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“The Baseball Show” returns tonight

Mar 13, 2014, 6:00 AM EST


There are now only two weeks remaining until the Nationals break camp in Viera and head north, and a mere 18 days until the season opens at Citi Field. Suffice it to say, baseball season is nearly upon us.

Which means it’s time for the return of “The Baseball Show” on Comcast SportsNet. Yes, we’re back for another season of Nats and O’s news and analysis, MLB-wide discussions, prospects breakdowns and trivia contests (which I intend to win this year).

Our season preview episode airs live tonight at 6:30 p.m. EDT on CSN, with Rob Carlin and Brent Harris joining me in studio. Hope everyone can tune in and, of course, share their feedback of the show.

And, to whet your appetite, here’s a look back at a segment from our 2013 season finale, where I outline the Nationals’ biggest tasks entering the offseason. So, how’d I do?…

  1. natinalsgo - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:08 AM

    Hope I am near a TV at 6:30 tonight!

  2. nats128 - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    I dont think FP Santangelo’s comments on Rick Schu in comparison to the prior coach was discussed.

    I think its very significant and FP went on a complimentary rant about his buddy Rick Schu in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Nats and Yankees game when Chris Snyder got to bat just in case you want to listen to it yourself.

    Bob: “Rick Schu… the dramatic turnaround the Nats eventually experienced after he took over last year”

    FP: “You talk about the situational hitting with the Nationals how it improved right when Rick Schu got here last year. You stand around the cage and you watch them take BP. 2 bunts. They do hit and runs. They work on moving runners from 2nd to 3rd with nobody out. They work on infield in, scoring a runner from 3rd. They work on infield back. Every day there is a situational ground with the Nationals hitters in batting practice that quite frankly wasn’t there before Rick Schu got here. I think you saw that Runners in Scoring Position average go up and team average go up. A lot of things changed with the attention to detail. There’s been an emphasis down here in camp with picking up runners from 2nd base. And maybe being a little more patient, selective with runners in scoring position.”

    • natinalsgo - Mar 13, 2014 at 7:25 AM

      Nats128, thanks for the writeup and great to read that. First it sounds like the rant was setup started by Bob’s comment with the segue (pronounced seg-goo if you are Don Sutton).

      This was an ongoing frustration for a very long time here and a rant you would hear from Ghost that batters didn’t have a plan or an approach in certain situations.

      You can see 1 distinct difference in this camp which is moving runners from 2nd to 3rd with no outs. I’ve already seen Jamey Carroll do it twice to perfection and Wilson Ramos once. Hitting to the right side is a skill you have to work at if you are right-handed and getting it on the ground. You hope to get it through a hole for a hit and that’s the bonus.

      The Nats were 49-2 last year when scoring 6 or more runs. 62-4 when scoring 5 runs or more. 68-9 when scoring 4 runs or more which is unthinkable. 78-19 when scoring 3 runs or more which is almost 50 games over .500. The Nats were 10-10 when they scored 3 and 6-5 when scoring 4 runs. You get the point. Add-on runs matter.

      How you get there matters. It’s a philosophy. Smart ball.

    • Doc - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      OK, FP wins this argument. He believes in small ball, and Davey doesn’t.

      Let’s not forget that the Nats led the league in most hitting departments post ASG in ’12., and Schu wasn’t around.

      Something that is not mentioned is how a team adjusts to a given pitcher, which is where most runs are scored.

      • nats128 - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:17 PM

        I don’t think it’s old style station to station small ball. I think this has a twist to it with very little bunting but hitting behind runners and using hit & run and situational strategies for the team to execute.

  3. nats128 - Mar 13, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.”

    • alexva6 - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      that was Tom Hank’s line from A League of Their Own. but I’m sure the writers stole it from someone else.

      • nats128 - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:13 AM

        If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.
        Tom Hanks

      • alexva6 - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:26 AM

        not to nit pick but “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great” is the complete quote.

  4. natsfan1a - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    So, that would be “trivia contest victory or bust”? Oh, dear…

    Mark Z. said: “and trivia contests (which I intend to win this year).”

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Carroll showed his value yesterday. Unfortunately I can’t see him squeezing onto the OD roster unless Rizzo is willing to eat Hairston’s contract. Equally unfortunately for my argument, Hairston also got a couple of hits. I — but probably not Rizzo — regard that as an aberration while believing that Carroll has certain unique skills, pinch-hitting and advancing runners. Some team will give Carroll a job if the Nationals don’t.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      I can’t find a stat on productive outs. Carroll has 3 so far this Spring. He seems to come up with the perfect situations to showcase his skills. He should be hired as an assistant to Schu as he really has mastered the contact play and directional hitting and frustrating pitchers. I love him but it’s an either/or situation for Espi vs Carroll as the play the same defensive positions and neither he or Espi play LF and same for Walters.

      Espi is having a solid Spring. I give him credit. Lets be real. I was saying the last Spring. I put Espi on the OD and give him real games to prove he is a changed player. He better not screw it up.

      • Section 222 - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        When you say “give him real games” do you mean start him? In place of who?

      • natinalsgo - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        No, only spot starts. Espi’s greatest value is an insurance policy in case of an injury as infield defense is a premium with the pitchers on this team and I can already see that Espi is back to 2012 defensive form. I think Jamey Carroll as a bench role player is the better choice. What does Williams value more? Clearly Espi will give you hire OPS but we have seen Carroll time and again make these productive outs that are red ink against his stats. Carroll even at his age could give another season like 2012 which could help this team. Could Espi if called on off the bench do the same thing?

      • Section 222 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        I’m with you. Unfortunately, it’s almost certain that only one of Carroll and Espi will come north. I still think Carroll is more valuable in that 25th man role, and that Espi would benefit from playing every day in AAA. If he can hit and not K there, I’d feel a lot more confident about sending him up to the plate in high leverage PH situations.

  6. wearenationals - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    My DVR is now set for the The Baseball Show series. Thanks MZ!

    • Section 222 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      Beware — Last year the start of the show was often delayed because of live sporting events, meaning that DVR recordings of the whole program were a dicey propostion. Setting a 30 minute buffer on the back end is advisable.

      • Mark Zuckerman - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        Sec. 222 is right: Several shows last April/May were delayed up to as much as 30 minutes because of Caps playoff games that ran long.

        The good news is that shouldn’t be an issue this season. Once the season begins, our regular airtime is going to be Thursdays at 4 p.m. (it will also re-air later in the evening, either 11 or 11:30, not sure).

        But as with any sporting event/TV show, it’s always a good idea to add extra time on the DVR, because you just never know!

      • Section 222 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        Great to know Mark. Does that mean you’ll be taping it at a reasonable hour? Or will you again have to leave Thursday games early to get to the studio?

      • wearenationals - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        According to FIOS, the show re-airs the episode several times. Hopefully, the DVR will record the episodes in its entirety. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. natinalsgo - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Purke and Rosenbaum and Desi’s brother in law all sent to Minor League camp. I really wanted to see Purke more since his last outing was much better.

  8. Theophilus T.S. - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    If someone knows the situation w/ Purke’s options I’d be interested. This is the fourth time he’s been “sent down” — I assume he won’t be brought back before OD — since he was signed, so it would seem this is his last option year. But I have a vague recollection that there are exceptions in instances of time lost to injury, which would seem applicable here.

    Purke still seems to be in recovery mode. A year at AA might restore him sufficiently to allow him to contribute in 2015.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      I put my thoughts on the new post. Could be time to make him an elite lefty setup man in that Jonny Venters role.

      • Doc - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        Although recovery from shoulder surgery is longer than other arm surgeries, Purke’s surgery was described as minor.

        He seems to be getting close to his past status. It will be interesting to follow him this year. One of the Nats’ scouts said last year that Purke would make significant improvements in his velo, and so far he has.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        The transitions of Clippard and Stammen from starters to relievers gave them careers. I subscribe to the Adam Wainwright way if dominate as a reliever and you still have another shot to be a starter. Show us what you can inning by inning, game by game.

        Purke’s clock is ticking. He will be 24.

      • Section 222 - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        No shoulder surgery is minor.





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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