Offseason Blues (part 1 in a bazillion) UPDATE: NOW WITH MORE DC SPORTS AWESOMENESS

As I went home after Black Friday, I calculated that, without baseball, I suddenly had something like twenty-four hours a week that I didn’t know what to do with–that figure being a conservative estimate of the number of hours I spent watching baseball in person or on television, or the Internet, or listening to Charlie Slowes and Dave Jaegler call a game on the radio, plus the hours spent going to, hanging out at, or coming from the ballpark.

I don’t think I’m all that unusual, and I haven’t really found anything to fill those hours.

So it’s somewhat comforting that former teen phenom (and future perennial superstar) Bryce Harper is also having a hard time figuring out what to do with his time. Harp’s turned his mind to sartorial matters lately, it seems:

(Just to clear up any ambiguity, I think he’s referring to his own personal “swag,” rather than his ever-faithful dog, Swag)

This takes a delightful turn, though, when he asks another youthful DC sporting hero for style help:

Even more delightfully, RGIII seems ready to oblige:

UPDATE: It appears that John Wall wants in on this particular conversation. This is like a perfect storm of youthful, off-the-field DC sporting exuberance. Hat tip and huzzah for Dave Huzzard, who alerted me to this :

(And, yeah, I know this is really more Nats Enquirer’s beat, but what can I say? I’m bored, too. When’s spring training?)

UPDATED UPDATE:The Great Wall is getting socks, too. Somebody needs to take a group picture.

The Cone of Silence Descends

In what Mark Zuckerman called “the biggest news of Nats training camp so far,” Bryce Harper has deleted his Twitter account.

I don’t need to go over all the ridiculous things Harper has tweeted over the past year.other bloggers have done a better job of that.

But what interests me most is the apparent cone of silence that has descended over Nats players’ twitter accounts over the past week. At about the time that Nats players attended a media meeting where Davey Johnson issued some stern warnings about Facebook and “Tweeter” and “a whole bunch of web sites”, Nats player twitter accounts lit up with the same message:

Follow @NationalsPR for a behind-the-scenes look at the Nationals and Spring Training 2012!

Who carried these robo-tweets? Well, Stephen Strasburg, Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard, and Edwin Jackson reproduced it verbatim. Closer Drew Storen varied the wording a bit. This blogger is aware of only two Nats players in major league camp in Viera who seemed to evade this apparent pronouncement from Nationals PR: Danny Espinosa, and Jesús Flores. I wonder if these two escaped because of Nats PR’s oversight, though. Espinosa hasn’t tweeted since September. Flores’s background image still shows him in his Navegantes del Magallanes uniform–maybe the PR hacks don’t read enough Spanish to know that Flores is active on Tweeter.

Has there been a team-wide social-media blackout? Likely not. Flores, Storen, and Jackson continue to be their gregarious selves on Twitter. But the sudden intrusion of the team’s PR apparatus on player Twitter accounts seems to point to a Nationals organization that is much more interested in the careful management of its public image.

Perhaps this is what the League and the Union meant when they agreed that “all players would be subject to a social media policy.” The summary of the 2011 Collective Bargaining agreement is very terse on the subject, acknowledging only that such a term exists, but not fleshing out any of the regulations to which players would be subjected.

For as much as Harper’s tweets and his front-running ways may have annoyed me, personally, it’s tough for me to see this as anything other than a warning to other players: tone it down before the social-media rules let us force you to tone it down. Players–and fans and writers–will take notice.