Month: September 2014

A Change in the Pecking Order?

Local all-news radio station WTOP runs a segment entitled Core Values with commentator Chris Core. Today, he had a segment that was music to my ears: a change in the pecking order of local sports teams. In one minute, Core sums up why everyone is fed up with the Washington football team.  (Oops, I almost wrote their nickname, which many see as offensive.) There are multiple reasons to be tired of this team (e.g., Fed Ex Field, the team stinks, they mortgage their future for a perpetually injured quarterback), but the primary reason is that everyone despises the owner. I’ve made the same point before! Then Core turns to the Nationals.  The owners are great (and they stay out of the way of the professionals).  They play in a beautiful park (and he could have added that it is accessible by Metro). They have a great chance to get to the World Series and they are primed to be good for years to come. Then Chris Core does something really great…he let’s out the Section …

Punctuation Mark!!!

Could there be a better way to end the regular season? Let me answer that for you. Nope. Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals unassuming #2 starter who doesn’t do much except pour strikes into the zone pitch after pitch – and then more times than not come out with a win – throws a no-hitter in game 162 of the 2014 regular season. For those lucky enough to be there (like a number of my friends) – what a memory.  For those of us watching on television, it was riveting baseball. I have to admit, when the ball was hit to the left field gap with two outs in the 9th, I could only think of Souza’s dropping a fly ball on Friday evening. I thought the no-no was over. But nope, Steven Souza, Jr. made an incredible catch, and history was made. Thomas Boswell wrote that the game “felt like a fitting coda to the season but also a perfect prelude to the playoffs.” I loved manager Matt Williams’ comment.  At his post-game interview, he …

This September Call-Up Won’t Make the Postseason Roster

I gave this September call-up several chances. But I have my limits. With tickets to three September games at Nationals Park in hand, I decided to break in my new Baseball Score Book to get it ready for the playoffs. The ring binder on my old score book had a “notebook malfunction” on our August road trip, so the timing seemed right. The idea of the September call-up is standard in baseball.  Rosters expand on September 1st  and promising players come up to the big club from the minors.  On losing teams these rookies get to play regularly to show they should make the ball club next year. On teams going to the postseason, like the Nats, the call-ups may provide an occasional day-off for a regular, but more often than not they fill specialized roles.  (Need a pinch runner, turn to the speedy Michael Taylor.) So I have now given my September call-up three chances.  If he was coming out of the bullpen, my score book would be 0-3 with about a 10.00 ERA.  …

The Well-Appointed Cubicle

Thanks to my colleague Tom and Section 313 seatmate Kim (she’s the one who added the Woo! to the Section 313 cheer as noted in this Washington Post article), I now have the perfect addition for any Washington-area cubicle.  2014 National League East Division Champs indeed! N-A-T-S, Nats, Nats, Nats, Woo! And since we had a weather postponement tonight, here’s another recent Post story that’s about the logistics of taking care of the Nats over a 162 game season.  Recommended as a good rainy-night read. My next tickets?  Friday night! Go Nats! More to come… DJB

Taking the Waters at Balneario de Mondariz

I am in the midst of a brief work trip to Galicia…and if you don’t know where that is, well neither did I just a few weeks ago. Galicia – the Switzerland of Spain – is the small portion of land that blocks Portugal’s northern border from touching the Atlantic Ocean. It is hilly (hence the Swiss reference), with a fascinating landscape that is matched by its unique history. I am here, with colleagues from around the world, for an executive committee meeting of the International National Trusts Organisation (or INTO).  We are being hosted by one of our member Trusts – the Tesouros de Galicia – and several of my colleagues joined a contingent from Tesouros de Galicia in completing 140 kilometers of what may be Galicia’s most famous pilgrimage:  the Camino de Santiago that ends at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. After a much too complicated trip to arrive (never fly Ryan Air – for those of  you old enough, think a bad People’s Express experience), I joined my colleagues in Santiago …

Kansas City Stars

Kansas City is one of America’s hidden gems. I had the good fortune to work last weekend in this heartland city that is thriving in the midst of an amazing renaissance. Over the course of three days, we saw the rich arts district, built on the foundation of a beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts  surrounded by artists living and working in older and historic buildings. Incredible historic homes – like the one at the top of the post – were opened to us so we could visit the treasures along the city’s famous boulevards. In this particular home, the retractable roof over the courtyard was opened for songs (by the Kansas City Chorale) and dinner. There is a great deal to highlight, but because my time is limited I’m going to post a few pictures to give you a flavor of the weekend.  Do yourself a favor – find a long weekend to visit this thriving, alive city. We began our visit focusing on J.C. Nichols’ landmark Country Club Plaza, the nation’s first …

Doesn’t Syracuse Need a Closer?

No more discussions (or articles) about the Nats being a World Series team. Not after tonight. And it all started with such promise. I showed up to our regular seats in Section 313 with my work colleague Paul to find the new sign the Lerners had posted over the recent road trip. N-A-T-S Nats, Nats, Nats, Woo! Our section’s cheer!  Emblazoned on the ballpark!  How cool is that?!  Thank you, Kim (a 313 regular who suggested it to a Nats marketing staffer). With two runs in the first (thanks to Adam LaRoche’s home run), we had the chance to use it early and often. Woo indeed! Stephen Strasburg is cruising.  My new score book is getting a work out due to the great offense. Strasburg leaves after six terrific innings with a 5-1 lead. One inning later, it is 7-2.  Atlanta gets battered tonight, cutting our magic number by one more.  We had a chance to gain a game in the standings. What could go wrong? Rafael Soriano could go wrong, even though he wasn’t …