With the Nationals enjoying an off day in beautiful San Diego, while we freeze here in the DC area (it did, in fact, sleet and snow a bit today), here’s a few tidbits of information from Washington’s baseball future, past, and present to warm you up:
- Future: Our “Down on the Farm” featured player, Danny Rosenbaum of the AA Harrisburg Senators was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for his two excellent starts.
- Past: Some mild complaints have arisen around the Nats Blogosphere from old fart Washington Senators fans like me lamenting Nationals’ pitcher Edwin Jackson donning Frank Howard’s “retired” number, 33. The problem with this argument is that 33 is the second-most frequent number Howard wore as a Senator. Prior to 1969, the huge slugger affectionately known as “Hondo” or “The Capital Punisher” wore number 9 (meaning Washington’s two biggest sports icons in the 1960′s, Howard and quarterback Sonny Jurgensen had the same number). Howard switched to 33 in 1969 in deference to new manager, baseball icon Ted Williams, who wore number 9 as a Boston Red Sox and wanted the same number for his Senators uniform. How could anyone in baseball say no to Teddy Ballgame? Certainly not Howard, a true gentleman who respected the game then and still does now.
- Present: When folks tell you the Nationals have trouble attracting fans because D.C. is a “transient area”, reply, respectfully, that they’re wrong. Based on the latest census data, the Washington, D.C. Metro Area is, if longtime Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell’s notes in his chat today are accurate, no more transient than Philadelphia. So, why do Phillies’ fans pack their park every night while Nationals Park is often half full (or half full of Philadelphia fans?). One reason: winning. I’ve lived in the greater D.C. area for more than 40 years and I always suspected the “transient area” charge was past history or just lazy reporting. Turns out, I could be right. Here’s Boswell’s answer to the last question of his chat today:
“I FINALLY, after a lifetime, have seen the correct stats on the degree to which the Washington Greater Metro Area is “transient. This area is now so HUGE (>5.5M) __bigger than Boston GMA and soon to pass Philly__ that the % of transients in a couple of sectors (government/military) is quite small.
The Washington GMA __which is the total fan base__ is now NORMAL for the U.S. in terms of percentage of the population that is truly “hometown.” The just-passing-through folks are down to 25% __the national average.”