Nats U (Baseball For Women) – Postponed!

NatsU has been indefinitely postponed due to the day/night doubleheader with the Braves caused by a previous rainout. Those who already bought tickets will be automatically refunded. No ETA on a makeup date is available at this time. Bummer!

Wow, look, a Baseball 101 photo from RFK days! (Last year’s Nats U at Nats Park)

Anyway, Nats U is returning again for the annual day women get to take to the field, bullpen and batting cages for a day of instruction and fun. It starts at 10 AM on July 21st and again begins with breakfast. Included in the two price level cost is a ticket to the game (Scoreboard $50 or PNC Diamond Club $150) that night and the postgame concert by the Wallflowers (yay!). The $50 ticket also includes a $10 concession voucher.

Other perks should be forthcoming, such as getting to watch BP from behind the dugout and a happy hour (and now I see the ticket page has been updated with that information as I hit publish…). I guarantee the day is a blast and worth it.

Tickets can be purchased now at

Getting to know… G-G-G-Gio

Meet “The Goofball”. Gio Gonzalez may be one of the most entertaining additions to the Nats this season – and he pitches well to boot! Who didn’t he endear himself to with that giant grin after hitting a double? Yet, sometimes his interview responses can be filled with baseball cliches, so I was curious to see his Q&A session in the Stars & Stripes Club Saturday.

Sure, his session was still full of cliches, but delivered in an endearing manner and always giving props to his teammates, both pitchers and position players (they’re all hitters). He also admitted he can never turn down an autograph or hand shake, so chooses to wear headphones with music as his subtle way of letting people know he’s not willing to be distracted at the moment, generally while preparing for a start. Starting pitchers are funny like that – teammates don’t usually talk to them in the dugout between innings during their start and media do not talk to them before the game.

Another tidbit Gio revealed is that he does not want scouting information on hitters he’s facing. If he knows a hitter generally misses one particular spot, he will try to be too perfect hitting that one spot. He prefers to let his catcher, who knows the hitters and their strengths/weaknesses, do the studying and call the best game he can. “If I give up a homerun, it’s on my catcher. It’s not on me.” Ha.

Thanks to a tip from a little birdie, as well as questions from the audience, he broke away from the cliches. Did you know Gio gets his hair cut before every start? That’s a hair cut every 5 days, even on the road. No wonder his hair is so short!

Thanks to doubleuefwhy for manning my Flip cam so I didn’t look like a doofus holding it up while asking a question.

Video (YouTube):

Yin and Yang of Injuries

Jesus Flores

Wilson Ramos

In my day job, if I were to get hit by a truck while scootering to the office, the other person on my team would likely get my “Lead” role by default. Good for him. Bad for me. I’ve been wearing more safety gear lately just in case no matter how hot it is.

In baseball, injuries both break and make careers in an odd yin and yang sort of way. No one wants to cheer an injury with the knowledge the only reason a player is “in the show” is because somebody else got hurt. The mere fact of it guiltily steals a little of the natural joy and elation brought by promotion.

Remember when Jesus Flores was a promising young everyday catcher? He was one of my favorite players and I was crushed when his shoulder injury sidelined him from play. And then sidelined him again. And again. While he underwent surgeries and rehab, another promising young catcher, Wilson Ramos, replaced him by necessity and largely lived up to the duties required of him. He became a beloved player too. As time went on without Flores in the starting role, it became clear Wilson had earned retention of that position. Good for Ramos, not so good for Flores, who became the default backup catcher. I still felt Flores deserved a starting position and while I’d hate to see him go, hoped maybe he’d be traded to a team who would use him in that role after he worked so hard to return.

Yet with the twist of a knee, now Ramos is out and Flores is in the every day role. The injury is crushing for Ramos. Will he return to the starting role next season? Or will the seesaw now stay tipped in Flores’ favor long-term now? Injuries are harbingers of tragedy and triumph, but triumph without elation.

With the rash of injuries so far this season, a groundswell of fans (including me) have been clamoring for Davey to play the kids over bench players on a regular basis. This isn’t to discount the regulars like Werth, but more in response to putting a young guy in as opposed to say, Xavier Nady. Welcome Bryce Harper and Tyler Moore to the show! While it’s exciting to get a chance to see the up and comers play, Werth’s broken wrist was disastrous. Yin. Yang. Then there was the one kid who came up to play backup catcher, but poor Sandy Leon ended up experiencing both the elation of promotion and devastation of injury on the same day. During his MLB debut, Leon sprained his ankle in a collision at the plate.

As Tyler Moore said during blogger day, being one of those kids who is up because of injuries, “It’s been fun but at the same time you hate it for those guys because they work so hard in the offseason and spring trianing. It gets into the depth we have. You hate to see that happen, but at the same time team just keeps going.”

Injuries have been a major part of the game forever, although the Nats seem particularly affected this year (and every other year, but really moreso this year). Yes, the beat goes on and the games much continue. It’s such a shame that the eagerness of seeing a prospect make his debut, not to mention said prospect’s own joy at promotion is tampered by the fact that someone got hurt to afford the opportunity.

Ignite Your Tweetitude

If you’re on the Tweeter and a Nats fan, the event you’ve been waiting for is coming. On July 3rd when the Nationals host the San Francisco Giants, they will also host their first ever team sponsored Tweetup. All you have to do is tweet to the team account “@Nationals RSVP #IYNT” for “Ignite Your Natitude Tweetup”.

The more fans who RSVP, the better the seat upgrade. I say we overwhelm them and end up in the Prez Club. What say you?

The Nats will reward fans who arrive early with prizes and offer additional pre-game games and activities.

So if you aren’t already following @Nationals, do so now to stay tuned.