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tv   Meet the Presss Press Pass  NBC  July 27, 2014 11:30am-11:46am EDT

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this week on "press pass," believe it or not there was a time when all of america rooted for washington. not the politicians, but the baseball team. we're talking today to frederick fromer, a reporter who has a love of baseball. you wrote "you gotta have hea heart." fred joins us now. fred, thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> i have a love of baseball after growing up a los angeles
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dodgers fan. how do you think baseball being back in washington a actualis a doing? >> great. i think the city has really fallen in love with baseball. the 20th centuries had some glory times, but some lean years, poor attendance. that hasn't been a problem here. the political establishment has gotten behind the team as well. >> d.c. is made up of so many transplants that you see this kind of community building around the nationals, but a lot of people who are older have come from other places and carry those loyalties with them. >> it's interesting, there are kind of two different types of fans. there are some that kind of keep their loyalty like you have, i imagine, with the dodgers and being maybe a nationals fan close second. >> i have tickets to the nationals and my kids like the nationals. >> some say this is washington, they're my team, i'm not rooting for anyone but my home town.
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>> i have actually struggled th i feel so closely aligned with the nationals, and because my kids do and because it is my home now, and i feel this connection to the team, and it's in some ways harder for me to keep that connection to the dodgers. you know, i always felt like it's treasonist to say that, but i do feel that lure. what do you think the nationals have done well to sort of create that other than just being here? >> being good, i think, is a very important one. they've had a competitive team and they've made things a little entertaining. the president's race is a big draw. they're actually doing a lot in the community now. they're doing events ligat libraries. matt williams, for instance, was at the library. i took my son there. they're encouraging kids to read over the summer. they're doing a lot of great things for the community, so that combined worked out well. >> you have to ask yourself how a team thrives and survives, and a lot of that has to do with television and television revenue, which is a huge problem for the washington nationals
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that fans don't always pay attention to, but the fact is they're not making money off of television. >> right, they're a minority owner in the sports thnetwork tt covers the oilers and the nationals. the owner of the oilers probably would have tried to prevent them from moovving here t. look. it looks like they'll have to go to court on it because they can't agree on how the revenue is split. >> and what if the nationals as a team don't have the steady stream of television as a revenue, what are the implications of that? >> it's a huge loss. television is a huge way of how a team draws their money. you look at the donnedgers, you team. they were able to sign albert pujols in large part because of television revenue. if you don't have television revenue, you're at a huge
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disadvantage than other teams in baseball, especially big city teams. >> i wonder why people wonder why baseball would have allowed the nationals to come to d.c. when there is a huge tv disadvantage because of the oilers and the expos. >> the expos were unfortunately on life support in montreal. i love the nats, but it is unfortunate they don't have a team in montreal. their time is up. where else were they going to send them, to charlotte? washington was the only option, and baseball has done a good job of keeping franchises in place. the last team to move was washington to texas. so washington is in that part of the transition twice, losing a team and getting a team. >> remind people who glory years looked like in washington baseball going back to years ago.
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>> it's a very short period, unfortunately. 1924 to 1933, the team won three pennants and its only world championship in 1924. that 1924 season, as you allude to, the entire country was behind the senators. it's also called the nationals, which is confusing, but people were very excited about an up and coming team who had never won anything before. they were sick of the yankees and the giants winning all the time. a guy named walter johnson, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, it never played in the world series and people wanted him to get a chance to play in the world series. they rooted for him all season long. >> was there a political establishment behind the team, or was it a different dynamic? >> obviously, it was a smaller town and it wasn't as dominant as it is now. president coolidge was honoring the team at the ellipse after they won the pennant. he sent a telegram to bucky harris, the team manager, to
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congratulate him. your rank and file fans, they couldn't really watch the team on the road or watch them on tv or check their cell phones like people do now, but instead they would congregate outside grocery stores and office buildings, and the score would be posted. that's how they did it. >> talking baseball, after this.
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uncle craig, what's the deal? oh...you can't record that many shows at once. why? you can't save every single cartoon. why? you know you can't pause the tv here and play it in another room. why? it's time for fios quantum tv. store up to 200 hours in hd. record up to 12 shows at once. pause and play live tv, room to room. plus, watch live tv on the go with the fios mobile app. redefining what tv can be.
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we're back on "press pass" and we're talking with fred fromer, author of "you gotta have baseball," showindicaticai nationals. a great year for the team. what drew you to this diversion and passion to write this? >> i've just always been a baseball fan. i love baseball. and i found, actually, that this book was obviously a sports book but it was more than that.
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washington baseball is always tied into politics, so there is a chapter in there, for example, of presidents throwing out the first ball. that goes back to taft. not only that, president nixon, for example, he found some tapes where he talked about getting a team for washington when the old team had moved. there was always an intricate connection between the politicians and the senators. and of course the team name was the senators, so by definition it was paying tribute to washington politics. >> it was tied into it. when they came back here, when they came from montreal in those first couple years at rfk, there was excitement, but i remember those were also lean years, right? there was talk of a ballpark, which helped, but it wasn't a competitive team and it looked touch and go there for a bit. >> they were in first place and i think they had some crazy record of winning games. people who study stats will say it's not sustainable. in fact, they had the exact opposite record of winning games
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in the second half and they wanted to finish 500. of course, they were terrible for two or three years, maybe even longer. it paid off, you know. you look back at the old days and the original washington senators, the first 11 years they had a losing season every year, and there was no baseball draft. this time around, the nationals are able to get strauss berg and harper and other good draft choices along the way. the draft years really did build a good foundation for the team. >> that's part of t. they invested in steven straussberg, brice harper, but some of the most iconic players in the game right now, straussberg and harper, are in washington. that's a tremendous thing, especially for the young generation of washingtonian fans. >> it would be great if they stick around a long time and become sin no o-- synonomous in
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baseball. >> how likely do you think that is? >> six years out when they finally hit free agency, $25 million per guy per year? that's going to be tough to keep both, i would imagine. >> what's your read on the second half of the season? >> i'm optimistic. despite ryan zimmerman's injury, they're playing well. they started off pretty slow, and if they make the playoffs, which i think they will, having that deep rotation is a huge advantage in the playoff. >> you look at the cardinals every year and how they show up so big in the playoffs, and it's because they know how to get to that other gear and know how to win. what is that intangible? do you think washington is closer to having that now? >> we'll have to wait and see. i talked to ian desmond after the 2012 season and he was pretty honest about it. he said we kind of weren't ready. the tension and the pressure, it
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was the first time. i think the players will have said they feel battle tested not only from 2012 but from high expectations they didn't meet last year. this year they feel like they'll hit their stride in the playoffs, and i hope they're right. >> who could they actually get here before the trade deadline? >> that's a tough one. i heard chris lee is out there but he's more of an august pickup. >> yeah. and could be very expensive. >> martine prodo is a name for second base. even with zimmerman out for a little while, we've got a pretty good second baseman, espinoza, to fill in there. they played pretty well with those eight guys, so i think they should stay the same. that's my own opinion. >> the book is "you gotta have heart, baseball from 1859 to the 2014 national championship
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season." thank you very much. >> thank you. >> that's all for pre"press pas" we'll be back next week. now stay tuned for president obama's weekly address.

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