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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

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There's More To Means' Story Than Throwing A No-Hitter

As I was leaving work Wednesday, I immediately checked my phone to see how the Orioles’ game was going.

I’d already received a notification that Trey Mancini hit a three-run nuke to push the O’s lead to 6-0, but I had no idea that something bigger was at play.

I looked at the box score and saw the “0 0 0” for the Seattle Mariners, which only meant one thing.

John Means was dealing.

At risk of getting pulled over by our friendly officers in blue, I drove home as fast as I could manage to make sure I didn’t miss it. I got home just in time to see the top of the ninth, and I think that’s the only time I’ve ever wished for the O’s to end their half of the inning as quickly as possible.

Means took the mound for the final time, just three outs from the first Orioles’ individual no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969, one of the coolest guys to ever wear black and orange. To put that into perspective, my dad, another lifelong Orioles fan, was four years old. The O’s last no-hitter, a combined effort in 1991, came three years before I was born.

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Orioles' Top Prospects Do Not Disappoint In MiLB Debut

Contain yourselves, but only a little bit.

Orioles fans across the country rejoiced Tuesday, as Minor League Baseball made its triumphant return from the COVID-19 shutdowns. For a franchise in the development phase of its rebuild, getting their minor league prospects actual game innings for the first time in over a year is critical.

Some of the Orioles’ top prospects did not disappoint.

Start with the organizations top two pitching prospects — 2018 first-round pick Grayson Rodriguez and 2017 first-round pick DL Hall. Starting for Single-A Aberdeen, Rodriguez tossed four shutout innings and allowed just one hit. And at Double-A Bowie, Hall threw 4.1 innings and allowed no runs while striking out a career-high 10 batters.

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Nats Minor League Affiliates Kick Off Their 2021 Seasons

At last, minor league baseball is returning tonight!

The junior circuit cancelled its season last year due to COVID-19 restrictions and loss of revenue, and this season was delayed by a month for similar reasons. Nonetheless, it’s back now.

Many teams had already unveiled the rosters of each of their affiliates, but like they often are on this subject, the Nationals were laggards.

On Monday, the Nationals’ affiliates in Rochester (Triple-A), Harrisburg (Double-A), Wilmington (High-A) and Fredericksburg (Low-A) unveiled their Opening Day rosters.

If some of those locations look unfamiliar to you, it’s because they are new to the organization. Harrisburg has remained Washington’s Double-A affiliate, but Rochester and Wilmington were added from other organizations during a far-reaching minor league realignment this offseason, and Potomac (affectionately known as the P-Nats) recently relocated to Fredericksburg.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Minor Leagues

As Dave S is aware, I am a product of attending many 1950s-1960s era AAA baseball games in Richmond, Virginia. It seems strange to... Read More
Wednesday, 05 May 2021 14:31
Dave Scarangella

Because everything was not on ...

The Richmond Braves and the Tidewater Tides were our major league teams. We could listen to them on the radio, go see them live fo... Read More
Thursday, 06 May 2021 11:08
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Freddy Galvis Continues To Surprise As Orioles Win Again

Well into the midnight hour, I was laying in bed winding down after a night of bowling. I was enjoying the Orioles-Mariners game, of which the O’s were trailing 1-0.

Then, the Birds proceeded to wake me up.

Cedric Mullins hit a two-run bomb, pushing the O’s ahead. After an RBI groundout from Mikael Franco, Freddy Galvis launched another two-run bomb into the Seattle sky, giving the O’s a 5-1 lead.

So much for sleeping.

Aside from enjoying the comeback, which was exhilarating, I finally thought about Galvis, a guy who I’d written off weeks ago.

I was wrong.

Of all the Orioles hitters, I didn’t expect a 31-year-old journeyman to be a reliable force in the lineup.

I mean, how could anyone expect a shortstop who’s played on four teams in four seasons with a career OPS of .679 to provide stability and production? No reasonable person would’ve come to that conclusion.

But here we are.

Galvis’ batting line is up to .265/.315/.470, an easily respectable slash for a stopgap signing by general manager Mike Elias. After a disastrous start, Galvis has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games, a stretch that includes three home runs.

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Overachieving O's Have Chance To Cement Their Relevance

My favorite video game to play right now is MLB The Show 21. The lead commentator for the game, former major leaguer Mark DeRosa, has a saying that sticks with me.

“By May, you really start to have an idea about what kind of season you’re going to have.”

We’ve reached the start of this pivotal month, when pretenders fall short of their April standard and start showing their true colors. Or, for teams who had a bad start, they begin to shine as the weather heats up.

The Baltimore Orioles, everyone’s favorite punching bag for the last three years, are facing this month head on. Their series win vs. the red-hot Oakland Athletics showed that.

The O’s won the first two games of the series behind rock-solid pitching from John Means and Matt Harvey, who pitched a combined 12.2 innings and allowed four runs. Means was particularly impressive, scattering three hits over seven innings on Friday while striking out nine.

The Orioles’ offense woke up on Saturday, bringing eight runs across on 10 hits. Even in the season finale defeat on Sunday, the Orioles scored five runs.

Baltimore stands at 13-15 as of May 2, and the O’s are just 3.5 games out of first place. Even if you think the Orioles are one of the worst teams in the league, you have to admit they’re at worst plucky. At best, maybe everyone in the media was wrong and this team isn’t as bad as we all thought they were.

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Is It Just Me, Or Is Anyone Else Worried About FP?

Perhaps I’m making something out of nothing, but the way MASN handled its broadcasters this weekend for the Washington Nationals games sure seems odd.

The games are normally done by Bob Carpenter on play-by-play and F.P. Santangelo doing color commentary. A little over a week ago, it was announced Carpenter would take a few days off and that Dan Kolko would step in and be Carpenter’s replacement doing play-by-play. Santangelo would continue in his role doing commentary, and the two did the two-game series with Toronto.

Friday, however, when a new series started with the Florida Marlins, it was Kolko on play-by-play and former Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell doing commentary. That struck me as immediately odd because usually when a play-by-play guy takes a break, you want and need the commentary guy there to give some continuity to the booth. Putting two new guys together is almost unheard of. Many times they move the color guy over to play-by-play and bring in a former player to do commentary temporarily.

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Yadiel Hernandez is Here to Stay for the Nationals

The Nationals have won four in a row, Jon Lester has returned to the field, and Max Scherzer had a vintage “Mad Max” complete game start on Sunday against the Florida Marlins.

None of those, however, are really the biggest story in Washington this week.

With Juan Soto on the shelf with an injured throwing shoulder, the bigger story may be that the Nats haven’t missed a beat with Yadiel Hernandez in his place. In fact, you could almost make the argument he's been the team’s best hitter over the past week.

The 33-year-old left-handed outfielder has been an afterthought for much of his baseball career. As recently as 2016, he was a relatively everyday Joe, swinging the bat in Cuba.

Hernandez signed a minor league contract with the Nats following the season. That’s not an incredibly uncommon path, except he was already in his late 20s and wasn’t viewed as much of a major league prospect.

He spent three years in the minor leagues – one plus a month in AA Harrisburg and nearly two in AAA Fresno – and batted .301 with a slugging percentage north of .500. After blasting 33 home runs in 2019, the organization had seen enough.

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Upon Further Review, NFL Draft A Positive Step For Hokies

If you’re a “glass half full” kind of person and looking for something to be positive about regarding Virginia Tech football, take a closer look at the recently completed NFL Draft.

I come at this from the perspective of someone who has spent a lot of time in sales, which recruiting basically is. To be successful, I learned over a few decades, you need to have a story. Something simple that you can tell quickly, is easy to understand, and makes potential buyers feel like “OK, tell me more.”

Want to do a quick test on whether a product has a chance to be successful? Ask the person selling it. He or she will quickly either say “I can sell that,” or if you’ve come up with something that might be a borderline lemon, you could hear “that’s a stretch. They’re not going to believe that.”

Which brings us to Virginia Tech football.

If you go back into even the most ancient of Hokie archives, there has always been one recurring topic recruits want to hear confirmation of. While my younger friends will tell you it’s the money spent on salaries or the crystal cathedral facilities you have, I’ve found that while they can be important, the burning question almost everyone wants to hear a good answer to is “if I play at your school, will it help me make it to the next level?”

It was the biggest question for Michael Vick and his family when he was debating between the Hokies and Syracuse in the 1990s. Could he play in Blacksburg and still be seen on television enough to attract the attention of the pros, the advertisers seeking celebrity endorsers, and the movers and shakers of the world? 

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A Fitting Ending To A Long-Deserved State Championship

I have to admit, there was something very satisfying about the way Stone Bridge’s state championship game with Highland Springs ended today.

Yeah, a title was awarded, but if you've followed Stone Bridge football for a long time like I have, it felt more like a journey had finally ended. A trophy was not only awarded, but a debt from the past had been settled. The curse had been broken. The slate was clean.

Let me first confess before explaining what I'm talking about that when it comes to the original three Ashburn high schools, I’m a shameless homer. Since I live about one mile from Broad Run and about a mile and a half from Stone Bridge, I’m even more of a homer. And since my daughter graduated from Stone Bridge, I’m even worse with the Bulldogs.

You might as well say “Doh” and call me Mr. Simpson.

So when people talk about how long it’s been since the Bulldogs have won a state championship in football, I remember all of it clearly. I’ve watched just about every title game that Stone Bridge has been in, and I remember the blowouts as well as the close ones. My daughter’s senior year, the Bulldogs even ended up playing my high school – Lake Taylor in Norfolk – in Charlottesville and Stone Bridge had the ball and momentum on its side in the final moment.

But only a few yards shy of what would have been the winning touchdown, the Bulldogs fumbled. Which began a string of "what could have been" memories when it came to Stone Bridge.

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Kevin Davis

SBOE - sweet victory

Great piece. Thank you. It has been quite the journey. These boys, this team, this coaching staff - special.
Sunday, 02 May 2021 16:50
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Four Hokies Hear Their Names Called In 2021 NFL Draft

Last year, much was made of the fact only one Hokie - in the third round - was selected in the NFL Draft.

That certainly won't be the case this year, as Virginia Tech had four players selected in the 2021 draft, including two picks back to back in the first round. Only 7 schools had two or more players chosen in the first round, putting the Hokies in some pretty elite company.

Cornerback Caleb Farley and left tackle Christian Darrisaw were the back-to-back picks in the first round, safety Divine Deablo was taken in the third, and running back Khalil Herbert heard his name called in the sixth round.

Incidentally, while they aren’t going to teams who scouted them at their Pro Day, all four of them find themselves going into great situations, as prototypical players for each team’s system.

Caleb Farley

The Titans, who are in the process of completely overhauling their cornerback room, took Farley with the No. 22 overall pick. As recently as two seasons ago, they boasted one of the deeper secondaries in the NFL, featuring Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson at cornerback and Kenny Vaccaro at strong safety. They’re all gone now.

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Jon Lester's Debut Was Worth The Wait For Nationals

Ever since Stephen Strasburg was sent to the IL with right shoulder inflammation, the Washington Nationals have been making ends meet with four starting pitchers.

That's no longer the case, as Jon Lester made his regular-season debut Friday night for the Nats, a 2-1 extra innings win over the Marlins.

No one will confuse Lester for Strasburg, but the 37-year-old left-hander has seen plenty of success in the big leagues, including an 18-win season as recently as 2018. He’s also a five-time All Star and three-time World Series champion, and he threw a no-hitter for the Red Sox in 2008.

There are tons of accolades, but what can Lester still bring to the table for Washington in 2021?

Admittedly, his two most recent seasons weren’t pretty. In 43 starts since the beginning of 2019, he posted an ERA of 4.64. Granted, he won more games than he lost over that span, but the Nats would still prefer for him to be more productive than that.

As a rule, Lester typically relies on a four-seam fastball and cutter around 30 percent of the time, complimented by a sinker, curveball and changeup. All three offspeed pitches are effective, giving him the type of arsenal that many of Washington’s other starters don’t have.

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Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty

He's the dean of the UVA beat, and creator of College Notebook, which has entertained fans for 45 years. Meet Doug Doughty

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Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

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Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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