Monday, February 08, 2010

Pooping in the Punch Bowl

So by now you've read about former Moonie Times writer Mark Zuckerman's vacation plans campaign to get us readers to send him to Florida. Having just come from a Florida vacation, which had me shelling about $1,800 out of my pocket, I'm quite envious of his ingenuity; I knew I should've thrown a donate button up!

At any rate, I dig the idea. I've ranted (me? rant?) about the lousy coverage the team gets, and it's even lousier lately -- as FJB notes with his typically caustic style.

Teh Zuck promises to send donors access to Jim Riggleman's press conference, which will be a perfect substitute for a fancy pair of noise-canceling headphones.

By all means, go donate. As soon as my next paycheck comes in and I get that stupid Disney bill paid off, I'll be happy to chip in the price of a few orders of chili nachos.

But here's the thing: do I really want more Spring Training coverage? Meh. I mean I love the IDEA of Spring Training... hope, spring, change... blah blah blah. It hooks in to people for sentimental and emotional reasons, and there's value to that.

But if you take that away? Yawn. It's the most boring time of the year. Players work out. Yawn. Scrub minor leaguers play games while real major leaguers work on honing a particular skill, instead of playing like it's Game 7.

I s'pose there are story lines, but when we're talking about Garrett Mock or Colon Battlestar, who really cares? As we've seen ever year, decisions about who stays and who goes are just as much made based on options and contract status as merit. It's not like a few hot innings from Shairon Martis are going to make him a great pitcher. (Didn't Jason Simontacchi have a great spring, or something like that?)

Really, coming into this spring, there's not much I really want to know about that's likely to not be covered by whatever pros are actually left. It's not like we're going to have a Soriano situation again. And I doubt (though you never know) that Rizzo's going to have the Bowden itch to make a big trade during ST. (And it's not like any of the pro reporters really ever had much on trade rumors anyway).

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I love the idea of what he's doing, but not the timing. I'd rather have that extra set of eyes during the regular season -- when things matter, and things actually happen.

This isn't meant to discourage anyone from chipping in; I'd really recommend it. I just don't know what we're going to get out of it, and listening to Riggles' presser ain't it. Besides, 98% of everything I need to know about spring training, I can get out of one of SBF's photo essays. ::mugs::


  • Didn't Jason Simontacchi have a great spring, or something like that?

    He got injured. Which, in the context of 2007 spring training, qualified as "great."

    By Blogger Basil, at 2/08/2010 10:51 PM  

  • ok... it was a different shit pitcher that had a great spring training one of those years.

    martis is going to suck whether he pitches great in spring training or not.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/08/2010 11:06 PM  

  • Whoops, we're both right. Simontacchi pitched well, then got hurt. And now we shall never speak of him again!

    By Blogger Basil, at 2/08/2010 11:12 PM  

  • Does this mean no more impromptu games of Simontacchi Sez?

    By Blogger Nate, at 2/08/2010 11:16 PM  

  • Could better coverage have kept Kearns from fooling everyone with his great spring last year, beating out Dukes and Willingham and ultimately destroying the season before it even started? Would better coverage have meant Manny Acta would still be here and not in Cleveland now?

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 2/08/2010 11:17 PM  

  • Spring Training will be a far sight more fun than checking 10 times a day. All right, fine- spring training will provide extra entertainment while I still check 10 times a day.

    By Blogger Positively Half St., at 2/09/2010 6:49 AM  

  • Chris - Fair enough. I can understand the spring training is not the important perspective. I chose to look at it from a more macro level where I saw the value of keeping Mark's experience and voice.

    Your post responding to Chico's eerily similar to Barry's coverage of the 'new & improved' front office is the case in point.

    Mark has the knowledge and contacts to ask the right questions and provide the type of coverage that more passionate fans are looking for.

    I agree that spring training coverage by itself is nothing earth-shattering and the stuff he's offering as rewards at various levels may not be too exciting.

    I just see value in keeping one of the few pieces of corporate knowledge regarding the Nats close to the product.

    By Blogger Brian, at 2/09/2010 7:43 AM  

  • I disagree on Spring Training Value. If Riggleman gets it and Mark reports it, this should be a vastely different Spring Training. Rizzo said at Fanfest that he believed the team did not put in the work needed to improve defense last year. Zimm said recently that defense had been "swept under the rug"....I expect Mark to report and comment on this issue. If they improve the defense and fundamentals then this team should be able to put a entertaining product on the field each least not kill any buzz of a new season in the first month....something we have not seen since 2005. Did that 2005 team have talent to go .500? Nope but they had a manager who expected more and Vets who knew what was worked. This team could do the same with younger parts and better talent. The next 6 weeks will set the tone.

    By Blogger JayB, at 2/09/2010 7:57 AM  

  • Spring is just the start. He's going to end up raising enough to do the regular season, too.
    New manager, lots of new faces, Strasburg - this is a different kind of spring.

    By Blogger MikeHarris, at 2/09/2010 8:05 AM  

  • Chris-
    I think you did miss one minor point in that ST is the one part of the season that very few of the fans actually get to see first hand. During the season if we want to see how the team is shaping up we can just hop on a train to Navy Yard when it's convenient.
    That said, I hope this guy doesn't end up making it rain in some FL club with everybody's hard earned cash.

    By Blogger Rob B, at 2/09/2010 9:37 AM  

  • Strasburg's a perfect example of what I'm talking about. We already know what's going to happen with him; he's not coming north. Options/contract mean there's only like a 2% chance they'll send him up here.

    As far as how he's pitching, we'll see that from the box scores and the traditional game stories that will be written. We'll still get the banal quotes from Riggles and the pitching coach; maybe not as many of them, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

    What I'm saying is that if we've got limited opportunity to get an extra set of eyes on the team, I'm not sure I'd want those eyes there then. But apparently I'm in the vast minority on this one.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/09/2010 11:25 AM  

  • Having this set of eyes down there or even during the season is not going to make one iota of difference in how the team performs, either on the field or off. Why, this same set of eyes has been down there already for the last five years on the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's dime (hey, did you know he once met Frank Costanza?) and what difference did that make? Mark Zuckerman, as good a reporter as he is, is not going to tell us anything more than MASN will, or even the Post's intern du jour. Banal sound bites from Riggleman's pressers. (Or maybe he'll go all Dan Steinberg on us and give us transcriptions of every banal word of them.) Accounts of coaches working with players on their defense and pronouncing everything hunky-dory. Strasburg throws a bullpen session and hits Mach 2, but he'll still be starting the season in Potomac. The riveting saga of the battle for that all-important 25th man spot. (Would they dare cut Wil Nieves? Who? Wil Nieves!)

    That's all we're going to get, no more no less, whether Zuckerman is there or not. Can't wait for the inevitable explosion from JayB once he finds out that the bucks he put in to get the right to submit a question for Riggleman are getting him nothing but the same old canned answers everyone else is getting. That should be entertaining. But guess what? You don't even have to contribute to Mark to enjoy it.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 2/09/2010 2:09 PM  

  • Chris sez of spring training: "Scrub minor leaguers play games while real major leaguers work on honing a particular skill."

    Yeah, like getting that new $550 Ping driver to just get a slight draw into those tricky Florida winds...

    By Anonymous Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me, at 2/09/2010 8:27 PM  

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