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National bits

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff June 23, 2009 09:31 AM

I was in Washington D.C. over the weekend visiting family. My sister-in-law alerted me to the Red Sox section they happen to have in one of the local $1 stores. I'm not sure if that speaks to the amount of Boston fans in the D.C. area or something else entirely, but anyway...

  • Red Sox president Larry Lucchino will be in Washington today to present the Smithsonian National Museum of American History with memorabilia from the 2007 World Series. So now, the Sox will be present at any future visits you might have planned to the Smithsonian.

    Or, not.

    Turns out, the exhibit is only on display until Sunday, a matter that has the Washington Post’s Baseball Insider convinced this is nothing more than marketing on the part of the Smithsonian, trying to lure out-of-town Sox fans into checking out the museum while in Washington.

    But does this seem like pandering to the crowd or simply taking advantage of a rabid fan base? Further, the 2007 World Series? That's the lesser of the two for Boston fans and, frankly, the series wasn't terribly exciting unless you were a Red Sox or Rockies fan.

    Personally, I'm just curious to see if Boston fans will now flock to the museum to see World Series artifacts. So yeah, any Red Sox fans out there let us know if the Smithsonian has lured you. But I'm also wondering, is this a new low for any host city trying to cater to a visiting team's fans?

    Probably. Though at this point, they might as well just start serving Fenway Franks in Baltimore.

  • Red Sox Monster’s Dan Lamothe presents, “The Red Sox fan's guide to the worst franchise in Major League Baseball,” and reminds us all as to how exactly former Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez felt about signing with the Nationals earlier this year:
    “When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you’re just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It’s 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me.”

    It’s a wonder why the Nationals didn’t just run with a beer goggles campaign right from there.

  • The Nationals may end up losing their New England presence. This could be the final season for the Burlington Lake Monsters (formerly the Expos) because Major League Baseball has deemed Centennial Park unfit for baseball.

    The Burlington Free Press’ Mike Donoghue writes:

    A report prepared for the Commissioner’s Office of Major League Baseball — and obtained by The Burlington Free Press — shows the playing field, the field lighting, dugouts, bullpens and both clubhouses all are seriously deficient for Single-A ball.

    The report, dated Oct. 8, 2007, said the pitching mound wasn’t regulation size. It also reported the distance between two of the four bases was longer than the 90-foot regulation. It noted defects and trip hazards with the field that could jeopardize player safety, and it said the nighttime lighting for the infield area was below acceptable levels.

    Can’t speak for playing there, but watching a game at the ancient Centennial Field is one of the great joys of the minor leagues in New England. But to sink the amount of cash needed to upgrade the field and save the team for the city, particularly in this economy, doesn’t bode well for Burlington’s Single-A franchise.

  • Despite being a Major League-worst 20-47, Nationals fans love manager Manny Acta.

    Really.

    From Dan Steinberg’s Sports Bog:

    Why the love? I mean, this team's record is wretched, almost historically wretched, and fans were congratulating him on a job well done, offering him their very best. Is Manny Acta the most popular manager of a .300 team in Major League history? I asked him.

    "These fans have been very supportive from Day 1," he said. "I really do think that they understand what's being done here. Obviously there are people that want to be rebuilding and winning at the same time, which is kind of tough to do. But most of the fans here are supportive and know what we're doing and that we're doing our best, and they've been great and I'm thankful for it. So what can I do? What can I say? I try to treat people the way they treat me, and I guess the fans have responded. Maybe they just like my hat, like you're saying."

    Acta seems the sort of guy of you’d want to have a beer with. But inevitably, the barroom discussion would turn into an argument over his favorite ballparks, a list that excludes the likes of Camden Yards and Wrigley Field in lieu of both new New York behemoths.

  • RIP, Ed McMahon.


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