The Washington Nationals’ request to play games in Nationals Park in 2021 was APPROVED by the DC Health Director, but, “... without fans in attendance due to the impacts of COVID-19” in the community,” as noted in a letter to the club’s Senior Vice President of Community Engagement. The no fans part can be reexamined in the future. What did Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez think of the announcement?
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Martinez said.
“I’m hoping that within the next few weeks they revisit, everything goes well, they keep the fans safe and we’re able to get them back in our stands.
“It’s no secret, I’ve said it before. We miss our fans. They bring us a lot of energy. I’ve always said they’re the 26th, now the 27th man, so we want them in the stands and we want to play in front of our own fans. It would be nice to get them in and get them in there for Opening Day.”
Go read your links...
No fans in stands to start:
No fans for now at Nationals Park, D.C. says - (Washington Times)
"D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has approved the Washington Nationals’ request to play the upcoming 2021 season in the city, but for at least the time being, Nationals Park will not have fans in attendance."
For those desperately waiting to know if fans will be allowed at Nationals Park on Opening Night, it appears the answer from the District is: You're going to have to wait until at least mid-March for an answer. https://t.co/tmeCAdeRvf— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 2, 2021
Davey Martinez hopes DC's no-fans ruling changes by Opening Day - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser co-signed a letter to the team approving their request to play in Nationals Park, but without fans to start."
D.C. won't allow fans at Nationals Park for now but approves games - (WaPost)
“The District of Columbia has denied for now the Washington Nationals’ request to host fans at limited capacity at Nationals Park when the season begins in April...”
Washington Nationals games can resume with no fans – for now - (Fox5DC)
"The Washington Nationals have the go-ahead to return to the field this spring, but they won’t be able to have any fans in attendance – for now."
Spring Training 2021: The ‘Cubbing’ of Washington? - (WTOP)
"As the Washington Nationals revamped their roster over the winter, moves needed to be made to address various vacancies in the lineup and rotation."
OFFICIAL: MLB has decided to delay the start of the Triple-A season by at least four weeks with players reporting to alternate sites for April. The Triple-A season is tentatively slated to begin on May 4 with the Red Wings home opener scheduled for May 18.— Rochester Red Wings (@RocRedWings) March 3, 2021
Other Nats Stories:
Nats' Scherzer, Soto should make delayed debuts this week - (Washington Times)
"Max Scherzer and Juan Soto should make their delayed Grapefruit League debuts this week for the Washington Nationals."
Notes: Rotation battle, upcoming debuts - (MLB.com)
"The Nationals' fifth-starter role is vacant, but that isn’t the only spot that’s up for grabs this spring."
Scherzer, Soto ready; Kieboom had LASIK; no fans in D.C. yet - (MASN)
"Max Scherzer and Juan Soto appear to be good to go after suffering minor injuries and are expected to make their spring training game debuts in the next few days."
Alternate sites are coming back — and the AAA season, which was scheduled to begin April 6, will be delayed for at least a month, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 2, 2021
News at ESPN on the reason for delay, the wait for vaccines and how this alt site will differ from 2020's: https://t.co/zRRT6mn7Nz
NL EAST UPDATES:
'I'm coming for it': Freeman has eyes on WS - (MLB.com)
"While recapping his eventful and fulfilling offseason, Freddie Freeman relayed an exchange he shared with part-time hitting consultant Chipper Jones..."
Limited fans allowed at Citizens Bank Park - (MLB.com)
"The Phillies got the news they needed on Tuesday. They will have fans at Citizens Bank Park in 2021."
Here's what #Nats' hitting coach Kevin Long said about #Nationals' 3B Carter Kieboom coming into camp with confidence, seeing the ball better after having LASIK surgery (which no one, including Carter or manager Davey Martinez, mentioned before Long said it today at least afaik): pic.twitter.com/N8Jbi27xvw— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) March 2, 2021
Yoenis Cespedes showcase leaves MLB teams as tempted as ever - (NY Post)
"Stipulated, Cespedes has played in a total of 46 games since 2018 thanks to headline-grabbing injuries (you remember the wild boar, right?) and a contentious opt-out from last year’s COVID-shortened campaign."
Diligent López developing breaking ball - (MLB.com)
"During the early stages of Spring Training, Pablo López made it known that his goal for the 2021 season was to pitch more than 200 innings."
Anderson ‘way advanced’; Muller ‘explosive’ - (MLB.com)
“There’s reason for the Braves to be excited about Anderson, who posted a 1.95 ERA over six regular-season starts and then didn’t allow a run through the first 17 2/3 innings of his postseason career.”