Results tagged ‘ NatsFest ’
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.
11:11 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.”
12:01–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.
2:17–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.
“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.”
3:02–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.
4:08–The Beltway just became a parking lot. We are seven miles away from our destination.
4:40–We have gone two miles in 32 minutes… one of the few crashes.
4:49–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.”
5:03–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.
7:17–The Caravan is over. It was a fantastic four days. Be sure to make it to NatsFest tomorrow.
It was another busy day for the Nationals. They signed right-handed reliever Tyler Walker to a one-year deal, and Chris Duncan and starting pitcher Chuck James to Minor League contracts.
Walker becomes yet another addition to the revamped relief corps which includes Brian Bruney, Matt Capps, Eddie Guardado, Ryan Speier and Doug Slaten. Walker throws a 91-93 mph fastball mixed with a slider and an occasional change-up. Walker, 33, appeared in 32 games last season for the Phillies going 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA (12 ER/ 35.1 IP).
The 28-year-old Duncan was a supplemental first round pick by the Cardinals in 1999 and made his Major League debut in 2005. As a rookie in 2006, he batted .293 (82-for-280) with 22 home runs and 43 RBI in 90 games. He comes from a family with baseball ingrained in their DNA. His dad Dave was a Major League catcher for 11 seasons and is currently the Cardinals pitching coach. His brother Shelley is a first baseman for the Cleveland Indians and played his last three seasons in the Yankees organization.
Chris enters the 2010 season hoping to return to his 2006 form and that could land him a spot on the Major League roster. It was a forgettable 2009 after he had a productive April, batting .304 (21-for-69) with two home runs and 14 RBI. His number precipitously fell after that. From May 1 to July 20, he batted .199 (38-for-191) with three home runs and 18 RBI in 65 games with the Cardinals before he was traded to the Red Sox on July 22.
James started seven games for the Braves in 2008 and is a career 24-19 in 64 games (55 starts) with a 4.48 ERA.
*Be sure to follow us as Notes from NatsTown blogs from the bus throughout the Nationals’ 2010 Winter Caravan. The fun starts tomorrow when the Caravan gets the show on the road. The first stop is at Unity Health Care’s Southwest Health Center, a health clinic that serves all District residents regardless of ability to pay.
*Dave Matthews Band will host a concert on Friday, July 23 at Nationals Park. The Zac Brown Band will open for them. This will be the ballpark’s second-ever show, following Elton John and Billy Joel’s sold-out show in July 2009. Tickets and parking will go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m. online at www.tickets.com and by phone at 888-632-6287.
–The Nationals had six players that filed for salary arbitration and today was the day when eligible players exchanged figures or agreed to a contract with the club: Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Jesus Flores (Super Two), Wil Nieves and Josh Willingham. The Nationals agreed to 2010 contracts with Bergmann, Flores, Nieves and Willingham, thus avoiding salary arbitration. That leaves Bruney and Burnett left for salary arbitration and the hearings begin February 1 and end the on 21. There is a good chance the two will never reach the arbitrators. Last year 111 players filed for salary arbitration, of those, 46 exchanged figures with their respective club and only three had their case heard by arbitrators: Dan Uggla (Marlins), Shawn Hill (Nationals) and Dioner Navarro (Rays). Uggla and Hill both won.
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum who qualified for arbitration as a super two will likely walk away the biggest winner much like in 2008 when Ryan Howard qualified as a Super Two and won his arbitration hearing… his salary jumped from $900,000 to $10,000,000… just a 1,011 percent raise. (To qualify as a Super Two a player must have at least two years of service, but less than three, have accumulated at least 86 days of service in the previous year, and rank in the top 17% of all 2-year players in service time. The cutoff point generally falls between 2 years, 128 days of service and 2 years, 140 days.)
–The Caravan will get the wheels turning next Wednesday, Jan. 27th with the first stop at the Unity Health Care’s Southwest Health Center in Washington, DC. Notes from NatsTown will be on board providing you with behind the scene shots, player comments and fan reactions. Be sure to follow us.
–If you are a Nationals Insider you can purchase Nationals 2010 Spring Training single game tickets before they go on sale to the general public with a special online presale Wednesday, January 20, at 10:00 a.m.
–In the News:
Bill Ladson reports that the Nats may have some interest in former Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer breaks down the 2009 Nats and looks ahead to 2010 with the projected starters and rotation.
MASN’s Ben Goessling talked with Manager Jim Riggleman.
It is never too early to daydream about the baseball season especially when the Nats Caravan barnstorms around DC, Maryland and Virginia. The 2010 Nationals Caravan gets the wheels turning on Jan. 26 and it paves the path for NatsFest on Jan. 31. It may only be December and the temperature may be hovering near freezing but the start of Spring Training is just around the corner.
So if you are in need of some warm, fuzzy thoughts to sooth the soul on these blustery winter nights, just keep in mind that the Nationals pitchers and catchers report at the end of February.
The Nationals officially open Nationals Park on April 5 against the Phillies but the unofficial start to the season is the last week in January with NatsFest–baseball’s version of a grass roots convention. NatsFest gives each fan the opportunity to get autographs, photos and meet with the players and coaching staff.
Last year was the first annual NatsFest and fans came out in droves to greet players with a warm Washington welcome. The excitement for the Nationals and the beginning of the baseball season was evident with each smile.
The Nationals have an even bigger, better NatsFest planned for 2010:
The 2010 Winter Caravan will take place Wednesday, Jan. 27 through Saturday, Jan. 30, concluding with the 2nd Annual NatsFest on Sunday, Jan. 31 at Nationals Park
· The Caravan will consist of Meet-and-Greets, Autograph Signings and Community Appearances throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area along with a Hot Stove Luncheon at the ballpark on Friday, Jan. 29
· Season Ticket Holders will receive information on claiming their complimentary NatsFest tickets after the New Year (four per account)
· A limited amount of tickets may be made available to the general public, based on availability
· The team will officially release complete information the first week in January, including Nationals players attending (those confirmed by this date), caravan stops, and NatsFest details