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Opening daze

I was in the Nationals' clubhouse late Monday afternoon, trying to coax interesting quotes from a bunch of players who had just been humiliated over the previous three hours and who had no interest in being interesting -- interestingly -- when I got a call on my cell phone. I let it go to voice mail.

When I finally checked the message, it was from my brother, Aaron, who has managed to retain the intense love of the Atlanta Braves that we once shared, before I got into this business and learned a little too much about how the sausage is made. "I hope you just saw that," his message said. "Holy [expletive]. That was amazing! [Expletive]!"

I knew immediately that Jason Heyward must have just homered in his first big league at-bat. And it probably went a million miles. And possibly destroyed some piece of property when it landed.

Yup. [Expletive].

I want to thank everyone who took the time to enter our 2010 predictions contest. We surpassed last year's participation, with more than 60 entries. I'll post something here in the next couple of days breaking down all the picks.

In the meantime, here are some additional thoughts on everything that went down on opening day:

*First, regarding the Nationals... I want to pull out this interesting take posted as a comment by Fairfax6 on my sidebar regarding shortstop Ian Desmond: "BWT, yesterday's starting lineup consisted of 5 players already in their thirties, and a sixth who turns 30 on July 2. Had Guzman started the game (as he probably should have on merit), Ryan Zimmerman would have been the only Nats position player born after 1980. Some youth movement. The team is old and bad, the worst possible combination for a team in any sport."

The truth hurts, and I can't dispute what Fairfax6 says. The only thing I'll add is this: The team you saw getting pummeled on opening day is not the same team you will see on, say, July 4. Or, I sure as heck hope it's not.

*I think we saw the defensive play of the year made on day one. Good luck topping this gem, by White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.

*Amazing opening day note: Three pitchers who started for AL teams on Monday did not throw a single pitch in 2009: Ben Sheets (Oakland), Jake Westbrook (Cleveland) and Shawn Marcum (Toronto). Not-so-amazing note: None of their teams won.

*Can we go ahead and give this guy his 2010 MVP?

*Two quick thoughts regarding Josh Beckett's four-year $68 million contract extension with the Red Sox: One, the Sox now have their top four starting pitchers (Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz) locked up through 2014 -- something no other team in the majors can say. And two, next winter's free agent pitching market now consists of one difference-maker and a bunch of maybes and definitely-nots. Come November, it's going to be nice to be Cliff Lee.

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 6, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
 | Tags: cristian guzman, ian desmond, jason heyward, mlb, opening day, ryan zimmerman  
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Next: Contest wrap-up: How we picked 'em

Comments

Shiner, is there any chance, any at all, that we could get someone at the Post to go over to Nats Park, knock on Stan's door and Mark Lerner's door, and get them to defend their corporate decision to sell blocks of thousands of tickets to Phillies fans before even offering Nats fans the chance to buy them?

Posted by: comish4lif | April 6, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Seconded. Someone from the Post has to really look into this. Zuckerman has taken a stab, and Steinberg looked at the symptoms but not the cause. But the team needs to be held accountable.

Posted by: cassander | April 6, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse


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Posted by: 898551828 | April 6, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The debacle of opening day should not be swept under the rug. It's ridiculous that on opening day there would be THAT many Phillies fans in attendance.

You guys have got to stay on top of this, and go at the Lerner's and Stan K. as aggressively as was done to Dan Snyder and his treatment of the fans last season.

It is the only way the organization will change.

Posted by: urallimbeciles | April 7, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

What do you all think the Season Ticket number is this year? A year ago it was "16 and change" according to Stan Kasten. After a second season of 100+ losses I would guess that 16 and change is generous. With all of the Nats fans on this board and elsewhere stomping their feet with exclaimations of "No more! Cheap Lerners! Stan Speak! Not another dime!", I would hope that the team does whatever it takes to fill the seats. I would say it takes time to build a winner from within. No so long to do it like the Yankees and Red Sox. So, what do all of you want? A free agent at every position?

Posted by: 6thandD | April 8, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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