Live from the Mouse House

A pleasant Friday morning to all of you in NatsTown -- we’re at Disney’s Wide World of Sports today, where the Nationals take on the Atlanta Braves in the first full-squad game of their Grapefruit League schedule. The Nats’ lineup today is relatively close to the real thing. Here it is, as well as the lineup for the Braves:

Bernadina - 7
Kennedy - 4
Zimmerman - 5
Duncan - 3
Dukes - 9
Rodriguez - 2
Maxwell - 8
Morse - DH
Desmond - 6

Batista - 1

Prado - 4
Heyward - 9
Jones - 5
Glaus - 3
McCann - 2
Escobar - 6
Cabrera - 8
Ross - DH
Clevlen - 7

Lowe - 1

I’m excited to get a look at Jason Heyward today -- perhaps the only prospect in baseball who is commanding more attention than Stephen Strasburg. If he’s as good as all the reports so far say he is, this Braves team could be very good this year. Heck, they could be a playoff contender even without him. A few question marks in the bullpen, and you’d like to see one more bat, but the pitching staff is as good as any in the NL East, and one of the best in the National League.

Now, I’ve got one thing I need to get out of the way, and I promise I’ll bring it up only sparingly for the rest of the day: I hate this ballpark.

Nothing against Disney -- the business school grad in me has all the respect in the world for the company’s ability to dominate so many media and entertainment platforms, even if it’s become a teenybopper star-making machine. It’s just that the game experience here is so ... Disney.

Dancing ushers. Warmed-over disco music. Some emcee named “Suzie Q.” who spends the entire game chirping into the microphone. Magic Kingdom sound effects. What’s wrong with baseball the way it is? Plus, all the Disney traffic makes getting to the park a big hassle, and there’s the matter of the blinding sun in the front row of the press box that, without an awning, turns my gray laptop into a tanning device for three hours.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to cover the Braves and work here every day. Good thing the Nationals only play them, oh, about 12 more times.

OK, enough whining about the Disney-fied experience. It’s just something I feel the need to do every spring, but I’ll stop before a certain co-worker *cough* Kristen *cough* gives me a hard time. Back with more baseball in a while, and I’ll put the live in-game thread up around noon or so.