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Vacation time

Jan 10, 2011, 12:00 PM EST

Anyone who follows baseball closely — as you all do — knows there’s really no such thing as the offseason anymore. Teams make news nearly 365 days a year, and the Nationals have certainly kept busy since last setting foot on a major-league diamond.

So there’s really no perfect time for beat writers to take vacation, much as we try to schedule our time off during what we project will be uneventful stretches. The Nats will probably make some kind of news this week; Adam LaRoche is scheduled to be in town for his introductory press conference at some point, and there are other matters that will crop up.

But even we beat writers are human (believe it or not) and need to take a little time off now and again to refresh our batteries. So you won’t be hearing from me the rest of the week as I attempt to get away from baseball for a few days.

That doesn’t, however, mean you guys should stop following your favorite ballclub, especially if news occurs during my absence. I’m setting up the blog to publish a new post each morning that will allow you to continue the ongoing conversation with each other. I trust you can police yourself and not let the place completely fall apart. Right? Right?

I’ll be back next Monday to catch up on the events of the week and provide details about the coverage plan for the 2011 season.

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Take the necessary time to re-charge, Mark. I'll look for you on Friday, February 18 at Viera as I'll take off from work to visit camp.

  2. Andrew - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Mark, hope you and the Mrs. have a great vacation!

  3. Constant Reader - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    How exciting! You are going on vacation, so something big has got to happen. Like me buying a new snow shovel. Still sitting there unused.Have a wonderful time away.

  4. natscan reduxit - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    … all the best Mark, and get a good rest. While you're away, Rizzo will cook up a great deal for another starting arm, so you'll have lots to do when you get back.Go Mike Rizzo; Go Nats!!

  5. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Mark,Have a blast!

  6. natsfan1a - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    I trust you can police yourself and not let the place completely fall apart. Right? Right?, we'll be okay. But thanks for setting up the "new post" feature, just in case. Have fun and will look forward to hearing about future coverage plans!(Constant, I took one for the team and didn't buy a new snow shovel. I forget – does that prevent snow or guarantee it?)

  7. LoveDaNats - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Have fun on vacation, Mark! Watch this be the week Riggleman gets fired and they trade for Halladay. JK!

  8. Doc - Jan 10, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Have a good one Mark!

  9. Stranded_in_Philly - Jan 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Enjoy Mark! We'll try to behave

  10. Anonymous - Jan 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    One of the players heading to Tampa in the Garza deal is Brandon Guyer. Local kid. Graduated from Herndon High School in 2004 and played with Zimmerman at UVA.Guyer batted .344 with 13 homers and 30 steals at AA last year, playing all three outfield positions.I played against Guyer in high school. He was really good then too.

  11. joemktg - Jan 10, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Give us user rights to the Blog while you're away. We swear we won't muck it up…honest…really.

  12. Jaxpo Nat - Jan 10, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Alright, Mark's gone. Who's bringing the keg?

  13. Anonymous - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    I find it interesting that nothing was heard from Pavano over the past three days. Since Garza is gone, I wonder if Rizzo is back on Pavano. With Mark away, I figure Rizzo will find a way to sign him now.

  14. Berndaddy - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    To quote the philosopher Rodney Dangerfield, " Remember (Mark) look after number one and don't step in number two." Good advice, please have a refreshing vacation…

  15. Steve M. - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Anon @ 10:19, I would rather get Soriano as a closer but would definitely take Pavano given all else with starting pitching hasn't materialized to this point.

  16. DC Tom - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    In Mark's absence, why don't we have a pool on which pitcher the Nats will sign? And since he's not here, we can say that the winner gets a free lunch with Mark.I will pick Jeff Francis.Though I would rather they take a flyer on Justin Duchscherer (though the absence of news and speculation on him indicates that his hip-injury might be career-ending).

  17. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    I am picking Rafael Soriano as I hope Rizzo surprises us again. This has been a nice off-season with no real scrap heap pickups masqueraded as "stars". I am glad the Nats didn't get Derrek Lee as he is also a reclamation guy coming over of a surgery.

  18. markfd - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Mark – Enjoy your well deserved vacation

  19. Knoxville Nat - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    DC Tom,I'll play the game and I'm going with Jeremy Bonderman as my selection although I would prefer Soriano.

  20. SonnyG10 - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Mark, enjoy the time off and thanks for setting up the automatic posts. I look forward to my daily fix.

  21. SonnyG10 - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    NatsJack in Florida, or anyone with knowledge of the Viera area. Are there any good camp grounds near Viera? I am thinking about taking a camping trip to Florida and I would love to see ST.

  22. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 10, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Mark and Mrs. Z: Have a great vacation. Order up a couple drinks with umbrellas in them, on us. Just double the spring training fee. We'll pay!I'll take Jon Rauch (ROWSH) in the free-agent pitcher signing pool.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Not much within a short distance but Jetty Park is a Brevard County campground within 20 to 30 minutes. It's on the south side of Port Canaveral inlet and is on the Ocean.

  24. SonnyG10 - Jan 10, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Thanks NatsJack!

  25. mjr - Jan 10, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Just 1 week? You certainly deserve more since your seasonal duties keep you busy 24 x 7. At any rate, relax and enjoy.

  26. sjm 308 - Jan 10, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    My choice would have been Jeff Francis but just to go with someone not yet named I will throw Millwood out there. He can't have another year as bad as last and you have to give him credit for taking the ball every 5th day. If nothing else, he will eat up innings.Mark, have a great vacation and we will be here when you get backGo Nats!

  27. raymitten - Jan 10, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Enjoy your vacation Mark — its great to have someone on the beat that schedules his vacation at a time not to miss important info (unlike…cough cough…Chico Harlan…cough cough). Hoping you have a second "working" vacation in Viera in a few short weeks. :)

  28. Scooter - Jan 10, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Okay, I'll play.Zach Day.(Nobody called him yet, did they?)((Captcha = bantinis. Hope the Zuckermans enjoy their bantinis on the veranda.))

  29. N. Cognito - Jan 10, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    I suspect Pavano has wanted to re-sign with the Twins all along. Just using the Nats to extract more years and money from the Twins. Pavano's demands probably surpassed what Rizzo was willing to pay about a month ago.

  30. Constant Reader - Jan 10, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Knoxville beat me to him, but I think Bonderman is as good as anyone out there to take a flier on. And since no one else has mentioned him, Dave Bush is a bona fide, big league innings eater. We do need to have someone like that in camp this year just in case all the questions marks (was 2009 an aberration for Marquis, Lannan, and Livo? what happens next for JZimm, Maya and Detwiler?) come up with bad answers.

  31. Les in NC - Jan 10, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Have a Great vacation, Mr. and Mrs. Z! On the pitcher signing, I would like to see Grant Balfour signed. He may cost a draft pick, but I think he would be a good veteran presence in the pen.

  32. DC Tom - Jan 10, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    I was wondering how fast Bonderman would go — I actually think he could do fairly well in the National League.Pitcher Dead Pool StatusDC Tom: Jeff Francis (who needs to start thinking about a bullpen career)Pay to Play: Rafael Soriano (who would be crazy to sign here)Knoxville Nat: Jeremy Bonderman (who is better than his 2010 numbers)Sunshine Bobby Carpenter: Jon Rauch (who, at 32, is younger than you think he is)sjm 308: Kevin Millwood (who, at 36, is also younger than you think he is…but suckier than you remember him being)Scooter: Zach Day (who retired in 2008)Constant Reader: Dave Bush (who should have retired in 2008)Les in NC: Grant Balfour (who has the worst last name for a pitcher ever)Still Available, grab them fast…Brad Penny, Doug Davis, Chris Young, Brian Fuentes, Justin Duchscherer, Pedro Martinez

  33. JD - Jan 10, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Brad Penny

  34. pdowdy83 - Jan 10, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    I wanted Francis or Rauch but just for the sake of playing the game Ill go with Chris Young.

  35. Anonymous - Jan 10, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    DC Tom: I said Pavano first!

  36. meixler - Jan 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Enjoy your vacation Mark. Thanks for all the great work you do.

  37. Dave - Jan 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    I wouldn't mind having Grant Balfour around just for the last-name factor. Hopefully he could keep his walk numbers low with a name like that.

  38. Anonymous8 - Jan 10, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    OK, give me 2nd time around Shawn Hill.

  39. JaneB - Jan 10, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Have a great time…where ever you end up…and remember how much we LOVE WHAT YOU DO.

  40. Andrew - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    I choose Chris Young.Adam Kennedy signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners. Talk about a guys stock falling.

  41. Anonymous - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Alexander Haig just took over this blog… No, wait…

  42. DC Tom - Jan 11, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Very funny, Anonymous claims Carl Pavano. We'll regard that as the opposite of a "field bet" — if Nats sign Pavano, Mark has to buy *all* of us lunch. (Note that I didn't say, "if Nats sign Pavano, we all winners"…that tells you my viewpoint of Pavano).Pitcher Dead Pool StatusDC Tom: Jeff FrancisPay to Play: Rafael SorianoKnoxville Nat: Jeremy BondermanSunshine Bobby Carpenter: Jon Rauchsjm 308: Kevin MillwoodScooter: Zach Day (still retired)Constant Reader: Dave BushLes in NC: Grant BalfourJD: Brad Pennypdowdy83: Chris YoungAnonymous8: Shawn HillAnonymous (Field Bet): Carl PavanoAndrew–Chris Young was already claimed.Come on, someone claim Pedro! Consider it a tribute to our Expos Legacy or something.

  43. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Don't worry, Anon @ 8:31, the sun will come out tomorrow, along with a new post (and you're welcome for the musical earwig). 😉

  44. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Oh, and I'll take Paul Lynde to block…

  45. Andrew - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    I take Randy Johnson from retirement. His gray beard commercial is awesome and his Expos rookie card is cool too.

  46. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:32 AM

    Oh, all right. Here you go: offers you his protection.

  47. SBrent - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    Walter Johnson

  48. Luis - Jan 11, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    Chad Qualls.

  49. sjm 308 - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    great fun and thanks to DC Tom!!See Mark, this is not that hard, we can all survive while you are gone.





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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