Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Rising Sun
Today, approximately 75 people came to the minor league practice fields of Our Washington Nationals in Viera, Florida, to witness Stephen Strasburg throw his first 37 pitches of Spring Training--including reporters and photographers from ESPN, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer. And that bullpen session came after Strasburg appeared for a feature on ESPN's Baseball Tonight.
This past Friday, the introduction of Chien-Ming Wang in a Nationals Jersey and Red Curly "W" Cap drew approximately 40 reporters and photogs--mostly from China and Chinese Tapei. Washington's newly signed Taiwanese National is a hero is his native land and has become sort of a folk hero--much like Ichiro is in Japan.
Then Saturday morning, while watching the replay of MLB Networks--"Hot Stove"--baseball's network devoted nearly 10 solid minutes to Our Washington Nationals, including a five minute chat with Our Manager Jim Riggleman. The interesting information coming from analysts Al Leiter and Dan Plesac. Here are two guys with a combined 37 years of Major League experience. Each has played on good teams and on bad teams--and each has turned their knowledge of the game into key roles discussing Major League baseball today. During "Hot Stove", Leiter & Plesac both stated how Washington is becoming legitimate and worth watching closely in 2010.
From Wang's Presser; to MLB Network's coverage; to ESPN's Baseball Tonight; on to a simple "bullpen" thrown by Stephen Strasburg this Sunday morning--there is a completely different feel when it comes to version 6.0 of Our Washington Nationals. People are paying attention to D.C. Baseball and it's for good reasons. No longer is there just focus on basically on one star guy. This day finds more complete media coverage outside the local markets and it's not about what's wrong with Our Washington Nationals?
As Al Leiter mentioned on MLB Networks--(paraphrasing here): "It's teams like Washington that sneak up on people and then everyone starts wondering--where did they come from?"
That commentary was pleasing to hear because over the past few months, Our General Manager Mike Rizzo has consistently stated that he's never "satisfied" when it comes to rebuilding this ball club. But it sure is satisfying to witness extended coverage of Nationals Baseball in a positive light. Even though the sun is just beginning to rise on a new season, there is a media buzz over Our Washington Nationals that hopefully once set in 2010--will bring the dawning of some exciting new days to D.C. Baseball for years to come.
Strasburg Photo Credit--Rob Carr (AP)
Wang Press Conference Photo Credit-Reinhold Matay (AP)