Brooks Robinson: The Greatest Defensive Player in Baseball History, at Any Position (4 of 7)

Game 3

The Orioles are carrying a 16-game winning streak into Game 3: They won their final 11 regular-season games, swept the Twins in 3 games in the ALCS, and have won the first 2 games against the Reds. Continue reading

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The Sunday wrap-up with the #Nats at Spring Training

Feb. 18, 2018

Pro tip:  if you want to catch home run balls flying out of catchers’ batting practice (between 9 and 9:30), play back rather than hang on the back fence.  If you hang on the fence, the girl in red will already own the ball by the time you get there.

Sunday Nats

While watching the guys head to today’s Circle of Trust, I spotted Max Scherzer sporting one of the new bucket caps.  I yelled “Hey, Max, I’m wearing your shirt!” (I was wearing the Hit Like a Pitcher shirt he had made after the 3-run homer). Got a “Sweet!” from him. Continue reading

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Connecting the dots in Spring Training for the Nationals

Harper and Harper spring training

Connecting the dots to what we think we know is easier said than done. There are few rumors coming out of Nationals camp because for the most part — the roster is set.  Also, Dave Martinez has been very forthcoming with information.  Continue reading

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First weekend of #Nats Spring Training

Feb. 17

The catchers were hitting on Field 1 as we came into the park.  Spouse yelled at one of the fielders, “Hey, throw me one!” He responded “where’s your glove?”  When she said “home in my dresser drawer,” he bounced one out to her. No kids in the vicinity, so we kept it.

Said good morning to general manager Mike Rizzo and told him we’d met his dad in Arizona last fall, where he’d told us to (1) hit Mike up for free tickets and (2) give him a hard time next time when we saw him. Rizzo said “was he yelling at everyone?”  and got a laugh out of the “free ticket” gambit. Rizzo has his own little cart marked GM on the front. Other carts are marked Clubhouse and Security—but they otherwise look the same.  Then there are what I’ll call the groundskeepers’ carts, the clubhouse-schleppage carts, and the field-grooming machines, as well as the fan transport carts (new this year).  So all-in-all, you need to be ready to step off into the grass at any time.

In case anyone was wondering “where’s Gio?” I can confirm that he’s alive and well.  He stopped by to give Susan-at-the-gate a kiss and told her he’d just been keeping out of the sun.  After seeing the pitchers heading off for practice, we decided to focus on the activities at Fields 3, 4, 5, 6 near the back of the complex.  Those fields have small bleachers next to them, and if you position yourself strategically, you can sit in the shade of the young trees that shade about 5% of each bleacher.  Nice thought to plant those trees:  they are only going to be there for the benefit of the fans since the shade will never reach the playing area.  I hope I’ll be coming back here long enough for those trees to shade the entire bleachers!

spring training weekend

The group started warming up with some calisthenics, led by the little guy in the bucket hat, far end of the third row. I call this one dancing with the stars. Continue reading

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Who the heck is that guy? — 2018 edition! A guide to new #Nats roster players

It hasn’t been an especially eventful winter for the Washington Nationals, as general manager Mike Rizzo has preferred to bring back contributors to the 2017 season rather than acquiring new players for the Nats’ 40-man roster. Even still, there will be some faces in spring training camp that fans might not recognize, including two players who played for division rivals last year and a few more who are on the roster but have yet to make their major league debuts.

In this post, we’ll be looking only at rostered players who have never logged a plate appearance for the Nats. That means non-roster invitees like Miguel Montero, Reid Brignac, Edwin Jackson, and Bryan Harper won’t be covered here. For the curious, here’s our post on non-roster position players, and here’s our post on non-roster pitchers.

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Bryan Harper throws/Bryce Harper arrives at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

Feb. 16

Harper and Harper Spring Training

So, today there were a lot more fans at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  That included a number of Astros fans who said that they weren’t doing that much over on the Astros side, so came over to check out the Nats side. There was a snack stand (water $4.50, but okay to bring your own).  Carts were glad to take people around to the fields, back to the parking lot (shared with the Astros fans), back to the bathrooms at field 5/6, or up to the team store. Continue reading

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My first days at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

Spring Training fundamentals

Run ‘til they tag you . . . or how to sneak into Nationals Spring Training a day early.

So, we head off for the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. We pull into the back parking lot through the same gate we used last year, and park by the entrance we used last year (although last year we were going to games). There was only one car parked there, which seemed a bit unusual, but we were earlier than the workout schedule, and there’s a media/players lot on the other side, so we figured that’s where the official attendees were parked. Continue reading

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Who the heck is that guy? — 2018 edition! A guide to #Nats non-roster position players

As the Washington Nationals players trickle into West Palm Beach for spring training camp, there will be a few faces on the position-player side who may be unfamiliar to baseball fans. A few are minor league fixtures for the Nats, a couple of whom have been here before. Others come from outside the organization to pursue opportunities created by some off-season drama involving a bum knee and a Boldenone injection.

In this post, we’ll be looking only at position players. If you’re curious to learn more about the likes of Edwin Jackson, Tommy Milone, Bryan Harper, and Tim Collins, good news: non-roster pitchers were the subject of a previous post. Likewise, this list is limited to non-roster players. Kelvin Gutierrez and Jose Marmolejos are still waiting to make their major league debuts, but they are on the 40-man roster, so you won’t find them in this post.

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“Winning Starts Now” Washington Nationals spring training camp opens!

Winning Starts Now

From Nationals social media of Davey Martinez

While most of the national baseball media on the east coast of Florida was  on the Houston Astros side of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches complex that the 2017 World Series champions share with the Washington Nationals, there was plenty of action on the Nats’ side as manager Dave Martinez welcomed his new players. Of note was the apparel that Martinez chose to wear today. He was out on the field in a short-sleeved cotton t-shirt that read,  “Winning Starts Now” with the Spring Training ’18 screenprint.  Continue reading

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Who the heck is that guy? — 2018 edition! A guide to #Nats non-roster pitchers

At long last, the Washington Nationals have announced who will be suiting up in red and white for the team’s second major league spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida. Along with 39 players on the major league roster (Joe Ross, rehabbing from “Tommy John” surgery, won’t be participating in Grapefruit League action this year), 21 non-roster invitees have been named to the springtime Nats.

In this post, we’ll be looking exclusively at pitchers. That means analyses of non-roster catcher Miguel Montero, non-roster infielder Reid Brignac, and other position players will have to wait. This post also deals exclusively with pitchers who are not on the 40-man roster. While Austin Voth, Wander Suero, and Jefry Rodriguez have yet to take a major league mound, they are nonetheless rostered players, so they don’t technically count as NRIs.

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