October 22, 2019

Washington Nationals awarded 2018 All-Star Game

MLB Commissioner Manfred announced that the Washington Nationals would host the 2018 MLB All-Star Game and selected Nats 10 year season ticket holders unveiled the sign above Red Porch before home opener, 4/6/2015 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

MLB Commissioner Manfred announced that the Washington Nationals would host the 2018 MLB All-Star Game and selected Nats 10 year season ticket holders unveiled the sign above Red Porch before home opener, 4/6/2015 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Prior to the Washington Nationals Opening Day game against the New York Mets, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred announced the Nats and Nationals Park were awarded hosting duties for the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

“I am pleased that the Nationals will have the opportunity to host the Midsummer Classic for the first time since Major League Baseball returned to our nation’s capital in 2005,” said Commissioner Manfred during the press conference at Nats Park. “The best sporting event of the summer, which will be held on decade after the opening of Nationals Park, will add a new chapter to the long and distinguished baseball tradition in Washington, DC.”

Nats managing principal owner Mark Lerner said, “As stewards of the national pastime in the nation’s capital, hosting this event has been a goal of ours from the beginning.” He joked that it took “about five minutes” after being awarded the franchise for his family to start lobbying MLB to host an All-Star Game.

MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred announcing the 2018 All-Star Game awarded to Nats Park. (District Sports Page/April 6, 2015)

MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred announcing the 2018 All-Star Game awarded to Nats Park. (District Sports Page/April 6, 2015)

Alex Ovechkin going to All-Star Game, Nicklas Backstrom left out again

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was selected to play in next month’s NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, the league announced on Saturday.

Ovechkin is 24th in the league in points with 36 (21g, 15a); his 21 goals are tied for fifth in the league with Joe Pavelski. That’s also more than enough for the most on the team, and Ovechkin is clearly very deserving of the honor, the sixth of his career (2007-09, 2011-12). However, if I may turn this news piece into an opinion one, the league made a serious mistake by not selecting the Caps’ most important player.

[Read more…]

D.C. United: Trio shines in peppy MLS All-Star victory over Bayern Munich

In a match that was full of Pep (Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola, that is), the three D.C. United players who were named to the MLS All-Star team played the entire second half. That 45 minutes saw the MLS All-Stars erase a 1-0 deficit to beat the German champions, 2-1, thanks to goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls) and Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy). Defenders Sean Franklin and Bobby Boswell, as well as goalkeeper Bill Hamid (who earned the win), were part of 11 new MLS players who started the second half.

Boswell got the second assist on the All-Stars’ opening goal in the 51st minute. The United defender played a long ball forward up the middle of the field that was flicked on by Erick Torres (Chivas USA). That touch carried it about 25 yards from the Bayern Munich goal, where Wright-Phillips ran on to it, took one touch, then blasted a left-footed shot to the upper far corner past goalkeeper Tom Starke. [Read more…]

Trio of Harrisburg Senators Selected to Play in Eastern League All-Star Game

On Monday afternoon, the Harrisburg Senators, the Washington Nationals’ double-A affiliate, announced via a press release that three players had been tabbed to play in the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game as members of the Western Division All-Star Team. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann earns All-Star status

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was named to the National League All-Star team Sunday. He was voted to the team as a result of the players’ ballot. Second baseman Anthony Rendon was named one of the “final five” to be voted on by the fans.

Zimmermann will make his second All-Star game appearance, having gone to the game in 2013.

Zimmermann, 28, is 6-4 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.186 WHIP this season. He has struck out 7.9 per nine innings against 1.6 walks per nine and has allowed just six home runs in 103 2/3 innings.

Rendon, 24, is hitting .286/.343/.489 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs in 82 games. The others on the final vote ballot are Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Justin Morneau (COL), Casey McGehee (MIA) and Justin Upton (ATL).

 

Four Syracuse Chiefs Named to International League All-Star Team

Via a team press release on Wednesday afternoon, the Syracuse Chiefs, the Washington Nationals’ triple-A affiliate, announced that catcher Jhonatan Solano, outfielder Steven Souza Jr., and pitchers Taylor Hill and Aaron Laffey have been selected to the 2014 International League All-Star team. [Read more…]

Midsummer Classic marks final chapter in the Mariano Rivera era

When now-legendary closer Mariano Rivera made his debut for the New York Yankees on May 23, 1995, the 25-year-old was – in fact – a starter who showed great promise for the Bronx Bombers long before earning the nickname “Sandman.” He went 5-3 that season with a 5.51 ERA over 61 innings pitched, which included a 126-pitch 4th of July outing against the Chicago White Sox.

Mariano RiveraAt that time, the Yankees were guided by none other than Buck Showalter, now manager of the 53-43 Baltimore Orioles. Bill Clinton was in his first term as President of the United States, the best-selling Christmas gifts were Pogs, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was just $1.08 and the Yankees were the proud owners of a mere 22 World Series titles.

Oh, and Bryce Harper was just two-and-a-half years old.

Every year, the MLB All-Star Game faces its share of criticisms – and, most of it is justified. While countless sponsorships beg to remind you, “This time, it counts,” the average fan might find it difficult to believe that players donning uniforms of sub-.400 teams could care much about who takes home-field advantage. Even more, year after year, naysayers fervently point out the handful of players inevitably elected to the starting roster, despite posting sluggish first-half numbers.

Like any other friendly mid-season matchup, the MLB All-Star Game can leave much to be desired. But, despite its shortcomings, this year’s contest – the 84th MLB All-Star Game – served to remind us all, if only for a moment, why fans come back to honor the game’s legends, even as scandals promise to impact baseball in the not-too-distant future.

I was five years old when Mo stepped on a Major League mound for the first time in his career. I can’t pretend to recall from memory that he pitched just 3.1 innings against the California Angels, giving up five runs on eight hits and striking out  five in his Major League debut. At the time, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” – then just four years old – fit under the category of what my mom considered “Monster Music” – as such, we weren’t even allowed to play it in our household when my brother and I were around.

Growing up in Central Jersey, I lived in the crossroads of Phillies Nation and Yankeeland and, since those early days, I’ve watched the same transformation millions of others witnessed. By the end of 1996, Rivera had recorded five saves – just 633 shy of where he stands in the record-books today. In the years since, baseball fans have seen the rise and fall of the Yankees Dynasty of the 1990s, culminating in Mo’s fateful blown save in the 2001 World Series. [Read more…]

Nats make a quiet appearance on a night that belonged to Rivera

In a moment three and a half months in the making, Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann and Davey Johnson at last were announced among the best of the best in Major League Baseball during the 2013 All-Star pregame call-outs.

On a night that featured more pomp-and-circumstance than Citi Field has seen in recent weeks, the three quietly took in the moment, wearing smiles befitting of three humble All-Stars of two very different generations.

Harper represented the only member of the Washington Nationals to see playing time in the Midsummer Classic. The 20-year-old became the youngest position player to start the All-Star Game since Ken Griffey did so in 1990.

In his second All-Star appearance, Harper went 0-for-2 on the night, lining to Miguel Cabrera off Chris Sale in the third inning and popping to J.J. Hardy off Grant Balfour in the sixth. He also recorded four put-outs for the National League, including a first-inning Chris Davis fly ball and saw more playing time than any other NL player, save for the New York Mets’ David Wright.

A natural in the limelight – unlike his 27-year-old teammate – Harper handled the 48-hour media frenzy with poise. Zimmermann remained comparatively quiet, never throwing a pitch in the game due to lingering neck soreness.

But, when it all came down to it, the night belonged to New York Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera.

Dennis Wideman on Team Chara for NHL All-Star Game

The two 2012 NHL All-Star Captains, Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson, selected their teams through a player fantasy draft again this year on Thursday night in Ottawa. Much like they probably did on playgrounds as kids and no one wants to be picked last.

Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman was selected by his former Boston Bruins teammate (2007-2010) in the 15th round out of nineteen. This is the 30 year old’s first All-Star Game.

Wideman is the only Washington Capitals representative since Alex Ovechkin decided to sit this one out after his suspension.

The All-Star skills competition is Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET and the All-Star game is Sunday, Jan. 29 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

You can see the full draft results by round here. Dan Rosen of nhl.com predicts Team Chara will win.

Dennis Wideman selected for first All-Star game. (Stock Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

Ovechkin bows out of All-Star game: “My heart is not there.”

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, suspended for the next three games for his hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Zybnek Michalek, will not attend the NHL All-Star Game this weekend.  Ovechkin, speaking with the media at Kettler Capitals Iceplex after the morning skate before taking on the Boston Bruins this evening, said, “My heart is not there. I got suspended, so why I have to go there?”

“I love the [All-Star] game, it’s a great event. I love to be there but I’m suspended. I don’t want to be a target. I feel I’m not deserving to be there right now. I got suspended, I have to be suspended so that’s why I give up my roster [spot].”

General Manager George McPhee spoke after Ovechkin, and reiterated the team’s disappointment in the three-game suspension.

Ovechkin reflected on the suspension, and being viewed as a “repeat offender” in the eyes of the league.  “Most bad thing is it’s going to be all my career it’s going to be like that.  My game is play physical, my game is play hard and I don’t think it was bad hit, dirty hit. Yeah I jumped but [Michalek] don’t get hurt. I don’t get two minutes. I don’t think it was three-game suspension.”

Ovechkin’s teammates this morning joined in that view, as well as expressing surprise that Michalek himself wasn’t disciplined for his hit moments later on Matt Hendricks, which appeared to be a blatant, intentional elbow to Hendricks’ head.  Michalek received a two-minute penalty, but avoided any supplementary discipline.

***Quotes for this post were taken from pubished sources.

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Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Capitals coverage on Twitter @CapitalsDSP.

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