Day 10 in Viera: 2011 MASN Commercials
Another hot one in Viera today. Temps in the low 80s. Unending sun. I wonder how hot things are for the teams stationed in South Florida, like the Marlins, Cardinals, Red Sox and Twins? My guess is that it is pretty steamy.
Observations from around Space Coast Stadium and the Nationals Training Complex:
* Matt Stairs is a marvel. His short, compact, yet powerful stroke is tailor made for a pinch hitter. But even beyond his swing, he has the main prerequisite that almost all the great pinch-hitters share: he is a left-handed hitter. Since 1974, only 10 players have amassed 100+ pinch hits. Nine of those 10 are left-handed batters, with the exception being Jose Morales (120 PH from 1974-84). Why is it tough to find a really good right-handed pinch hitter? Likely because most relief pitchers are right-handed, so manager’s are less apt to “waste” a roster spot on a guy to match up against southpaw relievers. Interesting stuff when you think about it.
* In the dying days of the offseason, some old files from RFK were unearthed from a storage area in/around Nationals Park. One of the boxes contained a bunch of old Expos files, scorebooks and newspaper clippings. Most were from the late 80s and early 90s. Upon glancing through them, we found Matt Stairs’ first big league contract, which was dated March 5, 1992. His salary for the season was $11,000. We showed him the contract today and he got a kick out of it. Stairs’ reply was “11-grand. Wow. This is really cool.”
* Side story–we arranged for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame to pick up the box of the old Expos’ clippings. They were very excited to see their new bounty.
* MASN is in town today shooting a series of new commercials for the 2011 season. The Nationals’ new uniforms (video) may have had a hand in prompting the new video shoots. I know MASN has put a lot of time and energy into these new commercials, as there are over 100 folks on the crew.
* Welcome to Viera RHP Elvin Ramirez, who arrived today from the Dominican Republic after experiencing some visa issues. There is great hope that Elvin will be joined by RHP Henry Rodriguez tomorrow. Rodriguez was one of two players acquired from the A’s in exchange for OF Josh Willingham. Rodriguez’s fastball has been known to hit triple digits, so we are all anxious to see his power on display.
* In Clearwater, Fla. today, the Phillies played the first “game” of the Grapefruit League season as they squared off against the Florida State Seminoles. If the Phillies win, do they clinch the ACC Championship? Anyhow, it is good to know that there are nine innings being played somewhere nearby. Can you tell we are anxious for Monday’s opener at the Mets.
* FYI, Jim Riggleman told the media here today that he will try to get Bryce Harper an at-bat in Monday’s opener.
* Book Club: Stephen Strasburg is currently reading Dirk Hayhurst’s “The Bullpen Gospels.” He is enjoying it. You can read more about the book here.
* Let’s close with our “4 Questions” segment. Today’s victim was outfielder Laynce Nix:
Favorite Team/Player as a Youth?: Rangers, Don Mattingly (Donnie Ballgame was pretty popular, huh? Him and Griffey Jr.)
Favorite Game Show of all-time?: None (not a fan!)
Favorite Superhero?: Batman (another popular answer)
Most apt to watch CNN, Food Network or Travel Channel (and list favorite show)?: I am going off the grid. Golf Channel. I enjoy “Lessons with the Pros.” (Nix is a five to seven handicap, so he can swing it a little)
Off to watch the Space Shuttle launch. See you all tomorrow. And remember to follow us on twitter @NationalsPR.