- The Washington Times - Monday, February 28, 2005

SEEN AND HEARD

VIERA, Fla. — First it was frogs in the press box. Now this.

Nationals roving coach Jack Voigt was chatting to a few reporters outside a practice field dugout during batting practice. As Voigt was talking about his job responsibilities, the former Oriole blurted out, “Watch out, it’s a rat!” Sure enough, a fat rodent about four inches long was running along the dugout fence underneath the bench.

Once Voigt sounded the alarm, an alert columnist from The Washington Times sprang to his feet and warned a father and his two toddlers that a maniacal rat was on the loose and that he should get his children out of harm’s way. Groundskeepers chased the beast out of the dugout and back into the field from where it originated.

“Tail wasn’t long enough. I think it was a field mouse,” said Voigt, instantly becoming a vermin authority. …



Here comes the national media. After getting deluged the first two weeks of camp by nothing but Washington-area media, the national guys started showing up yesterday. ESPN analyst Peter Gammons stopped by the workout, as did writers from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post.

THE BUZZ

Up — Sun-drenched Space Coast Stadium

Bring your sunscreen. There isn’t one seat in shade.

Down — Jon Rauch, John Patterson

Tall right-handers could be victims of numbers game.

Up — Field drainage

Despite 3.37 inches of rain Sunday, it was playable yesterday.

Down — Local cable package

No Fox Sports Net. No Terps game. No love.

BY THE NUMBERS

65

Runs scored by leadoff hitter Endy Chavez last season.

100

Runs the Nationals want Chavez to score this season.

OVERHEARD

“He’s a rock star! He’s a rock star!”

— Interim GM Jim Bowden on ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons being mobbed by autograph-seekers.

NATIONALS’ SCHEDULE

TODAY: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

TOMORROW: vs. Mets in Viera, 1 p.m.

THURSDAY: vs. Bethune-Cookman in Viera, 1 p.m.

FRIDAY: Intrasquad game, 11 a.m.

SATURDAY: vs. Orioles in Fort Lauderdale, 1 p.m.

SUNDAY: vs. Astros (ss) in Viera, vs. Mets (ss) in Port St. Lucie, 1 p.m.

MONDAY: vs. Tigers in Lakeland, 1 p.m.

How to get to Space Coast Stadium

From Orlando/North: Take Route 528 East (Bee Line Expressway) 25 miles to I-95 South. Exit I-95 South at Fiske Blvd. (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Blvd./Stadium Parkway to the stadium. Approx. time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/South: Take I-95 North to Wickham Rd. (Exit 191) and turn left. Turn right on Lake Andrew Dr. and follow to the stadium. Approx. time: 20 minutes.

Today’s weather

Washington: Snow showers, 40 degrees

Viera: Mostly sunny, 70 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman and Ken Wright

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