- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2006

Q: For all the talk about Ryan Zimmerman being a top National League Rookie of the Year candidate, what are the chances he could win a Gold Glove at third base this year? And do voters typically shy away from giving that award to a rookie? Barry Prophet

A: Voters, who in the case of the Gold Gloves are managers and coaches, typically do shy away from rookies. That’s not an indictment of young players as much as it shows the respect veterans get.

Gold Gloves are typically awarded on reputation. Once a player wins once, they tend to win a lot more. Look at Greg Maddux, who has won 15 times, one shy of the all-time record.

Zimmerman certainly deserves consideration, and he’s becoming more and more of a household name every time he shows up on Web Gems or hits a walk-off homer. But it’s probably going to take a couple of years before he gets his due and unseats Scott Rolen as the NL’s best.

Q: I was wondering what players from other teams playing the Nationals think about playing in RFK Stadium. Do they like it? Do they complain about the dimensions? Really curious to know. — Jeffrey Saffelle

A: I wouldn’t say RFK is going to make any player’s top 10 list (Nationals players included).

There’s always a few grumbles about the deep fences, and last year there were complaints about the unstable pitching mound and uneven infield dirt. Haven’t heard much about those this season.

The bigger player complaints, though, have to do with RFK’s facilities and amenities (or lack thereof). The visitors clubhouse is staggeringly small, easily the smallest in the majors. Even the Nationals’ home clubhouse is smaller than some visitors clubhouses at other parks, a sore spot among players.

Q: I heard that there have been a few goodbye parties at RFK in the last few weeks. Are the rumors true that although the Nationals do not belong to the Lerner family officially just yet that Stan Kasten has taken over day-to-day operations of the club and that Tony Tavares and Kevin Uhlich are now gone? Steven Wickleman

A: That is indeed true, though the Lerners and Kasten don’t really have full control yet.

Tavares said his goodbyes during the last homestand, though he said he would return if by some chance the handover doesn’t take place by Friday when the Nationals return to RFK.

Kasten, meanwhile, has been more and more involved in day-to-day operations in the last few weeks and will continue to gain more control every day.

That said, the Lerners do not officially control the club yet. That’s why Thursday’s trade had to be approved by both Tavares and Kasten.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To submit a question, go to the Sports Page.

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