Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Nats Fall Short

I was hoping the rainbow was a positive sign for the not but alas it was not to be

But damn it was pretty

I will say it was fun to be part of history last night. But it was history at the expense of the Nationals.

As a story in the Post put it:

The ball scorched off Albert Pujols’s bat, and the Washington Nationals’ varied problems ceded briefly to history. Their slipshod defense, their propensity for early deficits, a suddenly slumping offense and a rotation that may be in flux faded as Pujols’s teammates streamed from the Nationals Park visitors’ dugout and marched to the plate. As Pujols stepped on home plate, he pointed both index fingers to the sky.

After his first home run, number 499, in the first inning(which put the Nats in a 4-0 hole), Pujols came up to bat again in the 5th inning. I thought to myself it would be kind of neat to see him hit number 500. (As I found out later only 26 players have ever reached this achievement.) Once he hit the ball I knew it was something amazing to see. I’m very glad I was there. I’m also very pleased with the way the Nationals’ fan handled the situation. As the Angels bench emptied to congratulate Pujols the crowd at the park rose for a standing ovation. They kept clapping until Pujols came out for a curtain call. That was one very classy thing to do.

That’s about all that was classy about this game. I think it can be best summed up by a couple of examples. The game ends with Bryce Harper striking out. There are not one but two errors. The Nats have more errors than the total number of games they’ve played so far. Also the highest number of errors in all of baseball right now. The bases were loaded no outs. Jayson Werth hits into a double play. One run does score but well they should have gotten more.

That is what the season has been like so far. As a friend at the gym said to me when I told him I was going to the game I wonder which Nationals’ team will show up. Unfortunately it was the error prone, give up too many runs too early, unable to score version of the team.

It is still early in the season. As everyone says there is plenty of time. But plenty of time can run out rather quickly and morph into too little too late. The problems, especially the number of errors, must be solved now.

But again I was glad to be there when history was made.

Albert Pujols heading for home with home run number 500.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Nats Game

The Nats are playing the Angels tonight. Hoping a better result than last night. Last night another bases loaded situation but only one run. 

Hoping for a better results tonight. 

The Beauty of Spring

On Sunday I was walking around found these trees at full bloom. They were just beautiful. A reminder that winter is finally over.

Washington at Night

I went to an event at Arena Stage Saturday night and decided that instead of getting on the subway at Waterfront I would get on at Union Station. It was a little bit of a walk but it was a nice night.

Washington at night especially around the Mall is always so spectacular.

Here are a couple of pictures.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Thoughts on the Nationals

They were able to split the four game series with the Cardinals which was a very good thing. But the Nats record against the two teams that are their presumed major obstacles to the post season (the Braves and Cardinals) is a dismal 3-7 this year.

They won’t play the Cardinals again in the regular season. The Braves are another matter entirely. The Nats will play the Braves 13 more times this season. The next time won’t be for a little while, June. June 19 to be exact. It will be at home. It will be a four game series. And the Nats are going to have to take at least three of those games. The reason is that so far against the Braves the Nats are an anemic 1-5. That follows last year’s dismal record of 6-13. If there is going to be any sort of run at winning the division, the Nats are going to have to solve the problem of the Braves. The one good thing is there is two months for the Nats to try and figure out how to do that.

Next thing that needs to get better is the team’s ERA. Through Sunday the Nat’s ERA average is 3.66. That puts them 14th in the league. Essentially right in the middle. The average for the National League is 3.64. So the Nats are just a hair above that. The team at number 1 just so happens to be the Braves (ugh can we ever get away from these guys) at 2.40. There have been way too many games lately where by the third inning three, four, five or sometimes as many as 6 runs have been scored by the other team. Way to get in a big whole in a big hurry really early in the game. This has got to get better.

Hitting is in better shape. The Nats are seventh overall in the league with a .255 average. The main thing is not to get behind early. And please, please, please when you have bases loaded get at least one run in. This happened on Sunday with bases loaded and one out and the result no runs. They had better luck in the bottom of the 9th when Denard Span came up and a sacrifice fly into left field winning the game.

So what to take from just about 20 games into the season. The Nats pitching needs to get better. Hopefully when Doug Fister has recovered from his injury the Nats will have their full rotation in and things will get better. Just a little improvement could make a big difference by not getting behind early. The flip side of that is the Nats need to start scoring runs earlier in the game. How about loading the bases in the third or fourth inning and scoring a couple of runs.

It is early in the season. But last year there was too much of wait they will get on track. Just wait until May or June or July or August. The problem was they ran out of time. At the end of the season they were the hottest team in baseball. But they just started a little too late to make the playoffs.

My suggestion start getting red hot as soon as possible and start the momentum for a 100 win season or as close to it as possible.

Whatever the results, I’ll be out there tomorrow night saying: Let’s go Nats.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014 Peeps Contest Winners

Yes, it is that time of year again. It's time for the Washington Post's annual peeps diorama contest.

As always these are such incredible fun to look at.

Here's the link to the Post and you can see all about them.

Here are a couple of screen shots. But to get the full effect you need to go to the Post site.

They are soooo fantastic.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Kalb Report with Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What a way for the Kalb Report to end its 20th season. Having not one but two justices from the Supreme Court. Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Not going to do a whole narrative on the night but just list some of the points made by the two justices.

Scalia said lots of constitutions have a bill of rights and say they have freedom of the press. But it’s all lip service. What makes the Bill of Rights work in America is the overall structure surrounding it. The Constitution itself.

Here's a little more of what he said:

Scalia: [The Bill of Rights] should not be painted as the foundation of the American democracy… Don’t forget the Bill of Rights was an afterthought. It was not what they debated about in Philadelphia in 1787… What they thought would preserve a free society was the structure of government — that’s what they debated about in 1787. And if you think that’s false, just look around the world. Every tin-horn dictator in the world today has a bill of rights. It isn’t a bill of rights that produces freedom. It is the structure of government that prevents anybody from seizing all the power.

The link above gives you some more direct quotes from the discussion.

Funny banter back and forth between the two about their different views on the constitution. Ginsburg talked about getting a sneak peak at an opinion from Scalia and after reading it how it ruined her whole weekend.
Kalb asked if they ever felt like picking up the phone and calling the White House to get information on something. They both vehmently said no they could not do that. They could not go out and get opinions about a case they had to judge it on the information that’s given to them.

Both talked about how they have to wait for cases to come to them. They can’t go out and get cases or start an investigation. Scalia talked about the Indian Supreme Court. He said if one of their members read something in the Bombay Times (Ginsburg corrected him saying it was Mumbai. Scalia shot back that he was going to call it Bombay that was perfectly good English word to call the city) about the way a police chief treated people the court could go and start an investigation. The Supreme Court in this country cannot do that.

Interesting exchange on the NSA. Here’s some of it from the associated press story:

“I don’t think we have a choice” about dealing with the surveillance issue, Ginsburg said. “We can’t run away” from grappling with whether the government has overstepped its constitutional bounds.

The Supreme Court is the institution that is going to decide these “highly significant questions,” Scalia said. “We know nothing about the degree of risk. The executive knows, Congress knows.”

They hedge a little on the NSA not wanting to give away too much. So Kalb tried to ask the question another way. Scalia said you're going to get the same answer.

Scalia is a very charming, very smart, very funny guy. Some self deprecating  humor. But boy oh boy are his decisions wrong.

But what is clear is the respect that Scalia and Ginsburg have for each other. Ginsburg even calling Scalia by his nick name Nino. And in this time of hyper partisanship, it was nice to see two people with such divergent views on the law get along. As Scalia put it: If you cannot disagree with your colleagues on the law without taking it personally, you ought to get another day job.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thinking Thoughts of Spring

Even with this minor set back, I will continue to think thoughts of spring. What better way to think those thoughts then to post some cherry blossom pictures.

A kite eating tree

Winter Strikes Back

It was a balmy 70 degrees this morning. Twelve hours later the temperature is moving toward the freezing mark. It has been rainy and windy all day. Sometimes the rain was just pouring down. Now it is actually, and I hate to say this, there is snow coming down.

Will this winter ever end! This had better be the last of this.

This might look like rain but it's snow showers. Ugh!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More People than Petals?!

That's certainly the way it felt when I ventured down to the Tidal Basin on Saturday. I only got to the very fringe of it but everywhere you looked were people. People walking bikes. People with dogs, People with strollers. People. People. People.

I decided to only go down to where the paddle boats are and then tuned to walk back to the Mall. To give you an idea of just how many people were down there, I had to cross Maine Avenue to head back north. It took three lights for me to get cross the street. Three.

Walking up to the Mall all there was wave after wave of people. This was before noon. I can only imagine what the rest of the day had in store.

Trying to get close to the Tidal Basin

People watching the parade.

Near the cross walk at Maine Avenue

This is the cross walk at Maine Avenue

More of the cross walk

Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Here's something that rarely happens: having cherry blossoms actually on the trees on the day of the parade. Those times are few and far between. Usually the blossoms have peaked several weeks early. This time, because of the crappy weather we've had, they were out late.

Needless to say there were lots of people down watching he parade and seeing the blossoms.

Here are a few pictures from the parade.