May 27, 2015

NATS/SUNS: Hagerstown to unveil 35th anniversary jersey

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HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Hagerstown Suns announced today that the team will unveil its special 35th anniversary jersey on Monday, April 13 at a press conference at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 3:00pm. This 35th anniversary jersey will be worn during each Saturday home game this season and is sponsored by the Hagerstown Suns Fan Club.

This specialty anniversary jersey is part of a season-long celebration for the 35th anniversary that will include at least one promotional activity and/or giveaway during each home stand of the 2015 season that will have a tie-in to the 35th anniversary celebration.

The jerseys will eventually be auctioned off following the Suns game against Kannapolis on Saturday, August 29. Replicas of the jerseys will be handed out to the first 1,000 fans who enter the Municipal Stadium gates for the Suns July 11 game against Delmarva thanks to Pepsi.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a non-profit private organization whose mission is to develop and market Washington County as a viable and desirable travel destination to meeting planners, leisure travelers, and business customers. Its offices are located at 16 Public Square in downtown Hagerstown.

The Suns begin the home portion of their 2015 season on Thursday, April 16 against the Lakewood BlueClaws. Two days later, on Saturday April 18, will be the first time the Suns will wear their 35th anniversary jerseys. In order to reserve your seats for either game call the Suns box office at 301-791-6266 or go to www.hagerstownsuns.com.

Washington Nationals Walk-Up Music 2015

**List updated 05/22/2015**  

[added songs for Robinson, Harper (Earned It), Espinosa (Bam Bam), Desmond (Fire Squad), Escobar (Con Que) and Gonzalez (Believe Me)]

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Originally Published on 4/07/2015

It is a brand new season and the Nationals are the favorite to win the World Series! Which songs have the Washington Nationals players have selected as their batting music?

Keeping a list of batting songs used to be a simple task since most players used only song for each at bat, all season long. Now, many players use 3-4 songs in each game and change them many times over the season.

District Sports Page will do its best to keep up with the list of songs, however, invite fans to help us out. Please feel free to comment on this post or tweet to @cnichols14 when you hear a new song. DSP really can’t do this without you since we now live in Idaho and only make it to a few home games a year. [Read more…]

CAPS: Official Caps Fantasy Hockey Game, CapTrick

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Washington Capitals Pull the Ultimate “CapTrick” Through the Launch of Official Fantasy Hockey Game for Fans

DailyMVP Powers New and Free-to-Play Game with the Chance to Win Instant Prizes during Every Period

FEBRUARY 25, 2015 – Washington, D.C.: Washington Capitals fans can now win right alongside the team with the launch of CapTrick, the all-new, official Caps fantasy hockey game at DailyMVP.

Open for play during all Capitals games – home and away, including the playoffs – CapTrick enhances the excitement of the live game for fans at Verizon Center, as well as for those following along from home. Prizes are awarded instantly at the end of every period.

Available exclusively through DailyMVP, CapTrick is available to play for free at DailyMVP.com/CAPTRICK, or through the DailyMVP app using the promo code “GOCAPS.” Fans can enter to play CapTrick before the start of a period by simply selecting three Caps players for their roster. At the end of each period, participants with the highest scores based on their players’ performances will instantly win in-arena prizes, such as concession and merchandise certificates, or earn Monumental Rewards points to redeem online for Capitals gear or tickets to future Capitals games.

Prize codes appear automatically on the fan’s phone and are also sent via email within a minute of the period ending and can be redeemed immediately. More than 60 prizes will be given away during each game. The CapTrick participant with the overall highest score across all three periods will win the grand prize of a $50 merchandise coupon or 5,000 Monumental Rewards points.

“Our fan and community support continues to be one of the very best in the NHL, and as an organization we are always looking to provide unique and engaging experiences for our fans,” said Jim Van Stone, Monumental Sports & Entertainment chief revenue officer. “TopLine Game Labs stood out as an innovative technology company that shared our vision and had the expertise to take the excitement of watching the Washington Capitals to the next level with an interactive fantasy gaming experience. We are thrilled to be the first NHL team to partner with TopLine’s fantasy sports brand, DailyMVP, and introduce CapTrick to our fans.”

“At DailyMVP, we love creating games for fans that enhance their connection to the team by making every game even more exciting,” said David Geller, TopLine Game Labs chief executive officer and former head of Yahoo Fantasy Sports. “We’re thrilled to be working with the Capitals and the MSE team to create this one-of-a-kind experience for their passionate fans. Like all of our games at DailyMVP, CapTrick truly puts the ‘fan’ in fantasy games. CapTrick is designed to be simple and fun to play with lots of chances to enter and win instantly. Pick three Caps players before a period starts, root for your players during the period, then win a cool prize at the end of the period. What could be easier?”

The flagship fantasy sports brand from TopLine Game Labs, DailyMVP offers short-duration fantasy games designed for play anytime, anywhere, on any device. Along with CapTrick, DailyMVP offers daily fantasy sports contests for football, baseball, hockey and basketball. Easy to set up via the browser-based platform or iOS app, DailyMVP allows users to pick the players they want and challenge friends or random opponents in head-to-head challenges or in larger contests.

For more information on CapTrick, please visit DailyMVP.com/CAPTRICK.

Potomac Nationals 2015 Seasonal Job Fair

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POTOMAC NATIONALS 2015 SEASONAL JOB FAIR AT PFITZNER STADIUM SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 4th & 5th
Over 100 P-Nats Gameday Positions Available for 2015 Season

Woodbridge, VA—The 2015 Potomac Nationals Seasonal Job Fair will be hosted at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium on Wednesday, March 4th and Thursday, March 5th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm each evening. The Potomac Nationals Baseball Club, the premier family friendly entertainment destination in Northern Virginia, is looking for dependable, customer-service minded, and outgoing gameday team members for the 2015 season which begins on Thursday, April 9th and runs through at least Monday, September, 7th with potential playoff contests to be scheduled for the second week of September.

At the seasonal job fair, P-Nats front office officials will be searching for dedicated candidates to become part-time gameday employees during the Potomac Nationals baseball season that will also work special events at Pfitzner Stadium throughout the season.

The P-Nats offer seasonal positions that are perfect for school employees, students, retired persons, and others who love baseball and are looking for a fun and flexible part-time opportunity in an upbeat, exciting professional sporting atmosphere.

2015 Potomac Nationals Seasonal Positions Available:

*CONCESSIONS
-Concessions Stand Manager
-Waiters/Waitresses
-Picnic Area Cooks/Servers
-Food Cooks/Preps
-Food Vendors
-Cashiers

*STADIUM OPERATIONS
-Ushers
-Souvenir Stand Vendors
-Parking Attendants
-Grounds Crew
-Retail/Souvenir Merchandise Sales
-Kids Zone Attendants
-Receptionists

*TICKETS
-Ticket Takers
-Box Office Ticket Sales

Most weeknight P-Nats games begin at 7:05pm while Saturday night games start at 6:35pm. Sunday games in the first half of the 2015 season will be ignited with a first pitch time of 1:05pm while second-half Sunday affairs will start at 6:05pm. There will also be a 10:35am start time for the Wednesday, April 15th game and a pair of P-Nats matchups that are scheduled for 12:05pm (Thursday, July 9th and Thursday, August 13th).

All departments will require gameday employees to be on site at Pfitzner Stadium well in advance of the game start time.

On-site interviews will be conducted at the job fair by department heads on a first come, first served basis, and no advance appointments can be made.

Job applications will be available on site, or job seekers may download an application in advance at www.potomacnationals.com to bring with you to the job fair. For online access to a P-Nats job application: once on the Potomac Nationals’ official website, under the top menu tab, “PFITZNER STADIUM,” click “Employment,” and then select the red “click here” link under the heading “Gameday Employment” to view and print a PDF file of the job application.

Applications for part-time employment will not be accepted prior to the job fair.

For further information on seasonal opportunities with P-Nats Baseball, contact Stadium Operations Director, Arthur Bouvier at 703-590-2311 ext. 217 or send an email to abouvier@potomacnationals.com.

If you cannot attend the job fair but are interested in applying for a part-time position with the Potomac Nationals, you may pick up an application at the Nationals’ front office Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm and return it to Arthur Bouvier on or after March 4th.

If you choose to print out the online version of the application, you may scan and email the application to abouvier@potomacnationals.com, fax the application to 703-590-5716, or bring the application to the Potomac Nationals’ front office on or after March 4th.

To schedule an interview after the job fair, contact Arthur Bouvier (see above contact information).

Note: The Potomac Nationals are an equal opportunity employer.

CAPS: Courage Caps Skating Party for TAPS

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson skates with a child who has found healing through TAPS. The Washington Capitals hosted more than 150 children and adults who are assisted by the program for a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Feb. 24 to launch the 2014-15 Courage Caps campaign. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson skates with a child who has found healing through TAPS. The Washington Capitals hosted more than 150 children and adults who are assisted by the program for a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Feb. 24 to launch the 2014-15 Courage Caps campaign. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman Jack Hillen poses with young fans at a skating party to benefit children and adults who have found healing through TAPS. Hillen and the children are wearing the Washington Capitals team-branded Courage Caps. The Courage Caps campaign is sponsored by Telos Corporation, and 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps will go to TAPS.  (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman Jack Hillen poses with young fans at a skating party to benefit children and adults who have found healing through TAPS. Hillen and the children are wearing the Washington Capitals team-branded Courage Caps. The Courage Caps campaign is sponsored by Telos Corporation, and 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps will go to TAPS. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen poses for a photo with a group of skaters. Niskanen, alongside Capitals defensemen John Carlson, Jack Hillen and Brooks Orpik, hosted a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Feb. 24 for children and adults who have found healing through TAPS. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care for anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen poses for a photo with a group of skaters. Niskanen, alongside Capitals defensemen John Carlson, Jack Hillen and Brooks Orpik, hosted a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Feb. 24 for children and adults who have found healing through TAPS. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care for anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik chats with young fans at a skating party to benefit children and adults who have found healing through TAPS. Orpik and the children are wearing the Washington Capitals team-branded Courage Caps. The Courage Caps campaign is sponsored by Telos Corporation, and 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps will go to TAPS. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik chats with young fans at a skating party to benefit children and adults who have found healing through TAPS. Orpik and the children are wearing the Washington Capitals team-branded Courage Caps. The Courage Caps campaign is sponsored by Telos Corporation, and 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps will go to TAPS. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Capitals and MSE Foundation Host Courage Caps Skating Party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for TAPS Event kicked off 2014-15 Courage Caps presented by Telos Corporation, on sale March 5

ARLINGTON, Va. – Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation and Washington Capitals American-born players John Carlson, Jack Hillen, Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik hosted more than 150 children and adults assisted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

The event kicked off the 2014-15 Courage Caps campaign presented by Telos Corporation. Courage Caps are team-issued branded hats and T-shirts that will go on sale beginning Mar. 5, when the Capitals host the Minnesota Wild.

“This is a wonderful event, and we are thankful to the Washington Capitals for taking the time to really connect with the TAPS families,” said John Wood, Telos CEO. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the families of our fallen military heroes to make memories with their sports heroes.”

For the fourth-consecutive season, TAPS is the beneficiary of Courage Caps. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care for anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military. TAPS will receive 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps.

“The Washington Capitals gave the children of America’s fallen heroes the special gift of their time, spending an evening skating with TAPS surviving children, signing autographs, and giving these very special children a memory that will last a lifetime,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS president and founder. “We are so grateful for the support of Ted Leonsis, Telos Corporation, all the Caps players and staff, and of course the loyal fans who purchase the Courage Caps every year.”

Skating party attendees participated in an hour long skating session with the Capitals players along with team mascot Slapshot and Red Rockers.

“It is an honor to skate again with the TAPS families,” said Carlson. “TAPS is a tremendous organization that provides military families with the support they need. The military sacrifices so much for our freedom and I am really thankful for these families and their loved ones who protected our country. I’m glad they could come out and spend some time with us.”

Funds raised will provide peer-based emotional support, regional seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, grief and trauma resources and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for bereaved military families.

Courage Caps and T-shirts will be sold for $20 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store and at stands throughout Verizon Center during Capitals home games. There will also be a limited number of autographed Courage Caps and T-shirts available for sale at WashingtonCaps.com and at the MSE Foundation table located behind section 104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center.

For $50 fans can purchase a Courage Cap or T-shirt signed by Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Mike Green, Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin or Tom Wilson; for $40 fans can purchase a Courage Cap or T-shirt signed by any other individual Capitals player. Fans will be able to order hats or T-shirts signed by any rostered player online.

A select number of autographed hats and T-shirts will be on sale at the MSE Foundation table at section 104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center beginning Mar. 5. Fans may purchase hats and T-shirts signed by Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Mike Green, Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin or Tom Wilson for $50 each and hats signed by Karl Alzner, Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, Andre Burakovsky, Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brooks Laich, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik or Joel Ward for $40 each.

Since the program launched during the 2007-08 season, the Capitals and Wizards Courage campaign has donated $486,261 to charity through the sale of more than 15,000 hats in seven years and nearly 7,000 T-shirts in five years.

Telos Corporation empowers and protects the world’s most security-conscious enterprises with solutions and services for continuous security assurance of individuals, systems, and information. Telos offerings include cybersecurity solutions and services for security risk management and information assurance; secure mobility to protect globally connected enterprises; and identity management to establish trust in personnel and continuously monitor for insider threats. The company serves military, intelligence and civilian agencies of the federal government, allied nations, and commercial organizations around the world. For more information, visit www.telos.com.

Hagerstown Suns Announce 2015 Promotional Schedule

The Hagerstown Suns have been a minor league affiliate for several different teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and Washington Nationals, over the last thirty-five years so the anniversary promotional schedule will feature a variety of giveaways.

The first bobblehead will be handed out on Saturday, June 13, and will feature former Suns pitcher Mike Mussina. See press release below for the full promotional schedule.

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Suns Announce 2015 promotional schedule

HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Hagerstown Suns announced today their promotional schedule for the 2015 season, which is the team’s 35th anniversary season. Many of the events highlighting the promotional schedule are part of a season-long anniversary celebration, and will bring some important parts of Suns history back to life, including the highlighting of some former Suns players who have made their mark in Hagerstown over the years.

Fittingly, the promotional schedule kicks off on the night of the home opener on Thursday, April 16. Dane Anthony, who threw the first pitch in Hagerstown Suns history back in 1981, will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Also that night there will be a ceremony in the beer garden as Antietam Brewery will be unveiling a special 35th anniversary brew and tap, which will be sold throughout the season. 2015 Magnet Schedules will be handed out to fans on opening night and throughout opening weekend, and on Friday and Saturday April 17 & 18, the first 500 fans will receive a Suns specialty beer mug that they will be able to use throughout the season to receive discounts on beer.

Also, on Saturday, April 18, the Suns players will debut their special 35th anniversary throwback jerseys sponsored by the Hagerstown Suns Fan Club, as well as throwback hats that were both designed to combine several looks of the past. These will be worn each Saturday home game, and live auctions will be held for both later in the season (hats – July 11, jerseys – August 29).

Another alternate jersey the Suns will wear this season will be a camouflage jersey. This jersey will be worn for most Friday home games, as well as some of the military appreciation games. On Friday, August 21, the jersey will be auctioned off following the game with all proceeds going to “Folds of Honor”, which is an organization that provides annual educational scholarships to the military families of those who have been killed or disabled while in active duty.

In total there will be three bobbleheads given away during the 2015 season. The first bobblehead will be handed out on Saturday, June 13, and will feature former Suns pitcher Mike Mussina. A little more than a month later, on Saturday, July 25, a Dane Anthony bobblehead will be handed out to the first 1,000 fans. The final bobblehead giveaway of the year will take place on Saturday, August 22, and is presented by the Hagerstown – Washington County CVB. That bobblehead will be revealed at a later date.

Bobbleheads aren’t the only items that fans will get to take home from a game at Municipal Stadium this season. Other giveaway items include a poster with various program covers from previous seasons (May 2), a special 35th anniversary logo hat (May 30), a pink mini-bat key chain as part of pink weekend (June 12), a poster with various baseball cards of Suns players from previous years (June 20), and a Suns logo baseball (August 8).

Many of the Suns traditional weekly promotions will be back this season as well, including “Thirsty Thursday”, “Eats for Seats Tuesday”, and “Sunday Funday”. In addition, there will be new weekly promotions on Monday and Wednesday. Every Monday home game in 2015 will be a “Mega Monday”, when fans will have the opportunity to purchase four GA tickets loaded with $5.00 each to be used in the stadium for a total of $40.00 (a $16.00 savings). Or, fans on Mondays can purchase a single loaded GA ticket for a discounted price. The majority of Wednesday home games this season will be “Guaranteed WinsDay”, which means if the Suns don’t win on that particular Wednesday all fans in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday home game.

As is custom at Municipal Stadium, there will be a bunch of Fireworks shows throughout the season as well. The first Fireworks show will take place following the game on Friday, May 15. In total there will be nine Fireworks shows throughout the season, and all of them will be on Friday nights.

Once again this year there will be happy hour pricing on 16-ounce cans of select domestic beers prior to every home game. The happy hour pricing will begin as soon as the gates open and will last until the first pitch is thrown. There are four games this season (May 29, June 12, July 3, and August 7) when there will be an extended happy hour, meaning the gates will open earlier than normal (4:30pm) and there will be live entertainment prior to the start of the game.

New in 2015 will be theme nights to go along with each “Thirsty Thursday” game. The themes this season include college night (April 30), country night (May 14), ladies night (May 28 and August 20), golf night (July 9), 80’s night (July 23), and 90’s night (August 6). For some of the theme nights, fans who dress up in that night’s theme will receive a discounted GA ticket. Details on all of the specific theme nights can be found on the promotions page of the Suns website.

Another new promotion in 2015 will be the “Weekday Matinee”. The Suns will have four weekday games (May 4, June 3, August 5, September 2) begin at 1:05pm. Fans can get tickets to these matinee games for just $5.00 (GA ticket) or $7.00 (Reserved ticket). Once inside the stadium, fans can grab a hot dog for $2.00 and/or a domestic draft beer for $3.00, making these games the perfect lunch break entertainment (and no one will tell your boss if you decide to stay for the whole game).

Additional special events taking place this season will include two Education Days (April 22 and May 20), four Antietam Cable Date Nights (April 28, May 17, June 30, and August 18), a college fair (May 1), four Nora Roberts Reading Challenge games (May 2, May 3, May 16, and May 17), five military appreciation games (May 16, May 29 – 31, July 3), Craft Brew night (July 2), Kids night (July 22), two movie nights (July 12 and August 28), Christmas in July (July 25), Camp Day (July 28), First Responders night (August 7), and Teacher and School Staff Appreciation night (June 12).

Lastly, the Suns organization will be hosting an inaugural Beer Tasting Festival, which will take place on Saturday, June 27 from 3:00pm – 7:00pm. There is no game that day as the Suns will be away on the road. Tickets are already on sale.

For more information on all of the promotions and giveaways throughout the 2015 season and to reserve your seats at Municipal Stadium, call 301-791-6266, or go to www.hagerstownsuns.com.

Tyler Clippard Tweets Goodbye to Fans and Photo Gallery

Tyler Clippard pitching at Nats Park, July 10, 2011 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Tyler Clippard pitching at Nats Park, July 10, 2011. Notice the All-Star logo on cap and two stars on back of jersey. (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Relief pitcher Tyler Clippard seemed as surprised as Washington Nationals fans on Wednesday evening when the trade with the Oakland Athletics was announced. Nats fans immediately shared their displeasure of the trade on social media as Clippard is a fan favorite.

Shortly after the trade last night, Tyler Clippard took to Twitter to thank the fans. He even posted the “Peaches” video by The Presidents of the United States to long-time fans, which was Clippard’s warm-up song prior to “Ready or Not” by the Fugees (which I think was one of the best warm-up songs ever!).

See other DSP opinion pieces regarding the trade.

I’ve literally taken thousands of photos of Clippard over the years. It took some practice to get Clipp’s full unique delivery, which I nicknamed “Windmill” since both of his arms move around. Here are a few photos to view and reminisce. Wishing Clippard the best of luck with his new team, but he will definitely be missed in DC.

Washington Nationals RHP Tyler Clippard pitched 8th inning and earned 10th hold against Baltimore Orioles, May 20, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals RHP Tyler Clippard pitched 8th inning and earned 10th hold against Baltimore Orioles, May 20, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Clippard after his 32nd save - Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals, Game One of Doubleheader on September 19, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Clippard after his 32nd save – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals, Game One of Doubleheader on September 19, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Tyler Clippard earned 30th save - Chicago Cubs v. Washington Nationals, 9/3/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Tyler Clippard earned 30th save – Chicago Cubs v. Washington Nationals, 9/3/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Clippard #36 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Clippard #36 showing off new jerseys at unveiling, 11/10/2010. (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fear the Goggles - Tyler Clippard, 8/26/2010 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fear the Goggles – Tyler Clippard, 8/26/2010 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Tyler Clippard pitching in Viera, Florida at spring training, 3/10/2011 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Tyler Clippard pitching in Viera, Florida at spring training, 3/10/2011 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Tyler Clippard struggled in the 10th inning - Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Tyler Clippard struggled in the 10th inning – Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

District Sports Page welcomes two new Nats writers

We don’t normally devote an entire blog post when we add new writers. Not that we shouldn’t, we’re proud of all the fine folks that devote time and energy contributing to District Sports Page. But our two newest writers come to us in a bit of a unique circumstance, so we felt a post was in order.

Tom Bridge and Rachel Levitin, formerly of WeLoveDC.com, have joined District Sports Page starting today. They will both bring a fresh, colorful, decidedly unique approach to covering the Washington Nationals. They have both been on the beat at Nats Park since 2010, as We Love DC was one of the original “blogs” to be credentialed by the team, along with DSP (formerly Nats News Network).

Tom and Rachel have been through it all covering the team, including both playoff series, and they become very welcome additions to our staff here.

Please help me welcoming Tom and Rachel. Below are their bios for your review.

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Tom Bridge is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals. Tom has been in love with baseball since he was 10. He is a founding editor of We Love DC, where he covered the Nationals and Capitals as a credentialed writer for four seasons. He grew up as an Oakland Athletics fan in the Central Valley in California, where he learned to appreciate Bill King, Mark McGwire and even Tony LaRussa. By day, he is a partner at Technolutionary LLC, where he handles IT operations. He cannot abide the Cardinals. You can follow Tom on Twitter @tbridge.

Rachel Levitin is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals. For the past five seasons, she was credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals as an author for We Love DC. During her time spent with WLDC, Rachel composed game stories, covered off-the-field special events, and chronicled both of the Nats’ recent playoff runs.  In addition to her work with WLDC, Rachel’s writing has been featured in the Washington Examiner and on MASNSports.com where she has been a featured guest blogger for the Nationals Buzz blog since 2011. Her love for baseball stems from having grown up on the north side of Chicago and falling in love with the sport’s history as a result of growing up just minutes from Wrigley Field. Rachel moved to DC in 2005 and has been following along with the Nats since their inaugural season. You can follow Rachel on Twitter @RHLevitin.

Winter Classic: Leonsis calls 2015 game “the best Winter Classic”

For the host team, sometimes a Winter Classic win feels like more than two points, but you can hardly fault them. The hockey world was watching, and the Capitals delivered. Troy Brouwer scored the game-winner for the Washington Capitals against his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, with seconds remaining in regulation. The Capitals won 3-2, and it was as thrilling a finish as you’d expect from an event like the Winter Classic. It was made for the big time.

After Washington’s victory, Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis cautioned, as if to remind himself, “I don’t want to make this more than it is.”

The Winter Classic has been the NHL’s marquee event since 2008, and Leonsis had been gunning for one of his own ever since his Capitals visited the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011.

In the end, the game is still worth two points, but Leonsis hopes it is a signal of future successes for the franchise he’s devoted so much to over the years.

“I mean, I’m hoping that we can continue to be a franchise that can accomplish bigger things that winning the Winter Classic.”

For Leonsis, it wasn’t only about the spectacle, it was about the experience. His deep investment in the event and its execution added an emotional factor to the day.

“I knew that our fans would fill the stands, be a sea of red,” said Leonsis. “I knew that the NHL really has their execution of this event down. And we were good hosts. We spent a lot of time – I personally spent a lot of time – walking around the building. I saw all the care over every detail.”

Leading up to the event, some felt that there wasn’t a lot of buzz or excitement surrounding the Chicago – Washington matchup, since both teams have played in multiple outdoor games, and neither are conference rivals. So while the game was worth as much as any other regular season contest, it didn’t possess the spark that typically accompanies matchups between divisional and conference rivals.

Despite doubts, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wouldn’t have allowed Washington as the host of the game if he didn’t believe it would succeed.

“The fact of the matter is, we wouldn’t have brought the Winter Classic here, despite Ted’s persistence, if we didn’t think it was right,” Bettman told reporters after the game. “It’s Ted’s persistence, not just in pursuing this event, but in making the Caps such an important part of the sports scene in Washington.”

“It’s Ted’s pursuit and persistence — in making the Capitals such an important part of the community – that brought us to the point that we believed that by bringing the Winter Classic to Washington we could have a great event and that’s what we had.”

Leonsis felt the league’s faith in his franchise was rewarded. “It does feel good to have the league believe in us, and I think this was the best Winter Classic.”

“If you look at the quality of the game, the speed of the game, the quality of the ice … I think the weather was absolutely perfect. And to win at the buzzer basically, it makes for great theater, great drama.”

Besides his team winning the game, Leonsis cherished a moment he witnessed before the fanfare of the day began.

“I was walking to do an interview this morning, and there was a mother and daughter, and they had their arms around each other, and they just had the biggest smiles on their faces. I just stopped, and I looked at them,” said Leonsis. “One of the ladies blew me a kiss. I mean, those are the kind of moments you want to capture. You want to make lifelong memories.”

 

Jason Chimera weighs in on Joel Ward’s Winter Classic advertisements

Last week, Joel Ward took over the internet and the Navy Yard Metro station in D.C. with a series of advertisements for Winter Classic toques sponsored by Reebok.

After Washington’s last home game before the Winter Classic, Ward said none of his teammates had seen the ads yet, thus sparing him from any potential ridicule.

“If we could keep that on the downlow, that’d be great,” he said. [Read more…]

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