since I knew a few of them are staying or have stayed in this hotel. He told me that he served drinks to Roger Bernadina last week prior to him leaving to represent the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. From there we talked about the different players on the team and when Werth came up, he said he heard that Werth is “kind of a jerk.”

This is definitely not the first time Werth has been accused of this. Earlier on Friday, some fans were calling him arrogant since it is so tough to get his autograph while various other players like Ian Desmond sign so consistently. But it’s time to go ahead and clear the air on Jayson Werth.

I have met Werth once before. He stopped in his Porsche to sign autographs after a game where he went 2-4 and the Nationals won. When I met him, he signed my authentic Werth jersey and was nothing but nice. Now I am here at Spring Training and have had multiple experiences with Werth where he was a lot of fun and very social. I will even go as far as to say that Werth has the most personality out of every player on this team.

On Tuesday, Werth interacted with fans as he was walking between the batting cages and the field. We all had a good laugh when I told him his beard was awesome and that he was an inspiration to men with beards everywhere. Knowing his reputation, I was a little nervous about how that would go over. But my fears were put to rest when I heard Werth start laughing loudly followed by a friendly “thank you buddy!” I found out later on that he had stopped to sign after the game for a few fans.

On Friday he walked out of the ballpark while on his phone, hung up when I called and came over to sign. He made it clear that as much as he would love to sign for everyone, he wouldn’t have time. However, he stayed for a few minutes and managed to sign for just about everyone. In fact, there were two occasions where he began to walk away and then came back to sign more autographs for fans who weren’t able to get him initially.

Now for the sake of being fair, Werth can be a touchy guy. If the Nationals lose a game or Werth made a few mistakes, don’t expect him to be Mr. Happy. The guy is a pure competitor. He is in it to win it. Also, as this blog found out in 2011, he does not respond well to being photographed. In other words, the man is human.

We all have our quirks. We all have things we do not like. If people were to violate our quirks, would we necessarily respond well? Not really. So why should we expect Werth to? If we work really hard and play our hearts out but end up coming short, would we be in a good mood? Not really. So why should we expect Werth to be? I think a lot of people fail to realize that no matter how famous or talented these players may be, at the end of the day, they are just people like you and me. Werth is no exception to this.

After all of my experiences with Werth, I can honestly say that he does not deserve the negative reputation he appears to have gotten from some Nationals fans. And I am basing this only on the experiences I have had with him. I have also heard from numerous sources that he is a great guy. But their stories and experiences are not mine to tell. But what I can tell is that based on all of my experiences with him, he is a very nice and lively guy who does show a lot of dedication to the fans and, more importantly, the Washington Nationals ball club.

It would be nice if his reputation reflected that and who he truly is instead of these gross misconceptions about the man.

Whoever Is Stealing Stuff From Kids In Viera Deserves The Bastinardo

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.