First, an explanation.
I know Barry Svrluga from my newspaper days and I read with interest his story last year on all the blogs that popped up about the Nationals. I checked out most of them. Capitol Punishment immediately became my favorite.
It was a must read.
This is not meant to serve as a hummer for Chris Needham. He doesn't need that from me. But as a newspaper editor by that time, I'd sit there reading it and think, "This is what we need to be doing." (Newspapers, you may have noticed, aren't exactly kicking ass in the circulation department anymore). Chris was at times informative, at times analytical, at times snarky, at times humorous. He was always entertaining.
I cried a little when he posted last week that he was giving it up, though I understand his reasons. It's like a big ol' hole in my pitiful little life.
What is going to fill the void?
Well, nothing. Chris was one of a kind. (IS, one of a kind. Dude ain't dead). I can't and won't do what he does. But I will at least try to give you something to read, something to think about, something to curse at, all that stuff. Chris has been one of the biggest boosters of this attempt at blogging, seeing as he now needs something else to read. His consulting fee, by the way, is Frito Pie and beer at the next game we attend on the same day.
Who am I, besides some chotch bag with a computer? I'm a Washingtonian by birth. I grew up in Falls Church and left the area in 1974 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University. Got lucky and got a job here before graduation so I stayed. Forever. Worked my way up the newspaper chain and eventually became sports editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Lasted all of 461 days in that job before bailing and go back to my alma mater as assistant athletic director for communications. My daughter summed up my new situation best when she called her mom after visiting me in my new digs. "THAT is the Dad I used to know," she said.
I became a Washington baseball fan as a kid. My first game was in 1963 (or maybe 1964). The Senators beat the Kansas City Athletics 8-4 and Ed Brinkman did something. Over the years I attended many games at the dump that eventually became RFK (yes, it was a dump even then).
The team left my freshman year of high school. I tried jumping to the Orioles. Didn't work. I followed the Braves (their AAA club is in Richmond) but I also covered them some and that doesn't work at all. Can't cover and be a fan, just trust me on that.
So I waited and waited and waited *** and then it happened. D.C. GOT A TEAM! I went a bit overboard. I own at least 100 hats, about 10 jersies, too many t-shirts, some hoodies, several jackets and a dozen bobbleheads. I kicked my cable to the curb and switched to DirecTV. I also have XM. Of the 162 games the team plays, I'm involved as a spectator, viewer or listener in 150 or so of them. I schedule my life around this team. Yes, I'm a sick bastard.
We saw a lot of games at home the first season but RFK is such a craphole that we didn't go there much in years 2-3. I have seen the Nats in Baltimore, Philly, St. Louis, New York and Boston. I will see them in Seattle this year.
I've seen six home games thus far this season, despite the long drive and traffic hassles (how do you people do it up there??) and will see many more. I'm a season-ticket holder, see, and deserve all the courtesies from Uncle Stan that go with that. I have the Saturday-based 20-game plan. My wife and I are the kindly old couple in Section 420, Row G, Seats 1-2. She's the smiling one, I'm the grumpy one sitting there praying Manny doesn't wave in Ayala. Come say hello. I'm approachable even when I'm crying.
Please stop by and share your thoughts. Please be gentle. Also, please don't expect Chris II. Not in my wildest dreams. He's funnier than I am, more net savvy (links, all those stats, yeah, right. Not happening here). He's younger, better looking.
I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post. A lot, at first, I'm sure as I have fun with my new toy. I'll do what I can. Feedback is welcome.
By the way, I'm 52 today. Odds on a victory for my birthday? Slim, I'd say. My wife and I were driving home from Blacksburg yesterday after attending Virginia Tech's graduation. I'm tuned in to Charlie and Dave. When Ayala came in, I turned to The Boss and said, "This won't be good." She shortly turned back and said, "At least it was quick."
My favorite part of my man Chico Harlan's game story in the Washington Post (more on Chico and the man thing later):
Before departing, Ayala stood in a quiet clubhouse, an ice block mummy-wrapped atop his right shoulder. He refused to comment about his latest performance, saying, in English, "I don't speak English."
Hey, Luis, if you are going to suck, just suck, OK? I'll deal with it. Don't suck AND be a jackass. Man up and talk. You owe it to those who fork over money to watch you allegedly pitch. Maybe it is the former reporter in me talking but I cannot stand that kind of crap. I want to know what you are thinking as you watch those balls fly out. Does your neck hurt? Did you have a good view of the play at first?
Oh, but he doesn't do English, so this is lost on him.
Finally - what is a looser? I participate in and moderate a forum for sports media called SportsJournalists.com. One day, some dude registered and got all over our kind, calling us a bunch of "loosers." It became part of the SJ.com vocabulary and, as such, I was tabbed a Nationals "fanboy looser." Seems to work because I am indeed a fanboy looser.