Saturday, April 5, 2008

Playoff Bound

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Support the Red Out

Here's why everyone at the Capitals' next game should be supporting the Red Out:

If winning is everything, British anthropologists have some advice: Wear red.

Their survey of four sports at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens shows competitors were more likely to win their contests if they wore red uniforms or red body armor.

"Across a range of sports, we find that wearing red is consistently associated with a higher probability of winning," report Russell A. Hill and Robert A. Barton of the University of Durham in England. Their findings are in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Red coloration is associated with aggression in many animals. Often it is sexually selected so that scarlet markings signal male dominance.

Just think of the red stripes on the scowling face of the male Mandrill, Africa's largest monkey species. But red is not exclusively a male trait. It's the female black widow spider that is venomous and displays a menacing red dot on her abdomen.

Similarly, the color's effect also may subconsciously intimidate opponents in athletic contests, especially when the athletes are equal in skill and strength, the researchers suggest.

In their survey, the anthropologists analyzed the results of four one-on-one contact sports at the summer games: boxing, taekwondo, Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling.

In those events, the athletes were randomly assigned red protective gear and other sportswear.

Athletes wearing red gear won more often in 16 of 21 rounds of competition in all four events.

The effect was the same regardless of weight classes, too: 19 of 29 classes had more red winners, and only four rounds had more blue winners.

The red effect also might come into play in team sports.

The anthropologists made a preliminary analysis of the Euro 2004 international soccer tournament, in which teams wore jerseys of different colors in different matches. They found that five teams scored more goals and won more often when they wore shirts that were predominantly red, as opposed to blue or white jerseys.

Scientists don't precisely known how wearing red might give athletes an advantage. But the color delivers implicit messages of vigor and danger. When people get angry, their faces turn red. It's also a reason why stop signs are red. So are most Ferraris.

A case can perhaps be made that most of the recent winners of U.S. sports championships have at least a touch of red on their uniforms: among pro teams, the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, the Detroit Pistons. And in college football, Southern California.

But it's the gracious sport of golf that offers the best example. Tiger Woods wears an iconic red shirt on Sundays, the final day of most tournaments.

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Panthers/Capitals Preview

There are 82 games in the NHL's regular season, and the Capitals have needed every one of them to try and get themselves into a playoff position. It all comes down to this for the Capitals in 2007-08, a game in their own barn, with a sea of red backing them inside the arena and the support of a city that hasn't been this fully behind the Caps since their 1998 Stanley Cup run. The Caps opponent, the Florida Panthers, played the role of spoiler last night in Raleigh and will be looking to do the same against the Caps. The improbable Panthers win might just be a case of the hockey gods looking favorably upon Washington: the Panthers were outshot 46-17 last night, were called for nine penalties to Carolina's zero, used both their goaltenders and won in Carolina for the first time since 2002. Beyond just the win, this is good news for a Capitals team that will be facing the traveling Panthers squad less than 24 hours after last night's intense matchup, so something tells me the Caps will probably have more spring in their step.

The bottom line? The Capitals need one point to get in to the postseason. Let's do this thing.

Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals
Saturday, April 5th, 2008, 7:00 PM
Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Last Meeting: 3/29/08, Caps win 3-0

About the Opponent

Florida Panthers: 38-34-9, 85 points, 3rd in the Southeast Division, 11th in the Eastern Conference

Team Leaders
Goals: Olli Jokinen (34)
Assists: Olli Jokinen (37)
Points: Olli Jokinen (71)
Plus/Minus: Jassen Cullimore (+21)
Penalty Minutes: Nathan Horton (85)
Fights: Tanner Glass (7)

Keys to the Game

Score early and score often. Florida's primary motivation in this game is going to be playing the role of spoiler. While that might be enough to get off to solid start or provide a boost late in a close game, it's probably not going to be enough to motivate a team to come back from a 2-0 or 3-0 deficit.

Convert your chances. Unless something strange happens, the Capitals should have more shots, more scoring chances more puck possession and more offensive zone time, so the only way Florida is going to have a shot on the big board is to convert an unusually higher number of their opportunities.

Players to Watch

John Erskine - The only way I see the Capitals losing this game is if they make mistakes to hand the game to Florida; the only player that I think is likely to make a mistake like that is Erskine. The Capitals don't need a great game from Erskine, they just need him to not screw up.

Tomas Vokoun/Craig Anderson - Both are capable of stealing a game, and there's a very good chance that whichever Panther is in net will be the toughest task for the Capitals tonight.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Games to keep an eye on

Tarik El-Bashir (the Capitals' beat writer for The Washington Post) has compiled a very handy list of scenarios which would put the Capitals in the playoffs. For tonight there are two games with playoff race implications:

Florida at Carolina, 7:00 PM
At the moment the Hurricanes and the Capitals are tied for first in the Southeast Division in terms of points, but Carolina holds all the tiebreakers. If Carolina wins, they clinch the Southeast; if Florida wins in overtime the Capitals can take the division with a win tomorrow; if Florida wins in regulation the Capitals can win the division by at least getting to overtime.

Ottawa at Boston, 7:30 PM
Ottawa has 94 points through 81 games, Boston has 92 points through 80 games, the Capitals have 92 points through 81 games and hold tiebreakers against both Ottawa and Boston. If Ottawa wins in regulation, the Capitals control their own destiny and can get in over Boston by winning tomorrow night against Florida. If Boston wins in regulation, the Capitals would get in over Ottawa with a win tomorrow. What the Caps really need to root for here is a two point game. As long as this one is decided in regulation the Capitals will be in control of their own destiny, which all a team ever asks for.

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Capitals top Lightning, 4-1

Capitals 4, Lightning 1

Well, the Red Out didn't seem to be quite as prominent last night as it was on the first against Carolina, but the Capitals pulled out a win against a frustrated Tampa Bay team and put themselves, for tonight at least, in the Eastern Conference's eight spot.

Even with the two points going to the Capitals, much of the discussion about this game will center on Brooks Laich's disallowed goal in the first period. I'm sure it will be discussed in detail elsewhere, but I'll just say that it was simply a bad call - if the referees were going to rule that Tomas Fleischmann had interfered on the play, he should have received an interference minor. To waive off the goal but not call Fleischmann for a penalty is exactly the kind of indecisive need-to-please-everyone attitude that referees need to avoid.

DMG's 3 Stars
(1) Cristobal Huet
- 18 saves on 19 shots (.947 save %)
(2) Alex Ovechkin - 2 goals, 5 shots, 3 hits, +1, 2 blocked shots
(3) Viktor Kozlov - 2 assists, +1, 7 shots

Quick Hits

  • As an American hockey fan, it bothers me that John Tortorella is going to coach the U.S. in the World Championships, and his team's pathetic display at the end of last night's game didn't do much to enamor me to him.

  • Speaking of which,like any sane Caps fan I love Bruce Boudreau, but he made a big mistake not having Donald Brashear on the ice after Doug Janik's roughing penalty on Fleischmann.

  • If not for a combination of Kari Ramo and the Caps missing by inches, it could have been 5-1 by the end of the first.

  • Got to love Matt Cooke because even when he's not scoring he makes his presence felt, and he had 6 hits last night.

  • On the Lightning side, 5 of their 15 hits were from defenseman Matt Smaby.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008


"The guy marches to the beat of his own drummer."

That's what a team source said when asked about Gilbert Arenas' decision to return to the court last night after being cleared to play the day before...and saying he wouldn't.

There's really no other way to put it. Agent Zero is an enigma. And what that makes him incredibly frustrating to follow as a coach, a fan - hell, as a blogger - and yet it's also what makes him the face of the Wizards' franchise and what made the Verizon Center go absolutely bonkers for a second consecutive night on Wednesday.

Yeah, Washington lost to Milwaukee and sustained some potentially crippling injuries in the final sequence, and we'll get to that, but the big news is that Gilbert Arenas is back. He brings a certain swagger and an extra level of energy - much like Caron's impact when he returned last month - that elevates this team. And boy did Gil look good last night.

With 5:30 remaining in the first quarter, Arenas emerged from the locker room in typical Gilbert Arenas fashion. Nine seconds later he checked into the game and received a standing ovation and on the ensuing Wizards' possession, Gilbert scored on a reverse layup - his first bucket since November 16. He finished with 17 points in 20 minutes, including two free throws to tie the game at 109 with seconds remaining. But while he didn't have trouble getting into the offensive flow after his four and a half month layoff, he lacked the ability to move laterally on the defensive end and was a liability.

So with 16 seconds left, Eddie Jordan pulled Arenas for Antonio Daniels. The Wizards got the stop they needed and Antawn Jamison sacrificed his body, jumping into the front row to tip the ensuing loose ball down court to Daniels to ice the game. But Daniels didn't show the same hustle, allowing former D-Leaguer Ramon Sessions to snatch the ball from behind and call timeout with 1.1 seconds left. In a stunning, and yet all to fitting, finale, Sessions got the final shot, letting a 19-footer fly just two-tenths of a second before the final buzzer. It swished through the net and Gilbert's return was spoiled.

The final sequence was just one of numerous defensive break-downs on the night for a team that seems to have lost their edge on that end of the floor after playing so well in consecutive games after Butler's return. Washington shot 56 percent from the field but allowed the Bucks to shoot 55 percent and despite leading for nearly the entire game, the Wizards never could put the game out of reach. The Wiz were out-rebounded by Milwaukee 41-34, with Andrew Bogut (20 points, 10 boards) and Charlie Villanueva (24 points, 12 boards) posting double-doubles.

With a win and Indiana's loss to Boston, the Wizards had an opportunity to lock up a playoff berth and maintain a half-game lead over Toronto and Philadelphia for the fifth spot. Instead they dropped into a three-way tie and must regroup before tomorrow night's game against the listless Miami Heat. What's worse, Jamison (sprained right shoulder) and DeShawn Stevenson (sprained ankle) both suffered injuries in the waning seconds and could miss time. Had the Wizards stepped up and made one or two more stops down the stretch, they wouldn't be in this situation.

It'll be interesting to see how Jordan decides to use Gilbert down the stretch. He came off the bench last night and I really like him in that role. Even though it would essentially turn opponents' offensive possessions into 5-on-3 power plays, being able to bring in a one-two combo of Gil and Nick Young off the bench could be a lightning in a bottle for the Wiz. If the Hibachi continues to come off the bench in the next two weeks, he will be able to gradually get back to game fitness and it'll be a much easier transition for him and the team. Remember, the Wizards' have been doing pretty well without him all season, and I think he realizes that and doesn't want to disrupt the chemistry these guys have developed.


  • Last night's loss wasn't bad enough to put a damper on DeShawn's 27th birthday bash at Collaborations. Dan Steinberg was there to take in all the 80's themed apparel - trust me, there was plenty - and MC Biz Markie's musical stylings. Note: Check out that boom box the Locksmith is carrying. And when was the last time you saw a cell phone as big as Gil's?
  • Earlier this week, Arenas told reporters that he would be willing to take a pay cut to keep the Wizards' current roster in tact. He has said all season that he plans to opt out of his contract and Jamison will also become a free agent this summer. "I want to see Antawn taken care of first and then I'll take the pay cut to keep the team intact," he said. It remains to be seen whether the erratic All-Star will stay true to his word on this, but the reality of the situation is that the he wants to remain in Washington (no other playoff teams have the salary to sign him for what the Wizards can offer) and he knows that Jamison is a key part of the core of this group. It's a kind and practical gesture from Arenas and one that I'd love to see come to fruition.
Tonight I'm headed to the Phone Booth to be a part of another Red-Out as the Caps try to get one step closer to the playoffs with a win against the Lightning. Should be fun.

All photos AP/Getty by way of Yahoo!

-- The Tar Heel
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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Who to root for

Who to root for, April 02, 2008:

Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes, 7:00 PM, NHL Center Ice channel Game 2

New Jersey
Boston Bruins at New Jersey Devils, 7:00 PM, NHL Center Ice channel Game 3

Pittsburgh (seriously)
Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 PM, NHL Network

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Capitals top Hurricanes, pull into tie for division lead

Capitals 4, Hurricanes 1

You can't necessarily draw too many conclusions from one game but it certainly looked like one of the teams in last night's game deserved to be in the playoffs...and it wasn't the team that came in ahead in the standings. The Capitals flat out dominated this game - they outshot the Hurricanes 39-22, won 55% of the faceoffs, outhit their visitors 29-21 and controlled the play for the majority of each of the game's three periods.

Of course, the Capitals did get a little help from the Hurricanes and, frankly, from the officials. Not that every call went the Capitals way (after all, the Hurricanes only goal was scored because the officials missed Brooks Laich's stick being slashed out of his hands), but the Capitals had the benefit of the doubt from the men in stripes (and orange armbands) all night long.

The question is: was this a matter of luck, or is it somewhat telling of where Carolina now stands with the NHL's officials? After all, everyone knows that officials hate to be shown up and that word travels fast in the NHL these days. The Hurricanes are quickly gaining a reputation as a team of divers and regardless to what extent it's true the reality is that just as players like Sean Avery, Alex Burrows or Donald Brashear can be sent to the sin bin for "reputation penalties", a team can be victimized if they're thought to be particularly unfriendly to officials...and Peter Laviolette's uncalled for temper tantrum(s) (in which, by the way, he had the same 'I can't control myself and am about to cry' look as a four year old denied ice cream) certainly aren't going to help.

Speaking of which, just as Capitals fans can be encouraged by the way their team won I think it makes sense to be encouraged by the way the Hurricanes lost. Laviolette, as mentioned, blew a gasket not once, but twice at the referees and that's not something that's going to enamor him (or his team) to the league's officials. Brett Hedican, a 37-year-old veteran with nearly 1,000 NHL games under his belt took a frustration penalty after being hit by Alex Ovechkin. In an attempt to establish himself physically Jeff Hamilton fell backward and took a four minute high-sticking penalty. The Hurricanes bench took a penalty for abuse of officials immediately after a penalty was called on the Capitals. All while being thoroughly dominated by the Capitals in a game that Carolina had at least as much motivation to win. It could just have been one bad night. But if it's anything more than that, if the Hurricanes stumble even a little bit in their two remaining games, it might cost them a post season berth. We'll get to see tomorrow night when the 'Canes travel back to Carolina to host Tampa Bay.

DMG's 3 Stars
(1) Cristobal Huet
- stopped 21 of 22 (.955%) shots sent his way
(2) Alex Semin - 1 goal, +1, 3 hits (including a big one early on to set the tone)
(3) Sergei Fedorov - 2 assists, +1, 67% on faceoffs


"The atmosphere was great. I have never seen a building like that. I have never seen the building like that."

-Mike Green

Quick Hits

  • The three stars as chosen by the local media were the Capitals three trade deadline acquisitions.

  • Apparently Semin can hit, so long as his energy is devoted there and not into slashing or roughing penalties.

  • In addition to his goal, Matt Cooke had 6 hits.

  • Jeff Schultz had 4 shot blocks.

  • Is the key to getting Cam Ward off his game just to crash the net? If so, even if the Hurricanes make the playoffs, they're not going anywhere.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Banged Up Wiz Return Home After 2-3 Trip

Sunday night the Wizards were one big shot or one defensive stop away from stunning the Lakers in an overtime thriller in Los Angeles. A victory would've secured a winning road trip and bolstered Washington's chances of holding on to the 5th spot in the East and perhaps even catching Cleveland for 4th.

Instead, the boys in blue lost that game 126-120, suffered two key injuries, got drilled by 42 points in Utah last night and limped home with a 2-3 mark on the West coast trip. It was an ugly way to end an otherwise encouraging trip for the Wiz, who mounted impressive comebacks in each of their two wins and to force overtime against the Lakers.

In Friday's 114-108 win in Sacramento the Wizards climbed back from 16 down in the third quarter and thanks in large part to former-King Darius Songaila's 17 points in 18 minutes, they were able to hold on at the end.

Two nights later, it was another bench player who almost single-handedly kept the Wizards in a tight game in L.A. Making his first trip back to the city where he starred for USC, rookie Nick Young exploded for his most impressive offensive game, dropping a career-high 27 in a career-high 31 minutes. Eddie Jordan put the ball in his young scorer's hands time and time again down the stretch - a little too much for my liking, even with his hot hand - and showed tremendous confidence in Young against one of the best teams in the league.

The Wizards lost the game in overtime, in another one of those physically and emotionally draining defeats. They also lost Antonio Daniels (sprained left wrist) and Caron Butler (sprained left hamstring) at least for last night's loss in Utah. Butler - who hit a ridiculous three with Derek Fisher all up in his grill to force overtime - might be able to return for tomorrow' night's game against the Bucks. Daniels could also play but his injury, which forced him out of Sunday's game after just three minutes on the floor, appears to be a bit more serious.

What to Take Away from the Road Trip

  • The bench is geared up and ready to play. With a few exceptions - read Andray Blatche - the Wizards' reserves are pulling their weight and then some in recent weeks. Roger Mason has been the unsung hero all season, filling in for the injured Arenas and Daniels at the point and providing timely long-range buckets to go along with veteran backcourt play. But now Songaila and Young are pitching in on a nightly basis, giving Washington more reliable scoring options off the bench than they've had all season. Check out the Numbers Game below to see their improvements.
  • Tough Juice is in playoff mode. Since returning to the Wizards' lineup on March 13 against Cleveland, the Wiz are 7-3 in games in which he has played. Butler was firing on all cylinders against his old team on Sunday, notching his third triple-double of the season (17 points, 12 boards and 12 assists) and watching his reaction to that three to force overtime sent a chill down my spine. I just wish Eddie would've put the ball in Caron's hands in overtime rather than Young's. Nick had a great game but Caron is the captain and hitting big shots go with that title. You've got to give him touches in the extra period. Assuming his hamstring injury isn't serious, I can't see Caron allowing this team to fall any lower than the 5th spot. Everyone on that roster would love to get another shot at the Cavs and with the way CB3 is playing right now, it would be a tasty matchup.
  • Speaking of guys drooling over a possible Cavs-Wiz first round series, how about DeShawn Stevenson on Sunday night? The Locksmith was locked and loaded in L.A., dropping 27 on 8-for-12 shooting from behind the arc. Stevenson seems to step it up big in the big games and if he gets another chance to go opposite his not-so-good buddy LeBron, you can bet he'll be looking to make a statement for himself and his team.
The Numbers Game
The bench has been producing for the Wizards lately, and they made their presence felt on the five-game road trip. Here's a look at how the reserves played during that stretch compared to their season averages. Note: One of these things is not like the others. Scoring numbers are up for every reserve except one.

Mason (07-08)----8.8----1.5-----1.7
Mason (Last 5)---12.2----2.2-----3.0
Songaila(Last 5)---7.4----2.8-----1.2
Young (07-08)----7.5----1.6-----0.9
Young (Last 5)---11.4----0.6-----1.0
McGuire (07-08)-1.2----1.9-----0.5
McGuire (Last 5)-2.8----1.6-----0.4
Blatche (07-08)---7.1----5.0-----1.1
Blatche (Last 5)---4.8----3.6-----0.8

  • "I'm happy for Nick Young and I'm proud of my guys but we just played a team that executed down the stretch. And we just couldn't come up with the one big play at the end." -- Eddie Jordan on the loss to L.A.
  • "I wouldn't say we were tired; I would say they are good and you have to give credit to them. They attacked us early, kept attacking, they had great ball movement and they just continued to play well. They're running the same offense they ran when I was here and if you don't come out focused, they'll keep screening and get open shots and that's what happened." -- Stevenson on the loss to Utah
Stay tuned for some news on Gilbert possibly taking a pay-cut to keep the Big Three in tact and Washington's matchup with the Bucks tomorrow night.

-- The Tar Heel
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Monday, March 31, 2008

Hurricanes/Capitals Preview

Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals
Tuesday, April 1st, 2008, 7:00 PM
Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Last Meeting: 3/26/08, Caps win 3-2 in the shootout

To call this one the biggest game of the season would be an understatement - this is biggest game this franchise has played in almost five years; the biggest since Martin St. Louis broke the hearts of Caps fans with an powerplay game winner in the third overtime at MCI Center on Easter Sunday, 2003, the result of a too many men on the ice call. A win Tuesday night would put the Capitals into a tie (points-wise) with Carolina for first in the Southeast Division, while a loss would all but extinguish the team's already somewhat dim playoffs hopes. If the Capitals have proven anything this season it's that they're never down and out, and are at their best when their backs are against the wall. Do they have one more great win in them?

About the Opponent

Carolina Hurricanes: 42-31-6, 90 points, 1st in the Southeast Division, 3rd in the Eastern Conference

Team Leaders
Goals: Eric Staal (36)
Assists: Eric Staal (43)
Points: Eric Staal (79)
Plus/Minus: Joe Corvo (+19)
Penalty Minutes: Scott Walker (113)
Fights: Wade Brookbank (12)

Keys to the Game

Play your game. The Capitals are 32-17-7 under Bruce Boudreau and have won eight of their last nine. In short, the team knows how to play hockey and win games at the NHL level. What they need to do is not let the pressure of this game get to them and start changing the way they play.

Score early. Cam Ward's confidence against the Capitals has got to be high, so if the Hurricanes can get an early lead and concentrate on playing defense it might be hard for the Capitals to battle back.

Players to Watch

John Erskine - Carolina has a lot of good forwards and most of them are very good skaters while not. Due to his lack of foot speed and agility, Erskine is probably the best blue line target for the Hurricanes when they're trying to create chances.

Cam Ward - Ward's been a little inconsistent this season, but he's 5-0-1 against the Caps with a .950 save percentage. For Washington to win this one in regulation, they'll need to do a better job of solving Ward.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nats Stadium - Ready to Rock and Oh So Nice

This sports clown went to the Nationals vs. Orioles exhibition game on Saturday the 29th.

All I can say is Wow. The stadium is amazing. Normally I'd sit here and pick apart the piteous effort by both teams to score runs, but it was an exhibition game and most of the starters were taken out by the third inning.
Let's put it this way, I was too busy walking around the brand new stadium, in compete shock and awe to care about the game.
(I will add a few notes on at the end of this post about strengths and weakness... and by a few I mean 12.)

If I were to compare the stadium to another in the league, the closet would be Busch II in St. Louis. Which makes sense because it is the previous most recently build stadium, but what makes this stadium different is its open feeling and really expansive nature. Maybe it's because it was an exhibition game and the masses hadn't taken over yet, but as I watched the game I got a really good feeling that even though I was with thousands of other people the game I was watching was just my own. Bottom line, great sightlines from every seat that I sat in.

The concourse has a similar feel, real open in places. They have a cool bar area in dead center. I'm not sure if it's going to be open to everyone when the regular season starts, but the Red-zone was a pretty chill place to watch the game (especially for all you fans that like mixed drinks, or are with ladies that don't want another $8 beer)
I can see the food area getting absolutely crazy. I'm not sure they did a good enough job giving their venues enough space for lines and the fact that the main food court area is in the shape of a "V" with only complicate things as the different vendor lines smash together.
They do however have a lot of options. A big failure of RFK was remedied and there is great food all around the ballpark. Red Hot and Blue, Hard Times, Boardwalk fries, Ballpark Classics, Ice Cream, Dippin Dots, Chicken Tenders, Pretzels, Pizza, Chili. The best part is each food has its own stand. So if you want chicken, you won't have to wait in line with all the people that want a hot dog and vice versa. And, Oh Yeah!
Five Guys is coming!

Note: The main food vendor area is tilted on the third base side of centerfield and the main picnic area is tilted on the first base side of centerfield. You've got to walk around past the Playstation area and the Red Zone tower to find the tables. I hope they plan on putting in more tables.

Everything is pretty expensive. I had a beer and a pulled pork sandwich platter for 20 bucks, was still hungry and had to add fries for another 5. But seriously, when has stadium food ever been cheap. Back in the day they probably complained that their frankfurter was costing them a nickel when they could ride the train to the Coney Island for 2 cents. It's the nature of the beast and I can suck it up for a night of entertainment.

All-in-all the stadium is very nice and the money put in was well spent. It looks great, the food is gourmet compared to RFK and the viewing experience is second to none. They've managed to capture a spring training/interactive/personal feel on the big stage.

Metro = > This is the nitty gritty about getting to the ballpark. They have other methods that include a shuttle from RFK and parking for season ticket holders, but that could be just as squirrelly so I recommend using the Metro. No matter where you are coming from you'll need to get on the Green line and get off at the Navy Yard. For most that means Green line towards Branch Avenue and for everyone that I know that means transfer to green at L'Enfant Plaza. This will bring you up right next to the stadium, literally take a left and there it is. Pretty cool situation and a real fun sight to see when you are ready to go to a ball game.

Now listen up because this is important. When the game is over, do not follow the rest of the sheep back into the Navy Yard stop. Go past the mob, take your first left and follow the signs to the Waterfront stop. It's hiding next to a Safeway, but you'll see the overhang. The Waterfront is one stop down on the green line and if you are walking briskly or even an above average pace you will by-pass the entire clustersmuck leaving the stadium. It'll still take about an hour to get home, but headaches will be at a minimum.

Now for the less than stellar part of the evening, the game... (click the tab for expanded analysis for the positives and negatives)


- We won 3-0
- Kearns looked sharp and ready to prove himself
- Nick Johnson is still healthy
- The bullpen was very strong
- Bergmann didn't disappoint my high hopes for him
- Ryan Zimmerman is still the dreamy poster boy of the franchise so I bought a jersey


- Paul Lo Duca can't throw out my grandmother, prepare to watch a lot of teams run
- We only scored 3 runs against the Orioles
- Elijah Dukes left 10 runners on base and 5 in scoring position, striking out twice
- The bench looked really weak (Lopez 0-2, Boone 0-1, Young 1-4, Flores 0-1)
- Bergmann walked more batters than he struck out
- Dmitri Young is listed at 6'2'', 220 Lbs in the media guide, haha. Yeah right.

The Nationals have a lot to work on, but at least they are doing some things right. I've said it before, they will be a competitive team on most nights but lets just hope they can turn that into a couple more wins than we are used to.

- The Hokie
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