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Let the games begin

Mar 2, 2012, 1:32 PM EDT

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Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo have plenty to evaluate over the next month.

VIERA, Fla. — They've spent nearly two weeks taking batting practice, working on defensive fundamentals, performing baserunning drills and throwing bullpen sessions. Today, though, the Nationals shift into Phase 2 of spring training. Yes, it's time to start playing some actual baseball.

The Grapefruit League doesn't officially commence until tomorrow when the Nationals head to Kissimmee to face the Astros, but today they'll get a tune-up with an exhibition game against Georgetown University.

Manager Davey Johnson won't be throwing his big-name guys to the wolves quite yet; he'll ease them in over the next few days. Today, you'll be seeing almost exclusively backups and recent draft picks, headlined by Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke.

A few more prominent names will make the trip to Kissimmee tomorrow. Johnson's starting lineup: SS Ian Desmond, 2B Danny Espinosa, CF Rick Ankiel, 1B Chad Tracy, DH Jason Michaels, 3B MarkRead more »

  1. NaterialGuy - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Lets get it started , uh huh!

  2. DWS - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Woo Hoo!!!

  3. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Throw them to the wolves? They are the wolves.

  4. Unkyd - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Roger that, Sofa….. That's NATITUDE!!!

  5. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Payin' bills, doin' laundry, vacuumin', gettin' the radio presets set, downloadin' the apps–BASEBALL is here.

  6. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    This is an awful time to be alive – if you're facing the Nats. oooowwwwwwwooooooo

  7. bdrube - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I think its funny that the stats for this game are not included in the ST stats, which don't really count anyway. This is like a DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION exhibition game. :)

  8. JaneB - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Line ups! Finally we have line ups! Oh happy day.Can't wait to hear from all our Insiders how our baby Nats are doing!GYFBNG!

  9. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Natitude– has a nice ring. ("Ignite your Natitude" not so much. Too many syllables. Drop "Ignite your" and just go with the one word!)

  10. Sean Kelly - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    NaterialGuy Definitely read that in DMX voice and about spit my coffee all over my desk.

  11. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    'tude – light up <– Reader's Digest version :-)

  12. Cwj - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Is today's Georgetown game on the radio NatsLady?

  13. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    As previously noted, looks as though watching the game day graphics feature may be an option (or not).

  14. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I don't believe it is, CWJ.

  15. Cwj - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Oh ok thanks Natsfan. I was searching but came up with nothing :(

  16. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Cwj, I don't think the game is on the radio; if it is, I couldn't find it. Maybe Georgetown has a college radio station of their own? In the publicity release, there was no mention of any broadcasts. If anyone knows– POST before noon!

  17. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I couldn't find anything either. On the plus side, we get radio Saturday through Monday and tv on Sunday (MASN) and Monday (MLB Network). :-)

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Wait, "Nattitude"? What, "[RF] tha Phillies" was taken? (Actually, I like that better. A little dated…OK, a lot dated.)If these guys don't know who Davey was, maybe Ice Cube is just a movie star to them.

  19. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    That would be one "ell," sec3, as with (Natitude of) gratitude.

  20. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Dang, do I need more coffee, or what? 8-} One "tee," not one "ell."

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    more like (n)altitude, then? Ok. I stand corrected.

  22. MicheleS - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Saturday's game is on MASN at 1, Sunday's is on MLB and it's on a Tape Delay (Starts at 4).

  23. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Actually, I kinda like that. As both can have aerial connations, it could work. "We have reached cruising Naltitude." No, wait. :-)Sec 3, My Sofa said… more like (n)altitude, then? Ok. I stand corrected. March 02, 2012 9:37 AM

  24. Waddu eye no - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Give em ell!NATSty nattitude!

  25. DaveB - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    One "tee"? Please don't bring golf into this, it's going to be a gorgeous day and I'm stuck in the office… ;)

  26. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Can the NATsty boys be far behind? :-)(MicheleS, unless they did a switcheroo, I think it's MASN Sunday and MLB Network Monday.)

  27. Waddu eye no - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    ( natsty beats phillthie)

  28. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Oh, tea time? I'd love some scones, please. (Wait…)

  29. LoveDaNats - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I know it's only spring training but I feel like having a Natitude (a la Super Bowl) party for the first televised game. I would serve Strasburgers and wild "Beast". And Nachos. As in "Nacho average team". Somebody stop me.

  30. sm13 - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Today lineups, tomorrow boxscores! It just gets better and better.

  31. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Last fall I packed away my Nats clothes, and Silver Kitty got her table back… (Had to take a shirt out in November for the vigil…) Now the stuff is back on the table for easy access and poor Silver gets the empty shelf spot in the closet… Yep!

  32. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Naterial Girls?

  33. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Not sure if anyone has posted this yet but Steinberg posted about the Natitude campaign.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/nats-launch-natitude-campaign/2012/03/02/gIQArFt8lR_blog.htmlBEST part: The team has started introducing players to the new campaign, asking them to design t-shirts that express their own particular Natitude. Drew Storen has already come up with his concept, featuring the phrase “Attention fans, the bottom of the 9th has been canceled.” hahahahaha. I love it

  34. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Yes, I posted that in the prior thread, Anon, but it's worth posting again. sec3, well, we *are* living in a Naterial World, after all. :-)

  35. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Thanks 1a, missed it. I legitimately laughed out loud when I read that. Espi is still my favorite but Storen just got bumped to #2.

  36. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I LOL'd, too, Anon. :-)

  37. MicheleS - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    1A, I was looking at the Schedule on the Nats Website for the broadcast info.

  38. Les in NC - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Yeah, I am excited to get things started. I HAVE to have a "Natitude" shirt!

  39. Waddu eye no - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Steinberg on new commercial:"Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa, with both men virtually leaking glowing globules of confidence off the screen."Gotta get a screen cleaner i guess. Thats REALLY natsty

  40. Feel Wood - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Drew Storen has already come up with his concept, featuring the phrase “Attention fans, the bottom of the 9th has been canceled.”Someone needs to tell him that this is only good for home games. Because if the bottom of the 9th is cancelled in an away game, it means he doesn't get a chance to do his job.

  41. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Picky, picky– Drew won't be on the loudspeaker at away games…

  42. JaneB - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Still, I love the Storen Natitude. Maybe that shirt is in "home" colors. It will be fun to see all the variations. I may go broke trying to collect 'em all.No way that other fans are as fun and clever as you all.I want Teddy to get some pasta Natitude and win the darn race at the first real game. Booya!

  43. Kirbs - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Man what a change from last year! We were arguing if Lan, big man or Jason were our opening day starter. Oh how a year changes.

  44. A DC Wonk - Mar 2, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Folks, for those of us who followed the Mets in the early 1980's, this seems wonderfully familiar. In 1983 the Mets finished in last place. Davey Johnson came to town, and told everybody what an awesome team it was, and how they were going to contend immediately — with a couple of young rooks like Stawberry, a teenager named Gooden (to go along with 21-yo Sid Fernandez and 23-yo Ron Darling), and a vet named Keith Hernandez, who came over in '83 because he saw the Mets' potential. Writers thought he was out to lunch. The Mets had their own version of "attitude" (which drove other fans nuts), won 90 games, and finished no lower than second place for six consecutive years.The Kool-Aid tastes great over here!

  45. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Thanks, MicheleS. They've changed it up, as I'd printed out broadcast schedules from the team and MLBN sites one week and both had it as I'd noted above. My cable provider doesn't know yet either, as the program guide hasn't been updated for either broadcast. :-)MicheleS said… 1A, I was looking at the Schedule on the Nats Website for the broadcast info. March 02, 2012 10:13 AM

  46. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    one week "ago"

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