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Planes, trains and automobiles

Oct 1, 2010, 1:18 PM EDT

So, you want to be a sportswriter? Let me assure you, the life’s not nearly as glamorous as you think.

Especially when your flight from Dulles to LaGuardia gets canceled because of a tropical storm. And the earliest they can guarantee you a seat on another flight is at 10 p.m.

Yes, it’s been quite a morning already here at the Insider. Obviously, I’ve got to get to Citi Field by mid-afternoon. I contemplated taking the train up there, but from where I live in western Fairfax County, it’s a major hassle just to get to Union Station. And even then, I’d end up at Penn Station in Manhattan, needing to take two more trains to get out to Queens.

So, I’m packing up the CR-V and hitting the Great American Road, just like I did back in February for my trek down to Viera. I suppose it’s only fitting to end this unusual season the same way I began it.

Hopefully, you’ll be reading something from me with a New York dateline later this afternoon. Wish me luck.

  1. BQ - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Best of luck Mark. I hate driving. I would've gone to Union.

  2. nicefellow31 - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Drive safe. I guess you have come full circle. BTW, it has been a pleasure reading this blog (real fans and hardly any trolls) this year and I hope you will continue it in the future.

  3. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    hehe, I love that movie. :-DSafe travels, Mark. It does seem fitting to end this year's journey the same way. It was a pleasure being along for the ride!p.s. You don't need to send a postcard this time…

  4. N. Cognito - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    Penn Station sucks!! Especially the cattle call coming home.The 7 train out to Shea is a loooong trip.

  5. Steve M. - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    You should have let us know earlier! I would have sprung for gas and hitched a ride!!!!!Good luck and safe travels!!!!!

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I'm heading over to Lakeland to watch the FIL Nats play the FIL Tigers at 1:00 PM. I'll try and post something before tonites Mets game.

  7. BQ - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    Oh a question, will be covering baseball after the season ends? I mean the postseason?

  8. Feel Wood - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Speaking of travel, I noted a picture in the Post this morning of the Diamondbacks rookies boarding their team bus dressed in Speedos, swim caps and goggles – the annual rookie hazing. The Nats used to do this kind of thing too, on one of their road trips in September. Did it not happen this year, or did no one bother to report it?

  9. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Speaking of rookie hazings, during the Cox tribute prior to Sunday's game, some of the Braves relief pitchers were observed on the field wearing pink backpacks…

  10. Nervous Nats Fan - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Where's the cardboard "Citi Field or bust" sign? That was by far my favorite picture of the season (the Strasburg grimace was my least favorite, for the record.)

  11. Doc - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Grab a helicopter, Mark!Maybe land it, just as the National Anthem is about to be played.

  12. Stew Magnuson - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    I'm making another contribution today via Paypal that will hopefully pay for a tank of gas. Thanks for all your hard work this season. I wish I could give more right now. Maybe some other readers will throw in some more gas/toll money.You've done an outstanding job this year, Mark.

  13. sjm105 - Oct 1, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    I had not realized how bad Nats Journal had become. Not the writting but the comments. After the last few days, I have sworn off reading anything but Adams commentary. This post is just so much more enjoyable, great writing and mostly fair comments. Agree with previous posters that JayB is definitely not a troll but do we really need to hear how the Lerners blew it 3 years ago on every one of his posts. We get it. No need to worry about the past, lets just move on with what is or is not being done now. Let us just hope that some of those honest to goodness trolls don't find us over here (although the annonymous posters still bother me). Thanks again Mark for all you have done to make this season even more enjoyable. Have a safe trip.go natssign Dunn

  14. Anonymous - Oct 1, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    The hall of fame gave the results of the Ford F. frick award vote by the fans. Again Jacques Doucet, the french voice of the Expos for 35 years is among the three selected by the fans vote.Also Tom Cheek, voice of the Toronto Blue Jays but also some years for the Expos was selected through the fans vote.There is also a good chance that Dave Van Horne actual voice of the Florida Marlins but also more than 30 years with the Expos will be on the final ballot for the comitte vote.Mark could you cover this. The importance of that award for baseball media and the fact that 3 ex Expos voice will be on the final ballot.Expose

  15. RoyBoy - Oct 1, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Agree with all of the above. Excellent blog and a great place to read and learn about the Nats. Especially like the friendly atmosphere here.

  16. My license plate reads "Anonymous" - Oct 1, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    "sjm105 said… the annonymous posters still bother me"What bothers me is that people think throwing up the equivalent of a license plate number on a comment somehow makes them any less anonymous. Unless maybe it is their license plate number. But what state?

  17. David - Oct 1, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Hey Mark, I know that the world of professional journalism has thrown you (and many of your colleagues) a serious curveball in terms of your life-big-picture. (I think that it it's terrible for a lot of reasons, including in terms of how we Americans govern ourselves.) On an individual basis, you don't deserve any of this nonsense. You're a good journalist, and I enjoy your website very much. Thanks for doing stuff like driving to NY to cover two bad baseball teams, both long eliminated. I can't wait to read what you have to say!

  18. joemktg - Oct 1, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Hoping he picks up the SI Expressway from the Elizabeth exit, then the Belt into the Gowanus into the BQE.(shuddering)

  19. This is not me posting - Oct 1, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    RoyBoy said… "Especially like the friendly atmosphere here."Oh SHUT UP!

  20. Anonymous - Oct 1, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    From Section 223 (I promise, I'll try to figure out how to sign in as Section 223 as soon as my grandaughter shows me)Mark, Thanks for the dedication! Even thought the season is winding down, I'll certainly be watching the game. I've very much enjoyed your blog all season and will be kicking in some gas money myself.

  21. Dave - Oct 1, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Drive safely, MZ!Thanks to Section 223 for at least trying to identify him/herself here. "Anonymous" is no identifier at all.At least "This is not me posting said…" is an effort to "sign" your post.No, YOU shut up!(Okay, back to the high-school classroom now…)

  22. Anonymous - Oct 1, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    1a,Many teams have their most junior members of the bullpen carry feminine colored backpacks. I thought the Nats did it as well, I could be wrong.

  23. Section 409 - Oct 1, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Mark, Drive safe. I wish I had seen this earlier, because there's an Amtrak the leaves from Burke around 10:30 AM. You coulda taken that.

  24. VladiHondo - Oct 1, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    The pink backpacks are a season long event – bullpenner with least service time carries it out.Alot of teams made their rookies dress up on the way back from Montreal – so they had to go thru customs dressed as Tinkerbell or what-not.

  25. Anonymous - Oct 1, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Dave and sjm105, stop being trolls. Just so you know, the definition of Troll: "One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument."Just so you know (as I think everyone knows), Anonymous is no different than making up a name and calling yourself that, whether it be JayB, 1a, ABM, or you guys. I don't know who you guys are, where you live, what you do for a living and the like. The beauty of the internet is that it makes us all anonymous. If I posted a different name every time, I'd fit YOUR definition of good behavior and would somehow lack anonymity, but the reality is you wouldn't know who the hell I was and I would in essence remain anonymous. So why have handles? Probably because you want to attach importance to your opinions. That's your business and I offer no moral judgment.Personally, I write anonymous because the only person whose opinion matters is Mark. It is HIS blog, not yours or others. Reading your comments are not the reasons why I or most people come to this website. We come because it is the best place to get Nationals news and analysis in the DC area. Period. If we came to read yours or others opinions it wouldn't be called NatsInsider by MARK ZUCKERMAN. That website would be called, unsubstantiated commentary by Nationals fans. When you create that website, you can require all users to have a handle.

  26. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Anony@1:42,Yes, I'm aware of the MLB tradition. I have seen Nats rookies wearing/toting them in years past, so you are correct about them doing it as well.—Anonymous said… 1a, Many teams have their most junior members of the bullpen carry feminine colored backpacks. I thought the Nats did it as well, I could be wrong. October 1, 2010 1:42 PM

  27. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    I also recall reading stories about Nats having to play dress up on road trips in days of yore. I seem to recall something about a French maid outfit – on Church, or Zimm? Oo la la!

  28. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    However, using such persistent pseudonyms distinguishes them from other commenters, so that they are recognized as unique individuals rather than as so much flotsam (or would that be jetsam? natsam?) adrift in the sea of anonymity. :-)—My license plate reads "Anonymous" said… "sjm105 said… the annonymous posters still bother me" What bothers me is that people think throwing up the equivalent of a license plate number on a comment somehow makes them any less anonymous. Unless maybe it is their license plate number. But what state? October 1, 2010 11:40 AM

  29. Big Cat - Oct 1, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    NatsJackHow often do the FIL players play? Keep us up to date on Harper, Solis, Cole, and my skinny sleeper Wort

  30. cadeck13 - Oct 1, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    Mark,It's not just your wonderful writing that keeps us coming back, but also your dedication as demonstrated by treking to Queens for the final series of the year. Thank you, safe travels and I'll kick in some gas cash too :) I really appreciate how you complete our fan experience with this blog….take care!Section 222 – all I do to sign in is "select profile" drop down and pick Name/URL and just type in my name and leave URL blank and post. Hopefully that will work for you too :)

  31. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 1, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    Mark, this last roadtrip of yours is symbolic of the season: You had great plans, but the execution was weak. You're like Riggs: the plan was fine, it was the play that suffered.We all appreciate your skill, knowledge, dedication, sense of humor and amazing tenacity. You have risen above and beyond all season long for all of us. I hope all the toll lanes were smooth, you took the exit at Elizabeth as JoeMkting suggested. Next time, I think we ought to be "on call" to chauffeur you to the Big Apple. As the limo driver says to Al Pacino at the end of "Scent of a Woman": "And next time, I'll give you a rate!"Pleasant travels, and please enjoy the offseason. Nats Insider was the highlight (along with Strasburg's MLB debut!) of my season.Best,John D. SchulzBethesda, Md.

  32. Section 223 - Oct 1, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Thanks for the information on signing in. I guess I'm still somewhat annonymous. Let me introduce myself. The state I'm from is generally confusion. I like pitcher's duels, Newcastle beer, and monster home runs from Dunn. Love the improved infield defense as well as a new catcher for the future, and I look forward to each spring because I hate being cold. I also like Mark's writing because it seems to be a good jumping off point for discussions.

  33. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 1, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    Hi all,Made it safe and sound to Citi Field. Really had no troubles at all with the drive. Made it door to door in 4 1/2 hours, which must be a record or something. Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement and support!Game thread and lineups to be posted shortly…

  34. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    Pleased to meet you, 223. Glad that you made it safe and sound, Mark (and without any speeding tickets).

  35. sjm105 - Oct 1, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    223: nice to have you aboard – while I am upset there is no Guinness at the Park, the Newcastle draft has been a nice surprise and its the first beer station up from 105. Our defense is only going to get better, we can only hope Dunn signs and hope does "spring" eternal.Go Nats

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 59 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.0
MIAMI 67 70 11.0
NEW YORK 65 74 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 14.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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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