The Washington Times - March 8, 2011, 07:09PM

First, an introduction.

Welcome to Nationals Watch, The Washington Times’ newest addition to its growing stable of sports blogs and what I hope will become one of the best places to visit for comprehensive coverage of the Washington Nationals.


You may have noticed that The Washington Times is preparing to relaunch its sports section — which it will do in print on March 21 — and, in doing so, they have offered me the unbelievable opportunity to leave behind the sandy beaches of Cape Cod and hop on board as their Nationals beat writer.

They didn’t exactly have to pull my leg.

Since sports editor Mike Harris asked me to join him and deputy sports editor Marc Lancaster as they rebuilt a sports section from the ground up, I’ve been looking forward to writing this post. 

I’m even more excited to write the first one with a dateline of Viera, Fla., which will come this Saturday, and will kick off an eight-month run that I expect to be nothing less than the most hectic, demanding, challenging — and wonderful — of my life. As a disclaimer, I promise this will be the last post about me and not about the Nationals or baseball in some way.

The plan is for The Washington Times to take to sports coverage in a less traditional sense than most papers. On this blog in particular, we’re going to mix in analysis and features fluidly with the nuts-and-bolts reporting writers thrive on when covering a beat. That will start this weekend when I hit Florida and will reach its preseason crescendo in our baseball preview section on Wednesday, March 30.

I hope you’ll find our coverage unique and interesting — though, with so many quality outlets already covering this team, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t view that as a challenge, albeit an exciting one.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to provide something different on this beat and every time I do, I come back to some advice the late Jack Falla used to give me when I’d sit in his office as a student at Boston University, pondering my future in this business.

Falla, one of the all-time greatest professors, writers, mentors and human beings there ever was — along with being a former NHL writer for Sports Illustrated and accomplished backyard ice rink builder — made a habit of handing out sage advice and, along with “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” this was always my favorite:

“You never know what you’re ready for in life until it happens to you.”

Let’s get started.