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Jan 26, 2013, 4:43 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is hosting NatsFest today.

Hello from NatsFest, which for the first time in the event's history is being held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. As much as everyone enjoyed hosting this at Nationals Park in the past, the feeling was that there would be too many fans now to be able to cram everyone into the ballpark. So the convention center it is.

There is plenty of stuff planned for the afternoon, from player autographs to Q&A sessions to batting cages and the much-anticipated unveiling of the newest racing president, William Howard Taft.

As many as 25 players are scheduled to appear, and we'll be getting a chance to interview them all. So check back here for plenty of live updates along the way…

UPDATE AT 1:35 P.M. — The first round of players have trickled through the media area. Among them, Chad Tracy, who hadRead more »

  1. Positively Half St. - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    I expect that many of your readers are there with you, while SATs and 10-year-old basketball games keep me here. Please get enough interviews and pictures to get us through the next week. +1/2St.

  2. Steady Eddie - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Danny with the beard is here, with Lombo!

  3. Positively Half St. - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    I expect that many of your readers are there with you, while SATs and 10-year-old basketball games keep me here. Please get enough interviews and pictures to get us through the next week. +1/2St.

  4. SCNatsFan - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Jealous of all you who are going

  5. LoveDaNats - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Can't be there and must live vicariously through you.

  6. sjm308 - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    I just thought of the one reason I should have gone (but I am glad to be home). That would have been to meet Mark, shake his hand and thank him for all he has done, not just for me but for all baseball fans in this area.Have fun people. Duke vs. Md in about twenty minutes and then I will probably be wishing I was at Natsfest.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Somebody tweet a pic of Espinosa.

  8. sjm308 - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Wonder if he keeps the beard during the heat of the summer?

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Thanks for the twitter pics. Keep 'em coming.

  10. Steady Eddie - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Q&A crowd gave Druuuu a great standing ovation — worth coming for that.

  11. NatsFan05 - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    NJ, Do you have a link to the that picture?Thanks…

  12. peric - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Danny already said he was going to shave it due to the excessive heat of DC summers.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Twitter @NationalsPR. They posting lots of pics.

  14. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Glad Drew got a positive reaction. I have been listening to interviews on 106.7 the fan constantly for the whole time – if you can't be there, this is an awesome way to feel involved. Haven't heard any mention of JZim – is he there? The interviews have been fantastic – Mattheus, Desi, Rizzo, Rendon. All they are doing is covering this event so it's fun to listen to.

  15. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Just saw a tweet that it's so full there the fire marshall is stopping people from going in.

  16. Steady Eddie - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    JZimm was signing autographs around 12:30 next to TMo.

  17. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    He is like the only guy I have not heard interviewed – no surprise, I guess.

  18. Another_Sam - Jan 26, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    I hope that Espinoza shoulder thing isn't ominous. What's your feeling, Mark?

  19. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    I guess when you swing and miss 4000 times in a season, it is easy to tear a rotator cuff. Why didn't they just get the thing fixed…didn't they learn their lesson from the Ryan Zimmerman oblique incident. Unbelievable.

  20. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Erik — agreed. Is it better to stay in there and be a giant hole in the line up? I mean, we have Lombo – it's not like there is no depth.

  21. peric - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Big risk for Espy with both Lombardozzi AND Rendon on the depth chart behind him … either way … he fixes it and isn't ready … OR … he doesn't fix it surgically and re-injures it. Caught between the rock and the hard place I guess.

  22. MicheleS - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Nats Fest was a lot of Fun. Got Ian and Denard's autograph. Next year, not bringing a kid unless he is over 21 and can drink (and not get tired and cranky)

  23. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Sounds like it was awesome, well-attended, and energetic. I listened to interviews with the players the entire time on the radio and it really made me excited. By the way – during his interview christian garcia revealed that he only had 10 followers on twitter. He is at about 100 now. cjgarcia56 is his twitter handle. Make his day and follow him.

  24. sjm308 - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    MicheleS – did you smuggle your bottle of JW Blue in for Adam? or are you saving that for favorite insiders?

  25. NatsLady - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    The other day on mlb network they replayed the 9th inning of the WS where Rivera melted down and the Yanks lost to the D-Backs in Game 7. Now, that is a guy going to the Hall of Fame for sure. He was so young in that game, maybe a little older than Drew….

  26. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    So nice to hear that the fans were warm to Drew. Perspective.

  27. MicheleS - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Swami, are you following me on twitter? Let me know so I can follow you.

  28. MicheleS - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    It was good seeing Mark and Amanda today. Just means that baseball will be hear soon. They said they think there were about 7000 people today. IT was nuts, but funSJM.. Adam wasn't there today. Might have to keep the JWBlue for us insiders.

  29. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    either way … he fixes it and isn't ready … OR … he doesn't fix it surgically and re-injures it. Caught between the rock and the hard place I guess. Indeed. I wonder what kind of exercises they do, and how effective it is, to "rehab the muscles around the shoulder." I don't think those things fix themselves once they're torn, but a six-month (?) layoff would be hard to take, too. There is no "why don't they" to get it fixed, it's all him. It's not like they can hold him down and start sticking knives in him if he doesn't agree.

  30. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    MicheleS – did you smuggle your bottle of JW Blue in for Adam?I thought it was for Rizzo?

  31. SCNatsFan - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Not cool as we went into the playoffs Danny kept his injury quiet. I understand the mentality not to take yourself out of the lineup but it isn't like he was producing at the end. To me this is just another excuse the organization is making for his performance. If he says he is healthy now then I don't want to hear this as an excuse if he starts poorly.

  32. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I don't know – Denard Span sounded pretty frazzled by the end of his radio interview at 3:30.Maybe he needed it. Just following on line and listening on the radio you can tell who the out-going players are. I think Detweiler is going to start challenging Gio and Drew pretty soon for Mr. Personality. Also hilarious — Desi talking about the snow and calling it a blizzard.

  33. JayB - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Danny says today….."I wasn't doing anything to help the team." (last month and Playoffs)….This is just what I said at the time and most of Fall…..Davey's job is to put the best players on the field. Davey's Achilles heel is not being honest and acting to bench "his guys" when they are hurting the team. Can we agree that Davey over all is a huge plus for the team but he does have a big blind spot and it cost the team in Oct.

  34. Doc - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Jeeeeeeeeeeezus!Hope the injury isn't as bad as ALR's labrum injury and torn rotator cuff???Could have had this done October, and be ready the first part of the season–did somebody miss something again????

  35. baseballswami - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    JayB – I think it's more that he has certain guys that are in a different category for him. He see himself in them and he operates differently toward them. Danny is definitely one of them. I wonder how long the rope is?

  36. sjm308 - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    JayB – yes we can agree on that

  37. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I don't know that it did cost them in October. They won the division–you can't finish higher than first–and Storen's blown save, not Espinosa, cost them the Cardinals series.

  38. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Loved natsfest great fun got to talk to mr. Lerner for 20 minutes not to mention a bunch of other players anf mike rizzo ill give more drtails later

  39. Steady Eddie - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Ended up really enjoying it — the unexpected part was that the huge crowd (I can readily believe 7000, Michelle!) was so enthusiastic that it got the players psyched too. That is really cool about Det heading down to Viera tomorrow, because it means he's determined to build on what he did last year. His Game4 showing was south the best of any starter.

  40. JayB - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Danny was like 3 for 30 with 18 k's in 5 games….I could look it up but that is close. He was an automatic out in the Playoffs and could not even move a runner over with a ground ball……and Davey just sat there and said he is my guy…….amazing

  41. sjm308 - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Sec 3 – actually this tendon can repair itself with rest and rehab. It depends on how severe the tear is and I am guessing that our Doctors (or his) gave him options. Like others, I just wonder why he didn't tell anyone he was in pain because this is a painful injury. I am not a dr. but our swimmers were constantly overworking their shoulders and we did more rehab in this area than any other. I am guessing there are more than 50% of our players in pain at one time or another during the season. Look how long Zimm went before the cortisone shot? It's a different world in pro sports and no one wants to come out.

  42. Steady Eddie - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    More than any other factor, it was the weakness of our starters other than Det that cost us in October.What had been a strength all year became a vulnerability.The rest cost us too, but it was the starters' poor performances that were exceptional compared to the rest of the season.Every reason to expect that they will learn from the experience.

  43. JayB - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Just like Rg3….you do not give players the choice when it is clear to everyone including the average fan that a player is performing way below expectations. When a player looks the way RG3 did it is clear they are defenseless on the field. Danny looked defenseless at the plate day after day for a month. Davey let his team down as did Danny.

  44. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Apparently, the rotator cuff is actually four muscles and tendons. Just from Wikipedia, not a definitive medical source, but this is interesting (emphasis added):"There are several instances in which nonoperative treatment would not be suggested. The first is the 20- to 30-year-old active patient with an acute tear and severe functional deficit from a specific event. The second is the 30- to 50-year-old patient with an acute rotator cuff tear secondary to a specific event. The third instance is the highly competitive athlete who is primarily involved in overhead or throwing sports. These patients need to be treated operatively because rotator cuff repair is necessary for restoration of the normal strength required to return these athletes to the same competitive preoperative level of function. Patients who do not respond or are unsatisfied with conservative treatment should seek operative management."

  45. MicheleS - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    new post on Danny

  46. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    Well, Danny wasn't literally risking his life and/or career by going on the field, as Robert was, so the analogy is a bit strained, but in hindsight, maybe Davey did know, and lost a gamble. Danny's doggedness is part of his toolkit, and sometimes you just take the rough with the smooth.

  47. natsfan1a - Jan 27, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    NatsFest was fun. In a warm building, even better. :-) Didn't know that Mark was there, me having a not-so-smart phone and all. Saw a couple of baseball buddies late in the day, at the Nats Jeopardy session. I also attended a couple of Q&A sessions (and, yes, we both "Druu'd" and "standing O'd" him). Among other things, I learned that Jayson Werth is a funny guy. (Cue the Good Fellas lines.) More later.

  48. ehay2k - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    late comment here, but it belongs on this post. Natsfest was blast. Went with my son and we went over to the 106.7 booth when Harper was being interviewed. Afterwards, my normally shy son went up with a sharpie and Bryce signed his hat. My son was stoked, and I got to snap a great closeup of Bryce. What a class act he is. Had a chat with Rizzo, whom signed my hat. I told him I appreciated the character of our guys, and also about my "special hat", which has been signed by Dukes, Milledge, Olsen, and some others, beginning with FLop. Rizzo thought that was funny, and then said something like "not THAT hat, right?"Lastly, got a pic of JordnZ, and jokingly asked him if, based on his Game 4 NLDS appearance, he might consider being a reliever when he got older. With a smile, he said he probably wouldn't.

  49. ehay2k - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    *who signed my hat.

  50. Rabbit34 - Jan 27, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Well guys, if Espinosa starts poorly but he now says he is healthy, maybe he should check into the minor leagues instead of a hospital.

  51. Alan MacDonald - Jan 28, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    My family and I thoroughly enjoyed NatsFest. It was great to meet Denard Span and some of the old-timers! The players were friendly and engaging and even though meeting so many fans must be tiring, they were really connecting. The Q&A session I enjoyed most was the one with Brian Goodwin, Nathan Karns, Antony Rendon, and Matt Skole. Their enthusiasm and excitement about the prospect of their being in the Bigs soon was great to see. Rendon is quite a personality and I think he'll bring a lot of fun to the clubhouse when he gets there!





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

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