Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Moving, for the love of the Nats

I love where I live.

I love living downtown and watching the city of Lynchburg grow by the day. I love that I live in a brand new loft for a very affordable rate. I really love that I am only minutes away from my job.

I am moving out of my apartment the second my lease is up.

As of today (January 22, 2013) we stand 20 days till Pitchers and Catchers report for Spring Training. For baseball enthusiasts such as myself, this is one of the very best times of the year. The crack of the bat and the pop of the mitt is something I look forward to like most children look forward to Christmas morning. So, it is with that passion in mind, that I have decided I must leave my beautiful apartment and seek residence at a location that allows me to have DIRECTV, currently the only way a Lynchburg resident can watch the Washington Nationals play nightly.

Comcast, currently the only cable provider allowed in my loft, does not carry MASN or MLB Network, two channels that a fan of the Nationals/Orioles and baseball fans alike, need to get their nightly fix.

Thankfully MLB provides two services to overcome carrier scheduling issues with their excellent MLB Extra Innings Package and their web version MLB.tv. Both show all the games around the league every night, most in HD quality. Problem solved, right?

Not quite.

Due to blackout rules that few know of, and even fewer understand, living in the Nationals/Orioles "footprint" restricts viewers such as myself from being able to watch our favorite team on television because our local provider is already licensed to carry the channel. Well that's a problem, isn't? If Comcast won't carry the channel and MLB blacks out all the games of the "home" team, how is a fan supposed to watch their local team play? Simple answer, as I've found from Comcast and MLB representatives, is, "Sorry, but you're out of luck."

In dealing with Comcast, they've assured me that due to Lynchburg being such a small area, they only have a limited number of channels available to the consumer, and some would question why niche channels such as MASN are needed for the general public. Understood, but I believe that is what the Sports Tier package was made for, is it not?

If you have a channel that has the exclusive rights to carry the Nationals/Orioles available to you, don't you think that more than a few fans would pay extra to be able to watch their team play every night? I know I would, and I am sure I would not be the only one. As I stated previously, this local blackout wouldn't be a problem if MLB did not have such restrictive blackout rules.

So, let me get this straight MLB; you know there is a city consisting of 76,504 residents (2011 census), that has no possible way to access the content that you have mapped specifically for them with your predetermined "footprints", yet knowing that, you also choose to black out those fans from following their favorite team? Is this how you choose to grow your wonderful game? It's amazing more damage hasn't been done to your product with this type of thinking.

All of this sounds like sour grapes, and it very well may be. I knew going in that I would be forced into an apartment outfitted only with Comcast, but what I did not anticipate was just how hard I would take the loss of watching the Nationals play every night, and losing out on following the game I love.

Having exhausted all resources in attempting to make inroads to rectify this situation, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get my fix of the Nationals and MLB Network is to move to an apartment that allows DIRECTV. DIRECTV, as one might reasonably assume, does in fact currently has MASN and MLB Network on its programming package.

Many friends have told me I am overreacting to not having a way to watch baseball, some have even called me childish for my willingness to uproot my life in pursuit of two television channels. Others may say I'm showing a bit of "Natitude", a slogan created by the Washington Nationals to announce pride in being a fan of the organization. Whatever the case something has to change.

In this instance, I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of my personal comfort to be able to cheer my team on from the comfort of home, wherever that ends up being.

Monday, May 14, 2012

This is your brain on Henry Rodriguez

No comment necessary.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ESPN: Nats don't count as part of the DC sports scene

The Washington Nationals are not part of the DC sports scene according to a report from ESPN The Magazine.

Recently, the magazine released its Ultimate Team Rankings, ranking all professional sport franchises in America from 1-122 in a variety of categories. Overall, the Nationals ranked 78th, but where does that rank among the franchises in the DC/Baltimore area?

Well, according to this chart, they don't.

One day, it's likely Nationals fans will be able to look back at this slight, and all the other embarrassments the Nats have suffered over the years (self inflicted and otherwise) and laugh at how trivial these mistakes appear to be.

Today, is not that day, though.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nats draft a bigot?

The 2011 first year player draft has just concluded, and it appears as if the Washington Nationals may have drafted a bigot with their 15th round pick.

Zachary Houchins, an infielder from Louisburg College in North Carolina has a problem. He just can't seem to avoid expressing his thoughts on Twitter.

For most people that's not really a problem, but for Houchins who goes by @zachhouchins, saying what's on his mind is a big problem.

What exactly is young Mr. Houchins saying that is so damning? Well, don't take my word for it... read Zach's tweets and judge for yourself.

Here's just a sampling of Houchins tweets...

Endearing, isn't he?

How quaint, bigotry and cheating in the same tweet!

Ok, then.

I don't know Zach, I just don't know.

That sounds really unsanitary.

Too late.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nationals finally see a member of the 2006 draft class make MLB debut

It finally happened.

With a 92 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate, Cole Kimball emphatically announced that the Washington Nationals will not go down as the only team to never produce a major leaguer from the 2006 draft class.

While higher picks like Chris Marrero and Stephen King continue to flounder in the minors, Kimball, a 12th round pick out of Centenary College made his debut this past Saturday, May 14 in a 1-0 loss against the Florida Marlins, pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

Blessed with a mid 90's fastball and what broadcaster Ray Knight describes as "the best splitter since Bruce Sutter", Kimball made a quick rise through the Nationals farm system after a move to the bullpen.

Much had been made of the Nationals inability to produce a major leaguer from their '06 class; including on this very site. Of the Nationals draft picks in the first 10 rounds, which included two compensation picks (12 picks overall), only eight signed. Of those eight, only three remain within the Nationals system. Even more bizarre, two have retired, including 1st round compensation pick Colton Willems, who decided to give up baseball at the tender age of 21.

With Kimball now a part of the major league roster, one has to wonder who may be the next player from the 2006 class to make the jump to Washington. If this blogger had to take a guess, look for 1B Chris Marrero to make him MLB debut sometime later this season, perhaps in September when the rosters expand to 40 players. Outside of Marrero, and 41st rounder SP Brad Peacock, though, the future looks dim for the '06 class.

You can't hit a home run with all your draft picks; for Jim Bowden and the Washington Nationals, it appears as if the 2006 draft will go down as nothing more than a class with warning track power.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Meyers shines in season opener

Lost among the headlines last night of the Washington Nationals 11 inning victory, and the professional debut of phenom Bryce Harper, 2009 Nationals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Brad Meyers made his return from a debilitating foot injury.

Meyers, the 6'6" righty who was off to a fast start in 2010 when he was forced to shut it down after six starts, threw five scoreless innings while striking out an impressive nine hitters and walking none in an easy Opening Day victory over the Bowie Baysox, the Baltimore Orioles AA affiliate.

One has to wonder how long it will be until Meyers joins 2010 Nationals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Tom Milone in AAA. As long as health is not an issue, you can bet Meyers will force the Nationals hand sooner rather than later.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Predicting the 2011 MLB Season

Carlos Quentin will overcome injuries in 2011 to win his first AL MVP

While this blog will always be Washington Nationals centric, that does not mean that we cannot take the time to discuss the upcoming 2011 MLB season. Without going into great detail, here is what For Love of the Nationals sees happening in 2011.

2011 MLB Predictions

AL East
1. Red Sox
2. Yankees
3. Rays
4. Jays
5. Orioles

Analysis - The Red Sox, with their acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will prove too strong for the rest of their AL East foes. While the Yankees will be good enough to snag a Wild Card spot, the Red Sox will win the division going away.

AL Central
1. White Sox
2. Tigers
3. Twins
4. Royals
5. Indians

Analysis - For Love of the Nationals absolutely loves the 2011 White Sox. 1B/DH Paul Konerko finally has protection in the lineup in the form of former Nationals 1B Adam Dunn. Coupled with a young, but tested rotation as well as what this blog believes will be a massive season out of oft-injured Carlos Quentin, and the White Sox are a sleeping giant that is about to be awakened.

AL West
1. A's
2. Rangers
3. Angels
4. Mariners

Analysis - The A's? Yes, the A's! With a lights out rotation that should only be better in 2011 with a healthy Brett Anderson, the A's finally have the bats to compete in a very winnable AL West. Texas will struggle with pitching and injuries while the rest of the division will have problems even playing .500 ball.

NL East
1. Braves
2. Phillies
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals

Analysis - We don't trust the Phillies, that is, until playoff times come. As for the regular season, the Braves should only be better than last year with an upgraded offense to compliment their solid pitching staff. Philly will make the playoffs, but they'll have to scrap and claw for the Wild Card spot.

NL Central
1. Brewers
2. Reds
3. Cardinals
4. Cubs
5. Pirates
6. Astros

Analysis - While Zack Greinke was the big addition to the Brewers this offseason, SP Shawn Marcum, acquired from the Blue Jays in the offseason will be the real key to the Brew Crew's success in 2011. Also, don't be surprised if a focused Nyjer Morgan surfaces in Milwaukee and stabilizes their uncertain plans in CF.

NL West
1. Giants
2. Rockies
3. Dodgers
4. Diamondbacks
5. Padres

Analysis - The San Francisco Giants will win their second consecutive NL West Title with more outstanding pitching as well as an MVP season out of Catcher Buster Posey as well as the debut of monster rookie 1B/OF Brandon Belt.

AL Playoffs

White Sox over Yankees
Red Sox over Oakland

Analysis - The White Sox will be too much for the Yankees who just don't have the horses in the rotation to compete in October. The Red Sox make quick work out of the upstart A's as their pitching staff proves not yet ready for prime time.

AL Championship

White Sox over Red Sox

Analysis - In an upset, the White Sox take down the heavily favored Red Sox. Ozzie Guillen tweets that he's the best manager in the history of baseball.

NL Playoffs

Phillies over Brewers
Braves over Giants

Analysis - The Phillies, proving pitching is king, wake up just in time for the post season and sweep the Brewers behind Halladay, Lee and Hamels. The Braves offense is the key in this series. There will be no repeat of Brooks Conrad kicking the ball around the infield in 2011, Braves in five.

NL Championship

Braves over Phillies

Analysis - Pitching rules, but if your team has no offense, how are you going to win games? The Phillies are left asking that question as the young Braves take down their division rivals.

World Series

White Sox over Braves

Analysis - Ozzie Guillen is proved correct as the White Sox slug their way to a World Series Championship. Gordon Beckham and Alexi Ramirez prove to be a solid duo at SS and 2B, and the Sox bats are just too strong for the Braves to keep up.

AL MVP - Carlos Quentin - OF - White Sox

Analysis - One of these years Quentin has to stay healthy. Playing in a lineup filled with mashers, 2011 is finally the year Quentin avoids the DL... and proves to be the key cog in the White Sox title run.

NL MVP - Buster Posey - C - Giants

Analysis - Posey proved to be an offensive threat in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2010; in 2011, Posey breaks out into a bona fide Superstar.

AL Cy Young - Gio Gonzalez - A's

Analysis - Gio Gonzalez is a stud. In 2011, you'll finally know it. Armed with can't hit stuff, Gonzalez will cut back on his walks to bring the AL West their second consecutive AL Cy Young.

NL Cy Young - Tim Lincecum - Giants

Analysis - The Freak will be just that in 2011. After a 'down' year in 2010, Lincecum will return with a vengeance and a dedication to training that will prove to be the key to Lincecum's third Cy Young award.

AL ROY - SP Michael Pineda - Mariners

Analysis - Meet King Felix's new best friend. Pineda, who has torn up every minor league stop he's been at, just recently was named the Mariners fifth starter. Pineda will not disappoint while pitching in the spacious confines of Safeco Field.

NL ROY - SP Brandon Beachy - Braves

Analysis - Beachy, who beat out fellow prospect Mike Minor for the fifth spot in the Braves rotation will be a key ingredient in the Braves NL East Division winning run.

Comeback Player of the Year - SP Jeff Francis - Royals

Analysis - Francis, the former Rockies ace, makes his return after missing quite a bit of time with shoulder troubles. Though it is only Spring Training, Francis has flashed the skill that made him such a big part of the Rockies run to the World Series in 2007.

Breakout Player of the Year - OF Andrew McCutchen - Pirates

Analysis - Want to know who is the next big star the Pirates will trade away? Meet Andrew McCutchen. The Center Fielder, blessed with five tool skill, McCutchen is an absolute star in the making. Surround him with talent, watch McCutchen become one of the biggest stars in all of the game.