Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"The [expletive] Nationals?!"

VIERA, Fla. -- Ever since the day this winter the Nationals announced they had signed Eddie Guardado to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, I'd been dying to ask the veteran left-hander about a particular incident from his past involving this franchise.

It was July 31, 2008, and Guardado was pitching for the Rangers. He was having a good season, and Texas wasn't in a pennant race, so he knew there was a chance he could get traded before the 4 p.m. Eastern deadline. Sure enough, he got called into GM Jon Daniels' office and was told he'd been dealt to the Nationals. As the story goes, Guardado blew his stack, insulted that he'd just been traded to the worst team in the majors. Turns out it was all a practical joke, though Nats fans may not have found Guardado's reaction so hilarious.

So clearly, he needed to be asked about this whole incident now that he actually CHOSE to sign with the Nationals. This morning, a couple of us were interviewing Guardado and brought the story up. Here's his full answer, edited for a family audience, of course...

"Let me try to explain," Guardado said. "Hey, it's the big leagues. But I was pitching good. I was throwing the ball good. I was like, what the [expletive] am I going do in Washington? If I was going to get traded, I wanted to go to a contender. That was the whole thing. It was nothing against the organization. It just came out wrong. Because I was hot.

"I was in the steam room, getting ready. It was toward that deadline, and [manager Ron Washington] pulls me out of the steam room and says, 'Eddie, come here.' I'm like, 'Aw, [expletive].' I'm soaking wet, and he says, 'Hey man, they want you upstairs.' Are you [expletive] kidding me? Where am I going? That's exactly what I said. And he goes, 'Eh, you gotta go talk to [Daniels].' I go, 'Skip, I at least deserve that. Where am I going?' He says, 'I think it's the Washington Nationals.' I go, 'The [expletive] Nationals?! What the [expletive] am I going to do there? [Expletive] this [expletive]!'

"So I'm soaked. I get my my slippers on, they take me upstairs, soaked. J.D. and all the brass is in there. I walk in and say, 'What the [expletive] is going on?' I was hot. And he looked at me and was like, 'Oh, come here, man.' So he took me down there and said, 'We're just [messing] with you.' And I said, 'You were about to go through that window!' He goes, 'No, we're just [messing] with you. April Fools, or whatever.' And I go, 'You mother [expletive]. I was about to chew you [guys] out.' Excuse my language. But that was the story. They got me. They got me.

"Hey, I've got nothing but respect [for the Nationals]. They were the first team that called me this winter and gave me an invite. They showed me respect, and that's what it's all about. It's all respect. I'm a respect guy. That's how I grew up. ... When they called, I said, sure, why not?"

40 comments:

Oscar Sodani said...

Great story - thanks for getting that for us. Isn't this the kind of stuff that would never make it into the fishwrap? Thank you for blogging!

Anonymous said...

Tounge of silver and balls of brass

natsfan1a said...

Executive summary: "Show me the [expletive deleted] money." :-)

---

"Hey, I've got nothing but respect [for the Nationals]. They were the first team that called me this winter and gave me an invite. They showed me respect, and that's what it's all about. It's all respect. I'm a respect guy. That's how I grew up. ... When they called, I said, sure, why not?"

(j)on said...

I'm gonna say, that story gives me no reason to like this guy still. Still hope he doesn't make the team.

Avar said...

Great [expletive] post!

No one else wanted him, we made him offer, of course he loves us now. I'm OK with it. Guessing the Rangers thought he was a good guy and a hot head so yanked his chain.

Traveler8 said...

I think we put this into the lore file along with the JLo at 4 am story.

Anonymous said...

Great story, Mark. But I'm sure glad I'm not paying you for getting it. Just read the exact same story over at Chico Harlan's blog. I thought you were promising something over and above the same-old same-old with this spring training venture. So where is it?

Sunderland said...

Wow. you're not financiually supporting the site, you post anonymously, and you think it's appropriate to rip the blogger?
That's seriously lame.

JayB said...

He is not paying for it so he has no idea what he is missing. I for one an a very happy supporter of Mark's efforts.

Anonymous said...

It also ought to be pointed out that Mark's story was up an hour earlier. Which means that if anyone's responsible for repetition, it's the WaPo.

JayB said...

Besides, when you listen to the audio files Mark sends you can tell who is asking the good questions...I'll bet you $5 that Mark asked the question and Chico wrote it up....recall Chico is still trying to find out why Grissom had a stop watch as a 1B coach last year.

greg said...

sad that two reporters in the same room at the same time with the same player might both report that he said the same thing. just awful journalism.

natsfan1a said...

Anon (as quoted below), although some of us contributed to funding of expenses for the spring training trip, Mr. Zuckerman posts to this blog for all to read. Those of us who contributed financially receive exclusive audio recordings. I'm glad that I contributed.

---

Great story, Mark. But I'm sure glad I'm not paying you for getting it. Just read the exact same story over at Chico Harlan's blog. I thought you were promising something over and above the same-old same-old with this spring training venture. So where is it?

natsfan1a said...

Ah, JayBee covered the audio file aspect while I was typing that. Never mind, then. :-)

peric said...

That's what happens when you've got a 28 year old GM I guess.

Anonymous said...

So, are these audio files from Mark any different than the ones MASN is providing for free over on their site? Riggleman press conferences, Strasburg and Rizzo interviews, etc? Or are you guys just paying extra so you can ask Jason Bergmann what he had for lunch yesterday?

JayB said...

ABM is that you?

Mark's efforts has forced MASN and Wpost to step up....you think they would be doing audio files without Mark in the game?

Anonymous said...

So, Mark is not providing anything over and above what the Post, MASN and other outlets already are. Thanks. That's excatly what I needed to know to make my decision whether or not to subscribe to his site.

JayB said...

Not that it is worth anyone's time to respond to Anonymous posters or you specifically ABM, but I disagree with your opinion. Done.

greg said...

don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out, anon!

Steve M. said...

Hopefully Mark has one of those Blog Admin's IP Address blocks. Works great on getting rid of losers!

Steve M. said...

Oh, and back here in Washington, I just got one of my Season Tix perks, field seats for the Dave Matthews concert!!!!!!!

alm1000 said...

Thanks Mark.

The FBI guys said, 'Michael Corleone did this, Michael Corleone did that' and I said 'yeah, sure'.

NatsNut said...

1a, you crack me UP. LMAO

This guy is so good natured and tells such a good story, I was just cracking up for the whole thing.

When this story came out it was at a real low point and, yea, it really bummed me out. But I won't hold it against the guy. We were about as low as a team could go without being the '62 Mets.

Section 222 said...

Please let the unexpurgated version of this interview be the player interview of the day for those of us who are supporting the site. :-)

natscan reduxit said...

... thank you Mark, for a fan blog experience - of about a week or so - that was so refreshingly free of the snide and snipe. But alas, it's over. Okay everybody, back in the pool. 'sigh'.

Kevin said...

Hey, Mark -- It's OK to write out "fuck" on a blog. In fact, the more color, the better. Give us the real stories, not the cleaned-up [expletive deleted] version. Give us what you weren't allowed to print at the Times and what WaPo will never give us.

LoveDaNats said...

Mark, don't listen to Kevin.

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, I'm with LovaDaNats.

markfd said...

[Expletive] Ya! Great [expletive] story, it sounds like Eddie [Expletive] Guardado has passion and fire, let's get him into the mix in the bullpen!

Anonymous said...

Mark, you clearly need to do something to differentiate your product from your competitors - Post, MASN, etc - and gain some traction in the market. Otherwise your funding's gonna dry up before long. The tried and true showbiz method of doing this is to start working blue. (Or bleu, as Wayne Newton would say.) Think about it. It might pay off for you, especially when your competitors have those antiquated editorial and governmental restrictions governing the content they can deliver. Take full advantage of the Web - it's the Wild Wild West here, y'know.

Anonymous said...

Just my two cents worth. This blog went online and for me instantly became the best source of information for the Nats. While I still read other blogs, this is the first site I visit each day. And the one I look forward to the most. I will echo another poster in saying that Mark will force the Post and MASN to do a better job than what we have had in the past. Ladson is just a hopeless cause and nothing will make him better. Let's hope the new reporter at the Post is better than Harlen. He ran that blog right into the ground. I for one am glad to see him go. In the end I think we as fans are the real winners. Mark thank you for your time and effort. It is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Great story, Mark. But I'm sure glad I'm not paying you for getting it. Just read the exact same story over at Chico Harlan's blog. I thought you were promising something over and above the same-old same-old with this spring training venture. So where is it?"

Nice going. You give Anonymous posters a bad name.

natsfan1a said...

FWIW, if some who are posting via the Anonymous profile should wish to have their monikers/names visible, they can always type their names/monikers in at the end of their posts. It's also possible to type a name/moniker in the box for the Name/URL profile and leave the URL box blank.

SonnyG10 said...

Mark,

You're doing an outstanding job in my opinion. I really look forward to your Nats Insider blogs and to the audio files you send. I am glad I contributed to your trip to cover the Nats spring training and I will make additional contributions if you keep this going past spring training.

ProudBlogReader said...

FWIW, those of you with long memories may recall that Mark was the first person (about two seasons ago) covering the Nats to start posting audio files online, doing live chats, and posting Q&A's with players. This was about two months before The Times hired good ol' Ben--who MASN happily touted as starting all of these things. Those of you with shorter memories may also recall that Mark's post about emailing audio files is about a month old and Ben's is, hmm, maybe a week or two at the most. It's really sad when someone who's got a nice cushy paying job still has to steal ideas from him former partner just to try and make himself look good. How pathetic. And shame on you for ripping on Mark--I hope YOU get laid off someday and have to try to make it on your own.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Folks, knock it off. You know what I'm talking about. Ben Goessling, Bill Ladson and Chico Harlan are all fine reporters who do great work. More importantly, they're all good friends. We spend more time with each other than we do our own families. I didn't launch this site in any way to undermine those guys. I launched this site to provide fans another venue with another voice covering the Nats.

When I initiated the fundraising campaign, I decided to offer those who contributed at certain levels extra content, things that at the time weren't being offered anywhere else. But there's certainly nothing preventing anyone else from offering the same material, for a fee or for free, and I have no problem with any of them doing just that.

If you contributed and feel like you've been shortchanged, please let me know and I'll refund your money. In the meantime, do not treat this space as an open forum to anonymously rip on other reporters. That's not cool.

Ben Goessling said...

Hey guys,

Just saw some of the stuff that's being batted around here, and wanted to chime in real quick:

Back in December, I watched the Pittsburgh Steelers beat my beloved Green Bay Packers in one of the best NFL games of the year. You probably saw it -- Ben Roethlisberger evaded a sack, threw a dart to the end zone and Mike Wallace made a brilliant tip-toed catch in the corner of the end zone to give the Steelers a 37-36 victory. I bring this up for two reasons: First, Mark is a huge Steelers fan, and we've had many arguments about whose team has the better legacy (12>6. Look it up.) :-) And second, the Packers overhauled their defense before the season by bringing in a number of coaches who'd worked in Pittsburgh and run the Steelers' 3-4 scheme. They were competing that day, but I'm willing to bet they're all friends off the field.

It's not all that different for the people who cover sports. Mark and I worked together for two years at the Washington Times, and we put together a coverage platform we thought worked well. Some of the things we did, Mark was doing before I got there (posting audio, fan chats, etc.). Some of the things we did, I added to the mix (Twitter, live in-game commentary, etc.). But we both believed in it, and thought we complemented each other well to make the paper's coverage the best Nats stuff you'd find anywhere.

We were planning to work together again this year, with me taking over the majority of the beat responsibilities and Mark moving into a national baseball reporter role. But we didn't get the chance because of what happened at the Washington Times. I know all you Nats fans in Spokane were crushed.

At any rate, we're working for two different outlets now, and we're naturally going to do some of the same things we thought worked at the Times, mixing those ideas with some new ones to make it work in our new roles. We're competing against each other now, but I assure you it's friendly. Mark and I have had dinner together twice this week already, and I'm sure we'll hang out many other times through the course of the spring. Now, I'm going to compete hard. So is Mark. So is Bill, so is Chico, and when he gets here, so is Adam Kilgore. But the fun thing about this job is, we all get to engage our alpha-male competitive sides while enjoying the camaraderie that comes from spending so much time together. It's fierce competition, but it's not personal. If you're looking for juicy rivalries, there are many better places to find them.

And the thing is, the big winners in all of this competition are you, the fans. You're better off with more news outlets covering the team, because the competition makes everyone better and you'll have more people working to present a complete account of what the Nationals are doing. We love what we do, and we love doing it for people who are passionate about it. But keep the passion tactful and respectful. Ask questions, criticize us constructively and suggest what we can do better. But don't go off slamming people, whether it's reporters or other fans, just for a good time. Trust me -- we have a lot more fun writing for you when you're putting it in the right context.

These are tough times for journalists, and I wish all of us could make decent money doing what we love. Mark's found a creative way to keep covering the team, and even though we're competing against him, we're all rooting for him. So keep checking his site out. Keep checking the Post, keep checking MLB.com, and keep checking MASN. Each one's got lots of good stuff -- some of it the same, and some of it different.

Just keep all the other stuff in check. Cool?

NatsGirl said...

Well, darn, Ben. There goes my idea for a "Celebrity Gossip Blog" about the Nats Beat Writers. I was planning to cover all of the cat-fights and boyfriend stealing and everything! ;-)

Spike94wl said...

"Mark, you clearly need to do something to differentiate yourself from your competitors - Post, MASN - and gain traction in the market".

Yeah, cause I know that MASN is letting you ask Jason Bergmann any question you want and also letting you ask Jim Riggleman/any player you want a question (if you donate $60). I also doubt the Post would be as responsive as Mark is to his readers. Yesterday I commented on the Scott Olsen post asking a question about how the Nats were going to handle Flores, Norris and Harper (assuming they draft him). Mark then wrote an entire post answering my question.

When other outlets start doing that, Mark will have to figure out something else. Until they do, shut up and get a life.

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