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Lopez, pitchers and catchers -- and 2 p.m. chat

A reminder: chat in a couple of hours, at 2 p.m. Dave Sheinin on the ground in Viera, and he'll offer up the goods on the Nats for the next 10 days or so before I arrive. Lots of players already in town. Nick Johnson arrived Sunday, same day that John Patterson did. Shawn Hill, Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann, etc. Should be even more today. Pitchers and catchers due tomorrow, first workout Sunday. Position players due the 20th, first workout the 22nd.

Until we get news from there: Felipe Lopez went to his arbitration hearing with the Nationals yesterday -- the first arbitration hearing in baseball this year -- seeking $5.2 million when the Nationals offered $4.9 million. This is clearly a line-in-the-sand case, because at that level, $300,000 as a spread is not huge. Jon Rauch had a $300,000 spread in his case, and at $1.1M-$1.4M, that's a much larger percentage of the deal. Yet Rauch agreed to a two-year contract with a club option.

This is a big spring, and big season, for Lopez, and following the development of the middle infield will be one key storyline. To turn the focus back to baseball prior to the chat, I'd ask how you'd play the middle infield this season -- with Lopez, Cristian Guzman and Ronnie Belliard in the mix for two positions. Belliard is the only one of those three signed for the 2009 season (at the low, low price of $1.9M).

Chat with y'all in a while.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 14, 2008; 11:25 AM ET
 
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Next: Pitchers, catchers -- and Sheinin

Comments

If the team is serious about winning, Guzman starts the year on the bench. He doesn't have a long-term track record of success, and given his age and contract status, he clearly has no long-term future here either, unless Bowden wants to reprise the first big mistake he made as Nats GM.

Posted by: Chris | February 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Geez, I don't know. A couple of points for me on this:
1) I don't expect Belliard to perform at last year's numbers (same with Dimitri for the same reason) because at this age and without consistent performance at or above .270, I think we can chalk last year up to just what it was: a good year

2) For FLop, this kinda goes on with the same reasoning (sorta) - granted, he also has a good year with a few mediocre ones and one really bad one; however, the sample size is much smaller thus the ceiling (a common term referring to this team) is much higher. I also think that him at 2b will boost his confidence b/c without a lot of those throwing errors from ss he isn't such a headcase

3) Guz is well, umm, Guz. Let's hope we can get a good few months out of him and ship him somewhere at the deadline.

So at this point I say Lopez at 2nd and Guz at ss; however, Belliard is getting paid way too much to sit on the bench (as is Nick or Dimitri) -- so, umm, in closing: I don't know

I think it is safe to say though that the trade deadline should be an exciting couple of days for this club -- Guz, Belliard, Nick, Dimitri, etc. could be up given respectable 1st half numbers...all those are decent talents to have for a team in the chase

Posted by: Corey | February 14, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I think you gotta go with Lopez-Guzman at 2B-SS until one of them proves that he's not capable of playing at the level that we demand. The finances of the player's paychecks almost dictates both this result and that these two get a shot to show their worth either to the team or potential trade partners.

Guzman was playing at an extremely high level prior to his freak injury last season and Lopez has played at a high level before, meaning that Manny likely won't discount the possibility of both of them doing so again and will give each of them every opportunity to win the battle at their position.

At the point where one of them falters and plays below an acceptable level, you insert Belliard at 2B and adjust appropriately.

Posted by: faNATic | February 14, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Start the season with Belliard at 2b and Guzman at ss, with Lopez riding the pine. Lopez, despite his salary, needs to play his way back into a starting role. And really, he shouldn't even be given the opportunity to do that unless either Belliard or Guzman plays his way OUT of the starting role.

Of course, during spring training they should all get some reps (as they say in the Post's favorite sport), and this is Lopez's opportunity to get his head back in the game, really light it up, and nudge his way back into a starting role. I wouldn't bet on him being able to do that, though.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Pulling a couple of topics over from the last thread, Jon, I'd be happy with a 65/35 Nick/Meat split along the lines you mention.

And John in Mpls, I don't have any particular insight into the relative severities of Patterson's and Hill's injuries, other than what I've read here and elsewhere, but I have it in my mind that JP's issue was chronic whereas Hill might not even have had surgery on his throwing shoulder at all had he not needed surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. I'm not sure I have that exactly right. I'll check around a bit and correct myself if I'm wrong (and I'm sure others will correct me as well, if indeed my memory is faulty).

Maybe we should pose the question to Barry before the chat?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I believe you are correct. The balky shoulder, caused by his awkward slide back to third, messed with his delivery and led to the shoulder injury.

-----

I have it in my mind that JP's issue was chronic whereas Hill might not even have had surgery on his throwing shoulder at all had he not needed surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Belliard has the smallest salary of the 3 middle infielders by far (<$2M), so his salary won't keep him off the bench.

Spring Training will be very important in determining who plays, I am sure. The fact that the guys have to play for a month of games before the season starts means that an injury will likely decide at least one of the position battles to start the year.
I hope it isn't true, of course. I would love for the decisions to be difficult because of excellent play by all involved.

Just one more day. I enjoy Dave Sheinin's work, and am glad to have him in Viera.

Posted by: Positively Half St (1 more day!) | February 14, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Lopez is listed behind Belliard and Guzman on the depth chart. Clearly, the Nats are taking a stand with this guy. Like Barry said, $300,000 is not a big difference to go to arbitration over. The FO is sending a message, and they're doing it on more than one front.

The question is whether or not this will be effective. We saw how Lopez handled criticism last season; he refused to talk to the media and appeared to pout at times, even on the field. While I'm not suggesting the FO should coddle him, I'm not sure how well he's going to respond to the tough love.

If it works, though, it's going to make Bowden look pretty good.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Guzman's hot start last year is still burned in my memory. Absolutely he should start there. Belliard too. He absolutely proved he deserves 2B, without a doubt.

But I also wonder: if Lopez is the one with the most to prove, is 'riding the pine' the best way for him to do that?

Posted by: NatsNut | February 14, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

My opinion on the starters is Zim at third and Kearns in right. That's it. All others should be battling it out in Viera to be starting.

Pena/Milledge/Dukes fight it out for the two remaining OF spots.

C. Guzman/Lopez/Belliard and minor leaguer Bergolla fight it out over the two MI spots.

LoDuca/Estrada fight over the catcher spot.

Whitney/G. Guzman/Mackowiak/Harris/Orr/Boone fight it out over the 2 or 3 bench spots.

Langerhans should fight it out with the other kids to be the bat boy.

Posted by: e | February 14, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"Langerhans should fight it out with the other kids to be the bat boy."

But he's SO much better with the glove than he is with a bat in his hands. Could we dress him in drag and let him fight it out with the girls who shag foul balls down the lines?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Spring training should be an absolute battle at every position. I still believe that Lopez is the best of our middle infielders but if he cannot play at that level then he can sit. Guzman needs to prove that when healthy and able to see he can actually hit and, more importantly, draw a walk now and again. Belliard should be out to prove that he can keep repeating his performance and isn't on his way to the end.

Ideally i'd have Lopez and Belliard, but both can't play second base... is there still a chance of us making a trade for a SS?

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 14, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

zim should start on the bench until he proves hes fullly recovered. this way, spring can allow all three guys to play, with belliard the best option for third, then you can get a serious assessment of their skills going into this season.

thats what i would do.

Posted by: theraph | February 14, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

OK, I found this on Patterson, from our own Barry Svrluga:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/31/AR2007083101831.html

The specific nature of the surgery was to "decompress the radial nerve" in his right (throwing) arm. Evidently the problem began with pain in his forearm, which then led to pain in his upper arms. The unorthodox treatment in Toronto, where I hear the ribs are terrific, relieved the forearm problem but not the upper arm problem. So he had the surgery.

It seems that the radial nerve starts near your shoulder and runs down the underside of the arm (triceps not biceps) and then splits into two branches as it enters the forearm. It would be interesting to learn whether the surgery focused on the upper arm, forearm, or both. If it focused only on the upper arm, then query whether the initial forearm problem could recur.

The other thing to consider with JP is that he also had surgery in July 2006 which, according to this article (http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/072006/07222006/208366), was to "fix several impingements in his right forearm." Hmmmmmn.

Now as for Hill, well, according to this article from the Washington Times (http://video1.washingtontimes.com/chatter/2007/09/surgery_for_hill_season_over_m.html), his surgery was ... "on his right forearm to decompress the radial nerve. Sound familiar? That's the same procedure John Patterson just had done."

So there you have it. Both of them had surgery on their right forearm to decompress the radial nerve. The only difference might be that JP's problem appears to be a recurring one, while Hill's is not (yet).

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The Langerhans comments are funny as heck! He has good speed though, perhaps he can dress uup as Teddy?

I agree with "e" everyone by Zim and Kearns should be in the fight of their lives. However, Kearns shouldn't be too comfortable.

Also, I think that Lopez needs an opportunity to plan. If it works out, he might fetch a good price at the trade deadline. Plus Belliard has shown he can play from the bench and have a good attitude. I think we try to prop up FLop and ship him out regardless of his performance for some future MI help.

Posted by: John Sect 129 | February 14, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

On Opening Day I expect Bells to be 2B and Lopez to be SS.

Now, I wish Guz were going to be the everyday SS, and he might yet, but two factors motivate my prediction.

1. Guzman does have an injury history. I'd love to think it's behind him, but we know how that goes.

2. Lopez needs to put up or shut up.

Posted by: Hendo | February 14, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, while Guzman does have an injury history, he's not injured NOW (that we know of).

Why wouldn't we take advantage of his presently healthy (and hopefully productive) status while we can? If he's so fragile that we can't use him while he's healthy, why wouldn't we just cut him and devote the roster spot to a more legitimate player?

Posted by: faNATic | February 14, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Hendo suggests, "Lopez needs to put up or shut up."

Or at least non-verbally shut up, since he did a pretty good job not talking about anything pretty much the last half of the season.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

As of now, if Guzman is healthy, he starts, absent some Tulowitzski-level acquisition. He's earned it. He's shown he can produce, he clearly wants it, and they owe him money. When he gets hurt, then open it up.

If Lopez doesn't get significant innings in Viera, they might as well unload him. He has very little trade value now, I imagine, and won't have any unless and until he shows better, which he can't do on the bench. There are reasons to think it could happen, already discussed in previous threads.
I'd rather start Belliard, but the alternative to getting Lopez going is eating the approx. $5M they'll owe him this year, with nothing to show for it. It's too soon to do that. This June, ask me again. And we KNOW Belliard can produce off the bench, so he's not at risk the way Lopez would be.

Posted by: CE | February 14, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say.
If Lopez shuts up any better he'd be LoDuca.

**********
Hendo suggests, "Lopez needs to put up or shut up."

Or at least non-verbally shut up, since he did a pretty good job not talking about anything pretty much the last half of the season.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 01:04 PM

Posted by: MIB | February 14, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

For all of his flaws, Lopez has by far the highest upside of any of these guys. And Guzman, despite the hot start last year, has by far the worst numbers, and has proven fragile. I think you have to rotate them and go with the hot hands. But I sure hope Lopez turns it around and becomes our leadoff hitter. He's the only real candidate for that slot, and if he steps up it would make a big difference for this team.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Guzman's problems were physical and apparently remedied. Lopez's seemed to be more mental. Which has more upside?

Posted by: NatsNut | February 14, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Corey - Belliard had a pretty good track record from his last year with the Rockies (2003) through last year, except for the 1/3 of a season he was with the Cards. OPS around .760, with a drop in OBP from .350 to .330 and an increase in SLG to make up for it. Most of that was playing full time. He's older, not a long term solution, but he is the only MI signed for next year. With Belliard at back up money, I'd love to see Lopez take his job away so we can trade him or hope he is a Type B free agent next year. But I don't think Belliard will fall off a cliff this year and is adeqaute if he has to play every day. Let the competition begin.

Posted by: jon | February 14, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Do you think the Nats are putting Lopez behind Belliard & Guzman in the depth chart just to light a fire under him? It's clear, due to age, that Belliard is not part of the future and Lopez can be a part of the future. Starting Belliard at 2B would be a mistake in my mind. I'm hoping this strategy is just to motivate Lopez. How many games in the "W" column is it worth over the course of the year if Belliard plays like he did last year compared how Lopez played last year? I'd venture to guess 2 or 3 games. Let's see Lopez can do. He's still pretty young, he has a lot of potential and he's in his contract year.

Also, why would you put Zimm on the bench until he proves he's healthy? That's what spring training is for.

Posted by: Loggie | February 14, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

i respectfully disagree with the assertations of "that what spring is for"

we know what zimmerman can do. a more pressing need than for him to prove his worth is for the other 3 to prove their worth relative to the team. and unfortunately, 3 does not equal 2. more playing time would allow the brass to see who has what and then reassess. if it is an open competition, i think that would be the best way to go.

my word choosing of zimmermans has to prove he is healthy might give off the wrong impression. its his job, no doubt. but why tread water with him while you can make progress with the other three? give him some reps in some games to get the feel of live pitching, but i think more is at stake with the other players to throw zimmerman in there for the entirety of the spring. thats all i meant by that.

Posted by: theraph | February 14, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Does Lopez remind anyone else of Chone Figgins? Cover up his glove with his athleticism and move him around. Fewer steals (but still 20+) with more power? Los Doce Ocho?

If he does not deserve to play more than Belliard or CGuzman, some contender might be interested in him as a utility guy for a year. He'd be a nice insurance policy for Betancourt / Lopez so Triunfel isn't rushed. Wigi?

Also, if Felipe pans out and can hold 2d, do we think of moving Belliard with Boone or maybe Harris capable of holding down 2d if Lopez had to move to SS to injury?

Posted by: jon | February 14, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

How much will the W/L record affect what happens in these scenarios? What if they start like they did in 2005? What if like 2007? Big difference, has to change how you approach this.

Posted by: Mr. IB | February 14, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

put this opending day lineup in your pipe:

2b lopez
cf milledge
3b zimmerman
1b meat
rf kearns
lf wily mo
ss guzman
p patterson

Posted by: longterm | February 14, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"Guzman's problems were physical and apparently remedied. Lopez's seemed to be more mental. Which has more upside?" NatsNut asks.

I would say Lopez. The mind can get a lot better and attitude is supposed to improve with maturity. Physical problems tend to return as the body ages and even without specific problems, it just breaks down after time.

I think the X-factor is the oft-overlooked laser-eye surgery. How key was that to Guzman's resurgence?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

What, no catcher, longterm?

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Lopez, Guzman and Belliard should duke it out in Spring Training. We have no idea what is going to happen, how they're going to perform, or who might get hurt. So it's silly to declare anyone the front runner.

So the real question is: Which will be resolved first - the Nationals middle infield, or the Democratic nomination?

Posted by: Section 319, Late of 426 | February 14, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

hmmmm.

2b lopez
cf milledge
3b zimmerman
1b meat
rf kearns
lf wily mo
c estrada
ss guzman
p patterson

Posted by: longterm | February 14, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

i think we could field a better football team than the redskins.

Posted by: longterm | February 14, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"What, no catcher?"

LoDuca will be out, just as soon as he finishes shooting up and figures out where to ditch the needle in the new no-hidden-corners, oval-shaped Nats' locker room. (I bet the Nationals Park stationery is better than Dodger Stadium's, too.)

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Does Lopez remind anyone else of Chone Figgins? Cover up his glove with his athleticism and move him around."

dear god no. figgins has maintained his hitting *despite* moving around defensively. that's harder to do than play 1 position every day. so asking lopez to play 4+ different positions (2B, 3B, all 3 OF slots, plus 4 games at SS for figgins) in a season would probably tank his offensive output even more. he was unhappy with two last year (and many here defended him because they said his having to switch positions detracted from his focus).

lopez' best offensive year was 3 years ago, with a decline every year since. figgins broke out offensively last year, (with an OBP 90 points higher than flopez last year) and 2X the SBs in a couple of hundred less ABs over his career. i don't think lopez would even be a poor man's figgins, nor do i think he has the capability mentally to pull it off.

Posted by: 231 | February 14, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"i think we could field a better football team than the redskins."

That's the truth. For cheaper, too.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

________________
Barry Svrluga: I can't believe I've hung on to this for so long:

I have heard that Clint will not only return in 2008 (easy, easy, sit down. Come on now, calm down) but he could have a larger role.

So there's that.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 14, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Lopez certainly has the physical tools to move around. The question is will he hit enough to be a solid outfielder, or infielder for that matter. Plus, has he ever taken flyballs/outfield practice? I'm not sure. Obviously, there is more to playing solid outfield defense than covering ground and a strong throwing arm.

Figgins super utility role was initially created out of necessity, as the Angels went through a slew of injuries several years back. He is now slotted as the everyday 3B, mainly because the Angels dont have a major league ready, prototypical 3B.

With the Nats having both INF and OF depth, I dont think a super UT role would happen. But I would guess a way to increase Lopez's trade value would be to show his versatility.

As for the Mariners, they have their super utility guy in Bloomquist and picked up Miguel Cairo in the offseason.

Someone mentioned Joaquin Arias with TEX. He was once their top prospect. I havent seen his recent stats, but prior to 2007 he appeared to be well regarded defensively and adequate offensively. TEX could also use an OF bat (maybe less now that they have signed Mench) and bullpen arms.

Another aside: The Angels love Kotchman (who isnt afraid to go on the DL) and have the cuban bonus baby, Kendry Morales, as his backup. Kotchman offers the Angels what few players on their roster do...high OBP and walkrate. They wouldnt want one of Johnson/Young from the Nats.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 14, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, I just came over here to post exactly that. You beat me to it.

Also how about that O's fan on the chat that evidently thinks that a handful of unhappy NJ posters are giving the entire Washington fan base a bad name? Geez.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Los Doce, I think Arias was hurt and didn't play all of last year. I don't know why.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

From Barry's chat: worth a thread?
Washington, D.C.: Barry, welcome back. What are your predictions about which Nats player is the winner in each category:

HR

RBI

SB

W

First hit in Nationals Park

First homer in Nationals Park

Barry Svrluga: I'll go with Zimmerman for homers and RBI, Lopez for stolen bases, Hill for wins, Zimmerman for first hit and Zimmerman for first homer.

You think I think Zimmerman's going to have a big year?

Posted by: MIB | February 14, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

And I'll go with
HR = Kearns (30+)
RBI = Zimmerman (100+)
SB = Milledge (< 30)
W = Hill (15)
first hit: Lo Duca (unless he's suspended, then Young)
First homer: WPM

Zim, big year? Yes, but not monster, NL MVP-big

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 14, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, CEvansJr,. I'm tapping Kearns to show up on that list too. I think he's the sleeper this year.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 14, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

los doce ocho, i understand your point, but you missed the most important part of mine: flopez can't do it. if he can't mentally handle playing two positions, how is he going to handle 4? figgins came up playing super utility, it was necessity for him to get playing time in the majors. flopez hasn't ever done it and doesn't seem the least bit interested in it. he sees himself as a starter. the only way he could succeed is if he *wanted* to do it. and while it would increase his value to the nats as far as trade purposes go, it wouldn't increase his value on the open market for FA purposes next year, so he won't see it as being in his best interest.

Posted by: 231 | February 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The lineup:

Lopez, ss
Milledge, cf
Zimmerman, 3b
Young, 1b
Kearns, rf
Pena, lf
Belliard, 2b
Estrada, c

HRs: Pena, 35
RBIs: Zimmerman, 110
SBs: Lopez, 28
Ws: Hill, 15
1st Hit: Zimmerman
1st HR: Zimmerman (on his first AB)

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Nats Got Alex Cintron!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I assumed Barry was going down to Viera tonight sometime. He's not going until the 25th! I wonder who's more bummed about that, him or me.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 14, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

No Way!
Was he a Type A Free agent? (don't think so)


(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( :
Nats Got Alex Cintron!
Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 03:08 PM

Posted by: CE | February 14, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I didn't post the Alex Cintron message above. And if it's true, I'm not sure it's worth an exclamation point.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Cintron is a switch hitter, probably low in the order, occasional-to-rare pop, lots of Ks, few BBs; can play 2b, ss, 3b.
Bench guy, or more kindling under Felipe?

Posted by: CE | February 14, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'll curb my enthusiasm, then.

Posted by: CE | February 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I completely forgot about Willie Bloomquist. I guess my view of Lopez as a super utility guy would be it would be for his own good, but 231's skepticism about his head points to the key issue - his willingness. It's one thing to be Figgins - a guy who was just trying tobust a line up any way he could, and another to be Felipe - a former all star at one position being told you have to shift positions. I hope he comes to camp saying "I'll show them who can play."

Posted by: jon | February 14, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Theraph, there's one problem with your put all three MI guys on the field at once - the other important part of spring training is letting the every day regulars get back into the normal swing of things - get their timing down, get used to the daily grind of playing every day again. Zimm and Kearns need to play regularly, or else they're going to start the regular season in a pretty rough slump, more than likely. As for the MI situation, I think you write off last year and go back to what things were supposed to be on opening day - Guzman at SS, Lopez at 2B, Belliard as PH. With all the injuries last year, nothing ever really got settled. My lineup:

Lopez - 2B
Milledge - CF
Zimm - 3B
NJ - 1B
Pena - LF
Kearns - RF
Estrada - C
Guzman - SS
Hill (Opening Day) - P

Posted by: Ryan Dylan (Timing out of Mind) | February 14, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Rotoworld http://tinyurl.com/yswp8t has this:
********
Alex Cintron-3B- White Sox
Feb 14 11:10 am et

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles "are in discussions with" Alex Cintron.
Designated for assignment by the White Sox in November, Cintron may be able to work his way into the competition to start at shortstop in Baltimore given that the other options are Luis Hernandez, Freddie Bynum and Brandon Fahey.
Source: Baltimore Sun

Posted by: not bob L | February 14, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

My post was kind of wishy washy.

I'm in the camp that Lopez wont be a superutility guy. If the Nats tried it...I could see the benefits, but I dont think he's going to bounce back this year at any position. His trends are poor.

Maybe he's cleared his head of off field issues. Maybe the new park helps. Maybe he had an incredibly focused offseason and will arrive ready to reclaim his spot. Maybe arbitration and Acta's claim that Belliard/Guzman are the starters will kick start Lopez.

I sure hope so. He's a fun player to watch when he is on base. But I have my doubts.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 14, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Keith Law has a chat today as well, and generated this nugget:

Lars (St. Cloud, MN): What are your thoughts on the Livan Hernandez signing? I've heard more than one Twins fan say they hope he suffers a career-ending injury in spring training, which seems more than a bit extreme.

Keith Law: I think the Bill Smith Era in Minnesota will be poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Posted by: Bob L. Head (Really) | February 14, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"i think we could field a better football team than the redskins."

That's the truth. For cheaper, too.

----------------------------------------

The Nats should try to field an above .500 baseball team first.

Posted by: HTTR | February 14, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

HTTR, I think you miss the point a little bit...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

HTTR is a Redskins Insider plant. It's not enough that they're stealing our beat writer, now they have to come to our blog and make fun of our team.

Just two words for you, big guy.

Jim.

Zorn.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Who's Zim Jorn?


(tee hee)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Think you have to start Guzzie - he deserves that after how he played last year when healthy - assuming he has at least a decent Spring and stays healthy.

I would let Belliard and Lopez battle it out for 2b but Belliard would start ahead in that race. Neither was great last year but both can be above average offensive 2b.

That's if I was the manager.

Personally, I don't think salary should be a factor in who plays but acknowledge that in real life it is so Lopez will probably start.

Posted by: Avar | February 14, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Who's Manny Acta? The guy willing to take the lowest paying management job in MLB.


Posted by: HTTR | February 14, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

HTTR, no fratricide here. I recognized your acronym, I've visited RI a few times in my day, too. You'll find plenty of fans of Washington's Other Pasttime on this blog, so don't be hating.

The point of our Redskins comments was that the Nationals are a big team. It's a running joke that we have some potential linebackers playing on South Capitol Street next year.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I really wish Guzman well--he was doing great until he had his injury last year.

Posted by: Section 109 (old Section 406) | February 14, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

jerry porter's wearing a nats hat!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Barry's chat.. Thanks! Who was the major Ricardo from Chevy Chase? Dude, DC folks 45 and over have seen a ton of baseball and DC has hosted more Major League games than Baltimore - even with a 34 year hiatus!

Something for Barry to pass along. If Wise, Wilbon, Carpenter, Shipley, and the rest don't feel comfortable writing baseball articles, then please hire a kid or two out of school that would love to have that opportunity. That's simple. Hire 3 kids out of school for what you pay Wilbon.

Posted by: 6th and D | February 14, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

If the WN's are going with this current group of pitchers, I don't feel so great about our finish. The only gem in the bunch is a healthy Shawn Hill, and healthy is the key word.

Posted by: 6th and D | February 14, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Jerry Porter was born in DC and went to Coolidge, so that makes sense.

-----

jerry porter's wearing a nats hat!!!!

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

6th & D, Patterson is a former highly-touted prospect (much more so than Hill) whose career so far has been largely derailed by injuries. So he belongs on your list as well. As for the rest, we have to hope that the "upgrades" come from continued improvement by the kids we have -- there's nobody on the market worth signing, and we're not going to trade prospects for a veteran starter because that's not the Plan.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Barry during today's chat:

"It is a fact that we have one columnist, the unmatched Thomas Boswell, who is comfortable with and even excels at writing baseball...That puts a lot of pressure on Boz to write Nats a lot, and during the season, he does -- and he loves it."
____________________________________

Boswell "excelling" at writing baseball:

"If the Nationals' pitching rotation isn't significantly improved by Opening Day, the Lerner family runs the risk of fielding a team that could be even more "shocking" and "out of control" than the salary spiral. The Nats could be shockingly unprofessional, unworthy of the town they represent and the $611 million price of the team's new park.

"Right now, the Nats' rotation is John Patterson plus Nobody Else. That is, unless you consider Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann, Beltran Perez, Billy Traber and Mike O'Connor a staff. They won 10 games combined last year. If the often-injured Patterson can't stay healthy -- and he's never won more than nine games -- there's almost no limit to how bad this team could be. How many fans could that alienate? And why, for the sake of saving such a small amount of money, would you take such a risk?"

Thomas Boswell, "An Embarrassment of Pitches", January 26, 2007

* * *

"The point, a serious one to the Nats, even if it's slapstick to everybody else, is that it hardly matters whom Washington sends to the mound in the first inning this year. As long as their arms are healthy enough to lift their morning coffee and they remember to cover first base, they'll be better than Tony Armas, Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Pedro Astacio were last year.

"The Nationals' big secret is that their starting pitching was so atrocious last season, so historically disastrous, so apocalyptically jinxed, that almost anybody could do better. So the Nats went out and got just that -- almost anybody. For any student of stats, it's easy to imagine that almost any rotation -- just so long as it's manned by healthy pitchers who have had some success in the majors or been efficient in the high minors -- would be an improvement on last summer's abomination."

Thomas Boswell, "Numbers Might Add Up to One Shot in the Arm", February 22, 2007

* * *

"How do you establish a culture of leadership in a season of embarrassment? That's the challenge the Nationals face as they realize, less than a week into the exhibition season, that their starting rotation will probably ensure them a summer of biblical drubbings.

"How does a rookie manager, and four players who've never been designated as leaders, survive a year with their pride and reputation intact when their team may absorb even more blows to its dignity than it accumulates defeats? It's early. But it looks as if Manny Acta, Brian Schneider, Ryan Zimmerman, Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns may need a few hugs."

Thomas Boswell, "Nats' Starting Pitching Could Be a Real Problem", March 7, 2007


Yeah...Boswell "excels." If readers aren't paying attention to what he is actually writing. Somewhere, Shirley Povich is gagging.

Posted by: Boswell is awful | February 14, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Boz really has become a joke.

My hope is he stops taking "extended vacations", stops writing about football which he clearly knows very little (Gibbsoligist, classic) and gets to work on baseball and learns the nationals. Yes that will mean spending time with them and away from the mansion, but for god sake, have some pride and regain some respect for the craft.

Having submitted a number of baseball questions and having them ignored, I was not happy about the quality of baseball talk we got in the Chat. If Dave S is really covering the Nats....what is the outcome of the Lopez arbitration. What was the room like, what is the mood going forward? Barry says this is one of the major stories of the spring. Lets get to work on it boys.

Posted by: JayB | February 14, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

In the first column, Boswell notes that as lousy as the starting pitching looked going into 2007 spring training, it was still probably an improvement over the crappy pitching of the year before.

In the second column, he notes that these pitchers are getting the snot shelled out of them in spring training, and that could lead to a really lousy season for the Nats.

Neither column, on its own, or read together, is unreasonable or contradictory. m fact, they're both excellent writing and make for enjoyable reading. Unless you just have an irrational hatred for that particular writer, I suppose.

Posted by: joebleux | February 14, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh.

My.

God.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Do I want to ask what a "Ricardo" is? Probably not. Never mind.

Posted by: Emily Latella | February 14, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Joebleux what are you talking about? There are 3 columns excerpted above, not 2. And they are a contradictory roller coaster. The first 2 were written before any Spring games were even played last year. I know this is DC, but even here, you can't spin this. It is as if the columns were written by different people.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

thank god the coverage haters aren't the ones perpetuating the coverage issue any more.

Posted by: 231 | February 14, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Lacking, would you just stick to JayB or 419 or whatever your original nom de blog was? I don't mind debating one person, but one person pretending to be 3 or 4 or whatever gets annoying.

Yeah, I missed the first column and was referring to the second two. So Boz wrote column 1 noting how much the Nats pitching stunk going into spring training.

Which column do you disagree with? Do you think the Nat's starting pitching didn't stink going into 2007? That it still wasn't better than 2006? That they didn't get the snot shelled out them?

Yes, he presents different perspectives on the situation -- does that really confuse you so much that you can't deal with it?

Posted by: joebleux | February 14, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing it's meant to mean...um.....the diminutive for "Richard"

______
Do I want to ask what a "Ricardo" is? Probably not. Never mind.

Posted by: Emily Latella | February 14, 2008 05:21 PM

Posted by: Not Saying | February 14, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Just got the Nats invite to STHs to buy Opening Day tix. Which would be great if I were actually in TOWN on Opening Day. Grrr...

Posted by: Juan-John | February 14, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I'm stumped. All that stuff was true when Boz wrote it. JayB, 419, and Coverage all need to quit drinking the hate-orade.

(couldn't wait to use THAT one!)

Posted by: NatsNut | February 14, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"It is as if the columns were written by different people."

Or one highly-trained Gibbsologist with multiple personalities. Makes you wonder which is spinning faster, Boswell's head on his shoulders or Shirley Povich in his grave.

And if Boswell "wrote Nats" a lot last summer as Barry says, I'd hate to see a season where he only does it a little.

Still, though, as mediocre and often irritating as Boswell has become, I'd still rather have him "writing Nats" than have nothing at all. So let him keep writing, and writing often, until the Post gets someone to replace him.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Nats Got Colon!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Good point 419, how many did he write about Nats last season.....5 tops once the season started I would guess.

Posted by: JayB | February 14, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John, you can buy some for me!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Joebleux I'm not 419 or JayB. I don't know what else to say on this, but I'm not. Maybe it disturbs you to recognize that there are many of us who aren't drinking the Post's kool-aid, but it's true.

Sports columnists are supposed to have a point of view and form opinions. They get paid good money to offer their opinions, and their opinions should be scrutinized, just as is the case with other columnists.

How can you characterize it as "Presenting different perspectives on the situation"? First off, don't use condescending language when you're addressing me. I understand fine everything he wrote, and I understand that it makes him a joke. You can't spin this no matter how hard you try.

A columnist should have opinions and stand behind them. Being a sports columnist isn't some kind of a game just because the subject is sports. You can't write this one day: "If the often-injured Patterson can't stay healthy...there's almost no limit to how bad this team could be. How many fans could that alienate? And why, for the sake of saving such a small amount of money, would you take such a risk?" and write this another day: "The Nationals' big secret is that their starting pitching was so atrocious last season, so historically disastrous, so apocalyptically jinxed, that almost anybody could do better. So the Nats went out and got just that -- almost anybody."

What I believed in Spring 2007 was that the Nats made a big mistake in not bringing in some more established starting pitchers. Apparently, that's what Boz believed on some days, but he believed something else on other days.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Nats got Head!

Posted by: Bobbie H | February 14, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

joebleux, I can assure you that JayB, Coverage and I are indeed three different people. In fact, one of us wrote Boswell excerpt #1, one wrote excerpt #2, and the third wrote excerpt #3. That alone should prove we are not the same person.

Indeed, I (Section 419+1) can now reveal that I am not just one person, I am many. An entire section of people in the Upper Outfield Gallery, to be precise. (I couldn't tell you that sooner because it was only just today that we completed our complex seat relocations from RFK to Nats Park. It was a real bugger getting us all in the one section, too. Could have done it easily by going for the Presidential Seats, but we all have a little Lerner in us. We're cheap.) Unfortunately, we only have one laptop for the lot of us and have to pass it around from one to the other, or we'd be able to post much more often than we do. Sorry about that!

And hey, come on up to the Upper Infield Gallery sometime and introduce yourself to us. Always good to put a name with the faces, right?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

But who is Boswell is awful? Maybe it's 506 ;-)

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Lacking, we're just going to have to disagree about what we want in a sports columnist.

I intensely dislike the kind of writing you're talking about: where a columnist picks a point of view, and then continually tries to support that viewpoint, whether or not the evidence at hand really supports it. I'd mention the political writers who are great examples of this, but I'd hate for the blog to get off track...

What I want is for each column to be worth reading of its own merit, and to present an interesting point of view regarding its topic. To me, Boswell is among the best at that.

Posted by: joebleux | February 14, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big Joebleux fan, but Boswell, not so much. What I get out of those columns is, *he was wrong,* they were NOT horrible. They were not good, but they weren't that bad, and ultimately the rotation was not the main problem: lack of hitting was a bigger problem last year.

Sure, that's how it looked--fugly bad--at the time, but I can read box scores for myself. A competent writer, nevermind a really good one, tells me something I DON'T know.

To me, the three pieces quoted above basically reduce to "They suck." "They sucked last year, too." and "They still suck." Not exactly an E ticket ride, there, but not much insight, either.

And for what they pay him, you'd think he'd hire one of those aforementioned kids to PROOFREAD his stuff. OMG. There are days I think he texts it in on his phone.

Personally, I think identity is overrated, anyway. What's the difference who wrote it? It's not like there's any credibility or authority involved. They're only pixels.

Posted by: and a cast of thousands | February 14, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The Colon post is not mine, either.

Dear imPoster, do you also ring doorbells and run away on your way home from school?

Posted by: Bob L. Head (Really) | February 14, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

that last graf was about signing these things, not about boswell, obviously.

Posted by: CE | February 14, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

virtual doorbell ringers:
They're just mad because I kept telling them why the DC/Md. football team continues to, shall we say, "underachieve": I put a curse on them to be mediocre and frustrating, until they change the name, and I'll brook no arguments (since they don't listen anyway).

Posted by: I'm not kidding. | February 14, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Or we could *all* go to the RI blog and post really stupid things over HTTRs name. That is, unless that's his usual there, in which case we'll need a Plan B.

Posted by: MIB | February 14, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Overheard in Boswell's head: Hmmmm, should I write tomorrow's column about how I think the Nats are going to surprise and contend for the Wild Card this season? Or should I write it about how horrible I think they are going to be this season? Doesn't really matter, I'll just flip a coin, and then write the other column next week. As long as I make each column worth reading of its own merit and present an interesting point of view regarding the topic, at least joebleux will be happy.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

See, now that was just juvenile.
I mean, compared to ringing doorbells, that was juvenile.

Posted by: You're better than that. | February 14, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Please, please, will someone beg George Solomon to come back as sports editor? He actually likes baseball!

Posted by: swanni | February 14, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

"And for what they pay him, you'd think he'd hire one of those aforementioned kids to PROOFREAD his stuff. OMG. There are days I think he texts it in on his phone."

If you've ever read one of his online chats and seen the grammar and contextual nightmare that those examples of raw, unedited Boswell are, and then compared them with his printed columns. you'll get an idea of how much editing the Post has already had to put on the Boswell ouevre it has officially published. What's that old saying again? Oh yeah, you can only put so much lipstick on a pig...

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

"Please, please, will someone beg George Solomon to come back as sports editor? He actually likes baseball!"

Not a bad idea, swanni. Although I have often wondered if his "gang" is real or imagined....

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Just got the Nats invite to STHs to buy Opening Day tix. Which would be great if I were actually in TOWN on Opening Day. Grrr...

Posted by: Juan-John | February 14, 2008 05:36 PM
------------------------------------------
If you or anyone else would post the contents of the opening day ticket e-mail, it would be much appreciated.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 14, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Hi!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Barry-

Thanks for answering the coverage question today. We look forward to your posts from Viera.

Planet NJ-

To a large extent, folks were complaining that there was no response to CIL. We have one. An astute poster wrote that the Caps fans aren't happy either. No soccer fan in the US is happy with the level of coverage, and don't appreciate that soccer is "the sport of the future, and always will be." (Man, I love that line).

Stay loyal. Go to games. Read blogs and write on them. Bring your kids. We are the "early adopters". Our 3-year-old team will become a tradition, and it will bloom when they start to win.

Complain in the meantime, because an off-season is a lot to fill. Maybe complain less, and reveal your other creative talents. Don't make Hendo have to start his off-season verses with "Nattily Cattily".

See Potomac Nats games. Hope for the future.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (17 more hours) | February 14, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

RE: Boz...

Let's try and remember that DC has, essentially, had two great baseball columnists over the past 90 years. Many of us grew up reading Povich (actually some of us learned to read from Povich). We saw Boz in his early years.

As writers go, Granny Rice and many of his ilk are glitz and no substance. The true, great sports writers, who were primarily baseball oriented, that stuck to their craft are basically three: Red Smith, Shirley Povich, and Jim Murray. Many others with that level of talent moved on to other forms of writing.

The problem is that we never really saw Boz with a true hometown team write baseball during the prime of his career. It was during the great 34 year famine. In a way, baseball is a sport that requires doing what Svrluga has done over the past couple of years. That is living with a team day in and day out, home stands, road trips, slumps, etc.

I fear that none of us, our children, or grandchildren will be able to experience a long relationship with a baseball writer. This is 2008, not 1924. What I fear most is the cuts that will come with the March buyouts. Sports (and other) writers may have a different relationship with the paper. Maybe more "contract" writers. Maybe, oh, I don't know, more short pieces, written for WaPo.com and simply moved, with selected responses to the dead trees edition.

Sorry, I'm getting maudlin. Lord, I can't wait 'til the weather changes.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 14, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the discussion of the issues, but I find baseball infinitely more fascinating.

These are the questions I sent to the chat today, since Barry couldn't get to them, let's all take a swing:

What position battle will be the most exciting to watch? (I say Outfield)

Is JimBo still hiding a trade up his sleeve before ST? If so who? (Yes, Ayala and a prospie for...)

First prospect to hit the Big Show this year? (Mock)

Have at thee!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | February 14, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I guess I should feel lucky that my imPoster doesn't really have anything to say.

In the meantime, +.5St., well said, I'm with you.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Barry already said this but we will get NJ posts from Sheinen between when workouts start and Barry arrives, right??!!

Posted by: Avar | February 14, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

In the meantime, +ly ½ St., well said, I'm with you.
****************
Here here.

But I do have to put in a word for Ring Lardner.

Posted by: cevs, mib, et al. | February 14, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"What position battle will be the most exciting to watch? (I say Outfield)"
*********
that's 3 positions, but OK. I'm going with catcher, because my spidersense tells me LoDuca is going to be spending some serious time in detention this semester.

"Is JimBo still hiding a trade up his sleeve before ST? If so who? (Yes, Ayala and a prospie for...)"
***
I don't think it's up his sleeve so much as he doesn't know yet, either, but Madame Clio sees another toolsy outfielder in your future, pointless as that may seem. But not Alex Citron, Colon, or Jim Zorn. And

"First prospect to hit the Big Show this year? (Mock)"
******
Mock's good for me.

"Have at thee!"
***
Gesundheit.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | February 14, 2008 07:32 PM

Posted by: Mr. IBtwn | February 14, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

"If you or anyone else would post the contents of the opening day ticket e-mail, it would be much appreciated."

It gives the link to the website and the password to be used beginning at 9:00 am on Feb 20 to buy up to two OD tix if you are a season ticket holder. And if you are a season ticket holder yourself, and not just trying to scam those of us who are, you should be getting the e-mail yourself soon if you haven't already, so I see no need to tell you more than that. The number it gives to call if there are problems is 202-675-NATS (6287), option 1. Hope this helps.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but from Vero.
***********************

Maybe Barry already said this but we will get NJ posts from Sheinen between when workouts start and Barry arrives, right??!!

Posted by: Avar | February 14, 2008 08:08 PM

Posted by: grumble grumble | February 14, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Be sure to read that last bit.
****************************************
Reserve your seats for the spectacular Nationals Park opening March 2008 and guarantee yourself a seat for Opening Day! This is a great opportunity for you to not only enjoy with friends and family but for business, to not only entertain employees, but clients as well.

We are very excited to open up a state-of-the-art new ballpark in the best city with the best fans in baseball. With a 5000 sq. foot HD scoreboard, the best sightlines in baseball from every seat, and the breathtaking view of the District, we have built an amazing ballpark personalized to meet the needs of our fans.

We are currently offering three types of packages for the 2008 season:

Full Season (81 games): Reserve yourself the best seat in the house right behind the plate for Opening Day as well as a guaranteed seat for the 2008 season!

Half Season (41 games): Pledge your allegiance and get yourself great seats in the best ballpark in MLB.

Partial Season (20 games): Guarantee yourself seats for the sold out games while saving money off the gate price!

Our Season Ticket Plans offer the following benefits:
1. 25-30% off the gate price.
2. Exchange program. If you won't be able to make it to a game, you can switch out the tickets for another game
3. Trade in unused tickets for games that are already passed for admission in Upper Outfield Gallery.
4. Playoff ticket priority over non-season ticket holders.
5. Merchandise discounts
6. Ability to purchase parking near or around Nationals Park
7. Opening Day Ticket Priority with purchase of a Partial Package.
8. Partnership with Stubhub.com, which allows you to re-sell tickets for market value (you set the price) for games in which you know you won't be able to attend. And Stubhub will cut you a check back.

Please find the pricing guide link enclosed for full, half, and partial season ticket packages. The 20 game packages have 2 different plans - a plan A and a plan B. Plan A has the majority of games on Wednesday, Fridays and Saturday evenings. Plan B has the majority of games on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/new_seatingpricing.jsp

Tickets can range from $10 - $300 dollars a game, our plans have no hidden fees- why not save some money and be the holder of the hottest ticket in town!

As a half season or full season package holder you have tickets for opening day which opens the MLB season on Sunday, March 30th on ESPN!!! And a partial plan holder has the ability to purchase these tickets before the general public!

Get the view from your seats with our 3D Graphics...

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/seats_3d.jsp

You will LOVE your time at the new Nationals Ballpark!

See live shots of Nationals Park construction... it shows the day to day progress of the field. It really is a site to see! http://clarkconstruction.oxblue.com/clarkhuntsmoot/

Also, check out the exciting plans for Half Street which leads right up to the entrance of the stadium, scheduled to be completed in 2009. When finished it will truly be the hot spot in Washington DC.

www.halfstreet.com

Great seats are going very quickly; with the new ballpark everyone wants a piece of this new DC treasure! Please feel free to respond back to this email and I will contact you immediately.
**If you already have your 2008 Nationals Season tickets, we do apologize for sending you this email, in error. We are looking forward to an exciting season with you in attendance. If you feel like other friends, family or business associates should be joining in on the excitement...please forward them this email and we will be sure to help them find great seats in the new NATIONALS ballpark
Washington Nationals Baseball Club
Pledge Your Allegiance

****ATTENTION****
This e-mail contains privileged and confidential information intended exclusively for the use of the addressee(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, copying or other use of this e-mail and any attachments hereto is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone and delete this e-mail and any attachments from your system. Thank you.

Posted by: What EVER | February 14, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

+ 1/2 ST - NICE

Not sure how many of you have been to Pfitzner for a P-Nats game. The stadium isnt brand new (but could be in 2009). The scoreboard needs some work...same with the mascot's uniform.

Other than that, the Pfitz is an awesome atmosphere for a game.

All seats are close to the field.

The booster club sells game used items...autographed broken bats, balls, etc.

Incredible family environment with fun to watch, between inning promotions.

Pretty darn good concession stands - sure beats Aramark's cost/quality.

Easy access & parking.

The players are approachable. I remember seeing Marrero standing by the home dugout signing autographs before and after many games.

And you get to see Nats future stars today. Everyone of the current Nats top 10 prospects thats advanced beyond low class A ball has stopped in Potomac...Balester, Marrero, Detwiler, Lannan, Maxwell, Carr..and thats just the last two years.

When the team is on the road, check out the P-Nats. Its worth the trip.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 14, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"The problem is that we never really saw Boz with a true hometown team write baseball during the prime of his career."

Yes we did. Boswell was Orioles beat writer and then columnist in the 1980s when the Post treated the Orioles as a home team because at that time they indeed were one. They were owned by a Washingtonian then (Edward Bennett Williams), don't forget, and there was even much suspicion in Baltimore that EBW's real intention was to move the team to DC. It wasn't until EBW died, Eli Jacobs bought the team, and Camden Yards was built that that talk was put to rest and the Orioles solidly became a Baltimore team that happened to have lots of fans in DC.

So we have seen Boswell writing at his best, and it was indeed good. But he has slipped since then - a lot. Indeed, if you ask me, of the great triumverate of Post sports columnists in the late 1980s-mid 1990s (Wilbon, Kornheiser and Boswell), the only one who's still bringing his A game any more is Wilbon. The other two are but shadows of their former selves.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

We post so the Post doesn't have to write:

AP -- The Washington Nationals won their salary arbitration case against Felipe Lopez, who will make $4.9 million this season under a decision released Thursday.

The infielder had asked for $5.2 million in a hearing Wednesday before arbitrators Christine Knowlton, Elliott Shriftman and Steven Wolf.

Lopez made $3.9 million last season, when he hit .245 with nine homers, 50 RBIs and 24 steals.

The case was baseball's first of the year. Washington split its two hearings last year, with closer Chad Cordero winning and pitcher John Patterson losing.

Posted by: swanni | February 14, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice scoop Swanni. Right tone as well.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Not to worry, Bob L. It's rather obvious which posts are yours and which are the imPoster's (loved that, BTW).

---

I guess I should feel lucky that my imPoster doesn't really have anything to say

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 14, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Ditto on the "well said," PHS (and I love the "Nattily Cattily").

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 14, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I was going to bring him up until I scrolled down and read this.

---

But I do have to put in a word for Ring Lardner.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 14, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

This talk of Boswell then and now has got me thinking, and you know what? It's memories of how well Boswell, Richard Justice, Dave Sheinin and the rest of the Post sports section covered the Orioles in the 1980s and 1990s that play the biggest part in making me disappointed in how they're covering the Nationals now. I know it's a different era now, particularly in the newspaper business, but is there any good reason why the Post can't cover the team we have now at least as well as it covered the team we "had" then? Would anyone else agree with me on that sentiment?

Posted by: Section 419 | February 14, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks (especially fellow 20-game ticket owners) - regarding the opening night presale for season tix holders . . . wasn't it the case in the past that 20-game folks were offered the chance to purchase as many seats as they had in their package for opening day? I have 5 tix in my 20-game, and I could swear that in the past, I was entitled to buy up to 5 opening day tix during the presale. This year, it appears that I'm limited to two. What gives? Why not allow the dedicated (albeit not as dedicated as the full/41) 20-game fans a crack at opening night before the hoi polloi?

This is a baffling decision, and one that devalues 20-game plans.

Posted by: Trapper John | February 14, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Re: Boz, redux...

I disagree (respectfully). Sure Boz was the O's beat writer, but he was, in his heart of hearts, still a DCer. The WaPo was never looked upon (much as they tried) as a prime paper for B'more. If, in the 80s Baltimore had had a third rate paper, it might have been different, but the Sun was first rate then.

As far as Ring Lardner is concerned, he proves my point, as his greatest success came in other than newspaper writing.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 14, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

"I disagree (respectfully). Sure Boz was the O's beat writer, but he was, in his heart of hearts, still a DCer. The WaPo was never looked upon (much as they tried) as a prime paper for B'more. If, in the 80s Baltimore had had a third rate paper, it might have been different, but the Sun was first rate then."

No argument there. My point is not that Baltimore considered the Post a home-team paper then, but rather that the Post and indeed all of Washington considered the Orioles as a home team in all but name during that time, and the Post covered the Orioles then as if they were a home team, equivalent indeed to the Redskins.

(And as far as Washington was concerned, the O's very well could have been in DC. After all, it was during this time that the word "Baltimore" disappeared from their uniforms, apparently never to return.)

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"wasn't it the case in the past that 20-game folks were offered the chance to purchase as many seats as they had in their package for opening day?"

Not last year, which was the first time I had a 20-game plan. There was no special ticket-buying window last year for season-ticket holders to buy Opening Day tickets. Instead, there was a couple-day advance on the day that single game sales opened for season ticket holders to go in and buy tickets for any game they wanted, including Opening Day. I don't recall if there was any limit on the number of tickets you could buy then, but there may well have been one.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Trapper John, my reading of that two-ticket limit in the e-mail is that it is a bit ambiguous. (Not unlike many communications from the Nationals.) It doesn't say if the limit is two tickets per season ticket account (which could have more than one seat in it) or two tickets for each seat in an account. You might want to call the Nats via the phone number in the e-mail and ask them directly.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

FLop "lost" his arbitration hearing today and will "only" get a MILLION DOLLAR RAISE for this season. I understand that this is all realtive, but can someone please explain how they can use the word "lost" to describe a ONE YEAR pay raise that is more than most of us will see in a lifetime?

Posted by: TimDz | February 14, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Lopez loses arbitration ruling. Now, play ball and let bygones be bygones. He still got a million dollar raise over last year. Thats a nice raise for a lower than expected performance.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 14, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 1a, with a sharp eye for punctuation as always!

"I'm a bear for detail."

"i"m in bridge work, bridge construction."

"I love your body Larry."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and in honor of the FLop arb result:

"Give each other twenty dolars."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Dollars. Doll-ars. Esco-Bars.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Is this the real Bob L. now, or imPoster? Anyway, great [RF]ing movie. I'll have the lobster thermidor.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

CIL, I'm the real deal. Can I borrow your towel for a second? I just hit a water buffalo.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

OK, 419+.5+.5, I'll grant you the loss of B'more from the unis. I'll also grant you the WaPo overreaching. I won't grant that all of Washington considered the O's their home team.

As a sidebar, I notice that there does not seem to be any push from the fans, if not from Asbestos Pete, to put Baltimore back on the road unis.

The mere existence of of the Washington Senators' Historical Society and the success of the periodic Nats Fan Fests over the years is, at least anecdotal, evidence that some of us never considered the Orioles our home team.

Personally, I found myself much more likely to watch a Cubs or Braves game than an O's game on TV. In a funny way, that may either have contributed to or been caused by my preference for no DH ball. I'm not sure about cause or effect in that case.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 14, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

What kind of a name is Bob L. Head, anyway?

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, Catcher50, the biggest part of my point was that the Post treated the Orioles like a home team in the '80s and '90s, so we did get to see Boswell in all his glory covering the home team like a home-team reporter would.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Hooray! First story from Spring Training. Thanks Dave.

http://tinyurl.com/24tdte

Posted by: NatsNut | February 14, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Coverage, my father's first name was Potato (not to be confused with potatoe), does that help? Thank goodness I'm not a jr.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that some don't believe that Ronnie Belliard and/or Dmitri Young will reproduce their 2007 seasons for the Nationals.

Belliard's numbers were comparable to his career, with his average a little higher and his home run production a little lower. Young's production was adequate, but it could have been much better.

I want Belliard at second. He could easily hit .285-15-60 and play steady defense. The question mark is at short. Felipe Lopez could just as easily hit .275-17-66 as he could implode yet again. If he does, Guzman has to - finally - put together one good year in D.C.

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | February 15, 2008 1:21 AM | Report abuse

This is off-topic, but the long rant about Washington having no "real" baseball fans from "Chevy Chase" in the chat just really bothered me and I have to respond.

The arrogant attitude of Baltimore fans that they are somehow "better" fans than Washington and that Washington does not "deserve" a baseball team irks me. I have found both cities to have a mix of ardent and casual fans and I've found, like every other city, fans tend to turn out in larger numbers when the team wins. It's just silly to think one town's fans are superior to another.

Also, it ignores history. Baltimore has had a baseball team since 1954 that's been in 6 world series and had numerous other good seasons. It's current slump is its worst since they joined the AL.

Washington has had 3 seasons since 1944 that its team played .500 baseball or better and, of course, 33 straight seasons of off days (1972 - 2004).

Look back through history and you will not find a single city - save maybe New York when the Mets brought NL baseball back to the big apple - that "embraced" its team with mega attendance numbers after the first year or two -- unless the team won or was in a pennant race. Fans support winners.

Or maybe they don't - in 1969, when Baltimore won 109(!) games, they had the LOWEST attendance for a pennant winning team since sometime in the 1920s. If you use wins, not home games as the measure (total fans/total wins) Washington fans outdrew Baltimore in 1969 - 1971 - even the Senators last year!

Does that mean Baltimore fans are "bad" or "inferior"? Of course, not. The 1969-71 seasons had no drama, the Orioles won easily and fans got bored. It was more fun to go "down the ocean, hon."

The past 3 seasons, with Baltimore fans enjoying one of the game's loveliest parks and Washington fans watching games in one of its oldest and ugliest, attendance was almost 50/50 each year. But you know what, if one team had made the playoffs, that team would have had higher attendance.

Washington will embrace the Nationals when the team gets serious about marketing and the team has some success on the field - just like ANY city that's new to baseball. When the Orioles start to win again, the fans will return in droves.

I've found hundreds of knowledgeable baseball fans at RFK -- every single game I went to and I've been to 50 or more. I've also found casual fans who just want a relaxing, fun night away from things. You need both to sustain a franchise and you need a winning team to fill the park.

To denigrate an entire city and surrounding region is ridiculous and wrong. Washington has a team now because the baseball owners -- businessmen to the core -- felt it was the place they could make the most money. That's the only reason Washington or any other city has a baseball team.

Fans in Baltimore and Washington are smart, passionate, and devoted - there's just not enough of them in either city to fill their now 2 gorgeous ballparks.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their experience shapes their views, but I think Chevy Chase is completely off base and wrong on this one. Thanks for letting me state a counterpoint.

Posted by: natswriter | February 15, 2008 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Maybe this is nostalgia talking, but my memory is that the Post covered the Orioles more closely in the 1980s and 1990s than the Nats in 2005-2008. Overall, there were more stories and columns about the O's during that period. And if that's true, someone needs to be fired.

Posted by: swanni | February 15, 2008 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Uh-oh. The Skins are announcing a new offensive coordinator today, which means they will pull Barry and Sheinin off the baseball beat to write 5,000 words on what the coordinator ate for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Wilbon, Wise and Jenkins will call Bristol for a story conference while Boswell will hit the Snooze button. Korny will send an email to the editor to demand more promos for his radio show.

Some local sports section.

Posted by: swanni | February 15, 2008 6:29 AM | Report abuse

"Spring training can make you say stupid things. I was looking over some of my columns from last spring, and I was in love with Chris Snelling. What was that all about?"

Hey columnists can change their minds. Above from a T Lovero article today. I'll look anywhere for coverage.

Posted by: Bazz | February 15, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

I was born and raised on the WaPo sports section. Always loved it. Also, always heard from my friends from Philly, Chicago, Boston, etc about how the sports section was pretty lame.

I moved to New Jersey about 2 years ago. I'll say this: The Newark Star-Ledgar covers the Yankees and Mets is such better detail and thoroughness than the Post covers the Nationals that it is embarresing (sp?).

While I don't always agree with CIL and I do like Boz, I do agree that the resources provided by the Post to the Nats is pathetic for what it could and should be. And, I believe, is detrimental to the fan support to the organization, especially a new one in a city that hasn't had baseball in a long time.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 15, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Bazz,
But Boswell changed his mind in about 10 days -- I suspect after getting an earful from Nats management and players in Viera.

Posted by: swann | February 15, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Natswriter,

Excellent post about the two cities and professional baseball in both towns. Deep in my heart I want to see both teams succeed, turn a profit, play in the post season, and become a decent rival as we were in the 1960's. I had first cousins that lived in Baltimore. When we went to Ocean City for the big family 2 week vacation, my cousins wore that dumb looking bird hat while my brothers and I had the "majestic" curly W. Our team was so lousy, but we had Hondo. Unfortunately, they had Frank, Brooks, and Boog. All good fun that can be had again. Chevy Chase wasn't speaking from any experience or knowledge of history. Probably too you to do so. None-the-less I'm sorry I called him a Ricardo!

Posted by: 6th and D | February 15, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Natswriter, you couldn't have said it better. While DC was without bb for those 33 years, it took me quite a while to pay any attention to Baltimore baseball. The sole reason I paid any attention at all was due to my hunger to watch the game and Cal Ripken. I would never consider myself an Orioles fan at that time, just a follower of some sort. However, when Washington returned to the baseball world, my allegiance and fandom returned with it. I've never considered Baltimore my team and always looked at it as Washington had a 33 year road streak (ala Texas). Now, I realize that with bb gone those 33 years, a ton of people were born and grew up without ever knowing about Washington and its baseball history. I guess I'm a dinosaur in that respect. It will take time to build the fanbase back. I would agree that once the Nats begin to seriously compete, a fervor will erupt and then everyone will see that DC, like all cities, will support a winner, but also will gain greater support forever as the romance of baseball settles into won over fans. I can already smell the cherry blossoms.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 15, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

just one edit to my post, thanks for the kind words, by the way.
I wrote: Fans in Baltimore and Washington are smart, passionate, and devoted - there's just not enough of them in either city to fill their now 2 gorgeous ballparks.

I meant to write: Diehard fans in...

There's enough people to fill Camden and Nationals parks, just not enough diehard, passionate, live for baseball fans...don't want folks to misunderstand.

Posted by: natswriter | February 15, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Nats fan in NJ-

I grew up with the Star Ledger, and loved the sports section as a Mets fan. However, I remember how in the dead of winter I would get baseball stories only on Sunday. Back in the 70s and early 80s, we of course didn't have any other source but the paper. TV news giving 15 seconds during the sports news waasn't much.

The Half St. website sure makes it look exciting- hopefully they can pull it off and make the area around the stadium a destination.

The Patterson story is like a drink of the kool-aid; I am willing to believe he is healthy for now, why not? I would be glad to read stories about any of the 33 non-roster invitees as they come into camp. Eighteen of those are pitchers.

Finally, when looking for Spring Training news, make sure to read Floridatoday.com. They treat Nats Spring Training as a local story, and have stories daily.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (4 more hours) | February 15, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Okay. I concede. Today I'm really feeling the loss of Barry and the, ahem, lack of coverage.

If Barry were there right now, we would have already received a breakfast report, a couple of in-Viera-even-better wisecracks, and, more important, who's there, how they're looking and what's coming up next.

Last year's ST posts were so great. I think I'm gonna cry....

Posted by: NatsNut | February 15, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I was just over at Nats Home Plate and there are three fresh Nats articles for today. Here is a nice quote from Thom:

"That is the same position the Nationals were in last year, their success depending on the fragile arms of two injury-prone pitchers.

The difference this spring is that the safety net behind them -- Matt Chico, Tim Redding, Jason Bergmann, John Lannan and other young arms with promise -- appears to be more solid than last year's supporting cast."

Jon DeNunzio - You guys need to put more bodies on the Nationals. I'm happy to see 3 articles on the OFFSEASON Redskins. For Pete's sake! What's up with you guys at the Post?

Posted by: 6th and D | February 15, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

What kind of microbrew will I be drinking when I sit down in section 320? And will I have a BBQ sandwich option? Is Red Hot and Blue coming back? I actually preferred Capitol Q BBQ sandwiches last year? How lean will the italian sausages be? When my son wants a pizza, what will his options be? Will there be roving hot dog vendors? Can I still bring an unopened bottle of water into the stadium?

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 15, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tip on Floridatoday.com from positively half street. A couple of nice videos on the fanfast they had and on improvements to space coast stadium. Not to mention a couple of articles written on the team by the locals. I'll be checking back everyday for Nats news.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 15, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

"Always an easy read, Patterson's boyish face announces the changes. Gone are the perpetual scowl and the shoulder-length hair that made him look like a brooding teenager..."

No photos?

Yep. Agreed SC Nats Fan. This link is already bookmarked: http://tinyurl.com/352n2o

And this one actually has a photo of John Patterson.

Look at me. One day and I've already turned coat!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 15, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

For Unto Us a Team is Born
Unto Us a Season is Given
And the Government Shall be Upon Their Shoulders
And Their Names Shall be Called
Zimmerman
Patterson
The Mighty Mo
The Everlasting Cordero
The Nationals

And Suddenly There Was With Charlie
A Multitude of Nats Fans Praising Manny And Saying

Bang Zoom Go the Fireworks
Put Another Curly W In the Books

HALLELUJAH

For The Nationals Omnipotent Reigneth
The Days of This Year
Are Become
The Days of Our Nats
And Of Their Players
And Shall Shall Reign Forever and Ever

King of Kings
And Lord of Lords

And They Shall Play Baseball in October!

HALLELUJAH

Posted by: Section 311 | February 15, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Continuing on the CiL theme: More follow-up on the opening day ticket situation would be nice. Communications from the team are few and far between, and what little information plan holders have posted on the team message boards is conflicting in places, it appears that even the Nats sales-people don't know the plan. As a "floater" (owning the smallest of pieces of a season ticket group), I am very anxious for the team to make a decision and release the details to the public so that I can determine if I will be able to get seats from my group leader, buy them when single game tickets go on sale, or resort to scalpers. Since Barry and Dave have direct access to upper management, updates would be most helpful. (And no 419+1, I'm not trying to scam you.)

Posted by: PowerBoater | February 15, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Preach it!

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 15, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

From the Context Is Everything Department: my "preach it" referred to 311's post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 15, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe this is nostalgia talking, but my memory is that the Post covered the Orioles more closely in the 1980s and 1990s than the Nats in 2005-2008. Overall, there were more stories and columns about the O's during that period. And if that's true, someone needs to be fired."

No, it's not nostalgia talking, swanni, because I remember the same thing. Back in the day when the Orioles were the only game in town, in the Post you'd find daily beat reporting on the team from the likes of Justice or Sheinin or others whose names escape me now, plus two or three columns a week (not two or three a month as now) from Boswell about the genius of Earl Weaver or the angst of Cal Sr. during the 21-game losing streak. Not to mention Wilbon and Kornheiser chiming in from time to time as well. During this time of year (spring training/Redskins off season) the Orioles coverage in the Post would be on page 1 of Sports, above the fold, not buried in the middle of the section like an afterthought. That's how a newspaper does proper coverage of its home baseball team for its local readers. This is why, once Washington was awarded the Nationals, I expected to see the same level of coverage of our new home team from the Post. Instead, I got at best the same amount of coverage as before (although to tell you the truth, it often seems like less) but now it's split among two teams. It seems as if the Post prefers to present half-assed coverage of two teams rather than proper coverage of one team. That's their choice to make, I suppose, but their reasoning behind it confounds me. They have to be turning off more and more of the old Orioles fans/Post readers who previously would have looked to the Post as their primary source for news of the team, and they're certainly not gaining any new Nationals fans/Post readers with their half-assed Nats coverage. Seems like a lose-lose proposition to me. If they can't commit to covering both teams thoroughly and properly, why don't they then cut their losses and commit their resources solely to one team and do the job right in coverage there? And since the Post does have Washington in its name, the only logical choice for the one team to cover would be the team that also has Washington in its name, the Nationals. Why don't they do this, given that it clearly makes sense? I blame Emilio Garcia-Ruiz. He's the one that should be fired.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 15, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

PowerBoater:
Not sure what you're looking for... but the one thing that irked me in the email I received yesterday was that we're only allowed to buy 2 opening day tickets per account.

Posted by: Matt | February 15, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and they go on sale to STH's on Feb 20th at 9am. Don't know if that's already been covered.

Posted by: Matt | February 15, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Matt: As much as I'm sympathetic to 20-game plan holders being limited to two opening day tickets, that actually helps us floaters. Although I am considering buying the cheapest 20 game plan if it gets me opening day seats for less overall cost than StubHub.

Posted by: PB | February 15, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see you've got a handel on the celebrations for starting the season, 311.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 15, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I can certainly understand your POV... but wouldn't it actually be beneficial to you and people like you if STH's were able to purchase more? There's a ton of people like you who are part of a large group. Wouldn't it be better if your group was able to purchase an opening day ticket for every person? What about people who have more than 2 seats in their 20-game plan? It just doesn't make sense to me, I guess.

Posted by: Matt | February 15, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

So it's just 20-game plans that get 2 tickets or all STHs? And you're sure it's *per account*?

Three of us sit together but we each have single tickets. With just two each, we won't be able to sit together.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 15, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Nice job Natswriter. The comment from "Chevy Chase" really ticked me off too. One point I would add: Orioles attendance figures at Memorial Stadium were NEVER great, even when the O's were fielding excellent teams in the 70s and 80s (and had the DC fanbase to draw from also). I would in fact call them downright embarrassing: O's go to the Series in '79 and they can't crack 1.7M in attendance??? Anyone who wants to check out the figures for themselves, here is the Baseball Reference tiny url: http://tiny.cc/OZDRg

The notion that Baltimore is some kind of super-special baseball city is (to use Angelos' words) a "fiction." No doubt, as you say, there are good baseball fans in Baltimore. And to be sure, for several years OPCY was a novelty that gave them a huge boost in attendance--comprised largely of Yankees' fans, Red Sox fans, people from DC starved for baseball, and day trippers from Atlantic City. But now that many other teams on the East Coast have new stadiums of their own, and there is a baseball team here in DC, Baltimore is experiencing first-hand the extent (or not) of its core group of diehard baseball fans. I'm not quite sure why "Chevy Chase" isn't happy about the decline in attendance in Baltimore though--he or she should be able to enjoy the game better in the solitude of the so-called great baseball fans in Baltimore, without having to worry about being annoyed by the supposed ignorant baseball fans driving up from DC any more.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 15, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Last ST, one aspect of the Nats coverage that I really thought was super was the videographer that Barry had with him for the first part of Spring, and the resulting video blog posts that were included in the NJ. They really got me fired up for the season, and I loved the interviews with the players. I hope they are going to do that again this year.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 15, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut- Bottom line: I'm not sure. Here's the email:

"To thank you for your dedication to the Nationals, we are pleased to offer our Season Ticket Holders the first opportunity, before the general public, to purchase up to two (2) tickets for the history-making Nationals 2008 Opening Night game versus the Atlanta Braves (Sunday March 30, 8:05 p.m. ET).

Your special presale opportunity begins Wednesday, February 20 at 9 a.m. ET and ends Saturday, February 23 at 9 p.m.

Once tickets have gone on sale, use the link and password (one-time use only) below to purchase individual game tickets to this momentous game. Please note, ticket seat location and availability are on a first-come, first-served basis, so act fast!"

Posted by: Matt | February 15, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I came here to post my reaction to reading that article, but you already summed it up right there.

-----

The Patterson story is like a drink of the kool-aid

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 15, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Some awfully good baseball writing here:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3243227

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 15, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, it does. I thought that Head might have been Comanche Indian.
___________________
Coverage, my father's first name was Potato (not to be confused with potatoe), does that help? Thank goodness I'm not a jr.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 11:16 PM

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 15, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"The Patterson story is like a drink of the kool-aid"

That would make the Citron story a drink of lemonade?

Posted by: Mr InBtwn | February 15, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Since Barry and Dave have direct access to upper management, updates would be most helpful. (And no 419+1, I'm not trying to scam you.)"

Maybe not, but in asking your questions here you're really barking up the wrong tree. If you're part of a season-ticket group, you may think of yourself, at least partly, as a season ticket holder and therefore have the expectation that the team will communicate with you as an STH. But as far as the Nationals are concerned, the only one who is an STH is the person who bought the seats in his/her name, no matter how many seats that person controls for how many games. For all they know, that person could be a father buying several seats for his family, the head of a group sharing the seats, or an eBay seller of every single one of those tickets. They don't know and they don't care. So from their perspective, even if you go to more games than I do as a 20-game plan owner, I'm a season ticket holder and you're not. Unless you have from time to time bought a single game ticket just for yourself, the Nationals don't even know who you are. I would think you'd realize this, but maybe not. Since you're not an STH, you shouldn't be expecting the team to communicate with you as if you are. Barry and Dave, even though they may have direct access to upper management, aren't season ticket holders either so if they ask for specific details of what the team communicated to its season ticket holders via a personal e-mail to each STH, the team is not going to tell them those details. They will speak in the same generalities as they already did in their press release. So the real person you should be directing your questions to (indeed the only person who can answer them) is the head of your season ticket group, the one who writes the check to pay the team for the tickets. Have you done that yet?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 15, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

CiL, I guess you could say, "this case is closed." New post.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 15, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

actually, i think barry *is* a STH (altho it's possible they're in somebody else's name, since he's in a group, iirc).

still, i think the concept that "the team is not going to tell them those details" is foolish. the emails aren't personal and confidential or top secret or anything. i would be shocked if the FO told barry or dave, "sorry, we won't disclose the contents of emails we sent to all STHs."

that said, i'm a STH and the account is in my name and i haven't received that email yet.

Posted by: 231 | February 15, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"actually, i think barry *is* a STH (altho it's possible they're in somebody else's name, since he's in a group, iirc)."

Right. As I said, if he's in a group and he's not the one who writes the check to the team, then he's NOT a season ticket holder.

"still, i think the concept that "the team is not going to tell them those details" is foolish. the emails aren't personal and confidential or top secret or anything. i would be shocked if the FO told barry or dave, "sorry, we won't disclose the contents of emails we sent to all STHs."

The e-mail contained my personal password for accessing the site to buy my allotment of tickets. My personal password is just that, unique to me, not a generic password like the one they sent out last year for the presale that ended up getting plastered all over the Internet for anyone to see and use. Obviously the Nats are trying to avoid a similar debacle this year by sending a communication to season ticket holders only about how those season ticket holders can buy their allotment of tickets. Why should they then be expected to turn around and offer that information to the whole world just because Barry Svrluga or Dave Sheinin asks them?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 15, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"that said, i'm a STH and the account is in my name and i haven't received that email yet."

Then call your account representative yourself and ask why not. Don't ask Barry Svrluga and Dave Sheinin to do it for you.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 15, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Coverage, don't go too hard on chevy chase, he goes to Nats games and I never want to turn a single fan away...I'm glad he goes to Nats games, just don't want him to continue to false notion that DC has no good baseball fans...chevy chase, you are welcome in my section at nats park anytime, would love to have a civil debate on this topic....or the inside baseball you love...

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Posted by: ISHMAel back | March 11, 2008 5:52 AM | Report abuse

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