The Nats, you’ll recall, seemed to have played themselves out of the division race within the past week. They were 8 games back of the wild card. They were playing an oddly timed 5:05 game on a Sunday. And yet, with Stephen Strasburg going for his first career complete game, there were ovations all over the place: as he came back out to the mound, as he faced down the final batter, and as he polished off the shutout win. It was loud — at least on the TV — and it was exciting, and it was happy.
Which made me think of something Craig Kimbrel said last week. The Braves closer was doing an interview on 680 The Fan in Atlanta, and one of the hosts asked him if Nats fans had been heckling the bullpen.
“The heckling wasn’t too bad in the bullpen,” Kimbrel replied. “Actually, here in Washington there’s quite a few Braves fans who buy tickets around the bullpen, so it’s not like Philly….But I feel like the fans here in Washington are pretty good — they understand the game, they understand getting guys over, getting guys in in big spots. They were still into the game. We played a great game [on Wednesday], and their fans are still showing up and still cheering their team on. I feel like they’re definitely becoming some of the fans in baseball that understand the game and care a lot about it. And I feel like that just comes with them winning the division last year – a lot of people started to care a little bit more about what the Washington Nationals were doing.”
People often say rude things about baseball fans in this city, so this seemed worth noting.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
Julie Alexandria attempted to get out of the way before Stephen Strasburg’s Gatorade shower.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT II
She failed. (Via @_JakeRussell)
WERTH BEER SPECIAL OF THE WEEK
During Jayson Werth’s first, disappointing season in Washington, Duffy’s Irish Pub ran a promo offering cheap, low-rent beer for the price of Werth’s batting average. Now Werth is acting like one of the best hitters in baseball, and Duffy’s is making amends.
So on Tuesday, August 20th during the Nats game against the Cubs all our beers will be the price of Jayson Werth’s batting average for anyone wearing Nats gear,” the bar announced on Sunday. Werth is currently batting .328, which would mean $3.28 beers on the 20th. And not just PBRs, either; we’re talking about 16 oz. pours of D.C. Brau, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Port City Porter, Great Lakes Eliot Ness and so on. Root for a one-week Werth slump, I guess, if you want the brews to be even cheaper.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT III
Bryce Harper keeps on doing this with his bats, before he even begins his at-bats. I still don’t know what he’s doing. This one was before Sunday’s second at-bat.
GARY CLARK’S HALFTIME SPEECH
The language is way, way, way NSFW, but you can watch Gary Clark’s halftime speech to the lingerie football team he coaches here. He is not a fan of ball carriers being brought down by one opponent. Except in WAY more colorful language than that.
RGIII IN NICE
Remember when I wrote about Robert Griffin III’s training sessions in France? Well, I didn’t have much in the way of photos then, but the team he practiced with now has 293 photos of the session on its Web site. Some of them are great. Look here. Redskins.com also put together a gallery of some of the best shots.
LEONSIS ON BEZOS AND THE POST
Ted Leonsis talked at length with Tom Heath about Jeff Bezos’s purchase of The Post. One highlight:
“I personally put my hand up [through an e-mail to Bezos] and said, ‘However I can help Jeff and The Washington Post going forward, just call me.’ I would invest time, money, effort, whatever is needed, because our community needs it. My sports teams need it. My investments need a healthy, thriving Washington Post.”
JERSEY OF THE WEEKEND
I can’t remember if we’ve seen this one before, but it’s a Michael Morse Nats jersey, in Morse Code. Via @andrewtabs via his friend Robbie.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Nothing, really. Make lentil soup instead. All TV and radio listings are here.