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Will you stay interested? (Plus some news)

(I do not -- DO NOT -- want to interrupt the tremendous conversation going on below, so I bring you this information only parenthetically: LHP Ray King placed on the 15-day disabled list with what they're calling tendinitis in his left shoulder, and RHP Saul Rivera recalled from Class AAA Columbus. Rivera struggled this spring, but both Acta and GM Jim Bowden said he deserved to make the team because of his solid rookie season a year ago. He pitched just once for Columbus, allowing a run in two-thirds of an inning.

OK, don't let that distract you. Please continue the discussion below.)

So thanks very much for discussing Atlanta yesterday. I find it very interesting. I have to admit: I'm not a big fan. I am, however, feeling a bit better about it this morning as I look out the 24th-floor window here in Buckhead, and downtown is rising out of the trees. A nice view - but that's about it.

Virginia Highlands: Definitely a nice neighborhood. But with these 7:35 p.m. starts, no time to get over there. I tend to head that way if there's a day game and I want to get a decent meal afterward.

Baseball: I may be the only one, but I am fascinated by the start to this season. I think it's very interesting to have this over-arching plan in place, to believe it's going to pay off in the future (which, of course, is a matter for debate), but then have to suffer through this stuff now. It is very different for someone like Stan Kasten, who has been through it before and can always get out of his seat and walk around the ballpark if he's frustrated, to go through something like this than, say, Felipe Lopez or Austin Kearns or Brian Schneider.

So before I get to some DMTP material, I ask you this: Will you remain interested throughout the course of the summer? (Of course, in a way, this is self-serving, because I'm just wondering if I'll have any readers in, say, mid-August. I have told a few people I consider this an exercise in creative writing, and I have already thought - somewhat seriously - of filing an entire game story in verse to see if they'd put it in the paper.)

Anyway, please discuss. What's your tolerance level for losing? Are you still just happy to have baseball back? Do you believe in the plan (or, I'll just do this because I know it annoys Kasten (as does my mere existence), "The Plan")? What is the tipping point.

As I said: Fffffffffffffffffascinating. To me, at least. (Further discussion: Does this prove I'm warped?)

OK, DMTP:

Acta said before yesterday's game that the team was really missing Alex Escobar.

(I'll let you digest that for a minute. There. Caught up. Read the sentence again? OK, here we go.)

Escobar, for those who need a refresher course, is the oft-injured, perennial prospect who killed the ball for a month last season when he was finally healthy. And then, right here at Turner Field, he dove back into first base and separated his shoulder. If that hadn't happened that night, you get the feeling that he would have been crossing the street the following day and fallen into a manhole. Frank Robinson, that day, said it was like a cloud followed this kid. You just feel bad.

I asked Acta if he missed Escobar (still recovering from the shoulder injury, and he was shut down from throwing after another visit to Dr. James Andrews (perhaps the three most feared words in baseball)) because the team is heavy with left-handed hitters, and he'd like a right-handed hitter off the bench.

"Not only off the bench," Acta said, "but with Nook absent, if Escobar would be here, Escobar would be in that lineup. A great right-handed bat to have in the lineup to give us balance. And even if the team was full, having him off the bench is tremendous, too.

"But we're going to fight with what we have."

It is still early- to mid-April. And yet, it has come to this: Pining for Alex Escobar.

Acta, though, isn't complaining. He is amazingly positive. How long that can last, I don't know, but he seems resilient. I focused on him in the $.35 edition this morning. (I'm probably going to be doing that a lot, picking out one guy to write about each day, because I don't think anyone wants to re-live the horror of play-by-play. But who knows?)

On the farm: It appears the big club isn't the only team struggling at the plate. Last night, Class AAA Columbus lost 4-2 to Louisville. Lefty Chris Michalak threw 5-2/3 innings and walked three guys and gave up three runs, but they couldn't push across much offense. Larry Broadway doesn't appear to be handling his demotion well. He's hitting .105 in the early going. And guess who pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Louisville? Old friend Gary Majewski, still working his way back to the big club in Cincinnati.

(As an aside, I continue to check on whether the Reds have ever filed anything with MLB, a grievance, about the Majewski/Bray/Clayton/Thompson-for-Kearns/Lopez/Wagner trade. As of last week, still nothing. The statute of limitations is a year, so I'll keep checking. The Reds haven't said it's a dead issue, so they could still be mulling it.)

At Class AA Harrisburg, T.J. Nall pitched seven effective innings, allowing seven hits and just two runs. Problem: Roger Bernadina led off the game with a single, but the Senators didn't get another hit until there were two outs in the ninth, losing 2-0 to Trenton and pitchers Chase Wright and Jeff Kennard.

Harrisburg, by the way, is 0-6. Top prospect Collin Balester takes the mound in the home opener tonight. We'll see.

This evening in Atlanta: Jason Bergmann vs. John Smoltz. Anyone familiar with the concept of the "reverse lock"?

I asked Acta yesterday if he thought this was a big start for Bergmann. He said he didn't have any number of starts in mind, but he thought two would be too quick to pull the trigger. But this much is clear: After walking six guys in his first start of the year, and walking I think seven in his last exhibition start (I could be slightly off on that number), he needs to throw strikes.

All right, please file your thoughts on how you'll handle this season. I guess my basic question is: Will you still be interested?

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 12, 2007; 11:23 AM ET
 
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Next: Lineups -- but only if you don't stop discussing your interest level

Comments

I'm honestly already less interested in watching the games, but I still read the blogs and skim the news stories and talk about the team online daily. Take that how you will. I'm still a hardcore fan and plan to be with the team "on the other side" of all this.

Posted by: Scott M. Collins | April 12, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Tally one for interested all season every season even if The Plan means winning 70 instead of 60. These are my Nats and I love them. SO glad to have baseball in my hometown.

Just wondering - has Stan offered any response at all to the many complaints about concessions, etc. at RFK?

Posted by: wanna b logger | April 12, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I love trainwrecks, house fires, car chases, etc. Unless they edge upwards into merely mediocre territory (i.e. they win two, then lose three, then win one, lose two, etc.), I'll watch. It's like watching the Presidents' Race to see what Teddy'll do.

And yes, I'm actually a diehard fan of the Nats. My view is if we're going to pay to watch a rebuilding team that's geared towards the future, an epic losing season this year will make the playoff appearance in 2009 that much sweater. Think last year's Tigers.

Posted by: AC | April 12, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Interested, yes. But I'll be studying for the NY Bar exam most of the summer, and the more I think about it, the happier I am that, if I have to miss paying a whole lot of attention to much of a season, the season I'll miss is this one. Every 0-8 loss I watch will make the first NL pennant sweeter, but each one I watch will also be 3 hours of my life lost forever....you see the trade off.

I actually think that this season will be a bit of a reverse of 2005: come late July or August, this team will click and start winning a bunch of games, but until then we'll be pining for the glory days of Carlos Baerga, et al....

Posted by: derek | April 12, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

It depends how you define interest. I'll always be interested enough to check the score, read these blogs and catch them on TV when I have free time.

Will I be interested enough to invest the time and money it takes to go see a game at RFK? Probably not. I know I'll see one or two games just because I like baseball, but if this team isn't really willing to invest their money in the 2007 season, then neither am I. Like the Nats, I'll save it for the future.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The Nats are my team and I will support them through thick and thin. I've been a baseball fan for close to 60 years. I started out listening to the Jacksonville Tars (class A South Atlantic League at that time) on the radio and the Major League game of the week. In the early 50s I sat in the left field bleachers and cheered for the Senators and my favorite, Gil Coan, then moved to DC Stadium, now RFK and supported the Nats until they left in 1971. I never could feel that the Orioles were my team, and it is wonderful to have my own team again. I am not, and never have been, a "fair weather fan". And I still believe they can turn it around, when Patterson finds his groove, and have at least a .500 season!

Posted by: thunderstrucknatsfan | April 12, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

As long as you write, I'll read. Though I would definitely appreciate the verse, if you're so inclined, that'd be impressive.

I can't bring myself to watch a Nats game all the way through yet on TV-- those first few innings are just too painful, the offense is just too boring to make it through more than a half game, for me. But I'll continue to go to games and read your blog and articles, because it's still baseball, and it's still my team. Even if I'm using the terms 'baseball' and 'team' in the loosest possible sense.

Posted by: 50winsorbust | April 12, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I am interested enough to check ESPN News everynight to see the score. I am interested enough to mutter some curse word when I see the score is 5-0 in the second inning. I am interested in enough to fly back to DC from Kansas City to see give games this summer. I am interested enough to drive down to St. Louis to see the Nats when they are in town. I am interested but not happy. I don't mind loosing. I do however mind being embarassed and I have to imagine the players are getting to that point as well. Stan may have a plan for the future but if he wants people to invest in a team he needs to start thinking about the present as well. I can't imagine a new ballpark is going to attact all that many more fans that they are getting now if the team is still this bad next year. I concur with the thought above - if Stan didn't see fit to invest in the 2007 Nats I am starting to have second thoughts about my judgment to do so.

Posted by: Joe | April 12, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

it's going to be a long, painful season, no doubt about it. but as long as the boys make an effort to get hits and make plays (i know, i know -- insert they're-not-even-doing-that-now-dummy joke here), then i'll make an effort to follow them.

Posted by: gretchen | April 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, I will definitely be interested all season long. Considering the administrative nightmares (tickets, concessions, etc) that still plague the organization, I do not completely believe in Stan Kasten and his "Plan," but I love my Nats and will continue to go to games, watch them on TV, and check Nationals Journal about 157 times a day.

It is a bit frustrating watching the games though. It's amazing the way this team has found ways to blow games - whether its an absolute implosion by the pitcher in the first or a timely error to shake everyone's confidence or a rally-killing GIDP with the bases loaded.

Alas, it's only 9 games into the season - it will get better...

Posted by: DE | April 12, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

No interest lost here. Probably won't sit through as many games if the baseball is this bad, but putting in the effort now has a payoff down the road. It's like when someone is hitting you over and over again with a hammer. It will feel so good when it finally stops.

Seriously, everyone please remember that the Nats were 2-7 at this point last year and went on to post a 2-9 record. I am not ready to put them in Cleveland Spyders territory after a couple of tough weeks.

Posted by: Maximus | April 12, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

To me, the true measure of a fan is not how you react when your team is doing well, but rather how you react when your team is doing poorly.

Growing up a Buffalo Bills fan, I learned this lesson the hard way. Imagine if the Redskins were to not beat Dallas once for an entire decade (Bills/Dolphins in the 70's), lose four Super Bowls in a row, and have their historic best player/hero-to-all turn out to be OJ Simpson. THAT is tough going for a fan.

In this context, will I still be interested? Ofcourse! None of the players have murdered anybody yet.

Seriously though, this is turning out to a fascinating thing to watch. The character of this team will be revealed this season.

Posted by: Eric | April 12, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I love the game between the lines. Win or lose. It will improve... next season. Besides, it still beats going up to Baltimore to watch a team that will NEVER win again with that owner.

Posted by: NoVa | April 12, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

After averaging about 6-7 games a season for the first two years, this year I sprung for a 20-game plan. Having paid my money, I imagine I'll go to most if not all of those games. And no matter what, there will be things of interest there. Like for instance: Saturday night I was there when it was 41 degrees at gametime with a wicked wind. So on the way in, I stopped in at the Team Store to buy an official Washington Nationals (TM) MLB Authentic stocking cap to protect my ears. But once the game started, the vendors were selling them in the stands. So I'm wondering if by the end of the year the vendors will be selling official Washington Nationals (TM) MLB Authentic paper bags with eyeholes cut out, or will I need to bring my own from home?

Or this: Back in the late '80s during a year the Orioles really sucked, I was at Memorial Stadium on seat-cushion giveaway night. At precisely the moment the O's gave the game away, all those cushions came hurling down onto the field. So this year I will be at RFK on nights when the giveaways include a cooler, a visor, a mesh cap, and presidential bobbleheads. So I wonder, will any of those become objects of a mass hurl? Is Teddy a loser if you hurl his bobblehead and it doesn't reach the field?

There's always something of interest, sometimes even the game on the field...

Posted by: Section 419 | April 12, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

There should be some reciprocation between the club and the fans. Clearly on the pitching staff, the Nats are fielding a Double A team at best. The hitters, when the other team's pitching finally got caught up late in the spring, faded. The other night we had the bases loaded, two outs and up came Fick with his .125 average to fly out again trying to muscle an outside fast ball. It would be nice if he broke a bat on a ball instead of smashing it on the field.

I don't mind rebuilding, but I do mind having to pay major league prices for tickets and concessions for a stand-pat minor-league team when all the management does is sit around to see what will develop and not make any attempt to bring in anyone of major-league caliber during the off season.

Posted by: Natsfan | April 12, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I will continue to be interested. I expect them to get better, but if they do end up fulfilling the predictions of being "historically bad," that may actually increase interest among more casual fans, if any records for futility become likely to be broken.

Posted by: Cosmo | April 12, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Carlos Baerga, those were the days. Anybody miss Wilfredo Cordero??? Didn't think so.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | April 12, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Disappointed, but still interested all the way. But as a Washington sports fan, have become used to disapointment as a way of life. But always looking and hoping for a better tomorrow....just like Charlie Brown thinking that maybe this time he will get to kick the football.

Posted by: pk | April 12, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I am still interested, but I really feel for the true major league players (Zimmerman, Lopez, Kearns, etc.). As a former-athlete myself I know how losing wears on you. You have to wonder, if this continues too long, if the current players will forever be scarred and "forget" how to win.

Posted by: BT | April 12, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I will continue to be interested and will stick with the team.

I'm not sure if I'll continue watching games on MASN if they continue to run Orioles commercials during the Nats games. I'm a Nats fan and don't like the Orioles. Stop showing all the Orioles promotions during the Nats games, its making me sick.

Posted by: Rusty | April 12, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, I've been a RedSox fan for years...and years...and years (still am, but now I get to have an NL team too !). So yeah, I'll still be here.

I have listened to every Nats game in the last 2 years on the radio (yep, even the west coast starts, and the 11:59+ rain-delay starts), so it'll take a lot to make me go away. On the other hand, it will also take a lot for me to drive from Loudoun Co. into DC and pay real money to actually WATCH this team !

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 12, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

You gotta stay interested now. If there is a off-chance they can contend in the near future, I want to say I was loyal when it was ugly (its looking ugly so far)... Its more exciting to see young guys develop than old guys fade away. Its like Bull Durham. You needed Crash Davis. Crash helped out the young guys. Crash brought stability and experience. Crash had bad knees. Crash was on the out. Nuke LaLoosh was hot. Up-and-coming. Rough around the edges. He could bring the heat with authority but got roughed up a few times early on. By the end, it was Nuke who was the future. Nuke was going to sell the tickets and get the Ws.

I'll stay interested if we use the young talent in a way that will keep hope alive for the future.

Posted by: Dorf | April 12, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Used to be, the game stories went in the paper, you sold the personality stories to The Sporting News. I don't care how bad the W/L is, I still want to know what went on in the game. So I'll be interested in the $0.35 version and the blog version. Put the poetry in the blog, just cuz the newspaper biz is so stodgy and form-bound. Love to see it. (I'm thinking, speaking of newspaper poets, "Archie and Mehitabel" free verse...)

Posted by: slangist | April 12, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

On my flight to DC for opening game and the other debacles, I read "Moneyball"... a book I should have read earlier, but enjoyed a lot. The author made the point (not sure if it was his, or a quote) that baseball is a soap opera... and the storyline is always interesting and rich, win or lose... for that reason alone, I'll be watching... that and the $120 I spent on the MLB.TV package.

That being said, I was ten years old when the Senators left... they were my life as a kid... my life was changed when they left... and they were no better than the Nats are now. Now we have the Nats, an I am 4000 miles away... and we're building a tradition as fans and a city that is founded in the pain of losing and rebuilding... but I will take that any day over what the Yankees have... spoiled brats, they are.

Sure it's a car wreck, but it's our car wreck. I can't turn away.

Posted by: Wigi | April 12, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Lose interest? No. Perhaps the interest is a little closer to morbid fascination that I'd like, but it'll be great to watch this train wreck evolve into the team "the Plan" promises. And as several readers have pointed out, the pennant will be that much sweeter to those who were there for the tough times as well as the good.

Tough times reveal a team's (and fan's) character. Thank god we have baseball back - I'll see you for a minimum of 21 games at RFK this season, hopefully many more next.
-HJMcK

Posted by: HJMcK | April 12, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

My standard for futility remains the '63 Nats, who finished 56-106, didn't have a regular who hit more than .269 or a hitter with more than 17 HRs, or a pitcher with even 10 wins. This team should be better than that (although 10 wins for a pitcher might be asking a lot). To fall back on the cliches, which still contains some wisdom, it's just one loss whether you lose 2-1 or 20-0; and you're never as bad as it seems when you're going bad, or as good as you think when you're going good. A true fan doesn't quit on his team.

Posted by: Andy Sharp | April 12, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Never fear,
Barry Dear,
Lots of us will be here.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 12, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Pining for Escobar" would be a great name for your book about this season.

As for me, I'm still following closely, and probably will continue doing so. As for actually attending games? Well, I'm very happy I resisted the "urge" to renew my season tickets this year.

Posted by: bdrube | April 12, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Four runs in the first
that hurts about the same as
my nipple piercing

Posted by: Poetry In Motion | April 12, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

...Although if they continue to lose like this, I might temporarily shift my cheeks-on-seats allegiance to the Class A-Advanced Potomac Nationals, who are currently FIRST in the standings!

Posted by: Juan-John | April 12, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Think of the marketing opportunities -- "Nationals --
"the morbid fascination continues..."
"because ANYBODY can cheer for a GOOD team."
"we don't care how they do it in New York."

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 12, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

ooooh, now THERE'S a game I would pay to see: The last-place WashNats vs. the first-place PNats.

Final score predictions, anyone?

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 12, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, I'll read, I'll listen, but don't look for me at RFK much. I've already deferred on season tix, not that they'd notice in that office.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 12, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I will say this. I find the 2007 team that has a chance to be awesomely-bad, much more interesting than the 2006 team, which was just average-bad.

Who is going to be the top prospect in next years draft? Greg Oden?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

In near Southeast did Kubla Kasten
An upscale pleasure dome decree,
Where Anacostia, the fetid river ran,
Through urban dregs the debris of man,...

Barry, there's your lede for the next home loss. Yes, I'm still interested - there is hope for improvement, at least someone has a plan. But their timeline is short - it is a fickle area and they need to develop some sort of distinctive personality beyond being sad sacks to draw the dollars in the new digs.

There was a young hurler from Nantucket
Whose baseballs were kept in a bucket.
He tossed a pitch to the batter,
Said there you go, have at 'er.
As the ball sailed away,
Into the next day,
All he could say was .. oh no not again.

Posted by: Coleridge | April 12, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Last night, I was honestly upset for the first time since the Nats came to town. Until now, there's been a devil may care attitude... pinch me, I'm dreaming, there's a team in DC, hoo-ha. Last night was the first time the cold hard impact of loserdom smacked me in the forehead. The last time I felt exactly that way was somewhere back around 1978 when I realized that being a Mets fan was not exactly much fun, despite the better colors than the Yankees and the lack of the DH.

Posted by: Ed | April 12, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

OK, so we knew this season was going to be ugly and it's living up to all of those expectations. I'm still following the team and will do so all summer. Barry, keep up the great work. Remember, we'd been without baseball for over 30 years, so we have a lot of losing to catch up on!

Posted by: Vienna-VA | April 12, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I'll stick around until the bitter end, but I do wonder whether the failure to spend a bit more money this year was too shortsighted. A bit more spending might have been beneficial in easing the pressure on players like Kearns and Zimmerman, not to mention the bullpen and lowering the torture factor on the paying fan.

Posted by: Where's Rick Short when we need him? | April 12, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Barry, please ask the eds to maintain one consistent link to your journal - I enjoy it, but I have dialup and the thrill of the hunt is lost on me. Today I found it a couple of links after using "search." FWIW I do read other web based articles to supplement what I learn in the daily paper version (.50 out of the metro area).

Posted by: Lost again in VA | April 12, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Eat at the world famous Buckhead diner!! Classy spot and its on the post anyway so hit it up!!

Posted by: chris | April 12, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll go to about the same number of games as I did in 2005 and 2006 (10-12). I'm not a season ticket holder but buy tickets individually. Luckily they still have the cheap outfield seats -- I think that $5 for a ballgame is a bargain! I've listened to most of the non-network games on the radio (not having cable). I will admit to turning a couple of them off before they ended this year, which I'd never done before. But I never leave the stadium before the last out and the Nats are my team through thick and thin. Love the 35 cent paper, the blog, the chats, whatever you've got.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 12, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

More importantly: how many hits is the journal getting? How many people visit the site daily? All of us die-hard fan commenters are going to give you the same answer, I reckon. And I agree with several previous posts that your insight into the team as well as convering the minors/drafts/signings will is what keeps me interested and positive.

Posted by: Mick | April 12, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

I will be here to the bitter end. At this point, given the historic nature of the season staring us in the face, it has almost become morbidly interesting to watch the train wreck.

PS Didn't Guillen look good last night scoring the first run against Dice-K. Never thought I would pine for the Guillen days, but we could sure use his fire right now.

Posted by: Mark | April 12, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Mr. S, you got props from someone (a WP or a WP.com editor?) named Tracy, and from the host himself on Mr.Tony's WTWP show this morning....on your tireless devotion to duty, etc., etc.

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 12, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Q: What do the Nats and Washington, DC have in common?

A: If you're visiting either in the summer, around 6:30 at night, you pray for a thunderstorm.

Posted by: Riddle-Me-This, Batman... | April 12, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

At least we're not paying anyone in the line-up $136 million for these results. LOL!


From the ChicTrib website....

No. 2 hitters not helping Soriano:
$136 million leadoff man batting only .200 after 8 games

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 12, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I'll stay interested. Every baseball season has its doldrums when interest ebbs. But I've got my 20 game plan and intend to go to as many games as I can. I'll keep checking the scores, reading the articles and blogs, and paying attention to the minor league reports to see who's going to be "the one to watch" in years to come.

As for Kasten responding to the fans, one of the members of my season ticket group emailed him directly about the debacle on Opening Day. Stan replied, saying that he would take care of things, and agreed to visit us in our seats at the next game to talk about it. He did, and he listened to several people voicing their concerns. I know people have their suspicions about whether Kasten is just giving lip service to customer satisfaction, but my personal experience is that he really is engaged and committed.

Posted by: Section 426 | April 12, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

It's baseball dude. I'm interested regardless.

Posted by: phillip | April 12, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You're right that these games have been eye-opening. I bought the whole "we won't be as bad as they think we will" line and couldn't wait to show everyone when the season started. But the current record is sure testing us. Still, I think you can count on me to hang in there. I'm in it for the long haul and love the underdog anyway. Wanna know what really burns me though? The jokers around section 447 who think it's cool to boo our own team. Not cool, no matter how bad they get.
Hey, reminder Barry and other Nats fans in Atlanta. I'll be in left center field seats today with my solidarity signs. It's a good think Nats aren't a threat or my Braves-loving family would never have allowed me to make the signs, much less bring them. They felt sorry for me....

Posted by: NatsNut | April 12, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I was 8 years old when the Senators left and have been without a "team" until the Nats arrived. So I'm not going to abandon them now (I figure I should give them at least 33 years!). But watching them play the Braves on Tuesday night was my first opportunity to "see" them play (since I am not in MASN land) and it was woeful. When Belliard dropped the pop-up all the agony of this first week nearly crushed all the hope out of me. I expect there to be some difficulties - like the fact that Chico doesn't yet have an "out" pitch so he can get two strikes on a hitter and then lose him. But I am really hoping that the 9 walk and 7-8 run loses come to an end soon. I do believe that this team will be better in August (and next year)- but watching them on Tuesday night I had to wonder how many of those players will still be around. I'm a fan - but one who appreciates the game being played well. Hopefully, we'll start to see that soon.

Posted by: cmc in Iowa | April 12, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in NJ (no baseball team, parents raised us to hate teams from NY). For years I had a loose affiliation to the Braves..but nothing particularly tangible. I went to UMD-CP graduating in '04 and stayed in the area. When I heard a team was coming to this area I was ready to embrace whatever it ended up being. Having never had a team to call my own, I felt obligated to get in on the ground floor with the Nats. I went to 10-15 games in '05, and only a few less in '06 (even though I rarely saw them on TV). It means a lot to have a team to cheer for (also a Wiz fan, gotta love the lineup they are trotting out there now) so my roundabout way of answering your questions is that I'll follow the team through the summer and into the following years. To finally have a team, sitting through a "few" tough years is more than worth it.

Posted by: dahitmannj | April 12, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

My friends ask me how I can have such devotion to a team that has been in the area for all of 2 years.

I respond that I am either crazy, or just love the prospect of having a team to root for.

I rooted for the O's. I still check their score to see if the players that I knew are doing well. But that just is not the same thing as having the Nats.

The Nats can go 22-140 and I will still follow them. Just for the record, that would give me some kind of heart condition, but the point is:
We Have Baseball. Rejoice!

PS Anyone up for having a Barry Day at RFK? What better way for Kasten to connect with the fans than by celebrating the guy who...connects with the fans!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | April 12, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Love the Nats, can't wait (but will!) for them to one day be contenders. Wanted to mention my recent interaction with the box office. I knew I would be out of town the first week, which would have caused me to miss the first 2 of my 20 game plan. I called the week before, explained the situation, and they told me to mail in the tix and indicate which 2 'replacement' games I wanted to go to. The tickets arrived yesterday --- job well done.

Posted by: Danny | April 12, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

well, they can't call it "Barry Day"....or no one will show up, on the assumption that it is for Marion !

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 12, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Two keys to salvaging a successful Nats season. 1) Beat the Os four times. 2) Win more games than Ramon Ortiz.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 12, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about my 13-year-old son sustaining his interest. He's been a huge Nats fan, but is clearly bummed by the results of The Plan v.1 (2007). As Capitol Punishment explains on his blog, rebuilding efforts take years. And without a team that at least plays competitively, I'm afraid we're going to lose a young fan because of it.

Posted by: Ashburn | April 12, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"I called the week before, explained the situation, and they told me to mail in the tix and indicate which 2 'replacement' games I wanted to go to. The tickets arrived yesterday --- job well done."

Posted by: Danny | April 12, 2007 03:30 PM

Well, Danny, that's one big difference between the O's and the Nats, then. A few years ago my wife and I had tickets for a mid-summer O's game which I wanted to exchange for another date. I sent in the tickets with a USPS tracking number so I know they arrived. Deafening silence from the ticket office. Finally, I asked a friend who is highly placed in Balto athletics to find out what was going on. The ticket office bozos told him that s**t happens and if I wanted to go to a game, i should report to them prior to the game and they would give me tickets (for where in the stadium I know not),

I assumed someone in the ticket office pocketed the tickets and resold them. No one paid attention to my complaints; it took someone who knew management to get even that reply.

Redeeming virtue? I don't know, but at least so far the Nats' ticket folks seem to be honest. That's something.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | April 12, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

While I've complained about customer service on here in the past, have to chime in on trading in season tickets. My husband and I went to the box office the day before opening day and traded in a random day game and a Friday night game for a Sat. night O's game and a mid-week Tigers game. It was seamless and the seats were comparable (first 5 or so rows of the 400 section behind home plate) to our season tix.

As for staying interested - I will as I'm a sports fan. But "The Plan" needs something to engage fans, like - as someone else mentioned - a veteran that fans know and someone the kids (ie. the entire team) can learn from. During the off season, my husband and I discussed the virtues of picking up such players as Trot Nixon (former Red Sox) or Andy Petite (former Astro/Yankee). Yes - these sorts of players cost money, but they also likely bring more to the team and the fans than they ultimately cost.

Posted by: CJ | April 12, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I was part of an "announced" crowd of just over 400 the other night, yeah, great! Didn't seem to really care that my daughter and I came to the game either, everyone seemed disinterested in everything there. If I'm going to be disinterested in something, I'll go to RFK. Why? There's more places to walk around there and we can ride Metro from Springfield.

Posted by: Lorton, Va. | April 12, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I believe that fans of the new old Senators (now Rangers), such as myself or of the old old Senators-Nationals (now Twins) such as ThunderstruckFan, wil be with this team until the "final call". 34 years is a long time to wait for a tean just to give up on it in a mere three years. Thunderstruck: I was in Jacksonville when the Triple A Suns were in residence with Vic D'Avillio the star player and Harry "The Hat" Walker its manager.
Persevere Barry, persevere!!

Posted by: Section 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | April 12, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I will spend my time following the team, Blog, et all, but will spend less cash on them by not attending as many Washington Nationals games. Had I not experienced that magical summer of 2005, than I wouldn't remain a fan.

I will be going to more Potomac Nationals games, with the hopes that Marrerro & King & Davis are promoted and hoping to spend money on a competitive team. Also, hoping they give up on Ian Desmond who can't hit.

Things I find interesting:

1. Watching the minors to guess which players will be a part of "The Plan". will it be Fruto? Marrero? Certainly there will be some more top prospects like Broadway that turn into busts! Who will they be?

2. Following "Former Nats" ......If the Nats are laughing at Vidro, they might be crying about Ortiz... Ramon Ortiz is doing well. WHY? YOU MIGHT ASK???.... well according to Yahoo.com He signed with the Twins in hopes that highly regarded pitching coach Rick Anderson could clean him up after three straight disappointing seasons. One start into 2007, Ortiz looks like a new man. "I feel great. I feel very good. When you have a great pitching coach like Andy, he worked me hard in spring training," Ortiz said. "Look at me now. I'm different now."
What does that say about Randy St. Claire? At the same time you can't get prime rib out of crap for talent... I feel bad for Randy, but maybe he is the weak link...

3. How will the 8 "Rule 5" guys that we lost will do? Obviously we will get to see a lot of Speigner and we know Flores is well respected, but how did losing those 8 players really affect us? Also, how many of our up and coming players will we lose to Rule 5? If we continue going 1-8 and lose 8 AAA minor league players per year,and only gain 2 how are we getting better?

4. Watching the moves and transactions the Nats make. In my opinion it will only be a bad year if the roster remains the same and we continue to lose. As Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Will St. Claire stay on board all year? What about Page? Minor League Managers? Or does everyone keep their jobs despite everyone losing a lot?

5. Watching Nationals fans that blindly follow Kasten and "The Plan" like sheep will never cease to amaze. I just don't get how some people are totally on board with this...Yes I get it, we will be better in the future, but why couldn't we have signed a decent pitcher or two? I don't understand what we have of value that we are going to trade away for prospects? If good players are forced to lose so much due to lack of pitching and lack of spending by the team to acquire pitching, than we will more than likely "burn out" are players. Are the Nats players really have fun right now? Will this shorten their careers? If we keep losing, why will players want to come here when Stan is ready to win. And WHEN WE DO WIN will these same fans then feel cheated and jaded when all of the other washingtonians jump on board the bandwagon. Everyone loves a winner! But what if we still aren't winning in 5 years? How long do we have to "wait"? Will it really be "sweeter" if we have to wait 30 years? Time is a precious commodity in this town.

6. Comparing the Nats to the Caps... How many rebuilding teams can fans manage to follow? Surely the Caps are closer to rebuilding with Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, etc than the Nats are with Zimmerman & Cordero. I won't even bother bringing the Redskins into the mix. But honestly to the casual fan, what sounds better going to a NBA or NHL playoff game or going to see those lovable losing Nats. I'm guessing the playoff games get the casual fans money, and there only so much entertainment dollars to go around. What if the Nats don't sell out a lot of games in their new Great White Elephant stadium? How do we evaluate "The Plan" to how the other Washington teams are run?
Just a few thoughts :)

Posted by: NatsFan | April 12, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll still have the game on to listen to when I'm doing something else. But for the love of the game, someone get Ronnie a glove that opens and closes around a baseball! And can we ask Manny to leave a few starters in for 7 innings a couple times a week? We don't need Rauch joining King and Ayala on the DL!

Posted by: Springfield, VA | April 12, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Will always be interested. A season ticket holder who believes (hopes!!!) in the Kasten plan. I'm old enough to remember some tough Redskin years before Gibbs arrived and the subsequent success they achieved. If you hang with it, these losses help you appreciate the winning once it begins.

Posted by: Section 206 Row 8 Seat 5 | April 12, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The games are already an exercise in endurance. But, I'm happy to have a hometown team, and bad-with-a-plan usually begets better-as-time-goes-by. I hope. Plus, if things get too trying with the Nats per individual game, I can always turn to ESPN for alternate games to keep any eye on. Regardless of how the team does on the field, I always enjoy listening to the broadcast team in the booth and then reading Barry Svrluga's articles and notes the following day.

Posted by: Samantha | April 12, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Why should we pay $45 for a lower deck ticket when Stan Kasten isn't putting money on the field? How long will it take until some season ticket holders say I want a discount or I want my money back?

Posted by: still missing florida | April 12, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Will I remain interested? Absolutely. Of course it gets frustrating as the the losses pile up, but I think that if you're a fan, you support the team (the players, coaches, etc). I really do want all of them to do well. So I'll watch, and I'll support, no matter what.
Of course, this is coming from someone who's first team she ever really loved was the '88 Orioles...

Posted by: Pining for LeCroy | April 12, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

to the person who posted that they e-mailed Stan Kasten and he responded:

what's his e-mail address? I'd love to give him my two cents worth.

I will always be behind this team, no matter what. I waited my entire life for a home team and I'm not about to be a fair-weather fan. I want my daughter to grow up being as big a baseball fan as I am (she just turned two and has already been to over 50 games in the 2+ seasons). She knows how to say "Nationals" and can chant "Let's Go Nats" whenever she sees the team logo. Her eyes light up every time a game is on TV and her unbridled enthusiasm keeps me going. So, "Let's Go Nats!"

Posted by: e | April 12, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Very Interesting...

CapitolDugout

Posted by: CapitolDugout.com | April 12, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

e - Stan's email isn't very hard to figure out, and he has responded to me whenever I email. Hes one of the nicest guys I know. Very smart, too.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | April 12, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The typical form for email addresses in the organization is "Firstname.lastname@nationals.com". Does that help?

I'm interested and I will stay interested.

Meanwhile, my interest in the Journal is growing exponentially.

Posted by: Gilbert | April 12, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Interested?

Well let's see....I'm

MAD at the lack of fundamentals and charactor shown by these guys.

ANGRY about How they have NOT spend my ST money on 2007.

I HATE STAN for the poor food, late tickets, lack of honesty from the team about a wide range of issues.

SURPRISED that writers have given NATS a pass for all the quotes from Stan and JimBo about how wrong fans are about this team. "we are going to much better than people are saying" "we do not need any mid level free agents to compete this year"

AMAZED how much a good scout makes....(have we really spent $30 Million on Player develoment?)

SAD that the Learners are so clueless about what is happening to their fan base....

YES, I AM INTERESTED...but I am turning off the TV earlier each game and have a Bag ready for the next home stand.

Posted by: JayB | April 12, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

They'll hold my interest for this year and beyond. Granted, I'm not that willing to go to many games this summer. However, the college-id discount is enticing, so we'll see.

Posted by: Greg | April 12, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I've pledged my alleigence to the 2007 Nats.

However, I am so SICK and TIRED of hearing about "THE PLAN."

That phrase is just marketing BS. It provides an excuse for losing. It takes the heat off management to provide a winner, while forcing fans to endure a crappy season for a chance at a brighter future.

Barry, keep up the excellent work. Your profiles provide interesting context for the previous night's loss (e.g. Manny Acta, Austin Kearns)

Posted by: Brian | April 12, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

There once was a team called the Nats
They had no gloves and no bats
The base running is dumb
The pitcher a bum
The team building not done
But the games are still fun
Maybe someday we'll have our day in the sun

Posted by: Dog Frenzy | April 12, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Of course I'll keep watching. For now, I am still watching as a fan. Soon, however, it may become like a train wreck from which I am unable to turn away.

Note, however, that this in no way excuses the failure of the management to put a passable team on the field. While the response here has been fairly positive, by definition it's from the hardcore Nats and Svrluga fans who are even able to find it in the first place. The performance is absolutely going to harm attendance from more casual fans, and management shouldn't assume that just because we are still interested we can be taken for granted.

Posted by: Svrlugamania | April 12, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, I will be interested. nobody who grew up rooting for the Mets in the 1970's can be shaken by only one horrible season. You have to employ many hopeful exercises to get through, rooting for individual player to do well, paying attention to the minors, and picking up discounted tickets to RFK when everybody else is giving up.

Baseball isn't only a marathon season to season, but a marathon over your entire lifetime. If you can't stay loyal during the rough times, you have no business calling yourself a fan of your team, or the game.

Posted by: Kevin Costello | April 12, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The nats are on their way. anyone who has really been watching knows they are not that bad. the starters are looking sharper every inning. the offense and defense will get it together and by the all star break all the people who are begging the nats to spend money in free agency will be sorry. stay the course and by next year the nats will be the team to watch.

Posted by: love | April 12, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Did Stan put you up to this ploy to see if he would have 100 NAT fans to counter the 10,000 or so MET fans next week.....Last post is correct....Learner better take note and use some of Daddy's business sense soon or I'm NOT Interested anymore!

Posted by: ViennaNAT | April 12, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I read the lineups, so I think that means I have to post again...

The reason that I cannot be disillusioned about the losses is simple: In baseball, anything can happen on any night.

Kory Casto could hit three grand slams, and I don't want to miss that.

Ronnie Belliard could catch a ball, and that would be awesome to see.

Bergmann could throw a perfect game. Tonight that could happen.

Is it all unlikely? Oh yes, but crazier things have happened. Remember Boston's comeback in the playoffs in '04 against the vile Yankees? That was awesome! And the Nats could do that to the Mets this year. Maybe not in the postseason, but how great would it be if we swept them?

Perhaps I'm young, naive, idealistic, or any of the above. I call it something else though: A fan of his hometown team.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | April 12, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I'll stay interested. It's not as much fun when your team is losing, but it's still major league baseball, and I've survived bad teams many times before. I'm sure as the season wears on, I won't be tuning into every game, but as depressing as each successive loss gets, I still find myself following this team.

That being said ... I'm

TIRED of the whining from my fellow fans. I share a lot of their frustration, but I am sick about hearing about how sick they are of THE PLAN and Kasten.

The very simple math that these fans make is this: We've cut $30 million off the payroll, but we're not spending that $30 million RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT on minor league players, ergo ... the Lerners are cheap and/or Kasten is incompetent. Never mind that money is being saved to be spent on free agents when they'll actually MAKE A DIFFERENCE. No, these people want the new ownerships to just start blowing cash immediately.

OK, whiners. Simple question: Who would you have spent the money on? Huh? Who would have made a difference this year and 6 years from now? Gil Meche? Barry Zito? Gary Matthews Jr.? Tomo Ohko? 8 years of Alfonso Soriano? That's a good way to eat up this year's $30 million, plus next year's, plus next year's, plus next year's ...
I don't pretend that Kasten and Co. have all the answers. But they aren't running this team into the ground. Yes, attendance will go down while the team is less than competitive. Yes, the Lerners understand this will mean some lean seasons. I repeat: the Lerners have not been tricked into any of this - they know what Kasten is doing. The Lerner's aren't looking to turn a profit in 18 months. They are trying to build an elite franchise. Not good, with decent attendance this year. Elite. For the LONG TERM. You may not like this year's team, but ENOUGH with the stupid conspiracy theories -- the future of baseball in Washington is safe.

Posted by: Natty Fan | April 12, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Alright!!! I get to be Number 80! I think that I will remain interested, as Steinberg said on WPL on Comcast, this team can and will remain interesting with a lot of deeper plot lines than W-L and with a lot of fun young kids to watch.

Posted by: Nats444 | April 12, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I think it'll be tough to maintain interest unless something other than losing happens! But I'll do my best. I think since my 20 game package is spread out over the season, that will help me keep interest.

Posted by: Tyler | April 12, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I will remain interested because I get to read dolts like Jayson Stark on ESPN write things like this of the Nats:

"Over their first nine games, 714 hitters marched up to home plate. Not one of them stepped into the box while the Nationals held a lead. (The only time they led in the one game they won, remember, was the moment the winning run crossed the plate in the ninth inning.) That's gotta be a record that will never be broken."

That's only nine games. Do we know it's a record, or is he just making stuff up? We can ignore that it isn't good, record or not, but still...

Posted by: AC | April 12, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Of course we will stay interested. Trader Jim will never let it get boring, even if we only win 50 games or so.

Posted by: nasty nat | April 12, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Haven't lost interest. I have a 20 game package, watch every game on TV, check Nationals.com and the journal multiple times a day...even made it to spring training this year.

My first professional baseball experience was the Nats 2nd game ever. I hadn't even made it to my seat and I was hooked. That hasn't changed at all and won't.

I lucked out and was at our only win this year so far. Hopefully there are more to come!

I agree about the Orioles ads during the games. I'm tired of MASN trying to group us together like we are all buddy buddy. I'm a NATS fan...not O's. And don't even get me started on people yelling "O" during the national anthem...

Posted by: LKitz | April 12, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll definitely stay interested, but it will be a challenge. I hope Stan & co. don't damage the talent we do have after they have to endure this demoralizing season.

Please keep blogging, it may help us all get through this horrific season.

Posted by: Almost 100 | April 12, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

How much cool aid did you drink Natty Fan?

Learners can spend now and spend later it is not a zero sum game. Their choice is to listen to advice that says take the profit now and later....what owner would not like to follow that advice....it is wrong to take our money now and pocket it while they put this poor excuse for a team on the field.

Yea, I think we should have Zito now and Alfonso.....have fun, sell tickets and still be able to sign draft choices and pay scouts now. It would just mean no profit in their pocket this year.

Posted by: JayB | April 12, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

When did Bergmann learn how to pitch?

Posted by: Comment 88 | April 12, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep following as long as you keep blogging and making snide comments about Kasten every chance you get.
And for some (admittedly perverse) reason, if they have a chance at being historically bad, I won't be able to look away.

Posted by: #89 | April 12, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

WAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: gretchen | April 12, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I figure if I don't stay interested my starters will walk 10 a game. I gotta stay on top of things (including the top step of the dugout!) - I love your blogging and stories though Barry, they let me know what people on the outside think of this ball club we got here. I appreciate it.

Randy

Posted by: Randy St. Claire | April 12, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Whattagame! If they keep playing like that I will stay interested (and by keep playing like that, I mean putting 9 players on the field everynight!) - Great win.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | April 12, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Soriano AND Zito, JayB?

Ok that's 8 years/$136 million for a 30-year old outfielder coming off a career year, and 7 years/$126 million for (at best) a number 2 starter. (Remember, you can't sign these guys for a year or two.) You would tie up $262 million (!) over the next 8 years to watch two players who will begin a steady decline in production and will give you, what, 10 additional wins max?

That's over $32 million a year. In 3-4 years, when the first batch of prospects have developed and it actually makes sense to augment the lineup with overpriced free agents, where will the money come from? What to do in 2010 when it's time to lock down Zimmerman to a huge contract -- do you let him go? If you're the Lerners, you've committed $32 million dollars to two players in 2007 to placate restless fans, and now you don't have the resources to put the pedal to the metal and spend when it counts.

Look, I'm not saying that Kasten and Co. walk on water, or that they'll even succeed. But you've dismissed them in less than a year -- and all because they didn't dip into an expensive free agent market in year-one of a rebuilding plan?

Posted by: Natty Fan | April 12, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, that ninth inning was certainly "interesting." So I guess the answer the question is a Yes.

Posted by: Rocket1124 | April 12, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

And ... fun game tonight. That win should keep me interested through another 7 losses. :-)

Posted by: Natty Fan | April 12, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

NATS WIN...DAAAAAAAAAAA NATS...WIIIIN!!! Don't get to use the upper case much, thought it was appropriate tonight. What a job by JB, no, not that JB, the other JB, as in the other meat, if you get my drift. A terrific outing by the staff, CC had me on the edge of my comfy seat. Bring on the Mets!!

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | April 12, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and yes, I'll always be a Nats fan, even after I stop breathing. I'm one of those old fogeys who remembers when the Senators left town, and waited all those miserable years for THE game to return, then, lol, retired after one season and moved south. Oh well, I'll always be a washingtonian at heart, and a Nats & Skins fan forever.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | April 12, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Just so glad to have baseball back in DC - have definitely NOT lost enthusiasm and will always support our team. I don't even care about the hot dogs with no buns - I'm there for baseball, not the food.

Posted by: Barb | April 12, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

After tonight's game, you BET I'll stay interested! Heck, all I really need is one win a week, and Stan Kasten can do whatever magic he wants for next year.

But, why coudn't the official scorer take pity on the Nats and just give Jason Bergmann the win??? :-)

I mean, EIGHT strikeouts?!? Wow...

I just hope Jim Bowden doesn't get all full of himself, thinking it was his "talking-to" that turned Bergmann around...

Glad Cordero got the save, although he nearly gave me a heart attack when he loaded the bases.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 12, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I've spent the last three nights sitting through pretty hostile games in which the players I like were booed mercilessly (seriously, guys, what did Chris Snelling do to you?), so, yeah. I'm no fair-weather fan. I'm in this till the brutal end (and by that, I mean a World Series ring!), and not even Chad Cordero trying to blow his first save opportunity of the season, or Ryan Church striking out with bases loaded to end the inning will change my mind.

Posted by: stranded in Atlanta | April 12, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Love the Nats, win or lose they're still my team-and they WON TONIGHT!!!! How 'bout them apples?? And thanks for keeping the blog going Barry-it's fantastic.

Posted by: NatsVA | April 12, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

And when i say, tonight, i mean, TONIGHT!- (sorry..got a little carried away there :-)

Posted by: NatsVA | April 12, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree with "Thunderstrucknatsfan". My Dad took me to games when I was 7-8 years old at Griffith. I had an old crystal radio that I hooked up to the bed frame and listen to the Senators when I should have been asleep. I remember one night when Tom Chenny was pitching and my Dad came upstairs for something and told me to turn off the radio and go to sleep. "But Dad", I pleaded, "Chenny is pitching and has struck out 17 batters!". My Dad then sat on the edge of my bed and together we listened to the rest of the game. Yes, it may be a rough year. But I will follow the Nats win or lose. I will watch and listen to every game possible. I love baseball and the Nats are back so it doesn't matter right now if the win or lose so much. Just to see the "Curly W" again and to be able to "root for the home team" is plenty. I sure missed them in the last 33 years! Yes, I followed the Orioles, but they were not my team. I still "follow" the O's but I have a great dislike for Angelos and the front office and am bitter for their role in the lack of baseball in DC for the last three decades. I will watch and read about anything Nats related and just enjoy the fact that Washington Baseball is back!

Posted by: Nick in Germantown | April 13, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

A shut out victory and a 100 comment thread. A nice day for Nats fans. Congrats Barry.

Posted by: Dorf | April 13, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Like some of the others posting, I was a kid in DC when Frank Howard and the Senators were sold down the river. It broke my heart.

Now, based in Nairobi Kenya, where the closest sport you get is cricket (I mean, really, try watching a Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand --- you go nuts! A foul ball scores 6 points!), I follow the Nats like a hawk.

There is real drama in DC baseball. To hell with the Plan. The fun is proving the pundits wrong.

Posted by: Markus Kamau | April 13, 2007 1:10 AM | Report abuse

NattyDelite! you owe Bergmann an apology!

Posted by: Dorf | April 13, 2007 1:30 AM | Report abuse

If and additional 30 mil is the cost of doing business, then let's do business....I do not follow Natty Fan's logic that saving money this year provides some long term Cash flow solution. It is short sighted. Zito and Alfonso would both still be in their prime in two years.....how long are you saying we need to wait? Do the Learners think this PLAN somehow is going to keep them from having a big market pay role ever? I hope not because if that is the goal we are sunk.

Posted by: JayB | April 13, 2007 4:17 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I'll stay interested. Born and raised in NoVa, I moved to NJ this past summer. But I am a 'Nats fan and am a true believer in this Plan. I will stick with the 'Nats, will follow them all year and will look forward to '08 and beyond.

Posted by: JAlt | April 13, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Nats fan in the good times and the bad...

Posted by: HLH | April 13, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Stay interested? Absolutely. Start to finish. For one thing, these last 3 years are the only ones in my life where I've lived in an MLB town. And I've been a big baseball fan for nearly 50 years. I'll never get tired of this. For another, I'm a historian. I'm logging this entire year for posterity (including your every word, Mr. Svrluga! :) It may truly be historic.

Posted by: Dwight in Riverdale Park | April 13, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

3rd generation Washingtonian. If it says Washington in the name, particularly if baseball is involved, I will remain interested.

What is not particularly interesting is the Stan Speak about the Plan. As I pointed out in an comment from a different post, I am somewhat suspicious of what Stan is selling, since I do not think he was the brainchild of anything productive in Atlanta.

That said, he is running my team, so I have to grin and bear it. Kinda like I have to follow the current commander-in-chief whether I like him or not.

Posted by: WebberDC | April 13, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I love the Nats, but this year is going to be rough. I knew that before the season started they didn't have a chance, so I discontinued my partial season ticket plans. I couldn't support a team that obviously didn't care about the product it would be putting on the field (for 20 games not of my choosing, anyway). I'll still watch them on tv, and make it out to a few games this year (mostly to see the teams they'll be playing against, and because I like going to baseball games).

Posted by: Paul | April 13, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Being an old "Knothole Club" member and sitting in the upper section of RFK watching the spunky but last place Senators, you grew up with a great amount of patience. At least with the new Nats there appears to be a plan to get out of last place. Something that rarely happened in the old days. Please keep up with your journal, us diehard fans need to feel the pulse of the team which you bring. By the way, I still can't believe I also could listen to the Senators game on my crystal radio set without having to plug it in to an electrical outlet. Amazing science to a 7-8 year old. Go NATS

Posted by: Doug B in Alexandria | April 13, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Dorf! Why do I have to apologize to JB? I thought I had put some kind of magical spell on the kid through the first few innings there!

That games though, THAT game. How can you ever lose interest when something like that happens?

Oh man, that win just jacked me up so hardcore. Who's ready for Zimms to beat out Wright as the premier third baseman in this series?

I got the Natties takin' two!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | April 13, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Of course I will stay interested. Any true fan of the Nats will stay interested in watching the team and its players develop. Any true fan of baseball just enjoys watching improvement in game situations on a day-to-day basis. Going to the playoffs would be great, but enjoyment can also come from winning some games against some good teams (like last night against Smoltz) and winning some series down the road.

Posted by: CT | April 13, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Barry, I enjoy the Journal and will hang in there come hell or highwater. I find this year that already there are some interesting developments. Barring injury, Hill and Patterson are givens. Chico appears to have exceptional moxie, Bergmann good stuff waiting for control, and then there's Fruto, Ballister, and Mock. These are players that have the ability to be good or excellent major league pitchers. And then there's the retreads such as Williams and Redding. I must be one of the few who thinks the starting pitching, barring injury is promising. What bothers me more is the offense which has been poor since Guerrero left. Yes, I miss Escobar. If ever he could stay healthy, If. Even at the minor league level there appears to be a major problem offensively. But, that being said, maybe, just maybe, Church will live up to expectations, and that could have a major ripple effect througout the lineup. Also get shortstop, Aybar from the Angels.

Posted by: J. Campbell | April 13, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I'll be watching every game, because this is my team. But more games like last night wouldn't hurt!

Posted by: fxlibrarian | April 13, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for these young guys. They're like kids who suffer due to the stupidity of their parents.

I will follow them. It will be pretty interesting mid-summer and into September to see the sparse crowds. During an age of baseball's overall prosperity, it will be a pretty unique thing: a horrible team playing in a decrepit ballpark before few fans. I picture the scene as kinda like in "The Natural" when Roy Hobbs first showed up at the Knights' ballpark.

In a way it's kinda cool. We have a chance this season to have an experience unlike the typical pre-fab circus garbage experience at any of the newer ballparks.

Posted by: SS, MD | April 13, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Interested? Sure. Not to get all misty with the "baseball is a metaphor for life" stuff, but in a sprawling, unwieldy 162-game season there are plenty of storylines outside the boxscores to hold my interest. And, back to cliche, a bad day at the ballpark (particularly a weekday) still beats a good day almost anywhere else.

Posted by: NTPNate | April 13, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I was at opening day...I'll see 10-15 games over the course of the summer. I watch the games on TV and read about them everyday. I'd say I'm interested and will be all year.

Posted by: cj_atc | April 13, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Always interested. I grew up here and love all teams DC. I go to Wiz and Nats games, sometimes DC United and Caps. Would consider going to Skins if the owner was not related to Satan.

Posted by: GSmitty | April 13, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm still thrilled to have baseball back in DC. I'm in the tank for the Nats and will be attending at least a dozen games this year even if they stink. I've been to one game so far and #2 is next Monday night against the Braves. Yes, it's truly disapointing that Kasten has thrown the fans under the bus this year. I have not taken a sip of the Kasten rebuilding Kool-Ade. There had better be some significant spending on fielding a major league team come 2008. Right now the Nats are nothing more than a AAA team. The fact Kasten raised ticket, concession, and parking fees for an inferior product doesn't sit well with me. But I'm still a fan of the team. I will have to focus on individual performances of guys like Zimmerman, Rauch, Wagner, and Cordero. There ain't much to look at from a team perspective.

Posted by: Keith | April 13, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I was driving my five-year-old daughter home from soccer practice yesterday and the sports talk radio guys were talking about how bad the Nats were. My daughter, who goes to about 15 games a year with me, was highly offended. Then it dawned on me: even though she's been to three games this year, and the Nats got blown out in all three, she doesn't even know that this team stinks.

The point is, it's baseball, which is better than not having baseball. I am offended at the product Bowden has put together, but the team will hold my interest for the whole year.

Posted by: O'Connor | April 13, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Last Night the Atlanta Radio said We broke a all time MLB Record of going 10 games with out scoreing a run in the first 3 innings. One other team had gone 9 games.

With the PNats a short drive and loving the Senators and living without all of those years and going to games at Pittsburgh instead of the hated Baltimore of course I will. This is the easy part.

Posted by: Dave | April 13, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I will stay loyal to the Nats, it is great to have our own team!

I agree with the earlier post that we have to show our loyalty now, so we can have bragging rights when they are good.

Plus, it is easy and cheap to go to a game now, and other than opening day, I can imagine there being a whole lot of long lines this season.

For all those posters who worry about how losing will affect the psyches of our young players - you better be at the ballpark cheering them on. Losing is one thing, lack of support from the home crowd is something else.

Its Baseball! enjoy

Posted by: SacredCod | April 13, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

As a displaced NOVA living in NYC, I will not give up on any of my DC area teams. I missed last night's victory despite watching the prior games on TBS because they were so painful. I guess I learned my lesson. Whenever I can get the chance to go down to RFK to watch a game I will, but I don't think I can bear to attend Nationals games at Shea surrounded by Mets fans. I am taking it series to series and hoping the Nats can pull off a few wins (especially against Yanks or Mets). My only problem is the even greater likelihood of a lack of national games.

Posted by: robert | April 13, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they will keep my interest all year. One of the keys to happiness in anything is managing expectations. I was clapping in my house the other day when the Nats ended the 5th inning of a game to keep it a scoreless tie. It was like we'd already won.

And to the casuals - fine, please don't go to RFK, and don't go next year either.

Posted by: Gl. Park | April 13, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey, at least the Nats won 1 of their 1st six, unlike the Harrisburg Senators (who did get win #1 on Thursday - top prospect Balester was OK, but we are hurting for other youngsters who we can look forward to seeing in the Anacostia stadium. I mean Robin Jennings, who I took in a Rotisserie draft as a young Cub OF in the late 90s, is playing 1st base for the Senators). But both the Nats and Senators will retain my interest no matter how dreadful the results this year - and the key reason is that there seems to at least be a plan for the future here. Hey, it makes the wins even more sweeter, right?

Posted by: Harrisburg Correspondent | April 13, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, will remain interested. As it relates to the team, that is. I will lose interest in attending games if no effort is made to enhance game experience. I understand reluctance to spend on RFK given pending move, but don't roving vendors with real food (not cotton candy) pay for themselves?

Posted by: Sec. 210 | April 13, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Painful, but in it till the bitter end. Minor League updates would be especially appreciated. Great stuff here all the way around though. Side note... as a season ticket holder, I have to agree with the posts above about not wanting to spend my money on the team again if Kasten and Co aren't. That is unless of course last night's win proves more of a norm and not an anomolly. Thanks!

Posted by: Collin | April 13, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I already have tickets for eight more games. Yeah, I'll stay interested. But it'll hurt, and I'll probably be turning the TV off earlier.

Posted by: Matt | April 13, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I moved to the DC area in 1974 (I was 4) and since I learned what baseball was, pined for a team. I tried to get behind the O's but couldn't ever really get into it. Every expansion was painful, I mean the Devil Rays!!!! Are you kidding and DC still didn't get a team? A FRENCH speaking city in CANADA had a team but not the Nation's Capital?

Anyway, I've always loved baseball, I waited a long time for a team and I don't care if it's 2-160 this season, I will be following as much as my life allows. I'll watch every game I can, go to as many as I can, read the box score and recaps every day and the blog every day I can. I'm late posting to this as I was out of town. If they get good someday, great but my wife's family are all life-long Cubs fans so I've learned about loyalty. I'm here for the long haul.

Go Nats!

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | April 13, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid the Senators left for Texas. I was 10 and I cried - having already developed a healthy hatred for the super-talented Orioles, there was no way I could possibly change alegiance. My oldest brother smacked me in the head and told me to quit crying, that these weren't even the REAL Senators. He had suffered the same indignity 10 years prior to me when he was 10. THEN, the first of a long line of cruelties. Joe Danzansky owned Giant Food and it was his mission to get a team back in DC. He was a signature away from buying the Padres, renaming them Senators, and moving them to the District. A hundred other false hope events happened since then that just left me with a crushed spirit. Now we have a team - and that team stinks? No matter. I'd watch them lose to the Racine Belles if I had to. At least I get to watch them. Thank God!

Posted by: 6th and D | April 14, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 6th and D! I felt exactly the same when the Senators left town. The old Senators were at best comic relief. They had a flash of good baseball here and there, but on the whole were just bad teams. However, they were my team! I would go to RFK and scream and yell for them to score and take charge of the games. Coming home hoarse after seeing a double-header against the "DAMNED YANKEES" is a fond memory I will have forever. I LOVE the new young Nats. I will follow every inning, pitch, and game. I will read anything I can about the team or the farm system. Barry, please keep up the great work keeping us informed. There are thousands of us Nats diehards who can't get too much information and background of our new hometown Nationals.

Posted by: Nick from Germantown | April 14, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Count me in as still interested! I subscribe to Nats email alerts from the POst and read the stories every day from my current location on Taiwan. I lived in DC when the Nats came to town in 2005 and bonded with the team probably for life. It is great to be in on the birth of something. And I am from Detroit originally (with fond 1984 Series memories), so it is really saying something that I feel far more supportive of and tied to the Nats than the defending AL champs.

I also just happened to live in Atlanta in 1991, when they went from worst to first. At the beginning of the season, local fans told me we had to go to Braves games or they would leave town! Little did we know that the Tomahawk chop (borrowed from FSU Seminoles) would take flight that year and get us all the way to extra innings of the 7th game of the Series (alas Kirby Puckett had the last at-bat that year).

So I have closely supported two teams that have risen from ashes and gone on to October success. Nothing would be sweeter than to see the Nats do the same sometime in the next 10 years along the banks of the Anacostia.

Ok, so how about that article in full verse?

Posted by: Tom from Taipei | April 15, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

What's not to like? Just became a season ticket holder for the first time in my life. I'm on the quarter season plan in the cheapest seats in the house, but looking forward to this season like never before. I have a team that's only a 15 minute subway ride from home or work. The Nats finally are moving in the right direction (they've been without direction for quite a few seasons now). We're seeing players develop that will be part of the team for years to come.

Using the ticket exchange program, I was able to get tickets for every afternoon game this season. If you're thinking about taking the season ticket plunge, the Nats were very flexible in allowing me to choose the games I wanted.

Not follow the Nats? Just like they say for fishing, a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day at work.

Posted by: Section 453 | April 15, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, as I am a sucker.

Posted by: mjwies11, D.C. | April 15, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I think it was late July or early August 2004, my Wife and I made our first trip to Cooperstown. I took away from that marvelous place not only many cherished memories of Baseball past but also a Washington Senators cap with the curly W above the bill. On the ride home, I thought about the night of September 30, 1971 when a 26 year old watched from Section 519 as Frank Howard smashed his most important Home Run, the Senators took a 7 to 5 lead into the bottom of the ninth, and Joe Grzenda threw the last pitch before the stampede....then, it was over. Not long after we returned home came the glorious announcement. From the podium, Mayor Williams, resplendent in curly W, proclaimed "Baseball is coming back to Washington". Later that night, we were at Dulles airport to pick up my daughter and I, of course, was under my own curly W. Out of nowhere comes this gentleman waving a twenty dollar bill. "I'll give you twenty dollars for that hat." I said, "No Thanks'. After a few more reaches, he yells "A Hundred dollars for that hat!!" By now, several folks watched and wondered. Who was more in need of help, the man waving the money or the one declining to take it? Luckily, his pockets were empty and he left. You know what. That night, I don't care what he waved, that curly W was not leaving my head. Not after 33 years. This team could go 0 for the decade and I will still be there. GO NATS!!!!!!

Posted by: Charlie | April 16, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I thought I might lose interest, but I went yesterday and was happy as could be to sit there in the cold yelling the Nats to victory. So I guess I will not actually lose interest. I'll probably go to 15 games like I did last year.

Posted by: Lindemann | April 17, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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