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Spring storylines: New clubhouse dynamic

Feb 8, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Associated Press
Denard Span will try to mesh seamlessly into the Nationals clubhouse.

With the countdown to spring training in its final stages, we're counting down the five biggest storylines facing the Nationals in Viera. We continue today with spring storyline No. 4: The changed dynamic in the Nats' clubhouse…

As cohesive as they appeared to be on the field, the 2012 Nationals were equally cohesive in the clubhouse. You can argue whether good chemistry breeds winning or whether winning breeds good chemistry, but either way the Nats were a close-knit, jovial group last season en route to the franchise's first-ever division title.

The group that convenes in Viera, Fla., next week, while featuring mostly familiar faces, will nevertheless include a few prominent new players while lacking a few highly popular former players. Which leads to at least some uncertainty about the dynamic inside the clubhouse of a team that will draw tons of attention this year.

That's not to suggest that anyone expects dissension within the clubhouse. Mike Rizzo nearly always touts a player's high character upon acquiring him, and the general manager has rarely (if ever)Read more »

122 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Is what Gio said in his statement is false?“I’ve never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will,” Gonzalez said “I’ve never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie.”Me – I think Bosch’s ledger notation need to be explained. Now that more than one player has said there is a reason that they are in the ledger, it much more creditable (even if those player were lying about why there where there). In addition, I would ask Gio to explain if he has been to the clinic vs. if he knows Bosch (is this a statement void). Did he buy stuff there? Get him on record and then we can compare later if he lied.

  2. Tony - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Gio is on record already. He doesn't need to say anything more to anyone, except for MLB investigators. They're the ones who will ask all the questions and determine where the truth lies.

  3. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Tony do you really think Gio shouldn't answer a reporter's question if he has ever been to Bosch's clinic?Really – he should answer that. If so, then he is hidding something. I'm just saying.

  4. Positively Half St. - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Tcostant- I am going to gladly put myself in the category of devoted fan hypocrites. I am all for PED users to get get caught, except when it is one of my favorite guys. If Gio used testosterone, here's hoping he gets away with it and is smart enough never to be anywhere near the stuff again.I just want him to pitch well and be entertaining when he is not pitching. If this turns out to be a close call and a cheap lesson, I will be glad of it.

  5. MicheleS - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    DaveB.. Thanks for that link on the Span article. Sounds like yet another good character guy that Rizzo collects.

  6. Tony - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    There's no reason Gio needs to answer questions from reporters while there's an ongoing investigation by MLB. MLB will determine the truth of what Gio and everyone else involved in this has said. If he answers MLB's questions, he's not hiding anything. I'm just saying.

  7. sjm308 - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Tcostant: he absolutely should NOT answer any questions from any reporters. If you think that makes him guilty or hiding something then you have never been placed in that situation. Tony is correct. He must answer to MLB and do that in a private setting. Once the investigation is over, then he can speak but not until then. I am betting his lawyer and agents have both urged him to stay silent, and I hope our front office has encouraged that as well. The more he says, the more opportunities there are for speculation and misstatements. He has made his statement. Never been there, don't know him etc etc. Now let MLB investigate. Gio needs to concentrate on getting ready for the season.

  8. sjm308 - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    OK, need a ruling from the NIDO group. Tony and I have the exact same time on saying pretty much the same thing. His posted before mine. Do I owe him a drink??

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    DaveB/MicheleS, I think so with Span. Can't wait to see Harp/Span/Werth patrolling the outfield. That area where the visitor's bullpen meets the Red Porch will no longer be the "no man's land" that its been since 2008.I have to believe that the flyball pitchers on this staff will get a nice drop in ERA from this outfield that will be catching fly-balls that before were XBH's.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Tcostant, Gio does not owe anything to reporters. Gio has made his statement as soon as the matter became public. There is no point in talking to reporters about it, unless he wants to say anything new. I am fine with reporters not asking Gio questions related to this and Gio not answering if he is asked such questions. Yes, this issue will bother Gio so the sooner evidence that clears his name, comes out the better it is for him.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    you can bet some national media will ask him questions about this though.

  12. natsfan1a - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    sjm, yes on the drink, if he wants to accept it. :-) (Also, in case you'd not seen them, sec3 and I both left replies to your SFO tix query a few threads ago.)And that's me standing next to Tony, sjm, and Faraz re. Gio. In addition to the points they made, people are going to believe what they believe regardless, imho. It's not like a media session will change that.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    http://atmlb.com/Xt0g5VThis bothers me. Brings back memories of 2011 off-season when everyone was ready to hand over WS tickets to Red Sox and Phillies fans. I know it should not since we seem to have a better and younger team than those two but it does.

  14. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    exactly 1a. if you did not believe his tweet, why would you believe what he says now? like sjm said, reporters will mainly be looking for slip-ups.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Positively Half St. said… Tcostant- I am going to gladly put myself in the category of devoted fan hypocrites. I am all for PED users to get get caught, except when it is one of my favorite guys. If Gio used testosterone, here's hoping he gets away with it and is smart enough never to be anywhere near the stuff again.February 08, 2013 11:30 AM Well said. I fall into that same group of hypocrisy and I'm not proud of it as my yearning for a Nats World Series trumps my disdain for possible cheaters.Whatever the outcome, I definitely lost some respect for Gio based on just his relationship with Goins. The whole guilt by association thing resonates loudly as most players go through their entire career with not a shred of dirt flung on them.Hopefully Gio comes out legally unscathed and this is just big WAKE-UP CALL for him!

  16. Theophilus T. S. - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Gonzalez's statement quoted above, whether deliberately crafted or not, leaves plenty of room for it to be not the complete truth though (possibly) literally true. E.g., the statement is limited to Bosch but not as to anyone else associated w/ the lab or any intermediaries (e.g., Papa G or some creep working for the Levinsons). Every statement he makes beyond that shrinks the scope of plausible deniability. Eventually MLB investigators will zero in on a set of facts, implicating or exculpating him, based on documents provided from other sources (whistleblowers at Biogenesis, federal agents), present and former employees and hangers on at Biogenesis or the University of Miami, and members of his posse who don't know how to stop running off at the mouth, especially if it will get them 15 seconds on Channel 6 in Miami. That doesn't mean those people will be credible but, particularly if there is a parallel federal probe — and I believe there is — the pressures and enticements for those people to provide "information" will be overwhelming. My advice to Gonzalez would be to not even speak w/ MLB's investigators, order from room service every night until this is over and hope for the best.

  17. natsfan1a - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Additionally, and as previously noted, I'm fine with waiting for the investigation to play out. On a related note, I love Gio and want to see him do well. That said, and in theory at this point, I can't agree with PHS re. wanting to see any of "my" guys get away with it if they did cheat. I'm not saying he did. I'm just saying that if that happened with any of "my" guys, I'd want him to own up to it.Positively Half St. said… Tcostant- I am going to gladly put myself in the category of devoted fan hypocrites. I am all for PED users to get get caught, except when it is one of my favorite guys. If Gio used testosterone, here's hoping he gets away with it and is smart enough never to be anywhere near the stuff again. I just want him to pitch well and be entertaining when he is not pitching. If this turns out to be a close call and a cheap lesson, I will be glad of it. February 08, 2013 11:30 AM

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Faraz, you are correct in Gio doesn't owe anything to any reporter.If he does say anything, I believe it will be a well rehearsed response. Short and simple. Behind the scenes the Nats and Gio's agents have talked with lawyers and PR people on the best way to respond.Mark, Amanda and Adam and others will ask their questions and we will have to wait until next week to see how Gio answers.

  19. JD - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I think that the advise to Gio as to whether he should say anything or not is besides the point; I guess it all depends on how much importance he puts on his perceived credibility vs. how much legal exposure he is under. Here is what we do know: ARod,Melky,Nelson Cruz,Gio,Grandal,Peralta,Valencia and Braun (I am sure I am missing someone) have all been associated to Bosch and his clinic in one way or another. From an outside perspective (which does not require proof beyond doubt) it sure looks like this is/was a 'go to' place for Peds and that many players/trainers etc knew of it and used it's services one way or another. However this turns out it is very likely that the truth will be uncovered because even a skilled and sophisticated cheater like Lance Armstrong eventually gets caught.

  20. sjm308 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    1a: Thanks for that heads up – just went in and read your suggestions and Muir Woods was already the #1 thing we plan to do after landing in SF. I will definitely bring the parka and try to get tickets on Saturday. I am also thinking of calling my agent for the Nationals and see if he can help.Right now I am leaning toward the 12:45 game but the night game would give us two full days to be tourons.

  21. Teddy Rochlis - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Just so everyone is aware I heard another big name is going to come out soon so this is far from over

  22. NCNatsie - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I think we need a new unwritten rule that nobody posts anyting about Gio/PED's etc on a new post until at least ten posts have been made on the original thread subject, or at least something about baseball playing. It's really a downer when an excellent post by Mark is blown up in the very first comment and we spin off again in a rehash of thing that have already been said.

  23. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I won't be surprised if it is Teddy's name. After all he did win a race last season, very suspicious stuff.

  24. Joe Seamhead - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I'm right there with Tony,SJM308, natsfan1a, and Faraz re: Gio and keeping his mouth shut. Tcostant, I'm glad you're not representing young Mr. Gonzalez.If I was representing him, I would advise him to address the press one time, state his position, answer no questions, and make it perfectly clear that it would be the one and only time that he would have anything to say.Move on.In Phillyland they are thinking along the lines that the Nats are forming a dynasty! Read it here:http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20130208_Nats_could_be_next_NL_East_dynasty.html

  25. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Sjm, I had bought tickets on Stubhub. Cheap tickets but I wouldn't exactly recommend closer to CF tickets.I wish I had spent more time in Muir Woods. Wonderful place. Sun does not seem to rise there. They have a pretty good science museum also. we also did the tour bus. it was worth it. Cycling is a big thing in SF, and so are parks (and dog parks). I believe you do cycling regularly so you can choose that instead of tour bus or metro buses.

  26. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Teddy, Keith Law has said that about another "big name," which he knows but won't reveal because of "journalistic concerns."I'm in the "hypocrite" camp, I guess. I suspect Gio took something, probably minor, he'll skate based on inconclusive evidence, and hopefully he will be shocked into staying away from it for the rest of what I hope will be a productive career. He's plenty talented.

  27. D'Gourds - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    "Mike Rizzo nearly always touts a player's high character upon acquiring him, and the general manager has rarely (if ever) been proven wrong in the four years he's been on the job"Uh, what about Tony Plush?

  28. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    FS, I understand your point, but it's kind of like the endless, endless rehashing of Game 5. Most of the regular posters–and many of the occasional posters–use this forum to thrash out their thoughts on the subject with fellow fans. I'm looking forward to Span, I read Mark's article and Kilgore's with great pleasure, but he's an unknown at this point. Gio isn't.

  29. Section 222 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    sjm — In my opinion no, you don't. Mostly because it's a discussion on the topic of the day (and the week and the month) and people are entitled to hold the same opinion and express it their own way without incurring drink debts. For another because Tony/Feel doesn't accept drink debts (or owe them) because he thinks NIDO is stupid. You can toss a drink to the Kitty if your conscience is bothering you, but I think you're in the clear on this one.

  30. Tony - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I have nothing against drinks. I simply prefer real over imaginary.

  31. Section 222 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    I'd much rather rehash Game 5 than this Gio mess…

  32. natsfan1a - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    I'd rather rehash Game 4, especially the bottom of the 9th. :-)

  33. John C. - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Tcostant, given that absolute, categorical nature of Gio's denial, what is to be gained by saying anything other than "I've addressed that, and I stand by my statement."Assuming that Gio is telling the truth, how on Earth could he (or you or me, if our names were in the book) be able to explain the contents of a ledger that he's never seen, taken from a place he's never been, purporting to be the record of a physician who has never treated him?Those who think that an innocent person answering all questions will be exonerated are naive. Statements will be parsed for any imprecision, and any imprecision that can be found questionable will be turned and used to undermine everything else the person says. And this will then be used to question the person and generate more statements, looking for more opportunities to spin a damning story (whether true or not, it will sell papers/generate web hits).And to just blithely list many names as being associated with the clinic and concluding that it was a "PED palace," that takes wilful ignoring of the fact that most of those names, even in the materials released, do not even vaguely correlate with PED use on the records themselves. It's a bootstrap argument: some of the substances sold by the clinic are considered PEDs by MLB; there are many MLB names on the books; therefore all of those MLB players were taking PEDs. When you step back and think, that falls apart as a logic statement – but that's the narrative many are purveying.

  34. Dave - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Put me down with JoeSeamhead, Tony, SJM308, natsfan1a, and Faraz. Gio should say nothing.Silence is golden. Anything he says can and will be used against him. Etc. Etc. Keeping quiet cannot hurt him, but saying just about anything at all could possibly be damaging.

  35. Dave - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    And John C. What he said.

  36. John C. - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    And for the record, I hope that Gio wasn't involved, but if there is any actual evidence that Gio took PEDs I am for suspending him. Let the process play out.And even if he is suspended, I don't think that it really hits the Nationals that hard. Because of off days the team only needs a #5 starter for six games during the first 50 games, and they have several potential starting candidates to take those games (Duke, Stammen, Garcia, Maya, Ohlendorf). For those who think that this is going to devastate the team mentally, I will simply point back to the ongoing conversation we had all last year, when the Legion of Doom was constantly counting the Nationals out. This team is much mentally tougher than most fans, and certainly mentally tougher than most fans will give them credit for being.

  37. SonnyG10 - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I am really excited to see Span patroling the outfield between Harper and Werth. Other teams will be hard put to get a ball in between them. Go Nats!!!!

  38. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    I'm just saying, Gio made a statement BEFORE anyone else said that anything he didn't know Bosch and never took PED's. After that, a couple of the 12 players reportedly related to the clinic have noted reasons that they might be in Bosch's notes. It seems to me that it is a reasonable follow up is he has ever been in Bosch clinic (since he only said he never meet or spoke with Bosch). Also his relationship with the former dirty Miami trainer should also be fair game, since there is a pic with him and that guy, who also a known relationship with Bosch. All these questions are fair and should be answer by an innocent man.

  39. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    there is no need for Gio to do that. by talking to press, he does not become innocent.

  40. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I guess I different from the group here, I'm a baseball purest. If Gio did PED's, I rather he admit it now and get his 50 games out of the way at during the first 3rd of the season. The hope he learned his lesson and have him for the rest of the year and playoffs. And hope he learn his lesson and be truely sorry and never due it again. And then route for him again.Much more selfish, is to say no, no, no. Let investagation and distraction carry on all year and then get possibly dinked late in the year and loss him for September and the playoffs.If he did it (and I think he did), I'd much rather he come clean now.Does anyone agree with this??? [again assume he did it, who you agree with this]?

  41. SonnyG10 - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Gio is innocent!!! Q.E.D.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    And there you go.Tcostant thinks he did and the rest of us are willing to wait for the facts and take Gio at his word.

  43. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Interesting article on why baserunning has become more conservative. Factors the author points to:Ballparks are getting smaller, allowing outfielders to close in on the gaps.Speed has been devalued in favor of power, leading to slower baserunners.Outfielders are becoming more effective, perhaps with stronger arms.Will be interesting to see Span and Bryce on the basepaths.running first to thirdhttp://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/a-brief-history-of-running-first-to-third/

  44. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Tcostant isn't the only one who thinks Gio did it. I don't think he did it, completely from numbers point of view. You definitely don't learn confidence and control through PEDs.Agree with SonnyG10, very eager to see this OF play. I am a bit concerned from power standpoint, but all 3 are above average OFs.

  45. SonnyG10 - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Does anyone agree with this??? [again assume he did it, who you agree with this]?Tcostant, in the first place I will never assume he did it. But for what its worth, if Gio was proven to be guilty, then I would rather he be suspended now rather than later.

  46. JD - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    JohnC. Yes it's a bootstrap argument and no it won't hold up in court without further evidence but this is not a court of law. It just smells bad to me and I'm afraid that when all the digging is done there will be some collateral damage. I also feel that historical data does not support the theory that getting caught will scare players from using PEDS again.

  47. JD - Feb 8, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Faraz, PEDS are not just used to increase power and muscle mass. I think the concept of recovery from small aches and pains and from fatigue is probably at least as critical to most players. I don't think that making the argument that GIO didn't do it because his numbers were line is a strong argument.

  48. Dave - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Tcostant seems to be arguing that Gio's prudent silence is a tacit admission of guilt: "If he's innocent, he has no reason not to speak."I hope Tcostant isn't involved with the American court system in any way.

  49. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Again – he he did it, I rather he admit it, take his punshishment like a man. I don't think it needs to proved, just admit it. I like Gio and just want him to do the right thing from this day forward and that means if he did it.

  50. Scooter - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Thanks for the link, NatsLady. Interesting stuff.

  51. EmDash - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    If Gio's guilty, it would be better from our/the team's perspective if he owned up and took the suspension and allowed them to plan for his absence and move past it. And I would have no problem with him being suspended, if there's a reasonable level of proof that he's guilty, which I don't think has been shown as yet.But. If he's guilty, from *his* perspective, unless he knows of other evidence out there that would more conclusively tie him to the clinic, it makes no sense to own up. There's nothing out there at present that proves he did anything wrong, so he's unlikely to get suspended. It's a reasonable bet that that's unlikely unless the feds get involved and use subpoenas to compel testimony.And of course if he's innocent, there's no reason to do anything but wait for it to blow over. And it's far from certain at present whether he's guilty of anything but a possible poor choice of association.So, it's overwhelmingly in his best interest to wait and see what happens, whether he's guilty or not, and I'm sure he's getting plenty of advice from his agents to that effect.

  52. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Dave I'm not saying that all. I'm saying Gio know if he did or didn't do it. If he did it, I rather he admit it now and get his 50 games out of the way at during the first third of the season. The hope he learned his lesson and have him for the rest of the year and playoffs. And hope he learn his lesson and be truely sorry and never due it again. And then route for him again.I much rather than (again if he did it), it be a distraction all year [more so each time on national TV], than in August MLB results of their investagtion decides a 50 game ding then and than it hurts the team down the strech and in the postseason.We will forgive those who are truely sorry and I just much rather move on to this stage, sooner rather than later, if he did indeed get PED's.

  53. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    JD, here is Gio's injury history:http://bit.ly/12zlneq24 days in five seasons as a major leaguer is not much. As far as I understand, players take PEDs for two reasons; 1) truly enhancing performance (more power in stroke, more zip on fastball) or 2) to avoid injuries. If Gio had taken PEDs, it should show up somewhere I think.

  54. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Tcostant, you are using a big IF in your statements. Gio has said it once, what's the point of repeating himself again and again?

  55. Section 222 - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Tcostant has been reasonable in his comments and he brings up a good point that it would help the team to get his suspension over with. For one thing, Rizzo will have an easier time now to line up someone to take his place in the rotation than he will in mid-season. And if he signs a free agent, he can trade that guy at the deadline. So no need to be caustic NJ.For what it's worth, I think he did it. I truly hope he didn't and I'm certainly not declaring him guilty based on what we know now. But I think he did it. And if he did, he should be punished, and I will be royally pissed that he threw a monkey wrench into our World Series or bust season. Fans are certainly entitled to believe what they want or hope their guy gets away with it. I'm just not in that camp.

  56. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    He issued a statement. I want a one time press conference, where we can see his body language and the like. I assume the Nationals will do this and then say that it, but it needs to be address rather than ignored.

  57. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    I think his Dad did it.

  58. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Come on tcostant. What are we now, dr. cal lightman? you expect gio to give himself away in the press conference somehow? or not?

  59. JD - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Faraz, Here is how I see it: It's a long season; there are games almost every day, you don't eat or sleep properly, you travel all the time, you sit through rain delays, you play through excessive heat and your body aches just from pitching and warming up. We all know that you don't always feel great and in sports competition this can translate into less than great results once in a while. Baseball players have always tried some form of 'pick me ups' to get through the season. Todays PEDS are simply a replacement for yesterday's greenies. and btw; Gio did have his best season ever in 2012. I am not saying that this proves he used PEDS; I am saying that it doesn't prove that he didn't.

  60. JD - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Sec222 As usual you summed up the way I feel but in much simpler and easier to understand words.

  61. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… Come on tcostant. What are we now, dr. cal lightman? you expect gio to give himself away in the press conference somehow? or not?Me – I do. It been done before. That is how Andy Pettitte recovered so quickly. You do a press conference and say this is your once chance to ask questions about this and say after that it will no longer be address. I not only want this to happen, I expect it to happen.

  62. DL in VA - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Tconstant said: I'm saying Gio know if he did or didn't do it. If he did it, I rather he admit it now and get his 50 games out of the way at during the first third of the season. The hope he learned his lesson and have him for the rest of the year and playoffs. And hope he learn his lesson and be truely sorry and never due it again. And then route for him again.What do you recommend if he didn't do it?

  63. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    DL in VA, he should still admit to it because so many of us think he did it so he must have done it.

  64. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Tcostant, body language means NOTHING. Lance Armstrong had great body language for years, and fooled an experienced sports writer. (Sally Jenkins). I am an actress/singer by profession. I watched the Ryan Braun statement and I came away with a COMPLETELY different impression than most people. I kept reading (and read to this day) that his statement was "sincere," "eloquent," etc. To me it seemed slick and overproduced, and that's not even positing his guilt or innocence.

  65. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    P.S., I thought the show referenced ("Lie to Me") had an interesting premise, but I never bought into it. I enjoyed the show, but didn't find it believable.

  66. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    I'm sure his Dad did it.

  67. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    NJ, you keep saying that, but I don't know what you mean by it. His Dad said he went to the clinic. Do you think his Dad was Gio's mule?

  68. JD - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    NL,I think NJ is mocking us which is fine. To each their own.

  69. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    NatsLady, me too. Interesting show, but that is all it is, a fictional, exaggerated account of a non-fictional person and his work. actually I am gonna give it another try this weekend.

  70. Joe Seamhead - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Jack, his dad said he did it. Gio said that he didn't do it. I'm with you. From the available information it's clear that the dad did it.

  71. JD - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    NL, We have been fooled so many times by athletes who claim to be sincere and then prove to be frauds that it's probably best to completely ignore what they say. Some are really bad at lying (Palmiero, Arod), some are arrogant (Bonds, Clemens), Some slick (Braun)and some are damn good at it; indignation, anger and all (Armstrong). I think it's fruitless to speculate on any player's level of use and abuse but I do think there is something to the Petite approach where he came clean, came off as sincere and walked away without as much as a stigma attached to his name. I'm just saying.

  72. Tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    DL in VA said… What do you recommend if he didn't do it?Tells us that. Let us know if you been to the clincic for other reason like non-badded stuff or with your dad. Tell us, I will talk with MLB and clear my name.Like that.

  73. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Well, my opinion on the subject of Gio's guilt or innocence hasn't changed. I don't have one. When you're in a hole, quit digging. When you don't know what you're talking about, shut up.

  74. DL in VA - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Tcostant: And if he actually doesn't have a clue who this Bosch guy is or why he was listed on these notes, etc.? What I'm getting at is that it seems your advice is couched only from the perspective that he is hiding something, without the possibility that he has already been forthright.

  75. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    But as for owning up early: Everybody here who has ever driven while they might have been over .08 and then turned themselves in to the police the next morning on their own initiative, raise your hand.

  76. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Here's the thing. Right now, it's pretty much "guilt by association," but the associations are piling up.(1) The clinic and Tony Bosch. Gio denies (and it's believable, because one cell-phone photo would blow it). If never went, and never met the guy fine, BUT, his father did, and listed next to his name is at list one item ("pink cream") that is suspect.(2) Goins and the University of Miami.(3) His agency is ACES which had employed the "runner" (Juan Nunez) who did the fake website for Melky Cabrera.That is a lot of links in the chain. It only takes Goins, Bosch, Nunez, other employees of the clinic, university or agency to cop; or discovery of bills, receipts, etc., to sink Gio.

  77. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Sofa, your stance is the correct one but I just can't stand to see our own fans doubting Gio, after he refuted those claims. I guess all fans are just anxious to see an end to this.

  78. SCNatsFan - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Sorry but I am in the camp that he did it and the question is did he cover his tracks well enough to not get caught. I have no evidence he did (duh) but I have a hard time believing he is just a random guy who got mentioned. As a nats fan I wouldn't be upset with him if he got caught; lots of young men made similar mistakes. I think this ends with no evidence, no suspension and lots of no comments from Gio and I am ok with that.

  79. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Again, I'm not saying guilty or innocent. But, if he took anything, there is more than one link to him from very "smelly" characters. Alternatively, these associations can be explained by the closeness of the Miami/Latino circle (the clinic was located in an office building in close proximity to the university) and the tendency of people and players to trust recommendations from family, from other players (remember, A-Rod is/was a "rock star" to young Latino players), from a university that had a renowned baseball program (and whose long-time coach, Fraser, was celebrated in a lot of obituaries…). In your own life, how do you choose your agent, your trainer, your clinic, your gym? Just think how many people were fooled by Madoff. .

  80. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    SCNatsFan, yes, and to keep it in perspective, it's not drunk driving or rape or a lot of other worse things.

  81. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Sofa, your stance is the correct one but I just can't stand to see our own fans doubting Gio, after he refuted those claims. I guess all fans are just anxious to see an end to this. Well, to be fair, he did not refute them, he just said they weren't true. Nobody has proved anything, either way, yet. Which is why we don't know enough to even form an opinion, IMO. But YMMV.

  82. NatsLady - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    I think a lot of us want this to be "our" year, as planned, as expected. We want to crush the division to the tune of 145 wins, and never lose a game in the postseason. Everything has gone well, the trades, the signings, etc. This is really the first bump in the road we've had–and it's not even spring training.

  83. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    NL…no…his Dad is not a mule. His Dad is a somewhat vain aging male living in Florida. Guys like him are the life blood of Florida's Anti-Aging Clinics and storefront Weight Loss Clinics.

  84. sjm308 - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Interesting discussion and while Tcostant will never agree with some of us and we will not agree with him, it was all done with civility and points were made to both sides.On today's post. By my calculations we are losing 6 of the 25 men off the roster (Morse,DeRosa,Jackson, Gonzalez,Gorzo,Burnett) and that does not count LannEn. My question: is a 20% or more change about normal for most teams? I realize teams like the Dodgers and Blue Jays did a complete overhaul but I am wondering what the average number of new faces is each year. I have to believe we are right about the norm on this.On another issue that has nothing to do with our lads. I think I just made a great wager with one of my season ticket group. He thinks LannEn will win at least 10 games with the Phillies. I say he will not reach double digits. Pitch to contact guy – old slow infield – maybe I am wrong but I like my chances and am tasting the beer already.

  85. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    sjm, I wish John nothing but the best, but I'd have taken that bet, too. As the fifth starter, he might not get 30 starts even if he does stay healthy, on a team that won't be much better than the 2011 Nationals, if they are even that good, and that's the only time he's won 10.

  86. sjm308 - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Sofa: LannEn has always been one of my favorites and I loved what he did for us last year and how he handled a very difficult situation. I just can't pass up the opportunity for basically free beer.

  87. John C. - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Tcostant said… DL in VA said… What do you recommend if he didn't do it?Tells us that. Let us know if you been to the clincic for other reason like non-badded stuff or with your dad. Tell us, I will talk with MLB and clear my name.Like that.Perhaps Tcostant and I aren't so far apart. I would have no trouble with Gio making one statement at the beginning of camp basically repeating his categorical denial, even if he adds a clarification or two (never went to the clinic, whatever). Closed off with the all-important "I understand that PEDs are an issue for baseball, and I am cooperating with MLB's investigation of this issue."Done! Don't take questions, because for the "he must be guilty" crowd there will never be an end to them – and each question and answer will be an opportunity for twisting and using against Gio. Cooperate with the investigation, absolutely. But not in the public arena. I'd be more inclined to give him this advice if he were innocent then if he were guilty – there have been a number of innocent men and women convicted of serious crimes, and doubtless some executed, for crimes they never committed. Some of them thought that if they just explained then it would all work out.

  88. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    That's about it, free beer. If he gets 25 starts and goes 10-10 on a basically .500 team, he'll have gotten a decision in nearly every start, which is tough to do when you're only getting 15 or 16 outs.

  89. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    John C., though I don't like the comparisons to criminal law in this case, it is axiomatic among defense attorneys that the hardest part is getting your client, guilty or innocent, to shut up.

  90. ChiefWJ - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    I don't know whether he did anything or not, but:1) I believe Max Gonzalez would take the fall for Gio in a heartbeat (which doesn't mean that he did, only that it would be a plausible explanation, IMO); on the other hand,2) Danny Valencia's statement about this is about as unequivocal denial as you'd want to see, unlike all the parsing of words that are coming from some other suspects. If it's true (it looks like it is to me–he could have stayed silent), it casts some doubt on the validity of the alleged evidence.http://www.csnbaltimore.com/blog/orioles-talk/valencia-denies-involvement-miami-drug-clinic

  91. MicheleS - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    DVR ALERT:StrasMas on MASN Tonight. MONDAY: I think it is the 7/4/11 game that was the Walk Off Wild Pitch vs the Cubs.FINALLY MASN SHOWING BETTER CLASSICS. Of Course.. just in time for Spring Training Games.

  92. Section 222 - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    On the subject of this post, I tend to be more on the side of winning breeding good chemistry than the converse, so I'm not expecting the change in personnel to have much of an impact on team chemistry, except if the team doesn't meet its own and it's fans' lofty expectations. If that happens, we will doubtless hear that Morse's happy go lucky attitude was sorely missed, but it's more likely that the culprit was the departure of his gorse hacking bat.

  93. Section 222 - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Michele, I think your twitter campaign was responsible for MASN's mothballing of the Dibble show. Well done!

  94. SCNatsFan - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    sec222 I agree; if this team wins then everyone gets along fine, if we don't then chemistry will be put under a microscope.

  95. SCNatsFan - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Joe Lemire at sicnn.com has the Nats as the #1 team in baseball with the Bravos #2… sad to think one of these teams will have their fate decided by a one game playoff if things play out as expected

  96. peric - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    If they plan on producing runs this season along the lines of last season or better they will still have to find a way to get Tyler Moore 500 at bats. From my humble perspective that is the only good reason for trading Morse … (Well, okay they did get AJ Cole back and still might yet get another decent c-B prospect from Oakland … ) to get Tyler Moore and his power bat doing damage to opposing pitching staffs. That means fewer at bats and playing time for someone in the outfield or at first base. One can't assume Span starts every single game … he didn't last year with the Twins … by the same token one can't assume Werth and his deterring power will get penciled every game … Davey is going to have to find a way to get bats like Moore's and perhaps even Corey Brown's if he makes the 25 going north.

  97. Tony - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    The only way Tyler Moore gets 500 ABs this year is if someone gets hurt. No one wants that, except maybe Tyler Moore.

  98. MicheleS - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    DVR UPDATE:MASN.. STRASMAS #2 vs CLE on now.. still have to listen Dibble

  99. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    Tony….Tyler gets 500 AB's only if he's at Sryacuse.

  100. baseballswami - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Super long, stressful day to the max. Came home– Nats classic! At least it's a game we won. I hate it when they show games we lost. Hate dibble.

  101. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Man Dibble sucked.

  102. baseballswami - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    It's kind of funny to hear him praise Stras and some other players that he ended up turning on later. What a jerk. And — my goodness Adam Dunn is not agile and Desi's swing was truly terrible. Watching this team- it was not that long ago.

  103. SCNatsFan - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Peric no way Moore gets 500 abs. I know you don't like Span and are rooting for him to fail but I trust Rizzo's instincts more than yours.

  104. Gonat - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    NatsLady said… Teddy, Keith Law has said that about another "big name," which he knows but won't reveal because of "journalistic concerns."_____________________________Did he say that in an interview or put it on Twitter.

  105. NatsLady - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    Gonat, both. He said it on the last Baseball Today podcast.

  106. NatsLady - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Here are KLaw's exact words, from his chat (not on Twitter):Also, I said this on the podcast this morning – there are more names to come from this Bosch scandal. I've heard one more that would be pretty significant.

  107. Gonat - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    NatsLady, thanks.

  108. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    Hey Gonat…..When will I see you in Florida?

  109. realdealnats - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Gio's Dad with a lead pipe in the library

  110. John C. - Feb 9, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    In Peric's defense, "expecting someone to fail" and "rooting for someone to fail" are not the same thing. I never expected Doug Slaten to do well, but I was always hoping that he would surprise me.

  111. UnkyD - Feb 9, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    "Gio's Dad with a lead pipe in the library"————-/LOL!!!

  112. Scooter - Feb 9, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    Sometimes I think all you guys have lead pipes in your libraries. :-)

  113. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 9, 2013 at 5:02 AM

    Candlesticks are always good …

  114. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 9, 2013 at 6:09 AM

    did I tell you guys that I am going to Cooperstown next weekend?

  115. Scooter - Feb 9, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    I don't believe you did, Faraz. Have you been before?

  116. Scooter - Feb 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    Cuz I'm sure we could come up with a whole lot of tips.

  117. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 9, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    nah, first time. Very excited to see everything. It is just a 2-day trip. One day driving and one day at the HOF.What about you?

  118. Laddie Blah Blah - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Davey's greatest strength as a manager is keeping the clubhouse loose, yet tight. He will handle the clubhouse.It seems less and less likely that Gio will be suspended. MLB has not even seen the source documents that the Miami New Times and Yahoo News have been given. Whoever provided those documents decided to leave MLB off the distribution list, whatever their motivation. Now that there has been all the publicity, people tend to clam up, stonewall, and avoid the spotlight on a matter so sensitive. They have nothing to gain and may very well have something to lose.Without subpoena powers, MLB cannot compel anything from the outside parties involved. They can interview the players, and have read what the news organizations have printed. Now what?The Nats will rally around Gio. Stuff like this tends to draw close friends even closer.

  119. natsfan1a - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    I prefer wrenches, but not for weddings. :-)Scooter said… Sometimes I think all you guys have lead pipes in your libraries. :-) February 08, 2013 11:58 PM Sec. 3, My Sofa said… Candlesticks are always good … February 09, 2013 12:02 AM

  120. natsfan1a - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Faraz, that trip is on my to-do list.

  121. Scooter - Feb 9, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Faraz, I'll put some thoughts in the new post.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 68 4.0
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 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

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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.
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