New faces and a familiar one for the New Year

Happy New Year! It’s already starting to look that way for the Nats and our fans, with all the new faces Mike Rizzo is adding to the roster for 2010, and there may be more to come.

If it all starts with pitching, and we know it does, the Nationals have taken some great strides toward putting a good rotation and bullpen between the lines. !

I was with the Cardinals when we got Jason Marquis from the Braves, along with Adam Wainwright and ex-Nat Ray King. I liked him for his toughness and aggressiveness, and if Livan is with us this coming season, we’ll have the best hitting rotation in baseball. The guy can hack!

By the way, Marquis pitched one of the great games of his career against the Nationals at RFK in ‘05.

Brian Bruney, Matt Capps and Eddie Guardado are all solid veterans who know what they’re doing, and the bullpen competition will be good for the staff. Let’s just hope the rotation is good enough that we don’t see those guys until the seventh inning; our relievers have been in way too many games way too early the last two seasons.

It will be interesting to see what else our GM can do between now and spring training. I’m sure we’re all hoping for that one more solid veteran starter. With a good lineup and bench, plus a defense that has to be better, I really believe we’re in for a fun time with the Nationals in ‘10!

On a personal note, I’m thankful to the Nats and MASN that I will be there to enjoy it with you for the next few years, as I signed a new contract with MASN a few weeks ago. As I’ve said before, I feel our MASN production team is right there with the best in baseball, and Rob Dibble took us to another level last year. Debbi Taylor is back as well, and we all want you to know that we will work hard every day to bring you the best coverage of Nationals Baseball that we can. This year we are wall-to-wall HD!

As a play-by-play announcer in the major leagues since 1984, I know that it’s a long season, and I can’t make every one of you happy every inning of every game. Having done this for a long time, I’m always trying to get better at what I do, and I do notice your comments from time to time here on and on If your critiques are delivered in a sincere and courteous way, I promise I will pay attention to them and take them to heart.

Without revealing specifics, I have already changed a thing or two about how I do my job from comments I’ve read from you the last few years, and I will continue to try and do a better job every year. Baseball is a great game and, no matter how long you have been watching, you always learn something new. That includes us way up there in the booth.

I have also had several fans ask me about Nationals Scorebooks, and I’m pleased to tell you that a new batch was shipped to Nationals Park just before Christmas. They will be in the Team Store when it opens for Nats Fest on a date to be announced shortly. They cover 100 games and are priced the same as they have been the last four years, $29.99.

I can’t wait for Nats Fest, Spring Training and Opening Day 2010. See you soon!