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Michael Burgess signs (with Dining Guide below)

Because there's a lot to digest in the restaurant/bar guide, and because we're in the midst of the final homestand before the all-star break, I'm going to keep this at the top of the Journal for a few days. But check back because I'll put the updates on the top of it. Like this one coming up right here:

Langerhans -- 8
Belliard -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Young -- 3
Church -- 7
Lopez -- 6
Schneider -- 2
Fick -- 9
Redding -- 1

No Austin Kearns. He didn't start once earlier this year, but came in later in the game. If he sits out tonight, it'll be the first game he misses. Kearns had a rough June. He hit .255, but he drove in just four runs the whole month. This after driving in 15 in May. Think about those projections: If you drive in 15 a month for six months, that's 90 for the year. That's a reasonable number for Kearns. Last night, he drove in his 27th of the year. He can't believe the number's that low, and neither can the team.

Kearns is also 5 for 27 (.185) lifetime against Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, though he has two doubles and a homer.

The Nationals earlier today announced that OF Michael Burgess from Tampa's Hillsborough High has signed. He was the 49th pick overall in the draft, and while he had a bit of a lagging senior season, the Nationals were ecstatic to find him sitting there at 49. He worked out all over the place for the Nationals, who kind of made him a pet project.

First-round pick Ross Detwiler and sandwich pick Josh Smoker remain unsigned, but there's still six weeks to go before the Aug. 15 deadline. The club also signed fifth-round pick Brad Myers, a right-hander from Loyola Marymount University.

I'll get the terms ASAP. GM Jim Bowden wrote in his weekly column in the Washington Examiner last week that the club was offering a $620,000 bonus plus $56,000 in college scholarship program plus $7,500 in something called an "incentive bonus plan." He called it at the time "more than fair." Though Burgess at one point thought he would be taken in the first round -- and even in the top 10 -- that doesn't mean he gets first-round money.

Also: Soriano returned to RFK last night, and Boz has our take on it. I have to say I was surprised by the under-current of boos for the guy. I often said last year that each and every night of the 2006 season, there were two reasons to go to the ballpark -- Soriano and Zimmerman. You didn't know what either would do. Does anyone think he shouldn't have taken $136 million if it was offered him?

Also: If anyone wants to read about another lackluster loss, here you go. The real news of the day is that Micah Bowie is hurt and won't start tonight, bringing up -- gulp -- Tim Redding. Read between the lines on those Bowden quotes, if you will. I think they're on the podcast as well.

Enough baseball for a minute. As the Nationals head home for their final homestand prior to the all-star break - four against the Cubs, three against the Brewers - I figured it might be about time to discuss exactly where you can go before/after games for some food/drink. You guys have touched on this before, and I saw a few threads ago people recommending places in Dupont and Adams Morgan. That's all well and good, but RFK is basically on the back side of Capitol Hill, and as a denizen of the Hill, I figure I should offer a bit of guidance for those coming to our fine hood.

First off, it's long been my thought that the entire RFK experience is hindered by the fact that there's not a single place to get a burger and a beer around the park. Hopefully, that changes at the new place in 2008 - or at least in '09 or '10, when the neighborhood down there by the new ballpark starts to fill in.

So that leaves you Metro riders - blue and orange line to the park - a couple of choices. You can get off at Capitol South and walk up to Pennsylvania Avenue SE, just a couple blocks. I'll deal with places best served by that Metro stop first, which are basically on Pennsylvania between 2nd and 4th Streets (or between the Library of Congress and the Exxon station).

The first bar that I go to here is the Capitol Lounge, which battled a fire about a year ago and had to rebuild. Very tough. They have good burgers and a decent bar food menu. It's actually a great soccer bar, and used to have lots of cool political memorabilia in there, though much of that stuff seemed to be lost in the fire. A good beer-and-burger place, and Mrs. Nationals Journal points out that they have "better-than-expected salads."

Up on the next block is the famous Hawk N' Dove, which has a dark-wood, old-school feel for it. I've actually sat here and listened to more debates on politics than on sports, but it's a gathering place for Packers fans (they have a back room to themselves) on Sundays in the fall. Another good bar menu, and I'm partial to the odd grilled broccoli-and-cheese sandwich. Several rooms here, as well as (like most of the places on Pennsylvania) outdoor seating. Also accessible from the Eastern Market Metro, which is at 7th and Pennsylvania. Very, very solid, though I have to question their jukebox choices on occasion.

Next door to the Hawk N' Dove is, I have to admit, my favorite spot, though I can't imagine everyone feeling this way. The Tune Inn is a classic dive with great bartenders (Matt is a huge Red Sox fan, Ned generally wears Nationals' gear) and the Nats are always on the TV. This place is small. Very small. Very, very divey. Lots of dead animals on the walls. When the smoking ban went in effect on Jan. 1, I couldn't imagine this place still existing. PBR on tap (though, inexplicably, not in cans or bottles).

I'm hesitant in recommending the Tune Inn to everybody. I do have a buddy, though, who saw Marion Barry here at like 1:30 a.m. within the last couple weeks. And I offer a special, as-yet-to-be-determined prize, to anyone who can answer this two-part Tune Inn trivia question: Who wears sweatpants? And under what circumstances does he wear them?

The best addition to the Hill since Mrs. NJ and I moved here in 2003 is Sonoma, a wine bar/restaurant a couple doors down from the Cap Lounge between 2nd and 3rd. Very good food, outstanding wine list, but it's not much of a sports place. A big lunch hangout for House types (we're on the House side of the Hill here, in Southeast). No sports on TV, but it is where Mrs. NJ decided to have a book party for me last year (when this book came out (which is still available on Amazon, by the way)), and it has a spectacular bar space upstairs. I have constant complaints about the lack of restroom facilities, especially when it's crowded, but we go here quite a bit, probably once a week when I'm home. Not sure it's that appropriate for pre- or post-ballgames, but you might try it another time.

Another place that is a huge sports hangout - especially, it seems, on college football Saturdays - is the Pour House, which used to be called Poli-tiki, has a cool space upstairs and offers shuttles to the game on Fridays and Saturdays. Seems more for the college crowd/Hill staffers softball parties, etc., so I functionally don't go there much and have never eaten the food. But it's an active bar between 3rd and 4th.

Oh, almost forgot the main spot that you see right when you get off the Metro at Capitol South - Tortilla Coast. This place is owned by the people that bring you the popular Café Deluxe in Cleveland Park, Bethesda and Tysons (I believe). Popular for $.50 taco night, which I believe is Tuesday. Good margaritas. Another softball party place.

The other main spots on the Hill are more accessible from the Eastern Market Metro stop (which, as I said, is at 7th and Pennsylvania Ave. SE). The poor, poor market still isn't open yet after that late April fire, and it has changed my meat-and-fish buying habits. Eighth St. SE, though, is known as Barracks Row, named after the Marine barracks at the southern end, just before the Southeast Expressway. If you're driving in from, say, Virginia, it'd be easy to get off the highway at 6th St. SE, take a left on 6th, then a right on G, and two blocks later you're in the heart of it.

The best restaurant here is Belga, which is another place that arrived since we did in '03. You like mussels? You like frites? You like Belgian beers? This is the place. Mrs. NJ also points to the excellent salads (yes, she eats lots of salads), but I think of this place as really a beer connoisseur spot. They have outstanding Sunday brunch as well, which would be a great thing to do before getting back on the Metro for an afternoon game. (Eastern Market Metro is two stops from Stadium/Armory; Capitol South is three stops from the stadium).

There are a couple of spots across 8th St. SE from Belga, including Finn MacCool's (which, unfortunately, I believe is a chain), Marty's (which has a rooftop deck that is covered in astroturf) and the Ugly Mug. Of these, I'm most intrigued by the Ugly Mug, which reportedly landed the chef from Matchbox, the pizza-and-mini-burger place down near Verizon Center/Gallery Place. I haven't been since that supposedly happened a couple months ago, but if that dude's making his brick-oven pizzas there, it'd be worth a stop.
Banana Café has Cuban and TexMex food, and the opinions on it vary wildly. I've had several good meals here, but Mrs. NJ isn't a huge fan. Good margaritas. There's a piano bar upstairs, if that's your thing. It's not mine. Old Siam is a decent Thai place down the street closer to 8th and Pennsylvania. Not spectacular, but solid and cheap.

A great place to go if you want to get off the Metro and then walk the remaining 12-14 blocks to the stadium is Tunnicliff's, which is on 7th St. directly across from Eastern Market. Decent brunches, good burgers, and another endorsement from Mrs. NJ for "surprisingly good salads." I kind of think this is the biggest spot for pre-Nationals hangout, because you can finish up, walk down to North Carolina Ave. SE, take that over to Lincoln Park and pick up East Capitol on the other side of the park, a nice walk out to RFK.

Our favorite restaurant on the Hill, both for sentimental and practical purposes, is Montmartre, a very French place on 7th St., a block from Eastern Market next to Ben & Jerry's. Simple, revolving menu, everything prepared carefully, and with entrees usually from $15-20, one of the best deals in D.C. I'm a little concerned that the true French flavor - French-speaking hostesses and wait staff - is being cut down a bit because they opened another branch somewhere downtown (DuPont, maybe?), but it's a go-to spot for us. Like Sonoma, perhaps not the ideal pre-game spot, but it's a bit more casual than Sonoma (I go there in shorts and flip-flops quite a bit in the summer), so you could probably pull it off.

A very nice place to eat if you've got some time and you want to walk to RFK is the Park Café, which is on the eastern end of Lincoln Park near the intersection of 13th St. and East Capitol. We've only eaten one meal there, but we keep saying we want to go back to a quirky, kind of artsy spot that's got some character. Big windows look out over the park, and there's all kinds of paintings on the wall. They now have Sunday brunch, and it'd be an easy walk to RFK (l0 blocks?) from there.

I'll probably keep this post up through the Fourth of July, so any of you who are attending the Cubs series and have thoughts on these places - or those I left out - please chime in. I basically left out all the spots on Massachusetts Ave. NE, over near Union Station, both because I'm not as familiar with them and because they're not on the blue/orange lines that get you to the ballpark most easily. If you're driving, though, there's plenty of viable options over there, between 2nd and 4th on Mass.

Alfonso Soriano returns to RFK this week. That should be fun. I'd think he'd get a warm welcome. Go try one of these spots, see Sori, take in some holiday baseball and get back to me with what you think.

By Barry Svrluga  |  July 3, 2007; 10:10 AM ET
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Next: Happy Fourth of July!


Good stuff -- Finn Mac's not a chain, and one of the original founders (not sure if he's still in the ownsership group) is a great-god-grand-cousin-something of Walter Johnson.

Tunniclifs is good after the game because (1) it's just the right distance walk you need after the game to get ready to eat and drink and again, (2) that walk allows you to skip the Armory crowd, and (3) they've got a great "everything is five dollars" after-11 bar menu including real good burger and best wings on the hill.

Posted by: Sam | July 2, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I cosign the endorsement on Tunnicliff's. Actually, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote in this post. Good job.

Posted by: Lindemann | July 2, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget Trusty's, right by the Potomac Avenue Metro and a short walk to RFK. They serve little more than basic bar food, but the half-smokes and burgers are very tasty.

Posted by: Ron | July 2, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The Sabrett stand near the stadium on the Armory sidewalk has never done me wrong.

Posted by: WFY | July 2, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry, for all the restaurant info. The Eastern Market mention reminds me of my visit to Philly for a convention in late May/early June. Natsfan1c (AKA Mr. Natsfan1a) and I visited the Reading Terminal Market a few times and were touched to see that all Philbert (the pig sculpture) donations for the month of May were dedicated to rebuilding of the Eastern Market. Word is that they raised $1,087 for the market.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 2, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Wow, this post of spot-on food recommendations might be the "Apotheosis of St. Barry". I can only add the superb Tortilla Cafe, next door to Tunnicliff's.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 2, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Tortilla Cafe is very good. They've started doing a full US breakfast to make up for the loss of Market Lunch. Also, they're run by the Canale family, who sold in the main market and have brought their deli meats, etc. into the store, so you can Huevos Rancheros and a pound of rare roast beef if you need.

Posted by: Sam | July 2, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Barry, either there's a lot of good salad on the Hill, or your wife is easily surprised. Which is it?

And really, we ought to be able to get a burger and a beer IN the stadium, too. There is beer there, so they have that covered, and how hard is it to cook a burger anyway? To cook a burger well, well of course that's a whole 'nother story. But a mediocre burger to complement the rest of RFK's mediocre food choices seems eminently do-able. All you really need is a fair number of gas grills spaced throughout the stadium, and you're in business. Dominic's and Capital Q are grilling sausages on site, seems they could easily flip a few burgers on there too. And imagine what Five Guys could have done with the space taken by Red Hot and Blue, or a similar spot elsewhere in the park.

But enough rant from me. Coming in from the end of the Orange Line for a 7:05 game, I'm not gonna have time to get off the train, eat somewhere and get back on. So I guess I'll just have to tough out RFK's limited food menu for the rest of this season, but I do hope that Stan is not lying when he talks of better food choices in the new park. (He did rave about the RFK brisket - which is okay but really not all that - so his food reviewing skills are just a bit suspect, IMHO anyway...)

Posted by: Section 419 | July 2, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

On the Mexican food reccos, I'd be interested to hear from any connoisseurs re. how authentic they are. Having grown up in the SFO Bay Area, I was disappointed in the dearth of "authentic" Mexican food in this area when we moved to Virginia in the late 80's. It's gotten better since then, but suffice it to say that when we visit California, natsfan1c and I eat Mexican food almost every day (usually at hole-in-the-wall tacquerias).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 2, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

What are you doing with Mrs. Nick Johnson?!

Posted by: A new nickname may be needed? | July 2, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Barry must never sleep. How he finds time to do all he does is beyond imagination. Perhaps he can talk with Stan to see if he has any idea of what is planned for around the new park next year and later. Just to give us an idea of what we might expect to see in the way of restaurant/bar fare. Congrats Barry on your new job as Post Foodfare review critic et all.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 2, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Some of the RFK grill stands do in fact have burgers. On the lower level, they are at the stand behind home plate near the bar. $8.75 for the "platter," which includes a little bag of potato chips. Cheese is free, and they'll dump some of the grilled onions and peppers on there too if you ask.

Posted by: Cosmo | July 2, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Barry married Miss New Jersey! Wasn't that Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality?

Posted by: Yes I know it's Nationals Journal... | July 2, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the suggestions...but as a suburb guy w small kids--we tend to eat more at less exotic/trendy spots and more at bland suburban places...Thats of the many (pleasures?) of parenthood...

so here is my completely off-topic comment: (sorry)

I usually try to pick a place where just maybe they will have a tv available ---but even then i usually have to hope to find a waiter friendly enough to go thru the hassles of finding the game. Seems like WAY too many places don't seem to know how to find the Nats games. .....SO as a public service--i find myself trying to give them instructions....1st try masn 1,,,if not there...maybe try MAsn 2....then check out channel 20....

Seems like maybe if the Nats games were always on a fixed channel, maybe we would be seeing the games on a lot more of the TVs in these places.

Posted by: pk | July 2, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

So here's what I thought of Fenway. Nothing deep:

I knew I was someplace special when I sat down in the stands and heard them playing Squeeze on a pipe organ ("Tempted", perhaps a warning?) Can we get one at the new Nats stadium? Seriously, Fenway is an amazing park and the atmosphere was a baseball fantasy... if only that 'B' on all the hats was a Curly W. It was something being in a park that was so homogenously spirited. Every person wore something with Red Sox on it (except for me in my navy Curly W cap) and I only saw one Texas hat anywhere (a couple Cubs jerseys, though, they're such lovable losers).

The fans roared at routine fly balls caught by Manny Ramirez, they howled "Yuuuuuuuuk!" in unison, they were on their feet as one at every mildly nervous situation. I have never seen such baseball worship. Fans were universally enthusiastic and nice (I guess there's no pressure on home turf) and no one seemed to care when I cheered wildly for Wilkerson's RBI double that turned into a triple on a throwing error (he also had two strikeouts). I sat next to a Toronto fan, that quietly rooted for a Boston loss to be 9.5 back and also got me cheering for all the players that were Canadian or had played for a Canadian team. I also taught my little brother to keep score.

The field looked tiny, though some of that might have been based on RFK proportions. It was everything that was promised when it came to atmosphere, though. I was very impressed at the way the historic building and new additions had been melded seamlessly. I would like to see our history do the same: Senators and Expos melded seamlessly together in the new ballpark (why not have the best of both teams in our record book?). There were also a hundred little things: lots of street vendors outside the stadium, free game day programs with scorecards (the cheapy ones, you can still buy the glossy), TONS of concessions outside the park with great food (imagine the front of RFK with real food venders), and on and on.

The Sox lost, but no one seemed bothered. There's really a Fenway Experience. Stan, take note.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 2, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Have yet to visit a ball park yet,in fact have yet to visit the states (did get as far as Canada),watching on TV there does seem an awfull lot of meat served at these venues & our local broadcasting host is allways extolling the virtues of the various "hot dogs" & there origings to particular stadia,wondering whats the odds of getting a "veggieburger"?

Posted by: %62 intheUK | July 2, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Forgot the most important observation! Red Sox Nation! Everywhere is Red Sox. All over the airport. Signs in the T (their subway) stations that say "This way to Red Sox". Promotions at every corner. Even if you don't care about baseball, you feel like you're missing something by not going to Fenway. We can do the same with the Nationals!


Cruising down the Potomac at night and seeing the lights of the city, the National Cathedral, the Washington Harbor, the Kennedy Center, the Watergate, Foggy Bottom, Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, the White House, the Capitol, that final bumpy landing on the National Airport tarmac (there is no better way to enter DC than National at night, Natscan take note for when you get down here). You get off the airport and are immediately greeted by curly W's and Nats paraphernalia (co-opt Barry's title "National Pastime", it makes baseball an American thing like seeing Congress and the White House, part of the country, not pledging your allegiance to get better seats). Hats, shirts, signs, discount coupons, a shuttle that goes to the game, promotional packages with Rent-a-Cars. You start thinking, the nation's capital, I need to do American things like see the Mall and its Sights/Sites, see the Archives, and see a baseball game. It's easy to do, because the touristy Trolley buses from outside Union Station go right past the stadium.

These are things that Boston does that Stan should get someone working on NOW. You don't have to have a winning ball team to make a link between baseball and America. We are in the nation's capital with tons of tourists from all over the country... get on it Stan!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 2, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the information on John Patterson in "Nationals Notebook" in the print edition ($.35) this morning. I found it to be much more sensitive than the item I complained about in your journal. I hope you will keep us updated on his progress from time to time as he undergoes this treatment. I know some have said they don't want to hear any more about him until he is pitching again, but there are also many of us who want to know how he is getting along. We certainly wish him well and hope that he will soon be back pitching with the Nats - without pain! When you speak to him again, please let him know that he has many fans who are pulling for him. He must be feeling rather beleaguered right now.

Thanks for the info on restaurants in the RFK area. I go to church on Capitol Hill, and a friend and I are always on the lookout for good brunch places nearby.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | July 2, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine that Alfonso wouldn't get a warm welcome here in DC. He was loved here in DC and certainly responsible for many exciting moments at RFK. I'm quite torn about this week though because while I'm a Nats fan, I grew up in Illnois so I've been following the Cubs all my life and I'd really like to see them take a shot at the NL Central. But I don't want to see the Nats get beaten up either. I've had enough of that over the past couple of weeks. But since the Cubs and the Brewers swept the Nats earlier this year, I think we're in for a long, ugly homestand (again). I'm being optimistic and saying 2 - 5.


Posted by: Anthony D. Langford | July 2, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Sect. 506, thanks for the trip report. It sounds like a great experience! I've been to Wrigley but not yet to Fenway. I'd love to have a real organ at the new stadium (as opposed to all that DJ stuff).

Good for you for passing the knowledge along to your brother and teaching him to keep score. You mentioned Wilky, and I was wondering whether Byrd played a part as well (course, I could always check the boxscore...)?

There is booth at National that carries items from the Nats and other teams, but I love your expansion on that and your other ideas. Maybe you should be a PR consultant for the Nats!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 2, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a good place to hit prior to the July 4th noon game? Most places don't open till 11, was hoping someone good help me find a place with good bloody marys

Posted by: Wayne | July 2, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Tremendous post, Barry. I usually stop by the Hawk when I stop along the way at all, but I'll be giving Belga a try, as well as many of your other recommendations.

I agree with the whole burger-in/near-the park thing. (Whatever the makeup of the burger.) A minor league staple seems to be cheeseburgers or patty melts on Texas toast (thick toasted sourdough); these would be a nice alternative from the ubiquitous sausage.

(Attman's in the RFK lower concourse, as I've mentioned before, does pretty fair smoked meat. I have no idea what a native of Montreal, putative home of smoked meat, would think, because when I'm in Montreal I seem to always end up eating something else.)

By the way, many of the listed venues are also within hailing distance of the Folger, so those of us who like theater in the offseason will have an excuse to try them then too. A stop at the Tune Inn after "Falstaff" might be just the thing.

Posted by: Hendo | July 2, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Wayne: Parking lot. We'll be there grilling up a breakfast scramble, bacon, sausage, along with bloody mary's and mimosas. Never done breakfast tailgating before, but I must admit, if it goes as well as I think it's going to, I'm going to be a big fan of Noon start times.

Posted by: Matt | July 2, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Sect 506, while it may be true that Fenway is a sea of Red Sox and nothing else when they're playing Texas, that ain't the case when they're playing the Yankees. At least not when I was last there, seven or eight years ago. This was at a time when you could still get a single-game ticket via the Red Sox ticket office before the season started for a game in July. I ended up in the back of the right field stands (the worst seats in the park) and when I got to the game I found myself surrounded by Yankees fans. Got to watch Pedro strike out six in a row but ultimately lose the game. I don't believe it's possible to get a ticket now like I did then, because the entire season is sold out in advance. But I have to think that the Yankees fans are still finding their way into Fenway, just paying more now for the privilege to StubHub and the like.

I echo what you've said about the Fenway game day experience - and I was there before the Sox made a lot of their improvements like the Green Monster seats and such. Did you take the Fenway Park tour while you were there? They take you basically everywhere in the park except the clubhouses, and you can't walk on the field but you do get to walk on the warning track to peer inside the Green Monster scoreboard. Very cool.

Your comments about the level of Red Sox mania in Boston relate directly to my comments about the Orioles coverage in the Post that you questioned earlier. Did you read the Globe while you were there to see how they cover the Sox? That's how the Post should be covering the Nats, and the current level of Orioles coverage gets in the way of that. Right now, the Post covers the Nats and the O's virtually equally, while as I said in another thread recently the appropriate ratio ought to be the same as they currently give the Ravens vis a vis the Redskins. I find it hard to believe that there is any significant chunk of Post subscribers anywhere in its Maryland circulation area who base their decision to buy the Post on the fact that it has good coverage of the Orioles. The Post should realize that they are NOT operating in a two team market and adjust their level of coverage accordingly. That they haven't done so just speaks to me that the Post sports editors really deep down do not like the Nationals - which is another level below objectivity and not being "homers", which is where they should be. Objective. Only when the Post reaches that level will the "Nats Nation" feel you want in Washington ever have a chance, no matter what Stan does.

Posted by: Section 419 | July 2, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Boston, we need a better 7th inning song, and it needs to be "The Curly[-W] Shuffle" -- It's got call-and-response, simple lyrics, catchy tune, and even a dance, if you're so inclined. It's a natural.

Posted by: Cevans | July 2, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Re Post coverage--I'm with Sec. 506, who gives a flying Philadelphia fork? It's only a game! And false Slack, at that.

Posted by: cevans(jr) | July 2, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Nice post, Barry. It's definitely worth reiterating that one can easily walk to RFK from all the places you've mentioned. I often get off at Eastern Market after work on game nights and see fans going down to wait for the train to go two stops and think is seems absurd.

I also should note that when I disparaged the restaurants near Capitol South in a previous thread I totally forgot about everything along Penn Ave and was just thinking of those immediately across the street from the escalator. I don't know whether the food in those places is any good or not, because I can't get past all the khakis and overly serious manner of the many Hill staff who frequent those establishments. Gross stereotyping on my part, but there ya go. Cap Lounge is great, as are many lesser known establishments between there and Eastern Market.

RE. the new stadium and food, not to continue to completely fawn over PNC Park, BUT-- the food options there seemed vastly superior to what we have at RFK and I know that ain't saying much. I really hope they will offer something decent at the new stadium, including a few healthier/veggie options. When you go to the games as often as many of us do--which often means skipping the gym after work!-- you just can't do hot dogs every night. PNC also had a bunch of restaurants outside the gates but built into the bottom of the park or just across the street. We went to Atria's before the game-- good service but not good food, unfortunately--and were MAJORLY bummed when we went in and it was Italian Day and vendors were set up all along the riverwalk cooking up fresh linguini with mussels and other very yummy looking food. The point is that we were so used to having to get food pre-game to avoid something really unappetizing that we never even considered that the food inside the stadium might be worth waiting for. What an idea.

One last thing on PNC-- my roommate bought a Mountain Dew and a hot dog and it was under $5. (!)

Posted by: JennX | July 2, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

bloody mary's:

I think Capitol Lounge and the others on Penn Ave have brunch on weekends with bloody mary's. Might apply to 4th of July


La Loma couple blocks east of Union Station on Mass Ave. Huge patio.

Ugly Mug:

Hate it. They have a "special" 16 oz bottle of Miller lite for 6 bucks on gamedays. That is just 50 cents short of RFK special. Also stopped in once during a weekday game and got a Smithwicks for 6 bucks. Then as I walked out I noticed a Smithwicks special on gamedays for like 3 or 4 bucks. F them.

Good. The half smokes are glorified hot dogs, unless they changed them. They are not like Ben's where they are more meaty/sausage-y. Italian sausage was OK. Beer in Mason Jars is nice touch.

Tortilla Coast:
Blows. I think they unwrap taco bell and put it on a plate. But hey, if you can get them for 50 cents I guess you cant complain. I think I paid about 9 dollars for mine. So, I feel a little cheated.

I think the only late night Burrito place is a bit further down 8th street past the highway. Chicken Tortilla is the name. Burritos are kinda pricey (6.85) but I think the guacamole is free (at least the two times I've gotten it since the price raise) so that makes up for it if you like guac. The chicken, rice and beans, and corn platter is a very good combination too.

Posted by: Dave B | July 2, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

bloody mary's:

I think Capitol Lounge and the others on Penn Ave have brunch on weekends with bloody mary's. Might apply to 4th of July


La Loma couple blocks east of Union Station on Mass Ave. Huge patio.

Ugly Mug:

Hate it. They have a "special" 16 oz bottle of Miller lite for 6 bucks on gamedays. That is just 50 cents short of RFK special. Also stopped in once during a weekday game and got a Smithwicks for 6 bucks. Then as I walked out I noticed a Smithwicks special on gamedays for like 3 or 4 bucks. F them.

Good. The half smokes are glorified hot dogs, unless they changed them. They are not like Ben's where they are more meaty/sausage-y. Italian sausage was OK. Beer in Mason Jars is nice touch.

Tortilla Coast:
Stinks. I think they unwrap taco bell and put it on a plate. But hey, if you can get them for 50 cents I guess you cant complain. I think I paid about 9 dollars for mine. So, I feel a little cheated.

I think the only late night Burrito place is a bit further down 8th street past the highway. Chicken Tortilla is the name. Burritos are kinda pricey (6.85) but I think the guacamole is free (at least the two times I've gotten it since the price raise) so that makes up for it if you like guac. The chicken, rice and beans, and corn platter is a very good combination too.

Posted by: Dave B | July 2, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I have found very little Mexican, Natsfan1a, that compares with what you find in Cali. (Would loove for someone to tell me I'm wrong.) The Coast has good food - if you think of it as Mexican inspired. No where near RFK, but Taqueria Poblano in Del Ray does great fish tacos and the new Cafe Oaxaca in Adams Morgan is uber good if you want to drop a little bit more cash than say a burrito truck. Speaking of burritos ... Elegant Burrito (alley entrance downtown) isn't bad (still open?). Sorry to turn this in to dining post. Thanks for the Hill posts Barry! We're not quite the red-headed stepchild we once were for eats after all.

Posted by: DottDC | July 2, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse


They should use your reviews in Zagat..."This Capitol Hill mainstay 'blows'. One reviewer sums it up simply: 'F them'."

:) My kinda reviews.

Posted by: JennX | July 2, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Mexican: El Paso on Pershing and Glebe in Arlington

That is the word from my grandmother, a Mexican American from Loredo, Texas. I find it delicious, but she says it is authentic.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 2, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it is near-impossible to find California quality Mexican food (yep, I'm another California transplant). Everywhere seems to follow the fajitas/mushy enchiladas formula around here. But even that's not so bad now and then. La Lomita at 13th and Penn, right next to Potomac Ave station will satisfy that bill and the Cadillac margaritas will give you a good buzz before the game. And Las Placitas near Eastern Market on 8th is technically El Salvadoran, I think, but pretty good, cheap food, homey atmosphere, and has outdoor seating. I disagree with Mrs. NJ on Banana Cafe-- it's one of my faves-- but then again I've never tried their salads. :)

Posted by: JennX | July 2, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a: I am very sympathetic. I lived in the bay area for a while, and I was pretty much a regular at taquerias... The Mexican food here in Alaska is very good, though... but there's no Italian food... My twice-yearly DC trips are to watch the Nats and get good linguini and clams.

Posted by: Wigi | July 2, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and to see my family... (glad they don't read this...)

Posted by: Wigi | July 2, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I dont really know what qualifies as authentic, but I've eaten at La Loma, La Plaza (6th and Penn), La Lomita Dos (3rd and Penn), Banana Cafe. I generally get a chicken burrito just to compare apples to apples and because I can eat it really fast and it tastes good.

Are these types of burritos not authentic? What is authentic? Carne Asada?

Somebody enlighten me.

If La Lomita is authentic/Californian, then all the rest I believe are just as authentic as well. I'm saying this because I have been to La Lomita Dos which I assume/think I heard is the same owners as La Lomita. All the mexican places I have listed are all fairly similar to La Lomita Dos and thus I would say are authentic/Californian.

I understand Chevy's isnt authentic, but what makes something authentic? The presense of something other than meat/cheese/and beans not wrapped in a tortilla?

The best chicken burritos at places on Capitol Hill goes

La Plaza (been there once and it was very good. less mushy than the others)
La Loma (go there weekly just about)

La Lomita Dos and Banana Cafe, not bad, but the others are better.

The La Loma service, atmosphere, patio cant be beat. You are not sitting on the sidewalk like places along Penn Ave.

Seriously if you havent, go to Chicken Tortilla and get the chicken/rice/beans/corn (or cole slaw if health isnt a concern). Its cheap and very high quality and I dont think it is bad for you. How bad can rotisserie chicken, rice, beans, and roasted corn be? Of course that might be more of an option for a local who just doesnt want to cook as opposed to a destination.

Posted by: Dave B | July 2, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Chicken Tortilla is really, really good. They call their burritos "Burrassos" I think (that must be authentic, right?) and they are ginormous.

Posted by: Sam | July 2, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of my taking this thread even farther astray, but so as not to ignore DaveB's query re. authentic cuisine: California Mexican and Tex-Mex are different, and my preference is for the former (because I grew up with it). Generally, what I look for in a taco, for example, is chunks of beef/pork/chicken vs. ground beef; Mexican farmer-style cheese vs. American cheese food product; complex and piquant fresh-made chile sauces vs. bland tomatoey sauces from a can; fresh toppings like Pico de Gallo featuring chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro vs. huge globs of sour cream and neon guacamole; and soft corn tortillas vs. fried ones wrapped around the works. For fast food tacos, the original Baja style at local Baja Fresh stores will do in a pinch.

Okay, now I'm hungry!


I understand Chevy's isnt authentic, but what makes something authentic? The presense of something other than meat/cheese/and beans not wrapped in a tortilla?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 2, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the lineup, Barry. So how's come Simontacchi's roomie doesn't get the start today -- guess it's cause he started yesterday? In that case, I hope they let the Schneid in on their game plan.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 2, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the lefty-lefty thing? Never mind.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 2, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

There are some who are just now figuring out that the Post doesn't like the Nats? That's been obvious since the day the team came to Washington.


Posted by: Anthony D. Langford | July 2, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

... just home from NS.

... I simply love Manny's positive attitude (from the gamer) and if anyone's confidence can rub off on others, it'd be his. Trouble is, I don't believe in that kind of magic.

... as for Schneider's determination: "Just cus they expect us to be bad, doesn't mean we should accept it.", again I love the attitude. But here's where it gets really problematic for me. That 'lose expectation' didn't come from the media, or from the fans. It came from the owners and administration. What else would you expect a player to do if his boss expects him to lose?

... other than the above, I only have this to offer: I was absolutely gob-smacked at the long litany of food places that Barry provided. Does he ever eat at home, one must ask?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 2, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse


Was that your mid season review and now we are on to food recommendations?

Oh well I guess you are in good company. Chris at CP is out of town, SBF is doing travel logs and hotel reviews.

What is August going to be like......

Posted by: JayB | July 2, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

NO BOWIE!!! EEK! He was like our lucky rabbit's foot (who has to suffer once every eight games).

This is why pitching, pitching, pitching is spot on. Don't forget it JimBo. Pitchers are expensive and fragile, so grow tons of your own and trade the surplus for bats.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 2, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I missed the game, but am reading the box score now. Nook doesn't look so bad in it. Did he look like he knew where he was or did he have the usual blank expression? Can we be done with Simontacchi now? Please? And Traber too?

Looks like Zimm played well, but Meat Hook got shut down. That's a shame, his pre-game interview on the radio was great. I suppose I'll read about Fick tomorrow.

What the hell are we going to do tomorrow night? My midwest contact told me TONIGHT would be the easy game.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 2, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Lilly was shaky for two batters and then straightened right up. Nook was inscrutable. The Nats' half of the innings was desultory, except for the ninth.

This is shaping up to be a long week, especially with Bowie out. Particularly if the Nats can't wear down the Cubs' starters, for the opportunity to operate on their bullpen is one of the Nats' few rays of hope for the next two games.

Posted by: Hendo | July 2, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

506 pleads: "Can we be done with Simontacchi now? Please? And Traber too?"

Absolutely. I'm typing this from Manny's office, where I'm applying lighted cigarettes to the tender soles of his bare feet. What shall I instruct him to do?

Posted by: Hendo | July 3, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

And yes, that was intended to darkly ironicize the point: What CAN Manny do, besides what he's doing?

Posted by: Hendo | July 3, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Just need a couple of Joses' to return...if you know what I mean.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 3, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Relax...only a joke...I know Vidro is too old and Guillen is a head case. But, really, they are having a nice year on the upper left coast...are they not?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 3, 2007 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Guillen is having a better year in '07 than in '06 (which isn't saying that much) but not as good as '05.

Vidro would give Brandon Watson a run for his money, assuming Watson had been given a chance this time.

Posted by: Hendo | July 3, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

One last thing -- given Colome, what's the UPPER right extremity? I'm afraid to ask, but I bet you can see it on youtube/EU.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | July 3, 2007 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Even though I rarely get to Washington anymore, I enjoyed reading about all of Barry's hangouts. Still, what does it say that at the mid-point our man with the Nationals prefers to write about bars and restaurants? This team is on the cusp of going from a not very talented bunch that is still fun to follow because of its collective hustle and grit to the truly woeful bunch predicted at the start of the season. Let's hope they just really, really need the all star break.

Posted by: Salty Dog | July 3, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to Boswell's honest view of the Nats in today's paper. Lots of insightfull quotes, from ACTA. They seem to be the same ones we see all the time but framed in Boz speak they show a much more realistic view of how hopeless this years team is without a established star.

I bet Alfonso is still hitting and providing the same energy at least 5 more years into that deal.

Remind me again why the Lerner's could not keep him as the center piece for the new park........oh that's right they need to sign those draft picks for $650,000. By the way how is that going?

Posted by: JayB | July 3, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Salty Dog wonders: "what does it say that at the mid-point our man with the Nationals prefers to write about bars and restaurants?"

That a man who writes as tirelessly as Barry does (he did get a little baseball into the paper today) needs food and refreshment and is kind enough to share his solutions therefor.

For sure, these guys need the ASB, as you say, SD. Some of them need longer. Some of them may get it soon.

Posted by: Hendo | July 3, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm a bit baffled by all the Sori love in the media. I'm sure there are Nats fans who will cheer him on this week but I'm not one of them, despite exhortations from the media. Among the players whose values I respect more, as contrasted with Soriano:

Bill Lee, who stated that he would have left baseball if a planned Red Sox-Yankees trade for him had gone through rather than play (for more $) as part what he characterized as a team with a corporate, elitist image.

vs. Sori, ka-ching.

Joe DiMaggio, who stated that he played hard because there was always some kid who might be seeing him for the first or last time and he owed that kid his best.

Brian Schneider, who stated late last season that the team could still play hard for pride and for the fans.

vs. Sori, who made it be known late last season that it was hard to get motivated to play hard with the team having a losing record (and with his 40-40 season already in the books, BTW, ka-ching)

Jamey Carroll, who played hard every day, and at whatever position asked (and whom I did and would cheer upon his return to RFK).

vs. Sori, who didn't want to play left field in spring training of 2006 until learning that it would affect his bottom line (ka-ching)

Felipe Lopez, who took the time to stop to sign autographs and talk to kids by the gate on his way out of RFK after the last game last year.

vs. Sori, who cruised by in his Escalade as he inclined his head to the kids and pointed his index finger in their general direction.

Thanks for listening, I feel much better now!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a pans Sori, "who cruised by in his Escalade as he inclined his head to the kids and pointed his index finger in their general direction."

That would put him somewhere on the lower half of the fan-friendly scale between Felipe Lopez and Don Sutton, I guess. (Had he used another finger, it would be another matter.)

Posted by: Hendo | July 3, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I've been out of town a few days so maybe I've missed something, but isn't Alex Escobar supposed to be back soon? I suspect the poor guy won't last long before getting injured again, but he cd add some offense as long as he stays healthy.

Posted by: Section 406 | July 3, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

In fairness to Barry and the other posters, there was quite a baseball discussion that continued under Barry's prior entry, even though this one sounded like a preview for a Tom Sietsema blog.

I was glad to see Alfonso Soriano last night, cheered when his name was announced, cheered when he came up to bat, and cheered when he flied out! Despite what Tom Boswell says, the fact of the matter is that the win-loss rate is exactly what it was with Soriano. He did bring a refreshing energy to things that I see lacking, but I attribute that mostly to Guzman being out, and this regular succession of pitchers going on the disabled list- just when things seem to start get going for the team, another discouraging injury happens.

Did anyone else notice in the 7th inning stretch, after Take Me Out To The Ballgame, that they played You Gotta Have Heart? Having said that, I would settle for some more hitting.

Posted by: Traveler | July 3, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Funny, Hendo. Sounds like Sutton was quite rude to our own Sect. 506.


That would put him somewhere on the lower half of the fan-friendly scale between Felipe Lopez and Don Sutton, I guess. (Had he used another finger, it would be another matter.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse


Anita's (new mexican style) mexican food is a landmark - Awesome tasty food...they have been here for quite a few years now, started in Vienna VA and now have several locations in N. VA. Food is consistently great!

Posted by: pk | July 3, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Not I, I believe it was Dancer13. Saw Sutton, teased him about sCHneider, got head bitten off.

So Sutton is 1) wrong and 2) a jerk about being wrong and 3) a terrible commentator (better than Bob Carpenter doesn't count)

Re: Barry posting food reviews

It's kind of a thing with this blog to talk about where to eat. It started when Barry asked for tips when traveling so he could eat somewhere other than Panera. Then people started chiming in voluntarily whenever Barry traveled. Then other folks started asking for tips before they went and most recently, someone was visiting DC from out of town and asked for a suggestion and we all gave our two cents and moaned about how there was nowhere to go.

None of this should be taken as any sort of statement about the team. We just like food on this blog and like sharing tips. It's hard to do a mid year evaluation when you have seven more games in a row and it's the Cubs and the Brewers. It's even harder when you do an evaluation every single day about the day before.

ASB will be eval-fest '07

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Tampa Media is reporting Burgesa signed with Nats

Burgess Signs With Nationals
By ADAM ADKINS The Tampa Tribune
Published: Jul 3, 2007

Nothing yet on Nats Website

Posted by: JayB | July 3, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The Don Sutton reference was me. Here's my post from the other day about it. Plus the extra about PNC and the walkout.


You guys were right. PNC Park is AMAZING! Awesome, awesome park. I had the best baseball weekend in my life.

natsfan1a, thanks for the Parkway East tips. We were able to avoid the mess.

Saw Don Sutton and while he was signing for the girl next to me, I grinned widely and said "just one beef, Mr. Sutton. It's SCHneider." He must get a lot of crap about it because he barked at me something like "you people listen and all you can find is one little mistake, but you don't even know what happened in the bottom of the 5th, do you?" I froze. Wasn't expecting hostility. Took a minute to recover and I mumbled something like "just trying to look smarter than you" or something lame to that effect.

The walkout was so lame. A lot of people got up to leave, more than the normal inning ending restroom and snack break, but it didn't even leave a dent in the crowd. I think they even got a fair amount of boos from the people who stayed.

Tried to go up and get Barry's signature on his book. He's better guarded than the players (got 9 of their signatures!).

The best part, though, happened to my friend Amy sitting next to me. Saturday night, bottom of the sixth, Paulino fouls off and the ball lands in her lap. literally. She never saw it, it never bounced, nobody tackled us. She knew it was coming our way because arms were going up, and I ducked and covered but she never saw the ball off the bat. I turn, look at her face, bright red with pure shock, she reaches down by her leg and pulls the ball up. She said it hit her elbow, armrest and thigh at the same time but never went anywhere. Just sitting there in her lap. She's got a little strawberry on her elbow, but according to her, it was well worth it. I agree.

There were a TON of Nats fans. It was awesome.

I missed you guys!

Posted by: NatsNut | July 2, 2007 08:50 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | July 3, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut!! That's who it was. I assure you that you are still very dear to us.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Aw, shucks. Thanks 506.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 3, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

506 summarizes: "So Sutton is 1) wrong and 2) a jerk about being wrong and 3) a terrible commentator (better than Bob Carpenter doesn't count)."

Well, I don't know if I'd go that far, 'cause I wasn't there for the NatsNut / Sutton interaction. In any case, there's always 1500. Slowes and Jageler are always informative, on top of their game, and treat their call-in and email listeners right.

And I'm not a big autograph collector anyway. (I had been thinking about poking around to find Carpenter to sign my scorebook, but maybe we can afford to give that a miss just now.)

Posted by: Hendo | July 3, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Barry, maybe you can create tags for the blog? Dining Guide would be one, Stats Analysis another, maybe Draft and Signings, Trades and Moves? Chris Cilliza uses it to some success on The Fix, a far inferior blog because the comments community is wicked lame (as I learned to say in Boston this weekend).

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

That's not a bad idea, Section 506. For now, though, I'm putting updates at the top of this entry -- the dining guide one -- so that we can get some new news in but not push all this stuff way down the Journal during the early part of this homestand. (Frankly, I put too much time into it to want to push it down.)

So keep refreshing today and tomorrow for lineups and news. I go on vacation late in the week (wrapped around the all-star break), and I'll do a long post before I go.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | July 3, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Carpenter came up shortly after the Sutton exchange and signed the scorebook of the young girl next to me and he was great. He even checked her work (in a playful way), and personalized his autograph without her asking. He was very gracious.
Like I said, maybe Sutton was tired of hearing crap about SCHneider. Maybe he was annoyed I didn't ask for his autograph. Maybe it was an off day. But he certainly did bark at me which was shocking and quite humiliating. My smile should have tipped him off I was giving him a good-natured hard time.
Whatever. No worries.
I'm REALLY bummed about Micah Bowie. And Barry, is that quote from Bowden for real? "We pray for his buttocks and his family."
If that isn't sarcasm it needs to be. I wish they'd lighten up more like that in the media.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 3, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Not working for me, NatsNut. If he was annoyed at being heckled for saying Schneider wrong that means he's heard it before and KNOWS it's wrong. If after this long in baseball he is still snapping when he gets criticized as a public persona, then he's not in the right profession anymore. You're sweet to make excuses for him, though.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

NatsNuts, there was another quote attributed to JimBo about a "large buttocks problem."


And Barry, is that quote from Bowden for real? "We pray for his buttocks and his family."
If that isn't sarcasm it needs to be. I wish they'd lighten up more like that in the media.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

D'oh! My apologies, NatsNut and Sect. 506, for mixing you up.

I don't really have issues with Sutton's commentating, but I agree with Sect. 506 that as someone in the public eye he must be aware that criticism comes with the territory. Also, given the report in the posting, he not only responded on the pronunciation front but also went on to denigrate NatsNut's awareness /knowledge of the game. Not very fan-friendly.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a: LOL!!! I saw that and just thought "well that was worded awkwardly." But you're right... must be JimBo being a smarta**. Awesome.
506: I see your point. Thanks for your sympathetic indignation.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 3, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Section 506 after were asking how Nook was looking last night..I was at the game, so didn't hear the on air comments about it...and didn't read any descriptions about it either. But looked to me like he was picked off 1st base in the 1st inning but a bad throw let him off the not sure what you read, but looked like another bad night on the bases to me even if its not reflected in the box score.

Posted by: pk | July 3, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey natsfan1a,

... sorry you feel that way about Soriano, but I understand your reasoning. I was one of those who proclaimed my appreciation for him (and would have cheered for him at the game), and my opinion is TOTALLY wrapped up in the fact that after expressing his displeasure last year, he stood up tall, he buckled down and he went to the outfield as requested.

... now I either didn't see the quote about how he found it hard to play on a losing team, or else I simply forgot it. But I would agree with you on that one. That is an attitude I'd find difficult to support.

... as for how he treated the kids, I think that's something you can direct at any number of players past and present, guys who we would still cheer for, on the basis of their ability alone.

... just my views at any rate.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 3, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I posted my thoughts on this earlier in the thread. I feel that it's each fan's choice as to whether to cheer Sori but that decision seems to fascinate the local media this week.


Also: Soriano returned to RFK last night, and Boz has our take on it. I have to say I was surprised by the under-current of boos for the guy. I often said last year that each and every night of the 2006 season, there were two reasons to go to the ballpark -- Soriano and Zimmerman. You didn't know what either would do. Does anyone think he shouldn't have taken $136 million if it was offered him?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Re: sori and the media

That's probably because he's the only legit star we've ever had while in DC. I'm talking about a star who actually was a star, not who thought he was (looking at you, Guillen). He's a Boras client isn't he? I doubt he had a choice but to take the huge Cub contract.

Is Boras killing baseball from the player side of the equation?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, natscan, for sharing your thoughts. I don't wish to imply that any other fan should share my reaction or opinion. I tend to get my back up when I feel that anyone is telling me how to react/think/feel, and the the Sori-love encouragement in the local media combined with the ugly loss led me to vent my spleen here. Also there's the whole woman/fan scorned aspect...

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I think you should have kept the Dining Guide as a separate post. It's still easy enough to find, and I think new topics should have their own place for comments. Maybe after this week you can move the Dining Guide to a separate link somewhere else.

Posted by: Cosmo | July 3, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Re eats: Trusty's has been mentioned. Not only is it a short walk or 1 metro stop away but they also run a shuttle bus for Nat's games. Give them a ring to confirm the bus: I don't work there, just go there before weeknight DC United games, great folks (and if you're veggie, the veggie burger is great!)


Posted by: SEKim | July 3, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

How can we boo Soriano?

He gave us one of baseball's greatest offensive seasons, plus a nightly adventure in left field (21 assists too).

I will always be appreciative for his great effort in 2006. He made the best of a difficult situation. He never complained and earned the respect of teammates.

He deserves every cent of his $136 million. I cheered him at every opportunity last night. Godspeed Alfonso!

Posted by: BrianH | July 3, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse


I started a thread on this on (local food, wine, restaurant message board)

Here's the link:

Enjoyed this discussion very much, thanks!

Posted by: Joe Riley | July 3, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

RE: Soriano

My take on the Soriano thing is that unless you make more than a million dollars a year, it is hard to fathom the difference (in a practical sense) between $136 million and $110 million. With that in mind, he never really considered staying in Washington, EVEN THOUGH HE REPEATEDLY SAID HE WOULD. The bottom line is, what he meant was that anyplace that would pay him an obscene amount of money, he would consider.

I'm glad he's gone.

RE: Food

It'll be interesting to see how the food choices develop around the new park... and perhaps when I come in September I'll try some of the Capitol Hill choices... but last fall, when I came for the end of the season, my father and I went and had dinner in Bethesda at The Pines of Rome, then hopped on the Metro in Bethesda and went to the game. The Pines of Rome has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid... and just shows that with Metro, you could pretty much eat anywhere you like and make the game.

I know the Pines is not really baseball food, but try to find fresh tomatoes and mozzarella and escarole in Alaska.

Posted by: Wigi | July 3, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Joe Riley said: "I started a thread on this on (local food, wine, restaurant message board)"

... clearly that thread should morph into a DC blog of its own, and be called ... wait for it:

Eat At Joe's

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 3, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

He never said he would stay here. He said he would like to, he said he'd consider it. He was ALWAYS going to take the money. I'm pretty sure approximately 100% of the people criticizing him for that have never faced the choice between $136M and $110M.

Posted by: Not Alfonso's Mom | July 3, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, hell, even Alfonso's mom posts on this blog. Where is yours Nook? Maybe the Spawn of Satan thing really does have legs...

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Soriano can be counted on to pretty much say nice things about wherever he is playing. Is anything he says sincere? How could anybody possibly know?

When in Washington, he kept himself in top condition and showed great leadership by example in how to prepare for games. He shut up Vidro and Guillen from whining about the RFK fences being too far, and he had a career year at the plate. Those are the good things we got out of him.

Alternatively, he was as un-clutch as any player in the game. When placed lower in the order to try to leverage his power, he shrank from the task. And in the end, it was just about accumulating stats.

Anybody who was surprised that he took the money is just being naive. That's all it was ever about.

Posted by: testudo | July 3, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Why can't someone take the deal of a lifetime AND still be considered a nice guy? Alfonso finally gets promised his home for 8 years in Chicago and for a ton of money to boot instead of being a big trade asset for a team that has announced it's going to slash and burn in hopes of a more fruitful future and that (according to Sori) didn't even make him an offer.

He was always a lead by example guy, which is not really a leader at all when it comes to keeping a team together. He's not really a team player, more of a free-spirit, which is why leadoff was so important to him. But he apparently is a decent guy, since Zimmerman, et al., couldn't wait to see him in Chicago and he can't wait to see them now.

My take on Soriano: Thanks for the memories (and that smile), good luck, hope to see that vicious swinging strikeout a great deal tonight.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Lets not get too deep into the psycho analysis over the fan reaction to soriano. 136 million dollars....thats enough reason for anyone who feels like booing to go ahead and let 'er rip.

nuthin' personal fonzie.

Posted by: pk | July 3, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

... Kearns sitting this out and that's fine with me. After the way he and a few others we can all name have played lately, the only reason necessary for Manny to offer is to say "he needs to sit for a game". We'd all know what that means.

... Sect506 said a mouthful when he commented on the Soriano issue. To paraphrase: Alfie played to his full potential in spite of the fact that when he arrived he was told he was only there to be used as fodder for the improve-the-team cannon. What's not to like about a guy who gets that message loud and clear, and still keeps on ticking?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 3, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Natscan says, "What's not to like about a guy who gets that message loud and clear, and still keeps on ticking?"

See: Dmitri Young. Last night, though, he told Dave he would play Outfield if he was allowed to stay with the Nationals. Manny should try him out in right field tonight, probably to lovably hilarious results.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

St. Barry -

Nice point on Kearns taking a day off. It led me to recall a similar situation with Z last year.

Z hit .248 in April. The sage (kidding) Frank Robinson gave him the day off on May 1 against the Mets. He immediately hit .287 in May with an OPS of .828 (almost 100 points higher than the previous month). Z hit no lower than .275 in any month the rest of the way (love that

It may be time to give Z a full day off (as opposed to the quasi-day off he got DHing against the Twins). Perspective, especially for young players, is important. You might want to ask Manny about it.

I would do it Sunday v. the Brewers so Z can have a day to sit back, watch the game, and gain some perspective. Plus, it affords him 5 days off counting the AS break (maybe he can vacation with you and Mrs. NJ and offer up some salad suggestions).

Posted by: WebberDC | July 3, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Manny should try [D. Young] out in right field tonight..."

506, now you're just being silly. The outfield is the province of the fleet of Daryle Ward last year...

Posted by: joebleux | July 3, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Da meat hook, I enjoyed the Washington Post Live podcast with him (hadn't watched it until now).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"The outfield is the province of the fleet of Daryle Ward last year..."

Rhetorical question: which is likely to be a better outfielder -- fleet of foot and zero baseball sense or slower than a snail but big on determination?

And whay do those seem to be the only choices we ever get? .

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | July 3, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I *do* plan on showing our Nats All-Star some love at tomorrow's game.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

HEADLINE: "Michael Burgess signs (with Dining Guide below)"

What, he decided that working for Zagat's was better than being a Nat ?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"I *do* plan on showing our Nats All-Star some love at tomorrow's game."

Uh...does natsfan1c know about that????

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | July 3, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"Rhetorical question: which is likely to be a better outfielder -- fleet of foot and zero baseball sense or slower than a snail but big on determination?"

Hmmmm. That's tricky. But don't forget, we also have option C: "fleet and canny, but fragile as a crystal figurine".

Posted by: joebleux | July 3, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I didn't mean it that way. Heh. Not that I have anything against a guy with a little heft, mind you, but I'm already spoken for. ;)


one of Barry's Babes queried: Uh...does natsfan1c know about that????

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse


oh yeah, you're right...i forgot all about him (and he was one of my favorites --- wow, talk about out of sight, out of mind !)

I'm still envisioning him tripping while coming out of the dugout, which someone predicted last week, should he ever return :)

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | July 3, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Barry's babes: Isn't that exactly what happened to him? Didn't Escobar got hurt recently, thinking about playing (this was just in the last 10 days or so)?

Posted by: Wigi | July 3, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

joebleux: very funny your comment: "fleet and canny, but fragile as a crystal figurine"

Wigi: Yes you're right. someone referenced the joke about his tripping coming out of the dugout when Barry told us he sprained his ankle.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 3, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess Escobar is basically a disposable player... bring him in to pinch run, steal one base, and then back to the DL with him.

Or, you could bring him in when your pitcher is flagging, but you need some time to warm up the bullpen... he'll get injured on the way to CF, and while the trainer is out there, the pitcher gets warm.

Posted by: Wigi | July 3, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

... I just went to the Nats home page to begin my GameDay coverage, and what do I find??? Tim Redding incognito! There he is - his team photo showing him wearing a false beard. What is that all about? Is he hiding from a skip-tracer from somewhere back in his deep dark past?

... if you haven't seen this pic, go to the team's page and check it out. What do you guys think it is?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 3, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

... I just went to the Nats home page to begin my GameDay coverage, and what do I find??? Tim Redding incognito! There he is with his team photo showing him wearing a false beard. What is that all about? Is he hiding from a skip-tracer from somewhere back in his deep dark past?

... if you haven't seen this pic, go to the team's page and check it out. Does anyone else think his goatee looks fake?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 3, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

natscan, I think he had it in spring training, too. He may be going for an old-school House of David look?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone's wondering, here's a link to a House of David Museum. Johnny Damon would have been a shoe-in in his Red Sox days (too clean-cut now).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I hope i'm not being negative for the sake of it but no Kearns & whatsmore a pitcher thats coming in to face Zambrano with a 5.32 ERA at Columbus.....,please not lets have a Cricket score,my PC starts going a bit dodgy after 4 hours or so & i would like to get to bed before 5 AM if at all possible.

Maybe some good old Wimbledon rain might help?

Posted by: %62 intheUK | July 3, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a, that's fabulous. I took a quick look, but I'll give the site a good look tomorrow at work - oops, I mean during lunch boss, honest.

... but the whole Jewish player thing brought to mind a question I had a few days ago, right after that shallow Faith Night thing. It's this: does anyone know if there are any Muslim players in the league? or Hindu, or adherents to other Asian faiths? With the increasingly international scope of MLB today, I would think it;s only a matter of time.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 3, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

"The ultimate goal of the team at bat is to score runs."

Posted by: breaking news on new baseball rule | July 3, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse


The LA Times article is fascinating.

Posted by: mlb religious info lifted from needham's website | July 3, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

That's peachy keen, breaking news. Barry, could you pass on this news flash to our hitters, maybe?


"The ultimate goal of the team at bat is to score runs."

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

If you don't want to log in to the Times site referenced on the blogspot, here's a link to the same Santeria article (I think) via the Cincy Post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 3, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

"Hey Sect. 506, give us the half-full reading of tonight's game."

Why sure, since you all ask. It sucks to lose and we saw another night of offensive sputtering ("futility" has become too cute a phrase), but there are a couple reasons that things don't look as down as they feel.

1) LANGERHANS LEAD-OFF: On base three out of five chances. Two walks and a double. On top of that, he ate up a whopping 22 pitches. Twice he took six pitches for a BB. I know you'll remember the final strikeout, but don't forget the other four at bats (okay, number one was a lame F6 on the second pitch, but the other three were great and it was a "good" strikeout).

2) SMARTER BATTING: Eight times a Nats batter forced six or more pitches out of a Cubs pitcher. Only nine times did a Nats batter see three pitches or less and not hit or sac fly. This is my very clumsy statistic to show gauge whether our batters are taking their time at the plate or not. This is an improvement and it can get better so we can stop giving opposing pitchers free strikes (I'm looking at you, Austin Kearns). FYI, tonight's big impatient loser? Tony Batista, F6 on one pitch. Should have left Redding in...

3) STOP-GAPS: Despite a nasty 1st and 3rd, Redding can fake it as well as Simontacchi at least. I count a 1-2-3 2nd, 4th, and 5th and he actually looked better before he was lifted for a PH from Tony "Bunch of Discolored Hot Dogs Bait" Batista. Maybe we can can Simontacchi and give this guy a couple of starts before folks figure him out before we get Bowie back.

4) BULLPEN: Ayala looked sweet (despite the walk), Rauch is back in form, and Rivera even had a good night. It just reminds us what we have when they're in the right mood.

5) CHICO: I saw his face once, so I'm counting him. He is seriously the most underrated National. He's pitching tomorrow and the bullpen always lets him down, but he nearly always pitches well. He is a huge part of the future. just give him experience, patience, and a chance to grow his first facial hair.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 3, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Nice sum-up of the game, 506. I liked the at-bats, too, even though they didn't add up to a great result.

Keep looking over pitches, and sooner or later you'll get one you like. Perhaps from someone less skilled and guileful than Zambrano (who is fun to watch).

Posted by: Hendo | July 3, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your fact-based optimisim. I feel better already.

Happy Birthday America! (Natscan, sorry you have to work.)

Posted by: BrianH | July 3, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Section 506, thank YOU!

Posted by: BrianH | July 3, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

And the random beatings will continue until morale improves around here!

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | July 3, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I hear this guy is great.

Posted by: Morale Booster | July 3, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

The break can't come soon eneough. Lets just face the facts. They played over there head in the first 75 games. Now, perhaps they're playing under it now, but it just isn't going to get much better, if any, the rest of the way. But, we knew that, didn't we. The plan, always remember the plan..the plan..the plan..the plan.............yes, the plan, there is a plan isn't there..huh, of course...must sane team would go thru this if there wasn't an upside....would they? Course not...have faith in the Plan...

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 4, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game tonight and 506 couldn't have said it better. I noticed just a little more patience at the plate. I specifically remember Zimmerman being behind in the count and just patiently waiting it out and just ate up more pitches. He wasn't the only one. Zambrano ended up walking quite a few of our guys because of it. Our bullpen looked hot. I had worried about Rivera after one of his yukky outings a week or so ago, but he did great. As did Ayala and Rauch. The boys were looking much more alive today. Not such an ugly loss after all.

Thought you all might be interested in this little tidbit: My section, 447 which is behing left field, was full of cubs and nats fans, soriano lovers and haters. When Soriano came out to the field, it was hard to distinguish who he heard, the lovers or haters, because everyone was yelling stuff (I was a lover, btw). Well. It became pretty clear who was more vocal because he turned around, gave us the finger and then motioned to his crotch with both hands. I was offended and yelled "I used to love you Soriano" but my friend Amy laughed and said "good for him. I love him more for it."

Posted by: NatsNut | July 4, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Enough can't be said about Ayala's return. He's been having some kickass outings so far. I find I just trust the guy and that's a great feeling to have when it comes to our pitching.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 4, 2007 12:47 AM | Report abuse

one more thing. Did you guys see Zambrano's batting average? Maybe you guys knew this already but it was freaking .263. Their pitcher is hitting better than half our lineup!

Posted by: NatsNut | July 4, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut reports that Soriano, upon receiving enthusiastic and diverse greetings from the left-field stands, "turned around, gave us the finger and then motioned to his crotch with both hands."

Who knew? Sori is channeling ex-Nats skipper Ted Williams. (Albeit with a somewhat lengthier résumé.)

Posted by: Hendo | July 4, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Sect. 506, for the uplifting GHF summary.

NatsNut, are you serious? He really did that? Wow.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 4, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Guess I'd better have my camera ready today in case of any salutes to fans.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 4, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

... thanx BrianH, and Happy Fourth to all of you. Don't worry about me; I had my day off on Monday in honour of Canada Day (which was Sunday, July 1). Hope all your fireworks go off as planned, especially the ones in the sky.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 4, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Yep. He really did that. I thought "hey, I thought you liked us?" But then again, he probably thought the same thing.
I'll be at the game too, but not sitting in my regular section.

I'm still curious how serious Colome's injury is. Sheinin seemed to think it was very serious. Talk of lengthy hospital stays and IVs made it sound serious. But Bowden's comments sounded sarcastic and funny. I'd hate to think we've been cracking wise about it when it's a lot worse than we thought. Can you give us an update?

Posted by: NatsNut | July 4, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

"They played over there head in the first 75 games. Now, perhaps they're playing under it ..."

... true enough SC Nats Fan, and I for one feel privileged just to have witnessed the first half. I look forward to the second half to see how this team fares:

1/ in terms of finishing on a high note
2/ in terms of setting the table for next year
3/ in terms of who'll be the Sept. call-ups

... what do you guys want to look for between now and October?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 4, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine why a Nats fan would cheer Soriano. He was totally disingenious all last year, saying he wanted to stay (why don't you check out the quotes around the trading deadline last year Barry?), and never gave the team a chance to negotiate a contract. He 'loved' the Washington fans, huh? Then, after signing for $138 million, he insisted that he did it not for the money but for 'the people of Chicago.' Then when the Nats went to Wrigley in May, he tried to stir the pot again insisting that he wanted to sign here (if that was the case, why did he refuse to negotiate with the team?)

I don't hate him for taking the $138 million. I hate him because he is a liar and used the Washington fans support of him as leverage for money. Washington baseball fans have been through enough, waiting 33 years for a team, thank you.

I booed Soriano hardily everytime he has come to the plate and will continue to do so throughout the series.

Posted by: Ray | July 4, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe Sori could get benched for inciting the crowd? (rubbing hands together)

I'll be in the outfield (left field) area today, rooting for another fine start from Chico (and no bullpen shenanigans) and cheering on our Nats All-Star and the rest of the guys. See you all there!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 4, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Happy 4th to all you Nats fans. To those able to go to the game today, enjoy, and give Sori the 1 gun salute for me, if you will. Couldn't agree more with Ray after I read the Natsnut report on his actions last night. I'm very disappointed with his lack of class.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 4, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Hi natsfan1a,

... have a great day at the park today, and toss out a cheer from the Canadian guy for me, will ya? Make it in response to a great AB by Dmitri or a particularly timely K by Chico.

... and thanx to you and the other guy, for the link to the Times article on Sentaria. It was indeed fascinating. The only part that bothered me slightly - well two things really - were 1/ the statement that teams are now discussing religion with the guys they want to sign. The story doesn't go any further than that, but I'd like to know what business it is of the team in the first place.

... and 2/ I wish the writer hadn't focussed on Ozzie Guillen so much. I don't care for the guy, after his racist, homophobic remarks of a couple of years ago. Still we all have skeletons in our closets. On the whole, I guess I can overlook that in the face of his baseball qualities.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 4, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Hi natscan,

Sorry that I didn't see your message before heading out to the ballpark. I did voice plenty of cheers and hold up my sign several times in appreciation of Dmitri, so consider that some virtual cheering was done for Canada!

That was an interesting article, and I agree with you on the club religion vetting point. I'm also not a fan of Ozzie's rants, racist remarks, and so forth, and I didn't like the time he reamed out the rookie pitcher on camera. As far as other religions go, I couldn't find much on it after some brief Googling last night. I did find some items relating to Zen (a manifestation of Buddhism, I think) in relation to Japanese players in the U.S. (Ichiro was one). Would be an interesting topic to pursue, I think. The one article noted at the end that the Mets had at least five religions represented in their clubhouse.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 4, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: lq4xbr3czp | September 4, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

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