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The Nats throw their new hero in front of the fans today.

Yeah, Stephen Strasburg will be there, too! But from the sounds of things, new general manager Mike Rizzo is no worse than the co-headliner with the pre-rookie.

What a week for Rizzo. The guy toiled anonymously for months under the Lerners and Stan Kasten after bottle-blond GM Jim Bowden got canned for taking a taste of the signing bonus of pseudonymous foreigners (allegedly).

Now, even with his team in last place in the majors by a good margin, Rizzo’s a darling of the national media. Foxsports.com ran a story headlined “Nats’ savior is new GM Rizzo, not Strasburg.

The lede of baseball writer Tracy Ringolsby‘s Rizzo puffery: “For all the fanfare surrounding the Washington Nationals signing right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg shortly before midnight on Monday and the proclamation of it as a watershed moment’ in the history of a floundering franchise, Thursday’s official announcement of Mike Rizzo as the team’s general manager is when the true foundation for the future was put in place.”

(If the Nationals do get decent in the near future, it’ll be fascinating to see how Stan Kasten shares credit for the success with the team’s official general manager.)

(AFTER THE JUMP: Will Rizzo and Strasburg waltz? La dee dah, the Nats got swept again? Is there a bigger dumbass than the guy who came up with the Redskins latest towel giveaway? Did Jason Campbell cry on Brett Favre’s sore shoulder? A minor basketball league will let you try out AND stay at the Red Roof Inn, for a sum and a password?)

The team offered thousands of cheap tickets to tonight’s game with the Brewers at Nationals Stadium that’ll also get you into the press conference to introduce Strasburg. According to reports, Rizzo will take questions, too.

Brilliant marketing.

Let us count the ways. The event will help the Lerners rebuild their local image as skinflints, since they’re practically giving away tickets to meet the kid they gave millions and millions to sign! Who cares that they didn’t pay rent owed on the  billion dollar stadium last year?

But, also, by tying the press conference to a game, and with all the tickets selling out, the promotion will end up getting the owners a chunk of the money they just guaranteed to Strasburg, in parking and concessions at today’ all-day soiree.

And the benefits just keep on coming: Judging by local sportstalk alone, it seems there’s a bigger buzz around here about the Nats weekend events than the Steelers’s Saturday visit to FedExField.

Maybe at the coming out party, Rizzo and Strasburg, on opposite sides of things just days ago but now joined at the wallet, should have a first dance around the infield.


The Redskins marketing department, meanwhile, came up with a clunker of a promotion: The first 50,000 fans at FedExField will get a free towel. All that serves to do is to remind everybody that the Steelers brought about 50,000 towel-waving followers to the Skins home park for a game last season, a nationally televised humiliation and proof that the chickens have come home to roost in the Dan Snyder/Stub Hub alliance.


Not all the Nats games are played off the field. Colorado completed a sweep of last night with a 4-1 win over the home team at Nationals Park.

And however much the media adores Rizzo, the last-place squad he general manages still gets no respect. The lede of the Denver Post’s game story on the Rockies win over the Nats: “The Lilliputians are squashed.”


Tomorrow’s doings at FedExField should prepare us for how the season’s going to go. Not on the field, in the parking lot.

The Steelers exhibition will be the first Redskins game since Dan Snyder revamped his parking scheme, adding Lexus lanes for premium ticket buyers, cutting out lanes for the hoi polloi, and installing new tailgating restrictions.

It’ll also be the first outing since the Jericho City of Praise opted out of its deal leasing thousands of parking spaces to Snyder for Skins games.

In other words, if you’re planning on going to the game, stop reading and leave now.


If Jason Campbell suddenly goes on a pill jag then retires and unretires three times, we’ll know this is true: An ESPN.com story has Campbell turning to fellow Mississippian Brett Favre for advice during his hours of need, as Dan Snyder flirted with Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez.


The Premier Basketball League, a minor league confederation run by local lawyer Tom Doyle, will hold its “National Player Tryout Combine” here next month.

Folks who think they’ve got enough game for Doyle’s own Maryland Nighthawks or the Halifax Rainmen or the Chicago Throwbacks or any of the other PBL stalwarts should show up at the Georgetown Prep gym on Sept. 27.

Keeping the dream alive ain’t free, however.

Anybody wanting to try out will have to pay $60 to the league. A room at the Red Roof Inn in Rockville, the official hotel of the PBL camp, will cost another $59.99, so long as you mention “code B263PRBALE” at check-in.


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