Nationals Magazine Digest: Postseason 2016

The latest edition of Nationals Magazine is on sale at Nationals Park
The latest edition of Nationals Magazine is on sale at Nationals Park.

The final issue of Nationals Magazine for 2016 featuring the Washington Nationals celebrating a walk-off victory is now on sale at Nationals Park. The latest magazine includes a vibrant series of photographs featuring “Signature Moments” from the 2016 regular season and two short articles written by the radio broadcasters.

Nine “Signature Moments” are featured in the magazine. Fans should definitely pick up a copy of the magazine to relive the moments by checking out the photos and reading the recaps. Video clips celebrating the “Signature Moments” were featured on NatsHD before the previous postseason games.

  1. April 4 – The Pursuit Begins – The section celebrates the success of Harper on Opening Day and the arrival of Daniel Murphy.
  2. April 14 – One Hundred Grand – Bryce Harper hit his 100th career home run in style.
  3. April 24 – The Roller Coaster – I never leave games early because of games like these. Bryce Harper delivered a game saving pinch-hit home run and Chris Heisey delivered a game winning home run in the 16th inning agains the Minnesota Twins.
  4. May 9 – The Accidental Walk-Off – In a game most notable for Harper’s ejection and subsequent outburst against home plate umpire, Brian Knight, Clint Robinson hit a walk-off home run without knowing the inning of his pinch hit appearance.
  5. May 11 – 20th & K – Max Scherzer had, arguably, the most dominant games of his career when he struck out 20 players in a nine inning game. Strikeouts are sexy.
  6. June 15 – 2 Legit 2 Quit – Jayson Werth told his critics that they could kiss his ass after he delivered a walk-off against the Chicago Cubs.
  7. June 30 and July 3 – See You L-8-R – Danny Espinosa won NL Player of the Week honors after an offensive outburst against the CIncinnati Reds. His most notable achievement was hitting home runs from both sides of the plate in both games including two grand slams.
  8. July 29 – Rule of Three – This one took place late at night on the road in San Francisco. Dusty Baker made a triple switch and substituted in Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Sammy Solis. The result was the first 3-3-5 triple play in MLB history.
  9. September 9 – The Perfect Ending – Trea Turner could probably be elected Mayor if he wanted to put his baseball career on hold. The two time NL Rookie of the Month belted two home runs including a walk-off home run to center field to top the Philadelphia Phillies.

In “You Never Know,” Dave Jagler writes about how the Nationals can very feasibly have a successful postseason run. Jagler describes how anything can happen in October and that teams with the most elite hitters, starters and bullpens are not guaranteed the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Charlie Slowes echoes a similar sentiment in “Hero Time.” Slowes describes how players like Daniel Murphy, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner can each play a role in a successful postseason run.
The magazine also contains a large (two-page) scorecard which you can use Thursday to score the game.

Nationals Magazine Digest: September 2016

 

Daniel Murphy is featured on the cover of the third issue of Nationals Magazine this season.
Daniel Murphy is featured on the cover of the third issue of Nationals Magazine this season.

The third issue of this season’s Nationals Magazine is on sale at Nationals Park and features Daniel Murphy on the cover along with an accompanying story by Mike Feigen highlighting Murphy’s success at the plate over the last year.

Feigen describes the specific changes Murphy made to his mechanics last season which resulted in his breakout 2015 postseason that carried over into the 2016 regular season. He also highlights how Murphy’s performance, like his clutch game-tying home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 17, can be a “leverage point” that can tilt the scale for the Washington Nationals as they play into October.

Danny Espinosa is also featured in an article by David Driver. In “The Switch,” Driver presents the highlights of Espinosa’s season through the prism of his playing career as a college student in the Cape Cod League–the premier summer wooden bat league. The article has quotations from his coach with the Chatham Anglers and his coach from Long Beach State University which contextualize how Espinosa developed athletically and rose to finally become a starter for the Nationals.

The final feature story in the magazine is written by Charlie Slowes and highlights the work of the groundskeepers and grounds crew who maintain the field at Nationals Park. The story describes the decision making that went into deciding to delay the start of a game against the New York Mets and the subsequent decisions that went into delaying the game. Fans will come away from the story with an understanding that taking care of the field is a 365-day-a-year job. The article also features five photographs of the grounds crew in action.

This photo of Mark Melancon is just one of the "Easter eggs" Nationals fans will find in the latest issue of Nationals Magazine.
This photo of Mark Melancon is just one of the “Easter eggs” Nationals fans will find in the latest issue of Nationals Magazine.

The issue contains two “Easter eggs” for Nationals fans. The first is a public service announcement for TobaccoFreeBaseball.org on page 23. The second is on page 76 where a headshot of Mark Melancon features him in his uniform from his days with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Nationals Magazine can be purchased at the Nationals team store and most clubhouse stores in Nationals Park.

Nationals Magazine Digest: June 2016

The latest issue of Nationals Magazine features a cover story about Stephen Strasburg's decision to stay in Washington.
The latest issue of Nationals Magazine features a cover story about Stephen Strasburg’s decision to stay in Washington.

The June/July issue of Nationals Magazine is now on sale at Nationals Park and the latest edition features a cover story about Stephen Strasburg and his decision to sign a 7-year, $175 million contract extension.

Charlie Slowes, the veteran play-by-play announcer for the Washington Nationals, writes about how Strasburg evaluated his family’s “life goals” when considering the contract extension. Strasburg and his wife, Rachel, Slowes writes, agreed that staying in Washington would help them achieve those goals. The story also highlights how Strasburg has developed over the course of his career and what he has learned from his relationships with his teammates.

Dave Jagler, Slowes’ partner in the radio booth, contributed the most interesting article to the magazine, but it is about Davey Lopes–who probably wouldn’t sell many magazines if he was featured on the cover. Lopes, the first base coach for the Nationals, was an accomplished base stealer during his playing career and the article explains how Lopes is using his experience to help the team’s baserunning. Jagler writes about the work Lopes does to discover visual keys which improve the chances of success for baserunner and his success stories. Give this article a read!

The magazine also provides readers with an update on one of the team’s most prized prospects–Victor Robles. In an interview with Nationals Magazine, Mark Scialabba, the Nationals director of player development, he highlights the talent and trajectory of Robles. Among the newsworthy comments, Scialabba explains that the 19-year-old prospect from the Dominican Republic will likely to remain an outfielder and that he will be promoted as he meets goals that were set for him during spring training.

The article about Joe Ross which is accompanied with sharp photography is also worth a read. It provides readers with his reaction after getting traded from by the San Diego Padres and how mastering a change-up has made him an effective pitcher.

 As a reminder, the latest issue of Nationals Magazine can only be purchased at Nationals Park. The April/May issue can be purchased online.

Nationals Magazine Digest: April 2016

The latest issue of Nationals Magazine has a cover story about Anthony Rendon's involvement at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.
The latest issue of Nationals Magazine has a cover story about Anthony Rendon’s involvement at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.

The Washington Nationals offer three main publications at Nationals Park–a yearbook, a free Inside Pitch game program, and Nationals Magazine.

Issues of Nationals Magazine contain feature articles, photos, player interviews and a full size scorecard. Some feature articles are later printed in Inside Pitch.

The latest issues are available at the team stores at pretty much every merchandise store or portable in Nationals Park for just $5. Previous issues are available for purchase online, but you will pay an additional $3 publication fee and any shipping fees.

The Nationals sell previous editions of their publications online.
The Nationals sell previous editions of their publications online.

Fans would have no way of knowing what is in any given issue of Nationals Magazine unless they pick up a copy, so we will provide some of the highlights in our blog posts.

In the issue’s cover story about Anthony Rendon, Mike Feign describes how Rendon is already making an impact as a member of the board of directors of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. Ian Desmond, Feign writes, previously held a position on the board which was vacated when he left Washington and Rendon volunteered to fill the position. The feature describes how Rendon, who received guidance as an adolescent from Willie Ansley, a former first round pick of the Houston Astros, is now providing guidance to children at the academy in Ward 7. Rendon has been well received by the children and he encourages volunteers to get involved at the academy.

The Magazine also has an article by Oliver Macklin about one of the biggest Nationals offseason acquisitions–Ben Revere. Revere is now on his fourth team in his fifth season in the majors. He has managed to sustain a solid batting average and a high number of stolen bases with each of teams despite the constant changes in scenery. Revere finally had the opportunity to make a splash in his first postseason with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 and he most notably made this unbelievable leaping catch at the wall in Game 6 of the ALCS. Revere is, most importantly, described as possessing a skill set and enthusiasm that can help bring the Nationals to the postseason.

Fans should pick up a copy of Nationals Magazine to also see:

  • Interviews with Shawn Kelley and, bench coach, Chris Speier
  • A season preview article
  • Photos from spring training
  • Photos from Nationals Winterfest

Pups in the Park at Nationals Park

Mina, and her dog, Sophie, attended the Pups in the Park promotion on Saturday afternoon.

Fans at Nationals Park may have heard barking coming from right field on Saturday afternoon as a part of the first Pups in the Park promotional game of the season.

Pups in the Park is a promotion for dog owners who have the opportunity to partake in pregame festivities and socialize with other dog owners from the comfort of their outfield reserved seats in right field. Dog owners must purchase a game ticket for themselves and a discounted ticket for their pet, benefiting the Washington Humane Society, to participate in the promotion.

The event is confined to the picnic area near section 143 which is outfitted with two grassy areas (where dogs can do their business), promotional tables with information about care, and, of course, a portable merchandise store where owners can buy Pups in the Park merchandise.

A Pups in the Park themed portable merchandise stand was set up inside the picnic area.
A Pups in the Park themed portable merchandise stand was set up inside the picnic area.

The most significant highlight of Saturday’s Pups in the Park promotion was the Pregame Pup Parade. Fans queued up outside the right field gate and were escorted onto the warning track with their leashed dogs for a wet, yet memorable, lap around the field.

The Pregame Pup Parade was the most exciting part of Pups in the Park promotion for many dog owners.
The Pregame Pup Parade was the most exciting part of Pups in the Park promotion for many dog owners.

Leslie A. and Trevor, her goldendoodle, participate in the promotion every year.

“It’s fun,” she said, “and [Trevor] really looks forward to it.”

Lunch time at Nationals Park can have some dog owners bending their normal household rules regarding table food.

Trevor, for example, would later enjoy grilled chicken from the concessions for lunch.

We caught up with Mina and her dog, Sophie, who would also have the opportunity to indulge in ballpark concessions. Mina responded without hesitation when asked about what her pup was going to have for lunch.

“A hotdog with no onions or mustard.”

There are still five more opportunities for Nationals fans to bring their dogs out for a ballgame. The next chance is Saturday, May 14.

A Diamond Experience at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals fans have been treated to 50 percent off their orders from Papa John’s this season the day after the Nationals score seven or more runs and win.  Naturally, I was excited when I saw a “Curly W” and the Papa John’s logo in a Tweet offering an opportunity to unveil a prize.  It wasn’t the discount pizza deal that my friends and I were craving, but I tweeted #PJNationals anyway with the hope of unveiling a free pizza. 

Ten days later, I received an email alerting me that I won two passes to watch batting practice on the field and PNC Diamond Club seats.  I immediately texted my girlfriend, Margaret, about the contest and she agreed to fly in from Houston for Saturday’s game (and our two-year anniversary).

Margaret and I watched batting practice on the field before Saturday's game.
Margaret and I watched batting practice on the field before Saturday’s game.

We arrived at Nationals Park and were met by, Andrew, an employee on the sponsorship team, outside section 107.  Andrew gave us green wristbands, which gave us field access for batting practice, and escorted us onto the field.

I usually roam between the two outfield corners in pursuit of a coveted home run ball, but this experience was even more exciting because I realized that I may never again have such an opportunity.  Margaret and I were among two dozen fans who stood on the warning track behind home plate on Saturday afternoon. 

We saw Jose Lobaton, Tyler Moore, Pedro Severino, Trea Tuner and Dan Uggla hit in the batting cage and then watched the Phillies take their turn.  It was very special to watch from such a close distance and hear players talk about their swings.  Players from both teams had fun and laughed a lot as they waited to bat.

After batting practice, we took the elevator up to the field level and made our way to the PNC Diamond Club.  The Diamond Club is a VIP club at Nationals Park featuring all inclusive food and drinks.  We got in line outside of the club to have our tickets scanned and we were outfitted with a yellow wrist band which gave us access to reenter the club if we needed to exit for any reason.  We did not have any reason to leave.

With about one hour to go before the first pitch, we surveyed the food and drink options.  The spread looked very tasty and seemed so foreign to a college student accustomed to Nats Dogs who occasionally splurges on some Hard Times nachos. 

I sampled the fluffy pizza, a juicy buffalo chicken sandwich, and salmon (because when in the Diamond Club…).  The Diamond Club also offered a carving station, salad bar and an exceptional dessert spread.  Cookies, m&m cupcakes, chocolate pretzel bars, red velvet cake shooters were just a few of the available snacks.  Traditional ballpark snacks like peanuts and Cracker Jack were also options.

Six beers and three wines were on draft.  Soda fountains were also located on both sides of the club.  There were plenty of places to sit down to eat, but it is recommended that you arrive early to reserve a table.  We found a comfortable bench area close to the dessert station, but there were also plenty of high top tables available which did not require a reservation.

We headed to our seats before the first pitch and were greeted by Jonathan, our server for the game.  He pointed out the menu curled up inside our cup holders and told us he would serve us during the game.  Jonathan later took our orders on a device the size of an iPhone and our food was delivered by a runner.  Drinks followed shortly after the food was served. 

Jonathan was responsible for several rows of people in our section so it was somewhat tough to get his attention.  When we did get his attention we ordered traditional ballpark food–a cheeseburger with fries and pretzel bites.  Both arrived by the next inning and were very dry.  The beer arrived cold and covered with a lid.

The hamburger was very dry and was not hot when it arrived.
The hamburger was very dry and was not hot when it arrived.

The stadium seats provided us with a terrific view of the action.  I could not stop saying, “These are the greatest seats I’ve ever had.”  The cushioned seat was very comfortable and the sight line allowed for an unobstructed view of the strike zone.

Saturday’s game was not a high scoring affair, but Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem and finished with 13 strikeouts.  It seemed as if almost nobody in the entire Diamond Club realized how well Strasburg had pitched.  To give you a sense of the apathy in my section, an usher approached me in between innings to tell me that it was exciting to have a true fan sitting in his section.

We had a terrific sight line from our seats in the Diamond Club
We had a terrific sight line from our seats in the Diamond Club.

The lack of fan enthusiasm and the average ballpark fare did not break my excitement.  I left Nationals Park having had a true VIP experience.  I hope to come back again soon.