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Complimentary tickets for Military Appreciation Night

On Monday, the Washington Nationals will host Military Appreciation Night. As part of the celebration, the Nationals will donate thousands of complimentary tickets to military families for the series finale with the Giants. Military personnel can receive four complimentary tickets with a valid ID. Those tickets are available for pick up at the Grand Staircase Box Office beginning at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Tickets may also

Drew Kinback: Storen’s choice of flat-brim shows definite closer style

There is just something about a ballplayer who styles the flat-brim. Pardon the obvious and shameless pun, but a player who wears his ballcap flat-brim style is tipping the hat to an older school of baseball while at the same time showing defiance in the face of modern standards and comfort in ballplayer headwear. It is true that a new baseball cap is not conformed

Drew Kinback: An early look at Jim Riggleman’s future in D.C.

I peg manager Jim Riggleman as a whiskey man. I don’t base this off much of anything or know if he actually partakes in the American firewater, but let’s pretend a little bit. He just looks and carries himself like a whiskey man: staunch, regal, a touch of book-smart intellect mixed with barroom pugilism. A lover and a fighter. It is the sort of thing

Bullpen addition Rodriguez ready to contribute

After battling right shoulder inflammation in spring training, reliever Henry Rodriguez joined the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon ready to contribute out of the bullpen. The hard throwing right-hander was acquired from Oakland for Josh Willingham back in December. Rodriguez completed a rehab assignment in Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse before being recalled by the Nationals. “Everything went well,” he said of his rehab. “I feel

Drew Kinback: Nats’ Hairston delivers a blow to logic of putting trust in veterans

If you watch Nationals baseball long enough, you eventually find that over time nothing really surprises you anymore. Nationals baseball is full of every strange play and freak occurrence you can probably think up and wrap your mind around. At this point I would not be surprised to see Jayson Werth drop a routine fly ball because some crocodile had slunk up from the Anacostia

Dave Nichols: Nationals face daunting schedule over next two weeks

The 2011 Washington Nationals have been hovering around .500 most of the season. They currently sit at 10-12 as a result of dropping five of their last six games, including Tuesday night’s 6-4 loss to the New York Mets, an imminently winnable game as manager Jim Riggleman said in his press conference after the game. “A little something happen here or there and we could

All-Star voting is open

We’re just two weeks into the season, but online ballots for the 82nd All-Star Game are already available. Fans can only vote 25 times between now and June 30, but paper ballots will also be available at Nationals Park for 23 home games. Just how many ballots do you think you can fill out during those 23 home games? And, more importantly, who do you

This Week at Nationals Park

The Nationals return home to take on the Mets this week and there are plenty of fun reasons to get out to the ballpark. Fans can celebrate Earth Month on Tuesday at the interactive Coca-Cola recycling trailer outside the center field gates. You can play games, win prizes and learn more about going green. If you bring a recyclable container to trailer, you’ll get a

Drew Kinback: With Nats, there’s simply no margin for error

It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen on a Monday night. I was reading over the standard Nationals news from the usual rogue’s gallery of sources when I decided to take a break and take in something non-baseball related. I find a quick dose of tabloid entertainment, a music video off YouTube or a random news story usually cleans out the colon

Drew Kinback: Nats-Pujols marriage not a far-fetched notion

In March, I got the unique opportunity to spend all month in Viera, Fla., following the Nationals during their 2011 spring training campaign. I run the online rag known as Nationals Inquisition and spring training is usually the Super Bowl of my blog. I’ve attended the Nationals’ Viera sessions since 2007 and have seen many curious and wondrous things in the Sunshine State during this

Will Yoder: Stairs embraces niche to prolong productive career

Sticking out like a sore thumb on the youthful Washington Nationals is 43-year-old Matt Stairs, a former All-Star turned pinch-hitting specialist who gets woken up once every 18 innings to attempt to hit a home run. It’s a role he has come to embrace over the course of an incredible and arguably underappreciated 19-year-career. One of the greatest minds in baseball history, Bill James, once

Will Yoder: An early look at the June draft

The last two seasons have been unique for the Nationals in that they have realistically had to do little to no research for their first-round pick in the June first-year player draft. They became the first team in history to have back-to-back first overall selections, and they were fortunate enough to have those picks somehow coincide with two of the most hyped pre-draft prospects of

Charlie Sheen visits Nationals Park

Love him or hate him, Charlie Sheen performed in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and took the stage wearing a red Nationals jersey. He signed the jersey for a fan early in the show. Apparently, the controversial celebrity also stopped by Nationals Park, evidenced by this photo of Sheen with Ryan Zimmerman in the clubhouse. The photo appears on Zimmerman’s Facebook page with the following caption:

Memorabilia for a good cause

Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria, Va., an organization very close to my heart, is holding its annual fundraiser now through April 29. Supporters can participate in an online auction or buy tickets to a charity cook-off on May 1 at the Birchmere in Alexandria. I mention that because one of the items in the online auction is an official autographed bat from Adam LaRoche, generously donated

Will Yoder: On rain delays, empty seats and anticipation

The Nationals game was rained out last night in St. Louis and I was struck with an empty feeling in my gut. For the first time since opening day I would be forced to sit two consecutive nights without enjoying a baseball game, quite a disappointment, to say the least. As I scrolled through the tweets from the Nationals beat reporters about the massive rainstorm

Will Yoder: After 15 games, three predictions for the Nats

The Nationals just finished up an exciting homestand that saw them go 4-2 against two teams that were picked by many to win their respective divisions. The club’s only losses came to two pitchers who can easily claim the title as the best right- or left-handed starters in baseball, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and by winning both games of the doubleheader Sunday, the Nationals

Get to know new Nationals in-game host Sarah Fraser

You may know her from Hot 99.5’s popular morning drive program, “The Kane Show.” Or maybe you’ve discussed the latest episode of “Glee” in one of her My Fox DC chats. If you’ve been to Nationals Park this season, you’ve probably noticed her in the stands and on the scoreboard. Sarah Fraser is the new Nationals Park in-game co-host. Nats Buzz caught up with Fraser

Will Yoder: Prospect pairs don’t always add up to greatness

There are many who will tell you that the Washington Nationals are a team in waiting. After several years of terrible misfortune on the field, they were unprecedented benefactors of great luck off of it. In back-to-back seasons, arguably the two greatest, or at least most hyped, prospects of all time would enter the Major League Baseball draft, and each year the Nationals had the

Rachel Levitin: Nats need to put Phils in rear-view mirror

“If you have played a game and lost it, you cannot erase that loss; but if you have not played a game, there is still an opportunity to win it. A loss is as loss is a loss. Only a game not yet played can become a victory,” the late New York-based Hall of Fame baseball scribe Jack Lang once wrote. The Nationals lost their

New JFK Racing President not a permanent fixture

According to Let Teddy Win and Dan Steinberg, the Nationals unveiled a life-size John F. Kennedy racing president during Wednesday night’s GEICO President’s Race. Traditionally, the race features the four presidents carved into Mount Rushmore. The giant JFK appeared near the Nationals bullpen and took George Washington down, leaving the others to race toward the finish line. However, according to the Nationals, this JFK character Continue reading ....

Rachel Levitin: Root, root, root at your own risk

Ever since baseball returned to Washington in 2005, Philadelphia Phillies fans have targeted their share of rowdy behavior toward the Nationals. They trek en mass to the nation’s capital, eager to shatter the souls of Nats fans and their players with nothing more than their die-hard allegiance to their own boys of summer. Opening day 2010 at Nationals Park is a day Nationals fans are

Dave Nichols: Nats hope for parallels to Capitals

The Washington Capitals begin their quest for the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday against the New York Rangers. The Capitals have built a young, energetic, coachable, dedicated team through the draft, selected free agency and shrewd trading. They have signed their star players, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, to long-term, market standard contracts. They have embraced and backed their head coach, a 30-year plus minor league

Rachel Levitin: Where’s the help from Nats’ leadoff hitters?

The crowd of 13,413 that braved an indefinite rainstorm that passed over Nationals Park last night bore witness to Jayson Werth’s first game against his former team. Washington went on to win 7-4 behind an offense sparked by Werth (and his first home run against the Phillies in the fifth inning), Wilson Ramos, Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel. With sluggers Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche

New beer garden opens near Nationals Park

Tuesday marks the grand opening of a new outdoor beer garden located just a few blocks from Nationals Park. Das Bullpen is located across the street from the Navy Yard metro station. Das Bullpen is a “laid-back alternative” to the partner beer garden on Half Street, also called The Bullpen. The new location will offer a menu of bratwurst, Polish sausage, knockwurst and hot dogs,

The circus comes to Nationals Park

Peanuts, cracker jacks and clowns? That’s right - Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be on hand at the Nationals game against the Phillies Wednesday evening. The appearance will promote current circus performances at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., through April 24. At Nationals Park, the Ringmaster, Johnathan Lee Iverson, will sing the national anthem while Tom, Abe, George and Teddy will

Rachel Levitin: As Ramos takes root, Nationals catch good fortune

When Matt Capps was traded to the Minnesota Twins last summer it was hard for even the most faithful Nats fan to think, “Gee, where’s the silver lining on this trade? Why get rid of our only 2010 All-Star?” Capps had an eventful year, including a strikeout against Red Sox power-hitter David Ortiz during the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim. Thanks to that strikeout, the

Rachel Levitin: Growing up with the Nats, new extended family

Nationals fans watch the team’s hiccups as they happen. Those hiccups are what make Washington baseball worth cheering for from the stands of Nationals Park. It’s that whole underdog thing the north side of Chicago knows so well - minus the Billy Goat and alleged curse. Kind of. I feel obligated to admit that I grew up five minutes, walking, from Wrigley Field. Ever since

Dave Nichols: A few of my favorite things

It’s Friday, the Nationals had had a bit of a tough week, and I’ve brought enough gloom and doom in my first four posts this week to last for a while. If you’ve read all of my previous posts here, or follow my blog or my Twitter account, some of you may even wonder if there’s anything about this team I actually do like. Well,

Dave Nichols: Morgan’s departure forces tough fit at leadoff spot

When the Nationals traded Nyjer Morgan to the Milwaukee Brewers this spring, manager Jim Riggleman was left with an interesting decision. Having no prototypical leadoff hitter on the roster, who would he slot in that position? It’s not like Morgan was the perfect choice. Once heralded as the center fielder of the present and future by general manager Mike Rizzo, Morgan has some serious flaws

Dave Nichols: Rizzo defends remade bench against early criticism

The Washington Nationals spent much of the offseason trying to land a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, chasing after Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke and others to stabilize a starting staff that was in the lower third in the National League in almost every meaningful category in 2010. But general manager Mike Rizzo had a secondary goal: to strengthen the bench and to add players that would know

A correction: Fan, not Harper, won contest at NatsFest

Last week, I wrote about the fan experience at NatsFest, but my post had an important error. I mentioned that Bryce Harper easily won a Guitar Hero contest against a fan - information that I later found out was incorrect. In fact, Cody Strakonsky, a 15-year-old first baseman and right fielder from Brunswick, Md., handily beat Harper during their Guitar Hero faceoff at Nationals Park.

Dave Nichols: Rehab, not hitters, is Strasburg’s new challenge

The most important development for the Washington Nationals this season won’t take place on the field. With no disrespect to an up-and-coming middle infield, a $126 million dollar man in right field or the growth of a potential All-Star phasing out one of the greatest catchers in baseball history, the biggest story to watch this season will take place in doctor’s offices and on minor

Dave Nichols: Baseball driven by stats, stoked by hope

Hi, my name is Dave NIchols and I write about the Washington Nationals. No, that’s not my introduction at some self-help meeting, but it may as well be. I started a general baseball blog several years ago that grew into what Nats News Network is today: one of the very few independent Web sites credentialed to cover Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals. I

Nats appear in Kimmel monologue

Because April Fools’ Day is all about jokes and pranks, here’s an opportunity for a Nats-related chuckle. The Nationals had two references last night in Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue last night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The ABC late-night host and comedian joked about the opening day ceremonial first pitch by members of the military at Nationals Park and about Larry King’s upcoming first pitch at Saturday

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