MissChatter: StrasTown

MissChatter: StrasTown

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 1:30 pm

By Miss Chatter

Strasburg warms up prior to his debut

The Nationals may as well re-brand their marketing campaign and change NatsTown to StrasTown after last night. With the hype nearing fever pitch prior to the phenom pitcher's debut, and showing no signs of slowing down after he K'd fourteen batters in seven innings, the ballclub has a goldmine on their hands, despite the record money paid after drafting Strasburg first overall in last year's amateur draft. Nearing fever pitch? I mean beyond fever pitch. That fact was clearly evident in the sold out stands and on the backs of fans at Nationals Park last night.

I dub these Strasburg jerseys and t-shirts "Strasseys". They are sure to take over the world faster than the Snuggie pub crawls ever did, and less likely to flame out into ridiculed fad. At least, I certainly hope so! Every place I turned and looked among the crowd last night, the Strasseys clearly outnumbered the Zimmerjeys. Ryan Zimmerman quietly won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards last year, but his marketing prowess is no match for the first pitcher in generations to come along with a lightning fastball, sneaky curveslider and off-speed stuff that baffles the men in the batter's box. Oh and the hype. We can't forget the hype. Did you know that Strasburg was trending on Twitter yesterday, not just locally, but globally! Cha ching!

Strasburg jerseys prevalent among the sold out crowd

I really wanted to walk around and pick a section to use as a sample size and then extrapolate out to the 40,000 in attendance, but with the stands as cramped and full as they were, my guesstimate would hardly be scientific. Not to mention, I couldn't take my eyes off the fast-paced game, particularly after the Nats took the lead. Still, I snapped photos of the crowd in various sections, and it appears the Strasseys win 3:1 over the face-of-the-franchise Zimmerjeys.

The Nationals even marketed a promotion to ticket holders at The Debut - 37 percent off tickets to the next two games in the series, redeemable right there in the ballpark. I guarantee tonight's attendance will feel like a letdown compared to last night's playoff atmosphere complete with field sets from ESPN and MLB Network prior to the game.

So welcome to StrasTown where the grass is greener, the beer is colder and Half Street funnels happy Strassey-wearing fans through the StrasTown Center Field Gate entrance. Of course, the other Nats may feel left out if one player who only takes the mound every five days becomes the brand of the franchise. So scratch that, re-branding to StrasTown would not likely harbor clubhouse camaraderie. The impact of one player on the complete turnaround of atmosphere and jerseys was truly an astounding sight to behold, though. I would imagine NatsTown will return to relative normalcy tonight though. But for one night, StrasTown was the hottest ticket to be found.
Miss Chatter on Stephen Strasburg's debut

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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Red Wings will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (42-24-7) take on the Red Wings (27-35-11) Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Detroit.


The Capitals-Red Wings game will be broadcast on NBCSN. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Red Wings (on NBCSN)
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Red Wings game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Jakub Jerabek


You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.