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The offseason plan

Oct 4, 2010, 3:00 PM EST

So, the season's over. Players have dispersed around the world, from Northern California (Drew Storen) to the Netherlands (Roger Bernadina). Mike Rizzo is preparing to go to Viera, Fla., to watch some instructional league games. Stan Kasten is preparing to vacate his office and move back to Atlanta before embarking on whatever is next in his professional career.

Everyone has plans for the offseason, including yours truly.

Before I get to that, let me just say one last time how much I enjoyed covering this season. The interesting storylines on the field helped make that possible, but not nearly as much as all of you did. The daily interaction I had with you loyal readers, whether through comments on the site, email, Twitter or face-to-face at the ballpark, was the real highlight of the season. It made for an experience I'd never had before in 12 years as a professional sportswriter, and it's what kept me going every day for the last eight months through all the highs and lows of a baseball season.

And there were plenty of highs and lows for the Nationals over the course of 162 games. I'm proud to say I witnessed 129 of those games in person (69 at home, 60 on the road) plus another 25 at spring training, and I'm humbled to say that wouldn't have been possibleRead more »

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    And I can't thank you enough for providing this forum. It has been a real pleasure reading your posts and taking part in the discussions with so many people that have this common love of the Nats and baseball in general.

  2. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Thanks, Mark. It's been a pleasure, and I'm happy to hear that the Hot Stove will be up and running in these parts.

  3. Jenn Jenson - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Thank you, Mark.Loved your mix of news and analysis. It was exactly the combination I hoped for. Fine, fine job.

  4. Pilchard - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Thanks Mark! Any word on how Bryce Harper is doing in Viera? Have not heard anything since his first game.

  5. Janner33 - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    Thanks Mark for finally providing a place for like minded fans to get together and vent, celebrate and offer opinions. This season was all the more fun because of it! Keep up the fantastic work!

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    He's hit two homeruns but having trouble adjusting to the breaking ball. Everbody pounds him with fastballs and when they get ahead in the count, lock him up with the breaking stuff. He was much better making adjustments in his second week and I'll watch him again Friday and Saturday this week.The homerun he hit Friday was crushed 430' or so and the one he hit last Wednesday was an opposite field job into the wind.

  7. Big Cat - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Yes Mark… was a pleasure to find your site and read it every day and comment. Thank you again

  8. Big Cat - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    NatsJack…..Remember about Solis and Cole too. I think the thing we have to remember about Harper is……17 years old

  9. ronnie d - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    i have enjoyed your info and outlooks this year and look forward to more of your fine work.congrats and continued success

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    I got to sit with Solis and Robbie Ray on Saturday as they worked the gun and charted pitches. Needless to say, I had a blast getting to know them. I'll share some of the stuff we discussed when I have more time to post.Solis has been solid and I'll get to watch him Saturday against the Braves.

  11. dryw - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    Mark,I'm so glad to hear that I won't have to do without my Nats Insider fix all winter! Thanks.

  12. dj in Fl. - Oct 4, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Hey NatsJack I was tinking of heading over to the Atlanta game Thursday. Are the Braves playing in Kissimmee?Glad you will continue through the offseason Mark. I am counting on lots of positive FO developments to discuss.

  13. cadeck13 - Oct 4, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Mark,Thank you for completing our fan experience. This site has really been rewarding and I am really thankful that you went out on limb and started it and I'm really grateful to everyone here who contributed their support to make it all possible. I think back to 2005 when I was so hungry for baseball and nothing like this existed – necessity is the mother of invention. My cable company at the time didn't even carry the games except the occasional Sat/Sun on Channel 50 and now here we are. Wow!I look forward to your winter coverage and my hope springs eternal for 2011!I've really learned a lot from you and from all of the commenters here and I'm proud to be part of the Natsinsider family.NatsJack – thanks for the updates from FL and I'm looking forward to your post about getting to know Solis & Ray!

  14. LoveDaNats - Oct 4, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Mark,Thank you again for a wonderful year! I'm glad you will be continuing in the off season (after I googled "Hot Stove League"………I learn something new everyday). I look forward to what's next for the Nats and look forward to reading your story "Nats Sign Dunn". (It's not lookin' good, is it?)

  15. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 4, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Mark,You just made my day, knowing that you will remain on top of things during the offseason. Your top-notch reporting, commentary and analysis is off-the-charts good. We are blessed and very grateful to have you on the case. Have a great, healthy, happy offseason to you — and all the great NI contributors.

  16. Traveler8 - Oct 4, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    In other news, Minaya and Manuel are out. To the Mets' great credit, they seem to have sent the news to their fan base first – I have an e-mail from them (on their list from having bought tickets to Citifield in the past) as of 11:54 am. The posted time on the ESPN story is 12:19 pm.

  17. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 4, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    Mark sez: "Stan Kasten is preparing to vacate his office and move back to Atlanta before embarking on whatever is next in his professional career."I hear there's an opening in the used car sales department at Ourisman Chevrolet…

  18. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    There's also an opening as MLB president and chief operating officer as of Oct. 31. I'm just saying…

  19. P. Cole - Oct 4, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Mark Zuckerman for MVP!

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    dj in Florida….. They are playing at one of the side fields at Wide World of Sports(usually field #14 closest to the Hdcp Parking lot) but you have to go to the ticket booth and get a special pass that allows you in for free otherwise, you pay Disney $13.50 for something free.Game starts promptlty at 1:00 PM.I'll be in Viera Friday and Saturday for those games.

  21. Sec3MySofa - Oct 4, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Love you too, kid; glad you're sticking around.Is Roger going back to the Netherlands, in Europe, or Curaçao? Just curious.

  22. Ed in Alexandria - Oct 4, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Now that Stan Kasten is gone the Nats would seem to need a baseball person to be in overall charge of the operation. Meanwhile, Cal Ripken sits within commuting distance of Nationals Park, wanting a team to run in order to put to use his lifetime of baseball knowledge and dedication to doing things the right way. I can't think of a better match. I'm sure Cal would rather run the Orioles, but that does not seem likely to happen as long as Angelos owns the team. Now that Cal's kids are getting older I understand he is itching to get back into Major League Baseball and, absent an opportunity with the Orioles, I would think the Nats would be an attractive opportunity to him for a couple of reasons. First, they are close to home. Second, the Nats represent the closest thing there is to a blank slate on which Cal could place his imprint. Cal, of course, is the primary disciple of what used to be called the "Oriole Way," which was developed by his father, and served as the basis of decades of success in Baltimore. I can't think of anyone I would rather see determine the "Nationals Way."

  23. BethesdaFan - Oct 4, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Mark –My wife and I read your blog (several times!) each day — even when we were traveling in Europe this summer for 3 weeks. Thank you (and the commentators — right now especially "NatsJack in Florida").BethesdaFan

  24. DebbiTaylor - Oct 4, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Thanks for the coverage, Mark. Top notch reporting and your passion for the game shines through your reporting. Thanks for making a miserable team enjoyable to read about.

  25. rmoore446 - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    I've enjoyed your commentary and the debating, cheering, booing, and arguing fan community that has blossomed on your blog. I am so happy and relieved that this will continue through the off season and into the next season.

  26. citizen16 - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    Mark,I found your blog the day after the Opening Day debacle this year, and I've read it almost every day all summer (multiple times most days). I agree with what so many others have said about your writing…it's great. This is easily the best source about the Nationals anywhere.

  27. Steve M. - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    I am a stat geek but have also loved the intangibles of the game that just don't show up on a score card.You have done a great job of giving us news, updates and opinions as well as the format to sometimes debate the points.Great job!

  28. CapPeterson - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Mark,Had me worried with your talk about "plans for the offseason" at the top. Much relieved to find out that covering the Nats will be an important part!Thanks for your great coverage this year!

  29. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    I'm curious Natsjack. Do you think Solis is capable of getting to the majors at some point next year? Or is he a 2-3 year project?

  30. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    To clarify, that would be the position as Bud Selig's right-hand man, not a position in the Nats' FO.—natsfan1a said… There's also an opening as MLB president and chief operating officer as of Oct. 31. I'm just saying… October 4, 2010 12:39 PM

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    If Solis continues to dominate in Arizona as he has in Florida, I expect he'll follow a similar (but under the radar) path as Strasburg. He's that polished. AA, AAA then the big club in June.I also expect we'll be seeing A.J. Morris in DC sometime next season as well.

  32. nicefellow31 - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    I posted previously about how much I appreciated your work. Glad to see that it will continue. I think blogs like yours will help make baseball popular in D.C. and grow the fan base. Enjoy your time off away from the ballpark and thanks again for sharing your insight with us.

  33. sjm105 - Oct 4, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    This has nothing to do with the Nationals. Just finished reading all the comments with Mark getting a deserved "well done" and only ONE Anonymous among all the posts. Maybe everyone is figuring out how to sign in.Thanks again Mark and I am hoping it will be a great hot stove league for the Nats

  34. NatsFan2005 - Oct 4, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Just got to the main story, and I must express my joy at being freed of my greatest anxiety for the off season: what happens to Nats Insider. Glad you're keeping it going, Mark, since this Hot Stove League promises to be better than last year's, and there's simply no one better at covering the nats than you.

  35. nationals anthems - Oct 4, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Mark – thank you so much for your fine work. I appreciate the effort you have put in covering everything from the closest of close-ups to the 30000-foot overview of the team. I love the persistence, humor, and passion you put into covering this, on the surface, most unrewarding of topics.Zuckerman's 2010(Homage to "Zuckerman's Famous Pig" from the Charlotte's Web soundtrack)Oh wow, look at it now, Zuckerman's 2010Ooh wee, wadidja see? Mark got cash from folks like me!My land, not much of a plan, but it all worked out in the endHarper signed and Strasburg shined, and Mark was there like a friendDoing one terrific radiant humble heckuva job with the penThat's Zuckerman's Zuckerman's Zuckerman's Zuckerman's Zuckerman's….Zuckerman's 2010!And ours too.

  36. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Thanks Nats Jack!Morris in the bullpen? Solis a new left-handed starter? Should be interesting to see.

  37. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    Just because I post anonymously doesn't mean I don't know how to sign in – any more than signing in as sjm105 gives me any clue as to who you are. You're still anonymous.

  38. Ray Knight - Oct 4, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Mark, Good work, as always.BTW, when are we going to get that beer like you promised? Drinking with Bob gets tiresome (he's always pulling out that dang scorebook of his).Cheers mate!

  39. Berndaddy - Oct 4, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Mark thank you for a your wonder coverage of the Nats. As a lurker I appreciate all you do I just don't say it as much as I should. Thx again

  40. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Just because I post anonymously doesn't mean I don't know how to sign in – any more than signing in as sjm105 gives me any clue as to who you are. You're still anonymous.Ditto. I ride my lungta as seems most fitting to me.

  41. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 4, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    nationals anthems: I am speechless. Truly speechless. That was awesome.

  42. Another_Sam - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    Mark — Thanks to your work, this has been the most enjoyable season for me in all the years I've been following baseball. That goes back to the '50s Senators. Thank you very much. I'm in for the off season. Right on regarding highs and lows. For me:Highs: The early season tease of a winning team; seeing Strasburg in the ballpark; seeing the group in Sectin 409 Lows: Strasburg going down; the pitching staff except for Livan; Riggleman's over the top management style;

  43. Harrison - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    I don't have anything creative like a poem to write, just to say you did a great job all season and I'm glad what started out as an experiment turned into a successful venture. Don't be a stranger.

  44. meixler - Oct 4, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Thanks Mark! I made it through my first full season as a baseball fan. I'm not sure that would have happened without this site. Keep up the good work. I can't wait to read about what starting pitcher we sign this offseason and what happens with Adam Dunn. Keep up the good work!How long till spring training?

  45. Matt - Oct 4, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    Just to echo (with less creativity) all the other posters: thank you Mark for great coverage this season. I look forward to continuing to read your work in the offseason.

  46. Doc - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    Great ride MarkMeister. A lot of effort on your part, and a lot of dedication. Nats Insider will only get better and better!Thanks!

  47. Arlington Big Fish - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    Keep up the great work, Mark. When can I sign up for next season's gig?

  48. Section 109 - Oct 5, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    Mark, I am definitely cheered up, despite the end of the season, to know that you will be on the case all year long. It has just been wonderful to read your blog, and the comments, all season long (even though I can't get to it at work because my office blocks blogspots). I can't remember who said that he would be at spring training in one of the Insider t-shirts, but once I saw that, I got around to ordering one myself. Thank you Mark! Looking forward to the hot stove and then next season. And BTW, part of the reason I checked in from Italy in September was that this blog feels like home.

  49. SBrent - Oct 5, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Great news! So glad to hear that you're in this for the long haul! This blog has been the best Nats coverage from day one.

  50. jp23 - Oct 5, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    You know, the Nats are not my #1 (the Cubs are), but I found myself checking this site as religiously as the Cubs site I normally check. It's a testament to what a wonderful site this is and I look forward to continuing to check this site in the offseason and next year.Thank you for an outstanding site!!

  51. Jim Hoy - Oct 5, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Since April, Zuckerman and Boswell have been my go to's for the Nats. Thank you, Mark for this web site and your top notch reporting, analysis, and commentary. I couldn't be happier to find out it will continue. And now that I have a new job, I will be able to become a supporter of this site, and plan a visit to spring training.Thanks again, Mark, and Mrs. Z.Go Nats!

  52. SonnyG10 - Oct 5, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Mark,Thanks for all the wonderful writings you posted for us this season and I really look forward to reading your off season blogs. It will help get me through the long winter until its spring training time again.Thanks NatsJack in Florida for the updates on our guys in Flordia.

  53. boteman - Oct 6, 2010 at 2:01 AM

    Great coverage, Mark. Time to pass the hat around to keep warm this Winter. There will be lots of stuff to cover and you are the only real journalist covering the Nationals as far as I have been able to determine.Hey look! I figured out how to identify myself without signing in. Who'd a thunk it?

  54. Xanax - Jan 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    Thank you again for a wonderful year! I'm glad you will be continuing in the off season





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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 Click here for past audio clips.

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