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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Are you among the 9,000?

I was initially going to ask who the other 8,999 were until it dawned on me that I probably don't count in that 9,000 because I live so far outside the D.C. area. I don't think Richmond is considered part of the market.
That's a stunningly low number, even for a bad team. The broadcast isn't anybody's idea of an Emmy Award winner but it isn't THAT bad and there are so many worse ways to spend a summer night than watching baseball. Even bad baseball.
If we're home, the game is on at least two of our four TVs. I don't like to miss anything when I run to the kitchen for a snack, a drink, a sink to barf in after the latest miscue.
I'd love to know what the numbers are in my area now that it is available on the local cable provider. I had to switch to DirecTV to get the games two years ago and I still have it. Last February, when the Nats' caravan came through town, I grabbed my wife and we headed to the restaurant for lunch. I didn't go as a fan, I went as a sports editor trying to get a clue on the interest level. I didn't even go back to the part of the restaurant where Zimmerman, Acta, et. al., were signing. The line was out the door and stayed out the door. My guess is that just as many autograph collectors and the like were there for Zimmerman as true Nats fans.

Am I the only one surprised by those TV numbers?

Unrelated to the numbers but a true story about the broadcast - my dogs' body clocks are tied into Johnny and Ray.
It took me a while to figure it out. We all have our routines when we get home. Get our jank out of the car. Take out trash/recycling/whatever. Deal with the laundry. Change clothes, lay something out for tomorrow. Put on a pot of coffee for the a.m.
I get all that done right around 6:30 and click on the TVs. Cue up that stupid intro for Nats Xtra. Here's Johnny and Ray. And my dogs go ballistic. Barking. Turning in circles. Bumping their heads into my legs. Barking some more.
What the hell? Ray is about as nice a guy as there is alive. Maybe they saw Johnny snarl, 'It's Fuk-o-dom-e. What are you guys, 12?" and it scared them. I know it scares me.
Then it clicked.
Dinner time. I click on the TV and then go fill their bowls. They connect the music and Johnny and Ray with food!
It's kind of cute but a pain in the ass, too. West Coast game? Stupid music at 9:30 and they go nuts. SHUT UP. YOU ALREADY ATE. Day game? Stupid music at 1 and they go nuts. SHUT UP. NOT YET.

When they bark at FLop, it has nothing to do with food. I think they are recognizing a colleague.

Do my dogs count among the 9,000? Or would they if we lived in the D.C. area?

Unrelated to the numbers, an unsolicited plug for Dan Steinberg: The best blogger - or "bogger" - in the newspaper business and maybe anywhere. The only bad thing about this "bog" gig is it keeps him from writing for the paper. His stuff during that little miracle by George Mason two years ago was outstanding.

While I'm rambling here, I thought of another reason to be happy and got some help for yet one more. My reason? We're not the Mets. I actually don't mind the Mets at all but a couple Mets fans I know are just insufferable and I can't remind them often enough that going 1-5 against the Nats at the end of last season reduced them to playoff spectators. We'll always have that.

One of our former players at VCU, Kwan Evans, visited my office yesterday. Terrific young man. Not playing anymore but he will be an excellent coach somewhere. Remember the name. He came in to chat and to tell me his girlfriend took him to a Nats game for his birthday. The Sunday game against the Orioles. The Belliard game. He was steaming mad they left before the blast.

I told him I did not and that I'd seen three game winners now and they never get old.

And he said:

"Three? Live? In the house? I hit one once but I've never seen another one. You've seen three? In one season? Man. You are living the life. You have nothing to complain about."

Yeah, I do. Lots. But I guess I have a lot NOT to complain about, too. I ought to keep that in mind every time this team sends me rushing for the sink.


Nationals Fan said...

I probably don't count either.

I watch on with audio down and Gameday also open so I can see the pitch type, speed and location a second before it comes on the video with Charlie and Dave on the radio on the back patio so I can hear the fireworks just because that's fun.

Or maybe I could triple.

WFY said...

Perhaps MLB paying Peter Angelo$, who voted against relocation to D.C., to acquire the Nats TV rights was not the best possible situation for growing the Nats fanbase.

The bright side of this is Angelo$ is not making as much money as he could.

Philly said...

Great post, Harris, especially the part about your dogs.

Yours is easily my second favorite blog on the internet. My favorite can be found here:

MikeHarris said...

I take full credit for the existence of that blog that is indeed excellent. I take no credit for the excellence of the work.

George Templeton said...

Maybe its Nats fans way of sticking it to Angelos because of the ridiculous deal he got to allow the Expos to move to D.C.
Between not wanting to put any money in Angelos pocket and the fact that Bob Carpenter is so awful, can you blame Nats fans for not watching (or going to the radio in my case).

Hendo said...

I don't have cable, and anyhow I Charlie-and-Dave most of the games I don't attend.

Baseball on TV is generally a bad product (Vin Scully excepted), and the commercials are worse. Both are immeasurably better on radio.

MikeHarris said...

The commercials do stink - really really stink. I've seen all the MASN fantasy camp stuff I need to see and the rest of them aren't any better.

Gus said...

Bottom of the 1st - first pitch GIDP
Bottom of the 2nd - fundamentals let us down again.

Your sink might get blocked!

MikeHarris said...

Don't forget Wily Mo's fine at-bat. Good thing it is one of those two-sided sinks.

MikeHarris said...

And of course an error leads to a run. Never fails. Excuse me, I'll be right *** brrracck.

Two balks? Angel Hernandez is awful. When Jim Beauchamp managed the Richmond Braves, he used to go off on Hernandez regularly. Made reference to him whacking off one time, which got Beach the thumb and a good laugh.

MikeHarris said...

Wily Mo vs. Brandon Webb. It should not be allowed. Cruel and unusual punishment. Just wave up to the umpire and say, "Yeah, he's out."
And, yeah, I'm talking to myself here. I'm that close to crazy.

Gus said...

Sorry, been in a meeting (I do have to work sometimes).. but I was glad to arrive in time to see WMP ground into an out with a runner on first and 1 out.

Gus said...

oh god, and then I watched our new CF who can't hit butcher a bouncing ball (Vorp - half vomit/half burp).

MikeHarris said...

Yeah, it's been a classic.
My neighbor wants to know why I now need HIS sink.

Gus said...

The guy who shares my office has finally come over (it's only been 2 seasons) and asked "what is this thing you watch every monring, it looks like a game, but you don't seem to be playing it" and I replied "it is a game, and the guys i support don't seem to be playing it either!"

Sean Hogan said...

Get ready for another loss tomorrow night...I'm going to the game. Meh.

MikeHarris said...

I'd tell you to stay away, sir, but, hell, they're losing anyway.