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Posted at 6:29 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

John Lannan's train ride to spring training

By Adam Kilgore

John Lannan will arrive in Viera, Fla., sometime tomorrow, six days before pitchers and catchers officially report and about 24 hours after he started his journey to spring training.

The word "journey" here is only half-hyperbolic. Lannan woke up this morning in his offseason home in Hoboken, N.J., and stuffed his car to the gills with gear and clothes. He drove four hours to Lorton, Va., arriving at 2:30 p.m. so his car could be loaded on to his unusual mode of transit: the Amtrak Auto Train.

"My dad did it a couple years ago," Lannan said at 5 p.m., about an hour into the 17 ½-hour train ride from Lorton to Sanford, Fla. "He mentioned it, and I just decided to try it. There was no rush to get down. So far, so good."

He chose the train, basically, so he could bring his car to Viera without having to drive it there himself. It's also cost-effective. If you wanted to make the trip to Viera in a tiny, moving room with your car hitched to the back of a train, say, next Wednesday, it would cost $431. Not bad.

Lannan should arrive in Sanford, which is an hour or so outside of Viera, at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He chose a sleeper car, which has its own bathroom and a couch that turns into a bed.

"I definitely passed rooms that are smaller," Lannan said. "It's big enough. It's going okay so far."

Lannan came prepared to pass the 17 ½ hours. He packed five movies and DVDs of "30 Rock" and "The Office" to watch; Maxim, US Weekly and People magazine to read; and his iPod to listen to. Dinner is at 9 p.m., but there's also a snack cart. "I already bought a cheeseburger and some Doritos," he said.

He's been tweeting liberally, and he replied to a question from @imjustlikemusiq about "money spots" in Viera with a one-word answer that would make Michael Scott proud:

lannan tweet.jpg

After enduring the brutal winter in New Jersey, Lannan said he's "excited to get down there and put some cleats on the grass." He's been working out inside up north with former Nats reliever Ron Villone, whom a number of Nationals pitchers view as something of a mentor. He's eager to prove he's the rock-solid pitcher who finished the season with 3.42 ERA, not the shaky one who was demoted to Class AA in late June.

"Last year is last year," Lannan said. "I'm looking forward to starting fresh this year. I'm looking forward to showing last year wasn't me."

He'll start tomorrow, right after he makes the hour drive from Sanford to Viera. From now until then, he'll be riding the rails.

"It's tiny," he said. "But it's doable."

lannan train.jpg

Image via @JLannan31

By Adam Kilgore  | February 8, 2011; 6:29 PM ET
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Next: Hector Taveras suspended, Alex Cintron signed


Sweet, I made the Nats Journal!

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | February 8, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

AutoTrain is a really relaxing way to travel, particularly compared to driving down 95. Good for John. And nice to hear about Ron Villone.

Posted by: Natsgal | February 8, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Tell Lannan that if he's looking for a few laughs to pass the time on his journey, he should check out this video:

Posted by: nunof1 | February 8, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Alex Cintron back in Nats camp. Cora AND Cintron? I am guessing that they think Espinosa's wrist may not be ready for prime time.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 8, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Alex Cintron?!?!?!?!

Geez, the Natinals are really scraping the bottom of the AAAA barrel for fodder now.

Seriously, Cintron?

Dude wasn't even good enough to play a full season on the Orioles 3 years ago.

And now signed this guy, again?

Hahaha, have fun with all that.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 8, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

>>"It's tiny," he said. "But it's doable."

Channeling Michael Scott: That's what she said.

Posted by: TheNationalsEnquirer | February 8, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21: There are two sides to any coin. Rizzo could be stocking up on 2B profile players just in case Desmond can't cure his 'boot-itis' at SS. Espinosa slides to SS (his natural position), Desmond moves to CF (or off-roster in a trade), and Hairston/AGonz/Cora/etc. become 2B placeholders for 2011.

Granted, it's a lateral move at best for now, but may yield some additional improvement defensively. Lombardozzi is probably a year away at 2B, and the pool for MI prospects is getting deeper every year.

Just my two-cents worth.

Posted by: BinM | February 8, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

CSN is reporting that C Hector Taveras has been suspended for 25 games for violating the ML Drug Prevention and Treatment Program after being caught with an unauthorized syringe.

Taveras played primarily in the GCL last year, but did appear in Hagerstown.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 8, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

@JohninMlps: Ladson posted a similar report on the Nationals page at, only noting that the suspension was a violation of the minor leagues Drug Abuse & Prevention policy.

I'm dissapointed, as I'd hoped that Taveras was a 'diamond in the rough' type of find for the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | February 8, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Okay, this is not meant to feed the troll, but I seriously would like to ask Sir Poop how he reconciles his support for the Redskins with his disdain for the Nats? I can understand if he grew up following the O's and wants to stay with them, but where's the hate for the Nats coming from?If he won't tell his sordid sports history and some other blogger knows, will you share it with me? My guess is its the result of an abusive childhood. Nothing else makes sense. But then why should this make sense?

Posted by: bosco3 | February 8, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"a cheeseburger and some Doritos"

Is this an interview with Lannan or Livan? What a role model for America's youth, this definitely sounds like the diet of a future Hall of Famer. Tom Glavine's arm would have fallen off on that diet.

Posted by: MBUSA | February 8, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Nationals Enquirer - Very funny. You deserve a Schrute buck.

Posted by: MrDumberton | February 8, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Yes, MBUSA, athletes, even not particularly famous ones, should realize they are role models at all times, and never do anything less than perfect. They should think only of the children at all times, is that too much to ask for the money they get?

I for one am extremely relieved that my own tyke did not read this post, for I find JL's choice of magazines abhorrent.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | February 8, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Good for John taking the Auto-Train. As a veteran train rider myself (VRE and AMTRAC) it's a great way to travel if you don't like to fly.

The Lorton to Sanford run is really nice, my folks do it now because Pops is hovering around 85 so we just go down to Lorton to drive them back to our house in Fairfax, when the Auto-Train pulls in. Works like a charm.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 8, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse


It's called sarcasm, but that diet is one of the 457 reasons dude will never win more than 9 games in a MLB season. He has the same diet as Albert Haynesworth.

Posted by: MBUSA | February 8, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

George Costanza called and he said he wants his ATM-code back............

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 8, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Your car model affects your premium. You won't get these numbers from your insurer; in fact, you may not be able to get them at all get all the facts from clearance auto insurance website

Posted by: mariashy | February 9, 2011 3:00 AM | Report abuse

Ah, sunrise on the Orient Express. Lannan just ordered 2 twinkies and a chocolate shake for breakfast. There's a reason JL can't touch 85 on a radar gun. You are what you eat.

Posted by: howjensen | February 9, 2011 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Zuckerman over at Nats Insider has picked up the Taveras story.

This makes two catchers who played in Hagerstown to get suspended for PEDs. Taveras was only there for a brief period, but it does make one wonder if there's a connection.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 9, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

BinM: Good point on the Cintron signing adding some insuracne to the if Desmond still cannot play SS potential scenario. If the kid can;t play SS, and are ods are at this point that he cannot, sad to say (it has not happened yet on any level for 6-7 years or so), he's not gonna be able to play CF unless he goes to the minors and learns the position. Having athletisicm and a nice arm is not enough; he needs the skills.

I hope he gets it together with the glove becasue he may have something special in his bat. We shall see.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 9, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

MBUSA, "a cheeseburger and some Doritos" are about the healthiest things on the menu of an Amtrak on-board snack bar so I'd cut JL a little slack there.

Posted by: greggwiggins | February 9, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

the best part about train travel is you can drink, and have more space then in the air.

Posted by: alex35332 | February 9, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

spunkydawg1, Lannan is a single 26 year old; I don't believe you can be mad at him because he isn't reading Time, Popular Science and Men's Health on the train. And it isn't like he is reading to kids in the babysitting room on the train. Little judgemental, aren't we?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 9, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I have taken that train to Fl. He must be the youngest guy on the train. Good he took his own food. They only serve Cream of Wheat or Farina. (there is a fly in my Farina- i.e. quote by Jerry S.

Posted by: boyn4884 | February 9, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

spunkydawg1, Lannan is a single 26 year old; I don't believe you can be mad at him because he isn't reading Time, Popular Science and Men's Health on the train. And it isn't like he is reading to kids in the babysitting room on the train. Little judgemental, aren't we?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 9, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Time is for a 3rd grade reading level.

Posted by: alex35332 | February 9, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I took the train from DC last year(march) from union station back to the A-T-L not bad,met a nice lady from Mississippi who was in her late 70's we had a very pleasant conversation. I'm hoping John Lannan can win maybe 12-15 games and stay above.500 yeah i know that's a stretch but i have to be optimistic.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 9, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

We should definitely dfa any player who eats a cheeseburger.

Posted by: markfromark | February 9, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

What other Nats are on Twitter?

Posted by: dlombardo1 | February 9, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

If Desmond can't play, Cintron cannot possibly replace him. Cintron must just enjoy playing baseball.

Posted by: markfromark | February 9, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

markfromark, playing at AAA (or AA) must stink after playing in the majors... but its still a better job then most of us have and probably a better job then he'll have 5 years from now. Good for him if he wants to keep trying.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 9, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Let's hear it for John Lannan riding the auto train. It's the best way to go to Florida.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | February 9, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Cintron is much ado about nothing. He's signed to a minor league deal and isn't even getting a non-roster invite to the major league camp. He's being signed to play infield in Syracuse so that Lombardozzi can develop at his own pace.

Posted by: JCCfromDC | February 9, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I made that trip via the auto train many years ago for a disney vacation. It was fun and I love trains anyway. I'm betting John will make it a habit, as long as he continues his springs in Florida!!

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 9, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse


Poopy is a loser who regularly stalks wapo blogs, usually redskins and terps insiders pages. Rarely, if ever, does he have anything other than negative comments to share even regarding the teams he purportedly likes. He lives somewhere on the west coast and forms his opinions off of what he reads and since he doesn't watch or attend sporting events involving dc area teams, he can't derive any enjoyment from sports unless his team is winning a championship. He also got booted from wapo blogs for threatening some other posters and came back with a couple of other aliases.

Posted by: JoeMama11 | February 9, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

its still a better job then most of us have and probably a better job then he'll have 5 years from now.

They say that 90% of the guys in the minors are there so the actual prospects will have somebody to play against. But it seems like it would be a dream job if you were a talented athlete. Not as good as going to the bigs, but better than playing on a semi-pro team on weekends while holding down another job.

Posted by: markfromark | February 9, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Are those three bud freedom lights in the background of the train picture? JLannan is broing it!

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 9, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

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