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St. Louis therapy dog makes good on NLCS wager, reps Nationals gear

St. Louis therapy dog makes good on NLCS wager, reps Nationals gear

Friendly wagers are one of the best parts of sports. They're even more fun when they involve two very good boys. 

Thor, a black lab therapy dog from Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, challenged Tabby, a German Shepherd therapy dog at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., to a friendly bet on the Nats-Cardinals NLCS best of seven series. The bet was settled not too long after it began.

Since the Nationals swept the Cardinals, Thor had to wear a Nationals' bandana to work, courtesy of Tabby.

Thor does not look very amused, but at least he was a very good sport.

Hopefully, Thor will decide to cheer on the Nationals in their first-ever World Series against the Astros!

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Here's how MLB will experiment with crowd noise at Nationals games

Here's how MLB will experiment with crowd noise at Nationals games

Crowd noise made its way into Nationals Park on Wednesday. It’s not the only place, and it will continue.

Major League Baseball teamed with the video-game maker MLB The Show to pull together audio which can be used during fan-less games across the league in 2020.

Its initial use received good reviews from Nationals players, according to Davey Martinez. All sides were also working to temper the volume in an empty, echoing stadium. Sounds on the field come across different than in the dugout. The Nationals players asked for the crowd noise to be turned down later in their intrasquad game on Wednesday. Everyone was pleased once that happened.

RELATED: CROWD NOISE MAKES ITS WAY TO NATS PARK

Martinez said they plan to use the fake noise throughout the season.

Here are the details from an MLB spokesperson of how the crowd-noise experiment will work:

  • All Clubs will use ambient and reactionary background audio to create crowd noise during the 2020 season.
  • MLB is providing each team with an array of crowd sounds and a touchpad device that can be integrated into their ballpark sound system to help manage the playing of these sounds. The crowd sounds will be audible to on-field personnel and during television and radio broadcasts.
  • Clubs will begin to use and test the sounds during Summer Camp workouts and exhibition games to be prepared for the start of the season.
  • The crowd backgrounds and reactions provided to the Clubs are all derived from exclusive, original source audio recorded by MLB The Show developers at MLB regular season games. The audio was meticulously edited into sound cues used in MLB The Show 20, with a focus on authentically replicating crowd sound and behavior. Selected content was then further refined for real-time playback over ballpark audio systems and allows for around 75 different effects/reactions to be used during a game.
  • The crowd sounds will work in conjunction with stadium announcers, walkup music and in-stadium video to replicate the in-game experience as closely as possible.
  • Clubs can use a different audio provider if they choose, but all will be provided the MLB system.
  • The Home team will operate and manage the playing of crowd sounds, as they do with other audio and video content. Clubs will be required to project the type and volume of audio in a way that otherwise mimics the sounds that would have been present in the park had fans been in attendance.
  • With the energy of fans in attendance being a key element missing from games right now, MLB developed these audio enhancements to help improve the in-game experience for both players and personnel at the ballpark as well as fans watching and listening at home. In the event fans are permitted in ballparks, we will revisit audio policies for those games.

 
Is it fans? No. Is there a, “Nats, Nats, Nats, Woooo!” chant when they score? No.

Is it an improvement over the silence pervading the park during prior workouts? It is.

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Juan Soto hints at returning to Nationals summer training on Instagram

Juan Soto hints at returning to Nationals summer training on Instagram

Ever since summer training started for the Nationals, one of the main questions surrounding the team revolved around their absent superstar left fielder. 

Along with Howie Kendrick and Victor Robles, Juan Soto has yet to report to summer training ahead of a 60-game sprint that will act as Washington's first World Series title defense. The 21-year-old went into isolation on July 7 after coming in contact with a teammate who tested positive for coronavirus. The team revealed two unnamed players tested positive on July 5.

Now, it appears Soto's return is approaching, as he hinted Wednesday night on Instagram that he's "coming tomorrow."

Soto's return will surely be a welcomed sight by his teammates. With Anthony Rendon gone via free agency, Soto is now the lineup's centerpiece. He'll need to produce at the level he did last year, if not better, to give the Nats' stellar pitching staff the run support they need. 

RELATED: NATS KNOW THEY CAN'T DO THE '19-31' THING IN 2020

In 2019, Soto posted a .282/.401/.548 slash line with 34 home runs, 110 RBI and 32 doubles. He came in ninth in the MVP vote and on top of it all, delivered a number of clutch hits in the postseason to help deliver his team a championship. 

Now that he's back, let's hope he can no further complications arise and he can remain with the team all season long, no matter how short it may be. 

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