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Well, I'm just now picking myself up from underneath my desk here at Space Coast Stadium, having been sent scrambling for cover--while in mid-blog, I might add--by a sudden, ear-splitting, press-box-shaking, what-in-the-bejeezus-was-that noise. Once the locals stopped laughing at me, they informed me it was the sonic boom from the Space Shuttle's re-entry into the atmosphere, as it headed for Cape Canaveral just up the road from here.

Nats news... Today is reporting day for position players. Wily Mo Pena is now in the house, looking huge--in a good way. I'm told Elijah Dukes is still expected to report today and do a news conference tomorrow. Other players still not seen or heard from, as of 9 o'clock this morning: Lastings Milledge and Cristian Guzman--but I have no reason to think they won't report today. Pretty much everyone of consequence has arrived or been heard from.

Visa problems... Still a few prominent Nats being held up in their home countries. But we're told Luis Ayala is flying in today from Mexico. The absence of Jesus Flores is particularly distressing because that means none of the Nationals' top three catchers are able to catch an entire day's worth of bullpen sessions. Paul LoDuca is out recovering from knee surgery, and Johnny Estrada is being limited to one or two sessions (and very limited throwing) because he is also recovering from elbow and knee surgeries. However, Flores should be here by the weekend, I'm told.

Also, newly signed lefty Odalis Perez is expected here tomorrow. He has been throwing back home in the Dominican, so he really shouldn't be very far behind the team's others pitchers.

Manager Manny Acta is clearly high on Milledge, who he knows from their days with the New York Mets. Here is Acta on what Milledge needs to do to realize his potential in Washington: "Play. He just hasn't had any type of consistency of playing every day at this level. He's a young guy. This guy just needs to go out there and get four at-bats a game." On Milledge's power potential: "He'll hit his home runs. He's got the power. He's got the bat-speed.... Eventually, he'll develop into a guy who can hit 20 to 25 home runs."

That'll do it for now...

Weather: Currently 62 degrees and sunny, with more sunshine and a high of 74 in the forecast.

Soundtrack: Drive-By Truckers, "Brighter Than Creation's Dark." Seven Mike Cooley-penned songs--you can't go wrong.

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 20, 2008; 9:06 AM ET
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Next: A Fluid Situation


Only the Nats would show up to spring training with more pitchers than any other team in the league and no catchers!

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 20, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm just a big kid, but I think space shuttles and sonic booms are cool.

When Ayala arrives, can we get an update on his condition following the hunting accident this offseason?

Speaking of the bullpen, what's this about Detwiler possibly pitching out of the pen this season? How many pitchers are they going to carry this season, 20?

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 20, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

135L row M! Opening Day here I come!

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 20, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for keeping us posted. It's reassuring to know that the Nats Journal will continue to start my day with nice tidbits of news and good humor.

I'm delighted Manny has confidence in our new acquisition from the Mets. I bet our pitchers, however, are mourning the loss of Number 23. I certainly am.

Posted by: Natsgal | February 20, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse


Are you sure what you heard was a sonic boom and not a sonic Boone? They sound awfully similar.

Posted by: NTPNate | February 20, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

got my two tickets for OD. Section 309, right about where we wanted.

Now I just need to figure out how I can get more tickets without resorting to paying an arm and a leg to StubHub or eBay.

Posted by: e | February 20, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Section 202, one row back from my season ticket seat. Yippee!!!

Same here. Gotta figure out how to get more tickets. Like I said before, service rep said all season ticket holders can get opening day tickets on Friday.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 20, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hahaha that's hilarious.

Wonder if this happens often.

Posted by: Andrew V. | February 20, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

haha, Sonic Boone, well played NTPNate, well played.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | February 20, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

So pumped about Willy Mo - those front row season tickets in LF (sect. 105) are going to be fun. On your tip of his size though, maybe I should've gotten 'em a few rows back.....oh well, out there it's Willy Mo territory in both halves of the inning. Maybe we'll get t-shirts made up or something - hey what about a NJ packaged deal. We can put a Barry t-shirt in there, a Jesus Saves one, maybe even a "you dead dawg one" - and for a bonus, "Everything gets better with age on Boone's farm"

Posted by: Corey | February 20, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

And I am still trying to figure out how to get any opening day tickets at all for someone who can't afford a season plan and can't drum up enough support among people I know for a joint season plan - even 20 games.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 20, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I can't get over our bullpen depth. Forget middle infield, this is where Bowden's dealing from.

First, you have to figure these guys are locks:


Then, you have the following non-roster invitees, all lefties:


Then, you have the following 40-man guys:


Finally, you add in Detwiler, whom Bowden has considered adding to the bullpen, and Clippard, who has been talked about similarly.

Of course, that's not counting Wagner, who should be healed up some time this season. And what happens to someone like Redding if he doesn't make the rotation? Would they be averse to using their $1 million guy as a long reliever? I don't know.

Rumors have it Joe Nathan is on the trading block (extension talks dropped off two weeks ago). This might help Bowden establish a value for Cordero. There's also the chance you could see a reliever packaged with either Young or Johnson at the end of Spring Training.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 20, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Got Mine. Opted for section 141 for a different angle from my normal infield gallery seats. I figure it will be a happy happening place out in the outfield on opening day. I'll be trying multiple locations throughout the year when I supplement my 20 game plan. Remember, ride Metro.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 20, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to all you OD ticket holders, of which I'm not one of you. A sad day indeed in the lowcountry for me. :<

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 20, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

You have to have a catcher because if you don't you're likely to have a lot of passed balls.

Posted by: Casey Stengel | February 20, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Got my 2, Section 202 a section over from my Plan section.


Your rep told you everyone can get OD tickets on Friday? I was told differently by a Rep on Monday. He stated today was it until March 4th, which is General Public day.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | February 20, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Pardon the interruption, but I just wanted to pass along something. I'm told the team will have a news conference around 3 p.m. today and I'm guessing it will be the Dukes introduction. More later...

Posted by: Dave Sheinin | February 20, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

just bribe friends that already have season tickets, wait impatiently while constantly emailing them and asking if they got you an OD ticket, and then curse them out because they forgot.

thats my strategy.

Posted by: theraph | February 20, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

from the sports bog, more nats job openings...

my fave?

Screech Keepers: Requires "tenacious work ethic."

Posted by: 231 | February 20, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

We were told OD tix don't go on sale until Feb. 21! and we have a full season plan!!! Some people got dibs earlier?

Posted by: Confused | February 20, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

In 1967 I set a major league record for passed balls, and I did that without playing every game. There was a game, as a matter of fact, during that year when Phil Niekro's brother (Joe) and he were pitching against each other in Atlanta. Their parents were sitting right behind home plate. I saw their folks that day more than they did the whole weekend.

Posted by: Bob Uecker | February 20, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Yes, 20-game plan holders since those plans don't incluse OD tix.

Posted by: Matt | February 20, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I was told that OD tix went on sale at 9am today for all STH's. This pre-sale goes on until 9pm Saturday. Each STH is allowed to purchase "up to two" OD tix.

After Saturday, the remaining tix will go on sale to the general public on March 4.

My ticket rep knew nothing of STH's allowed to purchase as many as they want starting on Friday. Someone previously posted this is true. Please, can you give me the name of the person who told you this so that I may call them and verify? Also, if this is true, how does a STH go about purchasing these tix on Firday? Is there a secret password that only STH's have? If so, I wasn't given one (other than the one I used today to purcahse my two tickets, which I've tried to use again hoping that there might be a glitch in the Nats ticketing system, but I was denied).

Posted by: e | February 20, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Settle down, Confused. If you are a full-season ticket holder, you automatically get an opening day ticket. You don't need to worry about when the tickets go "on sale".

Posted by: JennX | February 20, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Dave: next time you lead off an entry with "pardon the interruption", please be sure to use a trademark. Certain that grandpa TK won't mind, but you never know...

Posted by: joemktg | February 20, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"someone who can't afford a season plan and can't drum up enough support among people I know for a joint season plan - even 20 games"

If you're someone who goes to ten or so games every year buying single game tickets each time, you would probably save money or at least break even if you bought a 20-game plan instead - at least if you're sitting in the less expensive seats, which you probably are if you're complaining about being poor. When you get a season ticket, you pay $4-$5 less for each game than when you buy that seat one game at a time. Also, when you buy a single-game ticket you end up paying $4-$5 a ticket in service charges and processing fees. There is a processing charge when you buy a season ticket too, but it's only $20 or so, which works out to about a dollar per game. So bottom line is your per-game cost will be around ten bucks less for the games bought as part of a season ticket plan. Do the math for the particular section you'd like to sit in, and you might find yourself surprised...

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 20, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I was told that FSTH are allowed to purchase an additional 2 OD tickets based upon your relocation priority.

My priority is allowing me to purchase my 2 OD tickets starting tomorrow.

I am sure some are being allowed to purchase today and some will get Friday.

Posted by: Diz | February 20, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

e, if your rep told you OD tix went on sale today for *ALL* STHs, then i might just discount the rest of what they told you.

today is 20game plan people. tomorrow is everyone else.

Posted by: 231 | February 20, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

e, that was me who posted about the free-for-all on Friday and I'm sorry but I can't remember the rep's name who i talked to. I did repeat it back to him to make sure I got it right, but I was still a little doubtful. He said 20-gamers get Wednesday, 40-gamers get Thursday, and all STHs can buy on Friday. I even asked him if he thought STHs would sell out opening day before it went public. He said probably, except for the gameday tix only in the grandstand section.

I dunno. I still say we should all try and call to confirm this.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 20, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

there are no processing fees if you buy the ticket at the gate.

Posted by: theraph | February 20, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I just called to confirm the Friday deal myself and what rep *Sarah* said was that on Friday (day after tomorrow) all STHs can buy tix for *ANY OTHER* game in the season, but not Opening Day.

She confirmed that the only other chance STHs have to get Opening Day tickets is with the general public on March 4.

Sorry for spreading an incorrect rumor.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 20, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm actually very glad that they've limited STHs to two Opening Day tickets. I think it's totally fair.

I'm bummed for my own situation because I have a lot of friends who want to go and who I'd like to sit with. But this makes a lot more tickets available for the casual fans who might become more die-hard.

Plus 506 will have a better chance of getting them too.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 20, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

So I guess the priority thing the sales rep told me was a bunch of bunk. I guess 20 gamers get to go first since they didn't have OD tix in their package. FSTH already have OD seats, so we are just getting extras for friends.

Posted by: Diz | February 20, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

What in the world is going on, I'm a full plan holder and I thought the OD window was not open until the 21st. Is this just talk or is there something to this?

Posted by: Tippy Canoe | February 20, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

One of my favorite things about the Journal is the music tastes of the hosts. I'm also listen to Creation's Dark and not sure what I think overall, especially Shonna's songs.

One of the things I'm most intrigued about is how time/AB are split between Pena, Milledge and Dukes.

Posted by: Hoo | February 20, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Diz, you are correct the priority thing is bunk for OD tix. Here's how I'm almost certain it works:

TODAY: 20 game season ticket holders have a chance to get 2 opening day tickets per account. You need an e-mail from the team with your unique password. The password CANNOT be used twice.

TOMORROW: ALL OTHER STH's (i.e., 41 and 81 gamers) have a chance to get 2 additional opening day tickets per account. You also need a different e-mail from the team with your unique password. That password CANNOT be used twice either, and the 81 and 41 game passwords aren't working today.

FRIDAY: ALL STH's can pre-buy single seats to games other than OD.

SATURDAY: Pre-sale for OD for any STH's who didn't get their pair of tickets yet ends.

TUESDAY MARCH 4: Any seats left for OD go on sale to the general public, along with single game seats for all other games.

Priority does not figure into it. For the pre-sales, if they continue to run as they did this morning, you get a standard interface. You can pick number of seats (0, 1, or 2), and choose either "Best Available" or choose a specific price point.

If you choose "Best Available," it will give you the most expensive tickets remaining. There may be "better" seats available at a lower price point, so you may want to choose a specific section.

Unless the back-end of the ticket engine is spitting out seats based on priority, all it cares about is what seats it has to sell you at the moment it gets your query.

Posted by: Deep Fried Screech | February 20, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

As for the catchers, Loduca is sitting on a milk crate, Estrada cannot throw yet, and Flores is having visa issues... it's not all bad, the Nats have 4 non-roster invitees who are catchers: Wil Nieves, Humberto Cota, Chad Moeller, and Javi Herrera. So, as much as I'd prefer the guys that are likely to north to be pitching to their regular catchers, at least they've got enough bodies,

Posted by: Section 114, Row E | February 20, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Seems I read somewhere that the Nats nixed the milk crate idea...

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 20, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

You read it in the Notebook.

Is it three o'clock yet?


Seems I read somewhere that the Nats nixed the milk crate idea...

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 20, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

D'oh! Thanks, John, I couldn't remember where it was. It's three o'clock somewhere in the world...

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 20, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

It took me a little while to remember where I had read it, too. We're consuming a lot of Nats news these days.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 20, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Its good the concentrated on getting the 20 and 40 plan people OD tickets. While we were not guarenteed OD tickets when we bought our package, we were told the Nats would do everything they could to give us the chance to buy tickets. Its the main reason we bought our own 20 game plan instead of sharing opening day ticket with a pre-existing group.

Posted by: Jon | February 20, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Nuts! I was going to get my stuff together, take tomorrow off and go down to Viera just to help out.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 20, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I feel you, Catcher50, I'm hanging out, ready in case JimBo takes a spill from that segway to go sub as GM. If I do, you'll get a non-guaranteed, minor-league contract along with everyone else!

Posted by: sxpatr | February 20, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I am planning to get on the phone March 4th for however many OD tix I can get. However, this whole conversation has me thinking I need to find a partner and get a 20 game plan.

Love the Drive By Truckers but don't have that album, will put it on the list.

Speaking of bands. Saw a guy playing at Pot Belly in Sterling who is with Burn the Ballroom. Great local band, they have a My Space where you can buy the 4 songs from their EP, good band if you like the pop-punk genre - Fall Out Boys, Green Day, etc. Needless to say, I span the whole range of genres.

Posted by: Avar | February 20, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to bring the following post to everyone's attention:

I'm sure if any of you would like to post a comment similar to DeezNats, they would be much appreciated.

Posted by: Matt | February 20, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dave, any chance of us NJ readers getting some more extensive recaps of Manny's daily morning press conferences? For me, that was one of the things I really enjoyed reading about last ST. Thanks!

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 20, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Did everyone catch the "Kyle Kendrick traded to Japan for Kobayashi" prank?

If not, see this:

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 20, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I posted a reality check of my own, and I see Hendo did the same.


I'm sure if any of you would like to post a comment similar to DeezNats, they would be much appreciated.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 20, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

did you all ask what they want for lillibridge?

Posted by: longterm | February 20, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Dukes arrived.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | February 20, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 20, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"...because that means none of the Nationals' top three catchers are able to catch an entire day's worth of bullpen sessions."

Come on Dave! Get the off-season cobwebs out of your head. "None" is singular. As in , "None is" not "None are".

Posted by: Kevin Olson | February 20, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I think that "none" can be singular or plural.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 20, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

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