Atlanta Braves fans rise up to defend their own! Justin Upton might be outfielder non grata in Washington, but he can take heart his aficionados will defend his right to not try. Also? Team die-hards are determined to shrug off Turner Field’s torching of Old Glory this week.
After the soon-to-be Cobb County Braves accidentally lit a giant American flag on fire with some ill-placed fireworks, the Internet lit up, too, including photos and snarky comments about the Braves’ patriotic conflagration. This included Roll Call After Dark, an unabashed Washington Nationals fan, who also took the opportunity to needle the Braves and their left fielder for an on-field foible that, while within the rules, was just kind of wimpy and an overly technocratic reading of the rules.
In an email received shortly after After Dark’s post went live with the subject line “Justin Upton and the Braves,” one reader stated: Full story
Amazing what a couple of days above freezing will do for everyone’s disposition!
Whether it’s planning some fun runs, mussing about among the cherry blossoms or gearing up for the return of the Washington Nationals, it’s nice to be able to go outside without cold weather gear, finally.
Run, Run, Run
One of the biggest outdoor activities of the season brings together not just the Cherry Blossom Festival crowds but members of Congress and the physically fit. April 6 is the annual Congressional Federal Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, a massive foot race that raises money for charity that contains the Capitol Hill Competition race-within-the-race. Race organizers on April 3 will present the a check to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in Room HVC-200 at the Capitol Visitor Center. Expect current and former members of Congress to attend. Congressional Federal CEO Charles A. Mallon Jr., is touting the 41 senators and 189 House members who are serving as honorary co-chairs of the race, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. The event starts at 10 a.m. Capitol Hill Competition runners can pick up their race packets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the same room. Full story
This is a tough one: Whom to root for when your home town team (Phoenix Suns) take on your adopted home town team (Washington Wizards.)
As a native Arizonan, born in Phoenix and raised in Cottonwood, the Suns were my first team. They were Arizona’s first team really, the first major league sport to grace the Valley of the Sun. There’s some sentimentality at work with the Suns.
But I haven’t lived in the Grand Canyon State since 1998, although, as my parents will attest, a lot of my crap is still there in their homes. My friend and former colleague, current New York Daily News scribe Dan Friedman, warns of the perils, nay, impossibility of divided loyalty. I try to listen to Dan as much as I can, even when he’s nearby.
So what’s it going to be tonight as the Purple Gang takes on the Wiz? Both teams are likely headed to the playoffs. Both have class act players and management.
Sorry, Wiz. When I see the following, it’s no contest.
PHOENIX — Monday’s snow is a reminder of why Major League Baseball long ago decamped for Arizona and Florida for its spring training schedule. With snow on the ground in Washington, Opening Day seems a long way away on the East Coast.
Here in the Valley of the Sun, teams are starting to make preparations to return to their home cities — or Australia for the season opener in the case of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers — but there are still plenty of exhibition/tune-up games to go, including at Roll Call After Dark’s favorite locale, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where the Oakland A’s have long made their springtime home.
But if you’re not fortunate enough to be soaking in the rays in Arizona or Florida, there’s still plenty to do in Washington, even as it throws off the last vestiges of winter storming. Full story
You’ve heard of rain delays in baseball, but Frederic Frommer, author of “You Gotta Have Heart: A History of Washington Baseball From 1859 to the 2012 National League East Champions,” got to experience that rarest of things, a snow delay.
Frommer, an Associated Press scribe who chronicles the trials and tribulations of Washington baseball, was all set to discuss his book with former Senators announcer Phil Hochberg at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library on Dec. 10. But then the heavens opened up, if you’ll recall, and the library called the whole thing off.
Will this be the year the Nationals deliver a championship to Washington? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left, and Nats’ outfield Bryce Harper want to know. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains, the saying goes. In December in D.C., it snows, so there you go.
Lucky for Frommer, Hochberg and baseball fans, the snow delay has resulted in a make-up book talk and signing in the midst of spring training. So come on down the MLK library on March 4 at 6:30 p.m. The event will be held in room 307 of the library at 901 G St. NW. It is free to attend and is presented in partnership with the Historical Society of Washington, D. C.
It’s that first, hopeful sign of spring, at least for baseball fans: pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training. One way to get ready for Opening Day is to take advantage of the AFI Silver Theater’s “Play Ball! Hollywood and the American Pastime,” series, which opened earlier this month and runs through April 16.
Among classics such as “Bull Durham,” “A League of Their Own,” “The Bad News Bears” and “The Natural,” there are musicals — “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” and “Damn Yankees” — as well as curiosities including ” The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings” and documentaries like “Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream” and “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg” and “Knuckleball!”
Just moments after being confirmed on Thursday to be the United States’ top envoy to China, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he was considering running the Beijing marathon in October. “I’ve actually got my eye on the Beijing Marathon,” he said on the floor, noting his longtime affection for running.
Baucus, left, is thinking about running the Beijing Marathon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)
Baucus likes to hoof it. He made headlines in the 1990s when he walked the length of the Treasure State, more than 800 miles. In 2003, he ran a 50-mile ultra-marathon. It was during that 2003 race that he fell and banged his head. The bruising on his face when he returned to work was ghastly. He eventually had to have surgery to fix some bleeding in his skull, which stemmed from the injury.
Nearly 11 years later, Baucus doesn’t sound like he’ll seek out anything more than the standard 26.2 miles. He even joked on the floor that he might need to settle for the half-marathon in Beijing.
That might not be such a bad idea. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who came to the floor after Baucus was done signing off, reminded him of the horrific pollution levels in Beijing, which come from monitors “on top of the U.S. embassy.”
Word of advice for the new ambassador: If you run, you might want to don a mask, as many marathoners there do. And watch where you step. Because of the lack of public facilities, many runners urinated on the walls of the Forbidden City last year.
No shame in the half-marathon, 9K, or mini-marathon (4.2K), senator!
Capitol Hill staffers looking to compete in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Capitol Hill Competition can start registering on Feb. 1.
The competition, which consists of congressional staffers who form teams to vie for the Capitol Hill Cup, is a sub-race within the larger Cherry Blossom Run, one of Washington’s biggest foot races of the year. Staffers can register here, starting at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 1.
Nearly 800 Hill staffers ran in last year’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Capitol Hill Competition. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)
According to a release from the race’s organizers, almost 800 staffers ran in last year’s competition. The “Red, White and Blumenauer” team carrying the banner for Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., won, posting a 3:18:24 time. Portions of the race proceeds go to children’s hospitals through the Children’s Miracle Network.
Happy Day of the Dead! There’s no way around it now: We’re firmly in the grip of fall, hurtling toward winter. Before we get to the really cold stuff, there’s time to do some autumn-appropriate stuff right here on Capitol Hill.
An Almighty Drive-In Experience
Union Market continues its fall season drive-in series on Friday with an All Saints Day showing of “Evan Almighty” at the Union Market Drive-In encore series. God, played by Morgan Freeman (no one else is allowed to play the big guy), asks Rep. Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark in anticipation of a flood. The congressman obliges. In 2007, when the movie came out, this seemed far-fetched. In 2013, after observing the last few collections of freshman who have been elected, it seems feasible.
Gates open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Free, at 1309 Fifth St. NE.
Pottery on the Hill
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is hosting Pottery on the Hill this weekend, starting with a reception on Friday and extending into the weekend. The exhibit will showcase 16 artists, and folks will have the opportunity to both view and buy. Among the potters is former Washington Redskin fan favorite and renaissance man Chris Cooley, who seems to be holding up just fine in his post-NFL life.
Tickets to Friday’s reception are $25 and available here. That shindig starts at 6:30 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Cooley will also be giving talks at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday about his life as a sportsman and artist.
Street Level View
If you’d like your art in a different medium, check out the new exhibit Above the Radar III at The Fridge on Barracks Row. The exhibit shows off 25 artists from Los Angeles, New York and abroad, starting on Saturday. Curator Luna George brings many facets of the urban art experience, from street art to surrealism and more, for a month-long show. Among the artists showing are Cat Cult, Peeta, Robots Will Kill and XIST. Saturday’s opening reception is from 7 to 11 p.m. and is free; Sunday’s neighborhood reception is from noon to 4 p.m. and is also free, all at 516 1/2 Eighth St. SE.
New Columbia Distillers, the team behind the District’s Green Hat Gin, releases its new gin for the season, “Ginavit,” at the Ivy City distillery at 1832 Fenwick St. NE on Saturday. The portmanteau of two excellent spirits, gin and aquavit, suggests an interesting flavor. “This is a hardy and savory cool weather gin,” John Uselton, the co-owner and distiller said in a release, promising a mix of “Scandinavian aquavit botanicals” and gin botanicals. They’re only making 100 cases, so drink it while you can. Suggested retail is $40, and your first chance to get it is on Saturday. Whatever’s left over heads to restaurants and retailers the next week.
Just how long has former Sen. Richard Lugar been running? So long that when Roll Call’s Capital Health profiled the Indiana Republican on Oct. 30, 1988, he had already been running for nearly two decades.
Lugar was a fixture of the Capital Challenge 5K. This photo was taken in 2000, when he was presented with a collage of his time with the race. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
“Lugar’s regime of running 15 to 20 miles a week is part of an overall interest in fitness that began nearly 20 years ago,” Lucretia A. Marmon wrote. “Last month, Lugar was the first Senator to cross the finish line in the five-kilometer Nike Capital Challenge Race, beating such younger colleagues at Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn). Lugar co-sponsored the race each year for the benefit of the Special Olympics. But Lugar is more than fast. He is in remarkable overall physical condition, as tough as the limestone for which his state is famous. There’s little doubt that he’s America’s fittest US Senator,” she continued.
Press aide Mark Helmke recounted for Marmon that, when the senator was traveling abroad in his capacity as Foreign Relations chairman, his office “would contact the US embassy to line up a companion runner. ‘You could usually find some Hoosier Marine guard who was eager and knew a good route,’ says Helmke, who confesses to getting the Senator lost during a workout in Tokyo.”
A long-time fixture of the Capital Challenge, which is now sponsored by ACLI (as well as Roll Call), Lugar continued running into his sixth and final term in the Senate. He lost a primary bid last year to Republican Richard Mourdock, ending his Senate career.
The World Series, Major League Baseball’s grandest stage, is insulated from politics, right? Not anymore.
“Moments ago, President Obama finished speaking at Faneuil Hall here in Boston. And while it’s home to Big Papi and my beloved Red Sox, it’s also home to the birthplace of health reform in America,” a White House missive from David Simas (sent with the subject line, “I know Game 6 starts soon, but:”) begins. Full story
A few riders in the DCCX Super 8 race got into the spirit of the season with Halloween costumes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
The Armed Services Retirement Home in Washington, D.C., has provided respite for the country’s bravest members of the military since its establishment in 1851. It was even the summertime quarters of President Abraham Lincoln. But the historical site has never seen anything quite like the DCCX Super 8 cyclocross race that sped through the grounds on Sunday.
Cyclocross, a bicycle race that consists of several laps on hilly terrain and multiple course surfaces, basically combines bicycling and obstacle course foot racing. Riders streak through stretches of asphalt or dirt until they hit a set of uphill steps or natural barriers that compel the racers to dismount and carry their bikes around the obstruction. The riders use fairly lightweight bikes, but it’s still a real endurance and coordination contest.
The DCCX is one of the largest cyclocross events in the eastern United States, according to race organizers, with about 850 racers and 50 children competing in this year’s showing of the sport, which is still in its relative youth.
“Let’s go, angry old men,” the public announcer said to motivate the masses in the 35 and over and 45 and over men’s race, shortly after 8 a.m.
“There are kids on the course,” the PA said a little later. “Do not ride backwards down the stairs. Bad parents,” he admonished. The comments give an idea of the fun tone at the event. Halloween costumes were prevalent — neo-pro Justin Mauch dressed as Sacha Baron Cohen’s immortal character Borat for his race. A mariachi band serenaded racers at one of the hairpin turns on the course.
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
Lincoln lived at what is now called the Lincoln Cottage on the grounds of the Armed Services Retirement Home, and historians have speculated that he might have finished the last draft of the Emancipation Proclamation while there. We can’t help but think he would have approved of DCCX.
Washington, the capital city that attracts so many student council presidents and public servants, has shown its ugly side these past few weeks, showing how far pique can extend a government shutdown and the frustrations of a public it allegedly serves.
It’s unlikely that Mark Leibovich, author of “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus Plenty of Valet Parking — in America’s Gilded Capital” is surprised. The national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine chronicled the outsized egos and petty conflicts that define so much of official Washington’s landed gentry. In the process, the term “this town” has taken on a life of its own, one that now elicits much eye-rolling.
So it’s an interesting time to check out Leibovich as he makes his way to Hill Center on Wednesday as part of its Talk of the Hill with Bill Press series. Free, in Hill Center’s Abraham Lincoln Hall at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. To register, go here.
How about a little music that has nothing to do with politics? Rock and Roll Hotel on Thursday has a double bill of Lucius and Alpenglow, a trippy little two-off that can take your mind off a lost recess week. Doors open at 1353 H St. NE at 7 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. $14 in advance or at the door.
The Boston Red Sox are back to their winning ways, which makes one think about Gus Van Sant’s “Good Will Hunting,” the 1997 film that launched the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who won an Oscar for their screenplay. Robin Williams won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as well. And the Red Sox run through the movie, particularly flashes to the 1975 World Series.
Yeah, yeah. The accents and Boston-ness of it all, as well as the mugging of Affleck and Damon, make it ripe for ribbing. But watch it with an open mind and it’s not so bad a movie. This is all by way of saying that Union Market’s DC Drive-In will show “Good Will Hunting” on Friday as part of its continuing series of end-of-the-week night flicks shown on the wall at 1309 Fifth St. NE. The show starts at dusk, which keeps arriving earlier and earlier.
Halloween is approaching, and while our elected officials have done their best to scare the bejesus out of the financial markets, the rest of us might need a little more conventional spookiness. If you’d like to get some chills while also getting a little run in, check out Congressional Cemetery’s Dead Man’s Run 5K on Saturday. It’s hard not to like a race that takes place in a graveyard and where costumes are encouraged. It’s from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. See if you can guess which runner is your Roll Call After Dark columnist.
The organizers of the Marine Corps Marathon are being forced to improvise, adapt and overcome thanks to the ongoing government shutdown drama.
In an email sent to race participants with the subject line “MCM and the Government Shutdown,” the race organizers let everyone know that they’re doing the best they can to prepare for the Oct. 27 marathon and accompanying 10K, despite the instability of the political situation.
“The MCM is busy planning the multitude of details necessary for successful execution of the event operations plan. The organizers remain focused on firing the howitzer at 0755 on 27 October and launching 30,000 runners across the nation’s capital and Arlington, VA. The government shutdown, however, certainly adds a new element to what is already a hectic period in the planning cycle. Since the shutdown occurred, the MCM staff has been in communication with those partners that are affected and is working to develop a comprehensive understanding of potential challenges to hosting the event. For the participants, the shutdown may raise questions and doubts if months of training will still result in the receipt of a medal at the Marine Corps War Memorial. Marines are known for being Semper Fidelis, always faithful. In this spirit, the expectation is that runners will remain faithful to their training and the MCM will continue to plan diligently for an amazing MCM Weekend,” the notice read.
So keep training, racers! The Marines expect no less of you. About Congress? Perhaps it’s best not to get into the expectations game.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick