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Bullpen Help Arrives

Just a few minutes ago, I checked out of the Residence Inn -- home for the last 25 nights, which is sort of unhealthy no matter how many Panera Bread salads you eat. This 25-day period, need I say, was not the kick-back-and-relax, who's-got-the-edge-at-second-base spring training experience I read about in those glossy advertisements. It was crazier. And better.

Compare your Washington Nationals of Feb. 12 with your Washington Nationals of March 9:

The old GM is gone. The president is more visible than ever. The acting GM doesn't yet have the official title, and there's no promise that he will. The team's Dominican academy has been relocated some 30 miles, and the old facility's leaders -- Jose Rijo, Jose Baez -- have been, um, relocated off the payroll.

Of course, fascinating stories are good stories, and good stories have a special way of 1.) making the time fly by and 2.) making one age very quickly. Just in time, Barry Svrluga has arrived down in Florida to give me a breather. He flew into Florida last night. We met for dinner. (Not at Panera. Here.) We completed the metaphorical handoff of duties, which, in vintage sports writer fashion, required a few beers and an expense report. Barry is now running the show, and upgrading its caliber, through Saturday. I'll be back after that, all the way to Opening Day.

See you all very soon.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 9, 2009; 7:15 AM ET
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You know we are all big fans of Barry, but there is no need to be self-deprecating. I believe you have proven yourself quite well with the quality of your work.

That said, I got a quick jolt of energy reading your topic headline, thinking that the Nats had obtained some relief help. They really must be content with the pool they are choosing from for middle relief, because a few pitchers that might fit the bill are still out there, waiting to be signed.

Enjoy your week off. Hopefully it will be a positively eventful time for the team.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 9, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Your Nationals media guide for the week...

Mon (9th), 7:05pm: Radio - WFED & KBME
Tue (10th), 1:05pm: Radio - WFED
Wed (11th), Off Day
Thu (12th), 1:05pm: I got nothing for you.
Fri (13th), 7:05pm: Radio - KBME (Houston announcers. Oh, joy.)
Sat (14th), 1:10pm: Radio - WFED & WFAN
Sun (15th), 1:05pm: Radio - WFED & WXYT

Go Nats!

Posted by: OldDude | March 9, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Chico - enjoy the time off, well earned! And agree w/ above, no need to knock yourself. Yes, we love Barry but there is room for big love here.

Posted by: Avar | March 9, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

So, Barry, how is that Redskins beat going? Week in DR, week in Florida. Hmm, maybe the Post needs two Nats beat writers and let the Jasons handle the Skins.

Posted by: Avar | March 9, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Buster Olney on Mike & Mike this morning said a scout told him that Strasburg is the best pitching prospect EVER. The scout continued, saying that right now, this very day, he is a better pitcher than AJ Burnett. Olney closed saying, "Washington Nationals, you're on the clock."

The praise for this guy is unlike anything I've seen before. Is it wrong for me to be this excited about someone who's not even a part of the team?

Posted by: AlexL925 | March 9, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Bonefish Willy's - sweet! Great place. Please tell me you had the conch fritters. Mmmmmm.

Posted by: ScottMCollins | March 9, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Chico have a good week off,the on-line NJ and overall Nats/Baseball coverage since mid-January has been outstanding. If this is the wave of the future well then kudos to the WAPO Sports Editors. Great to have the Svurluga on board gather there is not much happening over in Ashburn. Why waste such jounalistic talent on a sport that is currently on vacation. Jump right in Barry the waters fine!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 9, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy your week off, Chico.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

My 73d birthday is appoaching, and I've still never seen Washington play a post-season baseball game. I'm hoping for one in 2011, when I turn 75. Why am I a fan? Because Mickey Vernon played in our town way back in 1939 and my Dad talked about him for 25 years, at least. Anyway, the Nats came close in 1945, when they had to finish the season a week ahead of everybody else because Griffith Stadium was booked by the military. They were tied for first place with Detroit at the time, but the Tigers finished 4-1 and won the pennant by 1.5 games. I still don't know why the military needed the ballpark in late Septemmber since World War II ended on August 14, 1945. Very weird.

Posted by: thechevyfam | March 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Aside from the misleading title, I appreciate all your work so far this Spring, Chico. Enjoy the time off.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 9, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Morning reading is up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and thanks to OldDude for the media guide.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back to the beat Blogfather, and enjoy your week of rest Chico. I to was fooled by the relief is on the way headline. Perhaps it may come to pass as I'm sure MR has his antennae up.

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse


The title of this post was so misleading. Here I thought the Nats went out and improved their bullpen by a trade or free agency or something and instead it is just the changing of the guard.

Chico, you built up my hopes and dashed them quite thoroughly... well done.

Posted by: vash462 | March 9, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

You shouldn't have misled us long-suffering Nats fans with that subject line. Bad Chico! Bad! (whacks with rolled-up 35 cent edition...)

Posted by: dabagley | March 9, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Good one, dabagley (except that it's 75 cents now).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

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