Friday, February 13, 2009

Winning Back Hearts


It's like as if a huge cloud has been lifted off the shoulders of Our Washington Nationals. Hearts are pumping again about DC baseball. With just two days before the beginning of Spring Training, NatsTown is the Talk Of The Town. There hasn't been this much excitement over a player introduction since Alfonso Soriano in 2006. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend yesterday afternoon's Press Conference at Nationals Park to personally witnessed Adam Dunn being officially introduced to the local media--work had me locked down covering The President Of The United States.

It really didn't matter though because everyone else came to cover.

Look at the turnout: Not just the usual suspects--The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Bill Ladson from Nationals.com, Craig Heist from WTOP and the folks from Comcast SportsNet. But this time MASN showed the entire 3PM Press Conference Live. I don't believe that's ever happened before for Washington in an off-season Press Conference. Tom Boswell was also back--with praise. Even Dan Steinberg was blogging LIVE!! from the newser (I thought he didn't like covering The Nats?). ESPN and The MLB Network all showing interest. In fact there was National Interest in Washington Baseball yesterday, not just Local Interest in Our Washington Nationals.

Big, Big Difference.

Adam Dunn may not be the end all to everything Our Washington Nationals need to do to field a winner on the playing field in 2009 and beyond. A tremendous amount of decisions still need to be made with Our 25 Man Roster over the next six weeks and coming months. Even Our Manager Manny Acta admitted yesterday Washington has much more work to accomplish. But at least for the first time, in some time, DC Baseball is back on the National Stage. The Baseball World is paying attention again.

What the signing of Adam Dunn has really accomplished is turn a new spotlight back on Our Washington Nationals--interest that wasn't there just two days ago. A faith never lost by The African Queen and I. We've never lost faith and we never will. But with Spring Training Camp opening tomorrow on Valentines Day 2009--some in NatsTown are again embracing Our Team with their hearts. Hope rekindled, a new bond found that no one probably wants to see broken anytime soon.

The African Queen and I wish all of you a Very Happy Valentines Day!!

Photo--Courtesy Associated Press

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess the possiblity of Chad Cordero returning are now nil given that they gave Dunn his jersey number. A good addiiton, however, at least he will put fans in the seats.

Kenny G said...

I had known this before but at the press conference, actually seeing Acta speak Spanish and interact with a Hispanic reporter was about the coolest thing I've ever seen!

Andrew Lang said...

Harold Reynolds on the Hot Stove seems to have the Nats lineup all penciled in. His crystal ball must be in focus.

With Spring Training about to begin, so much seems to hinge on Nick Johnson's health. Scary. If he is healthy, he can play 1st base defensively better than anyone else on the roster and has a great OBP. If he is healthy, he possibly can be traded.

On the GM's board, the log jam goes away next year anyway as for all intents and purposes the Nats will have 5 position players all going to Free Agency:

Nick Johnson
Dmitri Young
Ronnie Belliard
Wily Mo Pena
Austin Kearns (club option)

...but as they say the future is now.

If, the big IF, Nick starts at 1B, I hope they don't try to play him every day as he needs to be forced to rest so I would sit him against lefties and fill in with Willingham.

For anyone who missed this, Ladson updated his projected batting order and positions:

Projected batting order
1. 2B Anderson Hernandez:
.333 BA, .407 OBP, .383 SLG, 0 HRs, 17 RBIs in 2008
2. SS Cristian Guzman:
.316 BA, .345 OBP, .440 SLG, 9 HR, 55 RBI in 2008
3. 3B Ryan Zimmerman:
.283 BA, .333 OBP, .442 SLG, 14 HR, 51 RBI in 2008
4. 1B Adam Dunn:
.236 BA, .386 OBP, .513 SLG, 40 HR, 100 RBI in 2008
5. RF Elijah Dukes:
.264 BA, .386 OBP, .478 SLG, 13 HR, 44 RBI in 2008
6. CF Lastings Milledge:
.268 BA, .330 OBP, .402 SLG, 14 HR, 61 RBI in 2008
7. LFJosh Willingham:
.254 BA, .364 OBP, .470 SLG, 15 HR, 51 RBI in 2008
8. C Jesus Flores:
.256 BA, .296 OBP, .402 SLG, 8 HR, 59 RBI in 2008

Anonymous said...

Quotes from Manny Acta yesterday, "Everybody has an opinion on the way I like to manage," Acta said. "But I do like high on-base percentage guys, and I do like power in my lineup, which we haven't had here since I've gotten over here. I love a guy like (Dunn). I've always been a big-time fan of his and Nick Johnson's, because I believe in on-base percentage. You have to be on base to score runs, and the more times you're on base, the less outs you give away. That doesn't make me a sabermetrics (manager) or anything, like a lot of you guys think. It's just a fact that you win ballgames by scoring more runs than the other team, and you score more runs by having people on base. Nowadays, a lot of times your batting average is overrated."

I am reading between the lines, Nick at 1st and Dunn at 2nd.

Also, talking about OBP, Zim should be allowed to bunt for singles like he did a dozen+ times in 2006 when he hit 20 HRs and 120 RBI's.

Anonymous said...

Should read Dunn at LF (sorry for the typo)

An Briosca Mor said...

I am reading between the lines, Nick at 1st and Dunn at 2nd.

You'd have to be hallucinating between the lines to think that Manny Acta would ever put Adam Dunn at second base or bat him second.

Beers 'n Books said...

Maybe this will actually put some butts in the seats this year. All my buddies that are Mets fans seem to have a little more respect b/c of this signing.

Just a lil' bit.

Sam R said...

SBF,

What are your thoughts on Dunn taking the number of the most exciting closer in the game?

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Sam

Screech's Best Friend said...

Sam: Well, it obviously means "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" is not coming back to Washington for 2009. Too bad. I was hoping they could work out some incentive laden contract to get 32 back into camp with sights set on Chad Cordero returning to the Major League Roster later this year. I really wish something could have been worked out. Chad Cordero did alot for this franchise in the first three years of Washington's return to The Major Leagues.

Andrew Lang said...

I would guess Cordero won't be back either, but Chad has larger issues as he isn't signed by anyone as pitchers have already reported to Spring Training.

As far as jersey numbers go, not many players are guaranteed jersey #'s and Dunn getting #32 was based on nobody on the roster had that # currently. Dunn wanted jersey #44 which he wore with the Reds but is occupied by Lastings Milledge so he took his 2nd choice as Dunn wore #32 with the Diamondbacks.

Funny, a few weeks ago at the NatsFest, it was mentioned the Nats were still pursuing Chad Cordero.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090125&content_id=3771840&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Andrew Lang said...

This just hit the wire on Chad Cordero that says a Mets official suggested it’s unlikely the organization will add Cordero, who remains a free agent.

A shame.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/mets/2009/02/no-cordero-on-tap.html

Andrew Lang said...

It was just a little more than a month ago when many were upset by the Ladson article:

01/08/09 5:20 PM EST

Nats Unlikely To Sign Top Free Agents

Washington no longer in running for Dunn, Hudson or Lowe


Amazing how quick things change or was Ladson just flat out wrong when he wrote the article.

In any event, like your title says "Winning Back Hearts". Ticket sales should pick up with the Dunn pick up!!!

An Briosca Mor said...

According to quotes I read or heard after Dunn's press conference, his wearing #32 is not finalized. Although he didn't say it, he could always work out a deal with Milledge to get #44. That kind of thing has been done before, many times.

Also, it seems to me no other team has taken a flier on the Chief yet. The Nationals could still do something with him. As long as he's available, there's always a chance.

Andrew Lang said...

ABM - I hope not. I just ordered all 4 styles of Nats jerseys with #32 and D-U-N-N on the back!!!!

But you are right, that could still happen and has happened. In this case though, I hope not.