In The Sandbox with the Boys

Where were my index cards?! Ok, first off, the taking on Chico Harlan bit was all in jest! He did a fine job in his first season of covering the team for the Post and we obviously serve different functions. I’m a Mac to his PC (I totally wanted to use that line and it slipped — along with others). Seriously, I think Post writers do use PC laptops for work while I use a Mac, so there is some truth to that! I think for my first TV appearance this went pretty well, although the time flew and my 10 minutes was actually 7 minutes, so I wasn’t able to go very in-depth into anything. There was so much more I wanted to say, but I also didn’t want to talk over anyone. Feedback? Critiques? Applause? Heh.

I would totally do that again! Kim, the hair and makeup woman, was so flattering! Who can resist getting made up and fawned over? What’s not to love? I just wish I had turned more toward the cameras. All you can see is my pointy nose in the profile shots! And wow, my hair is short. Thanks much to Littles, Russ Thaler, Dan Steinberg, and Jamie Mottram for having me on the set. I was so nervous, but now that I’m not a virgin, if they ever have me back on, hopefully I won’t be shaking! But look Dave, I didn’t freeze up!

The adventure started when I left work early to make the drive up to Bethesda. My goal time for arrival was 4:15, but I ended up leaving work later than planned (as usual), so arrived just before 4:30 PM, thankful every time I got through three green lights in a row up Wisconsin Ave. I first ran into a suit-clad Mottram and after hugs and congratulating him in person on his new fatherhood status, realized I was terribly under-dressed in comparison! Since Steinberg hadn’t arrived yet, I sat in the makeup chair while Kim worked her magic. Poor Steinz! I probably ran into his time as he was scheduled for the entire show from the beginning and my spot didn’t come up until half an hour into it, so he had very little time for makeup.

LaVar Arrington took the set first with the guys, and I sort of met him after his time was done. Seems like a really nice guy. Pretty cool to meet him in the green room, which for the record, really is green. I watched the show on a television in there while trying not to get nervous and try to remember everything I could about the Nats season, with no idea what I would be asked. I wanted to Twitter from my iPhone pictures and one-liners, but found it said “No Sim Card” for the second time this week. I frantically searched my bag for a pin or something to pop it out with and came up empty. Kim to the rescue! Although, by the time I got it working, the sound lady arrived to wire me up with an ear piece during a commercial break. I was next!

I had never seen the set – darker inside than I expected! I took a seat at the table with the guys while my mic was clipped on, and in 5-4-3-2-1 boom goes the dynamite! Weeee! Hopefully I didn’t say anything too off.

I’d love to expand on some things… Like about how I work when I interact with everyone and am not hiding behind a computer keyboard. For me, that’s been more difficult than it probably is for beat writers. The team has no choice but to deal with whoever the papers send, whereas I have had to gain trust or risk getting frozen out. Luckily, I think one of my greatest attributes is my ability to get along with pretty much anyone, as well as be judicious in what I post. Plus, I like to kind of lurk and use my honed observation skills to just kind of get a feeling for what’s going on. I have struggled this season with the line I straddle between media and fandom that Russ mentioned — kind of an odd identity crisis as I’m just doing my own thing which doesn’t fit within any defined criteria or guidelines. If I’m media, I shouldn’t really be getting autographs, right (of course, the one autograph I got this year was actually for my husband, not me!)? So what am I?! Hee!

Other things I would have loved to talk about more are what makes Manny a good manager and how he stays positive (beyond the books) and his philosophy, particularly since he worked with the players he was given. I think another positive would be if Ryan Zimmerman is locked up for multiple years before the fans lose faith in the longevity of their favorite players on the team or Zimmerman himself sours on his desire to remain here long-term.

I also missed my “You betchya! (wink)” opportunity! Thaler gave me the perfect lead-in too! Just call me regular Cathy six-pack.

22 thoughts on “In The Sandbox with the Boys”

  1. You did great. Was it taped to a live feed or were there some edits and re-tapes?

    After watching your segment, I think Debbie Taylor next season should do a “girl talk” with you once in a while on MASN and take the Baseball 101 for Ladies to the next level.

    The Nationals should also capitalize and do “Girls Night Out” at the ballpark to encourage females of all ages to get out to the park.

  2. I know about Ladies Night. I am talking Girls Night Out. Mothers and their daughters along with all the adults. I have 4 sons and 1 daughter and my daughter goes regularly to games with me but it would be nice to have a special night for her and Mom to go together (just the girls).

  3. Ahh yes, that would be cool. My daughter has tried to get me to help her learn how to score, but with everyone else around, it’s been difficult. Just a mommy/daughter night out at the park (with other little girls) would be pretty cool. I think she’s close to your daughter’s age too. Maybe we could just organize one?!

  4. I know if my wife went without me her biggest concern is driving and feeling safe. What the Lerner’s should do is to have a bus (buses) pick up at some of their Mall locations like Dulles Town Centre, White Flint and Tysons II and make the experience fun, easy, and safe.

    I kind of scratch my head talking about buses because with their Mall locations I am surprised they haven’t offered group deals to meet at their various locations to park and ride.

  5. Hmm.. I’ve never felt unsafe. You could buy parking in lot b or c for $40 and she could park right there at the ballpark. I think the malls are a bit far out. We usually park under the Frederick Douglass Bridge for $15 and all you have to do is cross S. Capitol and you’re there. But if she’d feel more comfortable, if we pick a date next season, she could meet at our house and we could go in together and I’ll drive. Old hat at this point 🙂

  6. To know my wonderful wife this is no secret, she can’t drive to most places even using her advanced Navigation System and Nationals Park would be not a chance in the world.

    If I told her to go to Tysons or White Flint Mall, she could find her way to either Mall while blindfolded. LOL

  7. I finally got around to watching this (thanks for posting it for my convenience)…..Excellent!! Good job!

  8. Nice Job,

    It is great that some of the best work on what is going on with Nats and their fans are making into the MSM. It is amazing that those guys know so little about the Nats. The strength of the team is Acta? Like you said, he very well might not be here in a year. What difference does it make if he stays positive but loses more than he wins? Sure he has had a bad team for two years but at some point, if he does not win he too will be gone. They lost 102 games but had a good attitude about it……..this is not youth soccer.

  9. JayB – I think 2009 is a no excuses year for Manny and JimBo and ownership.

    Manny certainly has his public persona, but we aren’t there when the Clubhouse door closes so who knows what goes on behind closed doors.

    I did like “this is not youth soccer”! Very true.

  10. Andrew,

    I agree that we do not know what Acta is like behind closed doors, but we do know the quality of baseball that comes out of those closed doors. He failed in the first half of the year completely. Lopez, Lo Duca, Estrada, all were poorly handelded by Acta. We know that the Nats lead the NL in errors regardless of what Acta did behind doors. We know that Young and Kearns are major under performers. We know Pena played everyday no matter how poor he played.

    Acta has been give the benifit of the doubt for 2 years. I for one think this has hurt him more than helped him. He is going to get a rude wake up call next year and he has never had to produce of get fired. It should be interesting in 2009.

  11. Just to clarify, I wasn’t criticizing Acta, but just giving my own observation based on the fact that his chosen coaches were not renewed (St. Claire was here before Acta) and his option for beyond next season hasn’t been picked up. I think that’s going to give next season an entirely different dynamic (and maybe that’s what Bowden/Kasten had in mind with requiring a new coaching staff).

    He did manage the players he was given. Dukes didn’t blow up (much). He had to play Estrada and Lo Duca if only to try to get rid of them in trades. They didn’t play well enough to add any value. He had to play second string guys almost the entire season because of injuries. Like they say, you can’t squeeze (well, the metaphor escapes me at the moment). So we’ll see how 2009 goes. Hopefully the players remain healthier and produce better and give him a chance to really manage.

  12. I said before you can’t make fine wine from bruised grapes so Manny I am glad will get another chance for 2009 as I thought he managed well in 2007—–BUT I will give my opinion that the coaching staff did a poor job in basic fundamentals and that falls ultimately on the Manager.

    MissC is right about Estrada and LoDuke, but he didn’t get what he needed to from the ex-Reds who he had in 2007 too.

  13. I do think you are on to something with your point about needing change in the coaching staff. Jimbo and Kasten saw a much different effort from Acta this year than in 2007. One good effort in 2007 was followed up by one very poor effort. Yes he had injuries but the team that did play, did not show improvement on so many levels of the game and that is one Acta and his coaching staff.

    Firing his whole staff is clearly a warning to Acta that he is next if he again is ineffective in showing improvement with the players he has injuries or not. Acta’s biggest problem last year was his stubbornness about changing what was not going to work. Pena in LF, that was not going to work anytime in the National League. Lopez anywhere was not going to work. Chad, throwing 79 MPH was not going to work. Hill in pain, not going to work. Young at 325 lbs was not going to work. Lo Duca and losing night after night was not going to bring out leadership in him. Milledge in CF was not going to work and will not in 2009 either. Kearns is not going to be a power hitter in the #4 slot.

    Just like you I forget the proper metaphor but doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result is not a sign of effective managing.

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