Monthly Archives: February 2021

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When was the last time the Nats traded with each of their rivals?

Earlier today, the Red Sox and Yankees spun a trade that sent Adam Ottavino to Boston. When the news was announced, I was shocked that not only did the Yankees send a reliable reliever to a division rival, it was to their most hated enemy.

It had been over six years since the two teams were able to work out a deal. This trade got me thinking and I booted up Baseball Reference’s trade machine to see the last time Washington worked out a deal with an NL East foe.

Atlanta, March 27, 2016: Washington hasn’t made a trade with the Braves since 2016 when the Nationals sent utility man Tyler Moore to Atlanta. Moore had spent four seasons with Washington hitting .228, with 24 homers, 91 RBIs, and an OPS of .682. While in D.C., Moore mostly came off the bench but was given the occasional start.

In return, Washington received Nate Freiman. Unfamiliar with the name? That’s because the team released him a month later and he never received a call-up. Moore didn’t fare much better with Atlanta. He played for the club’s Triple-A team and elected for free agency after the season ended.

Miami, July 31, 2009: In 2018, the two team’s made a deal regarding international bonus slot money. That’s too boring, so we have to go all the way back to 2009 for the last actual trade between the two. Right before the trade deadline, the then Florida Marlins sent Washington Aaron Thompson in return for Nick Johnson. At the time of the trade, Johnson was one of the last remaining Nationals from the team’s inaugural 2005 season. He quickly became a fan favorite, known for rolling up his pants and showing off his high socks. In five seasons with Washington/Montreal, Johnson hit .280. with 56 homers, 248 RBIs, and an OPS of .867. His career was derailed by a string of injuries that led to him being shipped out.

Thompson was a pitching prospect who only spend a year with the club before being claimed off of waivers by the Pirates. Johnson finished the 2009 season with the Marlins before signing to return to the Yankees.

New York, March 30, 2015: Back when Washington was still in Montreal, the Mets were one of the Expos’ most frequent trade partners. In fact, 1968-2002, the two completed 27 trades, which was capped off when Montreal sent the franchise leader in WAR, Gary Carter, to the Mets in 1984. Fast forward to now and the two have only completed five trades together. In 2018, Washington purchased the contract of Matt Reynolds from their rival. The last real trade between the two occurred in 2015 when the Nats traded Jerry Blevins for Matt den Decker.

In one season with Washington, Blevins struggled out of the pen, going 2-3, with a 4.87 ERA, 66 strikeouts, and a 2.77 FIP. Blevins low FIP showed that he had a better season than what his stats showed, but hindsight is 50-50. With the Mets, Blevins became one of their most reliable relievers. In four seasons with New York, the veteran went 14-4, with a 3.38 ERA, 166 strikeouts, and a 3.61 FIP.

Matt den Decker only spent two years in D.C., hitting .233, with six homers, 16 RBIs, and an OPS of .742. He was used as a utility player, but he didn’t produce much. New York clearly won this trade.

Philadelphia, July 28, 2017 : The two teams have a checkered trade history that will always be remembered for Washington acquiring Jonathan Papelbon. Sadly, it’s the same Papelbon that choke slammed Bryce Harper in the dugout during a game. Luckily that wasn’t the last trade the two team’s made together. Instead, the Phillies sent over an aging veteran that would go on to hit the biggest playoff homers in Nationals franchise history. Yes, the last time the two worked out a deal, Howie Kendrick ended up in D.C.

No one would know just how big of an impact Kendrick would have with Washington. At the time of the trade, he was 34 and was acquired for depth for the team’s upcoming playoff run. After the season ended, he re-signed on a two-year deal. He ended up spending the last three and a half seasons of his career in D.C., hitting .316, with 30 homers, 113 RBIs, and an OPS of .873. While he was spectacular during the regular season, he will always be remembered for his clutch homers during the team’s 2019 World Series run.

Washington sent prospect, McKenzie Mills and international slot bonus money to the Phillies. Mills has yet to make his MLB debut and is no longer with Philadelphia. Washington’s best and worst trade have both come with the Phillies, but thankfully Kendrick was able to quell the stench left by Papelbon.

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Andre Dawson is seeing the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic from a vantage point many sports fans would not expect of a Baseball Hall of Famer and former National League MVP.

The longtime star for the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs has spent the past dozen years as a mortician.

While running his own funeral parlor, Dawson has recently had to shorten services at his facility’s chapel and limit them to no more than 10 people.

“It’s very sad,” he said Thursday to the Associated Press. “It’s very sad. Because people mourn and grieve differently and they’re not getting through that process as they would under normal circumstances. You see a lot of hurt and pain.”

Andre Dawson shows emotion while wearing Montreal Expos apparel as he is honored by the Washington Nationals in 2010. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Andre Dawson shows emotion while wearing Montreal Expos apparel as he is honored by the Washington Nationals in 2010. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Dawson, 65, has owned and operated Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in his hometown of Miami since 2008. A few years after he retired from baseball in 1996, he joined a group of investors his brother organized to buy a different funeral home, then took an even bigger step into the business.


Dawson did not expect to actually run Paradise Memorial, but “that role sort of fell into my lap,” he told AARP last year. With the same dedication to his craft that enabled a 21-year major league career, Dawson “threw myself into it, body and soul,” despite the unlikely nature of his new line of work.

“Growing up, I could have never envisioned this,” he told the Associated Press. “I was actually afraid of the dead when I was a kid. When it came to funeral homes and seeing someone in a casket, it would remind me of being young and going to see a real scary horror movie and not being able to sleep at night. That’s where I was. But you grow and change with the times.”

Since March, the coronavirus has brought change to nearly every facet of American life. Social distancing — which has brought baseball and other sports to a standstill — has helped slow the spread of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but its toll has nevertheless been devastating, with over a million cases and at least 62,560 deaths in the United States as of Friday.


There have been more than 12,000 confirmed cases in Miami-Dade County, which has had the highest death count, 352, of any county in Florida (per the Miami Herald). Dawson’s funeral home has handled six deaths from covid-19, and he has talked to his two dozen employees about the possibility of that number greatly increasing.

“It’s stressful because of the times and the uncertainty,” Dawson told the AP. “But this is what we signed up for. As challenging as it can be, we just pray and hope we’re prepared for it.”

Despite his fame and stature from his baseball career, Dawson has immersed himself in the day-to-day operations of his funeral home, for which his wife of 42 years serves as office manager. He goes to homes to pick up the deceased, drives hearses, carries caskets and, as shown in a 2018 USA Today profile, even mops the floor.

These days, Dawson is doing his work while wearing a mask. That has a limiting effect on how many people recognize the tall man helping with their funeral arrangements, but he said his focus is on the needs of those around him.

“You never know where God is going to lead you,” Dawson told USA Today, “but wherever it leads you, you have to be prepared. When this first fell into my lap, I prayed on it. I thought, ‘How am I really going to pull this off without having the background or knowing anything really about the industry?’ But I wanted to make this as good a facility as I possibly could, and I’m proud of it. It’s important to me because this is a product the community needs.”

Andre Dawson, 65, has owned and operated Paradise Memorial Funeral Home since 2008. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Andre Dawson, 65, has owned and operated Paradise Memorial Funeral Home since 2008. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
If Dawson did not know the value of hard work before he embarked on his major league career, he certainly learned it while rebounding from more than a dozen knee surgeries that eventually sapped the athleticism of the player known as “The Hawk.” During his early seasons with the Expos, who played on a notoriously unforgiving surface at Olympic Stadium, he was the epitome of a five-tool player and is just one of five players in major league history with at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, alongside Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltrán.

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The survey that identified congestion as the number one problem in residents’ minds was completed for the city’s new transportation plan, ConnectCOS, a document intended to build on the recently finished comprehensive plan and promote safety for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all other modes of transportation, Roberts said.

The updated transportation plan is coming together at a time when travel is getting more deadly in the Colorado Springs. During 2020, 50 people died in traffic crashes. Of those, 15 involved motorcycles, 12 were pedestrian fatalities, and three crashes involved bicycles, according to Colorado Springs police. The previous record was 48 traffic deaths in 2018, the Gazette previously reported.

City officials could not explain why 2020 was more deadly, said Todd Frisbie, engineering manager for traffic operations. But the city staff is breaking down safety and traffic crashes by region and plans to present those trends at an upcoming meeting, he said.

Transportation needs are growing and changing in Colorado Springs, and many factors play into why traffic deaths are increasing, city spokeswoman Kim Melchor said.

“We are trying to work to create safer travel, more efficient travel,” she said.

Ultimately the plan will identify specific projects to improve the transportation system, Roberts said. It is expected to be finalized early in 2022.

The new survey did not identify the public’s second top frustration but instead broke down problems by city sector.

Residents identified the lack of infrastructure to serve cyclists and pedestrians as a key problem in six of the 12 sectors studied. Road maintenance and better east-west connections were also cited as priority improvement areas in multiple sectors, the survey found.

Providing safe cycling and pedestrian infrastructure can help ease congestion, said Jerry White, advocacy committee chairman for Bike Colorado Springs.

“We have the ability to provide transportation options for people who don’t want to be part of the congestion. … There is just a fair amount of reluctance to make that happen,” he said.

City plans in general support bicycling and walkability at a high level, but problems have arisen with implementation, White said. For example, he cited the city’s support for a corridor approach to bicycling infrastructure rather than a connected network that helps residents get to destinations.

“That’s a fundamental failing of the city planning process,” he said.

City officials responded to his critique by saying, priority bike corridors identified in the 2018 Bike Master Plan will be incorporated into the new transportation plan.

“This not only builds upon the priority bike corridors, but will interconnect them with several transportation corridors,” Roberts said.