Tuesday, February 24, 2009


"Bling-Bling!!", shouted Our Pitching Coach Randy St.Claire. "Where's Bling-Bling!! It's time for him to warm up!!"

"Right Here!!", replied Jesus Colome sitting in the 3rd Base Dugout of Field Number 3.

"Bling-Bling"? said The African Queen looking puzzled over at me. "The Human Rain Delay"--Sure--but "Bling-Bling"?

Well, inquiring minds wanted to know. And not long after Sohna went right to the source--Jesus Colome himself.

"Hey Baby!! How you doing?" exclaimed Our Number 43 upon seeing The African Queen near the practice fields.

"Why does Randy St.Claire call you Bling-Bling? Is it because of your flashy car?" asked Sohna.

"No it's because of the Cha-Cha-Cha!!" (pointing to where he wears his fancy jewelry around his neck), replied Jesus. "And I like it."

Jesus Colome was in a very playful mood today. Dancing between wind sprints and even showing off his batting skills to The African Queen. Just the thought of Jesus Colome with a bat in his hands was shuttering enough. But from here on out--"The Human Rain Delay" will be known as "Bling-Bling!!" on Nats320--a moniker that is just too good to pass up.

In fact, Jesus Colome had made our day up to that point. At least until Our General Manager Jim Bowden came by to chat. JimBo may not be talking much to the media these days, but he couldn't pass up the opportunity to pose for a picture with The African Queen and then chat briefly. JimBo seemed to be in a good mood.

As for Our 4th Day of Spring Training, Our Washington Nationals spent most of the practice day working on defensive positioning--with just one day before the 35 Game Grapefruit League Season begins. Outfield Coach Marquis Grissom drilling his players on how to take better routes to hit balls--especially those hit over one's head or into the gap.

Our Manager Manny Acta telling his infielders: "You need to be thinking out there--all the time. Understand the situation at hand. How many outs? How many baserunners and what is the score of the game? Don't rush--just get it right." Even the Sliding Pads were brought out onto Field Number 1 today. Manny standing by watching his catchers work on getting down properly. At one point--walking all over Jesus Flores for doing it wrong.

Yes, attempting to get it right--by enhancing those learned skills with top conditioning. Strength & Conditioning Coach John Philbin continues to put everyone through some serious paces. Shuttle runs, wind sprints, foul pole to foul pole runs over distance. And even some little games that require a baseball be chased down quickly--players running side-to-side, back and forth, even up and down. Despite the agility drills--a tremendous amount of laughter during the hard workouts. Players seemingly enjoying these little games while putting themselves in better physical condition.

"The physical training has really been notched up a level or two this year," Joel Hanrahan told us. "There are guys getting into better baseball shape than they have been in a long time. I can feel the difference. My legs feel tired now--but it's really helping me."

"Getting It Right" was the theme for today because tomorrow the competition begins for real. And it will have little to do with Wins & Losses. The countdown to make the 25 Man Roster is officially now on. Yeah, Jesus Colome's got the Bling-Bling!!, but who will shine the most over the next six weeks. Time for everyone to give it their best shot--no turning back because--for some, the hard work will be rewarded with a Major League Roster Spot. For those disappointed others--only heartbreak over being left behind.

Other Notes & Highlights:

I don't think we've ever seen Manny move so quickly out of his Golf Cart after practice to take a picture with two guys before. Robert & Phil wore their impACTA Kids Foundation Tee-Shirts to practice today in hopes of Our Manager taking a picture with them. Manny had no problem with that--proudly grinning from ear to ear.

What has become a regular sight during batting practice on Field Number 1. A handful of fans stand over the outfield walls waiting for Adam Dunn, Wily Mo Pena and other sluggers to launch a baseball over the fence. Two days ago--Wily Mo torched a rocket shot, not only over the fence, but over the gravel walkway in left field and OVER THE INDOOR/OUTDOOR Batting Cages onto the rooftop. No idea what the distance might be, but it's easily over 450 Feet. What a shot that was--everyone was talking about it.

And finally--Darlene & David are here from Manassas, Virginia. Big Fans of Our Washington Nationals. They are enjoying the close proximity DC's team allows their fans to get to their players. Apparently, that is actually quite remarkable compared to other Spring Facilities. Fans from The Mets, Red Sox, Yankees, Astros and Tigers all have shown up in Viera and rave about player access for pictures and autographs. A far cry from many of the more established teams. Let's hope this never changes when it comes to Our Players and Our Fans at Washington Nationals Spring Training.

PS--With Cesar Cedeno signing a baseball card from his younger days with The Houston Astros--Manny looks over at the card and says: "Man--you were pretty handsome back then. What happened?"

Cedeno: "Been so long ago--I can't remember!! But I must have had it going--Huh?"

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was not at Spring Training last year but all this focus on fundamentals was nowhere in sight in 2007. Manny must keep this the focus for the next 30 days and then again at least a day or two a week when they are home. If they could improve the team fundamentals this team could be so much more watchable even if they do lose 85 to 95 games......

SBF can you please ask Acta why he neglected this part of the game for his first two years? Working on ball hit directly over your head, maybe Milledge will improve with some coaching, he sure did not get any last year.