Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Liking The Aggressive Approach

The report that Team President Stan Kasten is aggressively dealing with Ryan Zimmerman's Agent on a multi-year deal is a very good sign. Wanting to turn the tables and start anew after a tumultuous few weeks--Mr. Kasten met with Brodie Van Wagenen late this morning at Space Coast Stadium before Our Washington Nationals took on Team Italy--one of the World Baseball Classic contenders.

No details of what terms are being discussed, but both sides wish to have the new deal in place by Opening Day--2009. Signing Ryan Zimmerman to a long term deal, right now, would help bolster hopes again for the fan base while turning the attention back more to matters on the field of play--not off.

Liking the aggressive approach being taken by Our Team President.

The same can be said for Our Franchise Player in the top of the first inning of today's exhibition when he barreled into the rolled rain tarp while chasing a foul fly down the left field line. The best in the game at just such a defensive play, Zimmerman never slowed down, caught the ball over his head while immediately tumbling hard into and over then finally settling against the railing separating the viewing stands from the field. It was an extremely aggressive and terrific play, but Our Number 11's effort had Sohna, myself and just about everyone watching wondering whether he was going to hurt himself. Ryan Zimmerman was OK and was smiling broadly all the way to the first base dugout when his recorded out ended the inning. Ryan also scoring one run, knocking in another while recording a triple and single in three At-Bats this afternoon.

Aggressiveness which Elijah Dukes also displayed with two towering opposite field shots to right center (maybe a little wind aided)--one resulting in a triple, another a home run. Dukes is such a terrific athlete he sometimes seems to be going through the motions--then you realize his power, his speed and his possession of one fine throwing arm are tools for a player with tremendous all-around potential. He just needs to learn how to hit the breaking stuff.

The Off-Speed Pitches which both John Lannan and Shairon Martis had going in combining to pitch six shutout innings. Being aggressive as well, they took each ball and just threw their pitches. Both Lannan and Martis had excellent extended three inning efforts on the mound today. The same which can't be said of Marco Estrada, Wil Ledezma or Gary Glover who combined for Washington to blow a six run lead over the final three innings before Roger Bernadina unloaded for a NO DOUBT three run homer to right to end this marathon 4 hour Exhibition Game at Space Coast Stadium with another Curly "W" in the books: 9-6 Washington.

There was quite the remarkable and funny double play completed by Our Washington Nationals this afternoon. With a Team Italy runner on third base with one out--an Italian batter hit a routine fly ball to mid-centerfield. The runner on third tagged, waiting for Lastings Milledge to catch the baseball. When Milledge did, the runner pretended to take off and Lastings flat out LAUNCHED A ROCKET, over the cut-off man standing on the mound, over his catcher Wil Nieves, hitting John Lannan on the fly standing a good 20 feet off the plate. The Italy runner then took off thinking he could score on Lastings' errant throw. Then, upon realizing Lannan had the ball--was caught in no-where's land. Lannan to Zimmerman standing on 3rd base--to Nieves at home for the very unusual 8-1-5-2 Double Play and easily The Defensive Play of The Game. No it doesn't get much stranger than that in the record books. In fact, even if the double play was not recorded--the very sight of watching Wil Nieves turn his head back toward the crowd thinking Lastings' throw would land in the crowd or off the back screen was classic. His head jerk so fast around to his left, you thought it might unscrew. And once the play ended--the amount of laughter from Our Players running off the field was Perfect Spring Training Baseball.

It was very funny.

Other sights of Spring Training today--seemingly everyone hanging out in the bullpen.

Players doing agility and cardio workouts--AFTER the game.

Our Manager Manny Acta instructing better baserunning tactics, alongside new 3rd Base Coach Pat Listach to Alex Cintron after Cintron foolishly got himself thrown out at home with less than two outs in a tie ball game in the bottom of the 9th--when a grounder was hit directly to Team Italy's 3rd Baseman. Our Number 14 clearly telling Cintron it's OK to be aggressive--just not aggressively stupid.

A very sparse crowd--officially 1,115.

It's still fairly chilly down here--especially in the shade.

And finally--Chicken Man and Lissette are down in Viera taking in some Spring Training action. Lissette mentioning that Hugh just purchased a new chicken to wave this March--upon arriving in Florida for their trip.

PS--The Umpire Crew today was a WBC Crew getting in some extra work. The Home Plate Umpire called quite the game and I mean--CALLED THE GAME. Every pitch, every strike, every ball--he not only called the pitch but the location too: "Ball--Outside Away!" "Strike--Inside Corner!!" This guy even motioned with his arms to the location. He was very impressive and EVERYONE in the crowd could hear him. Very Nice Job by that Home Plate Umpire.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

Bernie is now a power hitter? WOW!!! Bang, zoom go the sparklers!!!!

Anonymous said...

That umpire would be Hunter Wendelstadt, AKA John Lannan's best...nevermind, scratch that.

Yeah, that guy.

Jim H said...


I hope you and the queen are having a great time...it looks like it!

I'm stunned you haven't commented yet on the slimmed down Screech unveiled on Monday afternoon.

One good note...the hat comes off!


Safe travels!

Screech's Best Friend said...

JimH--Actually we did comment on the new Screech in the comment area in the previous two posts.

Andrew Lang: Yes, but Roger needs to bunt for a base hit more and learn how to steals bases--he is not taking advantage of his blazing speed. In fact, after a walk yesterday, he was thrown out attempting to steal second even after the Italian Catcher Double Pumped on the throw. Bernadina has got to steal that base--and needs more work in that department.

Anonymous said...

SBF said...Andrew Lang: Yes, but Roger needs to bunt for a base hit more and learn how to steals bases--he is not taking advantage of his blazing speed. In fact, after a walk yesterday, he was thrown out attempting to steal second even after the Italian Catcher Double Pumped on the throw. Bernadina has got to steal that base--and needs more work in that department.

When Bernie got his September call-up I had that discussion with him on bunting. As poor a bunting team as the Nats were last year, I figured that could impress them.

Sol spoke to him yesterday after the HR blast, and we now know where he found that extra power---his special friend flew into town and was at the game yesterday. These single (pun intended) guys find that extra burst of energy when special friends are around.

In all seriousness, you are preaching to the choir. He has to steal off of the pitcher and his jumps are poor as they were last year, and I think he was 0-2 in bunt attempts for hits last year.