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Let the games begin

Feb 22, 2013, 11:52 PM EDT

Associated Press
Bryce Harper will bat third in tomorrow's Grapefruit League opener.

VIERA, Fla. — Opening Day for the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues, best as anyone can recollect, has never come as early as this before. It's only February 23, and already there's a full slate of exhibition games on top in both Florida and Arizona.

Blame it on the World Baseball Classic, which prompts MLB to push up the start dates for spring training so participating players have enough time to get into shape before leaving their clubs for the international tournament.

Ready or not, though, the exhibition season is upon us. The Nationals take the field tomorrow afternoon in Port St. Lucie, with Stephen Strasburg on the mound to face the New York Mets.

Most position players have only been in camp about 10 days andRead more ยป

  1. NatsJim - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Let's go Nats!!

  2. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Woooooooooooooooooo!!

  3. Teddy Rochlis - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    Im more curious at looking at how comfortable the players look then how they actually perform, i also beleive that this will be the game showed on MLB network

  4. baseballswami - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    It is on MLB but with the Mets feed.

  5. MicheleS - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    1a..HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  6. MicheleS - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Oh and a really excellent read and cautionary tail for our phenom:from Joe Posnaski, one of the best baseball writers around:http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/50877666/ns/sports-baseball//

  7. NCNatsie - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Oh my gosh. Real Nats playing a live baseball game on my TV tomorrow. Western civilazation may be collapsing, but as long as I can watch a Nats game, I can endure.

  8. NCNatsie - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Civilization. If it does collapse, spelling may be the first thing to go.

  9. baseballswami - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    As long as the first thing to go is not baseball!

  10. Gonat - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    The Indians have no lefties projected for their starting rotation. That's unusual.

  11. NatsNut - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    Chilling read, Michele.

  12. Grandstander - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    DH Micah OwingsTotally did a double take on that one. Forgot he's reinventing himself as a position player.

  13. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    Thanks for having my back, Michele. :-)MicheleS said… 1a.. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! February 22, 2013 8:13 PM

  14. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Mark, or others who happen to be in Viera: (1) any idea why the Space Coast stadium practice was closed to the public? (there were public drills for the minor league guys) (2) obviously there are a lot of players who are in Viera who are not traveling for the away games. Any idea if they would be practicing on those days, and if so, when?ArVAFan

  15. sm13 - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Michelle – The article was a good read, but I'm confident that Bryce is no A-Fraud. And, he has his parents to help keep him grounded, as they have for his first 20 years.

  16. MicheleS - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    SM13/Nats Nut. Agree good read. the issue is that Josh Hamilton had a strong family behind him, but he had crappy teammates. Thankfully we have no total D-Bags that will lead Bryce off the path. I Think with Werth, LaRoche, Ian, and Ryan, they can keep him in line. Just read the SI article and we are so lucky to watch this kid.

  17. baseballswami - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    We often talk about how lucky we are to have Bryce but I also think he was lucky to end up with the Nats. It seems to be a very good environment for someone like him. Can you even imagine if his rookie year had been Boston last year? Or Miami?

  18. JaneB - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Real baseball, not classic games in rerun. Tomorrow. Ahhhhhh!

  19. sm13 - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    Swami – good point. Add the Yankees to the list of teams that don't treat rookies well. MichelleS – I agree. There's a great group of mentors and peers on this team for Bryce to bond with – not to mention his buddy Drake.

  20. NatsLady - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Thanks for the link, Michele, that is a sad story. Really hope it doesn't foreshadow our Kid, or any of our other young guys. There was an article about Michael Jordan in ESPN magazine along the same lines. The author found journals and letters from his college days when he asked his folks for money and stamps and he seemed "normal." Michael Jordan is 50http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/page/Michael-Jordan/michael-jordan-not-left-building

  21. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    thanks michele for article. should be reminder to all young players.

  22. baseballswami - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    So does anyone know anything at all about 3 of the 7 pitchers listed?

  23. SCNatsFan - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    So cool there is real baseball tomorrow and on TV

  24. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:58 AM

    Swami, I know Abad is the lefty pitcher I was asking about earlier in the off-season. I am too lazy to confirm this but I believe he is a lefty, pitched for Astros last season, and signed on a minor league deal. I was wondering at that time what chance he has of making the roster.Davis, I believe some nationalsprospect site has done an article on him.mccoy, no idea. the only thing I know is that he is from out system. that's about it.

  25. tayo - Feb 23, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    That starting lineup could be the opening day starting lineup for many teams in this league and it wont really be a bad lineup.

  26. SonnyG10 - Feb 23, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    It's almost time for BASEBALL WoooooHooooo!!!

  27. Rabbit34 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    It seems like the Reds are the team to beat (MLB) and have the best pitching staff??!! Yeah, let the games begin!!! GO NATIONALS!

  28. Anna Peregrina - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Have my Nats NL East Champs shirt on and am ready for the game. Good thing about ST games — they are mostly at times I can listen in the UK without staying up all night!

  29. Laddie Blah Blah - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Owings and Marrero hitting almost back-to-back. The games have certainly begun."That starting lineup could be the opening day starting lineup for many teams in this league and it wont really be a bad lineup."Agree. They could have beaten the Nats starting team from just 3 years ago. Bet the Astros would love to field that team instead of what they've got.I hope Kimball gets to pitch. Been rooting for that guy since the day they found out he had been pitching with a damaged shoulder because he didn't want to sit. He's a bulldog. You have to root for Micah Owings, too. And let's see if Davey and Rick have improved Span's swing mechanics enough to make a difference in his effectiveness.The Nats have become one of the most interesting team in baseball. For some of the players, these games are very meaningful, and for us fans, there is much to appreciate even without most of the starters.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Heading to Port St. Lucie. Sitting in the front row down the RF foul line. Gator John and I will be the guys in the red Nats Sherseys.

  31. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Good team chemistry is well and good, but with substance abuse (as in Hamilton's case) there are biological and genetic factors that I would think override mentoring/companionship concerns. In other words, it's a bit of an apples and oranges comparison, imo.MicheleS said…SM13/Nats Nut. Agree good read. the issue is that Josh Hamilton had a strong family behind him, but he had crappy teammates. Thankfully we have no total D-Bags that will lead Bryce off the path. I Think with Werth, LaRoche, Ian, and Ryan, they can keep him in line. Just read the SI article and we are so lucky to watch this kid.

  34. Positively Half St. - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    The weather in Viera is supposed to be beautiful today, so we will have a game! I have the DVR set and will enjoy without commercials as soon as little guy basketball and other Daddy Taxi duties are completed. Let's see a Micah Owings home run today. Early games are all about the long shots in my mind.+1/2St.

  35. Positively Half St. - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Oops. In Port St. Lucie. Still, isolated T-storms at worse.

  36. MicheleS - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    1A.. totally agree on Josh with the substance abuse. Just wanted to point out another 5 tool phenom other than ARod that had it all in front of him and lost it (thankfully for Josh he was able to make it back).

  37. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Speaking of the meaning of early games, I liked this Mike Harris piece.

  38. NatsLady - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    So, for whoever wanted to know who the pitchers are, here is a quick write-up for today's list. Didn't have a lot of time, so it's mostly links… but it'll give you an idea…ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    GAME DAY!

  40. MicheleS - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    GAME POST IS UP!!!

  41. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    New post.

  42. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I'll put it on your tab, Michele. :-)

  43. natsfan1a - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Or would that be my tab? Anyway, it's on there.

  44. timeless46 - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    NatsLady, thanks for the link to the Michael Jordan article. Its a very interesting piece.

  45. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Thankfully we have no total D-Bags that will lead Bryce off the path. I Think with Werth, LaRoche, Ian, and Ryan, they can keep him in line. One can only hope. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

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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.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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