January 2013

Drugs???

The insiders on MLB Network were talking about a report in a Miami newspaper that said that players Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, and Yasmani Grandal may have taken performance-enhancing supplements sold by Anthony Bosch, a drug store owner in a suburb of Miami called Coral Gables.

If it is true about Gio, this means the Nationals no.2 pitcher might get suspended from the MLB.  Then Davey Johnson will have a tough time figuring out what to do with the rotation.  Either go with a 4-man rotation or bring in one of the bullpen guys as a starter.  But Gio came out and said on Twitter that he never took it, and I think we should believe him.

A-Rod also said he did not actually take the medicine, but I am suspicious that he may have said that just to get away into 2013 without any suspensions. I think the Yankees know that A-Rod took performance-enhancing supplements in previous years because he wasn’t the original A-Rod in 2012, just a player who hit for power every now and then. 

I hope that Gio never took the supplement, and

THE NATS WIN THE 2013 WORLD SERIES!

2013 Topps are Out for Sale

You know baseball season is right around the corner because the 2013 packs of Topps Baseball Cards are now on sale at your favorite retailer.  I love baseball cards.  I like reading about the players’ stats.

My brother and I play a game that we made up with our cards.   We put the cards on a mat that looks like a baseball diamond and pretend there is a real baseball game going on.  Each player on the card “plays” his real position, but we mix up the teams so we can create our own dream teams. 

Sometimes I make up funny names for our ballpark.  Now our stadium is called the Baconator Centre. It’s inspired by the Rogers Centre, where the Toronto Blue Jays play, and the Wendy’s cheeseburger.  Our stadium has an imaginary retractable roof.  I would like to visit the real Rogers Centre one day.

I can’t wait to open a new 2013 pack to get 10 additions to my card team.  Maybe I will get a Bryce Harper card, like the one above. Or maybe I’ll get Span or Soriano in their new Nats uniforms.  Good luck for 2013!

61 Days until opening day

14 Days until pitchers and catchers report 

17 Days until everyone reports

My NatsFest 2013 Review

I had a lot of fun yesterday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where NatsFest was being held.  Including the after-party that I was invited to, I rocked my Natitude from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The first thing we did at the convention center was view all of the awards the Nationals won in 2012.
We saw Bryce Harper’s Rookie of the Year trophy, Ian Desmond’s Silver Slugger, Adam LaRoche’s Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, and Stephen Strasburg’s Silver Slugger.  Here are a few pictures we took.

Next we went up stairs and watched as some of the players were interviewed for the radio.  The first one we saw was Ryan Mattheus. Mattheus is one of the dominant right handers in the Nats bullpen.  Mattheus gave me a ball once after a game, so it was nice to meet him and get his autograph!  Something crazy happened with Mattheus near the end of the day, but you have to keep reading to find out.

Matt’s Bats fan Ian Desmond

We also watched SS Ian Desmond get interviewed for the radio. Last week he wrote on Twitter that he wanted to meet me, so I introduced myself to him, and Desi remembered me. He’s so nice and seemed excited to meet me.  He said, “hey you’re Matt!” and that made me feel so special. I didn’t get a chance to get his autograph but maybe I will another time.

Next I hit in the batting cages for some live BP. I got a few hits, but the best one was a comebacker to the pitcher. Good thing he was standing behind a net.

F.P. Santangelo and my family

Then I met another of Matt’s Bats reader and Twitter follower, F.P. Santangelo, the Nats TV color commentator.  The funny thing is when he met me he said that he thought I was a “Catfish,” meaning that I was not really an 8 year old.  (I may not be a Catfish, but I am a Matt-fish and a Nat-fish!).  He took an official photo of me and my family, but also asked someone to take a photo with his camera so he could tweet it too.

Then we got autographs from two players. We got to meet utility player and DH Chad Tracy.  Tracy has the nickname as leader of the “Goon Squad”because he comes off the bench and beats the other team up with his bat.  So my brother and I got him to sign a mini-Nats bat.

At the same time we also got to meet Ross Detwiler, the breakout starting pitcher in the Nats incredible rotation in 2012.  I’m so glad I got to meet him.  The Nats rotation is so deep that other players like Stras, Gio and even J-Zimm get more attention, but the “National Det” deserves to get the same amount of respect.

When I got up to meet him, I gave him one of my business cards and said “I have a baseball blog about the Nationals.  You should read it.”  Ross said, “Oh, I’ve already read it.”  Can you believe it!  I know he retweeted something Desi wrote about my blog, but I didn’t know that he ever read it.  Now I just need to make sure he follows me on Twitter too!

After getting the autographs, I ate the longest hot dog ever eaten by an 8 year old ever. It was a foot long!

We were able to get our picture taken with Denard Span and Bob Carpenter. Span is the new CF who came from the Minnesota Twins.  I gave him a card and asked him to follow me.  We’ll see if he remembers.

Bob Carpenter is F.P.’s co-host. It was crazy to hear his voice talking to me because I am so used to hearing it on TV.

One of the players I was most looking forward to meeting was Danny Espinosa, whose girlfriend has been writing to me on Twitter a lot.  I was hoping Sara would be there too, but I guess only Danny could come.  We spent a long time looking for him and finally found him signing autographs for other fans.  I yelled over to him and he recognized me and said “Hi Matt!”  We waited for him to finish his autograph session and then I was able to take a picture with him quickly and he signed a ball for me.  He even let me keep the pen. A lot of people were talking about his beard.  It was pretty big.  He actually kind of looked like the Lorax.

I heard yesterday that he hurt his should very badly last season and he didn’t even know it was so bad.  It has been healing over the winter.  I hope it doesn’t hurt anymore and that he will be 100% healthy next season because all of his teammates are counting on him.

We watched Nationals Jeopardy!, where pitchers Ross Detwiler and Drew Storen, and outfielder “season saver” Jayson Werth answered Nats trivia questions. Detwiler won. One of the questions was how many games Tyler Clippard pitched in 2012, and Detwiler, Storen, and Werth looked at Clippard who was standing backstage for the answer.  Clippard held up 7 fingers and then 2 and Jayson ringed in. He said “72” but the answer was actually 74.  Clippard didn’t even know the right answer.  The questions were not that hard for me because I know so much about the Nats.

 Then NatsFest was over and all the players came on stage to say goodbye.

As they were walking off stage, Ryan Mattheus threw his hat into the crowd.  I bet you won’t believe who caught it.  ME (actually my dad, but I am going to share it with my brother)!  I am sometimes the luckiest person.  I tweeted him a picture of me wearing it the same way he wears his hat, and he retweeted it.  (Ryan, if you read this, you should follow me!)

Even though the day was already so long, I went to the after party at Bobby Van’s that I was invited to.  There were lots of other Nats bloggers there, but I was the youngest one.  In fact, I was the youngest person in the whole restaurant.  I wanted steak, but it was 35 bucks and I didn’t risk it. I got to meet Charlie Slowes, the Voice of the Nats.  He has a great radio voice.  I was able to talk to him about the best call in baseball history.  If you don’t believe me, check out this video. Charlie is another Matt’s Bats reader and a Twitter friend of mine.

F.P. was at the party too.  He talked with me for a while about baseball and broadcasting and gave some tips.  He quizzed me about scoring baseball like what do you do if the SS throws to the 2B to the 1B for a double play and I said “6-4-3.”  He is a really nice guy.  He signed a ball for me and took another picture with me.

One thing F.P. said was really true– the Nationals 2012 MVP (Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner) Adam LaRoche, Face-of-the-Franchise Ryan Zimmerman, and Ace Pitcher Stephen Strasburg, as well as the Skipper Davey Johnson and new Closer Rafael Soriano, were all absent from Nats Fest, but there was still major star power with Harper, Gio, Desmond, Espinosa, Werth, Span, Clippard, Storen, etc.  That’s how good this team is!

OK, there is one last person.  Dave Ross, from Fox 5 in DC.  He does sports on TV.  He talked with me for a while too and gave me suggestions.  Dave should follow me on Twitter too.

When we were heading to the Farragut North metro station, dad kept telling me how special today was. I agreed.  It was so fabulous.  I work hard at my blog every day and it is good to see that people like it and are giving me good opportunities.  This post today took like 2 or 3 hours to write.

We got home, and I was so tired that I almost immediately went to sleep. That’s how I spent “Natitude” day.

I can’t wait for baseball season.  Spring training starts in a few weeks.  We are going down in late March.  I will write about it, and write about Nationals baseball almost every day during the regular season.  Keep following along, and……

IGNITE YOUR MATTITUDE!

My NatsFest Preview

I will be going to NatsFest on Saturday, January 26 like many Matt’s Bats readers. I am sooo excited. Who doesn’t like 5-6 straight hours of Nationals events?

My dad got me and my brother autograph vouchers for one of the sessions– Session A at 1:30.   We are going to get to meet 2 players.  Unlike like O’s Fan Fest, they don’t tell which players you will get to meet.  But here is a list of players who are going to be there. 

  • Corey Brown
  • Tyler Clippard
  • Ian Desmond
  • Ross Detwiler
  • Danny Espinosa
  • Christian Garcia
  • Gio Gonzalez
  • Brian Goodwin
  • Dan Haren
  • Bryce Harper
  • Nathan Karns
  • Steve Lombardozzi
  • Ryan Mattheus
  • Tyler Moore
  • Ryan Perry
  • Anthony Rendon
  • Will Rhymes
  • Matt Skole
  • Denard Span
  • Drew Storen
  • Kurt Suzuki
  • Chad Tracy
  • Jayson Werth
  • Jordan Zimmermann

I have never gotten a Jayson Werth autograph before.  But I kind of want to meet someone who is on twitter so I can give them a business card and ask them to follow me and read my blog.

I’d also like do to the Stealing Home Challenge, see the NL East Championship trophy, go to the Jr. Nats Kids Press Conference, go into the batting cages, take photos with Drew Storen, Denard Span, F.P. Santangelo and Bob Carpenter at the MASN photo booth, and play Nationals Jeopardy!  That’s a lot of things to do in one day.  I need to think up questions to ask at the press conference, so if you have any suggestions, send them to me.

I will try to send tweets from my parent’s phones while we are there, but anything I can’t report I will post on my blog the next day.

At the end of the day, I got invited to an after party at Bobby Van’s.  I hope we can go to it.

I will be wearing a special shirt that says Matts Bats, so I WILL SEE YOU AT NATS FEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Biography of Ian Desmond

On September 20, 1985 in Sarasota, FL, future superstar shortstop Ian Desmond was born. 27 years later, he got a Silver Slugger and selected for the MLB All-Star game.

When Ian Desmond was in his sophomore year in Sarasota High School, scouts from the Montreal Expos came and saw Ian play. On June 6, 2004, he got drafted. That was about 2 months before I was born.

In the later part of 2004, he found a spot on the Gulf Coast Expos, with a batting average of .277 and a homer and 27 RBI. He played 4 games with the Class A Short Season Vermont Expos and surprisingly had a .250 batting average with a homer and a RBI. The next year, he batted .247 with 4 homers and 23 RBI for the Class A Savannah Sand Gnats. Then, after Montreal became the Washington Nationals, he hit for a .256 average with 3 homers and 15 RBI in Potomac. He batted .354 in AAA Syracuse and in June he was The Show: the Major Leagues.

September 10, 2009 was a big day for Ian. Ian was turning 24 in a week and 3 days, and Ian made his major league debut. He hit his first MLB home run that day. Imagine that– hitting a home run on your major league debut against the Nationals’ arch rivals, the Phillies.

About three years later, Desmond had his breakout season with the Nats.  He changed his number from 6 to 20 to honor Frank Robinson who was number 20 for the Nationals.  He went on a tear in 2012, dominating for the Nats both offensively and defensively.  Some people thought he could be NL MVP.  He got selected to the All-Star game in 2012, but an oblique injury stopped him from playing.  It was very disappointing for the fans that Desmond couldn’t play in the All Star Game, but it must have been even more disappointing for him and his family after working so hard for so many years.  But Desmond knew that he needed to get better so that he could be in top shape for the rest of the season and possibly the post-season. When the Nationals played their first home playoff game, Desmond threw out the first pitch to the other number 20, Frank Robinson.

Ian Desmond is loved for how much he interacts with the fans before games.  He signs autographs  and usually gives a practice ball to someone the crowd.  Sometimes a big line forms in the aisle to get his autograph even if it isn’t Signature Sundays.  Besides his playing skills, this is why I admire Desmond so much.

Off the field, Desmond is the father of 2 children. He has another baseball player in his family, Josh Roenicke, a pitcher for the Twins, and also Ron Roenicke who coaches the Brewers.  And he also reads MattsBats.com!

Another Home Run for Matt’s Bats

Last night while I was sleeping, my Twitter exploded again.  One of my very favorite players, Nationals AllStar SS Ian Desmond, followed me and said to all of his followers:

He accidentally left the t off in MattsBats.com, but that didn’t matter.  He said he wanted to meet me, which is so cool because I really want to meet him.

He also told some of the great sportswriters like Buster Olney and Peter Gammons to follow me.  And some did!

Peter Gammons is an insider on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter, and MLB Network’s Clubhouse Confidential, Intentional Talk, and MLB Tonight.  He is also now a Matt’s Bats reader!!

Amanda Comak also followed me.  She is the Nationals beat writer for the Washington Times newspaper in DC. She has been announcing trades and free agent pickups for the Nats on Twitter. 

So many people who I admire are reading my website.  People like Ian Desmond, Peter Gammons, Charlie Slowes, F.P. Santangelo are my friends on Twitter. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Top 10 people I wanted to follow me on Twitter, and Desmond, Slowes and Santangelo were all on the list and now, like Kevin Millar says, I “got heeem!” So I am going to keep writing my blog and making it better.  Because now there are more than 200 people who follow Matt’s Bats who are great fans of baseball and who are encouraging me.

I am to do an interview with the Nationals ball girls very soon, and I also plan to give my readers a behind-the-scenes look at Nationals Park.  So keep reading and remember to IGNITE YOUR MATTITUDE
THANK YOU SO MUCH READERS!!!!!!

Stan the Man and Earl: The Lives of 2 Famous Players.

On Saturday night, I heard that 2 of baseball’s legends had passed away: Cardinals outfielder Stan (the Man) Musial and Orioles manager Earl Weaver.

 Weaver apparently died on a cruise ship while suffering a heart attack. He was 82 years old. Earl never had a “mute” button during a game. When he got tossed from a game (he argued a lot), he said something like “No, YOU are tossed” and did the tossing signal.

Stan Musial died in his Ladue, Missouri home surrounded by his family. He was 92 years old. Musial was a great player all around the field, with the 4th most hits. Only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron have more hits. He is the 2nd best Cardinal in my opinion, because I think Dizzy Dean is better.

This was a sad weekend because one passed on Sunday and the other passed on Saturday. I’m so sorry for the Musial and Weaver family. I’m also sorry for the O’s and Cardinals fans.

"Move Over Bryce, There’s a New Kid in Natstown" | Red Porch Report

The interview I did with Red Porch Report is now published.  Make sure to read the interview and to tell everyone to follow @MattsBats and @RedPorchReport on Twitter!

Coming Soon!

I just finished giving my first ever interview to the guys at Red Porch Report (redporchreport.com). 

I had so much fun, that now I am going interview the Nationals ball girls!  Check back soon to read it.

See everyone at Nats Fest this weekend.

MATT

Thanks new Twitter friends

Thanks to my Twitter friends @FakeFP, @JWerthsBeard, @NLBeastNats, @toribelle4, @nextyeardc and so many more who #FF’d me and followed me, I started the day with 37 Twitter followers and now have over 120— including the real FP Santangelo!  This was such a surprise because I was at school the whole time and had no idea it was happening.  Check out the video of my mom telling me what happened.

STAY TUNED AND IGNITE YOUR MATT-ITUDE!