SBD/February 27, 2013/Franchises

DC Mayor Wants Nats' Fan Base To Grow In Capital; Harper's SI Shoot Explained

Much of the Nationals' fanbase comes from Virginia rather than DC
DC Mayor Vincent Gray visited Nationals Spring Training last weekend, and "expressed his intent to grow baseball within Washington, both in support of the major league team and at the grassroots level," according to Adam Kilgore of the WASHINGTON POST. So much of the Nats' fanbase "comes from Virginia, which Gray has no issue with, but he would like more Nationals fans [to] come directly from their home city." He said, "I want to see increasingly large numbers of people who actually live in the city support the team, too. We always want the regional support, because we are a regional team, too. But at the same time, you want the people who live in the city to feel like this is a team that belongs to them." Kilgore noted the Nats and the city at the moment "seem to have a strong working relationship." Since the Nats "moved to their new stadium, they have worked with the city to build a baseball academy." Gray said that it will "be opening this fall" and he "hopes the facility can 'rejuvenate' baseball in Washington" (, 2/25).

COVER MODEL: Nationals CF Bryce Harper appeared on the cover of last week's SI, and in DC, Dan Steinberg wondered how they got him "in full uniform, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial without anyone noticing." SI brought him to the Washington Mall at 8:00am ET on Jan. 26, a "bitterly cold" morning which included "a dusting of snow to much of the area." The shoot lasted 45 minutes, and with Harper "in short-sleeved baseball gear, the weather wasn't exactly ideal." DC-based photographer Simon Bruty said, "He froze his (you know whats) off. It was bloody cold." SI Picture Editor Nate Gordon in an e-mail wrote, "The only way we could do it and not cause a big scene was to shoot early in the morning" (, 2/25).
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