Nats sweep Cardinals: First D.C. sweep in St. Louis since 1951

Bryce Harper went hitless for the weekend and the Washington Nationals still swept the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium III. #cantpredictball

Here’s some historical perspective that I tweeted out on Sunday:

Yes, Senators vs. Browns, the golden age of baseball indeed. That was Sportsman’s Park too, Anheuser Busch hadn’t bought the Cardinals yet.

Oh, there’s more:

Take that Neil Lomax!

I don’t know if the Capitals have ever swept the Blues though. Washington and St. Louis weren’t ever in the NBA together, at least not for very long.

When the Rams were in St. Louis (which was really weird), they played the Redskins almost annually, but never twice.

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Nats Opening Day videos from Hoover to Obama

Despite the spring equinox, the season never really arrives in the U.S. until the familiar cry of “play ball!” rings out. In Washington the grand and ancient tradition is carried out as President Johnson arrives to throw out the first ball as a thousand shutters click…”

To celebrate the home opener, I’ve put together a youtube playlist of Opening Days in Washington over the years, starting with a silent movie featuring Herbert Hoover. There’s some more highlights of recent vintage as well:

For generations, the traditional start of the American League season begin in the District of Columbia, frequently with the President throwing out the first ball to the assembled Washington Senators. Presidents Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson included in black and white newsreels included on the playlist. Footage of Richard Nixon, a big Senators fan, couldn’t be found — newsreels were over by then and the Senators were by the end of Nixon’s first term. Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush (the elder) and Clinton would throw out the first ball elsewhere, while oddly enough softball player Jimmy Carter never did, at least for Opening Day.

The tradition resumed, albeit sporadically and not always on true Opening Day, in 2005 when the Washington Nationals were reborn as a National League team. Now, it’s a first pitch, from the mound to a specific player rather than the first ball from the stands to a group. George W. Bush made two home opener appearances – 2005 at RFK Stadium and 2008 on Nationals Park Opening Night. Barack Obama, wearing a Chicago White Sox cap and Nats jacket threw an eephus pitch in 2009.

Hoping for a return to an annual Washington Presidential Opening Day is unfortunately a fool’s errand. Between other presidential duties and MLB stretching out Opening Day into Opening Week, the tradition is unlikely to return. At the very least, MLB could award Washington a regular Opening Day slot, but they tend to be more sympathetic to Baltimore on such matters.

There are a few other on-field highlights as well as a pregame hype video. Hopefully, more Opener video will find it’s way onto youtube.

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The Washington Americans uniforms of the 1970s Ball Four TV show

Last year, I learned that Jim Bouton starred in a television series based on his autobiography, Ball Four. The fictional team was the “Washington Americans” and the opening featured views of RFK Stadium.

I decided, granted only based on the opening credits, to take a look at the uniforms and logo.

ben-davidson-americansThe home uniforms are not far off of the classic “Dodgers look.” Red stars to dot the “i” too, like the 1960s Phillies uniforms. Not bad, certainly better than the set the San Diego Padres would have worn had they moved to D.C. in 1974.

That’s Oakland Raiders legend Ben Davidson, by the way, making his triumphant return to Washington. He played for the 1962-63 Redskins.

washington-americans-roadie-frontThe road uniforms were similar to some jerseys (Dressed to the Nines) that the Senators wore over the year with WASHINGTON in block letters on the front. On the back, the name was in blue with the number in red, a look the Chicago Cubs have used (sportslogos.net).

The Americans logo, shown here is was on the sleeve. washington-americans-logo

There is also a bicentennial logo (Wikipedia), probably best known in sports for appearing on the Super Bowl X jerseys and mentioned in UniWatch last month.

jim-bouton-americans

There’s Bouton wearing the red cap. It doesn’t come through clearly because sadly, screengrabs from 1970s television are less than high-definition. Was it an A or W? I can’t say.

Overall, it’s a decent uniform that I wouldn’t have minded being able to see in person growing up, but alas D.C. baseball was just a fantasy until 2005.

Here’s the opening, complete with Harry Chapin singing the theme.


It’s 3 days until Pitchers & Catchers Day

It’s 48 days until Opening Day

It’s 51 days until the Home Opener, which should be on Opening Day

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William F. Yurasko's blog v.15 – Nats, Redskins, Capitals, D.C. life, transportation, not so much Penn State anymore,