Monday, February 25, 2008

Bang Zoom!! Go The Fireworks!!

"Hey Nats320 is here!!" yelled out Charlie Slowes. "Yes, replied The African Queen we have been here for about a week." Charlie replying, "Yeah, I know--I was going to call you on my shoe phone!!" (Pretending to be Maxwell Smart reaching down to his loafer to dial his phone).
Which led all three of us into a very funny conversation about the 1960's TV Show "Get Smart" and a nice anecdote about Charlie making his way down from The Press Box at Turner Field in Atlanta. "I was walking and turning through double door after double door. And, I fully expected one set to close right on my face." Many my remember the Closing Credits for "Get Smart" where Agent 86 was also walking through a similar tunnel--double doors after double doors--opening and shutting behind him--until the final pair--nip Maxwell Smart in the nose. "I felt like I was in a TV Show and my nose was going to get nipped any moment. For those under 30--that story might go right over their heads. But, others--they see the humor." concluded Slowes. Yes, Mr. Bang!! Zoom!! was in the house. The African Queen and I were very happy.

Charlie was on hand to begin his pre-season preparation for Friday Night's first radio broadcast. His partner, Dave Jageler is on route to Viera, Florida right now. For some time, Sohna and I chatted with Charlie for an extended interview for The Nats320 Blog. That interview coming later, but we can report that Mr. Slowes has heard the many comments about not giving the score often enough. And, he has a solution for 2008. Stay tuned for Our Conversation With Charlie Slowes later this evening (I need to transcribe it).

Also on hand TEDDY!!, No not that TEDDY!!, but this Teddy. Yes, "Let Teddy Win!!"--Lou Gehrig himself (honestly that IS his real name) arrived this morning for his first day of watching Spring Training--along with Karen. Lou and Karen have never been to Spring Training before. Always a friend of Good Ole' Section 320 (hard to believe its now in the past)--we have not seen them since the very last game at RFK Stadium. Briefly, the "Let Teddy Win!! Chant was heard around Field One. Even some players and the media--turned to look.

As for workouts on the fields--there were a couple of funny moments.

While Minor League Pitching Instructor Spin Williams is working on the squeeze play at the plate with a series of pitchers--Mike Bascik picks up the baseball and scoops it well above the catcher's head. Williams shouts out: "Mike, Its a 45 Foot Field Goal--If you can't hit the upright--you can't play in this league!!"

Later--The First Team (Veterans expected to make the squad) are practicing pickoff moves--if a runner takes off for second base. Wily Mo Pena is the runner. When he takes off, Joel Hanrahan steps off the rubber, turns and throws to Ronnie Belliard covering. With Wily Mo hard charging, but standing up heading to second--instead of tagging Pena out--Ronnie throws a fake punch at Our Number 26. Ooohs! and Aaahs!! all around. The Fun Fight was on!! Ronnie Belliard--quite the prankster--keeping everyone loose.

Also, its interesting to see Our Manager Manny Acta staying attuned to what's happening on each of the four practice fields and the various bullpens. Constantly on the move--Acta never seems to stay in one place. If he needs to take a closer look at someone in particular--off he goes--to the next station.

Like Pitching Coach Randy St.Claire--Our Number 14 never seems to stop--including signing autographs after each practice--until everyone has a bit of his time and attention.

Finally, after practice concluded--Sohna and I headed over to Space Coast Stadium to take some exterior shots. We have never watched a baseball game there--but plan on being on hand this Thursday for the 11:30AM Exhibition with Georgetown University. The "Casey At The Bat" Statue outside the ballpark is fascinating. We had never taken the time to look at it. The Detail is very nice.

Quotes Of The Day:

"I have never seen a player so focused on the field of play as Elijah Dukes. He is not only talented, but intense. If he can straighten out his past issues, leave them behind (pointing outside the field) and put all that energy inside the lines--he would be an awesome player. He is a good guy and we are talking about a special talent." (Unnamed Player--talking with Sohna and I on the side. By the way, we love this photo of Dukes, in a pensive mood while the days activities continue around him).

As the conversation continues with Charlie Slowes--Third Base Coach Tim Tolman is walking by and yells out to Charlie: "Hey, your're back. What is it? Bang Boom!! Zig Zag Go The Fireworks!!" Charlie: "Close enough, good to see you too." (Everybody cracks up laughing)

SBF to Barry Svrluga--Washington Post. "Barry, good to see you!!" BS--"Hey, how you doing, its GREAT TO BE HERE!!" SBF--"Really, I thought you were sick of the place?" BS--"Look at this weather (raising his arms to the sky), how can anybody be unhappy in this place, considering what I left behind in Washington."

Pictures Of The Day:

The Rites Of Spring. There is something simplistically beautiful about these photos of players hanging out waiting for their turn to take Batting Practice. Now, how many of you would LOVE to be sitting on that baseball bag--waiting for your chance to get in your hacks? Unquestionably, I would.


Anonymous said...


SenatorNat said...

Slowes should give the African Queen her new handle: "99" in honor of the great Barbara Feldon, eh? (And you are so right about wanting to be waiting for your "ups.")

Trust in the Bomb. All Good.

Anonymous said...

Spring Training games are listed on under Schedule.

Anonymous said...

Please send warm regards to Charlie - we LOVE him!

Oxhead said...

My two cents: Teddy should never be allowed to win. It's a fact known to presidential historians that Teddy Roosevelt hated baseball. He called it a "silly game."

May he always lose the race.