Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Opening Day 2012 vs The Chicago Cubs - Links, Tweets, Quotes, Etc.

March 20, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) during the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Livan Hernandez surrendering eight hits, seven runs and two walks in an 8-4 loss the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park. Livan Hernandez vs Tommy Glavine in Shea Stadium in a 3-2 loss that saw Jose Vidro go 3 for 5. John Patterson vs the FISH in a 3-2 loss that saw Ryan Zimmerman go 2 for 4 with a triple. Opening Night in D.C. with Zimmerman's walk-off HR off Braves' sidewinder Peter Moylan. John Lannan vs Ricky Nolasco in what was then called Land Shark Stadium in a 12-6 loss to the Fish that left the Nats 1-4 on Opening Days. Opening Day in D.C. with half of the city of Philadelphia in attendance for an 11-1 loss to the Nats' NL East rivals. And finally last year's 2-0 loss to the Braves... So Opening Day's not really been the Nats' thing in the past, but these are new Nationals. Stephen Strasburg's on the hill. Wrigley Field. Nats vs Cubs. Is it 2:20 yet? Keep yourself busy with the links and it'll be game time before you know it. Here's what people are saying about the 2012 Nats... LINKS and lots of them, RIGHT NOW!!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!!:

• "'The two best things that have happened this spring are [Ross] Detwiler and Bryce Harper’s progress playing center field,' [Mike] Rizzo said." - "2012 Nationals: Terrifically talented but ultimately unproven" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post"

• NATS BEAT:

• "ESPN's expert team predictions for 2012 baseball season" - ESPN

• "The occasion has been tarnished a bit by the ongoing situation with John Lannan, one of the team's longest-tenured players, who was demoted to Triple-A at the 11th hour on Tuesday and has subsequently asked Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo to trade him." - "Welcome to Opening Day 2012" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "As we've done the last two seasons, my counterparts on the Nats beat were kind enough to fill out some questionnaires and make some bold predictions about the local ballclub." - "2012 Media Predictions" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Opening Day is special, even if many major leaguers pretend 'it’s just one of 162 games.'" - "Teacher's lessons were culled from diamond treasure" - Dick Heller, Washington Times

• "Bryce Harper: The star prospect is not with the team to start the season, but his every at-bat at Triple-A Syracuse will come under a microscope." - "Washington Nationals 2012 season preview" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "Worst case: The ups and downs in [Ian] Desmond’s game never go away. He boots routine balls in the field, and at the plate his free-swinging ways doom his on-base percentage..." - "Nationals 2012: The best case and the worst case" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "MLB.com: There are a lot of high expectations for this team this year. How do you think the team will do? [Davey] Johnson: I love expectations. Expectations are great. That tells you something is going right -- not just from my point of view, but from others. I love being the best. That doesn't scare me at all." - "Nationals manager Davey Johnson embraces lofty expectations" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nats haven't experienced this 'optimism' thing too often in the past, but it's here now. And now it's time for the team to deliver..." - "Nationals Pastime: Here we go" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• We like Joe Lemire's predictions!" - SI.com's experts make their picks for the 2012 baseball season" - MLB - SI.com

• "[Mike] Rizzo told reporters there was 'mild interest' in [John] Lannan throughout the spring. Lannan was told of his demotion by Johnson in the third inning of Tuesday's game but he left the ball park without speaking to reporters after the game." - "Lannan: 'I requested a trade from the Nationals'" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "At 69 years old, [Davey] Johnson does not occupy himself with the past or the future. He is about today." - "Nationals’ Davey Johnson: ‘I’m enjoying what I’m doing right now’" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "This will mark the first time in the history of preseason Major League Baseball predictions that some experts are predicting the Washington Nationals make the World Series." - "Experts predicting the Nats make the World Series" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "[John] Lannan said he has met with Rizzo twice to 'tell him exactly how I feel,' and his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, has also spoken with Rizzo about the situation." - "John Lannan requests trade from Nationals after demotion to Triple-A" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Asked yesterday about the market for [John] Lannan, [Mike] Rizzo said there had been "mild interest" from other clubs over the course of the spring." - "Lannan requests trade" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "In baseball, the pitching matchup defines the nature of the game we’ll see more than the identity of the teams themselves." - "Major League Baseball 2012: Washington Nationals’ pitching rotation could change everything" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Here we are. Another season, another stab at trying to predict how the season will turn out. Below you'll find our CBSSports.com staff predictions for the 2012 season." - "2012 MLB CBSSports.com expert predictions" - CBSSports

• "Pitcher Stephen Strasburg will open the season Thursday against the Chicago Cubs. Fellow phenom Bryce Harper probably will join the team before the All-Star break." - "It has been building up to this for the Nationals" - Rick Snider, Washington Examiner

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson has made it no secret that he believes the Nats can win this year and contend for the National League East title." - "Nats Season Opener: Position-by-position breakdown" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "Washington's ownership and front office have hewn to the long view in recent years, allowing for steady building toward a future that may or may not be here in 2012 but will arrive soon." - "Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs - April 5, 2012" - Matthew Leach, MLB.com Preview

• "Barely 24 hours after being skipped over for a spot in the Nationals' rotation and instead optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, left-hander John Lannan has asked the Nationals for a trade." - "John Lannan asks to be traded" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "40 years ago, baseball witnessed one of more memorable trades. It’s a trade that involved several notable players and arguably wasn’t a very good move for either team." - "40th anniversary: Montreal trades Le Gran Orange" - Chris Jaffe, The Hardball Times

• "'I know what my rights and the team's rights are,' Lannan said. 'And while I'm still a member of the Washington Nationals organization, I let Mike know that I believe a trade would be the best solution for everyone in both the short and long term.'" - "John Lannan has asked to be traded from the Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Yahoo! Sports baseball writers Tim Brown, Steve Henson and Jeff Passan pick their World Series champions (teaser alert: no ticker tape in New York or Boston this year)..." - "2012 MLB predictions, forecasts and wild guesses" - MLB - Yahoo! Sports

• "Disastrous on the field and disregarded off it, the Washington Nationals existed for most of their first seven years as an afterthought to the greater baseball universe." - "Major League Baseball 2012: For Washington Nationals, high expectations bring added attention" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "You might call it 'creative tension,' this farming out by the Washington Nationals of John Lannan, a four-year fixture in the starting rotation..." - "Demoting Lannan on season's eve shows these aren't Nationals of yesteryear" - Dan Daly, Washington Times

• "You'll notice [Davey] Johnson's decision to hit Adam LaRoche cleanup, which will allow him to break up the right-handed hitters in the middle of his order." - "Nats' opening day lineup plus notes from Chicago" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[John] Lannan said he has met with Rizzo twice to 'tell him exactly how I feel,' and his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, has also spoken with Rizzo about the situation." - "John Lannan requests trade from Nationals after demotion to Triple-A" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "When John Lannan arrived in Washington in 2007, he looked around and saw a starting rotation that included Matt Chico, Mike Bascik, Jason Bergmann, Shawn Hill, Tim Redding and Jason Simontacchi." - "Nationals' Lannan may be down, but he's not yet out" - Thom Loverro, Washington Examiner

• "Nationals left-hander John Lannan has asked General Manager Mike Rizzo to be traded in response to the Nationals optioning him to Class AAA Syracuse yesterday..." - "John Lannan requests Nationals trade him in response to demotion" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "The Nationals have tried hard to trade [John] Lannan since the Winter Meetings last December. According to a baseball source, members of the Nats' front office believe that Lannan has reached his peak as a pitcher." - "Nationals pitcher John Lannan acknowledges request to be traded after being optioned to Triple-A" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Manager Davey Johnson has talked about how he likes having both a right- and left-handed long man in his bullpen, and with Stammen and Tom Gorzelanny, he now has that." - "Here's your official 25-man opening day roster" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals left-hander John Lannan has asked General Manager Mike Rizzo to be traded in response to the Nationals optioning him to Class AAA Syracuse yesterday..." - "John Lannan requests Nationals trade him in response to demotion" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "The Nats are dealing with a number of injuries. Scouts question whether second baseman Danny Espinosa and shortstop Ian Desmond are a championship double-play combination." - "Rosenthal tries to improve on 2011's prognostication performance" - Ken Rosenthal, MLB News | FOX Sports on MSN

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he had Strasburg on his mind as his first-game pitcher since the Winter Meetings in December. Johnson said the weather or innings limits did not play a role in deciding when Strasburg would start his season." - "Stephen Strasburg ready to step into No. 1 role for Nationals" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "An inflated sense of self-importance deflects us from the inner peace and happiness we seek and affects those around us negatively."

• NATS MINOR LEAGUES:

• "The Hagerstown Suns, in conjunction with the Washington Nationals, today announced the 2012 Hagerstown Suns projected Opening Day roster, headlined by top prospects P Alex Meyer, OF Brian Goodwin and seven returning players." - "TOP PROSPECTS MEYER, GOODWIN HEADLINE 2012 SUNS ROSTER" - Hagerstown Suns News

• "The Single-A Potomac Nationals announced their roster for the 2012 season, highlighted by the No. 6 overall selection, third baseman Anthony Rendon." - "2012 Potomac Nationals roster features potential offensive stars" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The Potomac Nationals, high-A affiliate of the Potomac Nationals have announced their 2012 Opening Day roster. The squad includes Washington's first pick of the 2011 Draft: sixth overall selection infielder Anthony Rendon." - "Potomac Nationals Unveil 2012 Roster" - Potomac Nationals News

Twitter: @HbgSenators: "Today's the day! Team heads to Bowie in just a little while - we'll see 'em in a week right back here at Metro Bank Park!"

• "As expected, Bryce Harper's first pro season was the story of the Washington Nationals' Minor League system." - "[Bryce] Harper looms large in Nats system" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Mitch Atkins is the listed starter for Syracuse per MiLB.com, as many of may have heard that John Lannan was supposed to start but has been shifted from today to Sunday." - "Opening Day!" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Washington Nationals 2012: At last, there's a chance..." - Nats Enquirer

• "Many national writers and television experts are predicting that, with the addition of an extra wild card team this year, the Nationals will reach the postseason for the first time. In fact, a few even has this team going to the World Series. Yes, our Nats. Crazy, right?" - "Nationals Buzz: Dave Nichols: High goals and lofty expectations" - Dave Nichols for MASNSports.com

• "Members of the Washington, DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association were asked to reply to a survey of 11 questions regarding the Washington Nationals upcoming season." - "DC-IBWA announces 2012 Pre-Season Survey Results" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "This request is just the latest development in the shocking situation regarding [John] Lannan and the Nationals organization. Lannan was widely regarded as the Nationals No. 5 starter up until yesterday..." - "John Lannan Requests Trade In Very Public Forum" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Lannan asks for trade. Hey, Davey never said anything about John being Rizzo's guy." - Nats Enquirer

• "1971 Dick Bosman pitches a six-hit shutout as the Washington Senators beat the Oakland Athletics, 8 – 0. This will turn out to be the last Opening Day game to be played in Washington, D.C." - "This Date in Washington Senators History – Bosman pitches a Gem" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "First on the menu: Chicago Cubs." - "Opening Shark" - Sharkadina

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "Reset. Start over. Clean slate. For every team, that’s what Opening Day is about." - "Rebirth. Clean slate. It’s Opening Day." - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mets: "Not one of our eight writers picked the World Series Champion Cardinals to even make the playoffs last season, but that won't stop us from sharing our 2012 picks!" - "Amazin' Avenue 2012 Season Predictions" - James Kannengeiser, Amazin' Avenue

Phillies: "The writers and editors of The Good Phight share their thoughts and impressions on the eve of the 2012 Phillies seasons." - "State of the Phillies: The Good Phight's 2012 Blog Lord Roundtable" - Whole Camels, The Good Phight

Marlins: "From what we could tell, the good parts: the bobblehead museum, a retractable roof that will cut down on rainouts, maybe the fish tank. The bad parts? Pretty much everything else." - "New Marlins Stadium Is Worse Than You Thought" - Will Leitch, New York Magazine, The Sports Section

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