Time for Turner Field
The Nationals broadcasters and a handful of players meet in the hotel lobby at 3 p.m. to take the team bus over to the ballpark. We settle in amongst Dave, Charlie Slowes, Bob Carpenter, Debbi Taylor and the rest of the Nats broadcast team. It’s amusing to eavesdrop on their back-and-forth banter on the ride to the park. They have all been very welcoming of our humble blog on this roadtrip, and we certainly have a new appreciation for what goes into their jobs.
Once we get to the park, we head straight to the clubhouse. Some players are typing away on laptops or listening to iPods in front of their lockers. Others watch TV or play cards to pass the time before batting practice. There are a few members of the media milling around getting pregame interviews, and Dave strikes up a conversation with Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. The two were recounting memories of their first Major League Spring Training. It was an interesting conversation, and yes, after 140-plus games, just about every other story has probably already been covered. Regardless, both players have proven to be extremely accessible and accountable, an especially impressive trait for the young infield duo.
Dave then gets an exclusive sit-down with Manager Jim Riggleman in his office. This will be used for the radio pregame show. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the assembled media is ushered in for the customary pregame Q&A. One media member asks a similar question to one of Dave’s, something along the lines of, “What can the Nationals learn from playing the role of spoiler in these next two series versus Atlanta and Philadelphia?” Riggleman talked about the Nationals needing to raise their game to match the Braves’ and Phillies’ heightened intensity as they battle for postseason berths.
We hunker down for some one-on-one time with pitcher Miguel Batista, still trying to get to the bottom of that mysterious instrument case he carried on the plane last night. Whatever the instrument, he said he has been practicing in his room. We didn’t notice any dirty looks from his teammates, so we’ll assume Miguel has been assigned a room in a remote corner of the hotel.