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Learning when to get away from it all

Feb 28, 2012, 11:46 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Davey Johnson offers instruction to Danny Espinosa at today's workout.

VIERA, Fla. — Danny Espinosa has always been the baseball equivalent of a gym rat. Or, as they like to call themselves at Long Beach State, dirtbags.

There's nowhere Espinosa would rather be than the ballfield. Unless he's in the batting tunnel, taking swing after swing long after a game has ended. Or maybe in the video room til midnight, dissecting every one of his at-bats, trying to find a fatal flaw in his swing.

Trouble is, sometimes too much work can damage your game. Hard as that may be for guys like Espinosa to understand, it's often the truth.

"You don't have to hit 500 balls down in the cage after gametime to be able to perform," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I think sometimes you can lose an edge or get a little rusty. But they're so driven, sometimes that's what they do."

It's what Espinosa did much of last summer, as his once-promising rookie season began to spiral out of control. A legitimate All-Star candidate on pace for a 30-30 season at the end of June, he fell apartRead more ยป

106 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Whynat - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Re bandwagon: What is the line of demarcation between oldtimers vs bandwagoners? Strasmas? Opening day 2011? DJ becomes manager? OD 2012? way earlier?

  2. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Try 2005 Whynat, many of us spent a good deal of time on the original Nationals Journal site with Tracee before coming here. Mark was still with the Washington Times and no one went there.

  3. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Jenn Jenson said:Dear Anon,A girl cannot wear the same Natswear to every game. One must honor both starting pitchers and relievers. (And catchers, of course.)A variety of clothing weights (shirsy, jersey, sweatshirt) is also needed to be comfortable regardless of the gameday temperature. :) Wonder if you have a Fresh22 BeastMode shirt … I wear it cycling quite a bit? BUT, my god I wonder what your closet must look like and I hide my eyes thinking about the shoes!

  4. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Espinosa is the real deal and also another Boras client. With Rendon in the offing, (NO, they aren't going to trade him FeelWood or 1/2 Street. They NEED OFFENSE and Rendon looks like a very inexpensive solution right now!), someone is going to end up as the UTL guy and it ain't going to be Espinosa or Zimmerman. Possibility existed for someone to fill an outfield slot and that might make sense were it not for the Jayson Werth deal, especially with the no-trade. Its kind of sad …

  5. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Fresh22Meant to say 22Fresh.

  6. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Yes, 2005 for veteran fandom, but was the question whether a fan who got on board at any of those junctures could be classified as bangwagon? fwiw, I read Mark's contributions at the Times but didn't comment over there because I didn't want to set up an account. Back then you didn't have to have one at the Post either. Those were the days. :-)

  7. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    On topic, loved the behind the scenes look provided in this post. Thanks.

  8. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Well as far as clothing choices are concerned, as you can see from the picture above, I now own a Espinosa #18 Rookie jersey. I will have to have him sign it. Not buying a new one.Plus I have a Werth Jersey (save the trash talk boys – some of you have it too), and several sherseys (Strasburg/RZim/Storen's Old number) plus many other Nats T Shirts. I actually have a Harper shersey, but it has paint spots on it. I also have really great Curly W Earrings.

  9. FS - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    I hope Rendon is an advanced college hitter that everyone thinks he is. let's hope his shoulder issues do not last long and we see him progress in minors soon.Espinosa can be #2 hitter I guess if he improves his average. He has speed too. I am excited to see if he improves one year after that surgery.

  10. FS - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    is there a site that keeps record of minor league options for fans to see?

  11. Feel Wood - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    (NO, they aren't going to trade him FeelWood or 1/2 Street. They NEED OFFENSE and Rendon looks like a very inexpensive solution right now!)Hey, I've never said they should trade anyone. I don't do that kind of thing. Pay attention.

  12. JaneB - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    I still have a Wilkerson jersey. I think, if you were a fan before Strasburg, then you count as a real fan. I had no idea that there was anywhere to read baseball news but the paper and ESPN — so I missed all those years of blog reading that you all knew about. I took my 88 year old Dad to get an MRI today. One of the techs commented on my Nats jacket. "I think I'll start rooting for those guys this year," he says. "Oh don't get her started on the Nats," my Dad says. "You'll fry me to death in there while she explains why some guy should be playing first and they won't let him now," I ask him, "Dad, who is that guy who should be playing first?" "I can't keep up with all that crap," he says. "But I think his name is Michael Morris." Pretty darn close for an 88 year old who doesn't always know what state we live in. Mark, please tell me you can do iChat or FaceTime with Brian and Mrs. Z. You must really miss them by now. We're all in heaven, reading all these posts. Thank you for taking one for this team (by which, I mean your ragtag Insiders).

  13. NatinBeantown - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    On bandwagon, there are probably two demarcations. The core group are "the 9000," us lucky few that endured 2006-09. The next wave was the Strasmus group. The next group comes with a a competitive second half this year. Welcome all, I say. NatsTown has no growth restrictions.I will not be as fond of the group that comes aboard when the pennants finally come. I have personally endured Red Sox Nation here to understand how much those type of talk radio frontrunners change the experience. But that cart remains well ahead of the horse.

  14. NatinBeantown - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    Also, with all the arthroscopic experts hanging around here today, are there any swing doctors in the house? Is Espi from the left side a real possibility? I've read comments defending the switch hitting, but never claims that he's actually better from that side.

  15. Positively Half St. - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    I don't want them to trade Rendon (once they are able to), either. I may have said something about wanting him to be great so he can either play for us or be traded, but that is true for all of our prospects.As for the "2005 club". First, I note that you might mean 2004, since a number of us were in on the conversation once the team was awarded, but before they played. More importantly, though, I only care about that for recognizing those friends I have interacted with that long. A lot of us (including me) settled on our current blog (names? handles? alter egos?) a few years after the beginning, and had other ones before that.It is really important that we are welcoming of all that want to join the conversation, because the devoted-to-obsessed fans are the secondary core outside of season ticket holders (ignoring the overlap). It was very frustrating during the first several years to know that the truly devoted fans were so small in number. We want to grow our number, especially because the quality of the conversation will improve when we can't anticipate the tenor of the answers each member will give. That will happen when we are so numerous that we can no longer keep track.+1/2St.

  16. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Mark.. as a service to your female readership.. can you find out what is up with the hair choices this year? I mean seriously, what is growing on Desi's head? And Drew? What's with the Mullet? Is he channeling Mitch Williams circa 1992? And did he steal Stras's goat-tee? That thing needs to be trimmed up a bit. I swear, if RZim starts growing out that hair, I am bringing a barber to opening day.

  17. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    I've read comments defending the switch hitting, but never claims that he's actually better from that side.NatinBeanTown, like pitch counts and inning for TJ recovery there is a rule of thumb for the platoon bat and it is 1000 major league at bats. If you can't get it by then then you aren't going to get it. The experts believe that Espinosa will get it before then. Lombo is just starting.

  18. yankish2 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    How will that dreaded 'sophomore slumps' affect Espinosa? Heaven forbid if he strikes out more this year than last. His at bats after the All Star games were painful to watch. But most of you who post here think he is the real deal.

  19. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    That thing needs to be trimmed up a bit. I swear, if RZim starts growing out that hair, I am bringing a barber to opening day.Hahahahahahahaahaahaha … that's the funniest I've read in a while. No, Michele you don't get it? Most of thesee kids have baby faces and fat. They can hide it with hair. They want to intimidate the opposing batter or pitcher depending … taking their queue from Werth who looks like a baybee even at 33. Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahha … only Morse doesn't worry about that stuff … he intimidates with his size and bat I guess …

  20. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    I meant cue not queue

  21. waddu eye no. - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    i have a 17 year old "oldtimer" who still wears her castilla jersey to games. i remember sitting on the deck listening to "hail to the chief" on am radio, with charlie and dave shea, before i had satellite and masn. when i got directv i made sure to get an extra hookup outside so i could bring the tv out there to watch. but i'm happy to see the bandwagoners – even if only so i can tell them i'm still wearing my first year red "DC" away game hat. hope this is the year i can tell them all "told you so"gyfng

  22. Steve - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    Its rapidly becoming apparent to me that the biggest difference this year is not the players, but the manager.Davey is talking the talk big time.If he were anyone else, I'd be worried he couldn't walk the walk.Alright, Gio + Jackson + Strasburgh is big too; but seriously, our pitching was pretty good last year. Scarry to think what it'll be like with our starters able to go more than 5 innings. Hope the pen can stay sharp.

  23. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Anon 8:36.. I get that, but it only looks like they have dirty faces and need to get a wash cloth to get the dirt off. Sorry, but not intimidating – especially Drew's Mullett

  24. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    And some nice pub from Jayson Stark

  25. skidge - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    So do those of us who pined away from 1971 and followed from 2005 but never got involved with blogs count as "nonbandwagoners"? :)

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Try 2005 Whynat, many of us spent a good deal of time on the original Nationals Journal site with Tracee before coming here. Mark was still with the Washington Times and no one went there.I cannot believe this is still sitting there. Tracee??? No. Barry Svrluga is the Original Blogfather. Tracee (Blogmother) was after that. I'd take your card, if you had one.And to answer the original question, I'd offer Strasmas as the camp-follower marker, but honestly, I don't have anything against people getting on board late. There's no glory in following a bad team.

  27. NatinBeantown - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Michelle S -Thanks for the link. The story at the bottom of the post is nice, but how about the most amazing part of that post, in which the Nats aren't mentioned by name, but were apparently one of the 10 teams in baseball named by all 5 GMs with a shot at the WS this year? Whoa… GYFNG!

  28. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    And as to Danny's problem of spending too much time in front of the computer trying to catch up at work: the one required-viewing video should be Bull Durham. First lesson. Don't think. It can only hurt the ballclub.

  29. SCNatsFan - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    I've been an Expos fan since I went to college in Montreal… I feel comfortable saying I'm not only on the bandwagon, I have a padded seat near the front

  30. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Hmmm… Looks like Bryce deleted his twitter account…

  31. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Akshully, Halfstreet old friend, I suspect you, like me, are among the few, the proud, who were "here" since that exhibition series at RFK between the Cardinals (McGuire) and Expos (Vlad) back in 1999. But I like and agree with this:As for the "2005 club". First, I note that you might mean 2004, since a number of us were in on the conversation once the team was awarded, but before they played. More importantly, though, I only care about that for recognizing those friends I have interacted with that long. A lot of us (including me) settled on our current blog (names? handles? alter egos?) a few years after the beginning, and had other ones before that.It is really important that we are welcoming of all that want to join the conversation, because the devoted-to-obsessed fans are the secondary core outside of season ticket holders (ignoring the overlap). It was very frustrating during the first several years to know that the truly devoted fans were so small in number. We want to grow our number, especially because the quality of the conversation will improve when we can't anticipate the tenor of the answers each member will give. That will happen when we are so numerous that we can no longer keep track.+1/2St.

  32. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    *McGwire.Sheesh.

  33. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Sec3.. I was at that game too.. And I kept thinking that RFK would be just fine as a baseball stadium….Sat on the 3rd base side and just roasted. BP was something to behold with McGwire

  34. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    And do some remember in 2004 driving out to RFK to go to the Trailer in the parking lot for Nats gear? My entire family was getting Nats gear for Christmas presents. And then the threat that MLB made to pull the team when the DC city council started to balk at paying for the stadium? Thankfully that only lasted a few days

  35. JaneB - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Who else put cash in the bank account toward bringing a team here in the early 80s? I can't remember the exact year, but before 1984. I, too, will be glad to welcome all the on-rushing new fans. But I'll be secretly gloating inside.

  36. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Yes, you do.And as I stated in a previous thread, I'll welcome any and all bandwagoners, as long as they don't try to take my seat. :-)skidge said… So do those of us who pined away from 1971 and followed from 2005 but never got involved with blogs count as "nonbandwagoners"? :) February 28, 2012 8:58 PM

  37. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Little bit of mom-spit will take that right off…MicheleS said… Anon 8:36.. I get that, but it only looks like they have dirty faces and need to get a wash cloth to get the dirt off. Sorry, but not intimidating – especially Drew's Mullett February 28, 2012 8:43 PM

  38. FridayNightNat - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Was anyone at RFK in the early 80s for one of the Cracker Jack games? In the first one (1982), 75 year old Luke Appling hit a home run. Granted, it was to a short left field, but still. I remember trotting out to the those games, in vain trying to prove to MLB that Washington was deserving of a team. I put down a deposit on season tickets when one group was trying to lure the Astros (I think that was the team). Washington helped quite a few teams get new stadiums in those days.

  39. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Well recalled, FriNightNat. I was in San Fran in those days, getting the first issued (and first of several) Croix de Candlestick. Now THAT was a promotion.

  40. sjm308 - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    Not really caring whether I am classified one way or another. Griffith Stadium 1950 – First Game!!Went to the last game at RFKFlew to Montreal to watch the expo's when it was pretty close to certain that we were getting the team – got to see McGwire, Rollins and the Cards that daySeason ticket holder for "our" Washington Nationals from day one.Did not find computers or blogs until I retired in 2008 but I will be damned if I am a bandwagoner.

  41. John C. - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    @JaneB: I was on the "Baseball in '87" bandwagon, with the bank account and everything. I was on the bandwagon very early :)

  42. N. Cognito - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Anonymous said… "Hmmm… Looks like Bryce deleted his twitter account…"Too many creepers following his every tweet.

  43. Mo Monroe - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    Are you sure that was '82? I was born in '78 and I swear I remember being at that game. Or maybe I was there but remember it because my dad would talk about it a lot growing up. There was an exhibition in, I believe, '86, that was all about showing DC could support baseball. Can't remember the teams though. And it was definitely the Astros who were supposedly going to move here – I think they were going to play in NOVA. I'm a long time lurker on all these blogs, and will mostly remain so, but I want to let you all know I like reading what you write. And there are a lot of silent core fans out there too (like my dad, who used to see Roy Sievers and the gang at Griffith Stadium, and is now over the top excited about getting some quality baseball at this point in his life). All Nats fans are good fans.

  44. Gardner - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    Anyone who advocates or thinks the Nationals are considering trading Rendon needs an in depth psychological evaluation. Surplus of pitching talent combined with a dearth of offense, intersecting with potentially the best college hitter since Robin Ventura (not my eval) equates to jettisoning that piece how? Rendon's bat will play – book it.

  45. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    I get that, but it only looks like they have dirty faces and need to get a wash cloth to get the dirt off. Sorry, but not intimidating – especially Drew's MullettHahahahaahahahaahahahaahaha …. falling down ~laughing~ yes I agree, maybe pstoren is following along and will tell her son … ~wiping tears away~ For me it was a bit like watching a baseball reality soap when I'd see the always upbeat, cheerful, rah rah my man #38 Mikey Morse interact with Werth last year. He did everything he could to cheer that surly dude up. Nothing seemed to work until he finally started to snap out of his slump a bit and then after Morse hit him on the helmet, and then Werth hit himself on top of the helmet. The guy was so down on himself, so surly I was glad when he went after the Racing Presidents … I thought it was good for Werth its a shame management wasn't as "farsighted". Werth is worth far more than that stupid race to both the team and franchise given what he is paid. If it takes him carrying Teddy over the finish line with that big kid Mikey congratulating with 6'5" to 6'5" high fives I say go for it.Werth's beard clearly reflects his temperament … something the happy go-lucky Tony Plush found less than ingratiating. Werth wants to be Ty Cobb when he grows up perhaps? Gruff, nasty, and surly. I guess others like Drew Storen and Danny Espinosa are trying to copy that approach. It doesn't fit them … not at all. ~really laughing now~ My advice to Werth would be appreciate what you have like "Beastmode" Morse whom I predict will soon eclipse Frank Howard as a Nats fan favorite. Better athlete and a hopefully, the better hitter overall. Poor Mikey probably doesn't realize it but he may be about to become a more important team leader than one Ian Desmond.

  46. Section 222 - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    @FridayNightNat — I put down a few hundred bucks as a deposit for season tix too. I think it was around 1987. There was an exhibition game that year too — the left field fence at RFK was really close in. I think the Mets were one of the teams that played. I got the deposit back a year or so later. No interest. But I'm collecting that interest now, that's for sure.

  47. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    @JohnC,I don't think these newbies realize they are dealing with hard core Nats fans. As hard core as any Redskin fan. But thank God for them that's for sure, I do hope that Nats Park fills to capacity with curl W's when they face the Philthies in May.

  48. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    Espi should be fine but he has much to prove. A guy hitting .236 with a ton of K's and terrible switch splits DOES have much to prove.

  49. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    "Hmmm… Looks like Bryce deleted his twitter account…"Too many creepers following his every tweet.More like every baseball reporter and columnist from here to Tokyo.I actually find his sister and brother to be far more interesting? I justdon't get what all the hoopla was all about? The guy wants to be Joe Dimaggio, Joe Namath … I was hoping he might be the nextTed Williams who was a better hitter and ballplayer IMHO. But, Brycegets to choose who he wants to be, to emulate and which team heeventually wants to play for. Not me, nor any fan or organization. And Bryce is still young, you never know what he'll be like once heis past the age of majority. But, I do feel he has been raised theright way. Its up to him to follow the example he was given. The Harper family are all good people. The very best. I can't help butlike them all.

  50. skdige - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:46 AM

    I noticed this morning that Bryce's Twitter was gone— and I had really enjoyed it even when he got stupid! But just as well, I guess…

  51. Feel Wood - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:46 AM

    the few, the proud, who were "here" since that exhibition series at RFK between the Cardinals (McGuire) and Expos (Vlad) back in 1999.1999? 1999?!? Newb. Try the 1991 exhibition between the Red Sox and Orioles at RFK. Now that was a game. The Red Sox didn't even have a Nation then, it was so long ago.

  52. Traveler8 - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    JaneB, we had baseball savings accounts, which later formed the base of our son's college account when we did not get a team that time around. He graduated in 2010, and we have a team, sovwe got to have our cake and eat it too!

  53. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    You guys that are complaining about mullets on the Nats really need to learn what a mullet is. No one on the Nationals has a mullet.

  54. NatinBeantown - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    sjm308,That's awesome. I was born 27 years after your first game. Aren't the internets (and baseball) grand for bringing us to the same discussion?

  55. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    I cannot believe this is still sitting there. Tracee??? No. Barry Svrluga is the Original Blogfather. Tracee (Blogmother) was after that. The Svrluga memorial Panera. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Sec3. It seemed to me like things really came together when she starting running that Blog and as I recall it did get her a promotion as a result? Now didn't it. Sheesh …Even THEN, that blog was full of constant whining, complaining about the cheap chintzy Lerners and season ticket holders that felt ripped off with every move Bowden would make … doubtless they were right but it was a lot worst IMO than any post by any of the anonymii.

  56. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    It was very frustrating during the first several years to know that the truly devoted fans were so small in number. We want to grow our number, especially because the quality of the conversation will improve when we can't anticipate the tenor of the answers each member will give. That will happen when we are so numerous that we can no longer keep track.YES, and to be succinct sec3? MUST MAKE PHILTHIE FANS PAY and maybe the Yankees as well (hopefully) for distant past transgressions. Sorry Bryce but there it is. Let Zim explain that to ya.

  57. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    @FridayNightNat — I put down a few hundred bucks as a deposit for season tix too. I think it was around 1987. There was an exhibition game that year too — the left field fence at RFK was really close in. I think the Mets were one of the teams that played. And I was all excited when the Joseph B. Danzansky of Giant, Super Giant department store and grocery (yes there used to be a department store in Rockville kind of like Costco Mildred) were trying to buy the Padres … or was it the Seattle Pilots? My memory fails me …

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:35 AM

    1999? 1999?!? Newb. Try the 1991 exhibition between the Red Sox and Orioles at RFK. Now that was a game. The Red Sox didn't even have a Nation then, it was so long ago. Laughing, srsly, out loud. Brilliant.

  59. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    SJM, I can't believe anyone would question your bonafides in this matter.

  60. Section 222 - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    Looks like 30 Clubs in 30 Days is back on MLB Network. First episode is on this coming Monday, on the Seattle Mariners.

  61. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    Try the 1991 exhibition between the Red Sox and Orioles at RFK.Not 'brilliant' IMHO. I hate the Orioles, always hated the Orioles period. I don't even like the Whizzards because they came from Baltimore and were the old Bullets or Boulez if you read Kornheiser. DC is where its at Jack. Not the murky depths of the INNUH HABBAH.

  62. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:17 AM

    Now this is indeed BRILL!San Francisco Giants May Use Falconry Team To Combat Seagulls & Pigeons At AT&T Park.

  63. D'Gourds - Feb 29, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    I think that Espinosa could actually develop into a fantastic leadoff hitter. He has an excellent eye, works the count and is very fast. He just has to relax, cut back on his strikeouts and stop trying to hit so many HR's. He's very talented. Although I hope I'm wrong, I don't think Desmond has what it takes to be an everyday player, let alone leadoff hitter. I like him, but he's just not that talented a hitter or fielder. Hopefully I'll eat my words and Desi will break out this season.

  64. Big Cat - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Espy,Desmond and Ramos are the keys to if this club is gonna get over the hump. And we need a professional batting coach in here to help them

  65. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I believe that the Nats are to be featured on March 27.Section 222 said… Looks like 30 Clubs in 30 Days is back on MLB Network. First episode is on this coming Monday, on the Seattle Mariners. February 28, 2012 11:42 PM

  66. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Speaking of Desi.. Amanda has a good article on him Hopefully, the blow torches don't come out too soon this morning

  67. alexva - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I love Espi as a player and ultimately see him as our SS playing great defense, hitting 20 HRs and stealing 30 bases a year. But he is not a high average guy and all of the above in the 7 slot in the lineup is good enough for me.

  68. Cease the Opportunity - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    MicheleS said… Speaking of Desi.. Amanda has a good article on him Hopefully, the blow torches don't come out too soon this morningIf the Nationals don't win the 2012 WS, it's Desmond fault…

  69. SlowPitch63 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Wow!Interesting article and great posts.A special "atta girl" for natsfan1a's reference to "mom's spit." I've almost stopped laughing.My first games, a double header against the Yankees in'54. I also remember my first game without my father in'59 taking the street. Car home from Griffith Stadium read a lot but don't post much since I always seem to be late to the party.Let's Play Two!SlowPitch63

  70. FS - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    after reading Kilgore's article on Rendon, I think we might seem him in the majors about the same time as Harper.

  71. SlowPitch63 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Wow!Interesting article and great posts.A special "atta girl" for natsfan1a's reference to "mom's spit." I've almost stopped laughing.My first games, a double header against the Yankees in'54. I also remember my first game without my father in'59 taking the street. Car home from Griffith Stadium read a lot but don't post much since I always seem to be late to the party.Let's Play Two!SlowPitch63

  72. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Learning when to get away from it all When you start seeing messages to you about your blog habits in the blog headlines?

  73. Section 222 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Thanks for the link MichelleS. Summary of article — Desi is in the best shape of his life….

  74. SlowPitch63 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Sorry for the double post. Just further evidence of my inadequate posting skills.Let's Pla Two!

  75. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Looky here, Jason Reid has a positive column about Zim-n and the Nats.

  76. Section 222 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Oh boy, sounds like Matheus is in the best shape of his life too.

  77. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Glad you liked it SlowPitch. It's always nice to "see" you.I hadn't noticed that about the headline, sec3, but now that you mention it, maybe I should do some actual, you know, work. My lap cat begs to differ, though (it being too rainy outside and all).sec222, isn't it a little early in the day for drinking games? Eh, what the heck. Make mine coffee. ;-)

  78. natsfan1a - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Oh, yeah. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

  79. Section 222 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    From Jason Reid's column:The win-win outcome for Zimmerman and the Lerner family, who are on an ownership hot streak, all but guarantees Zimmerman likely will be in a Washington uniform for a long time.Wow, that's some great writing there. I guess he could get hit by a bus.

  80. fast eddie - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    To Anon 11:21–It was the Padres that Joe Danzansky tried to buy and move to DC. I remember seeing Topps baseball cards printed, showing the Padres in Wash. Senator uniforms. It was a long 33 years without baseball. Thank you, Peter Angelos.Fast Eddie

  81. Joe Seamhead - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Sec222, I thought that was the best column that Reid has written.Actually, I don't ever remember reading any other one that I liked. It was nice to see him positive about the team and the Lerners.

  82. Sunderland - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Sec222, I don't rag on the columnists / writers for style and grammar and such, but when I read Reid this morning, I thought that article was something a high school sophmore could have produced with a 40 minute homework assignment. That column was just a bunch of nothing, poorly constructed.

  83. MicheleS - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Kilgore also has some interesting/funny stuff from Davey on the blog. Can't post the link. Computer is having issues…

  84. N. Cognito - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    The Nats can do well with one or two guys with a fairly low OBP, most teams do, but they can't have the entire middle of the defense with a low OBP.Something will have to change before next season if the are to seriously compete for a ring.

  85. fast eddie - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    To sym308:I also attended the last game at RFK (9/30/71). Frank Howard fouled off several BP fastballs, then scorched a homer off the green wall in left off Mike Kekich (remember him–famous for "family-swapping" with Fritz Peterson of the Yankees??). With the Senators leading 7-5 in the ninth, the fans stormed the field and it went down as a forfeit.

  86. Tcostant - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Loved reading the article and these posts.Article comment, I wonder if Desi works this hard, maybe Espinosa and Desi can meet somewhere in the middle; where Desi looks at more film asd Espinosa less…On the Comments: Love the old memmories. I moved to this area in 1997; you guy brought back memmories for me of the April 1999 Crads – Expos games played at RFK (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/baseball/mlb/news/1999/04/01/baseball_dc/) I was there for one of them on a perfect day for baseball and I knew then that DC need a team. Later got envolved with "Virginians For Baseball" and was so happy when baseball got here. I'm truely a Nationals fan now (took me about two years at RFK to stop routing for the Mets). This team reminds me a lot of the Mets "Rising Stars" team of 1985.Can wait for the season, thank to all for bring back these memmories!

  87. Feel Wood - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Jason Reid baseball columns come in two flavors.(A)I've been in a big league clubhouseBut still don't have a clue.Ain't no way that is stoppin' meFrom telling you what to do!(B)Well, duh.Today's example is one from Column B.

  88. blovy8 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    I would think that if Espy can get comfortable enough to hit 20-25 points higher, his OBP would be close to .350 which is fine for the #2 guy especially since he's got some speed. It worries me that he gets hit so much though. Between that and his awkward DP pivot, it's a good thing they'll have a backup IF and DeRosa. It actually makes sense to hit him up there if they can, there are guys with a little better batting averages following him that way. He and Werth are the only ones who profile at the top of the order among starters.

  89. Jenn Jenson - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Anon,I don't have a Beast Mode shirt … although I did get a Michael Morse BP jersey last year during spring training. A BM shirt is a good idea.On my closet, it does have a special Nats section, but it's less extensive than you might think. I buy one or two things a year just to keep things fresh. And some stuff, like my Brian Schneider jersey, gets retired for all practical purposes. I do hang all of my Nats stuff on red hangers. :) And you wondered about shoes? The closet is relatively bare when it comes to shoes. So sad.

  90. LoveDaNats - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    I thought Espi was totally going to be ROY before the All Star Break. It was painful to watch his struggles after that. He so clearly wanted to do well. I hope he can take Davey to heart and relax.As for Davey, I thought he was a stop-gap measure when Riggs left town. I thought that perhaps his best coaching days were behind him. I have been proven wrong and am very impressed by his enthusiasm for the team and the obvious respect the guys have for him. I have done a complete 180 on Davey.I watched the Nats first game on tv while in Philly in 2005. I fell in love that day and was a devoted fan from then on, even during those frustrating first years when games were televised MAYBE twice a week. I got to know Charlie and Dave very well. (Shea and Jaggler)I found this blog when I read in WAPO about Mark and his ambitious trek to spring training and was happy to help fund the expedition. I was reluctant to post at first since I'm not stats savvy and sometimes the finer nuances of baseball go over my head. But that's the deal with love. Unexplainable.

  91. Drew8 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Rob Neyer on making way for Anthony Rendon:"Ultimately, you simply want Rendon in the lineup and you want the best defense you can put on the field. But it seems to me that if second base is in Rendon's future, you might as well begin that transition soon, because you might want him in the lineup as soon as 2013, when by most accounts this team should be ready to compete for a playoff spot."Just one little problem, though … The Nationals already have a second baseman and he's pretty good. Danny Espinosa does strike out a ton and he's hardly a Gold Glover, but he's still young and he'll probably be a better baseball player than Rendon in 2013."Ian Desmond, on the other hand … I think you can make a pretty good case that Rendon should be playing a lot of shortstop this spring, and perhaps into the summer. Because if the Nationals have one obvious hole, both now and down the road a few years, it's there. If Rendon can play a passable shortstop, this could be a pretty scary lineup in a year or two."Assuming, of course, that everyone's dreams haven't deceived them. Anthony Rendon hasn't yet played a single inning in a professional baseball game."

  92. Drew - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Sorry, vestigial 8 got away from me.

  93. JamesFan - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    This will be a breakout season for Desmond, Espinoza or both and that will clarify a lot for the future. On Espi's swing, to me the key is putting the ball in play. He struck out a ton last year, and we don't need a 100 strikeout second baseman. DJ's advice is great. Hope he listens and discovers that we need hits; nobody expects him to be Dan Uggla II.

  94. blovy8 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I think Neyer isn't familiar enough with the team to know that Espy has already shown he's a good defensive shortstop previously. Even if Rendon's arm isn't up to snuff, I bet his bat would be OK at first like Olerud – if he has the other infielder qualities, he'd likely add defensive value that way too. If his arm is ok, is there any reason not to try him in center a bit? I guess there's a logjam of projects out there.

  95. Tcostant - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Drew, from what I read the thought is Rendon arm is likely not good emough for SS on a full time basis.In one respect, I like the idea of moving him to 2B now, but this is his first pro AB's and you want him to have at least some confort. Also, Zimm needs to prove his arm is back this year or his future may be at 1B with Rendon at 3B. Zimm aknowledged as much saying him give up 3B when someone is better than him in the field.

  96. sjm308 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Sofa & Beantown- just another reason this is the first place I head early in the morning! Thanks for the kind words. Sofa, I am questioned daily for many, many things but NOT my love of baseball. My logic may be flawed but my passion is not.Go Nats

  97. sjm308 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Fast Eddie: I really wanted to hit the field that day but I was actually upset that we ended up losing the damn game against the damn Yankees because of the forfeit. In my teens, I didn't think anything about seeing Mantle, Berra, Ford, Ted Williams, Al Kaline etc. I just knew they were better than our guys. Sort of like how I feel now when SS is pitching or RZ is hitting a walk-off.

  98. The Retired Journalist - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I guess I count as a veteran since I bought my season tickets about thirty seconds after they went on sale when the team moved to Montreal. As for clothing to wear to games, I have a number of shirts but only two jerseys: a red Curly W without a name on it, and an Andre Dawson Expos jersey that I found last month at a farmers' market in Australia. (There's a long story there, but a good one.)

  99. The Retired Journalist - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Umm, that should be "team moved FROM Montreal." Apologies.

  100. Rob T - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    @Whynat I consider anyone who wasn't an Expos fan to be a bandwagoner. If you didn't suffer through the 1994 Strike ripping this franchise's best chance at a World Series away, you are not a true fan of this franchise.

  101. Anonymous - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I love this time of year. Optimism runs rampant. Any and all issues from last yaer are last year's problems, to be cured with one elixir or another. Edwin Jackson had a funky windup/stretch split? He was tipping his pitches? Werth underperform – he let the contract get to him and had trouble adjusting to his new digs. Desmond couldnt get on base? He figured it out in the last 2-3 weeks of 2011! Espinosa had a rough 2nd half? He was overanalyzing everything!It would be refresing to read a post or three about who is looking lost out there this spring.

  102. Slidell - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    My first game was in May 1954, Virgil Trucks (White Sox) versus the Senator's Camilio Pascual. Alas, we lost.

  103. Section 222 - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Rob T said… @Whynat I consider anyone who wasn't an Expos fan to be a bandwagoner. If you didn't suffer through the 1994 Strike ripping this franchise's best chance at a World Series away, you are not a true fan of this franchise.Not Phil Wood said…I consider anyone who wasn't a Senators fan, and I'm talking about the team that moved to Minnesota, not the one that moved to Texas, to be a bandwagoner. If you didn't attend a game in Griffith Stadium you aren't a true fan of this team and its history. Or something. Oh, and get off my lawn!

  104. Another_Sam - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Two thoughts on the line of discussion early in this thread:- I unfollowed Bryce a couple of weeks ago, after following him for about a day. He was tweeting every 20 minutes or so, trying to get to 20K followers.- Regarding being on board early: I too recall the bank accounts. As for this club, I saw 'em before they ever hit DC; I went for that first spring in Viera. Great fun.

  105. Another_Sam - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Oops. Wrong thread.

  106. Rob T - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    @Section 222 I'm a Nats fan, but the bastardization of the history of this franchise by the organization sickens me. Trying to link this team to the Homestead Grays and the two previous Senators teams while largely ignoring the Expos is ridiculous. Generally, I have been complacent regarding this lack of focus. But the death of Gary Carter and lack of a Memorial Patch by the Nats organization is a slap in the face to the entire history of this franchise. For a guy who was largely the face of the franchise for many, many years and a fan favourite to boot, to receive a MLB written article on the Nats site and that's it is a sad state of affairs.One only has to look at the new Winnipeg Jets, for the way to honour their franchise's history. Thumb through their media guide and there is no section about the first Jets who moved to Phoenix, no Winnipeg hockey history records section, nothing. There may not be as many of us as there used to be, but there are many Expos fans still around. The Nats should remember that the Senators history belongs to the Twins and then the Rangers and not the Nationals.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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