Michaela Johnson

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D.C. athletes are out in full force celebrating All-Star Week

NBC Sports Washington

D.C. athletes are out in full force celebrating All-Star Week

Major League Baseball players and fans aren't the only ones celebrating All-Star week in D.C.

The Players Tribune hosted an event at Blind Whino, a few blocks away from Nationalss Park. Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Smith were at the party hanging out with fans and soaking in all the excitement.

Kerrigan even called Bryce Harper winning the Home Run Derby.

Ryan Zimmerman also stopped by the party, and talked about what it means for D.C. to host the All-Star Game for the first time since 1969.

Josh Norman and John Wall represented the D.M.V. in Sunday's celebrity softball game.

The Redskins cornerback was actually more focused on the softball game than his upcoming football season.

It's great to see D.C. athletes supporting other sports, especially in the national spotlight, and these guys didn't disappoint. 


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The All-Star FanFest might be more fun than the actual game

NBC Sports Washington

The All-Star FanFest might be more fun than the actual game

The MLB All-Star Game  is coming to Washington, D.C. for the first time since 1969, and along with it comes a weekend full of All-Star festivities. 

FanFest is the biggest, most extravagant baseball party of the year. 

Sure, at the 2018 All-Star game on Tuesday night you can watch what it might be like if a fantasy team game to life, as the very best players in the league compete against each other. But FanFest takes that excitement a step further by giving fans the opportunity to pretend they’re the All-Stars with over 40 attractions in one place.

All day from Friday, July 13 through Tuesday July 17, fans can participate in challenges such as a batting practice, clinics hosted by pros including Ryan Church, Justin Maxwell and Lisa Fernandez.

One of the most popular attractions is the virtual reality Home Run Derby. The participants with the best scores will be invited to participate in a championship tournament Monday before the real Home Run Derby, and the winner will recieve tickets to the All-Star Game.

If you’re not an athlete and don’t pretend to be, there are countless other ways to enjoy the week’s festivities. There’s plenty of merchandise available for purchase, from standard ASG memorabilia to signed vintage jerseys to original artwork. Fans can enjoy various ballpark fare from teams around the league while relaxing in MLB Network’s Fan Cave-esque lounge. An entire “rookie league” is dedicated to making sure children enjoy the festivities as well with face painting, cornhole, a base-stealing challenge and pint-sized batting practice.

Tuesday night you can watch your favorite players from a distance, but at the FanFest there are countless opportunities to get face time with legends including Juan Marichal and Rollie Fingers. You can bring a jersey, card, or other memorabilia to be autographed, and attend small-group question and answer sessions with the some of the biggest stars of the game

In principle, the All-Star Game is exciting, but the last few years have been underwhelming. The game lacks competitiveness as it has no real implications, and players don't want to risk getting hurt making big plays. Last year, the Home Run Derby was more popular than the game, based on ticket prices. The FanFest offers interactivity, competition and the opportunity for fans to participate in exclusive activities, which the All-Star Game iteslf does not.

If you haven't made plans to stop by FanFest, get your tickets ASAP because every baseball fan should experience the ultimate celebration of America's pastime.


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Dwight Howard wants to use his time with the Wizards to change his image


Dwight Howard wants to use his time with the Wizards to change his image

Since it became official the Wizards reached a deal with Dwight Howard, some fans have been questioning whether or not it's a good move. 

Howard has been with four teams in four seasons and tends to face issues in the locker room. In the latest Wizards Tipoff podcast, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller reports that he has heard Howard is coming to the Wizards with the intention of changing the narrative.

Dwight has worn out his welcome in the last four places he’s been: Houston, LA, Charlotte and Atlanta, his hometown. From what I’ve been told by a source, he wants to change the narrative on him, what people perceive of him…. I’m excited about him. I went from being “okay” to being excited about him. Because from what I heard, he’s trying to change the image of him coming into a team and wearing out his welcome.

Chase Hughes agreed that if it really is Howard's intention to improve his image, it makes the move that much better for the Wizards.

That changes everything, honestly. If you take this guy at his word - you can be skeptical if you want, he has to prove himself - but that addresses one of the biggest concerns anyone’s gonna have of him going into this locker room or any locker room. Is he going to be selfish or not? Can he get along with others? If he’s trying to do that, and he’s still got time to redo his image if he wants to, if that’s the case, I like the move even more. On the face of it, I’m ecstatic.

Being skeptical of Howard's potential chemistry with the Wizards is completely fair. He's faced numerous problems off the court in the past, and the Wizards had some of their own locker room issues last season. 

However, if the reports are true that Howard seriously wants to treat this season as a do-over, fans should be excited about what he's bringing to D.C.

Listen to the rest of the conversation on the Wizards Tipoff Podcast here:

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