Admit it or not, we are in our second offseason of the 2019/2020 season!

All quiet at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

The show must go on,” will not even hold true on Broadway which has gone dark. More baseball players are shutting it down as reality spreads that this is going to be a very protracted shutdown and a second offseason. The two week delay initially announced for the start of the baseball season looks to be months away at a minimum due to the Covid-19 virus. Now several NBA players have tested positive for the Coronavirus prompting some to believe that contact while sweating and open pores makes it easier to transmit the virus. Athletes in minimal contact sports like basketball, hockey, soccer and lacrosse are probably at a higher risk of passing the virus even though their athletes would be in the category of highest survival rates if infected because of their age and previous health history. Baseball has minimal player-to-player contact on the field of play, but the dugout and bullpen is in close quarters and goes against the new “social distancing” suggested mandates. Continue reading

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Local product Mike Toomey epitomizes the way our American Pastime should be viewed

Photo provided by Mike Toomey in his baseball scrapbook

They call him coach now. This man has spent his entire adult life of over 50 years in baseball and at the end of his working days is giving back to his community while coaching high school ball at the ripe age of 69.

Caring,
One of a Kind,
Always inspiring,
Charismatic and
Humble

For those who have been involved in baseball in the DC area since the 1960s, you might have crossed paths with a baseball lifer like Mike Toomey. He epitomizes the way our American Pastime should be viewed both on and off the field. He has been a successful player (George Washington University), coach at both the collegiate (GW) and pro level (Alexandria Dukes) and a Hall of Fame scout who earned a World Series ring. However, what the baseball purists would miss about this baseball treasure is his undying love, loyalty and devotion to this amazing game! Continue reading

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It starts with the little things; The Lerners prefer their random acts of kindness stay under the radar!

Mark Lerner spoke to fans between innings; Photo by Steve Mears for TalkNats

Baseball games will most likely be delayed months — not weeks according to numerous reports due to the Covid-19 virus. In regards to the Coronavirus and workers getting paid, MLB will not dictate to teams how to pay players who are not on the 40-man roster because they fall outside of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). There are players  financially vulnerable who fall outside the 40-man roster and never received large amateur signing bonuses and were never on an MLB roster to share in some of those big paychecks. They are at the bottom of the food chain and were making below the minimum wage because they are covered by a different labor law. “Most minor leaguers make an estimated $7,500 for a year. Major league players average more than $4 million,” according to a report by NPR two years ago. The MLBPA will pay their player members on the 40-man rosters $1,100 per week through April 9th if they are returning home or to the team’s home city. They are doing other initiatives like this $1 million joint program between the MLB and MLBPA.  Continue reading

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Mike Rizzo cuts Hunter Strickland 7 days late and $128,000 short!

The bullpen is a lot lighter today; Photo by Craig Nedrow for TalkNats

A week ago we passed the first severance point on the 16th day of Spring Training, and general manager Mike Rizzo made no moves. Not one. Business as usual to the surprise of the many armchair GMs including myself. Sure, nobody expected that he would DFA arbitration players like Trea TurnerJoe RossRoenis Elias, and Michael A. Taylor. But what about Hunter Strickland, and Wilmer Difo who were thought to be prime candidates for a DFA. . For the Washington Nationals to make the move today with Strickland by DFA’ing him was like dumping $128,000 down the drain. What did you learn in the last seven days that you did not know before that about Strickland’s abilities as a relief pitcher? The price to cut Strickland a week ago was $256,640.08 if he was DFA’d, and now the goodbye check is $385,120.17. It seems that money could have been put to better use if I can speak up.

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The World Series champs could be heading to their offseason cities as the delay to the season changes plans!

Photo by Steve Mears for TalkNats

That sign (pictured above) was next to the Washington Nationals players’ walkway egress to the parking lot. It seems like the perfect “goodbye” to the players who make up the big league rosters due to the delay to the start of the season. Spring Training camps were immediately suspended formally after discussions between MLB and the player’s union could not agree to a new agreement. The Coronavirus will have rippling effects in all of our lives in the short-term, and everyone will need to adjust. Sure, some players might decide to stay near the Nationals complex in West Palm Beach like Patrick Corbin, Trea Turner, and Max Scherzer since they all have homes in the area. But most players’ homes are in other parts of the country, and in the case of Juan Soto, Wander Suero, and Victor Robles — their homes are in a different country. Yesterday marked the last “formal” day in the month of March for MLB players unless the sides agree to an amended short-term agreement. Continue reading

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The last sunset after a game for a while….

Photo by Steve Mears for TalkNats

As the sun disappeared from sight, and the lights went out, baseball, as we know it, went into a voluntary lockdown. The sell-out game yesterday afternoon at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches had a different feel from any other game. Word was spreading swiftly through the crowd that MLB had officially declared that as of 4pm EDT, baseball was going into a shutdown and Opening Day would be delayed by at least two weeks. That would put Opening Day at 4 weeks from today at the earliest due to the concerns over the Coronavirus. Most did not heed the warnings to stay out of large gatherings — like a sports stadium packed to the rafters as we saw in that game. Okay, you could see that there were several hundred no-shows among the paid attendance of 8,043, but there were still thousands that still went to the game. Continue reading

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Game #20 Sold out! The Yankees turn for the 3 1/2 hour trek from Tampa to West Palm Beach; Corbin gets the start!

The outfielders; Photo by Craig Nedrow

It is now the Yankees turn to make the Tampa to West Palm Beach trek for an early afternoon game. The Nationals and Yankees have already played one game in Tampa and as is customary, they will play again in the other team’s stadium. According to the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches account on Twitter — this game is sold-out! There certainly could be empty seats due to the concerns over the Corona Virus and warnings to avoid “large gatherings” and this would be considered a large gathering. Continue reading

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Game #19 No non-approved signs in the stands today means the #Nats are playing the #Astros

Photo by Craig Nedrow for TalkNats

As Spring Training is more than halfway through, the Washington Nationals neighbors in the complex at the FITTEAM at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches have not played many starters in their head-to-head games. The only names you might recognize for 3 at-bats each was George Springer and Yuli Gurriel from their last game on February 27th. Sorry, you see more starters on long road trips. Fans who brought controversial signs had them confiscated as you saw in videos, and one fan told us they were warned for shouting cheaters at the Astros. The sign policy for the ballpark states that all signs must be pre-approved. Continue reading

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Game #18 We are a sweet 16 days to Opening Day with so many unanswered questions!

It is a head-scratcher on who the #5 starter will be; Photo by Craig Nedrow for Talknats

There are more unanswered questions today than there were when Spring Training camp opened in early February. With lingering injuries to setup man Will Harris and starting rightfielder Adam Eaton, those issues are just layered with all of the questions we had before camp opened like who the starting third baseman would be, who would fill-out the bullpen and bench, and who would be the fifth starter in the rotation. We are no closer on answering any of those questions definitively. Continue reading

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Another game, another hit for the teenage prospect Luis Garcia and the man who scouted him: Jonny DiPuglia!

Photo by Katie Moran for TalkNats

Okay, Jonny DiPuglia has no hits to his record, but the players he has scouted and signed have plenty of key hits on their record and helped the Washington Nationals win a World Series. Another one of Jonny’s youngsters is impressing in a Nats uniform, and his name is Luis Garcia. The teenager is often mistaken for Juan Soto due to his similar size and appearance. Both have great smiles, and Garcia will be a fan favorite too. He is batting .429 with a 1.000 OPS in Spring Training. Don’t expect him to be the second coming of Ted Williams, or Soto for that matter, but there is a chance that he will be on the high trajectory that some saw a few years ago at the Nationals’ Dominican Academy. He is just another of DiPuglia’s great finds in the Caribbean. Continue reading

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