I’m sitting here in the press box again at Nats Park as the game is about to start. Thanks to Chad Kurz and the Washington Nationals, they once again invited the Nats blogger nation out to the park for a day of activities. It was a great time, and I’ll have lots of pictures to post later. Here’s a run down of what we did and what I learned.
After we arrived we were taking out to the field to meet with a few people. What they do is allow media and others to walk around, basically between 3B and 1B in foul territory, during batting practice. The fair territory is roped off, and the players are taking BP, so you have to be cognizant of that and try not to get in the way of professionals walking back and forth trying to get ready to do their jobs. We watched BP for a while – Wilson Ramos was absolutely crushing pitches. Then the starting pitchers came out en mass – Zimmermann, Wang, Milone, Detwiler, and Strasburg, among others – to take BP. Lots of bunting practice, with some good rips as well. Former high school third baseman turned pitched Brad Peacock hit a bomb.
At the end of BP, we got a chance to talk to Stephen Lombardozzi. Since the blogger night crowd was sparse, we just huddled around him and asked him a few questions. No revelations here, but he did say that he has a great relationship with the two guys he’s competing with for a job – Desmond and Espinosa. He said that even though they aren’t really vets, he looks to them for advice because they just went through things very similar to what he’s going through now, in terms of coming up to the majors and learning to play up here.
We then got to listen to Davey Johnson give his pregame press conference from the dugout. Standing in the dugout behind the crowd of reporters with the stadium music blaring made it a little hard to hear Davey. But I didn’t really care, because I was in the Nats dugout. One thing he did say of note, though, was the Strasburg would be getting 6 days of rest in between his starts this week, which would leave room for Brad Peacock to hop into the rotation. He’ll get to pitch when they go visit the Mets.
After that we met with the Director or Minor League Operations, Mark Scialabba. I asked him if there was anyone that was maybe flying a little under the radar that we should be paying attention to. He mentioned Destin Hood, a 21 year old outfielder who hit .276/.362/.445 this year in high-A as a rising star. The other one he mentioned was Michael Taylor, a 6th round pick. Taylor is a toolsy player with speed and power, and he has, according to Scialabba, improved leaps and bounds since being drafted. Only 20 this year, he hit .253/.310/.432 this year in A ball at Hagerstown.
As a final part of the tour, we were able to listen to Chris Marrero and Peacock speak to fans during the final Nats Inside Pitch series. While there weren’t any major revelations, both guys seemed affable and humble, and totally excited to be playing on the major league club. Peacock mentioned that he had been informed earlier by Davey that he’d be starting in New York, so he was pretty pumped about that.
And that brings us to now, when we get to sit in the press box and watch the game. I’ll be tweeting about the game, so you can check out what I have to say there. In the time it’s taken me to write this article, John Lannan has been chased from the game, and it aint looking pretty, but hey, there’s still plenty of game left. And thanks go out again to the Nats for inviting us out here.