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Your turn

So I'm sitting here in a vacant press box at HSCS because ... well, do you need to ask? It's just such a glorious place to be, and I don't care if I got here 10 hours before tonight's game against the Braves. I am blessed to be in such a place. (Either that or I'm furiously trying to finish up all the stuff for our special baseball section, which will be published in the actual, ink-and-paper newspaper (just $.35) next Wednesday, a week from today.)

So with a night game (on MASN, no less), I thought I'd turn things over to you folks for a while by asking you to mull over the important questions of the day/spring/season.

(Oh, and before you get to that, I'll let you in on a little news: I think -- THINK -- we're going to keep the Journal going during the season this year. Now let me be clear: I don't think it'll be updated as often as it is during the spring, because the flow of the day will be different. (Most games during the year are at night, and I'm not going to sit there typing in-game updates when you can watch the games on TV or listen on the radio and, well, by the way, I'll be on deadline for the actual ink-and-paper newspaper (only $.35).) So I think I'll try to do something prior to the game and maybe something afterward or some such thing. And I will continue to fall short of the very high cleverness bar set by such good folks as "Capitol Punishment" and "Distinguished Senators" and "Ball Wonk," but I will try, and there is honor in trying, right, even if left fielder in waiting Chris Snelling prefers the mantra of Yoda (Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.) Anyway, discuss amongst yourselves about whether that is worth it or not.)

So for the rest of the day, here's your assignment: Pick out the most intriguing storyline of the upcoming season. I will list some below, but feel free to chime in with some other ideas as well. I'll try to do some sort of tabulation of the responses over the next few days, though I reserve the right to completely bail on that.

Oh, and at some point -- early next week, maybe -- we'll revisit the Guess The Rotation pool from a few weeks ago. I know, at this point, I'm way off.

Here goes (in absolutely no particular order other than what happened to leap into my feeble brain):

1. Manny Acta: The Development of a Manager. (He's scheduled to be on "Washington Post Live" tonight, following Zimm on Monday and Brian Schneider yesterday, making the Nationals 3 for 3 in at least one category.)

2. John Patterson: Ace of Staff? Or Ace Bandage Needed?

3. Stan the Man and His Plan: Will Kasten's much-discussed blueprint for building a winner show signs of succeeding this season?

4. The Ballpark: What will it be called? Will it be ready for '08? Will the cherry blossoms bloom? Will we like it?

5. Jim Bowden: Will he be able to make moves -- within the structure of the overall plan -- that set this team up for success in 2009 and beyond?

6. Cristian Guzman. Enough said.

7. Zimm 2.0. Can he approach the success of last season?

8. The rotation. Enough said.

9. The record. There is some buzz -- read Buster Olney on occasionally -- that this team could be (and here's a phrase I've written a few times, and may have to pull out again) "historically bad." That means, like, '62 Mets and '03 Tigers territory. Is that possible?

10. RFK's Swansong. Will anybody out there be misty-eyed on those last few days of September?

11. Aramark. Yes, an obvious plea to open up those old concession war stories.

12. Fill in the blank. What am I missing? You decide.

Have a fun afternoon. I'll chime in later -- much later -- when I get some lineups, etc.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 21, 2007; 11:03 AM ET
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Next: Your lineup


For self-serving reasons, I'll be interested how the Nationals continue to rebuild the farm system.

From the 2007 draft: will they continue to draft high risk/reward high schoolers or will they look at more prdictability in college? Will they go above slotting bonus to get premium guys later in the draft (a la the Yankees and Red Sox)? Will the Nationals move guys like Rauch, Cordero, Lopez, or even Patterson with designs on stockpiling more quality prospects? Will Mike Rizzo be able to duplicate his success from Arizona here in DC?

Posted by: Brian | March 21, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see some articles about the young guys coming up in the farm system, both those we picked up in trades last season and those we got in the draft. It would be nice to follow their progress and see how they are doing in the minor leagues. That way when/if they get called up they won't just seem like random players off the street.

Posted by: Kevin | March 21, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

What is my most intriguing storyline of the upcoming season? Are the crops growing down on the farm? After MLB gutted a pretty good expo farm system, the cupboard was bare. Are the learners, kaston, bowden building it back up again so that in 2009 , 2010 the team will be a solid professional outfit and not a perennial disappointment like the O's?

Posted by: Rich | March 21, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Matt Chico - NL ROY!!!

Posted by: DE | March 21, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The biggest story of the season will be Zim 2.0. I expect him to be better than last year. The biggest stat for Zim last year (and the one that should have won him the ROY) was his hits with men in scoring position. The guy is clutch already. He only needs experience. I believe he will be the best third basemen in the division by the end of the season, which in my opinion, would make him the best in the league. I also think the gold glove is a real possiblity this season as well. So I'm going with Zimmerman as an emerging Super Star as the top story this season.

Posted by: Court | March 21, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm real interested to see how the stadium comes together. It's been ten years since something was built in DC for sports, and you really can't see inside an arena from the outside. But the ballpark lets you see inside from a short distance (I hope) and hopefully gets people excited about the team, whether they lose 100 games or not. I wonder if a "Name the Ballpark" contest is coming later this season.

Posted by: BoysOfSummer | March 21, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Hard to be anything but pessimistic about the storylines this year. Realistically this team may lose 105-110 games. Of course it's largely tied to the abysmal rotation -- can you ever remember a team that pieced together an entire rotation based on the theory of "3 decent spring training outings and you're our #2 starter"? But there are also too many offensive (and defensive) liabilities. Zimm should have a great season, but Nick J. is obviously a big question mark. I still don't have supreme confidence in Church, as demonstrated this spring. And Guzman is, well, Guzman. The other big story will, unfortunately, be attendance. Last year's was a big dropoff from 2005 and we are likely to see more of the same. There should be some mid-summer games with Marlins-like figures (and don't believe what MLB reports, those are tickets sold).

On the bright side, there's a new stadium on the horizon and ownership that seems committed to the long-term prospects of the team. Things like rude concessions employees, bad food offerings, the stench of RFK, and that dirty mascot (have Screech's handlers heard of drycleaners?) should hopefully be a thing of the past in just a year or two.

Posted by: Darrin | March 21, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

On a positive note, Barry, please keep up the blog! It's been one of the more entertaining parts of the spring -- some of us even see a little bit of Dave Barry in you.

Posted by: Darrin | March 21, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Obviously a lot will depend on how the season starts to play out. If any one of Manny/Zimm/JPatt/Guz performs much better or much worse than expectations, then that will be a big story. That said, I think the overriding big story is Stan and The Plan -- just about everything else in the list is connected to that, one way or another. He has his fingerprints on everything, so he really is The Man -- all success or failure will be pinned to him.

The new ballpark has a couple of other aspects that you didn't mention (though perhaps they are better suited for Metro or Business). Those would be the parking/transporation issue, and how they will handle the seating relocations. Both of those things can become big stories if they are not handled properly.

Posted by: Cosmo | March 21, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Just last night as I was reading your posts, I thought "it's really too bad Barry doesn't post his blog all season long".

Great idea! I like knowing some of the "behind the scenes stuff". It makes the players look mor elike real people.

Posted by: Arlington | March 21, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The forgotten man. Nick Johnson. Reminds me of that old Kingston Trio song, about Charlie on the MTA: "Will he ever return? Will he ever return? His fate is still unknown."

Posted by: Section 214, Row 10 | March 21, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Any word on roster moves? I read there were 4 or more cuts coming today. I,m personally very interested in the evolution of Stan's Plan.
Also wearing out my refresh button waiting for your blog updates...keep it up.

Posted by: Greg | March 21, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Church -- can he finally grab a job that is being offered on a platter, or will it be another season of hearing how he needs to hit .200 for a while before he gets in a groove, and that he wasn't given a fair chance?

Posted by: RC | March 21, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I believe that loyalty to the team will be a bigger story than just attendance. Will the core group of diehards which include the bloggers and those that read their work (and Svrluga's) grow? The Post has expanded Nats coverage and shrunk Orioles coverage- will the Nats now do a better job of keeping the paper's attention in the face of even the most trivial off-season Redskins news? Over the next few years, when we demand that the team start to improve, will Nats fans make their voices heard more on sports radio, on ESPN web site chats, and simply around DC?

I don't want to imagine the team shrinking in its support- can the Lerners and Kasten strengthen and grow the fan base and the national profile of this team?

Posted by: Kevin C | March 21, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

You know what? I WILL miss RFK, if only for the excellent tailgating opportunities. It just won't be the same at the new stadium.

Posted by: DC Sports Chick | March 21, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

To piggyback on the post before this one it's nice to see that this paper has drawn a line in the sand focusing its attention on the teams (Nationals and Redskins) that we care about and leaving the hardcore Baltimore fans (they stink) to look else where.

Posted by: Ray | March 21, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of 'historically bad' pitching staffs...
Livan 5.34 ERA
Armas 5.03 ERA
Ortiz 5.57 ERA
Pistacio 5.98
Only O'Connor 4.80 ERA

That was suck-tacular. Folks keep harping on this 'pick the rotation' biz, but there is little chance that the staff will as bad as last year (ERA+ 82 for statheads last year. Historically bad is somewhere around 78 or so). Those guys are 'established pitchers' and the only thing they 'established' was that they were crappy.

Oh, and have a look at the Mets or Braves depth chart, guys, and see what you think. Marlins win the division! Nats finish second!!!! Okay, I'll take my meds now.

Posted by: Maximus | March 21, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Name the Ballpark":

I'm still hoping on "Nationals Park at Navy Yard". If they have to have a sponsor (which they probably will ... who isn't these days?) I hope they can make it's a local company (that's not AOL) and that it fits into a timeless scheme. I'd rather no have to rename the stadium every time the sponsor goes bankrupt, which could be fairly frequent considering the number of airlines and dot-coms in the area.

Posted by: Robbie | March 21, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

So, if the rotation, barring a series of catastrophic injuries, is not worse than 2006, and if the defense is no worse, maybe better, but the run production is down without whats-his-name -- the tall skinny guy in left field last year, I can't see them finishing within 20 games of .500. BUT ... they should finish stronger than they start, and with good luck, maybe a lot stronger. So the story will be the 2nd half charge.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Atlanta again, after Philly chokes late, the Marlins come up just short, Mets disintegrate, and the Nats wait til next year.

Posted by: cevans | March 21, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ex Nats: Vidro, Guillen, Hernandez, Loaiza, Wilkerson, Sledge, Soriano, Armas, Church (foreshadowing), Ortiz.... How will they fair? Will Sledge turn out to be the best player traded for Soriano since AROD? Will they chant Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, ... in Seattle this year. Will Livan Live On in Arizona. (<-- note headline writing itself) Will batters Wilkerson and Soriano have more strike outs than all the ex National pitchers combined? (errr, Yes!)

Posted by: Dog Frenzy | March 21, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"Name the Ballpark": I still don't think there's anything as good as - OLD NAVY Yard. [hat tip to Basil]

Posted by: Scott M. Collins | March 21, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

but the 2nd half story won't get traction, because attendance will be in the tank by then, and the football coverage season will have started. So Wait Til Next Year is the story.

Posted by: cevans | March 21, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The Blog throughout the year is a great idea. Thanks Barry!

I hope the POST ups its coverage of the minor leagues this year. It was only a couple of years ago that there was a weekly column of the Orioles minor leagues. Couldn't there be even more than that for the Nats this year? That is the story this year (unless you want to count a lot of losses for the major league team).

And I would like to see more on Stan Kasten. He has this secretive streak (how did he get Bowden to give so many "no comments" this winter) and can he really do here what he did in Atlanta?

Posted by: Missing Florida | March 21, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Scott, will Old Navy Ballpark fall apart as fast as their t-shirts?

Posted by: JennX | March 21, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

the team is somehow reasonably near .500 at the halfway mark = "Contenders?? Who knew?"

Posted by: unLESS ... | March 21, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Defintetly Patterson. Nobody else has said anything, but I think we're taking his arm a little too much for granted.

RFK's swansong. I've grown very attached to it.

I'm a little tired of the Ryan Church story. Leave the kid alone.

Posted by: rgib | March 21, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I hope they don't name it for MCI -- cab drivers are going to be confused enough as it is.

Posted by: Verizon Periphery? | March 21, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Great news about keeping the blog going, thanks!

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 21, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

A Top Story: The Resurrection of Dmitri Young. Can he clean up and stay clean and reclaim his baseball career? If so, the Nats will have stolen one. My fingers are crossed; hope he makes it.

Posted by: oligarky | March 21, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Name the Stadium. How about Lerner Field at the Navy Yard? Isn't Lerner Enterprises the Corporation that made the Lerners rich?

Posted by: I.P. Daily | March 21, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see the blog during the season, it gives a more intimate look at the team than you can do in the $0.35 version. An example is when you caught Bowden in the stands on the Astacio signing, his defensiveness came out which you couldn't get into the "proper" article. The other blogs are great too but they don't have your access, so if your bosses will let you and you are willing ,definitely keep the blog!

Biggest story is Stan and The Plan, in particular the progress of every player whom they sign, draft or trade. I would love to see lots of updates on the minor league players especially.

Of course, all those stories are important and I look forward to following them all! Last, I think they will not be very good but nothing close to 116 losses. I think the rotation will be decent, MUCH better than last year and the lineup will be weak like last year and they'll lose 85-90 games.

Posted by: Mike | March 21, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The Resurrection of Mitchel Page.

Posted by: Alvin Antwerp | March 21, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I've been in viera a week now and I see two big story lines. 1] first base. I smell trouble. nick nowhere near healthy and dimitri young is either going to be great or awful and disruptive 2] snelling. people are going to love this guy if he is healthy all year.

Posted by: ray | March 21, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

NEW ERA field at the Navy Yard wouldn't be so bad.

Posted by: court | March 21, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the good work Barry!
Kasten's activities and execution of the "plan" are very important, but I think Kevin C. touched on the big issue; Will attendance AND enthusiasm hold up over the course of a season with few bonafide stars (Zimm, Cordero)? I'm in (and waiting for the Braves-like run of division championships to begin in 2-3 years)--hope the rest of you are!

Posted by: Matt | March 21, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree with several of the folks here...following the progress of the (few) most promising prospects is most interesting to me. As true Nats fans, we've got to accept that the best times are ahead of us, so why not get to know who the future might be? Great job as always, Barry. Thanks.

Posted by: AT | March 21, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The blog would be a great place to keep us informed to the progress of our top minor leaguers like Smiley, Marrero, Willems, ect. Mike is right, with the access you (Barry) have there will always be little nuggets to toss out. The more we can learn about these guys, the more we'll like them or the more we'll hate them, but either way, we'll care more, maybe even enough to shell out 35 cents.

Posted by: court | March 21, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Write a story that contrasts/compares the 2007 Washington Nationals to the 1907 Washington Nationals (who finished last in the American League and had a record of 49-102). The 1907 team isn't quite as bad as the 1904 Nats who went 38-113 under Mal Kittredge and Patsy Donovan.

Posted by: Joe Cantillon | March 21, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I think the development of the young pitching staff, Patterson included, will be the story of the season. If they can be decent, maybe the Nats will be more competitive than we all think. Maybe they'll end up finding a couple of keepers?

Posted by: Ross | March 21, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I echo the above comments about keeping abreast of the minor leaugers/prospects and how they develop--Keep hope alive. And of course keep the blog--its a highlight of my day (which doesn't say much!)

To piggyback off the wonderful book you wrote (National Pastime: Sports, Politics, and the Return of Baseball to Washington, D.C--shamless plug but a good read so its worthy) and the politics behind the return of baseball to DC, it would be interesting to investigate how the various players (not just individuals, but communities) are taking to the Nationals. Now that the contention has subsided (has it?) and the fruits of labor (i.e., the stadium) are about to be realized, how are the citizens of the area responding to the Nationals?...have the Nats become a part of the DC identity? etc.And on the flip side, what are the Nats doing to become a part of the community?

Just my 2 cents

Posted by: Jonathan | March 21, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, to me this year is all about one thing, which includes a number of elements of your list: it's about the last slow summer in an old ballpark, the final year that I'll be able to look out the window at 5PM and say "It looks like it's going to be a good night for a ballgame," hop on the subway and pick up an outfield seat and just watch a game. It'll involve watching the occasional Patterson vs marquee-pitcher-of-your-choice pitching duel and the more frequent blowout featuring nameless players we'll never see again. It'll have tantalizing glimmers of young players who come up for a couple weeks and, if they get a little more seasoning, might be part of a good team in 2010; and we'll say goodbye to some who we finally find out just aren't going to make it. We'll get the opportunity to see Acta's limitations - as well as all the positives we've been hearing about. And we'll have more than a few pretty ordinary hotdogs (or those hot sausages) washed down with an excellent Red Hook - good enough. To me, the story is the last summer of baseball the way it was in the 70's and 80's and 90's in a lot of places, which we missed out on here in DC. I hope we don't end up with a sterile, corporate, cell-phone-listening crowd in the new ballpark in '08 like one gets in Baltimore since they put in Camden Yards.

Posted by: JAB | March 21, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh boo hiss to Buster Olney and his dire predictions. I love this team. Keep up the good work, Barry.

Posted by: Kathy | March 21, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

What if these guys are so psyched to play ball at this level, that they overachieve at the start of the season and fly out of the gates above .500? Will we see another repeat of 2005's magic at RFK, with the bouncing stands every night that rattles the opposition? I'd love to see the Chief walking on to seal another win to one last bounce of the bleachers. I know, wait until 2009. So, I guess my storyline is the farewell to RFK. We fans should shake that place all September long, just for old times sake.

Posted by: JAG | March 21, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Biggest story? Bowden and his deals. The team will look very different come September. And even on Kasten's leash, he's sure to make some inetersting moves. Will he pull off another Kearns/FLop/Wagner deal? Make a horrid Guzish one? What will the draft look like? Post all-star break it may be all we want to talk about.

Posted by: Mick | March 21, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

1916 Philadelphia Athletics (36-117)

Posted by: Worst Team Ever | March 21, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Story of the year: nationals surprise AL East.

Chico, HIll turn out to actually be pretty good. Patterson stays healthy, and actually gets run support from a lineup that 1-6, is not menacing, but nasty enough to produce above average Offense.

Also: Iran demobilizes nuclear weapons. Bin Laden gets cancer and dies. Global Warming reverses course.

Barry Bonds hits one home run, retires in June.

I win Power ball.

Kool Aid anyone?

Posted by: sebsosman | March 21, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

my top 3 story lines:

1) Zimm 2.0
2) the rotation developing
3) saying fond farewell to RFK! after so many good memories from Redskins and the 2005 Nats

Posted by: David | March 21, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Story of the Week - 1 Week at a Time, Please.

1. Where are my season tickets?

2. Where's the promotional schedule?

3. For all the talk by Lerner, Kasten, et al, that the Nats would be run like a Major League club, as a season ticket folder and fan, I just don't see it yet.

Posted by: Markie Dubs | March 21, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

can someone tell me where to see the washington post live tonight? I wasn't paying attention when Barry told us a few days ago.

Posted by: rgib | March 21, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

WPL last night - In response to a question put to him by Les Carpenter about how the players might be dreading playing for the Nationals this year due to the possibility of a horrible season, Brian Schneider talked about the relief the players who came from Montreal have playing in Washington. Schneider said that the Expos experience was terrible. I think you should write a story about the players and thier interaction with Washington fans. National Pastime spent plenty of ink on the politics. How about the players in DC? A couple of things come to mind. I can recall WTOPs Dave Johnson reporting that in Spring Training 2004, the Expos were lucky if they had 2 reporters there to interview them. In 2005, Wilkerson had 30 reporters interviewing him after the first Spring Training game. The other incident was Livan Hernandez at a Wizards game shortly after the start of the '05 season. He received a standing ovation. The look on his face was priceless. He truely looked bewildered.

Posted by: 6th and D | March 21, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Should be on Comcast Sports Net - But the Nats play the Braves on MASN this evening.

Posted by: 6th and D | March 21, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

1. Manny Acta: The Development of a Manager. - We will have to see how he develops during the regular season.

2. John Patterson: Ace of Staff? Or Ace Bandage Needed? - Ace of only this staff.

3. Stan the Man and His Plan: Will Kasten's much-discussed blueprint for building a winner show signs of succeeding this season? - Yes, it will, but more so in future years

4. The Ballpark: What will it be called? Will it be ready for '08? Will the cherry blossoms bloom? Will we like it? - I am hoping for Old Navy Field (Old Navy, obviously) or America Online Park (AOL). I don't like the cherry tree idea but I think I will like the part, and I think most everyone will too.

5. Jim Bowden: Will he be able to make moves -- within the structure of the overall plan -- that set this team up for success in 2009 and beyond? - Yes.

6. Cristian Guzman - Won't set any career records or anything (In Highs or Lows)but will regain the support of Nats fans.

7. Zimm 2.0. Can he approach the success of last season? - He will do even better.

8. The rotation. Will suprise many.

9. The record. There is some buzz -- read Buster Olney on occasionally -- that this team could be (and here's a phrase I've written a few times, and may have to pull out again) "historically bad." That means, like, '62 Mets and '03 Tigers territory. Is that possible?- No way.

10. RFK's Swansong - Yes, but they will also be looking forward to the new stadium

11. Aramark. Yes, an obvious plea to open up those old concession war stories - Never had any problems.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 21, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 6th & D.

Posted by: rgib | March 21, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: TheThreePs | March 21, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Someone who about piecing together "3 decent spring training outings and you're our #2 starter." Well how, about 2 at-bats in the minor league camp and being named starting first baseman?

Posted by: smarty pants | March 21, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

How about this question? WHERE ARE THE TICKETS??? With less than 2 weeks to go, no season tickets. Promises, but nothing yet.

Posted by: Blue in Burke | March 21, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

1) Will Barry kill the guy who has a problem w/ Screech not removing his hat during the national anthem if the guy post on the Nationals Live Chat at WP (hopefully you'll do those again) Fortuantely that particular Screech hater is not a journal reader or a Screechless spring trainer has calmed him down

2) How will the those of us holding Season tickets for 3 years be treated in seat relocation for the new Stadiums

3) No doubt it will be "What's in your wallet Capitol One Ball Park". Begin working on your own head lines regarding games at Capitol One Park (e.g. Nationals Capitol 1, NY Mets 234).

Posted by: Sec. 415 | March 21, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

TO me its RFK and Bowden.

Who can say they were at a 2005 game when this team was in contention and say that it wasnt one of the best sporting expriences in the past 20 years. RFK sucks and needs to go but it has a lot of charm that will be lost. I dont think the new stadium will have stands that you will e able to feel rocking.

And Bowden, you know at some point he is going to pull something out of his hat. He always has had an eye for the big trades, good or not, and you can be plenty will be coming mid summer.

Posted by: Nathan | March 21, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

CapitalOne is too classy. How about one of the businesses behind the awesomely terrible commercials during the games on MASN last season? Red Roof Inn Field--"The chances of us winning are REMOTE." Even better--Cash Point Field. As in, "I needed cash fast for a new pitching staff... so I went to Cash Point!" I like it.

Posted by: JennX | March 21, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: this is it! | March 21, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

It'd be nice to get a peek at 2007 season ticket sales, compared to 05 and 06.

Posted by: gonats | March 21, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Also forgot!!! The development of Jesus Flores and Nick Johnson's health.

Does Cordero go? Does NJ comeback? Do guys like Balester get a callup come August? Does J Pat win 15+ games???

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 21, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

1) Injuries - The story line for the 2006 pitching staff, let's hope our luck is better this year.

2) Individual Accomplishments - Bright spots of hope in a stormy season.

3) Team Chemistry - Will the players remain a happy and tight unit? Will Acta, Bowden, and Stan the Plan stay on message and avoid blame shifting?

4) MASN Cup 2007 - Will the Nats be able to maintain their perfect record against the Os?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 21, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I always enjoy reading about John Patterson. Manny Acta makes for interesting reading also. I will really miss RFK - but then I still miss Griffith Stadium!

Posted by: thunderstrucknatsfan | March 21, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Can Paige make Zimm into another Pujols?

Posted by: Nats Fan | March 21, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

The Ballpark not in Arlington. Sounds appropriate doesn't it. Rotation, rotation, oh where art thou? NL Manny, the man, the myth, the legend...not the AL Manny, yeah, you know who. The resurection of..of...Pedro? argh

Posted by: Natsfan from SC | March 21, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Let's continue to be positive. The ballpark is a good subject, the team-building, the new manager, Zim and the other core players, etc. We do have a lot to look forward to at least.

I think unfortunately there will be plenty about the rotation, the historically bad record, etc.

THE storyline of the year? Maybe it will end up being the winning record - who knows?!

Posted by: Patty | March 21, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Another storyline will be the trade deadline - will the Nats actually be able to pull the trigger on a deal or two to stock the farm system? Cordero will be the obvious target, but contending teams could also be looking at Dmitri Young, Ronnie Belliard (?), Ryan Church, or any reliever who is having a half-decent season.

Posted by: Harrisburg connection | March 21, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The old prospects... will clint everts, larry broadway, and others finally perform and get a chance, or will they be lost in the hustle and bustle of the changing team. Will the new guys meet expectations or are we doomed to years of a steril farm system.

I love hearing about the young guys, but the again i love hearing about anything having to do with the nats. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Rob | March 21, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

What everyone else wrote before me plus the ideas below.

Periodic stories throughout the baseball season on Smiley Gonzalez. Is he going to play in rookie ball this year? Maybe a series about following his progress as he adjusts to life in the US and in the minors.

If all else fails, you can always write about the lesser-known people in the organization: PA announcer, groundskeeper, video coordinator, equipment manager, and trainer. People we don't get to hear about who don't work in the Nationals office. Sure, it might come across as a puff piece but it could shed a different light of how these people do their jobs. You could even make it into one big story (Sunday section) about working behind the scenes for the Nationals maybe even chronicle one night at a game and how these people do their jobs for that one night.

Posted by: Smack 'em Jack 'em | March 21, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Please add another vote for:

2007 Attendance.

Thank you, glad to hear you're keeping the blog running...

Posted by: nationals enquirer dot com | March 21, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Barry, just coerce the crowd to stop shouting "O!" near the end of the National Anthem and I'll be happy. That's a disrespectful tradition which might make sense in some other stadiums, but not in our park.

Posted by: I hate walks | March 22, 2007 12:13 AM | Report abuse

The Last Season at RFK

The Post could run a retrospective series about the ballpark and the place it holds in the hearts of Washingtonians.

These can be occasional stories, not a weekly thing. Post writers from all areas can contribute, not just you Barry.

Posted by: Urban B | March 22, 2007 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Major Attitude Shift

This team will not be dead last in baseball. Management changes from top to bottom --- particularly Manny --- have instilled a new sense of purpose. It's always great to be an underdog.

Or am I the only one who sees this?

Keep on posting!

Posted by: Markus | March 22, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Barry- I'd be interested in seeing a story about why stat-heads can't get enough of Ryan Church, and why he ends up being a perennial disappointment in real life. Is he the really player of the future, or will he just always be?

Posted by: RFK Sec 309, Row 3 | March 22, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barry,

I think it is no contest. Number One story line is the rotation, and how it will fare. Based on where the Nats started and all the gloom and doom predictions, if the rotation is marginally competant - that itself will be a helluva story. Depending on how the rotation performs will determine how "historically bad" the team ends up being. And if it is as bad as the worse case scenarios - then how will that affect Stan's plan

In short: Story lines #8, which affects #9 which then impacts #3

Posted by: SacredCod | March 23, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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