A Debate: Should the Nationals “Stop the Wave”?

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Justin: Jason, do you support “stop the wave” movement?  Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the wave, but that’s more for personal reasons.  I just don’t like being forced to stand up, especially if i have a beer or half smoke in my hands.  If 40,000 people want to do that wave, I don’t really care, as long as it’s not in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded in a tie game.  Let’s save the wave for blowouts when the crowd is bored and have nothing to cheer.  Your thoughts?

Jason: The wave is not baseball.  The wave is for mindless drunk football fans.  The fact that Continue reading “A Debate: Should the Nationals “Stop the Wave”?”

Suzuki and Ramos Unsung Early Productivity

The Nationals this year have surprising productivity from the catching position.  According to weighted on base average the catching tandem of Suzuki and Romos are two of the top four hitters on the team.  If you are not familiar with wOBA, it tries to accurately factor in the value of an extra base hit better than a simple batting average does (similar to Slugging %, but more statically accurate to true in game value).

Wilson Ramos
Wilson Ramos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seeing the wOBA Ramos put up before going on the DL show why having him back in the lineup Tuesday will be a boost to the team.  Suzuki, catching virtually everyday only had .246 wOBP over the last two weeks.  Playing every other day will hopefully keep him sharper at the plate.

Name wOBA
Bryce Harper .502
Wilson Ramos .414
Ian Desmond .354
Kurt Suzuki .339
Jayson Werth .323
Denard Span .309
Ryan Zimmerman .298
Steve Lombardozzi .267
Anthony Rendon .261
Danny Espinosa .252

More Nationals, Willie Robertson, Chipper Jones, Adam LaRoche and Duck Dynasty Might Save the Season

As if the appearance of Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty at Nats Park over the weekend wasn’t interesting enough, I think it might cure Adam LaRoche of his prolonged slump.  As I research Buck Commander, the show Willie, Adam, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Ryan Langerhans (traded for Michael Morse) host, I found they  had a guest at one point.  Chipper Jones was also involved with this group of deer hunting enthusiasts   The same Chipper that studied film with LaRoche in Atlanta Monday, before Adam broke his 0-26 slump.

If Adam LaRoche can start hitting again, and we can point to Chipper’s film study as the reason, and we can point to Continue reading “More Nationals, Willie Robertson, Chipper Jones, Adam LaRoche and Duck Dynasty Might Save the Season”

Don’t worry about the Nationals – worry about Strasburg

“Are you worried about the Nationals?”
I’ve been asked a variation of that question a thousand times as the Nats limped to a 13-13 start in a season with high expectations.
My answer is always the same:

Continue reading “Don’t worry about the Nationals – worry about Strasburg”

Chipper Jones, New Nats Hitting Coach?

Chipper Jones, life long Brave, and future Hall of Fame player parked in the visitors parking lot at Turner Field and worked with the Nationals struggling 1st baseman. It was overheard that they were talking about driving the ball to the opposite field. LaRoche’s first at bat he hit a single to left field.
Remember, LaRoche was a 29th round draft pick of the Braves in 2000 and came up through their minor league system. Adam and Chipper were teammates 04-06 and then again on 09. Thanks Chipper. Which reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld quote about fan loyalty.

Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify. Because the players are always changing, the team can move to another city, you’re actually rooting for the clothes when you get right down to it. You know what I mean, you are standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city. Fans will be so in love with a player but if he goes to another team, they boo him. This is the same human being in a different shirt, they *hate* him now. Boo! Different shirt!! Boo.

Yea Chipper!

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The Strange Career of Tyler Clippard

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Only one man has spent more time in a Nationals uniform than Tyler Clippard since 2008: Ryan Zimmerman.  Since coming to DC from New York in 2007, Tyler Clippard has contributed 6.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), including a remarkable 3.4 WAR in 2011 when Clippard made the all-star team and was the 13th most valuable pitcher in the National League (according to Baseball Reference).  That season, he was also the most valuable reliever in the NL.

In 2011, Clippard made 72 relief appearance, giving up 18 Continue reading “The Strange Career of Tyler Clippard”

Toomer’s Oaks, Traditions, and the Atlanta Braves

Toomer's Oaks
Toomer’s Oaks in February 2012

Last week, one of the great traditions in sports died.  Auburn fans gathered at the corner of College and Magnolia to roll Toomer’s Oaks one final time before University officials were forced to remove them.  The trees were poisoned by a deranged Alabama fan in 2010.

I’m not an Auburn fan.  I have no connection to the University or its football team.  In fact, I dislike the SEC.  But I appreciate a good tradition, which is why I made a detour in February 2012 while driving through Alabama to see Toomer’s Oaks for the first and only time.  The above picture is now a historical artifact.  The trees are now dead.

Throwing toilet paper on trees is a silly and juvenile act.  In any other context, it would be stupid and maybe even criminal.  But on Auburn game days, it became a great thing that united generations of Auburn students and alums.  Traditions don’t have to make sense.  In fact, the sillier and more juvenile traditions are, the better.  As long as it’s fun and unique to your city/team, it’s fine.

Which leads me to the Braves.  I’ve never seen a team more shameless about their traditions than the Atlanta Braves (as noted in HSHA’s Turner Field review).  The tomahawk chop is completely lifted from Florida State, who started chopping 10 years before the Braves.  Their seventh inning stretch song, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver, is taken from the Baltimore Orioles, who started playing it in the 1970’s.  The Braves mascot, Homer, is a simply a carbon copy of Mr. Met, who was created in 1963.

It’s all very sad.  The Braves have a talented team and a pretty passionate fan base.  They deserve better.  Perhaps they should look two hours down the road to Auburn University, an organization that understands what a tradition is all about.

Continue reading “Toomer’s Oaks, Traditions, and the Atlanta Braves”