Like every Maryland Terrapin fan, I was looking forward to being in St. Louis this past weekend as the NCAA tournament rolled along.
Unfortunately the Michigan State Spartans had something to say about that. The Terps' loss to Tom Izzo's team - at the buzzer - may have been one of the most difficult that I've endured in my 31 years of broadcasting Maryland basketball. And it sure hurts.
But what a year for Gary Williams Greivis Vasquez and company. In my eyes this had to be one of Gary's best years on the sidelines in College Park.
I had my first opportunity to see the Nats up close this past weekend in Viera. It was good to see familiar faces in the clubhouse, such as Ryan Zimmerman, Nyjer Morgan, Adam Dunn, Mike Morse, John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Jason Bergmann, Craig Stammen, and Willie Harris, along with some new members of the ballclub in Pudge Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy.
I don't know if it's just me, but there was a different feeling to the clubhouse, one of a quiet confidence that I got from the guys I visited with. That confidence will go a long way to determine just what kind of year the club will have in 2010.
I believe the changes that Gm Mike Rizzo made in the offseason will pay nice dividends. Pudge is a great addition; Adam Kennedy is a solid veteran second baseman. Jason Marquis who will be in the Nats' starting rotation should be at the peak of his career.
Manager Jim Riggleman gets a clean slate to start off with, along with some new additions to his coaching staff in Jim Lett, John McLaren, and Dan Radison.
The Nationals front office has some new faces as well, among them, Davey Johnson, Roy Clark and Ron Schueler and Phil Rizzo.
This is the final week of spring training, with the season opener just a week from today against the Phillies.
Ray Knight and I invite all of you Nats fans to stop by and visit on your way into the ballpark. We'll be in the same location as last year - just inside the center field gates.
President Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch; the park will be sold out; the Phillies will open the season; and I hope you will be there to watch the Nationals get out of the gate with a victory on Opening Day.
See you there...