Day 9 in Viera: Clippard, Stairs Face Off in Live BP

Hello everyone. Thanks for joining us again. I must say, I am enjoying the blogging experience. Very therapeutic. It’s helping to structure my day and, somehow, it is allows me to whittle off the days until our Grapefruit League opener – only five more days to go. Is it Monday, Feb. 28 yet?

Speaking of next Monday, let’s remember that Mark Lerner will make his 2011 blogging debut that afternoon right here at Curly “W” Live. So don’t stray too far.

Here is what we saw today on campus …

* The umpires met with Nationals players. Speaking on behalf of the umps today was umpire supervisor Rich Rieker. The meeting took about an hour. Topics generally include the rules and gentle reminders. In the past, they’ve addressed uniform regulations/etiquette. As far as I know, no one was ejected from the meeting, so that is a step in the wrong direction.

* Also on hand today was a group from the MLB Players Association. They were in Viera to make heads roll. Well, sort of. The MLBPA has a hand in certain video games that they sanction. What they came to capture today was head scans of some of our young players. The head scan took between 5-10 minutes and captured such features as profile, facial hair, head size and hair. I am not a big “gamer,” but I have seen some of the games and the players’ likenesses are lifelike. Let’s just say that if Bryce Harper does by chance debut with the Nationals in 2011, you will see Harper’s video-game likeness with a grown-in faux-hawk.

* Look for excellent Strasburg and Harper interviews tonight on FOX 5 and NBC 4, as Dave Feldman and Dan Helle were in town for their respective stations. Kudos should also go out to CSN Washington, which allocated funds and resources to Kelli Johnson and her photog Mitch to spend eight days in our camp. We hope you have enjoyed their coverage of the Nationals.

* Live BP story of the day… Matt Stairs stepped into the cage facing Tyler Clippard. No, “Peaches” could not be heard, but upon fouling off Clippard’s initial offering, Stairs stepped out of the batter’s box and disclosed, “that was the first time I have made contact against [Clippard] in four years.” Everyone had a good laugh. Then upon retreating back to the office, we looked up the Clippard-Stairs matchup. The two have squared off three times, with Stairs going 1-for-3 with a single and a strikeout. Yes, there was some hyperbole in Stairs’ declaration, but that provides us a glimpse of what goes on in these types of settings. Humor can trump fact. And that is okay. That is how team chemistry is born.

* On the Minor League side, Bob Boone and Doug Harris held their first meeting of the spring today with all of their coordinators, instructors, administrators, managers and coaches. From my seat, these are baseball’s true vanguards. Folks, the gentlemen do what they do with little, if any, fanfare. Think about it. Their places of work and job requirements call for summers in small towns, long bus rides, bad fast food, cheap motels and exposure to teenagers, sometimes 30 at a time! Months at a time away from their families. Sure, ardent baseball fans know that there is a certain romance that goes with Minor League baseball. But there is little fanfare and adulation that goes with these positions. Just a burning passion for the game, to make young players better and to be part of the machine that is a Big League ballclub.

* Hairdo alert: sources indicate Jayson Werth may be cutting his hair in the coming days. We shall see how this plays out.

* This is Sr. Assistant of Player Development Pat Corrales’ 53rd Spring Training. Is there a more remarkable factoid from our camp than that?

* Just got word that Nationals radio voice Charlie Slowes will be in Viera this weekend. Charlie’s arrival always spices things up for us.

* Let’s close with our “4 Questions” segment. Today’s victim was right-handed reliever Adam Carr:

Favorite Team/Player as a Youth?: Mariners, Ken Griffey Jr. (Griffey was pretty popular, huh?)

Favorite Game Show of all-time?: Family Feud (Richard Dawson is the man!)

Favorite Superhero?: Superman (this answer did not roll off his tongue)

Most apt to watch CNN, Food Network or Travel Channel (and list favorite show)?: Discovery Channel. Has enjoyed many episodes of Man vs. Wild.

* Great weather today, high was around 76 or so. More picture-perfect weather tomorrow. More to come, so be sure to visit again.

* Special thanks, as always to Mike Gazda and Bill Gluvna. For those interested in perhaps more timely updates from Viera, please follow us on Twitter (@NationalsPR).

* Oh, almost forgot, we will very much look forward to the 39th and final flight of space shuttle Discovery tomorrow afternoon. Read more about that here:

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