Day 11 in Viera: Lights, Camera…Photo Day!
Anxious. Anticipation. Cannot. Wait. For. Monday. Grapefruit. League. Opener.
Just two more workouts. Just two more bunt drills. Just two more PFPs (pitchers fielding practices). Just two more pitchers cover first base drills.
It will be darn nice to …
* Hear “play ball” instead of Bobby Henley yelling “rotate.”
* To see a foul ball fly into the stands and not into the net on a BP cage.
* To see a pitcher field a comebacker instead of it rattling off a protective “L” screen.
* To hear the rattle of cleats on dirt or concrete instead of running shoes on grass.
* To taste a ballpark hot dog instead of tuna fish from the clubhouse.
When was the last time on a Friday afternoon I was dreaming about Monday? I am willing to bet that I am not the only Nationals fan doing so this afternoon.
Okay, now that I have waxed poetic about Monday, let’s fill you in about today’s festivities…
* Today was our annual Photo Day, which is everyone’s favorite day in/around baseball (sarcasm alert, this is NOT TRUE). 75 Nationals (60 players, 15 or so managers, coaches, instructors) took part. Along the way, they provided footage or photos to MASN, MLB, the Nationals (NatsHD), Baseball America, AP, Getty Images, The Washington Post, MLB.com (nationals.com), CBS Sports, Topps and one other baseball card company to be named later. MASN takes the honor for most pyrotechnics of any media outlet – OK, so they were the only ones with any pyrotechnics, but their smoke machine was met with a number of “ooh’s” and “aah’s” from the guys as they filmed their various segments.
Every player spent about 30 minutes doing the annual circuit, which began at 7:20 a.m. and wrapped up at 9:31 a.m.
* Twitter pic of the day from Bill Gluvna @NationalsPR: people seemed to get a kick out of this shot. How tall is Ross Detwiler? When he is healthy, here is guessing the downward tilt on his slider is something fierce to contend with.
* In Monday’s aforementioned Grapefruit League opener, Chad Gaudin gets the starting nod. From there, look for Brian Broderick, Adam Carr, Todd Coffey, Shairon Martis, Doug Slaten, Craig Stammen, Josh Wilkie and Tim Wood to pitch. On the position player side, look for Jesus Flores, Wilson Ramos, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Michael Morse and Nyjer Morgan to be on the bus to St. Lucie. You may be wondering about that youngster, what is his name? … Bryce Harper? Yes, he will also make the trip and Jim Riggleman said he hopes to get him an at-bat.
* I am not going to pontificate on this, but I will tell you that Stephen Strasburg is working VERY hard on his conditioning and strength while coming back from last season’s Tommy John surgery. He simply has to be in the best shape of his life.
* Word around camp today was that Yunesky Maya looked very good while throwing live BP. I also heard Maya speak a bit of English, as he told me “you’re welcome” after I thanked him for his participation in Photo Day. Hey, that’s progress. Also noticed that Josh Wilkie can speak (nearly) fluent Spanish, which is something that Latin players appreciate. I don’t know if Wilkie honed his Spanish skills during his winter ball stint in Venezuela, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt. Wilkie is an impressive well-rounded person.
* Very nice day in Viera today. Mostly sunny. Lots of beautiful clouds. Very windy, with gusts around 30 mph. But it was 80 or so and very comfortable.
We are going to cut today’s blog a tad short, but keep an eye on us this weekend. Special thanks to Mike Gazda and Bill Gluvna for their consistent contributions. Reminder, look for Mark Lerner to blog right here at Curly “W” Live starting on Mon., Feb. 28.