Might get up to the mid-70s today, which would be a pleasant change. It might be before 8 a.m., but that doesn't mean the workers at Space Coast Stadium aren't out. This overhaul involved taking out the old teal seats that were symbols of the Florida Marlins, the former tennants, and replacing them with dark blue seats that make it look like the Nationals' home. Problem: The seats aren't yet in -- only the arm rests, no backs or chairs. (Jokes we've already made/heard: "Nationals are so popular this year, it's standing-room only." "Hey, don't worry. Even if you hit into a double play, you'll get a standing ovation." Hilarious, I know.)
So this morning, it appears that large boxes of seats have arrived. The first game here is a week from Saturday, so it would appear that they'll actually be ready in plenty of time. Is this a good omen for 2008, when the new park will open in DC?
Other news: Nationals President Stan Kasten will arrive here for workouts Wednesday and Thursday, and plans to address the team. (Topic one, Kasten says, is always: Be wary of the media. Of course, I've known some of these guys longer than he has, so he doesn't know -- and I won't tell him -- that I've already had my speech. Topic one: Be wary of executives.)
Right now, as the players are filtering into the clubhouse for the first full-squad workout of the spring, a group is probably carpooling in from Cocoa Beach, which is just to the north of here. Pitchers Mike Bacsik, Matt Chico, Bill White and Garrett Mock (who, like Chico, came over in the Livan Hernandez trade, but Mock will train with the minor leaguers) are staying in a house together there. Their connection: They all were in the Diamondbacks' system last year.
"It makes it a lot easier," White said yesterday. "Noramlly, you come into a new situation, and you're nervous to talk to anyone. I mean, everyone's nice, but you don't want to speak up. We've got a little group that knows each other."
The group is here at least in part because of assistant GM Mike Rizzo, who's overseeing the scouting department and did the same for Arizona for years. He came over last year, and his stamp is starting to be put on the organization. Which makes it an easier transition.
"It feels like the former Diamondbacks' housing," said Bacsik, who went 11-0 for Arizona's Class AAA club last year. "But we're playing for the Nationals this year. Either way, it's nice to know a few guys."
Today: It'll be fun to watch Manny Acta run his first day of a full camp. He was hitting fungos the other day, and he's pitched batting practice, but he also needs to oversee the whole thing. So he's going to be fighting with himself over the next week or so. He would love to be hitting grounders, but he'll have to remind himself he's the manager.
Off to the clubhouse. I'll check in mid-day.
Oh, and the important news: Kornheiser's back on the radio today (thank god!) and on our own Washington Post Radio at 1500 AM and, I believe, 103.5 FM. Believe the show starts at 8:30 a.m. Yours truly will appear at 9:45. A heart-felt welcome back to Mr. Tony.
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