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Apologies, and Some Updates

So I'm sorry about being out of touch today. Was working on a story during the day, nominally trying to pay attention to said game, and trying to race back two hours from Lakeland to Viera to make sure I was able to keep an appointment, all while obeying all traffic laws.

Some clarification on the minor moves: INF Wade Robinson, acquired in trade with Houston, will likely be a middle infield guy at Class AA Harrisburg, and INF Matt Rogelstad, purchased from Seattle, will probably perform the same job at one of the Class A clubs. This from player development guru Bob Boone.

Also: Roger (who yesterday went by Rogearvin, but said today he prefers Roger) Bernadina played nine innings in CF. He plays really shallow, so you know he must have confidence in his ability to go back on balls. He made a couple good plays, including a nice throw to third that nearly got a guy tagging up from second on a deep fly ball. He went 1 for 3 and scored a run, striking out once. But afterward, Acta said, "Don't read anything into it."

So we won't. The outfield is set, and we all know it. The only question: When will Logan return from his groin injury, and will he immediately be inserted into the lineup when he does?

Tickets: Talked to Stan Kasten several times today about this issue, and there will be a story in tomorrow's Post (just $.35) about an issue that, from your comments and emails, appears to have alarmed several fans. Hopefully it helps answer some questions. I talked to several fans -- some who will appear in the story -- who were frustrated. It appears -- and I know this not only from Kasten, but from dealing with different people today, including the head of my own season-ticket group -- that many of the tickets arrived tonight. I know not all did.

You can read what Kasten said in tomorrow's paper (or online later tonight). One thing that didn't get addressed in the story is the idea of having the tickets printed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Yes, they were printed there at a company called Mercury Graphics. No, it doesn't appear that this was done on the cheap.

According to Mark LaCoste, the director of sales and marketing for Mercury, the club prints tickets for all the major professional leagues. He said their other MLB clients include the Reds, Angels, Giants and Cubs.

Not sure what that explains, other than to say it's not like the Nationals picked some sort of outlier ticket-printing company. They at least do work for other big-league clients.

I'll always be interested in fans' thoughts on their game experience, their dealings with the club, etc., so feel free to post them here or email me your experiences.

The rest of the game: Three-run homer from Cristian Guzman today. He's feeling rather comfortable. We'll see how he takes it to the regular season. Bergmann overcame a shaky first inning to throw five innings of two-run ball. Read the notebook in the paper tomorrow for some interesting comments on that. And Levale Speigner -- gulp! -- actually gave up a run. Well, he gave up four of them. In 3-1/3 innings.

He took the loss, but Chris Booker was on the mound when the winning run scored in the bottom of the ninth, a 6-5 setback that included a three-run Tigers' ninth. Booker walked the first man he faced on four pitches.

Speigner's ERA in 15 innings is 2.40, up from ... well, 0.00.

Night game on Tuesday against the Mets, the penultimate game here in Florida (though there are two games on Wednesday, a split-squad, so maybe that's not entirely correct). We'll see Jerome Williams pitch, and he's been quite good lately. We'll see if it continues.

Talk to you at some point before game time. Thanks for your patience today.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 26, 2007; 9:03 PM ET
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Next: Peripheral issues, part 72


Thanks for all the information and for running down the ticket situation.

An additional wrinkle - there are long lines at at least some FedEx facilities tonight made up mostly of Nats fans trying to pick up tickets because a signature is required. It's not chaos, but at the same time I'm not particularly interested in spending my entire evening down there to get tickets I've paid thousands of bucks for.

Usually, FedEx will leave deliveries with my building staff, but for this one the shipper (whether Mercury or the Nats is unknown) is apparently requiring a personal signature, which appears to be responsible for the backlog.

So, the scorecard - three years in Washington, two of them with season ticket delivery debacles. And a new stadium move process next year to boot....

Posted by: Svrlugamania | March 26, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Evidently our season group ringleader received our tickets today. I'm confident it is related to your inquiry.

Great blog!

Posted by: Eric | March 26, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

My tickets arrived yesterday, left at the front desk w/o signature. I had gotten an email Friday saying they would arrive Monday. When I ordered the tickets on March 2 my personal rep told me they were mailing out the tickets to the first batch of orders that day and that mine would be sent in about 3 weeks. I wasn't the least bit upset, or surprised. I don't know what the big deal is. If you want them sooner, order them sooner. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that one out. Most of all STOP WHINING. Here, have some cheese with that.

Posted by: DrRisk | March 27, 2007 5:24 AM | Report abuse

"If you want them sooner, order them sooner."

Which hole did you pull that gem out of? Some of us have been buying tickets from this team since 2005, and don't have them yet. I personally paid my invoice in full within a week of the invoices coming out LAST YEAR. Still don't have my tickets yet. If you're going to judge folks for being upset, at least have your facts straight. Reading Barry's article in today's paper would be a good start.

Posted by: Umm, No? | March 27, 2007 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry, for all your work. Love the blog.

Thanks, too, for clearing up the outside food issue.

Posted by: gonats | March 27, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Got my season tickets yesterday. But no chachki this year! In past years we'd gotten a special Nats baseball and/or season ticket holder pin. It's a minor thing, but the total package (including the packaging and presentation) is a little cheaper this year. Wouldn't expect this from a "Class A" organization.

Posted by: NatsDC | March 27, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Your "season-ticket group?"

How does that work? Aren't you in the press box for every game?

BTW, love the daily journal!

Posted by: Section 214, Row 10 | March 27, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Yes thank you.

Posted by: D. Frenzy | March 27, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I think to blame the Saskatoon printers or even K-FedEX is a cheap out. The Cubs got their tickets in plenty of time, using the same printers. All the blame should be where it rightly belongs, the Nats - for lollygagging on their order.

To blame Saskatoon location? I saw emails from guys whose tix originated in DC, went to Memphis and back again. So now matter where it started, it had to go thru Memphis.

Posted by: VladiHondo | March 27, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm one of the folks who went to FedEx's Alexandria facility on Eisenhower Avenue last night -- and spent about an hour and fifteen minutes standing in line talking baseball with other Nationals fans. FedEx normally closes the counter there at 8:30pm but judging by the number of people who were still waiting when I got my tickets just before nine, I doubt the FedEx staff got out before ten o'clock last night.

I decided not to wait for delivery after the FedEx tracking software told me my tickets had been on a truck driving around northern Virginia all day but I didn't get any attempt at delivery, and especially when the software passed along the news that after the truck and my tickets returned to Ike Ave. the "delivered by" date slipped from Wednesday to Friday afternoon.

Posted by: Arlington, or Section 502 | March 27, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

To Dr. Risk:

March 2? What kind of fan are you? I paid for mine last December, full price, one payment. You are obviously a newbie. Every season, it is anxiety city. Luckily, Fedex left mine at my door, no signature required. The difference in delivery schedules and requirements is typical of this organization.
On another matter, we were promised a MP3 player, if we paid all at once in Dec. '06. Anybody ever get one or know whats up about that?

Posted by: A Hardwick, Sec 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | March 27, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Excellent point about the MP3 player. This is another example of how lousy this organization is. I don't need it, and I don't really care if I get it -- but it ticks me off that it was promised to me and they can't seem to get their act together to give their fans what they say they are going to give them...

Posted by: Brian | March 27, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Hear, hear VladiHondo! I thought it a bit sheepish for Kasten to state that they are very, very unhappy as if the blame lies with some entity other than the Washington Nationals. If they had a competent ticket office, the tickets would have been issued to season ticket holders well in advance of the start of the season - particularly those who have been season ticket holders, in the same seats no less, since the team moved to DC.

I tolerated the lack of attention to customer service by the old front office, but for some reason, my season ticket experience for this season has been particularly awful. From the first demand for payment-in-full by December 19, to the subsequent bantering by Nationals ticket reps to pay by January 4 (even though that was an optional pay-by date - for which a Nationals MP3 player was promised, but never delivered), and even now as I sit here ticketless on March 27, reading Mr. Kasten's non-answers to the problem.

At least my tickets are now on a truck for delivery...while I'm here at work. But I probably won't be able to pick those up until tomorrow. Ugh.

Posted by: DE | March 27, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Right Brian - I don't need the MP3 player, in fact, I don't really even want it. But it is this type of apparent lack of respect that this ticket office has for the customer that really burns me.

Posted by: DE | March 27, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The Lerners are probably trying to figure out what it is they bought into. Half a Billion for a ball club and Opening Day is not sold out.

Posted by: Cecil Travis | March 27, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, we have our first chant of the season: ,,M-P-3! M-P-3!,,

Posted by: Section 320 | March 27, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

And what about that food situation? Nothing is clear - Kasten said we could bring sodas?? He is either clueless or careless. I,m going with /lacks attention to detail/ here.

Posted by: cevans | March 27, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"Stop whining"?? As IF. Where do you think this is? Watch TV Sunday morning -- This is what we do best.

Posted by: Section 320 | March 27, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha, how can Kastan say he allows soda? Anytime I tried to bring in soda or a sandwich last year I got told to dump it in the trash by security.

Posted by: Paul | March 27, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I've never been allowed to bring in soda, either. Some food, all the water I want. No soda. Makes about zero sense, since they gouge the same for soda there as they do water. Love going to the games, I refuse to deal with concessions. I go for the $2 chili dogs from a vendor outside the Armory. I hope he moves to the new stadium.

Posted by: Food fight | March 27, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I have found the security enforcement of whatever food policy the stadium has to be wildly inconsistent and completely lacking in any rational. It seems that you are only allowed to bring water in only if it appears to be an unopened store-bought water bottle (Dasani, etc.). I've tried to bring in reusable Nalgene-type bottles--empty even!--and had them say I had to throw it away (of course, I refused, and simply went to another entrance where it was allowed). I like to reuse my water containers and not waste, plus I don't think water is something one should have to pay a premium for since it is usually just repackaged tap water anyway.

Sorry to soapbox here, but it's DC in the freakin summer, and water is a must. I buy Stan's tickets, beer a-plenty, and sub-par food a couple times a week ... can't he let me bring in an empty Nalgene and fill it from RFK's taps? Barry, if you're listening to this and the above statements, can you get Stan to further commit to the food policy he stated in today's paper by making sure that the security staff is on the same page?

Posted by: Water Bottles | March 27, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to hear about Rogearvin Bernadina. I thought I had a great addition to the All-Name team. Is he the guy from Curacao? Good names from there.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | March 27, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Hello. I believe it may have been my error, and I will check today. He said the food policy would remain the same -- and I didn't realize sodas had been ruled out in the past.

I'll double-check with the Nationals. But my instinct is that's my error. To be clear on the food policy: It will remain same as last year (which some of you are clearer about than I am).

My season-ticket group: Yes, it's insane. I cover about 130-135 games a year. But because I'll live in DC probably the rest of my life, I went in on season tickets with a group of guys beginning with 2005. I plan on going to these games long after I'm done covering the team.


Posted by: Barry Svrluga | March 27, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Barry you da best. Thanks!

Posted by: Water Bottles | March 27, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse


Can you check on the MP3 player thing while you're at it? They clearly promised this promotion for folks who paid early, and I believe back in the winter said they'd be shipping them with tickets. Now we get silence on the whole thing. Is this going to be another bobblehead give-away type thing, where some folks end up with literally 12 (and sell 11 on eBay), and others end up with none?

Posted by: Want my tunes | March 27, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

and can you see if you can get some sort of barry s podcast preloaded on those puppies? or at least a 15 second clip of kasten screaming about brisket?

Posted by: derek | March 27, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

And a salami and cheese on rye while you're at it Barry (but not from Panera)

Posted by: cmc | March 27, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

For whatever my 2 cents are worth, I bought the 20-game Plan A last Friday, along with non-plan tickets to Opening Day and July 4 (which if I remember correctly were part of the Plan A package *last* season, but somebody correct me if I'm wrong).

The individual game tix arrived today (Tuesday 3/27); the "season" tix, according to my Nats rep (who by the way is very professional), were due to be overnighted to me today and are scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

Posted by: Juan-John | March 27, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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