Category Archives: Sports

The Game Goes On

Foam FingerJonathan Mahler believes baseball has fallen from the forefront of America’s cultural landscape. As a 23-year-old Nats fan, I cannot remember a time when it was the contrary. He writes:

More to the point, baseball seems simply to have fallen out of the national conversation (unless the conversation happens to be about steroids, that is). The last time baseball felt front and center, culturally speaking, was the 1998 home-run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. And we all know how that turned out.

I don’t agree. For me, the 2004 World Series was just as exciting, if not more. The Nationals’ playoff series last October was awesome. For its fans, baseball not being as popular as the NFL or NBA is not a problem.

Mahler pointed out all the reasons why baseball is great right now: young stars, new stadiums, etc., so what is the issue here? Perhaps a fear that baseball will have a harder time attracting new fans as it caters to lovers of a bygone era.

Maybe a new generation of fans won’t grow up thinking the game represents something more than it is. Maybe baseball will stop auditioning for another chapter in the Ken Burns saga. Maybe baseball can just be baseball.

I am all for that. Without a focus on the present, there will soon be no past to mythologize. The issue is not whether people will care about baseball, but why people will care about baseball.

Nats, Braves, Ugh

Ross Detwiler faces J. Upton in the top of the 1st.
Ross Detwiler faces J. Upton in the top of the 1st.

I knew it was going to be difficult weekend for the Nats whether they won or lost. This Friday, I went to Nats Park to see the Nats face the Braves in the first game of a weekend series that would be the first face-off of two teams chomping for the dominant position in the NL East. *Deep breath* It was a good game, but thank God it’s only April.

I was planning to go to this series because the match up is a good one. I went to the Friday game because the Georgetown Entertainment Media Alliance (GEMA) was hosting a pre-game get together. The event was fine. The majority present were law students or associated with GU’s Sports Industry Management (SIM) program. Washington Nationals vice president and managing director of communications and brand development Lara Potter gave a presentation on her work with the Nats, and Richard Brand (B’ 81) spoke about his law work in the sports industry, which includes representing former Washington Wizard Gilbert Arenas.

On to the game. The park was well packed. The weather was misty but good. After Bryce Harper’s 1st inning homer and other acts of scoring, the Nats were ahead 4-1 into the 7th inning, but it went downhill from there. Relief pitching did not get the job done. The Nats lost to the Braves 6-4 on Friday and again Saturday 3-1 with Strasburg on the mound. I hope they get some fire in their bellies and win today.

Bryce Harper rounds the bases in his 1st inning homer.
Bryce Harper rounds the bases in his 1st inning homer.

Photos by me

Let’s Go Nats: A New Season Begins

Davey Johnson and Bryce Harper share a laugh during the Nats' Opening Day ceremonies Monday.
Davey Johnson and Bryce Harper share a laugh during the Nats’ Opening Day ceremonies Mon. 4/1/13

What can I say? I love those Nats. I can get behind the ‘Skins, Caps and Wizards franchises because they’re my hometown teams, but watching these guys is just more fun to me. It almost feels funny that they’ve shed their underdog status after all these years and emerged as a contender (knock on wood).

This Monday, I had the privilege to cover Opening Day for the Georgetowner as a photographer. I left the Woodley Park Station with my colleague Gary Tischler at around 10:30 a.m. in order to be let into the Media Entrance before the Opening Day ceremonies at home plate at 11:30 a.m. As usual, the Metro ride was packed with scarlet-clad fans.

I’ve met Gary out of the office a few times for coffee at Tryst in Adams Morgan, but I’ve never covered anything with him before. This guy is unafraid to make friends with anyone, from the Channel 9 news team to D.C. Mayor Vince Gray. You can’t faze him.

After the team introduced what seemed like every member of the stadium staff, a new banner was revealed In celebration of the team’s NL East victory last season over the jumbotron. I think it’s a little much. The Caps made a habit of putting up a banner for every division championship in the Verizon Center, and they haven’t been able to put a Stanley Cup one up among them. In high school, banners were for championships only.

Opening Day was a little hectic. Not on the field, of course. The ballpark was packed. It’s not your average baseball game, and it was no surprise there wasn’t a game scheduled for Tuesday so the park could recover.

The photo included here is one of many I took, which you can see with Gary’s article. I’m grateful to have so many opportunities to use my camera for work, and am especially proud of this shot of Davey’s chompers. I think that’s Denard Span in the background.

Tonight, I might say Gio Gonzalez outplayed the entire Marlins offense in near-subzero temperatures.

I know I will be at the April 20 game at CitiField, but not if I’ll be at any before then. In any event, 7:05 p.m. games will be on the tube at Possum Alley for the duration.

Photo by me for The Georgetowner