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Viera or bust … again

Feb 14, 2011, 2:31 PM EDT

Well, it's that time once again. Across Florida and Arizona, infields are being carefully raked, BP jerseys are being hung inside clubhouses and pitchers and catchers from every organization are reporting for spring training.

Guess what, everyone: It's baseball season. And if that doesn't bring a smile to your face, I don't know what will.

In Viera, the Nationals officially report tomorrow, though plenty of players have been trickling in for several days trying to get a jump on the proceedings. As for your humble beat writer, I'll be reporting later today (flying down to Orlando this afternoon, then making the short drive to Viera) and will be on-site at Space Coast Stadium first thing tomorrow morning.

Unlike last year, my trek should be simple. No dealing with traffic on Interstate 95. No fine dining at the Shoney's in Manning, S.C. Now that I'm working full-time for CSNwashington.com, I get to fly (coach, notRead more ยป

  1. nicefellow31 - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Hey Mark. Cheer up when you are on video. Your big time now, no need to have the sad face.

  2. Nats Rising - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Mark,What a difference a year makes! We hope that the Nats' 2011 improvement will be commensurate with the leap you have made in your employment circumstances.

  3. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    A real option to flying or driving is the Amtrak Car Train (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer/AM_Route_C/1241245666320/1237405732511); if your going down 7 days or more, the cost saving on a rent a car could be worth it.

  4. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    What? No fancy-schmancy sign this year? Gosh, I love those three words ("pitchers and catchers" not "Viera or bust")Seriously, have a good, safe trip. Hubby and I are looking forward to our first ST trip next month.

  5. Positively Half St. - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    I am relieved that Spring Training is finally here, and disappointed that we didn't land a top pitcher to allow for some real optimism. The price for Greinke would have been crazy, but we would all be pumped up if he were here to front the rotation. I'm still hoping against hope that Rizzo can pull off a surprise trade which improves our chances of a .500 season.+1/2St.

  6. markfd - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Have a safe trip, I will be down next Friday the 25th. I have a couple of questions concerning the 1st exhibition game on the 28th:1) is everyone traveling to Port St. Lucie for the 1st game?2) what time will the team likely depart Space Coast Stadium and when will they arrive in Port St Lucie?

  7. John C. - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    It's going to be near 60 today, it's Valentine's Day, and pitchers and catchers report. I don't see how anyone can be expected to work under these conditions :)

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    I'll see you Friday and Sunday, Mark. Maybe we can hook up for a cup of coffee before hitting the fields either day.

  9. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    Mark, this is great. Glad you get to fly!

  10. gino - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    don't knock shoney's. if your cholesterol number doesn't have a comma in it when you leave, you didn't get your money's worth. all you can eat at prices that save you some money for lipitor. have a great trip

  11. phil dunn - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Message from here in paradise (Vero Beach)—Dodgertown is a Ghost-town. How sad!!!!!!!!!

  12. N. Cognito - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Mark – I expect you to research and answer ALL of JayB's questions, to his staisfaction (agreeing with his predetermined opinion), before he has to ask them for a 3rd time (by the third time, it's actually a demanding, condescending tone) within a single thread.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    phil dunn….I was by there Saturday. You are correct that it's pretty sad. I used to love going to games there. I guess the Chinese are the only ones signed up to use the complex.

  14. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    http://dave-andriesen.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22297882/27496134This is interesting. Harper feels most comfortable in CF. That could change many dynamics going forward.

  15. Theophilus - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Read your CSN post. "Refocused" Nyjer? It strikes me we have heard nothing from mgt this winter that says, "We know Nyjer got the message and we are confident he will show up with his head on straight." Of course, we'll know for sure the first time he wanders off first base too far, or throws behind a runner, but does anybody know if he's done anything constructive this winter, like bounce a tennis ball off a plywood wall, or has he just hibernated in Alberta with his head in an igloo?

  16. LoveDaNats - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Mark,I have been waiting all winter for baseball to begin again. It feels so long ago that you left DC for ST last year with nary an idea of what NatsInsider would become. Congrats again on working full time for CSN. How does it feel to go to the "show"?

  17. Wally - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Mark – harking back to one of your earlier posts, one thing visible to the eye that would be interesting to know – what kind of shape is Livan in? A lot was made last year of his offseason exercise program (racquetball, I think), and then he followed up with a fine season. He also seemed (to me) to put some of the weight back on as the season wore on. I would be curious to know what kind of shape he he comes in this year.

  18. Mark'd - Feb 14, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Wally, I agree with your observations on Livan. He started off as an invigorated "30 something" and seemed to gain weight and lose a lot of energy as the year went on.With Maya, Detwiler, and Chien Ming Wang in the wings I would hope Rizzo doesn't allow for physical complacency as the season moves on.

  19. David - Feb 14, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    How come Milone isn't getting a major league camp invite? On another note, I'm really looking forward to seeing if Corey Brown can push our OF'ers in ST.

  20. Big Cat - Feb 14, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Nats Jack…..keep me posted on these guys if you can. Marrero, Cole Kimball, Corey Brown and Henry Rodrigez. Also, I feel Colin Balester is a sleeper in the pen. This is his last gasp with us. I am hoping Corey Brown can step up and push ol Knucklehead out of centerfield. Gonna be real interesting with this Rodriguez. There has to be a reason why a club trades a guy throwing 98-100 mph. We'll see. I have high hopes for the youngster AC Cole. Just 18, but looks extremely poised. Maybe he'll come to Potomac with Harper

  21. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 14, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Big Cat… Not a problem. I should be able to see all but maybe Marrero as I do not think of him as an early arrival. I'm sure Brown will report with the pitchers and catchers.I also look forward to seeing if there is any improvement in Norris defensively.The knock on Rodriguez was command. He appears to have learned that every pitch doesn't have to top 100. When he stays in the 96 – 98 range his command is much better. All this started to show towards the end of last season and carried through Winter Ball in the Carribean.A.J. Cole has some physical maturing to do. I look forward to seeing if he's filled out any over the off season.

  22. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Looks like a very interesting spring with more promise than those in the past. If the young infielders can mature quickly and Morgan can keep his head on straight good things can happen. Also, as long as the pitching staff can keep the injuries to just nagging things and everyday soreness I think a 10 game jump from last season is doable. JTinSC

  23. NattyLite - Feb 14, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    that ad before the video was awful…come on csn

  24. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    It does look like the best Spring roster since 2005 so if the Nats just have some good luck and the ball bounces right for them it could be a good year.Anything over 75 wins will be a +/+ though the biggie is Strasburg's recovery and some real progress with the Nats Top 15 prospects which is the real future.

  25. NervousNatsFan - Feb 14, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Mark, I have to say that you didn't make a high end "Viera or bust" sign this year – new posterboard, perhaps? You can pull out all the stops now that you're full time!

  26. sec3 - Feb 14, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Nervous, he doesn't have to sleep on the sign, this year. That may explain it.

  27. hondo69 - Feb 14, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    NatsJack — How about a first-hand scouting report on the Mets after your visit to St. Lucie? That situation is going to be fun to watch all season. Thanks!!

  28. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 14, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    I'll be there on Saturday for a first hand look. I can tell you that they have a good feeling about Chris Young. Oliver Perez…. not so much.But I will let you know what I see and what I hear.

  29. BinM - Feb 14, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    A small thing, but is the team ever going to announce the DFA/Release/??? that clears the roster spot for Gorzelanny? It's been nearly a month now, and the 40-man still contains 41 players.

  30. Theophilus - Feb 14, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    BinM — That does seem curious, doesn't it?

  31. JayB - Feb 15, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    gee wonder who pointed this issue out already?

  32. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    I confess. It was I who pointed out this issue already. The issue of JayB's stupidity, of course.

  33. JayB - Feb 15, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    ABM…does this ever get old for you?

  34. Sec3 my sofa - Feb 15, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    cuz it got old for a lot of us a looooong [AB] time ago.

  35. TMI, dude - Feb 15, 2011 at 3:57 AM

    With JayB it's always a BM this or a BM that. Would you please get over your bowel fixation, dude? Move on to something else.

  36. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2011 at 4:09 AM

    Speaking of moving on …

  37. J. Fred Muggs - Feb 15, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    nicefellow31 said… Hey Mark. Cheer up when you are on video. Your big time now, no need to have the sad face.*********************Couldn't get the videos on my phone, just now seeing them. You'll relax with practice, I know, but good gracious do you look nervous! Tuck your jacket under your butt, it won't ride up, and you'll tend to sit up straight. And button the jacket. See if they'll give you a chair without arms, so you aren't forced to hunch your shoulders with your elbows on it–bad for posture and voice both–makes you look more nervous. Look straight at the camera, don't peek at it sideways–that looks shifty. You'll be good at this.

  38. JayB - Feb 15, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. JayB - Feb 15, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    ABM….just one example of a 5 year track record of acting like a middle school boy….again…does this ever get old to you?http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2008/10/the_quiet_international_signin.htmlThose of us you have been around and talking baseball know your posts no matter which of 100's of ID's you use …just post about baseball and not the opposite of what someone says with a personal attack and your attempt at Juvenal bathroom humor added…..is it sad really.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Still 41 names on the 40 man roster. I'm sure a move will be announced by tomorrow.If not, maybe I get A.J. Morris back. (But at this stage, I'd prefer Gorzolaney.)

  41. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Anybody besides me read the Kilgore article this AM on Nyjer Morgan and read that there does not seem to be much hope for a change?I'll find out Friday when I ask him what he see's as correct about goinf 4' outside the base line to attack a catcher and then getting tagged out because you never touched home? I can't wait for the profanity laced response I get.

  42. Wally - Feb 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    NatsJack – I agree that his refusal to see anything wrong in his actions against STL and FLA was bad, but I thought that the rest of his quotes were pretty good. He admitted his immaturity last year and said contract was distracting him. Seems plausible that he let that get in his head.It doesn't mean that he will turn it around this year, but I think that it is a good start so far – in camp early, apparently worked hard this offseason, acknowledged his immaturity and out of control baserunning last year. It is a hopeful sign for a guy that could have a huge impact on our season.I look forward to getting your firsthand take on him, though.

  43. JayB - Feb 15, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    you nailed it NJack….sorry I will miss that moment

  44. I stayed in a Holiday Inn last night - Feb 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Someone mentioned the other day that JayB may be posting while stoned. In my concerted medical opinion, I fear that may indeed be the case. He's exhibiting all the symptoms. Incoherence, manic bursts of activity followed by extended periods of withdrawal, wild rants verging on paranoia about this ABM person or thing. Anyone else think an intervention may be in order?

  45. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    My only problem with JayB is the constant harping on historical mistakes and his propensity for projecting them on current and future decisions. That and his extreme dislike for the Lerners in general.Oh yea… also the conspiracy theories that pop up every now and then.Other than that, he's not much different than the rest of us.

  46. sec3mysofa - Feb 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Yes, I'm ready to ask Mark to delete this nonsense as soon as you post it. Take it outside.

  47. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 15, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    NatsJack – Can't argue with any thing you said.He reads a conversation between 2 intelligent posters and tells one of them he is wrong with regards to Dukes and Winter ball with Licey after the 2009 season to get ready for 2010. Someone states a fact and he tries to tell them they are wrong when they were right. So "I stayed in a Holiday Inn last night" may be close to what is wrong with him.JayB just adds tired observations that usually aren't backed up but since they are "his" observations like Derek Norris's defensive ability, others start believing it is the truth and believe there is a problem with Norris and his defense. I read Bob Boone said how well Norris has done defensively so who am I going to believe?Then like you said NatsJack, the Lerner rants is just old stuff. Sure they are far from perfect but harping on what they did or didn't do with Jim Bowden isn't going to change things now and picking Smoker and McGeary are the past too.

  48. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    TGTANP (thank G*d there's a new post).

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.5
NEW YORK 75 80 16.0
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 20.0
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's early games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 3.0
ST. LOUIS 87 68 4.0
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.5 +0.5
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 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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