When I launched this site one week ago, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I knew I wanted to provide another outlet for news and analysis of the Washington Nationals. But with no method of advertising other than word-of-mouth, I didn't know how many people that content would reach.
Well, one week into this venture, I've been overwhelmed by your support. From the comments I've received, both publicly on the site and privately by email and phone. And from the thousands of hits this site has already received, many from right here in the D.C. area but plenty more from around the world. Who knew NatsTown extended to 18 different countries spanning the entire globe? From Japan to Kenya, from the United Kingdom to India, from Australia to Belgium, you've found your way here.
And all of that has led me to change the way I'm thinking about this project. You've all made it clear you want comprehensive coverage of the Nats, the kind that's hard to find elsewhere on the web. You don't just want another run-of-the mill blog that riffs off other media outlets' reports. You want a site that covers it all from the frontline, from someone who has access to every player and team official, and from someone who can provide the kind of first-hand accounts afforded only to a select few members of the media.
In other words, you want a site that covers spring training in its entirety.
So I've decided to make the trek down to Viera, Fla., later this month and join pitchers and catchers when they report to Space Coast Stadium for a six-week camp that's sure to boast all kinds of significant storylines. Jim Riggleman's first spring as manager. Stephen Strasburg's first spring as a professional pitcher. Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Marquis, Matt Capps and Adam Kennedy's first spring as Nationals. Adam Dunn's first spring seeking a long-term extension with Washington.
Unfortunately, it costs money to cover a full major-league camp. When I worked at The Washington Times, the paper would spend approximately $7,500 for each reporter or photographer's six-week stay. By cutting a few corners -- driving from D.C. instead of flying and renting a car, staying at a cheaper hotel -- I think I can do it for $5,000.
This site, though, isn't a money-maker. I'm doing this on my own, receiving no income other than a few pennies each time you click on an ad.
So I need your help to make this happen. At the top of this post, you saw a link with instructions on how to make a donation. I've set up a system with PayPal, a safe and reliable method that allows you to pay by credit card with confidence. You are free to donate as little or as much as you'd like.
If you choose not to participate, no worries. You'll still have access to my full coverage from Florida. But if you do participate, I'm going to return the favor by offering you extra, exclusive coverage all spring.
Here's what you'll get, based on your donation level:
$20 -- Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman's morning or postgame media session.
$40 -- Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman's morning or postgame media session, plus another daily audio file of an interview with a Nats player, coach or front-office member.
$60 -- Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman's morning or postgame media session; plus another daily audio file of an interview with a Nats player, coach or front-office member; plus the opportunity to submit a question to be asked of Riggleman or a prominent player during a spring training interview.
Again, you don't have to donate strictly along those three pre-determined lines. You can enter any amount you like, or none at all. But please note we're working under a pretty tight deadline here: Pitchers and catchers report on February 19, so we've got to move quickly to get this done.
Take a moment to decide what you think this coverage is worth to you. If you decide it's worth a donation, please click on the link below and help make this trip happen.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks for making this site a must-read for Nats fans from every corner of the globe.