Exactly How Good a @MASNCommenter #Nats Team Would Be #MLB15THESHOW

SOON.

MORSE!!!

UPDATE: I’ve determined I should be able to broadcast a computer simulated game featuring the MASNCommenter Nats vs. The Mets in an “Opening Day” Tilt. I will post the link here and on twitter. Should be a 1:05 start.

I am new to the world of Playstation, but I got one around Thanksgiving and I do enjoy it. As a baseball and video game fan, I’ve been anxiously waiting for MLB The Show to debut its 2015 edition, which did indeed “drop” on Tuesday. I’ve never played this game before and, frankly, I’m terrible at it.

Like with most baseball games you can play whole seasons at a time, or even set yourself up as the GM of a franchise and build your team from the ground up. I was iffy on whether I wanted to start that particular campaign last night, but a thought occurred to me:

There is a whole cottage industry of video game simulations being used to demonstrate theoretical concepts in sports. Breaking Madden being king amongst them. Routinely, as a blogger and a baseball fan, folks ask me “well, what about…” or “what if…”.

Some ideas are crazier than others, and there is perhaps no greater repository of don’t-know-it-all Nats thoughts than those archived by @MASNCommenter. We profiled MC last year, who faithfully copies the comments section of fans on the MASN Facebook page, generally the crazy/insane/overly emotional/poorly spelled ones. James O’Hara wrote a piece theorizing what a Nats team might be like if we made many of the trades proposed in tweets.

So here I am: Holding back the real bullpen and bench preview posts until the dust settles a bit more, a week away from baseball starting, I have this video game I am terrible at…why not turn to the experts for help?

So, yes. I created the 2015 season for the Washington Nationals in MLB the Show 15. I then proceeded to put together the most MASNCommenter 25-man roster I could. My plan is to then simulate the whole season (I won’t be playing the games, just telling the computer to play itself) and see how the Nats do.

Mike Taylor in CF. Nice, young, up and comer.

What Kind of Roster Does MASNCommenter Like? 

When I solicited help from twitter, I got one answer over and over. MASNCommenter would clone 25 Steve Lombardozzis and field them all. Sadly, the game won’t let me do that.

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David Huzzard: The Definitive Guide on How to be a Nats Fan

One of Natstown’s more prolific and knowledgable bloggers approached me to put a post up on our blog on the nature of fandom. Any time The Huzz (of Citizens of Natstown, MASN, and We Love DC fame wants to write a post on our blog, he can.) 

This season has been a strange one in a Nats fandom. By that I mean my fanhood as well as that of Frank’s (That’s us @Nationals101), Joe Drugan of The Nats Blog, and even The Nats Archive has come under fire. (Ed: And rather cruelly too. If you’re up for it, look for examples here, here, here, here and here I guess. )

At this point I could thump my chest about having watched Matt Chico, Mike Bacsik, Garrett Mock, or whichever terrible former Nats pitcher you want to mention. (Ed: Labor Day 2006, Ramon Ortiz vs. the Cardinals)  I was even at Matt White’s one and only start for the Nats and have the rally towel to prove it. I could mention all that and somewhat just did but that is stooping to a level I don’t want to. Instead I’ll offer the definitive guide on how to be a Nats fan.
If you’ve ever watched, tweeted about, thought about, or spoken about the Nats then you’re halfway to being a Nats fan. Why only halfway? Because a fan of a team playing the Nats can do that as well.

This next statement is key.

If you self identify as a Nats fan then you are a Nats fan. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you started watching the Nats in 2005 or even before in Montreal or if you started watching yesterday. If you call yourself a Nats fan then you are a Nats fan.

A Trip To Cooperstown, Part 2

This is the second part of my Trip to Cooperstown. Since the first one was a little long, we decided to split it into two posts. The first part can be found here.

Headed down to the second floor, there are two exhibits that are featured. The first one focuses on Abner Doubleday “baseball invented Doubleday” in 1839 and the history behind the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I thought it was really interesting to learn all about Doubleday and even see what the first “ball” that he threw looked like. Obviously, donning my Cubs attire, I had to get a picture taken of a portrait of Mr. Doubleday himself.

Abner DoubleDay Photo

The second exhibit on the second floor focuses on the game of baseball from 1900-present. With that huge array of dates, you can only imagine how much memorabilia and sheer amount of stuff is located within this exhibit. By far the most interesting part of this old time exhibit for me was seeing what the early playing equipment looks like, especially the catchers gear. The makeshift gloves and catchers masks they used. As a catcher growing up and having new age equipment, I have no idea how catchers didn’t die wearing that gear. The sheer expansiveness of this floor is too much for me to even talk about. If you want to know the history of baseball, you must visit this floor and see all the sights. It’s glorious.

Old Eqipment - Google Maps

Saving the best for last, we headed back to the first floor and walked into the shrine filled with the greatest people to ever be a part of the game of baseball. The bronze busts of each National Baseball Hall of Fame member fill the oak walls from top to bottom. There are 306 total people lining these walls, enshrined in this temple of baseball holiness forever. It was a beautiful sight to witness and one that I never will forget. On the back wall, the original class of Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson, are singled out and makes known the start of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The First Class Photo

Finally, the other clever exhibit on the first floor is a small one and somewhat hidden. It features all kinds of memorabilia from baseball films. Being the movie buff that I am, especially with a soft spot for baseball-related movies, I got a kick out of this exhibit. There’s even a list that gives all the names of every baseball movie, which was quite informational – I mean, did you know there are three Sandlot movies? I knew of two, but not the third. There was even a great black and white photo of my brilliant Twitter avatar, (if you don’t follow me, you probably should @hamsterjockey) Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn, made famous in the Major League films.

Overall, my first trip to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was a definite success. It was so much history packed into one visit though, so I feel like I did miss out on some things. However, that just means I will have to go back in a few years. I highly recommend that if you have not been there, visit as soon as you can. If you have visited there previously, I highly suggest that you go back and see the new memorabilia and exhibits.

*Note: the old playing equipment photo is courtesy of Google Maps. You can take a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame via Google Maps. Technology is awesome.

A Trip to Cooperstown, Part 1

As a diehard baseball fan, I had never made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, New York to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I’d actually never even been to New York before. How sacrilegious is that? With so much history, tradition and baseball in one place, how had a fan, like myself, never set foot on such sacred grounds.

Well, that all changed the second weekend in June as some friends and I, already having planned to go up to Upstate New York for a long weekend, made a pit stop in Cooperstown to check out the Baseball Hall of Fame. Let’s just say that I was mesmerized by how much baseball tradition is enshrined within the walls of the Baseball Hall of Fame itself.

When we first arrived there, I noticed just how much baseball was prevalent within the little town of Cooperstown. Baseball themed restaurants and stores line the streets with titles such as the “Triple Play Café,” “Cooperstown Bat Company,” and “Baseballism.” With restaurants and shops featuring names like those, you know that you’re in heaven as a baseball fan.

After parking the car and wandering down Main Street, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of baseball heaven, we finally made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and we picked a great weekend to visit. Not only was the ‘Iron Man’ Cal Ripken, Jr. there himself (we unfortunately did not see Cal) for various events throughout the weekend, the Baseball Hall of Fame actually was opening a brand new Babe Ruth exhibit on the day we went. Talk about great timing. We also got a commemorative keychain. Hooray keychains!

Once inside, we picked up a map and started to decipher where to go and what to see first. After opting to start on the third floor and work our way down, we entered the “Sacred Ground” exhibit. This exhibit featured quite a bit of information regarding the ballparks, past and current. It also featured a ton of new and old memorabilia, such as the Rally Monkey, which is a plush monkey (actually a real monkey in real life) that made appearances in late-inning situations for the 2002 Anaheim Angels’ World Series-winning team. There were also two seats from Veterans Stadium, the old ballpark that the Philadelphia Phillies called home from 1971-2003. Other relics and knick-knacks featured within this exhibit include old ticket stubs and giveaway items such as pins, bobbleheads, a Rubik’s Cube and ancient programs that were sold for 15 cents.

Rally Monkey

The exhibit changes from ballparks to players, highlighting individual records that each player has accomplished. Records such as Ripen, Jr.’s consecutive games played streak (2,632), most games played in a career (Pete Rose; 3,562), most consecutive seasons leading the league in singles (Ichiro; 10), most saves in a season (Francisco Rodriguez; 62), a broken bat highlighting Mariano Rivera’s 608 career saves and even Eric Gagne’s goggles signifying his 84 consecutive saves streak. Another interesting item that the Baseball Hall of Fame had was the hat that Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood wore during his rookie season where he struck out 20 Houston Astros batters during his fifth career start in the majors. One thing that I forgot about though was Barry Bond’s career home run No. 762 ball. It was in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I completely forgot that the ball was purchased by designer Marc Ecko, who then branded it with an asterisk and donated it back to the Hall. I got a chuckle out of that. Finally, upon exiting this exhibit, they have replicas of each ring that the World Series champion receives. It was interesting seeing how gaudy the rings have gotten over the years. It really is all about the bling.

Kerry Wood Hat

In order to keep this on the shorter side and not be TL;DR, be on the lookout for Part 2 of my trip to Cooperstown.

Get To Know Neurofibromatosis

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As you’ve likely seen already, May is Neurofibromatosis (NF) Awareness Month. Lots of Nats-tweeters have changed their profile pictures (to the picture above), and are using the hashtag #EndNF. Ian Desmond is raising money for research via Indegogo to be donated the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF). It’s going to be big deal this month, and we here at Nats101 are chipping in.

Throughout the month, we (along with fellow bloggers at Federal Baseball, District Sports Page and The Nats Blog) will be writing about the disease, Ian Desmond’s involvement in the charity, and how you can get involved. We’ll be keeping you linked up to their pages, and probably finding a few other things to do with it around here. (You can thank Nats Archivist Allan for getting us involved by the way).

Since we fancy ourselves to be, at times, a baseball basics blog, I thought we could get things rolling with a discussion about just what NF is. In the spirit of our Get to Know a Nat and Stat blog posts, let’s get to know NF.

Okay, so what is NF?

(For the record, I’m using several resources for this, but most of it is coming right from the wonderful CTF web faq.)

Neurofibromatosis is any of a number of genetic disorders that cause tumors to grow along various types of nerves. As you probably know, nerves are just about everywhere in your body meaning that NF can cause tumors (neurofibromas) just about anywhere in your body. Even non-nervous tissue, such as bones and skin, can develop NF tumors.

Any number of genetic disorders?

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The Art of the Walk-Up Song

 

Music moves people. It makes them dance. It gets them excited; it pumps them up. Music is an art, just like, in my opinion, baseball is an art. When you combine the two of them, music and baseball, it unites fans and pumps up players. Teams have anthems that play throughout the stadium before games to help get the crowd in it. For example, the Nationals use this Fall Out Boy song as the team’s pump up song as the Nationals take the field. The Tennessee Smokies using “Rocky Top” as their pump up song while the pitcher takes his warm up throws as the game is about to begin.

While I was working for the Smokies last season, one of the conversations that we had in the press box before a game was about walk-up music. Some of the other interns and I were trying to figure out which song would be our walk-up song or, if we were a pitcher, what our entrance song would be. We had a great time spitballing song titles and giving reasons why we would choose this song versus that song.

While those conversations happened last year, I still listen to players’ walk-up or entrance music, trying to figure out what song(s) mine would be. As I was doing my “research” for this post, I saw that over on District Sports Page, they have an updated list of the 2014 Washington Nationals walk-up and entrance music. I even found a couple websites that have updated (somewhat) walk-up songs for the majority of players in Major League Baseball. You can view those here and here.

Personally, I love walk-up music. I think it’s hilarious that Zach Walters comes up to the plate with either “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Let It Go,” both from the movie “Frozen.” (There was even an article written about it on USA Today.) It doesn’t bother me one bit. I patiently waited for Bryce Harper to walk up with “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry just so I can hear it playing throughout the ballpark because of how catchy that song is. Then you’ve got the classics, the unmistakable entrance songs for some of the greatest relief pitchers of my generation – Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman. Rivera came out to the iconic “Enter Sandman” by Metallica while Hoffman came out to “Hells Bells” by AC/DC. Opposing hitters new they were in trouble when these songs blared through the stadium in the ninth innings. Walk-up songs might have some meaning behind them, but for me, I just think they have to be songs that pump you up or songs that make you happy – songs that get you in the mood to stand in the batter’s box while a pitcher is throwing a 95 mph fastball at you.

Lately, I’ve been trying to come up with my top four walk-up songs and my entrance song. It’s actually been a pretty tough task but I finally figured it out. So now, for your viewing pleasure, my walk-up and entrance songs, as well as a little blurb about the significance, if any, behind the songs. Don’t forget that most walk-up songs only last for a handful of seconds. I’ll include the timeframe that I would want my walk-up song to be and mine are pretty long for walk-up songs.

WALK-UP SONGS

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Major League Football Week 15 Playoff Picture via @SCviaDC

National League American League
NL East W L T PCT
Atlanta Braves 8 4 0 .667
Washington Nationals 7 5 0 .583
Philadelphia Phillies 6 6 0 .500
New York Mets 5 7 0 .417
NL North W L T PCT
Milwaukee Brewers 10 2 0 .833
Pittsburgh Pirates 6 6 0 .500
Chicago Cubs 4 8 0 .333
Cincinnati Reds 4 8 0 .333
NL South W L T PCT
St. Louis Cardinals 7 5 0 .583
Miami Marlins 5 8 0 .385
Arizona Diamondbacks 4 11 0 .267
New Orleans Zyphers 2 9 0 .182
NL West W L T PCT
Los Angeles Dodgers 9 4 0 .692
San Francisco Giants 8 5 0 .615
Colorado Rockies 6 7 0 .462
San Diego Padres 5 7 0 .417
AL East W L T PCT
Toronto Blue Jays 7 6 0 .538
New York Yankees 7 6 0 .538
Baltimore Orioles 5 7 0 .417
Boston Red Sox 5 8 0 .385
AL North W L T PCT
Detriot Tigers 6 4 0 .600
Chicago White Sox 7 6 0 .538
Minnesota Twins 6 6 0 .500
Cleveland Indians 6 7 0 .462
AL South W L T PCT
Charlotte Knights 6 5 0 .545
Tampa Bay Rays 7 6 0 .538
Houston Astros 5 8 0 .385
Kansas City Royals 4 7 0 .364
AL West W L T PCT
Oakland Athletics 8 4 0 .667
Seattle Mariners 6 5 0 .545
Texas Rangers 6 6 0 .500
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6 6 0 .500

After 14 weeks of play, the playoff picture for Major League Football is starting to form into shape. I’ll take you through division by division as the teams compete for the coveted home-field advantage.

The Atlanta Braves took sole possession of the NL East Division last week, and are riding the momentum of a three game winning streak. The Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies are one and two games behind, respectively, and even the New York Mets at three games back are still theoretically contenders. The Braves will have to keep their foot on the pedal and finish the season strong, as these three teams will be ready to pounce if there is any let up by the leaders.

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