August 2013

Bring On September Natitude!

This is the start of Labor Day Weekend and bring on September!

School just started for me and at the same time the Nats have started playing baseball like school is in session.  They are focused and ready!  Jayson Werth is playing MVP ball like the Class President.  Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon are playing textbook defense.RUTTY Bryce Harper is playing “Run Until They Tag You” like he’s playing at  recess, and Denard Span is always on “base.”

Tanner Roark and Ross Ohlendorf have stunned fans by becoming surprise star students.  Tyler Clippard is still the star student in the bullpen.

The class bell goes off when Stephen Strasburg throws a 99 mph firebomb at batter, but the air conditioning is on when Gio Gonzalez’s curveball freezes the hitter.  Jordan Zimmermann is getting straight A’s and leading the league with wins, and Dan Haren seems to have learned a lot too.

Right now, everything is going right!  The Nats may still be 6.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot and they need to keep playing really well if they want to keep playing in October.  But If the Nats finish off the season strong, what a comeback this will be!  I know I’ll be watching these exciting few weeks.

Also, keep an eye on this weekend’s Giants/Diamondbacks series.  As much as I am a Nats fan, we could also use some rooting for the Giants to hand the DBacks some losses.  The Nats have the chance to catch up or move ahead of the Diamondbacks for the second Wild Card spot.

TONIGHT’S GAME

Mets vs. Nats

Dillon Gee (9-9, 3.69 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (15-7 3.32 ERA)

#UpsetTheMets

UpsetTheMets

Giants vs. D-Backs (0.5 games back of Arizona in WC)

Tim Lincecum (7-13, 4.55 ERA) vs. Randall Delgaldo (4-4, 3.87 ERA)

Matt’s Bats Turns “Pro”

mattsbatslogo-hiresRecently, MLB Advanced Media invited me to become a Pro Blogger on MLBlogs.com.  That is the official blog website of Major League Baseball.  So, after about 230 posts and more than 58,000 viewers, this will be my last post on the old Matt’s Bats and my first as a pro blogger for Major League Baseball on my new Matt’s Bats website.  It may take some time for all the changes to take place, like if you signed up for email updates you may need to do it again on the new site.  Soon www.MattsBats.com will take you to the MLB site, but until then, you can go to http://mattsbats.mlblogs.com.  You can go to the old site at http://mattsbats.blogspot.com

I want to thank MLB Advanced Media so much for giving me this opportunity to be a pro blogger with MLB.  It’s like my dream come true.   I also want to thank the incredible Nats fans who read my blog and talk with me about baseball on Twitter.  And finally I want to thank the people who helped me get this by editing my posts, allowing me to interview them, teaching me how to be a better writer and giving me good stories to write about.

For new readers, here’s what you missed in the past year since I started writing my blog.  Matt’s Bats started with a post in July 2012 that covered the news of the day: the Hanley Ramirez trade from the Marlins to the Dodgers.  Mainly I write about the Nationals, because they are my favorite team.   Writing the blog makes me feel like a sportswriter, so I spend a lot of time writing posts and working with my parents to edit them to make them better.  I go to a lot of Nats games, and I usually write about them after I go.  Last year, I saw Nationals lefty pitcher Gio Gonzalez throw his first career complete game shutout against the Cardials.  I called the post “Gio Completo, Wain-o No Bueno.”

In 2012, the Nats ended up having a MLB leading 98-64 record. They played the Saint Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Game 4 was the thriller for the Nats, with Jayson Werth crushing a walkoff home run into the Cardinals bullpen. But the Nationals fell in game 5 with Drew Storen giving up 4 9th inning runs and a Nats win, even though the Cardinals were down to their last strike two times. I was recovering from the tough loss in January, when my Twitter exploded because a lot of Nats fans found me and started following and re-tweeting me.  After I got off the school bus, my mom took a video of me when she was telling me that I went from about 30 Twitter followers to about 100.  I was screaming loud enough for Nats Park to hear me!

I got a little bit famous.  First, I was interviewed by a Nats blog called Red Porch Report.  Then I made a few TV appearances.  My first-ever TV appearance was on live TV with Dave Ross on Fox in DC.  I have been interviewed by other bloggers like Meggie Zahneis for MLB.com and Matt Nadel on his blog Baseball With Matt. One of my readers make me a custom logo that I sometimes wear on a t-shirt.  Even if I’m not wearing my Matt’s Bats t-shirt, sometimes people still recognize me at the games!

Some other highlights of my year with Matt’s Bats also include:

Now, as a pro blogger for MLB, I hope I can continue to report on excellent stories about the Washington Nationals and other stories in baseball.  Please let me know if you have ideas for stories or people you know who would like to be interviewed.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter @MattsBats.  THANKS EVERYBODY and remember to IGNITE YOUR #MATTITUDE.

Intentionally Hitting Batters and Cheering for It Is Unacceptable


HBPoll: Who has gotten hit with a baseball on purpose to the cheer of the opposing team:
A) Bryce Harper
B) Alex Rodriguez
C) Tony Conligiaro
D) All Of The Above

The answer is D.  

But intentionally hitting a batter is wrong.
 

In the Nats’ recent road trip to Atlanta, Bryce Harper was hit twice by a pitch (and fans threatened to throw waffles at him from the stands) because he supposedly slowly trotted around the bases after a home run the last time they met.  Bryce got hit intentionally in that game in Washington too.  That’s a terrible thing to do, and it can seriously hurt a batter.  It can land him on the DL or ruin the career he worked so hard for.  (That is the example of Tony Conigliaro, who was out for a year after being beaned in the head– not too far from where Avilan hit Bryce Harper in the shoulder).  What was even worse was when the Braves fans stood and clapped for the pitcher who did it, Luis Avilan.   That is terrible sportsmanship by the Braves fans.  But these are the same fans that thre garbage all over their field in the 2012 Wild Card game when the umps made the infield fly rule call against them. (It’s also true that Stephen Strasburg hit Justin Upton with a 97 mph fastball.  I’m not saying that was right either).

It’s becoming the 1910’s again, and that is not how baseball should be played in the 2010’s. Baseball has changed in 100 years. Babe Ruth has died. So has Lou Gehrig. Ty Cobb has, too. Jackie Robinson got spiked with opposing players’ cleats because he had a different skin color.  This should be about having fun and not purposefully hurting players on other teams.  It is bad sportsmanship for the players to do it and bad sportsmanship for the fan to cheer for it.

A day after Bryce was hit in Atlanta, Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster intentionally threw at A-Rod because of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and the fact that people don’t like A-Rod because they think he took banned drugs.  A-Rod didn’t fight back, but he did hit a homer later in the game off Dempster that sparked the game-winning rally.  (Kind of how Bryce stole home in his rookie season after he was hit by Cole Hamels).

Drilling people on purpose is maybe the worst thing that can happen to you in all sports. Imagine standing 60 feet away from someone and throwing a baseball at them as hard as you can.  It would really hurt that person.  And I bet that every major league pitcher can throw at least 20 mph faster than you.

If you’re a fan, you should root for your team to win and maybe be like A-Rod hitting the HR or Bryce stealing home, not fighting back or hurting the pitcher back.  It’s about having good sportsmanship. 

NATIONALS @ CUBS

DAN HAREN (7-11, 4.79 ERA) VS. CHRIS RUSIN (2-2, 3.06 ERA)

#CLOBBERTHECUBS

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!


Book Review: The Years The Giants Won The Series

Many Matt’s Bats readers know that I visited San Francisco in mid-June and was lucky to see the Giants take on the Padres at AT&T Park.  Now that the Giants are in town to play a series against the Nationals, I thought it would be a good time to tell you more about a good baseball book that I recently read about a family that roots for the Giants.

Shortly after I got back from my San Francisco trip, I was given the chance to read and review a book written by Joseph Sutton called “The Years The Giants Won The Series: A Fan’s Journal of the 2012 and 2010 World Series Seasons.” It is written from the journals Joe keeps every day, and he discusses the Giants 2010 and 2012 seasons and how it compares to what he wrote in his journal from the days when he was coaching his son, Ray, and his Little League Team.

The book is not only about the Giants winning two World Series titles in three years, it’s also about Joe’s baseball relationship with his son from the time he was a young boy to the age of 21The main message is that many of the characteristics that a baseball team needs to succeed– talent, fortitude, determination, perseverance, and patience– are also necessary for parents to teach to their children. 

Joe Sutton became a Giants fan in about 1975 when he moved to San Francisco.  He went to see a game against the Dodgers.  At the beginning of the game he was rooting for the Dodgers because he grew up in L.A. and had been a Dodger fan all his life.  In the middle of the game, though, he started to transform into a Giants fan.  He remembered, “If I’m going to live in San Francisco for the rest of my life, I might as well root, root, root for the home team.”  He’s been rooting for the Giants ever since.  

It was not always easy being a Giants fan.  After leaving New York in 1958 for San Francisco, the Giants had never won a World Series.  They made it to the World Series in 1962 (losing to the Yankees) and 1989 (losing to the cross-town A’s in the series that was interrupted by the earthquake).  But everything changed in 2010, and again in 2012– 2 World Series trophies in 2 years, after 53 years without one.   The 2010 Giants were one of the most exciting teams in baseball, with lots of characters like Tim “the Freak” Lincecum, Brian “the Weez” or “the Beard” Wilson, and Pablo “the Panda” Sandoval.  

Joe’s book shows that “a team is more important than individual egos, agendas or statistics.”  He thinks that is why the Giants had their magical season in 2010.  Another important element to the Giants’ success, he writes, was their “never-say-die” attitude.  Fans should act the same way.  The main lesson that he wants fans to understand is that “you should always root for your team and players during strengths and struggles, and you’ll be rewarded.” This positive attitude is very similar to what I wrote about in my Definition of Mattitude post last week, after the Nationals were on a disappointing skid.

The book starts with the 2012 season and Joe is MAD. Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum wasn’t pitching very well.  In mid-August, after an amazing first half capped off by an excellent All Star Game with 5 RBIs and being named the MVP, outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended for the remainder of the season.  Things weren’t looking good for the Giants.  (Meanwhile, the Nationals were on a tear all season.  They had the best record in baseball and were looking like they could be Series Champions. They played strong against the Giants that season, winning 5 out of the 6 games they played that year).  Things happen in baseball.  The Giants won the NL West, and the Nats won the NL East.  The Cardinals squeaked in by the Wild Card, and upset the Nats in Game 5 of the NLDS with a crushing loss with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th, down by 4.  The Giants team was already on the plane to come to DC to play the Nats in the NLCS, but turned around and headed home to play the Cardinals after that game.  The Giants took that series, and eventually swept the Tigers to be World Series champs in 2012.  Joe was extremely happy.  From what the Giants did in 2012 (and also in 2010), he saw the “never-say-die” attitude that was the main ingredient for his son’s baseball success.

While Joe was celebrating on the West Coast, Nats fans on the East Coast were upset with the Nationals’ disappointing loss.  Joe sees a good teaching lesson from that: “Baseball can teach children that there are good days and bad, glorious times and bumps in the road, and that sometimes things don’t go the way you want.  Baseball, to me, is such a great symbol of life itself.”

There are more lessons like that in his book: “The most important lesson I wanted to pass on was how the game can bring fathers and sons closer together, how it can bond fathers and sons for a lifetime.  Although I wasn’t always patient with my son when I coached him, I learned to be patient with him and to trust his judgment.  I hope all parents can learn those two lessons:  being patient with their children and to trust their judgment.”

 

I was able to ask Joe a few questions:
 

Matt’s Bats: What do you think about the Giants in 2013?  What’s your World Series prediction for this year?
Joe Sutton: I feel bad that the Giants aren’t doing well this year.  They’re in the cellar of the West Division, 12 games behind the first place Dodgers.  They were the world champions last year and now they’re one of the worst teams in the major leagues.  Sad.  They’ve had a lot of injuries this year, plus their hitting and pitching has been way below par.  Since there are 51 games left in the season, I will quote Yogi Berra:  “It ain’t over till it’s over.”  If the Giants don’t make it into the playoffs, I, like any loyal fan, would then say, “Wait’ll next year.”  
As for a World Series prediction:  It depends on which team is the hottest team when the playoffs begin.  I’ll go out on the limb and predict it will be either the Dodgers or Cardinals in the National League, and either the Tigers or Red Sox in the American League.  Because the American League won the All-Star game this year, that means their representative will have home field advantage.  So the World Series champions will be either Boston or Detroit.  But who am I to predict the future?
MB: Did the Giants World Series wins help bring you closer to your son?

JS: It brought us closer than ever.  We watched many games on TV and at the ballpark.  The Giants, over the years, have played a huge part in bonding the two of us.

MB: How do you think sports can bring parents closer to their kids?

JS: Coaching my son brought both thrills and frustration. Thrills when he made winning hits, great plays in the field or when he stole a base.  Frustration when he got down on himself or was mired in a bad slump.  That’s when I learned that I had to be more patient with him.  The memory of going through the hard times and good times together will always be with us.  Even though my son is now 32, we still reminisce about those days.

MB: What are the most important skills for young baseball players like me to learn?
JS: Practice, practice, practice your fielding and hitting; this will give you confidence in your ability as a baseball player.  Always hustle, use your brain, and never get down on yourself.
MB:  When did you start writing the book?  How long did it take you?
JS: I didn’t know it at the time, but I actually started writing the book when my son was born 32 years ago.  I went back to all the journals I had written since his birth and plucked out those parts about our baseball relationship.  The other half of the book about the Giants, I also extracted what I wrote in my journals of their two World Series years.
 
MB: What are the most important skills in baseball?  How do you teach them?
JS: First of all, you have to love the game of baseball.  If you love the game, it won’t be a chore to keep working on your hitting and fielding skills, even if it isn’t baseball season.  Be curious; ask questions of those who are playing or coaching the game, not only on major league level, but players and coaches in high school and college.    
MB: A lot of people think that football has replaced baseball as the national pastime, but it still seems like there are a lot more books, movies and TV shows about baseball.  Why do you think that is?
JS: I believe baseball is and always will be the national pastime.  Baseball is more like life than all the other sports combined.  Why?  Because it’s played every day by every team for more than half the year.  Every day!  It’s like going to work or school.  Some days are good and some not so good.  But there’s always tomorrow to look forward to with the hope of your team improving its chances.
* * * * * 
Here are 2 pictures of me and my dad at AT&T Park this summer.  Baseball has brought me and him closer together.  We go to lots of games.  We talk about baseball, and he always comes to my little league games.  We play catch or whiffle ball all the time.  He helps me write and edit my blog, and we spend hours of time together talking about it and working on it.  Especially on this post, which we worked on for a very long time:

 

 
 

Joe Sutton’s The Years the Giants Won the World Series is great. People can buy it at any bookstore in the United States (if it’s not in the store, the bookstore can order it).  They can also buy it on Amazon.com, or from his website, JoeSutt.com.  If anyone wants an autographed copy, he or she can go to www.JoeSutt.com.  The price, depending on the website you go to, ranges from $10 – $15.

About the Author:

Joseph Sutton was born in Brooklyn and raised in Hollywood.  He played football at the University of Oregon and graduated with degrees in philosophy and history.  He has been writing since 1969 and is the author of ten books, one of which has been endorsed by a Pulitzer Prize winner, and two books that have been recommended by National Book Award winners.  His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous national magazines.  Sutton lives in San Francisco with his wife Joan.

THE YEARSTHE GIANTS WON THE SERIES
A Fan’s Journal of the 2012 and 2010 World Series Seasons
By Joseph Sutton
ISBN:  978-0-9825598-9-5
Price:  $15.00
Publication Date:  May 1, 2013
Publisher:  Mad Dog Publishing Company

If you have books or other products relating to baseball or kids that I can review, send an email to web[@]mattsbats.com

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!

 

Stephen Strasburg’s Historic Complete Game Shutout

Well, as crazy as it sounds, the Nats just swept the Phillies at Home with outstanding pitching performances from Dan Haren on Friday, Taylor Jordan on Saturday, and especially the #1 starter on Sunday, Stephen Strasburg.

The offense was great too.  Anthony Rendon had major offensive days on Friday and Saturday, and Wilson Ramos took Rendon’s place with 3 RBIs on Sunday. Jayson Werth, the NL Player of the Month for July, continued to swing his hot bat.  He recorded his 1,000th career hit, which was a go-ahead home run in the exciting Saturday game.

The weekend’s biggest star was Stephen Strasburg on the Sunday finale. Stras was in total command when he stepped on the mound, and he dominated. His fastball was touching 99 mph, and he had a big slow curve dropping into the 70s.  After giving up a lead-off single in the first inning, he got Kevin Frandsen to strike out looking on a curveball, and got Chase Utley to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.  He got 8 more Ks during the game, including swinging strikeouts of Darin Ruf in all 3 of his plate appearances.

Strasburg got plenty of run support from his offense in the game, too. In the first, Jayson Werth hit an RBI single for career hit 1,001 that drove in Denard Span from second. Two more runs were added in the 4th off of RBIs by Wilson Ramos and Span.

The most interesting play came in the 5th. With bases loaded, Ramos hit a chopper to Chase Utley at second. Utley threw home for the force at home, but the throw was wide and catcher Erik Kratz misplayed the ball.  This allowed Jayson Werth scored. As the ball rolled a few feet by home plate, Ian Desmond scored by hustling down the line.  Kratz dropped the ball again, and Desmond was safe.  That made it 5-0 in favor of the Nats. Another run crossed the plate off of Steve Lombardozzi’s bat.

Strasburg was dominant against the Phillies. The Nats defense also looked sharp. Chase Utley was hitless: he grounded into 2 double plays and popped up foul.  Ruf sat down on Ks three times.  Cody Asche, Eric Kratz, Carlos Ruize, Michael Martinez, Kyle Kendrick and Casper Wells were all hitless.  Wilson Ramos threw out Dominic Brown trying to steal by launching a strike to Lombo in the 2nd.

It was an exciting 9th inning.  As Strasburg took took the mound in the 9th, he threw a little chin music to Carlos Ruiz, who flied out to Span for out #1. Strasburg got Jimmy Rollins to fly out to Zimmerman for out #2.  Finally, Kevin Frandsen lined out on an amazing grab by Ryan Zimmerman to end the game.  It was the best defensive play by Zimmerman, in my opinion, all year, by far!  Strasburg pitched his first career complete game shutout with only 99 pitches.  He also recorded only 4 hits to 3 batters and 9 strikeouts.

During the game, I sat with my friend Tori, who is a Nationals ballgirl and also leader of #TeamNotMiserable.

After the game, I met up with a few Nats super-fans: Tori (@toribelle4), her friend Jeremiah, Nationals Archivists Laura Roose (@lauraroose) and Brendan Sheridan (@DCSportsShopped), David and Julie Morris (@davidmorris9656 and @juliemorris2010), Jon Feng (@jonfeng1) and Peter (@pjhog).  I also talked with my favorite Nats color commentator, F.P. Santangelo (@fightinhydrant).  F.P. showed up wearing a Nats Archive Run Until They Tag You t-shirt, which made Laura and Brendan very excited. F.P. asked me if I kept score.  I showed him my scorecard.

He told me that he was going to get Strasburg to sign his scorecard and he’ll frame it. That’s how good the game was! 

By sweeping the Phillies, the Nationals kind of put an end to the Nats-Phillies rivalry.  Now our biggest rivals are the Braves.  The weekend’s performance also keeps hope alive for the Nats getting the 2nd Wild Card spot if they can leap over the Diamondbacks and Reds.

Do you think we should go back to #TeamUpsideDown for the Giants series at home?  It didn’t work so well in San Francisco.  Maybe the series hashtag will be #StepOnTheGiANTS

 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!


Matt’s Bats Chat with a Washington Nationals Ball Girl

Most Matt’s Bats readers who are huge baseball fans would love to be able to watch a game from the field, or even just walk around on the field when nobody is playing.  But for some lucky fans, watching the game from the best seats in the house (a chair along the 1st or 3rd baseline) is just their job.

Today I am interviewing a former Nationals ball girl.  Current ball girls aren’t able to speak to the media (I guess Matt’s Bats is considered the media!), so I was not allowed to talk to a ball girl who currently works for the Nats.  But I did interview a ball girl who used to work for the Nationals.  I am not mentioning her name because I don’t want her to get in trouble, even though she doesn’t work for the Nationals anymore and doesn’t even live in DC anymore.  I think you will enjoy this Matt’s Bats Chat!

Matt’s Bats: Let’s start with the question everyone wants to know– how did you become a Nationals ball girl?

Ball Girl:  Everyone asks us this question. I got this job like you get any other job – I applied!

I guess there’s more of a story than that. I was listening to the radio and heard that the Nationals were hiring ball girls and looking for anthem singers. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of being a bat girl (I know they don’t exist). I thought they were the luckiest kids in the world to be able to be in the dugout and on the field with the players. Being a ball girl was my opportunity to be a part of a ball club. I worked for the Nationals for one season.

MB: When did you first get interested into baseball? 

BG: I believe I was six years old when my dad took me to my first baseball game. I remember being extremely hot and complaining that the bleacher seats we were in were burning my legs. I might have not fallen in love with baseball at that moment, but that’s the day my love for sports started to grow.

When I turned 12, I joined my local softball league and learned the nuances of the sport which made me appreciate the game even more. From then on, I attended and watched as many games as I could and always paid attention to the post-season.

MB: When did you become a Nationals fan?

BG: I became a Nats fan in 2011, not long after I moved to the area and went to my first Nats game. Screech threw me a Nats shirt and I got my first game ball ever! I was so excited I don’t even remember who tossed it to me.

MB: Can you describe what it is like being on the field during every Nats game? 

BG: It’s pretty much surreal. Can you imagine sitting on the field right next to your favorite players? Every game I would pinch myself to make sure it was real. At the same time, it’s also nerve-wracking. Can you also imagine a 90 mph fastball getting hit your way? And your job is to stop it? I’m grateful for all of those years of softball training. You have to pay attention to every single pitch or you could be in trouble or seriously embarrassed. I bet my other ball girls can tell you some funny stories.

MB:  Is there any one game you have a special memory of?

BG: There are a few moments that I have special memories of:

1) Michael Morse threw a ball straight to my glove from right field (so cool!)

2) I walked right by Derek Jeter after a game one night

3) I got to go up to the MASN press booth (I always wanted to be a sports journalist when I was younger) 

 4) I was on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball for about 5 seconds when I fielded a ball hit to me. That was definitely the highlight of my ball girl career.

MB: Have you become friends with any of the players or coaches or other Nats people? 

BG: I never became friends with any of the players – I wish I did! I made the best of friends during the season with my fellow entertainment staff, which includes ball girls and Nat Pack folks. They’re so full fun. Each game I worked was always an experience.

MB: What is the craziest thing you have ever seen happen in a game or in the crowd?

BG: I can’t recall anything memorably crazy that happened during any games I attended or worked at. I think Tripp Whitbeck is always entertaining, comically singing all the songs that come on the PA. Teddy winning the last race in 2012 was amazing!

Being a ball girl must be such a cool job, but I think it could also be stressful. What if you mess up and accidentally touch a fair ball or try to field a ball and miss it? You have a crowd of 40,000 people watching you!  Or you could actually get hit by a ball, like this guy:



Otherwise, it looks like a cool job, and I would love the chance to be a ball boy, even just once!

I thank this former ball girl for spending the time to talk to me.

If you like these Matt’s Bats Chats, check out the ones I did with Dave Jageler, Amanda Comak, Heather Zimmerman, Meggie Zahneis and Matt Nadel.



 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!




The Definition of #Matt-itude

Sure, NatsTown, we’ve gone through most of the 2013 season with a frown on our faces.  2012 was the Year of the Nats, and entering 2013, fans thought that the Nats would go “World Series or Bust.”  As Davey Johnson said the other day, “It looks more like bust.” It is obvious that the team has had a ton of injuries this year and, even when everyone is healthy, they haven’t been playing well.  A lot of people who consider themselves fans have been really negative about the team and even saying bad things about individual players.

My slogan has been “Ignite Your Matt-itude!”  Mattitude means cheering on your team, staying positive.  It is normal to be upset when your team is not playing as well as they could, but it only makes it worse to see your favorite team lose and then to get all negative and boo the players or tell them that they are no good.  It puts extra pressure on them and no one likes to be told that they are bad at their job.  They work very hard and sometimes they get unlucky.  It is not like anyone on the team is Shoeless Joe Jackson trying to lose on purpose.  But fans on Twitter have been treating them like they are.  If watching the team struggle and lose games makes you so upset that you say mean things to the players, then you should take a break from watching the games for a few days or even the rest of the season and come back when you’re in a better mood.

As bad as things have been, if you peek ahead you will see that the season is not over yet. We have a lot of time to gain ground in the NL East ahead, almost playing a month against the Marlins, Mets, Phillies, and Braves. 9 more times, and if the Nats sweep the Braves, they are within reach of the NL East and probably a lock on the Wild Card.

That may not happen.  But never say never.  The Giants won the World Series in 2010 with a 41-41 record at 82 games.  In 2011, the Tampa Bay Rays won the wild card spot in the playoffs on Day 162 based on a walk-off, and only because the Red Sox, who had the exact same record as them on Day 162, lost on a walk-off to Baltimore.  Also, look at how the Dodgers went on a tear last month and pulled to the top of the NL West division.  It can be done!

Also remember that starting August 19, the Nationals have a super light schedule for the rest of August. The team goes to Wrigley for four, Kauffman for 3 against the Royals, and the Marlins and the Mets come to DC.  Starting September 13 through September 19, though, the Nats play 2 crucial September teams- Atlanta and Philadelphia. And do you think that’s tough? They end the season on the road in SAINT LOUIS AND PHOENIX. That is tough. Period.  So it it may not be easy to get into the Playoffs, but it is possible.  It will be easier with the fans cheering the team on instead of booing them.

And here is one last thing to keep in mind: so what if the Nats don’t go to the Playoffs or the World Series?  They weren’t even supposed to be good enough to be a contender until this year.  If you switch the 2013 season with 2012, everyone would be so happy!  If they were about .500 in 2012 and Division Champs in 2013, instead of the other way around, no one would be complaining.  Plus, this is entertainment for the fans, not something to get stressed out about and get grumpy about.  For the players this is their job and something they have worked hard to get to, but for us fans it’s about having a good time and watching a great sport.

Losing stinks.  Losing really bad really stinks.  Being a good Nats fan with Mattitude means not focusing on the bad results as much as the good performances. If Desi hits a homer but the Nats lose 7-1, we should congratulate Desi, not say that the starting pitcher did horrible.

So, I hope you like the post, and hopefully we will be getting some Curly W’s as soon as we can!

IGNITE YOUR #MATTITUDE!
#SkewerTheBrewers!

NATS @ BREWERS

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN (12-6, 3.19 ERA) VS. TOM GORZELANNY (2-4, 2.83 ERA)

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