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Nats returning to Sunday Night Baseball

Jan 18, 2012, 5:14 PM EST

US Presswire file photo
The Nats haven't played on Sunday night since the 2008 opener at Nationals Park.

It looks like the programming folks at ESPN are taking notice of the Nationals at long last. The network announced this morning the Nats will make at least two appearances on Sunday Night Baseball this season, their first in four years.

ESPN will nationally televise the May 6 home game against the Phillies, as well as the May 27 game at the Braves. First pitch for both games will be after 8 p.m. EDT, so prepare for some late nights at the ballpark.

The Nationals could make even more appearances on Sunday Night Baseball later in the season. ESPN and MLB don't announce those schedule changes until three weeks in advance of each game.

These two already-scheduled Sunday night games are nearly as many as the Nationals have played over the past seven seasons. They'veRead more ยป

  1. MicheleS - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Mark.. I think you meant May 6 (instead of May 9) for the phillies… I miss both of these games, since they are not in my plan…

  2. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    You are correct. Thanks for catching that.

  3. Unkyd - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    May 9. Let's fill the joint with curly Ws!!! Can't have the Filthys owning our house on national TV…..

  4. MicheleS - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Sorry to be your editor today… I think you mean May 27…But the April 26 night game at Atlanta will be followed by a 1:10 p.m. game in Miami the next day. Don't be surprised if the Nats show up a bit sluggish for that one…

  5. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    I disagree with these being late night affairs. Barring a deluge, they will be quick games as our fresh young stud pitchers will make quick work of the opposing batters.

  6. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    The Nats have shown up for games a little bit sluggish a LOT over the last several years. Let's hope that the tight travel shcedule is the only reason that happens in 2012.

  7. natsfan1a - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I won't mind if they're sluggish in the OPS sense. :-)

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    The home game against Philly isn't part of my 21 game plan either but I will definitely be there to make a stand to pluck the phillbillies from up north. I wish that we could organize an Occupy Half Street movement for that night. It would be great if some local businesses would take part in some way, say by offering a spiff if you bring in your ticket stub during the next week after the game. I really see this game as being very important for our fan base to make a statement.

  9. SonnyG10 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Good one 1a.

  10. TimDz - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Stoopid question time (something I excel at)…Will the game Sundays be blacked out on ESPN or on MASN?

  11. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Will only be on ESPN.

  12. MicheleS - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    TimDZ..I think they are blacked out on MASN.. so we will have Dan/Orel/Tito in the booth that night

  13. Stew Magnuson - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    One thing I NEVER want to hear about: millionaire ballplayers complaining about their travel schedule on their chartered flights. It's right up there with rock stars and their songs about how tough life is "on the road."Or movie stars complaining about fans interrupting their dinners to ask for autographs.Boo-Hoo!

  14. Grandstander - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Speaking of increased exposure, Strasburg was named the 47th most powerful person in Washington in GQ's Top 50. Pretty sure that's the first time a National has cracked that list.

  15. joemktg - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    5/26 game ends around 11. Post game stuff, get on plane by 1AM. Land 2AM. Transport to hotel, hit sack 4AM. Up at 8AM. Breakfast, dress, at park by 9AM.And that's the press corp.

  16. Steve M. - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I think the travel schedule was an issue just like day games after night games. I hope with some team depth that Davey can give Werth and Morse and Zim a few scheduled days off to keep them fresher. I think both Werth and Morse played through too many nagging muscle pulls last year. The 162 game schedule is a marathon. One bonus is Miami now has a roof on their new stadium so no more rain delays in the Nats 9 game schedule there.

  17. Wally - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Re: Bench comments from previous posts: I agree that I was hoping for better. There is still time, and there are some decent guys out there, but they need to get moving. Unless SteveM is right that they can get Upton from TB, I think that they have to upgrade CF beyond Bernie/Cameron. I am not in the 'bring up Harper soon' camp, but even if you are, that 4th and 5th OF is going to get a lot of ABs, and if we want to give ourselves a better chance, we need to upgrade. Here are my suggestions – (i) trade Bernie for Will Venable. Venable is the better player (LH, good against RHs, good defender) but he is also in arb and probably getting a salary between $2.5-3m this year, and SD has a lot of OFs and would probably be interested in shedding salary. We might have to add a prospect to make it work. (ii) sign Cody Ross. Both guys could form a platoon at the third OF spot, aren't break the bank expensive, and could easily slide to a back up role if and when Harper comes up.

  18. Steve M. - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/a-look-at-where-the-nationals-payroll-stands/2012/01/18/gIQAjWW27P_blog.html?wprss=nationals-journalKilgore tackles the Nats payroll in Kilgore style. The Nats now sit around $75 to $80 million.

  19. This should be interesting - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    From ESPN:Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who faces a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, is expected to speak at a banquet where he will accept his National League MVP award.

  20. Steve M. - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Wally, how good does this look to you:1. Desmond SS2. Upton CF3. Zim 3B4. Fielder 1B5. Morse LF6. Werth RF7. Espi 2B8. Ramos C1. Stras RH2. Gio LH3. JZim RH4. Lannan LH5. Wang RHGorzo LHHRod RHDetwiler LHBurnett LHVacant RHClip RHStoren RHFlores CBernadina OFDeRosa OF/IFLombo IFVacant On September 5th Bryce Harper becomes the 4th outfielder.That's what a playoff team looks like with 1 open spot in the bullpen and 1 open spot on the bench.Payroll ends up on Opening Day at $103 million and Boswell retires because he has nothing to complain about any more except who will play CF in 2013.

  21. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    $75 to $80 million?!What if it goes badly?!

  22. Wally - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Steve M. said… Wally, how good does this look to you …That would look phenomenal. It would be one of the top 3 lineups in the NL, in my view, not only in 2012, but for several years afterward. We would be a top contender for playoffs. Pitching falls off markedly after the top 3, but I could live with that.It requires a big financial commitment from ownership, so it is easy for me to say spend it, but that team would take this town by storm, I think, and at a minimum, pay its way.

  23. joemktg - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Heyman reporting that the Yu deal will get done.

  24. MicheleS - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Steve M @1:37.For that lineup.. I would be going to more games than my 22 game package provides!

  25. Wally - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Hey SteveM – your post got me daydreaming a little, and it made me realize how positive 2011 has been for the Nats. If they continue their path towards playoffs and more, I think that 2011 will be looked at as the watershed year.If you go back to the end of the 2010 season – Ryan Zim was the only player that seemed good and projected to stay that way. We had very few building blocks. Strasburg was electric but got hurt; JZimm came back but had mixed results; Flores was the catcher of the future but couldn't get on the field. Storen and Clip had flashes but were too untested to know what we had. Espy and Morse were question marks. Morse was surprisingly (to me) productive in a part time role, but no building block.Then Werth signs; Morse becomes a force; Espy and Ramos look like future stars; JZimm has an exceptional year; Stras returns from TJ. Gio trade. Harper outproduces his hype.It really amazes me how much has gone right in the last 15 months. The FO has done well and gotten lucky, but I'll take it. I think that when you look at successful teams and then trace backwards to see their path of success, you will often find a year where several players take enormous steps forward, including some surprises. Like we just had.

  26. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    The big question for the 2012 Nats right now (well, but for the elephant in the room is the PF Flyer's signing status) is can Ian Desmond hit and field to his potential (and at the same time). dfh21

  27. Sunderland - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    The big question for the 2012 Nats right now (well, but for the elephant in the room is the PF Flyer's signing status) is can Ian Desmond hit and field to his potential (and at the same time). dfh21***********I think very true. If he can, then the CF problem goes away for a year, maybe two (because it is as much a leadoff problem as a CF problem). Plus the offense gets a nice lift, the infield defense becomes very strong. Takes care of several potential issues.

  28. Wally - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    A double dose of Fielder rumors on Twitter. I think the 'can't do both' wall is beginning to crack. #1 @JonHeymanCBS Jon Heymandarvish will be a ranger by this afternoon. they are finalizing 6-yr deal. heres story on @CBSSports. tinyurl.com/8ytkoao25 minutes ago # 2 @JonHeymanCBS Jon Heyman#rangers people still suggesting they "probably" can't sign prince assuming they sign yu.

  29. Tcostant - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Considering how close the Nats may be this year (especially if the extra wild card is added for 2012), it was a huge mistake not making a modest investment in Norichika Aoki.http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/17/brewers-close-to-deal-with-japanese-outfielder-norichika-aoki/This may be the text book opportunity lost, you read about in Economics 101.

  30. Mark'd - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Wally, I'm dreaming too. That darn SteveM is a roster tease!

  31. Sunderland - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I'm not upset we missed out on Aoki.So a couple days ago, the Brewers inked a left handed hitting, singles hitting outfielder named Nyjer Morgan to a $2.3M deal.Today they sign a left handed hitting, singles hitting outfielder named Norichika Aoki.I guess along with Corey Hart and Carlos Gomez they will see some playing time until Braun comes back. Then what? Braun in left, Hart in right and the other three in CF?

  32. Tcostant - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Sunderland said… I'm not upset we missed out on Aoki.So a couple days ago, the Brewers inked a left handed hitting, singles hitting outfielder named Nyjer Morgan to a $2.3M deal.Today they sign a left handed hitting, singles hitting outfielder named Norichika Aoki.I guess along with Corey Hart and Carlos Gomez they will see some playing time until Braun comes back. Then what? Braun in left, Hart in right and the other three in CF? Me –> That what the Mets said about Ichiro. I'm only half kidding, after all Aoki has won gold gloves and batting title, for such a modest investment wasn't he worth plunging into CF this year and seeing if he may be the answer.

  33. Mark'd - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    MasseyReport says Texas off Prince once YU is inked. I think many here have said that also the past few days. Is it Boras keeping hope alive or a snowjob?

  34. Mark'd - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Tcosant, yes on that one

  35. baseballswami - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Ummmmmm – it's 3:36 and while Jon Heyman is usually in the know about things, the clock is ticking in the whirling darvish derby. I would generally not give a hoot or a holler about what Texas does except that I really want the logjam to be broken. Enough already.

  36. Sunderland - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Tcostant, yeah, I'll give you that, in that it sure might have made sense for us to make that modest investment. 2 year contract plus posting fee, perhaps $8M?It seems to me it would make more sense for us than the Brewers.

  37. blovy8 - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    It would be a pretty sneaky move by the Rangers to not sign Darvish after the bid seemed so high, and then pick up Fielder and Oswalt for less than everyone imagined.

  38. Gonat - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Mayberry and Nix will be the left field platoon according to JimBo's discussion with Ruben Amaro.This seems to be what many teams are doing is working in LH/RH platoons into the outfield where the sum of the parts is a stud in that position.Haven't seen that discussed here but Bryce Harper rarely starts against LH pitching. Have to think thats a possibility that BHarp plays in a platoon to start his MLB career.

  39. Tcostant - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Yu deal is as good as done. The O's will get my money in May to go see him pitch.http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/18/rangers-deal-with-yu-darvish-looks-imminent/First comment on the message board is "105.3 the Fan in Dallas is reporting Yu is in Arlington for the press conference to announce the deal."

  40. Tcostant - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    105.3 is listing Yu as "breaking news" that the deal is done.http://dfw.cbslocal.com/category/sports/texas-rangers/

  41. Big Cat - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    I have heard Darvish is a done deal. Ok….lets get the Fat Man in here. I can see our lineup now on Sunday night in HDDesmond ssWerth CfZimmerman 3bFielder 1bMorse LFHarper RfRamos CEspinosa 2b Strasburg PHubba bubba! Play balllllll!!!

  42. FLASH traffic from NSA intercepts - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Scott: Hi, Mike? We'll take it.Mike: Take what?Scott: The offer.Mike: What offer was that?Scott: The one Mr. Lerner made a couple of weeks ago. Six years, $175 million.Mike: Scott, you know Mr. Lerner said that offer was only good for 72 hours.Scott: Yeah, yeah, but that's still your position, right?Mike: I'll get back to you in a couple of days, but at this point I'm not sure Mr. Lerner will be willing to go that long for that much. Hold tight, Scott.

  43. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Tcostant, if he pitches during the 3 game series in Baltimore.You are over the top with your Yu.

  44. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    OK, Prince most likely signs by Friday someplace. I can't see them waiting out much else in terms of the market. I am taking a stab and guessing the Mariners. They have the money, they have a huge need for the guy, they play in the right league for his body type, they've gone big in the past. Though, not sure Prince wants any part of that big park and of being on a club building. We'll see.dfh21

  45. Gonat - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Darvish according to MLB Network 6 yr/$60 so with the posting fee they got a good deal…maybe a great deal at an average of $18.6mm per season.Already reports that the Rangers are out on Prince.

  46. Gonat - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Anon, Rangers actually play 4 games in Baltimore this year on May 7 to 10 so 80% chance Darvish pitches in one of the games.Also on Intentional Talk and to paraphrase Chris Rose, "Prince Fielder was a smokescreen to help in the negotiatons with Texas. Prince is going to Washington"

  47. Big Oil - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Prince to M's leaves them with issues, though: they've invested Cliff Lee in Smoak, so for him not to have an opportunity to deliver on his promise would border on negligence for Jack Z.Similarly, Montero has his own issues with 1B. To be sure, they can play him at C and hope for the best. However, if that doesn't pan out, then he will DH. If not, now you've sunk Pineda AND Lee for your 1B and DH. Add Prince to that and at least one (and perhaps two) critical team building moves go for naught. I think the M's are out.

  48. Gonat - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    FLASH traffic from NSA intercepts said… Scott: Hi, Mike? We'll take it.Mike: Take what?Scott: The offer.Mike: What offer was that?Scott: The one Mr. Lerner made a couple of weeks ago. Six years, $175 million.Mike: Scott, you know Mr. Lerner said that offer was only good for 72 hours.Scott: Yeah, yeah, but that's still your position, right?Mike: I'll get back to you in a couple of days, but at this point I'm not sure Mr. Lerner will be willing to go that long for that much. Hold tight, Scott. 4:50 PM_________________________________LMAO, that is good.This interview says it all with Lerner and Scott Boras:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtLr5HKLrTE

  49. Sunderland - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    You'd have to think that if Prince Fielder listed out the places he would rather not play, Seattle would be on that list. But the again, a year ago, the Nats would also be on that list. Things can change quickly.I think Rizzo is smart enough to not be drawn into bidding against himself.

  50. Anonymous - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Sundrland, I am not sure who else might be out there other than Rizzo seriously bdding on Fielder right now. Dark horse might be the Bucs.dfh21

  51. Big Cat - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Well, even if Prince goes elsewhere, we still have Laroche coming back healthy. Checking his career stats, he has been a pretty solid 25-90 player. I look for him to rebound strong this year.

  52. Gonat - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Big Cat, I like that optimism! It isn't like wishing and hoping on Chris Marrero.

  53. NatsNut - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    natsfan1a said…I won't mind if they're sluggish in the OPS sense. :-)LOL! Or Bryce Harper's version: sluggERish. =)@Unkyd. Also my first thought: How to fill the ballpark with NATS fans May 6 so the FN Phillies fans don't show us up.

  54. Golfersal - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Sorry but I really hate this.Love day games, for my wife and I nothing better than spending Sunday afternoons at a Baseball game.Now we have to go at night on a Sunday?Screw ESPN, give me my Sunday day games.

  55. Tcostant - Jan 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Anonymous said… Tcostant, if he pitches during the 3 game series in Baltimore.You are over the top with your Yu. January 18, 2012 5:02 PM Me –> I think it's a four game series, so that's an 80% chance of seeing him. I will go, I so enjoyed watching him pitch in the WBC in San Diego in 2009. He is worth the ticket / traffic nighmare cost.

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