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Ayala update

So a few more details on the Luis Ayala hunting incident.

Ayala, who befriended Vice President Cheney during the 2005 season, was hunting ...

No, no. I suppose this isn't funny. Though he wasn't seriously hurt, and you guys were all over the Cheney jokes from the moment I posted this earlier.

Ayala was hunting Dec. 26 in or near his home town of Los Mochis, Mexico. According to his agent, Joseph Longo, he and his friends were taking a break when one of his friends' guns went off accidentally.

"He was lucky," Longo said.

There'll be details in the $.35-edit... er, $.50(unlessyousubscribe)-edition on Saturday morning. Also caught up with Shawn Hill, who threw off a mound for the first time on Friday.

Getting closer to spring training, isn't it?

Have a great weekend.

By Barry Svrluga  |  January 4, 2008; 6:39 PM ET
 
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Next: 2008 Payroll: What does it mean?

Comments

Guilty as charged. It's like you grooved one right over the plate.

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...and you guys were all over the Cheney jokes from the moment I posted this earlier.

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 4, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Also caught up with Shawn Hill, who threw off a mound for the first time on Friday.
---------

More important, caught up with Shawn Hill's sinker, that shameless flirt.

Posted by: Atlanta | January 4, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I was on my usual path clicking through the front page on my way to sports and your blog, and as I saw all the news from Iowa and New Hampshire I had a thought.

I wonder if any of the candidates would commit to throwing out the first pitch in 2009.

If anybody can break this news, it's Barry.

Posted by: nattaboy | January 4, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure every single one of the candidates will gladly say now "When I am President in April 2009 I will throw out the first pitch at the Nationals' Opening Day." They're politicians, there's no controversy at all in the statement, so why wouldn't they? But what does it prove when they say that? Nothing. So what's the point in even asking the question?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | January 4, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

OK, 419, wanted to respond to your quote:

"A neighborhood association or anyone else for that matter is perfectly free to go onto the Nats website right now and buy as many season tickets as they'd like. They can choose full season plans, half season plans or 20-game plans, and select down to the particular seats they want. If they don't have web access, they can call the Nats ticket office and do the same. So, your point is...?"

My point is that it's always nice to receive an invitation. Yes, they Assoc's board of directors could have someone go on line, but what's the motivation? There's hundreds of thousands of products that all anyone has to do is pluck them off the shelves, but some sell a whole lot better than others. It comes down to quality and advertising. The Nats may not have a better team than last season, but they sure as heck have a better place to watch them play and, as for advertising, are the doing any?

Just throwing up a web site and listing a phone number isn't enough, especially in a large urban area with many, many entertainment choices.

My point is the Nats should have sales reps call these associations directly or at least do some form of direct marketing. Maybe they already are...

Posted by: natswriter | January 4, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats may not have a better team than last season, but they sure as heck have a better place to watch them play and, as for advertising, are the doing any?"

Yes they are. I have seen "get your season tickets now" ads on the bottom of the front page of the sports section in the Post (where MASN frequently ran ads last summer) and have heard ads on the radio (and on stations other than the Nats' flagship station 3WT, too, because I only listen to that station when games are on). I'm sure there has been other advertising that I haven't noticed.

As for contacting associations directly, I can only think of two associations in the area that would be big enough to think about buying tickets, and they would be the Columbia Association (which you mentioned) and the Reston Association. I know my homeowner's association of 48 houses would never do such a thing. Hell, they're doing good if they can get the snow removed and the trash picked up.

I'm sure there's lots of direct marketing, cold calling, etc, going on to try to sell the luxury suites, and I'm sure the first thing that happens when some company expresses interest but demurs because of price considerations is the response "Well, you know we could sell you a block of X season tickets that wouldn't cost as much as the suite. Would you be interested in that?"

As I've said before, the things you're suggesting aren't bad ideas per se, but they're much better suited for using to fill in whatever gaps are left once all the possible big sales have been consummated. Your ideas are very labor intensive with not all that much possibility for a big payoff. Better to direct marketing resources toward the big sales right now, I'd say.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | January 4, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else as happy as I am not to have to look at Duke's face every day as I pull up the Nats page???

Posted by: Glad Barry's back... | January 4, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

All together now: What do we not do, class?
"We don't tempt fate."
Thank you.
***************
I'm sure every single one of the candidates will gladly say now "When I am President in April 2009 I will throw out the first pitch at the Nationals' Opening Day." They're politicians, there's no controversy at all in the statement, so why wouldn't they?
Posted by: Section 419+1 | January 4, 2008 09:40 PM

Posted by: Toby Ziegler | January 4, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I had a busy day and missed the opportunity to post on any of the previous 3 NJ posts of the day. I often find myself defending Kasten, Bowden, and the front office, but I really can't defend the lack of winter marketing activities. Marketing a team is a year round requirement. The organization has invested a lot of money on the stadium, the development of the farm system, and many other areas, but they really are missing a good cost/benefit return on investment opportunity with fan fest type of events. I was also disappointed in the promotions schedule last year and the advertising campaign (statues, motionless statues with bad voice overs ... that was the television advertisement concept .... good grief).

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 5, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Why, yes I am, since you asked.

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Anyone else as happy as I am not to have to look at Duke's face every day as I pull up the Nats page???

Posted by: Sean Hill's mom | January 5, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Note that the sinker is nowhere to be seen in the new picture, and that Barry will evidently be gone for the weekend. Feel free to make your own conclusions...

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 5, 2008 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Overjoyed at Dukes photo removal from the journal. That's not meant to be taken as I want him removed from the roster, not at all. As more Nats articles are written, the more the pictures will change. There should be a 3 day limit on the same picture gracing the journal, don't you think?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | January 5, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I've been away from NJ the last 36 hours and haven't been able to post. I've enjoyed everyone's comments on the marketing and not being a marketing person, I don't have a lot of ideas to add.

The only point I'd like to make is that none of this should surprise us. When Stan Kasten was president of the Braves, Hawks, and Thrashers they were among the worst marketed teams in pro sports. The Braves had trouble selling out play off games. Listening to him talk, Stan strikes me as a guy with zero emotional intelligence - something one needs to know in order to connect with people. I've never bought that he's a great sports executive. He benefited from a great TV situation in Atlanta created by Ted Turner. He had a great GM. As a businessman though, I don't see it.

Posted by: #4 | January 5, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I am glad for the page change. Nothing against Dukes but I grew tired of seeing a Tampa Bay Devil Rays uniform on a Nationals page.

Posted by: Thom202 | January 5, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I just went to this great new Nats blog! The site is attackofthenats.blogspot.com. The have some great links and info that you should check out.

Posted by: Mary | January 5, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

We have a new Nats blog called Attack of the Nats on the Web. The site is attackofthenats.blogspot.com. Feel free to comment and please tell your friends!

Posted by: Attack of the Nats | January 5, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

35-14...thank god thats over

Posted by: love | January 5, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I feel especially bad for the team in that it puts an end to the season and Taylor's continued connection to it (though I understand that he will live on in their hearts and minds).

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 5, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

But the Caps won this afternoon. (Those who wish to flay me for introducing extremely off-topic anticlimax may line up to the left.)

Time for a good book. Anyone read "Crazy '08" yet?

Posted by: Hendo | January 5, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

im glad the season is over so the washington post and other sports news outlets will start devoting only 80 percent to the skins instead of the usual 99 percent

Posted by: love | January 5, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

(Your other left. D'oh!)

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(Those who wish to flay me for introducing extremely off-topic anticlimax may line up to the left.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 5, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

No. I think it was featured in a recent issue of the SABR newsletter (or maybe not so recent - I'm behind in my reading).

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Time for a good book. Anyone read "Crazy '08" yet?

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 5, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Interesting Bowden Q&A on MLB.com. He said again that Patteson, Hill, Lanan, Chico, and Bergmann were in the lead for the 5 starter spots. Said Dukes would be the fourth outfielder. Defended Lastings character, but did not defend Dukes in the same way. The issue of additional moves/trades did not come up. It did not sound like he is counting on either of the Rule 5's to make the team.

Maybe now that the Skins are out of the playoffs the baseball coverage will pick up (not that I'm glad about the Skins - just looking on the bright side).

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 5, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Jimbo Q&A was very telling. Not to say I like what I was being told though.....

Jimbo seems to saying the Starting Pitching is what it is.....Nats are going to role the dice again and hope that Patterson is going to be healthy and when that does not happen then we get a different set of starter each week hoping to find someone who is hot for a month. Not really a plan for improvement is it?

Jimbo thinks Lopez has more talent than Guzman and Belliard. Agreed, if you are talking pure physical tools, but even Jimbo seems to be saying "he has to prove he wants to win" which seems a shot at his famous attitude. Wish someone (hello Barry, are you working this month?) would take him to task for the backfilling Jimbo is doing on Lopez who was a corner stone player a 8 months ago and a record steal from the Reds 18 months ago.....

Nick is running the bases? One follow up please...how much does he weigh and the same question of Young please, Jimbo (promises, promises Barry).

Jumbo sees a greatly improved bench and so do I....was that so hard to do Jimbo, did not even cost much more than Fick, Jimmerez, Batista, etc. Wish someone would have help him accountable for that total lazy winter work last year.

I know I am dreaming but I wish someone would do some real reporting soon. When we get the best bit out of MLB.com....that is not saying much.


Posted by: JayB | January 6, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Sorry. I disagree JayB. Panera sandwich reviews from Barry are often more enlightening than a GM interview with tired questions from Ladson.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 6, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

And he usually gets the sandwich names right, too. :)

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I personally can't stand the 'Skins, but that is another story.

As far as I am cncerned, the second they lost it became baseball season around here. The NBA regular season is about as meaningful as the NHL regular season- so many teams make the playoffs, and they go on forever.

The eight pages on the Skins today will be the pinnacle. We can hope for them to fade slowly from the Sports section from here on out. Something else will have to fill that space, and at least the Nats are a candidate.

Posted by: Month and a half | January 6, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Great interview with Dmitri Young discussing his recovery and his role in mentoring Elijah in Nick Cafardo's notes column in the Boston Globe. I have not mastered the Tin Yurl.
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2008/01/06/save_opportunity_for_young/
Also, of interest is a discussion of the Mariners. They apparently are stretching out Brandon Morrow with the idea of moving him to the rotation. I suppose if they were looking for a guy to backfill for Morrow in the set up role, we might have one or two guys who could fit. Safeco is a nice park for a fly ball pitcher.

Wigi, any ideas about their farm system? How is their middle infield depth? Any catchers behind Johjima / Clement?

Posted by: jon | January 6, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse


http://tinyurl.com/yrke8t

Posted by: here ya go, Jon | January 6, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of pure speculation, I thought we'd have seen this angle by now, but if it's been discussed, I missed it: what happens if mentoring Elijah Dukes costs Dmiti 50 points of BA? Big picture, that's a bargain, but baseball picture ... ?

Posted by: CE | January 6, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, jon. The Clemens item was interesting, too. Do we believe what Wade (Chicken Man) Boggs has to say?

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 6, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wade Boggs claims to have willed himself invisible to avoid a fight once. If he believes that, I'm sure he believes Clemens. Boddicker also backed Roger. Canseco has said B-12 was a euphemism among pitchers. Neither Boddicker nor Boggs actually played with Clemens in Toronto or NYY, so they are just generally vouching for his character.

Posted by: jon | January 6, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Don't remember having heard that one before. I don't tend to believe Rajah myself. Will be interesting to see what develops in the next couple of weeks on that front.

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Wade Boggs claims to have willed himself invisible to avoid a fight once.

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 6, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Why would it even cross someone's mind that mentoring -- in effect, being a good veteran leader -- would negatively impact Meat's hitting? I think the Nats have many other things to worry about, and that some people have waaay too much free time on their hands.

Posted by: frank j | January 6, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Ummm....

The fact that we are talking about the Nats when they are doing nothing at the moment (or telling us nothing at the moment) is a testament to the free time we all have.

Thank you, God, that we are blessed with that free time.

Posted by: Month and a half | January 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

It might just as easily help, I suppose, but a distracted hitter doesn't hit much.
I might point out anyone with enough time to call it a waste of time probably doesn't have the moral high ground, but I'm too busy.

Posted by: CE | January 6, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I can see it now, Meat strikes out in a big situation, after the game he explains that, well, I was distracted because I was wondering who Elijah was text messaging earlier.

Posted by: mike | January 6, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

so the nats really want livan. great....

http://mlbfleecefactor.com/2008/01/06/phil-rogers-rumors-bonds-brewers-livan/

Posted by: ed | January 6, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

snarkelicious! :)

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I might point out anyone with enough time to call it a waste of time probably doesn't have the moral high ground, but I'm too busy.

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 6, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Proof of Wade Bogg's assertion:
http://tinyurl.com/2o2jkx

Posted by: Morse Nark | January 7, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Good news re: the Mets -- they've added (created, technically) an ex-Cub by adding Angel Pagan (who really should be with Tampa or Anaheim)
http://tinyurl.com/2er4f5

Posted by: CE | January 7, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Thank God that Dukes picture is gone! I screamed each time the page loaded! Yikers!

Posted by: frog7694 | January 7, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Well, the Skins are done, now lets have some fun. It's time for the Nats, and there newly found bats. It's nearing spring, and that Viera thing. A trip down 95, will make you come alive. May the pitchers stay healthy, and the team be wealthy. So, Manny,Jim and Stan, execute your plan. Lets come out of the gate, and have fun 08. After you're done, with that Florida Sun, it's back to DC to begin a run. So battle those Marlins, Braves, Mets and Phils...give us fans many thrills. This season promises not to be dark, as we start anew, in Nationals Park. GO NATS...GET HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | January 7, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

and they said *I* had too much time on my hands!

Posted by: CE | January 7, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

CE making snarky, the snarkmeister, snarkorama!

...but nice poem, SC. :)

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and they said *I* had too much time on my hands!

Posted by: the copy gal | January 7, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Suggested Topics for week of 1/7/08:

1) Charlie Slowes (when)
2) MASN HD Broadcasts (when)
3) Parking for STH (offer me a deal so I can decide if I want to buy it)
4) Single game tickets on sale (when)
5) Rotation Help (if/when)

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 7, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

pitchers and catchers (when)

:)

Posted by: 6) | January 7, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Thirty-seven days to pitchers and catchers.

Posted by: Hendo | January 7, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I second NatBisquit's Suggested Topics for the week.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Thirty-seven days to pitchers and catchers.

Posted by: Thank you! | January 7, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The whole Dukes/Dmitri mentorship is pretty simple and actually quite brilliant. Here's how...

Once Nick Johnson is back he'll be starting at 1b. Dmitri has some pop but the defense just ain't much. If he's gonna be pulled in the 6th inning each night why not have Johnson playing defense for 9 innings and getting on base more frequently? Dmitri will be the #1 pinch hitter. Since Dukes will be the 4th OF, that will leave lots of time for the 2 of them to be on the bench together.

Dmitri won't be distracted but will actually help Dukes learn how to be an effective off-the-bench guy this year. Preparing for pinch-hits, studying the defense, watching the game. Should be invaluable for Dukes...

Posted by: Gibby | January 7, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

i'm not ready to presume NJ is playing every day until i actually see him play every day. until then, it's all speculation at best.

don't get me wrong, i really like nick, and when he's playing he's a very solid player. but his long history of being injury prone and the fact that it will be over 18 months since he played a game... just count me in as skeptical until we see it.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 7, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Why does Nick Johnson have such a good on-base percentage? Because he's got a great eye. Why will he have trouble hitting when he returns? Because he won't have batted for almost two years. Why won't that time off also affect his great batter's eye?

There's been no answer to that yet. NJ can't be a starter in '08.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | January 7, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

i don't think the long layoff is as much bad for the "batters eye" as it is for timing, which affects any hitter. i'm thinking the eye will still be there.

of course, the leg is the part i'm more worried about. will it affect him defensively? will it affect his swing and/or power?

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 7, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes, and ...
This is baseball--there is almost no limit to the number of things that can go wrong. I don't think Nick will be back to batting like he was before the accident for a long time--maybe July, maybe July '09.

And if (IF) he's still going to hit .335, I would rather have Dmitri at first for six innings and hitting three times a game, and PH Nick, than watch Nick trying to get his stroke back and re-learn pitchers with Dmitri trying to keep his hitting 5-7 times a week.

**********
of course, the leg is the part i'm more worried about. will it affect him defensively? will it affect his swing and/or power?

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 7, 2008 02:33 PM

Posted by: CE | January 7, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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