September 2, 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.

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.

Mystics Acquire Second Round Pick in 2015 WNBA Draft

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MYSTICS ACQUIRE SECOND ROUND PICK IN 2015 WNBA DRAFT
Team Trades Quanitra Hollingsworth to Seattle

Washington, D.C. – The Washington Mystics have acquired the Seattle Storm’s second round pick (15th overall) in the 2015 WNBA draft in exchange for center Quanitra Hollingsworth and Washington’s second round pick (20th overall).

“This trade gives Quanitra the opportunity to be part of a team where she will have more playing time,” stated head coach Mike Thibault. “It also gives us another draft pick that will allow us to take a player that we can possibly develop for the future.”

Hollingsworth was acquired in a trade with the New York Liberty in 2013. She missed the 2014 season due to an overseas commitment. She appeared in seven games with the Mystics, averaging 1.7 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game.

Washington currently holds the 8th, 15th and 32nd picks in the upcoming WNBA draft.

The Washington Mystics will tip off the 2015 season on the road against conference rival Connecticut Sun on Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. Following their season opener, the Mystics will return to Verizon Center for their home opener to face the New York Liberty on Saturday, June 6 at 7 p.m. Season tickets for the 2015 season are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling the Mystics Sales Office at 1-877-DC-HOOP1 or by visiting the Mystics web site at www.washingtonmystics.com.

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.

Washington Wizards acquire Ramon Sessions

From the team press release:

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired guard Ramon Sessions from Sacramento in exchange for guard Andre Miller.

“Ramon is a proven veteran who will bring an up-tempo style to our second unit and give us quickness, energy and defensive presence,” said Grunfeld. “He can make plays for himself as well as others and will help to solidify our bench as we head into the final 28 games of the season and the playoffs.”

Sessions (6-3, 190) holds career averages of 11.3 points, 4.5 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 503 career games (134 starts) in seven-plus years with six teams. He has shot .435 from the field and .797 from the line. The 56th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft has averaged 5.4 points, 2.7 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 36 games (seven starts) with Sacramento this season. In seven games as a starter this season, he averaged 9.6 points, 4.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds. Sessions enjoyed his best season during the 2012-13 campaign when he averaged 14.4 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 61 games with Charlotte. In 12 career playoff games with the Los Angeles Lakers, he holds averages of 9.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds.

Miller was originally acquired by Washington on February 20, 2014, in a three-team trade with Denver and Philadelphia. In 79 games with Washington in parts of two seasons, Miller averaged 3.7 points and 3.0 assists (including 3.6 points and 2.8 assists in 51 games this season).

“Andre was a consummate professional during his time with the Wizards and gave us great veteran leadership,” said Grunfeld.  “We wish him and his family the best.”

Winter Classic: Commissioner Gary Bettman’s media availability

Posted in it’s entirety, for your amazement and enjoyment. [courtesy NHL Media Relations]

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Happy New Year.  We’re delighted that you were able to join us here today.  What a spectacular afternoon we had here at Nationals Park.

I want to first start by thanking the Nationals organization, especially Mark Lerner, for welcoming us into their home and letting us dress it up and turn it into a hockey venue for the day. I also want to thank the Blackhawks for participating and being so cooperative.  Obviously, the players and from Rocky Wirtz on down, the Caps’ Ted Leonsis, what can you say?

What you saw here today from 43,000 people was a level of enthusiasm for hockey, for the Capitals, that I’m not sure many people imagined could ever have been accomplished here in Washington.  And it’s a testament to Ted Leonsis and his passion for the game, his passion for the Capitals, and his passion for this community.

He insisted, he was persistent, he was relentless in pursuit of this game and it was because he wanted it for Washington DC. The atmosphere couldn’t have been greater.  The weather was spectacular.  I have to congratulate my own special events people for the way they dressed up this park.  I mean, the replica Capitol Building, the reflecting pool, actually somebody showed me a picture of somebody skating on the reflecting pool in 1918 to give you a sense of how far these things go back here.  But it made for a fun day.

A lot of people were probably out late last night, but that didn’t stop tens of thousands of people from being in spectator plaza and tailgating at nine o’clock in the morning. All in all it’s been a fun day.  We had a competitive, entertaining game, and so I just want to again thank everyone, but most importantly the players, for participating and enjoying the experience, and all the great fans who turned out.

Each of these games — I know they get compared one outdoor game to another: they’re all unique, they’re all different, they’re all special in their own way.  And that’s the way we like to try and do it. And I don’t know what people’s expectations were for our event here today, but the Winter Classic here in Washington couldn’t have been better from a fan experience and an entertainment standpoint. And on that note, I’m happy to take questions

Q.  Ted said that he thought that part of the reason they got the Winter Classic was just so that you wanted him to leave you alone.  Can you talk about his efforts over the years and what you were looking for?

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN:  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.  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.

So, yes, it’s his persistence, but it wasn’t just in harassing me — and it’s not harassing, because Ted’s a great owner and his passion is phenomenal — but the point is, it’s everything he does about the way he conducts this organization, that enabled us to be more than comfortable that we could successfully bring the Winter Classic to Washington.

Q.  You said every game is unique.  What was memorable about this particular Winter Classic?  I know it’s only like a half hour after, but.

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN:  Well, we’ll take a deep breath.  Putting aside for a minute that we had a very competitive, entertaining game, just when you came in here and you saw the way we took a modern venue, and, because it was modern, we could dress it.  And the Capitol Building, the reflecting pool, the military presence, the entertainment between periods, these were all things that created a fun environment for our fans. Again, this is an event that takes the game back to its roots. So many people learn to skate and play hockey outdoors, as young kids, and it conjures up memories of that.

When you look at something that was focused on being in the U.S. nation’s capital and you look at the way Don Renzulli dressed up his events people dressed up the building, it gave it that special feeling. By the way, in addition to thanking Don, and special events people, I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Dan Craig, the world’s expert in making ice under any circumstances and conditions.  And Colie Campbell who runs hockey operations.

We had some decisions that we had to make before the game, including when to start the game, and it was a fully coordinated effort. And we had the cooperation of the Players’ Association in these endeavors, which is always a good thing as well.

Q.  Can you talk about before the game during warm ups about starting on time versus delaying it?

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: We decided that we would have the players come out and warm up and see how comfortable they were with the sun conditions.  The ice was fine; that was never an issue.

The report we got back from Corey Crawford, the goaltender who was in the sun for Chicago, that he was comfortable, and the two captains told us that they were comfortable and we decided to switch ends — just to make sure that nobody had any issues about fairness at the 10-minute mark.  It worked out perfectly well.  It was a non-issue.

For us, the primary issue, if there was to be an issue, was player safety.  Once we were comfortable that that wasn’t going to be an issue, everyone decided — I decided it was time to go and play on time.

Nationals Matt Williams Named NL Manager of the Year

Matt Williams NL Manager of the Year

NATIONALS MANAGER MATT WILLIAMS NAMED
2014 BBWAA NATIONAL LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was named the 2014 National League Manager of the Year Tuesday night by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Williams received a total 109 points, including 80 first-place votes. Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle finished second in the voting, and San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy was third.

Williams, who becomes the second manager in Nationals history to earn this honor, had an exceptionally successful rookie season in the dugout as he led the Nationals to an NL-best 96 victories and the National League East Championship.

“On behalf of the Lerner Family and the entire Washington Nationals organization, I want to offer heartfelt congratulations to Matt on this well-deserved award,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “His first year in the dugout was excellent, and it was a pleasure to watch him grow throughout. He is a respected leader, and the steady hand that navigated our team through many challenges this season.

“What we accomplished this season would not have been possible without the right man at the helm. That was Matt this season, and we’re all looking forward to 2015.”

Since the inception of the award in 1983, Williams is just the fourth first-year manager ever to win it. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he joins Hal Lanier (Houston Astros, 1986), Dusty Baker (San Francisco Giants, 1993), and Joe Girardi (Florida Marlins, 2006).

“I am incredibly honored and humbled by this award,” Williams said. “This was a very special year for us, and I am proud of what we accomplished in my first season at the helm. For me, as a newcomer to the managerial fraternity, it is a privilege just to be considered amongst the best in our game. Clint and Bruce are certainly that.

“While this is an incredible acknowledgement by the writers, I know we have bigger goals to accomplish in Washington and I look forward to the challenge that the 2015 season will bring.”

The Nationals, though besieged by injuries, won their division by the largest margin (17.0 games) of any in the Major Leagues under Williams’ watch. Over the course of the season, the Nationals saw 948 total games missed due to stints on the Disabled List, with key players like Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, Adam LaRoche and Denard Span accounting for 284 of those games.

While the Nationals withstood that barrage, Williams’ guided them toward steady improvement as the season progressed. After playing to a .500 record (27-27) through the season’s first two months, the Nationals were at least four games over the .500 mark in each remaining month of the season, finishing 69-39 from June through September. That stretch included a 19-10 month of August that featured a 10-game winning streak from Aug. 12-21, the longest winning streak in the National League this season.

On Sept. 16, the Nationals clinched their second National League East Division title in the last three years, and they finished the regular season with a 96-66 record.

Williams, 48, was named the fifth field manager in Nationals history on Oct. 31, 2013. The five-time All-Star third baseman was also voted by his managerial peers as the 2014 Sporting News Manager of the Year.

NATIONALS MANAGERS TO WIN BBWAA N.L. MANAGER OF THE YEAR (2005-2014)
2012 Davey Johnson
2014 Matt Williams

NATS: Washington Nationals NatsFest for 2015 Season

natsfest_dec

The biggest fan event of the offseason will be held Saturday, December 13, 2014
from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Season Plan Holders will have exclusive access to the event for an entire hour (10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) before #NatsFest opens to the general public at 11:00 a.m.

Tickets and autograph vouchers will go on sale on Wednesday, October 29 at 9:00 a.m.

Tickets purchased in advance at will cost $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, with prices increasing to $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under the day of the event. Season Plan Holders will receive an information about purchasing NatsFest tickets at a discounted rate.

A full schedule of events will be available in the coming weeks.

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