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Catching up with the ex-Times

Jan 1, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

New Year's is a time of celebration, of new beginnings, new endeavors and renewed hope.

One year ago, though, it marked the end of an era. On January 1, 2010, The Washington Times published its final sports section, a development that left myself and about two dozen colleagues unemployed, and left D.C. sports fans with one less outlet from which to get their news.

Twelve months later, we've all moved on. Several former Times staffers have gotten jobs at other newspapers. Several have been hired by websites. Some have used the layoff as an opportunity to shift into new professions. A few, unfortunately, are still seeking full-time employment.

Overall, though, I think it's impressive that so many ex-Times folks have gone on to bigger and better things, especially in the current economic (and journalistic) climate. If nothing else, it confirms to me just how talented our staff was, and how short-sighted the Times was in eliminating the entire department. (The paper, by the way, recently announced intentions to re-install a sports section, perhaps finally seeing the error of its ways.)

On this, the one-year anniversary of our final sports section at The Washington Times, I wanted to provide an update of the staff's current whereabouts. We may no longer work together as a team, butRead more ยป

  1. natsfan1a - Jan 1, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Thanks for the update, Mark. I'm grateful that when that door closed other doors opened for you and your colleagues, including the one to Nats Insider, my #1 go-to baseball news source.Best wishes to you and Mrs. Z. for the New Year, and to your colleagues, particularly those who are still in search of opportunities.

  2. JaneB - Jan 1, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    What natsfan1a said!

  3. Navy Nats Fan - Jan 1, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Mark – Recently found this blog, long time Nats Fan, first time poster. When will you update the blog subscription process for the 2011 season? Your posts have been so much better than anything else during the hot stove season – I'd like to support you!

  4. Doc - Jan 1, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Long Live THE NATS INSIDER!!!! And a Healthy and Happy New Year for Mark and Rachel!

  5. Theophilus - Jan 1, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    I always read the Times sports pages first. The substance seemed always superior to the other paper, especially after they shuffled all their senior writers into retirement and replaced them with people who probably don't know the difference between the infield fly rule and bugs that swarm the pitcher's mound in Cleveland. As the size of the sports pages shrinks, they seem conscious of their vulnerability and generally unwilling to go beyond official press releases and "sound" bites. Maybe pitching to an Internet-addicted ADHD-afflicted audience.W/ all due respect to your gig at Comcast, their priorities seem to be (1) cover Caps and Wizards; (2) try to catch the tail end of the Redskins wave; (3) compose stories that can be read in front of a camera in 30 seconds or less.Hence I congratulate you on your tenacious service and hope your personal business model is a success. Baseball is the most complex team sport and deserves the most insightful coverage.

  6. LoveDaNats - Jan 1, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Happy New Year to you and Mrs.Z! Thank you for almost a year of wonderful writing and timely Nats news. I'm optimistic for our new season, just like last year. I guess that's what being a Nats fan is all about.What Navy Nats fan said………there are many of us who would like to do it again this year.

  7. sjm 308 - Jan 1, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Happy New Year Mark and I also appreciate how much enjoyment and information you provided each and every day!Thanks for the updates, especially on the Black Squirrel. Looks like my kind of place with different beers on each floor. He carries Great Lakes which is one of my favorites, I will have to push him to get Stone and Ommegang as well. Wish he was in Silver Spring but with their outrageouus Liquor Laws I certainly understand. Looks like a road trip for my retired buddy and I can only hope there will be baseball talk at the bar.Can you please speed Rizzo up on the LaRoche deal? Thanks and againHappy New YearGo Nats

  8. Mark L - Jan 1, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Thanks, Mark, for bringing such a human element to such things. It's what makes this site special.

  9. NatBiscuit - Jan 1, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Some people get them, some miss them, and some make them. You Sir made your opportunity with this blog and we congratulate you for not sitting on the idea and letting it get away. We are all much richer for your creativity, tenacity, work ethic, and talent. I know way back at the beginning I said I was not looking for a long term commitment, but I'm ready to buy the milk and take out the trash when the 2011 subscription renewal comes due. I'm ready to commit. Thanks for the great coverage, superior writing, and insight.

  10. beiden - Jan 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    I hate to confess I never ever read the Times, so didn't know what I was missing. I have so enjoyed following you and Ben Goessling in the past year – you are my go to guys for quality information and analysis on the Nats. I especially have to hand it to you, since you created your own job and have applied your connections, skills, tenacity, and personality to create an important independent place for yourself and your followers. And you did it without the whining which would have been understandable. I am only sorry I didn't notice the part about how I could support Nats Insider until so late in the year. I went from a stakeholder to a shareholder, but either way, I have appreciated all you have done to help feed my insatiable appetite for quality Nat's reporting. Thank you – and may 2011 be easier and more financially rewarding for you.

  11. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 1, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Thanks, as always, for all the kind words. For those of you asking about the plan for 2011, I'm hoping to reveal details in the next week or two. Stay tuned…

  12. SonnyG10 - Jan 1, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Mark, I would like to echo all the nice things the previous bloggers have said and I look forward to hearing about the plan for 2011. Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Z.Sonny

  13. The Herndon Kid - Jan 1, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Mark:A happy new year to you and your family. Thanks for the great coverage of the Nats.

  14. mjr - Jan 1, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Happy New Year to all and I'm happy to know that most of the Times' staff landed on their feet after being so unceremoniously dumped a year ago. This has nothing to do with today's post but had to be shared immediately. Reading through a recent Christmas acquisition, National Geographic's "Baseball as America" I came across the following quoted advertisement. Apparently, the Nats have been looking for a 1st baseman for a VERY long time.American Chronicle of Sports and Pastimes: July 2, 1868. "Notice to First Basemen — The National Club of Washington are looking for a first baseman about here. They have been to Brooklyn, but they were not successful in obtaining one. Terms – First-rate position in the Treasury Department: must work in the Department until three o'clock, and then practise at base ball until dark."I wonder if Adam Dunn would have accepted a contract that included a guaranteed job at the Treasury Department?

  15. Anonymous - Jan 1, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    Mark.What happened to the outdoor writer. I always liked him.

  16. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 1, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Anon: I believe Gene Mueller is retired. Though I'm sure he's still catching as many fish as ever! :)

  17. Traveler8 - Jan 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Just to echo the others, so glad you are writing for us, and you are certainly my go-to source on baseball. Thanks much, and best wishes to you and Mrs. Z for 2011. I plan to re-up my subscription just as soon as you pass on the info for the plan.

  18. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 2, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Let's all head to Tom Knott's Bar. Do we get free drinks if we can identify ourselves as Nats Insiders? And does he offer the double-bourbon and Maalox during ninth-inning save situations?

  19. mikefrandsen - Jan 2, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    Thanks for the update on what the old sportswriters from the Times are up to. To me, the Times sports page of the last 20 years was legendary. Even though the Post was a much better overall paper, the Times sports columnists were clearly better than those from the Post — no contest. It seemed like the Post writers were so vanilla and the Times writers were really willing to criticize teams and players when they deserved it, and also were much better at humor. The Post was often like a PR machine for the teams, with fluffy writing. Boswell is great on baseball and good on football but other than that the Times writers were much better than those from the Post.Daly, Elfin, Loverro, Heller, Knott and others were like a Murderers Row of writers who knew D.C. sports. I love listening to Loverro on WTEM since he's one of the few smart hosts on both stations. Elfin did great work in leading the charge for Art Monk to make the Hall of Fame, which he richly deserved.

  20. Section 109 - Jan 2, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    Here's another enthusiastic reader ready to sign up for 2011. Thanks for the great coverage in 2010, Mark, and thanks to everyone who comments on the Nats Insider.

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    I would also like to associate myself with the comments of my esteemed colleagues, and in particular echo the enthusiasm of 109.

  22. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Mark — from your perch as an insider at the WT: how did you see the paper's overt slant promulgated and enforced? [Probably not in pushed down to the sports sections, but I guess you felt it? did you go into the office or were you a telecommuter.}

  23. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 2, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Honestly, it was never an issue for me. I never once was asked or told to write a story with any political slant. Not that there often are political slants in sports stories. I also spent very little time at the paper's office. My office was (and continues to be) the ballpark during the season and my home during the offseason.

  24. N. Cognito - Jan 2, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Never read the Examiner. Just always read the Post – habit I guess.The only Examiner sports writer I got familiar with was Loverro. After reading him, I saw no reason to even include the Examiner's sports page in my bookmarks. My loss. I missed out on Mark.

  25. sjm 308 - Jan 2, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Sunshine:great idea! name the date and time and lets see how many "insiders" can make it – I don't need your drink of choice but it would be fun to sit around and talk baseball in a live setting

  26. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Jan 3, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    @sjm 308: We've just GOT to do a Nats Insider Meet and Greet. I'd love to meet a few of you guys and ladies, NCognito and JaneB, and all the rest. Let's see what the winter holds, and maybe we can all hoist a few together, somewhere.

  27. Rob Dibble's Ghost - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:35 AM

    Two things…1) MLBTR reports, courtesy of Jon Heyman, that the Nats offered Greinke a "big" contract extension to entice him to come to DC, but he still turned the offer down.2) Is there any word on the status of the radio and TV deals for 2011? Who's going to replace Dibble on MASN? Also, I believe the radio deal with Bonneville that had the Nats relegated to 1500AM, which cannot be picked up west of the Beltway at night, is now over. Will they renew, or might we hear the Nats on 106.7, or maybe 980 (which wouldn't be a good idea when you consider who owns that station)? Whatever the frequency, I hope Charlie and Dave are back. Any updates would be appreciated!

  28. Sunderland - Jan 3, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    "MLBTR reports, courtesy of Jon Heyman, that the Nats offered Greinke a "big" contract extension to entice him to come to DC, but he still turned the offer down."That's good to know.I'm not sure I'd have liked the deal, but it's good to know Rizzo went hard after what he wanted.A trade like that, where you give up a load of your better prospects, should also have included the extension, otherwise two years of Greinke would have been exceptionally expensive.

  29. natsfan1a - Jan 3, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    As I recently posted over on NJ: Federal News Radio expanded Nats coverage to 107.7 FM HD-2 last May. I got an HD radio for my b-day in October but by then the games were over, so I haven't listened to the Nats on it yet. However, I can now pick up WAMU bluegrass broadcasts that are no longer available via the non-HD FM station, and that's a plus for me. That said, hope that the Nats can improve the signal for non-HD listeners as well.http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=283&sid=1962491

  30. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    106.7 FM has its own issues when it comes to coverage area. While it can be picked up well west of the city, it's hard to pick up to the north and the east – almost the direct opposite of 1500 AM. Actually, a combination of the two frequencies would be ideal, but since they are owned by different companies that can't happen.Supposedly the radio deal was one of the last projects Kasten was going to undertake as he left the president job. He's probably working it, but given the radio station situation here (large broadcasting companie like CBS and Citadel controlling multiple stations each) it can't be easy to put together a combo of stations that will provide adequate coverage across the entire metro area. Snyder tried to do it by buying statoins to create his own network, and that didn't work either.I've actually found that the best way to get the radio broadcasts of games is to use the MLB At Bat app on my iPhone. It only cost $14.99 for the whole season last year.

  31. TimDz - Jan 3, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    FWIW, I have Sat-Rad through XM and they have all the home team feeds for MLB and the NHL. If you don't mind listening to the other team's play by play guys when the Nats are on the road (I personally like hearing what the other guys are like in comparison), it beats having to listen to static in your car…

  32. N. Cognito - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    TimDz said… "it beats having to listen to static in your car…"How long have you been married?

  33. natsfan1a - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    http://instantrimshot.com/

  34. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Thanks for the update, Mark. I don't care much about golf, but I'd read anything Barker Davis wrote about it because it was just so informative and entertaining. Like this blog. Happy new year, and best of luck with your writing in 2011.Tom M.

  35. Jim Webster - Jan 3, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Great update, Mark. I should have been reading you guys all along, but I could never overcome the Moon image in order to do so. My loss. I look forward to contributing to this year's NI.

  36. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 3, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    For those interested, an update on this: Corey Masisak announced today he has accepted a full-time job at NHL.com. He'll continue covering the Caps through January 14, then is moving to New York to begin working for NHL.com.

  37. Wee Willy Safire - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Mark, I love the blog, and I always enjoy your thoughtful, fun, funny analysis and info.But goddamnit, you're a writer — and you're a sinner!You wrote in this post: a development that left myself and about two dozen colleagues unemployed, That's wrong. You should have written a development that left me and about two dozen colleagues unemployed,Don't fall into this idiom anymore, mister Z — it's beneath you to write like a sportscaster speaks. . . .

  38. N. Cognito - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    He also says "anyways" (cringe), but he's 100 times better than Boswell.

  39. Gene - Jan 18, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Mark, please let your people know that Gene Mueller has a new web site up and running. It can be accessed via http://www.genemuellerfishing.com and it features — what else? — fishing, hunting, reports, government regulation changes for outdoorsmen, etc. Gene Mueller

  40. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Gene Mueller lives! Glad to hear you're still writing about the great outdoors. I encourage all of my readers to check out his fantastic site: http://genemuellerfishing.com

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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)...

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