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D.C. Sports Bog: February 15, 2009 - February 21, 2009

The Nationals Hate Running

Okay, that's an overstatement. But in the video below, the Nationals Dan talked to don't seem too psyched about the "necessary evil" of running in spring training. If you can't view the video player below, you can click here instead....

By Jon DeNunzio  |  February 20, 2009; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Ronnie Being Ronnie

Manny Acta, with Ronnie Belliard and friends. (By Jonathan Newton - TWP) If it wasn't already obvious, I'm no longer in the land of gusting winds, sneaky sunburns, daily Manny Acta golf cart rides and Jalapeno cheese fries. Could one argue that there might have been a better way...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 20, 2009; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Nats  
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Collin Balester Surf Videos

Because the only thing more ridiculous than one video of Collin Balester at the Ron Jon surf shop would be two videos of Collin Balester at the Ron Jon surf shop, here are two videos of Collin Balester at the Ron Jon surf shop. The gimmick was stolen from WUSA's...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 20, 2009; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Nats  
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Mike Hinckley's Beard

When Jason Bergmann was detailing some of the Nats' offseason beards the other day, he mentioned Mike Hinckley as a candidate for best in show. Hinckley showed up at camp clean-shaven and respectable, but luckily, the left-handed receiver had preserved the images on his phone. He graciously agreed to...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 20, 2009; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Morning Look , Nats  
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Adam Dunn Buys Lunch

"He's the first 10 millionaire we've had around here since Soriano," Jason Bergmann said today, joking about Adam Dunn. "We're not used to big-time guys. We're priding ourselves on building within, guys like Zimmerman were drafted and came up real fast. I guess he would be our biggest-name player." Well,...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 3:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Nats  
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Lastings Milledge is Ocho Cinco?

This is in the past. (By Charles Dharapak - AP) There's a piece of tape next to Lastings Milledge's stall at Space Coast Stadium. It says "Ocho Cinco 85." It turns out Manny Acta wrote the message and stuck the tape there. And it turns out Acta did so...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Nats  
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Non-Nats Fans Invade Nats Spring Training

There are far, far more Nats fans today than there have been in days past; there are jackets and hats, sweatshirts and windbreakers, plus the marks of Virginia and Virginia Tech and the Caps. Things somehow seem more exciting when 100 or 150 people who aren't being paid to...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Return of the First Basemen

Spring = Hope, right?...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Jesus Flores Has a New Haircut

Just in case you really, really wanted to see what this looks like....

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
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Dunn and Kearns, the Video

As previously discussed....

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Nats  
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Rick Eckstein Talks Hitting and Memory

When Chico Harlan recently wrote about new Nats' hitting coach Rick Eckstein, mentioning his photographic memory, I was intrigued. I once memorized the names of every Vice President and every Presidential election loser, but about a week after I finished, 90 percent of the information disappeared from my brain....

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Nats  
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Manny Acta, Alex Ovechkin and John Wooden

The conversation in the Lost in Space Coast Stadium before Manny Acta addressed the media this morning? Yeah, Alex Ovechkin's goal. We watched the video. We shook our heads. We compared his little self-pass off the boards to the various stunts of high school indoor soccer gym games. We...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 9:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns Remember the Days

Kearns watches Dunn take batting practice. I asked Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns whether I could get some video of them telling stories about each other when they were 18 or 19 years old. Like any American male who has ever been 18 or 19 years old, they had...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 19, 2009; 6:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Stan Kasten and the Player to Be Named Later

Stan Kasten just completed his conference call with reporters about the Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez mess. With about a dozen reporters crammed into a small office on the third floor of Space Coast Stadium, and with a few others on the line from elsewhere and a phone pressed up to the...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 5:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Ross Detwiler, the Caps and Old-School Hockey

When I shared my Web traffic woes with one Nats player today, he told me that he had a Caps hat at home and volunteered to bring it to Lost in Space Coast Stadium for some hockey talk. It's an offer I'm considering. In the meantime, young left-hander Ross...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Caps , Nats  
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Elijah Dukes: "Everybody Vibing"

Dukes, joking with fans. Elijah Dukes addressed the media this afternoon inside the spring training clubhouse. This is apparently something of a special opportunity. As previously mentioned, I saw a very relaxed and friendly Dukes spend several minutes hanging out with fans earlier in the day, signing autographs and...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
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It's Dmitri Young

As requested, visual proof of Dmitri Young's appearance on the practice fields this afternoon. This was immediately following a series of running drills that a bunch of players did together, with several jokingly collapsing on the ground after they finished. Young, who did the drills with his hat on...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
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Adam Dunn Hits

This is more a statement of fact than anything else, but Adam Dunn was here, hitting baseballs, while hitting coach Rick Eckstein hovered nearby with a video camera. Wily Mo Pena, meantime, kept trying to corral Dunn's hair, which, as you can see, is ample. Pena also hit several...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Terrell Young: Dodgeball and Barry White

Former dodgeball star Terrell Young. A few random words about recent Nats' Rule 5 pick Terrell Young, a reliever who refers to himself as "T.Y." and seems to be one of the clubhouse's chattier residents. * He played rec league baseball as a kid, but his serious baseball career...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
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And the Spring Crowds Go Mild

It's hard to understand why, after arriving in Viera, my weekday blog traffic would have dropped literally 50 percent yesterday, compared to the days when I sit in my basement and post photos of Caps fans in funny jerseys. I mean, look at the crowds of optimistic hope-springs-eternal Nats...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 10:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
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Life in Viera: Boring

The highlight of my first two days in Viera has likely been my morning golf cart rides with Manny Acta from stadium to practice fields. On today's trip, I was grilled about why I'm a vegetarian, how I get protein in my diet, and how it's possible to be a...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
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Collin Balester and Brett Haber at the Surf Shop

Because he plans ahead, WUSA sports director Brett Haber arranged to visit the massive 24-7 Ron Jon surf shop in Cocoa Beach with confirmed surfer dude Collin Balester last night. Because I'm shameless, I arranged to tag along. Because he's abnormally interested in the world of sports media and...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 8:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Morning Look: Those Skating Presidents

Clearly the only downside to being stationed in Viera is that the Racing Presidents, arguably the fourth through seventh most popular Nats, are not hear with us. Oh, the places we'd go. Like the unfortunately named Thai Paradise, where I had dinner for one yesterday. Didn't they get the...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Caps , Morning Look , Nats  
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Jim Riggleman on Coming Home to D.C.

(AP Photo) New Nats bench coach Jim Riggleman, grew up in the D.C. suburbs, graduated from Richard Montgomery in '70 and went to Frostburg State, where he's a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame. A few D.C. questions and answers with Riggleman, long an MLB manager and currently...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 17, 2009; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Randy St. Claire and His Jerky

(File photo by Jonathan Newton - TWP) Not to overcook things on the jerky front, but as long as I came all the way down here, figured I might as well ask Nats pitching coach Randy St. Claire about his world famous Spring Training Deer Jerky. (One rival media...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 17, 2009; 5:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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Baseball Inventions and Haircuts

The Hitman. When I explained to Jason Bergmann who I was and why I was here in Viera, and when he realized that this meant The Post had two writers on the premises before position players had even reported, he put two and two together and got .366. "Lose...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 17, 2009; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Collin Balester's Future In-Laws Visit Viera

Collin Balester's future father-in-law meets Manny Acta. If you've never been to Lost in Space Coast Stadium for spring training, here's what the crowd is like: There will be a weird assortment of autograph seekers carrying folders and wearing logos of other baseball teams, a random guy in leather...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 17, 2009; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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Spring Training Means Venison Jerky

This portrait of Acta hangs outside the 'Coast press box. It's available for $5,300. I sat through Manny Acta's media availability this morning, just to hear exactly where Saul Rivera fit into the bullpen mix. (Answer: ideally in the sixth and seventh innings.) Then I sat through an extended...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 17, 2009; 10:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Morning Look: Welcome to Viera

Because I'm nothing if not a slave to Web traffic, I came down to Viera for a few days. Ha! Wait until the accounting department hears about this one! I'm also chatting today at 2 p.m.; submit your questions here. Ask me about college basketball rankings, Terp mohawks, Viera...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 17, 2009; 8:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Morning Look , Nats  
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MMA Fighter Mike Easton: "All D.C.'d Up"

I don't usually write about MMA fighters in this space. But I'll make an exception for a guy who lives about two miles from my house; who trains to go-go music (Rare Essence and Junkyard Band!), roots for the Caps and D.C. United and met his trainer at a...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 16, 2009; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Fighting Sports  
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Local Poll Week XIV: Now What?

Struggle on top. (Photo by John McDonnell - TWP. Logo and editing by Ian Oland - A11 media.) A fourth straight change at the top? Not so fast, rocket scientist. A week after proclaiming that the weirdest week in Atlantic 11 history, I have a revision. This is the...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 16, 2009; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Atlantic 11 , College Basketball  
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Terp Fans Seek Valentines, Plus Pith

When I went up to Jarren Ginsburg during Saturday's Maryland-Virginia Tech game, I pointed out that his outfit looked like a bathrobe. "It IS a bathrobe," he confirmed. "It's got moose on it," noted his friend, Matt Wooten. "And these boxing gloves are about three sizes too small," Ginsburg...

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 15, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Atlantic 11 , College Basketball  
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