Longtime Curly W readers may remember a feature from last season where we ran down what was going on in the Natosphere that week. New readers from the P.S. (post-Svrluga) era should know that this is what happens when we run out of original content of our own and just start promoting everyone else's work. It's like plagiarism but with a smile and a handshake!
Each week we'll cull the best content from the world of Nats blogging and serve it up fresh to you. These posts are must-read content for the discerning Nationals fan.
Here's this week's starting lineup:
Update: 7:27 PM: JammingEcono at Banks of the Anacostia digs up the dirt on the Ron Belliard extortion case. Go read the post, but when you find out the sordid details you might wish you didn't know. At any rate, you'll find out who the real Slim Shady is, and it's not Belliard.
Update: 6:20PM: I can't believe I missed this, but Basil has a must-read post on Dmitri Young over at Federal Baseball. Basil rightly points out that Dmitri needs to let go of his issues from last year and focus on the second (and maybe last) chance he's being given to be a major league baseball player. I hope Young makes the team and becomes a clutch player off the bench. I have fond memories of him from my years following the Reds.
Basil also brilliantly sums up the good vibes coming out of Nats camp, despite the team's dismal prospects:
The team's a curiosity, and its staying power in our memories years from now will be in playful caricatures: Tall Jon Rauch, Fat Ray King, Who the Heck is Colby Lewis, etc. If we remember the '07 Nats fondly, chances are it will be because of attachment to likeable personalities, rather than appreciation of baseball skill. Following such a team can be a fun experience regardless of wins and losses, but only if the players allow it to be fun. I think one reason why the fanbase has taken to Acta, for instance, is because he looks like he's having fun out on the practice fields. He scoots around from player to player, developing collegial relationships and building advice; he is savoring his opportunity to manage a big league club, and so far the players seem to have taken to him.A lot of the positive feeling coming out of Viera has everything to do with Manny Acta and his infectiously positive personality. He is already such a sharp contrast to the cantankerous and aloof Frank Robinson. It's very early in Acta's career, but chalk up another win for Stan Kasten in the quest to turn around this moribund franchise.
-Screech's Best Friend is on the scene at Nats spring training in Viera, Florida. He's talking with players and coaches and snapping lots of pictures. Don't miss the hilarious story of his chance encounter with John Patterson at Carrabba's. Stay tuned to Nats 320 as SBF and the African Queen will be in Viera all week.
-MissChatter was on the scene at Space Coast stadium as well and logs another of her "That's Nats" vodcasts. Why settle for reading a blog when you can watch a blog? MissChatter has some good footage of the Nats in action. This is a post worth watching!
I'm truly amazed at the level of access to players, coaches and reporters that she and SBF have been able to get in Viera. I find myself wondering if this accessibility will disappear once the Nationals franchise matures into a higher-profile MLB enterprise. Do you think Yankees fans get to shoot the shit with Jeter in Tampa? Probably not. I have to give a great deal of credit to Stan Kasten and Manny Acta for creating a culture of friendliness and welcoming toward fans. Great fans are one of the cornerstones of a great franchise, and there is no question that the Nats have a small, diehard fanbase that is getting larger each year.
-Capitol Punishment runs down "10 Burning Questions" for the Nats during Spring Training. This post succinctly runs down the myriad storylines to watch out of Nats' camp. Unlike last season, where all the attention was focused on Soriano, there are so many developments to watch that I've had a hard time sorting them all out. Chris's post expertly distills the action in Viera. Read this post.
-Capitol Punishment also shoots and scores in an excellent post about Washington Times reporter T(h)om Loverro's outrageous statement that "if you feel the need to ridicule Frank Robinson, you might want to check your soul. It's missing.". Loverro's post on the Times' pathetically-named "Chatter" blog was a spectacularly awful piece of hack writing. It's fantastic to read as Chris tees off on the reporter's outrageous statements about "the lack of respect by some Nationals fans on the net for (Robinson)." To paraphrase Motley Crue: "Frank, don't go away mad...just go away."
-Distinguished Senators piles on the anti-T(h)om bandwagon and reminds us that this isn't the first time that Loverro has taken a swipe at bloggers.
-Comcast SportsNet will be broadcasting a new TV show of particular interest to bloggers. "Washington Post Live will be a high-energy, interactive sports roundtable covering the stories, trends and topics in the news and on the minds of sports fans throughout the region." The show will prominently feature the DC Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg as well as a number of local sportswriters from the Washington Post. According to Steinberg, the show will be "all about the Internets" and will have "a regular feature to spotlight local sports bloggers." Awesome. Hey, at least MissChatter's been practicing.
-Barry Svrluga's blog from Viera is back this season. Barry is a terrific blogger, and I'm glad to see his blogspace back this season after a one-year, Olympic-induced hiatus.
-The Washington Times has a new-look, dedicated Nationals space on its web site. "Nats Home Plate" has some excellent features and was kind enough to link to The Curly W. Check it out.
-Finally, here at The Curly W, Ben Folsom has a great look at the end result of the big story from last year's Spring Training. A year after he nearly touched off an epic battle between MLB and the player's union by refusing to be moved to left field, Alfonso Soriano acknowledges that the position switch "made (him) more valuable as a player." $136 million dollars makes the medicine go down, doesn't it, Alfonso?