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Wire Taps: Nationals announce NatsFest date; Gold Glove nominations; Minniti to AZ

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The Washington Nationals announced the date for this year's NatsFest. Two Nats were nominated as finalists for the Gold Glove at their respective positions. Bryan Minniti found a new home in AZ. Nats links and more below...

Al Bello

Gio Gonzalez probably had the line of the day at NatsFest last winter in the Gaylord National Convention Center, when he said the Washington Nationals' acquisition of right-handed starter Doug Fister was like, "...knowing that you just got the brand new car you wanted for Christmas."

The Nationals' yearly gathering of fans and players effectively kicks off the start of a new season each winter.

This year it was held in late January, but the Nationals announced on Wednesday that the 2015 edition of NatsFest will take place on December 13th in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Tickets for NatsFest go on sale five days from now on October 29th at 10:00 AM...

No word on which Nationals will be there this year. Last winter it was Scott Hairston, Mike Rizzo, Jayson Werth, Drew Storen, Jerry Blevins, Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa, Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, Matt Williams, Ross Detwiler, Sammy Solis, Stephen Strasburg, Steven Souza, Zach Walters, Craig Stammen and more showing up to talk to fans and reporters about the upcoming season.

It's still far away, but at least an announced date makes it seem like it's time to start moving on to the 2015 campaign. Speaking of moving on, let's move on to the links. Links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!! (TODAY IN TWO PARTS):

• "The pitch from Sergio Romo of the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the ninth inning crossed just below Bryce Harper’s knee, and the umpire barked, 'Strike,' to Harper’s obvious frustration." - "The Strike-Zone Revolution" - David Leonhardt, NYTimes.com

"'I thought this [World Series] was going to be in Washington,' said commissioner-elect Rob Manfred, who worked for years at a D.C. law firm. 'I was a Nationals picker.'" - "At World Series, some question, ‘Where are Nationals?’ And some answers are apparent" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "The Nationals announced that their annual NatsFest will be held on Dec. 13, earlier than last year, and the event will return to Walter E. Washington Convention Center." - "Nationals to hold NatsFest on Dec. 13" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Earlier this year before the 2014 season, the Nats held the event in late January at National Harbor in Maryland." - "Details for NatsFest 2014 announced" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "LaRoche, who won the NL Gold Glove Award in 2012, often made diving plays or scooped balls in the dirt to prevent a run from scoring, and he has established himself as the best defensive first baseman in Nationals history." - "Span and LaRoche in hunt for NL Gold Gloves" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "LaRoche doesn't have tremendous range at this point in his career, but he's incredibly sure-handed and made countless nifty plays..." - "Nationals Pastime: LaRoche, Span named Gold Glove finalists" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Span committed four errors in 1,302 2/3 innings across 147 games in center field. He held a .985 fielding percentage, a -2.4 UZR and a career-high seven outfield assists." - "Nationals’ LaRoche, Span named Gold Glove finalists" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "Because of his strong hitting and standout defense, Span was among the most valuable position Nationals this season." - "Denard Span, Adam LaRoche named NL Gold Glove Award finalists" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "In 18 of Roark's 31 starts this year, he worked at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer." - "Nationals Pastime: Reflecting on Roark's stellar 2014" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "After two years spent battling a litany of injuries, Ramos entered this season excited and determined to be behind the plate for the Nationals as much as possible." - "Nationals Roster Review: Wilson Ramos" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "In Part 2 of our series on high Single-A Potomac Nationals' championship season, we focus on how the P-Nats were able to keep winning when players were called up to Double-A Harrisburg." - "Remembering Potomac's championship season: Part 2 - managing an evolving roster" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "The best records in baseball this season belonged to the Angels (98 wins) and the Orioles and Nationals (96 wins), but they weren't leaps and bounds better than the Wild Card clubs." - "Path to World Series ultimate test of best teams" - Anthony Castrovince, sfgiants.com

• "With a summer date for an outdoor venue such as Wrigley in August, it’s also possible other dates on the tour could be in stadiums. MetLife Stadium and Nationals Park could be destinations in those cities." - "Wrigley Field Is First Venue Announced For Foo Fighters 'Sonic Highways' Tour" - Jesse Lawrence, Forbes.com

• "The Orioles aren't the only ones eying a sales bump thanks to their playoff run." - "Orioles' success drives up ad rates for MASN" - Rick Seltzer, Baltimore Business Journal

• "If the Nationals move Ryan Zimmerman to first base as expected and let LaRoche go, the Brewers could be the front-runners for his services." - "Jim Bowden offers up offseason buzz from around baseball" - Jim Bowden, ESPN

• "With the Giants in the playoffs, he’s faced 23 batters, and five of them have gone deep. Or four of them have, Bryce Harper doing it twice." - "Grading the Home Runs Against Hunter Strickland" - Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs Baseball

• "When giving up five home runs to 23 postseason batters isn’t the worst part of your October, you know it’s been a rough month." - "The Giants’ secret weapon has become an unhinged disaster" - Chris Chase, For The Win

• "A few weeks ago, about the time the Washington Nationals were eliminated from the 2014 MLB pennant race, I sat down and quietly laughed at the folly of my imagining a World Series between the two beltway teams." - "TIMEOUT: What’s up, Washington?" - Rick Mussleman, Belvoir Eagle: Sports

• Minniti Signs WIth D-Backs:

• "Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart said Minniti's skillset will complement his own, particularly as it relates to Minniti's ability to handle the administrative side of a baseball operations department." - "Ex-Nationals executive Bryan Minniti joins Arizona Diamondbacks as assistant general manager" - Nick Piecoro, AZCentral.com

• "Minniti spent the previous five seasons with the Nationals assisting GM Mike Rizzo. Minniti specialized in rules compliance, transactions, budgeting and contract negotiations." - "D-backs hire assistant GM Minniti from Nationals" - Steve Gilbert, dbacks.com

• "Minniti will serve as the Diamondbacks’ assistant general manager in a revamped front office." - "Bryan Minniti, former Nationals assistant GM, hired by Diamondbacks" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• Spring Training Home:

• "Two Major League Baseball teams may move their spring training operations out of Central Florida due to a hefty incentive package..." - "Two MLB teams may leave C. Fla. spring training sites for South Florida" - Matthew Richardson, Orlando Business Journal

• "The Palm Beach Post reports, after much wrangling and disagreement, that county leaders have approved $108 million in funding to build a new spring training complex..." - "Astros, Nationals firming up plans to move to Palm Beach County" - Scott Wuerz, Cheap Seats Blog | News Democrat

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "It was clear to anybody who spoke to John Hart on the day the Braves fired general manager Frank Wren that he did not want the job." - "Will a fresh perspective elude Braves?" - Jeff Schultz blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Marlins: "Three Marlins will have their first shot at a Rawlings Gold Glove Award this year..." - "Hechavarria, Stanton, Yelich first-time Gold Glove finalists" - Adam Berry, marlins.com

Mets: "With all due respect to Kevin Long, whom even the Yankees considered an excellent hitting coach right up to the minute they fired him, being a good offensive team is not about the guy running the tee-and-toss drills." - "Kevin Long is good, but he'll be better if Mets add some bats" - David Lennon, Newsday

Phillies: "Matching the general cynicism around the team from fans and media, Phillies interim team president Pat Gillick confirmed that the Phillies won't be making a run for the World Series in 2015." - "Pat Gillick says Phillies won't likely contend in 2015 or 2016" - Philly.com