Monday, December 24, 2012

Becoming a baseball town

USA Today Sports Images
More and more fans wearing Nats gear have been seen around town this winter.
You may have heard something about the local football team playing a fairly important game next Sunday night, with a division title on the line in the latest reincarnation of one of the league's great rivalries.

Indeed, Redskins vs. Cowboys for the NFC East crown might just be the biggest game in the history of FedEx Field, certainly the biggest game of this millennium, and will be the talk of town all week.

There's very little news the Nationals could make this week that would trump anything that comes out of Redskins Park. Adam LaRoche could re-sign. Michael Morse could be traded. Bryce Harper could answer a clown question. It probably wouldn't matter. The Redskins, fairly or unfairly, will get top billing all week.

Let's face it: Washington is a football town, first and foremost. The same could be said for almost any major city in America, where the local NFL team is the unquestioned king and most-popular team. (The only exceptions to the rule, I'd argue, would be St. Louis, New York and Los Angeles, the latter of which is aided by the fact it doesn't have an NFL team.

That doesn't, however, mean D.C. hasn't made significant strides toward becoming a baseball town, nor that the Nationals aren't becoming more and more woven into the fabric of this city.

For evidence of that, you can look at late September, as the pennant race reached its apex and the Nationals seized top billing in the area. It really peaked in October, with the National League Division Series capturing the attention of the entire region, especially during the three games played against the Cardinals on South Capitol Street.

It's easy to see how the goodwill built up during that playoff run remains and has taken a permanent stranglehold on the local populace. Walk into any restaurant, any grocery store, any shopping mall in the metro area and see how long it takes before you spot someone wearing a curly W cap, shirt or jacket.

Bet you didn't encounter that nearly as often last winter.

Baseball in Washington is more popular now than it's ever been, and that popularity is only going to continue to grow in 2013 with the Nationals coming off a 98-win season and knowing they're among the select few clubs favored to win the World Series.

Ticket sales will be up. So will television ratings. And so will random sightings of fans in Nationals gear. This team is starting to become woven into the fabric of the region.

For three long decades, doubts persisted about Washington's ability to support another baseball team. And even after the Nationals arrived and squandered an early opportunity to capture our attention with six consecutive losing seasons after a surprise pennant race in their inaugural campaign of 2005, some of those doubts remained.

There should be no question anymore about Washington's ability to support a ballclub. We saw firsthand what kind of support a first-place team could garner: 30,000 fans a night in person, nearly 400,000 local households watching a playoff game on TV.

Will support for D.C. baseball ever top support for D.C. football? Almost certainly not. The Redskins have been an integral part of this city for 80 years and they've won three Super Bowl titles in the last 30. And, as previously stated, there's hardly a city left in America that doesn't put the NFL on a pedestal far removed from any other sports league.

But as Washington prepares for its biggest football game in a long time and perhaps the return of the postseason, the increased presence of baseball in the area shouldn't be forgotten.

Yes, D.C. is and always will be a football town. But there's nothing preventing it from also becoming a baseball town.

As a matter of fact, the last four months seem to prove it already has.

109 comments:

natsfan1a said...

The pointy-ball team has a big game coming up? I did not know that. ;-)

Seriously, thanks for the piece, Mark. I *have* noticed more folks sporting Nats gear in my travels about the region this offseason. Niiice. Is it spring yet?

natsfan1a said...

Oh, and I love that picture.

MicheleS said...

56 days until Spring training starts. That is how happy I am. Next month is the Fan fest, That will get me to when pitchers and catchers report. I hope Mark and Chase can spend all of spring training in Viera!

baseballswami said...

The thing with pointy ball is that it is so limited. What, 8 home games a year? The average fan probably never gets to attend a game in person. Baseball is a daily event, you can attend on the 4th of July, your birthday, a chilly spring evening or a hot weekend afternoon. It's more accessible. And so it becomes more woven into daily life, especially in the summer. Football remains the Big Event, with an entire week of hype leading up to just one game. Then another week. I don't know how their fans can stand it - so few games a season. I would feel so cheated.

original Nats Fan said...

the days of Joe Gibbs version 1 when I lived and died with the wins and losses of the Redskins are long gone. I wish them well, but my heart is now imprinted with a red curly W. Is it spring yet?

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Right on, 1a! That little one is a life-long Nats fan, if I ever saw one.

This town is going to fall in love with the Nats. Baseball is a cerebral game, and this town is populated by geeks, wonks, and eggheads. It's just a matter of time.

In the meantime, go Skins! (Plenty of Neanderthals here, too).

baseballswami said...

2012- Caps to the postseason, Nats to the postseason, DCUnited to the postseason. Not an NFL fan, but it would be nice to add another local team to that list. I love baseball but I have to admit I am missing hockey. It usually helps me fill the void in the off season. Then there are the Wizards.........

Will said...

I would argue that Boston and Seattle (until very recently) are also both baseball-first cities. Add San Antonio, Miami and Detroit as NBA/NHL first cities.

The Redskins will always be king in DC, but unlike the Capitals and Wizards who are always living in the shadows of the Skins while their seasons substantially overlap, there's hardly any overlap between the NFL and MLB seasons, making it very easy to not have to "choose" between our beloved Redskins and Nationals.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

There is an encouraging youth movement. Winning is quite the sports aphrodisiac.

The Natitude campaign was quite the success.

NatsLady said...

Pointy-ball is getting overly-complicated, with the challenges, ref's reviews, etc. Really slows down the game. I'm not against technology in baseball, but be careful what you wish for.

Gonat said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
There is an encouraging youth movement. Winning is quite the sports aphrodisiac.

The Natitude campaign was quite the success.

December 24, 2012 9:18 AM
__________________________________

Fans are built from the youth and it really is a one at a time type of thing.

NatsFan05 said...

Indians sign Nick Swisher for 4 years, $56 million.

One less left handed power hitter off the market.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
Pointy-ball is getting overly-complicated, with the challenges, ref's reviews, etc. Really slows down the game. I'm not against technology in baseball, but be careful what you wish for.
_________________________________

Agreed. The HR challenge and all challenges can be done at MLB headquarters similar to how they do it in College football by a group that is permanently in front of HiDef monitors. It saves much time doing it remotely so the umps don't have to leave the field.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat @9:21, I have written before on the subject of building fans one at a time. The most ardent fans are usually touched by an event like a walkoff HR which they will never forget or something as simple as getting an autograph from a player.

Think back at how you first became a fan of your first team.

Faraz Shaikh said...

yeah, I don't really care for football. my cousin is a huge redskins fan so I keep myself updated enough so we can talk about it. Otherwise for me,
here is baseball...
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.here rest of sports.

Faraz Shaikh said...

oh as far as DC becoming Nats town, they have to become relevant every season and have some players involved in the community (I am sure there already are some).

Faraz Shaikh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Thanks for a nice piece, Mark. DC has all the hallmarks of towns that love baseball -- growing, young, affluent population, lots of colleges and conventions, some older folk who have been around the area awhile (check the last 2 Censuses, DC is NOT-NOT-NOT a transient town anymore than any other large urban area - the stereotype no longer applies).

BUT - this whole "football/baseball" town thing is just a stupid sports cliche. The NFL is WAY bigger than baseball, so, of course, towns with both sports will favor the NFL. However - one and only one thing drives fan interest in all but the largest cities in this nation -- LA, NY, and Chi -- winning. Only winning matters.

Again, only winning matters. Best football town - Pittsburgh - eight Super Bowls, six win; baseball towns -- NY, Boston, St. Louis - LOTS of World Series wins in those three towns.

If the Nats win a bunch of World Series and make or are close to the playoffs every year for the next decade, Mark and whoever else is writing about them will trumpet DC as a "great baseball town." If they don't, they will be writing "will this town really support baseball" articles - same as in EVERY other town not in LA, NY, and Chi.

Fans in one city or another aren't "better" than others - they all show up when the team wins and stay away when they don't - the mega-cities have enough "die hards" to ride out the bad years and other cities don't.

It's that simple - the rest of this is just tripe when sportswriters need material.

JamesFan said...

I do not see Nats-Skins as a zero-sum game. They are fundamentally different in so many ways and it is possible to be fans of both. I love baseball, so the Nats will always be important to me.

I do think the success of the Nats has put pressure on professional sports in the rest of the region to step it up. The Skins taking a risk and going after RGIII is one example. Improvements in the Orioles product is another.

The debate over whether Washington can sustain a baseball team is over in reality. They draw well even when losing and can pack the place when winning without really trying.

I would like to see the Nats make a major push for fans in Virginia, West VA and NC by extending their radio network and minor league system into this area rather than north. The near South are where the most uncommitted fans live.

sjm308 said...

I get enough of my favorite sport by reading here and the other links Mark puts on the side, but it is interesting how the Post covers football. It is not uncommon to have 6 to 8 pages on Monday after the games on Sunday. Most of that is Redskin related but its still overkill. I realize that football drives the sports entertainment vehicle and I like watching on tv as much as the next guy. In fact, football is the perfect game for tv. You can use the remote to go back to something you were not sure of and I am not sure how many have figured out that the 30 sec button on the remote is perfect to skip all the babble between plays and just give you the action. Its one of the main reasons I love my dvr on fios.

I had an offer of free tickets to a Skins game just two weeks ago and declined. I will watch 35-40 baseball games at Nationals Park but will never set foot in that monstrosity out in PG County. Well, maybe if the Rolling Stones or Led Zepplin were there but that is it.

Thanks for the article Mark, loved the picture, Merry Christmas Eve to everyone and happy holidays to those who have finished their celebrations.

Go Nats!!

ps:Kieran comes over tonight & for MicheleS, the Nationals products are way under her guess. He is getting a complete set of 2012 Topps Baseball Cards and a Nationals Truck but he is so tiny and we are waiting until he can actually fit in onesies for the nats gear to start.

Gonat said...

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/24/josh-hamilton-says-the-mariners-didnt-really-try-hard-to-sign-him/

Josh Hamilton "outs" the Mariners. You usually don't hear a player doing that but I suppose every team could say that about the Orioles. Early on they were "in" on both Josh Hamilton and Greinke.

sjm308 said...

Unknown:

The city that throws a monkey wrench into your "winning" theory is Chicago. The Cubs continue to draw win or lose. I agree with your premise though.

As we continued to win this past season, more and more casual fans and even more so, the media started jumping on. I actually made me ill to hear people that honestly care only about football try and sound like they supported our lads when they had no real idea what a double switch was.

NatsLady said...

If you have ESPN insider, there is a good article up by Buster Olney on the issues of draft-pick compensation, and a possible though imperfect "loophole."

His feeling is the same as mine, it's not only the pick it's the money that goes along with the pick, which gives teams flexibility in what they can offer as draft bonuses. The money was already tight last year. I remember teams carefully hoarding their bonus money to make sure they signed who they wanted at whatever level.

If I were a free agent I would consider putting it in my contract for the team not to make the qualifying offer.

mlb free agency

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/8777314/michael-bourn-kyle-lohse-helped-possible-free-agency-loophole-mlb

Gonat said...

sjm308, I don't see it as Redskins vs. Nationals. I think the Caps season dragging on the past few years took away from the Nats. If anything the Nats playoff push took away from Sept/Oct which has always been Redskins time.

With young stars like Bryce Harper and Strasburg, there is plenty for the youth to get excited about.

natsfan1a said...

sjm, I think there's a Wrigley Field factor in play to some extent for Chicago. (Maybe after tonight you could slip a new pic of Kieran into your avatar so we can stay up to date on him. Needless to say, we'll want to see him sporting that onesie when the time comes. :-))

Theophilus T. S. said...

Cubs and White Sox continue to draw because they are North Side and South Side -- and the north and south sides would hate each other without a baseball team.

UnkyD said...

?@10:01..... You had me, until "...Boston.... LOTS of WS wins, there...)

Not in our lifetimes...

sm13 said...

Througout last season, and especially starting in September, there was a noticable spike in the number of Nats caps, jackets, shirts, sweatshirts, and car decals that began popping up in DC. The Nats began to capture the imagination of this town and can hold on to it as long as they avoid a couple of 100-loss seasons again -- and I trust in Rizzo that he can pull that off. I saw on MLB-TV that Harper's jersey was in the top 6 in sales nationally last year and those all couldn't have been in DC. So, maybe we'll start seeing more Curly W's in away ballparks as time goes on.

Natitude is contagious!

flynnie said...

Football is too brutal. For those who say that is an artifact of bigger, stronger, faster athletes, I give you the "Bootsy" play of old - I had a football coach down South nicknamed "Bootsy", and people thought it was a cute nickname, unless you knew what it meant. If a player was too hurting your chances, the coach would call the"Bootsy" play. The team would then pile on him the next play, each man doing his all to disable him. No one could bring Emmet Smith down, and when he did, everyone who could get to him would pound his calves, trying to induce a cramp. And that was mild. I suppose that baseball has its beanballs and plays at the plate, but I don't see several players maimed for the season every 10 games, which you see in each of footballs's regular season 16 games. Boz says that he's seen the questions being asked about football now early in his career. They were asked about boxing. He predicts the same fate. I pull for the 'Skins and my native Saints, but I don't want my grand-kids anywhere near a football field. And though I know I'm supporting the players of today, I wonder if they will be grateful for that support as they pay the price after their on average 6 year careers.

flynnie said...

Oh, Laddie Blah, Blah, thanks for the Christmas present of that wonderful, hopeful Rendon post likening him to Willie Mays and explaining that his reflexes allow him to "re-load" on off-speed pitches - a great explanation for Mike Trout's abilities to hit junk, which have caused pitchers to throw him fast-balls. Can you imagine Harper reaching that point next year? Anyhow, 1A, Traveller, +1/2 St., Farid, John In Minn., friends old and new, Merry Christmas, and go read "Ring Out Wild Bells" by Tennyson.

blovy8 said...

Yeah, I'm defintely seeing more gear, but whether that's front-runner stuff or not, there's a really good opportunity to get a generation of kids in this area to be solid fans. There are 81 chances and lots of cheap deals to get kids to go to even one game. The Wizards stink, and the Caps are expensive even if their season eventually happens. Despite the Georgetown/UMD college basketball competition in February, I believe the Nats will get a lot more coverage this year in spring training. Harper and Strasburg are just too good.

blovy8 said...

The only team besides the Cubs that might have that built-in 25,000 a night would be the Cardinals, but it's been so long since they had a long run of losing, it's hard to tell. They never seem to be lousy longer than a year or two.

We are the Nationals said...

I'm your typical sports fan and DC Homer fanatic. I can't help but be crazy-mad HYSTERICAL for ALL teams in Washington (the Wiz will get there someday). I also can't wait for spring training, not just for the Nationals, but also, for my two sons growing up playing t-ball and little league.

But it's the hot stove season, so I'm excited for the 'Skins right now. It is, of course, Dallas week. We want Dallas(Cowboys suck). We WANT Dallas! (Cowboys suck!) WE WANT Dallas!!! HTTR!

Gonat said...

We are the Nationals said...
I'm your typical sports fan and DC Homer fanatic. I can't help but be crazy-mad HYSTERICAL for ALL teams in Washington (the Wiz will get there someday).
________________________________

Leonsis isn't doing his job and is trying to push attendance based on false hope. One thing I have to say is Kasten was brutally honest with his quotes like "You get what you deserve in attendance".

Winning is the cure all to everything in this town.

A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! said...

Yeah, whatever. Wake me when they change the name.

The Retired Journalist said...

Personally, I'm far more interested in baseball news than anything that might be happening with the NFL or college football. But then, I'm not a football fan.

The American version of football (I don't want to disrespect the more-accurately-named game called "soccer" in the US) is just too slow and boring for me. You have eleven large men make a pile on the field with eleven other large men, then you wait for 90 seconds or two minutes or so while the playing field is reset, and then they do the same thing again. Over and Over again. As I said, "boring."

DC baseball writer Phil Wood once published a piece on a study the National Football League commissioned, done by a former NFL head coach, which found that there's only about fifteen minutes of actual game action in a typical three-hour-plus football game.

NatsLady said...

Sofa, you are in for a LONG nap. People spend thousands of dollars on that gear. We'll see assault rifles banned before we see that logo changed.

NatsLady said...

Retired--one thing I like about baseball is they have time to show the crowd and the players' faces. In pointy-ball, whenever there is a break they go to ENDLESS commercials and the players' faces are hidden by helmets. So all you see is TD celebrations (which are kind of cool, and I hate when they get penalties), fights, and sideline shots. Also, I would hate to be a camera-person or anyone else along the sidelines as players bang into people with amazing force.

Nick Foles played the 2nd half with a broken hand. People (twitter people) seem to think that is admirable. He probably got shots for the pain, and will be on some downer today. Take the poor slob out of the game--which I HOPE they do in baseball!

SonnyG10 said...

Happy Holidays everyone. We have some pretty snow coming down in No. Va, but it's not sticking.

I used to be a die-hard Redskins fan, but Daniel Snyder pretty much killed that for me. I still like the Skins and root for them, but the Nationals have my heart now. It has been a joy to me to see fathers and mothers taking their small children to see the Nats play. I ride the subway in and see a lot of them on the train.

Yelling in Lower Case said...

I used to be a Reskins fanatic. Snyder then purchased the team and every year since then my fantatcism has gone down and down. I am not a Nationals Fanatic (not just because of last season). In fact, bought season tickets unlike I did with Skins. So yes, this team does have a chance to change the town to a baseball town as long as Snyder owns the team.

sjm308 said...

1A - as you know, the computer and I are not friendly. Is this avatar thing you speak of the picture next to my name? If so, I think I can work that to change it. If its not that, I am totally lost.

Hope your Christmas is a bright one and that when we have an insider meet-up I can bring my lap top and get a lesson between drinks.

Retired, that is just what I was talking about earlier. If you have the game on dvr and just run the plays, you are done in a flash. I honestly like the pace of a baseball game and always have. The George Carlin piece is also a great comparison.

NatsLady said...

No snow in the West End/Foggy Bottom yet. It would be fun to have snow since I don't have to go out and shovel it!!!!

I see a fair number of curly W hats around. It used to surprise me, but now I'm getting accustomed to it. Nice feeling.

sjm308 said...

1A - lets see if this works

sjm308 said...

All you crusty baseball guys, I will get my grandson off of Insider but come on, I mean look how nice 1A has been to all of us and I can't refuse bragging either.

MicheleS said...

OMG!!! THAT BABY IS SOOO CUTE! You keep that Avitar up with new pics of him! And if any of the guys gives you crap, 1A and I will take care of them.

sjm308 said...

Also just got approval from the spousal equivalent as well, but we will see how kevin feels. You guys are special however!!!

sjm308 said...

On a very serious note, I am willing to bet that even Mark did not see this blog growing into something that you could almost describe as "family". I realize it stretches into Canada, across the Atlantic and all over the US, but there are many of us who actually enjoy each others company as well as baseball. Yes, its imaginary company for the majority of people, but speaking just for myself, the hours I have put into this have been more then just fun. Mark has had to put us in the corner at times (well, not MicheleS or 1A) but the baseball remains a vehicle to drive conversations into all kinds of realms.

Thanks to all of you and Merry Christmas.

NatsLady said...

Hey, sjm, look at the picture for this post! Kids are our future, be proud, be happy.

c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 said...

Re: becoming a baseball town. Wearing my new Nats earrings this morning while getting coffee at the local shop (not the earrings with the feathers. With my cats, I don't think those would last to Spring Training). Next couple in line noticed, which led to a long Nats-related conversation.

As I said at Thanksgiving, I am thankful that this is the year that people stopped asking me WHY I was a Nats fan and instead asked "how long I had been a fan."

Best wishes to all the Insiders . . . and for much Nattitude all the way through October!

ArVAFan

Unknown said...

cubs/wrigley -- exception the proves the rule.

Red Sox -- ok,not a lot of WS wins, but only three sub-500 seasons since 1967. THAT is a LOT of winning. From 1947 - 1966, Boston was denigrated as a terrible baseball city playing in an old, decrepit stadium - winning changes everything in sports, even perception - now Fenway is a shrine, then it was a dump.

Candide said...

This: http://articles.latimes.com/1987-01-18/sports/sp-5548_1_pro-football-game

ipse dixit

natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

Candide, that one's a fave of mine. Also liked George Carlin's take back in the day.

sjm, we were out and about earlier but thanks for sharing the adorable pic. That's exactly what I meant by your avatar. Would be happy to do a computer lesson at a future meet-and-greet. Not much for you to learn now, though, as you can already do bold and italic type. :-)

I'm also grateful to Mark for giving our Insider family a virtual meeting place. Happy holidays to all!

natsfan1a said...

Carlin on baseball vs. football.

peric said...

I suspect Nats luck, Bryce Harper and his clown question good fortune have rubbed off on the pointy ball team. For the first time in over a decade they now believe they can win any game. Sure it starts with DC's other sure-thing ROY RGIII. But as everyone witnessed at the beginning of the season he wasn't going to do it all alone.

A big key was beating the verdamned Baltimore Pointy Pencil Beaks the Ravens convincingly. Something they haven't been able to do either in exhibition games or in the regular season. I think if they look back they will see that as a key game toward building the confidence of one key overachieving element of the team: the defense. Haslett did a mid-season correction at 'half-time' and suddenly a less than talented defense is creating havoc for everyone.

In a sense it closely mirrors the Nats sudden success ... leading to wonder if perhaps good ol' Dan lit a fire under the Shanny's due to the sudden popularity and respect given the once lowly Nats?

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Flynnie -

I really see Rendon as much more like Hank Aaron than Mays. I am old enough to have seen them both in their primes. Mays would swing so hard it sometimes seemed like he would spin himself right into the ground. I only mentioned Willie because he, too, had early injury problems which proved to be a passing difficulty.

But Aaron is the guy who Rendon most resembles. Look at this picture of Aaron, and note how downright scrawny he is, or was:

http://books.google.com/books/about/I_Had_a_Hammer.html?id=-roSyVHVZEIC

Look at those "guns." See? He doesn't have any. Yet he broke the Babe's lifetime HR record - not with brawn, but with finesse. A finesse power hitter? Exactly. That's what makes Rendon such a rare talent. He has a swing that is uncannily similar to Aaron's. Aaron could not have weighed more than 150 lbs, a runt by today's standards, and Rendon is only slightly larger.

Rendon does a toe tap, mid-stride, as he steps into his swing, which enhances his ability to adjust while he is swinging. He does it so seamlessly that you don't even notice. I don't watch every player on every team, but my guess is you could count the number of ML hitters who can do that with no more than your 10 fingers. I do know, for sure, that Rendon is one of them.

No wonder he steps to the plate with that big smile of his. The game is so much easier for a guy with that kind of ability than it is for almost everyone else.

Next time you see Rendon step up to the plate, try and remember Espinoza's body language as he comes up to hit, and the difference will be striking. Rendon is on his way to a party, and Danny is steeling himself for a struggle he doesn't think he can win.

NatsLady said...

ArVaFan--I have those earrings, the ones with the feathers! They are still in the plastic wrap, I don't plan to wear them except to an actual game.

peric said...

Next time you see Rendon step up to the plate, try and remember Espinoza's body language as he comes up to hit, and the difference will be striking. Rendon is on his way to a party, and Danny is steeling himself for a struggle he doesn't think he can win.

Danny's a switch hitter and an uber athlete trying to do too much. And Davey will be the first to tell you that.

But, that's the nice thing about getting a professional hitter in the making like Rendon into the majors quicker ... like Teddy Ballgame he already has the knack and I believe the ability to hit .300 right out of the box. Whether he can hit for power and stay reasonably healthy? But, Rendon is young enough and impressive enough to mayhap help Danny work through his problems. And this is what this team now needs. The young hitters working together to maximize improvement.

waddu eye no said...

merry christmas all, where applicable. anda late happy hannukah to mark and fam.

listening to redskins radio, where in the last hour i've heard:

- giants look they're down to to their last strike
- doc describes a tough opposing player as "a hard out."

if they can't describe a playoff possible team without baseball analogies, maybe things are starting to come around.

Glad the nats came when the skins weren't worth watching. and i'd be happy to have two good teams in town.

best to all.

GYFNG and HTTR.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

I meant to say that Aaron weighed no more than 175 lbs, not 150 lbs. Sorry.

Here is some video of Rendon's swing. The first series is from batting practice. Notice how relaxed his shoulders are as he swings. He seems to be swinging in slow motion. Next swing, look at the bat speed he generates with that lazy looking swing. The bat is a blur. The power all comes from the torque he transmits from his forearms and wrists into his hands. That is exactly how Aaron generated so much power from such a scrawny frame, too:

http://forum.orioleshangout.com/forums/showthread.php/100090-Anthony-Rendon-Video-from-USA-CNT-Trials-Last-Week

You cannot see the toe tap in batting practice, but you can easily see it in the second set of videos during a game. Notice how he strides into his swing and then drops his toe back to the ground just before finishing his swing. He can reload at that point without losing his balance or rhythm, while readjusting his timing.

Easy to say, not so easy to do, but seeing is believing. The guy is a baseball freak. You cannot teach what he does so easily. If you could, every other hitter would do it, too. Once in a while, you see a guy who can actually pull it off. The Nats have one of those rare guys.

peric said...

Easy to say, not so easy to do, but seeing is believing. The guy is a baseball freak. You cannot teach what he does so easily. If you could, every other hitter would do it, too. Once in a while, you see a guy who can actually pull it off. The Nats have one of those rare guys.

Tell it to Natsjack ... I have the jalapeƱo laden garlic sauce to help him eat his words and major dissing of Rendon who in Natsjack opinion is still just another prospect who isn't ready for the majors because he only has 45 minor league games under his belt at age 23.

Natsjack is going to be awfully sick very soon ...

MicheleS said...

NatsLady was representing today! Law can be such a twit. I enjoyed your back and forth.

Timothy Folk said...

God you guys sound bitter...

1. Redskins
2. Caps
3. Nats (will be 2 soon)
4. Wiz

Pointy Ball? Really.. Football is more exciting but that doesn't make it better

NatsJack in Florida said...

Why would I be sick? I want Rendon to stay healthy and elevate his game to the ML level. And soon, too.

He just has yet to show me and alot of other people much smarter than me that he's ready.

And wth that, here's wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Feel Wood said...

People keep comparing Rendon to Harper and saying he's ready. Before Harper was called up, he had the 2010 AFL, virtually a full season of MiLB, the 2011 AFL, and then another month of MiLB. Rendon has about 45 games of MiLB and the 2012 AFL under his belt at this point. Compared with Harper, Rendon won't be ready until Sept 2013 at the earliest.

NatsLady said...

MicheleS--he is. And he has exactly ZERO self-awareness. Maybe if I have time I will send him some of his particularly obnoxious podcasts. Us Nats fans had no horse in the MVP race, so I could listen without bias as he trashed and belittled everyone who didn't agree with him.

I like the "advanced stats" but you have to give some credence to the managers and players who actually, y'know, play the game. They may not have their calculators out, but I bet they know which hitters they don't want to face.

Abby Beeler said...

I think the comparison that more people are making is with Ryan Zimmerman. Of course, the two biggest differences there are the strength (desperation?) of the Nats at the times they came along, as well as their injury histories.

I'm not sure I buy the argument that someone needs to prove they can stay healthy for some extended length of time to come up ... that only seems like it would be true if the team wants to trade / release the player they are replacing so they need the upcoming player to be reliable in addition to "good" / "ready".

But I do agree that the current Nats have much less "need" to rush Rendon along, so my guess is that they will be patient unless injuries at the ML level force the issue early.

MicheleS said...

The annual Xmas treat from the guys at WTOP.

Craig & George

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Made one last check prior to Xmas.

NO ALR SIGNING!

Teddy Rochlis said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but this upcoming playoff esque game for the redskins is about equivalent of a September game of the nats, exciting but okay, personally i find the nats preseason more interesting then the redskins regular season maybe its because im a baseball guy who knows, but it will always be about the nats for me and nothing i have seen of football can ever match the excitement of game 4 walkoff by Jayson Werth.

UnkyD said...

I really really really wish there was a like button....

John C. said...

Just stopping by to say hello, Merry Christmas & happy holidays to one and all in this special zoo that Mark Z. has enabled. May there be peace on Earth, and goodwill among Nats fans :-)

Another_Sam said...

Swami -- the thing about that other game is it's made for TV. Two words: parity scheduling. And with the salary agreement, success is a zero sum game for them. The owners don't compete with each other; they're partners. Like professional wrestling. Or NASCAR. Thank goodness our game is different.

Merry christmas to all. The days are getting longer now, though I can't notice it yet. The reporting of pitchers and catchers isn't that far away.

Another_Sam said...

Teddy -- right on, regardng the Sunday night game. And LOL, I'm with you: spring baseball is more fun for me than regular season -- or even post season -- NFL play.

But I do admit that a few Redskin wins have got me watching again.

SonnyG10 said...

Good Night Nats Insiders!!! 2013 is just around the corner.

baseballswami said...

So I am a church musician and have been pretty much working non- stop. Finally home from multiple Christmas Eve services. Tonight, right after a rehearsal, my choir members presented me with Nats tickets to four games!!! Also got the little George ornament. They know me so well. Made my night and got me through the rest of the night. Now I really can't wait- for the season and for a little sleep. I will re-surface at some point later today. Was hoping for some news.......

Joe Seamhead said...

Very cool, Swami. Merry Christmas to all of you. May there be peace on earth.
GYFNG!!!

MJR said...

Swami, I hope you don't have a chance to read this for another couple of hours. As a sometime church musician, I miss the craziness of the Advent and Lenten seasons but was happy last night to be a plain-old parishioner listening to some of the best music-making in the DC area. I hope your music-making was joyful - if exhausting.

OK...back to baseball. All I want for Christmas is Adam LaRoche at 1st.

Was it NatsLady who suggested a while back that we get a group of NI musical-types to sing the National Anthem at a game? I'm in!

A happy and peaceful holiday to all.

Faraz Shaikh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NatsLady said...

swami, I'm retired from being a church musician now, but I remember those exhausting holiday stints... Not only did I have to sing and direct at my two regular churches, I frequently got called as a last-minute sub--to sight-read some unfamiliar repertoire composed in four or five languages by the church's organist--you get the idea.

Yes, I thought it would be a fun thing get a National Anthem group together, if we can have a rehearsal and then audition. I think they hold the auditions in January.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Merry Christmas y'all!
Live long and prosper!

waddu eye no said...

merry christmas all.
nats lady - keep us abreast of auditions. i tried last year to get tome davis to reply about us singing, but to to no avail.
we should all just pester him mercilessly .

hohohoho!
gyfng

BigCat said...

Someone in the last blog was comparing Rendon to Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Come on man.

Unknown said...

Not only have I seen those comparisons, I have made them in an earlier post.

I never saw Mays play but I got to see Henry Aaron play many times. They were both just a tad under 6 feet, rather slim for a power hitter and both generated their power with their wrists as they pushed through the strike zone.

It's like comparing Frank Howard and Adam Dunn. Not saying they are the same player but parts of their game (and their size) are very similar.

Based on watching baseball for 45 years, experience tells me Redon will by a Billy Madlock with power, a guy who during his prime will hit .320-25-100 with a .385 OBP.

If the Nationals could put him at second, that would be some infield:

1B-LaRoche/Morse/Moore: .270-30-90
2B-Rendon: .300-15-85
SS-Desmond: .290-27-92
3B-Zimmerman: .285-30-100
C-Ramos: .270-17-60

Matt Skole might be the first baseman by the time Rendon comes along, or Zimmerman might be at first with Rendon moving to third.

Farid @ Idaho

SCNatsFan said...

Merry Christmas to Mark and all my Nats Insider pseudo friends lol hope each of you is having a wonderful Holiday

peric said...

I like the "advanced stats" but you have to give some credence to the managers and players who actually, y'know, play the game.

Nothing is perfect but advanced stats do provide an additional mathematical tool to reasonably estimate the unmeasurable (by anything other than statistics) intangibles such as talent and attitude. In my opinion those two things are "make up" and that is what makes a true major league ball talent from someone else.

And they keep adjusting the stats trying to get a pretty decent distribution that comes close to perfectly describing those two intangibles. There are so many variables. And that's where a good manager comes in. He can weigh the additional variables not necessarily factored in against the talent and attitude that he observes. I don't think that's an easy thing to do.

NatsLady said...

I think the advanced stats are very helpful for (1)a check against "homerism"--getting too attached to your own teams' players and selectively remembering events; and (2) comparison with other teams' players that you don't watch day-in day-out.

The "counting" stats like WAR are helpful in valuing a player who is not only high performing but also durable. But I also like the percent type stats, where you see strikeouts per nine innings; strikeouts as a percent of at-bats; etc. To me, those give an idea how a player is utilizing his opportunities.

SonnyG10 said...

I think stats are good for those that understand them and can evaluate them, but I am one that doesn't understand a lot of them, so I just go by what I see. I do have mega-homerism, so of course I'm biased toward my Nats.

Feel Wood said...

I tried to count the things WAR is good for. And I came up with absolutely nothin'.

natsfan1a said...

Uh-huh.

baseballswami said...

Say it again. Ok- so I was really hoping ALR would have a Christmas dream last night. Spirits would show him how horrible the future will be on another team. He wakes up, calls Rizzo and immediately signs a contract. No? Darn.

natsfan1a said...

Nice angle. If we fleshed it out, maybe he'd get a visit from, say, Mickey Vernon for the DC past.

natsfan1a said...

Or, he sees his future, wherein he'd be an old maid librarian and...oops...sorry. Wrong movie.

peric said...

I tried to count the things WAR is good for. And I came up with absolutely nothin'.

Why I never use it. Too coarse grained. Massages out too much of the data.

peric said...

Or, he sees his future, wherein he'd be an old maid librarian and...oops...sorry. Wrong movie.

Clarence Oddbody, AS-1:angel in your outfield.

peric said...

If the Nationals could put him at second, that would be some infield:


Its NOT going to happen. Period. The infield will look like this in the near future:

1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Anthony Rendon
SS Ian Desmond
C This might actually be more of a question mark than many believe.

Why? Because it would be the best fielding infield in all of major league baseball with a gold glove at every position with athletes capable of moving to offset injury. Yes, Rendon will be better than Zimmerman at third base. His height and lower center of gravity plus nimble reflexes of a shortstop are why. That is just the way it is. You'll just have to accept it.

Rizzo likes this a strong defense with smaller, most athletic guys he can get leading the way like Span and before Span Morgan. But, he needs offense too. In this case Rendon adds and does not detract from the offense.

And Danny Espinosa if far, far better than you give him credit for Farid. I'm sure you felt the same way about Ian Desmond before his break out season this year. What happens if Desmond regresses?

natsfan1a said...

Perfect.

peric said...


Clarence Oddbody, AS-1:angel in your outfield.
December 25, 2012 5:02 PM

SonnyG10 said...

I must say I do like the sound of peric's version of our near future infield. That sounds awesome.

Joe Seamhead said...

Define"near."

waddu eye no said...

WAR is not the answer?

natsfan1a said...

What's going on?

baseballswami said...

What is the question?

Dave said...

I'm missing out on the recent NI threads cause I've got no Internet at home this week. Fried router from a surge during the wind Saturday.

Anyway, happy Christmas to all Christmas-celebrating Insiders. Hope you all are having a great holiday.

I'd definitely be into joining on the Insider anthem audition. I'll keep my eyes & ears open for developments.

SonnyG10 said...

Joe Seamhead said...
Define"near."
December 25, 2012 9:15 PM


I'd say near is within the next 3 to 4 years.

Unknown said...

It's 10:00 out here in Idaho and I'm bored. I got to thinking about the '95 Indians, who won 100 games in that strike-shortened season and who was considered one of the best young teams to come out of nowhere in a few decades.

Hmmm....

C-Tony Pena (38) .262-5-28
1B-Paul sorrento (29) .235-25-79
2B-Carolos Baerga (26) .314-15-90
SS-Omar Visquel (28) .266-6-56
3B-Jim Thome (24) .314-25-73
LF-Albert Belle (28) .317-50-126
CF-Kenny Lofton (28) .310-7-53
RF-Manny Ramirez (23) .308-31-107

Starting Pitchers:

Dennis Martinez (40) 12-5, 3.08
Charles Nagy (28) 16-6, 4.55
Orel Herschiser (36) 16-6. 3.87
Mark Clark (27) 9-7, 5.27
Chad Ogea (24) 8-3, 3.05

I can remember all the press that their GM got for bringing in the young players and locking them up to long-term team=friendly contracts.

But c'mon.

The only Indians' infielder who would make the Nationals is our old friend Carlos Baerga. Jim Thome had some good offensive stats at third but he had a .948 fielding mark with no range.

You'd have to take Albert Belle's 50 home runs over Bryce Harper in left and Manny Ramirez' 31 homers in right over Jason Werth.

Kenny Lofton and Denard Span are similar players though Lofton was a much better base runner.

But none of their starting pitching would make the Nationals' rotation.

I have a feeling that in 15 years, people will talk about the 2012 Nationals with the same reverence as the '95 Indians, with maybe even a little more love.

Farid @ Idaho

NatsJack in Florida said...

In baseball terms "near future" is less than 1 full season.

JaneB said...

Just catching up to this. I'm all for more people joining the bandwagon, as long as they aren't fair weather fans. I'd love for that park to be full night after night, even though it makes parking harder. I agree with Farid that people will talk about the 2012 Nats. I am looking forward to 2013, and wishing we had every one of them back. Including Bo. Even though Bo has a better job this coming year. I'm just flat out selfish.

A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! said...

I'm all for more people joining the bandwagon, as long as they aren't fair weather fans.

I'm all for fair weather. I am steadfastly opposed to cold, sleety rain.

TheBorg said...

That kid is my neighbor and one of my son's closest friends. They play little league together and we take them to a handful of Nats games each year. Growing the next generation of Nats fans!

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