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Stephen Strasburg's likely last start for now and morning links

Stephen Strasburg is going to make his third start tonight, and I'll bet he doesn't make another with the Nationals until sometime in late May or June. (I'm not the only one.) In case you missed it, Sheinin provided an awesomely detailed rundown of why it would be best for the Nationals to let Strasburg percolate in the minors for about a dozen starts.
Strasburg's time with major league camp will end soon less for business reasons and more for practical, baseball ones. Namely, Livan Hernandez will need some more fine-tuning against elite competition. He and Strasburg ended up on the same schedule; tomorrow, Hernandez will throw in a minor league to get in his work. Strasburg, barring a crazier twist than anything that's ever happened on "Lost," is going to start the year in the minors. With 17 days remaining before opening day, it's time to let the players who will begin the year with the Nationals play. Lord knows, they've got work to do.

Mike Rizzo has a new blog, and he says he's talked with Greg Genske, Adam Dunn's agent. Matt Chico and Scott Olsen threw bullpen sessions yesterday, and Olsen felt no pain even though he only hit 86 mph with his fastball. The Nationals made some minor moves in the minor leagues. The Nationals have employed some, um, creative marketing trying to sell tickets.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 19, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Zech Zinicola returned to Nationals
Next: Almost halfway home, a look at the Nationals numbers


N!A!T!S! nats nats nats

Posted by: Nats1924 | March 19, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Creative marketing? Its almost laughable that a MLB team in Washington DC has to attract STH with multiple free tickets and then try to sell new ST packages padding each ticket with Nats bucks. StanK will soon man the airwaves letting those filthy fillie fans know that good seats to OD are still available. Property Owners and a Carni Barker, they are almost as good as Uncle Sam!

In reality what really went wrong here? Instead of creating a basball culture out of the void that was 33 years, the LernerStank looked at this as just another Tysons Galleria. Its all in the game-day experience, what happens between the lines be damned. Its a shame, it really is.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 19, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

This seems to make sense, as does the "Lord knows they've got work to do" remark.

I am all for Strasburg starting in the minors, but the way the rotation is shaping up, I have gone from looking forward to the start of the season to bracing myself for it.

Posted by: KenNat | March 19, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

If the guy previously bought tix with cash, in person, at the box office, it's maybe a little creepy (if they're bought online, OTOH you've already given them your email addy). Also, if someone has a blog and makes their email available as part of that blog, it's a bit of a different situation than if the team tracked down an email addy that was not already out there on the Internet or provided to them as part of a previous transaction, IMO.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 19, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

For tonight's game, no, no Pujols: has updated their schedule and tonight's game will no longer be televised. I'm guessing it had been listed previously by mistake, since I never saw the game on the FSMW schedule. We'll have to pull out our radios for tonight, but at least we won't have to deal with the Cards' announcers.

(found the lineups link via Viva El Birdos)

1. Tyler Greene, SS
2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Allen Craig, 1B
4. Nick Stavinoha, RF
5. David Freese, 3B
6. Tyler Henley, LF
7. Jason LaRue, C
8. Ruben Gotay, 2B
9. Kyle McClellan, RHP

Also scheduled to pitch: LHP Evan MacLane, RHP Lance Lynn, RHP Josh Kinney, RHP Pete Parise. Insurance arms: Sanchez and Perez, depending on the outcome of the above game, and RHP Casey Mulligan.

There are also a host of players from the minor-league camp who will be backups for both games, having take a second bus north after the end of the afternoon game.

Posted by: cassander | March 19, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

TippyCanoe - Salty this morning huh?

Posted by: Nats1924 | March 19, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Olsen at 86MPH concerns me. How does the Nats Brass feel about his top end velocity?

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 19, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

TippyCanoe - Salty this morning huh?

Posted by: Nats1924 | March 19, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

What the Nats are doing with that marketing thing is no more creepy than what Safeway etc do with their little checkout cards. They're taking information that has been provided to them voluntarily by the customer and using it to cross-check that customer's purchasing patterns and then targeting future marketing at them based on their previous purchases. For instance, any time you buy a ticket to a Nats game online, you have to provide your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. There's a little box you can check if you don't want to receive future e-mail notices from the team, but it's small and it defaults to e-mail opt-in so many buyers probably ignore it. Thus every ticket buyer who doesn't opt out is on target to receive the general marketing e-mails that the team sends out all season long, as well as snail mail marketing. All that's happening now is that they're looking at their data and seeing that this guy bought tickets last year to, say, several Phillies games. Based on that, they're doing some targeted marketing at him before the season starts to try and get him back for the Phillies games this year. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. People complain all the time here that the Nats don't do enough marketing, so it seems rather odd that when there's evidence that they ARE doing marketing people still complain about it.

Posted by: TBCTBC | March 19, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Huh?!? So SS won't be pitching the Red Sox game? Darn! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John1 | March 19, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

People complain all the time here that the Nats don't do enough marketing, so it seems rather odd that when there's evidence that they ARE doing marketing people still complain about it.
Posted by: TBCTBC | March 19, 2010 11:06AM


This is Washington, D.C....
Complaining is a National Past time here.

Posted by: TimDz | March 19, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Edited to add, after reading the source article (probably should have done that first, actually) they're not doing exactly what I said they were, but it's still not creepy. They're cross-referencing the phone numbers provided by ticket buyers with their buying patterns and then making targeted phone pitches. This particular marketing guy just decided to get a little more ammunition on his potential customer to help with the sale. Look at the marketing pitch:

"Hey Gregory, this is Adam Froemming with the Washington Nationals, calling for a couple reasons. One is I read your ... your ... I guess, article ... on the economic school of thought of the stolen base, and I thought it was fascinating. I'm a big stat geek myself, so I love breaking that sort of stuff down. The other thing is, you came a bunch of times to baseball games last year, and we have a lot of flex plans that I think would be good for you, because they are buy four games, and you get one free, and you already came to four games last year. So right off the bat, we're saving money, and as an economist, you're well aware of things like that. My direct number is 202-640-7691. Give me a call when you get this. Talk to you soon."

The blogger is focusing on the fact that Adam knew about his blog and thought that this was the reason he was tracked down and targeted for the pitch. But it's not. The key words are "The other thing is, you came a bunch of times to baseball games last year, and we have a lot of flex plans that I think would be good for you, because they are buy four games, and you get one free, and you already came to four games last year." That's how this guy was tracked down - he came to four games and left his phone number every time. The marketing guy already knew who he was, and just decided to see if he could learn a little more about this potential customer before he called and made his pitch. A Google search on the guy's name turned up the blog. It wasn't a case of them looking for people who blog about baseball and singling them out for ticket pitches.

Posted by: TBCTBC | March 19, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards do the same kind of marketing. I bought tix online a few years back and I get several calls a year about why I should buy season tickets. Thing is, I can only afford to buy season tickets to one losing franchise.

Posted by: rodeorob | March 19, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, I think it shows initiative. I'd be impressed if they looked for people who blogged about baseball and then cold-called them for season tix, even though I hate telemarketing.
I went to the opener in Philly in 2005 (saw Wilkerson's cycle), and I'm still getting stuff from the Phillies.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 19, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

This is America. Nothing happens anywhere until somebody somewhere sells something.

It's our national pastime. How we pass the time. And it's time is not past.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 19, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 19, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Beyond the actual cash value of any additional ticket sales, I guess the Nats see value in having the stands look a bit less deserted.

On the flip side, I feel no sympathy whatsoever for the fact that the stadium was packed full of Red Sox fans for the series last year. You couldn't watch or listen to a single game for the entire first half of the season without an advertisement at least once an inning encouraging you to buy multiple game packages to get into one of the Sox games. If you're going to basically concede that the product on the field is often only worth watching if you'd like to see the visiting team, you can't be too shocked that you're having trouble selling season tickets.

Posted by: adbiosec | March 19, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

thats exactly why they packaged it with other games. if the sox series was packed full, that means all of those people bought tickets to multiple games. it might be a blow to us loyal fans but until more of us show up for games, they have lots of seats to sell

Posted by: natfan616 | March 19, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the support, 1a1 and Sec3. In my original post, I said that I enjoyed Adam's work. However, he's the professional journalist and should take just a couple of minutes to scan his blog entries to avoid making sloppy errors. That was the only point I was making. An occasional typo is no big deal in any context, unless it ends up in print in a magazine or book.

Posted by: OldSkoolDiehard | March 19, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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