28 February 2017

Opening Day Like Its 2008 Or Something

Eek it is the end of the month. Lets see, Spring Training 2017 has started and right now with 3 games under their belt the Nats are 1-2 .333 as are the Braves and Marlins, the Mets and Phillies are both at 2-2 .500 so nobody in the division is doing that poorly or that great with the Spring Training only about 4 days old.

OK so Nats Opening Day 2017 this year is 03 April home vs. The Marlins. If I had planed things out I should have shown a Josh Willingham, Nick Johnson or Ivan Rodriguez card. But I didn't so I won't I will show a couple of Opening Day Cards I scanned a while back but haven't posted yet ...til now.

Opening Day 2008 (Oh Wow I didn't even think about this) was on 30 March vs. The Atlanta Braves and was the first regular season game at Nationals Park in SE DC.The Nats won 3-2 with a Walk-Off homer by Ryan Zimmerman. The Opening Day Roster was:

  1. Cristian Guzman SS
  2. Lastings Milledge CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
  4. Nick Johnson 1B
  5. Austin Kearns RF
  6. Elijah Dukes LF
  7. Ronnie Belliard 2B
  8. Paul Lo Duka C
  9. Odalis Perez P (LH)
The Nats came in last place in the NL East that year, their usual spot for several frustrating years, with a 59-102  .366 record. Fortunately the Nationals have been doing much better in recent years.

OK so the two cards I'm a-gonna-show are of two players who have been long gone from the Nats. For one of the two players 2008 would mark his last MLB appearance and for the other 2008 was spent in the minors having made his Major League Debut in Sept of 2007.

 2008 Topps Opening Day 117 Dmitri Young Nationals

 2008 Topps Opening Day 200 Ross Detwiler RC Nationals

26 January 2017

Welcome to CoopersTown Pudge (and Rock)

With the announcement of the 2017 Hall of Fame Class The Natxpos Franchise has two count them TWO players accepted to Cooperstown. Expos Tim "Rock" Raines (Non-DC Years) and Nats Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez (going as a Ranger aka: Senators 2.0). Raines got in on his 10th and final ballot and Ivan got in on his first ballot. Oh and there was also some guy named Bagwell but since he has no DC connection I won't mention him or show a card of his, sorry fans he doesn't fit the scope of this blog. There was another Expo who was under consideration but didn't make it this year Vladimir Guerrero missed out on the first timer train. Maybe Vlad will get in next year.

2000 Upper Deck Baseball: Most Wanted: MW3 Ivan Rodriguez Rangers

For this next card I played with the adjustments on the scan for the front of the card to try to make Pudge's name easier to read. I wasn't satisfied with the result it looks too grainy. This is actually the second scan of the card as the first one had a hair or thread across the lower left of the card and I couldn't have that.
 2002 Fleer Ultra Baseball: 7 Ivan Rodriguez Rangers

1983 O-Pee-Chee Baseball:  227 Tim Raines Expos

 1988 Topps Baseball: 403 Tim Raines All-Star Expos

21 December 2016

Senators Singles: Mad Max Ace Diamond King

Mad Max Ace Diamond King

I scanned this card late last month when I was scanning cards for my Max Awards 2016 post. I decided not to show it at that time. So now with just a little time left in December I'm posting it as one of those "quick fix make sure I have something for the personal quota this month" posts. Yes I"m being lazy.

This card is one of the 2016 Panini Diamond Kings cards. I am so-so on this set. I sort of like the painting-like images used, but they do repeat the same "photo" on the back. It is also one of those unlicensed sets. I wish the sports leagues would back off on the exclusives for trading cards and let he full names and logos of sports teams be used. Most people know what they are anyway so there is no serious attempt at disguising which team it is. The plainness and lack of names and logos makes even the most professionally made card look like it was done by cheap ass amateurs. Most collectors hate the plain look anyway.

 2016 Panini Diamond Kings Baseball - 88 Max Scherzer Nationals

29 November 2016

Max Awards 2016

2015 Topps Stadium Club 296 Max Scherzer

Well there were a few Nats up for some of the big end of the year awards. 2nd Baseman Daniel Murphy was up for NL MVP but came in second. He did, However, pick up a Silver Slugger award (his first) and the Player's Choice "Outstanding Player" Award. Catcher Wilson Ramos also got a Silver Slugger award a surprise first. Rookie Outfielder Trea Turner was up for the "Rookie of the Year" (ROY) but came in second and Skipper Dusty Baker was up for the "Manager of the Year" (MOY) but came in 3rd. UGH. Golden Boy Pitcher Max Scherzer came through with the NL Cy Young Award his second he won his first back in 2013 while with the Tigers. He is the 6th player to win it from both Leagues.

Here are some cards to look at starting with the back of the 2015 Stadium Club Max Scherzer card that is featured at the top of this short post.

2015 Topps Stadium Club 296 Max Scherzer (back)

Since it is his second Cy Young award here is another Max card this one is his 2015 Gypsy Queen

 2015 Topps Gypsy Queen 93 Max Scherzer
(Front and Back)

Silver Slugger Catcher Wilson Ramos.
 2011 Topps Update US295 Wilson Ramos
(Front and Back)

I don't recall the exact location of any of my Daniel Murphy cards so I didn't get a chance to scan any. I also didn't scan any Dusty Baker cards. I don't recall if I've gotten one of him as the Nats Skipper yet. Anyway the last card I'll show is the almost ROY Trea Turner. Here is his 2016 Gypsy Queen card.

 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen 64 Trea Turner
(Front and Back)

2016 Award Nominations for Nationals:
MVP - Daniel Murphy - 2nd
Cy Young - Max Scherzer - Winner!
ROY - Trea Turner - 2nd
MOY - Dusty Baker - 3rd

Silver Slugger: 
2nd Base - Daniel Murphy
Catcher - Wilson Ramos

Player's Choice Awards:
Outstanding Player - Daniel Murphy

Congrats Nats for the nominations and the actual wins. I was really hoping for Trea to get the ROY. Oh well he came in 2nd like Ryan Zimmerman did 10 years ago.

20 October 2016

Bryce Harper's First Career Grand Slam His 100th Home Run

I  don't believe I didn't post about this when it happened. I thought I did or was going to or had at the very least started my draft for the post. Nope I didn't. Silly me. I think I mentioned it in a forum post somewhere, but not here. Well here it is now.

On 14 April, 2016 Nats Outfielder Bryce Harper smashed his first career grand slam against the Braves. It marked his 100th Career Homer to boot. What a way to celebrate.

2013 Topps Tribute Baseball 49 Bryce Harper Nationals

Related Links:
MLB.com VIDEO - Harper Launches Grand Slam For Homer No 100
Review Journal VIDEO - Las Vegan Bryce Harper gets 100th MLB homer with grand slam — VIDEO

Then only 6 days later on 20 April Bryce hits his 2nd Career Grand Slam vs. The Marlins. The wonder kid smashes another one.

 2012 Bowman Baseball 10 Bryce Harper RC Nationals

Related Links:
Fox Sports - Bryce Harper crushes grand slam to help Stephen Strasburg pick up win
Washington Post - Bryce Harper’s grand slam highlights seven-run seventh as Nationals beat Marlins
Washington Times - Bryce Harper’s grand slam fuels Nationals’ power display in win over Marlins

14 October 2016

2016 NLDS vs Los Angeles Dodgers Results

2016 NLDS
vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers Won Series 3-2

Back in 2012 when the Nats took their first trip to the National League Divisional Series, I was too excited and then too depressed to do any sort of review post. Then in 2014 I was again depressed by the results. Well this year, the third year in five that the Nats have made the postseason, I decided that win or lose I'd do a post about the series.

The NLDS is a best out of five games series, and much like the Wild Card "play-in" game it comes and goes too swiftly. 3 wins and you move on to the Championship Series (NLCS). Lose those 3 and your season is over. The Nationals for this series won "home field" advantage by having the better season record 95-67 to the Dodgers 91-71. In the long run home field gets the advantage of an extra game and the homie crowd for one more game.. 

Game 1: Friday 07 October 2016 Nationals Park, Washington DC - Loss 3-4
The first game of the series was a real uphill battle. Unfortunately the Nationals lost. The first inning was soiled with a solo homer by LA's Corey Seager apparently he is their golden child this season. The first pitch he saw he knocks it out. Good thing he was the second batter and the lead off man had struck out. Things would only get worse from there. The Dodgers would tack on 3 more runs in the top of the third making it a 4-0 game. The nationals were able to cut the lead in half with a two-run homer by Anthony Redon that scored Bryce Harper and Jason Werth. The Nationals would then get their third and final run in the bottom of the 4th with a sac fly by Trea Turner to send catcher Pedro Severino home. The Nats would make a few more attempts to score but no love there.

Game 2: Sunday 09 October 2016 Nationals Park, Washington DC - Win 5-2
Game 2 of the series was rained out on its original Saturday game day 08 October then postponed for Sunday. This game started out much like the first Golden Boy Corey Seager knocked in a solo homer top of the first. Dodgers fans were wetting themselves with glee. The next scoring was again top of the 3rd this time just one run Josh Reddick singled and Justin Turner scored. That would be the final scoring by the Dodgers. The rest of the scoring would be ALL WASHINGTON starting bottom 4th with José Lobatón knocking a 3 run homer scoring the Brothers Dan Daniel Murphy and Danny Espinosa. Then next inning would be last year's wonder boy for the Mets Daniel Murphy hitting a single to get Trea Turner in. Then the bottom of the 7th Murphy would single again this time sending Jayson Werth home.

Game 3: Monday 10 October 2016 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA - Win 8-3
For Game 3 the fun moved to the left coast. This time bottom of the 1st. Yep you guessed it Corey Seager bats, but not a solo homer but a deep double that scores LAs Mr. Turner (Justin). Move to the top of the 3rd it is Jayson Werth's turn to double and for Washington's Mr. Turner (Trea) to score. Game tied 1-1. Bryce Harper singles and Jayson Werth Scores. Anthony Rendón homers deep left center (412 ft.), Bryce Harper scores. 4-1 Washington. Bottom of 5th Carlos Ruiz homers deep left center Joc Paderson scores 4-3 Washington. Then all is quiet until the top of the 9th. Jayson Werth homers deep left center (5-3), Ryan Zimmerman doubles deep right sending both Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper home (7-3) he advances to 3rd on throw. Chris Heisey hits a sac-fly to left scoring Ryan Zimmerman 8-3. Nats take lead in series 2 games to 1. And that Mrs. Lincoln is all she wrote.

Game 4: Tuesday 11 October 2016 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA - Loss 5-6
Game 4 could have been a historic game for the Nationals. It SHOULD have been, but alas it was not. Top of the first Nats draw first blood Daniel Murphy singles to right Trea Turner scores (1-0). Bottom of the 1st Dodgers come back Adrian Gonzalez homers deep right also scoring Justin Turner. (1-2) Top of the 3rd Daniel Murphey does it again with a sac fly to center to plate Trea Turner (2-2). Bottom 3rd Justin Turner (Wrong Mr. Turner) singles to left center and Clayton Kershaw scores (2-3). WHAT? Their Pitcher? Oh yeah he did get on base Blah. Then with bases loaded Joc Pederson is hit by a pitch again Justin Turner scores (2-4). Bottom 5th Joc Pederson doubles to left scoring Josh Reddick (2-5). Top 7th bases loaded Jayson Werth hit by pitch Danny Espinosa scores Nationals turn for that fun trick (3-5). Daniel Murphy singles left center Trea Turner and Bryce Harper score tying the game 5-5. Bottom of the 8th Chase Utley (Huh? Haven't seen that troublemaker for some time) singles right center Andrew Toles scores go-ahead run (5-6). Big heavy sigh Dodgers tie series 2-2.

Game 5: Thursday 13 October 2016 Nationals Park, Washington DC - Loss 3-4
Game 5 the one that decided the whole enchilada. This was perhaps the biggest dramatic game of the series along with game 4. For the first 7 innings it was super, then the hour and a half long 7th inning turned sour. There was some hope near the end but it was quickly extinguished. The scoring got started in the bottom of the 2nd with the Brothers Dan. Danny Espinosa singled to right sending Daniel Murphy home 1-0. The score would stay that way for most of the game until the 7th inning. It didn't help matters that the bottom of the 6th ended with Jayson Werth trying to squeeze home. He was sent by 3rd base coach as the ball, hit by Zimmerman who doubled left, was about even with 3rd base. In the top 7th Joc Pederson knocks a solo homer deep left center 1-1. Carlos Ruiz singles shallow left scoring Ausin Barnes 1-2 with just one out. Then Justin Turner triples to deep center scoring Howie Kendrick and Carlos Ruiz 1-4. The top of the 7th alone ran for about 45 minutes and the Nats break a sad NLDS record of using 6 pitchers in just one inning. Bottom 7th Chris Heisey knocks in a 2 run homer deep left plating Danny Espinosa and bringing the game to within one run 3-4 with no outs. Sadly that would be the final scoring of the game. The Dodgers move on to the NLCS against the Cubs.

Series Results: Dodgers Win Series 3-2
Game 1: 07 October 2016 - Loss 3-4
Game 2: 09 October 2016 - Win 5-2
Game 3: 10 October 2016 - Win 8-3
Game 4: 11 October 2016 - Loss 5-6
Game 5: 13 October 2016 - Loss 3-4

Alyssa is Happy

Parody of Taylor Swift's Shake It Off by Keith Elgin (Video) 2016 Nats Playoff Theme It isn't great but it is a fun fan-made parody. He debuted the song LIVE at a restaurant Ben's Chili Bowl a DC area landmark. He also sang it live on local radio (WRQX "Mix 107.3") on the Jack Diamond Morning Show

To conclude this semi-sweet post. Thank you Nationals for an exciting season with an excellent run. Plus an exciting NLDS especially the drama of games 4 and 5. I wish this Post Season was not a repeat of the last two even year seasons (2012 and 2014). Sadly the Nationals post season record is much like the Capitals Post Seasons. Get to the first round then lose.

05 October 2016

Tony Two Bags First Career Grand Slam

On Tuesday 06 September 2016 Nats third baseman Anthony Rendon hit his first career grand slam. I was a bit surprised that this was his first. I tend to forget how many base runners are on the bags when one of our boys knocks out a homer, be they two, three runs or just solo homers. Good players hit a bunch of homers and get even more RBIs that I just assume they had gotten a Grand Slam early in their career.

2013 Topps Bowman Platinum: Top Prospects: TP-AR
Anthony Rendon Nationals

Related Links:
CBS Sports - Nationals' Anthony Rendon: Cranks grand slam
MASN Sports Network - Nats rally on Rendon’s grand slam (Nats win 9-7)
MLB.com - Rendon stays hot in grand fashion with 1st slam - Durable 3rd baseman continues post-break success

29 September 2016

Nats Win 3rd Division Title Within 5 Years: With 3 Different Managers

The Nats are going back to the playoffs!
On Saturday 24 September 2016 The Washington Nationals notched their 90 win of the season by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates. They were not quite in the playoffs yet, their magic number was down to 1, but only for about a half-hour. The 2nd place team the New York Mets last year's NL East Division Champs were still playing their game with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets were behind but were rallying for a comeback. They didn't succeed and so the Nationals celebrated their Division Championship Clinch, in the visitors locker room at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Hard to believe someone got them to stand still long enough for a group photo.
One again Bryce Harper wears interesting headgear for the celebrating. This year it was a Katie Ledecky USA Olympics Swim cap.
Sort of a repeat of the 2014 Division Clinch in Atlanta.
Harper's Headgear of choice was a Fire Fighter's Helmet.
The 2012 Celebration started an odd even year tradition in the Nation's Capital. Harper went with the standard backwards commemorative "Playoffs" hat like the rest of the team. He hadn't started his unique stylized trend yet.

When they won the division in 2012 it was the first time since 1933 a Washington Baseball team had been to the playoffs. The Nationals have won the NL East Division three times in the last five years.That is a mighty impressive achievement, although what makes it even more impressive is that they have done it with three different skippers at the helm. Davey Johnson, Matt Williams and Dusty Baker. Both Johnson and Williams won NL Manager of the Year the year they took the Nats into the Playoffs.

 2012 the salty dog Davey Johnson led the Nats to the stromy NLDS seas:
1975 Topps Baseball 57 Dave Johnson Braves

2014 saw the good ship Nationals sail into the rough seas of the playoffs with Matt Williams:
 1995 Fleer Ultra Baseball 247 Matt Williams Giants

This year 2016 the Captain at the helm is Dusty Baker:
 1981 Fleer Baseball 115 Dusty Baker Dodgers

The Nats need to start playing like they want to go deep into the playoffs. As of this posting there are four games left in the regular season and the Nats are only at 92-66. In 2012 they went 98-64 in the regular season and lost the NLDS 3-2 vs The Cardinals. 2014 they went 96-66 regular season and fell in the NLDS 3-1 vs The Giants.

This year even though they have the division they seem to have spun around and are backing into the playoffs. NOT GOOD. At least the other two times they seemed to be going forward into the post season.

Related Links:
ESPN (another blog post) - Another even year, another NL East title for Nationals
MLB - Nats jump on Bucs, wait out Mets, clinch NL East

31 August 2016

Hey Nook Its An Allen And Ginter Autograph

2007 Topps Heritage Baseball 442 Nook Logan Nationals

No that 2007 Topps Heritage card at the top is not the card I'm talking about in this post. I thought about making this one of my Senator's Singles posts but I didn't want this logo - 
- sitting at the top of the post. Besides the card I'm showing this post is technically not a Senators card. OK yes I believe there has been a time or two that I have used that logo for an Expos card or two which technically was Never a Senators card and for many of those guys never a Curly W or DC card. I think from now on I will limit this "Senators Singles" logo to only those cards that show the guys that played DC ball from before 1972.

The card I am spotlighting this post is from 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter's Baseball set. It is one of the certified autograph cards. The framed mini cards with an on card signature. I wish these types of cards were serial numbered, but autograph cards have gotten so mainstream now they often don't warrant a serial number. Yet a parallel something stamped with blue foil lettering is?

The player featured is Nook Logan who played outfield for The Nats in 2006-07. At the time I thought he was a super guy and a much needed slugger for the team. Well he was mostly just a spectacular outfielder and a speedster on the bases. He was with the Nats when they were mostly just trading around for speedsters that made occasional spectacular plays to impress the scouts, when they really needed power bats. His bat upon reflection, wasn't so hot as I thought it was. Do bats reflect? Aluminum ones for kids and the minor leagues Yes, Louisville Sluggers and Official MLB bats NO. I forgot that he injured his foot against an outfield wall on opening day 2007, spent over a month out on the DL and never really got his hitting back up. He was slumping near seasons end. I had forgotten that he had been in the Mitchell Report on players who had used performance enhancing substances. He had used HGH to recover from injuries he had in the minor leagues when was with in the Detroit Tigers system (2004-06). Enough of the sad contributions to ending a promising career you want to see a ding-dang card.

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter's Baseball AGA-NL certified autograph
On Card auto blue sharpie
Nook Logan Nationals
(Front and Back)

The main purpose for making this a one card post was simply to fill my monthly posting quota minimum of one post.