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The latest with the Nats beat

For those curious about what's next for the Nats beat at the Post, or for those curious about the Post's coverage of East Asia, even regarding diplomatic matters unrelated to Bobby Valentine's managerial availability, here's an update:

First of all, I now know my next job. I'm moving from the Nats beat to become a foreign correspondent stationed in Tokyo. At the beginning of June I'll move to Japan to begin a three-year term roaming East Asia. All this has me thrilled, elated, excited and also plenty terrified. If there's a Japanese character that stands for all of those feelings, I intend to learn it.

As for the other half of the equation, we still haven't selected my replacement on the beat. On March 1 I officially move to the foreign desk (spending the initial weeks studying up, chatting with the foreign policy thinktank types and practicing my Skype skills), but 'til then, I'm all-baseball. I might even be down in Viera, Fla., for the first week of spring training to help with the beat writer transition and reestablish the Panera Bread routine. That, or I'll try the local sushi.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 18, 2009; 4:25 PM ET
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Congrats Chico! Good luck abroad. Thanks for all the work you put in last season.

Just saw on MLB TR the mets picked up everts? Could you give us an update on his situation?

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | December 18, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for all your efforts. Your writing skill is impressive and you've been conscientious in keeping us informed. I admit that I hope that someone who is more invested in baseball and the Nationals is what I hope for, but I am appreciative for what you've given us.

Good luck in the far east.

Posted by: GoNats21 | December 18, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post naming someone to be a foreign correspondent with no prior newspaper experience outside of sports is even worse than The Washington Post hiring a baseball beat writer who has no prior experience covering baseball. Wow.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 18, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

He can write about the Nationals and make it seem he cares
But as soon as he can do it he skedaddles out of there
He tries to get as far away from baseball as he can
But just his luck - he takes a job in baseball-mad Japan!

Chico - Chico Harlan -
King of the Asian Frontier.

Posted by: nationalsanthems | December 18, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey CiL: Give the kid a break. This is the state of the U.S. newspaper industry, on the doorstep of 2010. If you've got a heartbeat and work cheap, you're in. Got a lengthy resume and maybe like a six-figure salary, ugh, um, uh, we'll get back to you on that. Chico was a fish out of water covering baseball but I think we all have to admit when he worked, he was diligent, bright, witty and informative. And he took all our potshots, and kept on pitching. I admire the kid, and I think he'll do a perfectly good job in the Far East. I'd like to think 10 years from now when he's running the Post's editorial page that all of us on NJ will look back at say, "Hey, we knew him when he was just a baseball writer."

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | December 18, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Really sorry to see you leave Chico. You've been the first writer I've looked forward to waking up and reading since Shirley Povich. However, if you must leave, can you at least take Bob Carpenter and Debbie Taylor with you? Just read on the Nat's site that they're coming back. Don't think I can take another 150+ games of listening to those two.

Posted by: truke | December 18, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Yoi ryōko o, Chico.

Looking forward to your first story about Japanese baseball!

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | December 18, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Your first assignment should be to watch (or re-watch) and do a review of Mr. Baseball.

Posted by: twinbrook | December 18, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse


Good luck on your new assignment, enjoyed your fresh young writing style and sense of humor in the covering a dreadful 103-loss team. Please ignore the snarky comments. I suspect you got your new job because of your writing skills and ability to grasp the nuance and subltety of new situations. It's sad to see the decline of print journalism and the written word but you, my friend, are not the problem; you are part of the solution.

Posted by: SackMan | December 18, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations Chico. I'll look forward to reading what you write in your new gig, and I expect you're going to have an amazing adventure. All the best!

Posted by: dcbatgirl | December 18, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Are we at war with Eastasia or Eurasia? I keep forgetting.

Good luck, Chico.

Posted by: gilbertbp | December 18, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

CHarlan: Best wishes on the 2nd gig, gaikokujin.

Posted by: BinM | December 18, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

My suggestions for prospective bon voyage presents:

1) A box of Mr. Sparkle laundry detergent
2) "Kilroy Was Here" by Styx
3) Okama Gamesphere (w/ towel)
4) The book "How To Order Sushi Like A CEO"
5) One...thousand.....yen!

Posted by: Ted_Striker | December 18, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Sincere congratulations!!! What a great life you are leading: Covering baseball in the Nation's Capitol, hiking the Appalachian's, touring East Asia; covering the Spanish Civil War ... oh wait, that was that other reporter.

Dude leaves a charmed life.

(Try not to let it end badly.)

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 18, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"I'd like to think 10 years from now when he's running the Post's editorial page that all of us on NJ will look back at say, "Hey, we knew him when he was just a baseball writer."

There will be no Washington Post in ten years. Bank on it. Indeed, Chico will be lucky if the Post doesn't self-immolate like the Washington Times while he's in Japan, leaving him stranded there.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 18, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Good luck Chico! We'll miss you, but glad that you're headed for a fantastic assignment. Please try to keep in touch with yous Nats Fans brethren.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 18, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to you in your adventures, Chico. Could you maybe scout us a few Asian players while you're there? I'm sure that Stan will be happy to reimburse you for any expenses that you incur in that regard. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 18, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, Chico, I look forward to continuing to read your stuff. I, for one, will miss the caliber of your writing on the Nats beat, but thanks for the good stories while you were here.

Posted by: Section220 | December 18, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Chico, and best of Luck! I truly enjoyed your work and admire your dedication. You are working in a brutal industry right now, but it is a noble profession, so ignore all the carping in the comments and know that there were many of us who really appreciated your work. Domo Arigato!

Posted by: brewer1 | December 18, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Good luck Chico.

CiL - your comment lacked even a semblance of class or dignity. Stick to things you can speak authoritively about, such as baseball.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Chico, I will miss you an awful lot. Your writing is wonderful! I am a new person who just found baseball and you have helped that discovery tremendously. Even tho I hate to see you go, I wish you well..

Posted by: bsballu5 | December 18, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse


Good luck, maybe you can be the correspondent for the Nat's far east scouts. As for your replacement. Can we have a hot chick who can write? One who is willing to post new pics of her with every blog? Also, she has to be a seamhead.

Posted by: hansenjo | December 18, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations and good luck!

I can only hope that the next beat writer will continue to make the losses a little more bearable by injecting some humor in the 100+ losing gamers.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | December 18, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

roger..thanks for your great will be back!

Posted by: skygrunt | December 18, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

These are exciting times again, when smart ambitious youngster can break into a field without a long resume and ten references from the board of directors and Dad's class ring. Enjoy it, Harlan-san. And just a thought--learn Chinese while you're at it. It's gonna come in handy, I think.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 18, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Soundbloke, please. If I believed that Chico had treated us--Nats fans, i.e., his audience--with a semblance of class and dignity throughout his short time as the Nats beat writer, then I would surely reciprocate. But, he didn't. He hated his job from the start, and he routinely treated us and his beat with disdain. At this point, he doesn't deserve any different from us.

By the way, I hope you do realize how ridiculous this comment is from Chico: "I might even be down in Viera, Fla., for the first week of spring training to help with the beat writer transition and reestablish the Panera Bread routine." As if he has been some kind of spring training regular. You know how many STs Harlan covered? One. And he couldn't even make it through the entire stint without getting relief from Svrluga. If Chico Harlan is going to be showing the new beat writer the ropes, I just hope that the new writer will be working with a safety net.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 18, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

As a Cubs fan for life, and a Nats fan (and season ticket holder) since they moved to DC, I've been amazed at the Post's coverage of the Nats. Nats Journal is better than anything in the Chicago Trib or the Sun Times. "Coverage is Lacking", man, you're not worth it. Chico - thanks for the great work and good luck. Coverage - hope you move to another city.

Posted by: BrentwoodGuy | December 18, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Good work and good luck, Chico. I assume that you will be doing a Moe Berg and just pretending to cover the big news out of East Asia, while secretly scouting the Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean leagues for the Nats.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 18, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

If I didn't enjoy Chico's tenure as beat writer I would be reading a different blog Cil.

I read this blog every day and have really enjoyed the content. Thanks Chico, I'll keep an eye out for you in The Post. And for the love of God, if you see a talented young player call Stan because we don't seem to have a single scout where you're going!

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

CiL: Give it a rest, willya? Go beat up on the OP, who are probably closing down their entire Sports section in February (talk about lacking coverage). Yeesh.

Posted by: BinM | December 18, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"Say it ain't so!"
Chico,I will miss your articles on the Nats.
Congrats on your next assignment.

Posted by: jmunns | December 18, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Chico: good luck with your new assignment, sure you must be excited!
Usually enjoy the banter back & forth between various crumudgeons (sp?) but on this post there was only one. Not sure if CIL is ever going to be happy and this must be a tough time for him but he sure didn't show much holiday spirit on this one. I also enjoyed Chico's style, saw him grow as a writer and think he gave a better than average effort in keeping those of us who love baseball informed and entertained. I looked forward to new posts each day.

Posted by: sjm3091 | December 18, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

kambate ne

Posted by: NatsNut | December 18, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Congrats on your exciting new assignment! I have spent time living in both China (Shenzhen and Harbin) and Korea (Seoul), but never in Japan. I am certain that you will have an amazing experience and I look forward to reading your upcoming work. I am glad to hear that you are finally in a position that excites you -- while a Nats beat writer is the dream job of many, it was not yours, and that is nothing to apologize for. I hope that this job is everything that you want and more! Best of luck, and safe travels.

Posted by: HenryStin | December 19, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

im with CiL, chico never wanted to be on the beat and it showed and it was a slap in the face to people who love baseball and the nats. how many gamers (and blog posts) were not about anything baseball, it was just ephemera, a slight of hand, placating the ADD fans of today. please find someone who knows baseball and loves baseball and is a good hard is that?

Posted by: formerlylove1 | December 19, 2009 4:10 AM | Report abuse

You know, there are lots of tough things about being a Nats fan, but at least we don't have Milton Bradley or the guy that our team would take Milton Bradley over.

Posted by: markfromark | December 19, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the (hot) stove is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 19, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

From afar, hope all you DCers are enjoying your snow storm. I prefer these to watch from afar. Just had ran down here in the south and the sun is shining this morning. Pitchers and catchers will report before you know it. Happy sledding all yall.

Posted by: cokedispatch | December 19, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The Post will eventually get another beat writer. But that's not what worries me. Bowden's been gone for nearly a year, MLB hasn't owned the team for several seasons now, and Omar Minaya traded for Bartolo Colon in 200effing2, and we're still hearing about all of that in here. I'm afraid the Harlan-bashing will last longer than his tenure.
So in the spirit of the season, what kind of a deal can we cut? What would it take to get you to let Seabiscuit rest in peace?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

While I don't like what's happened since Chico was named the Nats' beat writer, I certainly understand it.

When we are young, we are trying to figure out what we want to be in our lives.
Chico did the "sports thing" and realized it wasn't for him.

That's not his fault.

That said, I am grateful to Chico for showing me it was alright to write about baseball in a manner beyond the who-what-where-when-why scenario. It was fun reading a game recap that had some depth and color.

I would much rather have had Chico like his job here and want to stay, but that wasn't to be. But, really, with all the changes in the newspaper industry, will there be anyone left to work as a beatwriter?

If my industry was that unsure, I'd be looking for something else too.

Posted by: rushfari | December 19, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse


Good Luck to you. We'll miss you around here. Enjoy your new assignment and please pop in every now and then with a post.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 19, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: BinM | December 19, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on the new beat, Chico, and domo arigato for your efforts covering the Nationals.

Posted by: greggwiggins | December 19, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Chico - if you make it this far through the comments, then you'll find this wish for good luck with your next assignment. Sneak a peak at Yu Darvish sometime and email Sheinin some inside info!

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 19, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Chico!

Assigned to the Far East bureau without even a passing knowledge of Japanese or Chinese? It's not your fault, but what is the Post thinking these days (besides the bottom line)?

In the old days of foreign correspondents, the boys would congregate around the bar of the hotel they were staying in and help each other out writing their stories. Now I suspect you could put the number of English-speaking foreign correspondents living in Tokyo in a phone booth and have room to spare.

I don't envy you!

Posted by: JohnRDC | December 20, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Check out the new Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima. The Carp used to play at the old downtown municipal stadium a few hundred yards from ground zero and it was a bit of a dump.
also for the pet in your life see the Carp team store "Pet items"

Posted by: jbgordon | December 20, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

well, if you make it down to Spring Training and are looking for Sushi there's Haru in Indialantic and Cocoa Beach sushi in down town Cocoa Beach both on the A1A
Enjoy your new assignment!

Posted by: rvrtis | December 20, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Living in FLA I had the Entra Innings package and Chico.

I'm surprised to learn Chico had not covered baseball.

I thought he did an OUTSTANDING job.


Posted by: turfnsport | December 20, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

No offense, but I am looking forward to a beat writer who is a baseball fan and doesn't think he's Hemingway.

Posted by: weissa | December 20, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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