Nats: 2 days to go

The Nats return to RFK today for another exhibition with Balmer. I’m going to miss it in favor of cherry blossoms, but I’m not too broken up about it since I’ll be there for the real thing on Monday. What about you? The RFK Box Office will even be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow for those wanting to pick up tickets without the surcharge. You don’t want to regret spending a 75° day at the office when you could be at Opening Day, do you?

In yesterday’s Norfolk exhibition (The (Hampton Roads) Daily Press), the Nats fell to Balmer in Norfolk (ESPN Boxscore). The important thing was Matt Chico was okay (The Post), though he had to battle through at times (The Wash. Times). His circuitous journey to this point is the subject of a AP/The Wash. Examiner story today.

Nook Logan is (The Wash. Times)ready to go (The Post) which means Kory Casto will start the season in AAA until Ryan Church gets put on the DL for whining about smoke inhalation after saving dozens of orphans from a fire. Wuss.

By the way, both D.C. broadsheets have the exact same headline “Logan Ready for Opener” for the Nook story.

Did you know that the Nats have a their own Robin Ficker? Actually, they have two — Matt Krimm and Dave Hammerly. T(h)om Loverro of The Wash. Times recounts the two hecklers experiences with former Mets third base coach Manny Acta, now Nats manager. Krimm, who owns W. Curtis Draper cigar shop (Hammerly works there), has invited Acta to smoke a peace cigar. Acta will accept.

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Redesigned washingtonpost.com debuts

A minor redesign of washingtonpost.com debuted last night. They explain it here.

Overall, it is a pretty good redesign, it comes off softer than before without departing too far from their previous design. Other than some trapped white space around the promo modules in the first scroll and some serif fonts, they did a pretty good job. They haven’t really added much in the of functionality either, but since they were already embraced syndication and social bookmarking, washingtonpost.com was already ahead of many others.

This strikes me as a fairly short term solution before embarking on a more ambitious design.

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My Nats predictions

Ball-Wonk has issued The 2007 Nationals Progdown Blognostication Credibility Challenge. Here are my predictions:

1. Nationals season record. 62-99 (What can I say, I am an optimist…)
2. Nationals NL East division place and games back (if any). 36
3. Date on which Nick Johnson first appears in a Nationals game. May 15
4. Date on which Nick Johnson suffers season-ending injury. August 18
5. Nationals team leader in pitching starts, with number of starts. Hill, 29
6. Total number of starting pitchers used. 10
7. Number of ejections for Manny Acta. 2
8. Guzman’s batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging average. .265 .320 .380
9. Nationals home runs at RFK. 110 (Oops, forgot to divide by 2)
10. Paid attendance for the July 21 game against Colorado at RFK (our only Fox national broadcast of 2007). 28,937

Bonus prediction!

Felipe Lopez errors: 26

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Three days until Opening Day, let’s look at The Big Three

Let’s start by looking at the lengthy piece (The Post) about the Nats braintrust, from Mark Lerner to Jim Bowden with Stan Kasten in between. Bowden says there is “tremendous synergy” between the three and that the Lerner family are “great human beings.” Kasten liked that Bowden’s experience with the Reds was one with cheap ownership and says “I felt good enough about what was here to give Jim the first shot.” While that is not exactly “you’re doing a heck of a job, Jimmy,” it isn’t a ringing endorsement either.

Bowden was stumping for a job with Lerner as early as spring training 2005. They hit it off within two minutes, but Lerner insists that Kasten had full control over what general manager would be working for him.

Coming off a career year when he had career highs in most categories, much more is expected of RF Austin Kearns (The Wash. Times). He is comfortable with that and the large contract he signed in the offseason. Until 1B Nick Johnson returns, Kearns will bat cleanup.

Opening Day probably won’t include the president (The Wash. Times), so expect the grandson of Walter Johnson to throw out the first pitch. Former Senators Mickey Vernon and Chuck Hinton are expected to be in attendance too. The national anthem will be performed by The U.S. Army Marching Band and Herald Trumpets. The U.S. Army Chorale will also be there. Mayor Adrian Fenty has been invited as well, though the article does not indicate whether he will attend.

There will be an autograph session with the racing presidents too.

Sorry Kory Casto, Nook Logan’s groin is feeling better (The Post & The Wash. Times).

On the field, the Nats tied Balmer 3-3 in Columbus yesterday (ESPN Boxscore). Shawn Hill had the Nats longest outing of the spring: 7 IP 3R 2 ER 1 BB 6 K.

3B Ryan Zimmerman participates in a Q&A with his hometown newspaper (The Virginia-Pilot). There is also a season preview.

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Another preview section and the National Grays

I didn’t get around to linking to The Wash. Times Nationals/Baseball preview section this morning. I like it because it doesn’t have PDFs.

Also, check out this column from yesterday’s USA Today about renaming the team to the Washington National Grays and making the new ballpark “the baseball equivalent of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a hallowed shrine where people on all sides of a painful period in American history find common cause in honoring some forgotten heroes.”

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Farewell, Viera

The Nats are finished with the megalopolis that is Viera, Fla. for another 11 months. Spring training was mostly positive (Florida Today) for the young squad. They head to AAA Columbus today for an exhibition against the Orioles. The series continues with a trip to Norfolk on Friday and finally an exhibition at RFK on Saturday. Yesterday, they tied one split-squad game with Balmer (ESPN Boxscore)and lost the other to Florida (ESPN Boxscore).

“It’s encouraging” — that is what Manny Acta said about his rotation, even though it accounted for 2 wins last season (The Post). More from The Wash. Times. John Patterson is the presumed ace (The Free Lance-Star).

Jesus Colome found a spot in the bullpen (The Wash. Times). Between that and CF Nook Logan improving, OF Kory Casto will probably be left off the MLB roster. More from The Post.

Q&A (The Wash. Times) about the Nats present with a focus on the future, because it is theoretically less depressing. Here is another one too.

Cristian Guzman wants fans to forget the last two years (The Free Lance-Star). If only we could.

Jim Bowden has another The Wash. Examiner column.

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Broomball: 15 minutes of domination


Last night the Metro Washington D.C. Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association crushed the local Temple West Pitt chapter in broomball. Final score 6-0 Penn State.

We got off to a good start and before long it was raining goals on Pitt. It was our first blowout victory over them in three tries. We now lead the series, 2-1.

My co-worker Fred was kind enough to stick around and take some photos of the game.

For the record, my two game goal streak came to an end, though I did get an assist on the first goal.

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