Have I mentioned that we have a new slogan here in beautiful Viera? Mea culpa.
If you recall, there used to be three billboards on the left field wall at HSCS with some version of the slogan, "Viera -- It's All Here." (The number of ways to pick that apart are countless and trite and, I suppose, hysterical, but we never try to revive dead horses here at the Journal, so we'll just leave that be.)
Anyway, the three billboards have been replaced by one in a lovely shade of blue. It's nearly impossible to read from the press box, as the writing is small. But a quick look with binoculars reveals the following:
"Baseball's good. In Viera, even better."
There is another billboard in right-center, one for Viera Homes:
"A new home is good. In Viera, even better."
All this, of course, implies that merely by transporting object X into the city limits of Viera, it is magically transformed into X + Y. I now understand why the colors here are a little bit brighter, the brush fires a little more pungent, the cul de sacs a perfectly round shape they can't achieve elsewhere, the sandwiches a little tastier, and the baseball ... well, I'll hold my tongue on that one.
Your lineup for today's tilt against the Astros:
Lopez -- 2B
Guzman -- DH
Zimmerman -- 3B
Kearns -- RF
Schneider -- C
Snelling -- LF
Lee -- 1B
Wilson -- SS
Logan -- CF
Simontacchi pitching, followed by Bergmann. Patterson throwing over in the minor league game today (I'll go see him at 10 a.m., when that starts). That's just to allow him to get his work in and to make sure the staff sees the two other guys against real major league hitters (or at least the collection of pretenders the Astros will likely send over here).
News: First cuts this morning. Thirteen guys. Don't have all the names, but it isn't completely shocking. The one interesting note: INF Tony Womack, at 37 the oldest guy in camp, was released. This could have been predicted soon after Rafael/Ronnie Belliard was signed. Womack said to me the other day, "I can still play this game, regardless of what anybody says." So we'll see if another team agrees and picks him up.
(Wait. Did I say I didn't have all the names? Here are the guys who were reassigned: infielder Tony Blanco, infielder Melvin Dorta, outfielder Wayne Lydon, first baseman Jorge Toca, outfielder George Lombard, right-handed pitcher Felix Diaz, right-handed pitcher Anastacio Martinez, right-handed pitcher Eduardo Valdez, left-handed pitcher Luis Martinez and left-handed pitcher Bill White.)
Former major leaguer Tony Blanco was one of 10 players reassigned to minor league camp. Outfielder Frank Diaz was optioned to Class AAA Columbus (I will write "Class AAA New Orleans" many times this year, but please always subtitute "Columbus" for "New Orleans" when I do). Lefty Mike Hinckley was optioned to Class AA Harrisburg. All those guys have to go down and get innings and at-bats in the minors. The next round of cuts will be March 13.
Other news: The Nationals are about to name Bobby Williams (son of former Orlando Magic GM/Pres Pat Williams) director of player development -- replacing Andy Dunn, who resigned last month amidst a restructuring that also took out some lower-level people. It's essentially the farm director position, working under VP Bob Boone, who oversees all that. Williams managed in A ball for the franchise and was slated to be a coach at Class AAA this year. I'll have more on that later.
Other news: Matt Chico will make the start in Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow against the Orioles. Today's game, as well as tomorrow's, will be carried by MASN on TV. The Nationals announcers will be used today, meaning it's Game 2 for the new team of Bob Carpenter and HofF Don Sutton. (Orioles announcers tomorrow.) Oh, and they added the March 17 spring game to the radio broadcast schedule on Washington Post Radio, where there's always more to the story.
I'll give you a Patterson update later on. (Nick Johnson doing his daily morning walk around the perimeter of the field. He's like a suburban housewife these days. All he needs is to bring his daughter and push the stroller.) And keep in mind one bit of truth:
Nationals Journal is good. In Viera, even better.
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