Dave Nichols: Dawn of a new era for baseball in the District

Dave Nichols: Dawn of a new era for baseball in the District
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson has been in this business for 50 years. He was a world champion as a player and again as a manager, and has specialized in taking teams on the precipice and pushing them over the edge to greatness. So he's seen this movie before from the inside. This season has had plenty of storylines, but the biggest story of all to emerge might just require hindsight to see it after a couple of years - years that Nats fans hope are filled with deep playoff runs. ...
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Baseball to add wild card by '13, report states

Baseball to add wild card by '13, report states
Baseball purists, look away. A report announced today a plan to add an additional wild card spot in each league, as well as a one-game playoff to determine which team will move on to their respective Divisional Series. The new playoff scenario, reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, is a "done deal" according to Sherman's source, and will likely be put into effect either in 2012 or, at the latest, 2013. However, another of Sherman's sources said the proposed change will not go...
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The final homestand of 2011

The final homestand of 2011
Well, Nationals fans. It's almost over. We're just three games away from the end of the 2011 season at Nationals Park. While the season doesn't officially end for the Nationals until next week, this weekend's three-game series with the Braves is the final homestand for our boys in the nation's capital. If you're heading to the park to take in one final game, there are plenty of perks to get you out there to root on the Nationals, who are aiming for that coveted .500 mark. Tonight in the...
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Jenn Jenson: The last homestand

Jenn Jenson: The last homestand
Here we are at the last homestand of the season. For me, it's bittersweet. On the one hand, today's game begins a sort-of-sad countdown: three games left, two games left and before you know it, the last home game will be over. It's an end of sorts because every baseball season is a little different. The players change, the coaches change and the fan experience changes. Sure, these things are changing all the time, but transitions are bigger during the offseason. The end of the season will...
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Ted Youngling: Late-inning sigh of relief with Storen

Ted Youngling: Late-inning sigh of relief with Storen
Monday afternoon in The Bronx was yet another momentous day for the New York Yankees, as Mariano Rivera passed Trevor Hoffman as baseball's all-time leader in saves collecting his 602nd in victory over the Minnesota Twins. In the spirit of that historic accomplishment, the Washington Nationals sure hope they have a future Rivera on their hands in 24-year-old Drew Storen. Amazingly, in just his first full season in the bigs, Storen has 40 saves for a team that's been in next-to-last place...
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Rachel Levitin: Arrive early, stay until the end

Rachel Levitin: Arrive early, stay until the end
There's a lesson I learned while I was kid watching ballgames at Wrigley Field: Get there early and stay until it's over - no matter what. That lesson tried my patience for years. Non-baseball fans would ask me, "Why watch such a boring game, especially if the team you're watching isn't making a run for a playoff spot?" Years later, watching baseball in Washington, I know why getting to a game early and staying until it's over (no matter what) makes sense. The game on the field is the...
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Mark Hornbaker: Nationals are heading in the right direction

Mark Hornbaker: Nationals are heading in the right direction
With the 2011 season winding down, the Nationals find themselves in a battle with the Mets and the Marlins for third place in the National League East. Most Major League Baseball fans would not be too excited if their favorite team was seven games under .500, but Nationals fans have a lot to be happy about with the 2011 team. At the beginning of the season, I told anyone who would listen that a successful season for the 2011 Nats would be placing higher than the Mets in the standings....
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Dave Nichols: Will Wang be part of new dynasty in Washington?

Dave Nichols: Will Wang be part of new dynasty in Washington?
Sunday was just the latest chapter in the comeback of Chien-Ming Wang. Until he tired in the seventh inning, Wang dominated the Florida Marlins for 6 2/3 innings. The last batter he faced, backup catcher Brett Hayes, lined a sinker that didn't sink into the stands in left field, but up until that point he'd allowed just one earned run on five hits. Wang struck out five and, most importantly, did not walk a batter. Wang was sharp from the very beginning, using his always-present sinker to...
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Ted Youngling: MLB releases 2012 schedule, but was timing right?

Ted Youngling: MLB releases 2012 schedule, but was timing right?
It's never too early to think about next season, especially if you're a Washington Nationals fan. Major League Baseball released its 2012 schedule Wednesday morning to the delight and disdain of several fans across the country. Of course, it seems a little odd that the league would release next year's schedule when this season is still happening, but for the 20 or so teams who are out of contention, this means they are one step closer towards the hope and optimism spring training and April...
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Rachel Levitin: A look back before NatsTown becomes a ghost town

Rachel Levitin: A look back before NatsTown becomes a ghost town
We're about halfway through September now, which means baseball in Washington is nearing an end for 2011. Things will start to quiet down around the Navy Yard. Patrons' use of the Green Line Metro Station near the ballpark will decline. Street vendors won't be trying to handout hats during the evening hours and no one will be out on Half Street selling cheap water and peanuts. Live music won't wail from the tiny corridor of The Bullpen beer garden. In short: NatsTown will become a ghost...
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Just a little friendly hazing for the Nats rookies

Just a little friendly hazing for the Nats rookies
It's no secret the bonds of a major league baseball team can closely resemble those of a fraternity. Twenty-five guys, living in and out of suitcases, spending virtually every minute together for an entire season. Ah yes, the brotherhood of baseball. So what would the spirit of a fraternity be without a little good ole' fashioned hazing, right? As it so happens, pictures, like the one seen below, recently made their way onto Nationals catcher Jesus Flores' Twitter account, showing the...
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Mark Hornbaker: A game to remember during Washington's last pennant race

Mark Hornbaker: A game to remember during Washington's last pennant race
On this day in 1945, a large crowd of more than 24,000 fans turned out to Griffith Stadium to watch the visiting Cleveland Indians play the red-hot Washington Senators. The Senators went into the game having won eight of 10 games and found themselves only one game behind the American League-leading Detroit Tigers. With such a big game in the nation's capital, it would only be fitting that both teams would be starting pitchers who were World War II veterans. The Cleveland Indians' started...
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Sept. 16-18 Social Media Weekend will give Nats fans a chance to win

Sept. 16-18 Social Media Weekend will give Nats fans a chance to win
This season, MASNsports.com has seen tremendous growth, thanks in large part to its ability to interact with fans through social media. With in-game alerts via text message, breaking news broadcast through the @masnNationals Twitter account and the MASN Nationals Facebook page, which has created a daily forum for fans to gather together to discuss and cheer for the Nationals, social media has become our best tool when it comes to delivering the latest information to you, the fans. So, as a...
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Dave Nichols: Strasburg's shortened start the prudent course of action

Dave Nichols: Strasburg's shortened start the prudent course of action
Stephen Strasburg made his second big league start of the season for the Washington Nationals on Sunday. The big righty struggled a bit with his normally pinpoint control and saw a drop in velocity on most his pitches, but he gutted out a 57-pitch, three-inning start, giving up one earned run on three hits. He did not walk a batter for his second consecutive start and struck out four Houston Astros, three on his devastating changeup and one on a biting two-seam fastball. Manager Davey Johnson...
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Nationals to increase security at Nationals Park this weekend

Nationals to increase security at Nationals Park this weekend
The 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, is coming up this weekend and the Washington Nationals are making sure their fans are safe with increased security around the stadium. The Nationals are taking the following measures this weekend: Due to heightened security precautions surrounding 9/11 Remembrance Day, the Washington Nationals encourage fans to arrive earlier than normal and leave backpacks, bags and extra items at home throughout the weekend. Enhanced security procedures at Nationals...
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Jenn Jenson: Rain, rain, rain delay

Jenn Jenson: Rain, rain, rain delay
So, how 'bout that weather? Yesterday, the second game of a doubleheader with the Los Angeles Dodgers was rained out. The day before yesterday, the game was postponed by rain. And the day before that? Still more rain that first threatened to put off Stephen Strasburg's return to the mound and later created a mid-game delay. This week brought a crazy amount of rain to the Washington area, with important consequences that include three deaths in Maryland and Virginia, property damage from...
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Should the Nationals retire Hernandez's No. 61?

Should the Nationals retire Hernandez's No. 61?
After a mutual agreement between Livan Hernandez and the Washington Nationals, the 245-lb. right-hander will be shut down for the rest of the season to make room for the excess of young pitching talent making their auditions for the 2012 season. It was a classy move by the man who threw the first pitch in Nationals history way back in 2005. I know most of you are thinking: Why would the Nationals retire the number of a guy who went 70-72 with the Expos/Nationals franchise? This is a fair...
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Experiencing the press box for the first time

Experiencing the press box for the first time
I can certainly remember my first time in a major league press box. It was back on May 25, 2009, my first assignment as an intern with MLB.com. I was assigned to cover the Orioles for the rest of the season (or until I found a full-time gig somewhere) and had the rare privilege of spending my summer among the fans at Camden Yards. A sweet gig, it was. It's been more than two years since my first experience, and meanwhile I've spent countless days and eaten too many luke warm hot dogs to...
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Mark Hornbaker: Slow and steady with Strasburg

Mark Hornbaker: Slow and steady with Strasburg
With Stephen Strasburg scheduled to make his 2011 debut with the Nationals this evening, I think it is important we remember Strasburg will be on a pitch count limit of 60 pitches. I think the Nationals will follow the same path the team took with Jordan Zimmermann's comeback last season. The Nationals kept Zimmermann on a pitch count between 70 to 86 pitches in his seven starts last season. As it looks now, Strasburg will make four starts before the season ends - if his arm is feeling well....
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Jenn Jenson: Welcome back, Stephen Strasburg

Jenn Jenson: Welcome back, Stephen Strasburg
I assume everyone's going to the ballpark Tuesday to see Stephen Strasburg pitch, right? I've got my ticket. Reports indicate Strasburg will be limited to five innings or 80 pitches, which means we're unlikely to see any 14-strikeout, no-walks craziness on the second coming. But hey, you never know. If he keeps his pitch count low enough, five innings provides 15 outs to work with. If Strasburg strikes out just a handful of batters, it will be OK with me. Even a no strikeout game would...
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