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Nationals break ground on youth baseball academy

For years, the Washington Nationals have dreamed of building a youth baseball academy in the District of Columbia. They battled through multiple layers of government, pledged $3.5 million dollars to the project, studied Harlem RBI and other programs, and finally broke ground today on the new facility. The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy will conduct after-school and summer programs that integrate baseball, academics and the

Dave Nichols: Losses make big picture tougher to see

The Washington Nationals are struggling. Like, really struggling. After Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, they have lost their last three games - all by one run. They have lost eight of their last nine, 10 of 12 and 13 of 17. The Nats are losing close games (5-12 in one-run games in 2011) and blowouts (1-6 when the game is decided by five

Dave Nichols: Natosphere offers something for every taste

When MASNsports.com asked me to participate in the guest blogging initiative on Nationals Buzz, I was honored. It’s gratifying to know someone values your work. The other writers that were asked to participate, Will Yoder from The Nats Blog, Rachel Levitin from We Love DC and Drew Kinback from Nationals Inquisition all offer their differing and unique view to the Natsosphere. But the quartet of

Drew Kinback: Werth’s words recall weirdness and freakouts

Let’s not kid ourselves. Jayson Werth freaked out. After getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night, the Washington Nationals’ right fielder delivered a bizarre and cryptic postgame interview where he said: “I’ve got some ideas, obviously, and some thoughts, none I really want to share with the world. But I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on right here. ... I’m not going

Drew Kinback: For starters, a Tao on the Nationals’ rotation

After the Nationals got absolutely brutalized in Milwaukee, it was hard to sit down and write something about them. I mean, they savaged themselves. One game they got blown out, the other two were like they were trying to end it all by leaping up on a moose head attached to the wall to try and impale themselves on its horns. Comedic and pathetic. The

Drew Kinback: Gut says it’s time for Nats to give Marrero a shot

I sometimes have people come up to me and ask what I am going to do when this all ends. What happens when the blog and the revolution are all over? I tell them the truth: I will retire and disappear into the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where I will live near one of the Great Lakes and simply watch the large

Drew Kinback: My letter to Ryan Zimmerman

Dear Ryan, I can’t tell you how excited NatsTown and myself are at recently hearing the news you are on your way back to Viera, Fla., to take your rehab to “high gear with more baseball specific activities.” You posted that on your Facebook page. I know. I liked you. Top-notch, old chum, top-notch! Florida is beautiful this time of year and having spent some

Tickets for ziMS event on sale

Tickets are now on sale for the ziMS Foundation’s second annual “A Night at the Park” event hosted by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. The fundraiser and live auction will take place on Thursday, June 30 at Nationals Park beginning at 6 p.m. It’s also official that country star Rodney Atkins will headline the event. Fans of country music know that you can’t listen to a

Drew Kinback: Rizzo still waiting for flawed creation to take life

I got to be honest with you: There are some nights I lay around my blogging cave believing that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is a real life Baron Victor von Frankenstein. Wouldn’t it make sense? I can perfectly visualize a dark and stormy night sometime in late 2010 at Nationals Park. The field is covered, not a soul in sight and there is only

Nats, O’s Rivalry? Not yet, but someday

BALTIMORE - As the Nationals travel to Baltimore for their first interleague series of the season, players still struggle to see a real rivalry between the two teams. There are many factors why that might be the case. The two teams share a television network and a Major League Baseball designated television territory. For years, fans in Washington traveled up Interstate 95 to watch baseball

Battle of the Beltways by the numbers

The Nationals head to Baltimore this weekend to kick of their 2011 interleague play. As always, many fans in Washington will make the trip up Interstate 95 to support the Nationals. Here’s a look at the Battle of the Beltways by the numbers: Since baseball returned to Washington in 2005, the Nationals trail the Orioles 16-14. If you add in the Expos’ history, the all-time

Will Yoder: Checking in on the top Nats’ picks not named Bryce Harper from the 2010 draft

We have all seen the incredible success Bryce Harper has had thus far at Single-A Hagerstown. It hasn’t just been the talk of the town, it’s been national news, and will continue to be as he makes his march to Washington, D.C. We saw the same phenomenon occur with Stephen Strasburg last season. One problem, though, is that when you draft superstars first overall in

Will Yoder: Rizzo nixes Harper in D.C. this season, but why?

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told ESPN 980 yesterday that mega-prospect Bryce Harper would not play in the major leagues this year, despite the fact that he is currently playing well above the level of the league he is currently in. Through 37 games, Harper is hitting .366/.448/.657 with nine home runs and 31 RBI,s which leads all Nationals minor leaguers in just about

Younging/Yoder: Mourning the passing of Harmon Killebrew

The baseball world is mourning the death of Harmon Clayton Killebrew, who died Tuesday at the age of 74. As such, it would seem unfitting to blog about anything else this morning. The 13-time All-Star, 1969 American League Most Valuable Player and 1984 Hall of Fame inductee played 22 seasons in the majors, collecting 2,086 hits, 573 home runs and 1,584 RBIs. “It’s a sad

GroupOn discount for Nats games

On Tuesday, GroupOn DC has a special discount for Nationals fans. The deal works for three different games (Padres on Friday, May 27; Padres on Saturday, May 28; Cardinals on Wednesday, June 15). There is a 12-purchase limit. The costs and discounts are as follows: For $23, an LF/RF-Corner ticket (a $34 value), plus a $10 concession credit For $16, an Outfield Reserved ticket (a

Will Yoder: For slump busters, Monday’s win a welcome relief

The Nationals won a 4-2 decision last night over the Pittsburgh Pirates to help them get within one game of .500. It was their second win in a row, after dropping their three previous games by a combined three runs. It has clearly been an up-and-down few weeks for the club, but for some it had been more down than up lately. One such player

Will Yoder: Where are the Jim Bowden gambles of 2008 now?

Former Nationals general manager Jim Bowden was well-known for his ability to buy really cheap talent and sell it as gold. Not sell it to opposing franchises in transactions, mind you, but to the fan base. Year after year, fans were convinced that Bowden had found a good group of diamonds in the rough, and that given the right opportunity in Washington, we could help

Rachel Levitin: Horning in on an unsound change of plans

It’s Friday night in Washington, D.C. The Nationals are in town to start a series against the Florida Marlins. If this was 2010, there would be fireworks to look forward to. But in 2011, there are no more fireworks at Nationals Park. In April, fans found out about the change. According to Dan Steinberg at the DC Sports Bog, there had been some complaints from

Rachel Levitin: Would Veeck’s wacky promotion play at Nationals Park?

It was August 24, 1951 when the St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck Jr. decided to host Grandstand Manager’s Day. This ballpark promotion had fans sending in a newspaper form that allowed them to set the last-place Browns’ lineup against the Athletics, in addition to getting free admission the special Grandstand Managers Section at Sportsman’s Park. When a decision from the manager was necessary, a

Zimmerman’s Night at the Park fundraiser set for June 30

Ryan Zimmerman’s second annual Night at the Park fundraiser will take place Thursday, June 30 at Nationals Park. As always, the event will benefit the ziMS Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding multiple sclerosis treatment and research programs. Last year’s event raised over $200,000 for the ziMS Foundation, a cause close to Zimmerman’s heart. Though the ziMS Foundation hasn’t announced the talent or celebrity

Nix getting more playing time

ATLANTA - Laynce Nix will make his sixth consecutive start for the Nationals tonight in left field. Before the game, manager Jim Riggleman explained that his decision to use Nix has more to do with Nix’s recent success than the lingering knee injury to Michael Morse. “Basically, I’m just choosing to play (Laynce) Nix, but Mike (Morse) can play. He’s just not going to move

Riggleman wants Ramos to play more back-to-back games

ATLANTA - According to Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, catcher Wilson Ramos performs better when he plays in back-to-back games. As a result, Riggleman plans to utilize Ramos in two or three game stretches moving forward. “Wilson (Ramos) just plays better when he plays more,” said Riggleman. “He showed us that in spring training. The games that he’s played this year, whenever I get him two

Rachel Levitin: Learning to cope without Zimmerman’s impact

John Feinstein of The Washington Post once wrote that anyone playing one of the major sports “knows that the way to make the highlight shows isn’t to hit a jump shot or a home run, it is to dunk and dance; score a touchdown and salute; or hit a home run and pose.” Ryan Zimmerman, 26, is a poser - and not the bad kind.

Georgia on my mind

I’m off to Atlanta this morning - land of peaches, CNN, Coca-Cola and Braves baseball. I thought I would check in quickly from Dulles airport to mention a few odds and ends for the Nationals’ next homestand. I’ll be at the Turner Field on Wednesday and Thursday, so check back for more updates. And make sure to follow Matthew Kaminski, the Braves’ organist, on Twitter.

Rachel Levitin: Giving thanks for endearing features at Nationals Park

Last Wednesday marked the five-year anniversary of the groundbreaking at Nationals Park. Since then, there hasn’t been too much activity around the Navy Yard, minus the days the Nats are in town. To celebrate, I took a few minutes to remind myself why Nationals Park is a treasured entity over the Nats old home, RFK Stadium. It’s not RFK: Here’s the thing - I’m a

Rachel Levitin: Fans often forget that baseball’s still a difficult job

A couple weeks ago when the Giants were in town, I got to talking with Orioles Buzz guest blogger Anthony Amobi of Oriole Post. Pitchers Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson of the world champion San Francisco squad were the topics of conversation. We threw around ideas of what it would be like to hang out with those guys, even if just for a few minutes.

Esperanza Hairston, the heart of baseball’s storied family

Nationals utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. answers a lot questions about his father, Jerry Sr., and grandfather, Sam - a pinch hitter extraordinaire in the 1970s and Negro League player, respectively. One of four three-generation baseball families, the Hairstons are proud of their storied baseball history and multi-generational accomplishments. Certainly, Sam and Jerry Sr. taught their children about life and baseball - passing on their

Dave Nichols: The only game in town

The Caps were swept in four games by a division rival after another first-place season. Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams shockingly retired, while his best player last year declared for the NBA draft. The Wizards recently completed a thoroughly uninteresting season. The lockout and subsequent lawsuits put the NFL season in jeopardy. Even if they do play, the Redskins went 6-10 last season and

All you really need is heart

Pete Kerzel, our wonderful editor here at MASNsports.com, pointed out that 56 years ago today, Damn Yankees opened on Broadway. On May 5, 1955, fans watched as slugger “Shoeless” Joe Hardy joined the Washington Senators to help the struggling franchise win the pennant. Damn Yankees earned a number of Tony Awards in 1956 and stayed on Broadway for 1019 productions. In 1994, the revival at

Dave Nichols: Is Jason Marquis a key to Nats’ future success?

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jason Marquis had a rough outing last night against the Philadelphia Phillies, getting knocked around in the fifth and sixth innings, leading to another loss against the bullies of the National League East. The loss drops the Nats’ record for the season to 14-16 through 30 games. Two losses to start this 10-day, nine-game road trip, with the prospect of facing

Five-year anniversary of groundbreaking at Nationals Park

Five years ago today, the Nationals broke ground on the new location for Nationals Park along the Anacostia River. WUSA Channel 9 is hosting a poll on its Web site asking residents if the $611 million price tag was worth it. The poll also links to these great photographs of the groundbreaking from JD Land. It’s worth a look to see how different that part

Dave Nichols: Werth returns for some brotherly love

The Washington Nationals’ $126 million man, Jayson Werth, returned to the place where he made his name Tuesday night: Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. He was the center focus of the festivities all evening long in the Nationals’ 4-1 loss to the Phillies, even though he had very little to do with the action on the field, as he went 0-for-3 with a walk and

Dave Nichols: Is Gorzelanny’s strong start sustainable?

In Monday night’s 2-0 win over the defending world champion San Francisco Giants, starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny pitched a heck of a game, limiting the Giants to three hits over eight innings while striking out four. Most importantly for him, he didn’t walk anyone, which has always been what has hindered him in his career and kept him from being a truly dependable starter in

Dave Nichols: Honoring true heroes that protect our freedom

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I, like millions of fellow Americans, was on my daily commute to work, only I work two blocks from the White House. I first heard the news on the elevator up to my floor: “A plane hit the World Trade Center in New York.” There were no details at that point and no reason to think that America

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