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Washington Gets its Mojo


A special night all around in the nation’s capital. On Half Street in Southeast, a 21 year-old pitching phenom brought down the house and captivated the nation; down in Chinatown at the Verizon center, two performers who’ve written one anthem after another for an entire generation, touched hearts and made some of us old guys feel young again.

Baseball

There really are no words to describe what occurred at National’s Park. Stephen Strasburg, the “can’t miss” pitching phenom from southern California, didn’t miss.

With that much pressure, that much hype, and a national television audience, the rookie fanned 14 and made fools of professional major league hitters. After giving up a 2-run homer in the 4th he apparently got a little peeved because he then retired his final 10 hitters, the last 7 of them by strike-out.

The Washington Post’s Tom Boswell writes that National’s pitchers who were gathered in the bullpen couldn’t stop themselves from laughing at what Strasburg was doing to those poor Pittsburgh Pirate hitters. He got his 10th strike-out on a 101 mph fastball, one of four times during the night one of his pitches was clocked at over 100 mph.

Every 5th day this kid pitches will be a sell-out for the rest of the season in whatever park he is performing. He is potentially as dominant a pitcher as Sandy Koufax; the kind of pitcher who could do something amazing with every appearance; a no-hitter, a perfect game, a 20 strike-out masterpiece. My God- he is 21 years old.

James Taylor and Carole King

While I taped the ball game for later viewing, I took my son to see the “Troubadours” at Verizon Center and as we took our seats he said he’d never quite witnessed a concert scene like this one; so many OLD people. It did seem sort of like a gigantic 35 or 40-year High School reunion. We’ve lost a few hairs and added a few pounds since the days we first heard Fire and Rain and I Feel the Earth Move but it was a very sweet and nostalgic three hours.

You don’t often get two people together who between them have probably authored 40 hit songs. Say what they will about us baby-boomers when we’re gone, but we did provide the world some kick-ass tunes. Carole King sounds wonderful, by the way- her voice is holding up strong. JT is as charming, funny and talented as ever with the absolute cleanest sounding acoustic guitar playing you’ve ever heard.

The Future

DC looks like a helluva place to hang over the next few years. You’ve got your mass transit finally being expanded into Northern Virginia along the Dulles corridor. Southeast will soon develop into the same kind of boisterous and energetic place Chinatown has become with the stadium/arena effect drawing development and patrons.

And of course, there will be major stars for each of the city’s sports franchises. The Nats will have Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. The Caps have Alexander Ovechkin, the best hockey player in the NHL. The Skins have Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan. The Wizards are about to get the best point guard in the nation in John Wall with their #1 NBA pick.

We may not be Title Town anytime soon but we do have enough shining stars to provide pretty much year-round memorable moments. It’s a fun and exciting time for ol’ DC.

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