The Next Week

As most of the regulars here now, I have spent the past 3 1/2 months student teaching in preparation for a big career change.

Today marked the end of that phase of my education. I wrapped up my teaching internship today.

It’s had an impact on the posting at NFA, I know. I appreciate everyone’s patience as I worked through the long days & nights.

Why do I bring this up?

NFA is going to be quiet for the next week as I take a vacation. I’m headed off to Utah for a week of hiking and relaxing (with a day of gambling in Vegas).

I’ll see everyone on May 10.

  1. #1 by Souldrummer - April 30th, 2010 at 18:10

    No worries man. We understand this is a hobby and a service and we’ll take whatever you have to offer. Good luck with that teaching thing. Teaching has kicked my butt and I will be sad if you’re not able to do as much here but glad that your heart is where your students need it to be.

  2. #2 by Richard - April 30th, 2010 at 18:22

    Brian, many thanks for the hard work bringing the farm news!

  3. #3 by AlexVA - April 30th, 2010 at 18:34

    One of the best things about your site is how it has help bring the minors into the media’s consciousness. as a result we have other places to give us our fix while you recharge. have fun, you’re still the best.

  4. #4 by Farid - April 30th, 2010 at 18:46

    Brian, Utah? C’mon, man! Come visit us here in Idaho, it’s cleaner and we’re a lot more attractive than those Utah so-and-so’s.

    Yeah, the two states don’t have a good relationship.

    I finished my student teaching and internship last semester. I earned $80,000 my last year working (that’s good money for Idaho) and will earn $31,000 my first year as a teacher.

    My kids are still shaking their heads! But you have to be able to wake up in the morning excited for the day at hand. I had lost that.

    Good luck with your vacation (though Idaho really is nicer :) — and good luck with your teaching.


  5. #5 by Sue Dinem - April 30th, 2010 at 20:09

    Brian – Let loose. I’ll post links here to our Daily News & Notes from and my observations when Potomac’s back in town, but the NFA name is still quite accurate.

  6. #6 by joNAThan - April 30th, 2010 at 21:03

    You deserve it Brian. Enjoy the trip!

  7. #7 by Nate - April 30th, 2010 at 22:52

    Always bet on black.

  8. #8 by Chris - April 30th, 2010 at 23:51

    Alright, everyone. I’ve got his address. Party at his place Tuesday night.

  9. #9 by johnnymop3 - May 1st, 2010 at 00:14

    need an assistant?

  10. #10 by Berndaddy - May 1st, 2010 at 00:29

    Have fun teach!!! Don’t let the bed bugs bit.

  11. #11 by Sue Dinem - May 1st, 2010 at 08:57

    Friday’s News & Notes:

  12. #12 by BinM - May 1st, 2010 at 10:58

    Farid: Idaho’s just greener than Utah, and we both know it’s a combination of mold & moss.

    Go Utes, Go Nats!

  13. #13 by Mark L - May 1st, 2010 at 11:05

    Thanks, Sue.

  14. #14 by Rich - May 1st, 2010 at 16:18

    Assuming Stras gets promoted after the weekend game. When do you guys think he’ll play his first game in DC?

  15. #15 by Sue Dinem - May 1st, 2010 at 17:23

    With no more delays, June 6 vs. Cincinnati. If there’s another rainout, June 8 vs. Pittsburgh. Folks interested in tagging onto the Memorial Day weekend might want to swing by Scranton/Wilkes Barre on May 27, because that’s the closest he’ll be before his MLB debut.

  16. #16 by John - May 1st, 2010 at 17:26

    Perhaps you’ll find time to stop by the College of Southern Nevada?

  17. #17 by Sue Dinem - May 2nd, 2010 at 07:46

    Saturday’s News & Notes:

    Folks may want to click through to the Harrisburg section to see my story when and where Strasburg will pitch for Syracuse.

  18. #18 by Marcus - May 2nd, 2010 at 10:28

    Thanks sue appreciate it…

  19. #19 by Nats fan in NJ - May 2nd, 2010 at 10:35

    Brian – Enjoy your vaca! Repeating other posts, but this site rocks and you’ve made me a better Nationals fan through this site.

    Sue – Thanks…

  20. #20 by Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - May 2nd, 2010 at 11:58

    Have a good vacation Brian. Thanks for taking up the slack Sue.

  21. #21 by Jordan - May 2nd, 2010 at 12:44

    If anyone feels like reading about a future national and the most likely #1 pick this year….you know his name…

  22. #22 by Joe - May 2nd, 2010 at 22:43

    Brian, congrats on finishing up! I’m starting grad school for education in the fall so I understand how hard you’ve been working. Congrats again, and enjoy your time off.

  23. #23 by Joe - May 2nd, 2010 at 22:45

    My previous comment didn’t post I don’t think, so just wanted to say congrats on finishing up! I’m starting grad school in the fall for education so I understand how hard you’ve worked. Congrats again, and thanks for your hard work here on the site.

  24. #24 by Sue Dinem - May 3rd, 2010 at 07:25

    Sunday’s News & Notes:

    Yours truly did write the past two eds., but the N&Ns are mostly and usually written by April Whitzman, our Canadian contributor. I’ll take full blame for the visual puns ;-)

  25. #25 by Sue Dinem - May 3rd, 2010 at 07:55

    Expect more today, but to catch folks up on stuff since Friday:

  26. #26 by Jeff E. - May 3rd, 2010 at 09:58

    Anyone else read the good article in WSJ last week about the Cuban scout who was a prisoner under Castro????….I guess he is employed by Lerner and Kasten…

  27. #27 by Ephesius Remsen Hammersley - May 3rd, 2010 at 10:20

    Enjoy the vacation Brian.

  28. #28 by Ephesius Remsen Hammersley - May 3rd, 2010 at 17:21

    Any word on a Strasburg promotion?

  29. #29 by Sue Dinem - May 4th, 2010 at 08:42

    Monday’s News & Notes:

  30. #30 by Sue Dinem - May 4th, 2010 at 09:05

    First Impressions, Hagerstown Edition:

  31. #31 by Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - May 4th, 2010 at 16:09

    NATS’ Journal (possibly other places also) has Strasburg promoted to Syracuse.

  32. #32 by Rich - May 4th, 2010 at 20:42

    Is Burgess really doing that well?

    *–Asked for any minor leaguers making a particular impression, Rizzo named only Potomac outfielder Michael Burgess. This weekend, Harris was in Potomac watching the P-Nats. “I think he is on the forefront of having a breakout year,” Rizzo said. “He’s got all the tools and the ability level to be an impact, everyday player for us in the near future.”

  33. #33 by markfd - May 4th, 2010 at 22:47

    Rich – Looks like someone who knows baseball agrees with me!

  34. #34 by Jane - May 5th, 2010 at 07:25

    Stephen Strasburg, congratulations on your promotion to Syracuse!

  35. #35 by Sue Dinem - May 5th, 2010 at 08:44

    Tuesday’s News & Notes:

    Regarding Burgess, the key word is “forefront,” which while misused by Rizzo, means that he’s on the verge. It does not mean he’s ready yet.

    The power is starting to come back, but his vulnerability to being pitched away is still there, something you’d know if you watched the game in person versus looking at stat sheet.

    As is the case with any prospect, consistency over a longer period of time than a week or two is what will earn a promotion.

    For example, Marrero did not get promoted last May, which was prescient because the league adjusted to him, dropping his average from a high of .323 to .277 over the course of ten days (5/6-5/16). It wasn’t until Chris readjusted in July, with a vengeance, that the brass deemed him ready.

  36. #36 by Scott - May 5th, 2010 at 11:28

    Very encouraging start for Burgess. We’re talking about a kid whose K% (K/AB) was about 35% over two levels in 2008 and 28% in 2009. This year it’s down below 20%, while his BB% is up from about 10% to 16%.

    I trust Sue that he’s having problems with stuff away, but these are big steps forward thus far. Taking some walks and having some power are great secondary tools, but neither means anything if you make so little contact you’re destined to hit .230.

  37. #37 by cjrugger - May 5th, 2010 at 12:57

    Sue and Rizzo arent really disagreeing, just wording things differantly

    By no means is Rizzo saying Burgess has arrived, and I’m sure Rizzo would agree that he still has work to do.

    That said, a power hitter struggling with off speed stuff away is hardly a rare problem- a lot of very successful big leagueres struggle with it

  38. #38 by Sue Dinem - May 5th, 2010 at 13:17

    @cjr – Precisely. After this weekend, Burgess will have faced the entire league at least once. It’s what happens after that remains to be seen. It’s still pretty goofy that righthanders are having a much better time against Burgess than lefties, but that’s probably just a reversion to the mean that just hasn’t happened yet.

    @Scott – Yes, and there are times when he can lay off, so he’s getting closer to solving this. What I’m still waiting for is that SHOT into the RCF gap. Doesn’t have to be hit necessarily. Just a sign that he can still pull the ball and drive it.

  39. #39 by Marcus - May 5th, 2010 at 20:13

    Hey Sue,

    What are your thoughts on S. Lombardozi? for all the Kobernus love he gets very little although he had a nice season in Hagerstown last year and seems to now be hitting Potomac pitching…

  40. #40 by Scott - May 6th, 2010 at 07:44

    Yeah, Lombardozzi has to be at least a guy to watch at this point, doesn’t he? Does he have decent range at 2B? Because he doesn’t seem to make a lot of errors there.

    You can definitely fit in at the major league level as a good glove second basemen who draws walks. Looks like he’s hitting with some more pop this year, too.

    Would it surprise you if he turned into one of those players who never cracked an organizational top 10 list but contibuted more at the major league level than most of the higher ranked prospects?

    Kind of like an Orlando Hudson?

  41. #41 by Sue Dinem - May 6th, 2010 at 08:05

    Wednesday’s News & Notes:

    @Marcus – Well, I can’t speak for how he hits against PNats pitchers ;-), but the rest of Carolina League seems to be at a loss with him. At least the RHPs (.322/.391/.484)

    He’s a competent fielder, slightly above-average baserunner (he gets by on technique, not raw speed). As alluded above, LHPs do have his number thus far (.200/.226/.267) but that’s 31 or so PAs. Looking over my scorebook, I’m seeing just one hit against a LH starter over roughly 10ABs. So, sample size, yada yada yada.

    Lombo’s on a 10-game hit streak, hitting .409 during, but he was batting right around .200 before it and wasn’t getting on base. As hot as he’s been, he still hasn’t gotten his BA over .300 and his OBP above .350

    If I had to guess (and I do), I’d say the front office is looking him to do this over a longer stretch of time, but in general, it seems that Rizzo is much more conservative with promoting position players, much to the chagrin of some very, very impatient folks ’round these parts.

  42. #42 by Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - May 6th, 2010 at 09:01


    Thanks again for taking up the slack. It seems everyone has beaten me to the punch on asking about Lombardozzi. All my questions are answerred. However, would you give us (me) an update onf D. Norris? I hope he will play some games this season.

  43. #43 by Sue Dinem - May 6th, 2010 at 10:36

    @Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 – I’ve heard that his return could be as soon as next week.

  44. #44 by nick - May 6th, 2010 at 10:54

    Has it been confirmed that Colten Willems retired?

  45. #45 by Jordan - May 6th, 2010 at 11:13

    nick :

    Has it been confirmed that Colten Willems retired?

    Yes it has. By the minorleagues twitter and other websites.

  46. #46 by Souldrummer - May 6th, 2010 at 11:33

    Colten Willems – BOWDEN!!! The 2006 draft is the gift that keeps on giving. First 6 picks were all high schoolers and none of them has hit the bigs. The closest one right now to any kind of contribution is Marrero, sad so sad. What went wrong with this draft? I wish some reporter from WaPo or an institution with resources would blow a hole in whoever was drafting that year because that year more than anything else to me hinders us a respectable organization from a talent development standpoint.

  47. #47 by GAB - May 6th, 2010 at 11:57

    Anybody knows why Kobernus hasn’t played in a while?

  48. #48 by Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - May 6th, 2010 at 14:27

    Thanks Sue. Post on NATS Journal says two weeks per NATS’ head of player development. Good news!

  49. #49 by Paul - May 6th, 2010 at 18:57

    I have two tickets to Futures at Fenway the Potomic Nats are playing in that game my wife and I can no longer go to the game so two tickets for sale section 25 box 142 row CC seats1&2 first $45.00 gets both Saturday July 10th

  50. #50 by Cole - May 6th, 2010 at 21:20

    This is a quote from Jim Callis at BA regarding Harper: “Perhaps the best power-hitting prospect in the history of the draft”.

  51. #51 by Sue Dinem - May 7th, 2010 at 08:10

    Thursday’s News & Notes:

    Click thru the Potomac link for a line I’ve been saving for a certain reliever ;-)

    Lombardozzi’s hit streak is now 11 – got 2 hits in hs first two at-bats, both batting right-handed

    BA breathlessly touting a prospect. How novel. In other news, the sun rose in the Eastern sky this morning.

  52. #52 by Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - May 7th, 2010 at 09:17

    Is Gwinnett allowed to concede tonight?:) How long will the NATS organization stay with Smoker? At least McGeary is making progress. If Lombardozzi keeps it going (overall play not the streak) through June, maybe a promotion to Harrisburg and a cup of coffee in DC in Sept?

  53. #53 by Marcus - May 7th, 2010 at 10:02

    Sue thanks for the information on Lomdardozzi…Sec 204: Espinosa is next n line @ second base so Lombardozzi won’t see the majors till Espi gets his shot & prolly will b @ Potomac all year but it’d b interesting if the organization sends him to the AFL dis summer

  54. #54 by Souldrummer - May 7th, 2010 at 10:11

    Sue, just read your News and Notes back on your home site. Thanks for the note, especially on Smoker’s outing. I guess the 4 perfect innings to start will lead us to keep running him out there on hopes that the high draft pick recovers something to remain viable. What’s his stuff looked like in his starts? Is he at a point where we’re worried about his stuff being viable? Or is he a head case or a command problem that they will give him every available opportunity to corral?

  55. #55 by Paul - May 7th, 2010 at 10:43

    why would gwinnett concede?

  56. #56 by RT - May 7th, 2010 at 12:30

    Hoping someone could help me with something. Im heading to a nats game in a few weeks with a large group of friends. Normally i just take metro in, but this time we are looking to do some tailgating before the game. Ive heard that lot W allows for tailgating (I miss the old RFK tailgating), has anyone tried this and how did it go? Are their any restrooms and did you generally have a good experience? Thanks in advance

  57. #57 by Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - May 7th, 2010 at 14:16

    Marcus–Always thought of Desmond as the stand in for Espinosa at shortstop. Has he been playing any second? I guess he could play second. It seems Lombardozzi started playing third back in the day (Correct me if memory fails) so it is possible Espi comes first.


    If they could concede (they can’t, of couse), they might because the “second coming” is pitching tonight–5 inngins-10 Ks, 0-1 BB, No ER. By the way, Chico is supposed to start tomorrow for NATS. I have no source but other bloggers.

  58. #58 by Sue Dinem - May 7th, 2010 at 14:54

    Souldrummer – I haven’t seen Smoker yet, but folks who have say they’ve been disappointed. The News & Notes are done off boxscores & other websites, with the exception (of course) of “Last Night In Woodbridge” (which always makes me hum “One Night In Bangkok” in my head) where I give my 2 cents on what I saw that night or afternoon.

    Lombardozzi’s never played at 3B as a minor-leaguer, just 2B and SS and only 7 games as a SS. He’s made a couple of good plays with the glove, but I haven’t seen him make a strong enough throw when he’s ranging to his right, which leads me to believe that he’s in the right spot in the IF.

  59. #59 by Sue Dinem - May 8th, 2010 at 08:26

    One step closer for Strasburg:

  60. #60 by Andrew F. - May 8th, 2010 at 20:42

    Welcome back, Brad Meyers.

  61. #61 by Souldrummer - May 8th, 2010 at 20:47

    @Andrew You can say that again. Now that he’s done for the night I can put up his line: 5IP, 4H, 2BB, 0R, 9K That’s the heartbreaking thing for Mr. Matt Chico after his fine work today. He goes from being the 5th man in the Nats rotation to the third best prospect on his own team. At this point, Thompson and Meyers carry more long term hope for the organization than Chico does methinks. Went to the ballpark today and it was good to see Chico throwing strikes and getting ground balls.

    Hoping that our scouts are scouring other organization’s prospects to see if we can start converting some of our pitching inventory into real prospects in the OF, 1B, and 3B.

  62. #62 by Sue Dinem - May 8th, 2010 at 22:35

    I was at Harrisburg tonight and Meyers looked pretty good, though it should be noted that Richmond are the second-worst hitting team in the EL, which explains perfectly the Senators 1-0 loss tonight to the Squirrels.

  63. #63 by Sue Dinem - May 9th, 2010 at 07:17

    Three losses and a suspended game were the lowlights on a Saturday night:

  64. #64 by tbyrom - May 9th, 2010 at 09:22

    SD, you should have come up and said hello. You picked an awfully chilly night to make an appearance in the ‘burg.

    Meyers looked good last night, especially considering it was his first “live” outing of the season. What impressed me the most was his spotting of pitches.

    Unfortunately the Sens aren’t scoring many runs lately…

  65. #65 by Mark L - May 9th, 2010 at 11:49

    Thanks again, Sue.

  66. #66 by Sue Dinem - May 9th, 2010 at 15:36

    @tbyrom – You didn’t see me? I was wearing a red Nationals hat and listening to you guys on my AM radio. I waved when you referenced the folks in the park, but couldn’t quite see where they’d move you guys to — two boxes over from the control room ? (Which I only figured out for sure with the “7th Inning Rave”) I’ll have to say “Hi” next time I make it there.

    Speaking of which, as you guys well know, I’m not prone to puffery, my post-newspaper career in marketing/copywriting not withstanding. But I will say that the NEW Metro Bank Park is exactly that. It is the most impressive rebuild on a non-WPA park I’ve ever seen. It looks and feels like brand-new ballpark and I highly recommend the all-you-can-eat club seats – best $30 you’ll spend for baseball and food.

  67. #67 by gmo - May 9th, 2010 at 17:32

  68. #68 by Souldrummer - May 9th, 2010 at 23:23

    Sue, I’ve got to agree with you on Harrisburg. I drove up there once last year and it was a great, great experience. I’m sure it’s even better with the additional improvements they’ve made. It was a great place to handle the Strasburg crush, and it’s too bad that yet again that team is godawful and can’t take full advantage of the new ballpark and the Strasburg hype. How has attendance been over there in the wake of Strasburg getting called up?

  69. #69 by Sue Dinem - May 10th, 2010 at 08:08

    News & Notes From Sunday Afternoon Action in the Nationals’ Minors:

    @TheOtherSD – The announced attendance on Saturday’s game was 4,817, but as Terry mentioned, the blustery weather didn’t inspire much of a walkup. What I found the most impressive about the new park — from a marketer’s standpoint — is how well it is set up to accommodate multiple groups; that’s where the real money is (besides suites, of course).

    To paraphrase from one of my sports-marketing classes or perhaps Josh Lewin’s book (“Getting In The Game”), season ticketholders, on average actually use about 50% of their tickets, but groups are usually 80-90% and that’s before things like concessions, catering, etc. Ever wonder why they do things like reading programs for kids? Because someone has to take the kid to the game (and buy a ticket!) and it’s often two family members. Never mind kids’ proclivity to eat, eat, eat.

    Attendance figures are always an amusing game to me. Take Opening Night at Potomac – allegedly 5,142 people showed up. I was there – it was more like a few hundred, max. But every operator fudges the figures because it’s always in their best interests ( e.g. “Hey, buy a sign for our OF wall that X,XXX people will see 70 nights a year”).

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