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A manager secure with himself

Feb 27, 2012, 3:11 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Davey Johnson has been popular with players this spring.

VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals have been holding formal workouts here for a week now, and one thing has become abundantly clear: A Davey Johnson-run spring training is not like most spring trainings.

Johnson likes to do things a bit differently than his predecessors with this franchise. Most notably, he keeps workouts brief, typically no more than two hours. He encourages camaraderie among his players. He wants them to enjoy themselves.

And he stays out of everyone's way. Yes, he's out there on the field and is engaging with players. But he doesn't hover over everything and demand perfection on every single drill.

As one player put it to me this morning: "He treats us like professionals."

Now, it certainly helps that the Nationals' clubhouse is filled with way more veterans than in any previous year. It's tough for a manager toRead more »

  1. Nats1924 - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    I love it!I saw his Mets at Shea many times when I was a tiny litte guy and loved watching his teams! N-A-T-S nats nats nats!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Players have loved Davey at every stop (maybe all the winning helps?). He's a guy who wants to win and he wants players that will do what it takes to win. This summer's going to be fun to watch.dfh21

  3. ehay2k - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Just a very happy week from my perspective. Everyone in camp early because they are ready to get started, Zimm signed through forever, Ramos talking about Gio's curveball, Stras making people whiff, even when they are calling the pitches, even all the good vibes about Bryce. Even the late-breaking news about LaRoche's shoulder couldn't put much of a damper on the impending joy of the start of the season.And, while I am looking forward to the 2012 season, I am even more excited about 2013. Stras and JordanZ will be going full-throttle, and I have a feeling there will be a lot of FAs (especially CF/Leadoff guys) that will want to play in DC!GYFNG!

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    A manager secure with himself That's good. It's embarrassing when they keep adjusting, on camera.

  5. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I have said it many times it is mind over matter. If these guys believe they are winners, they will act that way so I commend Davey on setting the winning tone right from the start.I have said that DeRosa off the bench can be a difference maker and Gio Gonzalez is the other guy who has to step up and perform.I am very confident in Strasburg and JZim.The offense will be better. I just don't know if they have enough to get above the league ave in runs scored at 668 from their current 624.The Nats were 27-27 last year in 1 run games. Over 1/3 of all their games in 2011 were decided by 1 run. The Nats huge turnaround from 2010 was their 12-8 record in extra inning games.I expect that if the Nats can go 32-22 in 1 run games, they will make the playoffs. It sounds like a lot but it is winning 5 more 1 run games in 2012.

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I wasn't at all sure Davey still had it, when he took over last year. I'm feeling a great deal better about that, these days. As Mark says, we'll have to see whether that shows up in the standings, but things are definitely looking up.

  7. blovy8 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Can't expect much yet, but in March, you really have to hope one of those minor-league deal outfielders looks like they're ready to merit 300 atbats if the roster doesn't change.

  8. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    He is one of the best and now that he has knocked the rust off, watching Davey manage is going to be fun…Can't wait to see Davey Vs Ozzie! You know he can outmanage Freddie G in Atlanta.. plus he is gunning for the Phillies.

  9. ehay2k - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Mark, can you get an update on Solis? He should have thrown enough now that the Nats have a good idea of where his elbow issues stand.

  10. blovy8 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Steve M., it'll help getting more innings from better starters in that bottom line too. It might show up winning more of the other categories though. I'm thinking Davey is an offense first guy, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how he evaluates the hitters he has in camp.

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    The Nats were 27-27 last year in 1 run games. Over 1/3 of all their games in 2011 were decided by 1 run. The Nats' huge turnaround from 2010 was their 12-8 record in extra inning games.Hopefully, even slightly better offense, and significantly better starting pitching, will bring that 54 down, so they have fewer 1-run games to begin with. The deeper the bullpen, the better off they will be close/late, and right now, this is looking very possible. But don't most not-awful teams finish near .500 in one-run games over the course of a full season?

  12. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    "Most one run games are lost, not won." uh, wait a minute…

  13. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    V-8, you just beat me.

  14. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Sec 3, the Phillies went 28-19 in 1 run games last year. They of course had less of them as you would expect but a very good record in them.

  15. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Gee, you could have had a V-8 (post). :-)Sec 3, My Sofa said… V-8, you just beat me. February 27, 2012 11:15 AM

  16. Rat Man - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Hope Gramps doesn't fall asleep during extra-inning night games.

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Wow, that is quite a difference. Thanks.

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I had a '65 T-bird with a V8, once. [Dang], I miss that car.

  19. N. Cognito - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    If the veterans perform as or near expected, the success of the team will come down to the progress of Desmond, Espinosa and Ramos.The success in one-run games is mostly dictated by the bullpen.

  20. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Nice. Best we could do was Mercury Comet. At least, I think it had a V8.

  21. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Another Boz quip.. some good video.. And for those of you that don't like Boz, just skip this.

  22. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    So, anyway, Click, like I was saying. Oh, wait. This isn't Car Talk? um, how about those Nats? :-)

  23. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Sec 3, the Phillies went 28-19 in 1 run games last year. They of course had less of them as you would expect but a very good record in them.So basically, the Phillies played 7 fewer one-run games than the Nats, and won those 7 games by more than one run, compared to the Nats, who lost all 7 by one run. That's your playoffs right there–stay away from giving up the blown save two- and three-run dingers.

  25. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    blown save or blown hold, I guess, depending on the inning.

  26. #4 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    I think I read one time in a Bill James book that a team's record in one run games is not a very good indicator of their final record. The best marker is how they do in blow outs. That makes sense since bad teams will rarely beat up on people, where good teams will. One run games can often be decided on a bit of luck and be more of an indicator of bench and bullpen strength. It makes sense the Nats were about .500 in one run games – good bullpen, bad bench.

  27. Doc - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Seems to me that Davey knows that the wins will come from the players, not the way he manages.

  28. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Not sure about the status of that Post video. The first time I tried to click on the link, my browser went into la-la land and wouldn't take me to the site. The second time, it took me to the site and I saw the still image, but I couldn't play the video. Maybe others will have better luck with it, though. I tend to have problems loading that site.

  29. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    blovy8 said… Steve M., it'll help getting more innings from better starters in that bottom line too. It might show up winning more of the other categories though. February 27, 2012 11:10 AM One of the misconceptions of Livan Hernandez is that he was an innings eater (which he was up to 2006). Bottomline, he was not because of his inconsistent starts and getting pulled early.Livan averaged fractionally above 6 full innings almost identical to John Lannan.Also, NL pitchers get pulled for pinch-hitters vs. their AL counterparts who don't, so not sure how Gio's 6 1/3 inning average will translate to the NL. Remember, Jordan Zimmermann who was on pitch counts averaged just under 6 1/3. Edwin Jackson pitched 6.42 innings per start.The difference between all the Nats starters is Strasburg's pitch counts, Wang's durability and how far into the 7th inning and beyond JZim, Gio, and EJax can carry this team.The Nats starters as a group collectively should eat more innings if Lannan is the 5th starter over Wang. If Wang is the 5th starter, this will be a development to watch.

  30. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    So, if Strasburg doesn't go deep into games because of pitch counts, Gio doesn't because he's pulled for pinch hitters in too many close games because they still aren't scoring enough runs, and Wang just because he isn't stretched out anymore or breaks down, Lannan because he just doesn't last that long, and the bullpen has a stretch of bad luck and coming down to earth, … man, now I'm depressed again.

  31. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    #4, the Nats were 12-15 in blowouts. Certainly need to be 15-12 or better in those games. I think the 1 run games are important in 2012 as this team appears to be built for more of those 1 run ending "Kardiac Kids" moments.Unless you were an offensive powerhouse like the Cardinals who went 24-16 in blowouts and 26-23 in 1 run games, the offensively challenged teams with good pitching like the Nats and Giants are going to have much fewer blowout games. The Giants were 15-20 in blowouts but a very good 33-22 in 1 run games.

  32. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    The Nats starters as a group collectively should eat more innings if Lannan is the 5th starter over Wang. If Wang is the 5th starter, this will be a development to watch.Sorry, Inaccurate and misleading analysis.Again, back to the park and defense neutral/weighted stats …2011Livan Hernandez 172.9 xIP, 4.94 tRA, -12,4 pRAA (shutdown early)John Lannan 182.3 xIP, 5.05 tRA, -15,1 pRAA (worst of staff)2010Livan Hernandez 207.8 xIP, 4.65 tRA, -3.0 pRAAJohn Lannan 142.6 xIP, 5.74 tRA, -19.3 pRAA2009Livan Hernandez 49.3 xIP, 4.57 tRA, 0.2 oRAAJohn Lannan 196.8 xIP, 5.53 tRA, -20.0 pRAAAll the other pitchers who produced similar numbers are ALL mostly gonewith the exception of Yuneksy Maya. Do you really think Lannan is going to be the #5 starter? And Johnson made it a point to compliment Wang's sinker? Gorzo's early look? Not on your life says the Riggleman commercial NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

  33. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… So, if Strasburg doesn't go deep into games because of pitch counts, Gio doesn't because he's pulled for pinch hitters in too many close games because they still aren't scoring enough runs, and Wang just because he isn't stretched out anymore or breaks down, Lannan because he just doesn't last that long, and the bullpen has a stretch of bad luck and coming down to earth, … man, now I'm depressed again. February 27, 2012 11:44 AM Take 2 Tylenol and you will be fine. This team right now is built better than the 2011 squad. If Wang is in the rotation, he will probably be between Jordan Z. and Edwin J. just to make sure that it doesn't go Wang to Strasburg in consecutive starts.

  34. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Anon, there you go again with your multi-year on Lannan. Lannan spent a lot of time in the Minors in 2010.Any comparison between the 2 is a waste of time except 2011. The lines drawn are Innings per start and if you want to, add in ERA.

  35. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Anon, why are you commenting on Wang vs Lannan and then presenting Livan Hernandez vs. Lannan.What point are you trying to make except the fact you don't like Lannan. You tell us this any time Lannan is brought up.

  36. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Unless you were an offensive powerhouse like the Cardinals who went 24-16 in blowouts and 26-23 in 1 run games, the offensively challenged teams with good pitching like the Nats and Giants are going to have much fewer blowout games. You're right. I don't expect as much from Adam LaRoche as Rizzo has been touting. I expect Morse to produce likely from first base. Harper is still the unknown. He adjusts quickly he might be a factor toward the end of the season. With Zim back and healthy and real improvement in Ramos and Espinosa and some Lombardozzi … they might make it to average or just below in terms of the rBAA. It seems highly unlikely though.

  37. SABR stat or Captcha? - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    2011Livan Hernandez 172.9 xIP, 4.94 tRA, -12,4 pRAA (shutdown early)John Lannan 182.3 xIP, 5.05 tRA, -15,1 pRAA (worst of staff)2010Livan Hernandez 207.8 xIP, 4.65 tRA, -3.0 pRAAJohn Lannan 142.6 xIP, 5.74 tRA, -19.3 pRAA2009Livan Hernandez 49.3 xIP, 4.57 tRA, 0.2 oRAAJohn Lannan 196.8 xIP, 5.53 tRA, -20.0 pRAA

  38. Mark'd - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Anonatroll at 11:53 must keep those stats in his computer filing cabinet in order to whip it out on a moments notice to show us his brilliant stats.I've seen it enough to no longer care.

  39. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Nice logo, sec3. Vroom vroom! Just remember to pace yourself while driving. After all, it's a marathon, not a sprint. :-)

  40. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Any comparison between the 2 is a waste of time except 2011. The lines drawn are Innings per start and if you want to, add in ERA.It shows a pretty consistent pattern on Lannan's part. NO change for the better. He's going to be traded that's almost a foregone conclusion at this point. Not sure they'll get much but something is better than nothing. And yes Lannan spent time in 2010 in the minors for PERFORMANCE not injury. So, that year must be taken into account. And you are comparing Lannan to a guy who is likely more than 15 years older!!! Most all the others who couldn't pitch better than Livo are gone. Lannan is almost the very last outlier.

  41. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Logo, icon, avatar – whatever the kids call those thingies.

  42. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Anonatroll at 11:53 must keep those stats in his computer filing cabinet in order to whip it out on a moments notice to show us his brilliant stats.Maybe tis because I've been here way longer than you Mark'dgardentroll.

  43. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    they might make it to average or just below in terms of the rBAAMeant to say bRAA.

  44. #4 - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Remember that 4-0 or 5-1 is a "blow out" for these purposes. Good pitching helps that stat because it's based on run differential.

  45. Take this chat to Hooters - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    they might make it to average or just below in terms of the rBAAMeant to say bRAA.Should we really be comparing bra sizes on a family blog?

  46. Cease the Opportunity - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    I really feel for Lannan having bashed him for so many years. This, though, the Nationals have seven starting Major League pitchers in their drawer. That's it. If any two go down and Lannan has been traded, the Nationals will rue the day…

  47. Sunderland - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    OK, I don't know how to quantify this, but improved pitching, especially improved starting pitching, has to also help the offense.High quality starting pitching means other teams are more reluctant to pitch around someone, more likley to set infield depth to stop the run from scoring as opposed to getting an out. It's got to mean more fastballs, more pitches over the plate. Anyone wanna help me out?

  48. Cease the Opportunity - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Sunderland said… I would be the last person to help anyone out. I mean that in every way; and I mean I would be the last. But to be honest, I think just the opposite; i.e., better offense or more runs improves pitching, so the other way around.Anyone wanna help me out?

  49. HHover - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Just saw that Mark tweeted the breakdown of Zimm's contract: 2014-18: $14M/yr2019: $18M2020: $2M buyout on 2020 option ($18M if exercised)With the deferred $10M for "personal services" bringing the guaranteed total to $100M.Those numbers indeed look pretty good for the team.

  50. Candide - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Regarding one-run games:Jimmy Breslin wrote that the 1962 Mets lost a lot of games by one run, which is the sign of a bad team. They also lost a lot of games by ten runs, which is the sign of a terrible team.

  51. Recessed brain cavity - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Should we really be comparing bra sizes on a family blog?And monkeys can and do type.

  52. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    There are stats for so-called intangibles, too. For instance, all the players who came to Zimm's presser indicate a high degree of closeness, as measured by the stat Friendships Above Replacement Team.Now, contract extension press conferences are a fairly new phenomenon, so to compare eras, one would need to use different types of events, like speaking up in the press, unasked, for a teammate who's in a slump, or just having a rough time for some reason. This stat, known as Outside ("outside the locker room") Leveraged Discussions, or OLD FART, gives a of how good the team's chemistry is at a given point. Critics of that approach point out that players can disagree, sometimes violently, outside the media eye– a "silent but deadly" FART rating.

  53. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    HHover, I agree. With the $10 million deferral, it is essentially a $16.33 million average over the 6 years.Depending on how you look at the deferral for the "personal services contract", it appears team-friendly and at least in line with Adrian Beltre's deal. ESPN reported that there are incentives on top of the contract.Mark, any idea if in fact there are incentives built in?

  54. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Sec 3.. I just spit out my drink

  55. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    MicheleS said…Sec 3.. I just spit out my drinkDrinking games–yer doin it wrong.

  56. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    With the $10 million deferral, it is essentially a $16.33 million average over the 6 years.Depending on how you look at the deferral for the "personal services contract", it appears team-friendly and at least in line with Adrian Beltre's deal. ESPN reported that there are incentives on top of the contract.This is why it's complicated to negotiate creatively–with handshake riders and personal services contracts, both sides can describe it honestly, but wildly differently, to their later advantage.

  57. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Sunderland – Off the top of my head I have always gone with the premise that a good offense keeps good starting pitching in the game longer as you don't have to pinch hit for them which also should keep your bullpen fresher.I think that in theory only, and have no empirical data to back that up.

  58. Steve M. - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Sec3, the Angels did it for Pujols possibly for reasons to keep their payroll from ballooning. On the surface Zim's deal looks very team friendly. Not sure who was the creative brainchild behind it. In the end, when people forget about that $10 million personal services component, on Cots and other salary projectors, it will be reported as $14 million towards team salary not the $16 million.

  59. NatsLady - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Heard Zim on 106.7 The Fan today on my way to work–very nice interview. After some razzing they got him to commit to(1) Nats have a good shot for the playoffs;(2) He might be getting married this year.OK, so not ironclad.

  60. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    but wouldn't "Ironclad WAG" be a good name for a rock band?

  61. NatsLady - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Zim also said he batted against Clipp today and Clipp "looked great." Also said he knew it was "his job" to hand jerseys to new guys and he would be very happy handing jerseys to guys like Stras and Harper–but he was glad to have a day for himself. Really nice guy, so happy to have him here.

  62. FS - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    so the numbers add upto 100 million only if RZ's option is not picked. Otherwise it is 116 million for seven years. take out 10 million in deferral, it becomes 106 in seven years, which is just above 15 million per year. if option is ignored, it is 88 (not including 2 million option fee) over six years, which is 14.67 million per year. For a 3b of RZ's caliber, I think it is pretty good.let's not forget his annual fee (14 per year) from '13-'18 does not hold Nats back from adding any talent through free agency. Great deal!

  63. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Zim Interview on ESPN. It's kind of funny.

  64. Greek Chorus - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Davey, Davey, Davey … can you spell hubris? Knock on wood, spit over your shoulder, sacrifice a bull (or at least a chicken). You can think that about the playoffs, but don't say it out loud. Please. Won't mortals ever learn?

  65. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    FS, I believe there's a buyout for that option year.

  66. FS - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    sec 3, right you are. I meant when I said "2 million option fee", I was referring to buyout. I couldn't remember the word buyout. thanks.since that 2 million (hope it does not come to that) will be counted towards 2020 budget, I did not include it in 88 and RZ's AAV over 2014-2019.

  67. blovy8 - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    sec 3, many anonymous folk find those FART stats a bit cheesy, but they don't know beans, and lack moral fiber. A good place for them to begin is to run their analysis through a Purely Intangible Subliminal Statistics On Fan Forums model.

  68. LoveDaNats - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Thanks for the link MicheleS. What a classy guy Zimmerman is. Always willing to praise his teammates. I was privileged to meet him last year at his ziMS foundation benefit. I remember being very impressed at the time that almost every one of his teammates showed up to support him. Even LaRoche in his arm "contraption" from his shoulder surgery.The FO knows what they're doing. So B. Harper……watch and learn. Zim is doing it the right way.

  69. DWS - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Mark, love your writing. But I got to say, the best commentary anywhere. LOL blovy8 and sec3.

  70. Scooter - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    You guys are the awesome. I would like to hug everyone who has ever commented here.Well, at least Sec3 and blovy8. Let's start there.

  71. JaneB - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Sec3, I also wasn't sure Davey still had it. Now I think he does. And so do you and blovy8, I might add. It's going to be especially enjoyable around here, getting to the playoffs.

  72. s3ms - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Scooter, I'll settle for a premium beer, thx.

  73. s3ms - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Acshully, V8 wins the barley pop.

  74. natsfan1a - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    {hic}

  75. m20832 - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Well, it looks like Davy and our Boys of Summer are going to have a Great year!My only question is: Are Joe (fatboy) West and Angel Hernandez still umpires? And can the Nats not have them umpiring their games this year?

  76. SFNats - Feb 29, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. SFNats - Feb 29, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  78. SFNats - Feb 29, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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