Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

First in War in Peace and in the NL East

President Bush threw out the first pitch last
week at RFK Stadium, temporary home of
the Washington Nationals,once the Montreal
Expos and baseball fever is back in the

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezThe Washington Nationals have brought back
Major League Baseball in what is called the
most powerful city in the world. Washington,D.C.
where in the halls of Congress, The Capitol
or in any given restaurant you could see
people lobbying and dealing in national
affairs, taxes,war,peace,social security,
enviromental issues or just plain old style
politics. But today you might also hear
people talking about “is Vinny Castilla
going to have a great season”?

Come 2005 and Frank Robinson is managing
the Washington Nationals. As of today among
all 30 Major League teams they were not
only in first place (granted is early in season)
in the interesting National League East, but
way ahead of everybody among all 30
teams as far as merchandise sold is concerned.
Many here would remember that back in the
1950s you could buy a hat of your favorite
team, the program for the game, a pennant
and a couple of more items. But this is
2005 and you can buy’just about’ anything today
with the logo of your favorite team.
In Seattle at the Mariner’s huge store inside
Safeco Field is always crowded prior and after
the games and is one of the largest I have seen.
When Coors Field in Denver, first opened
I remember visiting that huge store also with
all kinds os stuff.

Therefore, this “souvenir”business has become
a great revenue stream for many teams.

Yes, we love souvenirs and this is the historical
year for the Nationals. You can see hats with
the “W”every place you visit, the W of
Washington. Not since Ted Williams managed
the old Washington Senators have the people
of our nation’s capital have the opportunity to
see Major League baseball. For years Peter
Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles
was opposed to baseball returning to
Washington, but that is past nobody cares
anymore for those disputes and everybody
in this powerful city wants this to work.

The Nationals under Frank Robinson, first
ever African-American manager in Major
League history(1975-Indians) are promoting
to the African-Americans of the greater D.C.
area in an effort to attract a segment of the
population that is rarely seen at Major League
ballparks. They have hired people in their
front office that have a background in business
with minorities and have worked with such
groups in the past. Will it work ? Only time
will tell, but it is only human to expect it –
in this first season for baseball in D.C. in
decades. This is not only done because of
“political” presure, but because the demographics
of D.C dictates that. Washington, D.C. has one
(if not the largest)concentration of African-Americans living within a metropolitan area
in this country, so it is only common sense
that they will market after that segment of the
population. Like an old friend would say
-“it is good business-“.

There is a lot of history in this town. When
the original Washington team was founded
back in 1901 there were also knows as
the Washington National or Nats. In 1924
they won the World Series.

Walter Johnson in 1910 was the American
League best pitcher and he wore the uniform
of the Senators, two years later Clark Griffith
became the manager, years later he owned
the team, died in 1955 and gave the team to
his son Calvin, who them moved the original
Senators to Minnesota.

My vivid memories of the Washington Senators
were on their biggest players. Frank Howard
(Hondo) who led the American League in
home runs in 1968 and 1970 and was the
only real star in the clubs existence during
those years. A couple of years later the
then owner Bob Short moved the team to
Texas (1972).

I followed the game since I was a kid
in Cuba and my memories of the Senators have
a lot to do with a super-scout named Joe
Cambria, who scouted Cuba as well as anybody
else and brought to the Majors players like
Camilo Pascual and Pedro Ramos. A lot of
the Cuban players were playing for the
Senators back in the 1950s and 1960s and
Washington became one of the very first
really international teams in Major League
Baseball specially with the influx of Cuban stars.

The National Passtime is doing well so far
in the first month of the 2005 season for
the new Washington Nationals, but remember
this is D.C. and things change just about
every 2 to 4 years so let’s keep our
fingers crossed and hope they do succed
as far as creating a fan base that covers
not only the metro area of D.C but also
Virginia and Maryland.

Washington, D.C. is a truly beautiful city
during the spring and summer with all
the monuments, musuems and places to
visit to check history of this great country.
And what is more American than baseball ?



1 Anonymous { 04.17.05 at 11:36 pm }


thanks for a terrific article — the Griffith owned Senators, with Pascual and Ramos, were a big personal favorite — Pascual was a great curve ball pitcher. Griffith was the whole problem with their presence in DC –when they moved to Minnesota they had the great Cuban plater, Tony Oliva. The second batch of Senators, the Bob Short franchise, was a failure due to the owner’s own ineptitude — Ted Williams fielded a competitive team, but Short kept ripping off team funds to his personal use

I was in DC last week during the run up to the opening game, and there was genuine excitement– the team has the highest MLB percentage of Latino players — but I think they need to get the sale to local owners done before the team can truly thrive — the TV / Radio package is very weak and still dominated by the Orioles ( by the way great to hear Joe Angel doing Baltimore games)

2 Anonymous { 04.20.05 at 4:10 pm }


A new minor league player has been suspeneded for violating MLB’s steroid testing plolicy. His name is Agustin Montero, who is in the Ranger organization.

My concern is this: Why are only the minority players being exposed? I’m sure players of latin descent aren’t the only ones using performance enhancing drugs.

Once again, it seems as though MLB is hiding something.

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