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A heartfelt thank you

Feb 9, 2010, 6:56 AM EDT

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It’s late and I need to get some sleep. But before I turn in, I just need to offer a gigantic thank you to everyone who has responded to my campaign to cover spring training. The response I’ve received over the last 16 hours has been both overwhelming and humbling.

And I’m not just talking in a financial sense, though the response

in that area has been staggering, as you can see from the embedded graphic. I’m equally appreciative, though, to all of you who have written to offer your support, either in the comments section of this site or privately through email. Many of you have never met me. Many of you have never even lived in Washington or have any connection whatsoever to the Nats. Your kindness has truly touched me, and I’m forever grateful for it.

I’ve tried to respond to as many of you as I can, but the inbox has been overflowing all day and I haven’t been able to keep up. If I wasn’t able to send you a personal response, my sincere apologies.

I do need to mention a few people by name, because they’ve played vital roles in making this happen and have gone above and beyond in the process…

First off, I need to mention C. Trent Rosecrans. Most of you probably don’t know him, but he was actually the inspiration for this whole endeavor. Trent used to cover the Reds for the Cincinnati Post — quite well, I might add — only to find himself in a similar situation to mine when that paper folded altogether. He has since created a website that puts mine to shame: CNATI, which covers the Cincinnati sports scene the way it should be covered. Last month, Trent decided to start a campaign to send him to Goodyear, Ariz., for Reds camp, and his readers responded with the same kind of support I’ve experienced today. He’s already surpassed his goal, but I know he’s still looking for more help because he’s actually got a staff at his site. Even if you don’t contribute, make a point to check out the site because it’s an impressive effort.

Second, I need to mention Brian Oliver of Nats Farm Authority, Steven Biel of FJB and Mike Harris, aka the NatsFanboyLooser. In addition to writing three of the most informative and most entertaining blogs in NatsTown, Brian, Steven and Mike have been instrumental in the launching of this site and of the spring training campaign. They’ve not only helped spread the word to their readers but they’ve also helped push me to give this thing a shot. In addition to being fine writers and baseball fans, they’ve been good friends throughout this process.

Third, I want to thank Keith Law of ESPN.com and Dave Cameron of FanGraphs. I’ve never met either gentleman before, but each made a point to get in a touch with me today wanting to spread the word to their readers, who have responded with the same kind of generosity exhibited by Nats fans. I’m grateful to both, as well as to several other sportswriter friends of mine who have been in touch today and offered their support.

And last, but most definitely not least, I must thank the real driving force of this whole operation: my wife Rachel. I’ve written about her a few times in the past, but it needs to be repeated: I wouldn’t amount to anything without her. She has stood beside me throughout the ups and downs of the last two months, my strongest supporter by leaps and bounds. Anytime I start to question whether this really is a good idea, she immediately sets me straight and insists I go through with it. Whoever came up with the term “better half” most certainly had her for inspiration.

OK, enough sentimental stuff. Time to steer this blog back to its intended subject: baseball. I’ll do that tomorrow (er, at this point, I guess later today) but I’ll be sure to keep the running tally and link to the donations site up throughout.

Talk to you soon.

  1. MikeHarris - Feb 9, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    Awww. Now I'm going to cry!Keep up the great work and keep smiling as the donations roll in. Maybe you won't have to stay in a Super 8 after all.I just plugged you AGAIN in the comments section on my blog (www.natslooser.blogspot.com – speaking of cheap plugs). Send postcards.

  2. Nattydread - Feb 9, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Fantastic! Good luck and keep the posts coming. We need them.

  3. natsfan1a - Feb 9, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Glad to see that this effort has legs.A supportive spouse makes all the difference. Good on Rachel!

  4. Steveospeak - Feb 9, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Good luck Mark, glad to see you will be likely heading to Spring Training. I can't wait to get your coverage of whats going on down in Florida. Keep up the great work!

  5. natsfan1a - Feb 9, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    Looks like you're almost there, depending which browser one is using. Congrats!I do have one eensy little favor to ask as a subsidizing member. ;-) Would it be possible to have the MASN links go to Nats stories only, or does it automatically pick up the newest posting to the entire site? Thanks for listening.

  6. Sasskuash - Feb 9, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    CONGRATULATIONS! Thank you for going and giving the Nats spring training the coverage it deserves!

  7. Anonymous - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Doesn't the Washington Post need to hire someone to Chico Harlan's beat reporter job? What are they waiting for? I presume you sent a resume? Good luck!

  8. JayB - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Congrats Mark….take a look over tot he right of this page at the "latest" Nats Journal posting….over 4 days ago…..just kill it WPost the current effort is so disrespectful of Barry's founding work.

  9. sid bluntley - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    IMHO, I think that you should set up a Nats news/blog site. Sell ads, bring FJB, NatsFarm, Needham over to draw eyeballs and share the revenue. Who needs Nats Journal?

  10. JMW4th - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    nationals pride already does the nats news site thing. and they do it very well.www.nationalspride.com

  11. Kristen - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    natsfan1a –This should be the Nats specific RSS feed for MASNsports.com: http://masnsports.com/rss_nationals.xmlHope that helps! :)

  12. Anonymous - Feb 9, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    What will you do with the extra contributions? Will they continue towards in season work? If so, count me in.

  13. natsfan1a - Feb 9, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    Thanks much, Kristen. :-)

  14. Let Teddy Win - Feb 9, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    Wow. I'm so behind. It's just fantastic that you hit $5K so quickly. I hope the team AND other local media outlets take notice. Perhaps it can keep going and you can get out on some road trips!

  15. steven Biel - Feb 9, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    OK, so new goal. $50k and we keep you for the whole season?

  16. natbiscuit - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Alright time to start earning your money. Who gets dropped off the 40 man to make room for Kennedy. Shouldn't we know that by now?

  17. JMW4th - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    Chien-Ming Wang apparently has two offers on the table, and will be making a decision within the next week or so.http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/02/wang-has-offers-could-sign-soon.htmlI'm hoping we are one of the teams with an offer out to him.thoughts?

  18. Keith Law - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Keith Law - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    Happy to help, Mark. Congratulations on reaching the goal. The downside is that you have to spend six weeks in Viera.

  20. Chimpanzee Rage - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    Glad we could help you out man, you do great work!

  21. An Briosca Mor - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    Re Wang, how soon will he be ready to pitch? What the Nats need is a bridge to Strasburg coming up later in the season. If Wang can't pitch until part way through the season, he's of no use for that.

  22. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Hey folks, sorry I've taken so long to respond. Been running around all day taking care of errands in between blizzards and taking lots of calls/emails from well-wishers. So…– Adam Kennedy hasn't taken his physical yet, so his deal isn't official. Considering the weather, I think it will be at least a couple more days til it happens, which buys the Nats time to make the 40-man roster move.– The Nats do have serious interest in Wang, though he's not expected to be ready to pitch by Opening Day. If they make that move, it'll be more with the future in mind than a quick stop-gap until Strasburg arrives.– Not sure yet how the overflow money will be used. I have to figure out exactly what the total spring training cost will be, then figure out what I'm doing once the regular season begins. If it's feasible to apply the funds towards some future road trips, I'm all for it!– I know it's getting repetitive, but another round of sincere thanks to everyone. I'm speechless.

  23. peric - Feb 10, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    For BinM, from Facebook dude:Syracuse Chiefs: We're trying to gauge interest in hosting an Indoor Tailgate Party at the ballpark before the Crunch Outdoor Game. We'd provide food, transportation, and ticket (if you need one). Would you attend?___________________________________________________________________Anyone here interested …. ????Early Strasburg and Storen potential sighting with the Chiefs … when they say indoor it may mean in the early (still with cold and snow) months … brrrrr ….)

  24. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 10, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Oh, and responding to natsfan1a's request … the MASNSports.com feed has now been fixed to show only Nats-related posts. Thanks to Kristen for providing the proper link!

  25. Jenn Jenson - Feb 10, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    Mark, Let me add my congratulations for meeting this first goal. It takes courage to ask for help, but I think the truth of the matter is we liked being asked because it gave us information on what we could do. Yes, we want what you're selling, but it's more than that.

  26. Andrew - Feb 10, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    Mark – I am late to the party and just made a donation. Just read about your mission on WaPo.Awesome! Will you have press credentials or will you be banished to where the fans are?

  27. Kevin Rusch - Feb 10, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Mark,Knock 'em dead. Who knows, maybe this model will end up being downright profitable. Looking forward to your spring training blogging!

  28. Dave - Feb 10, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    Go Mark go! I look forward to your ST coverage! (Since we're not likely to get much from any daily newspaper in town.)Kristen, thanks very much for the correct URL to the MASN Nats-only feed!

  29. Craig - Feb 10, 2010 at 2:40 AM

    Zuck, can you please not add to the horrible double-entendre laden headlines we have seen regarding Chien Ming Wang? First "Nats aggresively persuing Wang" by Ladson and now "A Wang worth the wait" by Phil Wood… For the love of editing people!!!!

  30. Lacy - Feb 10, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    Very nice. Congrats on getting the 5K. Hope to see you down there on my annual 1-2 day minor league junket.

  31. An Briosca Mor - Feb 10, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    This is still a blog, after all. Any and all references to "serious interest in Wang" should always be followed by "not that there's anything wrong with that". Standards, people.

  32. Claire - Feb 10, 2010 at 4:19 AM

    Also, its kinda been flying under the radar but the Arbitration hearings should be coming up in the next week… Any words on whether the nats have been discussing anything with the few that havent agreed to terms?

  33. NattyLite - Feb 10, 2010 at 6:57 AM

    i just sent you over 6k, do us proud mark

  34. natsfan1a - Feb 10, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Thanks much for the MASN feed fix, Mark and Kristen, and congrats on going over the 6k mark, uh, Mark.

  35. jp23 - Feb 10, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Will you accept Cubs fans as a fan of your blog? I read about your plight in the Washington Post this morning and stories like this kinda get to me. I'll check with my financial advisor (I mean wife) and see what we can donate. Looking forward to your posts! And to baseball season finally starting!!

  36. Ryan - Feb 10, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Mark – I have never met you but admire what you are doing here. As someone who is still trying to stay in the sportswriting game (doing freelance work while holding down a 9-5 job in PR), this endeavor is a great idea and I look forward to following it in the coming months.

  37. CoverageisLacking - Feb 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Happy to chip in, Mark. Glad to see we'll be getting some real coverage from ST. Best of luck.

  38. NatsNut - Feb 10, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Here you go, Mark. Get yourself something nice. =)

  39. Anonymous - Feb 10, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    Good thing you're above $7,000 now…enough to pay not only for the trip but the income taxes on the money! :)

  40. Thomas - Feb 11, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Congrats on the successful fundraising. Planning on making trip to Viera for a couple games, staying in Cocoa Beach. Do you plan to develop a "Viera Visitors Tips" re: best lodging, bars, good way to see & speak w. Nats Players. Thanks

  41. Sildenafil Citrate - Sep 13, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    it's a shame I did not know about your campaign to cover spring training on time, I would have responded to it. However, I'm glad you got such a large response in a short period of time!

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Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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