Saturday, February 13, 2010

So ... now what?

Click here to support this site

Life's funny.

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.


Anonymous said...

It would be great if you would tweet breaking news/key scores from FL.

JayB said...

I would love to know what is new this Spring Training.....In reading and talking some with Rizzo and Riggs....I am hoping to hear of a new higher expectation for this team.

How about dinner with Mark option....lots of us will be down there and it will help pay for a few upscale meals for you but you may want to to charge me more, I have lots of questions for you :)

I would love to hear some raw audio from around the cage and coaching staff working on things.

Thanks for asking....I have a ton ideas for this spring.

Unknown said...

I would like to see you write some stuff that isn't covered by MASN or the Post (aka the occasional fluff piece with a player, etc.). I think you should try and focus on the players a lot and give us some notes on things you see (like a scout). That perspective would be really nice to get.

Mark Stricherz said...

I'd like to know more, a la Moneyball, about the GM and his assistants. What types of players are they looking for, such as those with high on-base percentage or those who pitch and catch?

Jenn Jenson said...

I'd like to learn more about the new faces (including coaches) and guys on the bubble.

Unknown said...

I'm most interested in news coverage and breaking things as they happen. To me, this is where coverage is currently the most frustrating, and something you (and Ben) did better than anybody else while at the Times. I'd love to see that continue.
I also want to learn more about the workings and even rumors from the Nats Front Office. Who are they talking to? What players do they want to acquire from other teams/farm systems? What Nats players are being shopped? Who are they targeting in the draft? I love the stories that allow me to look ahead or play with semi-realistic "what-if" scenarios.

greg said...

I'd like to hear what scouts (and GMs) are saying about our players during spring training.

greg said...

(and by that I mean from other teams, so we can see a more objective review of where they are)

Unknown said...

Sorry- let me clarify my first request: Breaking the news quickly, not a week later (see: signing of Duncan, Chris). Or adding detail to a story that helps us understand it better. Being by yourself, with limited resources, I don't mind if you gloss over or skip the things that I can find from the Nats press release.

Anonymous said...

Mark -- I think if you pursued personnel moves, rumored trades, rotation decisions, etc. aggressively and objectively, you would be doing the fan base a huge service. Just cover the team like any other normal beat writer would do and you will shine because we have no one that does that currently. Who knows what the new Post guy is going to do, the outgoing one was not as interested in the team as the fans are. The reporter gets a few scoops, but his writing is over overwhelmed with his personal opinion that it makes reading his news aggravating and painful.

PowerBoater said...

During spring training when the games aren't on TV and the outcome doesn't matter, I'd prefer to read a sentence or two about how each player performed as opposed to a narrative game story.

James Bjork said...


I would just hope that you will ask players and management hard questions here and there, but not enough to get yourself ostracized. I really don't want more of the same softball stuff served up on a tee by house organs or other, more saccharine Nats blogs.

If you're able to elicit some honest or unexpected commentary (as opposed to the team talking points), it would be a real bonus. I know most managers and players stay "on message" (c.f.Bull Durham), however.

Basically, be a journalist, not just a blogger aho happens to be there.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that you are over $10,000! The grassroots type of support is a tribute to good hearts all over!

I also like that Mark is a Free Agent with no editor hanging over him and no boss telling him what to write.

I want to read some off the field topics like the WaPo off-season workout article on Stammen, Lannan, and Zimmerman. These are the type of tidbits only the insiders have access to writing.

I want updates on my favorite pitcher Jordan Zimmermann even though he is on the DL. Ladson just did a good update.

It would be great to get an article on the players that might not make the 25 man roster like JMax, Bernadina, Mike Morse, and others.

natbiscuit said...

We know we will get basic coverage from the Post, MLB flavored coverage from the Team Site, and some interpretive stuff from MASN. True to your site name - Nats Insider - I would like to read some inside information like focusing on player health, coach-player relationships, views from the other dugout, and skills analysis.

I love good game stories but understand that you can't do everything everyday. During spring training it was not uncommon for the Post and the Times to cover the same stories. To some degree that is inevitable. If a certain rookie pitcher has a great game, you're both going to cover it. But if that same day the middle infield struggles to work in concert or the baserunning is particularly strong I would like to read a little about that too.

You will not be limited by column inches or word counts like you used to be. You'll only be limited by time. Most of us who read this blog will also read the Post and attend, watch, or listen to the game. Give us the added dimension.

My two cents ...

Anonymous said...

Mark - my two cents - don't feel constrained by the need to report just the facts in the same way you would be on a newspaper. In many ways, you're the eyes and ears of the serious fans who can't be there all the time - don't be afraid to offer an opinion on what you see - don't be afraid to delve a little into some of the new metrics kind of stuff. I'm much more interested in reading well-researched, well-written and well-thought out comments/features than I am in feeling like you need to be writing traditional "gamer" stories. More interested in hearing what the rumors around the clubhouse are than in reading the "both teams played hard, man" kind of quotes. Some color would be good too.

Good luck - count me in as a regular reader

CoverageisLacking said...

Early on in Spring Training, I'd love to read about some of the younger prospects and what the *real* assessment is of these guys. Cut through the Kasten BS about all the "great young pitching" that the Nats have and let us know what the coaches and scouts are really saying about guys like Detwiler, Smoker, McGeary, etc. Let us know what you see with your experienced eyes when you watch these guys. Let us know if there is *anyone* in the pipeline other than Strasburg for whom the consensus is that he could be really good at the big-league level, and not just another hope and a prayer.

Sean said...

curious about credentials. are you subject to different rules as a blogger? could negative team coverage result in removal of the credentials? i know it would make the team look bad, but not as bad if they, say, lifted the post's creds... just wondering if you will be able to be free to say what you really want without fear of losing what, for the mean time, amounts to your livelihood.

SBrent said...

"CoverageisLacking's" post got me thinking. If you're still doing this into the summer (which I'm conflicted about; hope for your sake you get full time work, but also hope to see this blog continue) it might be interesting to spend a week or so each with the MiLB teams at Syracuse, Harrisburg, Potomac, Hagerstown, and shed some light on how the prospects are doing. Aside from just a traditional profile of a single prospect, I'd be interested in a little of the feel of the team dynamics at, say, Harrisburg; what attitude the different players bring to the field and clubhouse, even some atmospherics of the ballpark for those of us who may never watch a game in Syracuse or City Island.

Positively Half St. said...

The "trip to Harrisburg" idea is great on several levels, one of which is that it would be a much more affordable thing to do when the Nats go on a west coast trip.

I was thinking that this is probably going to be moot, since you will likely land a job sometime into the season. It's good that this exercise will entertain us while giving you a resume boost, as well. You certainly got national attention raising funds for the Spring Training trip.

I think my favorite idea (along with "Trip to Harrisburg") was the one about talking to other team's scouts. Please get their idea of our players, but also and especially their read on whether the Nationals really are progressing in the right direction. Don't worry about iron-clad rumors, either, please- if you get some juicy tidbits to help feed the Major League Baseball Trade Rumors site by extension, you will help raise the profile of the team.

This is a real opportunity for us, provided you can provide what others aren't, and even prod the Post into paying more attention by being independent competition.

JayB said...

I like the ideas raised by +1/2 and CIL. What is missing from current coverage is a "reality check" on Stan the Plan and Lerner spin. I find it hard to believe that the past two 100 loss seasons were a complete surprise to everyone around baseball. Current media story's just quote Stan or Lerner spin over and over. No look at the facts, numbers, validated outside sources.....just blanket statements about how everyone would love to have out young pitching.....really is that true?

JayB said...

cont........sure everyone would love SS but does everyone love our stock of current young #5 starter types.....would everyone love to have our stock of underachieving High draft pick pitchers like Smoker and McGeary types....if everyone wants either type of young pitching where is the proof of that statement. What offers have been made....what outside scout validation is there?

JayB said...


I will only speak for myself here....but history has proven to me that what Stan and Lerner say is far from reality. I do not trust a word they say and that is because most everything they say has turned out to be BS so far.

Anonymous said...

JayB - Don't be so cynical and get with the program. When Kasten and any other members of the brain trust speak, they are going to put a positive spin on it.

If you own your own company, and are making a speech to your clients you will put a positive spin on it or else you will lose your clients. Toyota has problems with their gas pedals and getting bashed and they are out telling you how safe their cars are. Positive spin.

That is all Kasten does. He is a positive spin master.

That is why I tune him out most of the time as he puts out more dis-information than information. I refer to him as the Russian Propoganda machine of long ago.

Dan said...

I know this point as been made but I'd just like to reiterate. If the Nats sign a player, win a game, promote Strausburg to the Majors, we'll hear about it from every single blog and newsite. Generally we know what's going on with the team as a whole. Here, you can share your personal opinions on these kinds of events and tell us what we wont hear from the regular news. Also, I agree with the "reality check" on the top of the food chain.

JayB said...

What Kasten should do is the same thing Toyota should do....admit the mistake and fix the problem and then prove the problem is fixed.

Anonymous said...

JayB - Do you think Kasten is going to say he screwed up on "The Plan" and that Mark Lerner was in love with getting his a$$ kissed by Jim Bowden who screwed most of it up and should have been fired in 2007?

We know all this. It is now history. Nobody died from the Nats playing like AAA players although a lot of us got heartburn from it. People may have died from faulty Toyota gas pedals so their problem is far more serious.

They are finally fixing it like Toyota. It got pretty out of hand didn't it. LoDuca, Felipe, Kearns, Daniel Cabrera, Lastings, and many others under their watch.

This is finally a Major League roster. I don't know if they will win 75 games this year but I will be there like I have since 2005 with hopes and dreams just like I did 20 years prior at Camden Yards and Memorial Stadium for the team up the BW Parkway.

My only advice for them is admit to the mistakes quicker. Showcasing Kearns and LoDuca were huge mistakes. Cut your losses quicker. Putting those players out there night after night is what really frothed me as a paying fan.

Mr. Doggett said...

I'd really like to see you provide some information on what the players are REALLY like on and off the field. I think with a team like this (coming off a TERRIBLE season) the attitudes of the players is really important. It'll be interesting to see what the vibe is like going into the season.

An Briosca Mor said...

I really have to laugh at all these expectations everyone has for Mark. Why? Because everything that has been suggested is already being done by someone else, or else it's totally ridiculous on its face. The problem is that you guys either don't like or don't trust the information that you already have access to - for free, I might add - and you're hoping that by paying Mark you'll get something different. What you're really looking for is for Mark to validate all of your various agendas and theories about why the Nats have been bad for five years and/or haven't improved to your satisfaction. Guess what, guys - he's not gonna do that, simply because there's no way he possibly can. Sooner or later, nearly all of you will become disillusioned with Mark and turn on him. My prediction is that JayB will lead the way on that.

You want player/manager/front office interviews and feature stories? Nats320 is already doing that. You just have to get past his obvious homerism and narcissism and the information is there. He talks to everyone and prints their answers verbatim. No spin. You don't like that he doesn't "ask the tough questions" or "put their feet to the fire" or "hold them accountable" or anything like that? Guess what, you're not going to get any different answers from them if someone does ask the questions you want. Just wait and see.

You want farm/prospect reports? NFA is already doing that, quite well. You want someone to talk to opposing scouts and find out what they think about the Nats? Phil Wood is already doing that. You just don't like the answers he reports, so you discredit his sources. When Mark Zuckerman talks to opposing scouts and reports things that you don't want to hear, you'll start discrediting his sources too. You want someone to filter Kasten's spin and put the cynical bent on it that you all crave? I seriously don't expect that Mark will do that. Like Fox News says they do, he'll report, you'll decide. But your minds are already made up, so it's unlikely his reporting is going to validate all your previously-fixed decisions.

Really, it's nice that Mark is doing this and that you guys are supporting him. But face the facts. You're just paying for a second helping of what's already available to you via numerous other outlets. Realistically, how long are you prepared to pay good money for nothing but a second helping?

Anonymous said...

I'd like stuff from the off the beaten path category. Stuff you won't be able to get anywhere else, things others miss. I know you still have to use disgression in whatever you publish in fear of ostricizing players and staff, but as much as you can report without offending others would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

@An Briosca Mor wrote "You want player/manager/front office interviews and feature stories? Nats320 is already doing that. You just have to get past his obvious homerism and narcissism and the information is there."

That Nats320 is entertaining for the 1st minute until you find it is Screeches Best Friend and the African Queens's Blog Format to promote themselves and pat on their own back. So many photos of them in each post that at first thought this was a satirical site about 2 fictional characters that they place in photos like an old Saturday Night Live skit.

Then you find these people actually exist. They seem nice enough at first. It is unreadable. Plain and simple. It is the most self serving load of narcissism and disillusion I have ever read.

Zimmy called us today. The Human Rain Delay saw us and ran right to us. Dmitri loves us.

THIS IS WHY PEOPLE WANT THIS TYPE OF COVERAGE FROM A REAL JOURNALIST. They want Robin Leach's coverage of Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous - Ballers edition not Nats320 redux lovefest.

An Briosca Mor said...

Hey, I'm not claiming that Nats320 is easy to read. In fact, from a readability standpoint it's abominable. You do indeed have to wade through a lot of crap to get a few nuggets of information. But the information is there - and it's the same type of information you all are now claiming you want Mark to start providing for you. Many of you say it's the same kind of thing he was providing for you at the Times. Maybe it is. But boy, you sure had to wade through a lot of crap to get those nuggets of information from the Times. Not unlike Nats320 really, just a different load of crap. But like wading through Nats320's crap, you could wade through the Washington Times crap for free. So let's be clear. What you guys are paying for now is the privilege of not having to wade through some crap to get the information you want. How long are you going to be willing to do that?

JayB said...

Man ABM are you going for a new many people can you offend before noon?

Anonymous said...

@An Briosca Mor, good points although I think Mark Z is an excellent journalist and like his reporting. I believe we will get more unbiased reporting because he is independent. Time will tell.

On Nats320, not a chance. If you go there, you are supporting their egos, and that is what they want. I just went back there and scrolled for a minute to see if it has changed. I saw their coverage of NatsFest as there are countless photos of them posing with players, and the Gold Glove, and I just lost my breakfast.

No matter how good the message is within the writings. The outer layers are just plain unbearable. The nicknames and the whole Screech thing seems like illusions of grandeur of a spoiled 5 year old crying out for attention. No thank you.

I will stick with Mark!

natsfan1a said...

Speaking for myself, I liked the blog coverage over at the Times, and would be happy to see the same type of thing here (as opposed to ST gamers, as others have noted).

FWIW, I've grown to enjoy the Nats320 blog. I appreciate that they take the time to post full transcripts of interviews, pressers, and so forth, so that I can read the quotes in context and make up my own mind. As for the narcissist diagnosis, in my opinion anyone who creates a blog likely has a healthy ego, at the very least. That applies regardless of whether the blog has a positive approach or a negative one. I'm personally not put off by homerism in a fan blog, but if one's preference leans more towards caustic comments, there are certainly other options out there. We each have the option of not reading any given blog if we don't care for the approach.

I do feel that there is a distinction between journalistic blogs and fan blogs, and my personal preference leans toward the latter (i.e., when I have limited reading time, I'm more likely to visit a journalistic blog). As far as the approach of this blog, which I consider to be journalistic, I'm more interested in facts and behind-the-scenes tidbits than opinions (i.e., observing, interviewing, and reporting rather than editorializing). But that's just me. Thanks for asking!

Catcher50 said...

My suggestions:

1. Ask questions (why did x bunt in that situation?)
2. Regular updates on works in progress, particularly injuries.
3. Some sabermetrics
4. As others have said, updates on prospects with a concentration on real prospects as opposed to cannon-fodder.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking on this endeavor and for providing us an alternative to Boswell and the Washington Post. I have long stopped reading their dribble. I fail to understand how anyone can be as negative about everything the team does as Boswell. At some point, one really needs to question whose side he’s on. (Oh that’s right, he’s a journalist…he’s impartial!!) His articles certainly do nothing to support the team or energize the fans. And, I’d love to ask Boswell why he is a journalist if he thinks he knows so much about running a baseball team. Seems to me he could find a far more respectable job in the front office of a team…..if he is in fact as knowledgeable as he claims. In addition, where is the Post’s coverage of the team? Spring training starts this week and today’s sports section doesn’t have one article about baseball! Same goes for the local TV stations. Nothing…..but Channel 4 had the time to run a special last night on the new Redskin coaches.
All I’d ask is that you be fair, complete, report all the news, and call things as you see them. Tell us the good and the bad, but don’t “spin” things to support some damn political agenda… the Post seems to do at every turn.
Thank you again. Best of luck.

NatsNut said...

Mark, you probably feel obligated to do more than any other beat writers, but you really don't.

As for me, it's not that serious. Some of the most entertaining blog posts we used to get from Barry had nothing to do with the Nats, and everything to do with Panera, Viera and the strip mall scene. It sounds like it gets excruciatingly boring, after, what 4 days? So keep yourself entertained too.

Yea, i want all the scoop like the next guy, but most of us are toggling back and forth between all the coverage sites anyway. It's the entertaining stuff I like. One-on-ones with the more behind-the-scenes players, maybe a little video (?), some personal angle on a player, etc.

And frequency. At least 5 posts a day. =)

CoverageisLacking said...

ABM, if you're confident that this blog can't do any more than the combined collective efforts of Phil Wood, Nats320 and NFA, then you should feel free not to read it and post.

But if you seriously think that a trained sportswriter and journalist can't provide readers with anything more than Phil Wood and a couple fan sites do, I couldn't disagree with you more strongly. I'm only looking for Mark to objectively cover stories about the team and its future through his trained reporter's eye--stories that largely remain ignored in our substandard media outlets. No agenda-seeking there, just a request for a critical, objective approach to reporting important stories about this team and its future.

Anonymous said...


Some things I would like to see in coverage:

I think you need to develop the art of "not for attribution" views of players, FO staff, personnel from other clubs, etc. Unvarnished views of what this club is really accomplishing.

Frank assessments of a guy's strengths and weaknesses. If he has a hole in his swing let's hear about it. How bad is Flores" injury situation? What do they really feel about Detwiler's effective wildness?

Some main story lines I am interested in hearing more about in ST:

Cristian Guzman--what is his true injury status? Are the nats really happey with him back at SS? Can he get the job done defensively?

Elijah Dukes--what did he do all winter? Can he hit the low and away stuff? Has he peaked as a player? Is he another Wily Mo?

Pudge--Did he come to play or commence a well earned retirement? What's left in the tank?

Rotation--can they get through the lineup 3 times? Who makes the back end?

How you get to frank assessments on issues like these without ticking people off and without making yourself a pariah is your challenge. I think you are going to have to be more controversial, strike some nerves of both players and management, to gin up readership. Maybe the way to do it is with honest critique of the other clubs in the NL east. The Nats don't exist in a vacuumn. Are the Mets as bad as I think they are? Are the Phillies unbeatable?

I think you are going to have to find some ways to break the usual reporting taboos and create something outside the box to make freelancing a viable option.

I'm rooting for you.

nattaboy said...

The #1 thing I'm interested in about spring training, on a daily basis, is who's impressing the coaches or performing poorly. A stockwatch type thing would be perfect - Espinosa looked great today in infield drills, Dukes' swing looked too long in bp - etc.

Thank YOU Mark. Inspiring endeavor.
All the luck in the world

An Briosca Mor said...

"ABM, if you're confident that this blog can't do any more than the combined collective efforts of Phil Wood, Nats320 and NFA, then you should feel free not to read it and post."

Once again, CoverageIsLacking, your condescending attitude totally obscures what I have been saying. Reading Zuckerman's blog and commenting on it can be done for free, just like those other sites I mentioned. The question then is why would anyone pay to read Zuckerman? Is he really going to deliver anything more than is already available out there? I don't expect he will. So far, I really haven't seen anything from Zuckerman over and beyond what is available at the many other free sites out there, some of which are fan sites and some of which are independent journalists. Yes, even though you guys scoff at them Bill Ladson, Phil Wood and Ben Goessling are writing as journalists, not as fans or as tools of ownership. You're hallucinating if you think there is such a thing as an independent journalist anywhere. You really need to learn how to read everything that is available to you with an open mind and then apply your own internal filters to it if what you want is to be informed by journalism. But you guys don't want to be informed, you just want to have your existing pre-conceived prejudices and opinions validated by some "official" voice. That's why you flock to each new journalist who appears on the scene (Chico Harlan, Tracee Hamilton, etc) with high hopes. Then as soon as they let you down, you move on. You'll do the same with Zuckerman, as sure as night follows day.

Meanwhile, if you read for instance just one of those fan sites you scoff at - Nats320 - you would have learned of Riggleman's plan to try Desmond as a super-utility guy, playing infield and all three outfield positions. Has Zuckerman's superior journalism told us that yet? There are and will be countless other examples of this kind of thing happening. Journalism and information is a big tent. You shouldn't be closing parts of it off just because you don't happen to like the reporter.

Harrison Goodman said...

Just do what you do best — report and write. Just because people are donating money to the site doesn't mean you are there to validate their agendas. Be the best reporter you can and take advantage of the things the blog allows you to do, like bringing a Flip camera and doing video and things like that.

Show people the other side of spring training that you can't show from writing daily updates from Viera. Basically make people feel like they're at spring training even if they're not.

natbiscuit said...

Lets all play nice. Mark asked us what we wanted him to cover, not what we thought of each other. Enough of the "Jane, you ignorant ..." stuff.

An Briosca Mor said...

Well, natbiscuit, that has kind of been my underlying point all along. Mark needs to cover what he thinks he should cover, and produce what he thinks he should produce, rather than try to satisfy the desires of those readers who bother to comment here. Because if he tries to do that there's no way he'll ever be able to satisfy them all. And the ones he doesn't satisfy will be really dissatisfied. Instead, Mark needs to set his own agenda, be his own editor, and take the gamble that what he's doing will be attractive enough that people will want to support him. Unfortunately, though, he made the mistake of making promises and raising expectations that will be very difficult for him to keep. That's a recipe for disgruntlement down the line. Just ask Barack Obama about that.

Anonymous said...

but natbiscuit, that's all ABM knows. if he isn't telling someone how ignorant they are(and by extension how wonderful and intelligent he is), then he has nothing to say.

Mark, just do what you do. I'll be happy with a standard level of reporter coverage. We barely get that from out supposed "news" sources as it is. Just cover the team like a Major League Baseball team should be.

Cathy said...

I think you need a photographer :-)

Just do what you do best!

Nattydread said...

Hi Mark

There's enough ideas in the 50 comments above for you to put together a plan of great stuff. So I won't add any. But please follow your own plan.

My expectation is good journalism and good writing, not a lot of "rah-rahing" or editoralizing (there's enough of that already). As a remote fan of the Nats in Nairobi, I like reports that follow the breaking stories and stories that you the journalist dig up.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Miss Chatter, great point to add expert photography as you are the Best! Love your photos on Flickr!

You would make up a good team. Just don't cut and paste photos of Mark into all the photos ;>)

Anonymous said...

natsfan1a said...

FWIW, I've grown to enjoy the Nats320 blog. I appreciate that they take the time to post full transcripts of interviews, pressers, and so forth, so that I can read the quotes in context and make up my own mind. As for the narcissist diagnosis, in my opinion anyone who creates a blog likely has a healthy ego, at the very least.

I am not a journalist and do run a Blog and would never put myself in such an EGO driven public format. My disdain for people that try to make themselves celebrities alongside the athletes they write about need to get a life and a whiff of reality.

They have really blown smoke of Kasten's butt as he puts up with them and maybe thinks they are an asset to the Nats. They caught a foul ball and you would've thought it was a Zimmerman Walk Off HR ball. Give me a break.

Now you have given me the perfect request for Mark Zuckerman. Can you please post full transcripts of interviews, pressers, and so forth, so that we can read the quotes in context. Regards.

Farid Rushdi said...

No, we're not sure that Mark will give us "more" than the other sights. I think he will, though, and I'm willing to pay to find out.

The Post continues to show us that we (Nationals' fans)are unimportant to them.

I am a blogger and write volumes about the Nationals but I am neither a professional writer nor do I have the access to the team that Mark does.

So let's give this a try.

263 people donated to Mark thus far, an average of about $40 per person.

If 200 people commit to $15/month, that would pay Mark $3,000/mo to live on through the summer. He could make more, but I'm not sure it would be much less.

Things in the Nats' Nation are about to change. We have better players and more hope. Mark could provide us with a great amount of depth about the team and give us an inside peek as the team goes from the worst in the league to a competitive one.

Mark could create a one-stop shop for Nats' fans. He could have several of us bloggers write unique stuff for him in lieu of paying for that "upgraded content."

I live in Idaho and has told me that as a Featured Columnist I can get credentials to many MLB games. I could put some eyes on the Nationals when they play in Denver and Arizona.

The point is, this could be not just Mark's place, but all of ours. We can support him through money, stories, etc., and he could give us one writer who treats us with respect.

I'd sure pay $20/mo for quality coverage and I'd be happy as a blogger to write as much (or as little) as Mark would like. There are several outstanding blogger-writers who could flesh out a site like this.

Many of you are right; it might not work. But it also could be something special, and all it would cost to find out is a few thousand of our dollars and a summer of Mark's valuable time.

Think big, Mark. You have available to you what all of us would give anything to have: fans willing to pay you to write about baseball.

He could cover the team at home live and follow them via live feeds when they are away (or cover a select number of games as finances dictate).

And he is just getting his site up and going - don't assume that what we see now is what we'll see during the summer.

And no, Mark's stuff isn't just like everyone elses.

It's better.

Anonymous said...

I had to check this clown out for myself and found the NatsFest story. I couldn't read past the 2nd paragraph. Unreadable.

They have 41 photos of NatsFest and they are in just about half of them plus all the stories about themselves in the recap.

Hilarious yet very sad watching them mug for the camera. Do they carry a photographer with them?

If that isn't extreme narcissism I don't know what is and that isn't a pschological diagnosis as a 1st year psych student would probably diagnose them for immediate need of clinical help.

I agree that if this is the best available in the Nats blogosphere then yeeesh, and yes Mr. Zuckerman can definitely fill this void with journalistic integrity. PLEASE!

I would commit to a monthly donation if that is what is needed per Farid's analysis.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Thanks, everyone, for the thorough suggestions. Some great ideas in there. As I said, this will probably be an ever-evolving process, but I'm definitely planning to try some new things out, take a few chances. If something works, we'll stick with it. If it doesn't, we'll try something else. As always, your feedback will be much appreciated.

natsfan1a said...

Farid, no offense to you and other bloggers, but speaking only for myself, I made my financial contribution with the idea of exclusive content from Zuckerman here rather than content from other bloggers. I can already visit their sites when I wish to read their content. On a related note, and again speaking only for myself, I'd not be able to make a $20 monthly contribution, but I was happy to make a spring training donation.

Anonymous said...

The most important thing to do is to keep a detailed journal of this experience. You may get a Lifetime movie of the week deal!
Seriously, you and Ben are the only reporters with any sort of long term Nats knowledge. The Post is starting over (again). You have developed a strong Rolodex and have a loyal group of readers who trust what you write. The most valuable thing you can do is provide perspective on what the Nats are doing. If something comes to fruition that was put in place years ago, tell us - no one else will even know the genesis of the event. Likewise, throw the BS flag on Rizzo and Kasten when they do something contradictory - few will be able to offer that knowledge.
I hope you have a job before then, but if not, I love the idea of covering the minors when the team is out west.

natbiscuit said...

I'm with 1a. I'm not looking for subscription model. This is a fling not a marriage.

(Sorry Mark, I din't mean to break it to you this way ... um, we can still be friends right?)

Mark Zuckerman said...

Natbiscuit: You're breaking up with me? On Valentine's Day??? Excuse me, I need to go sit in the dark and eat a pint of Haagen Dazs while listening to U2's "All I Want is You" on continuous loop.

Anonymous said...

Mark - one other thing I thought of - simple, easy guaranteed to increase clicks -run a list of links similar to the wapo's nj - but better. I always start with nj and use the links, not just to nats blogs, but to poznanski and fangraphs and all the rest. Make a similar but more extensive list of links, keekp it up to date, and I would gladly start here in my rundown of natsnews.

Andrew said...

Mark - That is funny with you and Natbiscuit. I am taking a wait & see approach to this as it is new territory in blogging.

There are so many variables and factors in what can happen as I am sure you are still pursuing full-time paid employment so on April 3rd you may be telling us that you are leaving.

I also agree with many of the other comments that we need different which we will get just in Mark's structure he set for Spring Training.

So for me, this relationship is one day at a time! I just hope Mark doesn't break up with us any time soon.

Positively Half St. said...

I feel kind of silly to bother saying that some of you are pretty harsh (and after 5 seasons I already knew this), but chucking flames toward Nat320 is unnecessary, and off the point. I enjoy it for the additional interviews and the many pictures. It is not a journalistic site, but a wide-eyed, we-are-obsessed-with-this-team, hey-look-who-we-talked-to-today chronicle of two folks who live the Washington Nationals.

There's no need to psychoanalyze; just read the portions you like, skip what you don't, but recognize that he is providing content others are not.

As for the bickering on this site? It feels like proof of success. When we had at it (often under other monickers back then) early on with Svrluga on NJ, the site was rollicking and sometimes bogged down. Mark already has most or all of the long-timers here, and hopefully we'll reach or equilibrium a little more quickly.

natsfan1a said...

I agree that Mark and Natbiscuits are too funny. Don't worry, Mark. No doubt it's not you, it's him. Perhaps he just needs some space. Maybe to see a few other bloggers. Actually, I think you two should take your act on the road.

Mark: You visited the *Post* site?!
Natbiscuits: But we were on a break...

In other news, only a few more days until pitchers and catchers report, and the Zuck-man will be on the ground there. Woohoo!

Anonymous said...

Positively Half St. said... chucking flames toward Nat320 is unnecessary, and off the point. I enjoy it for the additional interviews and the many pictures. It is not a journalistic site, but a wide-eyed, we-are-obsessed-with-this-team, hey-look-who-we-talked-to-today chronicle of two folks who live the Washington Nationals.

Sending in a lot of my hard earned money to Mark should give anyone the right to discuss a reasonable amount of Nats talk. While we are discussing topics and formats gives this the perfect format to discuss what is right and wrong in the Nats Blogosphere.

To each their own with respect to Blogs. Some are real negative, some real positive, and some are inacurrate and some are just right.

NFA is amazing and informative and no need to replicate that format.

WaPo NJ is the daily news.

MASN has decent content now.

Nats320 seems to be a story of a couple telling us time and time again that they are the greatest fans. I dont need that as part of my daily dose of Nats education. Those people need help as I think they really believe they are part of the story. Don't give them the limelight and free publicity.

See, I am the type that can't stand the schtick of Umpires dancing behind homeplate and distracting from the entire game. It was cute for a few minutes, not a whole game.

I don't want copycats. I want the behind the scenes too as it is not being sufficiently covered however dont expect me to read Nats320 with one eye closed.

Can you help out Mark?

cadeck13 said...

Mark, just do what you have always done - stellar reporting - with integrity, great insight, supurb writing and human interest - that way you won't go wrong. You are the journalist here and I for one, greatly appreciate what you are doing and there's no one better who I want to be our eyes and ears at ST and through the season! With you reporting on this blog I really feel like a Nats Insider and I will continue to support you morally and financially as best I can. Let's keep this site what it is - Nationals Baseball and not tear down anybody else. I believe the fact that since we all supported Mark's endeavor to ST shows that we have good hearts and good intentions. Remember the line in one of my favortie baseball movies "if you build it, they will come".

Mrs. Zuckerman said...

Natbiscuit: You're breaking up with me? On Valentine's Day??? Excuse me, I need to go sit in the dark and eat a pint of Haagen Dazs while listening to U2's "All I Want is You" on continuous loop.
It's okay, you can always come home to me.

Positively Half St. said...


Well of course you can say whatever you want, and disagree with me on Nats320! You didn't even have to donate to Mark for that to be true, but we thank you for joining in. I just offered a different interpretation.

BTW, I hope that when Adam Kilgore returns to Nationals Journal it does become the daily news again. The frequency of posts has become really pathetic. Hat tip to CIL on that.

Anonymous#8 said...

Positively Half St. said...
Anonymous-Well of course you can say whatever you want, and disagree with me on Nats320!

A little confusion on which Anon posted which and which you are referring to which is sort of irrelevant. I posted one of the comments above and cannot take credit for all of them or ABM's.

Opinions are just that, opinions. Maybe some of them will help those mentioned. We all have critics in life. Some are mean-spirited and some are just honest to the core.

Turn the mirror around and look. As someone mentioned here or somewhere else, it is like Chinese take-out. You may not like everything in the bag.

Anonymous said...

Use the excess to take a salary.

Dick Heller said...

As someone who had the privilege to cover the Nationals alongside you and also edit your outstanding copy, I am delighted that you will continue to write about the team. I also urge Nats fans to check out my columns at

Anonymous said...

I'm way late on this but echo others who want details about the players. I always go to ESPN for box score and game recap, I like theirs the best. So game recaps are of very little value to me. I want analysis of what happened in the game and between the games w/ the players. And I especially want insights on how the front office is developing the team. Also, how guys like Wang, JZim are rehabbing. How is Dukes coping w/ the loss of his dad or Willingham w/ the loss of his brother. I'll never find that in the ESPN recap and only rarely from the Post. Those are the kinds of things I would pay for. Not that it's all about that but I know that's a factor. You have to pay the rent.

Thanks again very much for your willingness to try this crazy idea. I had my own business for a while and I know it's stressful. Please thank your wife for us too. She could easily be freaked out and want you to grab a job w/ a salary. Not to get too sappy but that kind of adventurism is what has made this country great. Enjoy Spring Training!

Post a Comment