Results tagged ‘ Jim Riggleman ’

Nats vs. Mets: Game 1

If you believe the Nationals play in month-long spurts or slumps, you are probably glad that today is July 1. We can officially say goodbye to the month of June. On top of the promise a new month brings, the Nationals face the Mets tonight–a team that weathered both an 85-minute rain delay and a late flight from Puerto Rico last night. The Nationals themselves return home to kick off a 10-game homestand that will carry them into the All-Star Break, just another reason to stay positive. But the team has already been doing that. Here’s what they have to say about the June slump:

Jim Riggleman:All of us feel like we can win more games…I feel like there’s enough talent here that the glass is half-full.”

Ryan Zimmerman: “Whether we’ve won five in a row or lost five in a row, I think we have the same amount of confidence that we’re going to win every game.

Ian Desmond: “The sense in here is the feeling that you get when you can’t catch a break. That’s what it feels like. That’s the best description. There’s no one sad, no one’s upset. There’s probably some frustrated people, but no one’s down by any means. We’re ready to go, we’re ready to win every game.”

Mets (44-34):

1.    Jesus Feliciano – CF

2.    Ruben Tejada – SS

3.    David Wright – 3B

4.    Ike Davis – 1B

5.    Jeff Francoeur – RF

6.    Chris Carter – LF

7.    Henry Blanco – C

8.    Alex Cora – 2B

9.    Johan Santana – SP (5-5, 3.55 ERA)

* David Wright led the National League and was third in the Majors, hitting .404 (42-104) in June. He also led the NL and was second in the Majors with 29 RBI during the same period. Wright became the first player in franchise history to bat at least .400 with 25 or more RBI in a calendar month.

Nationals (34-45):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Michael Morse – RF

7.      Ian Desmond – SS

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      Livan Hernandez – SP (6-4, 3.10 ERA)

* The Nationals’ 34 wins to date are eight more than the 26 W’s registered by the team prior to last season’s All-Star Break. Last year, Washington did not record its 34th win until August 3rd, an 8-4 victory at Pittsburgh.

Inside Pitch Live with Manager Jim Riggleman

Riggleman inside pitch 3.JPGJim Riggleman spent 20 minutes on Saturday in the PNC Diamond Club fielding questions from MASN Commentator Rob Dibble as well as fans for the third installment of Inside Pitch Live.

Are you surprised at how well the Nationals are playing?

“Two things. I can’t say I’m totally surprised, but I guess I’m pleased with the play of our three middle infielders–Guzman, Kennedy, and Desmond. The unselfishness of Kennedy and Guzman to accept their roles on the ballclub–they’re playing a lot, but they’re not playing every day because Desi is at shortstop. Their attitude has been a real key for our ballclub.

The other thing, and I kind of knock on wood as I say it, is our pitching. Coming out of Spring Training, I was very concerned with Olsen, we signed Hernandez very late in the spring, we had a couple of young starters that we weren’t sure about–but we’ve pitched pretty good. We’ve pitched good enough to win more ballgames than we’ve won. That’s been something I’ve been very happy about. We hope that it continues and we know that it can. But it was a little bit of a concern coming out of spring.”

Are you surprised to see [Matt] Capps pitching so well ?

“Yeah. Matt in Spring Training, really was throwing okay. He was just okay. He threw the ball 90 mph, he threw strikes, he got hit around a little bit, but it’s not that often that you see a guy really turn it on when the lights come on. I know yourself and Randy Myers were much better pitchers once the bell rang, but I didn’t have any history with Matt Capps, so I didn’t know. So when the bell rang, he turned it up a few miles per hour, great strikes, great impressiveness. 15-for-15–that doesn’t happen very often.”

Is coming back to this area like coming full circle for you?

“It really is. I grew up here, you know, the TV’s got Frank Robinson running around the bases. I grew up watching Frank Howard and Frank Robinson and went away to play ball for years. I was disappointed that baseball got away from Washington. When it came back, by then, I had been pretty deep in the ballgame in several different locations, and I thought in the back of my mind, that would be a nice place to work and hopefully my last job in baseball.”

Riggleman inside pitch 2.JPGHow did you make the decision to transition from being a player and having aspirations of being a Major Leaguer to then go into coaching?

“When you play in the Minor Leagues for a long time, you get to the point where they make the decision for you. They say, ‘Look. If you want to keep playing, you can keep playing, but we don’t see a future for you in the Big Leagues as a player. Would you like to stay in the organization as a coach, a potential manager in the Minor Leagues?’ So for me it was just the opportunity to have a career in baseball, rather than getting a job doing something else. I loved the game, I thought I could continue playing, but I had played seven years. It got a little stagnant. It didn’t look like I was going to move up any higher so I took the opportunity to stay in the organization and had no aspirations, at that point, to manage. I just wanted a career in the game and once you get in it, you don’t put limits on yourself and I ended up, as you said, coming full cycle.”

As far as mentors, besides Tony La Russa, any other mentors in the game?

“Two guys. The late George Kissell. I always speak about George. Most people are probably not familiar with who he is. In a nutshell, he never played in the Big Leagues, but out of Tony La Russa’s mouth, Tony said ‘he’s probably the greatest Cardinal ever’–which can kind of go in one ear and out the other, but you figure there’s been Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, and all this, but George Kissell had an impact on everybody who came through there. He taught everybody. He taught players. He taught coaches and managers. He taught you how to manage players. He was just a tremendous influence over there.

The other person is Whitey Herzog. Whitey is probably the best pure baseball man I’ve ever been around. To be able to sit around and watch him work was a great treat for me.”

How has the running game helped the Nationals?

“Well, the running game has really slowed down lately, but earlier in the year, as we went around our division the first time, I think we created some opportunities for ourselves with Kennedy and Willingham and a couple other guys who the other clubs were not, maybe, in tune with them running as much. So we created some action that way. But with scouting now, everybody knows what you’re going to do. Willingham and Kennedy and Desmond, people that there was no history of running there, that’s [now] gone. Everyone’s got the information. They’re going to try to stop you from running. Nyjer is a guy who is trying to run all the time, but the other clubs are so in tune to him, the pitchers aren’t letting him go anywhere. But the running game helped us early and we’ve got to get back to that. But we’re going to have to keep pushing the envelope a little bit to get that going again.”

How has Pudge Rodriguez helped the ballclub?

“He’s just such a good player. When the pitchers are throwing to catchers, you know, you catch it and you throw it back, and you just take that for granted. But last year, due to some injuries to our catchers, we were chasing that ball back to the screen a lot. A lot of balls were getting by. That just hasn’t happened this year. If a guy goes to second on it, it’s because he earned it. He stole the base or whatever. But last year too often I think our pitchers were concerned about pitches they could throw because they were going to get by the catcher. Last year, Josh Bard gave us everything he had, but he played hurt for us and Nieves’ leg was hurt. So just having a healthy Pudge back there, blocking the ball–he has been huge. He’s worked great with our pitching staff and he’s a good hitter.”

How do you come to decisions during the game about who to use and when to use pinch hitters?

“In today’s world, we carry so many pitchers. We carry 12 pitchers. That’s a lot. It used to be ten, it went to 11, now it’s up to 12. So you have less bench players. So early in the game, unless you have men on base, you hate to waste one of your pinch hitters in a situation with a couple outs or basically with nobody on base period, you hate to use a guy and not have him available later. It was very early in the game, so we decided to do that [put Livan in as a pinch hitter]. We actually did it again later with Batista, let him hit for himself and continue pitching, with no intention that he would get a hit. He was hitting for himself so he could continue pitching, although he did get a hit.”

Riggleman inside pitch 4.JPGAre you a fan of Interleague Play or does it disrupt the flow of the season, trying to catch the Phillies, trying to catch the Marlins and worry about the NL East?

“I’m not a real big fan of it, but I’m okay with it. I like the Baltimore series. I like it–you’re the Mets you play the Yankees, Cubs play the White Sox. I think those are important. I like that. I’m not crazy about Oakland playing Washington or Oakland playing the Mets or something. If it draws interest, if fans want to see it, then it is great. If there are some indications, and I think there are some indications that fans do want to see those other players, so that’s always a good thing for the fans.”

What goes into the process of picking lineup?

“A lot goes into it. A lot of times, you’re thinking two or three days ahead of time–who you are going to be facing, what pitchers you’re going to be facing. Maybe some guys have some history against particular pitchers. Maybe your pitcher that day is a groundball pitcher so you want to make sure you’ve got a particular infielder in the game to cover ground for you because you think he’s going to get a lot of action. I knew that I was going to give Desmond a day off here in the next day or two, but with Scott Olsen pitching yesterday, I wanted Desmond at short, thinking right-handed hitters will be hitting some groundballs. As it turned it, he was tender, the ball was up, and it was a nonfactor. But those things go into it. You want to play guys while they’re hot, but also day game after night game, that goes into it. Left- or right-handed pitcher. We’re like everybody else. You want to get to the point where you’re the Phillies. You just play them all every day. You play Utley every day, you play Ibanez every day, you play Howard every day, it doesn’t matter who the other pitcher is, you just play them all every day. But those players have earned that. Those players are in there every day because they hit everybody. That’s where we want to get to, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Capture the Caption

Capture the Caption: A picture is worth a 1,000 words but a caption is worth only 20. We want to hear your best caption for a few of the pictures we captured on Tuesday night. Send your captions to or write them in the comments sections. If we like your caption… We will even send you a NatsTown T-shirt.

Spider man.jpgWhere is Spider-man and what is he doing using a cell phone?

Apolo Ohno.jpgThe most decorated winter Olympian stopped by Nationals Park to deliver the lineup card. Apolo Ohno relaxes by yawning, always puts his left skate on first and compared speed skating to riding a motorcycle around at hockey rink at 40 mph. He is kind of a big deal and that’s why everyone wanted a photo with him.

Morgan Speed skating 2.jpgNyjer Morgan, a former hockey player, just wanted to learn how to speed skate. A little practice in the outfield has him thinking the Olympics in 2014.

Morgan Speed skating 3.jpgSochi, Russia… here I come.

three kids.jpgThree peas in a pod.

Riggleman and the Ump.jpgRiggleman vs. Ump

Nats Caravan Day 4: Blogging from the Bus

Notes from NatsTown is blogging from the bus throughout the Nationals’ 2010 Winter Caravan.

Today is the fourth and final day of the 2010 Winter Caravan.

10:16 a.m.–As we were walking to the elevator, Adam Dunn appeared out of nowhere and jumped like Michael Jordan onto Josh Willingham’s back. Needless to say, they both fell to the ground like a bag of bricks.

“That definitely felt like 260 pounds,” Willingham said. It might have been the first time Dunn has sneaked up on anyone.

10:29 a.m.–Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow. We just left Nats Park. It is only fitting that the Caravan experiences some weather related problems after the Nats had a billion (22) rain delays during the season. This Caravan operates on the same motto as the United States Postal Service. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will stop this Nats Caravan.

Our first stop is the Children’s Hospital and then we are heading to the PG Sports Complex to sign a few autographs. We are concluding the 2010 Caravan at White Flint Mall.

CH Riggleman.jpg
CH Ryan Zimmerman.jpg11:11 a.m.–As Brian Bruney colored, “You would be the best kindergarten teacher if you didn’t play baseball,” Dibble said. That is tough to debate.

11:32 a.m.–“I can’t lose weight,” Dunn said. Piece of advice: “If you lose weight, you lose bombs.”

11:33 a.m.–“Dunn can you smile for me so I can take a picture of you,” a lady asked. “I can smile with best of them,” he said. “That is a beautiful smile Mr. Dunn,” she replied.

11:39 a.m.–Tuneesha Watson has a granddaughter in the ICU that wasn’t able to attend. She filled in perfectly. She collected an autograph from each player for her granddaughter. “It is so cool to have the players here today,” she said. “The kids will remember this forever.”

CH Nyjer Morgan.jpg12:01–We have left the Children’s Hospital.

1:13–The snow continues to fall but the wheels keep on turning.  It definitely made the trip longer… we are right by Fed Ex Field and the traffic is as congested as if it there is a Redskins game today.

1:36–Dunn threw his phone to Zimmerman as if it was a football.  It landed well short and hit the ground. “My phone is unbreakable,” Dunn said. Zimmerman threw it back. It hit the wall…a chair… and finally stopped moving when it hit the ground. It was safe… and it’s definitely unbreakable.

PG Check Giving.jpg2:17–The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation granted the Forestville Boys & Girls Club with $5,000 to assist with programming and equipment needs. The Forestville Boys & Girls Club is an organization with a 49-year history of teaching boys and girls the fundamentals of baseball.  Their work has enabled thousands of children and teens to engage in tournament competition and to learn the values of teamwork and embrace the game of baseball.

PG Standing By the kids.jpg“We are honored to partner with the Nationals organization on this extremely important project, and extend our heartfelt appreciation for their support of our County’s youth,” said Samuel J. Parker Jr., Chairman of the Prince George’s County Planning Board.  “We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship as we work together to teach our young people the fundamentals of leadership and responsibility through the fundamentals of the game of baseball.”

PG Signing Line.jpg3:02–Our boy Robert Probst from Dover, Del., wasn’t deterred by the snow and made the trip to the autograph session. If you remember from Day Two, he drove to Woodbridge on Thursday night. “I told you I would be here today,” he said. “There is nothing that could have stopped me.” He is also like the USPS. He left his house at 11 a.m. and it took him three and half hours to drive the 80 miles. See ya at NatsFest Robert.

3:34–We are now departing the PG County Sports Complex… and it continues to snow.

3:46–The electronic sign on 495 reads: “EXPECT MAJOR DELAYS… CHOOSE ALTERNATE ROUTE.”  Right at this moment the traffic is flowing freely (sounds more like a description of a river)… if only we knew what was ahead of us.

Road Traffic.jpg4:08–The Beltway just became a parking lot. We are seven miles away from our destination.

Road Crash.jpg4:40–We have gone two miles in 32 minutes… one of the few crashes.

Road Deer.jpg4:49–This picture doesn’t do justice but there were at least 20 deer prancing and dancing in the snow as if Santa was coming.

4:58–Riggleman made a trip to the front of the bus to talk to Harold the bus driver and possibly call in a reliever to speed things up. He returned to reveal the problem. “I think I found out what the problem is,” Riggleman said. “Traffic jam.”

Road Mustang.jpg5:03–Yeah, that car is stuck. It might have been the highlight on the journey. To its credit the car was more determined than The Little Engine that Could. There was just one problem–this car couldn’t. The Mustang tried to get out about every 30 seconds. We kept cheering for it… it didn’t exactly help.

5:25–3.6 miles away. I would be surprised if we arrive by 6 p.m.

5:45–“We are still 2.2 miles away,” Willingham said. “Does anyone have a DVD we can watch.”

6:04–We are sooooo close yet so far away. We just drove in a circle around the mall.

6:13–We made it. It only took 2 hours and 39 minutes to travel 22.2 miles.

Mall Signing Line.jpg
Mall Ol Roy.jpg7:17–The Caravan is over. It was a fantastic four days. Be sure to make it to NatsFest tomorrow.

Nats Caravan Day 2: Blogging from the Bus

Notes from NatsTown is blogging from the bus throughout the Nationals’ 2010 Winter Caravan.

It is day two of the Nats Caravan and for a complete rundown of day one you can scroll down or click here.

Day two will be just as busy as yesterday. We will begin with a lunchtime appearance at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. The bus will then travel to Fort Belvoir, Va., site of the USO of Metropolitan Washington. The group will spend two hours assembling care packages for troops overseas, and meeting with wounded warriors and those stationed at the base. The final stop of the day will be an autograph and photograph session at Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals–the Nat’s Single-A affiliate.

11:24 a.m.–We have officially got the wheels turning on the bus.

We have the same crew on the bus today: Manager Jim Riggleman, reliever Ryan Speier, 2009 first round draft pick Drew Storen, shortstop Danny Espinosa and broadcaster Rob Dibble

Nationals President Stan Kasten and GM Mike Rizzo aren’t on the bus but they will be a Ben’s.

11:35 a.m.–In preparation for Ben’s Chili Bowl, the guys are signing player cards to hand out.  Dibble is trying to master the science of signing on a bus–the slightest bump feels like the biggest pothole–he has decided just to sign when the bus is stopped.  

11:49 a.m–We just passed One Fitness on the corner of S St. NW and 14 St. NW. Their motto is “Change your body… Change your world.” We couldn’t help but think about Globo Gym from the movie Dodgeball… “We are better than you and we know it.”

11:52 a.m.–There is a long line of people waiting outside BCB. Someone suggests that the players go through the back door. “We will go through the front door,” Dibble said. “I will lead the way.”

11:57 a.m.–It turns out that the line of people were students waiting for a school bus.

BCB 1 walking.jpg12:15–The players ordered their food and then handed out player cards. Let’s just say Ben’s makes the batter’s box look big.

BCB 2 picture taking.jpg12:18–Everyone was trying to get a photo with the players.

12:19–A minute after the photo was taken, the lady dropped her phone. It sounded like it shattered into a million pieces… maybe the case just broke but it looked rough. “It’s fine,” she said. “I drop my phone all the time. The photo is safe.”

12:25–The players were asked to take their jerseys off while they eat. They are professional baseball players… not professional eaters.

BCB photo on the wall.jpg12:47–The Nats will soon have a photo on the wall to join the likes of Bill Crosby, Dr. Dre, Chris Rock, President Obama and Dave Chappelle just to name a few. Don’t mind Jamie from Myth Busters in the back of the photo.

12:53–Party in the kitchen.

BCB 5 Kitchen.jpg12:56–It was the guys first stop at Ben’s Chili Bowl. There is a good chance they will be back. “Food was pretty good. It was good Chili,” Espinosa said. “I wasn’t going to eat a lot of it because we are going on the bus.” Thank you.

12:59–We are off to Fort Belvoir.

1:53–We are here.

USO meet the troops 2.jpg
USO Mark Lerner.jpg1:59–The players are getting a tour of the warehouse and then they are going to help put together care packages. Owners Mark Lerner and Judy Lenkin Lerner are here too.

USO life saves.jpg2:06–The care package process has begun. The packages have everything: pens, shaving cream, razors, trail mix, beef jerky, books, magazines and much more. You name it and it’s probably in there. The assembly line they have going on right now would have impressed the late Henry Ford.

USO Assmbly line shot 3.jpgThe USO warehouse has four parties like this a month at Fort Belvoir and they travel all around the States to make care packages too.

“It is such a morale boost for the troops to have the Nationals players come here,” Director of Operation USO Care Package Ron Wise said. “I really hope they get to see and understand the impact they are making. They are so important. The troops will talk about this for months and it really speaks volume for the Nationals organization.”

2:20–The stuffing party is in full force. The first bell rang. They ring the bell every time 500 care packages have been made. When the bell rings everyone starts screaming and dancing so the troops know we care.

USO Drew Storen 1.jpg2:44–Second bell rings.

3:09–Third bell rings.

3:15–Fourth bell rings. I told you Henry Ford would be proud of this assembly line. Ok… so it might have been premature.

USO Assmbly line shot 4.jpg3:33–The crew just finished packing the bags. Total count: 2,025 packages. Not a bad day at all but we didn’t quite set the record. They most packages they have made in one day… 15,000 with the help of 300 people. “It was pure insanity,” Wise said. “I don’t think we will ever match that.”

4:00–We are off to Woodbridge.

4:45–We are here at the P-Nats stadium. I don’t think Storen or Espinosa could be happier to return.

P-Nats signing 1.jpg
P-Nats Signing.jpg5:30–The pens and hands are ready for 2 hours and 30 minutes of autographs. Screech has been stretching his fingers and practicing his signature all day.

6:11–Screech is putting on a mascot clinic–making fans laugh, posing for pictures and signing autographs.

P-Nats screech.jpgIt may have been a loaded question when I asked the crowd if they have ever seen a mascot as funny…but they answered it correctly and that’s all that mattered. “I haven’t,” one person said. “Not even close,” said another person, “he is hilarious.”

30 seconds later… A season ticket holder for just about every sports team in Washington asked Screech if he was going to be skating at the Caps game tomorrow night. He whistled yes and then she reminded him that SlapShot (the Caps Mascot) took him down last season.

“The Caps mascot has bulked up my friend, bulked up,” she said. “You better watch out tomorrow night. We are going to have to see how many times you end up on the ice Screech.”        

Game on SlapShot.

7:25–I just met Robert Probst from Dover, Del. He drove 122 miles to attend tonight’s event. I told him he unofficially drove the most miles to come here.

“What do I get for that,” he asked.

I told him I could probably hook him up with a pocket schedule.

“I can’t contain my excitement,” he responded with a bright smile.

8:00–Day two is in the books and the USO event was the most memorable.

“The USO stuff was great,” Dibble said. “I have a new appreciation for the care packages they send out.”

“It was a great time,” Storen said. “It is always good to give back to the Military since they do so much for us.”


Nats Caravan Day 1: Blogging from the Bus

Notes from NatsTown is blogging from the bus throughout the Nationals’ 2010 Winter Caravan. Be sure to follow us.


10:20 a.m.–The Caravan is off. We just left Nationals Park.


On the bus today: Manager Jim Riggleman, reliever Ryan Speier, 2009 first round draft pick Drew Storen, shortstop Danny Espinosa and Rob Dibble. 


10:30 a.m.–We just picked up Storen, Espinosa and Dibble at the Hyatt Hotel and we are off to our first stop…


Our first stop is at Unity Health Care’s Southwest Health Center, a health clinic that serves all District residents regardless of ability to pay. In December, Nationals front office employees helped refurbish and repaint the center in late December. The players will greet staff and patients at the clinic and deliver new books for the waiting room.


10:39 a.m.–We just arrived at the Health Center.


Riggleman 1.jpg 10:59 a.m.–Chair of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Marla Lerner Tanenbaum kicked off the official start of the Caravan at the Health Center.


11:01 a.m.–Marla just mentioned how when the Nationals refurbished the Health Center in December, they were divided into two groups: a group that knew what they were doing (The Ballpark Ops) and a group that didn’t know what they were doing (Other Front Office staff… the painters).


For not knowing what they were doing, they did a great job painting.


11:15 a.m.–The players delivered books and helped stack them on the shelves.


books 1.jpg 

11:20 a.m.–They handed out some Nats gear, signed some autographs and Screech made an appearance.


storen 1.jpg
screech 1.jpg“It was a great first stop for the Caravan,” Storen said. “It is always good to help people out and hopefully make their day.”


11:45 a.m.–We just departed the Health Center and we are heading to Hard Times Café.


12:03–The bus just arrived at Hard Times. The Fab-Five will start signing at 1. That’s 57 minutes from now if you are counting… so they are now going to enjoy a scrumptious Hard Times meal.


12:51–The food at Hard Times was delicious. The plate of nachos could have fed a city. A few tidbits from lunch…


                        *Speier’s favorite player growing up was Rob Dibble.

                        *Storen thinks the Colts will win the Super Bowl.

*Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart and Storen were teammates on the Stanford baseball team last season. Gerhart might have a few pounds on Storen but they do look alike…. a little bit.


12:54–Players start signing in six minutes and there is already a nice size crowd waiting to get autographs.


signing 2.jpg
signing 1.jpg1:04–State of the Nats-Jim Riggleman and Rob Dibble thanked the crowd for coming and talked about the upcoming 2010 season.


Donkey 1.jpg
Donkey 2.jpg1:25–The Donkey made an appearance and got a few autographs. You maybe have seen him before… he went to over half the games dressed as a donkey last season. “We went to one of the first games last year and my friend and I noticed they needed some crazy fans,” he said. “So my friend and I sewed together the donkey costume.” They sat in Section 236 so they could take advantage of the student discount. He spent the whole season trying to get Adam Dunn to acknowledge him. As you can imagine, he was unsuccessful… maybe in 2010 Dunn-key.


2:23–We were talking about nicknames and how Adam Dunn doesn’t like being called “Big Donkey”… Danny Espinosa said he doesn’t really have a nickname. Storen interrupted and said everyone calls him Espy. Storen said he has never had a nickname but if he opened up a storage company he would call it Storen Stuff. “Or you could call it Storen Space,” Dibble added.


2:41–The bus arrived at the mall for the 5 p.m. appearance at Build-A-Bear. A camera crew will be following Storen and Espinosa around as they shop. Storen said if anyone asks why they are being taped he will tell them…”We are from Jersey Shore.” Good thing there is a Jersey Shore nickname generator… Drew Storen… “D-Train.”


2:42–Storen jokingly suggests that each player wears their jersey while walking around the mall. “Do you guys have a Strasburg jersey I can wear?,” Storen said laughing.


4:47–The crew is ready to meet-and-greet fans at Build-A-Bear. There is a line forming of Nats fans waiting for autographs from the players. T-minus 13 minutes till they get to build a bear.


bb line 2.jpg5:01–Let the autographs begin.


bb screech 3.jpg5:03–Screech has a thing for high fives to the face. He wouldn’t tell me why.


5:33–You can’t go to Build-A-Bear and not build a bear. It is like going to a baseball game and not eating a hot dog.


5:39–This might have been the highlight of the night. Apparently, each bear needs a heart with a heartbeat to live… so to create that heartbeat each bear owner must do the following with a heart squeezed in their hands…


bb spin 5.jpg5 seconds later… spin around three times.


bb jump 6.jpg10 seconds later… jump three times or just stand on your tip toes.


bb push ups 7.jpg20 seconds later… do three push-ups… with Screech pressing down on your back.


5:41–The “beating” hearts were placed inside the bears and they were all stitched up.


7:06–Day one is done.

7:25–On the drive back to the ballpark, we started talking about Dibble’s career. Who was the hardest out? “Every batter was always the toughest out,” Dibble said. So we checked the numbers… How about Pedro Guerrero (batted .455 (5-for-11) with 7 RBI) and Juan Samuel (batted .415 (5-for-12) with one home run and 7 RBI)? “Yeah, I never could get them out,” he said with a cringe. 


Nats finalize coaching staff

The Nationals finalized their coaching staff today. Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein, Pitching Coach Steve McCatty and Third Base Coach Pat Listach will return in the same roles in 2010. The club also named John McLaren bench coach, Jim Lett bullpen coach and Dan Radison first base coach.


rick eckstein coach 1.JPGEckstein
returns for a second season in Washington. He played an instrumental part in reshaping the offense and it showed significant gains in 2009 in runs per game (+0.40 per game), home runs (+39), batting average (+.007), on-base percentage (+.014), slugging percentage (+.033) and OPS (+.047) compared to the previous season.


steve mccatty coach 2.JPGMcCatty
was the Nationals Triple-A pitching coach for four seasons before being summoned to Washington on June 2. McCatty employed numerous pre-existing relationships with Nationals pitchers to help his staff post an ERA exactly one run better than that recorded in the season’s first two months (5.69 ERA from Opening Day-May 31, 4.69 ERA from June 2 through season’s end).


Listach will return for a second season as Nationals third base coach. Last season, Listach’s judgment saw only 11 Nationals thrown out at home plate on non force-outs, a figure bettered by only the Cardinals (eight) in MLB. With added responsibilities as the Nationals infield instructor, Listach had a hand in Ryan Zimmerman earning his first career Rawlings Gold Glove.


McLaren, 58, will draw on 22 seasons of Big League coaching experience, including a stint as Mariners manager for portions of the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He replaced Mike Hargrove as Seattle’s manager on July 2, 2007. While skippering the Mariners, McLaren hired Riggleman as his bench coach in 2008.


McLaren worked on Lou Piniella’s staff for 15 seasons, and also enjoyed stewardships under Mike Hargrove, Cito Gaston, Jimy Williams and Joe Morgan. He has experienced five postseasons, including four division titles (Toronto in 1989 and Seattle in ’95, ’97 and 2001). McLaren spent the 2009 campaign as a Rays special assignment scout. He also served as Team USA’s bench coach during the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.


Lett, 58, will draw on 15 seasons of Major League coaching experience, 11 spent as a bench coach with the Reds, Blue Jays, Dodgers and Pirates. He served as the Dodgers bullpen coach from 2001-04, where he worked alongside Riggleman, who was Jim Tracy’s bench coach at the time.


Lett joins the Nationals after spending the previous two years coaching in Milwaukee’s Minor League system. Lett has worked in professional baseball for each of the last 35 seasons as a player, coach, manager or front office executive. Lett is also a highly respected catching instructor.


The 59 year-old Radison begins his third tour with Riggleman, as the two worked together during Riggleman’s managerial stays in San Diego and Chicago (NL). Outside of his stints with the Cubs and Padres, Radison has managed, coached or scouted for the Yankees, Cardinals and Mets organizations from 1984-2006.


He spent the previous three seasons as the Cardinals Minor League Hitting Instructor. While there, Radison worked closely with Eckstein, and helped Rick Ankiel (as a hitter), Skip Schumaker and Colby Rasmus graduate to St. Louis.



listach riggleman coach 3.JPG 

Riggleman named manager

Riggleman.jpgThe Washington Nationals named Jim Riggleman field manager.


Riggleman will return in 2010 after posting a 33-42 (.440) record upon assuming the Nationals’ helm on July 13. Riggleman’s Nationals displayed marked improvement in extra-inning (3-1), one-run (13-9) and NL East (17-16) contests despite having a rookie starting pitcher toe the rubber 45 times in 75 games (60%). His club also posted eight- (August 2-9) and seven-game (September 28-October 4) winning streaks to account for two of the Nationals’ four longest winning streaks since Major League baseball returned to The District in 2005. 


Defensively, the Nationals allowed 11 fewer unearned runs after the All-Star break compared to before, a trend mirrored by an improved fielding percentage (.979 in second half, .975 in first half) under Riggleman’s gaze. Riggleman’s renewed emphasis on defense and fundamentals paid nearly immediate dividends as only 10 of Washington’s 37 multi-error contests in 2009 came after the All-Star break.


Riggleman’s post All-Star break tenure also featured a precipitous drop in the Nationals’ ERA (4.75), which fell almost half a run from the 5.21 mark posted prior to the All-Star break. Washington’s ERA improvement of 0.46–first half compared to the second half–ranked fourth in the National League, seventh in baseball. The pitching improvement was especially evident in Riggleman’s bullpen, which posted a 4.35 ERA compared to Washington’s 5.71 relief ERA in the season’s first half.  


The Nationals are Riggleman’s fourth big league managing job. He has compiled a 585-694 record while managing San Diego (1992-94), Chicago-NL (1995-99), Seattle (2008) and Washington (2009-present). He posted a pair of winning records in five seasons with the Cubs, including a 90-73 (.552) record and a NL Wild Card in 1998.


Riggleman draws off 29 professional seasons of experience as a manager or coach, 17 at the big league level. Riggleman has served stewardships under Tony LaRussa, Jerry Manuel and Jim Tracy, among others.


A third baseman by trade, Riggleman played eight professional seasons after being drafted by the Dodgers in the 1974 First-Year Player Draft out of Frostburg State (MD) University. Riggleman grew up in nearby Rockville, MD and is a graduate of Richard Montgomery (MD) High School.

Lineups 8/23


Lopez – 2B
Counsell – 3B
Braun – LF
Fielder – 1B
Cameron – CF
Catalanotto – RF
Rivera – C
Parra – LHP (8-9, 6.33)
Escobar – SS


Morgan – CF
Guzman – SS
Zimmerman – 3B
Dunn – 1B
Willingham – LF
Belliard – 2B
Bard – C
Morse – RF
Stammen – RHP (3-6, 5.13)


Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free Nationals T-shirt.

Riggleman c.JPG

Capture the Caption

Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free Nationals T-shirt.

riggleman c.JPG