Very minor information. Part of a Kasten interview about the Syracuse AAA ball club. I'm pasting the juiciest part...and there's a good article about ice fishing linked from the Kasten article. ha ha
"We are a franchise that is dedicated to player development through the minor leagues," he said. "That can't be done without great communication and a great relationship with all of our affiliates, most importantly our Triple-A affiliate. It is part of our responsibility to make Syracuse a success and we don't take that responsibility lightly. We expect to deliver.
"We've really rebuilt our minor-league infrastructure these last couple of years, and for the first time the people we've added to the system will be at the Triple-A level. We're going to have at least six of eight position players with real chances to be in the major leagues as soon as this season. The same with some of our pitchers on that staff. I think that bodes well for a successful season for the Chiefs."
Chico Harlan, of The Washington Post, reports Washington Nationals 1B Chris Marrero is working hard during the offseason to lose weight and become more athletic. There was concern that he would have to move to a designated hitter role because he had gained too much weight. Marrero could begin the 2009 season with Double-A Harrisburg.
The Nats On TV
This year, it will be a little bit easier to watch the Nationals on TV. Sometimes, you'll even be able to watch them on two channels at once. MASN has just announced a partnership with WDCW-TC (DC50) which will allow the local CW affiliate to broadcast 20 games this season.
The Nats peripatetic TV existence can sometimes be confusing -- they are sometimes on MASN... or MASN2... which is the same channel for Comcast subscribers as, um, CSPAN... or is it CSPAN2? -- so let me be clear about what this DC50 deal means.
* First of all, this year, MASN and/or MASN2 will broadcast each and every Nats game, EXCEPT for those that might be turned into national Fox broadcasts.
* At least 100 of those games will be shown in HD. (Last year, only 40 were.)
* When a game is shown on DC50 -- that will happen mostly for Sunday afternoon games -- fans can still watch the Nats on MASN or MASN2. (In other words, you get the always-enthralling choice of comparing the feeds, the color intensity of each, etc. It's like watching the State of the Union address.)
* For those 20 games, DC50 will also show MASN's pre- and post-game shows.
* If DC50 is broadcasting a MASN or MASN2 HD game, DC50 will also show the game in HD.
* Now, some background. Beginning in 2005, MASN had an over-the-air contract in place with WDCA-20, which showed anywhere from 68 to 25 games annually. This was especially helpful when the Nats first moved to the District and many of the area's biggest cable providers -- Comcast and Cox -- didn't carry MASN. However, there was also a problem with this situation. Whenever WDCA-20 carried a Nats game, MASN and/or MASN2 did not. Plus, WDCA-20 didn't carry the pre- and post-game stuff; MASN or MASN2 did. Thus, fans who wanted any Nats coverage before or after the game would be flipping channels and searching. Now, the WDCA-20 contract has expired, so MASN was able to start fresh.
* By the way, MASN spokesman Todd Webster, when I spoke with him today, wasn't yet ready to reveal the team's exact HD schedule for the year. He said an announcement on that is in the works.
Matt Eddy at Baseball America has his first listing of minor league transactions in 2009. Two of the names (Gustavo Molina and Wil Ledezma) were already known. There is one new name signed to a minor league contract, RHP Josh Towers.
The 31-year old Towers spent the 2008 season pitching at Triple-A for the Rockies after five seasons with the Blue Jays. He is not overpowering with a fastball that peaks around 90 mph. He doesn’t walk too many hitters (1.5 walks per 9IP over 726 major league IP) but he does give up quite a few hits (roughly 11 per 9IP in his major league career). He’s your prototype #5 starting pitcher. If he sticks with the Nats, Syracuse seems his starting point where he would pitch until the Nats needed a spot starter/injury replacement.
Interesting Strasburg article. They are acting like there's a way Strasburg could still be on the board for the Padres. Like it's up to Boras or like it matters who's running the Padres. Also, I saw Tom Glavine is potentially interested in the Nats.
Tom Glavine, LHP, free agent: Glavine is throwing off the mound and is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews early this week for an examination that could determine how soon the Braves sign him. Although Glavine wants to stay in Atlanta to be close to his family, he would entertain Washington. Nationals president and former Braves president Stan Kasten has kept in touch with Glavine to gauge his interest.
The Washington Nationals have become the first big-league team in recent memory to part ways with its concessionaire after the inaugural season at a new ballpark. Levy Restaurants and Facility Merchandising Inc. are taking over the food and retail accounts.
I like Don, and think he works well with Bob. It would be a shame to lose him. But it also demonstrates that management doesn't care about the little things. Like getting a good radio station with a better signal to carry the games. Keeping and announcing team for more than a couple of years to let them and the team grow together.
You know...little things to show the fans they care. Like signing....