Friday, January 29, 2010
The 2010 Washington Nationals Hot Stove Luncheon
Our General Manager Mike Rizzo, responding to a question by Season Ticket Holder Ray Mitten--who wants to see Adam Dunn "retire as a National"--proclaimed that on this very day he began preliminary discussions with Dunn on a possible contract extension. Mr. Rizzo also stated Stephen Strasburg will have to put in his "apprenticeship" in the minor leagues before being called up to the parent club. And that Orlando Hudson is still in the mix as a possible middle infield upgrade in 2010--but other players are also being discussed.
Our Manager Jim Riggleman believes that injuries curtailed Cristian Guzman's efficiency at shortstop in 2009 and he expects "The Guz" to return to his usual role on the left side of the infield in 2010. Riggleman also stated he was "naive" about players juicing on steroids during the previous decade of play.
And Team President Stan Kasten believes Washington can be a top market--just below New York & Los Angeles in payroll and market size.
That was the news that came out of today's 2010 Hot Stove Luncheon at Nationals Park. The 2nd Annual Event sold out in the Conference Center which drew a festive crowd itching for the baseball season to begin anew for Our Washington Nationals. This social get together has become the KICK-OFF of Washington's new campaign in a very short span of time. Ask most Season Ticket Holders who paid their $45 or $75 (to sit with a player) and attend. The atmosphere was terrific. An opportunity to chat with Mr. Kasten, Mr. Rizzo, Riggleman, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Matt Capps, John Lannan, Nyjer Morgan, Drew Storen, Josh Willingham, Craig Stammen, Jason Marquis, Tyler Clippard, Brian Bruney, Danny Espinosa or Ryan Speier. Everything on the record. Just speak up and get a response.
It also didn't hurt that "Tony Plush" was in attendance. "Chicken Man", also known as Hugh, was sitting at our table along with Our Washington Nationals John Lannan. Hugh was wearing his specially made "Plush" Hockey Jersey which Nyjer immediately took notice of and came over to adore and embrace. That man is hilarious. Just like during the Q & A, The African Queen looked up and noticed Morgan glancing at her. When she waved--this was the response.
He's too much.
Honestly, for the remainder of the afternoon, every time Nyjer Morgan made eye contact with Sohna--he would perform a special wave. They would laugh and laugh and laugh. That's fun. That makes everything personal. And that's what many fans of Our Washington Nationals enjoyed this afternoon at Nationals Park. A chance to just embrace the camaraderie of chatting with Our Players and getting to know them a little bit better.
For nearly three hours today, a few hundred fans of Our Washington Nationals enjoyed a lunch headlined by Chicken Marsala and finished off with the largest serving of Cheesecake seen in some time. Then, participate in an hour long Q & A headlined by NBC's "Meet The Press Moderator" David Gregory and assisted on the floor by MASN's Rob Dibble--who was taking questions. After the conclusion of the formal lunch program, every fan was invited to The Stars & Stripes Club for an autograph and picture session with 12 participating players, Riggleman and Dibble.
Finally, included for every attendee--free gifts: Red Curly "W" Fleece Blanket, Curly "W" Water Bottle, Curly "W" Baseball Seam Bracelet and a Harris Teeter Nationals tote bag. Additionally, one lucky person at each table was a recipient of a Nationals Backpack which contained various memorabilia and a "signed" jersey of a Washington Player.
Was the 2010 Hot Stove Luncheon a major news maker?
No, but that was not the point.
On one of the coldest days in Washington, D.C. in recent memory, The 2010 Season Ticket Holder Hot Stove Luncheon was burning hot with conversation about Our Washington Nationals. Today's event at Nationals park further spurred our interest in the new season approaching, while leaving The African Queen and I yearning for that most well-known phrase heard before each played game: Play Ball!!
Sohna and I had a wonderful time today just enjoying baseball and our team.
And that's really what it's all about.
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