Results tagged ‘ Tim Kurkjian ’

Weekly Review (2/27)

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Here at Curly W Live, we will be conducting a weekly review every Tuesday morning of all the storylines from the week that was. If you’re new to the site or have just been too busy to stay current with all the day-to-day storylines, this is your way to get caught up on everything going on with the team.

Spring Training began as Nationals pitchers and catchers reported to Viera. Although the official position player report date was not until midweek, most players were in camp several days early. Senior Director of Media Relations John Dever began his (almost) daily musings on the notable events each day in Spring Training. Anthony Rendon stopped by to showcase his sweet swing and chat for a few minutes about his first big league camp.

We enjoyed a visit from ESPN on campus at Space Coast Stadium, and were even able to snag an interview with Tim Kurkjian about his outlook on the team. Also, a rocket launched from the nearby Kennedy Space Center.

The Nationals proudly hosted the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team for a couple days of practice in advance of their April 3 game at Nationals Park (following the Nationals-Red Sox exhibition).

The franchise’s first-ever draft pick and everyday third baseman since the end of the 2005 season, Ryan Zimmerman signed an extension that will keep him in a Nationals uniform through at least the 2019 season, with an option for 2020. Both Dever and Nationals Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner opined their perspectives of the signing.

Ready For Launch

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John Dever is the Senior Director of Media Relations for the Washington Nationals. As a team employee in close contact with the players, coaches and front office throughout Spring Training, he will bring an inside look at the happenings in Viera in Dever’s (Almost) Daily Diary throughout February and March.

Friday was another beautiful, beautiful day here in Viera. If anything, it might have been a tad too hot. I think temps topped off at either 84 or 85 degrees. By sunset, it was perfect as a small-yet-comfortable breeze kept everyone company. And the sunset was something too.

We also enjoyed the blast off of a NASA Atlas V Rocket about 5 pm. Footage can be seen here: http://www.floridatoday.com/section/SPACE2011

With the Space Shuttle program newly retired, we are left with these impressive rocket launches to remind us why this area is known as the Space Coast.

*Matt Purke threw an impressive bullpen yesterday and afterwards Davey was asked about it. In reference to Purke, he spoke to the organization’s philosophy when it comes to integrating college pitchers, who regularly throw one game a week, into the professional game, which is obviously predicated (at present) on a 5-man rotations. Well, the man in charge of this integration is Spin Williams, and knowing him a bit, there is not a better person for the job.

As Davey explained, Spin takes all of our college starters and asks them to join 6-man rotations in the lowest levels of our system. They look at the 6-man rotation as a mid-way point. Then after that initial summer (3 months or so) as a pro, these starters begin to train for a 5-man rotation in the spring entering their first full season. This is where Purke is right now – the first week of his initial Spring Training as a pro.

*You have probably read that Edwin Jackson will get the start for the Nationals’ SPRING opener on March 3 at Houston. Definitely newsworthy. But Davey also mentioned that Edwin took his bullpen “up a notch” on Friday. That made me blink, because during his bullpen on Wednesday, I could have sworn he was throwing 93-94.

*Folks, this pitching staff’s collective talents, velocity and stuff is REAL. This is beyond hype. Let’s ground ourselves a bit, but sum it up this way. When talking about “stuff,” I think that the any our top four starters (Strasburg, Gio, J-Zimmermann, Edwin) would have been our Opening Day starter in any season from 2005-11. Think about that.

*Proof that baseball is full of changeups. Davey has decided to stage the final 3-4 days of camp back here at Space Coast Stadium and Field 5, which is located just adjacent to SCS. Traditionally, the club had worked out at the 4.5 cloverleaf fields located a quarter mile down the road at the Washington Nationals Training Complex. But Davey’s feeling is that the players need to get as accustomed to SCS and its various nuances ASAP. I like it.

*I hope you were able to see some of ESPN’s coverage of your Nationals as part of their Spring Training bus series. I had a couple of conversations with Tim Kurkjian and John Kruk and both apologized that the developing Ryan Braun storyline would squash some of their Nationals focus. They were not happy about it, but breaking news is breaking news. They did assure me that The Mothership (hat tip: Dan Patrick) is more than aware of our various storylines and steady assent as a franchise. Tim K. promised me (us!) they would be paying your Nationals more attention this summer than we’ve been accustomed to. Tim K. is a fantastic journalist, and it is an added bonus for us that is lives locally and is therefore exposed to our tales more so than others who don’t live in The DMV.

*Interesting glimpse into how your manager thinks:

“Anyone in this camp with us, I am under the assumption that they could help us this year.” – Davey, Feb. 24th

This soundbite caught my ear especially in reference to his recent comments that—outside of unforeseen injury issues (knock on wood)—there are only 3 roster spots available this spring. With all of the up-and-coming talent in that clubhouse, this seemed like a pragmatic approach. Every glimpse we see here in the Grapefruit League should not be taken solely in context to April 5 at Wrigley Field. If you are thinking along with our manager, you’ll be watching or reading with an eye on the not-too distant future.

*The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team began their Spring workouts on Friday at our complex. This group of soldiers/ballplayers are simply terrific human beings we should all be proud of. They will be touring our country this spring, summer and fall sharing their message and providing free jolts of inspiration. The Nationals are honored to be hosting the 2012 Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Classic at Nationals Park on Tue., April 3rd following the exhibition game against the Red Sox. For more information about the WWAST, please visithttp://www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org/

Worldwide Leader In Viera

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John Dever is the Senior Director of Media Relations for the Washington Nationals. As a team employee in close contact with the players, coaches and front office throughout Spring Training, he will bring an inside look at the happenings in Viera in Dever’s (Almost) Daily Diary throughout February and March.

Well, it started out gray and misty here on Thursday, but by the time workouts started (10am) and ended (Noon-ish), we were all enjoying partly cloudy skies and temps approaching 80 degrees. No complaints from here.

*Our third base coach, Bo Porter, is fantastic in every sense of the word. He is a great person. Engaging. He’s passionate. And he eats better than all of us. How do I know? He walked into Davey Johnson’s meeting this morning at around 8 a.m. with a plate of (are you ready for this?) … broccoli. Yes, I said breakfast. I gawked. I was stunned. So, later in the day, I asked him about it. He confirmed that when at all possible, he eats broccoli during breakfast AND asparagus for dinner. I got the idea this is most days. Remarkable! This made me realize that I might be playing from behind even with my bowl of Special K in the mornings.

The folks from ESPN are in Viera today.

*Today, we welcome Tim Kurkjian and John Kruk to Viera as the ESPN Spring Training Bus rolls through town. So look for updates tomorrow on ESPN’s various platforms. On the way to work today, I heard “Timmmay” being interviewed as part of ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike Show. Tim was reporting from Mets camp, but when Mike Greenberg asked Tim about the competitive and improving NL East, he mentioned only the Phillies, Braves and Marlins. Tim began his answer with a gentle reminder that (paraphrasing) the Nationals have improved quite a bit too…”

*ESPN’s aforementioned Bus Tour arrival also reminds me that in 2010, as part of the same Tour, Tim became the first national journalist to conduct a one-on-one interview with Stephen Strasburg. I remember it vividly, as both Mike Rizzo and I surmised that that Tim was the perfect person to help usher Strasburg into this portion of his profession. I hope to remind both Tim and Stephen about this later today.

*Speaking of Strasburg, as yesterday’s P+C workout was coming to its conclusion, I could not help but notice that #37 was leading the charge during a significant portion of our conditioning drills, especially the pole runs, which take place as the pitchers run (at a brisk pace) from foul pole to foul pole along the warning track (130-150 yards?). They do this same drill 3-4 times. There are many other agility type drills, but as a runner myself, I always like to see which pitchers stand out at that distance.

*You have to love baseball lingo. On multiple occasions today when talking to the press, Johnson referred to Gio Gonzalez’s curveball as a “Snapdragon.” Or is it “Snap Dragon?” Either way, it just sounded good and folksy coming from Davey. This note also serves as a forewarning, as Gio’s “Snap Dragon” is a true weapon. It’ll be interesting to see how he uses that pitch against the fleet of NL hitters who have never seen him before. Should be fun to watch.

Oh, later in the same media session, Davey, when speaking to Gio’s strong build, said he “looks relatively normal for a lefthander.” I bet that was Davey’s bias as a former position player coming through.

*Did a little research last week and I noticed something that amazed me. And fans of Danny Espinosa (now No. 8) should take note: No switch-hitter representing the Nation’s Capital (AL Nationals, Senators, expansion Senators or NL Nationals) has ever hit a homer from both sides of the plate in the same game.  It is about time this ends! I say that 2012 is the year.

*The following local stations are in town now and I bet they are capturing the positive vibe that continues to permeate Nationals camp: Comcast SportsNet, WJLA (Tuesday), WRC-4 and WTTG-Fox. WUSA is scheduled to be in town next week, and Channel 7 will return next week too.

ESPN visits Nats Camp


bus 1.jpgWith pitchers and catchers having their first formal workout of the spring on Sunday, a special guest rolled into Viera.

 

ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” Grapefruit Express Tour paid a visit to Space Coast Stadium and analyst Tim Kurkjian was present to preview the 2010 Nationals.

 

While reporting from Nationals camp, Kurkjian visited and took some pictures with Nats Tiki, the Nationals Spring Training mascot.

 

You can learn more about Nats Tiki by going to facebook.com/natstiki and twitter.com/natstiki.

 

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