Farewell, Michael Morse

It was certainly an inevitable situation as Mike Rizzo tinkered with and cemented the Nationals line-up for the 2013 season, and now, Michael Morse’s time in Washington has come to an end. The Beast was traded yesterday to the Seattle Mariners in a three-way trade that will bring AJ Cole back to the District.

It was his 2011 campaign that truly brought him to the forefront as his bat did the work and his antics made fans swoon. His impact on so many games that season is undeniable and he was the offensive spark in the otherwise lackluster Nationals line-up. That season brought the Nats to the verge of taking the team to the division title the next year and his contributions will not be forgotten.

Singing his signature song, his cobra snake pre-bat routine, his elaborate schemes to smack shaving cream in teammates’ faces, and the phantom grand slam, among others, made Morse seem like the guy you could strike up a conversation with and instantly like him. And it felt like he’d enjoy it just as much.

Morse was the personality that made the Nationals in 2011-2012 so incredibly likeable. The Nats have a plethora of likeable personalities that seem, at times, to just be shy. Morse brought out those personalities. Not only did he make the fans smile, but it was clear he was that eccentric spark in the clubhouse that made fans cherish the roster they had.

Morse’s final at-bat came directly after the 45,966 in attendance at game 5 of the NLDS sang him one last tune, his signature late-game walk-up music of Aha’s “Take on Me.” To be perfectly honest, the above video nearly brought me to tears. It certainly became a tradition for the faithful and one that should follow the Beast on the rest of his journey through his career. So long, Beast. You will be missed.

Oh yeah, I’m also thankful he got traded to the other league. Thanks, Rizzo.

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Sad day: The Hogettes are no more

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It truly is a sad day in Washington, as one of the longest continuous traditions in Redskins history in no more. The Hogettes are calling it quits. From their Facebook page:

After 30 seasons, the Hogettes are hanging up our pig snouts & dresses.

It has been an honor being a part of the greatest 12th Man fans in the NFL.

We will forever be Redskins’ fans and cheer for our beloved team.

It is a new era and we will continue to support RG3 and his teammates.

HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!!!

We will also continue to help (incognito) raise money for Children’s Charities.

Mikey T.

Boss Hogette

It’s certainly an odd tradition to have grown men show up to games at RFK and FedEx Field in drag and pig snouts, but it’s one that Skins fans know and appreciate. They are members of the the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio largely for their philanthropic work, raising over $100 million for local charities.

They will be missed. HAIL!

 

 

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Bryce Harper might break the internet

“Dear Internet Friends, I give you Harper-cat.”

Those are eight words I thought I’d never hear, but I’m beyond glad I have now. The only problem I have with this video is that it isn’t 10 hours long. Get on it, internet friends.

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Courtland Milloy wants you to know you’re a racist

Redskins fans have long dealt with outsiders admonishing the team’s nickname for being racially insensitive and offensive. It’s nothing new and it certainly won’t go away. After losing in the playoffs, Courtland Milloy knew what he had to do. Call out all fans of the team and blame the loss on karma.

Below is my response to Milloy’s column terrible attack on the Redskins franchise, the team, and fans.

[Bold text is Milloy’s words, plain text is mind]

So, Washington football fans, how’s that offensive team name and demeaning sports mascot working out? Whooping and hollering as RGIII goes on a “Redskins” warpath only to leave a trail of tears when his wounded knee gets buried at FedEx Field.

Yup, the reason the Redskins lost to the Seahawks on Sunday wasn’t because of the Seahawks defense selling out on the run because of a hobbled Griffin, the terrible turf at FedEx Field, suspect tackling by the defense, or even RGIII tearing his ACL . It’s because we’re all racists. Yeah, that’s the reason they lost. Good use of  the “trail of tears” though, because football, forced relocation have so much in common.

In this obscene home team sports fantasy, the gifted Robert Griffin III was reduced to a “noble savage.” Let the “Redskin” play hurt. He can take it. Hail to the young brave-hearted quarterback as he limps into battle on that injured knee. Three cheers as he fights on his one good leg for Old D.C.

wat.

And when he’s felled during Sunday’s playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, bringing the postseason to an ugly and immensely unsatisfying end — torn ligaments no doubt shortening his own career as well — Washington gasps in horror.

Bad karma, I tell you, that team name.

THE SPORTS GODS HAVE NOTICED OUR SINS AND REIGNED DOWN HELL AND FIRE UPON US. RUN FOR COVER. Clearly a higher power has reached down upon the field in Landover and ripped Griffin’s anterior cruciate ligament. That’ll show ‘em!

Now don’t go trying to prove otherwise by digging up some ancient Washington victory from back in, say, Joe Gibbs’s early days. This is a new era. Attitudes are changing; progressive thinking is emerging on everything from guns, gays and gas guzzling to debt, deficits and doctor bills.

So supposedly being racist was all well and good in the ’80s and ’90s, but God totally changed his mind on that. He’s a progressive now. He realizes it’s a different time. He went to some seminar that totally blew his mind and he had a change of heart. He decided enough was enough: Let’s blow out Griffin’s knee.

Besides, Washington’s professional football team has raked up one disappointing season after another since 1992 — the year D.C. resident Suzan Harjo became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to change the team’s disparaging name.

Although Harjo lost that legal battle on a technicality, a group of younger Native Americans have filed a similar lawsuit — Blackhor se et al v. Pro-Football, Inc. Justice may yet be served.

Because if the justice system won’t rule in our favor, we’ll go to a higher power to seek retribution.

“The term ‘redskins’ is the most vile and offensive term used to describe Native Americans,” Harjo told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2011. “It is most disturbing to the overwhelming majority of Native Americans throughout the country that the professional football team in the nation’s capital uses a team name that demeans us.”

Does anyone really believe that the name “Redskins” will survive the 21st century? Other than the people who probably thought white actors in blackface would survive the 20th? The genocide of Native peoples, like America’s other original sin, slavery, cannot be forever masked with caricatures of the dead.

Like the Trail of Tears analogy you used earlier? You may have been trying to illustrate a point, but damn, you’re doing the same thing you admonish.

Next month, on Feb. 7, the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall will hold a day-long symposium and “community conversation” about the use of racist stereotypes and cultural appropriation in American sports. In a recent news release about the event, museum Director Kevin Gover wrote: “What better place to address this issue. . . . The Smithsonian Institution is the ideal forum to bring people together to ask tough questions.”

I hope so, although I suspect that the most diehard football fans have only two ways of dealing with these kinds of disagreements: racist Internet comments — and fistfights in the stands.

Because those are the only forms of reason football fans cling to. We’re all racists that can’t sit down and have a serious and frank conversation about what many call our racially insensitive team moniker. We’ll never do that, because us racist football fans don’t know how, SO WHY TALK WHEN WE CAN JUST GO KICK SOME ASS, YOU GUYS!

For those who claim that “Redskins” is an honorific to Native peoples, as team owner Dan Snyder does, representatives from several Indian nations will be on hand to tell you what they really think about that name. By the way, while Washington was weighed down with that tired old caricature of an Indian head on their helmets, Seattle was sporting a lighthearted Seahawk based on an ancient Northwest Coast Native carved totem design. They didn’t just score more touchdowns; they won on style points, too.

So the final score wasn’t 24-14? How many style points shall you award to the Seahawks, Mr. Milloy? 10? 15? Man, a 39-14 game sure sounds like a blowout. They got soundly beaten then, huh? And it’s all because of that racist name and karma. Gotcha.

The subject of the “community conversation” will be, you guessed it, the name of Washington’s professional football team. It should be quite lively. The moderator will be Philip J. Deloria of the Standing Rock Sioux, an associate dean of undergraduate education at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts and author of the books “Playing Indian” and “Indians in Unexpected Places.”

He will be joined by Judith Bartnoff, deputy presiding judge of the District of Columbia Superior Court’s Civil Division; the Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and former president of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice; Robert I. Holden, deputy director of the National Congress of American Indians; Erik Brady, a sports reporter for USA Today; and my Washington Post colleague, sports columnist Mike Wise.

Ok, now Milloy just sounds like he’s doing PR for this symposium. I get it now.

Take your children to the event. Then ask them if the name “Redskins” is offensive. Better still, ask yourself.

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Redskins: Sneak peak into that shed at FedEx Field

At first I thought it was a pathway to Narnia. Then I figured it was where Robert Griffin III hooked himself up to the machine that gives him all his abilities.

But, alas, it is only a shed for medical examinations. EB from the 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies snapped a few pictures of the interior of that shed at FedEx Field where Griffin has gone after numerous in-game injuries. Not exciting as a pathway to Narnia, but whatever. I’m sure Danny Snyder already has one, but he won’t share it with the rest of us till he can find a way to increase the profit margins.

 

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Building blocks

I’ve always felt writing things down in the heat of the moment is the best way to bestow the true emotion of a situation. So to start that off…

I’m absolutely devastated.

I’ve been a straight-ticket DC sports fan for life and I’ve witnessed my fair share of heartbreak. It’s never been easy and my teams have always, ALWAYS let me down.

But that hurt the most. That hurt really bad.

It will go down in history as the biggest collapse in MLB postseason history, but that doesn’t quite sum up how much a punch in the gut that truly was. While Jayson Werth’s walk-off on Thursday night was “unbelievable” as Charlie Slowes so elegantly put it in his radio call on 1067, the Friday night nightmare was just as unbelievable… but in that awful way that’s hard to put into words.

But let’s not forget what a magical ride this season has been.

We experienced something great in 2012. At the beginning of the season, we told ourselves we were a year away from major accomplishments and were using this year as a building block. That building block turned into five months at the top of the division, our first NL East title, and the best record in baseball. I can’t find a single person that said we could achieve that much in 2012. Not one.

That’s nothing to scoff at. That’s something to build on.

The Nationals are built to endure the test of time. The team is young and the major parts (Werth, Harp, Stras, Zimm, Zimm(nn) Desmond, Gio) are locked down for a number of years and with what we have, our window with only these players have opened a five year window of success. And that’s without any additions. The potential for this squad is astounding. I’m excited to see what they do in the coming years.

I still have the Natitude that was so amazingly ignited this season. Yeah, you’ll see that as a joke, but it’s not. This season turned me from someone who liked baseball to someone who came to truly love. So I wanna say thank you to Davey, the team, and the organization for putting something special in place that I’ll be able to vigilantly cheer for in the years to come.

170 until Opening Day.

Can’t wait.

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Michael Morse shows you how to go Beast Mode

2011 was Michael “Beast Mode” Morse’s breakout year and while he’s largely been ignored by the national media, Nationals fans love their stunning star. After Adam LaRoche went to the disabled list, Morse stepped up and did what few believe he could.

And now he’s getting some attention. So here he is explaining how his pre-plate superstition and the secret behind his swing for ESPN The Magazine’s Technique. Our Nats deserve the attention, especially after an off-season where the team picked up some players that add serious depth to the rotation in Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson.

This is a great video with some cool visuals so definitely give it a watch.

Morse led the team by hitting .303 and provided a bright spot in the lineup even without Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth struggling in the first year of his seven-year contract. He hit for power, he drove in runs, and most of all, he was clutch.

Here’s to hoping for bigger things for Morse in 2012. We’re counting on you, bud.

BONUS: Morse just posted this spread from ESPN The Magazine. So beast.

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