The Washington Syndicate

Natinals Opening Day Tix couldn’t be given away

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on April 8, 2011

The City Paper’s Dave McKenna has a good article about the lack of enthusiasm in the city for the Natinals recent Opening Day. Citing the 33 season absence of baseball in the 202, the article says that the tradition and allure of Opening Day in DC is from a past era. Unless a team from New York, Philly, or Boston opposes the Nats on Opening Day in the future, the 2011 ticket fire sale will most likely be repeated.

Although the Lerners are not mentioned, we must mention that the Lerners have done a so-so job connecting with and cultivating a fan base. The Dream Foundation is slowly laying down roots in the community from Ward 7 to Bethesda, but in my opinion that can’t compensate for losing Adam Dunn and treating him like a used bag of batting practice balls. The Lerners bought the Natinals as a real estate investment, nothing more and nothing less. The value of the team is the stadium which the city financed and built for $611 million while the market-powers-that-be are still twiddling their thumbs waiting for some sort of development to happen which can feed off of the baseball team/stadium. Half Street SE is not 7th Street NW, just yet.

For those restless Nats fans, like myself, there are some cheap ways to see a game this year. Check out this year’s promotions here.

*I was at the 2008 Opener when Ryan Zimmerman christened the stadium with a walk-off home run.*

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Rest in Peace Bob Feller; one of baseball’s greatest and true American patriot

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on December 16, 2010

About two decades ago, Bob Feller was signing autographs at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. The line was at least 30 minutes long. My father and I stood in-line. After waiting for a couple minutes I wanted to return to our seats so we could continue watching the game. At that time, watching Single A players was more important than meeting and getting the autograph of a true patriot and one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

In life they say you live with regrets. As I grew older and learned the history of baseball I regretted that I passed on the chance to meet Bob Feller. 

With that said, The Syndicate honors the memory of Bob Feller. He is a legend from a bygone era of baseball and Americana when, as a country and people, we had gumption, guts, a stoicism that guided our lives. We were tough-minded and didn’t complain.

God bless Bob Feller and his home state of Iowa.

ESPN has some nice coverage. Tim Kurkjian here. Nice story here about facing a seventy-five year old Feller.

Career stats here.

Only pitcher in MLB history to throw a No-Hitter on Opening Day. Box Score here.

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Baseball Academy finally coming to Fort Dupont Park

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on June 11, 2010

According to a press release from the office of non-voting DC Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has approved of the transfer of 15 acres of federal park land from the National Parks Service (NPS) to the District to build a much anticipated youth baseball academy at Fort Dupont Park, championed by City Council Chair and mayor hopeful Vincent “Count Orlock” Gray.

This land transfer would expand the Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Southeast, built in 1976, already serving an estimated 10,000 boys and girls each year, hosting numerous skating and educational programs and in desperate need of more room.

Thom Loverro, formerly of the Wash Times sports dept., gives the background circa last summer HERE. Lydia DePillis over at City Paper is on top of the story HERE.

More from City Paper here giving credit and cyber ink to Vince Gray for winning out in his long fought battle with the NPS. From Nats320 here.

The Syndicate thanks Count Orlok as baseball is America’s pastime, not football.

Here’s a nice reflection about baseball and black Washington from the July 2008 East of the River. 

Now, let the fundraising (20$ million of which about 14.8 mill is committed) begin…!

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Ken Burns will throw out first pitch for Strasburg’s debut

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on June 7, 2010

Award-winning American documentarian Ken Burns (The Civil War, The War, Jazz, etc.) will throw out the first pitch tomorrow according to Dan Steinberg over at The Post’s D.C. Sports Bog

This fall, The Tenth Inning, will appear on PBS across the country as an update to Burns’s timeless 1994 Baseball.

The Syndicate predicts now that Strasburg will get shelled. We don’t want him to get hit all over the park, but DC sports are more well-known in recent memory for unfounded hype as oppose to its tangible accomplishment. Burns throwing out the first pitch is either an alignment of the stars are an omnious omen.

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MLB Umpire apologizes for blowing 21st perfect game; memories of “Baiting the Umpire” circa 1910

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on June 3, 2010

The Syndicate umpired youth league baseball in high school to make some extra money and was regarded highly enough amongst league coaches to umpire an All-Star game. It is an accomplishment I’m most proud of.

I say this to say, The Syndicate sympathizes with MLB veteran umpire Jim Joyce, who last night blew a call on what would have been the 27th out of the 21st Perfect Game in MLB history as the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0 before 17,738 at Comerica Park.

The Syndicate is a baseball purist and feels that human error is part of the game. As a young chap, we watched when 12 year old Jeffrey Maier snagged Derek Jeter’s long fly ball from the clutches of Tony Tarasco (who didn’t look like he was going to make the catch anyway) to turn the tides in Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series.

Only fellow umpires can understand why and how Jim Joyce made the call he did. In trying to explain Joyce’s call to my girlfriend this morning, I couldn’t explain it in words a non-umpire would understand. It can’t be explained, only experienced. It is a situational instinct that is uncontrollable for even the best of the world’s umpires, even if that instinct was and is wrong. It happened to me before. I blew a call. I felt horrible, but the consequences only impacted children, half of whom didn’t really care, and their sometimes rabid parents. This man, Joyce, should be supported even in the lowest moment of his professional career. However, we do understand the frustration of the Tigers and politicians from Michigan who unsuccessfully lobbied MLB Commission Bud Selig to reverse the call.

Two wrongs still don’t make a right. Joyce’s wrong was a historical mistake to which Joyce apologized to Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga for making following the game. This was the right thing to do. From one umpire to another, we feel your pain.

All this brings to mind George Jean Nathan’s Baiting the Umpire” which first appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1910.

Read in its entirety HERE! First paragraph below…

Baseball is the national side-show. The baiting of umpires is the real big-tent entertainment. In Spain, by way of passing the time, they bait innocent bulls on holidays. In America, by way of the same thing, they bait inoffensive men in blue suits every day in the week during the warm season, and twice on Saturdays. What the Latins call “fêtes” the Americans call “double-headers.” Also, what the Latins call “matadores” the Americans call “bleachers.” Some years ago, the Spanish sport-loving public was satisfied with one bull in the ring, just as the American public was satisfied with one umpire. But, as taste became more hysterical and bloodthirsty, the Spaniards demanded at least two bulls for killing purposes, and the Americans, following suit, demanded two umpires. That is the real reason the Solons of baseball added the extra referee to the game. They told the second umpire he was supposed to “watch the bases.” It was a snare. He was put there simply to gratify the public’s augmented longing for “sport.”

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