Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lastings Milledge

Acquired this past off season in Our Washington Nationals biggest trade, Lastings Milledge has been all but handed the starting centerfield job. New Number 44 in your scorecard is widely considered a talented young player. A potential force near the top of the batting order. After practice, two days ago--Lastings Milledge was kind enough to give Sohna and I some time for a chat. Not surprisingly, coming over from New York--we found him guarded in his responses.

I want to first talk about your transition from New York to Washington. What were your first thoughts about the trade? (SBF)

“At first, I could not believe I was traded to the same division. I was shocked. Everybody told me that if I got traded, I would be going to another division and probably an American League Team. At the same time, I knew right away I would get the opportunity to play because The Nationals were looking for a centerfielder to replace Nook (Logan).”

Knowing New York pretty well, The Media can be tough—were they over reacting to how they were treating you? (SBF)

“Hey, they got their stuff to write, deadlines to make, stories to make—but I really don’t blame them. They have a job to do and I helped them out a lot!! (Busting Out Laughing)

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? (SBF)

“Take it in whatever way you want.” (The Laughs Continuing)

“So, what do need to do to become a good Major Leaguer? (SBF)

“Defense, just defense and making the great plays—not just making the routine plays. I need to play great defense. Defense wins games, and that’s what I need to work on the most.”

Is centerfield your best position? (SBF)

“Yeah, its my natural position to play. Its where I am most comfortable.”

Offensively, what do you provide? (SBF)

“I provide runs. I feel I can set the table for (Ryan) Zimmerman and Dmitri (Young). So, I bring a lot of excitement to the game. I play hard and I play to win. I am not here to lose. That’s what I bring each and every day.”

Your feelings about this Nationals Organization? (SBF)

“Wow, this placed is really organized. So far, I am really pleased in the way Spring Training is run. Manny (Acta) has put together a really good program.”

Other than being consistent, do you have any goals? (SBF)

“We want to win The NL East, that is what we are here to do. We are not here to do anything else. People can say we are two to three years away---but why not start now.”

Will you enjoy that first trip back to Shea Stadium? (SBF)

“You bet. In fact, I look forward to it. I look forward to playing them 18 times this year and see what we can do.”

Speaking of Dmitri and Zimmerman, how has the remainder of the team treated you? Have they made you feel welcome? (The African Queen)

“Absolutely, the veterans over here treat everyone the same, whether you have just a couple of months in the Big Leagues or 15 years. Everybody is treated the same. We are working together hoping to find some team chemistry. And, we are combining our personalities together so we can win.”

Are you looking forward to Washington & The New Ballpark? (The African Queen)

“Yes, new fans and a new ballpark and I am ready to play and start winning.”

When you played for The Mets—was there anything special about playing in DC?

“Just a STAT day (build up your statistics). We were going to win. We really did not take Washington seriously. But, if you look at the records closely, Washington played .500 ball, or maybe couple of games under against The Mets."

You are now wearing Number 44, Alex Escobar’s old number. Did you have to buy him off—to receive that jersey number? (SBF)

“No (laughing). I did not. They (The Nationals) kind of gave it to me.”

With that, A Few Minutes With Lastings Milledge concludes. What was funny about this chat was the fact that Lastings was, by far, the very last person on the fields that day. Everyone else had left--including the coaches--and Milledge was taking some time to talk with some of his friends who had arrived in Viera, Florida. At the same time, the Autograph Hounds were all standing out in the parking lot--not realizing Our New Number 44 was still near the fields. Sohna and I got a chuckle out of it.


NY Nat Nuts said...

As the winter turns to spring, I just want to thank you for the great job of keeping us Nat Fans REALLY informed over the winter. My son and I met you at Camden Yards this summer, and like you bother love the Nats. Both Sohna and you are great people, and will be known to all on South Capitol St for many years to come. Especially thank you for the ballpark updates and the great trip through Cooperstown with you and the AQ. We will visit you at your seats this spring, and one more thing: LET'S GO NATS

Oxhead said...

What he said. I don't often comment, but I read your blog every day and I'm so happy to have a dedicated guy like you bringing us this news so regularly.

An Briosca Mor said...

Since Milledge says both that CF is his natural position and that he mainly needs to work on his defense, I hope part of what he will be working on and perfecting during Spring Training this year will be the proper role of the center fielder in calling the ball when there is a question between which of two outfielders should take it. Missed or nearly-missed catches between CF and RF or CF and LF was a big problem for the Nationals last year. It would be nice to see that problem go away.

VCUAlum Kyle said...

Hey SBF,
Hope you are having a wonderful week of Spring Training. Thank you so much for the player 1 on 1's, they have been a great read at night. I am pulling for Jason Dubois (former VCU Ram) to make the 25 man roster or (hopefully AAA Columbus).
Have you heard anything about the upcoming seasons Ticket Exchange Program for season ticket holders?

Thanks for all your help. My cousin and I will be in DC this upcoming weekend checking out the new ballpark!

Cya Opening Night!
~VCU Kyle (now VCUAlum Kyle)

SenatorNat said...

He and the Mets must not havetaken Philadelphia very seriously last year, either; or the play-offs!!

Trust in the Stats. All Good.

An Briosca Mor said...

I bet SBF has never exchanged a ticket in his life. He already goes to all the games, so what would he exchange them for? Let me step in then and answer the question, even though I'm not SBF and on that account my answer will of course be somewhat suspect. The season ticket exchange program is all spelled out at the Nationals' web site and also in your season ticket package when you get that. Bottom line, it's not as nice as last year's plan which allowed virtually unlimited exchanges, but that's not surprising since there should not be as many unsold seats available this year as there were last year. This year there are only certain games that you can exchange into, and limits on how many times 41-game and 21-game STH get to exchange their tickets. But all in all, it's not a bad benefit to have for being an STH.

SenatorNat said...

SBF - should you run into Kasten, or Mark Lerner, tell thim that TEAM 980 - The Sports Reporters - spent a whole segment last night going into the food and the classic D.C. establishments, e.g. Giffords, that are being integrated into the Nationals Park experience. All positive, and one suggestion from the group: that Lido's Pizza be included in the mix ("their pizzas are square because they don't cut corners,"). Good suggestion. They concluded by saying that Nationals Park and its food were going to really expose how truly woeful the Fed X Redskins' experience, including food, is for the diehard fans.

Trust in hot fudge in a small ceramic pitcher. All Good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks An Briosca Mor for the heads up. I guess I did not read the fine print when I sent them the check. I just wish they were more easy to fans who have to drive two hours to cheer their team on

SBF, save travels back to Nova and cya opening night!

~VCUAlum Kyle