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Obama and Opening Day

First things first: Happy Kansas Day!

I've been trolling, trolling, trolling this morning for news, rumors, hints, innuendos -- nothin'. Except for Ken Rosenthal's daily piece, which says the Nats would be more interested in Adam Dunn than Bobby Abreu and that he doubts Tom Glavine would want to come to Washington. Like I said, pretty much nothin'.

So let's talk about something really important -- should President Obama throw out the first pitch for the Nats this year?

Well, the White Sox -- his team of choice -- have already invited him.

The Nats tell me he is also invited to their opener; the president always is. So...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  January 29, 2009; 9:39 AM ET
 
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Comments

From (I think) the only Nats fan living in Kansas - thanks for the well wishes on this fine Kansas Day!

If Stan wants to get me something tell him Adam Dunn wrapped up in a nice bow would do quite nicely.

Nats Fan in KC

Posted by: mastroj | January 29, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Don't really care about the White Sox but IMO the Washington team should always open at home and the president should always throw out the first pitch.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Forget the opening day pitch?

Can Obama play first?

Posted by: natbisquit | January 29, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The Prez is left handed.

Posted by: sec307 | January 29, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

For one, I've always held to the old "Be True to Your School" philosophy espoused by the Beach Boys. Your team is your team. Fans are the only ones who don't get to be free agents here. By this reasoning, Obama should throw out the first pitch in Chicago.

There is, however, the idea that, upon inauguration, Obama needed to leave behind the campaign stories of his roots and upbringing and become the country's executive. He represents the country now, and as President, he should be in Washington throwing out the first pitch. He's no longer Obama of Chicago or Barack from Hawaii. He's President Obama, and he should be throwing out the first pitch in DC.

So I guess there's sort of a political twist to this I didn't expect. Still, if I were Obama, I'd go to Chicago. You can't shake sports allegiances, and we shouldn't try to.

So I hope he does both.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Somebody mentioned at the end of the last thread that Centerplate is out, and I found this from last Friday's Washington Business Journal:

"The Washington Nationals have become the first big-league team in recent memory to part ways with its concessionaire after the inaugural season at a new ballpark.

The team has cut ties with vendor operator Centerplate Inc. of Stamford, Conn, according to several industry sources.

Chicago-based Levy Restaurants will take over the food account, and Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Facility Merchandising Inc. now has the retail account.

Both companies are familiar with D.C. Levy operates premium dining at Verizon Center. FMI ran the Nationals’ retail during the three seasons at RFK Stadium."

There's more, but you have to be a print subscriber to view the entire article. Anyone know anything else? They must have been pretty bad to get fired after one season.

Posted by: BGinVA | January 29, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Full text seems to be available via the Albuquerque Business Journal:

http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/othercities/washington/stories/2009/01/26/story4.html?b=1232946000^1765787

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Well, he is the Messiah, or so I'm told, I think he can be at both games.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 29, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The White Sox home opener is April 6th vs. the Royals; the Nationals home opener is one week later -- April 13th vs. the Phillies.

Why can't the President go to both?

Posted by: greggwiggins | January 29, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The Sox opener is 4/6. The Nats' is 4/13. Where is the conflict? Also a lot less expensive to throw out the first pitch in DC vs. flying AF One and all the support to Chicago for a 2 minute event.

Posted by: ramgut | January 29, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I think that "both" is the clear correct answer here, given the week of travel time. It would be just plain wrong for him to spurn the ChiSox. And I really hope he does it in DC too. A person has always been allowed to have a team in each league.

(And I'm hoping the new concessionaire won't run out of any supplies in April and fail to replenish them all season. Ye gods.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 29, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Another quote from Stan Kasten at the recent NatsFest:

"We have some changes coming in the food preparation and service and quality area I can't talk about yet, but we are going to make some announcements soon -- not just in the food quality, but also in the way we try to reach out to fans. We're going to have more in the way of value meals this year, because we know the budget is something everyone is worried about. (Applause.) We're gonna tinker with some all-you-can-eat sections on certain nights; this has become popular in other cities."

Obviously the announcement he couldn't make yet on Sunday is headed by the replacement of Centerplate. So why is this happening? Based upon what I've read (mainly on Nats320 blog - dig through the archives there for lots of Centerplate stuff) and observed, there are probably several factors at play. There was a change of ownership at Centerplate a while back, I believe the company was bought by some other food service organization. The Centerplate head chef at Nationals Park who announced all the grand plans before the ballpark opened last year apparently left the company mid-season. The highlights of food service at Nationals Park last summer were stands like Ben's, Five Guys, Hard Times and the like that are all basically ballpark outlets of local food places. In addition to that, though, Centerplate promised innovative offerings of their own (Taste of the Majors, sushi, etc) and I don't think any of those ever materialized. And of course there were the many well-chronicled service issues, but I think the fault for much of that isn't really Centerplate's but more a byproduct of the labor pool they have - and may even be contractually forced - to choose from. Hopefully the new food concessionaire can do a better job with the menu of offerings as well as dealing with the service issues. Centerplate was only marginally (if at all) better than Aramark, who they replaced.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

505203 - had they built the stadium Arlington, he could have walked without tieing up a bridge. Could your guy have done that?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 29, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Taste of the Majors was weak, IMO, considering what they could have done with it. Crab Cake sandwich from Baltimore...can't they be a little more creative? Give us something we haven't seen before.

Also, the night I went, they were out of Garlic Fries. Not a huge deal, but when it is 1 of 4 items that you sell (and it takes 2 innings to go through the line), they should have put up a sign.

Posted by: jctichen | January 29, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

jca,

Are you making an assumption that I didn't vote for Barack Obama based on my attempt at humor?

Posted by: Section505203 | January 29, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

My main concern about the new food vendor would be the staff. Are they going to hire a bunch of new people, new people that will have to learn everything all over again?

And Obama should do both. I understand his White Sox fandom, and the fact that their game is a week before ours.

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | January 29, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"A person has always been allowed to have a team in each league."

No, that's a fiction perpetrated by people who live here who were Orioles fans before the Nationals arrived or who are transplants from other cities that have teams, purely to assuage their guilt. Go to any place that is really a two-team city, such as NYC or Chicago, and you don't find fans who have an NL team and an AL team. Barack is from Chicago, and his team is the White Sox. He doesn't say "My AL team is the White Sox and my NL team is the Cubs." His team is the Sox. Similarly, I would challenge you to find anyone in New York who would say that their AL team is the Yankees and their NL team is the Mets. You're one or the other. Either you have a single team that's YOUR team, or you really don't have any team at all.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hire new staff? Clearly, the old staff never learned their jobs. Staff turnover shouldn't be an issue. Maybe with the economy in the dumper, they'll have better candidates to choose from.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 29, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Major league baseball should change the opening day schedule so that the White Sox open against the Nationals in DC, a day before the normal opening.

The Barrack can throw out the opening pitch, root for his team and be back at work the next morning.

Posted by: nattydread1 | January 29, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

When did you get the job of setting the rules for being a fan and how much does it pay?

Posted by: natbisquit | January 29, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"When did you get the job of setting the rules for being a fan and how much does it pay?"

I won the job as part of the divorce settlement when Tom Boswell and his hometown franchise parted ways recently. How much does it pay? Let me put it this way: I'm waiting for the buyout.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Nunof1

I have a question. I have been a fan of the National league Expos/Nat's for a long time. I have however always had a soft spot for the Twins. I follow them. Feel happy when they win. I don't really root for them like I do the Nat's (read blogs, go to games...).

Is this alright? Can you tell me if I'm allowed to do this?

Posted by: soundbloke | January 29, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The real question is, if Obama flies to Chicago for the ChiSox, how will he say no to the Cubs, whose opener does conflict with the Nats?

Posted by: Aterio | January 29, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Lets have someone who wants to be there throw out the first pitch. Just say no to O.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 29, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"Nunof1

I have a question. I have been a fan of the National league Expos/Nat's for a long time. I have however always had a soft spot for the Twins. I follow them. Feel happy when they win. I don't really root for them like I do the Nat's (read blogs, go to games...).

Is this alright? Can you tell me if I'm allowed to do this?"

Sure. It's kind of like if you're married you can get away with having a crush on some beautiful actress, gush all over them and such in front of your wife. But God forbid if she finds out you're having lunch every day with one of your female co-workers, even if she is just a friend.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"The real question is, if Obama flies to Chicago for the ChiSox, how will he say no to the Cubs, whose opener does conflict with the Nats?"

Because when he throws out the first ball in DC, he's doing it because he's the POTUS, Washington is the Nation's Capital, and tradition dictates it. When he throws out the first ball in Comiskey (or whatever it's called now), he's doing it because he's a famous White Sox fan.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Nunof1

You sir deserve a medal for being the first person I have ever heard to equate the The Minnisota Twins as a 'beautiful actress'.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 29, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

If Mr. Flinty Chicago Toughness does throw out the first pitch for Washington's home opener, they should pave his path to the mound with a slick sheet of ice.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | January 29, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

He should throw out the First pitch for the ORIOLES!!!!!

Posted by: SkinsOsHokies | January 29, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

nunof1,

The 'labor pool' is not why there was bad service. Minimum wage jobs attract minimum wage labor pools whether they are in the District, Arlington, or Salt Lake City. The failure of employees is the failure of employers and has nothing to do with where the employees live.

As for Obama, you're right on. He should throw the first pitch here because he's the president. If he has time in his busy schedule to fly to Chicago, then that's his business. Being a Rangers' fan (and former owner) didn't stop Bush and being a ChiSox fan shouldn't stop Obama either.

Posted by: sec307 | January 29, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Misspelling of the North Star State notwithstanding, I think this is Post of the Day. But hey, I'm biased.

-----

You sir deserve a medal for being the first person I have ever heard to equate the The Minnisota Twins as a 'beautiful actress'.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps he should throw out the first pitch for the Rangers, W's old team . . . or perhaps the Phillies, the one-time team of his former Senate colleague, Jim Bunning.

And do we have to limit him to one pitch? Couldn't we keep him in there for a few innings? Please?

Posted by: chrisduckworth | January 29, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I listened to a great segment last night on the way home. ESPN980 with Andy and Steve were interviewing the old WaPost beat writer Richard Justice. Justice seems to have a ton of insight into the Nationals due to old contacts still here in Washington. He said that with Kasten as president of the team, it can only improve to be where Kasten wants it to be. It's inevitable. What was interesting was that Justice (who knows Kasten) said that Bowden is not his pick as GM and would trade him out if he could. Justice goes on to say that Bowden is ranked by his peers as the least respected GM in all of baseball. I found this conversation intriguing, and can't for the life of me figure out why the Ownership is willing to keep him on.

Posted by: 6thandD | January 29, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

6thandD

You mean Andy and Steve have run out iof Snydermen talk? Now, if only Comcast would drydock that gasbag Larry Michael until next football season.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 29, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

hi leetee,

they still spent quite some time on NFL/Superbowl/Redskins and yes Snyder. But, like a child starved for attention, I am thrilled when they talk baseball of any kind. Funny though, Justice brought up the topic, not Pollen or Czaben.

Posted by: 6thandD | January 29, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

6thandD

It's not exactly the best kept secret that Bowden commands all the respect of the guy in charge of the family planning clinic in Vatican City.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 29, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"The 'labor pool' is not why there was bad service. Minimum wage jobs attract minimum wage labor pools whether they are in the District, Arlington, or Salt Lake City. The failure of employees is the failure of employers and has nothing to do with where the employees live."

I'm not sure about this, but I believe there are some contractual provisions that require a certain percentage of stadium employees to come from DC residents. Or maybe that was just for the construction phase. In any case, though, being minimum wage jobs they are pretty much going to be limited to a local labor pool, no matter who the managers are. If there's a slacker somewhere and they decide to fire him because he can't be trained, at minimum wage they are not going to be able to replace him with a hard worker who lives in Manassas. Their options for improvement are necessarily limited. Or are you suggesting that they pay the workers more than minimum wage and then have to start charging even more for food?

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

It was an interesting half hour last night on ESPN980. First, we got to listen to Richard Justice (which 6thandD told you about), than a break and we got some insight on Gary @ UM. 980 is so boring - how much can you talk about the deadskins and the vinny and danny show, er circus? Richard Justice is the very best! could listen to him talk baseball any day.

Posted by: 1of9000 | January 29, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama should go to Opening Day in Washington in keeping with tradition. He doesn’t need to wear a Nationals jacket (like Bush did hoping it would keep him from getting booed). Folks know he is a White Sox fan. Why can’t he go to both?? The down side (for a person like me, at least, who roots for a “single” team, the “hometown” team) is the fact that the Opener will become a hot ticket. Those not so loyal (or looking to make a buck) will put the tickets on StubHub and the place will be overrun with Phillies fans.

Posted by: charlie814 | January 29, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather be able to actually get into the park before the 3rd inning on Opening Day due to security procedures, so maybe it's not such a terrible loss if the leader of the free world spends the time fixing that world instead of watching a bad team get stomped by the World Champions in front of a bunch of Philadelphia fans on South Capitol Street.

Posted by: dfh123 | January 29, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

6thandD:

Maybe because Lerner doesn't want to pay Bowden to leave? Just like Lerner doesn't want to pay for any players?

Posted by: wlevey | January 29, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

remember those pictures we've all seen of Taft throwing out the first pitch? Does anyone remember the score of that game? Some things are just part of the game itself. He's a White Sox fan, no surprise there. He can throw out a ball and take in a few innings once in a while, here.

**********
... instead of watching a bad team get stomped by the World Champions in front of a bunch of Philadelphia fans on South Capitol Street.

Posted by: dfh123 | January 29, 2009 2:01 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 29, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

OTOH, if they were playing the Cubs instead of the Phillies, I think you could count on him attending. In his WS cap. And rooting for the Nats.

Not every place with 2 teams is like that--SF-Oakland come to mind immediately--but Chicago, especially Sox fans, really are. It's not mandatory, it's custom and tradition.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 29, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

What if they promised to have Abe come out in a Sox cap?

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 29, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

OOOh, oooooh, that's it! Tell him they'll put Abe in a Cubs cap if he doesn't show.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 29, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if it would help Barack make up his mind if he knew that on my shelf at home I have a row of five bobbleheads. George, Tom, Abe, Teddy and the Barack Obama bobblehead I just got for Christmas.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Again, I appreciate the discourse, and I am grateful that Tracee is still willing to poke around to find us discussion topics. However, if Obama and Dibble are all we have to talk about come March, we're in a world of hurt.

And, incidentally, if "Obama" and "Dibble" are still being used in the same sentence come 2012, our President's reelection campaign will be in a world of hurt.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Does ANYONE really give a S**T if Obama throws out the first pitch? Gosh, the attention at NatsFest and then this article, what a waste of time.

New idea Nats management: focus a bit more on the team on the field and a little less about who throws out the first pitch.

Posted by: S2DU | January 29, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

nunof1,

My point about the labor pool is that it's less about District residents being lazy (as I thought you were implying) and more about Centerplate managers being lazy by not adequately preparing their employees to do the job required of them. Local workers were not the problem - lack of guidance from management was.

On another note... we sure could use some actual baseball news to discuss, don't we?

Posted by: sec307 | January 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I do care, a lot, if the President throws out the first pitch. This is a tremendous tradition for Washington baseball.

Posted by: Traveler8 | January 29, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

He is the president and, as such, the leader of our nation. Washington is the nation's capital. As leader, change the opening day time of the nats to the early afternoon (if it isn't already) and change the white sox opening game to the evening (see previous parentheses). First pitch for the US of A. Second first pitch for ole Chicago.

See?

I should work for the White House even though I do but have never set foot there.

Go Nats! Sorry BO, your sox don't have a chance.

Posted by: pmaddeng | January 29, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Traveler8-

Maybe this is the problem with the fanbase itself: too many of us cannot see the forest from the trees. You worry about the first pitch, I will concern myself with the next 200+ pitches thrown during the actual GAME.

I worry about the tradition of the Nationals, yes the one where we have the worst record in the NL East three years in a row. That is the tradition I worry about.

Lunacy

Posted by: S2DU | January 29, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

No, S2DU, I care, too. I would bet Traveler and I see this precisely the opposite as you: the forest is the thing about what baseball in the Nation's Capital means to the people who live and work here, not the W-L ratio.

Also, the tradition I'm really desperate to break from is the one where well-meaning, but overly Eeyore-like fans constantly talk about three-straight last-place seasons.

It's actually never occurred in Washington, OR Expos, history.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/WSN/

Posted by: Section506 | January 29, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

S2DU, you're painting with very broad strokes, man. Traveler never said she didn't care about the on-field product, and never once has anyone who has commented on this thread even intimated that they wanted Obama to throw out the first pitch to the exclusion of a successful season.

A better Nats team and a Presidential first pitch are not mutually exclusive events. In fact, they are somewhat related.

Traveler, like many others, is speaking with a tremendous amount of historical and social perspective when they discuss this issue. For many, it centers on legitimacy. The Nats have only been in DC for four years, and they've only had a real park for a quarter of that time. Fans want to feel that baseball has actually returned to Washington for good. Once bitten, twice shy. To be shunned - so to speak - by the President is to raise the spectre of impermanence or insignificance.

We all want this team to be successful. There's a lot that goes into that equation, both on and off the field. I don't think it's fair to disparage those who are willing to see more than one aspect of that formula.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Section 506 and JiMpls-

I see your points, but the way to garner respectablilty and to feel like baseball is back is winning, plain and simple.

You raised the point of legitimacy: I don't believe the Nationals are considered irrelevant locally and nationally because of the length of time of the franchise or a potential presidential snub, we are considered an afterthought because that is how our organization is run, without a focus on winning. Our ownership, for better or worse, has focused their attention consistently on other things besides the team on the field, to the detriment of their reputation as a whole.

I guess we can agree to disagree a bit, but I want to hear more about improving the team from Stan Kasten, especially at a NatsFest, not how hard he is trying to convince Obama to throw out the first pitch.

Posted by: S2DU | January 29, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Lunacy

Does anyone else care that we didn't finish last in '07? That's not three years in a row. Just saying.

Small victories. Small victories...

Posted by: soundbloke | January 29, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Local workers were not the problem - lack of guidance from management was."

See, it's hard to say whether this is true or not. Some of those working for Centerplate at Nationals Park last year did their jobs well. I know, I was served by them on occasion. But there weren't enough of those kind of employees, that's the problem. Did the ones who did their jobs well do so because they were well trained, or did the others not perform well because of poor training? We'll never know. There were many comments online last year saying that Centerplate was employing many of the same folks that had worked for Aramark at RFK. If Aramark couldn't train them and Centerplate couldn't train them, then maybe the problem is the employee and not the training.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"I guess we can agree to disagree a bit, but I want to hear more about improving the team from Stan Kasten, especially at a NatsFest, not how hard he is trying to convince Obama to throw out the first pitch."

Why can't you hear both? Kasten addressed both topics at NatsFest, you know. And he spent very litlle of his time talking about Obama, actually.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

We got name-dropped a couple times (once as Senators/precepts of the Rangers, once as successors to the Expos) in an offbeat ESPN article about franchises that have never won the championship in their respective leagues.

Because it's not too much longer than a Tin Yurl, it's at: http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3869696

Mildly entertaining read, and a distraction from the first pitch discussion (for the record, I'd like the President to be in Washington for theirs, although I'll be on my honeymoon at the time).

Unnecessarily cheesy sidenote while on the topic: are my fiancée and I the first two people to have met their future spouse at a Nats game (August '05 - inaugural season)? Guess there's no way of knowing!

Posted by: faNATic | January 29, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

A belated thanks to CE for the BobLCat in the last thread.

Obama, the fan, should throw out the first pitch for the ChiSox if his schedule permits.

Obama, the President, should make sure his schedule permits him to throw out the first pitch here, barring a crisis.

(Errrr, a new crisis? An even worse crisis? Something like that.)

Posted by: BobLHead | January 29, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Also, MLBTR has this:

"Adam Dunn would like Manny to sign earlier, as he's waiting to see what the Dodgers (his preferred team) do. The Nationals have been Dunn's most aggressive suitor, the Orioles have mild interest, and the Braves have backed off."

Posted by: BobLHead | January 29, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

faNATic,

I meet my fiance in May '05 during the Cubs series (which the Nats swept). It was the Saturday night game with the long rain delay, for those who remember the good ole days when we were in 1st place. Looks like I got you beat by a few months.

Posted by: sec307 | January 29, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Hope you're going somewhere warm and romantic, faNATic. On second thought, I think that probably any place where one honeymoons is romantic. That's cool about your having met at a Nats game. August 2005, hmm? Could it have been at Patterson's complete game shutout? If not, I myself might be inclined to tweak the story a bit and say that it was that game, even if it wasn't. That was one heck of a game. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Cool, we have another meet cute Nats couple. You should ask the FO to comp the tix on your anniversary!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

sec307, thanks for taking the pressure off our shoulders - since you've assumed the flagship couple status (at least to date), we won't have to take the team's onfield travails quite so personally.

Posted by: faNATic | January 29, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Talk about one for the grandkids!

-----

If not, I myself might be inclined to tweak the story a bit and say that it was that game, even if it wasn't. That was one heck of a game. ;-)

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not Obama throws out the first ptich is a small deck chair on the Titanic. This is a dumb topic.

Posted by: dfh123 | January 29, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Look, you're right about winning and legitimacy. And your desire to see more from Kasten regarding the improvement of the team is completely valid.

It's just that these concerns have nothing to do with Traveler's interest in seeing Obama throw out the first pitch. You positioned your argument in such a way as to suggest that 1) Traveler was more concerned with seeing Presidential first pitch than with having the team perform well and 2) the use of any metric of success other than wins is tantamount to lunacy.

I don't think we have to agree to disagree, because I think we fundamentally agree. After all, wouldn't it be harder for Obama to turn down Washington's offer had they won, say, 85 games last year?

It just got a little personal. That's all I'm saying.

-----

I guess we can agree to disagree a bit, but I want to hear more about improving the team from Stan Kasten, especially at a NatsFest, not how hard he is trying to convince Obama to throw out the first pitch.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

505203 - No, just a few other posts of yours in the past. I have no problem. I thought crossing the Potomac without a bridge was just a logical extension of what you said, as would a comment about him replacing the concessionaire and providing an unlimited supply of loaves and fishes.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 29, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about all the 'Centerplate let us down talk' - seems more likely that they backed out of the team as opposed to being shown the door. Another disappointing outcome from last season. Another sign that the Lerners completely botched their (re)debut.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 29, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

jca,

To be honest, I did not vote for the man.

My jab about him being the "Messiah" was more at my disbelief of his "Rock Star" status with the press (MSNBC, Washington Post, etc.) and others.

I do respect the man however, and support him fully as my President. I will never boo him like GW Bush was boo'd, which was a despicable display.


Enough of that though, I have probably said to much political stuff on a baseball blog.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 29, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

nf1a, tragically, my game was August 6, a 3-2 loss by then-National Ryan Drese to future National Pedro Astacio, then pitching for the Padres. Things were much better off the field then on, because that was the game when Frank pulled Ryan Drese in the middle of an at-bat (with a 2-2 count), a man on second, and no outs in the top of the 7th, when the game was still tied 2-all. The game before was Livan's blowup where he threw his glove, hat, and jacket into the stands when Frank pulled him.

On the bright side, despite the drama, we were still 6 games over .500 on August 6, which seems like pretty lofty heights right now.

All that aside, I'll admit that apart from the Drese fiasco, my mind was not on the game much that afternoon.

Posted by: faNATic | January 29, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Wait, what does the Presidential first pitch have to do with legitimacy? The President needs to throw out the first pitch because it's Washington, DC, and that's something very special in the hearts of the people here. It's part of Our Game.

It's like I tell my red-headed, Cubs-fan girlfriend sometimes, "I don't understand why you care, but I'll do it because it means so much to you."

Posted by: Section506 | January 29, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

For those tired of flogging this topic....nats.com is reporting that Chris Marrero has been invited to big league camp on Feb. 14.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 29, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The President does not "need" to throw out the first pitch. Let's face it, tradition is pretty much dead when it comes to baseball. If it was such a priority for the President to throw out the first pitch on opening day, there would have been a team here between '72 and '05!

And the real, died in the wool, opening day tradition in MLB is gone. The oldest team (Reds) starting off the season in Cincinnati.

That said, it would be NICE if the President came to start off our home season. I think it would be a smart move on his part as well - despite a few snow jokes - he's been pretty open to embracing his new city.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 29, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

So if Dunn is waiting on Manny and Manny is still over 50 mil apart from the Dodgers, does this mean both guys will still be available in two weeks when spring training starts?

I say sign Griffey to a one-year deal and forget Dunn. He would be a much better mentor than Dunn to LMillz and Dukes, he can RF, is left-handed, and will be cheap. I believe he's involved with some kind of Obama inititive, so being close to White House would probably intrigue him and he would be a much better draw at the box office than Dunn. Besides, who wouldn't want a Ken Griffey Jr. bobblehead in a Nats uni?

I don't believe there is any free agent out there that would a long-term piece here, so why not get the biggest name we can? This team need some publicity as much as anything, and Jr. would bring it.

So how about this:

6 Guzman
8 Dukes
3 Zim
9 Griffey
3 Johnson/Willingham
7 Milledge/Willingham
2 Flores
4 Hernandez

It's definitely a much better defensive team than it would be with Dunn, if nothing else.

Posted by: sec307 | January 29, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I must have blocked out the Drese episode, faNATic, but I recall Livo's off-mound hurling. (Wasn't Drese the one who looked like Bobby on King of the Hill or am I conflating pitchers again?) Oh well, at least Frank didn't do that thing that there isn't any doing of in baseball afterwards like when he yanked LeCroy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to volunteer my services to throw out the first pitch...glad to do it.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 29, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Really, what tradition are you guys talking about? DC didn't have baseball for 35 years and the POTUS wasn't able to keep up that tradition for all that time. So that tradition died back then. So in my eyes, it's open season for a new tradition.

Plus if he goes to the game, it will be an impossible ticket to get. Why bother having him show up like this year for the Nats is going to be any better than the last 3 years.

Posted by: Carole5520 | January 29, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"For those tired of flogging this topic....nats.com is reporting that Chris Marrero has been invited to big league camp on Feb. 14."

I noticed that too after filling out my STH survey. Gulp...thank you Mr. Ladson.

Posted by: jctichen | January 29, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

On following multiple teams - I don't see how you can follow the sport closely and not have a visceral reaction to most of the teams. I just worked up a long post (scratched out) on the AL, and only about 4 teams I can take or leave (KC, TX, DET, OAK). About 5 or 6 I follow and usually root for, and about 4 are in my doghouse (NYY, BJs, ChiSox, and LAA) (sorry LDO). For the NL, I'm still working things out, because I have not followed it as closely.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 29, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I hear you on that, jca. I didn't share it earlier but I do have a visceral reaction to the ChiSox (among others), primarily due to the various escapades of Bud's buddy Reinsdork.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@jctichen:

You beat me to the punch on the Marrero news. Well, that pretty much excludes signing a 1B in FA, with five 1B 'in-camp' (NJohnson, Whitney, Eldred, DaMeat & Marrero), although the door might still be ajar for a trade.

Posted by: BinM | January 29, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"Following" a team is not the same thing as "having" a team, jca. Someone who follows a lot of teams closely is clearly a fan of the game, and that's a good thing. But it's not the same thing as being a fan of a team. Someone who calls themself a fan of a team but who needs to have another team as their fallback (i.e. "having an AL team and an NL team") is really just cheating on both of the teams they claim to be a fan of - not unlike cheating on one's spouse, actually.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

And there's also the fact that, thanks to Tracee's Kansas Day opening, I've had the little ditty "Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City" flitting through my head for hours.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

nunof1 - well, maybe I should get a cameo on "Big Love."

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 29, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

@1a1:

Oh, thanks for sharing that earworm. Now I'm going to have to clamp on the headphones & listen to rock/metal for a couple of hours to kill it.

Posted by: BinM | January 29, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@jca:

He defined it as cheating, not bigamy or plural marriages. Besides, you're not from the "Beehive" state, are you?

Posted by: BinM | January 29, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

You're most welcome, BinM. :-D

(And now I know what the Beehive state is, thank you very much.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@1a1:

That's a two-fer you owe me - One for the earworm (being assuaged by Robin Trower's "Victims of the Fury"), and one for the x-word puzzle answer for The "Beehive" state (Utah).

Posted by: BinM | January 29, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

LOL, BinM!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 29, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@1a1:

Did you know that that Utah was the 1st State that was required to contain a statement or Amendment in its' State Constitution against polygamy? (Idaho followed suit, but I can't track whether it was required or not by the Federals).

Posted by: BinM | January 29, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

@WaPo staff:

Tracee, Sheinen, Cameron, even the effervescent, but rarely present Harlan - please give the NJ faithful a new topic / post?

Posted by: BinM | January 29, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so the President throws out the first pitch (as he should). Who throws the second one?

Posted by: lowcountry | January 29, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Second pitch: Barack Obama again. Chief Justice Roberts will somehow mess up the first one, so there will need to be a do-over.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 29, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

No, I didn't, BinM. And you got your wish (new post).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 30, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

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