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It’s time for baseball to help bring us back together

It all seems so trivial right now, doesn’t it, the bickering between Major League Baseball and its players over how to fairly set salaries for the 2020 season? Our country is coming apart at the seams, protests and riots consuming cities across America over an issue that has plagued this land of ours for centuries and has now reached a boiling point. All of this,

That time I won the Presidents Race at RFK Stadium

It’s been a particularly tough week, with far too much negative news in both the baseball and larger world. So let’s try to end it on a lighter note, with a personal anecdote. About the time I ran in the Presidents Race. It’s Aug. 17, 2006, and the fourth-inning Presidents Race is still a new event during Nationals games. First conceived as an animated race

Scherzer shoots down MLB plan as clock ticks down for deal

If you didn’t realize how far apart Major League Baseball owners and players were in their negotiations over pay cuts for the proposed 2020 season, Max Scherzer served up a harsh reminder late Wednesday night that the chasm right now is vast. The Nationals ace and member of the MLB Players Association’s eight-person executive subcommittee said the union has no intention of accepting any more

Reduced pay, but no layoffs, for Nationals employees

While Major League Baseball and its players continue to spar over how to restructure salaries for the 2020 season, club employees around the sport are beginning to learn they won’t be paid in full this year. The Nationals joined the list Tuesday, informing all full-time team employees they will see their salaries and work hours reduced by a modest amount. According to a source familiar

State of the Nats roster: Bullpen

We continue today a periodic look at the state of the Nationals roster at the point spring training was suspended and project how things may look whenever baseball is played again. Up next is the bullpen... Team officials are always going to speak optimistically about their roster during spring training. If you can’t be positive in February and March, what hope do you have? But

Nationals’ rings combine glitz with key mantras of 2019

They won’t get to try them on for real until some undetermined date, but the Nationals finally got a chance to see what their World Series rings look like during Sunday night’s virtual presentation. What do they look like? Like a million bucks. (Note: They’re not actually worth $1 million.) Created by Jostens, the Nats’ rings include 170 round diamonds, 31 custom-cut rubies, 24 princess-cut

Six dates that were actually more important than May 24, 2019

Well, it’s May 24. And as everybody knows, May 24 is the most important day in Nationals history. Or something like that. Look, there’s nothing wrong with noting the low point of a most improbable season. It serves as an obvious demarcation point that separates the wretched first portion of the 2019 campaign from the glorious five months that followed. And as has been said

Nationals change virtual ring ceremony at players’ request

After consulting with players who expressed a strong desire to wait to receive their World Series rings until they could all gather in person, the Nationals announced they will no longer hold their originally planned virtual ring ceremony Sunday night. The Nationals still will televise a show at 7 p.m. Sunday night on MASN in which the ring design is revealed and a handful of

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Are we possibly only a few weeks away from baseball? If Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association can come to an agreement - and if society at large is ready for it - we could see “Spring Training 2.0” begin roughly three weeks from now, then the regular season begin the first week of July. In the meantime, the Nationals are all set

What if the Nats never acquired Alfonso Soriano?

All this time off has given us plenty of opportunity to look back and fondly remember events of the past 15 years. Great games that were won. Great players that made an impact. Big decisions that had long-lasting ramifications for the future of the organization. But what if some of those big moments didn’t happen? What if one of those decisions wasn’t made the same

Given state of things, virtual ring ceremony makes sense

The Nationals had made it known they would not raise their championship banner or hand out World Series rings in an empty ballpark. No fans? No formal celebration of the franchise’s first title. “I think as far as raising the banner and the distribution of rings, we’re going to wait for our fan base to be involved to do those types of things,” general manager

Nationals to hold virtual ring ceremony Sunday on MASN

The Nationals announced this evening they will hold a virtual ring ceremony and present players and staff members with their long-awaited World Series championship rings Sunday night, a concession to the reality of the world during the coronavirus pandemic. With the 2020 Major League Baseball season on hold and fans unlikely to be in attendance if and when games do begin this summer, the Nationals

Would Nationals train and play in D.C. or West Palm Beach?

There are so many questions that must be answered before baseball returns, but let’s attempt today to tackle one of the most pertinent questions facing the Nationals: Where would they hold the resumption of spring training, and then where would they play their season? Based on Major League Baseball’s official proposal to the MLB Players Association, it looks like the answer is: In Washington, as

State of the Nats roster: Rotation

We continue today a periodic look at the state of the Nationals roster at the point spring training was suspended and project how things may look whenever baseball is played again. Up next is the starting rotation ... The Nationals have one of the best rotations in baseball. That much we’ve known all along. But is it possible this group might prove even more valuable

Tales from the clubhouse: Magnus’ moment

If baseball resumes in 2020, it will almost certainly do so with restricted access to the clubhouse, only essential personnel allowed through those sacred doors. That’ll be a big change from the way it’s been for a long time. And it’ll ruin the possibility of any ridiculous stories like this one from happening again ... Players often invite guests into the clubhouse before or after

Manfred details plan for testing, quarantining players

While the fight over compensation for a potential 2020 season draws most of the headlines, the matter of health and safety appears to be taking priority in early negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. There are countless issues that must be worked out before a season can officially begin, but the question on most players’ minds right now is a simple

Nationals trivia quiz: Uniform numbers

It’s time for another round of Nats trivia! If you didn’t play along in our three previous installments, be sure to check out the quizzes on opening days, the postseason and club highs and lows. This quiz is all about uniform numbers. How well do you know your Nationals based not on names or stats but the number on the back of their jerseys? This

State of the Nats roster: Catchers (plus ticket refund info)

We continue today a periodic look at the state of the Nationals roster at the point spring training was suspended and project how things may look whenever baseball is played again. Up next is the catching corps ... As a whole, Nationals catchers were among the most productive in the majors last season. They totaled 28 homers (seventh-most in baseball), 100 RBIs (third-most) and a

Can owners, players agree on parameters of 2020 season?

Major League Baseball owners reportedly agreed Monday to a proposal for a 2020 season, one that would include an abbreviated second round of spring training in June, then a regular season of roughly 80 games that would run from July through September, then an expanded postseason that includes two more wild card teams in each league but could still be wrapped up around Halloween. Sounds

Tales from the clubhouse: The John McLaren Era

I woke up on the morning of June 24, 2011, exhausted from the events of the previous day, and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Chicago. The Nationals were opening a three-game interleague series against the White Sox, having just won 11 of their last 12 but now employing a temporary manager for the weekend. Jim Riggleman’s surprise resignation following a walk-off

Tales from the clubhouse: Riggleman’s resignation

I get asked often about the craziest story I’ve covered on the Nationals beat, and there’s no shortage of choices over the last 15 years. But my answer has been consistent for a long time now: it’s Jim Riggleman’s surprise resignation during the 2011 season, and the chaotic 72 hours that followed. In fact, when Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch (a long ago intern

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Are we inching closer to a decision about the 2020 Major League Baseball season? Is the start of the season in South Korea encouraging or discouraging for our chances of a season here? And how in the world did Matt Williams become the highest-paid manager in Korea Baseball Organization history? You’ve got questions. We’ve (hopefully) got answers. If you’ve got something you want to ask

As KBO season begins, Thames optimistic for MLB’s chances

Eric Thames, like so many other baseball players, media members and fans, turned on his television late Monday night to watch a real, live ballgame between two professional teams. And like so many others who tuned in, Thames was mortified by the sight of a tarp covering the infield at Daegu Samsung Lions Park. “Initially I was angry, because it was a rain delay!” the

How many games are needed for a legitimate season?

We still don’t know when - or if - the 2020 Major League Baseball season will begin. We do know it won’t be a full, 162-game season, though. Even in a best-case scenario, there’s just not enough time to play all 162, not without extending the regular season deep into December and the World Series beyond New Year’s Day. That’s not happening. So if they

Casting Nats players as “Star Wars” characters

When it’s Week 8 of writing about baseball when there’s no baseball to write about, you start coming up with some weird ideas. Most of them never see the light of day, but some of them do. And this is one of them. Monday was May 4. For “Star Wars” fans, it’s an unofficial national holiday. Why? Cause it’s May the Fourth. As in: “May

State of the Nats roster: Outfield

We continue today a periodic look at the state of the Nationals roster at the point spring training was suspended and project how things may look whenever baseball is played again. Up next is the outfield ... We don’t know when the Nationals will take the field again as a team, but when that glorious day does arrive, we know exactly how they’ll line up

Tales from the clubhouse: Getting pranked by the players

Every so often in this profession, you write an article knowing it’s going to touch a few nerves. Criticism isn’t going to sit well with everyone, especially those who are actually being criticized. But when it happens, you show up to work the next day, and if someone wants to let you know what they really thought about your work, you give them the opportunity

Martinez trying to plan for various spring training scenarios

Davey Martinez’s days are pretty occupied right now, all things considered. As he waits things out at his 350-acre farm near Nashville, he spends his mornings riding a Peloton bike, his afternoons outside taking care of his massive property and in between chases his new puppies Champ and Mya around. There is some time reserved for Martinez’s actual day job, though, and right now what

The gutsy start that forever changed Strasburg’s narrative

The narrative of the Nationals franchise as a whole, and the narrative of many of those who wore the Nats uniform, forever changed last October. What had been regarded by many as a very good organization that consistently underachieved in the postseason is now thought of as a model of perseverance and togetherness. The Nationals finally rose to the occasion in 2019, and high on

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