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Hello and Welcome to Opening Day!

Well, it's always Opening Day somewhere, isn't it? No, wait, that's Happy Hour. I'm in the press box at Phoenix Muni Stadium, Stunningly, it's sunny and warm. I think the forecast is for 85 today. (They're saying Saturday will be 98; sorry John!)

The Devil Desert Dogs have had their BP and are in the clubhouse. Here are some facts to get us started:

* Danny Espinosa will start today at shortstop and bat second. Chris Marrero will bat fifth and play DH.

* Strasburg is scheduled to start Friday -- ironically, the day I'm scheduled to leave. (I'm working on it...)

* Minor league pitching coach Paul Menhart is here, looking at the Nats' interests.

* Sean Rooney is here instead of Derek Norris. Rooney was at Double-A Harrisburg this year. The other Nats: Jeff Mandel, Josh Wilkie, Drew Storen and some other guy whose name slips my mind at the moment.

* There are a lot of scouts here, or what seems like a lot of scouts for the AFL, but maybe it's normal. I'd say there are at least a dozen. I got here at 9 a.m., and there were already fans outside, waiting, I assume, for autographs. (While I was sitting outside a beer truck made a delivery. Cases and cases of Silver Bullets and me without a box cutter.)

Talked to Menhart and Marrero this afternoon; more coming up.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  October 13, 2009; 2:20 PM ET
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mmmmmmm Devil Dogs

Posted by: Brian_ | October 13, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Silver bullet - feh. Why bother?

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 13, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone would mistake a prospect league baseball team with the United States Marine Corp.

Re: AFL, why did Balmer send TWO firstbasemen? I think Marrero needs innings in the field and at bats to show he's (almost) MLB ready. I'm also hoping to see Espinoza turn some heads in the next month, having both in the opening day roster in 2011 (with Storen & Strasburg) would make me a happy guy...

Posted by: estuartj | October 13, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

First: Traceeeeeee, dear, the name of the team is "Desert Dogs", not "Devil Dogs."

Second: You can do a lot better than warm Silver Bullet cans. Go to, then go to the place itself. I recommend the one in Tempe.

Third: Worth a visit while you're there and maybe a sidebar while you're writing is the sports bar in downtown Phoenix co-owned by baseball's Randy Johnson and rock's Alice Cooper (really). It's called "Alice Cooperstown".

Posted by: greggwiggins | October 13, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Hooray! Nats news! Thanks Tracee. And thanks for burying the S-word in the middle. =)

I hope to hear great things about Espinosa and Storen.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 13, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I just finished reading your article ( and wanted to say how well written it was. Hopefully, writing this was a therapeutic exercise for you.
To all the denezins of NJ, I strongly recommend you read this article.

Posted by: TimDz | October 13, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I came here to say the same thing TimDz said.

As hard as it is to read, I know it was harder to write. But I'm glad you did. It was horrifying, but I think it needed to be said.

Posted by: JohninMpls | October 13, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why I keep calling them Devil Dogs. Think I'll switch to DD. And thanks for the kind words re the article. It WAS a bit therapeutic. It's going to come as a surprise to a lot of family and friends, I'm afraid.

Posted by: traceeh | October 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the posting, Tracee, and the laughs. I think we should call them Devil Dogs, or maybe Dirt Dogs. Maybe one or the other would strike fear into opponents.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 13, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

On another note, thanks for the writing the piece to which TimDz pointed us. It was quite courageous of you to write it, IMO. Hope that it will help others who have been or may be in the same situation.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 13, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else feel that we should be giving Marrero every opportunity to improve in the field available.

Posted by: soundbloke | October 13, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Is the game on TV or the internet?

Posted by: FloresFan | October 13, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The AJC is reporting that the Nats have hired Braves' scouting director Roy Clark as the Assistant GM.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | October 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Very strong article, Tracee, and I think it will become a model piece to explain that this sort of thing is not caused by the victim. Thank you very much.

Now, I am totally looking forward to lots of info on the DDs - my afternoon is already brightened!

Posted by: Traveler8 | October 13, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, TimDz for pointing out Tracee's article. Somehow I missed it. Thanks, Tracee for sharing - someone needed to say it and you are a strong messenger. And, please stay in AZ a little longer. I love your posts. Devil Dogs and all.

Posted by: dottdc | October 13, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, "we" should be giving Marrerro as many chances to work in the field as possible - however, the Nats do not have the same relationship with the Arizona Fall League as tehy do with the Harrisburg Sentators, for example.

The Desert Dogs are made of players from 4-6 teams (I don't recall the exact number) and each team has their interests represented.

Posted by: comish4lif | October 13, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

To all those who are thinking of coming out to support the Nats prospects at the AFL: come on out!

As a lonely Nats fan here in Phoenix, I welcome the site of fans sporting a curly W. Was thinking of going to today's game but I'm unfortunatly stuck at work. I'll be at the game on Friday, Zimmerman jersey and all!

Posted by: hour36 | October 13, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Marrerro, there are 8 infielders listed. I would assume 2 at each position. I counted 32 games (plus an "all star" game and the "championship"). I would guess that Marrerro and the other 1B will get 16 starts and that there will be late inning switches. Not sure how this will play out.

Posted by: TimDz | October 13, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The AFL schedule is here:

Posted by: TimDz | October 13, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

even on blogs, the Alanis Morissette usage of ironic is not acceptable.

Posted by: sbiel2 | October 13, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Speak for yourself, sb.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 13, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Tracee: First of all, thanks to you for having the strength to write your latest column; A well-written piece from the view of a victim. Thank you.

On a more pleasant note, glad ou got the AFL gig, even if it's only for a few days - It will be nice to get some regular feedings here at NJ. Hoping the Nationals' "Magnificent seven" (Espinosa, Mandel, Marrero, Rooney, Storen, Strasberg, & Wilkie) can get some regular playing time, and give you plenty of material for columns, blogs & even a regular article or two.
Keep it coming lady: We're here, and we're soaking in every word.

Posted by: BinM | October 13, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

sbiel speaks for me, too, there.

even on blogs, the Alanis Morissette usage of ironic is not acceptable.
Posted by: sbiel2 | October 13, 2009 5:34 PM

Speak for yourself, sb.
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 13, 2009 5:48 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 13, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I like devil dogs better ... let her be ... :)

Posted by: periculum | October 13, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Where's the WaPo skinny on Roy Clark?

Posted by: periculum | October 13, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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