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New Year’s resolutions

Jan 2, 2012, 12:00 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Ryan Zimmerman vows to be more careful running the bases in 2012.

And so, at long last, 2012 has arrived. I can no longer refer to how the Nationals performed "this year." Anything that happened in 2011 now took place "last year."

Hope everyone out there had an enjoyable and safe New Year's. And I presume plenty of you have already declared your personal resolutions for 2012.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that several members of the Nationals organization made their own New Year's resolutions. You may, however, be surprised to learn I managed to get my hands on them all and now present them for your amusement…


STEPHEN STRASBURG: Keep the ball down in the zone, the pitch counts low and save enough bullets for September (or perhaps October).

BRYCE HARPER: Make the decision Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson willRead more »

139 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Nattydread - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    "MIKE RIZZO: Avoid the temptation to do something bold just for the sake of doing something bold. Make all decisions for sound baseball reasons and only for sound baseball reasons."NB Prince Fielder plays "sound baseball".Happy New Year!

  2. JayB - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Happy New Year Mark….As it has been for years…you are the best source for daily Nats fixes. Thank you…..and of course a request.What was the basic consensuses among the Nats brain trust for Jayson Werth looking at so many called third strikes. He just looked like he did not want to be up with the game on the line. That must have worried Rizzo and Johnson more than they will ever say publicly……did you ever get some kind of indication about what was going on? Too many personal batting coaches. Not trusting Eck……Missing this Philly fans…….something was really wrong in his head. Thoughts?

  3. Will - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I'm hoping the Nats marketing department takes note of this resolution. It really is a great time to turn a lot of Washington sports fans into Washington Nationals fans. Come April, everyone is going to be so fed up with the pathetic Wizards/Bullets and amazed at how the Caps found an ever more creative way to underachieve, that they won't even have to consciously turn to the Nats. Here's to hoping for a winning April (and May, June, July, August, September and October too!)

  4. JayB - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

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  5. JayB - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    It would be a good year to go back to Jan Fanfest. Open up the Park and bring in the players. They have had a good long break….One weekend of events will not tax them too much. The window is wide open. Yes it costs money but Mark will tell you they drew well at the season ticket events in Jan in even down years. Imagine what B Harper picture and Q and A events would produce.Any word Mark on Spring Training site moves. I will be in Florida again but I really hope this is the last year for current site. I for one would love AZ…..what difference does an extra few hours on a plane matter. Cost is the same and weather and baseball sites are far better.

  6. ehay2k - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Happy New Year to all. Mark, thanks for the great blog. Your posts are consistently good, and clearly inspire a lot of commentary (and not because we are picking on your post, or your spelling, etc., like I see on a lot of other blogs.) It's hard at times to do quality work with a new family member, especially the first one. Your efforts are appreciated, please keep it up. On the subject of Werth, it's not only the third strike looking, it is the guaranteed strike one on the first pitch that drives me crazy. I'm sure there is a stat guru out there who can find a breakdown of Werth's ABs and see which pitches he most liked to look at. If only we could get him or his batting coach entourage to look at it. (I'm pretty sure opposing pitchers do. )I'm hopeful that Davey will help Werth and everyone else improve at the plate. In fact, that should be DJ's resolution. :-)

  7. JayB - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

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  8. Rabbit - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Happy New Year!! Lot's of those resolutions by the Nationals at least indicate they do have a clue!! GO NATIONALS!

  9. JayB - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Good point on strike one….but at least that is a strategy that does not kill the AB completely. Lots of guys take strike one as a matter of course…..not a great strategy once every pitchers know it. Werth did no adjusting to make them pay but at least he still had strike two to work with before he should have gone to plan B and protect the plate.I think there is a evolved and complex story to tell about Werth's approach last year. I do not think it reflects well on Riggs, Stairs and the rest of the current coaching staff. That is likely why nobody ever wrote about it and Rizzo is not going to let anyone talk about it now.My take is that Werth as part of a power struggle with Riggs went a different way from what Eck and Riggs wanted. Once that became the issue it all got messed up. Werth was never able to come back to Eck and take his instruction because his pride was hurt and his personal coach was cut. Not really the type of leadership we were hoping for with that big contract.

  10. Doc - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Thanks Mark!My New Year's resolution is to get on a plane and see the Nats play a series or two.

  11. baseballswami - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Great post – informative and funny. As a passionate fan, I love seeing the players not just as cold, hard stats but as real people with personalities. Some of them that's easy – BHarp, Clip, Storen – some it's tough – Werth is a pretty big mystery except for that Teddy meltdown. Every year I have trouble warming up to the new guys for a while and miss the ones that left. Then I find myself pulling for them and cheering for them. Can't wait to see what happens next month – yeah, I said it – NEXT MONTH pitchers and catchers report! When do the other players report, Mark?

  12. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Thanks for a funny and informative post, Mark (for the record, I can't recall ever reading a lame post from you). I stopped doing annual resolutions some years ago, but this one was my personal fave from the post: "WILSON RAMOS: Give mom a hug every chance I get." (And, Teddy, you already know how I feel. Make it happen.)I agree with JayB re. Nats Fest. Time to seize the moment, Nats marketers!

  13. mystery guy - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    for tom davis – the entertainment guy. let me sing the anthem at more than one game per year. btw – i'm the one who actually sings the melody so people recognize it.

  14. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    While I love Charlie and Dave on the radio, I was wondering if the Nats had announced anything about Bob Carpenter coming back? It seems he was in the last year of a contract, so is he gone? While I admit to listening to the radio while watching most games, last year was the best year for Bob and FP (I think).

  15. waddu eye no - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    mark don't change a thing. except maybe more baby pix.

  16. sjm308 - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Agree with JayB on two points 1. FanFest in Jan. I really liked sitting in our seats in the snow, it was silly but got me excited about what was to come2. Arizona – I was struck by how close the teams are to each other. You could easily see four or five teams within an hour of each other and that would also have to help our boys in that they would not be spending as much time traveling and also have more teams to play. Weather, I believe is better, at least more predictable and if you are flying, what is another hour or so. I plan to hit spring training as soon as they are gone from Vierra, it just is not the way I envision spending what I hope to be a real treat. I love baseball but there has to be something for my spousal equivalent to do.

  17. Will - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Regarding Werth and watching the first pitch. I don't have the numbers for each scenario, but he had 649 plate appearances last season. He put the ball into play 33 times (5% of all plate appearances), 8 of which were hits (2 HRs). Comparatively, Ryan Zimmerman hits the first pitch 7.9% of the time, and Mike Morse does so 12.9% of the time. I don't know how many times Werth swung and missed though.What's most interesting is that after a 0-1 count, he batted .232/.287/.376. After a 1-0 count he batted .230/.390/.388. He was essentially the exact same batter in each scenario (same avg and slg), though he was 3 times more likely to walk after a first pitch ball than after taking a first pitch strike.

  18. LoveDaNats - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Good resolutions! I felt slightly guilty because I was one of the fans vowing never to go to an Opening Day featuring the Phillies again. I resolve that this year I will be at every Phillies game (in my 20 game package) in full Nats gear. Looking forward to another sweep.

  19. Feel Wood - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    MIKE RIZZO: Avoid the temptation to do something bold just for the sake of doing something bold. Make all decisions for sound baseball reasons and only for sound baseball reasons.TED LERNER: See above.Looks like Zuckerman is still the only guy in the world who thinks the Nats aren't in on Prince Fielder. I can see his headline now: "Wow. Didn't See That One Coming."

  20. UNTERP - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    NATS FANS: Don't go into hiding every time the Phillies come to town. Take back Nationals Park.Mark, you hit the nail on the head!Happy New Year to all…

  21. RaleighNat - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    My thought on Werth is that he flourished in Philly because of the lineup. Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, and Ibanez…. I mean the guy was going to see some strikes. He's not a good enough hitter to be "The Guy". As our line-up strengthens (Zimm full year, Morse continues at last year's level, etc.) and he returns to being a piece instead of a focal point, I think he'll rebound with solid numbers.

  22. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Funny stuff. Nicely and delicately put about Charlie Slowes. And Zim, PLEASE take this to heart. One resolution that I'd like to hear your theory on Mark, or read some more reporting about, is Strasburg's. What's the most likely way that the Nats will try to save his bullets? 6-man rotation (extremely doubtful)? Skip some starts along the way whenever an off day or rainout makes it possible to keep everyone else on their assigned day (perhaps)? You all know my idea is to limit him to 5 innings per start, thereby banking 6 more starts for September. On Werth, rewatching the condensed games has reminded me of how many times he not only struck out looking, but also lamely struck out swinging at a ball out of the strike zone or grounded weakly to short. (The double play ball to end the Nats' rally and the game on July 10 against the Rockies is a good example.) Sometimes his swings are almost slow motion, like he's trying so hard to connect with the ball that he gives up all his power. I'm looking forward to getting to his much-ballyhooed improvement at the end of the year to see if he was doing anything differently.Finally, thanks to everyone who took up my idea at the end of the last post to share early baseball memories and origins of Nats fandom. Great and heartwarming stuff. I say, keep 'em coming if you're so inclined.

  23. Sunderland - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I think Mark's point about Rizzo (don't do something bold for the sake of doing somehting bold), and signing Prince Fielder are not mutually exclusive.I think that Rizzo is handing this real well. He's a disinterested, ambivalent buyer. If he does not get Prince on terms he is happy with, that's fine with him. Everything he has said publicly allows him to not sign Fielder and head into the season with ALR at 1B with confidence.But if he gets Prince on his terms, then he'll do it. And the market for Prince (and for Ryan Madson, also inked with Boras) is not developing as Boras would like. Rizzo might have his cake and eat it too on this one.

  24. Friday Night Nat - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Reposting reply #250 from previous thread. Hey, I post so seldomly that I couldn't waste it.First off, I have lurked this site pretty much since it started, occasionally posting anonymously. I absolutely adore most of you usual contributors, who have added much depth to my appreciation of baseball and the Nats. I am part of a season ticket group in Sec. 313, and my handle relates to the fact that I get all the Friday night games (living in northern Loudoun Co. makes "school night" games too tough. My apologies for the long post, but you asked for baseball histories, and I couldn't fit 53 years worth in any less space.I grew up in Louisville, KY in the 60s and 70s. The closest team was the Reds, but I adopted my older brothers' team, the Dodgers (probably because Pee Wee Reese was from Louisville). My Dad took us to a game every year or so at the old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. I saw Don Drysdale pitch there. That was pretty magical as a five year old.From 1967 to 1972, the Red Sox AAA affiliate was the Louisville Colonels. Among others, I saw Cecil Cooper, Dwight Evans, Luis Tiant, and my favorite, Carlton Fisk. Back then, parents allowed 12 year olds to walk unaccomanied five miles to the Fairgrounds where the Colonels played. My friends and I would chase foul balls reltentlessly. Sometimes we would ride our bicycles to the park for early batting practice and chase balls hit over the fence. Good times.I played little league beginning at age 8, mostly as a pitcher. Then when I was 10 my team had a sudden pre-season crisis: we had no catcher. I volunteered. After practice the coach handed me a "cup" and told me to wear it to the next practice. Huh? And so began my love of being a catcher. I was good enough to make my high school team. Great arm, good glove, weak bat. Couldn't hit the curve ball. One Saturday afternoon game, with the bases loaded, I swung at a pitch and lifted what I thought was lazy fly ball to left center. Damned if it didn't clear the fence. The only dinger I ever hit, and I floated around the bases. We lost 6-4.My love of the Dodgers continued through college, and followed me to D.C. in 1982 after graduation. My brother-in-law Mets fan and I started going to spring training in the 90s, splitting time between Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie. I quickly learned to despise the Orioles for blocking DC from getting a team. I pledged to never visit Camden Yards until that situation was rectified, and I am happy to report that I lifted my strike against Baltimore baseball in 2005, and I have seen a grand total of one game there since.As fate would have it, the Dodgers blew up the team in 2005, making it easy to adopt the Nats. I'll be at Spring Training again this year, and in Sec. 313 for every Friday night game. We've been through some lean times, Nats fans, but that will only make our emergence as a powerhouse even sweeter.

  25. N. Cognito - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    "MIKE RIZZO: Avoid the temptation to do something bold just for the sake of doing something bold. Make all decisions for sound baseball reasons and only for sound baseball reasons."I choose to believe that Mark is telling Rizzo, in a polite way, not to listen to Boswell, and other such ass clowns.

  26. Natslifer - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Happy New Year everyone! Mark – thanks again for providing everyone the best virtual home for all of us. I don't know how far we'll get, but I'm as always confident that we are, in fact, making great progress.(And welcome Friday Night Nat. I too was in the "Knothole Gang" growing up but a little after you – the Big Red Machine hooked me on baseball for life. I got to watch future Cardinals like John Tudor and Willie MgGee.)

  27. Big Cat - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Friday Night…..welcome….get in the boat.

  28. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    OH man, if the Nats moved to Phoenix, I'd be tickled pink. It's just great out there. The weather's perfect, the parks are lovely, everything's close by, the PHX airport's great, and no rainouts.

  29. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Zuck seems to think that it is OK for the club to not risk being good now and for the near future out of some act(s) of boldness so that the club can have more of a theoretical chance to be good further down the line, that ever-extending out into the future some day when the planets align. Why is it so hard to buy into the fact that a bold move for the Nats may just be the sensible baseball move?dfh21

  30. star-spangledfan - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    mystery guy who sings — thanks for your post. The Nats are based in our nation's capital with Ft. McHenry right up the road. Surely we should be the front-runners on singing the anthem in a respectful way THAT PEOPLE CAN SING ALONG WITH! The military groups usually do a jam up job, but a lot of the others are straight out of american idol.As a musician this is a serious pet peeve of mine, along with lots of other colleagues, some of whom are music educators. Is there really anything anyone can do to get in someone's ear about this?

  31. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Mark Z wrote: WILSON RAMOS: Give mom a hug every chance I get.Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I think that goes for everybody on Nats Insider as well. If not your mom, your kids. Man, I can't wait to give Ramos a standing O on opening day. If anybody deserves it, it's Mr. Ramos. Thanks for reminding us, Mark, and Happy New Year all.GYFNG!!!

  32. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I am with you star-spangledfan. I want the anthem in standard, singable format, with hats removed, no one mulling about on the concourse, stop and sing the song people, show yourselves to be the calss of baseball fans, and NO ONE screaming Ohhhhhh! — this aint Baltimore. And I want God Bless America in sing-along, standard format too, not some operatic arrogance. It's a song of the people and should be sung by the people, not some Pavarotti wanna be. How great would it be for the tradition to be that every fan gets up and sings those great songs loud and strong?dfh21

  33. Feel Wood - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Just stick with Glenn Donnellan the Batolin guy, D.C. Washington, and the military groups and all anthem problems are solved.

  34. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Oh, and the "do something bold" comment, I mostly agree. However, if you can talk Fielder into a 3-4 year deal, just take it. He's worth it, even if he can't field. His bat will win you 5+ games, even factoring in bad defense. (and he'd be playing next to a shortstop, so that'll make up for some of the liability.)If you get him, stick with Ankiel in CF for the defense and speed. He'd be OK at #8.That gives you:SS DesmondRF Werth3B Zimmerman1B FielderLF BeastModeC Ramos2B EspinosaCF AnkielPwith the nats' bullpen and a rotation of Strasburg, Gio, Znn, Wang, and Lannan, I'm pretty eager for April.

  35. N. Cognito - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    If the Nats decide to sign Fielder, it will be a sound baseball decision (though we might disagree with it's length or amount), not to make a bold statement FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING A BOLD STATEMENT. Rizzo did that with Werth and even if Werth has several good seasons, it can be argued that he will be overpaid by a good bit.For the life of me, I don't know how anyone with active brain cells can be in disagreement with Mark on this, or misconstrue it to some other meaning.

  36. Traveler8 - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Re SSB, we also want to continue to hear Section 222's barbershop group singing a couple of times a year, so add them to Feel Wood's list.I would like to have guidelines provided to all wanna-be singers – 1. SSB is not gospel2. SSB is not country3. SSB is not lounge music4. SSB must be sung within a designated number of seconds – (those dragged out versions really get to me)

  37. Muddy Ruel - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I'd like to add a (lame) item to Mark's list: for the people who run the concessions at Nats Park in the Stars and Stripes Club — show more effort and interest; be customer friendly, a little enthused and energetic; and stay open 'til the Stars and Stripes bars close (i.e., a half hour after the game).

  38. joemktg - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Quick correction to Ryan Zimmerman entry (corrections in CAPS):And put together the kind of monster season that VALIDATES YOUR long-term extension SIGNED DURING SPRING TRAINING.

  39. NatsLady - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Going to disagree here on the National Anthem: I go to a fair number of games, and I like the variety and the local performers, some of whom, yes, are not successful. On the major holidays, July 4, etc., yes, grab the military performers. The Batolin guy is great and there is a great sax player also. And spare me from children who sing out of tune!!!People aren't going to sing along with the anthem, it's too difficult. They sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and that's sufficient. I'm encouraging a couple of my students to audition this year, and if they don't make it for the Nats, then maybe the P-Nats. The "canned" anthems (some parks use recorded versions) leave me cold. There are 81 home games, let's keep the opportunity for local performers open.Ten years after 9/11, it's time to retire "God Bless America" except on very special occasions.

  40. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Many of the Nats fan base drive to FL and also many area snowbirds winter there. People in the midwest winter in AZ. A move to AZ makes no financial sense and would be a huge mistake. Further, all the many teams who train in AZ are centered around just two cities–Phoenix and Tucson–and those markets are over-saturated. There would be little Nats fan interest in AZ. The clueless Nats marketing dept. needs to learn how to market the team in FL but that takes money which the aren't willing to spend.

  41. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Anonymous 11:24…… the first Anon post of 2012 that I can applaud.Of course, I have an vested interest in staying within an hour or so of Winter Park, Fl.

  42. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    I guess all that leaves out the Jimi Hendrix version, huh?

  43. star-spangledfan - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Nats Lady — I beg to differ ( and that doesn't happen often , actually) – ANYONE can sing along with the National Anthem- the people in the stands don't have to be on key or reach every note – yes, the range is ridiculous — and any student can make the attempt to sing it respectfully.I love the variety of musical formats, too, but all musicians who audition should be given some basic guidelines. Batolin is a great example of creativity with respect. I have students who audition also and it is no more difficult to sing the actual notes than to go on some ridiculous riff.Our high school kids do a beautiful job. I would personally love to see the return of DC Washington.

  44. SayNoToClint - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Agree with Feel Wood about the batolin guy. I think I missed 3 games out of my 40 game package last year and one of them was the one he played at. I was…annoyed. They need him there at least once a month. Every game would be fine with me.Also would definitely be cool with having a time limit. Lots of singer draw it out too much…usually it's the female ones who also "warble" which makes for a truly awful drawn out assault on the ears.What happened to DC Washington? Not only did he have the best name ever for singing the national anthem in Washington DC but he moved it along and didn't embellish much.

  45. UNTERP - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    NatsLady said… Going to disagree here on the National Anthem: I go to a fair number of games, and I like the variety and the local performers, some of whom, yes, are not successful. What you said…

  46. Sunderland - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    SSB, traditional most times, sure. But occasionally truly artisitic and respectable, oh yeah.Marvin Gaye, 1983 makes no sense. Florida is cheaper, faster and easier to get to. Has amusements and beaches, certainly more family friendly. And moving extended spring training 3 times zones away is troublesome. Someone's got to leave AZ by 08:00 AM to get to the park in time to prepare for a 7:00 PM game, and they will have spent 5 hours in a medium sized chair.captcha = copsingsI guess we're having the police do at least one SSB this season.

  47. Wally - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Tom Haudricourt (MIL writer) reporting that he has been told by an MLB official that we are the frontrunners to sign Fielder

  48. NatsLady - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Re: Singing along with the National Anthem–maybe, once a week, or so, if it's announced and the performer sings it in an accessible key (though that's tough with the range). But in general, I don't go for a "sing along" National Anthem. As for the different styles, that was very off-putting to me when it first started, but now I've come around to seeing that the National Anthem is a treasure that does not belong in a museum. DC Washington was good. Also might try getting some high school and college groups in the spring and fall when school is in session.

  49. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    If I'm not mistaken, MLB mandated GBA at games, and I can't see the motivation for them to change it.

  50. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Sunderland.Agree with you on the Marvin Gaye version. The single best version ever.

  52. Theophilus - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Re: SSB. Performers who forget the words get dragged around the infield by the grounds crew.

  53. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Nats Marketing Dept.. absolutely stinks.All of the above ideas are great to grow fan bas and improve fan experience at games.One more to add.. The concession stands need to figure out how to operate more efficiently when there are more than 25K in attendance! That's the reason I bought partial plan in the lower deck. The Upper deck concession stands are either closed or out of most items when you get up there!

  54. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I'd be happy if they had the same person sing the anthem pretty much every night (a la the Caps with Bob MacDonald). The fans would know the cadence and, like they do with the Caps, would sing along. The National Anthem should not be a vehicle to showcase an artist's talents, and while it's open to interpretation, of course, in my mind there's a line — the performance of the song can't be bigger than the song itself. dfh21

  55. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    FWIW, even tho Ariz is easier for me, Fla makes better sense, for reasons mentioned above, but not Viera. Ft. Myers, Tampa, Gulf side somewhere, yes.

  56. JamesFan - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Werth took so many first strikes that I concluded that he is a hitter who gets only two pitches to hit max. A lot of pitchers took the first pitch strike that he gave them. Once he had two strikes, he often struck out, getting him down to one strike to hit. Just an observation, not cyber-whatever.Stay in Florida if you want the Washington fans to go to ST in bigger numbers.

  57. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Also heard on the Radio today about Prince.. He prefers to go to the Cubs (seems to like playing in Wrigley) but that the Nats and the Jays are still in it. The next few weeks should be interesting with Prince F-Bomb.And agree… STAY IN FL FOR SPRING TRAINING!

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Haudricourt link, this time for sure: Fielder/Nats

  60. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    MicheleS — I agree. They do a lousy job, and pretty much always have, with the concessions. And they're making it worse. It's great that you can get a gourmet burger, fries and a shake at Nats Park, but to spend 2 innings in line for that stuff makes the ball game experience less sexy. They need to bring back the hotdog venders, push the items that can be churned out fast — the italtian sauage, the Hard Times and Ben's for instance — and maybe make the big concessions group in center field have a shared check out line (so you could grab Boardwalk fries and a Hard Times chili and jump into one line that has 6-8 registers humming instead of waiting in two lines to get stuff form both venders). Stuff like that. They need to make it easier and more reliable to get something to eat and drink AND catch the game, the game being what drives people there in the first place, so more game than gourmet.dfh21

  61. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Captcha, incidentally, was "warifici"–looks like the s/w approves.

  62. phil dunn - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I winter in Vero Beach, 45 minutes south of Viera and attend several Nats games each year at Space Coast. Brevard County is one of the fastest growing counties in FL and presently has a population of nearly 600,000. The Nationals have done little to market the team in Brevard or in Indian River County to the south, which was vacated by the Dodgers. Thus, they have a large market all to themselves. At Space Coast Stadium, there are no ushers and no concession people working the stands. They spend next to nothing to market the team to local residents so attendance is disappointing. The fact that the teams loses most of its grapefruit league games doesn't help either. All the Nats problems in Viera/Melbourne are self-inflicted.

  63. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Self-inflicted wounds due to poor team performance, lousy marketing and bad public relations?? How can this be? The Nats are soooo good at that stuff up here in DC.

  64. Gonat - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    NATS MARKETING DEPT.: Take note of the awful state of D.C. sports and embrace the idea of selling this club as the best thing this town has going for it right now.__________________________________They are so bad. They were the best game in town in 2011 and never embraced it. Their slogans are lame and they allow MASN to promote horrible commericals that worse than amateur video I have seen on YouTube.

  65. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    As a ST season ticket holder I take seious exception to phil dunn's comments. THERE ARE USHERS AND CONCESSION PERSONNEL WORKING THE STANDS!As for the marketing aspect, he's right about that. But I don't see the Astros or Tigers marketing the area. If it weren't for Disney, the Braves wouldn't market the area much, either.

  66. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    SSB: I think my general approach is if you're trying your best to sing it correctly, and can hit 90% of the notes, that's good enough. What bothers me greatly are the people who see it as their opportunity to display their "interpretation". A middle-school chorus, local teenager with chops, that's all great. Someone trying to land a country/gospel contract with their anthem, please NO. As for PHX/FL — yes, you have to fly farther, there's no doubting that. But they're all in the same city now (the Tucson teams left 2 years ago), so you don't need to figure which days involve a 4-hour roadtrip. Also, there's much less of that "forget it, they're playing the yankees, so the game'll be sold out" crap — the crowds are much more manageable.The distance from DC is very big, I get that. But otherwise, Phoenix is a really superb spring training site.

  67. SayNoToClint - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    One more to add.. The concession stands need to figure out how to operate more efficiently when there are more than 25K in attendance! That's the reason I bought partial plan in the lower deck. The Upper deck concession stands are either closed or out of most items when you get up there! ———————————–As someone who's been in the lower deck since the stadium opened, I think you're probably going to be disappointed. The stands will still be open and will most likely still have stuff, but the lines will be so long and the service so slow and surly that you won't bother after a few tries.

  68. JayB - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Come on….the service is 1000% better than 2008/2009…..those days you could be first in line and have 5 people working a stand and still never get what you ordered…..and you would have to ask them to help you and had a attitude about interrupting their conversations….the only thing Stan really did want to improve was the food service….team talent level….not so much.

  69. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Sec3, thanks for the Hardricourt link. Sweet news. As I've said before, we may not get him (we're just one out of 30 teams in MLB and we can't sign every FA we go after, see, e.g., Texiera, Buerhle). But it's well worth a shot, and well worth some big money to get the deal done. I prefer to think that Mark was referring to Werth rather than Fielder in Rizzo's New Year's resolution.On the SSB, thanks much to Traveler8 for the shoutout. It's a total kick to sing the anthem, and while I'd love to do it multiple times each season, I think it's great that the Nats spread the honor around as much as possible. It would be a lot less work to have the same person do it every night, so I give them credit for putting in the effort to let lots of folks have the experience. I'm all for different styles and types of performances of the anthem. It's a pretty awful song when all is said and done, so anything to make it more interesting (as long as it's in tune!) is fine with me. Of course, I often hear it only as I'm walking up to the Park, have to work on getting to my seat on time this season. So maybe I've missed some of the truly awful performances. As far as I know, DC Washington still does the SSB, among other things, he's the go to substitute when the scheduled singer can't make it. He's a great guy and a terrific singer. By the way, they do tell you to get it done in 90 seconds. Some people just don't follow instructions, go figure. Good on you NatsLady for encouraging your students to try out. May I also recommend the Bowie Baysox as an alternative venue. I sang it there once and they treat you really well. The weird thing is that you stand on the pitcher's mound and sing facing out toward the center field camera. There are no outfield seats in the stadium, so you don't see any of the crowd at all!

  70. mstomper - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    I'm actually considering auditioning to sing the National Anthem. I can hit all the notes, wouldn't change it, and work at a school not too far from the park. I'd rather throw out the first pitch, but I'm better at singing than pitching (although I'm pretty sure I could hit the mitt).

  71. Scooter - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Sec3, I hope with all my might that you are mistaken, and "God Bless America" isn't mandated. Fortunately for us, The Wikipedia thinks it's optional: "MLB quickly followed the Padres lead and instituted it league-wide for the rest of the [2001] season; presently, teams decide individually when to play the song."If it's on The Wikipedia it must be so.

  72. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Scooter, I may have interpreted "instituted it league-wide" a little too broadly. Having been compared to Wikipedia myself–"full of random information, and right just often enough to sucker you in"–I will defer to the wisdom of the Collective in this.

  73. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    …but my point, that the teams have little to gain if they stop, and would catch flak if they tried, is the same, either way.

  74. Scooter - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    That's certainly true, Sec3. No team wants to be the first to completely drop G-d Bless America.And it sounds like some people here actually like hearing it during the stretch, so hey, I'm glad they get it a few times a year.

  75. Scooter - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    More importantly, I read the link you shared about Fielder. I do love the idea of him coming here. (I had assumed some other GM would value him more than Mike Rizzo does. I still find that reasoning convincing, but it seems much less obvious now.)There's one thing in the article that puzzles me: "as long as Boras is able to match or exceed … [Pujols's salary] … I'm guessing he will be happy." Well — not to put too fine a point on it — duh. Albert Pujols, to me at least, has not yet ceded the title of Greatest Ballplayer On The Planet. I really don't get why Prince Fielder's pay rate would, or should, match Pujols's.I suspect that some folks here disagree with this, and I'd like to hear why. Over to you, hive mind.

  76. Dave - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I think I heard DC Washington at least three times this past season. He truly is the man. He sings the anthem with respect and taste, and he doesn't linger on it.I most definitely could do without GBA, but I fear Sec 3 and Scooter are right–no team is going to be the first to do away with it. On the other hand, it only shows up on weekends and holidays, so "dropping" it would only mean not inserting it.

  77. Dave - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    As to Nats Fest, it most definitely needs to be on a weekend day in the winter. That mid-week late-afternoon business last year made it impossible for large numbers of fans to go.And if they do another Picnic in the Park the idiotic way they did it in 2011, they should all be fired. About 200-300 people showed up. You had to have a game ticket to enter the event (which started at 12:00 noon), and you could not leave the park and then come back. Either you had to buy a cheapo "dummy" game ticket (as I did), or else you had to arrive at Nats Park as early as noon in order to stay on the premises the entire rest of the day–for a late-season Marlins game. (Reminder: the Fish stank pretty bad by that point in the season.)Anybody who was there will corroborate my account, I'm sure. It wasn't a bad event, really, except that nobody came.

  78. Theophilus - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    I thought GBA had been limited by Nats to Sunday afternoon games."Take Me Out to the Ball Game" forever ruined by Harry Caray and his imitators. Maybe they should try, "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play . . .." One lucky fan could be chosen to fix Nats' CF problem.For extended SSB singers, warblers and Maria Carey wannabes, possibly they could be required to sing from the batter's box while Strasburg warms up.

  79. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    ON Werth. I am not a fan of the move to sign m mostly because of his age. He will block top prospects that Rizzo develops. And its not like he's an elite hitter. He probably isn't even in Morse's league and you look at his age. I did admit that the logic behind the signing was sound. To convince baseball that the Nationals weren't going to be run like another Orioles or Pirates organization. Even though the Orioles did everything they could to ensure that it would be.Still … Werth wasn't a pathetic hitter like too many others on last year's roster either … even in an off year.2011: 649 PA, 0.332 wOBA, 6.5 bRAA2010: 651 PA, 0.396 wOBA, 39.5 bRAA2009: 676 PA, 0.378 wOBA, 27.0 bRAA Bottom line: Last year Werth's performance was that of a pretty decent 4th outfielder major league wide. He finished as the 4th best hitter on the club. My guess is that this year he will fall somewhere between 2009 and 2010. And that 2010 was the best he will ever do. If he does that for 2-3 years he will earn his keep.

  80. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    I agree with Scooter that Pujols is deserving of the higher salary based on past performance, but if we're talking about future performance, I think Prince will likely be better over the next 4-8 years. More importantly, if paying him on per year basis more than Pujols (for fewer years) is what it takes to get him to DC, then by all means do it. The Lerners will easily make it up in ticket sales and concessions once the Nats start to win. A nice, and important, benefit of signing Fielder is the effect it will have on Zim's mindset for remaining in DC. I think he'll be more likely to sign a long term contract with the Nats this year if Fielder is on board because he will see us as a consistent playoff bound team for the life of his contract. As for ALR, there will be a bunch of teams looking for a decent 1B once Prince is off the board. We might even get more than a bag of balls for him.Even those here who focus on Prince's weight and expect his performance to slide as he reaches age 32 or 33 seem to agree that he'll be good for the next four years. I'm going to predict a 6 year contract at $27 million per year for whoever gets him. Ted, Mike, and Scott, get it done!

  81. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    As I said from the beginning Fielder makes too much sense for Rizzo AND Johnson not to be interested. Because of the strike outs and dearth of walks (and yes even with the RBI) LaRoche would have finished BELOW Werth (4th best), Danny Espinosa (5th best), and Laynce Nix (6th best), Jerry Hairston (7th best) using his 2010 uninjured stats. That isn't what you want in the heart of your order and its why Arizona got rid of him. He was always just a plug-in stop-gap after letting Dunn go. Honestly? LaRoche would be better as a bench player perhaps?

  82. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    A nice, and important, benefit of signing Fielder is the effect it will have on Zim's mindset for remaining in DC. I think he'll be more likely to sign a long term contract with the Nats this year if Fielder is on board because he will see us as a consistent playoff bound team for the life of his contract.Hopefully that happens right after the Fielder signing. Along with another push to bring in BJ Upton. But keep in mind the Nats will have to pay Upton through an extension as well. And I still think they should be in the market for Oswalt. Much prefer Oswalt and Detwiler in the rotation to Lannan and Wang. If they are going to lose Morse and take a risk on the rookie Harper they had better have more than three top guns in the starting rotation. IMO signing Fielder would go a long way toward bringing in Oswalt. Oswalt will likely want to show the Phillies what they lost … And that Nats will then look like the perfect vehicle to do that.

  83. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Here here on NatsFest Dave. Last year it was like an afterthought –"oops, we were so busy patting ourselves on the back for signing Werth that we forgot to do NatsFest. Guess we better squeeze it in before the season starts." I sure couldn't go on a weekday the day before OD, which I was already planning to take off from work for. Dumb. But with no announcement yet, I wouldn't hold my breath for a January or February NatsFest. And if they don't do it before pitchers and catchers report, we're looking at the same dumb timing this year. Frankly, I don't expect Werth to improve much, and I don't expect ALR will come back that well from his surgery. He's a historically slow starter to begin with. So by the time the trade deadline comes around (and we'll have to move him then because there's no way there's no way we offer him a big enough contract to get anything for him if he leaves under the new CBA), he's not likely to have much value at all. If he ends up being our starter at 1B this year, I hope Davey is smart enough not to bat him cleanup for 2 months like Riggleman did.

  84. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    I suspect that some folks here disagree with this, and I'd like to hear why. Over to you, hive mind.Pujols is the better fielder and player overall. BUT there are questions as to whether he is actually the age stated in the program. Many believe he is older.So, in terms of value you look at Prince's age and the fact the bat on his shoulder is of the left-handed variety and that negates any advantage Pujols has. BUT, then Fielder loses that advantage because of his weight, physicality and physical condition. It affects every aspect of his game. Making his feats to this point all the more amazing. Still, the risk involved from the perspective of owners and GMs is quite large when you pay a player of his "stature" that kind of salary.

  85. JaneB - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    I loved the resolutions, except for the last one. The resolutions for Clip and HRod made me laugh out loud. I'm in the "skip GBA" camp. I sure hope, if it's required, that they re-visit this mandate. And put me down for a return of fanfest AND the end of the Lovable Loser era. Finally, I am going to stop ducking the Phillies games. At least some of them. I hear you, and you're right. Meanwhile, isn't it NICE to see the days till pitchers and catchers total get lower and lower.Best is today's capcha: winnrrrrr. That's what we'll be this season!

  86. Just wonderin' - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Since someone brought up songs…Does anyone else do what I do — I make sure to put my hand/hat over my heart when they play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"?Also, true story: The U.S. Embassy in Slovakia used to have "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (Andrews Sisters version) as their 'hold' music when you called and we put on hold. I'm not sure the Slovaks ever figured out what that was all about.Also, too much religion in GBA. If you've got to have a patriotic song, what about alternating "America the Beautiful" and "This Land is Your Land" in sometimes?

  87. mystery guy - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    wow. all these anthem comments… the guy in charge is named tom davis – and i've seen the american idol complaints elsewhere. i'd rather be introduced as " please join in singing with" than "please rise for a performance" anyday. of course i perform elsewhere and get plenty of attention. that's not true of all the anthem folks, of course. but as much as like being applauded by 20K people (your attendance stats may vary), i'd rather hear them singing than clapping. a much bigger honor. and let's lose the dumb baltimore "O" crap.

  88. Oldguy - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Enjoyed the late comments yesterday. I use Old Guy because that's what I am. I remember the year Williams hit .406, DiMaggio hit in 56 straight and the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I grew up in NY and Boston and saw many of the greats play in Fenway, Braves Field (Spahn and Sain and pray for rain), Yankee Stadium and Willie Mays in the Polo grounds. My aunt lived two blocks from Fenway, and I could get to both NY stadiums by train.I started going to Nats games the first year because I always loved the game. Got hooked. Became a STH when the new stadium opened, then started going to Spring Training as well. (I much prefer Florida, though my folks retired to AZ (both gone now); as an old fart, I can take the Auto Train, which is 5 minutes from my house, because driving that far is no longer fun. Already have some tickets.I enjoy this site but don't comment much. I was slow to take to these blogs because many of them are so bad. (The Red Sox-Yankee food fights are the worst.) I still like the Sox, but the Nats are my #1. Anyway, Happy New Year, Everyone. See some of you in Viera.

  89. mystery guy - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    duh:of course i perform elsewhere and get plenty of attention. that's not true of all the anthem folks, of course. department of redundancy department, of course.btw – tom is a good guy overwhelmed with a lot of requests to perform, but he could certainly mandate some kind of "joinalongability" requirement.

  90. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    "Does anyone else do what I do — I make sure to put my hand/hat over my heart when they play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"?"I tug on my crotch and spit, but maybe that's just me. And Roseanne.Maybe fill in with the old army tune, "We Like It Here" (to the tune of O Tannebaum).

  91. The Great Unwashed - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Gotta disagree with you, Natslady. 9/11 is exactly why they should play God Bless America. It doesn't matter if it's 10 years later. If you don't like it, don't participate.

  92. Grandstander - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I agree with NatsLady RE: GBA. If there's two things that belong nowhere near baseball, it's politics and religion. It's time to end the playing of GBA, the 7th inning stretch is for singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, not prayer.Also, I'm pretty sure MLB doesn't mandate it, but merely recommends it, as San Francisco doesn't play it and I highly doubt it's played at Blue Jay home games.And while we're at it, can we switch up the military appreciation song to something else? They used to change it a lot and after the whole "forget you"/"thank you" incident, they only played God Bless the USA. I'm sure we can find another patriotic song that isn't so overtly political and religious.To The Great Unwashed, I don't participate and I've been harassed because of it. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable because of their religious or political views at a baseball game.

  93. Sunderland - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    To the point about Fielder v Pujols and salary. Boras is out to drive up salaries. He just is. So he wants a record deal, and he want to be able to tell prospective clients about how many times he has inked people to the biggest contract, total dollars, average annual value, by position, whatever. Pujols has a different agent, Lozano, and Boras is competing with him. So his first goal was to top Pujols total package ($250M). That clearly ain't gonna happen. Second goal is to top Pujols in average annual value. He could easily do that on a 2 – 4 year deal. He may be able to do that on the 5 – 6 years deal. I doubt it could happen in this dead market for 7 years or longer.

  94. Nattydread - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Rumors rumors rumors.Boras is really serving up the PF kool aid. Its expensive, its not a perfect fit, it upsets THE PLAN as we know it. But it is Offensive Punch, we need some and it tastes good.

  95. Feel Wood - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    God Bless America is a religious song about as much as God Damn is a religious expression. Look at the words:"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free, Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. " God Bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her Thru the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam God bless America, My home sweet home.The song is all about America and patriotic pride, not about God. You could change it to Say Hey America instead and the song would have the same meaning. Get over it, guys. Religion is not being jammed down your throat here. Are you going to quit accepting your paychecks because the money has In God We Trust written on it?

  96. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Its expensive, its not a perfect fit, it upsets THE PLAN as we know it. But it is Offensive Punch, we need some and it tastes good.And right-handed poorer fielding Chris Marerro and Tyler Moore are? Marerro's offense is major league, but Moore still strikes out way too much and doesn't walk enough. Morse is over 30 now which doesn't fit the plan but he just turned 30 so he is in his prime. Morse IN the outfield or at first for 2-3 plus years would be perfect. But better than the left-handed, and younger bat of Fielder? But then Morse is in superior shape and Fielder is not. If Fielder is signed, and one is following the plan, you have to know that the Nat's next move will likely involve Tampa Bay and BJ Upton. That, unfortunately, might just involve Morse.So, if we are following "the Rio/Clark/Johnson/Minniti/Harris" plan?1. Desmond/Lombardozzi SS/2B RHB/S (I'm betting on the platoon bat)2. BJ Upton CF RHB 3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B RHB4. Prince Fielder 1B LHB5. Jayson Werth RF RHB6. Danny Espinosa 2B/SS S7. Bryce Harper LF LHB8. Wilson Ramos C RHBBench:Mark DeRosa RHB UTLAdam LaRoche LHB 1BMike Cameron RHB OFRoger Bernadina LHB OFJesus Flores RHB C

  97. Dave - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Sorry to be such a sour pickle, but GBA is nothing more than a rather mediocre pop song that was made popular by Kate Smith during World War II. There are far better patriotic songs–if we really have to have a patriotic song in addition to the national anthem sung at a ballgame. (I don't think we do.)And yes, it does have religious overtones. The entire chorus (the part that is sung) is a prayer. Read those lyrics again, Feel Wood. The last two words in the intro that you posted are "solemn prayer."I am a churchgoing Christian, but a baseball game is a bad place to ask everybody to stand up for a "solemn prayer."

  98. The Great Unwashed - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Grandstander,Regarding God Bless America, it's not a prayer. It's a patriotic song. I think the reason you were harassed for not participating is because people felt you weren't being patriotic. I seriously doubt you were surrounded by religious zealots who thought you weren't joining them in prayer. Actually, I'm surprised people said anything to you since most people use the seventh inning stretch to get a beer, use the bathroom, or check their cellphones and no one seems to care.Anyway, I don't intend to get into a debate about politics or religion because this is a baseball blog. My comments were geared toward Natslady's opinion about dropping God Bless America because it's been 10 years since 9/11. What I really should've said was I think people who lost a family member or knew someone who died on 9/11 would feel differently. God Bless America is a patriotic song that happens to mention God. But it's really more of a patriotic statement than a prayer. And as I said before, as Americans, we have the right not participate. I didn't mean that to be flip. I also appreciate the civil discourse.

  99. Feel Wood - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    No one forces anyone to stand up for a "solemn prayer." You can always go get a beer then, or go to the bathroom. That's what I usually do. The extra time between innings due to the song lets me get back to my seat without missing a play. Or, you can just stay seated. No one forces you to stand then, no more than they force you to stand during any other seventh inning stretch.Of course, this doesn't apply in New York, where the Yankees did get in trouble for strong-arming a poor guy who tried to step out during GBA. But that's New York, not Washington.And to all those who think GBA is a prayer: No entreaties to the Baseball Gods for you.

  100. gonatsgo - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    While most people are watching football and hockey and taking down decorations, the folks on his blog have been discussing how they came to love the game of baseball and how they feel about the sbb and gba as sung in the stadium. The points made have been touching, funny, interesting, thoughtful, and yes, very civil. Oh — and they have also been discussing the original post, prince f'bomb and Scott Boras. Sometimes the subject changes make your head spin. But, as always, never boring — thanks for the discourse this weekend. Tomorrow we will probably get another new subject – I hope so, at least. Until then, let's hope all of the resolutions that started the day come true!!!

  101. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    I think GBA has become way too political, far more than religious.It reminds me that the US went to war in Iraq because a comical "Peter Sellers" spy want-to-be in Italy stole some letterhead from the Nigerian embassy and forged a letter shown that Sadaam was buying nuclear materials so that he could sell it to French Intelligence. I set that decision aside as separate from Afghanistan. The song is a reminder that questions about such decisions were called unpatriotic. That GBA was used to drown out critical thinking and scrutiny. The polar opposite of a free, healthy democracy. I would prefer that they go with something different but that's me.

  102. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    That's generally when I make my bathroom runs as well, due to the timing factor. On a somewhat related note, I also tend to get my food and drink before the game. That way, I don't miss any of the game and I have a somewhat lower risk of spilling my refreshments all over myself. I've always found the people who work the concessions to be congenial and helpful for the most part (if overwhelmed at times), but maybe that's just me.Feel Wood said…You can always go get a beer then, or go to the bathroom. That's what I usually do. The extra time between innings due to the song lets me get back to my seat without missing a play.

  103. Chevy Chase Bob - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    I love spring baseball in AZ, but it would not be a good fit for the Nats…half the players would be stopped by the cops to check for legal residency…and I like "Take me out to the Ballgame".

  104. The Great Unwashed - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Now back to the original topic.My resolution would be to bat Werth in the #5 or #6 hole. 160 strikeouts don’t cut it hitting second. He generally hits about 20 HR per season, so he shows enough power to justify the lower line up position. That position in the order is suited for lower batting averages too. Hitting fifth or sixth also would probably take some of the pressure off and allow him to be the complimentary player he really is, not to mention that he’s less likely to get a fifth at bat in a game when hitting lower in the order. At this point, I think the team would be best served to find a way to maximize what he can offer instead of placing expectations on him to be the focal point of the offense and justify his contract. As it is, he very well may be the regular centerfielder unless Rizzo comes up with another option.One other observation about Werth constantly taking strike one. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you hit high in the order — work the count. It’s just that better hitters either work a walk, get a hit, or at least move the runners over. Werth’s not that type of player, hence my resolution to bat him lower in the order.

  105. whatsanattau - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Spring training in FloridaSign ZimmermanEnd GBAAdd more Batolin and DC WashingtonSign Fielder if 5 years is an option, otherwise noWerth – get eyes checked not head.Resolution for Stadium: more Dogfish less swill

  106. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Nats Enquirer all over this with his "sources"."Hearing" a decision could be reached by the end of the week…now, if only Mr. Lerner and Mr. Boras can come to an understanding about what kind of 5-year deal this is going to be? Your guess is as good as ours.

  107. Gonat - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Anonymous said… Its expensive, its not a perfect fit, it upsets THE PLAN as we know it. But it is Offensive Punch, we need some and it tastes good.And right-handed poorer fielding Chris Marerro and Tyler Moore are? Marerro's offense is major league, but Moore still strikes out way too much and doesn't walk enough. Morse is over 30 now which doesn't fit the plan but he just turned 30 so he is in his prime. Morse IN the outfield or at first for 2-3 plus years would be perfect. But better than the left-handed, and younger bat of Fielder? But then Morse is in superior shape and Fielder is not. If Fielder is signed, and one is following the plan, you have to know that the Nat's next move will likely involve Tampa Bay and BJ Upton. That, unfortunately, might just involve Morse.So, if we are following "the Rio/Clark/Johnson/Minniti/Harris" plan?1. Desmond/Lombardozzi SS/2B RHB/S (I'm betting on the platoon bat)2. BJ Upton CF RHB 3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B RHB4. Prince Fielder 1B LHB5. Jayson Werth RF RHB6. Danny Espinosa 2B/SS S7. Bryce Harper LF LHB8. Wilson Ramos C RHBBench:Mark DeRosa RHB UTLAdam LaRoche LHB 1BMike Cameron RHB OFRoger Bernadina LHB OFJesus Flores RHB C January 2, 2012 3:49 PM _____________________________Morse straight up for BJ Upton for a 1 year rental? If you are suggesting that it is ridiculous.The Nats need to wait until July 31st to see where they are. Bourn would be a great July 31st pickup.

  108. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    How does Adam Kilgore get direct to Scott Boras?He calls him up. He isn't carefully hidden in the background like Ted Lerner.He actually gives interviews. I wonder if Davey Johnson has had a chance to meet Ted yet?In any case mark my words. I don't need a super secret source like Nats Enquirer: BJ Upton follows Fielder. With extensions for Upton and Zimmerman after that and Rizzo can just about check off every item associated with building a winner and focus more on the draft, international talent and signings, and player development. Leaving Davey to manage to major league talent. Still think they should sign Oswalt, start Detwiler, option/move Lannan.

  109. Gonat - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Anonymous said… Nats Enquirer all over this with his "sources"."Hearing" a decision could be reached by the end of the week…now, if only Mr. Lerner and Mr. Boras can come to an understanding about what kind of 5-year deal this is going to be? Your guess is as good as ours. January 2, 2012 5:29 PM ___________________________I give him credit for working it. I don't see a decision that quick unless Boras gets 7 years from the right team.

  110. Anonymous - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Morse straight up for BJ Upton for a 1 year rental? If you are suggesting that it is ridiculous.The Nats need to wait until July 31st to see where they are. Bourn would be a great July 31st pickup.The notion of waiting to sign Bourn is what's ridiculous! Aren't you watching? How old is Bourn? Rizzo doesn't really want Bourne. He wants either BJ Upton or Peter Borjous. Why? Look at their ages and ceilings. After that? Its Corey Brown or Brian Goodwin … I don't see Eury Perez … possibly Michael Taylor.Werth is the bizarre anti-Rizzo exception that proves the rule. Signing a 33 year old for 7 years is not Mike Rizzo. I suspect it has a lot to do with ownership talking to Scott Boras.I separate lead off from CF. IMO Lombardozzi could handle leading off just fine.And I doubt any trade for Upton would be consummated without working an extension with Upton and his agent. He may be so happy about getting away from the Trop that he will forego free agency. He is only 27 and so still has some years to go.

  111. Anonymous8 - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:48 PM's own Jon Heyman had previously reported that a Nationals player believes they are "shooting for" Fielder. And Monday, in response to the Haudricourt report, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times brings us the following: "According to team sources, the party line remains the same: Unless the price — specifically in years — drops, the Nationals are unlikely to be that landing spot."

  112. Gonat - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Anon @5:48, I guess Ken Rosenthal is a bigger idiot. He just wrote this:

  113. wear my heart on my sleeve - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Best version I've seen of the National Anthem at any sporting event ever!It brings a tear to my eye ever time, make me proud to be an American.

  114. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Wow! All the chatter about Prince. Kilgore/Rosenthal.. etc. I will give them both credit about how signing prince could UP the MASN contract.NatsLady, that is one thing that wasn't considered in the discussion yesterday about the $$ that Prince would bring in. Prince would be a game changer for the MASN contract

  115. Anonymous8 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    MicheleS, let me preface this by saying I have no clue about the ins & outs of the MASN deal and wonder if Prince would have any impact on a TV deal being recast NOW. Rest assured, Angelos is not going to roll over and just hand Lerner the money due the DC baseball franchise.As slimey as Angelos is, nothing would surprise me. The channel's program scheduling is so poor that I only watch during baseball season. That Phil Wood show is one of the worst produced programming I have ever witnessed on my TV.

  116. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    My comment on how I became a baseball fan (indulge me):-)I was born/raised in the Suburbs of Chicago and my entire family are Cubs fans. I spent many a summer days at Wrigley. My Dad used to take us and we would pack the lunch and take it to the game. Since there was 4 of us (Me, my 2 older sisters and my Dad), my Dad would try to find the cheapest seats that were as close as possible to the field. This meant at least 1 obstructed view seat. I always saw the games behind a pole. This explains why I am willing to pay $$ to have a decent seat (luckily for us, Nats park offers many reasonably priced seats!)We moved to Texas when I was in high school. Dad would never go to a game at Old Rangers Stadium (it was a really bad park) and he hated American League games. The only reason we got cable was so he could watch WGN.They retired to FL when I graduated from college. I was able to take him to Tampa and see the Rays (sadly before they were good). Put him in the club seats and he LOVED it! Of course, he wasn't paying for it! We went to several spring training games. He really loved the Phillies park in Clearwater I took him to Camden Yards (he didn't like it that much) and I took him to AT&T/SF park and he loved that one. I have seen about 20 of the 30 MLB parks and have always called him whenever I got to a new one. I remember being on the phone with him on his birthday from Fenway Park. Sadly, my Dad was never able to see his beloved Cubs win anything, he passed away over a year ago. I love the Cubs still (Ryne Sandberg will always be my first love), but I have adopted the Nats ever since they came here. I fell hard on the first pitch by Livo in 2005. Last July 4th, I may have been decked out in Cubs stuff, but I was rooting for the Nats the entire time.So I can't wait for this team to contend! I am so ready for the season to start!GYFNG!!!!!

  117. Grandstander - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I feel like national baseball writers get an idea in there head and then just try to reinforce that opinion. In doing so a narrative is created and other writers pile on and write stories like this.It's like one big echo chamber.

  118. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Grandstander..I am sure that is true. It is Boras that is feeding them the info to try to get a bidding war going. Lord knows that is what he did with AROD when he went to TXAnon8, if they can't agree to terms on the MASN contract, they have to go to arbitration and that is where having the Prince Chip would come into play.

  119. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Mo Cheeks is a class act, but a singer he is not! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for your story MichelleS. Awesome stuff. It's so cool how so many of our baseball fandom origins are tied to parents and family. That's why it's still, and will always be, our national pastime in my view. I suppose some people have fond memories of going to football or basketball games with their dads or moms, but I doubt it's nearly as many. Rosenthal hits all the right points in his piece. Prince in DC just makes a lot of sense. And yes, the Lerners can afford it, and Werth, and signing Zim to a long term contract. By the time Strasburg and Harper hit the open market, the Nats will be a franchise that can compete with the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Dodgers, and whoever else for their services.

  120. Anonymous8 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    MicheleS said… Anon8, if they can't agree to terms on the MASN contract, they have to go to arbitration and that is where having the Prince Chip would come into play. January 2, 2012 6:35 PM I am sure it will end up in arbitration. I read Washington DC is the 8th largest TV market in the country and the Nats share is in the bottom 10 of TV revenue currently. Having a better team will translate to more viewership. That's a given.

  121. gonatsgo - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    What does anyone think of Bourjos of the Angels? – they are loaded with outfielders and I think Trout is their future. Hopefully once the holiday season is officially over things will start to happen again. My feeling is that once Fielder goes then the other dominoes will start to fall. Organizations just don't know if they can spend their Fielder money yet. I am also just shocked that Madson is still on the market.

  122. masnstinks - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Anonymous 8 — I often wonder about those figures that are bandied around regarding viewership. I personally know a lot of people that "watch" on other media. My son in another state buys the computer radio package, my friend in the midwest buys some cable package. I often do a combination of tv, radio and gameday. It just seems like the dc area is not just a network tv kind of place. Is there anyway to actually track how people are experiencing a game? Our tv situation is just atrocious – thanks to that black-mailing sob Peter Angelos. Our radio situation is not great either. I love Charlie and Dave but everyone else on 106.7 is really just an nfl fan and they are either ignorant or they just don't care about baseball. It's painful to listen to them on the rare occasions that they acknowledge baseball.

  123. Scooter - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Thanks, y'all, for the thoughts on Fielder's contract. Grandstander, I have no doubt that you're right. Sunderland, interesting that you mention Fielder's agent. I remember when Strasburg was drafted, we heard so many outlandish numbers, his actual contract almost sounded reasonable!Sec222, I like your points. I personally disagree on which player will be better over 4 years, but I can see your thinking. I'm tempted to bet you a beer, but Sec3 only has so many hands …

  124. Catcher50 - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Number of comments:1. SSB is better in DC than in other cities, mostly because the staff does a better job of identifying singers (many in the military) who can really sell the song as an anthem. Nats tend to hire Opera or serious singers with range while other clubs like to bring in "would be Pop Stars" (who I, for one, have never heard of and probably will.2. I don't have any real problem with GBA, although it is way overdone. In this case, only the Yankees do it right. They use the Kate Smith (a Washingtonian) version and have, forever.3. Much of the food service has been gradually improving, although they really could do a better job of projecting attendance.4. Fielder, as long as he is still really serious about a 10 year contract, will go to an American League club, where he can go the last 4 or 5 years as a DH. He is probably worth $5M/year more in the AL. The preceding statement is rendered invalid if good sense prevails and the DH ends, as has been rumored. 5. I think that, by mid season, we will be taking a different attitude when the Phils come to town, much of it because now they will have to face serious pitching.6. BTW, yes, I'm a partial STH and have been a Nats fan since I saw my first ML baseball game. Joe DiMaggio was playing center. He was wearing gray. 7. I'm a little surprised that they haven't announced Bob Carpenter and FP as TV crew for the year. Carpenter is knowledgeable and FP probably is as good as any color commentator around (although he may do a little too much inside inside baseball. I love it, but not everybody is a member of SABR, or even knows what it is. By the way, Carpenter was never my first choice. Mike Frankhouser would have been better.

  125. Farid @ Idaho - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    Part of me is intrigued by the possibility of signing Prince Fielder, but I still don't believe the team would be all that better with him.Defensively, LaRoche is a near Gold Glover. Fielder, while not as bad as Adam Dunn, is adequate at best.Offensively (and this is based on Fielder's 2011 vs. LaRoche's 2010, his last healthy season), Fielder reached base 69 more times than LaRoche, hit 13 more homers and drove in 20 more runs. That works out to an extra hit or walk every 2.3 games.That works out to an extra home run 12.4 games.That works out to an extra RBI one every 8 games.And Fielder would cost the team roughly $150 million vs. $8 million for La Roche (or $17 million more for 2012).I think the only real difference would be bringing more national attention to the team while bringing in many more fans to the stadium.My guess is he'd be worth a couple more wins.

  126. Scooter - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Oh,and not to damn anyone else with faint praise, but MicheleS, I loved your story. Really, they're all terrific. Tanks!

  127. Feel Wood - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    I don't have any real problem with GBA, although it is way overdone. In this case, only the Yankees do it right. They use the Kate Smith (a Washingtonian) version and have, forever.Not exactly. They used Irish tenor Ronan Tynan for many years, particularly for playoff games, starting around or maybe even before 9/11/01. He was pretty much considered the voice of the Yankees, until an unfortunate comment he made to someone at a co-op apartment he was trying to buy. The comment was construed as anti-Semitic, although it wasn't. He just said "Thank God she's a Jew and not a Red Sox fan." But there was enough backlash that the Yankees fired him as their anthem and GBA singer and went back to recordings of Kate Smith. A bad choice, IMHO. Live music always trumps a recording.

  128. The Great Unwashed - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Prince won't help this team as much as solving the issues with the #1 and #2 holes.

  129. Anonymous8 - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Coco Crisp signing tomorrow.

  130. baseballswami - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    The Great — only #1 and#2? — seems like the offensive issues go waaay down the line-up. But – in 2012 I am seriously hoping that the 2011 hitting was an aberration and things will be muuuuch better.

  131. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Anon8 – with?

  132. Anonymous8 - Jan 3, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Anon @8:43, I don't know which team yet. Doubt its the Nats but with Rizzo, who knows.

  133. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 3, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    No idea what is happening at MASN, but the Eau Claire [Wisc] Express, J. Znn's old team, is looking for a radio play-by-play announcer. I'm not sure, but they might even pay you to do this.

  134. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 3, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    I'm tempted to bet you a beer, but Sec3 only has so many hands … I can empty them as fast as you can fill them, folks. Don't let me stand in the way…: D

  135. phil dunn - Jan 3, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Nats Jack–If there are ushers at Space Coast, they must hide The only ones I have ever seen are the security guys who stand on the dugouts in between innings. There is no ticket checking or monitoring of where people sit. I usually sit in the box seats and have never seen a concession person working the crowd. If you want something to drink or eat, you have to go to a concession booth.

  136. John C. - Jan 3, 2012 at 6:06 AM

    Feel Wood, I have to disagree with you on Ronan Tynan. His versions of the song got longer, and loonger, and loooooonger. By the time he got canned it was a relief to go back to Ms. Smith.

  137. David - Jan 3, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    Love the Clippard apartment one… haha

  138. Catcher50 - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    @FeelWood…Don't remember GBA before 9/11. May well be wrong, since I only went to a few Os or Cubs games since the 33 year mourning period began (busy playing or umpiring), and most TV ran commercials during the stretch.





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