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A Few Pre-Game Notes

* John Lannan on Friday night will go for his 10th win this year, which is at least semi-landmarkish enough to warrant a mention. Since this franchise relocated to Washington, double-digit winners are rare. Livan Hernandez (15-10) and Esteban Loaiza (12-10) both did it in 2005, but since then, only two pitchers -- Ramon Ortiz (11-16, in 2006) and Tim Redding (10-11, in 2008) -- won at least 10 ballgames.

* The Braves are hot. As of now, they're 3-1/2 games back in the wild card race. They've won three straight and 11 of 13. They're playing .609 baseball since the all-star break. I can't quite recall where or when this occurred -- sometime in early July, before his firing -- but the Braves, even then, were Manny Acta's pick to win the NL East. He loved their pitching staff. Atlanta won't win the division, but the playoff hopes sure aren't dead. The Braves still have seven games remaining against the Nationals.

* The Nats will finish the season having attracted roughly 1.8 million fans. Team president Stan Kasten, noting that number, called this year's fan support "tremendous," saying "it just supports everything I've thought about this market since I came. It's going to be huge once we get our job done on the field, which we haven't done yet. But once we do, this is going to be fantastic."

A few other comments from Kasten regarding the stadium/pricing/changes.


Q: There weren't as many adjustments, price-wise, from section to section as we saw the previous season. Do you feel you're more comfortable now that you have the right prices throughout the stadium?

I don't know that it's ever perfect, because it's always depending on what the market conditions are. In this past year, we've had to deal with not just a 100-loss team, but also the turmoil in the market because of the economy. That won't always be the case, and our decisions year-to-year will always involve how the economy is doing as well as how our product is doing. At the end of the day it will come down to demand.

Q: Do you foresee any more cosmetic changes either with the Red Porch or stuff in the outfield?

Yeah. I know, for instance, we're gonna do something with the Red Porch. Those plans aren't finalized, but we're going to have even more fun with it next year. Those two rows in front of the Red Loft are gonna come off and be drink rails like the ones on the side (behind the grass in CF). Because the ones on the side are sold to Miller, and so for a quarter of the games we can't use those drink rails, and they're really cool. So we're going to add drink rails instead of the two rows (in the Red Porch), and relocate those people. Stuff like that. I don't know that there's a lot more. I think we're going to continue to add drink rails and food rails... so people can stand up and just watch and have their food before they go down to the seat. But we did a lot this year. We just need to keep adding more. As far as structure, not the big stuff. The big stuff was between Year One and Year Two. I think we know our stadium pretty much now, so there shouldn't be too much going on.

Q: What about naming rights?

I think it's a ways down (the road). There is nothing imminent about it. It's kind of a stumbling block right now, but not just for us. The Meadowlands, Dallas. There aren't big naming rights right now. The market will come back when that time is more appropriate. I don't know when that is, but it's not today, it's not tomorrow.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 25, 2009; 6:35 PM ET
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Next: Braves 4, Nats 1


How about Hello Kitty Stadium with a monster Hello Kitty on top of the Red Porch? The opposing batter would freak out.

Posted by: thegraneys | September 25, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, this is exactly the kind of debacle that has kept me away from the ballpark this year. What is with the crazy quilt lineups? It's really counterproductive for communication and consistency. Save the tinkering for spring training and put your best team on the field each night. Riggleman has tinkered his way out of a job as far as I'm concerned, Lannan must be disgusted having to pitch with so many players out of position behind him. Why Willingham in right and Willie in left?? Nobody's in charge out there. I'm sure the muscial chairs messes up your hitting concentration as well. Pick you best team and let them play. The fans are sick of these nightly auditions. And don't say the players looked flat tonight.

Posted by: SackMan | September 25, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

@SackMan: You're right - the best OF alignment tonight might have been Willingham-Harris-Maxwell, LF-to-RF. Oh, well.

Posted by: BinM | September 25, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Poor Lannan -- 63 pitches in 3 innings!! Of course he had to get 6 outs in the first so I guess that works out to only about 15 pitches per virtual inning. This kind of spring training lineup is unfair for pitchers and fans alike. Such crapola has really turned me against Riggleman. These are not injury driven makeshift lineups -- just mindless tinkering that diminishes the onfield product. Shame on you Jim!!

Posted by: SackMan | September 25, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Naming rights? Nots Landing?

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 25, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

They really need to add something in that gaping hole above the Red Loft. Giant baseball, Capitol dome, eight-armed statue of Stephen Strasburg, something.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 25, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

@ponce: "Naming rights? Nots Landing?"

Worth a giggle or snicker, but reality rears its' ugly head & says that the Lerners' will be lucky to sell naming rights by 2013, if then. Much like OPACY, the ballpark may just become Nationals' Park (or Ballpark) at Navy Yards (NP@NY or NBANY).

Posted by: BinM | September 25, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1: A ginormous green wall to placate the BOS fans? Or a huge picture of Ted Lerner's (or Stan Kasten's) face, with the rule that if a WSH batter hits it on the fly, it's a free ticket to everybody in the house, but if an opposing batter hits it, it's two free tickets to everybody in the house?

Posted by: BinM | September 25, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Walgreen's Quality Ballpark?

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 25, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Riggleman is reverting to his Cubs' mentality with Lannan & Mock (i.e. Prior & Wood - high pitch counts, burn 'em up, burn 'em out).

Riggleman is making it evident that he doesn't want to be the Nationals' manager in 2010, in my mind at least.

Posted by: BinM | September 25, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the Braves are playing well and just might make it as the wild card team!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 25, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

That's two crappy plays on Maxwell in CF tonight - AAA player / Trade add-on, anybody?

AC-CK: I can't even get his posted, and the home team has gone into near-full meltdown. A stolen base by Diaz, an IBB, a muff from RZim. That's enough for me - G'night Gracie.

Posted by: BinM | September 25, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

What a waste -- Lannan pitches a virtual 8 inning, 4 hit shutout and gets a loss. What happened to fielding your best team against contending teams?? What about fielding your best team for your best pitcher?? Hope Riggleman points the finger at himself for this catastrophe. This makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by: SackMan | September 25, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I hate baseball.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 25, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was fast.

The name goes on before the quality goes in...

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | September 25, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Talk about a slap in the face. On the Braves TV postgame show, the text question was who was the Braves Star of the night, A. Vazquez, B. C. Jones, C. M. Diaz, D. Nationals defense. Thank goodness Vazques won, but the Nats defense was second. No respect, well, tonight I guess defensive respect wasn't warranted. I suppose thats true on a lot of nights though.

Posted by: cokedispatch | September 25, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse


The '69 Expos are laughing right now

Posted by: Brue | September 25, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Just got home from Strasburg on the Anacostia(TM), or welcome Wagon Park. The best thing I can say about tonight's game is that Vasquez didn't allow the misery to last too long. He was a master craftsman except for the Bard HR pitch that was piped right down the middle. I felt so bad for Lannan having to get six outs in the first inning and who taught Maxwell that diving like a trained seal is the best way to play the outfield. You know the say that you see something you never saw before every time you go to the park? That Maxwell and Desmond gaffe was one I've never seen before in more than 40 years of watching lousy Senators/Nationals teams. At least win another game guys so the 1969 Expos can rest in peace.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 25, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

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