Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moments Like That

"Heeeeey Mikey Mo!!", shouted out Livan Hernandez from the mound as Michael Morse trotted onto Field Number 3 near Space Coast Stadium this morning for live batting practice. Since the early days of camp, Livo and Morse have engaged in a running battle during BP as to who is the mightier.  All in fun and highly enjoyable to watch.

"I going to get you again Mikey Mo!!" stated Ole Number 61 as Morse stepped to home plate. (We love the fact that Livan has adopted Mikey Mo as Morse's name as we did last year)

"Just bring it big boy!!" fired back Michael.
Which the Ole Cuban did by firing fastballs and breaking pitches past Michael during the first three pitches chased by Morse. But then, Livan Hernandez let go a fastball that Mikey Mo ABSOLUTELY crushed. Not only over the right centerfield fence on Field Number 3 but into the water pond a good 10 feet beyond.

That ball was SMACKED.

Livo leans his head back in disgust yelling: "NOOOOOOOO!!"

Michael Morse: "OK!! I'm done now!!"

As Mikey Mo rejoices by throwing up his hands, embracing Jerry Hairston, Jr. and fist pumping with Pitching Coach Steve McCatty, Morse proclaims: "I need to run this one out!!" And proceeds to romp around the bases triumphantly as Livan Hernandez says: "Man, you're embarrassing me now!!"

Morse: "Yeah, I know."

Great stuff that you just can't make up. Moments like that which make attending Spring Training practice for The African Queen and I worthwhile.

Much like what happened about 10 minutes later on the very same field.
As Matt Stairs trots from Field Number 4 to Field Number 3 and enters the 3rd Base Dugout for more live batting practice, he looks over and sees Tyler Clippard warming up on the mound and pointedly screams: "Oh, #&$#%!!"

When someone asks him what's the problem? Stairs says: "I haven't got a hit off of him in four years of at-bats. I can't stand hitting against Tyler Clippard."

With Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Pudge Rodriguez and Alberto Gonzalez all watching, total laughter ensues when Matt Stairs steps into the batter's box and proceeds to barely foul off one of the first five pitches thrown to him by "No Nonsense Tyler". The domination so bad by Our Number 36 that Stairs is bailing out after a few pitches--bringing even more snickers from his teammates.
"I have had it. That's enough for now," proclaims Matt Stairs, as he dejectedly gives way to Zimmy in the batting cage. He wanted no more nonsense from Tyler.

More snickers, more fun.

That's great stuff too.
Just like the moment when Agent 99 met up with Agent 86 for the first time this spring next to Field Number 1. Yes, it's true, one-half of the famed "Boys Of Summer" Broadcasting Crew arrived in Viera, Florida today to take in his first practice. With Dave Jageler to follow in just a few days, Charlie Slowes graced the practice fields of Space Coast Stadium and the laughter and entertainment truly began.

"Tell everybody this is the 'streamlined' version," said Charlie (Agent 86) while posing with The African Queen (Agent 99) for their customary spring photo. "I've lost 15 pounds over the winter."

Charlie looked good, ready to go for another year in the radio broadcast booth for Our Washington Nationals. Now lets get Jags down here so the Dynamic Duo can return to mid-season form.

Few broadcasting tandems more special than Charlie Slowes & Dave Jageler.

Yes, it's the moments like that which make Spring Training with Our Washington Nationals so special.

Today's Other Highlights From Practice:

Chien-Ming Wang again impressed during his live BP session on the mound. Pushed back one day for extra rest, Wang showed command of all of his pitches and was watched closely Our GM Mike Rizzo, Our Manager Jim Riggleman and VP Of Player Development, Bob Boone. After his session ended, Wang was congratulated by Pudge Rodriguez, Jesus Flores and Livan Hernandez for his performance. The foursome talked at length about his workout.  Wang now scheduled to pitch in a minor league inter-squad game this coming Friday on the Space Coast Stadium Practice Fields.

A Big Step Forward For Chien-Ming Wang.

After most every player had left the practice fields, Zimmerman, Rick Ankiel, Matt Stairs, Jerry Hairston, Jr, Laynce Nix and Danny Espinosa stayed extra time for additional batting practice with Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein. The sign of the times for 2011 Spring Training--Washington Players are taking every aspect of the game very seriously.
And finally, once that extra session ended, the Z-Man took time for a brief chat with The African Queen and I before he headed back to the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium. Having only had the chance to say hello since practice has been so intense, it was good to touch base with Zimmy as the new season gets underway.
P.S. In what other sport but baseball do you see a star player pick up the practice used balls and put them into a ball bag at the conclusion of practice? Ryan Zimmerman does, just like everybody else.  Good for the Z-Man.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

This blog gives some very good insight into the mix at ST 2011. Unfortunately, everybody isn't going to make the team ... be nice to see observations that might later lead to the winnowing of our Nats to a 25 man roster.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Piero: No, everybody is not going to make the team, but not a single game has been played yet either. It's still practice time until this coming Monday. There is time for someone to surprise, others to disappoint. That's why it's spring training. One more month to show your stuff. Many jobs are already guaranteed. Few non-roster invitees are going to make the final cut. Injuries might make a decision. Our goal is to always give every reader an idea of what's going on down here while we are in Florida. Dissection of the final roster will come over the next few weeks.