- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2008

SEEN AND HEARD IN VIERA, FLA.

Few teams in the majors offer fans more up-close interaction with players than the Nationals during spring training. Players who walk over from the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium to the workout fields down the road pass by eager fans, providing a great opportunity for autographs.

Of course, there’s always a downside to these things. In this case, it’s those card-show geeks who show up at holding three-ring binders full of cards and photos of every player on the roster.

There’s nothing more pathetic than a 45-year-old, overweight man pushing kids out of the way in an attempt to get Ryan Langerhans to sign his rookie card, just so it can then be sold for five bucks at a trade show.

TEMPERATURE CHECK

UP — THE NEW MURDERER’S ROW

Pena, Dukes, Milledge put on big-time BP show.

UP — MOTIVATIONAL SPEECHES

Acta fires up troops with start-of-camp speech.

SIDEWAYS — FRIENDLY GARRETT MOCK

Young pitcher is always happy to talk, sometimes a little too much.

DOWN — KATSUHIKO MAEKAWA

Japanese lefty still dealing with visa issues, increasing his already long odds.

OVERHEARD

“Oh, mercy!”

— Jim Bowden, watching Wily Mo Pena launch one of several home runs during batting practice

BY THE NUMBERS

35 — Years old for Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca, the oldest player in Nationals camp

Today’s weather

Washington: Cloudy, 47 degrees.

Viera: Afternoon storms, 84 degrees.

FIVE-DAY SCHEDULE

Today: Full-squad workout, 9:45 a.m.

Tomorrow: Full-squad workout, 9:45 a.m.

Monday: Full-squad workout, 9:45 a.m.

Tuesday: Full-squad workout, 9:45 a.m.

Wednesday: vs. Marlins at Jupiter, 7:05 p.m.

HOW TO GET TO SPACE COAST STADIUM

From Orlando/north: Take Route 528 East (Beachline Expressway) 25 miles to Interstate 95 South. Exit I-95 South at Fiske Boulevard (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Boulevard/Stadium Parkway two miles to the stadium on the right. Approximate time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/south: Take I-95 North to Wickham Road (Exit 191) and turn left. At the traffic circle, turn right on Lake Andrew Drive. Turn left on Judge Fran Jamieson Way. Turn right on Stadium Parkway and follow to the stadium on the left. Approximate time: 20 minutes.

— Mark Zuckerman


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