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POST 600: Brief Patterson, Hill, MASN in HD updates

Sorry for the late entry. Spending my time doing a bunch of pre-spring training stuff, which includes talking to a variety of players. And while the main spring training preview will run on Sunday, I figured it's best to share some quasi-news with y'all here. So ...

John Patterson: "I feel strong. Overall, my body and my arm and my mind and everything just feels strong. I feel focused and I feel as srong as I've felt in four or five years."

Shawn Hill: "I'm 100 percent full-go."

So two of the potential key members of the Nationals' rotation -- if they're healthy -- appear rarin' to go. Patterson, who got married to former Miss D.C. Shannon Schambeau in November, is still in Texas but will drive to Viera, Fla., over the weekend and begin working out there Monday. He just told me he threw 100 pitches the other day -- fastballs, curveballs and sliders -- and his arm feels great despite all the nerve problems of the past two seasons.

Hill, he of the attractive sinker and two minor surgical procedures early in the offseason, lives in Melbourne, Fla. (his wife's hometown) in the offseason and therefore is working out down there already. In fact, Matt Chico is staying at his house, and that pair throws every day.

Hill's problems last year started with a balky left shoulder. His solution: "I'm done sliding into third base." He will probably be limited in swinging the bat in the early going, but said everything else should be fine.

More detailed reports are to come in the $.50/$.35 edition (spring training preview runs on Sunday), but with pitchers and catchers reporting in -- gulp -- nine days, I figured I'd pass that on.

Also: I put in another call to MASN about the possibility of Nationals' (and Orioles') games being broadcast in HD this season. MASN spokesman Todd Webster said there is the expectation that some of the games will be broadcast in HD, but that they're still working with all the different carriers -- 21 of them, I believe -- to dot i's and cross t's. Webster expects an announcement before Opening Day. No prediction from him on how many games will be in HD.

Again, more on that as it develops.

And one final thing: This is the 600th entry on Nationals Journal since we began the reincarnation last spring. Considering that we started in mid-February with this post, that's roughly 1.75 posts per day, including vacations and offseason, etc. You all have responded with more than 27,500 comments, or more than 45 per post.

I thank you. Now, let's move forward.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 6, 2008; 2:31 PM ET
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Next: Teddy! Teddy!


OK, so going into spring training it's Hill, Patterson, Bergmannnn, Chico and Lannan (not necessarily in that order). Here's hoping.

Posted by: Bob L. Health | February 6, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Things are obviously looking up for Patterson.

Posted by: lowcountry | February 6, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

the under-the-radar theme of the nationals will be "purveyors of the soft tossing lefty".

Posted by: theraph | February 6, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"Things are obviously looking up for Patterson."

My my yes.

/rant on
Gotta say that HiDef matters little to me. I got me a little ol' cable company here on the Eastern Shore called Mediacom that is SO bad they make Comcast look like a shining star. Think I have 6 HD channels (Fox isn't one so no HD for the SB or 90% of Skins games). So lame its laughable.
/rant off

Posted by: Bazz | February 6, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

No barry, thank you. Dont know what I would do without your juicy little updates and up to the minute news. I appreciate all youve done and im gonna miss you.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 6, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse


Can you confirm yesterday's posting that Charlie Slowes is back in the fold? Thanx.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 6, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Slowes: Was on the Journal yesterday and in the paper this morning.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | February 6, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Does theraph know something we don't? Nats have signed/traded for Jamie Moyer? Now THAT'S a soft-tossing lefty!

Posted by: Dick | February 6, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I believe a celebration is in order for ole 600 - drinks at the Hawk & Dove courtesy of The Washington Post. Featuring appearances by Barry, Screech, Stan the Plan cardboard cutouts, pin the duct tape on Clint (aim for the mouth area), and perhaps even a photo op with Mrs. J-Pat.

Posted by: Corey | February 6, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Barry - don't thank us. Really, all the credit/thanks goes to you.

Posted by: Echo | February 6, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Corey, the Hawk sounds like a winner to me, although I believe our Blogmeister favors the Tune Inn.

Barry, hearty congratulations on #600.

Posted by: Hendo | February 6, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

This can be out Nats Journal FanFest! The only Nats fanfest in DC!

Posted by: John Sect 129 | February 6, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to our blogfather, perhaps to be known hence as Mr. 600? I've enjoyed reading every one of them (and commenting on many of them). Thanks, Barry.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 6, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Patterson's first thought after the interview: "Why can't I psell wordz rite? Uh-oh..."

"John Patterson: 'I feel strong. Overall, my body and my arm and my mind and everything just feels strong. I feel focused nad I feel as srong as I've felt in four or five years.'"

Posted by: Juan-John | February 6, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

... And congrats on the 600th post, Barry. You've done yeoman's work covering our favorite team.

Posted by: Juan-John | February 6, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

i dont want to rain on your paride but J. Patterson is just BS us i mean the past 2 years he's said im in the best shape of my life. dont lie to the loyal fans thats BS and who ever lised to it is dumb. I mean all the players do it, i mean what are they going to say im in the worst shape so i understand it but i pincile him in for 40-50 innings before he has to have TJ sergey.

Posted by: J-dog | February 6, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

J-dog gets the Sunshine Award today

Man, if only the rest of Nats Nation had this type of optimism.

Posted by: Corey | February 6, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The Cubs just announced that every game this year will be in high-def.

Posted by: swanni | February 6, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

i need to look up some words in the dikshinry; paride, lised, pincile, and sergey.

i hope j-dog was just so angry he didn't bother to pay attention to what he was typing.

Posted by: 231 | February 6, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

46th! heh.

I reluctantly agree that I won't believe Patterson is healthy again until there is some real proof. I wouldn't accuse him of lying though. He's probably felt great eveytime he's claimed it, but interviewing is easier on the arm than pitching.

1.75 posts a day is amazing. Excellent stuff. 600 smiles on my face.

Posted by: nattaboy | February 6, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Forty five comments per post is nothing on the Redskins Insider blog. There they have hundreds of comments on every post. However, their number of words per comment averages about five, and half of those words are mis-spelled. Remember, Barry, you'll need to seriously dumb it down once you get over there. And no bragging over your 600th post over there. Those guys can't count that high anyway.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 6, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse


Holey Butt did pretty well down south this week:

"Cruz homers in Licey's 2-1 win over Venezuela
Updated: Tuesday February 5, 2008 11:46PM

SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Texas Rangers' outfielder Nelson Cruz hit a solo homer in the eighth inning to lead the Dominican Republic's Licey Tigers to a 2-1 victory over Venezuela's Aragua Tigers on Tuesday in the Caribbean Series.

[ . . . ]

Washington Nationals' reliever Jesus Colome (1-0) got the win with 2-3 innings of scoreless relief."

Posted by: Juan-John | February 6, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I posted to a Washington Times Nationals blog today. It was lonely. Good work Barry, and Planet NJ.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (9 more days) | February 6, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

jdog is right. Patterson said almost exactly the same thing last year. I'll believe it when I see it over an extended period of time.

Posted by: Jeeves | February 6, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Barry.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 6, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

600 Entry's. Wow! Shout out to Barry S. for making this medium the go-to site for Nationals information.

Posted by: mjwies11, Section 320 | February 6, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

You are the man. At the risk of sounding obsequious, this blog is the greatest thing that I've found on the internet. WaPo is nice, but this is always information I really want, a forum with (generally) good insights, and all the little witticisms to keep my own snark factor in check.

Thank you. Thank you. And...Thank you.

I wish we had you for another 600.


Posted by: NattyDelite! | February 6, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

JP's Mom! Where are you?

Posted by: SF Fan | February 6, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

The MASN deal, yuck! At least we still get to hear Charlie Slowes on the radio.

Hopefully, Stan Kasten has a deal already in the works that will let the Nationals escape from the MASN deal when and if the Orioles are sold to a new owner.

I'd still like the Post to analyze how badly this deal hurts the Nats (or doesn't) but they don't seem to want to touch the subject.

Angelos and company know how spectacular the new Nats park and the camera shots of the U.S. Capitol will look in high def and how ugly that hotel behind left field will look at Camden Yards. Expect them to drag their feet on HD until the pending new development in Southeast blocks those views of the Capitol. Then, somehow, the HD will all fall into place.

Posted by: natswriter | February 6, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me, but I'm a little skeptical myself about JP "feeling great." I'll believe it when I see it.

Dude felt great every time you asked him last year, then boom, all of a sudden it's 7.0+ ERA and "more pain than I've ever felt in my life."

I hope, but let's just wait and see....

Posted by: NatsNut | February 6, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I still check in on the Orioles coverage from time to time and I note that the Baltimore Sun did a nice story on the Nats stadium earlier this week, but like the Post have not yet done a feature story on the MASN HD fiasco.

(Note to Post Editors, there is a very fine baseball writer up there who writes a pretty good blog.)

The O's fans are just as fed up with MASN as we are.

Also, I caught a little of the Caribean World Series and got to see Belliard playing. He clearly enjoys the game. He seemed to exude pure joy. It's great to see that kind of enthusiasm. I hope he is able to bring the same enthusiasm into the 2008 season.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 6, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the 45 comments per post. You have to take into account that a)When the blog first started, you needed a GPS system to find it b) it took awhile before people started catching on and writing comments c)During the season, Barry doesn't give us time to comment before a new post is up, and finally, d) we prefer quality over quantity. Although we did go over 700 comments on one post that time, but that was when he deserted us for a week so not sure if that counts.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 6, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Barry on #600. All of them informative in there own way. We'll surely miss you when you jump the fence to Redskins Park. As far as JP goes, I'll drink the kool-aid and fall in line with the belief that he will be back and last the year. But, thats just me, the eternal optomist. It's more fun for me to have a positive attitude and deal with negative situations when they occur. Onward JP, and upward Nats.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 7, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry - I for one appreciate your call to MASN. I've gotten nothing out of them - as well as your NJ in general.

But I smell a rat from MASN. I can see the "some" games meaning they are trying to get a commitment from FOX and/or ESPN to carry some of the Nats games in HD on FOX's/ESPN's regional or national weekly Saturday/Sunday games. These days for RSN's you are in for either a penny (Home games only) or a pound (all games). Unless MASN just screwed up (plausible) and didn't contract for HD Production trucks in time before they were snapped up by other teams.

Again Barry many thanks for your reporting.

Posted by: HD Nats Fan | February 7, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

seems fairly clear the MASN foot-dragging on HDTV is just cheapness on their part, as well as not wanting to do anything to make the nats more visible. they just don't want to spend the money, otherwise all the tech objections would disappear. that said, congrats to barry on not only his 'official' work in the dead tree edition but on founding, fostering and maintaining this blog at a critical time in the development of both the team and the wapo site. even after he leaves us for greener fields and pastures new (cuz skins do outrank nats in DC) his legacy will linger on. thanks again, barry, for all you've done and good luck over there in snyderland. it's like you've gone from covering stan and the lerners to covering vinny and snyder. not an improvement in working conditions, i'd say...

Posted by: natty bumppo | February 7, 2008 2:33 AM | Report abuse

OK, folks. Livo has said the magic words:

"I was the Opening Day starter when the Nationals came to Washington [in 2005]. It would be nice to have that same feeling [at the new park]. Sometimes, it's not about the money. It's how you feel," Hernandez said by phone. "I would love to go to Washington. There are things to do over there. Maybe the [Nationals'] budget [is low]. I'm willing to work with anything."

It seems he wants 3 years, and the Nats are offering one, but since Livo essentially said, "I'll work cheap," I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign soon.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (8 more days) | February 7, 2008 4:53 AM | Report abuse

Angelo$ cheap?! He planned for years to create his own cable network and yet, when he gets it, he is still doing a half-assed job heading into his fourth season.

Posted by: WFY | February 7, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

I like JP, I truly do. I think he's a good kid. That being said, talk to me at the all-star break about his health. I pencil him in, as was posted above, for about 40-50 solid innings. There is no reason you can count on more than that.

I just hope he of the magical sinker doesn't go the same way JP has.

Come'on, give Livo 2-years. He's a hard worker who, I think, is good in the clubhouse and can help both the kid pitchers learn how to pitch and teach the kid delinquents (Dukes, Milledge, this Japanese guy, etc) how to be professional ball players and not pi$$ away what they've got.

Barry - I'm in New Jersey. Will the spring training preview be all on the web?

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 7, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

i'm not sure i've ever seen anything that says livo can be a mentor. i remember reading comments after he and vidro and a few others were traded that a divisive element had been removed from the clubhouse, as well as comments about how much better the atmosphere and chemistry was in the clubhouse the next year.

Posted by: 231 | February 7, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

"Thanks Barry - I for one appreciate your call to MASN. I've gotten nothing out of them - as well as your NJ in general."

Punctuation, my dear HD Nats Fan, punctuation.

But I agree with you entirely!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 7, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the work, Barry. I'm another every day reader and look forward to it every time. See what you can do about training whoever comes in next in the "Svrluga Way", will you???

Posted by: nova nats fan | February 7, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Barry, Congrats on 600. Thanks for your coverage on all things Nats.

As someone else said, I will drink the Kool-Aid on JP and hope for the best but, we have seen this movie before and it usually ends after about 40-50 innings.

As for MASN, there is no rush for them to change, because they know most people will watch regardless of how bad they are. But I am growing tired of the Pro-Orioles feel. From the "Orioles Classics" to "Orioles Hot-Stove" Where's the Nationals versions of these shows?

Posted by: Section 505/203 | February 7, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Looking at Barry's line, it's not the 600 that jumps out at me. It's the post rate of 1.75 PPD that's the most impressive. Wow.

And I know that 45 replies per post may look paltry compared to the Redskins or even the Capitals blogs, but that number is tied to Barry's 1.75 PPD. We can't keep up!

Also, as 419+1 pointed out, we have a much higher word-per-reply rate than those other blogs. I haven't cracked the numbers, but I'm sure our WPR is staggering. Plus, you have to admit we have intangibles that make us valuable assets (attention to detail, eye for grammar, snark appreciation, and literary allusion, to name a few). Those qualities just don't come through in the stats.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 7, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse



Punctuation, my dear HD Nats Fan, punctuation.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 7, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

one more post and we can keep up the average of 45 comments per post. Who wants to be #45?

Posted by: e | February 7, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm content to help us meet or beat the average, although I think that the simultaneous postings of e and 1a might have already gotten us there.

As a side note, Barry, for better or worse, there are likely to be no punctuation/spelling gremlins on Redskins Insider. You know you'll miss us.

Posted by: faNATic | February 7, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I do, I do!


one more post and we can keep up the average of 45 comments per post. Who wants to be #45?

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 7, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

faNATic noted: I'm content to help us meet or beat the average, although I think that the simultaneous postings of e and 1a might have already gotten us there.

and I reply: Could be, given the blog's post count delay factor...

John in Mpls weighed in on intangibles: Plus, you have to admit we have intangibles that make us valuable assets (attention to detail, eye for grammar, snark appreciation, and literary allusion, to name a few). Those qualities just don't come through in the stats.

which leads me to wonder: we've examined the five tools of snark in past postings, but what of the five tools of posting (of which "posting for average" seems to equate to 46)?

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 7, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 7, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

What's the measurement term for commenting simultaneously with a new post from Barry, often requiring a re-post?

BTW, new post up.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 7, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Two things from Kasten's Q&A earlier in the Week:

1) they are not signing Livan. No way; No how.

2) he said that the MASN deal wasn't an excuse and that they were getting a "market rate" (Stan's quotes). I interpreted this to mean that the Nats could get more if they owned their own TV rights, but not substantially more. FWIW, I don't know what substantially is, and this was my interpretation of Stan's comments.

Posted by: Section 114, Row E | February 7, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Links/sources for Livan quotes and Stan's Q&A??

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | February 7, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Links/sources for Livan quotes and Stan's Q&A??

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | February 7, 2008 12:03 PM

I was there in person. When Stan was asked about Livan, he screwed up his face, no way he's in favor of signing Livan.

Posted by: Section 114, Row E | February 7, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Patterson= HEAD CASE SUPREME. IF HE IS NOT HURTING NOWWAIT FOR THE first week of spring training he will come down with SOME kind of injury. This guy is a hypochondriac!!!!. As for masn they have to get the dual situation solved. It is so obvious they FAVOR THE ORIOLES BIG TIME. Yhey can't even get their present programing straight-- what is the BIG DEAL about HD. There are a lot of people WHO DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO HD. This masn 1 and masn 2 is a joke and minor league quality. They need to stop the favorable slots the Orioles get AND the unfavorable time slots the Nats get--with last season schedule a viewer NEVER knew what station and time the Nats were on. Also the studio shows were sickening--all you ever saw was Oriole talking heads for hours at a time. The only studio shows the Nats had we pre game and post game nothing else. The Orioles Report went on and on and on. I was shocked when the Lerner group made NO EFFORT to get this situation resolved--they got stuck big time.

Posted by: vergens2 | February 7, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

how does he get through that whole post and capitalize everything *but* MASN?

Posted by: I live for orthography | February 7, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The early post by Bazz (see above) is right on the mark. I also live on the easternshore (Bethany Beach) and mediacoom is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to ANYTHING THEY DO--from service to programing. There cable service to the beach area's have 4 shopping chanels and 3 Fox chanel and only one D.C.area chanels--WTTG chanel 5--that is it all the rest are Baltimore YUK!!!!

Posted by: vergens2 | February 7, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

You sure that wasn't just ... (no, too cheap a shot)

"Screw up your courage, Macbeth--you've screwed up everything else."
I was there in person. When Stan was asked about Livan, he screwed up his face, no way he's in favor of signing Livan.
Posted by: Section 114, Row E | February 7, 2008 12:05 PM

Posted by: CE | February 7, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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