May 2013

Matt’s Bats Chat with Frankie, the "Miami Cub Reporter"

While the Miami Marlins are struggling in the NL East, with a record of 13-41, Miami sports fans have a go-to place to read about the city’s struggling baseball team and successful basketball team.  Just like Washington Nationals fans come to “Matt’s Bats” to hear about what’s happening with their favorite hometown team, Miami Heat and Marlins fans go to “Miami Cub Reporter.” And just like Matt’s Bats, Miami Cub Reporter is also written by a kid.

In this Matt’s Bats Chat, I am going to introduce you to Frankie, the Miami Cub Reporter.  Frankie’s blog is mainly about the successful Miami Heat, but he also writes a lot about the Marlins.  Frankie is also a host of the Miami television show “Billy’s Bunch.” He has met Miami sports stars such as LeBron James and Giancarlo Stanton.  A few weeks ago, Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton tweeted out a picture of himself with Frankie, so I got in touch with him to do this interview. 
Matt’s Bats: Thanks for doing this interview.  To start, can you tell me a little about yourself? 
Miami Cub Reporter: My name Is Frankie.  I am 9 years old and I just finished third grade.  I live in Miami, Florida.
MB: Why did you decide to write your blog?  How long have you been writing “Miami Cub Reporter”? 
MCR:  I decided to start a blog because I wanted to share my thoughts on sports with other people.  I started the blog February 2012, the middle of the NBA season.   I actually started off as HeatCubReporter because a cub reporter is a new, young reporter and at that time, I only wrote about the Heat.  In the beginning of this year, I started to write about most Miami sports teams to I changed it to MiamiCubReporter.
MB: I saw on your website that you are involved with something called Billy’s Bunch.  What is that? 
MCR: Billy’s Bunch is a TV show where me and two other kids (both older than me) ask or sometimes learn from players things that kids like to know.  It’s really an inside scoop of the Marlins from a players prospective.  The fun parts are when we interact with the players and especially when there is laughing along the way!  
MB: How did you get on the show?
MCR: To get on it, you had to audition.  They gave me some lines to memorize and then I had to go in and do a mock interview.  They were looking for a fun and exciting kid.  To be honest with you, when I auditioned for it, I didn’t know much about baseball.  I did know all the basics and a lot of players, but you probably know WAY more than me about it.  Though I do know A LOT about basketball.  Believe it or not but I am the youngest one to ever be on the show.  


MB: In a lot of the pictures I’ve seen of you, you’re wearing a bowtie.  Do you always wear one? 

MCR: I do always wear a bow tie.  I started wearing it because on the day of the audition for Billy’s Bunch I thought I needed something that would make me stick out.  My producer loved it and after that, it just stuck.
MB: What’s your favorite sport?
MCR: You probably thought I would say baseball, but since I was 2 or 3 I have LOVED the Heat.  My first time going to a Heat game was when I was 2.  It was actually the year we won the championship against the Dallas Mavericks, 2006.  Since then, I have been lucky to go to almost every single Heat game. 
MB: How many Marlins games do you go to?  
MCR: I really don’t go to that many.  I’ve probably been to about 4 or 5 this season.  
MB: Since you live in Florida, do you go to spring training games?  Did you go to any this year?
MCR: Actually I did go to one.  I got to go because it was the day of a Billy’s Bunch filming.  It was against the Cardinals.  I like spring training because you get to see the rookies or new players that might do really good.  I also find the games very relaxing.
MB: Have you met any of Miami’s sports stars?

MCR: I met LeBron James after a game in New York.  I got a Meet-and-Greet pass and I was able to meet players and tell them about my blog.  I didn’t really ask Lebron any questions because he was just walking by.  

I met Giancarlo Stanton at a filming of Billy’s Bunch.  We tried to see their reactions to celeb-player look-a-likes and also ask a few silly questions.  Stanton was surprisingly nice.  Before meeting him I thought he’d be serious but he was extremely friendly.  After the interview he tweeted about me and posted a picture of us on Instagram.  I wasn’t expecting that!  Both are some of the nicest pro-athletes you’d ever meet.  

MB: Have you met any other many Marlins players?  
MCR: I’ve met a lot because of interviews.  Some of the best players that I’ve met are Chris Coghlan, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez and Juan Pierre.  I’ve also met Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia and Andre Dawson, a Marlins coach and former MLB great.
MB: Over the past few years, I’ve also gotten to meet a bunch of Nationals players, including Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen, Steve Lombardozzi, Danny Espinosa, Ross Detwiler, and Chad Tracy just to name a few.  Well, maybe more than a few.   

MB: Who are your favorite current players, both on and off the Marlins?  
MCR: As of right now, my favorite current player off the Marlins is Miguel Cabrera and my favorite on the Marlins is Juan Pierre.  
MB: Alright, here’s where I need to ask you the tough questions.  On my blog, I have been very critical of the Marlins.  I called them the “Triple A Marlins.”  At 13-41 with another 130 games to play, they really could end up with the worst record in baseball history.  But at the start of the 2012 season, they looked like an All Star team.  Then last year most of the stars were traded away to Toronto, L.A., and Arizona. What do you think about the Marlins breaking up their team after 1 year?  Do you agree with Jeffrey Loria for trading away Ramirez, Reyes, Bell, Buehrle, Bonifacio and others?  
MCR: I think it was a REALY horrible idea.  You can’t just take a team apart the first season they together!  The Heat didn’t win the championship the first season they were together!  They did the 2nd!  The Marlins needed to give they’re players more time to bond and get used to playing together.  And plus, you can’t just give up on your team.  I wish Loria would sell the team to someone who cares about the team and its players.

MB: Well, I agree with that, but it’s not like the Blue Jays are doing so well this year either.  Maybe that combination of players just doesn’t play well together.  Loria did save a whole lot of money by trading them all away!  And I like that the Nats get to play them a lot this year.
Let me get your prediction for the World Series.
MCR: So far, I’m feeling pretty strong about the Detroit Tigers and I think the Braves might get there.  I think the Tigers would win the series in 6 games.
MB: The Braves?  Noooooo!  At the beginning of the season I would have predicted teams like the Dodgers and the Angels.  Now, it could be a match-up like the Cardinals and the Indians.  I really hope the Cardinals don’t make it!  Of course, there’s still a really good chance the Nationals will be playing for the title in October, and nothing would make me happier!
Thanks for talking with me, Frankie.  Nats fans, check out Frankie’s blog Miami CubReporter at www.heatcubreporter.com

TODAY’S GAME
NATIONALS @ BRAVES (CRUCIAL SERIES– Nats either make up ground or fall farther behind)

STEPHEN STRASBURG (3-5, 2.49 ERA) VS. JULIO TEHERAN (3-1, 3.67 ERA)


Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

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Memorial Day Weekend at Nationals Park

This summer-beginning, barbequing weekend was not the same as past years for me. I spent most of it at one place- Nationals Park. I spent three straight days at the ballpark. One day I went to a youth baseball clinic sponsored by MedStar Health, and the other two days I was there for Nats games.  I saw the Sunday game against the Phillies and the Memorial Day game against the Orioles.

 

MEDSTAR HEALTH YOUTH CLINIC

  • I registered, and was put in a group of other 8 and 9 year olds called the Teal Dots, because the design on my wristband was, well, teal dots. It kind of looked like we were doing a 1993 Florida Marlins clinic. Yes, that teal.  
  • MedStar gave all participants a National hat the MedStar logo on the back near the adjust strap. Then we headed down to the field.
  • When I arrived on the field, we stretched with trainer Steve Gober. We ran from the right field foul line to the “#Natitude” sign in center field before doing the same stretches that the players do before the games. Then, we split up into groups.
  • First, I did baserunning with Nats 1B coach Tony Tarasco. We weren’t allowed to go on the infield, so we did the exercises in left field.  We ran as fast as we could to “first base,”then Tony pretended to be the pitcher while we “stole” second. All of us were safe (there was no ball nor any catcher). Tony also called me a “tough guy” during stretching because I collided with another runner but got back up and ran. 
  • We next rotated to ground balls in center field with 3B coach Trent Jewett. Trent rolled grounders to everyone either 5 or 6 times. I was 5 for 5 there, one having to turn 360 degrees but setting myself in just the right position to still get it stuck in the leather. 
  • Next, we did fly balls in right field with bench coach Randy Knorr. We did regular pop flies and also practiced playing fly balls off the outfield wall.  
  • After that, we threw in the bullpen with the threesome of Steve McCatty, Jim Lett, and Octavio Martinez. I struck out a “batter” by  throwing three pitches into Jim Lett’s mitt. My throws weren’t as ear-popping as Clippard’s or Storen’s, but I threw pretty hard. 
  • Next, I followed the Warning Track into the Nationals dugout for a water break and time to talk nutrition with Steve Gober. He was talking about staying healthy, but he was answering questions about his life for most of the time. 
  • From the dugout, we went downstairs into the clubhouse area to the Nationals’ indoor batting cages. Walking down the ramp, I touched a quote from Joe DiMaggio, the same thing Bryce did on his home debut vs. Arizona. I was instructed by BP pitcher Ali Modami in one cage with Rick Eckstein in the other cage. Ali told me to not crowd the plate, which I do a lot. 
  • We then had lunch. I had a turkey sub with lettuce and mayonnaise. It was so good. We knew they were going to bring out a player to meet.  Who would it be?  #34 (Harper)? #29 (Soriano)? #11 (Zimmerman)? It was……SHARKADINA! They gave out pennants that I asked him to sign. I told Roger about MattsBats.com and he said he’s going to check it out.  

We watched the Nats game from home that night, but the next day, we were back at the stadium because one of the things they gave out at the Youth Clinic was 4 tickets to the next day’s game!

    MAY 26– NATIONALS VS. PHILLIES

    • I saw the last of the three game series against the Phillies. The Nats needed to win to stay in second place. Our seats were in the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk area, section 239, last row.  The seats were OK, but I didn’t like that you couldn’t see RF and CF and you couldn’t even see the scoreboard! But you could see which pitched were fastballs and which were breaking balls, which you cannot see when you sit on the baselines.
    • It was a pitchers duel for most of the game, until the awesome 7th inning. Ryan Zimmerman began the inning with a single. Adam LaRoche singled, too. Ian Desmond laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Zim to 3rd and LaRoche to 2nd. Tyler Moore walked.
    • Then Jhonatan Solano hit a broken bat dribbler that third baseman Michael Young had. He threw it to catcher Humberto Quintero at the plate to get Zim as the force out at home, but Quintero couldn’t handle it and the ball scooted behind him. That scored Zimmerman and LaRoche.  The Onion had a 2 RBI infield hit didn’t go past the pitchers mound.
    • Then, Steve Lombardozzi hit a triple (or a double and a fielding error that allowed him to take third) that scored Solano. 
    • Denard Span then hit a double, scoring Lombo. 
    • Bryce Harper walked, but Roger Bernadina came on to pinch-run, because Bryce’s knee was all banged up. 
    • Ryan Zimmerman then came back out for the 2nd time in the same inning.  That meant we had to move over a column in our scorebook.  However, he made the last out with a swining strike.
    • Tyler Clippard came on for the 9th to close it out. Freddy Galvis flew out to Denard Span, Michael Young struck out, and then Delmon Young popped out on a foul fly that was near the net that Jhonatan Solano somehow handled. 

    MAY 27– NATIONALS VS. ORIOLES

    • This was a nasty game all along. We sat next to some rude Orioles fans who kept drinking beer, getting up every few minutes (we sat in aisle seats) and saying dumb chants like “O-O-O-O-O-O” to the tune of Strasburg’s walk-up song “Seven Nation Army.”
    • I went to the game with my mom.  The best part of the day was when we shared a “Werthcake” from Fluffy Thoughts.
    • I got soooooo mad at one point I wouldn’t clap or anything. I was just kind of in a bad mood because the Nats offense was not taking advantage of having RISP.  I’ve been to 5 games in person, and this one had the biggest loss margin so far, 6-2. (I saw a 3-2 loss to St. Louis, and a 5-2 loss to Cincinnati). The Nats are 2-3 when I go to the games.  The only wins I’ve seen were Opening Day and Sunday.  The only wins have been when my brother goes with me to the game.  (I am predicting we win on June 23 for that reason).
    • The good side was the goon squad. Roger Bernadina FINALLY got a hit- a double-and Tyler Moore got an RBI double. Even Gio got a double. Lombo went 2-for-4. Span hit a triple and later scored. 
    • Darren O’day came on in the 9th. He struck out Tyler Moore, got Roger Bernadina to ground out to Alexi Castilla, and got Kurt Suzuki to fly out to left. The Orioles won, but I left in the top of the 9th with the Nats down 6-2.

    The Battle of the Beltways continues today at home, then 2 games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on  Wednesday and Thursday. 

    #BeatTheBirds
    #ObliterateTheOrioles (@JulieMorris2010) 
    NATIONALS VS. ORIOLES
    KEVIN GAUSMAN (O-1, 7.20 ERA) VS. NATHAN KARNS (0-0, 0.00 ERA) (MLB DEBUT)


    Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

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        Road Trip Review & Phils and O’s Preview

        The Nationals had a disappointing road trip in California the last week and a half. The Nats lost 6 of the 10 games played in California. When they did have offense, it was due to Zim and LaRoche. Zimmerman hit .333 with 2 homers and 10 RBIs. Only 2 of Zim’s hits throughout the road trip were not in RBI fashion. I guess Zim likes #steak too!  LaRoche had a good road trip, hitting .243 with 10 RBIs. LaRoche added 4 home runs in that trip, too. Here is a recap of each game.

        •  Nationals 6, Dodgers 2. Win- Zimmermann Loss- Beckett Nats win but lose Harper

        Jordan Zimmermann was sparkling and became the MLB’s first 7 game winner. The Nationals lost Bryce Harper after he banged into the out of town scoreboard tracking down a fly ball. Zimmermann threw 8 innings and Storen shut the door.

        • Dodgers 2, Nationals 0 Win- Kershaw Loss- Haren Save- Jansen Kershaw dazzles until 2 outs in the ninth

        Dan Haren threw a masterful game, but Clayton Kershaw threw a scoreless game.  Kershaw made it 8 2/3 innings, but after giving up a single to Adam LaRoche, Don Mattingly passed the ball over to dominant closer Kenley Jansen and he struck out Tyler Moore. Bryce sits for the game.

        • Dodgers 3, Nationals 1 Win- Greinke Loss- Detwiler Save-League Greinke returns as strong as possible

        Battery mates Ross Detwiler and Wilson Ramos get injured in this game. Detwiler strains his back and will miss at least 1 start.  Zack Greinke returns after breaking his collarbone on April 11. Adam LaRoche hits a solo shot in the game. Brandon League got Denard Span out to end the game and the series in L.A. Bryce Harper pinch-hit in the 9th of this game after being injured 2 days before.

        • Nationals 6, Padres 2 Win- Strasburg Loss- Volquez Stras returns, and calls it home

        Stephen Strasburg returns home to San Diego. Bryce and Adam went deep. Strasburg got into the 8th inning for the first time in his career, and got his 2nd win of 2013. Rafael Soriano grounded out Nick Hundley to end the game.

        • Nationals 6, Padres 5 Win- Soriano Loss- Street Save- Storen Now Batting, Number 18, Chaaad Tracy!

        Chad Tracy hit the go-ahead homer in this one. Burch Smith got San Diego’s start. Smith opposed Gio Gonzalez. Adam hit two bombs in the game. Also, Zim hit one out.  Storen got Everth Cabrera to ground out to Zim, who booted the ball but was still able to get Cabrera out.

        • Padres 2, Nationals 1 Win- Stults Loss- Zimmermann Save-Street Zimmermann and Stults throw great games

        Bryce Harper is out of the lineup again.   Zimmermann and Padres pitcher Eric Stults throw absolutely great games. But the Nationals offense wasn’t able to find a way to hit of Stults, while Zimmermann gave up 2 runs. Huston Street got Ian Desmond to pop out to end the game.

        • Padres 13, Nationals 4 Win- Cashner Loss- Haren Haren not in same form as last few starts

         Dan Haren was not as fine in this one. Kyle Blanks hit a monstrous shot into the Western Metal Supply Company building in deep left field. Ryan Zimmerman homered. Tyson Ross got Steve Lombardozzi to ground out to Jedd Gyorko at 2nd to end it.  Losing 13-4 to the Padres hurts!

        • Giants 8, Nationals 0 Win- Vogelsong Loss- Duke New Starter doesn’t help

        Zach Duke took the hill for Washington in place of Ross Detwiler. The Giants lost Ryan Vogelsong due to a broken hand when he was hit by an inside pitch. Ryan Mattheus also hurt himself; after giving up 5 runs he punched his locker and broke his hand.  Brandon Belt absolutely owned the Nats by going 4 for 5. Jeremy Affeldt got Ryan Zimmerman to fly out to Hunter Pence.

        • Giants 4, Nationals 2 Win- Affeldt Loss- Maya Sandoval walks off

        Pablo Sandoval ended the Nats’ chance of winning the game by hitting a walkoff home run in the 10th– the longest home run of his career– off Yunesky Maya. What?  Yunesky Maya?  He and Fernando Abad were called up to take Mattheus’ spot in the bullpen when he went on the DL (OF Eury Perez was also sent back to AAA).  Stephen Strasburg and Mr. Perfect Matt Cain threw a Pitchers Duel.  Still, taking the reigning World Series champs into extra innings isn’t so bad.

        • Nationals 2, Giants 1 Win- Clippard Loss- Affeldt Save- Soriano Desi is hero in win 

        Ian Desmond drove in Bryce Harper in the 10th to get the game winning run. Bryce Harper hit a home run, too. Rafael Soriano got Marco Scutaro to fly out to deep left to end the Nationals’ California road trip.

        Looking ahead to this weekend….


        The Phillies and the Orioles come to DC. The Phillies are in third place, a game behind the Nationals. This is a crucial series. The Nationals need to win at least 2 games of this series, or they will fall behind the Phils in the NL East. The Nats can’t let the PHILLIES fans prevail over the Nats.

        And then, the Orioles come in from 45 minutes away for the start of the Battle of the Beltways series, so we have to win one of the home games. The O’s have a better record than the Nats, but are in 3rd place in their AL East Division. 

        The Nationals need to stop the losing and go on a Winning Steak!

        #PhlattenThePhillies

        TONIGHT’S MATCHUP







        NATIONALS VS. PHILLIES

        KYLE KENDRICK (4-2, 2.82 ERA) VS. JORDAN ZIMMERMANN (7-2, 1.62 ERA)

         

        Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.
        IGNITE YOUR MATT-ITUDE!

        Behind the Scenes at the Ballpark

        It has been a few weeks since I have been to Nationals Park because the team has been on a very long road trip.  On Saturday, my family and I decided to head to Half Street S.E. to take a look behind the scenes of the Nats Park.  I know a lot of Matt’s Bats readers want to go on the field very badly and see all the cool things that the players do at the ballpark. By taking a tour on a non-game day, you can easily go on the field and in the bullpen.  The tour is free for season ticket holders and Jr. Nats Club members, but anyone can buy tickets too.  (Here is a link for more information).  The tours are $15 for adults and $12 for kids.  All of the money goes for the Nationals Dream Foundation charity.  You get to see more areas of the stadium if you go on non-game days, like we did.

        Our tour guide was Susan. Susan is the woman on the far left.  Normall she is an usher in the Lexus Presidents Club, but today she took us around the ballpark and got us ultimate access. The tour takes about an hour and a half and you get to see things like:

        • The PNC Diamond Club, the Lexus Presidents Club and the Stars & Stripes Club
        • A luxury Suite
        • The Shirley Povich Media Center
        • The Nationals Dugout
        • The Visiting Team Clubhouse (subject to availability)
        • Nationals Bullpen

        CONCOURSE and PNC DIAMOND CLUB

        • We walked around the concourse of the stadium a little bit and learned about the history of the Nationals, the statues at the centerfield gate, and some of the plaques and posters of historic players around the stadium.  Susan asked a lot of trivia questions, and I got a lot of them right.  One was “Who hit the longest home run at Griffith Stadium?” The answer is Mickey Mantle, 565 feet.  I got this one right.
        • The first cool thing we did is go into the PNC Bank Diamond Club. Tickets to the Diamond Club are sold in 3, 5 and 7 year contracts and cost about $175 per ticket for each game.  Sometimes you can buy individual game tickets, but they are even more expensive.
        • The ticket also includes free buffet and drinks.
        • You can rent out the Diamond Club and all other areas of Nats Park for events.  Next week, the ZiMS Foundation is going to rent out the Diamond Club.
        • The Diamond Club is on the concourse level behind home plate and overlooks the Lexus Presidents Club, which I’ll mention later. 
        • You can sit inside the Diamond Club at tables like a restaurant or you can sit outside.  Some foul balls come up to the Diamond Club. 
        • Susan showed us one of the tiles that make up the scoreboard.  The scoreboard is 5,000 sq. ft.  I got to touch the scoreboard tile, and it would take 5,000 of these tiles make the real scoreboard!  There are over 1 million pixels in the scoreboard.

         SUITES

        •  We got to see one of the Washington Suites. The one we went into happened to belong to WJLA- ABC7 News, Channel 8 News, and Politico. The view was right behind the plate and it was an awesome view. The Washington Suites are right behind home plate across from the smaller clubhouse shop.  There are also suites in the 200-level.
        • The owners of the suites get to decorate the inside.

        PRESS BOX

        • Then, we rode the elevators to the 7th floor, which is the Shirley Povich Media Center.  The broadcasters sit one level above that. 
        • Outside the eleveator, I saw Shirley’s scorecard of Don Larsen’s Perfect Game in the 1956 World Series. 
        • There is a also a media cafeteria. It’s where the media eat lunch and dinner. 
        • Each journalist in the press box has a saved seat with the name of their newspaper or TV station.  The official scorer sits there too.
        • One day I hope to be up there too!  (Or down on the field!)

        LEXUS PRESIDENTS CLUB

        • We took the elevator all the way down to the field level, where the next stop on the tour was the Lexus Presidents Club. 
        • The Lexus Presidents Club has the most expensive seats in Nationals Park.  There is a bigger restaurant area than the PNC Diamond Club.  You can also sit inside or outside, and you are like literally behind home plate.

        •  The distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is 60 feet 6 inches, but it looked really really close.
        • The Lexus Presidents Club is where the Nationals do the  “Wave Your Caps” salute to military members takes place in the middle of the third. 
        • Inside the Presidents Club you have a view of the Nats’ indoor batting cages and the press conference room.  One cool thing is they have all the Inside Pitches on the wall.

        This is what the tunnels around Nats Park look like.

         VISITOR’S CLUBHOUSE

        • Then, we went to the visiting team’s clubhouse. The visiting clubhouse was a simple room with as much amenities you need for a few days. But, it still was the awesomest  thing ever. 
        • There was a little cafeteria where the players can get food.  Then there was a locker room.  There are also showers and a gym but we didn’t get to see that. 

        • It was empty when we went, but in a few days all the cubbies will have the names of the visiting players.  That same room I was in will say ” Ryan Howard, 6″ in a few days when the Nats take on the Phils. 

        • If any of the players are not responding to your tweets before the game, this is probably why:

        • Outside the clubhouse is the visitor’s batting cage.  We saw the opposing batting cages and I started swinging off a tee with a “Michael Morse” style bat. (P.S. “Michael Morse” means the imaginary grand slam swing on 9/29/12.)
        If you like to watch BP before games, this is useful to memorize.

        • The floors are all made out of carpet or rubber mats so the players can walk on them with cleats.
        • You can walk up a few steps and into the visitor’s dugout.  There is a little bathroom right inside the tunnel.
        •  

        This is the view visiting players have as they are about to walk into the dugout from the clubhouse
           

         DUGOUT and FIELD

        •  Then we went into visitor’s the dugout for a few seconds. After that we headed up onto the field. We walked on the track from the visitor’s dugout to behind home plate and walked in front of the Nats dugout.
        • It was cool to see the players’ view of the fans.
        • We went around the warning track. We followed the warning track to right field to the Nats bullpen.

          BULLPEN

          The view Mattheus, Stammen, Duke, Rodriguez, Storen, Clippard and Soriano have from work.

          • We went into the Nationals bullpen. The home bullpen has fake grass because it is mostly in the shade, but the visitor’s bullpen has real grass.  
          • We were all able to try taking a pitch in the bullpen.  I tried to locate my pitch over the plate by throwing it like Craig Stammen, but from the right rubber, it sailed right down the center of the pen. 

          There are lots of signs with rules all over the ballpark and also examples of the types of credentials you need to have to access those areas.  I thought these signs were cool.

          The tour was really awesome.  I would recommend it to anyone who reads my blog.  It may be cool to take people who are visiting from out of town.  I know other clubs offer tours, so if you ever go on vacation to a city that has a baseball team, it might be a good thing to do there too.  It made me feel like I was really a Nats beat reporter going into all the exclusive areas.


          In other news, it was a really disappointing game last night against the Padres.  But the fun thing is that everybody started doing #TeamUpsideDown by turning their Twitter pictures upside down.  I did mine, and I know F.P. Santangelo, Dave Jageler, Julie Alexandria and Ian Desmond did too.  I think we should keep them upside down until the Nats win in San Francisco.  So maybe they’ll be no Giants series hashtag, but instead we do:

          uʍopǝpısdnɯɐǝʇ#

           

          NATIONALS @ GIANTS

          ZACH DUKE (0-0, 8.40 ERA) (replacing injured Ross Detwiler)

          VS.

          RYAN VOGELSONG (1-4, 8.06 ERA)

          Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.
          IGNITE YOUR MATT-ITUDE!

            Merry Strasmas in San Diego

            Stephen Strasburg‘s dominant performance against the San Diego Padres on Thursday night may be because he got a good night sleep in his own bed! The team bus left L.A. and headed south to San Diego, where Stephen Strasburg was born 25 years ago. The Nats came off a tough road trip in L.A., but for four games they get to square off against one of the worst teams in the NL: the San Diego Padres.

            Stras was throwing bullets at the Padres’ hitters. His changeup was really dirty and fooled a lot of Padres hitters.  #37 was showing his stuff like he used to have.  The Nats won it, 6-2. Stras got his second win, his first coming on Opening Day.  I was glad to see him pitch over 120 pitches and go into the 8th inning for the first time in his MLB career.  Here are some game highlights, since I know most of you didn’t stay up late for the West Coast game.

            • In the 4th inning, Edinson Volquez gave up a 2-run shot by Adam LaRoche. ADAM BOMB! Ryan Zimmerman scores. It went into the kiddie play area. Won’t that be a fun place to sit? Nats 2-0
            • In the fifth inning, Steve Lombardozzi gets a base hit to LF Chris Denorfia. Kurt Suzuki scores. This is all the Nats need to do to win games…little base hits that advance the runners from scoring position.  Nats 3-0
            • In the same inning, Ryan Zimmerman singles to Alexi Amarista in CF. Span and Lombo score. This is clutch with 2 outs.  It gave Stras and the bullpen some comfort zone.  Nats 5-0
            • Bottom of the 5th: Everth Cabrera grounds out to Adam LaRoche, but Jedd Gyorko scores to put the Padres on the board. This was a dangerous inning.  Ryan Zimmerman had a throwing error that loaded the bases.  This is exactly the same situation that got Strasburg all messed up in his last go against the Cubs.  But he got out of the inning only giving up 1 run.  Way to go! Nats 5-1
            • Bottom of the 6th: Chris Denorfia flies out to Roger Bernadina to score Chase Headley. Nats 5-2
            • Top of the 7th: Bryce Harper jacks one deeeeeeeep into the Batters Eye in centerfield. I guess Bryce’s injury is all better.  Nats 6-2
            • Bottom of the 9th: After Strasburg made his first 8-innning MLB game, Rafael Soriano gets Nick Hundley to ground out to Lombo. It wasn’t a save, so all the jerseys stayed tucked in.  But it was a great win for the team and good feeling for the fans.  Nats win 6-2.

            In other news, WHY IS IAN DESMOND TWEETING ABOUT #PEANUTBUTTER?  That makes no sense.  If you have any ideas why he’s doing it, leave them in the comments, or tweet them to @MattsBats. 

            Also, check out my other post of the day here– I was featured on MLB.com!

            NATS GAME TOMORROW: 10:10 ET

            GIO GONZALEZ (3-2, 4.20 ERA) VS. BURCH SMITH (0-0, 54.00 ERA) YES, that’s a 54 ERA!


            #PARENLOSPADRES

            I don’t speak a lot of Spanish, but Google Translator does.  So that’s why if Ian Desmond is talking about #peanutbutter, I think we should all say

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            Matt’s Bats Featured on MLB.com

            Back in March, you may remember that I published a Matt’s Bats Chat with Meggie Zahneis.  Meggie is the official MLB Youth Correspondent, winner of the Jackie Robinson Breaking Barriers award, and a credentialed member of the media for the Cincinnati Reds.

            After I published my interview, Meggie interviewed me and my parents about my blog, Matt’s Bats.  She published the article last night on MLB.com

            Check it out the whole article by clicking HERE.


            Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

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            Raul, So Cool (The Nats Not So Much)

            8 months ago, in the ALDS, Raul Ibanez of the New York Yankees hit a game tying homer in the 9th against the Orioles, and then in the 11th, Raul hit the game winning home run. 

            But in the offseason, Raul was a free agent.  The Mariners liked his clutch hitting at the perfect time, and so they decided to send him to Safeco Field. The Seattle Mariners had lots of good little pickups during the winter: they got Kendrys Morales from the Angels, Michael Morse from the Nats, and then finally, Raul Ibanez from the Yankees. Those three contributed a lot in Wednesday’s 12-2 rout of the Yankees.

            Ibanez hit 2 home runs in yesterday’s game, including a grand salami to about the same place he hit his game-tying bomb in the 9th. He pulled another homer to left field. 

            Unfortunately, none of the Mariners’ luck spread to the Nats on their 3rd game against the Dodgers.  The Nats lost the 3-game series to the Dodgers after losing last night 3-1.

            Ross Detwiler left the game in the 4th inning due to tightness in his lower back. Davey Johnson said he probably would not miss the next start, but I started thinking who the call-up would be if he did have to leave the rotation.  After looking at the Nationals’ 40-man roster, I believe Yunesky Maya or Matt Purke will take Detwiler’s spot in the rotation, or have the Nats just go with their top 4 and skip Det once. 

            Also, Wilson Ramos left the game in the top of the 4th due to his left hamstring. Kurt Suzuki took his place behind the plate, after pinch running for Ramos. I guess jersey numbers 3 AND 40 are unlucky for Wilson. The Nats will call up The Onion (Jhonatan Solano) while Ramos rehabs.

            Adam LaRoche did the weirdest thing ever. He hit a foul ball to left and another to right, and when he stepped up to the plate a 5th time, he homered to center. That was the Nats’ only run of the game.

            The Nats were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. If they were 3-for-9 last night, they would’ve won. The big difference between last season and this season, is that last year they were able to pull out wins on these small scoring, close games.  This year they have been on the losing end a lot more often.  All games count the same, so they’ve got to win more of these close ones.

            The Dodgers won 3-1. but Atlanta lost too.  Now the Braves get their turn against the Dodgers, but they will miss Kershaw and Greinke.  Tomorrow’s match up is HYUN-JIN RYU (4-2, 3.40 ERA) VS. PAUL MAHOLM (3-4, 3.94 ERA).

            TONIGHT’S NATIONALS GAME:
            NATIONALS @ PADRES

            STEPHEN STRASBURG (1-5, 3.10 ERA) VS. EDINSON VOLQUEZ (3-3, 5.15 ERA)
            Strasburg will pitch in his hometown of San Diego, so maybe that will bring him good luck.

            #ParenLosPadres
            #StopThePadres



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            Last Night’s Pitcher’s Duel

            Telling you in the title that Clayton Kershaw was pitching against the Nats, you would guess the Nats were out of luck. It is true that Kershaw pitched a shutout against the Nationals, but Dan Haren added to his 3 straight quality starts against the Tigers, Reds, and Braves. This time Haren received his 4th loss– not due to bad pitching, but due to the fact that Kershaw pitched better.

            Haren only allowed 2 runs, but the Nats lineup featuring none of their starters in the outfield couldn’t find a way to beat Kershaw. The final score was Dodgers 2, Washington 0.

            Here are some highlights, if you can call them highlights:

            •  In the third, Andre Ethier singled to CF Eury Perez. Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp scored. 2-0 L.A.  These were the only runs of the game.
            •  Kershaw made it all the way to the 9th, looking to pitch a complete game shutout on only 105 pitches.  This was the Nats’ last chance on the bats of Zimmerman, Desmond and LaRoche.  Zim and Desi both flew out to the warning track.  LaRoche singled on a 10-pitch at bat, and that ended Kershaw’s night.  Kenley Jansen came on to pitch to Tyler Moore, who was the tying run.  Like he did in the top of the 1st with bases loaded, T-Mo struck out to end it.   

             It was a pitchers’ duel, and the Dodgers got the best of us.  It wasn’t a bad loss for the Nats, considering they were up against Kershaw without Harper, Werth and Span.  It wasn’t disappointing like the loss on Sunday to the Cubs or the blow out by the Reds on April 5.  AND, the Braves lost too, so there’s no change in the NL East standings.

            Rubber matchup tonight! Ross Detwiler and the Nationals take on Zack Greinke, who broke his collarbone during a fight with Carlos Quentin of the Padres. 


            If you do not see the video, click here.

            Detwiler has been struggling a little with not much run support.  Let’s change it tonight!

            #NoWayLA

            NATIONALS AT DODGERS

            ROSS DETWILER (2-3, 2.53 ERA) VS ZACK GREINKE (1-0, 1.59 ERA)

            BRAVES @ DIAMONDBACKS 

            TIM HUDSON (4-2, 4.70 ERA) VS IAN KENNEDY (1-3, 4.83 ERA)

            GO NATS! 

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            A Zim-Tastic Affair

            After sweeping the Tigers but losing 2 out of 3 to the Cubs, the Nationals head to the West Coast to take on the Dodgers, Padres and Giants.  The NL West is the most disliked place if you are a die-hard baseball fan on the East Coast because the games usually start at 10:00 p.m., which is way after a lot of people go to sleep. The good news is that the Nats took the first game of the road series, beating the Dodgers 6-2.  That’s good news because it keeps the Nats just 1 game behind the Braves and the Nats have not been good on the road this year.
             The good news is that the Nationals’ unexpected ace, Jordan Zimmermann, is pitching twice on the long 10-game road trip.  He started against the Dodgers on Monday and will face the Padres again on Saturday. 
            J-Zim pitched last night against the Dodgers. He entered the game with a league-leading 6-1 record and an ERA under 2.00.  The Nationals don’t usually have a lot of luck against the Dodgers (2-4 last year, but clinched their playoff spot against them but lost the game), especially at Dodger Stadium.  They got swept there last year, which is the series that Bryce Harper made his debut.  Bryce Harper was also a big part of the story in last night’s game. In the battle of Bryce vs. Wall, this time Wall won.  
            This is the second major collision he has with a wall chasing a ball.  In Atlanta is ran into an outfield wall and bruised his left side.  But he caught the ball!  In L.A., he ran face-first into the out of town scoreboard wall chasing a fly ball.  He went down hard and had a lot of blood on his face and neck, but he walked off the field and everyone cheered for him.
            Here are some additional highlights from last night’s this game since I know a lot of you didn’t stay up late to watch it.  (I didn’t either, but I get up early and watch replays, read stories online and write my Matt’s Bats posts).
            • In the first inning, Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a 4-3, but Denard Span, who singled to lead off, scored. 1-0 Nationals, and Zim’s first RBI of the game.
            • In the top of the 3rd, Ryan Zimmerman hit a 2-RBI double. J-Zim and Lombo scored. 3-0 Nats
            • The next batter, Adam LaRoche grounded into a 3-1 but Bryce Harper scored. 4-0 Nats
            • In the 5th, Ryan Zimmerman reached on a throwing error by Javy Guerra. Lombo scores to make it 5-0 DC
            • Again, the next batter, Adam LaRoche, singles. Bryce scores. 6-0 Washington and 2 RBIs for LaRoche.
            • In the bottom of the fifth, on an A.J. Ellis hit, Bryce Harper banged into the scoreboard. He needed 11 stitches, but he’s OK.  He’s probably not going on the DL and may be back as soon as tonight.  Ellis got a triple on it and later scored in the inning. 6-1 Nats.

            If you don’t see the video, click here.

            • In the 8th, Matt Kemp singles in a run for the Dodgers, making the score 6-2.
            • Drew Storen was in in the 9th to close the game.  Drew had a 1-2-3 inning and the Nats win, 6-2. 

            I’d award Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann as the players of the game. Ryan had 3 RBIs out of 6 runs scored. Jordan got his MLB-leading 7th win on Monday, so Hurrah for the Zimmerman(n)s.  Bryce also gets a trophy for being the toughest outfield in the MLB.  Hopefully on Sunday I’ll be writing the same type of post!

            TheNationalsArchive.com illustrated this series hash tag:

            #NoWayLA

            NATS GAME TONIGHT

            NATS AT DODGERS, 10:10 PM

            DAN HAREN (4-3, 5.17 ERA) VS. CLAYTON KERSHAW (3-2, 1.62 ERA)

            GO NATS! 

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            Weaver Wednesday: Bob Melvin Goes Monkey Tilt Over Bad No-HR Call

            Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was ejected from Wednesday’s game in Cleveland. He argued with crew chief Angel Hernandez on a so-called double that Hernandez said hit below the yellow line on the outfield wall and stayed in the park. The call was important because the score was 4-3 Indians in the 9th inning.  If it was a home run, the A’s would have tied it.

            The A’s batter, Adam Rosales, couldn’t believe it. Check out the replay for yourself.

            Check out this link if you can’t see the video.

            The replay shows the ball hit over the yellow line and was a home run for the As that should have tied the game 4-4.  But having the umps review the call didn’t help the 2012 AL West Champs get the points up on the scoreboard even though EVERYONE– Sportstime Ohio, CSN California, KGMZ, and WTAM and of course, Progressive Field got the call right.  Only the MLB umpires got the call wrong. The A’s ended up losing the game because of an obvious miscue by an umpire. Bob Melvin got thrown out of the game too for arguing a bad call!  Bob Melvin had a similar reaction to that as Jim Leyland had on Memorial Day 2012 in Boston.

            After the game, A’s pitcher Jarrod Parker tweeted just one word- Embarrassing. 

            This bad umpiring comes a few days after Bryce Harper was ejected from the Pirates game for no good reason.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH MLB UMPS THESE DAYS AND THEIR BAD CALLS?  They are supposed to make the game fair, but they’re making them unfair by throwing people out for no reason and taking away obvious home runs.

            As more and more technology is being built, should Major League Baseball update Instant Replay?  I thought it was a homer.

            Now that I’ve told you about this, what do you think?  Check out the video above, and whatever you see please tweet to me at @MattsBats, or leave me a comment at the bottom of this page.

            IN NATS NEWS, NATS BEAT TIGERS 3-1 for FIRST WIN EVER AGAINST TIGERS AND ANIBAL SANCHEZ!

            TODAY’S GAME: NATIONALS VS. TIGERS AGAIN

            DOUG FISTER (4-0, 2.48 ERA) VS. DAN HAREN (3-3, 5.01 ERA)

                                                             #CatchTheTigersByTheirToes

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