Washington Nationals Newsbeat
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Schu scanned through video and found film of Harper hitting. He arranged clips of Harper and Ruth side-by-side on the monitor and stopped at the moment each hitter’s bat connected with a pitch. In each still picture, he saw a stiff front leg, an uncoiling torso and a back foot lifting off the ground. “Wow,” he thought. “That’s identical.”
“They’ve got that exact same swing at contact point,” Schu said later.
The Kid may need to put on some weight.
RTFA. Lots of video & graphics on Harper’s swing and how he’s pitched to.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
But with no preseason notice, the Nationals front office for the 2013 season significantly diluted the Red Carpet Rewards program, and the number of points needed to buy extra benefits increased dramatically. For example, a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, May 25, costs 1,000 Red Carpet points for a field MVP or club seat, which is 10 times what it cost last year. The Nationals also shortened the window in which tickets can be redeemed ahead of time to one month; last year points could be used to buy a ticket for any game in the season.
. . .
The simple reason for it is the Nationals’ success on the field last year resulted in a surge in season ticket sales — and fewer seats to give away.
“We’ve had the largest increase in Major League Baseball in season ticket sales,” said Andrew C. Feffer, the Nationals’ chief operating officer. He declined to say how many season tickets the team sells but said, “We are in the top tier of the league in season ticket sales.”
Feffer said the team has expanded the options available to rewards members to include autographed merchandise, meeting players, viewing batting practice — even throwing out the first pitch — as a way to create value for season ticket holders.
Price of success?
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The Washington Nationals are putting third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring and promoting prized prospect Anthony Rendon from Double-A for his big league debut.
Earlier than the Nationals would prefer, but it worked out OK for that Harper kid.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I don’t know about you, but HBO’s Game of Thrones is probably my favorite show on television right now. So it’s safe to say I thought it was a pretty badass when DC Sports Bog posted about Jayson Werth using the shows theme song as his walk up music. The fact that Werth and his beard could probably make for a great character in Westeros just makes it even better.
You can kind of hear it in the above video but if you’re unfamiliar with the theme song you may not make it out.
Now, sadly, Werth doesn’t use that tune exclusively. He also came to bat to “Werewolves of London” and the theme music from “The Walking Dead,” according to Dan Steinberg, which led the WAPO reporter to say, “Werth continues to state his case for most unusual pro baseball player in D.C.”
We still kind of miss him a little. Even if he did have a bad aura. Maybe he was a warg or something.
Posted: April 15, 2013 at 03:06 AM | 175 comment(s)
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Is Harper better than Joe Hardy?
Let’s imagine what Harper, who had the best overall season of any teenager in big league history last year, might do if he has, say, one of the best 20 seasons of any 20-year-old.
. . .
Most projections for Harper put him into the wrong category: all ballplayers. Compared to everybody, anyone’s chances of being superb look dim. But what if we compare Harper to a more accurate peer group: No. 1 overall draft picks taken out of high school that played power positions? Since the 1977 draft, here is the list of just successes: Harold Baines, Darryl Strawberry, Griffey, Chipper Jones, A-Rod, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez and Joe Mauer (three batting titles by 27). Justin Upton’s grade is “incomplete,” but he is a cautionary note for Harper fans. At 20, he was as good a hitter (per at-bat) as Harper at 19, but six years later, he isn’t any better.
When these No. 1 overall picks became established in the majors, they almost always got better dramatically. The younger they arrived, the more they improved. Who flopped? Only Al Chambers, Shawn Abner and mediocre Delmon Young, who hit .288 as a rookie at 21 but never got better.
. . .
The possibility of an outlandish season is far from outlandish.
Sunday, March 03, 2013
While few major league teams offer extensive vision training, the Nationals are hoping to further incorporate it. Players such as Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi and Brown swear by it. This season, the players will have an extra training room at Nationals Park where they can have easy access to the equipment and integrate it into their daily workouts. By this time next season, the Nationals hope to have all minor league players in Class A and Class AA under vision-training programs.
. . .
The biggest proponent of vision training on the Nationals is, oddly enough, a player with naturally perfect vision. Lombardozzi first started practicing vision exercises in high school because his father, a former major league second baseman, did a version of the training when he played. Lombardozzi, who lives near Columbia in the offseason, has trained with Smithson at his Arlington office for the past two winters, visiting two to three times per week. As part of his routine, Lombardozzi has to touch one of the 32 red buttons that light up across an electronic reaction board that hangs from the wall. His best score is a 4,900 — far above the score of 2,500 that Smithson establishes as a baseline for players.
. . .
Every time before he enters a game, whether as a starter or pinch hitter, Lombardozzi tracks smaller baseballs in the batting cages without swinging while wearing strobe glasses. Like a flashing strobe light, the glasses block out what a player sees at different speeds and rob the brain of images. “You take those off and it makes it seem like the guy throwing is moving slower,” Lombardozzi said. “You’re slowing the ball down and you’re just taking that feeling into the game.”
Performance enhancing eyes, the next big thing?
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Washington Nationals might have bitten off more than they can chew by naming William Howard Taft as their next racing mascot. If you aren’t familiar with the controversy, the baseball team features four mascots dressed as U.S. presidents that race around the Nationals’ stadium during home games to entertain fans.
“Teddy has handpicked the next president for the Presidents’ Race,” Nationals COO Andy Feffer told the newspaper on Friday, a day before the Taft mascot was rolled out. “There was a great amount of banter and discussion back and forth, but Teddy won out with his recommendation.”
On Saturday, the sanitized Taft mascot made its debut at a fan event, looking at least 100 pounds lighter than its real-life counterpart.
The reaction in the media, so far, is that even sportswriters who aren’t historians know the two men hated each other.
The Post’s Dan Steinberg asked a local historian how bad the blood was between TR and Taft.
Allan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University, told Steinberg that each man considered the other a backstabber, and they had no qualms taking down each other in a presidential election.
“The rivalry was as bitter as it gets in politics,” said Lichtman. “There’s nothing like the feeling of betrayal, and both men felt betrayed by the other.”
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Bryce Harper was one of the many Nationals stars to shine his light on NatsFest Saturday and pay a visit to 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny, where he shared the very enviable stories of being able to exchange words, and memorabilia, with some baseball legends.
With the acquisition of Denard Span, Harper – who played center field last season – is expected to shift to one of the corner outfield positions for the 2013 season. He was asked whether he’s been informed if he’ll be in left or right.
“I play center, sorry Denard,” Harper joked. “They haven’t really talked to me about it. I would think left field.”
One week prior to NatsFest, baseball suffered a devastating loss with the passing of one of the all-time greats in Stan Musial, at age 92. Although there was roughly 73 years between him and Harper, apparently there was a mutual admiration.
“He asked me for a jersey last year,” Harper said. “I was lucky enough to get one back from him. What a tough loss for the baseball world.”
Shocked by the revelation that a Hall of Famer – one of the most dominant hitters to ever play the game of baseball – would want the jersey of a 19-year-old kid, the guys asked Harper how a generational exchange of that magnitude was arranged, and what it must have felt like.
“They just said ‘Hey, we need a jersey signed’ and I said ‘Ok, to who?’ and they said (Musial) and …wow.”
Harper revealed he also had the opportunity to meet a more recent baseball icon, one perhaps more comparable to Harper’s introduction to Major League Baseball, in Ken Griffey Jr.
“It was this past year in Spring Training,” Harper said. “It was really cool to be able to ask him some questions about his first year in the big leagues and being up there at 19.”
“He said don’t change. Just do the things you do and make sure your team wins.”
He hasn’t yet, however, had the chance to meet another present-day icon; quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III.
“First of all, I like his socks,” Harper said. “Every Sunday, I wore his Adidas socks. I’d wear them to church. He can do everything Michael Vick can do and Tom Brady can do.”
Harper understood Griffin’s decision to push his knee to it’s absolute threshold in Washington’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
“He’s the captain of that team. I would have done the same thing,” Harper said. “He wanted that game so bad. If I’m in Game 5 of the division series and I’m trying to win this game, I’m playing with a broken hand or a broken arm or anything I can do to help my team.”
Per usual, Harper kept his personal goals for the upcoming baseball season closely guarded by putting team goals ahead of his own.
“I write down a certain amount of goals every single year and try to exceed that. Hopefully if I exceed those, we’re winning at the same time. I want to win.”
And in case you were wondering, two very specific words also left his mouth:
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