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Greetings from The (air-conditioned) Booth!
As the area is bogged down in a mid-90’s heat wave this week, equally as hot is one Kyle Schwarber of the Washington Nationals, who now has hit 12 home runs in his last 10 games, and has been a major reason why the Nats have now gone over the .500 mark and are closing fast on the first-place Mets.
Also happening this week is the “fortnight” known as Wimbledon, one of tennis’ major tournaments, held across the pond at the famed All-England Club. I don’t follow tennis much anymore, but this time of year always takes me back to the mid-70’s through the early 80’s, when Summer nights would find me at Martinsburg’s Oatsdale park with my Wilson T-2000 in the back of my Chevy Vega playing tennis well into the night. I bought all the tennis mags, and made sure I was wearing the Stan Smith Converse shoes, Adidas tennis wear, and accesorizing with head and wrist bands. If you can’t play well, you might as well look the part…
This era way a heyday for tennis, with names like Borg, McEnroe,Connors, Evert, Navratilova in their primes. I always made sure I was up early for “Breakfast at Wimbledon” on NBC, with the great Bud Collins providing the commentary. And let’s not forget the great rivalries, including John McEnroe versus Bjorn Borg. It was a rivalry that was called “Fire and Ice” because of McEnroe’s fiery temperament on the court, as opposed to the almost unemotional style of the Swede.
On July 4, 1981, the two met on the grass of Centre Court for the second year in a row. The year before, Borg and McEnroe played arguably the best tennis match in history, with Borg outlasting the New Yorker in a match that included an 18-16 tiebreaker, and an 8-6 final set.
A year later, McEnroe would end Borg’s five consecutive Wimbledon titles in a 4-set victory that lacked the drama of the 1980 Final. The two would meet later that year in the US Open, as McEnroe again defeated Borg. McEnroe and Borg met 14 times in all, with each winning 7 times. The sign of a truly great rivalry.
It was a great time to be a tennis fan, and a great American win in the UK on July 4, 1981…
Until our next visit in The Booth, stay cool, Happy Birthday USA, and GO HORNETS!
VBL Results, Another Schwarber Blast Propels Nats, O’s Rout ‘Stros
Last night’s Valley Baseball League action saw Front Royal out-slug Winchester 16-14. Strasburg railroaded Woodstock 22-6, while Purcellville beat New Market 7-2. Waynesboro and Charlottesville also picked up wins.
Tonight’s limited VBL slate includes Purcellville at Woodstock.
Washington’s Kyle Schwarber set a modern day mark with his 12th home run in 10 games as the Nationals nipped Tampa Bay 4-3. Juan Soto and Victor Robles also added homers, while Joe Ross pitched 6 and 1/3 innings of 2-run baseball , as the Nats went over the .500 mark at 39-38. The two teams play again this afternoon, with air time set for 3:35 on Sports Radio 1450.
The Baltimore Orioles broke open a tight contest by scoring 10 of their runs in the final 3 innings in a 13-3 rout of Houston last night. The Birds, who collected 16 hits on the night, were led by Cedric Mullins, who went 4-for-5, while driving in 2. The two clubs play tonight at 8:10.
And, at Wimbledon, Roger Federer advanced, while Serena Williams was forced to bow out after suffering an ankle injury in her first-round match.
VBL Scores, Schwarber Hits 2 More As Nats Win, O’s hang On
On the Valley League Scoreboard last night, New Market beat Winchester in a wild 13-11 contest, Strasburg nipped Front Royal 9-8, and Woodstock routed Purcellville 17-4.
Tonight on the VBL slate, Winchester visits the Bing to take on Front Royal, Woodstock heads up I-81 to play Strasburg, while New Market entertains Purcellville.
The Washington Nationals cracked 5 home runs last night, including 2 more by Kyle Schwarber, in an 8-4 win over the New York Mets. Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, and Gerardo Parra also went deep for the Nats, who are now just 3 games behind the Mets for the NL East lead. The Nationals begin a tough stretch of games tonight, when they host Tampa Bay tonight, starting at 6:35 on Sports Radio 1450.
The Baltimore Orioles posted 5 runs in the 9th inning and then held on for a 9-7 win last night over Houston. The Astros made things interesting with 3 runs in the bottom of the frame, but the O’s hung on for just their 25th win of the season. The 2 teams play again tonight at 8:10.
And, on Day One of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray won their opening round matches. American Sloane Stephens was an upset winner on the Women’s side.
VBL Scoreboard, Schwarber Hits 2 More As Nats Win, O’s Blanked Again
In the Valley Baseball League last night, Woodstock took 2 from Winchester, 1-0 and 4-1. Purcellville stopped Front Royal 6-2, while Strasburg rolled over New Market 15-4. C’ville and Harrisonburg were also winners.
Tonight in the VBL, games include Front Royal at Purcellville, Winchester at New Market, and Strasburg at home against Woodstock.
Kyle Schwarber’s 2 home runs led the Washington Nationals past Miami last night 7-3. Schwarber has now hit 8 homers in his last 5 games, as the Nats won for the 10th time in 11 games. Joe Ross tossed 7 shutout innings for the Nationals, who take on Miami again tonight starting at 6:40 on Sports Radio 1450.
The baltimore Orioles were shut out again last night, this time by the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-0. The Birds, who have now gone scoreless in their last 24 innings, will take on the Jays again tonight at 7:07.
And, the Montreal Canadiens are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993 after beating Las Vegas last night 3-2 in overtime.
Greetings From The Booth!
Summer is officially here, and we’re getting into the meat of the MLB season. The Washington Nationals, who looked like they were going nowhere fast just a little over a week ago at 26-35, have gone on a 7-1 run to climb back into the conversation in the NL East. Sound familiar? In 2019 the Nats at 19-31 started their amazing run to a World Series title.
To hedge their bets a bit, this week the Nationals brought back aging outfielder Gerardo Parra, who was a big part of the 2019 Championship with some timely hits, and of course “Baby Shark.” I’m not sure the Nats can “fin”ish the job this year (see what I did there?), but it makes for a fun ballpark.
Last week was also a great week for Kyle Schwarber, who was named NL Player Of The Week. Schwarber hit 6 homers, including 5 in a 2-game span, which tied an MLB record. He also hit .385 for the week, as the Nats won 7 of 8 games.
Schwarber’s week of power made me think back to another amazing week in 1968, as the Washington Senators’ Frank Howard hit an incredible 10 homers in a 7-game stretch from May 12-18. That feat still stands as the most home runs hit in a week. Just as amazing was that he he hit those 10 homers in 20 at-bats!
Howard, who stood 6-7 and weighed 255 pounds, was my hero back in the day. The Senators were lousy, but Hondo (one of several nicknames, including “The Washington Monument”) made you forget about that with his one-handed home runs off the Longines sign at RFK Stadium. I remember having a mini Senators bat from a Bat Day promotion, pretending I was Frank Howard in my backyard, imitating his trademark swing. Even today, in my office is a Frank Howard-signed 1960 Rookie Of the Year baseball, which sits in the middle of my Nats bobbleheads.
As a footnote, 5 of Howard’s 10 home runs in that special week came at the expense of the Detroit Tigers, who would go on to win the World Series that year. The Senators, meanwhile, would finish at 65-96. In a year dominated by pitching, Big Frank would lead the Majors in homers with 44, while driving in 106.
Next time you go to a Nationals game, be sure to look at the right field facade, where you’ll see Frank Howard’s name in the team’s Ring Of Honor, next to a couple of Robinsons, Jackie and Frank. And when you see today’s players like Kyle Schwarber go on home run binges, think of that special week in 1968, when Hondo was the best in the game.
Until the next visit from The Booth…GO SENATORS!
Valley League Scoreboard, Nats-Phils Tonight, Astros Blast Orioles
In the Valley League last night, Woodstock out-slugged Front Royal 17-10, while New Market beat Strasburg 9-6. Harrisonburg and Staunton were also winners. Among the games tonight in the VBL, Strasburg travels to Winchester, Front Royal heads to New Market, and Purcellville entertains Woodstock.
The Washington Nationals start a quick 2-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight. The Nats, winners of 7 of their last 8 games, start the evening 5 games behind the Mets in the NL East, and just 1 game back of the second-place Phils. Air time is 6:35 on Sports Radio 1450.
Off the field, the Nationals’ Kyle Schwarber was named NL Player Of The Week. For the week, Schwarber hit .385, with 6 home runs, including 5 in a 2-game span. It’s Schwarber’s first POW award.
The Baltimore Orioles managed just 2 hits in a 10-2 loss to Houston. The 2 teams play again tonight at 7:05 at Camden Yards.
And, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that the NCAA can’t limit education-related benefits that colleges can offer athletes, saying that the current limits violate antitrust laws. The ruling could pave the way toward paying student-athletes.
VBL Recap, Schwarber Powers Nats, Rahm Captures US Open
In the Valley Baseball League last night, Woodstock took 2 from Staunton 13-9 & 8-4, Winchester split a twinbill with Charlottesville, losing the opener 4-3 before taking the nightcap 7-0. Front Royal also split a doubleheader with Harrisonburg, taking the first game 8-1, then losing the second game 11-7. Meanwhile, New Market swept a pair from Covington.
Among the games tonight, Front Royal travels to Woodstock, while Strasburg hosts New Market.
Kyle Schwarber hit 3 home runs yesterday, powering the Washington Nationals to a 5-2 win over the New York Mets. Schwarber, who also hit 2 homers in the Nats’ second-game win Saturday night, tied an MLB record with 5 home runs in 2 games, as Washington completed an 8-3 homestand. The Nationals, who took 3 of 4 against the Mets, are off today.
Toronto beat the Baltimore Orioles yesterday 7-4. The Birds take on the Astros tonight at 7:05 at Camden Yards.
Spain’s Jon Rahm captured the US Open Golf Tournament yesterday, outlasting a number of top players who faltered down the stretch at Torrey Pines. Rahm’s curling putt on the 18th hole was the difference, as the new Dad was one stroke better than Louis Oosthuizen. The win was Rahm’s first major.
And, Kyle Larson took the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series event in Nashville
VBL Update, Nats nip Buccos, O’s Fall To Tribe
In the Valley Baseball League last night, Woodstock took 2 from Harrisonburg 5-2 & 6-3, Front Royal silenced Purcellville 6-2, Strasburg doubled up New Market 6-3, while Winchester at Woodstock was rescheduled for the 24th.
Among the action tonight in the VBL, Strasburg hosts New Market, while Woodstock entertains Purcellville.
Kyle Schwarber had a game-tying single in the 3rd, then gave the Nationals the lead in the 7th with his 13th homer of the year, giving Washington a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh last night in DC. Jon Lester tossed 5 and 1/3 innings of 2-run ball for the Nats, while Brad Hand picked up his 12th save of the year. The Nationals host the Pirates again tonight starting at 6:35 on Sports Radio 1450.
The Cleveland Indians scored 3 runs in the 1st inning and made that advantage hold up in a 4-3 win over Baltimore. 2 Oriole errors proved costly as the Birds dipped to 22-43 on the season. The 2 teams play again tonight at 7:10.
And, US distance runner Shelby Houlihan, considered a medal contender at next month’s Olympic Games, has been banned for 4 years after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Houlihan is the current national champion and record holder in the 1500 and 5000 meters. In an Instagram post, she blamed pork in a burrito purchased from a food truck 10 hours before the drug test.
Caps Fall In OT, Nats Lose To Cubs, Wizards Vs. Celtics In NBA Play-In Tourney
All quiet on the SU scene, as Baseball gets set for the ODAC Championship series Friday against Lynchburg.
The Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 in OT last night to even that first-round NHL playoff series at a game apiece. The Bruins scored the tying goal with just 2:49 to play in regulation, and Brad Marchand lit the lamp less than a minute into the overtime period. 39 year-old Greg Anderson stopped 48 shots for the Caps, who head to Boston for Game 3 Wednesday. Air time is 6:15 on The River 95-3.
Jon Lester gave up 5 runs and 8 hits against his old team, as the Chicago Cubs took down the Washington Nationals last night 7-3. Another former Cub, Kyle Schwarber, hit a 2-run homer for the Nats, but it was not enough as Washington dropped to 16-21 on the season. The 2 teams play again tonight starting at 7:10 on Sports Radio 1450.
The Orioles take on the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at 7:05.
And, the Washington Wizards travel to Boston tonight for an NBA play-in game. Teams seeded 7 through 10 will compete in s 3-day, 2-round tournament to decide which two teams get the number 7 and 8 playoff spots. The Wizards , by virtue of a 17-6 record down the stretch, are the number 8 seed, while the Celtics are the 7-seed. Tip off is set for 9pm.