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Farewell Chico, welcome Adam

Feb 26, 2010, 2:16 PM EST

VIERA, Fla. — Life on the baseball beat is a unique experience, one that really isn't replicated in other sports. Think about it, you cover six weeks of spring training, 162 regular-season games and sometimes another month of the postseason. (No, not in the Nationals' case, but I did use to cover the playoffs and World Series every October for The Washington Times.)

In one respect, you spend all those long days and nights on the road, in press boxes and in hotels, on your own. You're away from family members. You book your own flights, your own accommodations. And yet, you're really never on your own, because you're part of another family: the family of fellow beat writers. It's an interesting relationship, because we do compete with each other for news, but we also become close friends and spend countless hours together.

So when one member of the group leaves and another arrives, it makes for a bittersweet moment, and today we're experiencing one of those.

Chico Harlan, who has covered the Nats for The Washington Post since May 2008, is on his last day on the beat. He departs Viera tomorrow, heads back to D.C. for a little while and then in a few months heads off on a truly grand adventure. He'll be the Post's newRead more »

  1. Kevin - Feb 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    he respected the job and did the best he could to become good at itMark, it's not nice to stretch the truth.

  2. yankish2 - Feb 26, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    I never appreciated his writing because I knew he didn't like the sport.

  3. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    He was an outstanding writer. I don't blame him for wanting to do something else. It was just a shame that he spoke opnenly of his desire to do so, though.

  4. natsfan1a - Feb 26, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Very classy post, Mark.I've already posted to this effect over there, but farewell to Chico and welcome to Adam.

  5. Traveler8 - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    I did appreciate Chico's writing, but the idea that being a "mere baseball scribe" is not okay is where I have a problem. Boswell is a "mere baseball scribe" and are we ever grateful for it! In this day when there are so few journalism jobs it always rankled me that the Post gave the Nats beat writer position to someone who simply deigned to do the work while waiting for something more worthy to come along. Yes, I do wish Chico well and hope to read more from him in the future, but am more excited that the Post now seems to have a writer who really wants to be there.

  6. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Chico's writing was plenty good enough to show off his arrogance and disdain for his beat, and Adam's writing so far seems to be a bunch of Tweets strung together. This blog is about the only place we can get good writing AND plenty of inside knowledge in the same place. I'm going to send a few bucks every month to help keep it coming.

  7. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Mark, I always assumed that you would be prefect for thar Washington Post beat writter openning. I assume in your privite moments, you thought the same thing, which makes this post even more impressive.

  8. cadeck13 - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I agree with natsfan1a :) very classy Mark, but then again we've all come to expect nothing less than you being the consumate pro! Welcome to Adam (and we all expect to hear more about hot dog eating contests!) and farewell Chico – it's been fun to say the least! Go Nats!!

  9. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Talking about who is now in town. Nats320 is here. He dowsnt have credentials this year–so far. You could hearing him having a animated discussion with the guy from the Nationals PR department as Nats320 is on the other side of the ropes with all of us—-The Commoners! See, the other problem is there is now ropes across the cloverleaf separating all the different fields whech I can not remember seeing in years passed so now we can not walk up and get autographs and walk with the players from field to field as we are roped off.Come join us for a pity party down here as we are heading to Panera soon! I did get Lannans autograph early and hoping for Strasburg. Got the big red sweatshirt on. Cold again today.Oh, and Good Luck to Chico and welcome Adam. Classy move by Mark.

  10. Tedv15 2 - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Mark,You are a class act and we should all appreciate and enjoy your brilliant writing skills before you are inevitably taken away by another media source.

  11. greg - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    said it there, i'll say it here. GL chico and welcome adam.

  12. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    The classic Chico moment for me was when he decided that no one cared about the details about a weekday day game on the road vs. the Twins, so he ignored the game (that most of us couldn't see because of work obligations) to write a human interest story about Dmitri and Delmon Young that most people couldn't have cared less about. He also started his beat off by professing his love of the Pittsburgh Penguins (which isn't going to make yourself popular to the Caps fans among us, myself included). To Chico's credit, he moved on from something he didn't like rather than spend the rest of his time distaining his audience and his assignments. Good luck to him.

  13. TBC - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    There's probably one big reason they now have ropes up at spring training this year when they didn't before. Stephen Strasburg.

  14. cadeck13 - Feb 26, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Ropes??? Wow, what a bummer…must feel like being at the Mets training camp. Yeah, it must be because of SS. I'm heading down there 3/15 and was looking forward to getting John Lannan, Bergie & Jordan Z to autograph their pics they took with me last year. The pitchers have always been the easiest catch coming off the fields for photos and autographs….Annonymous, please keep us informed :)

  15. NatsGirl - Feb 26, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    Stay classy, Mark Zuckerman

  16. upperdeck4 - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    Aaron Harlan is a gifted writer, and when he put the talent to writing about the game he was very good. Sometimes though, he didn't seem particularly interested in the game at hand. Wish him well in his new position.

  17. sbret - Feb 26, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Nice post, Mark. And to many of the other posters, I don't think there's any need to get huffy about Chico. I think covering a baseball beat would have to be an incredible grind, even if you have a passionate love for the game, and how much more so if you're not a deep-rooted baseball lover first.

  18. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Unfortunately for Chico, the Post is eliminating foreign bureaus around the world. I'd imagine his job security took a hit. I'll shed no tears.





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