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10-second scouting reports

San Diego -- great town. Maybe I'm a pushover, but I don't think so; I actually fancy myself a pretty tough coconut. You won't hear me say good things about Lubbock, for instance, nor Rochester. Though Buffalo -- another among the Commonly Scorned -- is by my estimate pretty awesome, if only because of a place called the Anchor Bar. Pocatello, Idaho, is great, too. So is Cumberland, Md. Well, maybe I am a pushover.

But San Diego trumps those places. Easily.

From my hotel, located in the requisite trendy/refurbished Gaslamp District, I can look across the street and see Petco; heck, I can even look down onto the field. Come to think of it, my playing field vantage point from Marriott room 1721 might be better than my view from the press box at Nationals Park. Plus, I've got a better internet connection.

So here's the quick scouting report on San Diego.

* Everybody looks like they've been exposed to the sun for years.

* Houses are mostly white, capped by terra cotta shingles.

* The downtown is very shiny. It might be part of the city code that reflective materials must be used for all construction exceeding five stories.

* The Gaslamp main street is lined with surf shops -- Quicksilver, etc. Reminds me of Bondi, in Australia.

Oh, you want a scouting report on the baseball team, too?

* Very disappointing record.

* Two young standout pitchers, Peavy and Young, on DL.

* Three lefties on pitching staff, all of whom will start against the Nats.

* A roster full of guys who are either a.) asking their agents about no-trade clauses or b.) looking at property values in cities gearing up for a pennant chase.

Lineups to follow, along with an update on Zimmerman.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 27, 2008; 6:02 PM ET
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Next: Lineups, sans Zimmerman


What do you have against Rochester? Its a great up-state New York city. Home of the three major hi-tech companies, two major universities, countless summer jazz and cultural festivals, and Abbott's frozen custard on the placid shores of Lake Ontario. And, on the baseball side of things they have a pretty nice new AAA facility at Frontier Stadium. Don't fake the funk on Rochester Chico!

Nats Fan in KC
University of Rochester
Class of 1995

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | May 27, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Chico, San Diego is indeed a great town, I'm with you on that one. Petco is a great ballpark too. Have a good time there and get us a couple wins.

FYI, there is an Australian-themed restaurant/bar in the Gaslamp that is called Bondi. I haven't been there so I can't vouch for it though.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 27, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Rochester really blows, you got that right.

Posted by: Ed | May 27, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to restate my point re: "good" fans. I clearly didn't do a very good job the first time.

I was responding to ABM, who accused Nats fans of being a "AAAA entity," citing Sweet Caroline singing, walking in the aisles between innings, and a general lack of baseball knowledge, all resulting from DC supposedly being a bad baseball town.

I think its ridiculous to blame the good people of DC for the underwhelming fan response to the 2008 Nationals. To paraphrase Kasten, I think the Nats are getting the fan base they deserve. I think there would be 40k passionate knowledgeable fans at every game if not for the fact that we're one of only a handful of teams that had no hope on day one for 4 years running. Given that, I think it's understandable that lots of the people who would otherwise be interested are checking out, and that people who do come do the wave and spend more time checking out the stadium than the action on the field. The stadium's more interesting.

Having said that, of course I think the best fans are the most loyal, the people who stick around through thick and thin. Fans who, to paraphrase the Boss, at the end of every hard earned day find some reason to believe. (In my case, at the end of every day I find reason to believe today might be the day we finally fire Bowden.)

And of course the people here, whether you are the die-hard glass half-full optimists or the members of the pitchfork brigade, are the best of the best. There just aren't 40k of us to fill the stadium every night. And there wouldn't be 40k of us in NY or Chicago if those teams performed the way the Nats do for any extended period of time either.

In fact, punch "Lee Elia rant" into YouTube if you think fans wouldn't rebel against extended failure in those cities. Even now in Wrigley people walk in the aisles and talk constantly on their cell phones during the games. Wrigley is notorious as the biggest singles bar in the city where a ball game happens to also be going on.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 27, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse


I'm mostly a NJ lurker, but you baited me out of hiding with your could-be-worse comments on my hometown of Buffalo. I won't try and tout it over San Diego (given obvious weather connections), but your sentiments sound about right. But I must stick-up for our Upstate peers in Roc-cha-cha. Nats Fan in KC did a good job, plus I'll mention Dinosaur BBQ, the garbage plate and white hots as decent culinary contributions from The Flower City (albeit not as fabulous as Anchor Bar wings). Check em out if you're up there again.

All and all, though, you're doing a solid job on the Nats beat about a month-in. Keep it comin.

Posted by: Rich | May 27, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I went to Dinosaur BBQ up in Syracuse, and the food was amazing. Wish there was one in the DC area, but probably just an upstate NY thing.

Also...why is this post only 20% about the actual Nationals baseball team? It's the Nationals Journal, Chico, not your own personal blog. Due diligence, please. Don't hide lack of info with filler.

Posted by: s | May 27, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Another vote for Rochester here. Just think -- without the Rochester suburbs, we wouldn't have Tim Redding. Or Kodak film. Or Xerox copiers.

I think Rich and KC hit the rest of the highlights.

Posted by: mara | May 27, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

San Diego is a nice town. I prefer San Francisco, but I'm biased.

Posted by: (northern) California Girl | May 27, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Ohh c'mon Lubbock (and West Texas) in general is not so bad. Dusty? Yes. Not a tree in sight? Sure. But they're good people and you can find some top notch BBQ without much problem...

Posted by: Gibby | May 27, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

L.A. native living in Rochester.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | May 27, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

How's that film thing working out now Rochester?

Posted by: JayB | May 27, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

That film thing?

Posted by: AS | May 27, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

@s--I don't mind the extraneous lifestyle filler, as long as we ALSO get the substance. Between this paper-thin "scouting report" on the Pads and the nonsense in the $.35 edition about how Lastings Milledge is the "Nats Worst" against a bunch of former Padres pitchers whom he will not face this week... I'm wondering where can I go for some actual relevant substance about this series? Maybe the Union-Tribune.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 27, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Rochester wings are tastier than even Buffalo wings. Try Country Sweet. Also has the greatest record store in the world. Fine second-division soccer team. Fine universities. First-class music school. Anchor Bar is fine, but Buffalo has lot less to offer than Rochester.

Class of '86 University of Rochester

Posted by: Fisch Fry | May 27, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

C'mon on now . . . barbeque? in upstate NY?

Posted by: lowcountry | May 27, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I've always said that Western NY is New England's armpit. Living here, I can say that.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | May 27, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

cumberland? nice call.

Posted by: theraph | May 27, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Chico and Coverage is Lacking - Is NatsPark a duplicate of Petco if you moved the Nats scoreboard where the Canadian flag now is? They sure look identical to me, right down to the blue seats. Maybe the power alleys are longer in Petco, but they look plenty long in NatsPark. There may be more than coincidence to explain the Nats and Padres vying for the worst offensive production in baseball.

Posted by: flynnie | May 27, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Everyone needs to call an escort service and have a hooker sent over to room 1721 of the Marriott Gaslamp, 660 K Street, San Diego. Tell'em Chico's paying cash and the minibar is open.

Posted by: catocony | May 27, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

the cat and the fiddle...

Posted by: Tom | May 27, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

He meant Rochester, Minnesota, and he doesn't need meds or Mayo ;-)

Buffalo - Is Slomba's still in business? Home of the Bionic 16 ozs?

Posted by: PTBNL | May 27, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

How could I forget the Garbage Plate. I can still smell the funk from Nick Tahoe's all these years later.

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | May 27, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

C'mon on now . . . barbeque? in upstate NY?


Next thing you know they'll be recommending the ribs in Toronto...

Posted by: NR Langerhans | May 28, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Buffalo is the most god-forsaken city on the planet.

Posted by: Jason | May 28, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Cumberland? It's a beautiful old city, but beyond its looks, there isn't much else to love.

Posted by: Ron | May 28, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm a DC native living in Rochester. While Rochester is no DC or San Diego, I've got to speak up for it.

While there has been downsizing by Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb (the big 3 companies up here), other industries have sprouted up. Like the one I work for in alternative propulsion systems.

The region has been voted by several national publications as a top place to live in the US. The cost of living is low, the Finger Lakes are beautiful, Dinosaur BBQ is awesome, and the summer festivals are numerous. The weather in the summer is gorgeous - you don't have to run your A/C all the time during the summer like you have to do in DC, therefore your summer energy bill is significantly less. They have a great minor league baseball team and nice stadium modeled after Camden Yards (The O's split with them in 2003 after being allied with Rochester for over 40 years. You can believe the O's sadly miss being allied with them). There is a nice new minor league soccer stadium here - DC can't even build a stadium for 3x champions DC United.
Now the winter weather is another story. The only thing I can say there is that the Roc knows how to handle snow clean up and there's lots of skiing and snowmobiling for those who are interested.

Regardless Chico, stop hatin' on the Roc because you surely don't know what you're talking about!

Posted by: Gil | May 28, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

San Deego has to be the most overrated city on the planet. Chico is looking through tourst's eyes. Stay there a while. Never really gets warm near the coast, May Gray, June Gloom, citizens wrapped wayyy too tight, etc, etc, etc. Been there, done that, no thank you!

Cumberland is a great railroading town. Nuff said.

Oh, the Nats? Are they still in the Major Leagues?

Posted by: BoteMan | May 28, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

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