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Will weather allow the Nats to play? Also, Pierre Garçon offers help

Mar 29, 2014, 6:02 AM EST

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Here are some notes on the Nationals as they ready for their final exhibition game of 2014, a home matchup with the Detroit Tigers…

Rain is in the forecast

The Nationals have returned to Washington to play one exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers before they head even further north for Opening Day in New York. Ready to see the Nats face Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and the Tigers? Well, weather may have something to say about that.

It looks like there is a very good chance of rain throughout the afternoon. Basically, it doesn’t look good for the game to be played.

Here is a look at the hourly outlook from weather.com:

source:

That’s at least a 70 percent chance of precipitation throughout the afternoon and first pitch is at 2:05 p.m. All they need is a window of a few hours to play the game, but that’s a lot of rain.

The Nationals have a game to play in New York on Monday and plan to travel there later on after Saturday’s game. The Tigers have a matchup with the Royals in Detroit on Monday, as well.

Will we get the game in? If you are planning to attend, it’s probably a good idea to bring an umbrella or a rain jacket. It may be a messy afternoon. Either way, I’ll be there. Look for the final game thread before the real games start. Happy baseball, everyone.

Pierre Garçon offers help to Nationals (VIDEO)

Redskins’ wide receiver Pierre Garçon sent out a message to Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond of the Nationals on Friday night. He Instagrammed a video of him taking batting practice at Chase Field in Arizona and said the Nats players should give him a call if they ever need a pinch hitter or runner.

Check out the video:

Apparently Harper liked it:

Not bad for a football player. Looks like his hit would have been caught by the shortstop, but you never know. Perhaps a bloop single?

MLB expands penalties for PEDs

Major League Baseball announced sweeping changes to its policy on performance-enhancing drugs on Friday night, expanding their system of punishment for offenders.

The penalty for a first testing violation will now increase from 50 to 80 games. A second violation will go from 100 games to a season-long 162. A third violation will still be a lifetime ban.

Perhaps most significant is the new policy preventing offenders from participating in the postseason. Under the old rules a player could return once his team started their playoff series. That is no more.

Last season both Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz returned to their teams in the playoffs after sitting out much of the regular season while suspended. That loophole was a big focus in what amounts to the most significant change in MLB’s policy on PEDs in eight years.

Though PED suspensions are relatively rare, new union head Tony Clark hopes the new policy will help clean up the game even more.

“Our hope here is that the adjustments that we’ve made do inevitably get that number to zero. In the event that that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, we’ll reevaluate and move forward from there. But as I sit here, I am hopeful that players make the right decisions that are best for them, for their careers and for the integrity of the game.”

  1. Joe Seamhead - Mar 29, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    I’m not going to chance the weather to go through the hassle. I’m thrilled that the time draws near for the regular season, but this exhibition game with chilly rain forecasted isn’t worth it to us. Our partial plan of four seats doesn’t give us our normal seats in 311 for this game, but for the second year in a row they gave us seats in the far left field corner behind the foul pole. Literally behind the pole. So instead of our normal seats above home plate they reward us with an obstructed view in a section that was selling for 6 bucks on Stub Hub the other day. And yes, they charged us for these as one of our games.

    • zmunchkin - Mar 29, 2014 at 7:28 AM

      I checked my plan and was charged as well. But I have a full season package and so I got our regular 2 seats (we are neighbors – section 312). Still on the fence as to whether we go.

      • wearenationals - Mar 29, 2014 at 7:33 AM

        We got tix, too. Anyone know the policy if it’s cancelled?

  2. sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    Not sure how, but for the 2nd year in a row we have our seats in 308
    I am thinking it’s our agent but who knows
    I am really on the fence here
    I can wait 6 more days & if I knew I could exchange this for a real game, it would be a no brainer
    Help me out here people

    • sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      I got to thinking (way too early in the morning), went to the Nationals Season Ticket Holder Site and at least I did find out that you CAN’T exchange this for a future game. Its not on the pull-down list of games. I guess that makes sense in that its almost a given that if you could attend a game that counted over an exhibition, you would take that choice.

      Not sure I agree that we were charged for this game though. I have a 20 game package and this is game 21. I guess it’s all a matter of how you see it. I got in on the deal that kept ticket prices the same for a certain number of years so I am not sure if that exhibition game raised the price or not.

      Still might go but looking iffy at best – one thing for sure, I am not riding my bike!

      • Jb - Mar 29, 2014 at 8:39 AM

        They charge STH half price for the exhib game, and yes you do pay it. A few years ago I paid for my plan in full before the exhib game was scheduled, so as to get the Nats Bucks or whatever they were offering. Then when they added the exhib game to the schedule, I got a call asking me what card they should charge that game to. Not paying was not an option.

  3. natsfan reduxit - Mar 29, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    … baseball returned to Montreal last night and forty thousand fans – the ones who would crawl over broken glass to get MLB back in the city – were there to celebrate, both the game and Gary Carter.

    … the Expos left Montreal for any number of reasons. But if none of them had ever existed, the state of the “Big Owe” would have done the job itself. [http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/03/28/baseball-fan-in-critical-condition-after-falling-from-stands-at-montreals-olympic-stadium-during-blue-jays-mets-game/]

    Go Nats!!

    • sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      I remember making a trip up to Olympic Stadium after hearing we would be the new home for the Expo’s. Just a very dark, depressing place. They were playing the Cards who were not bad and there could not have been more then 5,000 people, if that. We walked up and got seats 3 rows behind the 3rd base dugout. You could hear everything!! Coaches, players, umps. It was a morgue. Felt so bad for the players in Montreal. A great great city and the players and fans deserved so much better. Of course, I now get to watch my team but I would love to see one of those Florida teams up there. I know that isn’t going to happen but it seems a shame.

  4. NatsLady - Mar 29, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    Well, in the unlikely event that they are still playing at 7 pm, I can go. Don’t figure I’ll get much for my ticket on Stubhub. ;)

  5. chaz11963 - Mar 29, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    We’re in the same boat as sjm, we have a partial plan of 20 games and this game is 21. Our plan is Diamond Club seats, but we don’t have our regular seats for this game and don’t have access to the Diamond Club just the Diamond Lounge.

  6. Theophilus T.S. - Mar 29, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Watched a bit of the Dodgers/Angels game last nite on MLB Network, w/ Vin Scully. Completely amazing how much prep Scully had done for an exhibition game, information he offered about the Angels’ players, good things he had to say about them. At 86 he’s still at the pinnacle of big league broadcasters.

  7. Eric - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Just ran out to the store, and unless the rain really picks up in intensity, I bet they play. It was a very light, misty rain. It was rather pleasant, actually.

    Not sure I’d want to sit in it for 3.5 hours though ;).

  8. slidell2 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Our plan combined Abe and George; both have today’s game on their selection. We have 2 seats, therefore I believe we have 4 tickets in total for today. The Nats aren’t as bad as the ‘Skins in chiseling their most loyal fans, but they’re breathing down their necks. In the schoolyard, this would be classified as bullying. Not the best way to build good feeling.

  9. Section 222 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Several years ago, the last exhibition game was charged at half price on season ticket packages, but it’s been a full price game for the last few years, and this year too. If the game is rained out, I”m sure there will be some raincheck policy, perhaps the standard policy which is to allow an exchange to “value” games, which are mostly midweek games against not so great opponents.

    It’s not surprising that they wouldn’t allow future ticket exchanges of this game, but they won’t simply take your money for nothing if the game is rained out, nor could they limit the exchange to the makeup game, since there won’t be one.

  10. sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Thanks dueces. It makes no difference to me whether I am paying for that 21st game or not. I am going to continue with my 20 game package. I will just have to hope we get some sort of raincheck. I find it hard to believe they would risk any type of injury to either team by playing a game that counts for absolutely nothing in weather like this when they could give players a needed 2nd day off. They are already at the stadium and hitting in the cage and lifting so its not like a wasted day for the players. Maybe Eric is right and they will play but it makes little sense to me.

  11. NatsNut - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Rain or not, today’s tickets can be exchanged in the unused ticket exchange program. Since I bought an extra partial plan that included today’s game I had 2 extra tickets to today’s game I didn’t need. I’ve already exchanged them for a game in September.

    • Jb - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      The unused ticket exchange program no longer exists. Read the fine print on the season plan site.

      • NatsNut - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM

        Whatever it’s called, I exchanged 2 of today’s tickets for a game in September. But I did do it right away, so I can’t vouch for day-of or missed games.

    • sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      Great news natsnut – may I ask how you did that? I went to exchange tickets and the game wasn’t listed.

      • sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        Shoot – just talked to my agent and I could have exchanged 3 days ago. I guess they have a new policy now and no exchanges done day of game. They also used to have a plan where if you missed a game, you could exchange for another (although there were not great choices) and that plan is gone as well.

        All I can hope now is for it to be cancelled and then there would be some sort of “raincheck” for another date.

        Knowing that, I will bet they do try and get it in even though, as I said earlier, I think that puts players in a dangerous situation for no real reason.

      • Jb - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        They never did future game exchanges on the day of the game. They always had to be done several days in advance. So no change there.

    • Jb - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      That’s the future ticket exchange plan – which they do still offer – not the unused ticket exchange plan. Bottom line, you can exchange tickets in advance. But if you don’t go and they still play the game, you’re SOL.

      • sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        jb – you seem to have a really good handle on this

        just to try and help me one more time

        If I miss a game in my 20 game package, I realize I no longer can exchange like last year for another game
        But, don’t they give us some sort of RC points if we miss?
        thanks in advance for your answer

  12. Section 222 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Probably too late to exchange the tickets for a future game now, but that does tend to indicate there will be rainchecks. While the future exchange option still exists, there’s no after the fact unused ticket exchange any more. Instead you get red carpet reward points for using your tickets. It will be interesting to see if that system works well or if there are technical difficulties that cause a lot of headaches for SPHs and the Nats ticket staff.

    • sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      It truly is amazing how many virtual drinks I owe.
      I asked her about the red carpet points for missing this game and was told that would only apply to regular season games. Of course, agents often get things wrong so we will see.

      • Section 222 - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        The unused ticket exchange is definitely no more. Discouraging when agents get stuff wrong.

        The fine print on RCR is here:

        http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/sth/tuba_faqs.jsp#tab-3

      • sjm308 - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Oh, she was spot on about not being able to exchange.
        Maybe I didn’t ask it clearly but if we don’t go, do you think we will get additional RC points?

      • Jb - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        They are no longer giving RCR points for unused tickets.

      • Section 222 - Mar 29, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        The drink I owed Jb (or should we call you Feel Wood? Welcome back.) before has now been cancelled out. Phew.

        sjm, the points for unused tickets has been replaced by points for attending the game. Last year you got 50 points for an unused Infield Gallery ticket. This year, you get:

        20 points for using your UBA card and arriving 1 hour or more before game time.
        10 points for using a printed paper ticket and arriving 1 hour or more before game time.
        10 points for using your UBA card and arriving anytime after 1 hour before the game
        5 points for using a printed paper ticket and arriving anytime after 1 hour before the game.

        So you can amass quite a few extra just by going early and drinking their better instead of Justin’s’

  13. Sonny G 10 - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I didn’t get season tickets this year because I plan to travel with my camper a lot this summer. Kind of glad I don’t have to worry about exchanging tickets now.

    • ArVAFan - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Going to any other ballparks, or just parks?

      • Sonny G 10 - Mar 29, 2014 at 9:51 PM

        I hadn’t thought about it, but that sounds like a great idea. I think I will try to plot out some trips to other ball parks.

  14. laddieblahblah - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    A friend and I went to this game last year, against the Yanks, and we froze our butts off. I hope they don’t play this one under the current conditions. Would hate to see someone get hurt on a slippery wet field just before the start of the season. The Nats have really been lucky so far, this year, with injuries, assuming Fister’s problem is not that serious.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    11:42 a.m. I just called the Nats Inclement Weather line and they say that the game is still scheduled. Do you think that the Tigers would risk Miguel Cabrera and his new zillion dollar contract for this “game”? Should we risk Scott Hairston? [OK, be nice].

    • Section 222 - Mar 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      No, and yes. :-)

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