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One week ago, I was fully expecting to spend late February and all of March here in Washington, waiting for the snow to melt and monitoring the events taking place at Nationals camp from 900 miles away.
Now, I'm not only going to Viera for six weeks to chronicle spring training first-hand, but thanks to your incredible generosity I've been given the opportunity to continue covering the Nats beyond that.
I know I've been saying it repeatedly for the last week, but I'm going to continue saying it until my fingers are too sore to type it: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for everything. The overwhelming support I've received -- whether financial or moral -- will never be forgotten.
I also know many of you have questions. What will I do with the overflow funds? Will I continue covering the team into the regular season? Will I ditch the cheap hotels and I-95, fly first-class to Florida and rent a convertible?
These are questions I've been asking myself all week. (Well, aside from the first-class ticket and convertible. Come on, who do you think I am?) I've come to the conclusion that I need to just go with the flow here and see what happens next. My plan for this site may very well change in the days and weeks to come, but here are a few things I can tell you right now:
-- Though I've raised more than my original target amount of $5,000, I remain committed to limiting my spring training expenses as much as possible. I'm still driving down there in my own car, still staying at an affordable hotel (already booked for $69 per night) and still dining at affordable restaurants. The $5,000 figure remains my target, and I'll do the best I can to keep my expenses on budget.
-- Excess funds remaining at the end of spring training will be used to support continued coverage into the regular season, including travel. How long will that last? One month? Three months? The entire season? I simply don't know at this point. But as long as there is financial support for this endeavor, I'll continue to provide the kind of comprehensive, quality coverage Nats fans want and deserve.
-- The majority of the site's content will remain free and available to anyone who visits. Contributors will continue to receive extra content. I'm not asking for handouts here. I'm providing a service in exchange for your contributions. I don't know what that extra content will consist of yet; I welcome any suggestions you may have.
I can't tell you how excited I am to have this opportunity, to serve as a true beat writer for you, the fans. There's no real precedent for this, no road map that spells out precisely how this should work. So I'm counting on all of you to help. What kind of stories are you most interested in reading? Do you want breaking news? A steady stream of updates from workouts and Grapefruit League games? Are you interested in lengthier, newspaper-style feature stories on players and coaches? Analysis of position battles? All of the above?
I'm open to any ideas. You've all made this possible. And while I serve at your pleasure, it's also my pleasure to be able to serve you.