One day down, 42 to go
First workouts in the bag. Universal conclusion: It was "crisp." No standing. No walking. Run between stations. Keep moving. "That's what we want," said right-hander John Patterson. And I know I shouldn't be saying this, and please forgive me, and I know I can't complain (and I won't), but it's cold down here.
And by "cold," I mean like 55 degrees. I know the sympathy is going to start pouring in. But let me tell you about the breeze. I mean, it was whipping through my golf shirt ...
All right, I'll move to another subject.
New manager Manny Acta addressed the team at 9 a.m., 25 minutes before they took the field for the first time (at least the pitchers and catchers and stray position players that are around). The message: We'll do things quickly, blah blah blah. I'm sure every manager wants to run a crisp camp. The more interesting message: We are not interested in people who are only worried about their jobs. He wants people who are here to win. There are people (and I'm sure I some of them are sitting in the chair in which I sit) who think this team could lose 100 games -- and that would be something of an accomplishment. Acta told his team he didn't want to hear it.
(Oh, forgot about lunch: Got a smokehouse turkey panini. Quite good. Huge iced tea, which is probably the best thing going for Panera. But I have to admit, I'll be heading to a few other places this spring. If there's progress here in Brevard County, then I must expand my horizons. These people clearly are.)
(New readers: Please ignore all references to Panera Bread. Just skim over them. I just hope I don't alienate you. Old readers: Height of hilarity, isn't it?)
News: Position players already in camp include outfielders Ryan Church, Kory Casto and Chris Snelling, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and, into town today, outfielder Austin Kearns. Zimmerman -- who vowed to work a bit on his fielding this offseason, even after a spectacular debut in 2006 -- is currently on the infield at Space Coast Stadium taking grounders off the bat of Jose Rijo with none other than former Cincinnati Reds' great Barry Larkin as a tutor.
(Discuss amongst yourselves: Barry Larkin, Hall of Famer?)
Other news: Space Coast Stadium no longer has the spectacular(ly ugly) teal seats of the Florida Marlins, the old tennants. Real, Nationals' blue seats (which is to say, navy blue seats) have been installed. Problem: There's no seat backs or bottoms (which, I guess, means there's no seats, if you want to be technical). The infrastructure is there, anyway, to put in the new seats and give the place a much better look. The hallways downstairs have been repainted in Nationals' colors, etc. (Press box is still full of dead bugs, but who's noticing?)
Okay, time to get back to "work." Big Manny Acta piece coming in the paper tomorrow. Should be fun, with great photos from the Post's own Jonathan Newton. I should be filing a few times a day throughout weekdays during the spring -- providing lineups when games starts, lunch orders before they do -- and trying to give you whatever news I can. (Example: The Vulture Exhibit at the Brevard County Zoo on Wickham Rd. opens March 3.)
Also, come back for video elements -- press conferences, Manny Acta's first workout, interviews, etc. It's a clearinghouse for spring training news and notes.
Oh, and I have a story to tell you about my apartment down here, too. I'll get to that next time.
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